Mayor Andy Berke, left, greets Samevelyn Rock, left, and LeAndrea Ware before a forum hosted by the Times Free Press titled "Study Hall" held at the newspaper's offices to discuss education in Hamilton County on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. A panel of educators and education administrators answered questions about teacher quality, preparation, and solutions to education issues facing the district.

Blackboard bonuses for teachers are back

Through March 24, any Hamilton County Schools or Chattanooga Headstart employee can receive discounts and rewards at dozens of local businesses through the city of Chattanooga's Blackboard Bonuses program.

Mayor Andy Berke kicked off the second annual Blackboard Bonuses with a breakfast for teachers at The Daily Ration on Saturday.

Participating businesses include Escape Mission Chattanooga, Nooga Paws, Big River Grill & Brewworks, Spare Time Chattanooga, Dr. Austin Roberts Family and Implant Dentistry, Tasty Donuts, Yankee Candle, Charming Charlie, Bar Louie Chattanooga, Olive Chattanooga, and dozens more.

Businesses interested in participating in the program can get more information by visiting:

Lee professor to lecture on Confederate monuments

Lee University's Drew Bledsoe, an assistant professor of history, is presenting a lecture Monday about the the history and impact of Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag.

The lecture, "Confederate Symbols: History and Perception," will connect the significance of the flag and monuments to contemporary controversies about the memory of the Civil War and race in America, according to a press release.

"As we continue to honor Martin Luther King's legacy, it's important to understand that symbols like the Confederate flag and monuments can have complicated histories with evolving meanings for different people," Bledsoe said in a statement. "We choose how to remember our past and those choices, reflected in symbols like flags and monuments, are incredibly important."

The lecture is free and open to the public. A discussion will follow. The event is at 7 p.m. in Johnson Lecture Hall, located in Lee's Humanities Center.

Two Hamilton County students receive TNStars scholarships

Ten kids from across the state of Tennessee have been awarded $1,000 scholarships by the TNStars College Savings 529 Program.

TNStars, a program of the Tennessee Department of Treasury, hosted the TNStars Holiday Scholarship Giveaway in December and the winners of the scholarship were chosen at random out of 5,500 entries after the contest closed on Dec. 28, 2018.

Lola Matheny, 11, and Zoe Shadrick, 5, both of Hamilton County, were among the 10 winners.

"The Tennessee Department of Treasury created TNStars to give Tennessee families a way to plan and save for college," said Treasurer David Lillard, Jr. in a statement. "I encourage the winners' families to keep building on what these scholarships have started. The money contributed to a TNStars account will grow as your child grows."

TNStars is designed to give Tennessee families high quality investment options at a low cost to help them put aside money for higher education expenses. Families can invest directly with the program and money can be withdrawn tax-free from a TNStars account as long as it is used for qualified post-secondary education expenses, according to a press release.

For more information, visit

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