Friday, November 28, 2008

Jenny McDowell Is Named Division III National Volleyball Coach of the Year

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has recognized Emory University’s Jenny McDowell for the Eagles’ national championship season by naming her as the National Division III Coach of the Year.

McDowell completed her 13th season at the helm of the Emory program by guiding the Eagles to their first-ever national championship. After defeating Colorado College and Southwestern in its first two NCAA contests, Emory topped the College of Saint Benedict in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals before edging Ohio Northern in five games in the semifinals. In the championship match, the Eagles prevailed over No. 4-ranked La Verne, 3-1, and closed out the team’s record at 36-5, establishing a school seasonal record for most victories.

McDowell was tabbed as the AVCA South Region Coach of the Year for the third time in her career, and, Emory’s final victory total marked the 10th time during her tenure that the Eagles finished a season with 30 or more victories. In addition, Emory qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 13th consecutive year under her guidance where it advanced to the Round of 16 for the 11th time. McDowell subsequently directed the Eagles to the school’s second-ever berth to the Final Four (2003 was the other appearance).

Her career record now stands at 406-117 and she notched her 400th career win on Nov. 7 when Emory defeated Brandeis University during the University Athletic Association Championships. Emory was ranked No. 1 nationally in the final Bison/AVCA Division III Poll and the Eagles have been ranked among the nation’s top 20 teams in every weekly poll since the early stages of 1996.

McDowell saw three of her players earn All-America honors in 2008, senior Dani Huffman (San Diego, Calif.) and Alysse Meyer (Stockton, Calif.) both garnered first-team recognition while freshman Natalie Schonefeld (Louisville, Ky.) was a second-team selection. McDowell has coached a total of 16 players to 24 All-America berths during her career.

“I am honored to be selected by the AVCA for this award,” McDowell said. “I feel truly blessed to coach at one of the finest institutions in the country. This season was so special because of the seventeen young women who committed themselves completely to our journey of achieving a national championship.

“The success that we experienced could not have been accomplished without the incredible work of our amazing assistant coaches, Justin Hart, Amanda Metz and Eric Hawes, as well as the support of the Emory administration.”

The AVCA will formally present the Division III National Coach of the Year award to McDowell at the 2008 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday, Dec. 18. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2008 AVCA Annual Convention.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UGA Honors Student Christina Faust Receives 2009-2010 George J. Mitchell Postgraduate Scholarship

Christina Faust, a University of Georgia Honors student from Athens, is one of 12 national recipients of the 2009-2010 George J. Mitchell Postgraduate Scholarship. She will use her fellowship to study immunology and global health at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Faust, who is pursuing a dual bachelor's/master's degree in ecology, was previously named a 2008 Truman Scholar and a 2008 Udall Scholar. The UGA senior, a graduate of Cedar Shoals High School, is the daughter of Lynn and the late Tim Faust, a former professor in UGA's Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and the granddaughter of Bob and Marian Olyha, also of Athens.

Faust was chosen from a pool of 300 candidates and is among the 10th anniversary class of Mitchell Scholars. She is the first Mitchell Scholarship recipient at UGA.

"Christina Faust is clearly one of the brightest stars in the UGA academic sky, and I am very proud of her," said UGA President Michael F. Adams. "She has demonstrated remarkable talent and the ability to master a variety of areas of study, characteristics which bode well for her future. I expect great things from Christina."

The Mitchell Postgraduate Scholarship, named in honor of the former U.S. senator who served as chairman of the historic peace negotiations in Northern Ireland in 1998, is a nationally competitive fellowship sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance for one-year of graduate study in any discipline offered by institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The award promotes a spirit of community and global understanding through linking future American leaders with the island of Ireland.

"Many of our students impress me, but Christina Faust truly inspires me," said David S. Williams, director of UGA's Honors Program. "We need leaders who understand the delicate interwoven nature of our complicated ecosystems, and who can envision and articulate answers and approaches. Christina is a leader for our times, and I am extremely proud of her."

Faust's commitment and passion for a career in wildlife conservation has been reinforced through her undergraduate research experiences at UGA. She has combined her interests in infectious diseases research and the way ecosystems are affected by completing thesis research on the avian influenza virus through UGA's Odum School of Ecology with a related study through the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Faust was one of 12 students selected internationally to present at the International Wildlife Disease Association Conference in 2007. She also presented twice at UGA's spring undergraduate research symposium sponsored by the Honors Program's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. She has won several conference awards, including "Outstanding Master's Presentation" at the 2008 Graduate Student Symposium at UGA's Odum School of Ecology.

Faust, who is also the recipient of a Foundation Fellowship, UGA's premier undergraduate scholarship for academically outstanding students, has studied, volunteered and traveled to five continents. Her most recent trip took her to Nanjing, China where she spent three weeks at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control. Faust is planning to participate in a study abroad program in Antarctica in December.

In addition to her research activities, Faust has been very active in extracurricular activities to promote recycling and other conservation efforts. She helped organize a recycling program with three student clubs during UGA's football home games this season, collecting about four tons of glass and plastic so far. Faust also holds leadership positions with the Go Green Alliance Council and the Sustainable Development Committee of the UGA Ecology Club.

"I am honored to receive the Mitchell Scholarship to continue my studies in Ireland," said Faust, who would also like to complete a Ph.D. in the ecology of infectious diseases. "I hope to approach wildlife health issues from sociological and environmental perspectives in order to develop the most sustainable and effective solutions to our planet's most pressing challenges."

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

UGA Odum School of Ecology Faculty Member Honored for Innovations after Age 6

Carl Jordan, senior research scientist at the University Of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, was recently designated as a 2008 Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures think tank. The Purpose Prize is awarded for people over 60 who are taking on society's biggest challenges.

"Dr. Jordan was named a fellow for restoring a worn-out cotton farm in the Georgia Piedmont into a center for research, education and outreach in organic and sustainable agriculture," said Marc Friedman, co-founder of the Purpose Prize program and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. "Purpose Prize Fellows such as Carl Jordan show that experience and innovation can go hand in hand, that inventiveness is not the sole province of the young."

For over 25 years, Jordan has studied the impact of conventional agriculture and forestry on the biodiversity of ecosystems throughout the world. His work at Spring Valley EcoFarms ( has put his research into practice, which has led to more environmentally - and economically - sound faming practices.

"Students with the agroecology lab from the University of Georgia have used the farm to broaden their knowledge of agriculture and the environment. Recognition from Civic Ventures hopefully will allow me to expand outreach to other members of the Athens and surrounding community," said Jordan.

Funding for the Purpose Prize from Civic Ventures ( comes from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation. Additional funding for the Summit comes from the American Association of Retired Persons, Erickson Companies, the New York Life Foundation, Hewlett-Packard Company and Legacy Works.

With roots that date back to the 1950s, the UGA Odum School of Ecology offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a certification program. Founder Eugene P. Odum is recognized internationally as a pioneer of ecosystem ecology. The school is ranked tenth by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program. The Odum School is the first standalone school of ecology in the world. For more information, see

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Georgia and North Carolina Teens Honored for Research in Biochemistry and Genetics in Nation's Premier High School Science Competition

/PRNewswire/ -- Research projects in Biochemistry and Genetics boasted top marks this evening for James Meixiong and the team of Sajith Wickramasekara and Andrew Guo in the Region Six Finals of the 2008 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation's premier high school science competition.

The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board. Tonight's winners will receive thousands of dollars in college scholarships and be invited to compete at the National Finals in New York City, where the winners of six regional competitions across the United States will vie for scholarships ranging from $10,000 to the top prize of $100,000.

"These students have competed with some of the greatest young minds in our country, and are now on an amazing journey to the finals for the most coveted high school science prize in the nation," said James Whaley, President of the Siemens Foundation, based in Iselin, New Jersey. "The fact that we've experienced a record-setting year, including a 10 percent increase in both team and individual project submissions and more than a 16 percent increase in the number of registrations, makes their achievement even more commendable. We congratulate them on their hard work and look forward to welcoming them to the national event."

The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges from the Georgia Institute of Technology, host of the Siemens Competition Region Six Finals.

Individual Winner

James Meixiong, a senior at Lakeside High School in Evans, Georgia, won the individual category and a $3,000 college scholarship for his biochemistry research that took several approaches to address how the structure of mitochondria influences the cellular levels of two proteins, Bax and Bak. His project is titled Inhibition of Bax/Bak activation by mitochondrial fusion: a novel mechanism to block programmed cell death.

"The long term goals of Mr. Meixiong's research are to fully comprehend the complex integrated pathways that lead to apoptosis, or cell death, with the hope that a small molecule therapeutic could be designed to control apoptosis in diseased cells," said Dr. Raquel Lieberman, Assistant Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Mr. Meixiong used three different and technically challenging approaches and drew responses consistent with his hypothesis in each case, ultimately creating a shift in the way we think about controlling cell death for diseases such as Parkinson's, Muscular Dystrophy and Cancer."

Mr. Meixiong is the Team Captain of his school's Science Bowl and the Olympiad Team and also manages his school's swim team. He won the Department of Energy's Regional Science Bowl Competition in April 2008. Mr. Meixiong has won numerous medals at the State Science Olympiad Tournament, including a first place medal in Ecology. He heard about the Siemens Competition after a friend was named a Regional Finalist last year.

Mr. Meixiong is fluent in Chinese and is a member of a volunteer organization called Chinese School United Student Action. He spends his free time as a math tutor and a junior volunteer at the University Hospital of Augusta, Georgia. Both of his parents are research scientists at the Medical College of Georgia. His mentors for this project are Dr. Craig Brooks, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Medical College of Georgia and Dr. Zheng Dong, Professor at the Medical College of Georgia.

Team Winners

Sajith M. Wickramasekara and Andrew Y. Guo, both seniors at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina, won the team category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for their research that has the potential to easily identify new chemotherapeutic drugs and greatly improve existing ones. The team's project combined traditional genetics with cutting edge computational modeling to streamline the gene discovery process. Their project is titled, A Functional Genomic Framework for Chemotherapeutic Drug Improvement and Identification.

"Mr. Wickramasekara and Mr. Guo's project was chosen because despite an enormous amount of research on cancer therapeutics, there is still a need to identify new genes to target for treatment," said Dr. Kostas Konstantinidis, Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the school of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Their approach has the potential to identify novel treatments that could lead the way to personalized medicine in the future. The team had exceptional communication and coordination in executing their project."

Mr. Wickramasekara is the team leader and heard about the Siemens Competition in 2006 when seniors from his high school were selected as Regional Finalists. Mr. Wickramasekara has participated in various science competitions including the 2008 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the North Carolina State Science and Engineering Fair and the North Carolina Junior Science Humanities Symposium. He is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and dreams of one day owning his own biotech startup, specializing in personalized medicine.

Mr. Guo is a Science Olympiad winner and Co-Captain of the Science Bowl and the Quiz Bowl. He recently received First Place State Team in the Goldman Sachs National Economics Challenge. Mr. Guo is Co-Founder and Editor of the Student Journal of Research at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

The team worked on this project with the help of their mentor, Dr. Craig B. Bennett, Assistant Professor, Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. and their high school advisor, Dr. Myra Halpin, Dean of Science, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, NC.

Regional Finalists

Regional Finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the Siemens Foundation awards $2,000 per project to the high school of every Regional Finalist.

Regional Finalists in the individual category were:
-- Rohit Thummalapalli, American Heritage School, Plantation, FL
-- Alexander M. Kim, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and
Technology, Alexandria, VA
-- Agatha A. Cummings, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
-- Varun Bansal, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology,
Alexandria, VA

Regional Finalists in the team category were:
-- Jonathan Wang and Jared V. Goodman, Oak Hall School, Gainesville, FL
-- Katherine S. Xue and Alborz Bejnood, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge,
-- Ruowan Yan and Melissa H. Hou, duPont Manual High School, Louisville,

The Siemens Competition

The Siemens Competition was launched in 1998 to recognize America's best and brightest math and science students. In another record-setting year, 1,893 students registered to enter the Siemens Competition with a total of 1,205 projects submitted -- this includes an increase of more than 10 percent in team and individual project submissions and an increase of more than 16 percent in the number of registrations.

Entries are judged at the regional level by esteemed scientists at six leading research universities which host the regional competitions: California Institute of Technology. Carnegie Mellon University. Georgia Institute of Technology. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. University of Notre Dame. and The University of Texas at Austin.

Winners of the regional events are invited to compete at the National Finals at New York University in New York City, December 5 - December 8, 2008. Visit on December 8, 2008 at 9:30 am EST to view a live webcast of the National Finalist Award Presentation.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kaufman to be Honored by Labor and Employment Relations Association

Georgia State University Professor of Economics Bruce Kaufman will be honored early next year by the national Labor and Employment Relations Association for his lifetime of work in the field of human resources and industrial relations.

As one of the first five inductees into the group’s Association of Fellows, Kaufman joins leading industrial relations scholars in LERA’s hall of fame. The award will be presented at LERA’s annual conference in San Francisco on Jan. 4.

“The initial award winners were people we thought have made the biggest contribution to the field,” said Morris Kleiner, the AFL-CIO Chair in Labor Policy at the University of Minnesota and the chair of LERA’s award selection committee.

Kaufman, who has been at Georgia State for 31 years and plans to retire in 2009, spent his career studying industrial relations. He is perhaps best known for his work chronicling the history and development of industrial relations practices and human resource management. His most recent book is “Managing the Human Factor: The Early Years of Human Resource Management in American Industry” (Cornell University Press, 2008).

Kaufman is also the recipient of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies’ 2008 Teaching Award.

He says while some aspects of human resource management have changed over the past century, the basic principles are largely the same.

“You’re trying to get the best workers at the lowest cost you can and get more productivity,” said Kaufman, who is also a senior associate at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business’ W.T. Beebe Institute of Personnel and Employment Relations.

Other inductees into LERA’s Association of Fellows include:

Richard Freeman, the Herbert S. Ascherman Professor of Economics at Harvard, known for his work on unions.
Thomas Kochan, the George M. Bunker Professor of Management at MIT’s Institute for Work and Employment Research, known for work exploring the changing labor relations environment.
Francine Blau, the Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Labor Economics at Cornell University. She’s known for work on gender discrimination in the U.S. and abroad.
Arne Kalleberg, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kalleberg is also a past president of the American Sociological Association.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Georgia Tech's Kirk Bowman Named Professor of the Year

Kirk Bowman, associate professor at Georgia Tech, has been named the 2008 Georgia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Bowman was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States.

“I am thrilled to be named the Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation,” said Bowman. “It validates my belief that research and teaching can be mutually reinforcing and positive sum.”

Bowman is a faculty member in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. He is also the program director for study abroad for Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Cuba.

“Dr. Bowman excites and inspires students to understand the politics, economics and cultures of other countries,” said Sue V. Rosser, dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. “We are very pleased that his work has been recognized. He is an asset to his students, a credit to our profession, to the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and to the Ivan Allen College.”

An expert in the politics of Latin America, Bowman is also a member of an interdisciplinary team researching conservation, economic development and drug discovery in Fiji.

He is the author of Militarization, Development and Democracy: The Perils of Praetorianism in Latin America. He is currently working on his next book, which explores national tourism policy in Latin America.

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering Professor of the Year awards since 1981. TIAA-CREF, one of America’s leading financial services organizations and higher education’s premier retirement system, became the primary sponsor for the awards ceremony in 2000. Additional support for the program is provided by a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa.

This year, there are winners in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Recipients were selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie “to do all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching.” The Foundation is the only advanced-study center for teachers in the world and the third-oldest foundation in the nation. Its nonprofit research activities are conducted by a small group of distinguished scholars.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 61 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information and standards in the fields of educational fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fayette County Whitewater’s InvenTeam on

The five Whitewater High students who won a $10,000 grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to make a prototype invention of a combined dehydrator/condenser have caught the attention of the Discovery Channel.

Their invention, aimed at dehydrating algae for use as biodiesel while simultaneously collecting purified water for drinking and other uses, is now featured on Discovery’s website as part of the channel’s sustainable news section. This will bring a lot of exposure to the students since almost six million people a day sign on to the website.

“This is really a honor for our students to be featured. People all over the world will know about their work and achievement,” says Carolyn Smith, one of the teachers working with the students on the invention.

The InvenTeam at Whitewater was one of only 16 high school teams across the country chosen to receive the Lemelson-MIT grant that will enable them to build a prototype of their idea and present it at a conference at MIT this spring. They are the first team in Fayette County to win a grant and only the second from Georgia.

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Twenty-two Named to Conference All-Academic Football Team

Twenty-two Shorter College Hawks football players were named to the All-Academic Conference team announced by the Mid-South Conference on Tuesday morning.

Eighty-nine football student-athletes earned academic conference honors from the conference. Shorter placed more athletes on this list than any other school in the MSC and it is the highest number that Shorter football has ever placed on the annual list.

To be honored as a member of the All-Conference Team, student-athletes must be a sophomore, junior or senior and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25.

"Since the beginning of the program, we have maintained that academics in the classroom is just as important as the things that happen on the field," said head coach Phil Jones. "I'm proud of these guys for their accomplishments and the influence they bring to this team."

Jackson Abercrombie, Kenneth James, Budd Keith, Zach Morrison, Will Oliver, and Jeremy Ruark have made the team for three consecutive years.

The players named All-Academic were:

Jackson Abercrombie
Bo Bearse
Spenser Bettis
Matt Broome
D.J. Cone
Derik Cooper
Josh Dorminy
Blake Ducatel
David Hall
Kenneth James
Curtis John
Bud Keith
Seth Lindsey
Zach Morrison
Will Oliver
Cameron Panther
Dustin Perry
Jeremy Ruark
Andrew Schrampfer
Will Wiggins
Ben Williams
Jared Williams

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IBT Holdings Honored by Women Presidents' Organization and Entrepreneur Magazine

/PRNewswire/ -- The Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) and Entrepreneur Magazine have announced that IBT Holdings has been named one of the Top 50 fastest-growing women-owned/led privately-owned businesses in North America.

Comprised of IBT Enterprises, Design Build Concepts and International Banking Technologies, IBT Holdings offers the complete continuum of solutions for the financial services and specialty retail industries. IBT Holdings companies provide customers with ground-up, storefront, and in-store design and construction services as well as retail consulting services.

"IBT Holdings' distinction as one of the country's fastest-growing companies is a testament to our company's prudent growth strategy," said Mylle Mangum, chairman of IBT Holdings. "Even amidst difficult economic times, we continue to help new and existing clients create engaging retail and customer experiences."

This is the second time the WPO and Entrepreneur have teamed up to create the Top 50 list. The WPO is the premier peer advisory organization for women. With more than 1,300 members and 82 chapters located in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Peru, the WPO has experienced rapid growth since its inception. Local WPO chapters are coordinated by professionally trained facilitators and meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential and collaborative setting.

"The fastest-growing businesses in the Top 50 are all rapidly building on existing success, and our ranking recognizes the accomplishments of these remarkable entrepreneurial women," said Marsha Firestone Ph.D., president and founder of the WPO. "The Top 50 list also shows the diversity of their business ventures, from IT consulting/engineering to industrial construction and advertising, as well as their important impact on the economies of their community."

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Southern Company Recognized as Military-Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs Magazine

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southern Company (NYSE:SO) has been named one of the nation's 50 most "military-friendly" employers for the third consecutive year by G.I. Jobs magazine, the nation's premier career guide for military job-seekers.

The honored companies were selected based on their assets dedicated to military hiring, the strength of their military recruiting efforts and their policies addressing National Guard and reserve service, among other criteria. Approximately 2,500 corporations with annual revenues of at least $1 billion were surveyed for this year's list.

"Southern Company is proud to be recognized by G.I. Jobs for the third consecutive year," said Alan Martin, executive vice president, Southern Company and president & CEO, Southern Company Services. "Military veterans fit well into our company culture because of their strong work ethic, advanced technical skills, adaptability and excellent leadership style -- all qualities we value at Southern Company."

G.I. Jobs helps provide training and career opportunities for veterans and those in transition from military to civilian employment. The 2008 list of military-friendly employers is featured in the December issue of the magazine.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

University of Georgia Student Honored for Essay

Eric S. Jenkins, a student at the University of Georgia, is the 2008 winner of the Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award. Jenkins’ paper, The Towers of Babble and the Passage of the USA Patriot Act, is the highest ranked student-authored paper at the 94th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association.

"I am excited to have my essay be highest ranked amongst all the student essays," said Jenkins. "This award is an honor."

The winning paper, a rhetorical analysis of Congressional debate on the USA Patriot Act (enacted just 45 days after September 11, 2001), demonstrates that the debate was dominated by a restricted "emergency" time frame and a restricted view of the public—limiting the potential for democratic deliberation. “Towers” makes an original contribution to a rhetorical theory of publics and public spheres and contributes to our understanding of a significant episode in American rhetorical history.

Eric S. Jenkins identifies an important problem: Conditions under which communicatively rational critique can fail even given pluralism. He insightfully discusses the central theoretic tradition addressing this issue, making significant progress in identifying and demonstrating the relevance of troubling limiting conditions for communicatively rational deliberation.

This award was created to honor Dr. Donald P. Cushman, an influential figure across the field of communication. The award is designed to recognize Dr. Cushman’s mentorship of students, which centered around excellence in scholarship, as well as their socialization as scholars in the communication discipline. The award honors the top-ranked student-authored paper from all NCA units that competitively rank papers for programming at the NCA Annual Convention

Jenkins accepts his award at the Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, the oldest and largest association dedicated to the communication discipline. This year’s convention is being held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, in San Diego, California and is bringing together over 5,500 communication scholars and professionals to help further the discipline.

Walter Curran Awarded Endowed Lawrence Davis Chair of Radiation Oncology

Walter Curran Jr., MD, has been awarded the inaugural Lawrence W. Davis Chair of Radiation Oncology in Emory University School of Medicine. Curran was presented the honor by Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean of Emory's School of Medicine.

Curran is chairman of the department of radiation oncology, Emory’s School of Medicine, and medical director of the Emory Winship Cancer Institute.

Curran joined Emory in January 2008 from Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he served as professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology and clinical director for the Kimmel Cancer Center, also at Jefferson.

Currently, Curran is the group chairman and principal investigator of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, a National Cancer Institute-funded, international, multi-institutional cooperative group dedicated to advancing patient treatment and care through cooperative clinical trials and research.

Curran has been a principal investigator on numerous groundbreaking National Cancer Institute grants. He has authored or co-authored more than two hundred abstracts and scholarly papers, as well as several dozen presentations, reviews and book chapters. He is chair or co-chair of approximately 19 clinical protocols and a reviewer for 12 national and international journals.

The Lawrence W. Davis Chair of Radiation Oncology was established in October 2004. During his 17-year tenure as chair of Emory’s department, Davis has led radiation oncology in establishment of a residency program, a new Division of Cancer Biology to enhance research in the department and has grown the faculty to 26 members, including 16 radiation oncologists.

“Emory’s Department of Radiation Oncology has grown to international prominence under Dr. Davis’ guidance,” says Lawley. “We look forward to continuing and expanding upon this positive trajectory under Dr. Curran’s leadership.”
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MCG Honors City of Augusta and Augusta Housing Authority

The Medical College of Georgia presented President's Awards to the city of Augusta and the Augusta Housing Authority for their partnership in enabling the university's expansion in Augusta.

President Daniel W. Rahn presented the awards, which recognize exemplary service to the university's mission and are the highest honor MCG bestows, at the annual President's Dinner Nov. 15.

The Augusta Commission provided the University System of Georgia Board of Regents with $10 million in September to purchase the Gilbert Manor property from the Augusta Housing Authority for MCG's expansion.

"The recently completed transfer of the Gilbert Manor property to the Board of Regents and MCG could never have taken place except through the sustained efforts of the Augusta Housing Authority, members of the Augusta city leadership and our legislative delegation," said Dr. Rahn in presenting the awards. "This collaboration will enable MCG to expand its impact on health and to increase our economic impact in the Augusta region while also providing resources for renewed public housing.

"This award is presented in recognition of efforts to craft a significant partnership with MCG, for leadership in affecting a win-win opportunity for the residents of Gilbert Manor, the citizens of Augusta, the Medical College of Georgia and the greater community we all serve."

While all entities will benefit substantially from the partnership, the real winner in the long run will be Augusta, Dr. Rahn said.

“The successful collaborative efforts of the Augusta Housing Authority, city of Augusta and the Medical College of Georgia benefit the CSRA community as a whole, establish and increase the opportunity of employment through the expansion of MCG and ensure the development of much-needed affordable housing," said Jacob Oglesby, executive director of the Augusta Housing Authority.

“The partnership between the city and MCG as it continues its expansion locally should serve as a model for other communities," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver. "Our local government's historic investment in helping to grow the medical college, one of Augusta's primary economic engines, is both an investment in the health and wellness of our state and an investment in our city's future.”

The Gilbert Manor housing complex sits on a 15-acre, triangular plot contiguous to MCG and bordered by R.A. Dent Boulevard, Goss Lane and Spellman Street. The property will house a new School of Dentistry building.

Planning also is under way for expansion of School of Medicine facilities at the site and an Education Commons to be shared by the medical and dental schools.

Paula Hinely
Medical College of Georgia

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American InterContinental University Appoints Dr. Alan Drimmer Chief Executive Officer

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Governing Board of American InterContinental University (AIU) has appointed Dr. Alan Drimmer, age 47, Chief Executive Officer of American InterContinental University. Drimmer also continues in his role as President of AIU Online. AIU encompasses six campuses in the United States, including the online campus which provides education to over 15,000 students worldwide and one in London, England. AIU is a member of the Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:CECO) network of colleges, universities and schools.

Drimmer joined CEC in 2004 and has been the President of AIU Online since 2005. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Academic Officer for AIU Online. Among his accomplishments, Drimmer led technology innovation initiatives for the online campus, putting AIU in the forefront of innovative online education. He directed the development of a student outcomes and satisfaction program that resulted in AIU Online achieving the highest student satisfaction scores of any campus in the CEC network. Drimmer also guided the University in accreditation matters, transforming the University’s culture and processes at all levels.

Before joining AIU, Drimmer led functions at several other proprietary education ventures including UNext/Cardean University, eCornell, and the Corporate Executive Board’s Learning and Development Roundtable. Drimmer was a management consultant in the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company, an official at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan. He received his M.B.A from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelors, Masters and PhD from the University of Chicago. He was also a dissertation fellow at Harvard University’s John M. Olin Center for Strategic Studies and received Harvard College’s Derek Bok Undergraduate Teaching Award.

“Alan’s deep expertise in online education and management, as well as his international business experience, make him uniquely suited to lead an international university like AIU with a large and growing online education segment,” said Richard Perry, Chairman and a long-time member of the AIU Governing Board and a partner at the law firm of Wood & Perry in Georgia. “With Alan at the helm, the Governing Board is confident that the University will continue to produce innovations in curriculum, technology, and operations that improve student service and satisfaction.”

“As more options for online and blended learning continue to increase competition in the market, universities must not only provide first-rate curriculum and cutting-edge technology, but must ensure outstanding student support to maintain and grow the institution,” said Drimmer. “I am proud to lead an organization that has made student support and success a top priority, and I look forward to continuing to work with AIU faculty and administration to continually enhance our academics and the overall student experience.”

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Fayette County Superintendent Selected for Who’s Who

Fayette County School Superintendent John DeCotis has been selected as a candidate for inclusion in the 2008-2009 Honors Edition of the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry.

Inclusion in the registry is for individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their industry or occupation.

DeCotis was selected for the honor based on his knowledge and experience in education, demonstrated commitment to excellence and career advancement and enhancement. He will join 250,000 executives, professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the nation who are already part of the Who’s Who Registry.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

UGA Alternative Media Access Center Wins Honors

The Alternative Media Access Center, an initiative of the University System of Georgia and housed at the University of Georgia, has received the White Cane Award from the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia.

The award was presented on Oct. 25 at the NFB of Georgia’s annual Black Tie/White Cane Appreciation Banquet. AMAC received the award in recognition of its support for Braille textbooks on the post-secondary level and for promoting the independence of blind citizens of Georgia as they strive to become contributing, productive members of their communities.

Tamara Rorie, compliance manager and Braille production manager at the AMAC, accepted the award and plaque on behalf of AMAC. It was presented by Mary Fernandez who is a student at Emory University and one who benefits from the use of AMAC system services.

“The University System of Georgia has become a national leader in ensuring students receive equal access to their textbooks,” said Christopher Lee, director of AMAC.

More than 7,000 students challenged by learning disabilities, visual impairments, mobility problems and other disabilities attend the University System of Georgia’s 35 colleges and universities.

The Alternative Media Access Center is the nation’s first production, service, training and research initiative to offer a central hub for alternative media for those with print-related disabilities.

The new center, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is funded by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and membership fees.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hospice Advantage Fayetteville Recieves "Office of the Year" Award

Note: The Fayette Front Page has had opportunities to meet and get to know many of the wonderful people in the Fayetteville office. They are outstanding, caring individuals and they impressed us deeply. Congratulations! - FFP Staff

Hospice Advantage, Inc., a leading provider of hospice services, recently announced that their Fayetteville, GA office was the recipient of their “Office of the Year" Award.

Annually, HOSPICE ADVANTAGE recognizes one of their 24 offices throughout the seven States they serve that exemplify their vision of excellence. The winning office is chosen based on several quality indicators.

The company reviews satisfaction surveys from their past patients, families and referral sources, as well as staff retention rates and growth within their market. Ultimately, the office of the year is chosen because of their success in providing superior care, comfort and compassion to the patients, families and healthcare professionals they serve.

Owner, Rod Hildebrant states, “The Fayetteville office has seen tremendous growth in their market because of the commitment of each and every team member. Their dedication to enhance quality of life is apparent in every interaction with this team from the office personnel that answer the phone, to the nurse that is caring for our patients.”

Led by Administrator, Rebecca Folkes, the Hospice Advantage Fayetteville office is located on Yorktown Drive and has served hundreds of patients in the Southern Metro Atlanta area since 2006. Dr. Ferrol Sams III, with Piedmont Physicians Group in Fayetteville is acting Medical Director. Associate Medical Directors include Dr. Charlotte Grayson, Dr. Aaron Buice and Dr. Mike Oxford.

Hospice Advantage, GA offices are located in Athens, Fayetteville, Kennesaw and Norcross with plans to open in Ellijay and Macon in 2009. Hospice Advantage also has offices in AL, KS, MI, MO and WI.Hospice Advantage invites anyone seeking information about hospice help in the Greater Metro Atlanta area to call them at 800-307-8178.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Georgia Tech's Butera Named 2008 Jefferson Science Fellow

The U.S. Department of State has selected Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Robert Butera as one of seven Jefferson Science Fellows for 2008–2009. Butera will work full-time on a project with the State Department or the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) for the next year in Washington, D.C. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Butera is Georgia Tech’s first professor chosen as a Fellow.

Built on the premise that science, technology and engineering programs (STE) are integral to the foundations of modern society, the fellowship was established to foster partnerships between tenured scientists and engineers from U.S. academic institutions and offices within the State Department and USAID.

During his initial two-week visit to Washington, Butera said he and other Fellows were provided 21 two- to three-page project descriptions. After visiting the various offices sponsoring the projects, the Fellows decided amongst themselves their project selections.

“The projects were diverse, ranging from bureaus who wanted a technical person to be involved in science outreach, partnerships and/or serve as a ‘science officer’ for an entire region, to functional bureaus that serve specific tasks, such as international ocean agreements and climate change treaties.” Butera elected to work within the Office of Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat Reduction in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, “which is the lead policy office within the U.S. government for foreign policy issues related to chemical and biological agents.”

A week of American Association for the Advancement of Science workshops helped to acclimate the Fellows to the interaction of various government offices from a science and policy perspective. “Another topic of emphasis was contrasting the thinking and decision-making priorities [between] scientists and engineers and policy-makers, and how to bridge that gap,” he said.

But Butera’s work will not just provide him with more experience working on treaties and negotiations regarding the destruction and non-proliferation of weapons. His two “dual-use” projects will aid both his research and the Institute. “I chose the office and the projects because they directly relate to ongoing programs that exist at Georgia Tech.”

“One [project] involves collaborating with foreign counterparts to develop educational tools and professional awareness strategies related to defining, recognizing and solving dual-use issues that may arise in the course of biological research,” Butera said. “A second project involves working with other federal agencies to develop strategies for dealing with the dual-use issues that may arise from the de novo synthesis of gene sequences.”

With his past experience as graduate program director, Butera had to deal with export control rules impacting student visas. “My experience this year is directly relevant to all of these areas,” Butera said. “While I am officially representing the State Department in my position for the next year, I hope that my time can both provide input to these processes from an academic perspective, as well as serve as a resource to the relevant offices when I return to Tech.”

He also refers to his dealing with the Institute’s Office of Research Compliance as a bioengineering researcher. “I hope that my participation and my specific activities regarding dual-use biological research can help improve our campus-wide research ethics training, as well as contribute to the ongoing activities of the Sam Nunn Security Program and the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy.”

Butera’s research is primarily in the fields of neuroengineering, physiological modeling and real-time instrumentation. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tech in 1991, and received his master’s (1994) and doctorate (1996) from Rice University in Houston. He has been a member of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty since 1999 after conducting postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He also is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and the associate editor of the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Originally funded by the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jefferson Science Fellows has been funded by the State Department since 2008. The program is administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies.

Jefferson Science fellowships are awarded by panelists selected from the National Academies. Nominations are limited to scientists, technologists and engineers with tenured faculty appointments at U.S. colleges or universities.

Nominees and applicants were chosen based upon the abilities to articulate science and technology issues to the general public; to quickly understand and discuss work and advancements outside their discipline areas; to maintain an open mind regarding public policy discussions at the State Department or USAID; and their “stature, recognition and experience” in the scientific or engineering community both in the United States and abroad.

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Young Gardeners Grow Paramount Pumpkins

Matthew Adams made Georgia 4-H history last year when he won the organization’s statewide annual pumpkin contest with a record-setting 580.8-pound pumpkin. He didn’t break his record this year, but he still got first place.

Adams, a 4-H’er from Carroll County, grew a 468-pound pumpkin to win the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest. Second place went to Hannah Brown of Henry County. She grew a 340-pound pumpkin. Terrell County 4-H’er Caroline Daniel won third place with her 323-pound pumpkin.

Knowledge, pride and prizes

For the past two decades, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association has sponsored the contest. First place gets $100. Second and third receive $50 and $25 respectively. Each of the 38 4-H’ers who entered the contest received a contest t-shirt.

To enter, a 4-H’er must grow the pumpkin and have it weighed by the local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent. Any variety of pumpkin may be used. But to bring in the big numbers, varieties like Atlantic Giant, Big Max, Big Moon, Prizewinner and Connecticut Field are recommended. All of this year’s winners grew the Atlantic Giant.

“The 4-H’er needs at least 120 days to grow the pumpkin to full size,” said Lindsey Fodor, a Georgia 4-H program assistant and the contest’s coordinator. “We also recommend they refer to growing tips provided by UGA Extension horticulturist Terry Kelley.”

The number of entries was down this year due to the state’s drought, she said.

Watermelons, too

The goal of the contest is to get Georgia students interested in agriculture and in growing their own crops, Fodor said.

Due to the heat, it can be tough to grow pumpkins in south Georgia. To give 4-H’ers there a chance to grow competition-size fruit, the Georgia 4-H Watermelon Growing Contest was established three years ago.

Information about the pumpkin and watermelon contests, including photos of the past winners, can be found on the Web at

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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Two of Nation’s Top High School Basketball Players Headline 2008 T-Mobile Invitational

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Two of the nation’s top high school basketball players - Derrick Favors of Atlanta (Georgia) South Atlanta High School and Skylar Diggins of South Bend (Indiana) Washington High School - headline the four boys teams and four girls teams set to compete in the 2008 T-Mobile Invitational national high school basketball tournament.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced the eight-team field for this year’s event, which will be held December 29-30 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana. The NFHS-member Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) will serve as the tournament’s host state association. As such, two Indiana high schools were invited to participate in the tournament.

Favors, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound senior forward-center, and Diggins, a 5-9 senior guard, are considered to be among the nation’s top high school boys and girls basketball players, respectively.

South Atlanta High School, which has become a power in Georgia behind the physically imposing and athletic Favors, is expected to contend for the 2009 Georgia High School Association Class AAA state title. The multi-talented Diggins has led South Bend Washington to an IHSAA Class 4A state title and to two runner-up finishes in her first three varsity seasons.

Other boys teams participating are Duncanville (Texas) High School, Seattle (Washington) Garfield High School and Indianapolis (Indiana) Lawrence North High School.

Competing with South Bend Washington for the girls title will be Madison (Alabama) Bob Jones High School, Newark (New Jersey) University High School and Indianola (Mississippi) Gentry High School.

The T-Mobile Invitational is the only basketball tournament sponsored by the NFHS, and the field is composed only of schools from NFHS-member associations.

“We are looking forward to this year’s tournament,” said Robert F. Kanaby, NFHS executive director. “Not only does this event showcase some of the best teams and individuals in the country, but it also showcases the important role that activity programs play in high school education.”

“T-Mobile is proud to sponsor such a quality event,” said Mike Belcher, vice president of brand communications, T-Mobile USA. “The caliber of play is outstanding. And the caliber of individuals taking part is just as great.”

In addition to the two days of games, all coaches and players of the participating schools will join T-Mobile employees for a T-Mobile Huddle Up℠ community service project on December 28 designed to improve the after-school facilities at a local community-based organization or public school (site to be determined). T-Mobile Huddle Up is T-Mobile USA’s community outreach program connecting kids to positive people, places and programs. T-Mobile Huddle Up focuses on addressing the critical need for safe, high-quality, after-school programs for kids nationwide.

The inaugural T-Mobile Invitational was held in 2006 in Seattle with the nation’s No. 1-ranked girls team, Suwanee (Georgia) Collins Hill High School, and the boys team from Los Angeles (California) Fairfax High School taking home the championship trophies. The scene shifted to Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico’s “The Pit” for the 2007 T-Mobile Invitational. Set against that scenic Land of Enchantment backdrop, Jersey City (New Jersey) St. Anthony High School, ranked No. 1 in the nation, claimed the boys title, while Long Beach (California) Poly High School was the girls winner.

The partnership between T-Mobile and the NFHS, the national leadership organization for high school athletic and fine arts activities, strives to encourage student participation in interscholastic activities and emphasizes the importance of these programs in preparing students for life. In addition to the basketball tournament, the partnership between the NFHS and T-Mobile includes T-Mobile’s sponsorship of the NFHS annual national student leadership conference, plus other initiatives and events. T-Mobile is the Official Telecommunications Partner of the NFHS.

Here’s a closer look at the 2008 T-Mobile Invitational field:


Atlanta (Georgia) South Atlanta High School

Behind the prodigious play of Favors, South Atlanta compiled a 27-3 record in 2007-08 and was ranked No. 7 in Class AAA. The talented and multi-skilled forward-center averaged 23.7 points, 17.1 rebounds, 9.1 blocks, 3.6 steals and 2.7 assists as a junior last season and had 19 triple-doubles in 30 games. For his efforts, he was named Gatorade Georgia Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Class AAA first-team all-state and second-team Parade All-American. Among the eight players South Atlanta returns in 2008-09 is 5-11 senior point guard Nick Watkins, who is ranked as one of the top guards in the state. The Hornets scored 80 points per game and held opposing teams to 50 points per game in 2007-08, and were ranked 15th in the nation at one point of the season by USA Today.

Duncanville (Texas) High School

The second-largest high school in the nation in terms of physical size, Duncanville (Texas) High School has put up some equally huge numbers on the boys basketball court. Duncanville went 35-2 in 2007-08, including a spotless 14-0 in district play. It lost to eventual state champion North Crowley in the regional final and finished the season ranked No. 5 in Class 5A. The top returning scorers for 2008-09 are 6-7 Shawn Williams (17 ppg) and 6-5 Roger Franklin (14.5 ppg), who both were named to the all-state team last season. The Panthers’ frontline is expected to be bolstered this winter by the addition of 6-10 junior transfer Perry Jones. Coach Phil McNeely, who has compiled a career record of 674-173 and led Duncanville to state titles in 1991, 1999 and 2007, was 2007 EA SPORTS National Coach of the Year and 2008 District 8-5A Basketball Coach of the Year.

Seattle (Washington) Garfield High School

Coming off a strong 17-9 season with a very young team featuring one of the nation’s top underclassmen, Seattle (Washington) Garfield looks to build on that success in 2008-09. The Bulldogs’ top four scorers and top four rebounders all return, led by highly touted 6-5 sophomore point guard Tony Wroten Jr. As a mere freshman, the precocious and well-rounded Wroten averaged 20.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game, all team-highs. Six-one senior guard De’andre Taylor, who collected 15.4 points, three assists and two steals per contest, led the squad in three-point field goals in 2007-08. Jaron Cox, a 5-9 senior guard, averaged 6.3 points and provides additional depth to the already talented backcourt, while 6-3 junior Wilson Platt toiled inside with averages of 5.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. The Bulldogs will be led by first-year coach Ed Haskins.

Indianapolis (Indiana) Lawrence North High School

Perennial Hoosier State power Indianapolis (Indiana) Lawrence North High School will field a very tall and talented team in 2008-09. The Wildcats will give opposing teams nightmares as they return a formidable trio of 6-9 players, including senior Stephan Van Treese, who is a four-year varsity player and is verbally committed to Louisville; senior Jeff Robinson, who has verbally committed to Purdue; and junior Dominique Ferguson, who is regarded as one of the nation’s top juniors. Coach Jack Keefer, who has been Lawrence North’s only boys basketball coach since it opened its doors in 1976-77, led the Wildcats to state titles in 1989, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Among the outstanding big men Keefer coached were Eric Montross and Greg Oden, both seven-footers who played in the National Basketball Association.


Madison (Alabama) Bob Jones High School

Madison (Alabama) Bob Jones defeated Clay-Chalkville, 48-42, to claim the 2008 Alabama High School Athletic Association girls Class 6A state title, the first state basketball championship in school history. In that state title game, Bob Jones (35-2) played seven players, all juniors who will return in 2008-09. Among them is Kylie Cook, who was named tournament MVP. Her twin sister, 5-10 guard-forward Kellie Cook, was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association 2008 All-State Basketball Team Super Five (all enrollment classes combined), as well as to the Class 6A first-team. Their classmate, 5-6 guard Jala Harris, was named Class 6A second-team all-state. Coach Tim Miller, who has compiled a 238-40 career record, also led Montgomery (Alabama) Jeff Davis High School to the 2006 state title and was named 2007-08 Class 6A coach of the year. Sports Illustrated recently named Bob Jones High School’s athletic program as the best in the state of Alabama.

Newark (New Jersey) University High School

Newark (New Jersey) University, which finished the 2007-08 season 27-4, has won back-to-back New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group 1 state titles. Led by coach Felicia Oliver, University lost only one player from last year’s squad to graduation and returns 14 players for 2008-09. Leading the way is 6-0 junior Laurin Mincy, who was named first-team all-state as both a freshman (the first girl in New Jersey history to do so) and a sophomore and was named New Jersey Player of the Year as a sophomore. That season, the versatile Mincy averaged 19.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.9 blocks per game, and already has scored 1,318 points in her 66-game career. In addition, senior Nadirah McKenith was named both second-team all-state and first-team All-Group 1 last year.

Indianola (Mississippi) Gentry High School

Under the direction of coach Charles Williams, Indianola Gentry won MHSAA Class 4A state titles and MHSAA Grand Slam tournaments in both 2007 and 2008. Gentry defeated Yazoo County, 52-44, for the 2008 MHSAA Class 4A state title, and a week later, topped Class 5A state champion Jackson Murrah, 80-75, in double-overtime for the MHSAA Grand Slam championship. Multi-skilled 5-6 junior guard Brizannai Washington, who averaged 14.7 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals as a sophomore in 2007-08, was named Grand Slam player of the game. Finishing the season an unblemished 40-0, Gentry was ranked No. 7 in the ESPN High Elite 25 high school girls basketball rankings and No. 20 in the USA Today Super 25. Gentry is currently riding an 80-game winning streak, which ties the Mississippi high school state record.

South Bend (Indiana) Washington High School

Led by multi-talented 5-9 senior guard Skylar Diggins, South Bend Washington is expected to be one of the state’s top teams again this year. During her first three seasons, Diggins paced the Panthers to an amazing 76-6 record, an Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 4A state title and two runner-up finishes. As a junior, the versatile Diggins averaged 29.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.5 blocked shots. Diggins, who possesses long-range three-point shooting ability, was a Parade Magazine first-team All-American performer in 2007-08, and is expected to contend for national player of the year honors this year. Senior forward Takoia Larry, who scored 24 points in last year’s state championship game, averaged 10.9 points last season when she was named high honorable-mention all-state.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fayette County BOE Chairwoman Terri Smith Appointed FRN Member

Fayette County Board of Education Chairwoman Terri Smith was among the 1,300 school board members nationwide appointed to participate in the Federal Relations Network (FRN) this year.

FRN is a program of the National School Boards Association that involves local school board members from every congressional district in the country who are committed to grassroots advocacy for public education. State school board associations appoint members to the network, usually up to five local school board members for each congressional district in the state.

Responsibilities as a FRN member are significant. During the course of a year, participants receive vital information concerning federal education legislation and national issues. Collectively, they make their voices heard by responding to calls-to-action that involve phoning, faxing or writing federal legislators on various educational issues. They also keep their fellow board members apprised of issues by distributing background materials to get them and others involved.

Because school board members stand on the front lines of education, they are able to tell members of Congress what will or will not work in local districts. Many senators and representatives have come to rely on FRN members to advise them on the vast array of issues that affect public schoolchildren.

This year, members of the network were able to accomplish the following:

1. Continue Medicaid reimbursement to schools.

2. Restore $1.645 billion for four years in funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

3. Successfully oppose proposals to cut education funding.

4. Successfully defeated a measure in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that would have limited local school districts’ abilities to raise tax rates, having a negative impact on school budgets.

5. Intensify the discussion about the flaws in the No Child Left Behind Act and increase the urgency to fix the law.

6. Secure federal support to help districts recruit and retain quality teachers for high-need schools and subjects.

7. Successfully continue the fight against vouchers.

8. Generate awareness about the importance of early education.

9. Secure final passage of Head Start reauthorization.

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Piedmont Hospital Receives Clinical Excellence Award for Cardiac Surgical Care

Piedmont Hospital today announced that it has received the 2009 clinical excellence award for cardiac surgery from HealthGrades®, the healthcare ratings company. The award places Piedmont Hospital’s clinical outcomes in the top 10 percent nationally. In addition, Piedmont was named Best in Atlanta for Overall Cardiac Care and Cardiac Surgery for the second consecutive year.

Piedmont Hospital received five-star ratings in the categories of Coronary Bypass Surgery, Treatment of Heart Attack and Treatment of Heart Failure. Piedmont Hospital’s outcomes place it among the top five hospitals in Georgia for cardiac surgery, cardiology and overall cardiac services.

“Piedmont Hospital is honored to be recognized again by HealthGrades for our commitment to excellence in cardiac care,” said Robert W. Maynard, President and CEO. “As Piedmont increases the services available through its hospitals and the Piedmont Heart Institute, our physicians and staff will continue to provide the highest quality of care for our patients.”

In 2008, Piedmont Hospital celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first open-heart surgery at the hospital and the same anniversary of offering cardiac angioplasty. The Piedmont Heart Institute (PHI) also launched Piedmont Heart Health Advantage, a new program to predict and prevent heart disease that goes beyond standard screening techniques to identify dangerous plaques in the arteries, the kind that can be responsible for sudden death. Piedmont also recently announced the addition of the world’s most advanced imaging technology, the Toshiba Aquilion One Dynamic Volume CT Scanner.

Other programs are available through Piedmont Hospital's Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta – a 162-bed service that offers a full spectrum of integrated cardiovascular care from initial testing to post-surgery recovery, including nationally accredited programs in cardiac rehabilitation, echocardiology, peripheral vascular and congestive heart failure.

The Clinical Excellence Award given to Piedmont Hospital was released in conjunction with the 11th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, which is the most comprehensive study of its kind, analyzing more than 41 million Medicare hospitalization records from 2005 to 2007 at the nation’s approximately 5,000 non-federal hospitals. According to the study, if all hospitals performed at the level of five-star rated hospitals, 237,420 Medicare deaths could potentially have been prevented over the three years studied. More than half of those preventable deaths were associated with four conditions: sepsis, pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure.

While overall death rates declined from 2005 to 2007, the nation’s best-performing hospitals were able to reduce preventable deaths at a much faster rate than poor-performing hospitals, resulting in large state, regional and hospital-to-hospital variations in the quality of patient care, the study found.

Based on the study, HealthGrades today made available its 2009 quality ratings for virtually every hospital in the country at, a Web site designed to help individuals research and compare local healthcare providers.

On its Web site, HealthGrades offers, free to consumers, quality ratings of 27 procedures and treatments for virtually every hospital in the country. The site is designed so that consumers can easily compare patient outcomes at their local hospitals for procedures ranging from aortic aneurysm repair to bypass surgery. Each hospital receives a star rating based on its patient outcomes in terms of mortality or complication rates for each procedure or treatment. Hospitals with outcomes that are above average to a statistically significant degree receive a five-star rating. Hospitals with average outcomes receive a three-star rating, and hospitals with outcomes that are below average receive a one-star rating. Because no two hospitals or their patients’ risk profiles are alike, HealthGrades employs extensive risk-adjustment algorithms to ensure that it is making analogous comparisons.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Beauty Pageant Brings Abuse Into the Light and Enables Women to Come Out of the Shadows and Win Their Life Back

PRNewswire/ -- The Mrs. Globe Pageant crowned a new Ms. North America, Cammie McBrayer of Marietta, Georgia, to help empower women across the nation to say no to abuse. Cammie feels honored that the people of the world voted for her as the "people's choice" to represent North America in the upcoming Mrs. Globe Pageant to become the international spokesperson for the W.I.N. Foundation.

The Mrs. Globe Pageant is an international pageant that is unique; it is a fundraiser for the W.I.N. (Women in Need) Foundation. W.I.N. is a non-profit outreach for abuse recovery and offers a 20-week abuse and self-esteem recovery program for women, men and children called the Right Living Program, which was founded by Dr. Tracy Kemble in 1995 ( As Ms. North America, Cammie will have the opportunity to have a Right Living Program weekend in her area during the upcoming year.

Ms. North America is also hosting "Kids helping Kids, Party with a Purpose" on November 21, 2008. There will be a DJ and a lot of dancing; over 100 12- and 13-year-olds are expected to attend, with a goal of $3,000 to benefit W.I.N.'s International Christmas for Kids Campaign. The kids will have the opportunity to see video from a past Christmas for Kids, so they get a firsthand view of the change that their fundraiser has made in kids' lives throughout the world.

Cammie's goal is to create an organization in the South to assist and empower women that have been through traumatic changes. This would be done through education, image consulting and through the Right Living Principals created by founder Dr. Tracy Kemble: the ultimate connection of mind, body and spirit.

As a national titleholder, Cammie will compete internationally in August 2009 for the coveted title of Mrs. Globe. Her dream is to take this campaign globally to help women reinvent themselves, so they have the power to overcome poverty and provide a strong, safe environment for their families. If you would like more information, please contact

Keep track of Cammie's progress in her mission to help women and families overcome abuse; visit her website:

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Students Selected for Top Chorale Group

Photo: (L-R back row) Carolyn Groover, Christopher Greco, David Brewer, Lucas Patelles, Drew Van de Motter, Jennifer Stadelmeyer (L-R front row) Jessica Bell, Abby Israel, Anna Hansen and Elizabeth Jowers. (Not pictured: Camila Cando).

Some of the best young singers in the state represented Fayette County at the 25th Annual Georgia Music Educators Association Statewide Elementary Honors Chorus.

Nine students from Peachtree City Elementary and Peeples Elementary performed with other top singers from throughout the state on Saturday at the Clayton Performing Arts Center. The students were Christopher Greco, David Brewer, Lucas Patelles, Drew Van de Motter, Jessica Bell, Abby Israel, Anna Hansen, Elizabeth Jowers and Camila Cando. Music teachers Carolyn Groover, Peachtree City Elementary, and Jennifer Stadelmeyer, Peeples Elementary, accompanied the students.

The students sang under the direction of Cheryl Dupont, director of the New Orleans Children’s Chorus and Youth Chorale and Dr. John E. Simmons, associate professor of choral and sacred music, director of graduate studies and director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Sacred Music Studies at Mercer University.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Valdosta State Freshman Named National Agriscience Student of the Year

Valdosta State University freshman Nicholas Worley was named National Agriscience Student of the Year at the 81st annual National Future Farmers of America Convention.

The Lowndes FFA member stood before more than 50,000 people as he accepted a $3,000 scholarship from the National FFA Foundation, surpassing seven other finalists for the award. To qualify, finalists presented the findings of their own agriscience-related research projects and were evaluated on their general academic achievements and their involvement in school and community activities.

Advised by James Corbett and sponsored by the Langdale Company, Worley was honored for his research on alternative methods of ethanol production. He used the scientific method to determine that substantial amounts of ethanol could be produced from the biomass of Georgia's forests, specifically clean wood chips and unmerchantable forest biomass.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 507,763 student members - all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture - as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit for more information.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Aflac Spokeswoman Inducted into PR News Hall of Fame

PRNewswire/ -- Aflac spokeswoman and vice-president of external communications, Laura Kane, was inducted into the PR News Public Relations Hall of Fame at the PR People Awards today. Ms. Kane and four others were honored during an awards luncheon among colleagues, family and friends at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Nominees were judged on specific criteria including professional public relations achievements over their careers, specific campaigns, leadership qualities, innovative thinking, sound judgment, flexibility, and volunteer efforts and other contributions to public relations advocacy. In November PR News will publish an "All-Stars Issue" that will profile the top public relations people of 2008, in which they will salute the class of 2008 Hall of Fame honorees -- a lifetime achievement award for pioneers in the field.

"A Hall of Fame public relations expert is intuitive, has a confident voice, is media savvy, and produces results," Aflac chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. "Many successful campaigns at Aflac demonstrate that Laura has all of these qualities and more. We are very proud of this recognition which she so richly deserves."

Aflac Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Teresa White said, "We have come to rely on Laura's instincts and expertise in handling our crucial public and media relations challenges. This honor among her peers validates what we at Aflac already know; Laura Kane is a strong woman worthy of the Hall of Fame."

Ms. Kane was also a finalist in the category of Corporate PR Person of the Year for her work in 2007, including communications related to Aflac's historic Say-on-Pay campaign. Her media relations work resulted in positive articles in national publications like Newsweek, front-page stories in the USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, as well as frequent appearances by Aflac executives on network and national cable news programs.

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