Buy Local, Safe & Green Expo set for Thursday

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s annual Buy Local, Safe & Green Expo will celebrate and showcase local businesses of all varieties from 2-7 p.m. Thursday at the Gainesville Civic Center.

Featuring nearly 70 exhibitors, the event “promotes buying local and keeping tax dollars here,” according to Megan Martin, vice president of membership and events with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

She said there’s a wide range of exhibitors, including “everything from a local water company to a chiropractor, lots of nonprofits, local restaurants and a car dealership.”

For more information, visit

Buy Local, Safe & Green Expo set for Thursday

Bridal Expo offers inspiration for brides

The Gainesville Civic Center hummed with the sound of women chatting excitedly to their mothers and closest friends, as they planned the best day of their lives.

The 24th annual Bridal Expo welcomed hundreds of brides with their friends, fiancées and families Sunday at the Gainesville Civic Center. Nearly 50 vendors from across Northeast Georgia set up booths with samples for attendees.

The theme of this year’s expo was “Be Inspired,” and future brides had plenty of inspiration at their disposal.

Vendors included companies providing decor, tuxedo rentals, invitations, photography, registries and more. Some booths offered wedding makeup services, while event planners had numerous table arrangements on display.

Wedding venues included the civic center itself; the Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy; the Hilton Garden Inn; Lake Lanier Olympic Venue; the Smith House in Dahlonega and Greg Hall in Hartwell, to name a few.

Several caterers offered samples of food, including 2 Dog Cafe and Longstreet Cafe from Gainesville and Natalie Jane’s Restaurant from Cornelia.

Music, including string quartets, DJs and bands, was available for perusal, and several photographers and florists were set up, as well.

Brides were given bags from Gainesville Parks and Recreation, which they filled with pamphlets, business cards and fliers.

Bride-to-be Alexis Chadwick said she has started planning her summer wedding in Dahlonega, but there were still some items she was hoping to find at the expo.

“I’m getting married June 3,” she said. “The Juliette Chapel is where I’m getting married, but I’m here looking for cakes and flowers and such.”

Guests were also treated to bridal fashion shows featuring two Georgian fashion designers: Atlanta-based House of Van Miller fashion brand by Vanessa Henderson and Rita Workman of Hana Couture of Buford.

Bride-to-be Tiffany Anderson said she was excited to also see travel agents offering honeymoon packages.

“I’ve done a lot of planning already, but it really seems like you could plan a whole wedding right here,” she said.

The Times was the major media sponsor for this year’s Bridal Expo and debuted its new Brides & Grooms magazine at the event. The magazine shares a variety of features about getting married in North Georgia and was available for free at the expo and at The Times office.

Other major sponsors included Carrie Jean Photography, Oakwood Occasions and Greg Hall Weddings and Events.

“I just love this,” said Dee Reising, a wedding consultant with Occasions Florist in Gainesville. “It’s so much fun to see all the little details that make a wedding come together.”

Bridal Expo offers inspiration for brides

3 injured in I-985 accident; road back open

A pair of accidents about a mile apart caused three injuries and closed a portion of I-985 South for a brief time Sunday afternoon.

Of the three people transported by ambulance, one had critical injuries and the other two had minor injuries, according to Hall County Fire Services Capt. Zachary Brackett.

Hall Fire Services initially responded a three-vehicle accident at mile marker 9, where no one was transported for injuries.

While that accident was being worked, a two-vehicle accident that caused three injuries occurred near mile marker 10.

After the brief road closure, I-985 South was back open by about 5 p.m.

3 injured in I-985 accident; road back open

Djokovic somete a Murray e iguala los seis títulos de Emerson

El serbio Novak Djokovic sometió este domingo al británico Andy Murray en la final del Abierto de Australia e igualó, con su sexto título en Melbourne, las seis conquistas del australiano Roy Emerson, quien hasta hoy ostentaba en solitario el récord de victorias en este Grand Slam.

Djokovic somete a Murray e iguala los seis títulos de Emerson

La nipona Kayoko Fukushi gana el maratón de Osaka y se clasifica para Río

La veterana corredora Kayoko Fukushi logró hoy su segunda victoria en el maratón femenino de Osaka (oeste de Japón), con un tiempo que le concede una plaza en el equipo nipón que disputará los Juegos Olímpicos de Río de Janeiro.

La nipona Kayoko Fukushi gana el maratón de Osaka y se clasifica para Río

Footgol, un deporte que crece a pasos agigantados

Una veintena de personas recorre el campo e intenta embocar la pelota en el hoyo empleando la menor cantidad de golpes posibles, pero no se trata de un partido de golf convencional sino de uno de footgolf, el deporte que une fútbol y golf y que crece a pasos agigantados en Argentina y en el mundo.

Footgol, un deporte que crece a pasos agigantados

Con gol de Mora, River le ganó a Boca en el último amistoso del verano

River Plate volvió a derrotar hoy por 1-0 a Boca Juniors en el segundo superclásico argentino del verano, en un amistoso disputado en Mendoza, que repitió el mismo resultado registrado hace una semana en.

Con gol de Mora, River le ganó a Boca en el último amistoso del verano

Milestones a step up, but ‘not the final word’

The state’s new Milestones test requires more from students, city and county education officials agree — and that is generally good.

However, much uncertainty continues about how the results would or should be used.

“Milestones are much more verbal, more multistep thinking” than the previous Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, Will Schofield, Hall County school superintendent,said.

He said neither Milestones nor the CRCT measure growth in a student’s learning, which he views as critical information.

But Schofield agreed the new test — with changes made in the federal education law — is an improvement over the CRCT because it provides more decision-making, especially about teacher evaluations, at the local and state level.

“You have a dynamic combination of more rigorous standards and higher student performance expectations,” said Kevin Bales, director of middle and secondary education for Hall County.

“For example, one of the common Georgia Standards of Excellence for English Language Arts involves students having the ability to identify inferences in multiple sources by citing textual evidence. Years ago, students would have multiple choice options in hopes of identifying inferences from one source.

“With the Milestones, students will need to show they have ability to apply their learning. Moreover, students have to do so at a much higher rate of accuracy.

“As an example, a student on the previous standardized CRCT tests could reach a passing score of 800 with an accuracy level as low as 38 percent. Those percentages varied by course and grade level. With the Milestones, a student will most likely need closer to 60 percent accuracy in order to be deemed proficient with the standards.”

Wanda Creel, superintendent for Gainesville schools, said Milestone is “truly about an application of knowledge.”

She said Georgia students have had higher curriculum standards since about 2004 but the new test requires students “to be able to articulate how they’ve learned and how they know it.”

She said the challenge of getting students to apply class lessons to different exercises requires teachers to “rethink” how to present information.

Sarah Bell, chief academic officer for Gainesville schools, said, the Georgia Milestones assessment system is more robust than the previous CRCT/EOCT system.

“The standards that are assessed have not changed, but the expectations of the test have,” Bell said. “The expectations for demonstrating proficiency are higher than before and are more aligned with those of other assessments.

“For example, in 2013, 29 percent of eighth-grade students were proficient or above on the math portion of the National Assessment of Educational Process, but the proficiency rate on the eighth-grade math CRCT was 83 percent. This is compared to 28 percent on the NAEP in 2015 and 37 percent on the Milestones.”

Creel characterized the Milestones test as “better for our children” because it measures “how to take their knowledge and … propel the project forward.”

Schofield noted he has “never been a big fan of standardized tests.”

He called the specifics of standards for teacher evaluations “a messy business” and said educators “have a feel” for ways to evaluate the best teachers and the lower-performing teachers but not the “huge middle chunk.”

“We want our kids to do well (on Milestones), but let’s not forget this is not the final word,” he said.

Milestones a step up, but ‘not the final word’