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Todd Pangle Named Dalton Fire Chief

By Bruce Frazier:

The Dalton Public Safety Commission voted unanimously to confirm Todd Pangle as the Dalton Fire Chief at their monthly meeting this morning. Pangle has served the fire department nearly 20 years and has been the Deputy Fire Chief since March 2015. He was one of three candidates to replace Chief Bruce Satterfield, who is retiring at the end of April.

Todd Pangle rose through the ranks of the Dalton Fire Department beginning in July of 1997. He has served the agency in every firefighting capacity while working his way up the ladder from recruit candidate to battalion chief. That’s one reason his outgoing chief said that “well-rounded” would be the best way to describe him.

“Todd is a very detailed person,” Chief Bruce Satterfield said. “He’s very meticulous about how he goes about his daily job.”

“He has a very good respect and rapport with the personnel of the department,” Satterfield continued. “He brings a lot of experience to the table. He’s been a tremendous asset to me upstairs as the deputy chief since 2015, and he’s just a ton of help with his knowledge and so forth… I’m a thorough believer that he is the person to take the department further with my departure.”

The search for the next fire chief began in January after Chief Satterfield announced his impending retirement. Three internal candidates qualified in February to apply for the position. Those three candidates were Pangle, Damion Epps, and Chris Cantrell. Interviews with the candidates reportedly left commissioners impressed by all three.

“We had three outstanding candidates for the position,” said Bill Weaver, the chairman of the Public Safety Commission. “I think the feeling was that Todd had some experiences that the others have not had, and that those experiences pushed him over the top as the commission deliberated and discussed the candidates before them.”

“I sensed a deep commitment to the future of the fire department and to the importance of having outstanding staff and that he would work hard to continue the traditions that had been set within the fire department for many, many years,” Weaver continued.

Pangle said that the chance to become fire chief is exciting, but also a little daunting as he works to keep the department moving forward.

“I think that’s where a lot of my fear comes from, not seeing the department regress in any way but seeing the department move forward in every aspect,” Pangle said. “I feel like we’ve got one of the best departments around and to maintain that and not only maintain but to continue to push forward puts a lot of pressure on me, and that’s what I hope to see.”

Todd Pangle attended Chattanooga State and Dalton State. He is married to Belinda Pangle and the couple has one child, son Preston Pangle who is studying at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Pangle will continue as deputy chief until April 28th when Chief Satterfield steps aside and retires.

“I’ve often wondered what it would feel like,” Pangle said of becoming fire chief. “There’s a sense of relief but also a sense of pressure, just in realizing what lies ahead and the responsibility that I’ll have.”

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Dalton Police Arrests 7 In Online Prostitution Sting

By Bruce Frazier:

The Dalton Police Department arrested 7 potential “Johns” in a prostitution sting on Tuesday night. In recent months, Dalton detectives have received complaints of prostitutes operating in the area and have been investigating. The department conducted a similar operation on February 22nd that resulted in the arrest of 8 people.

An undercover officer posed as a prostitute for the operation. Investigators placed an ad online and the suspects agreed to meet with the officer at a hotel in Dalton. Arrested in the operation were:

  • Keeon Jerome Almon 38 years old                 6 Luminosa Terrace, Rome, GA
  • Russell Brunni 53 years old                 1201 Calhoun Ave, Rome, GA
  • John Alan Deere 69 years old                 2206 Flagstick Drive, Matthews, NC
  • Brandon Karl Gokey 29 year old                  50 Church Street, Rockmart, GA
  • Jeffery Oliver 53 years old                 12 Cordoe Drive, Rome, GA
  • Shawn Regan Taylor 53 years old                 3008 Highland Circle, Rocky Face, GA
  • Kevin Timothy Yount 42 years old                 1805 Shadow Lane, Dalton, GA

Each arrestee was charged with one count of misdemeanor pandering against a person 18 years of age or older. Kevin Yount was also charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a schedule 4 drug.

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Outdoor Water Use Limits Eased In Whitfield and Murray Counties

From Dalton Utilities:

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has announced it will ease outdoor water use requirements in 86 counties, including several counties in upper North Georgia counties including Whitfield and Murray, but not in those north Georgia communities dependent on the Chattahoochee River and Lake Lanier for water supply.

According to Lori McDaniel of Dalton Utilities, “Whitfield and Murray have been moved to Non-Drought status which means many restrictions on what type of outdoor water use have been removed.  Please note that outdoor water use is still limited to after 4 pm and before 10 a.m. per the state’s drought management plan.”

“Winter rains have brought needed relief to much of the state, but Lake Lanier, the Chattahoochee River and smaller streams in the region have been slow to recover,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn.  “As a result, the Level 2 Drought Response will remain in place in the upper Chattahoochee River Basin, including most metropolitan Atlanta counties.”

Those 12 counties that will continue in Level 2 Drought Response are: Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties.

“Lake Lanier is slow to refill, because it is a large reservoir fed by relatively small streams,” added EPD Director Dunn.  “In comparison, lakes West Point and Walter F. George downstream from Atlanta are smaller lakes located in larger drainage areas.”

During a Level 2 Drought Response, outdoor landscape watering is only allowed two days a week determined by odd and even-numbered addresses.  Even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and Saturday before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.  Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursday and Sunday before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

Prohibited outdoor water uses under a Level 2 Drought Response include:

  • Washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks.
  • Water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains.
  • The use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety.
  • Non-commercial washing of vehicles.
  • Non-commercial pressure washing.
  • Fundraising car washes.

A total of 55 counties have been removed from the Levels 1 and 2 Drought Response in place since last November and designated non-drought.  Water systems in these counties are not responsible for any drought response actions, but must follow the non-drought schedule for landscape watering, which is after 4:00 p.m. and before 10:00 a.m. any day of the week.  Any Georgia county not listed by name in this news release must follow the non-drought schedule.

In addition, improving drought conditions have resulted in 31 counties being upgraded from a Level 2 Drought Response to a Level 1 Drought Response.

Those 43 counties assigned a Level 1 Drought Response are: Athens-Clarke, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clayton, Dawson, Elbert, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Gordon, Greene, Haralson, Harris, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Pike, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Stephens, Talbot, Taliaferro, Troup, Upson, Walton and Wilkes counties.

A Level 1 Drought Response requires that public water systems implement a public information campaign that includes, at a minimum, public notice regarding drought conditions and drought-specific public service messages in one or more of the following ways: newspaper advertisements, bill inserts, website homepage, social media, and notices in public libraries.

The following activities are allowed under both Level 1 and Level 2 Drought Responses:

  • Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf may be done at any time of day for 30 days after installation.
  • Irrigation of personal food gardens may be done at any time of day.
  • Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses may be done at any time of day and hand-watering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container may be done at any time of day.
  • General landscape watering may be done after 4:00 p.m. and before 10:00 a.m. on the designated days.

More water conservation information is available at http://epd.georgia.gov/water-conservation.

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Dalton Police Arrests 8 In Prostitution Sting

By Bruce Fraizer:

The Dalton Police Department arrested 8 potential “Johns” in a prostitution sting on Wednesday night. In recent months, Dalton detectives have received complaints of prostitutes operating in the area and have been investigating.

An undercover officer posed as a prostitute for the operation. Investigators placed an ad online and the suspects agreed to meet with the officer at an apartment in Dalton. Arrested in the operation were: 27 year old Banner Anibal Tomas-Bail of 105 Cambron Drive in Dalton, 28 year old Oscar Holliday of 2170 Arbordale Place in Dalton, 33 year old Joseph Brandt of 606 Fargo Drive in Fort Oglethorpe, 63 year old Muhammed Rasheed of 3679 Bouldercrest Road in Ellenwood, Ga, 28 year old Kyle Michael Chadwick of Britney Drive in Chatsworth, 41 year old Mark John Gibson of 3646 Costa Lane in Tunnel Hill, 59 year old Stacey Gene Hill of 6201 Regency Court in Chattanooga, and 39 year old Miguel Jarquin-Ordaz of 806 Brentwood Drive in Dalton. Each arrestee was charged with one count of misdemeanor pandering against a person 18 years of age or older.

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Dalton CVB Reports Record Lodging Tax for 2016

Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) continues an historic lodging tax pace for the seventh year in a row. In 2016 total lodging tax receipts were $1,658,139 million dollars, up +2.1% over 2015. The historic growth of lodging tax began in 2010 when over $1 million dollars was collected for the first time in Dalton’s history.

“2016 was a particularly challenging year for Dalton’s tourism,” said Brett Huske, Director of Tourism. “Several external factors impacted our guest’s choice to stay in Dalton in 2016. The challenges included exit 336 interchange construction, road paving of I-75 between Dalton and Chattanooga, closure of the Ringgold and Valdosta visitor centers (for renovations), and arguably the biggest headache, the state’s implementation of the $5 a night hotel fee for Georgia Transportation Department. Any one of these factors could lead a guest to “drive by” Dalton, or stay in Tennessee, but to have all four of them hit the same year made it an especially difficult year,” said Huske.

John Davis, Chairman of the CVB Board said, “Our staff worked extremely hard to ensure every opportunity to bring visitors to Dalton was pursued. We are very pleased with the 2016 results.”

Lodging tax is generated when hotel guests stay at a local hotel and pay a 7% lodging tax in addition to state and local taxes. The lodging tax is used to fund the CVB as the designated Destination Marketing Organization for the Dalton area. The CVB reinvests the funds to market to future groups and visitors to bring them to town and support local businesses. Lodging tax also contributes to the Dalton Convention Center operating and capital improvement fund.

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GIVING THE OLD COLLEGE TRY

City, county team up to make improvements to College Drive/Walnut Avenue intersection

By MITCH TALLEY:

Whitfield County Director of Communications

 

Getting to college still requires the same dedication and determination as always.

Typical class dismissal traffic backup is shown at the south end of College Drive.

But leaving college – at least in a vehicle – will be much easier when students begin the fall semester at Dalton State College in August.

Anyone who has traveled south on College Drive knows how difficult it can sometimes be to make a left turn onto Walnut Avenue and head east, but construction is underway on a project that city and county officials believe will deliver much-awaited relief to those motorists.

When work is completed by August, College Drive will have been moved farther to the west by 240 feet, and Westbridge, the road that goes to Red Lobster, will also have been moved westward 50 feet. That way, the two streets will line up and a traffic signal can be installed to regulate traffic flow.

“If you’re familiar with College Drive, you know it comes out right beside the southbound exit ramp for I-75 and  there’s a stop sign for College Drive,” Whitfield County Engineer Kent Benson said. “The vast majority of people are turning left onto Walnut Avenue, either to go back into town or to get on the interstate.”

Once motorists have made that left turn, though, there’s room for just two or three cars in the storage lane on Walnut Avenue before they have to stop for the signal at the exit ramp. At peak times, that backs up traffic on College Drive well past Zaxby’s as vehicles have to wait to turn left.

“Then you’ve got people that get impatient and they’ll get in the right lane on College Drive, turn right onto Dug Gap Mountain Road, and then zigzag over into Westbridge and make a U-turn and get over in the right lane on Walnut,” Benson said. “That’s a dangerous situation.”

Concept drawing from which the College Drive project was designed.

Once completed, however, College Drive will have four lanes at the intersection – one for right turns up Dug Gap Mountain Road, one to go straight onto Westbridge, and two 170 feet long for left turns.

The new intersection should cut down on the number of T-bone crashes at College Drive,  according to Dalton Assistant Public Works Director Andrew Parker.

“We have a tremendous number of right-angle crashes there, which by nature are the most serious type of crashes that you can have,” he said. “Really at this moment, there’s just not any better way to deal with it than the striping configuration that we have. But this project will hopefully bring a final resolution to that and be a whole lot safer for folks.”

Dalton and Whitfield County have been working on a final resolution to the traffic problem there for years. In fact, the state offered to pay for a roundabout that would have included the southbound I-75 exit ramp, if the city and county paid up to $1.2 million for relocation of utilities.

“We essentially had a final design for the roundabout, but then the federal stormwater rules changed,” Dalton Assistant Public Works Director Andrew Parker said. “We got word from GDOT (Georgia Department of Transportation) that they were anticipating $2 million worth of redesign costs that wouldn’t have been finished until 2018, and then the construction estimate was another $5 million on top of that.”

A new, much less expensive option soon popped up, however, when the Chamber of Commerce moved downtown, allowing demolition of its old building on College Drive.

The city and county resumed control of the project, which will now cost $2.4 million, with $1.8 million coming from long-allotted funds in the 2007 T-SPLOST and the other $600,000 from the state.

“Our contract wound up being a little bit higher than what we had estimated because the retaining walls turned out to be more expensive to make sure the shoring was sufficient,” Parker said. “The good news is that Roger Williams, our representative on the state transportation board, helped secure an additional $600,000 from the state which helped offset a lot of that additional increase. So we can’t say thanks enough to Mr. Williams from the city and county for that because we would have been trying to hunt for some more money.”

Construction of the culvert that will divert water under the new section of College Drive continues.

Crews have been busy since Jan. 10 working on the first stage of construction, clearing the land and building a 150-foot-long, double-barrel culvert that will divert creek waters underneath the new section of College Drive. The next step will be to build four retaining walls – one along Bojangle’s frontage, one above the culvert outlet end, and two along Westbridge.

The contract with C.W. Mathews requires the contractor to have the new road open to traffic and the signal operational by the start of fall semester at Dalton State College in August.

“So we’re going to be able to deliver this project for significantly less money than the roundabout would have been,” Parker said.

Another part of the project is sidewalks along the new section of College Drive, Benson said, assuring residents who walk or jog along what’s known to locals as “the Loop” that it will still be a continuous circular route along Walnut, College, and Tibbs.

Since the work is being done outside of existing roadways, there shouldn’t be any major traffic delays caused by construction. When the new roads are tied in to the existing roads at the end of the project, the contract calls for that work to be done at night – and quickly, making inconvenience to daytime drivers as minimal as possible.

“We can build all the new parts of the roads outside of traffic, folks can continue to utilize the old roads just like they were, and then when we get ready to tie it in, we’ll do that at night and then motorists will come in the next couple of mornings and they’ll be able to utilize the new road,” Parker said.

Once the new roads are being used, final dressing, cleanup, and demolition of the old pavement will be done in September and October.

Parker said college officials are excited about the project.

“They had staff members at our pre-construction meeting,” Parker said, “and we’ve tried to keep them involved throughout the process because it’s kind of a joint community project. It’s in the city, but the county’s involved because it’s got the 2007 T-SPLOST money. And then we get the college involved because it’s impacting their students and faculty and visitors more than anybody.”

Parker admits it’s a challenging location. “Ideally we’d have more space in between those two intersections, but we’ve got the mountain that’s kind of trapping us in there. We can’t really go further west because the walls are already very expensive. Can you imagine if we went 20 feet or 100 feet further? It would get to the point where the cost benefit ratio for this project just wouldn’t be there. So what we’ve tried to do is create a balance between what’s a reasonable amount of money to realize the significant benefits like we’re hoping for, and we feel like we’ve reached it with this concept and design.”

The waterfall when it is flowing nicely.

One more benefit is that the project was able to save the waterfall that  was visible from the board room of the old Chamber building.

“One thing we’re really excited about is preserving that waterfall,” Parker said, “so if  you’re in the right turn lane coming out of College Drive, we think you’ll be able to see it from your car. But even if not, we  think we’ll be able to retain some parking area there so you can actually get out of your car and see it a lot better than you could before. Of course, people using the sidewalks will be able to see it, too.”

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Whitfield Fireman arrested on molestation charges

From Whitfield Co Sheriff’s Office:

On February 7, 2017, the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation after the grandmother of a female juvenile brought the child to the Sheriff’s Office and reported that she had been molested. During the course of the investigation we were able to identify at least two more victims that had also been molested by the same suspect. One of the victims did not know the other victims and had not had any contact with the other victims. The three children, ages 10, 11, and 12 at the time of the incidents, all had similar stories of being molested by the suspect. The molestation of these victims started in 2012 and the last known incident occurred in 2015.

On February 11, 2017, the suspect; William Taylor White, age 34, of Hickory Lane, Chatsworth, Georgia, was arrested at his place of employment (Whitfield County Fire Department) without incident. White is charged with 5-counts of Child Molestation and 4-counts of Sexual Battery of a Child under the age of 16. White is currently being held at the Whitfield County Jail without bond.

Investigators believe there may be additional child victims of William Taylor White. Anyone with information is requested to contact Detective Daniel Jones of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office at 706-278-3029.

 

From Whitfield Co Fire Department:

Effective immediately, the Whitfield County Fire Department has placed an employee on Leave of Absence without Pay, in accordance with county policy. The employee is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, and no other details are available at this time. All further inquiries should be directed to the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and/or the District Attorney’s office.

 

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Crews Receives Certificate of Excellence

Pictured: (left) Mara Shaw, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, City of Dalton Alderman Gary Crews, and Boyd Austin, Mayor of Dallas, GA and President of the Georgia Municipal Association.

Dalton Councilmember Gary Crews received the prestigious Certificate of Excellence from the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute at the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) Mayors’ Day Conference in Atlanta on Jan. 22.

The Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute, a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, provides a nationally recognized series of training opportunities for elected city officials. To receive a Certificate of Excellence, a city official must complete a minimum of 120 units of credit, including at least 54 hours from the required list and the Robert E. Knox, Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute. The training program consists of a series of more than 50 courses.

“This is an outstanding achievement,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton. “We commend Crews for this accomplishment and for the de

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its 521 member cities.

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Dalton Area Weather from WDNN

Now on Optilink 216 – Charter 13

Now on Optilink 216 – Charter 13