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GNTC's Adult Education program accepting students

Georgia Northwestern Technical College's (GNTC) Adult Education program is accepting students for spring classes in Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker and Whitfield counties.

Adults seeking to improve educational skills, earn a GED® credential, prepare for college entrance or learn English as a second language are encouraged to enroll in free classes that are open to individuals 16 years old and over.

Interested adults should contact the learning center in their county of residence or contact GNTC's Adult Education program via email at Class times vary by location and morning, afternoon and evening classes are available. Online learning options are also available.

The Adult Learning Centers in Georgia Northwestern's nine-county service area are:

Catoosa County: The Shirley Smith Learning Center, 36 Muscogee Trail, Benton Place, Ringgold, Ga. 30736, (706) 965-6155, ext. 7

Chattooga County: Chattooga Adult Learning Center, 152 Senior Drive, Summerville, Ga. 30747, (706) 857-0771

Dade County: Dade Adult Learning Center, Dade County High School, 300 Tradition Lane, Trenton, Ga. 30752, (706) 657-7517, Option 8

Floyd County: Floyd County Campus Adult Education Center, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, One Maurice Culberson Drive, Rome, Ga. 30161, (706) 295-6917

Language and Literacy Center: Rome/Floyd Library, 205 Riverside Parkway, Rome, Ga. 30161, (706) 295-6917

Gordon County: Gordon County Campus Adult Education Center, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, 1151 Highway 53 Spur, Calhoun, Ga. 30701, (706) 624-1111

Murray County: Murray Adult Learning Center, Chatsworth-Murray County Library, 100 N. 3rd. Avenue Chatsworth, Ga. 30705, (706) 272-2909

Polk County: Polk County Campus Adult Education Center, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, 466 Brock Road, Rockmart, Ga. 30153, (770) 684-7521

Walker County: Walker County Campus Adult Education, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, P.O. Box 569, Rock Spring, Ga. 30739; (706) 764-3679

Whitfield County: Whitfield County Adult Education, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, 2310 Maddox Chapel Road, Dalton, Ga. 30721, (706) 272-2909

For more information about GNTC's Adult Education program, visit the website

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC's credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia.

Brown named new task force commander

DeWayne Brown

DeWayne Brown has been promoted to the rank of commander with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, effective Feb. 1.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, chairman of the Drug Task Force control board, made the announcement Tuesday, Feb. 5. The control met the previous week and voted to name Brown as the commander.

Brown has served as the deputy commander of the Drug Task Force for the past five and a half years and has been employed with the Walker County Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years.

"DeWayne Brown has the experience, ability and drive to direct and lead the drugs enforcement efforts in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit," Wilson said.

The commander position became vacant upon the Dec. 30, 2018 death of longtime Cmdr. Patrick Doyle.

Restaurant Report Card

Week ending Feb. 1

Catoosa County

100 Five Star Food Service, 248 Rollins Industrial Court, Ringgold

100 Domino's, 95 Poplar Springs Road, Ringgold

97 Bojangles, 2051 Battlefield Pkwy., Fort Oglethorpe

96 Sonic, 1783 Battlefield Pkwy., Fort Oglethorpe

96 Arby's, 66 Poplar Springs Road, Ringgold

87 Cochran's Auto Truckstop Inc., 11343 Hwy. 41, Ringgold

85 Hardee's, 1086 Battlefield Pkwy., Fort Oglethorpe

Walker County

100 Chattanooga Valley Elementary School, 3420 Chattanooga Valley Road, Flintstone

100 Chattanooga Valley Middle School, 847 Allgood Road, Flintstone

96 NHC Healthcare Rossville, 1425 McFarland Ave., Rossville

96 Prime Time Video, 122 Gordon St., Chickamauga

95 Susan's Diner, 3551 Chattanooga Valley Road, Flintstone

93 Thatcher's Barbeque and Grille, 505 W 9th St., Chickamauga

82 Sonic Drive-In, 1016 LaFayette Road, Chickamauga

We're listening
Roads and codes highlight first community forum

About 50 residents of the Cove Road and Kensington areas asked and learned about roads, codes and water during the first of eight community forums with Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield and his staff Monday evening, Feb. 4, at the Cedar Grove Community Center on West Cove Road.

And they heard what many came with anxiety about, but what they hoped to hear: "I hope we're done raising taxes. ... My goal is to get Walker County completely out of debt and never go back."

After Whitfield spent about 20 minutes reviewing a number of key issues for the county, the rest of the evening was a congenial and informative open dialogue and Q&A time with the commissioner.

Whitfield first reminded attendees that the county's debt had dropped more than 33 percent since 2017 and was now down to $46,454,132.

While many county roads are in poor repair, progress is being made and planned. Nickajack Road and Diamond Circle have been repaved using TSPOLST funding, which brings in about $300,000 per month. However, it is recommended that counties resurface about 5% of their roads annually to keep up proper maintenance, noted Whitfield. There are about 700 miles of roads in the county, and repaving is not cheap. Each mile of road costs about $150,000 to repave and about $50,000 to $100,000+ for preparation, especially rebuilding the road base when that is needed.

Whitfield announced that the county has committed to the second phase of a repaving plan for 2019, with 10 of the county's worst roads scheduled for repaving. These include Peavine Road in the Rock Spring area; Ringgold Road, also in the Rock Spring area; Five Points Road in Chickamauga; Osborn Road in Chickamauga; South Dicks Creek Road in Armuchee Valley; South Burnt Mill Road in the LaFayette area; Dry Valley Road and West Schmitt Road in the Rossville area; Glass Mill Road in Chickamauga; and Jones Road in the Noble area. He also reminded the audience that Walker County has more than 20 miles of roads that have never been paved.

Whitfield also discussed progress bringing properties in the county up to code and in cleaning up blight, junk and unsightly debris throughout the county. In 2018 there were 2,326 code violations cited, with 819 home and property owners coming up to code. There were also 49 community cleanup projects, from which 113 tons of debris were removed.

These are community projects where teams from churches, the Scouts, Covenant College students and other groups volunteer to help residents, often disabled, impoverished, and or elderly, clean up their properties.

In other areas, Whitfield reported that litter control using local prison inmates was staying strong at just over 61 tons for each of the past two years. He noted, however, that the problem was so overwhelming that the county was hiring a second litter control leader to supervise a second team of inmates. He said a number of factors contributed to the problem, but said that county residents must take pride in their community and refuse to litter before a sustainable difference could be seen.

Updates were also given on the Vision 2030 project and Walker Rocks, which generated more than $88,000 last year in tourism sales tax revenue.

Dialogue topics

Several residents expressed concern with water lines in the community having never been finished and not having fire hydrants. Whitfield said "that is a real wake-up call for me," and noted that the county water/sewer authority had recently been authorized $300,000 to replace pumps in three wells at the coke ovens in Chickamauga.

He explained that many water lines were laid under road pavement, so they had to coordinate water-line projects with road repaving projects. He also explained that fire hydrants required a minimum four-inch line, and preferably a 6-8 inch line, to ensure the proper pressure for hydrant use. He said the county had about 400 miles of water lines, but that eight other water companies also operated in the county.

Other residents voiced concerns and asked questions concerning property tax rates and burdens upon some residents. Whitfield explained that as the Erlanger debt was paid off and as more income was generated by sales taxes and other revenue,

the tax burden would ease. "I hope we're done raising taxes," he said. He reassured those in attendance that "my goal is to get Walker County completely out of debt and never go back."

One Cove area resident asked if the county would or could take over garbage collection versus private firms providing that service, to which Whitfield reminded everyone that "the most expensive way to do anything is for the government to do it."

In discussing more industry and jobs in the county, Whitfield and Robert Wardlaw, the county's economic and community development director, both assured the audience that if an interested party "comes to benefit Walker County and is not seeking handouts" in tax exemptions and other incentives which would hurt, not help, the county, they are most welcome. In addition, Wardlaw reminded the audience that they cannot do anything without public meetings and public hearings.

Wardlaw said one of the first questions he is asked by prospective businesses, industries and investors is "tell us about your workforce and education." That, not short-term tax breaks, is what draws and grows serious businesses, and Wardlaw said, "We're cheerleaders for them like wild animals."

In thanking the Cove community for its interest, attendance, dialogue, and support, Whitfield reminded everyone that "we've got to think ahead and get out of debt" first. That takes planning and a team vision and effort from everyone leading the county and everyone living in the county and benefiting from county services, he said.