2013 LaFayette Christmas Parade

LaFayette’s rescheduled Christmas Parade was held last night. The weather cooperated and everything seemed to go smoothly.   Tiny Facebook

Coming up over the weekend: Marsh House “Civil War Christmas” continues, Rock Spring UMC Christmas program, and another showing of “Christmas of Light” at Smith Planetarium. For other upcoming events (holiday, political, and otherwise) check LU Local Calendar.

(Also: Happy Friday the Thirteenth!)

Today is the last day of business (apparently forever) at Kids Station Christian Learning Center on Hwy. 151 heading towards Ringgold. The daycare center’s owner reportedly knew this was coming for a year, but parents weren’t notified until Monday.

Kids Station Learning Center

Catoosa County is opening a replacement Pre-K center at Wood Station Elementary, a solution only available for Catoosa residents. Walker County parents are left looking for replacement childcare on short notice.

Kids Station’s Facebook page seems to be gone, but the Web site is still up with events scheduled through next Friday. That indicates the shutdown happened on short notice, at least for some of the center’s staff. Parents say the center has recently done fundraisers, selling candles and various other things in an effort to stay open, apparently in vain.

According to one insider, the center is closing due to foreclosure – but the owner and director have so far refused to comment to media about what’s going on. Employees of Kids Station called police on Channel 3 reporters seeking to find more information.   Tiny Facebook

During Monday night’s Council meeting, city leaders began addressing some basic infrastructure problems, including the terrible condition of some sidewalks that prevents them from being used by people in wheelchairs, or pushing strollers, or riding a bicycle. They’re also putting money into handicap access at the rec. department and further repairs at the waste water plant that weren’t expected.

Sidewalk Steps

According to WQCH, the city will spend around $6,000 in the next year to fix handicap access problems at the recreation department, and an additional $4,000 repairing or replacing sidewalks with handicap obstacles. (Hopefully that includes the section depicted above.)

[Only $10,000 to fix a lot of small problems that have existed for a decade or more.. These could have been taken care of years ago if we had a city manager and council (and mayor) with better priorities. It’s going to take a lot of time and money over the next few years to catch the city up from the neglect left by Johnnie Arnold and some others who have now thankfully departed city government.]

Upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant will require another $8,000 to replace the building’s existing floor, deemed insufficiently strong to hold the weight of new equipment. The council also began working on a rule change that would allow meetings scheduled for Monday holidays to be held on the following Tuesday.   Tiny Facebook

Georgia’s high school graduation rate for 2012 rose to 71.5%. it’s an improvement, but still means almost three out of every ten kids who starts 9th grade will never finish the 12th.   Tiny Facebook

Walker County Schools Administration

Here at home, in 2012, LHS graduated 79.1% of students, 20%+ higher than in 2010. Ridgeland also ticked up a bit, to 68% – but still below the state’s too-low average.   Tiny Facebook

Meanwhile, parents of kids in Walker County Schools have been asked to wait for student progress reports, due to software problems. Pearson PowerSchool, cloud-based student attendance/grade system used for all local schools, has been down now since mid-November. Naomi Elementary gave up waiting and sent home reports with hand-averaged reports.   Tiny Facebook

Mountain Cove Farms is hosting an alcohol-friendly New Years Eve party. Are Walker County taxpayers OK with local government basically encouraging people to drink, especially at a venue 40 minutes from where most residents live?

Mountain Cove Farm New Years Party

It’s one thing to drink at home, or have a private restaurant in town where you can come in and have a beer with dinner, but this is a tax-funded restaurant/resort pushing people to consume a lot of alcohol on New Years eve.. They only have about six cabins out there, and not that many people have an RV. If more than a couple dozen show up (and they’ll have at least that many county employees there), we’ll have a bunch of people driving home afterwards. There’s no taxi in Kensington.

How many drunk party-goers will end up driving off the side of Lookout Mountain at 2 AM on January 1st trying to maneuver up Dougherty Gap Road, a paved pig-trail barely navigable in the middle of the day by a sober driver?

Also concerning: this event will compete with New Years events held at privately owned businesses around the region. Tax dollars taken from you and me, thrown into a black hole which hurts sales at local businesses. Now THAT’S Economic Development.   Tiny Facebook

The county can buy “heavy horderves” and champagne but can’t afford to continue providing Walker Transit to elderly and disabled people without doubling rates. The pending January 1 rate increase first reported on LU earlier this week has been picked up by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which is seeking community thoughts on the commissioner’s decision.   Tiny Facebook

After four victories Tuesday, LHS wrestling went 11-0 for the season. The boys will face two opponents next Tuesday in Fort Payne.   Tiny Facebook

Fire Marshal Waymond Westbrook

During last month’s “Lunch and Learn” meeting, Walker County Fire Marshal Waymond Westbrook discussed his job duties and how the department plans for various disaster scenarios.

Lunch and Learn meetings will resume in January.   Tiny Facebook

Chattooga County agrees to return over $55,000 in illegal fees charged to court defendants over the last five years, and says they probably won’t file charges against those people whose cases were dropped – if they can find them.   Tiny Facebook

A state park marking the site where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured in May 1865 has been defunded by the state and nearly closed down.

Media attention on the site’s condition led to a fundraising campaign and a $25k annual pledge from Sons of the Confederacy, which will be enough to keep the park open.   Tiny Facebook

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