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Walker Rocks Outdoor Series Continues with Kayak Day at Lee & Gordon’s Mills on June 22

Chickamauga, GA – Adventure awaits on West Chickamauga Creek later this month, as Kayak Day floats to the top of the Walker Rocks Outdoor Series.

On June 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., explore what it’s like to take a peaceful journey aboard a touring kayak at Lee & Gordon’s MillsBattlefield Outdoors will provide demonstration kayaks to give beginners a taste of what it’s like to go paddling on the creek.

Visitors are encouraged to picnic with family and friends onsite during Kayak Day, which is a free community event.  Participants are also advised to bring sunscreen, bottled water, a dry or ziplock bag and a towel.

The Lee & Gordon’s Mills launch site is part of the South Chickamauga Creek Blueway, which runs from Chickamauga to Fort Oglethorpe en route to the Tennessee Riverpark, near Chattanooga State Community College.

Interest in recreational kayaking has more than doubled over the past decade, according to The Outdoor Foundation’s 2018 Outdoor Participation Report.  Kayak Day aims to build on that growth, by eliminating some of the apprehension associated with learning how to safely maneuver this outdoor activity.

The Walker Rocks Outdoor Series continues on July 13th with a Trivia Scavenger Hunt at Lula Lake on Lookout Mountain.  Admission will be free, but pre-registration will be required due to limited space.

Walker County to Refinance Previously Issued Bonds, Saving Taxpayers Over Two-Million Dollars

Rock Spring, GA – A proposal to refinance a series of revenue bonds could result in over two-million dollars in savings to Walker County taxpayers.

The Walker County Development Authority (WCDA) issued the Series 2015 bonds on behalf of Walker County Government, in order to fund the completion of infrastructure and dirt work at the Walker County Industrial Park.

Four years ago, WCDA issued the bonds contingent on the county being financially obligated for all fees, interest and payments.  WCDA also made obtaining over $17.5 million in Series 2015 bonds contingent upon receiving a rate not to exceed 7.5%.  This year, based on Walker County’s improved financial conditions, WCDA proposes to refinance the remaining balance of the bonds contingent upon receiving a rate not to exceed 4.9%.

As part of the refinancing process, Walker County expects to receive an upgraded credit rating, due to the same improvements in the county’s balance sheet and financial outlook that would allow the lower interest rate cap.

“One of the top priorities of my administration has been to get our financial house in order.  Restoring Walker County’s credit rating makes lower rates like this possible for existing debt,” said Commissioner Shannon Whitfield.  “The latest audit shows our balance sheet in a much stronger position than in 2015.  This allows us to turn yet another page in our shared journey together toward freedom from crippling county debt. We are thrilled this will save the taxpayers of Walker County millions of dollars.”

WCDA approved the bond resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, June 11th.  Commissioner Shannon Whitfield will review the proposal at his meeting on Thursday, June 13th.  Once the bonding agency has received final interest rate terms, both government entities will make a decision on whether to move forward with the refinancing proposal.

Kaleidoscope Supported Employment is Transforming Lives in Walker County

Learn more about Kaleidoscope

Gary Moore works Monday through Friday, cleaning bathrooms and break areas at Roper Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier Company.

Gary loves his job with I H Services and he’s liked by his co-workers, who bring him cake on special occasions and check on him when he’s sick.  “I’ve got a bunch of friends, they all miss me when I’m not here,” said Moore. “When I was out, they all sent me $360.”

You wouldn’t know it by his job performance, but Gary has a disability.  “We have about 40 others in our program who are out there working in the community, living full, rich lives feeling that they are contributing to their world,” explained Rebecca Clark, Supported Employment Coordinator for Kaleidoscope, a program of Lookout Mountain Community Services.  Clark works with area employers to educate them on how hiring someone with a disability not only benefits the community, but also makes business sense.

“Many times in the past, people with disabilities were thought to be unable to hold jobs and when given the opportunity, we see they can make very important and valuable contributions to the workplace,” said Clark.

As Gary’s supervisor, Ciara Norman knows that first hand. “He seasoned, of course he knows the routes and the ways way better than anybody else, but he knows how to interact with everyone here a little better.”

Kaleidoscope provides support along the way to clients and employers too.  Everyone in the program has a job coach who works to match the job seeker’s abilities and interests with potential positions. Once hired, Kaleidoscope assists with pre-employment paperwork, provides training and coaching on job responsibilities, and helps both parties understand the impact of changes at work, like new duties or a supervisor switch.

Darlene Cannon, Job Coach, said “To help make that transition to where they are able to communicate together so she knows how Gary works and why he does his job the way he does his job.”

Gary has been on the job for nearly 18 years… and says he’d be bored if he wasn’t working. “I enjoy it, because I’m used to doing it at home.”

For more information on becoming a client or business partner, contact Kaleidoscope at 706-375-2142.

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Walker County Tag Office Announces New Online Services Portal is Up and Running

Rock Spring, GA – Over Memorial Day weekend, the Georgia Department of Revenue, Walker County, as well as every other counties across the state installed a new state-of-the-art system, Georgia Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System (DRIVES) to upgrade and modernize the vehicle registration and titling functions.

Now that the statewide system upgrade has been successfully completed, Walker
County, in conjunction with the Georgia Motor Vehicle Division, has launched a new web services portal to enable Georgia residents to complete more vehicle services online.  Customers are now able to complete a number of services online including tag renewal notification, registration replacement, registration cancellation, pre-applications for title and registration, change of address, insurance fine payments, rental car registration and renewal, leasing company registration and renewal and dealer renewal.

Throughout the entire state, county tag offices are using the new system and are encouraging customers to visit the new online portal to see which online services are available for their county.  “Georgia DRIVES is allowing Walker County residents to conduct their vehicle related business with the county at their convenience.  While we love seeing our customers, we are happy that they now have more options to
self-serve when it comes to vehicle titling and registration,” said Carolyn Walker, Walker County Tax Commissioner.

The new online portal is up and running effective today.  Visit https://eservices.drives.ga.gov or www.walkercountytax.com to view the new online services available in Walker County.

Ironman 70.3 Event Returns to Walker County This Weekend

Chickamauga, GA – Walker County welcomes over 3,800 athletes to the area for this Sunday’s IRONMAN 70.3 event.

A majority of the 56-mile bicycle portion of the triathlon will once again trek through Walker County.  Cyclists will enter Walker County on Highway 193, where a new “Walker County Welcomes You” sign will greet them.

Athletes will soak in some incredible views as they travel about 18 miles south before cutting across Andrews Lane to get to Hog Jowl Road.  They will then pedal another 12 miles up Cove Road/Highway 341 until reaching downtown Chickamauga, where family, friends and other spectators will line the streets and sidewalks to greet them.

After leaving Chickamauga by way of Chickamauga Road, IRONMAN competitors will reconnect with Highway 193 and navigate back into Chattanooga.

The race begins with the swimming portion at 6:50 a.m.  The first athlete is expected to reach the finish line by 10:30 a.m.  Spectators wanting to watch the bicycle portion from downtown Chickamauga should be in place prior to 10:00 a.m. to see the first group ride through.

Last month, the IRONMAN Foundation announced a $160,000 grant to help install 40 new fire hydrants in needed locations.  The community investment will provide additional coverage for Walker County first responders to handle emergency situations.

IRONMAN 70.3 May 2019

Walker County Tax Commissioner Offices to Close for State Mandated System Upgrade

Rock Spring, GA – The Walker County Tax Commissioner offices in Rock Spring and Rossville will close to the public at Noon on Thursday, May 23rd and not reopen until 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28th.  The closure is necessary to install Georgia DRIVES, a new state-mandated vehicle registration and titling system.

Every resident with a birthday in late May and early June should process their vehicle transactions on or before May 20th to avoid any issues, as some vehicle services will be reduced after that date in preparation for the system upgrade.

“Every employee in our office has been working diligently to learn this new system,” said Carolyn Walker, Tax Commissioner.  “We won’t be as fast as we have been with the old system for a while, until we have everything committed to memory. We appreciate your support and patience during this transition.”

This system upgrade will impact all local tag offices in Georgia, not just Walker County.  Statewide, all county tag offices will be unable to process vehicle transactions during the upgrade.

Georgia DRIVES will modernize the data input system for tags and titles, provide agencies with interconnectivity and improve the customer experience by expanding the ability for mobile, Internet and kiosk transactions.

Additional information about Georgia DRIVES can be found online at georgiadrives.com.

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How Walker Works – Elections Office Prepares for the Transition to a Board of Commissioners

LaFayette – The first Board of Commissioners election doesn’t take place until 2020, but the staff at the Walker County Elections Office is already hard at work making sure every voter is placed in the correct district.

Danielle Montgomery, Director of Elections, says “We are working with the GIS for Walker County and trying to get each street in each district so we have every street in every district so we can put that into our system and that way if someone looks up on their My Voter Page they can see what district they are in.  It is a long and tedious process.”

It could take several months for Montgomery and her team to complete this task.  Meanwhile, voters with questions about which district they are in can contact the Elections office for verification.  “We have some maps and we’d be glad to answer any questions or emails about what district they are in, because we can see it, but we haven’t gotten it into the system where they can see it.”

As for those wanting to run for office, Montgomery says there are some important steps to consider before moving forward.  “You need to fill out a Declaration of Intent, it’s also known as a DOI, before you can accept money.  So, no business cards no signs or anything until you’ve completed this Declaration of Intent.”

Forms can be obtained from the Elections Office on the bottom floor of the courthouse in LaFayette.  For additional information, call (706) 638-4349 or email the Elections Office at elections@walkerga.us.

Four district commissioners and an at-large chairperson will be on the ballot.  Party qualifying takes place in 2020 from March 2nd through the 6th with the Primary scheduled for May 19th.  Those wanting to run as an Independent should contact the Elections Office to learn more about that process.  “It’s a little bit more in depth than running under a party system,” says Montgomery. 

The General Election is set for November 3, 2020.  The inaugural group of District Commissioner’s and Board Chair takes office January 1, 2021.

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