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Burt Fisher of Ringgold retiring from military

After 32 years of service Army Lt. Col. Burt Fisher of Ringgold will retire with full military honors as of June 30.

Hosted by Maj. Gen. Robert Harter, the Army recently honored his service to the country. During his Army tenure, Fisher served as commander of a PLS Trucking Company in the Invasion of Iraq in 2003-04 under Operation Iraqi Freedom, followed by additional combat operations as a joint information and network director in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015 under Operation Enduring Freedom.

He is a graduate of Combined Armed Services College and the Joint Operation Information Planning Courses, as well as Airborne School. He served for three 4-star level commands: Army Central Command headquartered in Kuwait, Forces Command located at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82nd Division and 18th Corps Airborne Headquarters and Special Operations. He has culminated his career at Army Materiel Command located in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama that is co-located with partner agencies NASA, FBI, DEA, ATF, and three 2-star Army commands.

Fisher has a master’s degree in administration, as well as certificates in life, health, auto, and home insurance, media Information, and mathematics.

He has two daughters, Lilly and Jadyn Fisher.

His brother Matthew Fisher and wife Stacey Fisher were in attendance. His 92-year-old grandmother Mabel Burton was unable to attend, but is an inspiration through her spirit and dedication to her family.

Dwight Watt: What is a mesh network?

A mesh network is where you have a number of access points and they are all communicating with each other and spreading the wireless signal from them. This in turn gives better coverage through your network area.

There are a number of wireless mesh network devices now available. They usually have three or more units in them and then you set up the units through where you want the signal sent. Then since they are near each other they are all sending out and sharing back and forth and give you strong signals over a larger area.

The principal in mesh networks is similar to how your cellular service works so you bounce from tower to tower and as a user never realize you have changed receiving points to the cellular network.

With the mesh networks used at home I am seeing people report better service in areas further from the main point such as into the basement or by the swimming pool.

The mesh network is definitely something to consider when you need a new wireless router if what you have currently leaves areas you want reception with poor or not adequate service.

Standardized tests on chopping block again amid COVID-19

Georgia students may get another pass on standardized tests next school year after year-end testing was scrapped this spring amid the coronavirus pandemic.

School officials and Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday, June 18, they plan to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow local public schools not to administer the Georgia Milestones tests for the 2020-21 school year.

Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods also aim to suspend annual teacher evaluations for the upcoming school year, according to a news release Thursday morning, June 18.

Resuming the oft-dreaded tests would both complicate classroom learning already challenged by social distancing restrictions and hurt the budgetary bottom-line for local schools, said a joint statement by Kemp and Woods.

“In anticipation of a return to in-person instruction this fall, we believe schools’ focus should be on remediation, growth and the safety of students,” reads the statement. “Every dollar spent on high-stakes testing would be a dollar taken away from the classroom.”

The move to do away with testing comes after Georgia received federal approval in late March allowing more than 2,200 public and state schools to be exempted from 18 requirements under state law.

Those exemptions included the Milestones test and other student exams, teacher performance evaluations and course curriculum for the coronavirus-impacted 2019-2020 school year.

School districts across Georgia totaling around 1.7 million students shut down in-person classroom activities in March as concerns mounted over coronavirus. They remained closed throughout the semester as students and teachers pivoted to online classes.

Local school officials were handed guidelines earlier this month on how to safely reopen classes for the upcoming school year, with plans outlining steps schools should take to prevent the highly infectious virus from entering classroom environments and to curb its spread if an outbreak occurs.

The bid by Kemp and Woods to suspend testing for a second school year in a row also comes as legislation works its way through the General Assembly to permanently scrap several standardized tests in Georgia.

Senate Bill 367, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairman P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, would get rid of five year-end tests including exams in American literature, geometry, physical science and economics.

It passed out of the state Senate in March but is poised for changes in a House committee as the legislative session speeds toward its conclusion.

The bill has drawn support from local teachers’ associations but skepticism from some state lawmakers concerned that less testing could inspire students to slack off.

On Thursday, June 18, Kemp and Woods said their request for another federal waiver from testing is in step with their push to ease stress for teachers and students by reducing tests.

“These efforts are in line with our longstanding shared belief that assessment has a place and a purpose in education, but the current high-stakes testing regime is excessive,” their statement read.

Quartermaster 3rd Class Dalton Mayfield from Ringgold charts a course on a map in the pilot house aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman returned to Norfolk Naval Station, Va., after a seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 2nd, 5th and 6th Fleets. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has remained underway since early April as a ready carrier strike group during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Truman has spent at least one day underway for 32 of the last 36 months, in direct support of global security around the world.

Julie Robbins and Anita Gaines will serve as Battlefield Primary School’s principal and assistant principal for the upcoming school year.

Graduation ceremonies in Walker, Catoosa counties

Gordon Lee High School: Friday, July 24, at 8 p.m. at the Billy Neil Ellis Stadium.

Ridgeland High School: Thursday, July 30, at 8 p.m. at Painter and Bower’s Field.

Heritage High School: Thursday, July 30, at 8 p.m. at Jeff Sims Field at Heritage Stadium.

LaFayette High School: Friday, July 31, at 8 p.m. at Jack King Stadium.

Ringgold High School: Friday, July 31, at 8 p.m. at RHS’s Don Patterson Stadium.

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School: Friday, July 31, at 8:20 p.m. at LFO’s Tommy Cash Stadium.

About Fort Oglethorpe City Council meeting

Fort Oglethorpe City Council meetings, which are open to the public, are held the second and fourth Mondays each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 500 City Drive, Fort Oglethorpe.

To speak at a council meeting, citizens must contact the city clerk (706-866-2544, ext. 1300) no later than 4:30 p.m. the Thursday before the meeting at which they wish to speak.

They must give their name and the subject on which they wish to speak, and that information is passed on to the city manager for review.

At the council meeting, the citizen will have five minutes to speak. The mayor or council may extend that time.