WQCH and Georgia 93.7 Local News Headlines 11-8-23

Election results from yesterday.  The Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax on the ballot in Walker County passed with 67% of the vote.  The 1% tax will be used to fund road paving across the county.  The LaFayette Council Member at Large winner was incumbent Wayne Swanson.  Incumbent Chris Davis won reelection in Ward 4.
The Georgia Forestry Commission have provided an update on the Lookout Mountain Wildfires.  The agency says 706 acres have been affected by the blaze.  Authorities say that 90% of the blaze is contained.  The fire began on October 21st.  The search continues for who started the fire.  If you have information, call 1-800-478-7337.  Anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction will receive a reward up to $10,000.
An update on a story from yesterday, five year old Pedro Diego has been found safe in Florida.  According to the Walker County Sheriff’s Office the child had been taken by his non-custodial grandmother.

A judge sentenced a Trion man to 20 years in prison for putting razor blades in shopping cart handles at a Walmart.  On October 2, Judge Graham sentenced 47-year-old Jessie James Stinnett to 20 years. His first 10 years will be served in prison without parole. The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney made the announcement on November 6.  Jurors convicted Stinnett of two counts of criminal damage to property in the first degree on August 23.  Security footage showed that Stinnett went into the Trion Walmart on Highway 27 and committed the crimes on two occasions. Those were on December 31, 2022, and February 16, 2023.  The district attorney says Stinnett got a shopping cart and wandered around the Walmart for a while. However, he only grabbed a few items.  Stinnett also went to the hardware section and got a package of razor blades off a shelf. “While out of view of security cameras he then affixed one of the razor blades under the plastic cover of the shopping cart handle so that the blade would face downward,” the district attorney’s press release stated.  They say he then checked out and left the shopping carts at the front of the store, with the blades still attached.  Authorities say customers found the razor blades without injury both times.  After the second incident, loss prevention officer Jessica Guerra looked at hours of security footage to witness the incident.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones said Tuesday he wants to cut government regulations on businesses and give lawmakers more power over state agencies.  Senators are considering plans to eliminate licenses for some fields or reduce license requirements.  Jones wants to let lawmakers request an analysis of how much a proposed law would cost businesses, in much the same way they can currently request a fiscal note on how much a law would cost the state.  He is also looking to raise the threshold for special treatment of small businesses under state agency from 100 employees to 300. State law says small businesses are supposed to get easier compliance and reporting for rules that will cost them money, or be entirely exempt.  Jones also said he wants state lawmakers to have a stronger ability to oversee and review state agency regulations.