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Walker County Newsletter  Issue 45 - October 2020
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Healthy Foundations to Launch Nation's First Collective Integrated Healthcare Campus in Walker County
 

The following is a contributed release from Healthy Foundations:

North Georgia Healthcare Center (NGHCC) of Ringgold, Georgia recently announced plans to develop a collective integrated healthcare campus in Walker County. The Healthy Foundations Community Resource Village will fulfill a need in North Georgia for affordable healthcare and housing for veterans, youth aging out of foster care, and families and individuals in need of assistance. The front part of the planned campus will be open to the public and will have an artisan village, equestrian center, amphitheater, conference center and farmer’s market meant to prepare residents for jobs off campus. It will also provide daycare and cognitive development in “Kid City.”

Healthy Foundations President Terry Tucker noted, “We see many people who are ashamed. They struggle with barriers such as housing or support, making it difficult to get the help they need. Our ‘out of the shadows’ approach establishes consistency in their daily lives that results in opportunities to reach self-sufficiency. We will deploy Collective Integrated Healthcare initiatives to reach these goals.”

A Collective Integrated Healthcare initiative is designed to meet the integrated primary health, behavioral health and social needs of a community at a centralized location. By integrating care through community partnerships, patients are more satisfied with their care, more accepting of care and demonstrate positive outcomes. Additional benefits include improvements in access to care and services, appropriate use of specialized services and productive outcomes for individuals suffering from chronic diseases.

Tucker noted that the selection of the site in Walker County made sense because the community is a vital partner for the work done by Healthy Foundations.  “From our research, we know that Walker County has individuals who would be perfect partners as employees. Walker County is a caring community with businesses and individuals who are dedicated to making sure this is a healthy place to live, work and play. It’s this commitment that makes LaFayette and Walker County a great location for the work ahead.”

Healthy Foundations is the result of more than a decade of experience and research in housing, foster and adoption, youth development, workforce, and veteran services. With an internationally known team of healthcare professionals, Healthy Foundations is well positioned for success for participants in the programs, their families and the Northwest Georgia community.  Healthy Foundations will assess each individual before confirming admittance to their programs.

Healthy Foundations will also bring economic growth to Walker County. Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said, “This project will result in new employment opportunities for our residents. Healthy Foundations plans to create a large number of jobs, many of them professional positions, as part of their investment in our community.

After a phased opening over four years, Healthy Foundations will employ 250 workers ranging from counselors and physicians to facilities maintenance and childcare staff. An inaugural event and dedication ceremony to be held in the spring of 2021. There are also plans to serve partners and establish smaller satellite locations within Catoosa, Chattooga and Dade counties.

Robert Wardlaw, Director of Economic and Community Development for Walker County noted, “We are grateful to have such significant interest in Walker County. I look forward to more being shared with the community.”

Healthy Foundations’ campus in Walker County will include a healthcare/counseling center, independent living area with supportive services, as well as workforce and youth development opportunities. In addition, the campus will feature an innovative Veterans Village to serve the unique behavioral health and housing needs of area service members. Campus partners include the City of Refuge Atlanta, House of Cherith, Georgia Division of Family and Children's Services and others. The site selected for the campus is located on 374 acres near LaFayette. The front entrance of the property is located approximately one mile from Gilbert Elementary School; however, the closest living unit on the property will be located another mile away.

Healthy Foundations will also deploy a high level of security technology to make sure the campus and those they serve are monitored in real time.  In addition to their private security team, Healthy Foundations has partnered with Genetec Cyber Security, an international leader in security systems who will know where each individual is 24/7 and that they remain in various zones to participate in programming. They will also use tag readers and facial recognition technology connected to state databases to screen everyone who comes to the campus. This is the same type of tracking technology currently used by the City of Atlanta and Clemson University.  Tucker said, “We wanted very sophisticated technology that would be dependable as we track those on our campus.”

He noted, “Most people entering our campus for housing, training and other programs will not be coming because of mental health concerns. There are certainly places to treat people experiencing these specific challenges, but Healthy Foundations doesn’t perform those services. We are not a mental health facility and will refer those individuals appropriately.  Anyone coming to our campus will undergo an assessment to determine if we are able to serve them and meet their needs. Unfortunately, we will have to turn some applicants away as we have guidelines of who fits our program.”

He added,  “For example, we will not admit violent criminals or sex offenders. We want to ensure the safety of the individuals and families on our campus as we serve our neighbors in northwest Georgia. We are not a dedicated drug or substance abuse rehabilitation center,” said Tucker.  “There are some wonderful centers that provide those programs and as we determine that some of these individuals are experiencing this type of challenge, we will refer them to the appropriate place where they can receive the care they need.” 

“Our primary goal is to uplift struggling individuals and families from the shadows of crisis by meeting their health and social needs in our own community of Northwest Georgia,” said DeLaine Hunter, Founder and CEO of NGHCC.

Healthy Foundations will hold community conversations at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21 and Wednesday, December 9 at the Walker County Civic Center in Rock Spring. Due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person attendance at both meetings will be limited to the first 70 registering on Eventbrite. The October 21 meeting will be streamed on Facebook @HealthyFoundationsGA, where questions can also be submitted.

Early Voting in the November 3rd Election Underway

Early voting is underway at the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette for the November 3rd General Election. Polls are open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at this location, along with Saturday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All four satellite locations will be open on Saturday, October 24th, then the following Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The satellite locations are:

Rock Spring
265 Bicentennial Trail
Building 500-Student Center
Rock Spring, GA 30739

Rossville Civic Center
400 McFarland Avenue
Rossville, GA 30741

Chickamauga Civic Center
1817 Lee Clarkson Road
Chickamauga, GA 30707

Lookout Mountain United Methodist Church
1300 Lula Lake Road
Lookout Mountain, GA 30750


Sample ballots are posted on the Walker County Board of Elections facebook page and the elections page on the County's website.

Voters who requested an absentee ballot can return it by mail, at the Elections office or at a new ballot drop box. The drop box is located between the courthouse and the Commissioner's office in LaFayette.

Voters can drive up to the box and drop off their ballot without getting out of their vehicle. The drop box is safe and secure. Only Walker County Election's officials have keys to access the drop box.

This is the only absentee ballot drop box in Walker County.

Commissioner Meeting Dates for Remainder of 2020 

The Governing Authority of Walker County, GA will hold regular public meetings on the following dates for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year:

  • October 22, 2020
  • November 12, 2020
  • November 19, 2020*
  • December 10, 2020
  • December 29, 2020*

*Regular meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. There will not be a meeting on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve. The November 19th and December 29th meetings serve as replacements.

All public meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. at the Walker County Courthouse Annex III building, located at 201 S Main Street in LaFayette, GA.

Those planning to attend will encounter a number of COVID-19 related precautions, such as a temperature screening, sign-in sheet for contact tracing and limited seating so social distancing can be observed. The meeting space can accommodate about 24 people. Face masks are encouraged, but not required. Hand sanitizer will be provided.

Seasonal Burning Allowed in Walker County with a Permit 

Georgia’s seasonal ban on outdoor burning ended September 30. While many will need to burn a pile of crispy fall leaves outdoors, please remember that a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is required in the unincorporated areas of Walker County. Weather conditions are considered before a permit is issued. Permits can be obtained at GaTrees.org, by calling the local GFC office or by dialing 1-888-OK-2-BURN. You can also review a helpful FAQ on burning rules on our website.

I-75 Roadwork to Impact Traffic This Weekend

If you'll be traveling this weekend from Catoosa County into Chattanooga, be advised, I-24 WB at I-75 will be closed Oct. 23-26.

WHAT: Weather permitting, I-75 North exit 2 in Tennessee to I-24 West will be closed October 23-25 for construction. The exit closure is expected to cause delays northbound from Georgia into Tennessee.

WHEN: Friday, October 23 at 9 p.m. - Monday, October 26 at 6 a.m.

DETOUR: Traffic to I-24 West will continue on I-75 North to Exit 3A/SR 320 East/East Brainerd Road then return to I-75 South/I-24 West.

The countdown is on! On November 17th, "The Farmer and The Belle: Saving Santaland," which was filmed on location in Walker County, hits the home video and video on demand markets.

The producers are planning a couple of special screenings in Walker County too. Details and dates will be revealed soon.

The DVD includes a special feature highlighting some of Walker County's outdoor adventure destinations.

The 2020 Dino Richardson Memorial Toy Run benefitting the Al Millard Memorial Stocking Full of Love will take place on Sunday, November 1.

The event begins at 2:00 p.m. at Ridgeland High School KSU (2478 Happy Valley Road, Rossville).

All bikes/clubs are welcome to participate. Just bring a new, unwrapped toy or cash donation.

Click here for the latest COVID-19 updates from walkercountyga.gov
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Walker County Commissioner's Office · 101 S Duke Street · LaFayette, GA 30728 · USA