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Restaurant inspections
Inspections for Walker and Catoosa counties for May 23-29

Walker County: For the week of May 23-29, there were no inspections.

Catoosa County: Six inspections earned a perfect score during the week of May 23-29. Nine restaurants earned between 90 and 99, while two restaurants scored between 80 and 89.

Catoosa County

Las Fiesta, Inc. D/B/A Fiesta Mexicana #15

110 Kristin Drive, Ringgold

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 91

Inspection notes: Observed salsa sitting out on trays at room temperature at 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Salsa in reach-in cooler was 46-47 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lake Winnie Water Park — Winnie 500 Slide

1730 Lakeview Drive, Rossville

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 100

Lake Winnie Water Park — Waterworks

1730 Lakeview Drive, Rossville

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 96 Inspector notes: Observed pressure gauge on pool sand filter no operational.

Lake Winnie Water Park — Kiddie Pool

1730 Lakeview Drive, Rossville

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 96

Inspector notes: Observed skimmer adjustable weir is missing in one skimmer basket.

Lake Winnie Water Park — River/Slides

1730 Lakeview Drive, Rossville

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 100

City of Ringgold — Martha Denton Pool

406 Cotter Street, Ringgold

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 100

Super 8 Swimming Pool

2044 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe

Inspection date: May 23

Score: 100

Tacos El Gordo

400 Direct Connection Drive, Rossville

Inspection date: May 24

Score: 98

Inspector notes: Observed that dry storage and clean dish shelving units are not ANSI/NSF commercial grade equipment. Observed no clearly designated area for employee personal items.

Catering by Alan

146 Hunt Drive, Rossville

Inspection date: May 24

Score: 100

Farm to Fork

100 General Lee Street, Ringgold

Inspection date: May 28

Score: 93

Inspector notes: Observed open employee drink on food prep surfaces in kitchen area and unapproved cups (tumblers from home) being used for drinking out of in kitchen. Observed food service employees wearing watches in the kitchen during food prep.

Cook Out

Battlefield Pkwy., Fort Oglethorpe

Inspection date: May 28

Score: 90

Inspector notes: Observed the inside of the ice maker not clean to sight or touch. Observed food service employees preparing food with hair longer than 1/2" without wearing hair restraints. Observed wiping cloths stored in sanitizer solution that was below 50ppm for bleach. Observed clogged floor drains and a hand washing sink that was leaking. Observed heavy build-up on hood vents above the grill.

El Cactus Restaurant

90 Battlefield Station Drive, Fort Oglethorpe

Inspection date: May 28

Score: 95

Inspector notes: Observed employee beverage in the kitchen not in a single-service cup with a lid and straw. Observed a scoop with no handle being stored in food on the prep top cooler.

Super 8 — Continental Breakfast

2044 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe

Inspection Date: May 28

Score: 96

Inspector notes: Observed TCS food (milk) held more than 24 hours without being properly date-marked.

Pruitt Health

1067 Battlefield Pkwy., Fort Oglethorpe

Inspection date: May 28

Score: 87

Inspector notes: Observed TCS foods being hot held at a temperature less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Observed TCS food (milk) being held over 24 hours without being properly date-marked.

2A Wings

1014 Battlefield Pkwy., Fort Oglethorpe

Inspection date: May 29

Score: 88

Inspector notes: Observed food service employee (wearing gloves) go directly from handling raw chicken (battering chicken) to handling cooked chicken with the same gloves and not washing hands in between tasks. Observed employee touch RTE food (cooked chicken that was cooling) with bare hands. Observed TCS food cooling using an improper method. Chicken was cooling out at room temperature and was at 124-140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Home Plate

7807 Nashville Street, Ringgold

Inspection date: May 29

Score: 93

Inspector notes: Observed chemical bottles not labeled with common name of chemical. Observed abundance of flies in kitchen.

Hometown Inn Swimming Pool

22 Gateway Business Park Drive, Ringgold

Inspection date: May 29

Score: 100

Compiled by Carrie Chandler, who is a reporter for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

Teacher of Year
Megan Hulse named 2019's top teacher in county school system

"You work hard for the people you love and you try for the people you love," said Megan Hulse, who was recently named Walker County Teacher of the Year. "Once the kids see me doing that for them, they begin to care too."

Hulse attributes her success in the classroom to this relationship she has with her students, but realizes that it takes a lot of effort. "You never know what your day will be like as a teacher," she noted. "Are you going to be a counselor or a mom? You have to wear a lot of hats as a teacher."

In only her third year teaching, Hulse, who teaches third grade at Chattanooga Valley Elementary School, noted that she is still in shock at winning the countywide honor. "I owe a lot of it to Covenant College (where she graduated in 2016), and a lot to Chattanooga Valley (Elementary School)," she said. "They saw something special in me and came along and nurtured it."

That nurturing led to a nomination for Chattanooga Valley Elementary School's Teacher of the Year by her peers. After she received that award in February, Hulse then had to write an essay outlining her teaching philosophy and style. Based on that, she was chosen to be observed and interviewed by a panel of retired teachers.

"It gave me a peace that I'm here where I need to be and doing what I need to be doing.

Megan Hulse, third-grade teacher at Chattanooga Valley Elementary School and Walker County Teacher of the Year for 2019

"If anything," Hulse noted, "this recognition has affirmed how I teach." Usually, she noted, she is not comfortable talking about her strengths, but winning the award "has made me more comfortable saying, 'yeah, I like doing this and I'm good at it.'"

While usually nervous in front of adults, Hulse said that when she was observed by the panel, she was determined not to do anything different, even if she felt like using one of the funny voices that her students appreciate or singing to them, and it worked. "It gave me a peace that I'm here where I need to be and doing what I need to be doing," she said.

The singing and funny voices aren't just for laughs though. "I teach in funny voices because it really draws [the students] in," Hulse noted. "When I'm teaching, my goal is that it connects with the kids."

She calls this relational teaching. "I get to know the student's families, their interests, and their hobbies," she said. This allows her to relate what she is teaching to the students lives, making it more relevant for them.

The emotional strain that comes with that style of teaching surprised Hulse. "I never realized how much you give away by having all of these children in your life," she noted. In the closeknit community of the classroom, she soon realized that "you hurt when your students hurt and you celebrate when they celebrate."

Hulse noted that she didn't come by this style of teaching all on her own. "I am able to view my children as whole individuals because Covenant (College) did that for me."

During her senior year at Covenant, her mother underwent treatment for breast cancer. The professors there put Hulse and her mother first, before the academics. They worked with her to make college manageable during that time. "That's what I bring into the classroom," she said, "the kindness and love that Covenant showed me."

Although Hulse's grandparents and aunt and uncle worked in public schools, teaching wasn't something she envisioned as a career. "I have always liked working with kids, but I didn't know how I would end up using that," she noted. Her first college education class had her working in a kindergarten classroom, "and it was 'yep, this is what I want to do,'" she said.

Even after earning Teacher of the Year so early in her career, Hulse is not ready to retire just yet. "I feel like this gives me the opportunity to be an advocate for the people I work with," she said. "I hope a lot of doors will open so that I can support people and make a difference for the students."

One of those opportunities will happen this summer when she serves on the Georgia Milestones Assessment Committee. There, Hulse and the rest of the committee will look over the statewide standardized test scores and make recommendations.

As the teacher of an inclusion classroom, where students who receive special learning services are alongside students who receive regular services, Hulse has a desire to help the test be a better representation of what all the students have learned. "I want all students to walk away knowing what they have mastered this year," she said.

Hulse also hopes to find a way to influence education legislation. "I want the people making decisions for schools to understand what a teacher does every day," she said. "I want more educators to influence the bills and laws being passed." In her ideal world, "an educator would be standing there, saying 'this is what the reality of teaching is' to the people in the legislature."

This summer, Hulse will also begin her master's degree program in reading instruction. She doesn't have any designs to leave the classroom, though, noting that "I just love these kids and I love getting to be a part of their lives."

Even after being chosen as Teacher of the Year, Hulse is quick to note that she is only one in a group of amazing teachers at Chattanooga Valley Elementary and in Walker County. "There's so much good happening in our public school system," she noted. "There are so many good people dedicating their lives to the betterment of children."

Habitat to hold meeting on expansion

Catoosa County Habitat for Humanity is holding a public meeting in mid-June to explore the possibility of expanding into Walker County.

Penny Mahon, executive director of Catoosa Habitat, says Habitat International contacted her about the feasibility of including Walker County in what they offer. "I love the idea," she says. "I get a lot of calls from people in Walker County looking for help with housing."

Each Habitat is an independent organization, says Mahon. "We all come under the mother umbrella of Habitat International. They charter us and offer a lot of practical support, but we find our own projects, raise our own funds and operate independently of any other Habitat."

Mahon says there would be many advantages to having one Habitat organization serving two counties. "This would give us some real advantages and save money. We would still only need one insurance policy, one office, one Habitat International membership. Our critical repair and cleanup programs would not need to be duplicated, only expanded."

While Habitat's primary focus is on building new affordable housing, they


Catoosa County Habitat for Humanity will hold a public meeting to explore the possibility of expanding into Walker County on Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rhyne Board Room at the LaFayette/Walker County Library, 305 S. Duke St., LaFayette. All are invited to attend. To learn more about Catoosa County Habitat for Humanity, visit or contact Penny Mahon at 706-861-5858.

are increasingly helping in other ways, Mahon says. Their "Re-Habitat Critical Repair" and "Community Cleanup" programs help improve existing housing and properties, and Mahon says local Habitats are encouraged to keep informed about everything from housing options and costs to programs to help with utilities and food. "Habitat International urges us to network with other nonprofits to help however we can. I often connect people with churches and programs that can help with needs that Habitat can't address."

Whether or not Catoosa Habitat expands into Walker County, says Mahon, depends on how much the community is interested and willing to get involved.

Mahon says many people think there's not a role for them in Habitat because they have no building skills. "That's not true at all," she says. "We need people who can plan events, who are good with finances, who can do fundraising, research, grant writing and other things. We need people with construction skills, too, of course."

Catoosa Habitat already owns some land in Walker County, says Mahon, so they have a bit of a head start getting established. If they can find people in the county willing to serve on their board and on committees and willing to get involved in promoting their programs in the county, Mahon says they will be on solid ground to proceed.

"We have so many wonderful people, groups and businesses who help us," says Mahon, "and I'm excited about expanding that kind of community involvement into Walker County. We hope many people will come out to the meeting to learn more."

Naomi Elementary has state of the 'art' media center
Center focuses on artists, performing arts, design and music

To expand their focus on the arts, Naomi Elementary staff and teachers have spent the last year creating a media center that now includes more than just books.

With four art stations that the students can choose from, the media center has become a place to explore many different kinds of media.

In the "art of color" center, students can explore and research different artists — the culture they lived in, the medium they used, the strategies they incorporated — and then create artwork based on what they have learned.

This center helps the students feel like they can be artists too. To help accomplish this, the students are also treated to lessons from artists they see every day. "The head custodian, artist Logan Cobb, came and taught the students pencil drawing and sketching," Principal Autumn Hentz said.

Next, the school created the "art of movement" center. "This is the center that the kids are most excited about," Hentz said. "It brings out the playfulness and imagination that technology takes away."

Focusing on the performing arts, the "art of movement" center gives students a chance to create plays based on what they have read in class. It is also a space for them to research singers, dancers, and actors

and incorporate that information into what they perform. With a small stage and puppets, the students can choose to put on a play even if they don't want to perform.

The "art of design" center brings together creativity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. "The first project we did here was local," Hentz said. "We wanted the students to see that it is here in our community."

They looked at the Tennessee Aquarium and why it has the triangle roof. Once the students discovered the reason, they were able to build a model of the roof or create their own model building out of materials available in the center. This center shows the students that art can be used for a purpose.

To expose the students to music, the "art of sound" center allows them to research and play different instruments and ways to use sound as art. "We noticed that we don't have a good representation in middle school and high school band, so we hope this center will help with that," said Hentz.

The media center also has a green room that the students and staff can use to make videos. "You are integrating all kinds of art when you use the green screen — public speaking, using sound effects," noted Hentz. "The kindergarten class has even used it. We are exposing them early."

Naomi Elementary teachers and staff hope that all of this exposure to the arts will create a better learning environment for the students. "We are all firm believers that this is going to make a positive change for the students," Hentz said. "You know it's a good thing when they trade in reward points to spend time in the media center."