Walker County Fire Chief Blake Hodge Receives Executive Fire Officer Designation

LaFayette, GA – Walker County Fire Chief Blake Hodge received local and state recognition during last night’s Commissioner meeting.

Hodge successfully completed the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy’s four year Executive Fire Officer Program. The EFOP focuses on leadership development, lifelong learning, being proactive instead of reactive and utilizing research and analytics to reduce risk, among other skills.

Chief Hodge is one of only 72 Executive Fire Officers in the state of Georgia.

Along with a local proclamation to recognize this accomplishment, Chief Hodge received a proclamation from Georgia’s Insurance & Safety Fire Commissioner for the county’s campaign to install smoke alarms in every home in Walker County at no expense to citizens.  305 smoke alarms have been install so far in 2019.

Walker County Fire Victims Remembered at Georgia State Capitol

Atlanta, GA – The annual swearing in ceremony for Fire Marshals and Fire Inspectors at the Georgia State Capitol took on new meaning this year for Walker County Fire Marshal Paul Linder.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office displays shoes on the Capitol steps to represent the lives lost to fire during the previous year.  This time, five of those pairs of shoes were from Walker County, including one pair representing a 12-year old girl.

Fire Marshal Linder wondered how many of those fatalities might have been prevented by working smoke alarms.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office held the shocking answer.  In 2018, there were 83 fatal house fires across Georgia.  Only four of the 83 fatal fires had working smoke alarms.

Walker County Fire Rescue recently doubled its efforts to promote its free smoke alarm program with public service announcements, a billboard and neighborhood installation blitz along Dry Valley Road, where four of the five local fatalities occurred in 2018.  Only 21 smoke alarms were installed in 2017.  In 2018, the number increased to 228.  One month into 2019 and nearly 90 smoke alarms have already been installed.

Linder hopes one day when he attends the swearing in ceremony, there won’t be any shoes on the Capitol steps.  Do your part by calling 706-539-1255 and requesting a free smoke alarm installation or by sharing this information with friends and loved ones.

Also in attendance from Walker County to be sworn in was Jeffrey Roerdink, our new Fire Inspector.  Roerdink recertified through the Georgia Fire Academy this month.

 

 

Purple Heart Monument Dedicated in LaFayette

LaFayette, GA – A crowd of veterans and their families joined others from the community to dedicate a new monument honoring recipients of the Purple Heart Medal in Walker County.

The City of LaFayette approved a proclamation last November to become a “Purple Heart City” to honor the contributions and sacrifices of men and women from the area who served in the Armed Forces.

Purple Heart Memorial dedication

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Daryl Brooks organized a fundraising campaign to cover the expense of erecting a monument in Joe Stock Park in LaFayette. He thanked everyone who donated to the effort, including a young boy who gave him a quarter in memory of his grandfather.

There are close to 100 Purple Heart Award recipients living in Walker County, a “Purple Heart County” since July 31, 2014.

New Home Construction Permits Post Gains in Walker County

Two New Homes Being Constructed

LaFayette, GA – Walker County experienced an exciting increase in the number of single family new home construction permits issued in 2017.  Data recently released by the Walker County Commissioner’s office shows a nearly 10% surge over 2016.

It takes about six months for a new home to reach the market in Walker County.  Builders generally begin construction a month after obtaining a permit.  It then takes them four to five months to complete work on each new home.  The typical single family home built in Walker County last year had between 1,500 and 1,800 square feet.

While fluctuations in the housing market can change the value of any given property, the total valuation of the 135 permits issued in 2017 topped nearly $21-million, which averaged out to $155,264.11 per property.

Walker County Animal Shelter Partners with Atlanta Humane Society to Save More Dogs & Cats

Atlanta Humane Society Van

Chickamauga, GA – The Walker County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center and the Atlanta Humane Society (AHS) have joined forces to help save more dogs and cats from our community.  The new partnership gives the Shelter access to another non-profit organization with a mission of finding forever homes for adoptable animals.

Animals in crates being transported to AHSLast year, the Shelter took in 2,607 dogs and cats.  Over 60% of those animals were adopted, sent to a rescue or returned to their original owner.  The numbers show a significant improvement over 2016’s combined save rate of 44%.  Shelter Manager Stephanie McTaggart says partnerships like this will build on that momentum, benefiting more animals.

“AHS is a wonderful organization that has a proven track record of placing pets.  All of the animals transferred from Walker County to AHS will be placed in great homes, giving them a chance they might not have here locally,” said McTaggart.

AHS transported eight dogs and nine cats out of Walker County this morning.  The Shelter hopes to send healthy, vaccinated dogs under 25 pounds, along with puppies, cats and kittens to AHS once a month.

Walker, Dade & Chattooga Counties Host Job Fair

People searching for jobs

Rock Spring, GA – An employment expansion appears to be taking place in Walker and surrounding counties. Dozens of companies need to fill more than 800 positions collectively in the coming weeks.

To help area employers meet their workforce demands, Walker, Dade and Chattooga Counties will co-sponsor a Job Fair on Thursday, May 11th from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at the Walker County Civic Center, 10052 Highway 27 in Rock Spring. The Georgia Department of Labor and the Chambers of Commerce from all three counties will serve as co-sponsors, as well.

Roughly 30 companies have committed to share information at this event about positions they have available right now. Coca-Cola, Roper Corporation, Mohawk, Shaw, Komatsu, Hayes State Prison, Walker State Prison, Vanguard Trailers and others have jobs ready to be filled.

Full-time and seasonal employment options are available in construction, customer service, home healthcare, manufacturing, security, tourism and other fields.

Job seekers should visit employgeorgia.com prior to arriving at the Job Fair. Filling out the job history survey online will grant you access to a Fast Pass at the Job Fair which will expedite the process of speaking to your next potential employer. The Georgia Department of Labor will have a van with nine computers available to register applicants on site with Employ Georgia.

This Job Fair is open to all area job seekers. You do not have to be a Georgia resident to attend. Job seekers should come appropriately dressed, resumes in hand and have an elevator pitch prepared. Some companies may conduct interviews during this employment event.