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Fort Valley cooks world's largest peach cobbler

It's a Peach County tradition.

Every year, Fort Valley celebrates the Georgia Peach Festival by cooking up the world's largest Peach Cobbler.

Peopled lined Church Street, eager to get a taste of the cobbler, which measured 11 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 6 inches deep. Volunteers started working on the giant desert around 3 a.m. Saturday morning.

Rich Bennett has been the head chef of the world's largest peach cobbler since 2006. He says the best part is serving the community.

"It's a lot of work, for sure, and a lot of people and organizations have come together to put this together for us, but it's a lot of fun too," says Bennett.

What goes in the world's largest peach cobbler?

Preparations begin for the Ga. Peach Festival


With countless pounds of peaches already harvested, Peach County and surrounding orchards are gearing up for the annual Georgia Peach Festival.

The annual Georgia Peach Festival kicks off Saturday morning bright and early with a parade starting at 9:30 a.m. Spokeswoman Sandee Khoury says it brings the community and Georgia farmers together.

"It's about the Georgia peach farmers," Khoury said. "There are several different growers in our area that produce approximately 83 percent of the peaches in Georgia."

Boys and Girls club hosting 'Steak and Steak Dinner'

About 195 children joined the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Valley this year.

During the summer, they have activities like board games, Foosball, and hula hoops.

But the club's staff says some changes are needed.

"Some of our equipment is outdated. We have tables that we're looking to replace, and making sure that we're in the 21st century," said John Mack, the chief professional officer.

He says the club needs new furniture and games for the kids.

Which is why they're hosting a "Steak and Steak Dinner" on June 20th.

Organizers hope ticket sales can drum up enough money to make the updates.

"It lends to really attracting the kids," said Mack, "If there is plenty for them to do, and we keep them engaged, then we know we can keep them involved and coming to the club more frequently."

NASA experts teach educators STEM exercises

Making a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows may seem simple, but eight teachers from across central Georgia found out just how hard it can be.

It was part of a workshop run by NASA experts at Fort Valley State on Tuesday.

Edward Hill, the dean of the school's college of education, invited NASA to train teachers who work closely with students.

"Some simple, basic activities from NASA that they can take right back to their classroom to help spark the interest in STEM," said John Weis, a specialist from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

He says the desire for science and engineering jobs drops once children get to middle school.

"[NASA] did a survey not too long ago and found that somewhere around 30 percent of our work force is of retirement age," said Weis.

FVSU cuts out-of-state tuition for 3 states

Starting this fall school year, Fort Valley State University is waiving out-of-state tuition for students enrolling from Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida.

The Georgia Board of Regents approved Fort Valley and 10 other schools to offer the waiver.

For most students taking 15 credits, it means a difference of about $6,300 a semester.

"It will encourage students to leave their state instead of staying home, so I think it's a good thing," said Darrell Lake.

He is a senior who is originally from Florida.

He says during his sophomore year, he was offered in-state tuition because he was an athlete, saving him a pretty penny.

" [It] was about $8,000 difference from out of state," said Lake.

He says giving that opportunity to other students like him will only strengthen his school's appeal for more athletes.

Family disagrees with Peach County Schools' retention policy

Angela Williams is a grandmother to triplets and says their bond is undeniable.

So, at the first sign of the sisters being split up, her first instinct was to fight it. On April 28th, Williams says the triplets' school, Byron Elementary, told the family one triplet would be held back in kindergarten, while her sisters would go on to first grade.

"That's unjust to her, that's unjust to her sisters, that's unjust to her brother starting kindergarten," Williams said.

She also says the school explained by saying her granddaughter had a hard time writing certain letters in cursive, couldn't recognize a 'hexagon' shape and couldn't finish a sentence-writing exercise.

William's daughter and the triplets' mother, Tiara Lighty, says none of those problems came up during previous meetings with the teacher.

Suspect in 8-year-old's death appears in court


After almost five months, Dennis Eason made his first appearance in Peach County.

Eason was arrested in Alabama in January and finally extradited back to Georgia on Thursday.

"(With) the whole judicial process, we can't do anything without him here," Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said. "So now that he's back in the state, that case will move forward."

Eason is one of six men charged in the murder of 8-year-old Jai'mel Anderson. The child was shot several times at the Indian Oaks Apartments on East Street.