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FVSU holds ceremony for future teachers

While teaching is seen as an underestimated and sometimes thankless job, it is still a very vital part of our community.

12 students out of 60 met the requirements to take part in Fort Valley State's 8th Annual Educator Initiation ceremony.

The ceremony symbolizes a checkpoint for students who are aspiring teachers.

Jasmine Roddie, a senior at Fort Valley State, says she was inspired by her aunt, a special needs teacher.

"I'm very passionate about special education because that's where the teachers are needed the most," she said.

"For me, I come from a title one school, free and reduced lunch," said Rodriguez Fillingam, "So for me to be able to come and get this education to give back to students and show them that 'You too can achieve'."

Fillingam says his inspiration is giving back to low-income schools .

More than 60 family members call Blue Bird home

Peach County's biggest employer, Blue Bird, has been putting buses together since 1927. Blue Bird is the nation's leading producer of school buses, and more than 1,600 people are employed there.

13WMAZ's Paula Rotondo found a special connection runs deep at the company.

Blue Bird is known for keeping its employees around. The average tenure is about 18 years, but it's how those employees relate to each other, literally, that makes working there a family affair.

A typical Blue Bird school bus can hold 30 people. Members of the Askew family who work there could fill two of them.

Hector Askew greets many of his family members on the line each day. There's a lot of them. Over 60 members of his family work at Blue Bird, including parents, cousins, uncles, aunts, and siblings.

Lane Southern Orchards Fall Festival coming this weekend

Pumpkins, at a peach orchard. Yes, seasonal tradition meets Georgia tradition this weekend with the 7th annual Fall Festival at Lane Southern Orchards.

Rubber Duck racing, corn maze adventures, and hay rides are a few activities you'll find at the festival, but that's not all.

Duke Lane Junior is the President of the Lane packing company and says he's excited for the festival.

"For the adults and the children we have music actually we have music that's back in my time from the '60s, so I'm looking forward to it."

He also says there's one part of the festival that warms his heart, "To be able to take part of our proceeds and take them up there to the Children's Hospital in Macon, and then we spend that whole half a day up there with the children, carving pumpkins and painting pumpkins."

FVSU aims to prevent alcohol abuse and STDs

Fort Valley State's Behavioral Services Center launched the Teaching Everyone about Risks Community Coalition or Tears2C.

The program aims to lower alcohol and substance abuse...and drop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

"We've developed relationships with community providers such as Phoenix Center Behavioral Health services,"explained Jacqueline Caskey-James, the director of student health, "We've developed a relationship with the local DUI school here, HODAC in Warner Robins."

All efforts to bring individuals outside the school to the program.

The program targets 18 to 24-year-olds in Houston and Peach counties and involves peer-driven sessions that teach STD prevention and the impact of drinking.

Proposed Government Regulations Are Challenging to Members' Electric Bills

REYNOLDS/PERRY/WARNER ROBINS/COLUMBUS-Proposed government regulations are expected to be extremely challenging for Flint Energies member bills, according to Chief Executive Officer Bob Ray.

“Since 2008, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has generated at least nine new regulations which attempt to reduce coal-fired generation for power plants,” said Ray. “Just two of those regulations have already cost Flint members $105 million.”

“These regulations essentially prevent construction of future coal generation plants,” he said. “The new ‘Clean Power Plan’ which has been proposed gives Georgia no credit for already reducing emissions since 2005, sets targets for renewable energy and efficiency which will cost more than they save, calls for more natural gas generation but no more gas pipelines to get the gas into Georgia….and effectively destroys affordable energy for our members.”

Disease expert at FVSU: 'be rational' on Ebola

Dr. Earl Long, a former health scientist for the Centers of Disease Control, gave a lecture on Ebola at Fort Valley State Wednesday.

Long based the lecture on his experiences with the disease on his last trip to west Africa last year.

He's an expert on parasitic diseases.and was in west Africa to improve health services to reduce malaria when the Ebola outbreak erupted.

He says Ebola came to the forefront of his research, after one of the students who accompanied him on his trip died from the disease.

"Before it happened, Ebola was something that was there. I was not particularly concerned. I knew what disease was and I knew how to avoid it," Long said.

Governor Deal tours Blue Bird plant

Governor Nathan Deal visited Fort Valley on Thursday to tour the Blue Bird bus factory.

They are not only creating buses, Deal says, they are doing important work in creating jobs.

Now that Georgia has the highest unemployment rate in the country, the governor says job creation is crucial.