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GNTC announces President's, Dean's Lists for fall

News release

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is proud to announce the students on the President's and Dean's Lists for the 2018 fall semester. To be eligible for the President's List, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.8 or higher during the semester with a course load of at least 12 credit hours. To be eligible for the Dean's List, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.5 to 3.79 during the semester with a course load of at least 12 credit hours.

President's List

Catoosa County: Micah Afman, Savannah Bone, McKenzie Brown, Gabrielle Carter, Brittany Chambers, Christina Chisenall, Alisha Cowan, Gage Dean, Sarah Eaker, Jesse Flanagan, Jonathan Gibson, Christopher Guffey, Jessica Hales, Victoria Harvey, Tavian Henson, Brenton Hill, Julie Kay, Courtni Lomenick, Allie Long, Elizabeth McClure, Jacob McIntire, Angela Morrow, Shelby Nichols, Erica Owens, Laura Parson, Michael Scheinert, Blade Smith, Francie Songer, Cassie Stalvey, Casey Stephens, Pamela Tallent, Joshua Taylor, Hunter Thomason, Stacie Wattenbarger.

Chattooga County: Grayson Bentley, Anita Curtis, Hannah Edwards, Haley Elliott, Dakota Finster, Morgan Hamby, Rachel

Hammock, Wesley Harkins, Larry Holbrooks, Reisha Hughes, Clarissa Jimenez, Nancy Lawrence, Samuel Mangan, Jackie Mosley, Neyda Paiz, Clyde Patterson, Sarah Price, Tanner Purcell, Bailey Rowlls, Meagan RuBright, Kerrington Wagner, Ian Wagoner, Joshua Wyatt, Amanda York.

Murray County: Jeffrey Ballew, Jonathan Banuelos, Drake Bargeron, Charles Baxter, Troy Beavers, Melissa Betterton, Corey Bishop, Susan Black, Daniel Bridges, Olivia Curtis, Autumn Donaldson, Anahi Garcia, Alesha Hughes, Zachary Jones, Austin Kelley, Roberto Landaverde, Amanda Malagutti, Salomon Montoya, Brandy Phillips, Kinley Pritchett, Harmony Ray.

Walker County: Lorayna Alan, Mary Elizabeth Amis, Danika Barry, Lindsay Bearden, Elizabeth Blevins, Mallory Bradley, Kyler Cain, Haleigh Condra, Abbygale Dalton, Katelin Dixon, Christopher Dunn, Sarah Fawson, Emily Gilbreath, Elizabeth Gooch, Joyce Green, Megan Harkins, Katelynn Head, Brooke Kerns, Daniel King, Shelby Lewis, McKenzie Marshall, Diana Mullaly, Sonja Reynolds, Joshua Smith, Charlina Smithers, Ginger Sparks, Jarod Streetman, Bradlee Suggs, Regina Watts, Angela Willbanks, Candace Williams, Heather Wyatt.

Whitfield County: Cruz Aldava, Bruce Banks, Hayley Bell, Sarah Boyd, Alisha Broome, Jenifer Camacho, Abiram Contreras, Omar Cordero, William Elsberry, Christopher Figueroa, Miguel Garcia, Kimberly Glover, Yecely Gonzalez, Nayeli Gutierrez, Keymonica Hall, Chandler Henry, Whitney Holland, Elizabeth Jager, Kristen Lake, Megan Ledford, Amador Mares Torres Jr, Teresa Marshall, Rosio Martinez, Abel Mendiola, Dennis Miller, Marlena Mondragon, Eris Moonstar, Gonzalo Nunez, Guadalupe Nunez, Jason Paez, Joel Paez, Erika Perez, Kiera Perry, Maria Pimentel, Guadalupe Ramirez, Justin Ridley, David Saylors, Kristy Tate, Mary Brianna Thomason, Daniel Velasquez, Leslie Wilkins.

Dean's List

Catoosa County: Tiffany Alford, Brandon Cass, April Clark, Cameron Collins, Shannon Cooper, Noah Fisher, Joshua Harold, Heather Hawkins, Kathleen Herring, Jessica Nabors, Brandon Neighbors, Benton Smith, Heather Smith, Rachel Stone, Hannah Taylor, Curtis Thomason, Husein Vajzovic, Jamie Walker, Mariah Wallace, Jared Wilks.

Chattooga County: Kaitlyn Conner, Taylor Eagle, Nicholas Flood, Hayley Jones, Malia Little, Jamie Lopez, Tina Minter, Haley Price, Dallas Roberts, Ashley Rosser, Allison Rowlls, William Stiles, Jarret Van Gurp, Cydni White.

Murray County: Christian Adams, Tyler Baggett, Teresa Botts, Dustie Bridges, John Thomas Langford, Dana Manis, William Mashburn, Breanna Massengale, Amber Ridley, Justin Sisk, Amalia Trejo, Nicomedes Vera, Rebecca White, Casey Young.

Walker County: Brittany Alexander, Emily Brock, Jalen Davis, Kannen Derryberry, Destiny Duncan, Kaitlyn Frazier, Katryna Gentry, Nicholas Gray, Timothy Henderson, Chanler Hysell, Zackary Jones, Katie Kinlaw, David Lilly, Deidra Long, Caylee Marks, Amy Moore, Joshua Moore, Baron O'Bryant, Katelyn O'Toole, Autumn Perry, Jennifer Pryor, Janell Randall-Smith, Trystan Smith, Victoria Tarvin, Samuel Veal, Celine Verdier, Christopher Walden, James Young.

Whitfield County: Mykel Alexander, Marcos Arredondo, Ashton Avery, Alan Caro, Betzy Cruz, Brenda Dawson, Kevin Diaz, Kayla Elrod, Jasmin Garcia Barragan, Alexa Jimenez, Hayleigh Kuhn, Victoria Laird, Karina Lopez Valle, Edwin Luna, Bobby Minjarez, Daisy Molina, Ivan Ortiz, Wilson Paez, Jennyfer Paucay, Maritza Perez, Kelly Powers, Jimmy Ruiz, George Soto, Jonathan Tant, Abbigail Tate, Baleria Vasquez, Andres Viscarras, Brianna White.


Lawmakers consider statewide school calendar
Catoosa, Walker, Chickamauga school chiefs favor local control

Denia Reese

Damon Raines

The debate over school calendars continues across the state, as many of those in favor and opposed weigh in.

The state is increasing efforts to create a uniform calendar for every system statewide. Among these changes to the calendar is the push for a longer summer break.

Those in favor of this change, especially in the tourism industry, complain that a shorter summer break means they have less youth available for part-time work. Also, the inconsistent calendars make tourism season more complicated, they say.

On the flip side, school advocates feel as though they need more flexibility and that the students may not retain information as easily if the annual summer break is any longer.

In states such as Michigan, where the school year begins after Labor Day, they have seen a boost of more than $20 million in tourism revenue. In Georgia, this later start date could mean more employees for local retail, more tourists due to everyone having the same school calendar, and as a result, more money going into tourism.

Local school officials, however, may disagree.

"The state requires high school students to take an end-of-course (EOC) test at the end of each semester" said Denia Reese, Catoosa County schools superintendent. "The state-mandated end-of-course tests for high school students count 20 percent of their grade. Taking the end-of-course test prior to the traditional two-week Christmas break enhances students' ability to retain information and allows high school students to begin a new semester in January. If the state mandates a later start date, our high school students would have to return after the traditional two-week Christmas break to take their end-of-course tests."

Reese also mentioned that, in addition to end-of-course testing being an outstanding issue, the traditional October fall break would need to be eliminated, Thanksgiving break would need to be reduced, and the traditional two weeks of Christmas break would need to be evaluated.

This also applies to every district in the state, as the end-of-course testing is state-mandated.

School superintendents in Walker County are also not thrilled with the idea of a longer break.

"Our current calendar allows our high school students to take their end-of-course exams before the Christmas holiday versus coming back after being off for two weeks and attempting," said Damon Raines, superintendent of Walker County Schools. "We did this several years ago, and our test results decreased dramatically. While the committee may show consideration for a calendar that gives opportunity for summer work, our students are already involved in work-based learning and internships. Many of them work year-round now. Maintaining local control gives systems the option of setting their own calendar based on their respective needs within the communities they serve."

Chickamauga Schools Superintendent Melody Day said, "I think the study committee did a very thorough job and made some good recommendations. Rather than a synchronized start date for everyone, they gave a small range of time for systems to begin the school year. It does give a bit of leeway, but I still personally feel this should be a local decision. If a community is happy with their district's calendar and it works for them and the community, I do not feel the state should make them change it to accommodate other districts and to extend the summer vacation time. Short intermittent breaks throughout the school year work well for us. Attendance is better, widespread illness is lower, student retention of material is better. ... A longer summer break will increase the 'summer slide,' the amount of learning students lose over longer breaks. Also, most of our students are ready to come back to school after an eight-week summer break."

All of the local superintendents have said they will follow this issue carefully.


Cold's a-coming
Tips to help seniors cope with cold weather

Although there's nothing like being outside on a crispy, cold day and playing in the snow with the grandkids, cold weather can be hard on you if you are over 65. So, to keep you outside as much and as safely as possible, we've prepared this handy senior guide on how to hold your own in winter weather.

Guard against hypothermia

You can lose body heat fast if you are older, especially if you have underlying health conditions like arthritis or diabetes or are taking over-the-counter cold medications. This means that even after relatively short exposure to cold weather or a slight drop in temperature, you could develop hypothermia, which can lead to heart attacks, kidney problems or liver damage.

On very cold days—especially when it's windy out as well—the best plan of action might simply be to stay indoors. If you do go out, put on a heavy coat, wearing loose-fitting, layered clothing underneath (the air between the layers helps to keep you warm). Make sure to wear a scarf and hat as well as mittens which tend to be warmer than gloves. Head indoors if you start shivering, as it's a warning sign that you're losing body heat— but don't rely on shivering alone as a sign of hypothermia, since older people tend to shiver less when their body temperature drops. Other hypothermia symptoms to watch out for include dizziness, lack of coordination, slurred speech or mumbling, confusion, and an increased heart rate

Note: Seniors can develop hypothermia indoors if temperatures are between 60 and 65 degrees, so make sure to set your home's thermostat at least 68 degrees.

Cover your skin

Seniors are also more susceptible than other adults to frostbite, which can occur when the skin and body tissues are exposed to extreme cold for as little as 30 minutes. Typically affecting the smaller, more exposed areas of the body (fingers, toes, nose, ears and cheeks), signs of frostbite include red, white, pale or grayish-yellow skin; hard or waxy-looking skin; a cold or burning feeling; numbness.

Cover up all parts of your body when you go outside in extreme cold, and if your skin turns red or dark or starts hurting, go inside right away.

Be vigilant around ice

Falls are the number one reason seniors are admitted to the hospitals for trauma, so you need to exercise caution whenever it's icy or snowy out. When it comes to footwear, think safety instead of fashion—this means boots with low heels and non-skid soles. Putting cleated anti-slip ice grips over your boots can provide even better traction on treacherous ice. In addition, always walk as much as possible on cleared sidewalks and roads,

hold handrails on stairs, add traction strips to steps and put sand or salt on walkways. Consider using a cane to help maintain balance (make sure the tip is sturdy or buy an ice picklike attachment that fits onto the end).

Keep safe while shoveling

When it's cold, your heart works extra hard to keep you warm, meaning that sudden exertion such as shoveling snow could bring on a heart attack. (In fact, according to the American Heart Association, even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can be a strain on the heart.) Always ask your healthcare provider if it's safe for you to shovel snow. If the answer is "yes," make sure to take frequent rest breaks and avoid drinking alcohol before or immediately after shoveling. If you have any concerns whatsoever, hire someone to shovel your driveway for you.

Drink lots of water

Dehydration is another frequent causes of hospitalization among seniors, who generally have a less acute thirst sense than other adults. And even though you're not in the blazing summer sun, you still need to drink at least six to eight cups of water per day. Heated indoor air can cause your skin to lose moisture, increasing your daily fluid requirements, and you may need extra water if you exercise or exert yourself while wearing insulated clothing. Signs of dehydration include dizziness or lightheadedness.

Winter does come with a set of wellness challenges for older adults, but if you've got awareness and common sense and take basic precautions, there's no reason not to enjoy life no matter what time of year.


Gov. Kemp talks teacher raises, education funding, school safety

ATLANTA — On Wednesday, Jan. 16, two days after his inauguration and the day before his State of the State address, Georgia's new governor pledged $5,000 raises for each teacher in the state, a fully funded education formula and $30,000 for every school to beef up security measures as administrators see fit.

In an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal (parent newspaper of both The Catoosa County News and Walker County Messenger) at the Georgia State Capitol, Kemp, who was sworn in as the state's 83rd governor on Monday, Jan. 14, talked about his new job and outlined some of his plans for his first 100 days in office.

In addition to creating a task force of prosecutors and investigators aimed at cracking down on street gangs and drug cartels throughout the state, Kemp vowed to follow through on his campaign promise of giving teachers raises, which he said are projected to cost the state an estimated $600 million.

"Forty-four percent of our teachers are leaving the field within the first five years. That's a huge problem, especially in more rural parts of our state, but it's a problem (everywhere)," he said, adding his team is budgeting "a historic pay raise for our educators."

The governor also said he expects the state's K-12 funding formula to be fully funded for the second consecutive year. The additional $167 in education funding last year put an end to austerity cuts, giving Cobb County Schools an extra $10 million that the district put toward raises and bonuses.

Kemp said maintaining his commitment to fully funding public education in Georgia is contingent on two things: a strong economy and the Legislature's ability to budget conservatively.

"It's easy to spend a lot of money in good times and when you get to tough times you have to start cutting," Kemp said, calling it a matter of time before the economy slows down again.

"Our plan is to keep fully funding education and work on lowering taxes."

The governor also announced plans to keep students safer by spending more on school security measures and increasing the number of counselors available in Georgia's high schools.

"We're going to have $69 million in one-time funds in the amended budget for our school safety plan," Kemp said. "It'll be $30,000 going to each school in the state — 2,294 of them."

How that money is spent, he said, will be left entirely up to the schools.

"Complete local control on that money so the local school boards, administrators, teachers, parents and students can all weigh in and say what's the best way to secure this school," Kemp said, suggesting the money could be used to hire additional school resource officers, improve security systems or even install metal detectors if communities deem them necessary.

Boosting the number of counselors in high schools, he said, should help students struggling with mental health issues or addiction.

"We've got to deal with the mental health problem that we have in our schools," he said.

Increasing access to trained professionals who can identify the signs of depression and drug dependence may help curb suicide and overdose rates among Georgia's youth, Kemp said, and pairing the counseling with the enhanced security may prevent mass shootings in schools.

"The reason for going after the mental health and doing the counselors is because the majority of school shootings happen by someone who is in the school and they have the right to be there," Kemp said. "It's a student."

He said giving students who need it additional access to counseling or psychological treatment is not a partisan issue, but something both Republicans and Democrats should get behind.

"We're being as fair as you can be, giving complete local control. It doesn't matter if it's downtown Atlanta or down in southwest Georgia or anywhere in between," he said. "They're all getting the same money and they can do with it as they please."

The governor said while he favors the expansion of school choice initiatives such as vouchers, charter schools and tax credit scholarships for private schools, he fully supports K-12 public education.

"I'm a strong supporter of school choice. On the vouchers, I think if you have failing schools that needs to be an option for those areas because they have no others," Kemp said. "I've been a strong supporter of charter schools ... but it doesn't mean that I won't 100 percent support public education, which I think we absolutely need to do."

'Too many standardized tests'

The new governor also made it clear that he believes the number of standardized tests students are forced to take each year hinders the ability of teachers to do what they do best — teach.

"We have too many standardized tests," Kemp said. "I want to free them up from some of this testing. ... One issue I've heard from parents and teachers alike is that we are spending more time teaching to the test than we are teaching our children. I don't think it's been beneficial."

Some districts across the state have taken efforts to do away with the annual statemandated Milestones tests, pushing instead for their own methods of measuring student achievement that they argue won't be nearly as time-consuming.

Kemp says he's open to the idea of approving waivers for districts who pitch alternatives to the state tests but says there must be a way to hold teachers and students accountable without "tying their hands."

"We have to trust people at the local level to teach the children in their community," he said. "If they're not, people are not going to live there. They're going to move, they're going to send their kids to other schools and they'll vote with their feet."

School calendars

Kemp didn't hesitate to wade into the school calendar debate either, saying he campaigned on being "a local control guy."

An 11-member Senate Study Committee made up four Republican state senators and members of the state's travel and tourism industries recently recommended the Legislature put in place "guard rails" lengthening Georgia summers by requiring that school districts start class later in the year.

Recommendations included mandating that public schools start within seven to 10 days before the first Monday in September, with an end date on or around June 1.

The committee heard from the Atlanta Braves as well as top executives from Six Flags Over Georgia, Callaway Resort and Gardens, and Stone Mountain Park, who all pushed for later summers, citing the importance student labor has on Georgia's tourism industry as well as the impact a summer job has on youth development.

But board members from Cobb, Marietta and other school district across the state included in this year's legislative priorities a request to maintain control over their calendars. And teachers and families from both districts have grown used to the six weeks of breaks the existing school schedules afford them.

"I think there are a lot of good arguments for letting the locals decide their own calendar," Kemp said, citing the Richmond County school system's tradition of blocking out the entire week of the Masters when the tournament is played in Augusta each spring.

That said, Kemp called it "crazy" that some systems start at the end of July or the very beginning of August.

"But if folks don't like that they can run for their local school board," he said.