published Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Dalton stalled on Sunday alcohol vote

Javier Espitia, left, buys two packs of Coronita Extra from Jennifer Crisp, a cashier at Cox's Spirits, on Thursday in Dalton, Ga.
Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Javier Espitia, left, buys two packs of Coronita Extra from Jennifer Crisp, a cashier at Cox's Spirits, on Thursday in Dalton, Ga. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

DALTON, Ga. — The lack of the governor’s signature on two pieces of state legislation kept Dalton City Council members from acting on bills passed by legislators last week.

Dalton Mayor David Pennington said he had hoped to vote on a measure to put Sunday alcohol sales on the November ballot and to appoint the first members to the county’s charter commission, but Gov. Nathan Deal had not signed the bills by Monday.

Instead, council members approved a change in sick-leave policies for firefighters during their regular meeting Monday.

Firefighters who work a 24-hour shift now will be given five instead of six days of sick leave each year. Firefighters hired after May 1 will not be permitted to accrue sick time for retirement purposes or to receive a pay-out when they leave the department, the council decided.

The changes to policy are similar to changes the council made last month for all city employees, when sick days were cut from 12 to 10 a year.

Council members also voted to give Dalton Utilities approval to the purchase land in Carroll County, Ga., at a power plant owned by numerous Georgia power companies. Dalton Utilities will pay a little more than $9,000 for its share in more than 200 acres, according to the agreement.

Whitfield County commissioners met in a called meeting Monday morning to hear evidence on whether a dog accused of biting a home health worker should be put to death but did not make a decision.

Chairman Mike Babb said this is only the second or third time in his 10 years in office that he has been asked to make such a decision.

In a public hearing that lasted nearly an hour, Diane Franklin with the Whitfield County Animal Shelter told commissioners the male boxer named Samson is dangerous.

Margaret Grimsley told commissioners she was bitten numerous times on her arm, chest and buttocks after she entered a home to provide care to a patient. Grimsley said two dogs attacked her and had to be pulled off by the dog’s owner, Connie O’Brien.

O’Brien had put the dogs upstairs, but they managed to return downstairs, according to testimony.

But O’Brien, who was present at the meeting, said she does not believe Samson was involved in the attack on March 25. O’Brien said a second male boxer, Scottie, was responsible for the attack, and she has agreed to have that dog euthanized.

O’Brien, who cried several times, apologized to Grimsley for the attack but said only one of her dogs bit Grimsley.

“[Samson] is a good dog — he does not bite,” O’Brien said. “He has a very good temperament.”

Franklin said a veterinarian has determined both dogs should be classified as dangerous.

“Samson is the more aggressive animal,” Franklin said. “They both have the potential to harm someone if they got out.”

After the hearing, commissioners voted to review more evidence before making a decision. Babb said commissioners likely would vote on the matter at a called meeting Wednesday.

Contact staff writer Mariann Martin at or 706-980-5824.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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