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Wednesday 07/30/2014
GDOT seeking public input on state’s transportation needs and funding
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 9:39 am

ATLANTA – As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st Century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

Law focuses on protecting athletes following concussions
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 9:09 am

All athletics come with some inherent risk, especially for younger participants in the midst of their developmental years.

Rossville Public Library cutting hours to deal with funding woes
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Rossville Public Library’s operating hours are being cut to balance its budget, officials said.

Walker-Catoosa area happenings for July 30-Aug. 1
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 6:49 am

Wednesday, July 30

Wednesday's weather: Mostly sunny, high near 82
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 6:49 am

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the morning. 

Tuesday 07/29/2014
Gordon sheriff investigates shooting death in Red Bud community
Posted: July 29, 2014

Gordon County authorities are investigating the shooting death of a man found inside a vehicle, Sheriff Mitch Ralston said in a press release.

Women spend 11 fake $100 bills in Calhoun
Updated: July 29, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Three women used counterfeit $100 bills Friday to buy $1,100 in prepaid Visa and T-Mobile cards at a Calhoun store, a man told Calhoun police, according to the Calhoun Police Department incident report.

Ringgold plans 3% hike in property tax rate
Posted: July 29, 2014

The city of Ringgold will raise its property tax (millage) rate for the first time in years.

Unaccompanied youths and children from Central America enroll in Dalton schools
Posted: July 29, 2014

DALTON, Ga. (AP) — The challenges presented by an influx of unaccompanied children and youths from Central America streaming across the southern border into the United States have reached Dalton.

Approximately 30 unaccompanied minors were admitted into the Dalton Public Schools district during the last school year, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said. It is not known whether more are coming with a new school year approaching.

Nabbed at the border while trying to cross into the country, the youths were sent to Dalton by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services while they wait for a date with a federal immigration judge. In the meantime, the youths are required, by law, to be admitted into a local school system. The immunizations necessary for enrollment, and all pertinent paperwork, were provided to the youths during their time in facilities in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

"The children that have come to us have trickled in over the previous year," said Caroline Woodason, assistant director for Student Support for Dalton Public Schools. "They have family or some semblance of family here, with whom they are housed. That is why they were sent here."

The newcomers — mostly teenagers — are some of the hundreds of thousands of youths fleeing drug-related strife in their home countries, seeking asylum in America.

The majority of the youths sent to Dalton are from the Central American nations of El Salvador and Guatemala, Woodason said. Though the number of new students has not been unmanageable for the school system, the youths bring with them an entirely unique set of challenges for the district to address.

"They have very, very limited amounts of education. In some cases, they cannot count to 10," Woodason said. "They can't turn on a computer. They've never even seen a computer. Also, they, in most cases, cannot speak English or Spanish."

Mostly, the students speak Mam or another language specific to their region.

"There is no way these children can be in biology, U.S. history or any other high school course at our current schools," Woodason said.

The lack of a traditional education, according to Jennifer Phinney, director of School Support, is due, simply, to the fact that the youths never needed it.

"Most of these students are from very, very rural places," she said. "They are farmers and laborers, by tradition."

The students, at an age when their American peers are typically preparing for college or the job market, are entering school for the first time — and may remain there until the age of 22, the legal maximum age.

To combat these challenges, Dalton officials have decided to form a Newcomer Academy at Morris Innovative High School for the coming school year — last year, most of the students were in English Language Learners (ELL) classes at Dalton High School.

Students who prove, through testing, to be non-proficient in English and are at least three years behind academically will be enrolled in the academy.

The goal of the new program is simple, in theory, if not execution: "We want the students to learn English, understand their new culture and community, and to be able to succeed not only in our school setting, but in our community," Woodason said. "They want, eventually, to stay here. We want to make sure they can be productive citizens."

Three English as Second Language (ESL) certified teachers will work with the students in the academy. Newcomer classes will stress English literacy, reading, mathematics, science and the American experience, Woodason said.

Hawkins said the sudden appearance of these students created problems not addressed by state and federal agencies.

While schools can receive approximately $1.50 extra per ELL student, the costs associated with meeting these new challenges are left to any school system that receives new students, he said.

And, the Georgia Department of Education has no system in place to distinguish these teen-aged first-time students from any other learners.

So, the new students "become a detriment to schools' graduation rates," Woodason said. "Some school systems don't want to even accept these students because these kids cannot — in most cases — graduate."

Said Phinney: "Schools are being told they must enroll the students, by one agency. But they still have to meet the same educational standards set by the government. Those two things do not match."

Health and Human Services officials said Thursday that the Office of Refugee Resettlement sent 1,154 unaccompanied youths to sponsors — parents or another family member — in Georgia between Jan. 1 and the end of June.

The administrators with Dalton Public Schools said no notification is provided to them by Health and Human Services when school-age youths are sent into the district.

"A heads-up would be nice," Phinney said. "It'd be great if we could get a little advance warning."

It isn't known whether more such youths are coming to Dalton, the school officials said.


Information from: The Daily Citizen, http://www.daltondailycitizen.com

Handguns at Hutcheson? How will broader gun-carry law affect hospitals?
Updated: July 29, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Georgia’s new gun law could prove expensive for the taxpayers of Catoosa, Walker and Dade counties.

Archery mission in Walker County aims at hearts and minds
Updated: July 29, 2014 - 11:10 am

One of the more unusual sights on the side of U.S. Highway 27 is a notice posted beneath the Noble Fellowship Church telling whether or not the archery range is open.

LaFayette’s audit is complete, report is good
Posted: July 29, 2014

The final audit for the city of LaFayette’s fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013, was delivered during the city council meeting on Thursday, July 24.

Mark your calendar: "Spirit Night" in memory of cancer victim
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 6:48 am

Tuesday, July 29

Tuesday's weather: Mostly sunny, high near 82
Updated: July 29, 2014 - 6:32 am

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Light northwest wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. 

Monday 07/28/2014
State sales tax holiday this weekend
Updated: July 28, 2014 - 5:12 pm

Just in time for back-to-school shopping, Georgia’s sales tax holiday is Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2.

Ringgold to award canoe launch bid, discuss property tax rate at tonight’s council meeting
Posted: July 28, 2014

The city of Ringgold will look to award the bid for its canoe launch and trailhead project at tonight’s (July 28) city council meeting while also discussing a motion of intent on the 2014 property tax rate.

Walker County dentist makes a difference in patients’ lives both locally and abroad
Posted: July 28, 2014

A family dentist in Flintstone, who for years has brightened the smiles of local clients, goes the extra mile for less fortunate kids on the other side of the globe.

Tonight’s Fort Oglethorpe city council meeting cancelled
Posted: July 28, 2014

The city of Fort Oglethorpe has cancelled tonight’s (July 28) city council meeting due to lack of business items. The next regularly scheduled meeting will take place on Monday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m.

AAA: Gas prices fall to lowest level in four months
Posted: July 28, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. (July 27, 2014) — Gasoline is selling at the lowest price since March amid rising gasoline supplies and falling oil prices. The national and Florida average prices for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline are on a 30-day streak of declines. Prices in Georgia and Tennessee have fallen 34 and 32 consecutive days respectively.

Former attorney convicted of fraud seeks to keep almost $20,000, says government shouldn’t get money for restitution
Updated: July 28, 2014 - 12:59 pm

Former Cedartown attorney Miles Gammage, currently serving an almost six-year sentence for mail fraud, has asked a federal judge to reconsider the decision to garnish some $20,000 belonging to him.

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