Walker County Partners with SirenGPS for Community Notification System

LaFayette, GA – Walker County has a new and improved method for the public to receive emergency and community notifications.  The SirenGPS app can send push notifications to smartphones in a matter of seconds, keeping residents alerted to bad weather and other community concerns or interests.

“While our primary use of this notification system will be for emergency situations, we also have the capability to geofence or draw a map around a certain area that will only notify folks in that area of things like a water outage, power outage or road closure,” said Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Blake Hodge.

SirenGPS will only send residents who sign-up for the free service one alert, so if they receive the push notification from the app, the system will check them off as being notified.  60 seconds later, SirenGPS will send out text messages to those who still need to be notified.  60 seconds after that, anyone still in need of an alert will get a phone call.

Chief Hodge added, “We’re concentrating on trying to limit landline usage because our infrastructure can cause a delay of more than an hour if everyone in the county were to receive a phone call.  So this new delivery, with an app push notification, is going to be key to the success of this notification system.”

SirenGPS immediately replaces Walker County’s Hyper-Reach notification system.  Residents are urged to download the free SirenGPS app, which is available for Apple and Android devices.  Those who do not have a smartphone and wish to receive a text or phone call should contact Tina in the Walker County Commissioner’s Office at 706-638-1437 or register online secure.sirengps.com//register.


Walker County & City of LaFayette Recognized for Tourism Efforts

Cartersville, GA – Walker County’s growing reputation as an outdoor adventure destination just received a boost from regional travel industry professionals.  Northwest Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association (HHCTA) recognized Walker Rocks with the 2018 Award for Association Excellence for Best Marketing Campaign.

Walker Rocks, a partnership between the Walker County Chamber of Commerce and Walker County Government, highlights the scenic and stunning destinations available in the county for rock climbing, caving, kayaking, hiking, biking and other outdoor experiences.  The campaign launched with the creation of videos highlighting local attractions, a start-up grant competition to encourage business growth in the tourism industry and the introduction of walkerrocks.com and several social media platforms, among other efforts.

“It’s thrilling to know that others in the region are taking note of what we have to offer here in Walker County,” said Lacey Wilson, President of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce.  “The Chamber is proud to be part of the collaborative team working to showcase and share the assets of this community with the rest of the world.”

Robert Wardlaw, Economic & Community Development Director for Walker County Government, said “This validates the valuable role tourism plays in our community.  Six months in and we’re already seeing an increase in sales tax revenue and a boost in occupancy at area accommodations.”  Wardlaw added, “Walker Rocks is fun, but Walker Rocks is also an economic initiative to help bring equity to our tax base, which in turn helps our citizens.”

HHCTA, which is comprised of travel industry professionals from a 17-county area, also honored one of Walker County’s cities for its tourism efforts.  HHCTA named the City of LaFayette’s Honeybee Festival as Best Event and LaFayette Mayor Andy Arnold as Tourism Advocate of the Year.

Commissioner Whitfield announces Joe Legge as new Public Relations Director

Picture of Joe Legge

LaFayette, GA – Commissioner Shannon Whitfield is pleased to announce the hiring
of Joe Legge as Walker County’s new Public Relations Director.  Legge will be tasked with improving citizen awareness of county government activities through various forms of media.

“I’ve established this position with the objective of keeping the citizens informed, as well as making government more responsive to the citizens.  I feel very fortunate that we were able to find someone of Joe’s caliber to fulfill this role,” stated Commissioner Whitfield.  “I believe this will help increase citizen participation, pride in our communities, and will continue my commitment for a new direction and future for Walker County.”

Legge’s more than two decades of media experience includes positions in television, radio and newspaper.  He most recently served as News 12 Now’s Morning Anchor, following a stint as the station’s Noon Anchor and Political Reporter.  Legge also worked behind the scenes producing newscasts and special reports, scheduling guests, assisting with reporter assignments and managing social media outlets.

“I am thrilled Commissioner Whitfield placed his trust in my abilities to improve communication within Walker County,” said Legge.  “While reporting the news, viewers put their trust in me to provide them with essential information.  I believe my journalism background and passion for government operations will prove valuable as Commissioner Whitfield works to make Walker County government more open and transparent.”

Legge graduated from Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Mass Communication with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism.  Over his career, he’s earned various awards from the Associated Press, William Randolph Hearst Foundation and Southeast Journalism Conference for excellence in writing, reporting and anchoring. In 2009, Tennessee’s Governor recognized Legge’s special report on public and private efforts to address obesity with a Shining Star Award.

He continues to serve on the Ooltewah Youth Association board and has volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army and other non-profit organizations.

Legge begins his new assignment January 19th.