Thursday, October 30, 2008

Booth Middle School's Edinger Named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year

Peachtree City Wal-Mart representatives Darren Gaddy (far left) and Freda Jones (far right) award Dave Edinger (center left) a $1,000 check as the store’s Teacher of the Year winner as Principal Ted Lombard looks on.

The Peachtree City Wal-Mart has named eighth grade science teacher Dave Edinger of J.C. Booth Middle as its Teacher of the Year.

Edinger received a $1,000 check from Wal-Mart for being selected as the Peachtree City store’s winner.

Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year program is one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the country. Since its inception in 1996, the program has recognized nearly 11,000 teachers nationwide and contributed more than $6.6 million in educational grants to schools.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fayette County Retired Teacher Honored by the Federal Republic of Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany has awarded the Cross of Merit, First Class, to retired Fayette County High German teacher Mechthild Vogt.

She was officially presented with the honor on October1 during a special ceremony at the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Lutz Goergens, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany in Atlanta, presided over the presentation.

The Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany, between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year in all eight classes.

Vogt taught German at Fayette County High for 30 years, for 20 of them she sponsored a German-American Partnership exchange program with a high school outside of Frankfurt in Hofheim, Germany. Over 500 German students visited Fayette County during that time, making friends with American students and experiencing American culture first hand. She spent many of her summer vacations taking her students to Germany for three weeks for a similar experience with German culture.

In awarding the Cross of Merit, Goergens credited Vogt with helping people from both countries better understand each other.

“Ms. Vogt, there is more understanding and sympathy for Germany in the United States today as a result of your work. And there is more understanding and sympathy for the United States in Germany,” he said.

Vogt looked back on her career with great satisfaction as she summarized her feelings while finishing her remarks.

“If I have done my part to help with the understanding and with friendships between our peoples, then I feel that I have reached my most ambitious goal and that all my work was worth it,” she said.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Piedmont Healthcare President and CEO Named 2008 Outstanding Alumnus

Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU) Department of Health Administration has awarded the 2008 Outstanding Alumnus Award to R. Timothy Stack, president and chief executive officer of Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award recipient is recognized as a leader and significant contributor to the health administration field, his or her community, VCU's Department of Health Administration, its alumni and professional organizations.

Selection criteria included professional accomplishments, departmental involvement and community involvement.

Prior to his arrival at Piedmont Healthcare in December 2001, Stack was president and CEO of Borgess Health Alliance in Kalamazoo, Mich., and was president and CEO of Borgess Medical Center.

Before joining Borgess, he was president and CEO of South Side Healthcare System in Pittsburgh, Penn. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president and chief operating officer at Central Medical Center and Hospital, also in Pittsburgh.

Under Stack's leadership, Piedmont Fayette Hospital was honored as one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals in 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004. Piedmont Hospital received the same recognition in 2005 and 2002 as well as being recognized as Best in Atlanta for Overall Cardiac Care and Cardiac Surgery for 2008, according to The Tenth Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study.

A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Stack also was the 1987 recipient of the Robert S. Hudgens Award. The award began in VCU's Department of Health Administration and has continued to be awarded each year by ACHE.

"It is especially satisfying to see someone whom the profession honored early in his career be chosen for the VCU 2008 Outstanding Alumnus Award,” said Roice Luke, Ph.D., professor and acting chair of the Department of Health Administration. "ACHE's selection of Tim to receive the prestigious Hudgens Award accurately predicted the impressive leadership capabilities he would demonstrate in the years to come. The Department is proud to claim Tim Stack as one of its own."

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Stack served the Department of Health Administration as president of the alumni association from 1992-1993, MHA residency preceptor, host of a regional alumni event and a fundraising advisor to the department.

Stack, who received his master’s degree in health administration degree from VCU in 1977, resides in Atlanta with his wife, Mary and their three sons. In 2006, he was named American Diabetes Association Father of the Year.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

John Oxendine Annouces 2008 Winners of Life, Fire and Safety Awards

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine presented awards Thursday recognizing Georgia fire personnel and citizens for outstanding service in fighting fires and saving lives at the annual “Life, Fire & Safety” Awards Luncheon, held at in Atlanta.

The program recognized individuals and organizations that excel in fire safety.

Winners of the “Excellence in Fire Safety” Awards were:
Firefighter of the Year – Wayne Henderson – Walker County Fire Department
Fire Official of the Year – Thad Dixson – Savannah Fire Department
Fire Safety Educator of the Year – Kristi Hill – DeKalb County Fire Department
Fire Safety Educator of the Year – Judith Samuels – Crawford County Fire Department
Fire Safety Prevention Program of the Year – Bolingbroke Volunteer Fire Department
Citizens Award of Courage (17 and under) – Haden Stusak – Fayette County
Citizens Award of Courage (18 and older) – Coty Peardon – Walker County
Journalist of the Year – Jim Strickland – WSB-TV Atlanta
Public Information Officer of the Year – Eric Jackson – DeKalb County Fire

Contestants in the poster and essay contests were required to reflect this year’s theme, “Prevent Home Fires,” in the entries they submitted.

First-place winners of the Fire Safety Poster Contest were:

Sky Raiford – Kindergarten – Heard Elementary School – Franklin
Jake Harrod – 1st Grade – Ephesus Elementary School – Roopville
Carlos Baker, II – 2nd Grade – V.L. Heard Elementary School – Savannah
Kailia Youngblood – 3rd Grade – Sarah Cobb Elementary School – Americus
Aspen Baker – 4th Grade – Ephesus Elementary School – Roopville
Elise Reyes – 5th Grade – Sarah Cobb Elementary School - Americus

First-Place winner of the Fire Safety House Essay Contest were:

Riley Laslay – Kindergarten – Cowan Road Elementary School – Griffin
Allyssa Bissell – 3rd Grade – Sandersville Elementary School – Sandersville
Malyk Mahoney – 3rd Grade - Burgess-Peterson Elementary School - Atlanta

First-place winners of the Fire Safety Essay, open to all students from grades six through 12, were:

Keldon Crimes – 6th Grade – Eagle's Landing Middle School – McDonough
Jacob Hickman – 7th Grade – Bagley Middle School – Chatsworth
Ashley Kirby – 8th Grade – Dawson County Middle School Dawsonville
Mario Sucar – 9th Grade – Sequoyah High School – Canton
Kenyard Crimes – 10th Grade – Eagle's Landing High School – McDonough
Autumn Jackson – 11th Grade - South Forsyth High School – Cumming
Maximiliano Vasquez, III – 12th Grade - Peachtree Ridge High School – Suwannee
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Governor Perdue Recognizes 19 Georgians for Acts of Heroism and Contributions to Public Safety

Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced the recipients of the Governor’s Public Safety Awards (GPSA) at a ceremony in Forsyth recognizing 15 public safety professionals for acts of heroism and four for contributions to the profession. The recipients were given medallions and their names were added to the GPSA monument at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC).

“Georgia is proud to recognize our law enforcement officers and emergency responders for their commitment to Georgia’s public safety,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “These individuals exhibit courage and dedication every day to keep us safe.”

The annual GPSA program began in 1998 to recognize the outstanding accomplishments and commitment of Georgia’s public safety community.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to pay tribute to Georgia’s public safety professionals who risk their lives daily and sacrifice time away from their families to protect our citizens,” said J. Dale Mann, GPSA committee chairman and GPSTC director.

The GPSA program recognizes public safety professionals in the following two categories:

· Act of Heroism – Recognizes those who performed an exceptional deed which resulted in saving lives and/or protecting property.
· Outstanding Contribution which Enhanced the Profession – Job performance which had an overwhelming positive affect on the overall profession.

Personnel from each discipline of public safety as well as state employees with public safety authority were eligible to receive the award. Nominations were submitted by local governments, state agencies, associations, police departments, sheriff’s offices, correctional facilities, fire departments, 9-1-1 communications, emergency medical services and emergency management agencies.

Recipients of the 2008 Governor’s Public Safety Awards are as follows:

Heroism Recipients

· Daniel Shane Burke – Lieutenant – Sylvania Fire Department
· Duane Owens – Firefighter – Sylvania Fire Department
· Trevin A. Moore – Corporal – Sylvania Police Department
· Sammie Joe Cephus – Captain – Montezuma Fire & Emergency Services
· Dorminey McCrae – Officer – Tifton Police Department
· Stacy Prater – Flight Medic – Erlanger Health System, LIFE FORCE
· Frank G. Rhodes – Surveillance Officer – Georgia Department of Corrections
· Drew Hood – Private – Catoosa County Fire-Rescue
· Scott Phillips – Captain – Catoosa County Fire-Rescue
· Josh Shoemaker – Private – Catoosa County Fire-Rescue
· R. S. Caviness – Sergeant – DeKalb County Police Department
· Michael Dahnke – Corporal – Columbus Police Department
· Jason Elliott – Sergeant – Brunswick Police Department
· James M. Huth – Police Officer Senior – Gwinnett County Police Department
· Scott Short – Sergeant First Class – Georgia State Patrol

Contribution to Profession Recipients

· M. L. “Bud” Owens – Director of EMS – Floyd Hospital EMS
· Dr. Robbie Friedmann – Distinguished Chair of Public Safety Partnerships and Director, Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange
· R. L. “Chuck” Kelley – Chief – Stone Mountain Park Department of Public Safety
· Don T. Cargile – EMS Director – Athens Regional Medical Center EMS

For further details on each of the honorees, please visit the Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s web site at and click on the link marked Governor’s Public Safety Awards. Pictures from the ceremony will be available on our website, by Friday, October 24th.
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Five Georgia High Schools Win Governor's Cup

Governor Sonny Perdue and State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox honored five Georgia high schools recently with Governor’s Cup trophies for improvement in SAT scores. Governor Perdue initiated the statewide competition in 2003 as part of an overall effort to raise Georgia's SAT scores.

"In any competition – athletic or academic – how you prepare is how you’ll play. Georgia's students are working harder than ever to perform well on the SAT,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. "I know that dedicated teachers, involved parents and hard-working students all worked together on this outstanding achievement. I’m pleased to recognize their collective success and present these schools with the Governor’s Cup trophies."

Each of the five high schools that won their respective classes was awarded a Governor's Cup trophy and a $2,000 grant towards SAT preparation resources. Juniors and seniors at the winning schools also received T-shirts. The Governor's Cup challenge is based on high school athletic regions and classifications previously assigned by the Georgia High School Association. The winning schools are:

Towns County High School Towns County A

Model High School Floyd County AA

Crisp County High School Crisp County AAA

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School Catoosa County AAAA

Savannah Arts Academy Chatham County AAAAA

"This type of improvement on the SAT comes from focusing on the importance of reading, writing and analytical thinking across all areas of the curriculum," said Superintendent Cox. "Our Governor's Cup winners are showing the entire state what happens when you combine hard work and high expectations. Congratulations to all of the students and educators in these winning schools."

A regional champion trophy and a $1,000 grant were also awarded to 32 high schools with the largest numerical improvement in SAT scores in their region. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. is a partner in the Governor’s Cup, providing all prizes to the winning schools.

The Governor's Cup challenge is a part of Governor Perdue's efforts to improve students' performance on the SAT and their potential for success in post-secondary education. Along with the Governor's Cup challenge, Governor Perdue also launched, an online resource providing post-secondary education planning materials to students statewide.

Governor Perdue and Superintendent Cox have also made free online SAT prep classes available to all high school students. In 2006-2007, nearly 40 percent of Georgia's high school students from private, public and home school programs used the SAT prep class.

Governor Perdue has placed graduation coaches in Georgia's middle and high schools to identify students who otherwise might not graduate and help them back on the path towards a diploma.

Governor Perdue and Superintendent Kathy Cox also announced the 2008 top score winners. The following schools demonstrated the highest SAT scores in their GHSA class over a 3 year period:

Trion City Trion High School A

Decatur City Decatur High School AA

Richmond Davidson Magnet School AAA

Fayette McIntosh High School AAAA

Cobb Walton High School AAAAA

The following schools represent the Governor’s Cup regional winners: Alpharetta High School, Banneker High School, Brooks County High School, Burke County High School, Callaway High School, Campbell High School, Central High School, Chestatee High School, Clinch County High School, Colquitt County High School, Dawson County High School, Decatur High School, Douglass High School, Forsyth Central High School, Gordon Lee High School, Lakeside High School, Lincoln County High School, Long County School, Madison County High School, Mary Persons High School, Mays High School, McNair High School, Metter High School, Newnan High School, Oconee County High School, Parkview High School, Schley Middle High School, Sequoyah High School, Spencer High School, Treutlen Middle/High School, Upson-Lee High School, Vidalia Comprehensive High School.

For more information on the Governor’s Cup, visit

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Concorde South U-11 Girls Win!

The Concorde South U-11 girls from Fayetteville recently won the NASA classic held in Marietta.

Front row L-R: Lily Ammon, Ashton Murray, Alyssa Taylor, Reece Weaver and Madison McPeters

Back Row L-R: Bella Millians, Carson Lamberth, Lily Barron, Peyton Lee, Meg Everritt and Caroline Thomas

In the back is Coach Wayne Simmons
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SEEDS Students Publish in ESA Bulletin

Charlee Glenn (Rex), a recent Clayton State graduate, and Serge Farinas (Stockbridge), both members of the Clayton State University SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology, Education, Development, and Sustainability) chapter, were contributing authors on, “Voices of Hope in a Rapidly Changing World,” an article published in the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

"The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, issued quarterly, contains announcements of meetings of the Society and related organizations, programs, awards, articles, and items of current interest to members,” says Dr. Jere Boudell, assistant professor of Biology at Clayton State. “The bulletin is read by many of the members. I'm proud that our SEEDS chapter members accepted this challenge to write this article.”

“The publication compiled all of the ideas that were generated and presented at the 2008 ESA Milwaukee conference and the conclusions that were drawn from the other breakout groups,” says Glenn. “I submitted all that my awesome group came up with, with the rest of the information on SEEDS Alumni, Anthropogenic Biomes and Education and Outreach.”

SEEDS, “promote ecological awareness and the importance of ecological science to biology students, prospective biology students, faculty and individuals everywhere.” The group seek to expand and diversify the biological and ecological fields by raising awareness of careers in ecology and of the opportunities that are available to underrepresented students.”
Glenn and Farinas admit that completing the publication posed some challenges.

“My main challenge then and now is projecting my passion through an application. Not always will your GPA and GRE scores be a good indication of your passion and determination,” says Glenn. “Ecology, since I became aware of it, was what I want to do in life and it’s hard to sell yourself on paper to get accepted for opportunities such as the ESA Field trip and internships.

“It’s even harder now that I am in the process of applying for graduate school. I know what I want to do; now it’s a matter of someone taking a chance on me and allowing me the opportunity to show what I can bring to the field.”

“The challenges, of course, had mostly to do with time. Being a full-time student and having to work leave you with little time to work with,” Farinas explains. “We worked on different versions over the span of a few months and sent them back and forth with revisions. In the end, I think it turned out to be a strong publication.”

Despite of some of the challenges both found the experience to be extremely rewarding.

“I count myself blessed that Melissa Armstrong, diversity program manager at the Ecological Society of America, and Teresa Mourad, director of education and diversity programs at the Ecological Society of America, took such a chance and allowed me to display just how passionate I am about what I do,” says Glenn.

“The rewards were in creating a great piece and having publication experience, which will help me in graduate school,” says Farinas.”Having that under my belt, along with some other projects that will result in publications, has already helped me find potential scientists to work with.”
For more information on The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America go to

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

St. Simons Island Resident Heather McCallum Appointed by President Bush to National Council on Disability

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Heather Whitestone McCallum, of St. Simons Island, Georgia, was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the National Council on Disability (NCD) ( The U.S. Senate confirmed Ms. McCallum's nomination on October 2, 2008.

Ms. McCallum was selected as Miss America in 1995, the first woman with a disability to be crowned Miss America in the pageant's 75-year history. Ms. McCallum also spearheaded the nation's largest multimedia public service campaign to identify early hearing loss, which was created by the Miss America Organization and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the deaf. The former Miss Alabama grew up in Atlanta.

NCD is an independent federal agency and is composed of 15 members appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. It provides advice to the President, Congress, and executive branch agencies to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Starr's Mill High School Band Wins and Wins!

Photo: Starr's Mill High School Band Drum Majors Molly Wenske and Keegan Christensen are shown holding the Grand Champion trophy earned by the Panther Pride Marching Band at the 26th Annual Super Bowl of Sound Marching Band Festival and Contest held in Carrollton, GA on October 4.
Starr's Mill competed against 21 bands from throughout Georgia and achieved Superior ratings in all categories judged. In addition to being named Grand Champion Band, Starr's Mill won the Norman L. Padgett Award for the highest music score of the competition, the Best Woodwinds in Contest award and the highest score in Open Class competition. The Color Guard took third place honors in Open Class competition. After a short period of celebration, the band took to the practice field in preparation for their next competition. On October 11, the Panther Pride competed in the Marching Warrior Invitational sponsored by Gordon Central High School in Calhoun, Georgia.

The band was awarded their second Grand Champion trophy of the season along with 2nd place Drum Majors and Auxiliary in Open Class competition, 1st place Majorette in Open Class and Gold Division (AAA and Open Class bands) and 1st place band in Open Class and Gold Division. The band will travel to Jacksonville State University in Alabama on Saturday, October 25 to compete against high school bands from throughout the south. The Starr's Mill Band is directed by Mr. Scott King and assisted by Dr. Andrew Poor.
To follow the band's progress, go to

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