News

Walker Rocks Outdoor Series Kicks Off with Family Campout at Mountain Cove Farms

Chickamauga, GA – Imagine a summer filled with camping, hiking, fishing and watersports with some music, movies and good eats mixed in.  The newly launched Walker Rocks Outdoor Series blends these experiences to make some of Walker County’s leading outdoor attractions more accessible to the general public.

The series kicks off with the Family Campout at Mountain Cove Farms (994 Dougherty Gap Road, Chickamauga) on Saturday, May 25th.  Load up your vehicle and head to the Cove for an afternoon of campground music and field day style games, like three-legged races, sack races and kickball.  Campers can also relax by the campfire while making s’mores and catch a special showing of the 80’s adventure movie The Goonies.

“This is a family friendly event that offers a unique opportunity for parents with young children to try out camping and see what it’s like to sleep outdoors,” said Lacey Wilson, Chamber President.  “We also see this as a staycation of sorts for folks looking for something unique to do with their family over the holiday weekend.”

Set up for tent camping begins at 2:00 p.m.  A vehicle parking pass gets you inside for all activities.  The cost is just $5 per vehicle in advance online at walkerrocks.com or $10 cash the day of the event.  Food, drinks and popcorn will also be available on site to purchase.

The Walker Rocks Outdoor Series continues later this summer with the following events:

  • Family Camp Out at Mountain Cove Farms on May 25
  • Kayak & Canoe Day at Lee & Gordon’s Mill on June 22
  • Trivia Scavenger Hunt at Lula Lake on July 13
  • Dive-in Movie and Such at Queen City Lake on August 17
  • Fright Night Camp Out at Magnolia Pines on September 13
  • Duck Pond Rodeo at the Rossville Duck Pond – TBA

Latest “Retire Your Tires” Amnesty Day Achieves Record Turnout

Chickamauga, GA – Before the gates even opened last Saturday, the crew working Walker County’s latest Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day knew the event would be bustling.  Vehicles were lined up and down Marble Top Road waiting to get in to the Walker County Landfill to dispose of tires for free.  “We actually opened early because people began arriving around 7:00 a.m.  It was a tremendous turnout,” said Paine Gily, Landfill Director.

Throughout the day, 629 residents brought loads of tires to the landfill, many coming from Rossville, Chickamauga and LaFayette.

After the last vehicle departed, Gily made a final count and discovered the landfill had collected 8,933.  The final tally set a record and topped last year’s event by 2,192 tires.  “This tire amnesty day was a great example of the community coming together for the environmental and health benefits of the county,” said Gily

Properly disposing of scrap tires helps eliminate mosquito breeding sites. The wet spring has provided mosquitoes with plenty of locations to lay their eggs. A female mosquito only needs an inch of standing water to lay a batch of over 100 eggs.

Community partners, including Rossville Public Works, Wilson Road Neighborhood Group, Chattanooga Valley Lions Club and Boy Scout Troop 316, made the event more inclusive to all members of the public by providing pick up services to the elderly, disabled and out of town military.

Walker County began offering a tire amnesty day in 2017.  Over the course of three events, 21,217 tires have been removed from the community and sent to a recycling center to be turned into industrial fuel or rubber mulch for landscaping and playgrounds.  Due to demand, a second tire amnesty day will be offered in late fall.

Northwest Georgia Health Departments to provide free hepatitis A vaccine clinics in May

This news release comes from the Georgia Department of Public Health, Northwest Health District:

Northwest Georgia Health Departments in Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon and Walker Counties will provide free hepatitis A vaccine to individuals at risk of the highly contagious, highly preventable liver disease every Friday in May. Clinics will be held at each health department on May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 8 am to 2 pm.

Those at risk of hepatitis A include:

  • individuals recently released from jail or prison
  • men who have sex with men
  • recreational drug users
  • homeless or transient individuals
  • persons with close contact to someone with these risk factors

“We urge individuals with one or more of these risk factors to get vaccinated against this vaccine-preventable disease,’ said Dr. Unini Odama, Health Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District. “The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to practice good hygiene, proper handwashing, careful and sanitary preparation of food, and by getting vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.”

Georgia is one of 18 states experiencing a large number of cases of the highly contagious liver infection.  Most of the Georgia cases are currently clustered in Northwest Georgia.  Therefore, we are encouraging everyone to actively prevent the spread of hepatitis A and we are asking healthcare providers to be aware of the disease and its symptoms, which include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, joint pain, and jaundice.

Hepatitis A Infographic

For more information about hepatitis A, the free hepatitis A vaccination clinics, and addresses and contact information for your local county health department, visit https://nwgapublichealth.org

Walker County Fire Rescue Crews Bring Injured Hiker to Safety

Lafayette, GA – Units with Walker County Fire Rescue helped bring a hiker with a broken leg to safety late Saturday afternoon.

Emergency crews received a call around 5:30 p.m. that a 30-year old woman had fallen at the Keown Falls overlook.  The hiker was about eight-tenths of a mile down a trail.

When rescue crews reached her, the hiker informed them she had pain in her right leg and could not walk on it. After immobilizing her leg, fire personnel placed her on a backboard and carried her up a series of steps to the base of Keown Falls.

The hiker was then placed on a utility vehicle and brought back up the trail to a staging area, where an ambulance waited to transport her to the hospital.

“The Farmer and the Belle” Now Filming in Walker County!

Chickamauga, GA – Lights, Camera, Action!  Walker County welcomes the cast and crew of The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland to our community. The Farmer and The Belle is about a New York City fashion model who spends the holidays in a small town and falls in love with a childhood pen pal/farmer.  She helps her friend save his hometown’s “SantaLand” and learns that true beauty comes from the heart.  Jenn Gotzon Chandler (Frost/NixonGod’s Not Dead 2), Corbin Bernsen (Major LeagueLA Law) and John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville) are among the credited cast.

Want to be part of the movie?  A casting call for extras is currently underway.  Here’s how to apply: send photographs of yourself (head and body shots) along with your age and resume (if applicable) to SavingSantalandCasting@gmail.com and be sure to put WALKER COUNTY EXTRA in the subject line and indicate which day(s) you would like to be considered for and whether you can fully commit to those days.

Saturday, 4/27: Barn Church, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; expected filming first 1/2 of day

Sunday, 4/28: Santaland, 50-60 total needed; all ages/ethnicities; 5 ladies needed age 50s-70s, 10 additional ladies (50s-70s, 4 will be featured with high fashion makeup); 3 “crew members” needed, males, 20s-30s; expected filming first 3/4 of day

Friday, 5/3: Santaland, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; expected filming all day
Saturday, 5/4: Santaland, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; 10 additional ladies needed, various ages; expected filming all day

Sunday, 5/5: Santaland, 30 needed, all ages/ethnicities; 4 children (ages 9-11) needed for nativity scene; expected filming all day

Monday, 5/6: Santaland, 10-30 volunteers needed, with change of clothes; expected filming first 1/2 of day

Thursday, 5/9: Christmas Tree Farm, 30 needed, families with all ages/ethnicities; expected filming 1/2 day

Saturday, 5/11: Barn Dance, adults only; need couples but can pair single extras with other single extras to make pairs; expected filming 1/2 night, 7 pm – 12 am

Sunday, 5/12: Airport; 8 travelers needed, various ages/types; 1 “Uber driver” needed (would be great if also available 4/29); expected filming 1/2 day

Walker County’s Erlanger Fee to be Eliminated

LaFayette, GA – Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield made an important announcement this morning that will benefit every property owner in Walker County.

Whitfield proclaimed an end to the Public Health Facilities and Services fee, the ordinance created to pay down the county’s debt to Erlanger Health System over the course of three years.  “We project we have collected enough from the Public Health Facilities and Services fee over the past two years to meet our obligation to Erlanger at the end of this tax cycle,” said Whitfield.  “This means the fee will not be charged on your next tax bill!”

According to the state of Georgia, the average home value in Walker County is $100,000.  The elimination of the fee will remove $140 from the average homeowner’s tax bill.

Walker County will take the necessary steps to formally end the fee in May by amending the ordinance that established it.  Those changes are scheduled to be finalized at the May 23, 2019 Commissioner Meeting.

In 2017, a federal judge ordered Walker County to pay Erlanger $8.7 million plus interest and attorney’s fees to cover its portion of a 2011 loan to keep Hutcheson Medical Center open.  Erlanger agreed to waive interest and attorney fees, as part of a settlement agreement in January 2018, provided Walker County made 13 quarterly payments.

“Dealing with this debt has been a tough chapter in our shared journey,” Whitfield added.  “I thank our citizens for the sacrifices made during this difficult time in our history.  Today, we turn the page.  Today, we start our own chapter in Walker County history.”

Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day Event Returns April 27th for Walker County Residents

Chickamauga, GA – Walker County residents will have a chance to participate in a community clean-up effort next week, as the county’s popular Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day returns. On Saturday, April 27th, the Walker County Landfill will accept tires free of charge from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The community removed 6,741 tires during last year’s Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day event, an 18% increase over 2017. Tires were sent to an approved recycling center and turned into industrial fuel or rubber mulch for landscaping and playground applications.

During the amnesty event, car and light truck tires with wheel sizes 20 inches or less will be accepted, as well as ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tires. Tires must be dismounted from wheels and free of mud and debris. Tires with rims and large truck, tractor or heavy equipment tires are not eligible for amnesty.

Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day is only for residents, not for commercial businesses. Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or current utility bill, will be required to dispose of tires for free during the amnesty event. Those participating will also be required to unload their own tires and adhere to a limit of 25 tires per vehicle.

Residents unable to transport tires to the landfill should contact one of Walker County’s approved amnesty partners. The City of Rossville, Chattanooga Valley Lions Club and Wilson Road Neighborhood Group are among those participating. Specific contact information can be found at walkercountyga.gov/tires.

Properly disposing of scrap tires helps eliminate mosquito breeding sites. The wet spring has provided mosquitoes with plenty of locations to lay their eggs. A female mosquito only needs an inch of standing water to lay a batch of over 100 eggs. More mosquitoes this summer could hasten the spread of West Nile Virus.

Landfill Hours Updated as Enforcement Begins for Unsecured & Uncovered Loads

Chickamauga, GA – In an effort to improve the customer experience, the Walker County Landfill will begin opening to the public on Wednesdays, effective immediately.  The move comes as the county adjusts gate hours at the landfill to make public access times more consistent and less confusing.  Effective April 15th, gate hours will run 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday for all customers, residential and commercial.  Customers will need to be in line before 4:00 p.m. in order to receive service.

Also, beginning on April 15th, Walker County Police will be issuing $25 fines for unsecured/uncovered loads.  Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 40-6-248.1) clearly states no vehicle shall be driven or moved on any public road unless such vehicle is constructed or loaded or covered so as to prevent any of its load from dropping, escaping or shifting in such a manner as to:

(1) Create a safety hazard; or
(2) Deposit litter on public or private property while such vehicle is on a public road.

Unsecured/uncovered loads lead to littering and motor vehicle crashes.