October 21, 2020

Commissioner Isenhower on the Covered Arena

An Open Letter to Heard County citizens:

This “arena” has been a problem from the begining. The reason…….it was built for just a couple of specific people…most know to whom I refer.

The county spent 1.2 million of your dollars to construct the arena. They didn’t anticipate the public would actually WANT to use it. But to their surprise look at how many do.

Then they want to put so many regulations, rules, and fees on it, that it becomes cost and time prohibitive to the average citizen. That is crazy.

If YOUR tax dollars paid for the constructing of this facility, why should you pay any amount of money to enjoy it.

At present time it costs $51,000 per year to pay for salaries, insurance, lights, water, ect. I propose to eliminate the Arena Director, pay two full time employees, keep the arena open to the residence of Heard county 7 days a week, 7am-10pm free of charge, (theres no cost to opperate during day light hours).

Build an outside practice ring, there is plenty of land, the county bought over 100 acres for the arena, but is using only a few???? Hum.. another story.!

Have special events for children, special events for seniors, get the community involved in crafts, planting & growing of food, things of that nature.

Then book rodeo’s, horse show’s, other horse events, concerts, and special events to raise money to pay the cost’s involved with the facility.

The citizens could enjoy what THEY paid for and the facility could opperate on money made outside the county, thus bringing more revenue INTO HEARD county. Make to much sense?

Karen Isenhower

District #1 Commissioner, Heard County




(Want your voice to be Heard? Submit Letters to the Editor to editor@heardcitizen.com)


  1. john Robertz says

    I agree 100% with everything you said. I have said the same thing before. We the people, The taxpayers should Be heard. WE own this arena. It should not be one mans retirement gift!!!! Listen Heard Co commission. This is how the voters feel.

    • Thank you for that comment John.
      It’s refreshing to hear possitive comments. I threw out a suggesstion to better serve the citizens, certainatly it has room for alternative options. I appreciate someone having the back bone to speak the truth on this matter. The arena “should be for the citizens” concidering it was built with tax payer money, but like most other projects and useage of tax payer monies, it was designed for a few “specific” people. I mearly buck the traditional system to help the rest of us who live in Heard coutny. I am getting slamed pretty hard by certain people out there, but standing up for you (tax payers) and everyone else wanting a better life in this county is what I promised to do. Looking out for monies being spent abusively was the key that lead to my being arrested. Standing up for what is right is not easy, but I feel it is worth it if we are ever going to see change.

      • bobby donnell says

        Not sure a comment is positive, just because it echos yours…. the term would be similar. be careful mentioning “speaking the truth”, throwing that around lightly when the subject matter is more than subjective is cause for concern. You seem to be on a platform fighting traditional politics, which in itself isn’t a terrible thing, but in fighting it you are resorting to the very tactics you say you don’t appreciate. Talk to us in this platform about what “specific” people you are mentioning it is used for? You have opened the can now, so how about some real facts or details from someone that is quite neutral on the subject. I am concerned that you may not have any or would have already shared it. You have promised to stand up for those tax payers by doing what? All I see here is rhetoric, innuendo and no real proposal or information to look at. It kind of mirrors the commissioner meetings that this web site has begun posting, we just see a couple of people raising slanderous issues without bringing any real information, or improvement plans to the surface. And when “politicians” and i use that term lightly, continue to do this over and over and over, then there influence is reduced to next to nothing. please help me with this subject, bring the secret information on the covered arena to light or let everyone know it is just time to move on, nothing to see here.

        • What district do you live in Bobby Donnell? I hope its district 1 ever thought about running for office? You seem to be logical, have a good understanding of what objective is, and know that just because you say there are bad things happening doesn’t make it so.

          As for Isenhower, how do you plan to “make the county better”? What have you accomplished so far? Added jobs, new county services, improved public buildings?
          What about the water situation? Have you made any suggestions on backup plans when we run out? What about the people losing their homes? Offering any type of assistance in keeping their homes, finding new ones, suggesting programs to help? Your track record speaks for itself. You’ve found fault with just about everything the county does, but haven’t offered one credible alternative way of doing things. You are awful quick to make accusations without offering any proof-just your word. You’ve assumed the role of Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, and Gandhi but without putting forth any of the work or for that matter convinced anyone that there’s a real problem to fix. Like Bobby says, ITS TIME TO MOVE ON, THERE’S NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!!

  2. bobby donnell says

    I see that this discussion has the possibility of being interesting, but when slanderous things lead off the letter it is more than difficult to see the merit of reading the rest of it. Just a bit of advice, if your real goal is to see good things happen for your county, then go about it in a more proper way, if you want people that to see the merit in your ramblings, show some dignity. If you have some proof that the “arena” as you call it is being used for certain people, who are those people? the county didn’t think anyone would want to use it? what groups want to use it? who is being denied? why are they being denied? who adopted the regulations? please fill us in with this necessary information before we can take a side! Petty slander won’t help you influence very many. Are you trying to be a thorn or a beacon of change? You are proposing 2 workers instead of 1? 15 hours a day it is open for 7 days a week. Are those two logging each hour? and if so are you cutting the 51,000 in half? not going to get many takers that way. If that is not what you meant, please explain. In this new plan, you do realize there is liability each time someone would use a facility, right? what if someone where to get injured? who assumes it? the group using it? No cost to operate during daylight hours? who is paying for regular maintenance and wear and tear from the use? what about clean up duties? 1 guy cleaning up after the groups, or is the group responsible? Groups of children? what kind of events are they wanting to do? Arts and crafts? at a rodeo? never heard of it before, but i guess it could be in high demand. i would love for you to print a list of arts and crafts groups that want to use the facility and have been denied. Planting and growing of food? so are you renting out some of the land for personal gardens?
    Expound a little bit on that if you would. I don’t mean to be short, but i completely respect those that like to see change, but i have hard time believing in that that change if someone is just throwing insults and loose ideas around just to be different. Maybe that is not the case hear, but i would respect it a whole lot more if it was kept professional. Just my .02 cents

  3. Yes, real taxpayers make your feelings known! Do not let disgruntled ex-county employees speak for you! Do not let convicted fake commissioners speak for you! Both these parties have personal agendas and axes to grind with the board. Stick to the issues! How can getting rid of a part time director and replacing him with a full time benefit entitled employee save taxpayers money? How will two people be able to run a facility for 15 hours a day 7 days a week? While the sun does shine in Heard County, it does not shine until 10:00pm at night! Yes, there will be electric costs, Isenhower, because it does get dark and with the Georgia heat, the fans need to run-even in the day and there will be water costs because arena users have to use the bathrooms. If the facility is dedicated to the citizens 7 days a week with those hours, when will the paying customers come? There have been horse events-ropings, bull ridings. There have been events for children-Back to School Bash, Trunk or Treat, 4H events.
    Come on Heard County, is this the representation you want? These are the people you want to speak for you? Makes MORE SENSE to get someone with SOME SENSE in District 1!!

  4. I will start by saying that I was in attendance for the meetings about issues concerning the area. The fact is that that access for use by the average citizen is limited. Here we have a commissioner that really wants to improve access and profitability to the arena and yet there are people that want to nit pick a good idea over personal issues with that commissioner. I dont personally know you becky but it sound more like your the one holding the ax. You say stick to the issues well you must first educate yourself on the issues. Its not about grinding political axes its about holding leaders accountable for wreckless spending habits and and questionable leadership qualities. Be glad that there is someone who has the backbone to stand up for the people of the county against an administration that could care less. I go to these meeting very frequently and educate myself about whats going on in the county. Maybe if those holding the axes would follow suit then you would see where the lines are really drawn. Untill then you can only speak out of opinion not knowledge or fact.

    • Mr. Charles, your comment hit the nail on the head. I have been to meetings myself and they are very personal, unprofessional and childish when it comes to taking care of the business at hand. Ms. Karen have spoke on many things during the meeting and I agree with some of the points she make and to watch the other commissioners rolling eyes, not paying attention and Ms. Karen getting shot down on every point she make. I think when it get to the point that our elected officials is not listening to each other and only paying attention to certain citizen it is time to change the game WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE RUN FOR THE COMMISSIONER SEAT.

  5. Here are a few facts for you-

    FACT-replacing a part time employee with a full time one will costs more-in hours and benefits.
    FACT-keeping a facility open for 15 hours a day 7 days a week with only two people will result in 25 hours A WEEK in overtime-1,300 hours a year at time and half-that’s not nit picking that’s a whole lot of money
    FACT-Many of the events suggested are not practical for an outdoor arena-arts and crafts? community gardens? (have you seen the boulders at the entrance?)
    FACT-Operating costs are year round night and day. Electricity and water are two. All facilities costs money to run. There is no such a thing as “no cost to opperate in day light hours”
    FACT-Isenhower is the ONLY commissioner that has a criminal background. She was found guilty in MAY 2011 by a jury of her peers (also taxpayers).

    There are the facts, Charles. No innuedo, no slander, just the facts. You want to “hold leaders accountable” start with this Isenhower-a plan too costly to implement, accusations with no foundation, and A CRIMINAL RECORD. How about “leading by example” Isenhower?

    Makes MORE SENSE to have representation and leadership with SOME SENSE and no criminal background

  6. Emmett Jackson says

    The issue is should a facility paid for by the taxpayers be idle most of the time or is there a way that it could be used more regularly in a variety of ways that would benefit all of us. If it is not being used because they done want the expense of personnel or we cant afford the electric bill as some suggest maybe we better take a long look at our vote on future SPLOST projects. 1.2 million is alot to pay for a vacant pole barn.

  7. Put walls and a floor in and sell it for manufacturing space. You get two for one-jobs in the county and ending all the bickering about this facility. No more pole barn and the people in the county can work locally.

  8. I am going to respond comment by comment to what I feel needs to be addressed. I am a Heard County citizen and a horse enthusiast, as well as a frequent renter ( or used to be) of the Arena, so I feel like I have a “dog in this fight” so to speak.

    Mr Donnell- there is alot of “circumstantial evidence” so to speak that points towards one person being the sole beneficiary for this arena. Of course that is just hearsay and there is no proof- or if there is, none of us will get our hands on it. ( thats meant a a joke- well- kinda!) However it is the popular belief within the horse industry in our area that this arena was built for the benefit of Sammy Noles. There. You wanted a name, I provided you with one. There are alot of jokes I have heard around town about “Sammy’s Arena” because that is how it is looked at. Regardless of if this is true or not- that IS the general feeling of the community at large.

    Becky- What has Ms. Isenhower done? Probably not alot. Why is that? Because she gets shot down by the 3 commissioners to your left (Ms. Allen, Mr. Crook and Mr Caldwell) over pretty much everything. I have said to others that I honestly believe Karen Isenhower could make a motion to accept a million dollar no strings attached donation to this county and Allen/ Crook/ Caldwell would vote against it because she was for it. It is not a lack of attempting on Ms Isenhowers part, its a lack of support from her fellow commissioners to listen to what is being said and making an unbiased fair decision based of the facts presented not their opinion of the speaker that they formed some time ago.

    Mr Donnell- I dont know exactly what Ms Isenhower is proposing but here is the basic gist of the arena rental guidelines for just general usage. And my explanation of why I feel its unfair and should be changed. I cant speak for anyone else, so these are my own opinions. I will try to be brief. I can rent the arena in 4 hour increments from 8-12, 1230-430, or 5-9. I must pay 25.00 an hour- so 100.00 to rent it. I have to be a Heard County citizen to do so, or else I must pay 400.00 to rent it for 4 hours ( that is how the guidelines are worded!). I can not rent it for any less time than that, or any other 4 hour period. Now- if I only have 1 horse I want to work, I have to either ride that poor animal for 4 hours, or else ride for the hour or so I want to and leave, but still pay for the full 4 hours. And if I dont have 100 a week to be able to ride once a week, then I either have to scrape up some friends to help offset the cost which isnt as easy as it sounds, or else pay it all myself. Which I cant afford. I would like to see the Arena opened from 8-5… normal business hours, with open arena and a “per horse” charge, not per hour, and it not matter if you are a citizen or not. That way if I wanted to take 1 horse or 20, I could fit that to my budget and not be on a preset time frame- and so a Carroll County citizens money isnt as good as mine? You are discouraging people from outside the county to come spend there money here by making teh fees unrealistic? They already employ a man to oversee the arena during those hours anyway so there would not be a need for additional manpower. I for one would like to stress that WHILE THERE IS A GOOD ARGUMENT for the Arena to be “free to use” I dont think that is a reasonable request. The “argument” for it being free- the Arena falls under the Recreation department. On any day of the week during normal business hours, I can load my kids up- go to the Rec department and let them practice throwing a ball around at absolutely NO charge. However- my kids ride horses instead of play ball, but they can’t load their horses up and go practice at the arena, which is a part of the Rec department, without paying 100 bucks to do so? I just dont follow this logic at all. As far as trying to make a change, yes- we have. We actually had a vote to allow a public hearing for the public to come speak their mind and have interreaction with the commissioners about the arena- 3 out of 5 commissioners voted to allow this meeting to take place! And Chairwoman Jackson vetoed that decision and would not allow the public to have their say. When you have the board Chairwoman blatantly telling you by her actions ” I don’t want to hear what you have to say and do not care what you have to say” what other options are available to the citizens? I would love some suggestions on that one.

    Becky I AM a real tax payer and these ARE my feelings. There is more than one current county commissioner on the board that has a criminal background, so make sure you tar and feather them all with that same brush. You are trying to imply that Ms Isenhowers word should be worth less than any of the other commissioners because she has a criminal background- well, best make sure that the rest are playing witha clean slate lest their word be deemed worth less as well. And please do not get me started on personal agendas. If you think for one MINUTE that others on that board are not operating for their own personal agenda you are delusional.

    Charles and Trinity- one word. Bravo.

    Becky- you may want to get your FACT about Ms Isenhower being the only one with a criminal background straight. That simply isnt true. Also- there would be no replacing of a part time employee with a full time one- in the sense that the full time employee is already hired, working and I am assuming getting his benefits. So it isnt a fact that the county would be taking on more of a financial burden in this- that man is already there. A community garden may not be feasible but if they can have “Trunk or Treat” or the “Back to School Bash” I do not see why other non livestock events such as holiday festivals that would include arts and crafts could not be scheduled at the arena. Also- here is a fun fact for you- I have rented and ridden in that arena without lights or fans going. Is it ideal? no. Do I do it often? No. But if I am going to pay an outrageous price to rent the thing, I will be getting my moneys worth so bring on the fans and lights! And if the water bills goes that much higher because I flush the toilet once while I am there, we really need to turn our focus to the Water Authority and their billing. It sounds to me like you are the one who needs to get YOUR facts straight before you make something up that sounds good at the time.

    Pepper- you belong up there with Charles and Trinity.

    Becky sounds like she either is- or has been talking to- Sandi Allen. Those were the exact words used by Ms. Allen in several public meetings in regards to what “she” would have done to the arena- assuming she has that authority. Of course Ms Allen also said in public meetings that , and this is not a direct quote but if needed I’ll be glad to get a copy of the meeting and find the audio to backmyself up, that the Recreation Department doesn’t come anywhere close to making enough money to support itself, and the Arena isnt going to either and thats just facts. Never mind that the Arena could bring in money to help justify its existence. But yeah- I definitely want someone in a position of power that wrings their hands and says ” why bother even trying to make money- Im ok with this venue being a money pit and making NO attempt to have it serve the community. Hey! Lets board it up, cement it in and turn it into an industrial building even though we have people BEGGING us to make this thing more accessible!” as opposed to an ex convict ( oh my GOODNESS! She TRESSPASSED!) who is trying to better the community by her actions. How could she.

    I think I have exhausted THIS one for the night. People- do your homework. Don’t just let the “powers that are” pop a sugar coated thought into your empty heads and send you to bed with a pat on the head. Get to the bottom of these issues and get involved as much as this board will let you and above all else- come next election time- remember the ones who are working towards a better community, not the ones dead set against it.

  9. Tonya,

    Truely appreciate the support. Enjoyed reading the words many would like to say, but cant! Though I have an up hill battle, I will continue to strive for fairness to “all” in this county. Changing the guidlines for the arena is a must. Much involved there, cant put on here. Working on it though. Lots going on, perhaps eyes will be opened soon and many changes will come to light. Again, your support is appreciated. Kudos to you girl!!!!!

  10. heardcountyidiot says

    call me just an ole heard county idiot??????? But I wonder how our “powers that be ” down in good old franklin would squirm if some media from atlanta came down and did a little EYE-TEAM Investigation about what goes on especially when it comes to blatant corruption in our county? This arena is purely corruption at its best! I live in this county but I tell you I know who and what and everybody else does also. So all of you keep patting each other on the back at church and feel so good about yourselves. I can assure you all you aint fooling the fellow upstairs!

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