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MARTIN PRAISED FOR EFFORTS LEADING PUBLIC DEFENDER’S STAFF TO NEW OFFICE

24-year county worker honored as Employee of the Month for August

 

By MITCH TALLEY

Whitfield County Director of Communications

 

The Whitfield County Public Defender’s Office recently moved to a new office, and taking charge of the move was Becky Martin, a 24-year county employee.

“Becky was in charge of coordinating the whole move,” says co-worker Sheri Smith. “She did a fantastic job, and she had to work so hard to do it. She went above and beyond her normal job duties, and she took care of every little detail. We appreciate her hard work so much!”

Smith was so impressed that she nominated Martin (successfully, as it turned out) as Whitfield County Employee of the Month for August.

Smith praised Martin for being “always pleasant and hard working, willing to pitch in on any task, just an overall great attitude.”

Martin has worked 12½ years for the Public Defender’s Office and another 11½ years for the District Attorney’s Office.

To let other Whitfield County residents learn more about her, Martin recently filled out the following fun questionnaire.

Name:   Becky Martin

Job title: Administrative Assistant

Time with the county: 11½ years with the District Attorney’s Office and 12½ years with the Public Defender’s Office

Where I went to high school:  North Whitfield High School

My role as a county employee:  To maintain our county budget and work closely with our attorneys regarding client cases.

What keeps my job interesting: Every day is different.

Where I grew up: Dalton

Family:  Justin Mullins –son, Candie – daughter-in-law, and Carter – grandson

After work, I enjoy: Riding horses with my friend Susan.

Community activities:  Bill Gregory Healthcare Classic

Favorite TV show: The Walking Dead

Favorite sport/sport team:  Atlanta Falcons

Favorite meal:  Lasagna

Favorite song:  “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen”

Favorite Whitfield County restaurant:  Lisa’s Café

Favorite Whitfield County event:  Prater’s Mill Fair

You can pick four people to have dinner with (anyone from any time in history) – who are your four people and why?

Jimmy Carter – for his humanitarian work

Elvis Presley –  just because he’s Elvis

Noel McBrayer – my dad

Steve Irwin – wildlife enthusiast

I’m most proud of:  My grandson Carter

Cats or dogs?   Both

Cake or pie?   Pie

Favorite car?  Corvette

Host or be hosted?  Host

Early riser or sleep-in:  Sleep-in

Favorite vacation ever:   Panama City, Fla., with family

Best teacher you ever had:  Tom Dickson

Pet peeve:  Telephone etiquette

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s:  Do not dwell on the negative, but look at the positive.

Who has had the most impact on my life:  My parents

What’s left on my bucket list: To go to Italy

If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a:  Veterinarian

If I could have two wishes, they would be:  1 – to have a sanctuary for all neglected and abandoned animals.                                                                                  2 – Travel the world.

You’d be surprised to learn that I:  In the mid-1980s had a thoroughbred and  did horse shows in Atlanta.

The best advice I ever got: Take one day at a time.  God gives us grace for today; tomorrow will take care of itself.

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Open Letters from DPS BOE Members

The letter below was printed in the Daily Citizen on Sept 7th from Steve Laird, a member of the DPS BOE:

Do you mind if we put all your sixth-graders in mobiles for two years so that the ninth grade can be moved out of Dalton High School in order to significantly reduce the number of students attending Dalton High?

On Nov. 7, our community will vote on whether or not we want to approve the funding for the current sixth grade/seventh grade model that we, the board, have proposed. If this is approved, we will build the 6/7 school and move the students. However, board members are also being asked to look at potential temporary movements, one of which is described below.

This potential temporary sixth grade plan would be in effect for the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 school years and will be discussed at the Monday, Sept. 11, Dalton Board of Education work session, which you can attend. I am bothered that this plan is not being discussed in the regular Board of Education meeting and that is a reason that I wanted to communicate with you on this issue. I believe we should work to engage the public on any significant matter affecting our students, parents and citizens.

Here are a few facts to consider.

As of the 10th day, Dalton High School’s current enrollment of 1,893 was 18 students above capacity and 158 students below the enrollment for the same day last year. Data for the 2017-18 school year is not available, but the 2015-16 headcount at DHS made us the 75th largest high school in the state.

In comparison, the Dalton Middle School current enrollment of 1,801 was 51 students above capacity and 25 students more than last year. The 2015-16 headcount made us the sixth largest middle school in the state.

The temporary transition plan getting the most attention currently will:

1) Take the sixth-graders out of their current building and put them in mobiles on a site with a school already full of children at an estimated cost of $2 to $3 million in the first year with additional costs estimated to be in the millions in the second year. We will need special plans for tornados, how to handle lunches and many other issues too long to list here.

2) This will leave Dalton Middle School with approximately the current enrollment level it has, and leave Dalton High with significantly unused capacity.

3) Many of the costs (mobiles, etc.) associated with this transition will not result in long-term benefits. In order to pay for this transition, we will need to increase taxes or significantly reduce the current surplus. In addition, the cost for this plan will not address any of our academic challenges in grades K-9.

4) We also need to consider the disruption to our sixth- and ninth-grade teachers and their class structures during this transition.

For those interested in how this temporary move could impact our Georgia High School Association classification, I have been told this move has little chance of changing our GHSA classification. There is not another system identified in Georgia where the ninth grade is not counted as part of the ninth through 12th grade school. I am hopeful our board leadership will go into great detail on this point at our open board meeting, not just a work session.

Current plans call for the school board to send a letter by Sept. 15 to the GHSA asking for a position on our classification based on a move of the ninth grade out of Dalton High School by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Board members would vote on potential temporary transition plans, possibly as early as October.

While we may look at other transition plans, I do not support moving our sixth-graders or any other students to mobiles for two years in order to reduce the number of students at Dalton High. I feel the disruption and additional use of limited resources is too costly at this time.

Please share your thoughts on this important topic with any and all of us who serve on the board, and plan on attending and sharing at our meeting on Monday, Sept. 11, at City Hall. Our work session begins at 4:30 p.m. with our regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.

 

The following letter was released Sept 20 by Dr Rick Fromm the Chair of the DPS BOE:

Daily Citizen Editorial Board Has No Understanding of “Truth”

I have tried very hard to stay out of the media and above the fray, but I am compelled to respond to the recent editorial from 9/19 entitled “Dalton School Board members forgot the dictum ‘truth will out’. It is quite ironic that a piece commenting on “truth” is filled with inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and outright lies. There is really no excuse for this since the Daily Citizen has had a reporter at all of the meetings of the Dalton Board of Education. It is curious why they chose not to “report” on any of these “plans” being developed as news, and instead chose to advance their “opinion” through the Editorial page. Perhaps it is because it was abundantly clear that discussions were only in the preliminary stages, as the minutes from the Work Sessions from 7/24 and 8/14 clearly show, and the Daily Citizen was not interested in reporting it honestly, if the truth did not support the narrative of the Editorial Board. It is a very illuminating and sad indictment of our local paper’s motivation.

 

So, what are the facts? The BOE has proposed construction of a new grades 6-7 school to help alleviate overcrowding at the secondary level. The public will have several opportunities to learn more about this plan over the next several weeks and will vote on the General Obligation Bond supporting the new school in November. This school addition will create a new grade configuration for DPS secondary enrollment. Beginning the transition to the new grade configuration prior to completion of construction is under consideration, and has been since the 7/24 Work Session. At the last Work Session (8/14/17), several options were discussed and two options were selected for further vetting. The administrative team was directed to report back to the Board at the 9/11 Work Session on the feasibility, logistics, and cost of the two options. That meeting was rescheduled for 9/21 due to Hurricane Irma. The editorial claims that the Board was “finalizing a 2018 plan …”, but a plan cannot be finalized until it has at least been created. Only then, can it be discussed and approved or rejected. Once a plan has been adequately vetted, stakeholder input takes place. The Board has not had the opportunity to complete this process. Final Board approval of any of these options will only be given if compelling, valid, and urgent academic reasons exist. This information is what the Board is in the process of collecting. Board member Steve Laird was present when the administrative team was directed to continue vetting options and did not oppose studying the plans further. One would have to ask Mr. Laird personally about his motivation for submitting a misleading column to the newspaper 3 ½ weeks after agreeing to fully evaluate these options and 3 days before receiving the feedback/information the Board requested administration to develop.

 

During the Special Work Session-Secondary Facilities (4/25/17), the Board directed administration to begin discussions and draft a plan to the GHSA regarding the planned change in grade configuration that would occur with the construction of the grades 6-7 school. After several conversations, the GHSA advised that we draft a letter outlining the plan and submit it by 9/15/17 if we desired it be considered by the reclassification committee, whether the district chose to move forward with a transition in 2018 (before completion of construction) or chose to wait and transition in 2020 (after completion of construction). The letter was prepared, as directed, but has not received final Board approval, and so it has not been sent. The letter will be discussed at the 9/21 Work Session.

 

The “open letter” from some DMS 6th grade teachers referenced in the editorial was never sent to the BOE. It may have been sent to individual Board members, but we have not reviewed it as a group and I, personally, have yet to see it.

 

The Work of the Board of Education is very comprehensive and takes place in open meetings. Many topics can be very mundane, while others create great interest. Attendance of the public is always welcome, but not mandatory. Ideally, the local newspaper would report fairly on the work of the district so that the public can be informed, rather than create their own narrative that often misleads. As Chairman of the BOE, I have not had one person from the Daily Citizen attempt to contact me regarding any of the issues outlined above and in the editorial piece. It would have been easy to discover the truth and report it accurately, just not as easy as creating one’s own “truth” that advances a different agenda, pushes a narrative, influences elections, and sells papers.

 

I’m taking this opportunity to set the record straight. The Work of the Board should not be arbitrated through the media. In this instance, however, I felt a response was necessary and justified. Thank you for allowing us to serve DPS. We are excited about the future of DPS, especially the opportunity to finally solve a longstanding overcrowding problem.

 

Rick Fromm MD

Chairman DPS Board of Education

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CONSUMER ALERT: Beware of Flood-Damaged Vehicles Being Sold in the Wake of Recent Storms

ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today cautioned Georgians in the market for a vehicle to be aware that many of the flood-damaged cars from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will be recycled into the used car market. Such vehicles are often sold at auction and then wind up on used car lots. Sometimes the vehicle’s title will indicate “salvage” or “totaled,” but sometimes dishonest dealers retitle the vehicle in another state and do not disclose the damage on the vehicle’s title as required, a practice known as “title washing.”
“Consumers should always have a used vehicle inspected prior to purchase,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “This is especially true at this time as an increased number of flood-damaged vehicles will be entering the marketplace in the wake of recent natural disasters.”
If a vehicle’s body, engine, transmission or mechanical parts have been submerged in water, it will probably have electrical problems, and the brakes, airbags and computer system may be impaired. Unfortunately, this damage may not be readily apparent, especially to the average consumer.
To help protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle, the Attorney General offers the following tips:
  1. Check the vehicle’s history by going to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (www.vehiclehistory.gov) and entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This is the only database where all auto insurers, salvage pools that auction off totaled cars, junkyards, recyclers and self-insured entities such as rental car companies in all 50 states are required by law to report total loss vehicles within 30 days.
  2. Look at the title. Always ask to see the title of the car before you sign anything or hand over any money. Check to see whether the car has been branded as “flood”, “junk”, “salvage”, “rebuilt” or “reconstructed”.
  3. Look for signs of flood damage. A musty odor, water marks or faded fabrics may be a sign of flood damage. A strong detergent smell inside the car or in the engine may indicate that someone is trying to mask a mildew smell. Rust and metal flaking are another red flag. Check the upholstery, dashboard, glove compartment, trunk, inner doors, engine area, and under the seats and carpeting for mud or silt. Look for drainage holes beneath the car. Test and retest the ignition, lights, wipers, air conditioner, heater and all accessories.
  4. Get the car inspected by a mechanic. Have the vehicle thoroughly examined by an independent mechanic before you sign a contract or pay any money. If the dealer refuses to let you do that, go elsewhere.

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Drive-by for Your Flu Shot in North Georgia

By Jennifer King:

North Georgia – Get your flu shot to go at one of six public health Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics coming soon to North Georgia. Just roll in, roll up a sleeve and arm against the flu this season while helping prepare communities for disaster!

Since 2008, public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties have conducted the annual Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics, serving residents safely, quickly and efficiently as they remain in their vehicles.

The four-in-one quadrivalent flu vaccine and the Fluzone High Dose vaccine for people sixty-five and older will be available at the clinics.

Quadrivalent flu vaccine protects people against four different strains of flu, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

The Fluzone High-Dose flu vaccine is for people 65 years of age and older because it has four times the amount of protective antigen for immune systems that tend to weaken with age.

The cost of the quadrivalent flu shot is $25 and the Fluzone High-Dose flu shot is $65. Cash, Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield Health and United Healthcare Insurance will be accepted along with other forms of payment and insurance, depending on the county.

The Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics are for people ages 18 and over.

While arming residents against the flu at the Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics, public health staff and community partners test their plans for standing up a temporary Point of Dispensing (POD) to rapidly administer medication during a public health crisis. Participating community partners include local law enforcement, volunteers, businesses and first responders such as the county Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Department.

This year, the Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics are scheduled in each county, as follows:

  • Cherokee:  Tuesday, September 26th, 9 A.M. – 2 P.M., *Woodstock City Church: 150 Ridgewalk Parkway, Woodstock, GA. Call (770) 928-0133 or (770) 345-7371 for more details.  *Please note this NEW Location for the Drive-By Flu Shot Clinic in Woodstock
  • Pickens:  Wednesday, September 27th, 8:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M., Mt. Zion Baptist Church: 1036 North Main Street, Jasper, GA. Call (706) 253-2821 for more details.
  • Fannin: Thursday, September 28th, 9 A.M. – 3 P.M., The Farmers Market: East First Street, Blue Ridge, GA. Call (706) 632-3023 for more details.
  • Whitfield: Tuesday, October 3rd, 9 A.M. – 5 P.M., Dalton Convention Center: 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road, Dalton, GA. Call (706) 226-2621 for more details.
  • Gilmer:  Thursday, October 5th, 8 A.M. – 3 P.M., Pleasant Grove Baptist Church: 115 Pleasant Grove Road, Ellijay, GA. Call (706) 635-4363 for more details.
  • Murray: Tuesday, October 10th, 8 A.M. – 6 P.M., Murray County Parks and Recreation Department: 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth, GA. Call (706) 695-4585 for more details.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination. The most convenient way to get that vaccination in North Georgia is at the nearest public health Drive-by Flu Shot Clinic.

For additional details about the Drive-by Flu Shot Clinics, call the local county health department or log onto www.nghd.org. To learn more about influenza and flu protection, log onto the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/flu/.

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HELPING HAND, GOOD ADVICE, OR SHIRT OFF HIS BACK – OFFICER ROBBINS WILL GIVE IT

10-year veteran at Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center honored as Employee of the Month for July

 

By Mitch Talley:

If you need some clothes, a helping hand, good advice, or just a positive outlook on life, look no further than Officer Bill Robbins of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center.

That’s the word from four of his fellow lawmen who successfully nominated him for Whitfield County Employee of the Month for July.

“Officer Robbins is the type of person to give the shirt off his back if someone needed it more,” Sgt. Jason Tatum said. “He is also a positive role model for the new employees to the Detention Center. You will never hear a negative comment from him, and he gives everything he has day in and day out.”

Robbins has been involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program here for years and has been a foster parent to several children, adopting three and raising them in a loving home.

“Bill is the poster man of a genuine good person,” Tatum said. “He uses this to mentor new officers and often is the person that you go to for advice or if you just need someone to talk to. Bill will be there to help carry any burden that you may need help with. In my opinion, these are very special skills limited to only a handful of people each of us will ever meet.”

Lt. David Pickett said that Robbins helped develop the sanitation practices for the Detention Division and that his attention to detail is amazing. “Bill can tell if even the smallest detail is not correct or out of place,” Pickett said.

Capt. Wesley Lynch praised Robbins as a “dedicated employee who displays a great deal of love for his work as well as for his fellow employees.”

“He is unfailingly conscientious and helpful to others,” Lynch said, “and is dedicated to assisting his co-workers in any way he can. Officer Robbins is always respectful to other staff as well as to the inmates of the facility. Bill maintains excellent attendance and is on time regularly and consistently. He works hard to make sure that all of his co-workers are taken care of and makes great strides in ensuring a positive workplace.”

Lynch said Robbins’ most significant performance issue is his humility and the great concern that he shows for his fellow workers.

“Part of a positive work environment is a culture of mutual respect and cooperation,” Lynch said. “Bill goes far, far out of his way to make sure that he does right by others and that he is respectful of others’ feelings. Bill genuinely cares about the people that he works with and also acts as an arbiter when others have conflicts at work. He works hard at both his job functions and in achieving a respectful workplace.”

Sgt. Stanley Graham Williams called Robbins “a great employee to the county,” noting he always has “a great attitude and a smile on his face.”

“When called in for overtime or a special detail, he will always come in,” Williams said. “He has even changed his plans on several occasions to fill in on a shift so that they wouldn’t be short staffed. Bill is the person that would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it, even if he knew he needed it more than you.”

To help local residents learn more about him, Robbins filled out the following fun questionnaire.

Name: Bill Robbins

Job title: Detention Officer / Deputy

Time with the county: 10 years

Where I went to high school: North Marion High School, Ocala, Fla.

My role as a county employee: To maintain safety and security at the jail.

What keeps my job interesting:  Every day is different with new tasks and challenges.

What gives me a sense of accomplishment on the job: Completing my goals for the day and feeling like I did a good job.

The most important thing I’ve done on the job: Looking out for the safety of my fellow officers.

Where I grew up: Ocala, Fla.

Family: Wife Vickie, sons Bradley and Julian, daughters Tracie and Courtney

After work, I enjoy: Spending time with my family.

Community activities: Habitat for Humanity

Favorite TV show: History Channel

Favorite sport/sport team: Football

Favorite meal: Steak

Favorite song: “Land of Confusion” by Genesis

Favorite Whitfield County restaurant: Chili’s

Favorite Whitfield County event: Prater’s Mill

I’m most proud of: Working for the Sheriff’s Office

Cats or dogs? Dogs

Cake or pie? Pie

Favorite car? Camaro

Host or be hosted? Be hosted

Early riser or sleep-in: Early Riser

Favorite vacation ever: Fishing in Florida

Pet peeve:  Laziness

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s:  PERSEVERANCE.

Who has had the most impact on my life:  Ronald Reagan

What’s left on my bucket list:  Travel the U.S.

If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a: Same job I have now

If I could have two wishes, they would be: Good health and peace.

The best advice I ever got: Fight through it.

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Here’s The Best Way You Can Help Texans

Here’s the link to Donate

Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey Relief

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New Firefighters Confirmed By Dalton PSC

By Bruce Frazier:

Townsend Assigned To Training Division

At Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission, Firefighter III Robbie Townsend was assigned to the Dalton Fire Department’s Training Division as an Instructor. The reassignment fills the vacancy left by Keith Dempsey’s promotion last month to Training Division Coordinator.

Townsend has served with the fire department since March 2008. He was promoted to the rank of Firefighter III in September 2014. He has already been active with training junior firefighters assigned to his shift. Townsend has been a physical training instructor with the department’s recruit program for several years and has also served as an instructor with the Georgia Smoke Diver program.

Townsend’s reassignment as an Instructor was confirmed by unanimous 3-0 vote of the Public Safety Commission. Commission members Carlos Calderin and Keith Whitworth were not in attendance.

 

New Recruits Confirmed

 Also at Tuesday morning’s meeting, the hiring of six new firefighters was confirmed by unanimous 3-0 vote of the commission. New recruits Andrew Carlson, Caleb Carlson, Chris Dennis, Cody Manly, Chris Smith, and Egan Stanley are currently taking part in the fire department’s Recruit School training program.

Andrew Carlson is a graduate of Ball State University where he was a member of the swim team with a degree in exercise science.

Caleb Carlson is a graduate of Coahulla Creek High School in Whitfield County where he ran cross country and track. He is a member of the Army National Guard.

Chris Dennis has previously served with the fire departments in Murray County, Chatsworth, and Bartow County and comes to Dalton from Summersville, Missouri.

Cody Manly is a graduate of Abraham Baldwin College with an associate’s degree in diversified agriculture. He previously served with the Whitfield County Fire Department. His great-great-grandfather was Dalton Fire Chief Frank Manly who served from 1894-1896 and 1904-1908.

Egan Stanley graduated from Southeast High School and has a certificate in business management from Dalton State College.

 

The Dalton Public Safety Commission is comprised of Chairman William B. Weaver, Carlos Calderin, Terry Mathis, Keith Whitworth, and Kenneth E. Willis.

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Georgia Department of Public Health encourages “eclipse glasses” for 2017 total eclipse

North Ga. – On Monday, Aug. 21, Georgia will be among 14 states to experience a total eclipse of the sun. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds those who will watch the solar eclipse that it’s never safe to look directly at the sun, or eye damage may occur.

Viewing the solar eclipse should be done through “eclipse glasses” that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. See the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers for a list of dealers of eclipse glasses. To find out which libraries near you are distributing free eclipse glasses, see the library map on the STAR_Net website.

Retinal damage to eyes may occur while attempting to stare at the sun. Solar retinopathy is a result of too much ultraviolet light flooding the retina. Never look directly at the sun without proper protection – using ISO 12312-2 lenses. If you damage your eyes trying to view the solar eclipse, please contact your healthcare provider.

NASA’s additional recommendations for safe eclipse viewing are:

  • Stand still, and put on your eclipse glasses before looking up at the eclipse. Turn away to remove your eclipse glasses — do not remove them while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the eclipse through a camera, a telescope or binoculars while using your eclipse glasses — the sun will damage the filter and your eyes.
  • Always inspect your eclipse glasses before use; if scratched or damaged, do not use.
  • Supervise children viewing the eclipse.
  • Remove your eclipse glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun and it gets dark. Then, as soon as the sun begins to reappear, put your eclipse glasses back on.

The last time the U.S. saw a total eclipse was 1979. During this year’s eclipse, the moon will fully block the sun for two minutes and 40 seconds. Only the northeast corner of Georgia will experience this; the rest of the state will see a partial eclipse. The moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, blocking all or part of the sun, for up to three hours.

Learn more about safely viewing the solar eclipse at: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.

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Dalton Area Weather from WDNN

Now on Optilink 216 – Charter 13

Now on Optilink 216 – Charter 13