Impaired Driver Lands In Jail

A Trion man was arrested for impaired driving after he was reported to be weaving “all over the road” near the chicken houses on Highway 100 near the Floyd County Line.

A deputy in the area received the report from Chattooga 911 that said the driver of a black Ford Ranger had “spun out, left the roadway and then regained control.”  When the deputy found the truck on Highway 100, the driver was weaving across the center lane.

The deputy got behind the truck and initiated a traffic stop.  When the pickup came to a stop, the driver parked in a manner that made the deputy fear that the truck was going to roll over the embankment on the side of the road.  The deputy asked the driver to get out of the vehicle for his own safety.  As the deputy talked with the driver, identified as thirty-one-year-old Kalen Dacotah Willingham, she noticed that Mr. Willingham’s speech was slurred.  When asked if he had any drugs or anything to drink, Mr. Willingham responded “no.”

After a failed field sobriety test, deputies searched Mr. Willingham’s truck and found two Xanax bars and 1/2 a Hydrocodone tablet.

Willingham was charged with drugs to be kept in original container, DUI for multiple substances, violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act for possession of a Schedule IV and Schedule V drug and was booked into the Chattooga County Jail.

Beware Of "Free COVID Money" Scams

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many government agencies are providing money and other support to help with pandemic related hardships. Scammers, always ready to take advantage of people in a crisis, have been stepping in with a new con. Watch out for con artists claiming to “help” you get free government aid.

How the Scam Works

A website search, social media ad, or even an unwitting friend or family member directs you to a website of a new service claiming to help you get free money from government aid programs.

These “consultants” say they can get you aid money from unadvertised government programs or programs where your application was previously denied. For example, scammers may assert that they can get you a personal loan from the U.S. Small Business Association, a government agency specifically for businesses.

To get started, all you have to do is fill out some paperwork. This typically requires sharing sensitive, personal information, such as your full name, home address, and government ID numbers. Next, the “consultant” will ask you for an upfront payment for their services. You may also be required to pay a portion of the government aid funds you receive directly to the company, which they will likely also ask for up front.

Most of the time, these “consultants” don’t really have any special information on government aid programs. Instead, they are simply hoping to get your personal information and an initial payment. Once you’ve paid, the consultant will disappear and the company will become unreachable. Your money may be lost for good, and your personal information could be compromised, putting you at risk for identity theft.

How to Protect Yourself from These Scams

  • Research government aid programs through official channels. Visit websites that end in .gov or .ca for official information about government aid programs. Remember, government agencies don’t typically call, text, or send social media direct message without you opting into these channels.
  • Never give your personal information to strangers. Even if their story is convincing, it’s never wise to share your personal information with an individual or organization you hardly know.
  • Get to know a company before doing business with them. Before handing over money or your personal information, research a company and its claims. Ask yourself: Does this company have a good reputation? Are they BBB accredited and if so, what is their business rating? Does this government aid program actually exist? If a company representative gets defensive or aggressive when you ask questions to verify their claims, don’t do business with that company.
  • Beware of promises that sound too good to be true. Scammers are experts at pitching services and products that will miraculously solve all of your problems; be skeptical. Double check their claims before you agree to pay for their services or share your personal details.

For More Information

To learn more about common COVID-19 scams and how to avoid them, visit the BBB coronavirus home page.

If you’ve been approached by scammers who claimed to be financial aid consultants, report your experience on the Your report will help other consumers to stay alert and avoid falling prey to scammers.

Sign up for Scam Alerts

Theft Reported On Cleghorn Street

Summerville Police are investigating a theft from a Cleghorn Street residence that was reported on Friday of last week.  The complainant told a responding officer that someone had entered his back yard and moved items around.  Also, the complainant said that someone had stolen a string trimmer from the back of his pickup truck while the truck was parked at the residence.  The complainant said that had happened earlier in the week.  Summerville Police are investigating.

Summerville Recreation Center Reopens

The Summerville Recreation Center opened again this week.  They posted the following announcement about fall sports registration on social media:

The recreation center has reopened and we will be extending registration for Football, Soccer and Cheerleading through Monday, August 17.

The Recreation Center will be open from 9 am – 7 pm Monday-Friday.

While the building is open, we will be practicing social distancing in the lobby. You can pick up registration cards and return them by Monday, August 17.

For questions you can message us here or call at 706-859-0910

Gas Prices Decrease In Georgia Over Past Week

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Georgia gas prices decreased slightly at the pump compared to a week ago. Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $1.97 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. Monday’s state average is 2 cents less than a week ago, 2 cents less than last month, and 57 cents less than this time last year.

It now costs motorists $29.55 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline; that is $11.55 less than what motorists paid in April of 2019, when pump prices hit their peak of $2.74 per gallon.

“Pump prices continue to decrease across the state due to lower than normal U.S. gasoline demand and healthy stock levels,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by a penny to $2.17.  In the new weekly report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand fell from 8.8 million barrels a day to 8.6 million barrels a day. Decreasing demand for gasoline has helped pump prices to stabilize, and if demand continues to drop, pump prices could push cheaper in the coming week.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of last Thursday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 24 cents to settle at $41.95. Domestic crude prices decreased due to a weak U.S. dollar and despite EIA’s weekly report revealing that total domestic inventories decreased by 7.4 million barrels last week, lowering total stocks to 518.6 million barrels. The decrease in total supply, amid falling gasoline demand, could mean that the domestic crude market is rebalancing. However, if crude prices climb, pump prices could follow suit, depending on how local gasoline supply and demand market conditions take shape.

Regional Prices

Atlanta ($1.95)

  • Most expensive Georgia metro markets – Brunswick ($2.10), Hinesville-Fort Steward ($2.09) and Savannah ($2.05).
  • Least expensive Georgia metro markets – Dalton ($1.89), Athens ($1.90) and Columbus ($1.95).
  • Area gas price averages – Chattooga ($1.95), Walker ($1.90), Floyd ($1.90), Gordon ($1.90), DeKalb, AL ($1.86), Cherokee, AL ($1.78)

Last Week To Sign Up For Fall Sports At Trion Rec.

This is the final week of fall sports registration at The Trion Recreation Department; this includes football, cheer-leading, soccer and girls volleyball.  Signups will end on Saturday of this week at 5 PM.  The Trion Recreation Center will be open 8 AM – 7 PM today through Friday and from 8 AM until 5 PM on Saturday.


Polls Open Until 7 PM - WZQZ Election Night Coverage

Chattooga County voters are returning to the polls today to vote in the Republican Primary Runoff election.  Already, over 1500 voters have cast their ballots early in today’s races – that’s more than voted early in the June Primary Election.

Chattooga County voters will help select the candidate for the U.S. House 14th Congressional District.  In a very contentious and costly race, Dr. John Cowan is trying to edge out a win over the top vote receiver from the crowded field of Republican candidates in June.  Marjorie Greene received the most votes in June and is looking to become the next person to represent Northwest Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Also, voters will decide which Republican commissioner candidate advances to the November General Election.  Blake Elsberry won the most votes in June, beating incumbent Jason Winters by just two votes in a three-way race.  The winner of that race will be face Democratic nominee Jimmy Holbrook in the General Election. Gary Woods and Teresa Pope are also facing off today to determine which candidate will face Independent Holley Strawn-Gilliland in November.

WZQZ will be broadcasting live election coverage this evening starting at 6:45 PM.  Also, there will be a Facebook Live event with election totals later in the evening.  Check our Facebook Page for details.

Voters should check their polling places, as some of them have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can see the complete list below:

New Case Of COVID Reported At LMES

Chattooga County School Supt. Jared Hosmer confirmed on Monday that a new COVID-19 case has been reported at a Chattooga County School.  The COVID-19 case is at Leroy Massey Elementary School and was reported over the weekend.

Mr. Hosmer says that a weekly COVID-19 report for the school system will be reported each Friday.  The case reported over the past weekend will be on this weekend’s report.  That brings the total number of cases to seven across the Chattooga County School System.

The school system released a plan earlier this year as to how they will handle the school schedules should COVID-19 cases mandate a change.  Right now, schools are operating on the “On Campus” traditional schedule.  Each school each is being evaluated separately Percentages of positive cases will be based on the individual total school population which includes all staff and students.  Should case levels rise at a particular school that would mandate a change in schedule, it would be implemented the following week.

Reports on COVID-19 cases will be released each Friday at 4:30 PM, according to Supt. Hosmer.

CHS Urges Social Distancing At Softball Games

Today’s game has been cancelled due to weather

The Chattooga Varsity Lady Indians will be playing today at home against Rome at 5:30 PM. Space has been created for spectators to bring their own chairs and social distance along the base lines in the outfield.  The Lady Indians will be playing Southeast Whitfield Tuesday in an away game and will be participating in the Dalton Tournament this Friday, August 14th.

Chattooga Young Farmers Meeting Thursday

The Chattooga Young Farmers will have a chapter meeting this Thursday, August 13th at 7 PM at the Chattooga Agriculture Center.

The guest speaker will be Carla Hayward. She will be speaking on the Helping Hands Program.  The meal cost will be $7 and will be BBQ, sides and dessert. It is important to RSVP for the meeting by Monday, August 10th for a meal count and preparation for the meeting space.

The meeting space will be set for social distancing as indicated by state guidelines and the Chattooga County School System. Please enter the building through the double glass doors and exit through one of the two doors in the back. Because everyone is at varying degrees of comfort with social distancing, tables will be set up but chairs will be available to place as close as you see fit. COVID screenings and temperature checks will be done before entry.

Young Farmer members will have an opportunity to provide feedback for upcoming meetings and training activities at the meeting.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP Lauren Jarrett at @ 706.252.4266 or send me an email to

Arrest Summary - August 7 - 10, 2020

Here is an arrest summary from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for August 7 -10, 2020:

Mohawk Industries Reports Net Loss For Second Quarter

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Late last week Mohawk Industries, Inc. announced a 2020 second quarter net loss of $48 million and diluted loss per share of $0.68. Adjusted net earnings were $26 million, and earnings per share (EPS) was $0.37, excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges. Net sales for the second quarter of 2020 were $2.0 billion, down 21% as reported and 19% on a constant currency basis. For the second quarter of 2019, net sales were $2.6 billion, net earnings were $202 million and EPS was $2.79, adjusted net earnings were $210 million, and EPS was $2.89, excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges.

For the six months ending June 27, 2020, net earnings and EPS were $62 million and $0.87, respectively. Net earnings excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges were $146 million and EPS was $2.04. For the 2020 six-month period, net sales were $4.3 billion, a decrease of 14% versus prior year as reported or 11.5% on a constant currency and days basis. For the six-month period ending June 29, 2019, net sales were $5.0 billion, net earnings were $324 million and EPS was $4.48; excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges, net earnings and EPS were $364 million and $5.04.

Commenting on Mohawk Industries’ second quarter performance, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO, stated, “Though sales trends have improved significantly since government restrictions were lifted, the current environment is the most unpredictable in the history of our business. During the quarter, all of our businesses were dramatically impacted, with most of our customers and facilities operating either in a limited capacity or completely shut down for some time. After the company’s sales bottomed in April, our markets improved more than we expected, and shipments exceeded our production rates, reducing our inventories. Our manufacturing levels were impacted by government restrictions, Covid disruptions and employee absenteeism across the enterprise.”

Read more from Global News Wire

Red Cross Blood Drive Next Month In Chattooga County

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, September 15th and make plans now to donate blood at a Community Blood Drive, sponsored by the American Red Cross.  The event will be held in Trion at the Rec Center.

Due to COVID-19, more than 50,000 blood drives have been canceled across the South, according to the Red Cross. The American Red Cross depends heavily on blood drive events for collection. The Red Cross provides about 74 percent of the blood in Georgia.

Terri Jenkins, an executive director at American Red Cross says, “It is more critical than ever people realize the importance of donating blood. The Red Cross is also reaching out to recovered COVID patients to donate plasma.” Not only is it important for COVID-19 patients, but also for any type of surgery or emergency in the hospitals. Those who donate in the event, they will be tested for antibodies.

You can schedule a blood donation appointment by heading to, downloading the Blood Donor App, or calling 1-800-733-2767.

The blood drive in Trion will be held from 2 PM until 7 PM, Tuesday, September 15th.

Polling Place Changes For Tuesday's Runoff Election

When you go to vote tomorrow, be sure you know where you are supposed to vote.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, polling places have changed for many voters in the county.  Even if you voted in June in the Primary Election, you still need to check your voting precinct’s polling location, because some of those have changed since the Primary Election.

On July 28th of this year, an order from the Superior Court of Chattooga County set forth the polling places for tomorrow’s runoff election.  Chattooga County Attorney Chris Corbin provided the following list to WZQZ News:

Also, remember to bring a picture ID when you come to vote tomorrow.

Vote Tomorrow In GOP Runoff Election

Chattooga County residents will return to the polls tomorrow to cast their votes in the Republican Primary Runoff Election.  Back in June, candidates for county commissioner and probate judge failed to secure over 50% of the vote, so according to Georgia law, a runoff election must be held to determine the candidates.

Unlike some states in the United States, Georgia does not require voters to register to vote by party.  That means that anyone can choose a Democratic ballot or Republican ballot in a Primary Election.  Plurality, or “winner-take-all”, is the norm in most of the country; meaning whichever candidate gets the most votes wins the election – but that’s not the case here.  Georgia is one of only ten, mostly Southern states, that require a runoff election.

In the GOP Primary Election for local offices in June, Blake Elsberry got the most votes, besting incumbent Jason Winters by just two votes in the Republican candidate race for commissioner.  Both candidates have been working to persuade voters to return to the pollss for the runoff.  Voters who voted in the Republican Primary in June or didn’t vote at all in the Primary, can vote in tomorrow’s race.   In the probate judge race, Gary Woods had a large lead over Teresa Pope, but failed to obtain enough votes to eliminate a runoff.  Woods and Pope have both been campaigning heavily over the past few weeks.

Polls will open at 7 AM tomorrow morning and remain open until 7 PM.


COVID-19 Numbers Continue To Rise In Chattooga County

The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus continues to increase.  Last week, Chattooga County saw the third death from COVID-19, according to numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The death last week was the first death from COVID-19 reported in Chattooga County since April 28th of this year. As of Sunday afternoon, there were 266 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 12 hospitalizations.

On Friday of last week, Chattooga County School officials announced that there were a total of six people who have tested positive for coronavirus within the school system – five at Chattooga High School and one at Summerville Middle School.  School officials say that those numbers reflect everyone at the schools – including students, teachers and staff.  Trion City Schools have reported that one person connected with the football program has tested positive for COVID-19.

There have been some high-profile cases of COVID-19 in the past three weeks, with all of the jail staff at the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office testing positive for COVID-19 and three judges.  Judge Jon Dennis and Judge Tracy Maddux have both returned to work with no symptoms after quarantining.  Both judges told WZQZ News over the weekend that they were feeling fine and were happy to be back at work.

Meanwhile, Probate Judge Jon Payne continues to recuperate in a Rome hospital.  Judge Payne was admitted to ICU last week, but family members say that he is now showing signs of improvement and is working hard to meet the goals set forth by his doctors.


Summerville Police Investigate Theft From Vehicle

Summerville Police were recently called to investigate a theft from a vehicle that was parked on Commerce Street in Summerville, near First National Bank.  According to a report from the police department, the complainant said that he was inside a business on Commerce Street and when he returned to his vehicle he found that someone had tried to take the CD player out of his car.  The thieves also took around $6 in change from the cup holder inside the automobile.  The complainant gave the responding officer the names of three people he believed might have broke into his car.  The incident was turned over to an investigator.

Runoff Election Night Coverage On WZQZ

As we have done for over a decade, WZQZ News will be live from the Chattooga County Courthouse with the most up-to-date information on the 2020 Primary Runoff Election. 

Ben Groce and Bonnie Fletcher will be bringing you the vote totals as they come in from the polling places around the county.  WZQZ’s coverage will start around 6:45 and you can listen on 99.1 FM or AM 1180.  Also, you can check out WZQZ’s Facebook page for a Facebook Live event with the news staff from WZQZ at the Chattooga County Courthouse.

For the most reliable and up-to-date election results, be sure to tune in on the radio or on Facebook to WZQZ’s election night coverage.

Fatal Sunday Morning Accident

The Georgia State Patrol continues an investigation into a Sunday morning car crash that took the life of a Chattooga County man.  Sheriff Mark Schrader said that the Georgia State Patrol has brought in the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) to aid in the investigation.  Sheriff Schrader confirmed that thirty-eight-year-old Chris Hines of Lyerly was the victim of the accident that happened on Old Holland Road.  Family members of the crash victim have set up a Go Fund Me account to assist in funeral expenses.  WZQZ News will have more information on the crash when a report is released by the Georgia State Patrol Post in Rome.

Pleasant Grove Baptist (Cloudland) Homecoming

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at Cloudland will be having Homecoming, Sunday, August 16th starting at 10 AM.  A pot-luck dinner will be served after the morning service. Pastor Tony Sutton and the congregation invite everyone to attend.  The church is located at 26692 Highway 157 at Cloudland.