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World Language Academy students immersed in multiple languages

Through the eyes of a 4-year-old pre-kindergarten student, the straight lines and loops of American letters start to mean something. Now local educators are seizing this narrow window of language development to immerse kids in Spanish and introduce them to Mandarin Chinese.

Twenty pre-K students at Hall County's World Language Academy are among only a handful of 4-year-olds in the Western Hemisphere who spend 80 percent of their school day communicating with teachers in Spanish, 10 percent of the day communicating in English and 10 percent of their day learning Mandarin Chinese.

September 13, 2009 | Jessica Jordan | Viewpoint


Parents get in on the language act, too

Kids aren't the only ones learning languages in local schools.

Parents also are enrolling in English or Spanish classes at the World Language Academy.

September 13, 2009 | Jessica Jordan | Viewpoint


Inside Buford Dam, Lake Lanier’s powerhouse

BUFORD - Engineering marvel comes to mind, not legal rulings and political wrangling, when treading carefully through the slippery, dimly lit tunnel 150 feet under Buford Dam Road.

September 06, 2009 | Jeff Gill | Viewpoint


No success left behind: EHMS off dreaded list

Year after year for 10 years, the principal of East Hall Middle School was forced to tell teachers and students state test scores were not high enough to meet "Adequate Yearly Progress" as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The task was arduous. About 3 out of 4 East Hall Middle students are economically disadvantaged. More than 12 percent do not speak English as a first language. And more than 13 percent have special needs, whereas most schools have a roughly 10 percent special needs population.

August 29, 2009 | Jessica Jordan | Viewpoint


Sense of belonging? Ex-gang member working for a better life

A female gang leader showed up at Frances Hernandez' house 10 years ago and told her to join SUR-13 or expect regular beatings.

Then, she slapped her.

August 23, 2009 | Ashley Fielding | Viewpoint


Stranded on an island? Gainesville looks to annex property

Before the Gainesville City Council got a chance to hear business owners' responses to a proposal to annex their properties into the Gainesville city limits, the council was threatened with a lawsuit, a legislative veto and the burden of breaking recession-stressed business owners.

Put mildly, a proposal to annex "island" properties at major entrances into the city already has proved contentious.

August 16, 2009 | Ashley Fielding | Viewpoint


Following the money in 9th District race

With the election still nearly 15 months in the future, there is only one certainty about the outcome of the race for Georgia's 9th District congressional seat: It will be a costly race.

August 08, 2009 | Ashley Fielding | Viewpoint


Many young people are going without health insurance

Jennifer Rafanan hasn't been covered by health insurance since 2001.

This means no doctor visits, eye exams, dental check-ups or annual women's tests.

August 02, 2009 | Carolyn Crist | Viewpoint


Want to start a business? First, prove you’re legal

The issue has caused some noise statewide, but it went unnoticed on July 13, when Oakwood City gave its final approval.

July 26, 2009 | Jeff Gill | Viewpoint


Boundary wars: New law lets parents choose school

Tane Shannon felt she had no choice.

When the parent of a rising Johnson High School freshman stood before the Hall County school board last November, she asked if there was anything board members could do to improve the school that some perceive as lackluster.

July 10, 2009 | Jessica Jordan | Viewpoint


Full for now: Summer heat could affect Lanier

After a rainy spring, Lake Lanier has filled up, to the delight of businesses and users alike.

But after a steamy, mostly dry June, Gainesville-Hall County is back to a rainfall deficit - although a slight one - and slowly dropping lake levels.

July 05, 2009 | Jeff Gill | Viewpoint


Massive I-985 project nears completion

OAKWOOD - Montie Robinson remembers his newly adopted city having a much different look when he began serving as a councilman in 1976.

He recalled a general store named Jimmy's, two beauty salons and the post office.

June 28, 2009 | Jeff Gill | Viewpoint


High and dry: Belmont residents want water

Roy Crowe lives in a nightmare where the source of clean water is visible but beyond his reach.

At the corner of Belmont Highway and Mabery Road, Crowe has four wells that have gone dry. The one that does work produces water so dirty, so full of iron that Crowe and his wife Elizabeth buy their drinking water and wash their white laundry elsewhere.

June 21, 2009 | Ashley Fielding | Viewpoint


Will Georgia go from roads to rails?

Could high-speed rail really be within the grasp of automobile-loving Southerners?

June 13, 2009 | Jeff Gill | Viewpoint


Happy campers, worried parents

With all the news about the crumbling economy, Liz Hansen decided to cut out the option for her 7-year-old son, Smith, to go to day camp this summer.

June 07, 2009 | Ashley Fielding | Viewpoint


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