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Keith Farner

Stories by Keith

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Environmental center offers glimpse into American history

The exhibit opens on Monday and runs through April 30, and it’s called “Centuries of Childhood: An American Story.”

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Dozens participate in 31st Bring One for the Chipper event | VIDEO | PHOTOS

Crews from Jackson EMC, Walton EMC and Georgia Power came with chipper trucks to help dispose of the trees.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Peachtree Ridge alum leading Emory team in $1 million competition

The Hult Prize gives entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way society thinks about servicing the poor. Each team selected was chosen from more than 20,000 applications received from more than 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.

Suwanee man, 27, dies in fiery wrong-way I-85 wreck

The wreck happened at about 1:15 a.m. on Saturday south of North Druid Hills Road near Cheshire Bridge Road. Keith F. Smith of Suwanee was driving a 2001 Mercedes 300TDT when he hit head-on a 2015 Isuzu rental truck driven by a 62-year-old Cumming man.

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Gwinnett County Schools to reward teacher attendance, changes substitute policy

The new objective is to recognize teachers with perfect attendance each school year, and to recognize schools with the highest teacher attendance rate.

Ga.-PCOM to go tobacco-free Feb. 1

The new policy bans smoking and smokeless tobacco products completely on all PCOM properties. The policy includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes and products such as chewing tobacco, dip, snuff and electronic smoking devices.

Gwinnett Tech faculty member honored for life sciences contributions

Robert Powers, program director for bioscience and clinical research, was recognized this week at the Georgia Bio Community Awards annual awards dinner.

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Central Gwinnett's Maryanne Grimes a finalist for Principal of the Year

Central Gwinnett High Principal Maryanne Grimes this week was named a finalist for the Georgia Principal of the Year award by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. There are three high school and three middle school principals named finalists.

School Board hears more complaints about Common Core, College Board

Eight speakers voiced concern about classroom materials in much the same way they did in November and December. They focused on what they called a biased and inaccurate view, including missing important parts of history and how the country was founded.

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Gwinnett County Schools announces name for new high school

The new high school in Lawrenceville, scheduled to open in August, now has a name.

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Gwinnett County Schools announces new principal for Osborne Middle

The school, which opened in 2004, lost its principal, John Campbell, in November to the new high school in Lawrenceville.

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Maxwell High receives $2,000 donation for auto collision repair

For the second straight year, the Georgia Collision Industry Association donated $2,000 to the school in hopes of supporting an industry that is starving for quality young employees. The average age of a technician is 48-years-old, according to members of the GCIA who visited Maxwell.

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Ga.-PCOM Founders Day celebration to honor teaching fellow

Lauren E. Smith will receive the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal at an event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the atrium at the Suwanee campus.

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Band offers unique experience for White Oak fifth-graders

White Oak Elementary is currently the home of the only GCPS elementary school band program. The band has been in existence for approximately 20 years— beginning at Benefield Elementary, then moving to Sycamore Elementary, and the current home of White Oak Elementary.

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At Gwinnett Chamber, Atlanta Regional Commission chairman outlines optimism, concerns

The Gwinnett resident and chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission is still aware of the main issues that concern residents in the metro Atlanta, but he said things are improving.

Nesbit Elementary celebrating Peace Week

The third annual “Peace Week” is underway at the school in Tucker, and that means students and teachers are active in several events to promote diversity, anti-bullying and eliminate prejudice.

Gwinnett Braves announce new food, beverage vendor

Coolray Field to offer a series of upgrades that include new specialty food carts, revitalized branded food options and all food items cooked fresh in front of fans.

Gwinnett Tech, AARP Tax-Aide to offer free income tax prep

Volunteers will be on campus from Feb. 2 through April 15. Appointments are not necessary and clients are asked to bring last year’s income tax return, proper identification and all necessary documents for this tax year.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Meadowcreek students celebrate Best in State award

The national competition was designed for students to address a need or problem in their local schools or communities. The Meadowcreek students developed “Teen Fitness” that addresses physical inactivity among teens and promotes a fitness lifestyle. Students from South Forsyth Middle also took home an award. Ninety teams of middle and high school students from across the country have advanced to the next phase of the judging process.

State School Board looks to expand math course options

Surveys conducted by the State BOE and regional educational service agencies found that many educators wanted a choice between integrated and traditional/discrete math, spokesman Matt Cardoza said.

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Dressed as centenarians, Alcova students celebrate 100th day of school | VIDEO

But at Alcova Elementary on Friday, almost everything kindergarteners discussed was in some way related to the number 100. There were coins, cups, headwear, books, charts, shapes and even a super hero. Assistant Principal Kia Henley dressed as “Zero the Hero,” who came to save the students from the evil “Dr. Double Digit.”

State School Board approves Common Core changes

Six days after a State Board of Education member said the debate over Common Core is “in the rearview mirror,” the Board approved revisions to the standards in English language arts and math.

Teacher education partnership helps GCPS, Georgia Gwinnett College

A pipeline of hundreds of new teachers in Gwinnett County Schools may not have been possible without the existence of Georgia Gwinnett College. Now the unique partnership has an added value: accreditation. When the partnership began in 2010, GCPS had 20 candidates in the GGC School of Education, and they were all placed at Meadowcreek Elementary. This year, there are 708 in more than 90 schools, a spike even from last school year’s 566.

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Rash of thefts hit local high school baseball programs

Just days before high school baseball teams are scheduled to begin practice, several local fieldhouses have been robbed of equipment players and coaches use throughout the season.

Gwinnett Tech, Tillman Allen Greer collect marketing awards

The Education Digital Marketing Awards received more than 1,000 entries from more than 350 colleges, universities and secondary schools. Judges for the awards consisted of a national panel of higher education marketers, advertising creative directors, marketing and advertising professionals.

Gwinnett Tech to offer tech classes for business pros

The classes in the continuing education division are designed for business professionals and will be offered in Alpharetta starting on Tuesday. The classes are short-term — three sessions and eight sessions — and offered in the evenings at the North Fulton Center of Reinhardt University at 4100 Old Milton Parkway.

Creekland Middle to host robotics Super Regional

Robotics competitions with the Georgia First Lego League have grown in popularity in recent years, and now the state is fifth in the nation with 575 teams, including about 60 in Gwinnett. Nationally, about 10,000 teams compete. The Super Regional competition is one of six taking place around the state this month. About one third of the teams will advance to one of two state competitions on Jan. 24 at Georgia Tech and Feb. 7 at the University of Georgia.

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Gov. Nathan Deal offers plans for failing schools, funding

During Deal’s State of the State address in Atlanta, he said he would create an education reform commission and proposed giving the state power to take over failing schools, something a top education offical did not support during his campaign last year.

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Hundreds turn out for Lilburn Elementary’s Literacy Night

Several hours after school ended on Tuesday, the school was abuzz with more than 200 students and parents. They came to hear from a children’s author, learn interactive games using tablets in the cafeteria and to perform their robotics project. It was all an attempt to bridge literacy from schools to homes of students in the high transient area where more than 90 percent receive free or reduced price lunch.

Providence Christian to offer Dave Ramsey personal finance curriculum

Schools in Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties, along with the Savannah-Chatham school district have offered the curriculum, which is taught on DVD by Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, using interactive learning and easy-to-understand methods.

Gwinnett County Schools looking for volunteer mentors

The school district’s community-based mentoring program focuses on expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect young people with caring adults. The volunteer mentor training session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at 52 Gwinnett Drive in Lawrenceville.

National survey gives Georgia Gwinnett College high marks

The survey calls student engagement the “amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities,” and how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities linked to student learning.

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With initiatives in mind, Richard Woods sworn in as State School Superintendent

Richard Woods, a Tifton resident, said he would use his 22 years of public school education experience, and as a former small business owner, to listen to students, parents and teachers and work with the governor, State School Board and General Assembly to improve education in Georgia.

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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Peachtree Ridge students, coaches honored for volunteering

Athletics Director Jon Weyher recently received a trophy after nearly 90 students and coaches participated in a “Pack Meals - End Hunger” event put on by the organization Feed My Starving Children at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross over three days in late October and early November. The event partnered with the Norcross Cooperative Ministry and set a goal of gathering 5,000 volunteers to pack one million meals.

Education issues set to dominate General Assembly

Lawmakers and education officials agree that there’s one topic expected to dominate this year’s General Assembly when it convenes in a matter of days: Education. What’s unclear is how the myriad of issues will be resolved. One of the most challenging issues is how to deal with a growing level of children in poverty, which has grown by about 21 percent since 2002 to 62 percent — more than one million children — this school year, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

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Gwinnett Tech names vice president of institutional advancement

Byerly will serve as the vice president of institutional advancement for the school, and also serve as executive director of the Gwinnett Tech Foundation. Byerly returns to Gwinnett after she worked for the Technical College System of Georgia as director of resource development since 2013.

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12Stone to open five new campuses Sunday | PHOTOS

The church, which averages about 16,000 people each Sunday, will open the new campuses at schools where they expect to welcome about 300 people each. The expansion brings 12Stone’s total worship offering to nine campuses.

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Grant funding helps Puckett's Mill Hands on Habitat grow

But a month ago, the Mill Creek Cluster Education Foundation funded her “Hands on Habitat” with a second grant, a year after the first grant kick-started the project. The total grant funding is now $10,100, and makes Puckett’s Mill believed to be the only Gwinnett County school that has a classroom filled with creatures, plants, rocks, minerals, skulls and a wasp nest.

Gas prices fall below $2 in Gwinnett

Tumbling oil and gas prices continue to be seen across Gwinnett and the rest of the country.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Dacula High students gather, distribute toys to 80 families

Students from Dacula High’s Student Council and National Honor Society collected and distributed more than 250 toys just before Christmas to needy children in Gwinnett.

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Still without a name, new high school construction finishing up

While four new schools are set to open in August — two elementary schools, a middle school and high school — only one is yet to be named.

Police investigating fatal shooting at Buford apartment

A caller who reported the incident said they heard four to six gunshots at the Reserve at Ivy Creek Apartments.

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Gwinnett Tech logistics students visit UPS

The new logistics program at Gwinnett Technical College recently got an up-close view of a real-world example of how to apply classroom lessons to live business operations.

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Harbins Elementary students raise $1,100 for Unicef

A group of third-graders at Harbins Elementary this fall took it upon themselves to set a goal to raise money for a Unicef community service project to benefit underprivileged kids around the world. Their goal of $750 was easily surpassed as they collected more than $1,100, which will be used to buy a water pump for a village and two “schools in a box.”

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Georgia Gwinnett College to offer more non-traditional class times, formats

The school will offer a weekend cohort for students studying education.

GCPS issues hundres of stop-arm school bus violation warnings as citations begin in January

Motorists passing stopped school buses were mailed warnings in recent weeks after the violation was recorded by a stop-arm camera the district recently installed on dozens of buses. As of Dec. 19, Gwinnett County Public Schools printed and mailed 856 warning letters to drivers, while the most sent out on a single day was 100 on Dec. 9. District spokeswoman Sloan Roach said there are still 3,460 detections in various stages of processing.

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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Mulberry teacher touched by students' generosity

Because patients like Ollie at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta miss holidays, Roberts and the students decided to donate teddy bears, soft blankets and cards in memory of Ollie and in support of Roberts’ brother, Anthony. They gave more than 30 cards, 30 bears and 15 blankets.

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Report analyzes effects, future of $400 million Race to the Top grant

The Georgia Department of Education recently asked the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education to perform an independent review of its work.

Georgia Gwinnett College teacher education growth feeds GCPS

GGC is dwarfing other state colleges and universities in the number of student teacher placements in GCPS. Associate Superintendent Frances Davis reported in November to the Gwinnett County Board of Education that GGC during the 2013-14 school year placed 569 student teachers in the school system, up from 545 in 2012-13.

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Little Mulberry Park Christmas tree blossoms into community effort | PHOTOS

Walk along the path inside Little Mulberry Park, and just steps away from the water is a makeshift Christmas tree that’s developed into a community effort for those who use the park regularly. There are red and silver garlands draped around miniature stocking ornaments, candy canes and ornaments of apples and pomegranates.