Arrest Report - Saturday - June 6, 2020

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Saturday, June 6, 2020:

LMCS Kaleidoscope Program Reopening June 15

Lookout Mountain Community Services (LMCS) reminds you that their Summerville Outpatient site is open and running for intakes, telehealth, in-person services and small group meetings in the location next to United Grocery Outlet in Summerville.

LMCS is taking extra precautions and providing masks to those who do not bring themw ith them, as well as, the ability to be seen or served via telephone or web cam if an individual chooses.

On June 15th, LMCS will reopen their Kaleidoscope programs and bring intellectually and/or developmentally disabled individuals back.  LMCS says that they will be taking safety precautions with “the utmost respect for their health and well being.”

For more information about LMCS, call 706-806-1222 or visit www.lmcs.org/referral

Court Overturns Use Of Herbicide Used By Farmers

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Georgia’s Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black says that he is “disappointed” with a Federal court ruling concerning a popular herbicide that is used by Georgia farmers.  The ruling came down this week after a court found that the EPA approval of the herbicide “Dicamba” made by Bayer.

Black issued a statement saying, “We strongly disagree with the 9th Circuit’s decision, which is likely to cause devastation within our agricultural community,” said Commissioner Black.  “Georgia farmers made tens of millions of dollars’ worth of business decisions six months ago relying on the sanctity of federal rule, and this decision unfairly attempts to change the rules after the race has started.”

Citing drift concerns, the ruling from a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of the use of dicamba, a weed killer used on millions of acres of soybean and cotton crops.

“The partnership we have led for over five years involving our producers, EPA and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that proper training and rigid, science-based best management practices fully support the safety of this technology.”

The consequences for weed control this summer could be serious if the ruling stands.

“Farm families across this nation need every tool possible in their toolbox,” said Commissioner Black. “This decision must be challenged.”

The decision by the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit invalidates the registrations for dicamba-based herbicides made by Monsanto, which is owned by Bayer AG, BASF and Corteva Agrisciences that are designed to be sprayed on genetically engineered soybeans and cotton. The court order effectively makes it illegal for farmers to continue to use the dicamba herbicides this summer as they tend to millions of acres of crops.

In a stinging rebuke, the court said it had no choice but to cancel the EPA’s approval of the herbicides because the agency had strayed so far from its duty to properly assess the dangers presented by the “new use” of dicamba.

An EPA spokesman said the agency was currently reviewing the court decision and “will move promptly to address the court’s directive”.

The issue at the heart of the court case is a crop and chemical system designed by Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018. The company said that soybean and cotton farmers could plant “dicamba-tolerant” versions of the crops and then spray new types of dicamba herbicides directly over the top of their fields to easily kill weeds. Previously, farmers used dicamba sparingly and were largely restricted from using dicamba during the growing season because the chemical can easily drift long distances, killing or injuring a wide array of crops and other plants it settles on.

Monsanto, BASF and Corteva Agriscience told the EPA that their herbicides would have low volatility and if farmers followed instructions on the product labels, they could prevent drift. But since the introduction of the new dicamba crops and herbicides, farmer complaints have been filed with state agricultural officials, reporting dicamba damage across several million acres in at least a dozen states.

Compiled Reports / Press Releases

JC Penney In Rome Closing Its Doors

Weeks after filing for bankruptcy, JC Penney has announced it will close 154 locations nationwide, including the JC Penney Store at Mt. Berry Mall in Rome. The news came Thursday as company officials said the closings are part of its “store optimization strategy.”

With a June 11 hearing in its bankruptcy case approaching, JC Penney said, “Following a comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint and a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the Company, JC Penney identified the first phase of 154 store closures.”

Other Georgia locations slated to close include:

  • Georgia Square, 3700 Atlanta Hwy, Athens
  • Northlake Mall, 4840 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta
  • Arbor Place Mall, 6650 Douglas Blvd, Douglasville
  • Lakeshore Mall, 150 Pearl Nix Pkwy, Gainesville
  • Statesboro Mall, 325 Northside Dr E, Ste 25, Statesboro
  • Hatcher Point Mall, 2215 Memorial Dr, Waycross

Store closing sales are expected to take 10 to 16 weeks to complete.

J.C. Penney’s announcement of the store closures this week follows the company’s declaration of bankruptcy in May.

Woman Arrested For Criminal Trespass & Destruction Of Property

A twenty-five-year-old Summerville woman was arrested early on Thursday morning after a complaint about someone “banging on (a) door with a large stick.”

Officers arrived and spoke with the complainant who said that shortly before midnight on Wednesday, someone was on her porch banging on the door.  The complainant told the responding deputy that it was a male subject.  A search of the area did not turn up a male suspect, but the deputy “did come across a female subject in the area” that he identified as Amber Hovater.   The deputy said that he did not see any damage to the house where the incident had happened and went back on patrol.

About thirty minutes later, the deputy was called to a nearby residence in reference to someone on the property.  This time, the complainant said that Ms. Hovater had been on the complainant’s mother’s porch and she wanted to press charges.

The deputy arrested Ms. Hovater and transported her to the Chattooga County Jail.  A short time later, the complainant brought several pieces of “decorative wood” that had been broken off her mother’s porch by for deputies to see.

Hovater was charged with destruction of property along with criminal trespass charges.

 

CHS Principal Emily Mobbs Honors Teacher Of The Year Kayla Hartline

Chattooga High School’s Teacher of the Year was recently named.  Principal Emily Mobbs issued a statement regarding Mrs. Kayla Hartline on being named as Teacher of the Year:

“The Teacher of the Year is selected by the faculty of Chattooga High School. It is a great honor to be chosen by your colleagues and Mrs. Hartline is very deserving of this title. She works tirelessly to provide her students with high quality learning opportunities, real-world experiences with support and encouragement. Her work ethic is a perfect example the Chattooga STRONG mentality as she is a true asset to Chattooga High School. We are excited to celebrate her with this acknowledgement and appreciate her dedication to the students of Chattooga High School.”

Mrs. Hartline stated, “I am honored and humbled to be selected as Chattooga High School Teacher of the year. I am thankful for the Chattooga County School system. As a former student,I was shown support and love by the teachers and adminstration throughout my entire education. That same support and encouragement is what I hope to give back to our community, school and students.

I can’t truly say thank you unless I stop and honor my students and peers.The students of Chattooga High School have shown resilience and dedication in a time of the unknown. They have worked so hard and continue to make Chattooga High School proud.

My peers, the TRIBE-y’all my TRIBE, many of you have watched my journey into the classroom. You continue to push me to do my best and make going to “work” feel more like going home. We are family, we are Chattooga Strong.”

Georgia Farm Bureau: Dumped Milk No Joke For Georgia Dairies

By Jennifer Whittaker

Decatur County dairy farmers Matt, left, & Paul Johnson, were among farmers across the country asked to dump milk due to COVID-19 knocking the dairy supply chain off-kilter.

Photo by Laura Johnson

It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke when the Johnsons posted a video on their Providence Dairy Facebook page showing milk gushing down the drain. The April 1 post was a jarring image of how COVID-19 impacted Georgia farmers. Over two weeks, the Johnson family dumped five tanks of milk – 240,000 lbs.

Matt and Laura Johnson farm in partnership with his dad, Paul, milking about 1,200 cows three times a day on their Decatur County farm.

The Johnsons are among about 50 Georgia dairies that belong to the farmer-owned Dairy Farmers of America Co-op (DFA) according to Jon Bebermeyer, DFA Southeast Area chief operating officer.

Matt, who serves as a council member for the DFA Southeast Area, wasn’t alone in being asked to dump his milk.

From March 28 through April 17, DFA asked its Georgia and Florida producers to dump about 500,000 gallons of milk Bebermeyer said. The majority of the milk was dumped through April 3 with sporadic loads through April 17.

“I understand it’s a business decision that unfortunately has to be made,” Matt said April 2. “At the end of the day, I trust the people marketing my milk are making the best decisions they can.”

Knowing it’s what’s best for business didn’t make it easier.

“It’s hard to watch. You work so hard 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to produce something that’s healthy. Then, you have to watch it go down the drain,” Matt said.

DFA hasn’t asked any Georgia producers to dump milk since April 17 because demand returned, Bebermeyer said.

Many of Georgia’s 130 dairy producers belong to DFA, with about 65% of milk produced in Georgia going to DFA plants, said  Farrah Newberrry,  executive director of the Georgia Milk Producers (GMP). Georgia producers  were asked to dump 100 tanker loads of milk with a value of about $1million, Newberry said.

While they weren’t asked to dump milk, the 15 to 20 Georgia farmers producing for Southeast Milk Inc., were asked to cut their production and took an 18% pay cut for their milk during the time DFA producers were dumping milk, a member of Georgia’s dairy community, who requested anonymity, said.

Why was milk dumped?

Before COVID-19 knocked the U.S. dairy supply chain off-kilter, Southeast dairies were entering a time when they produce more milk, Matt said.

“The first of March to mid-May is a period of time for Southeast dairies called ‘Spring Flush.’ During this time, dairy cows naturally produce more milk. The weather is good. Grass is growing fast,” Matt explained.

Bebermeyer said DFA relies on two ‘balancing’ plants to absorb Georgia’s Spring Flush milk. A plant in Union Town, Ala., makes cheese. A plant in Baconton, Ga., makes condensed dairy products used by restaurants and other foodservice customers. These plants were idle for about a month, until late April, Bebermeyer said, due to the sharp decline in foodservice business COVID-19 caused.

One-third of milk produced in the U.S. goes into the foodservice sector, such as restaurants and schools, said Rebecca Egsieker, The Dairy Alliance director of communications & farmer relations. Restaurant business was cut by 60% during the initial COVID-19 response. COVID-19 also impacted how consumers shopped.

“When COVID awareness ramped up the week of March 7, households that might buy one gallon of milk a month bought three to five gallons to stock up initially, but their drinking habits didn’t change a lot,” Matt said.  “People overpurchased.”

For the next two weeks in March, Southeast milk plants processed more milk than usual as grocery stores scrambled to refill shelves, Matt said. From March 28-April 3, milk processors reduced their order for fluid milk as restaurants had fewer customers and demand for milk products decreased.

Bebermeyer said the milk supply has a chance to level out faster in the Southeast because most of the milk produced here is sold as fluid milk. Other regions that rely on cheese sales will need to see restaurants come back, he said.

Lost milk cost shared

“This is a problem affecting farmers across the country. The federal milk marketing order is allowing our financial loss to be pooled nationwide so the loss doesn’t fall on one farmer,” Matt said. “This means at the end of the month when the federal order settles up how milk is paid, the cost of dumped milk will be shared by dairy producers nationwide regardless of the co-op a farmer ships to. Co-ops are also sharing the loss across their members.”

Dairy groups worked to move milk through the pipeline with donations to healthcare workers, first responders & the needy.

How were farms selected?

Bebermeyer said DFA asked its farmers to dump their milk based on economic and disposal factors. Only South Georgia DFA producers were asked to dump milk.

Farms asked to dump milk are farther from a processing plant and have higher hauling costs. DFA also needed farms with lagoon capacity to hold the milk.

“The co-op tried to do this in a way that saved us the most money and is environmentally responsible,” Matt said.

What’s being done to help?

Early in the crisis, dairy co-ops and dairy groups asked stores to stop limiting how many dairy products customers could buy.

From April 24 to May 15, the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Milk (ACCM), partnered with DFA and Kroger for the Great Georgia Give campaign. About 24,000 half gallons of Georgia milk donated by DFA and Kroger were delivered to first responders and healthcare workers in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah. Visit www.gfb.ag/GreatGAGives to read more.

Dairy Alliance staff worked to redirect milk and dairy products to people in need. It awarded grants to 32 Georgia school districts for equipment to cool or distribute dairy products to students and helped food banks store fresh milk.

The USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) includes $2.9 million for direct payments to dairy farmers. Sign-up began May 26. As part of CFAP, USDA will buy $3 billion of dairy, fresh produce and meat to assist farmers affected by COVID-19.                   Producers should talk with their creditors, says Jim Howie, member services manager of the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative (MVA), which markets milk for about 25 Georgia dairies in the Eatonton/Greensboro area and Millen.

“It’s important dairy producers be proactive with their lenders and suppliers to hopefully work through this ,” Howie said. “This is a situation that affects every aspect of the dairy industry, and we have to work together.”

What’s ahead?

“Everybody is on edge about what the price   is going to do. We felt some impact for April milk, but the big price impact will be felt for May milk,” Howie said. “That’s when we saw the impact of less demand from the food service industry come to the forefront.”

In January, the uniform blend price of milk for Federal Order 7, which includes Georgia, was $21.32/100 lbs. (11.63 gallons) Howie said. For April, the Federal Order 7 uniform blend price of milk was $17.75/100lbs.

Projections show the uniform price will continue to drop another $3 to $4/100 lbs. in May and June, Howie said. If the blend price drops by $4, that’s a cut of $7.57 from January to $13.75.

COVID-19’s upheaval to the dairy market comes after years of poor prices.

“After six years of low prices, I’m concerned about the emotional toll this is going to take on our farmers,” Newberry said. “Not only are they worried about trying to keep their families and farm workers healthy, but they’re also having to deal with low prices again.”

Matt, who has been dairy farming for 21 years, is trying to focus on the big picture.

“I don’t think we’ll lose the farm, but if we do, it won’t be the end of the world,” he said. “As long as my family and my employees are healthy, we’ll be ok.”

 

 

Tomatoes - Information From Extension Agent Rebecca Thomas

Every summer the race is on to pick the first ripe tomato off the vine! It is a point of pride for many home gardeners to boast of that delicious first taste of summer. My dad, Thomas Brewer always took pride in having the first ripe tomato in Lyerly. Having a sliced tomato on fresh bread with bacon and homegrown lettuce is my favorite way to enjoy that first ripe tomato and makes a meal to remember. Of course, there are any number of ways to assemble a BLT, but a juicy tomato whether homegrown or “picked” from the grocery store or farm market takes center stage.

Once the season is in full swing, tomatoes seem to come in bountiful amounts and can overwhelm the ability to consume their plentiful numbers. UGA Extension has the answer for enjoying tomato season all year round with recommendations for preserving them in a variety of ways. Canning, freezing, drying, and yes, even jam!

Be sure to choose only disease-free, preferably vine-ripened tomatoes for preserving. Do not use tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. Use safe food handling practices when preparing tomatoes for preserving. Wash hands with soap and warm water. Keep all utensils and surfaces clean by washing with soap and hot water, rinsing and air drying. Gently rub tomatoes under cold running water to remove soil, drain, and blot dry with paper toweling. Canned tomatoes and tomato products provide a ready-to-eat option for year-round enjoyment. Tomatoes have traditionally been canned in a boiling water bath canner, processed at boiling for your altitude-correct time. However, for some tomato packs, pressure canning is also an option as long as they are still acidified as if for boiling water canning. And, for most tomato products with added low-acid ingredients, pressure canning is required for safety. UGA Extension recommended canning procedures for tomatoes and tomato products will specify recipes with instructions for safe canning whether in a boiling water canner or pressure canner, or pressure canner only. Following these recommendations is essential for a safe product. Acidifying tomatoes is recommended for canning because tomatoes may have natural pH values that are close to and even above 4.6, the danger mark for botulism poisoning. To acidify tomatoes, add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid to each pint jar for tomatoes. Use 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart jar of tomatoes.

Green tomatoes are more acidic than ripe tomatoes and can be safely canned using UGA Extension directions for tomatoes and tomato products. Unripe tomatoes can be used in a variety of ways and help utilize those end of season tomatoes that fail to ripen before frost. Freezing tomatoes is a convenient preserving method for tomatoes to be used in stews, seasonings, or juices. Raw tomatoes will not be solid when thawed. When tomatoes are frozen, water contained in the tomato freezes, expands to form ice crystals, and causes cell walls to rupture. Once thawed the texture of the tomatoes will be soft. Sliced green tomatoes for frying can be frozen also.

Dried tomatoes, either sliced in ¼”- 3/8” slices and dehydrated 6-12 hours, or puréed to make tomato leather, provide a great shelf-stable tomato product to have handy for snacks or to add to soups or stews. Drying tomatoes is a very easy and convenient way to preserve tomatoes after ample have been canned or frozen. Tomato powder for dried soup mixes can also be made by pulverizing dried tomatoes in a food processor or blender.

Tomato products also include a wide variety of pickles and relishes, sauces, salsas, soup mixtures, and even tomato jam!

Recipes for these products can be found online @ https://nchfp.uga.edu and in the So Easy to Preserve 6th Edition Book ordered from UGA Extension.

Preserving is an ideal way to enjoy tomatoes after the growing season. I can’t picture a summer without preserving tomatoes. It has been part of my summers for 50 years. Tomatoes provide a variety of delicious, nutrient-rich dishes and accompaniments for mealtime or snacks. Be sure to include tomatoes in your food preservation plans this season.

Every summer the race is on to pick the first ripe tomato off the vine! It is a point of pride for many home gardeners to boast of that delicious first taste of summer. My dad, Thomas Brewer always took pride in having the first ripe tomato in Lyerly. Having a sliced tomato on fresh bread with bacon and homegrown lettuce is my favorite way to enjoy that first ripe tomato and makes a meal to remember. Of course, there are any number of ways to assemble a BLT, but a juicy tomato whether homegrown or “picked” from the grocery store or farm market takes center stage.

Once the season is in full swing, tomatoes seem to come in bountiful amounts and can overwhelm the ability to consume their plentiful numbers. UGA Extension has the answer for enjoying tomato season all year round with recommendations for preserving them in a variety of ways. Canning, freezing, drying, and yes, even jam!

Be sure to choose only disease-free, preferably vine-ripened tomatoes for preserving. Do not use tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. Use safe food handling practices when preparing tomatoes for preserving. Wash hands with soap and warm water. Keep all utensils and surfaces clean by washing with soap and hot water, rinsing and air drying. Gently rub tomatoes under cold running water to remove soil, drain, and blot dry with paper toweling. Canned tomatoes and tomato products provide a ready-to-eat option for year-round enjoyment. Tomatoes have traditionally been canned in a boiling water bath canner, processed at boiling for your altitude-correct time. However, for some tomato packs, pressure canning is also an option as long as they are still acidified as if for boiling water canning. And, for most tomato products with added low-acid ingredients, pressure canning is required for safety. UGA Extension recommended canning procedures for tomatoes and tomato products will specify recipes with instructions for safe canning whether in a boiling water canner or pressure canner, or pressure canner only. Following these recommendations is essential for a safe product. Acidifying tomatoes is recommended for canning because tomatoes may have natural pH values that are close to and even above 4.6, the danger mark for botulism poisoning. To acidify tomatoes, add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid to each pint jar for tomatoes. Use 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart jar of tomatoes.

Green tomatoes are more acidic than ripe tomatoes and can be safely canned using UGA Extension directions for tomatoes and tomato products. Unripe tomatoes can be used in a variety of ways and help utilize those end of season tomatoes that fail to ripen before frost. Freezing tomatoes is a convenient preserving method for tomatoes to be used in stews, seasonings, or juices. Raw tomatoes will not be solid when thawed. When tomatoes are frozen, water contained in the

tomato freezes, expands to form ice crystals, and causes cell walls to rupture. Once thawed the texture of the tomatoes will be soft. Sliced green tomatoes for frying can be frozen also.

Dried tomatoes, either sliced in ¼”- 3/8” slices and dehydrated 6-12 hours, or puréed to make tomato leather, provide a great shelf-stable tomato product to have handy for snacks or to add to soups or stews. Drying tomatoes is a very easy and convenient way to preserve tomatoes after ample have been canned or frozen. Tomato powder for dried soup mixes can also be made by pulverizing dried tomatoes in a food processor or blender.

Tomato products also include a wide variety of pickles and relishes, sauces, salsas, soup mixtures, and even tomato jam!

Recipes for these products can be found online @ https://nchfp.uga.edu and in the So Easy to Preserve 6th Edition Book ordered from UGA Extension.

Preserving is an ideal way to enjoy tomatoes after the growing season. I can’t picture a summer without preserving tomatoes. It has been part of my summers for 50 years. Tomatoes provide a variety of delicious, nutrient-rich dishes and accompaniments for mealtime or snacks. Be sure to include tomatoes in your food preservation plans this season.

Berry College Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19

An employee with Berry College has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a memo that was sent out to other Berry employees on Friday afternoon.  According to the memo, campus officials say that the employee was alerted to symptoms while undergoing screening at the college’s front gate.  The college says that they are following all CDC recommendations at this time.  You can see a copy of the memo obtained by WZQZ News below:

We are committed to sharing timely information about any COVID-19 cases that may impact our campus community. A short while ago, I received information that a Berry College employee has received a positive test for the coronavirus.

The employee was first alerted to symptoms through the screening process at the front gate. The employee then alerted Human Resources, was tested, is following local health department protocols and is in self-isolation at home. The director of human resources, is in regular contact and the employee is doing well. Our thoughts and prayers are for a quick and routine recovery.

Acting with an abundance of caution, and while awaiting the test results, we immediately implemented special cleaning procedures in the employee’s work space and other places as indicated. Given the circumstances, the risk to the broader campus community is believed to be low. L

HR, using local public health guidelines, has been in touch with anyone who has been in close, sustained contact with this individual. As a result, one other employee will quarantine for 14 days.

We continue to be vigilant in our efforts to keep our community healthy. The rate of confirmed COVID-19 infection remains low in Floyd County, but even so we all recognize that there will be occasional or sporadic cases in our area. It is important that all of us take to heart the precautions presented on Berry’s COVID-19 webpage and the links provided by the CDC. It is within our capacity to impede the spread of the coronavirus with simple and caring actions.

https://www.berry.edu/healthupdates

IMPORTANT – If you develop a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing or have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 please contact your health care provider immediately. During this period, it is also critical that you avoid contact with other people until advised otherwise by your health care provider. Do not come to work. We request that you self-isolate pending further instructions from medical professionals.

Your attention to the CDC guidelines is crucial. Please be careful and protect your health and those around you. I appreciate the goodwill of the Berry Community as we work together during this unprecedented time. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as warranted.

Summerville Mohawk Worker Tests Positive For COVID-19

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A worker at the Mohawk Plant in Summerville tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. Mohawk has released the following statement regarding the positive Covid-19 test for an employee:

“On June 4, we were notified that an employee at Mohawk’s Summerville manufacturing facility tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has not been at work since June 1. The company is following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health department protocols for notifying employees, sanitizing and cleaning affected areas.

Since the pandemic began, Mohawk has implemented practices that exceed the CDC guidelines for safe workplaces. These extend to temperature checks at facility entrances, masks and face coverings on the campuses, frequent cleaning in the workplace, and extensive reinforcement of social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing and not coming to work while sick.”

Commissioner Winters' Daily COVID-19 Report - Friday - June 5, 2020

CHATTOOGA COUNTY OPERATIONS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Chattooga County is working hard to ensure the health and safety of our employees that deliver critical services as well as the safety and welfare of our residents. With 25 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2 confirmed deaths certain departments within Chattooga County will be limiting operations until further notice. All County facilities will operate under limited access to the public according to the Governor’s Emergency Health Order.   In accordance with that Order some county employees that are able to,  will telework or work in staggered shifts.   Please contact the specific office that you are needing to access to allow them to assist you in providing essential services.     Specific information for the departments is listed below.  With the fluid nature of this pandemic, operations can change at any time.  Chattooga County will continue to update citizens through local media channels and social media on the Chattooga County, Georgia EMA/ 911 on Facebook.  Please contact the Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office at 706-857-0700 for more information and all department contacts and phone numbers are listed on our County website www.chattoogacounty.org by clicking on the Government Tab.  Our intent is to update this daily with any new information or changes for departments that may occur and post on the Chattooga County EMA/911 Facebook and the www.chattoogacounty.org website.

* Governor Kemp’s Emergency Public Health Order has been extended to June 12, 2020.

 

  • Various County Offices will begin to open with more access to different County Facilities beginning June 1.  Each Office will vary in degrees of access.  Please contact the Office you are needing to contact with to see any changes to their operations.  Mask will be required before entering some offices. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monitoring Data for Chattooga County

 

  • 25 confirmed cases and 2 deaths in Chattooga County per Georgia Department of Public Health at 1:00 PM today.  Please watch the Georgia Department of Public Health Website at https://dph.georgia.gov/georgia-department-public-health-covid-19-daily-status-reportfor COVID-19 official case counts released each day at 3:00 PM.
  • Urgent Care Patient In-take Level-Low
  • Unacast Cell Movement Data- County Score of F with less than 25% decrease in cell phone movement data and less than 55% decrease in non essential trips.   This information can be tracked at https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard.  This information was last updated 6/5/2020 on Unacast.
  • Chattooga Case Rate per 100,000 people :          100.94

Floyd-                  311.80

Walker-              271.50

Dade-                  253.70

Gordon-             334.20

Catoosa-            213.80

Bartow-              464.00

This information is to be used to compare case counts across counties.  This is a list of counties in our region and is provided from the Georgia Department of Public Health in their daily update. 

 

Please limit movement and take social distancing steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office-  The Commissioner’s Office will operate under limited access to the public but will be accessible by contacting 706-857-0700 or 706 857-0701.

Superior Court—  The Judicial Emergency Order has been extended through June 12, 2020.

Clerk of Court Office—   The Chattooga County Clerk’s Office is open for ESSENTIAL matters.  We will be at work and able to help you by phone or through online services.  See information below.

Clerk’s Office – 706/857-0706

Pay your (County) traffic tickets – www.payyourtix.com

Real Estate efiling & search – www.gsccca.org

Real Estate search – gasearch.kofile.us

Civil efiling – www.peachcourt.com

 

Probate Court & Elections –    Our office has been and will continue to be open for ESSENTIAL matters with the exception of the following directions.  We are alternating our work days manning the office with two people at a time.  Judge Payne is getting his messages and can operate from his home.  FOR APPOINTMENTS BELOW:  Call 706-857-0709 or 706-857-0710.

For vital records (birth and death records) we will continue to accept walk-in requests.  You need to complete a written request form in the hallway with your pertinent information, present photo ID, and pay $25 for the first copy and $5 for secondary copies.

Marriage licenses may still be applied for.  You must apply online at georgiaprobaterecords.com, call our office to verify we have received the transmittal, and make an appointment for a marriage license.  You must present photo ID and a final divorce decree or death certificate if you have a previous marriage.  Marriage licenses are $66 without counseling and $26 with 6 hours of certified counseling.  We do not perform ceremonies.

Beginning Monday, June 1, we will begin accepting applications for Weapons permits.  FOR NEW PERMITS you must apply online at georgiaprobaterecords.com, call our office to see if we have received the transmittal, and make an appointment to come in and complete the process.  FOR RENEWALS you must call to make an appointment.  We appreciate your patience during the past weeks, and we will make every effort to assist you without penalty.

Chattooga County EMA/911–  The office will be closed to the public but citizens can access the non emergency number at 706-857-3400 or in an emergency call 911.  Also please follow the Chattooga County EMA/911 Facebook Page for the most updated information.

 

Chattooga County Health Department-   The health department is now seeing all patients. We are practicing social distancing so as not to have our lobby crowded, so please call our office for available days and times.  Currently, WIC will continue with virtual appointments at this time.

We are offering free COVID-19 testing to anyone regardless of having symptoms. The hours are Monday-Thursday 1-4 and Fridays 9-1. Saturday testing will be conducted at our large drive thru point of collections in Rome, Paulding, Walker and Bartow from 9-12. Please call the health department with any questions at 706-857-3471.

 Chattooga County Extension Service (4-H) –   The Chattooga County Extension Service will operate under limited access to the public but will be accessible by contacting 706-857-0744 or uge1055@uga.edu .  Individual Staff can be reached through email as follows:

Rebecca Thomas, County Extension Coordinator rbt@uga.edu ; Kim Snow, Administrative Assistant kpsnow@uga.edu ; Zach White, 4-H Agent zwhite@uga.edu ; Kendra Stallings, ANR Program Assistant ks6@uga.edu ; and Claudia Navichoque, EFNEP Program Assistant cnavichoque@uga.edu . We are still open and conducting business practicing social distancing via teleworking. Citizens can stay updated on resources through our webpage www.ugaextension.org/chattooga or exploring the Chattooga County Extension Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chattoogaext/

Some Current Points of Interest within Extension Programming:

  1. https://extension.uga.edu/topic-areas/timely-topics/emergencies.html – COVID- 19 resources from Governmental and Agency Resources along with virtual resources for families
  2. Home Gardening Resources – https://extension.uga.edu/county-offices/chattooga/agriculture-and-natural-resources/home-gardening-.html including a growing calendar, planting chart, Starting a Home Garden, Gardening in Containers, and several videos for reference
  3. https://extension.uga.edu/content/extension/publications/series/detail.html?id=71&name=Home%20Garden Home Garden Publications
  4. https://www.facebook.com/chattoogaext/ – Daily post surrounding educational zoom sessions and learning opportunities
  5. Sign Ups are being taken for Cooking on a Budget On-line Classes.  All interested individuals must send an email to rbt@uga.edu for registration information
  6. The CDC Diabetic Prevention Program is meeting weekly via Zoom on the virtually on-line platform.

 

District Attorney’s Office—  To be updated

Juvenile Court—  To be updated

State Court – ( Judge John Dennis) Because of Honorable Melton’s recently issued an amended order governing the Judicial Branch, the Supreme Court of Georgia down to lower courts.  The order addressed the Coronavirus and cases that must be heard and cases that should be continued.  Inasmuch as misdemeanors do not constitute a case that must be heard, State Court cases for Chattooga County, both arraignments and trials, will be continued until June of this year.  The arraignments will be on Monday, June 22, 2020, and the bench trials will be on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

As we will be handling three months of arraignments and trials, State Court will be held in the main courtroom rather than in the annex.  Subpoenas will be mailed later this week or early next week (the first full week of May or the second full week).  We will call a few Defendants at a time in order to do our best to maintain social distancing and to protect the Defendants and our employees.  While the Courts are open to the public, we would encourage Defendants to come alone particularly if their intention is only to enter a not guilty plea and to have their cases tried in July.

Probationers currently under sentence are to continue to report as directed by the Chief Probation Officer Hannah Goodrich.

 Sheriff’s Office/Jail— Deputies respond to and meet with many citizens throughout their shift and often times within the citizens home. Sheriff’s Office staff have been asked to avoid shaking hands, stand about 6 feet away from citizens that they are meeting or talking with. Also, if you request a deputy for a report or other reason please step outside, if feasible, and meet with them. Deputies have been authorized to handle certain reports via telephone. These precautionary measures will not hinder or damper a criminal investigation.

Jail: Since we have a large population of individuals housed in a confined space, we will be taking precautionary measures at the jail as well. The one that will most likely affect family of incarcerated persons are revised visitation schedules. Also, services where outside individuals are allowed to meet with inmates i.e. church services and drug counseling services are suspended for now.

 

Registrar’s Office– The General Primary (originally scheduled for May 19, 2020) and the continuation of the Presidential Preference Primary (originally scheduled for March 24, 2020) have been moved to June 9, 2020.  Advance Voting is underway for these primaries.  Due to social distancing and ballot length, there have been lines outside of our building most of the day.

Absentee By Mail ballots are a great way for voters to cast a ballot from the privacy of their homes.  It is also a great way to practice social distancing while casting your ballot and to avoid the lines of in person voting.  The My Voter Page (located at  https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do) is a great tool for voters. From the My Voter Page, or the GA Votes app, you can access the application for an absentee ballot, your sample ballots, check the status of your absentee ballot, find Advance Voting information, find links to information about your representatives as well as information on which candidates are running for the offices you elect, and see your name and address as registered.  (Note: Sample ballots for the June 9, 2020 primary contain the presidential race regardless if you have already voted or not.  Your actual ballot will not contain President if you already voted in March.)

Absentee By Mail Information:
* For an application for an absentee ballot, visit https://sos.ga.gov/admin/files/Absentee_Ballot_Application_2018.pdf or https://sos.ga.gov/admin/files/Fillable%20Absentee%20Ballot%20Form%2020.pdf  
* All requests must include a signature of the person making the request. You may make a request on behalf of a family member who is disabled or temporarily living outside of the county. All other requests must be made by the voter.
* Electronic signatures are not accepted.
* Party selection is required because this is a primary. Voters may choose between Democratic, Republican, or Non-Partisan. (Non-Partisan ballots do not contain Democratic or Republican races/questions.)  Sample ballots are on the My Voter Page for all three parties.  Note: The sample ballots will not reflect if you voted in March, but your actual ballot will.
* Absentee ballot applications may be accepted by mail, email, or fax and must be received by close of business on June 5, 2020.
* Absentee By Mail Ballots must be received by June 9, 2020 and are accepted through the mail or personally delivered to our office.

* Absentee ballots contain a privacy sleeve in place of an envelope.  The sleeves do not need to be sealed inside of the outer envelope.  A ballot is still valid if the ballot is not enclosed inside the privacy sleeve.

* The oath must be signed on absentee ballots and the signature must match our files.  If the signature is missing or does not match, the voter will have an opportunity to rectify the situation in order for the ballot to still count.

Registration/Record Update Information:

* To find an application to register to vote, go to registertovote.sos.ga.gov
* Registration applications (or an application updating information for an already registered voter) are accepted by mail. They are not accepted by fax or email. You may also submit a registration application online if you have a Georgia Driver’s License or State Issued ID card (ID only card issued by the Department of Driver Services), your name has not changed since your ID was issued, and you give permission to the Department of Driver Services to share your signature with our office.

* The registration deadline was May 11, 2020.

Advance Voting Information:
* Advance Voting will begin May 18, 2020 for the General Primary and the continuation of the Presidential Preference Primary.
* During this time, individuals who have not already cast a ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary who select either a Democratic or a Republican ballot will also receive the Presidential Preference Primary on the ballot. Individuals who already cast a ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary will only receive a ballot for the General Primary.

* There is a limit to the number of people in the Advance Voting location at one time.  Voters may need to wait outside until there is enough space to accommodate them inside.

* Voters are encouraged to review sample ballots prior to entering the voting area.

* Advance Voting hours are 8:30 AM – 5 PM on weekdays and 9 AM – 4 PM on Saturday, May 30.  There is no Advance Voting on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

Public Works—Chattooga County Public Works will continue to operate with appropriate distancing procedures in place.

Chattooga County Sanitation and Remote Dump Sites—    The Transfer Station will remain open and the Remote Dump sites will remain open.  Remote Site attendants have been directed to keep a safe distance and not assist with dumping trash or recycling material.  Citizens will need to be able to dispose of their refuse and recyclable items without the assistance of the attendants.  Please remember that only household garbage may be disposed of at the remote sites.

Tax Assessors’ Office—Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, the Chattooga County Tax Assessors’ office, located at the Chattooga County Courthouse Annex, will be closed to public access.  Citizens can visit https://www.qpublic.net/chattooga  to determine a method of application and/or delivery for Real Property Returns, Personal Property Returns, Homestead Exemption Applications, etc., which will still be accepted.  The property appraisal staff will continue to visit properties during this time but will refrain from as much face-to-face interaction as possible.

The Tax Assessor’s Office is waiting on guidance from the Department of Revenue on extensions for certain filing deadlines.  Once this notification is made it will be released and possible extensions put in place.

Tax Commissioner’s Office—Beginning Monday, May 4th, the Tax and Tag office will operate with one window open to help one customer at a time.  We do ask that if a customer is inside, citizens wait until that person leaves before entering the office.  Employees will be wearing masks, and we ask that customers maintain 6 feet distance from the windows at all times.  This week will serve as a trial and this could change depending on how it goes.  We can still help customers by phone (706-857-0703), by using the outside drop box or online at www.chattoogatax.com.  The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) has announced the renewal date for all vehicle registrations that expire between March 15, 2020 and June 13, 2020 has been extended through June 15, 2020.

Magistrate Court—The Magistrate Court will work with the Superior Court and the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of all citizens who use Magistrate Court and our employees. We realize this may delay the scheduling of cases beyond the normal times and hope that the citizens understand the reason why. We continue to monitor the situation and appreciate the understanding of our customers.  Citizens are urged to call our office if they have any questions or concerns.

Chattooga County Animal Control– We currently are asking all citizens who wish to surrender a pet to call and make an appointment. We will take all the information needed over the phone for the surrender and email a surrender form to be signed and sent back.  When you arrive, we ask that you please stay in the vehicle and call the shelter at 706-857-0679. We will come out to the vehicle to retrieve the animal and complete the process.

Chattooga County Water Department—The Chattooga County Water Department will continue to offer current level of services as long as staffing is available to support.  They request that customers attempt to make payments via mail, online, or by telephone instead of in-person, if possible.  Any customers wishing to start a new service should make the initial request via telephone at 706-734-2827 as opposed to in-person.  In some instances, the transaction may be completed without an in-person visit.  At any rate, the initial phone can provide an opportunity to share any information necessary to minimize the amount of time required in the office.  You can pay your bill online at www.chattoogawater.org.

 

Chattooga County Senior Center-  The Chattooga County Senior Center will be closed for activities for the next two weeks.  Home meal delivery will continue.  Currently all Senior Citizens  that normally attend the Senior are being delivered a meal now.   Extra meals have been ordered and we currently are able to fill all requested assistance needs.

Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce-  The Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce office is closed, but Executive Director Cindy Rivers is available by phone (706.857.4033) or email (chamber@chattoogacounty.org). All Chamber events have been suspended until further notice. Updates to our website and Facebook page are kept current, and a new Facebook group has been created: Together4Chattooga in order to offer an environment for businesses to post their updates and connect with consumers.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) now offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, renters, and homeowners located in Chattooga County affected by coronavirus. Access more details on how to apply at  https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19 or call our office for help.

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is temporarily suspending in-person requirements for services. Claims may be filed through their website: dol.georgia.gov or call our office for help. Facebook is launching a $100 million grant program for small businesses. They’ve also created a Business Hub with tips on how businesses can survive the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Chattooga County Agricultural Center- The Ag Center will be closed until further notice.

Chattooga County Civic Center- The Civic Center will be closed until further notice.

 

Chattooga County EOA Office-  Closed to the public until further notice. If you are in need of assistance  please call the Chattooga Office at 706-857-0729.    Please leave your name, number and need and they will get back to you.   We ask for patience and understanding at this time.

Chattooga County Library- (Trion and Summerville Locations) – Based on recommendations from the CDC, Governor Kemp, and Commissioner Winters the Chattooga County Library System will be closed to the public through at least April.  At that point, a decision will be made whether to reopen.  While libraries normally invite people to come to libraries during emergencies, that is not the best option at this time because virus containment works best when all gathering spaces are closed.

People can park in our parking lot and take advantage of our free Wi-Fi at both library locations in Summerville and Trion.  The password for Summerville is chattooga1234 and the Trion Public Library password is trion1234 . Our patrons are invited to take advantage of our FREE online resources including e-books, e-audiobooks,  and e-magazines for both adults and children through GADD, e-read kids, and TumbleBooks.   You can also search a recipe database.  Available through the library system’s website:  chattoogacountylibrary.org  .  You can use a smartphone as well as other Internet capable devices to do this.

If you have a library item due, your due date will automatically be extended until May 1st.  All overdues fees will be waived during this time.  Limited email support will be provided during this time.  Email either sstephens@chattoogacountylibrary.org or sbaker@chattoogacountylibrary.org .  Watch our Facebook at Chattooga County Library for other activities such as a preschool storytime on Thursdays at 10:30.

Chattooga County Transit– Transit will be operational with day ahead scheduling.  Please call the day before to schedule your trip and priority continues to be given to dialysis transport.

For more information, please contact the Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office at 706-857-0700 or e-mail at chattcom@windstream.net or jwincom@windstream.net

Arrest Report - Friday June 5, 2020

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Friday June 5, 2020:

Kayla Hartline CHS Teacher Of The Year

CHS teachers and staff selected Mrs. Kayla Hartline as Chattooga High School’s Teacher of the Year.

Kayla Hartline is a 2006 graduate of Chattooga High School and a 2010 graduate of Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education for Family and Consumer Science.

Kayla began her career in education by returning to her Alma Mater as a substitute teacher, and then began working in a variety of positions at Chattooga High School as she was mentored by Family and Consumer Science teachers Mrs. Darlene Scoggins and Mrs. Betty McWhorter. During the years 2011-2015 she worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional, Workforce Investment Act Coordinator, and Career Technical Instruction Coordinator; she defines these experiences as invaluable in her journey toward the role of Family and Consumer Science teacher, which she began in the fall of 2016. This is a dream come true for Kayla, and she is grateful for the opportunity to live her dream on a daily basis. Her passion for teaching children in Chattooga County is a direct reflection of the investments made by the outstanding Chattooga County educators who taught her.

As the Family and Consumer Science teacher, Kayla serves as the Family Career and Community Leaders of America adviser and as the coordinator for the snack pack program at Chattooga High School. A few highlights from her years of teaching include honoring Mrs. Darlene Scoggins with the creation of the annual Miss Chattooga County Scholarship, having the first male National FCCLA Competitor, completing the National Leadership Academy for FCCLA Advisers, and the addition of the Food Science pathway to the Chattooga High School Career Technology Agricultural Education program. Mrs. Hartline will begin the process of achieving Industry Certification for the Food Science pathway in the 2020-2021 school year. Industry Certification standards are developed collaboratively by the Georgia Department of Education Program Specialists and the state-level business associations. When a program becomes industry certified, it receives a “stamp of excellence”, which represents the apex of program quality. Only those programs that have successfully undergone rigorous reviews by leaders from business and industry are recognized with this distinction. This certification will benefit Chattooga High School students and provide them with employment opportunities and experience, and Industry Certification upon completing the Food Science pathway.

Kayla and her husband, Kevin Hartline, both grew up in Chattooga County, graduated from Chattooga High School and now live in Summerville. They have one child, Karson, who will enter the Chattooga County school system at Menlo Elementary in the fall. Karson is a recent graduate of the Summerville Montessori Pre-K program and is excited about the start of Kindergarten. Kayla’s parents, Barbara Hampton and Kenneth Bates, instilled in her a love for her community and a desire to serve it, and their support through the years has been central to Kayla’s successes.

In addition to the support of her family, Kayla gives thanks for the support of her colleagues and students, saying, “I am honored and humbled to be selected as Chattooga High School Teacher of the year. I am thankful for the Chattooga County School system. As a former student, I was shown support and love by the teachers and administration throughout my entire education. That same support and encouragement are what I hope to give back to our community and students.

The students of Chattooga High School have shown resilience and dedication in a time of the unknown. We are family, we are ChattoogaStrong.”

Water Rates Discussed At Council Budget Meeting

Summerville Mayor Harry Harvey is insisting that the city must increase rates for the city’s water customers.  This comes at a time when many Summerville water customers are still afraid to drink the water coming out of their taps.

The mayor contends that the city council must vote to go up on water rates because of the expense of fixing the problem with the city’s water supply.  Earlier this year the city was told by the EPD that the water coming from Raccoon Creek was not within current water standards because of the presence of man made chemicals that have been known to cause cancer.

Earlier this week, the city got good news from a test-well site off Highway 48 that appears it will be able to supply the amount of water needed to help dilute the water supply and get it back within government guidelines.  But the cost of getting that water out of the ground and piped back to the Filter Plant Road water station will be around $3 million.

The council has not voted to raise rates, but discussed the matter at a budget work session on Tuesday of this week.

New Playground Equipment Coming To Lyerly Park

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This is a rendering of the new playground equipment coming to Angus McLeod Park, according to the Town of Lyerly.

On June 2, 2020, the Lyerly Town Council voted to purchase the new playground equipment from GameTime Inc. in Fort Payne, Alabama.  GameTime is one of the leading playground equipment manufacturers in the United States and ships products worldwide.

According to the Town of Lyerly, the equipment will be paid for in part by a $20,000 grant from Tillitson-Menlo Charitable Foundation, and $3,600 in donations from local businesses, as well as SPLOST funds.

Expected time of completion for the new playground is two months. 

Chattooga Health Department Looking For Janitorial Bids

Chattooga County Health Department is looking for Janitorial BIDS for an upcoming contract. All inquiries must be insured and participate in E-Verify to be considered for the bidding. Please contact the Chattooga County Health Department at 706-857-3471, extension 207 with any questions or for more information.

Peaceful Protest Planned For Chattooga County On Saturday

Organizers say a peaceful protest is planned for the Chattooga County Courthouse on Saturday.  WZQZ News has heard from several people who say that they plan to gather at the courthouse in honor of George Floyd who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last week and to remember Ahmaud Aubrey who was shot and killed by two men in Georgia last month.

Local law enforcement has been supportive of the peaceful protests that have been held this week at the courthouse.  Sheriff Mark Schrader and Summerville Police have made it a point to come and speak to those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

Reaction to the protesters has been mixed, but mostly supportive and positive.

Several people have said that they will be gathering at the courthouse this evening at 7 PM to pray for our nation.

WZQZ News has not been able to verify any credible source that would indicate any outside groups are planning on participating in the protest slated for this weekend.

 

Helping Hands Ending Hunger For June

The Helping Hands Ending Hunger Food Distribution for our county this month includes USDA purchased produce. There will be a plentiful amount for distribution. There will be more produce than can be given away to the usual reciepents. If you know someone in need, or you would like a box of produce, the distribution is Friday, June 12@ Connect City Church in Summerville.

Tax Assessments In The Mail

Property assessments for Chattooga County residents are in the mail.  You should expect to start receiving them within the next few days.  According to the Tax Assessor’s Office, the assessments were to be mailed yesterday.

When you receive your assessment, the tax assessor’s office says that if you desire to appeal the assessment you can do so in writing within fort-five days from the date on the notice.  Appeals may be based on the following reasons:

  • Value
  • Uniformity
  • Taxability
  • Exemption denied
  • Breach of covenant
  • Denial of covenant

Appeal forms are available on the tax assessors’ website and in their office at the courthouse annex on West Washington Street.  When filling out an appeal form, the following information is necessary to be a valid appeal:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Grounds for appeal
  • Asserted value
  • If you are an agent, authorization must be provided.

 

Gaylesville Woman Charged After Threatening To Burn Down Chattooga County Courthouse

A Gaylesville woman was arrested Monday and charged with Inciting to Riot, after Centre Police launched an investigation regarding a social media post saying that someone “Should burn down the courthouse in Summerville, Georgia and Centre Police Department.

The investigation began after a screenshot of the social media post by 22 year old Ivy Gober was sent to the Centre PD.

The charge of Inciting to Riot is a misdemeanor – apparently because she didn’t threaten to commit either of the acts herself, the offense did NOT rise to the level of Making a Terrorist Threat – a much more serious matter.

She was arrested and booked in at the Cherokee County Detention Center just after 8:00pm Monday, and was released around 10:00am Tuesday after posting bond of $300.

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