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"A Cravens Christmas Carol"
Holiday open house at the Cravens House

On Friday, Dec. 1, and on Saturday, Dec.2, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will present a Christmas Open House at the Cravens House, located on Lookout Mountain.

The house will be decorated in a manner very similar to the Civil War era, and every 30 minutes, between the hours of 6 - 8 p.m., guided tours of the home will be conducted.

The holidays in 1862 were a time of hope. For wealthy southern families like the Cravens, there was reason for optimism that the war would soon end in victory, and soldiers like Jesse Cravens were hopeful that this would be their last Christmas in the army.

Just a few days later, the Emancipation Proclamation was scheduled to take effect, and for the first time, enslaved people throughout the South could finally begin to see the end of their generational nightmare.

Join us for this special program as we explore how the residents of Robert Cravens' home on Lookout Mountain pondered their past, present, and future during this holiday season 155 years ago.

Reservations are required.

To make a reservation and for additional information about this event, please contact the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at 423-821-7786.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus is coming to towns
Line up for Christmas parades in LaFayette, Chickamauga and Rossville

Christmas events coming to LaFayette, Chickamauga and Rossville this weekend.


The city of LaFayette is stocked full of Christmas events starting with a parade on Friday, Dec. 1

With a "Christmas Dreams" theme, the parade begins at 6 p.m.

Lineup for the parade will be on Cherokee Street. The parade begins at Elder's Ace Hardware on South Main Street. It will head north on before ending near Joe Stock Memorial Park.

More than 75 vehicles and floats will participate as well as give out candy. The parade will end with Santa riding into town on the fire truck.

Judges will select best floats in the parade hosted by Mayor Andy Arnold and Rachel Oesch Willeford.

Following the parade, their will be the annual "Visit with Santa" at 7 p.m. at the gazebo at Joe Stock Memorial Park.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to take photos with youngsters. Parents must bring their own camera and it's one photo per child.

The eighth annual Model Railroad Display will take place 6-9 p.m. the day of the parade and will continue on Dec. 2 and 3 as well as Dec. 8-31. Ronald and Sue Underwood will share their Christmas-themed railroad and village display free of charge at Chattooga Academy/Gordon Hall. The Downtown Development Authority's sixth annual Reindeer Run 5K and 1K Walk will set off on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 9 a.m. All proceeds go to benefit the Shop With a Cop/Fireman program. Learn more at the city of LaFayette's Facebook page or Reindeer Run Facebook page.

Photos with Santa at the Marsh House will take place on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 1-4 p.m. at 308 N. Main St.

The Marsh House Candlelight Tours will open their doors on Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24 from 6-8 p.m. Tours are $5 for adults and $1 for children. All proceeds go towards preserving the historic building.

The Christmas Bazaar is set for Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local arts and crafts will be at the LaFayette Recreation Center at 638 S. Main St.


Chickamauga will host two very big days for the Christmas season.

On Friday, Dec. 1, Chickamauga will "Light Up the Streets" with Christmas lights in the historic district all along Gordon and part of Lee streets.

The event will include a live DJ playing holiday-themed music as businesses will have their doors open for business.

Santa Claus will also be available for pictures with children, free of charge. Parents will have to bring their own cameras.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, the city will host "Christmas in the Streets and the Music Melodies Parade."

The day starts off at 10 a.m. for a full day of live music, vendors and shopping.

Santa Claus will pay Chickamauga another visit on that day with a professional photographer on hand for the event.

The city will then transition to the parade, which starts at 6:30 p.m. The parade will start at Crittenden Street and 10th Street at the curb. The parade will travel north and end at Gordon Lee High School.

Following the parade, Gordon Lee Mansion will host candlelight tours. The costs is $5 per person. Proceeds go to preserving the mansion.


The city of Rossville will hold its Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Lineup for the parade is between 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The parade will begin at 5:45 p.m. It will travel north along McFarland Avenue. It will then turn left onto West Lake Road and end at the Rossville Recreation Center.

A professional wrestling show will follow the parade at the recreation center. Proceeds will go towards Rossville recreations. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Georgia's zero-premium plans
An odd twist in a turbulent market

Free health insurance? The idea seems like a relic from decades ago, when health care was relatively cheap and big corporations offered rich health benefits to employees.

But reports say that for 2018 coverage, there is an increased availability of zero-premium health plans nationally in the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

Angela Hutchins of Summerville, in northwest Georgia, has just enrolled herself and her husband in an exchange plan for next year that has no premium. And it's a "gold'' plan that has fuller benefits than the lower-tier "bronze'' and "silver'' plans.

Hutchins said this week that the couple has had no health insurance the last couple of years. They are beef cattle farmers, and also run a local food bank as volunteers.

"My husband and I are 40 and 41,'' Hutchins says. "We need to have some regular exams. We need insurance just in case one of these exams comes back not so positive."

The zero-premium plan "was a shock to me,'' she said.

Though there are no premiums for their insurance, the couple are not getting "free" health care. They will have a family deductible of $4,500 a year.

The widely publicized premium increases on the exchanges are part of the reason for the cheaper plans. Those hikes have caused corresponding increases in the tax credits that help people earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to pay their premiums.

For 2018, premiums are going up by up to 57 percent

;in Georgia, in part because the Trump administration has cut off the cost-sharing reductions for lower-income consumers.;

;Those making over 400 percent of poverty, meanwhile, will feel the brunt of those premium hikes because they don't qualify for subsidies.;

;The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that the particularly large increase in premiums for silver plans means that eligible enrollees will see much higher premium tax credits. These large credits make gold plans more easily attainable and make bronze plans much cheaper or even available at no additional premium.;

;But the situation that has created a good deal for some people is not welcome news for others.;

;"These 2018 premium figures are striking because they show the gap is widening between the health insurance haves and have-nots," said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders in a statement. "As costs continue to increase aggressively and the dollar value of premium subsidies keeps pace, many lower-income persons will now have access to health insurance coverage with zero-dollar premiums while middle-income families who don't qualify for subsidies may be required to pay the equivalent of a second mortgage for the same coverage. This is not a sustainable model for a health insurance market intended to serve the needs of all Americans."

The insurance exchanges were designed for people, like the Hutchins couple, who don't get job-based or government health insurance.

The Wall Street Journal reported an analysis of newly available federal data on that found in nearly all of the 2,722 counties studied, some consumers will be able to obtain free health insurance because they qualify for larger federal premium subsidies that cover the full cost of a plan.

Free bronze plans have been available previously, but their prevalence has increased significantly in 2018, according to the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, which analyzed the federal data.

Russ Childers, an insurance agent in Americus, in southwest Georgia, said Tuesday that his agency has a few clients with zero premiums. He cites the case of a 23-year-old college student earning $13,000 a year. If she picks a silver plan, he says, "she pays zero premium.'' And her deductible is just $300 a year

The agency's Susan Ruckman said she has never seen a gold plan with zero premiums before this year.

Insurance companies hope the no-premium insurance draws in more enrollees, particularly the kind they need most — people with few health issues — the Journal reported. Healthy consumers help bolster the stability of the insurance market by balancing out the health care costs of sicker enrollees

Marc Jenkins of Insure Georgia, an organization of insurance navigators, said many consumers are not choosing a free bronze plan because the deductible with that coverage is so high.

Jenkins helped Angela Hutchins sign up for her gold plan.

"Insurance always seems to me like muddy water,'' Hutchins said. She added that she and her husband had postponed going to the doctor for routine tests

This year, the couple felt they needed the extra security.

"Just in case, we wanted to have a policy."