Reporter's Notebook: East Ridge eyes forming sewer board

Reporter's Notebook: East Ridge eyes forming sewer board

April 29th, 2012 by Kevin Hardy and Kate Harrison Belz in News

East Ridge officials are holding a public hearing to discuss the possibility of taking their sewer lines back from the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Authority.

The hearing, intended to gather information and gauge public interest in a switch, has been set for May 14 at 5:30 p.m. at East Ridge City Hall.

The hearing is the latest movement in a growing dispute about a study the WWTA voted to conduct to determine whether East Ridge's sewer rates should be raised.

That vote came after East Ridge officials decided to enforce a $200 fee every time the WWTA cuts into a road to repair its sewer lines, a fee the WWTA estimates will amount to more than $1 million after the extensive sewer overhaul it is planning to conduct over the next three years.

"They're saying that East Ridge is costing them so much money, but they refuse to show us exactly how much," Mayor Brent Lambert said Thursday night in an impassioned speech during a council agenda meeting.

Councilman Jim Bethune said he thought the city needed to slow down before it made any sudden moves.

"We need to get more information," he said. "All the costs and the figures -- we need to look at that."

No other municipality in Hamilton County currently charges the sewer authority to cut into streets. City Manager Tim Gobble has maintained the fee is necessary to help pay for costly road repairs.

TYNER TEACHER, STUDENTS WIN BLACK HISTORY AWARD

Elizabeth Renneisen, a 12th-grade teacher at Tyner Academy, and her students Darrius Wright, Valicia Powell and Deric Ison took home top prizes for the HistoryMakers' 2012 Digital Archive Curriculum Competition.

The competition charged teachers to design a lesson plan around the HistoryMaker's digital archive, the nation's largest black archive.

Renneisen's lesson plan was based on the play, "Fences," by August Wilson and incorporated interviews with local black athletes to examine the effect of professional athletics on black culture. Students wrote essays incorporating facts they learned by watching oral histories of blacks.

CRUZ WINS GATES SCHOLARSHIP

Jose Angel Cruz, a McCallie School day student from Dalton, Ga., was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship.

He is among 1,000 students nationwide selected each year as Gates Millennium Scholars, which comes with a "good-through-graduation" scholarship.

The scholarship covers all unmet costs for undergraduate and potential graduate-level education in addition to leadership programs and academic support.

The scholarship will cover all costs of attending any college of Cruz's choice during his undergraduate studies. It also will provide continued graduate school funding if he chooses to pursue an advanced degree in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

CHICKAMAUGA SCHOOLS PLACE IN NATIONAL SURVEY

Twelve Georgia school districts placed in the 2011-12 Digital School District Survey, which documented school districts' online presence, access to information and technology applications that allow the public to interact with school board members.

Chickamauga City Schools placed eighth in the category for smaller districts. It was one of 11 Georgia winners lauded for using eBoardsolutions, a Web-based governance software.

The survey was completed by the Center for Digital Education and in partnership with the National School Boards Association.

3 LOCAL TEACHERS UP FOR STATE AWARD

For the first time, three Hamilton County teachers have advanced to the state Teacher of the Year competition.

The 2012 Hamilton County Teachers of the Year are Sherry Johnston from Nolan Elementary School, Joan Roueche from Hunter Middle School and Leah Keith-Houle from Red Bank High School.

All three also were named regional teachers of the year and move on to the statewide competition.

CHARTER TEACHER IS AWARD FINALIST

Beverly Boss, a kindergarten and first-grade teacher at Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence, was named a finalist in the Tennessee Charter Schools Association Teacher of the Year Award.

Officials with the association surprised Boss, one of three finalists, this month at the school, which opened last fall as Hamilton County's third public charter school.

Boss formerly taught at Chattanooga Valley Elementary School in Walker County, Ga.; East Ridge Elementary School; and in Mississippi schools.

Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence Headmistress Jennifer Huskins said parents nominated teachers for the award. Forty-four nominees were asked to submit essays explaining why they teach, along with letters of support from administrators and other individuals.

The association will announce its teacher of the year next month in Nashville.