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Panel Truss Texas picks Catoosa County for manufacturing facility to serve region’s construction industry
Company to start hiring and training this fall, with plans for future job additions

Panel Truss Texas Inc., an industry-leading designer, builder and distributor of structural building components, has selected Catoosa County for its newest facility to serve the construction industry in the Tennessee Valley.

Panel Truss Texas Inc. plans to expand into an existing Ringgold building with equipment that it designs and builds to fabricate trusses.

“Catoosa County is the perfect home for us to grow and better serve our customers in the I-75 corridor between Atlanta, Knoxville and beyond,” said Panel Truss Texas Inc. co-owner Dickie Vail. “We appreciate the support from the Catoosa County Economic Development Authority, and we look forward to be a partner in Catoosa County’s thriving community.”

The company will launch recruiting and training processes for about 30 Ringgold positions in the coming weeks and plans to continue additional phases of hiring in 2021. After training, wages for most employees will average $16 to $20 an hour with benefits.

Panel Truss Texas Inc. has more than 30 years of experience in the truss industry. Headquartered in Henderson, Texas, the company has additional production facilities in Hearne, Texas, Dallas, Texas, Oakwood, Ga., and Townville, S.C. According to Vail, about 85% of the company’s current business in the region serves builders of multi-family housing units, including large-scale apartment complexes in Chattanooga and Knoxville.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to help Panel Truss Texas grow its business in Catoosa County and create good jobs right here at home,” said Catoosa County Economic Development Authority Director Keith Barclift. “The company makes excellent products to support our construction industry and is a valuable partner in our economic development efforts.”

Panel Truss Texas Inc. will establish its Catoosa County location at 923 Industrial Boulevard in Ringgold, which was the home of Sun Mills Carpet and Flooring. The location gives Panel Truss Texas quick access to Interstate 75 and other major transportation corridors, along with access to fiber optic high-speed broadband and other critical utilities. The company expects to begin operations as soon as its civil engineering and wastewater plans are complete.


Catoosa_walker_news
Catoosa schools quizzing parents about return to traditional schedule

Catoosa County educators are considering allowing all students the option of a five-days-a-week in-person schedule.

When students returned on Aug. 24, only elementary students — kindergarten through fifth grade — were given the option of attending in person five days a week. They were also given the option of learning remotely five days a week; about a quarter of the school system’s 4,471 students in these grades are doing just that.

The rest — pre-kindergarten and grades 6-12, which total 6,156 students — were given the option of a hybrid schedule: either attending in person twice a week on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday, while remotely learning the remaining three days each week. They were also given the option of full digital (or remote) learning; about 18% of pre-kindergartners and about of a quarter of 6th-12th-graders are learning remotely.

Schools Superintendent Denia Reese, in a message posted Friday, Sept. 18, on the school system’s website (www.catoosa.k12.ga.us) is seeking parents’ — those with students in pre-K and grades 6-12— input on the new option.

These parents will receive an email with a link to a three-question survey, she said. They have until noon on Wednesday, Sept. 23, to respond.

In general the questions are:

♦ Is your child currently learning online or going to school on a hybrid schedule?

♦ If schools reopen five days a week, will you allow your child to go?

♦ What date do you think schools should reopen five days a week?

“Please keep in mind, on a full 5-day traditional schedule, we may not be able to social distance in classrooms,” Reese points out in her message. “We will still be required to follow the Department of Public Health guidelines for ‘close contacts’ and quarantines. Please be aware of the following: masks may be required in classrooms when social distancing isn’t possible or if the teacher has an underlying health condition; more students may have to quarantine because more ‘close contacts’ are possible; and, classrooms or schools may have to close or transition to a hybrid schedule for short periods of time if COVID spreads in the school.”

Schools reopened on Monday, Aug. 24. During the first two weeks after students returned to class (Aug. 24 through Sept. 4), 15 people — eight students and seven teachers — tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, 132 students and 56 teachers had to be sent home to quarantine for 14 days due to close contact with someone who was positive.

For the period of Sept. 11-18, the school system had 12 active cases — six students and six teachers; and, as of Friday, Sept. 18, 163 students and 207 teachers were at home quarantining for two weeks.

Here is the full text of Reese’s Sept. 18 message:

“Catoosa County Public Schools is seeking input from PREK and SECONDARY parents (6-12) about returning to a 5-day traditional school schedule. Parents of children in these grades will receive an email with a link to a survey. A text message will be sent alerting parents when the survey is available. Please check your email after you receive the text. If you do not receive an email, check your spam folder. If it isn’t in spam, we may need to update your information in Infinite Campus. Please provide your name, child’s name, and email address to questions@catoosa.k12.ga.us so we can send you the link. The email link allows one response.

“Please keep in mind, on a full 5-day traditional schedule, we may not be able to social distance in classrooms. We will still be required to follow the Department of Public Health guidelines for ‘close contacts’ and quarantines. Please be aware of the following: masks may be required in classrooms when social distancing isn’t possible or if the teacher has an underlying health condition; more students may have to quarantine because more ‘close contacts’ are possible; and, classrooms or schools may have to close or transition to a hybrid schedule for short periods of time if COVID spreads in the school.

“It is a very short three-question survey, so it will close on Wednesday (9/23) at 12:00 p.m. The Phase 2 plan will be posted on the system’s website with transition instructions for parents. A district-wide text will be sent so parents know the plan is available.

“NOTE: The survey only applies to PreK and secondary students.

“ELEMENTARY parents whose children are currently in digital learning may return to school at the end of the first nine weeks, per our original reopening plan. If you would like to make this transition, please contact your school by October 2nd to allow time to adjust schedules.”


Catoosa_walker_news
Deadline to complete census fast approaching

The Census Bureau is doing everything it can to count everyone living in the United States in the 2020 Census ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

By law, the Census Bureau must provide the first results from the 2020 Census by Dec. 31. The results are used for many purposes, including to determine how many seats each state gets in Congress.

In addition to under-representation, under-counting reduces federal funding to the county because census data determines funding for programs that feed children, support schools, train workers and improve emergency services, healthcare, transportation and more than 300 other programs, as well as impacts economic development.

As of Sept. 7, Walker County’s self-response rate was 58.9% and Catoosa County’s was 68.9%, showing that many still need to complete their 2020 Census; Georgia’s self-response rate was 60.6% while Dade, Chattooga and Whitfield county’s response rates were 52.7%, 52% and 55.8% respectively.

On the same date, Washington had a self-response response rate of 71.4%, Michigan 70.2%, Minnesota 74.1% and Connecticut 69.4%.

To ensure all residents in Catoosa and Walker counties are counted, the Census Bureau is:

♦ Urging every household to respond now or when a census taker comes to the door

♦ Maximizing staff and production hours to conclude field data collection by Sept. 30

♦ Keeping a close eye on data quality as they collect responses in person.

The census can be completed by mail, phone or online. For more information, visit https://2020census.gov.

To compare national, state and local U.S. Census response rates, go to https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html?utm_campaign=20200327msc20s1ccallnl&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.


Catoosa_walker_news
Restaurant inspections for Catoosa and Walker counties for Sept. 1-15, 2020

During the first half of September (Sept. 1-15), 14 business eating establishments were inspected in Catoosa and Walker counties: six earned a perfect score of 100; five earned a score in the 90s (A); three earned a score in the 80s (B). Also, a number of school cafeterias were inspected and all earned a perfect score of 100.

CATOOSA COUNTY

LONG JOHN SILVERS

2837 LAFAYETTE RD FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 09-01-2020

Score: 98

Inspector’s notes

Observed food debris build-up on floor fan being used by drive-thru window. CA: PIC will clean floor fan. (1 pt)

Observed hood vents over fryers with grease build-up. CA: PIC will have hood vents cleaned. Informal follow-up within 10 days to verify. (1 pt)

DONUT PALACE

390 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 09-01-2020

Score: 100

EL MATADOR MEXICAN RESTAURANT

2233 LAFAYETTE RD FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 09-02-2020

Score: 92

Inspector’s notes

Observed TCS food held over 24 hours without date mark. CA: PIC discarded TCS food. (4 pts)

Observed TCS food improperly date marked to be held for more than 7 days. CA: PIC corrected discard by date. (4 pts)

O’CHARLEY’S LLC

2542 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FORT OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 09-04-2020

Score: 86

Inspector’s notes

Observed grease and food debris accumulation on plastic pans used for chips/ CA: PIC will have pans cleaned and sanitized. (4 pts)

Observed inside of ice machine not clean to sight and touch. CA: PIC will have machine cleaned at a frequency enough to maintain clean to sight and touch. (4 pts)

Observed several condiment bottles not labeled with common name of food product. CA: PIC labeled bottles. (3 pts)

Observed heavy condensation dripping inside of reach-in cooler (bottom of prep top cooler). CA: PIC will have unit repaired. (1 pt)

Observed food and debris build-up on sides of equipment, on tables, and behind inside reach-in coolers. CA: PIC will clean equipment. Repeat violation will require a written plan of correction. (1 pt)

Observed food and debris build-up on floors behind equipment. CA: PIC will have floors cleaned. (1 pt)

DEL TACO

526 BATTLEFIELD PKWY FT. OGLETHORPE

Inspection date: 09-15-2020

Score: 92

Inspector’s notes

Observed a bucket of chemical sanitizer for wiping towels with no common name written on the bucket. CA: PIC had an employee to write sanitizer on the bucket. (4 pts)

Observed bucket of sanitizer for wiping cloths stored on a shelf directly next to single-service items and directly above single-service items. Also observed bucket of sanitizers stored directly on the floor. CA: PIC had employee move the sanitizer bucket to an approved location. (4 pts)

SCHOOL CAFETERIAS

Cafeterias at these schools were inspected, with all earning a perfect score of 100: Ringgold High School, Ringgold Middle School, Tiger Creek Elementary School, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, Battlefield Primary School, Boynton Elementary School and Battlefield Elementary School.

WALKER COUNTY

CAFFEINE ADDICTS ROCK SPRING

96 FIELDSTONE VILLAGE DR LAFAYETTE

Inspection date: 09-10-2020

Score: 100

ROCK CITY BIG ROCK GRILL

1400 PATTEN RD LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

Inspection date: 09-10-2020

Score: 99

Inspector’s notes: Observed condensation drain not working in prep cooler 3. Had PIC replace condensation drain. (1 pt)

ROCK CITY CLIFF TERRACE

1400 PATTEN RD LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

Inspection date: 09-10-2020

Score: 100

SONIC DRIVE IN

820 CHICKAMAUGA AVE ROSSVILLE

Inspection date: 09-14-2020

Score: 87

Inspector’s notes

Observed no hand drying provisions provided at front food service handwashing sink. CA: PIC replaced and supplied hand drying provisions. (4 pts)

Observed TCS foods cold held at temperatures greater than 41 degrees in prep top/reach-in cooler unit. CA: PIC chose to discard TCS foods. (9 pts)

BEYER’S SMOKEHOUSE

2661 N HWY 27 LAFAYETTE

Inspection date: 09-15-2020

Score: 87

Inspector’s notes

Observed an open beverage container in a cooler or over/next to Food. PIC discarded drinks and designated an area for personal items only. Also implemented policy of single-service cup with lid/straw only. (4 pts)

Potentially hazardous food not held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Observed BBQ pork held hot at 115-125 at the steam table. Repeat violation; Risk Control Plan for Temperature Control implemented. (9 pts)

GREAT WALL

13311 N. HWY 27 SUITE 1 CHICKAMAUGA

Inspection date: 09-15-2020

Score: 96

Inspector’s notes: Observed sauces stored in the prep cooler without lids. Had PIC place lids on all food containers. (4 pts)

SCHOOL CAFETERIAS

Cafeterias at these schools were inspected, with all earning a perfect score of 100: LaFayette High School, Naomi Elementary School, Rock Spring Elementary School, Stone Creek Elementary School, Rossville Elementary School, North LaFayette Elementary School, LaFayette Middle School, Rossville Middle School and Cherokee Ridge Elementary School.