published Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Region Digest: Minor quake shakes area

TUNNEL HILL, Ga.

Minor quake shakes area

Seismologists say a small earthquake rattled Tunnel Hill, Ga., and the surrounding area early Monday. According to reports, the 1.7 magnitude quake rolled the ground just before 4 a.m.

Tunnel Hill police say they did not receive any reports of damage.

Geologist Julian Gray, curator at the Tellus Northwest Georgia Museum of Science, called the tremor “extremely small.”

“If you were even standing over it, you probably wouldn’t have even felt it,” he said.

Minor quakes are not uncommon in the tri-state area, according to Gray. Most of them come from ancient faults that run through the Appalachians, he said.

DALTON, Ga.

Canadian arrested on murder count

An international investigation led to the Tuesday arrest of a Canadian man on a murder charge in the parking lot of a Dalton, Ga., hotel.

Todd Howley, 48, of Bracebridge, Ontario, was arrested by officers from the FBI, Dalton Police Department, Calhoun Police Department and the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release from the FBI office in Atlanta.

Howley was wanted by the Ontario Provincial Police on a charge of first-degree murder, according to the release. A federal warrant for his arrest had been issued in Cleveland, Ohio, before authorities tracked him to Dalton.

Police seeking two after arson

Dalton police are asking for the public’s help in finding two men suspected of setting a car on fire early Tuesday morning.

A Riverbend Road resident reported seeing two men wearing all black and possibly masks pouring liquid onto a silver 1997 Ford Taurus parked outside a house, Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier said.

The men then ran toward Lavert Drive in front of the Shaw plant, Frazier said.

As the car began to burn, the residents inside the house ran across the street, he said. Frazier said the car was severely damaged and a corner of the house was damaged, as well.

Police searched the Lavert Drive area but did not find any clues, Frazier said.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Detective Ricky Long with the Dalton Police Department at 706-278-9085, ext. 168.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.

Liquor-by-drink referendum fails

Voters in the Great Smoky Mountains gateway city of Pigeon Forge again have voted down liquor by the drink, leaving Gatlinburg and Sevierville the only nearby resort towns serving alcohol in a region known for its moonshine heritage.

The unofficial result Tuesday was 590-482. The issue also lost in 2009.

The area draws 9.4 million tourists annually to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pigeon Forge, on busy U.S. 441 leading into the park from Interstate 40, is lined with motels, restaurants, miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks, shopping malls and other attractions including the Dollywood theme park.

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