Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Zoo Atlanta’s President and CEO Takes Position in Washington D.C.

Zoo Atlanta’s President and CEO Dennis Kelly has been named Director of Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., effective February 15, 2010. After a nationwide search Dennis Kelly will leave Zoo Atlanta to oversee operations for a 163-acre facility in Rock Creek Park and a 3,200-acre Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia.

"This is a bittersweet announcement for me," said Mickey Brown, Chairman of Zoo Atlanta’s Board of Directors. "It’s been an honor to work with Dennis, his talent, business acumen and foresight has helped Zoo Atlanta become a world class zoo."

Since his tenure at Zoo Atlanta, Dennis Kelly has spearheaded groundbreaking projects such as the 25- year master plan, renegotiation of a new giant panda agreement (the details of the new agreement will be released in the upcoming weeks pending the close of the Give So They Stay campaign and final approvals in China), state of the art capital improvement projects, as well as the creation of a fiscally sound zoological institution. He raised more than $40 million in both public and private funds for Zoo Atlanta during his six-year tenure.

As president of Zoo Atlanta for the past six years, Kelly enhanced the institution’s scientific and animal welfare programs and visitor experience and rebuilt its marketing, government relations and fundraising capabilities. Kelly also provided the environment and resources for important scientific and conservation work by the Zoo’s staff, including collaboration with National Zoo scientists on giant panda breeding and conservation. Under his leadership, Zoo Atlanta strengthened its education programs and assisted in developing education departments in dozens of zoos in China.

"I am excited about Dennis’ new position with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo," said Brad Benton, incoming Chairman of Zoo Atlanta’s Board of Directors. "This is a testament to the talent and expertise of one of the nation’s top zoos. He has left an indelible mark not only on Zoo Atlanta but also the City of Atlanta."

Zoo Atlanta’s master plan will continue as planned. The talented members of the senior leadership team will oversee the day to day operations of the organization while the Board of Directors implements a nationwide search.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. After serving in the military, Kelly held positions with Procter & Gamble and Touche Ross & Co. He worked at The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta from 1982 to 1999, serving in various positions. In 1997, Kelly was appointed chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola Europe, overseeing marketing efforts for flagship and local brands in those markets. In 1999, Kelly joined Green Mountain Energy Co. as president and soon after was named CEO. During his tenure, the company’s annual sales grew from $60,000 to $250 million.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FBI 2009 Director’s Community Leadership Award for Atlanta

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Gregory Jones, FBI Atlanta, presented today the Director’s Award for Community Leadership for 2009 to WAGA Fox 5 News for its “Georgia’s Most Wanted” program. Awards were also presented to that production’s reporter, Doug Evans, its photographer Gustavo Valdes, and it’s Executive Producer Leslie Duffield.

WAGA FOX 5 News initiated its “Georgia’s Most Wanted” program in 1997. WAGA Reporter/Anchor Doug Evans took over the project in early 2005. The program was designed to give a more in depth look at some of Georgia’s more heinous crimes, to include the victim’s perspective on the crime, in order to not only report the crime, but to elicit tips for law enforcement in an effort to further the justice process and, in the process, make the community in which they serve a better, safer place. “Georgia’s Most Wanted” has featured hundreds of unsolved crimes over the years, including many cold cases. Many of the victims and their families have expressed gratitude for having their stories told.

Some highlights:

* At least 14 fugitives featured on “Georgia’s Most Wanted” have been arrested since '05. These fugitives include murderers, bank robbers and child molesters.
* Reports on high profile cases including double murder suspect Derrick Yancey and Atlanta's Standard Bar robbery and the murder of bartender John Henderson. As part of his coverage on this story, WAGA’s Doug Evans traveled to Baltimore to interview John's father.
* Georgia’s Most Wanted was the first to report that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was taking a fresh look at evidence in the 1997 Levi Frady murder case, a tragic but unsolved child abduction case. For the story, Doug Evans interviewed for the first time, Levi's boyhood friend and the last person to see him alive.

WAGA’s approach to the production of “Georgia’s Most Wanted” is one of partnership with the many law enforcement agencies throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the State of Georgia. WAGA willingly provides the much needed platform to disseminate to the public the case information, the law enforcement officer’s perspective on the crime, as well as the victim’s perspective, all of which are critical in eliciting information and tips on behalf of law enforcement. WAGA, being the local Fox affiliate, works closely with Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted” and has often been an advocate for getting Atlanta area cases presented to a national audience.

With the production of “Georgia’s Most Wanted”, WAGA Fox 5 News has certainly demonstrated that it is a community leader by not only reporting the crime but by being an advocate for the victim and a conduit for law enforcement.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Leapfrog Group Releases Its 2009 Top Hospitals List

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While Congress debates whether health care reform would control health care costs, Leapfrog's purchaser members point to 45 hospitals that lead through example -- delivering the best quality care in the nation while attaining the highest levels of efficiency. Thirty-four urban, eight children's and three rural hospitals have been named 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on results from The Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

New this year, Leapfrog recognizes a new category: Top Rural Hospitals. The award winners in are located in Georgia and Maine:

-- Polk Medical Center; Cedartown GA
-- Stephens Memorial Hospital; Norway ME
-- Waldo County General Hospital; Belfast ME


This year's top urban hospitals are located in 13 states - Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington:

-- Mayo Clinic Hospital; Phoenix AZ
-- California Pacific Medical Center - Davies Campus; San Francisco CA
-- California Pacific Medical Center - California Campus; San Francisco
CA
-- California Pacific Medical Center - Pacific Campus; San Francisco CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center; Anaheim CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center; Baldwin Park CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Bellflower/Downey Medical Center; Bellflower CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Hayward Hospital; Hayward CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Hospital; Sacramento CA
-- Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Hospital; Sacramento CA
-- Stanford Hospital & Clinics; Stanford CA
-- University of California Davis Medical Center; Sacramento CA
-- NorthShore University HealthSystem's Highland Park Hospital; Highland
Park IL
-- Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Chicago IL
-- Rush University Medical Center; Chicago IL
-- University of Maryland Medical Center; Baltimore MD
-- Baystate Medical Center; Springfield MA
-- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Boston MA
-- Brigham and Women's Hospital; Boston MA
-- North Shore Medical Center - Union Hospital; Lynn MA
-- Norwood Hospital; Norwood MA
-- Detroit Receiving Hospital; Detroit MI
-- Harper-Hutzel Hospital; Detroit MI
-- Mayo Clinic - Methodist Hospital; Rochester MN
-- Mayo Clinic Saint Marys; Rochester MN
-- Regions Hospital; Saint Paul MN
-- The Valley Hospital; Ridgewood NJ
-- University Medical Center at Princeton; Princeton NJ
-- James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute; Columbus OH
-- The Ohio State University Hospital; Columbus OH
-- Lehigh Valley Hospital; Allentown PA
-- Bon Secours St. Francis Health System; Greenville SC
-- Vanderbilt University Hospital; Nashville TN
-- Virginia Mason Medical Center; Seattle WA


Top pediatric hospitals in 2009 achieved a quality score of 95 or better through Leapfrog's Hospital Recognition Program and are located in California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee:

-- Childrens Hospital Los Angeles; Los Angeles CA
-- Children's Hospital of Orange County; Orange CA
-- Children's National Medical Center; Washington DC
-- Children's Hospital Boston; Boston MA
-- Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota - Minneapolis;
Minneapolis MN
-- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Cincinnati OH
-- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; Pittsburgh PA
-- The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt; Nashville TN


The Leapfrog Group (www.leapfroggroup.org) uses the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for Americans. The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 by the Business Roundtable, and is now independently operated with support from its members.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing hospitals' performance on the national standards of safety, quality, and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care. Hospitals that participate in The Leapfrog Hospital Survey achieve hospital-wide improvements that translate into millions of lives and dollars saved. Leapfrog's purchaser members use Survey results to inform their employees and purchasing strategies. In 2009, 1,206 hospitals across the country completed The Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Georgia Law moot court team takes first place in regional competition, advances to nationals

Three University of Georgia School of Law students joined forces to take home the top trophy at a regional round of the National Moot Court Competition held Nov. 20-21 in Atlanta. This trio, composed of third-year students Marie E. Greene, Kevin P. Murphy and Ashley L. Scruggs, will now advance to the national tier of this tournament to be held in New York City during February.

Coached by Georgia Law’s Director of Advocacy Kellie Casey Monk, the Georgia team defeated students from Georgia State University, Florida Coastal, Barry University and the University of South Carolina in the preliminary rounds.They again overcame South Carolina in the semifinals and then beat Emory University to become regional champions.

“All of the teams we faced in the tournament were superb,” Monk said.“The level of competition seems to get better each and every year. This team worked so very well together.We are indebted to all of the faculty and alumni who help us to prepare.We look forward to performing well at nationals.”

This will be Georgia Law’s eighth trip to the national tier of the tournament in the last 10 years.In 2002-03, the school finished as national semifinalists, while in 2007-08, 2005-06 and 2003-04, Georgia teams were national quarterfinalists.

Considered one of the premier moot court competitions in the country, each year more than 150 law schools field teams in the National Moot Court Competition, which allows law students to hone their appellate advocacy skills by arguing before prominent members of the legal profession.

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BB&T names new regional president in South Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- BB&T today said it has named Bill Kilburg as president of its Peachtree City-based South Atlanta Region.

Kilburg, who joined BB&T in 2005, previously managed BB&T's Middle Market Banking Group in metro Atlanta. The 45-year-old succeeds Derek Lane, who was named to head BB&T's Greensboro, N.C.-based Sales Finance Department.

The South Atlanta Region has more than $1.7 billion in deposits and 31 financial centers. Regional presidents at BB&T are responsible for commercial banking, small business banking, retail banking and retail mortgage banking.

"Bill is an experienced banker and exceptional leader," said Lars Anderson, president of BB&T's Georgia operations. "His leadership is measured not only in the financial success of his team, but in the positive impact he's had in developing employees and as an important member of our Metro Atlanta senior leadership team. His market knowledge and leadership skills will serve him very well in his new role."

Kilburg has 22 years banking experience and previously served as a manager and relationship officer at former banks Barnett Bank and SouthTrust in corporate, institutional and middle market banking. He earned his bachelor's degree in Finance from Florida State University.

Lane, a Greensboro native who joined BB&T in 1987, had served as president of the South Atlanta Region since March 2008. He previously served as senior credit officer for Atlanta area operations since 2002.

"Derek made significant and lasting contributions to BB&T's foundation in Georgia," Anderson said. "He is a committed, respected, intelligent and highly productive leader, and we're proud to see him earn this outstanding leadership opportunity."

BB&T divides its footprint into autonomous community bank regions - each with its own president - to keep decisions close to the customer. BB&T also operates a Buckhead-based North Atlanta Region.

At Sept. 30, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) had $165.3 billion in assets and operated more than 1,800 financial centers in 13 states and Washington, D.C. More information about the company is available at BBT.com.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Georgia State undergraduates excel at Model U.N. regional conference

Representing the interests of Sudan and Iran, two countries often criticized on world stage, is no easy task.

But Georgia State University students excelled at foreign diplomacy for these and other countries at the Southern Regional Model United Nations conference, held Nov. 19 -22 in Atlanta.

A team of 45 GSU undergraduates represented four counties, including India, Iran, Sudan and Morocco, and competed for their interests against roughly 700 college students from across the country.

In keeping with the university's track record, the GSU teams won a series of awards. Five of the Georgia State delegates were recognized as the "outstanding delegate" in their committee. Two of the Georgia State teams, Iran and Morocco, won the "Distinguished Delegation Award," ranking among the top five percent of teams overall. GSU's team from India also received the "Honorary Delegation Award."

"The students worked very hard to participate as some of the most difficult countries to represent," said Rashid Naim, senior lecturer in GSU's Department of Political Science and program director. "It's quite an exercise, requiring diplomatic skills. It gets young people to think about the world's problems and become problem solvers."

The conference provides participants the opportunity to learn about the U.N. system and important global issues facing the international community today, such as poverty, terrorism and HIV/AIDS. Students learn to conduct in-depth research, express ideas in formal writing and debate such issues within a diplomatic framework. As delegates, Georgia State students were assigned to countries and committees by the event organizers.

"You have to be in the mindset of your country," said James Dutton, president of the Georgia State U.N. Association. "You have to do a lot of research to know that country's point of view and you have to discuss the best way to do things. Sometimes it is a consensus and sometimes it is a battle."

GSU has been participating in the regional conference since 2003 and will head to the National Model U.N. Conference in March, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, N.Y. Georgia State has taken home the top prize from nationals, "Outstanding Delegation," for the past four years.

"We're hoping to accomplish it for a fifth time," Dutton said. "Nationals is the show. It's not just a weekend; it's an entire week of debate. That's what the entire year is focused on."

Students in Georgia State's Model U.N. Association are enrolled in an elective course that helps them prepare for competition. The undergraduates also help host a Model U.N. conference on campus for high school students, which was held earlier this month and attended by more than 450 Georgia teens.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wagner Appointed to Presidential Commission

President Barack Obama has appointed Emory University President James W. Wagner as Vice Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. In this position, Wagner and other members of the commission will advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology. The commission will work with the goal of identifying and promoting policies and practices that ensure scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner.

Wagner has championed the role of ethics in Emory’s mission by significantly enhancing the prominence of the university-wide Center for Ethics and including ethical engagement as a pillar of Emory’s strategic vision.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Fayette County School Employees Receive Psychology Advocacy Award

The Georgia Association of School Psychologists has recognized two Fayette County Public School employees for their efforts in encouraging the state to keep psychologists in public schools.

School Superintendent Dr. John DeCotis and Fayette County Alternative School principal Tim Carter were presented certificates of Excellence in Advocacy during a school system administrative meeting. Association president Deborah Crockett, who is also a school psychologist for the school system, surprised the two recipients with the awards.

“Last year when the state was considering removing school psychologists, I asked Dr. DeCotis and Mr. Carter to write letters of support emphasizing the value of school psychologists. Both of them did and we are still here thanks to their efforts,” says Crockett.

School psychologists are state and nationally certified professionals. They help students who are having learning, behavioral and emotional problems by conducting comprehensive psycho-educational assessments and interventions. They also serve the school system by consulting with teachers, parents and administrators, aiding them with information and recommendations; conduct research to help promote effective forms of learning, discipline and social interaction; and are liaisons and effective personnel in the event of a crisis, helping to alleviate the stressors and promote a healthy transition in the schools and community.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fayette County Excels For Exceptional Children

The Fayette County School System strives to ensure that all students receive the best education possible while arming them with the skills they will need to succeed in today’s competitive environment.

For the seventh year in a row since the award’s inception, the school system’s Exceptional Children’s program has been recognized for excellence in the education of students with disabilities by the Georgia Department of Education.

The Pacesetter Award, which was presented at the Georgia Council for Administrators of Special Education (GCASE), marks the school system as a leader in the state for outstanding efforts to improve the performance of students with disabilities. Fayette is the only school system in Georgia to have received the award seven consecutive years.

The award distinguishes excellence in six areas of achievement: decreasing the number of students who drop out, achieving a higher percentage of graduates with regular education diplomas, educating students in the least restrictive environment, transitioning students to their desired postsecondary outcomes, increasing the percentage of students who meet or exceed state achievement standards and reducing the gap in achievement between students with disabilities and their general education peers.

Director Chris Horton oversees Fayette’s Exceptional Children’s program.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Nation's Best Math and Science Students Earn Top High School Honors and Strive for $100,000 Scholarship

Kudos to those awesome students, Cassandra Buru and Jian Liu, of Northview High School, Johns Creek, GA, for making the finals!

/PRNewswire/ -- WHAT: Could tomorrow's Albert Einstein or Alexander Graham Bell currently be a student in high school? What did the next generation of innovators come up with this year? Find out when the regional finalists of the 2009 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology -- America's premier science research competition -- head to California Institute of Technology November 20 & 21. At stake is a $3,000 prize for one individual, $6,000 for one team, and an invitation to the National Finals in New York City for a shot at the $100,000 Grand Prize!

WHO: Fifteen whiz kids unveil graduate level research projects to a distinguished panel of university judges. Past Siemens Competition winners and Alumni have tackled some of the world's hardest and most pressing problems through math and science. Their feats include: invention of anti-bacterial coatings for medical devices, research of cures for drug-resistant Tuberculosis, exploring zebrafish spines for an inside look at bone growth, reinventing string theory, and developing a device to generate energy from ocean waves. What research will the Nation's brightest teen minds unveil this year?

The 2009 Siemens Competition regional finalists are:

Individual Finalists:
-- Alex Han, The Harker School, San Jose, CA
-- David Liu, Lynbrook High School, San Jose, CA
-- Tito Thomas, Troy High School, Fullerton, CA
-- Lynnelle Ye, Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA
-- William Zhang, La Jolla High School, La Jolla, CA

Team Finalists:
-- Cassandra Buru and Jian Liu, Northview High School, Johns Creek, GA
-- William Han and Frank Zhao, Westview High School, Portland, OR
-- Ryan Lindeborg, Dana Hills High School, Dana Point, CA; and Andrew
James Swoboda, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and
Technology, Alexandria, VA
-- Samantha Piszkiewicz and Nicolai Doreng-Stearns, Laguna Beach High
School, Laguna Beach, CA
-- Katherine Wang and Sreetha Sidharthan, Interlake High School,
Bellevue, WA

WHERE: On the campus of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 20 - Dabney Lounge
9:45 am - 12:00pm: Students set up projects
5:00 pm - 6:15pm: Public viewing of projects
Saturday, Nov. 21 - Ramo Auditorium
9:00 am - 2:45 pm: Students present to judges

MORE: Want to be the first to find out who will head to the National Finals in New York?

Log into and follow Siemens Foundation on Twitter (http://twitter.com/SFoundation) on Saturday, November 21, 2009 between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm PST, when we announce the winners live!

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, which provides more than $7 million in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math in the United States. The Siemens Competition is administered by the College Board. More information can be found at www.siemens-foundation.org.

Winners of the regional events are invited to compete at the National Finals at New York University in New York City, December 3 - December 7, 2009. Visit www.siemens-foundation.org on December 7, 2009 at 9:30am EST to view a live webcast of the National Finalist Award Presentation.

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Siemens Semifinalist Named at Fayette County High

The Siemens Foundation has recognized a student at Fayette County High as being one of the brightest high school minds in the nation.

Sonika Reddy has been named a semifinalist in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Her science project was among the 1,348 that were received for the 2009 competition and she was one of 318 students throughout the nation who were selected as semifinalists. Additionally, she is one of eight semifinalists from Georgia.

Sonika’s name recently appeared in a full-page, congratulatory advertisement in the October 29 edition of “USA Today.” Fayette County High has also received a banner to promote that they have a 2009-10 Siemens Competition Finalist at the school.

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology is the nation’s leading original research competition for high school students, awarding scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 in individual and team categories. The competition is administered annually by the College Board and is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, the national leader in supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics education with contributions surpassing $7 million each year.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir Named 'The Best Church Choir in America'

/PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir from Atlanta West Pentecostal Church won Verizon Wireless' How Sweet the Sound(TM) competition and has earned the title of "The Best Church Choir in America." During the grand finale, held on Nov. 7 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir walked away with not only the title, but a cash prize of $30,000.

The second annual How Sweet the Sound finale brought together the best church choirs from 11 cities across the nation. Gospel music celebrities, who added performances to the night's entertainment, judged and hosted the event. Returning for a second year, GRAMMY®-winning music legend Marvin Sapp helped judge the choirs along with GRAMMY Award-winning Gospel artist Dorinda Clark Cole and Gospel music legend Byron Cage. GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence served as emcee, and singer, songwriter, producer and actress Lisa Kimmey-Winans joined the How Sweet the Sound veterans as a co-host. The evening also featured special performances by the legendary Clark Sisters, Brother Hahz, Kurt Carr and special guest James Fortune. The Remnant Concert Choir from Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., was named runner-up and received a cash prize of $15,000.

"Now in its second year, How Sweet the Sound has been an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways music connects people within the community. We congratulate Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir and recognize the tremendous talent of all of the choirs that participated in this competition," said Sikita Grayson, director of customer service for Verizon Wireless. "We are delighted to be able to bring to the community such an uplifting event, and we have been inspired by the energy of the churches throughout the competition."

Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir plans to use the prize money to record a live CD in 2010. This will be their first recording. Brandon Frazier, music director for Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir said, "How Sweet the Sound does everything first class. It's been a once-in-a-lifetime experience participating and to win -- I'm still taking it in. It's an amazing feeling and has already opened so many doors for our choir."

Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir from Atlanta West Pentecostal Church additionally won the V CAST People's Choice Award and a $5,000 cash prize. During the grand finale, audience members were asked to text their votes for their favorite choir to help decide the Verizon Wireless V CAST People's Choice Award.

Verizon Wireless customers can download and watch video clips from the grand finale performances in the Music category on their V CAST-capable phones. For more information about the competition, visit www.howsweetthesound.com.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Clayton State Student Playwright's Work to be Featured at Fourth Annual New Play Read-A-Thon

Clayton State Theatre Director Phillip DePoy knows a good play when he reads one. So does the Process Theatre Company, which will be including Clayton State University Theatre major Kalani Fraser's one-act play, "Hydrangeas" in its Fourth Annual New Play Read-A-Thon.

The Read-A-Thon will be held on Sunday, Nov. 15 at Onstage Atlanta, 2597 N. Decatur Rd., Atlanta, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

While DePoy is understandably pleased at this honor for one of his students, he's not exactly surprised. Fraser, a resident of Fayetteville and a graduate of Fayette County High School, wrote "Hydrangeas" in DePoy's playwriting course.

"Kalani is one of our top three theatre majors, a great writer, and is currently working as our theatre company manager - a position of great responsibility -- and one of my favorite people," says DePoy. "This is a fantastic accomplishment for a young playwright and I'm very proud of her."

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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MAG Executive Receives AMA Achievement Award

David A. Cook, the executive director of the Medical Association of Georgia, received the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Medical Executive Meritorious Achievement Award during AMA’s Interim Meeting in Houston today. The award is given to a county, state or national medical specialty society executive who has provided exemplary and exceptional service that benefits and supports physicians in caring for their patients.

“Considering the deep and talented pool of candidates, this is a proud day for the Medical Association of Georgia,” says MAG President Gary C. Richter, M.D. “David Cook absolutely deserves this honor for what he’s done for patients and physicians in the state.”

Dr. Richter says Cook was instrumental in passing a comprehensive tort reform law in Georgia in 2005, which has resulted in a better practice environment for physicians in the state. Dr. Richter also says that Cook led the way in reforming the Certificate of Need (CON) system in Georgia to expand the definition of single specialty to general surgery in 2008, lowering physician costs and enhancing patient access to quality health care. Dr. Richter explains that MAG has employed an integrated legal advocacy program to effect change in the managed care arena under Cook’s leadership. And he says that Cook oversees a MAG program that has produced the equivalent of more than $30 million in third-party payer savings for physicians in Georgia in 2009.

“His work ethic and his dedication to the profession of medicine are unparalleled,” says MAG Immediate Past President M. Todd Williamson, M.D., who nominated Cook for the award. “The bottom line is that he has delivered exceptional value for physicians in Georgia.”

Joseph P. Bailey Jr., M.D., the chairman of MAG’s delegation to the AMA, believes that, “David Cook has an abiding interest in and dedication to medicine that is truly beyond what could ever be expected of a non-physician.”

Cook has been MAG’s executive director since 2001. With more than 6,000 members, MAG is the leading voice for physicians in Georgia. Go to www.mag.org for additional information.
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Clayton State Legal Studies Professor Wins Grand Award in Pearson-Prentice Hall Online Teaching Competition

Sheryne “Sherry” Richardson, assistant professor of Legal Studies in the Social Sciences Department of the College of Arts & Sciences at Clayton State University was recently recognized with a significant honor.

Richardson was named the Grand Award Winner of the Pearson-Prentice Hall Online Teaching Competition. The competition, hosted by the American Association of Paralegal Education, was held in Portland, Ore. The winning submission featured the instruction of agency law in a web-based environment. It included a two-part time-released discussion on posting, video introduction and conclusion, PowerPoint online streaming lectures, an instructional tutorial and animated characters of the professor and the parties to a case.

Richardson also notes that the services of the Clayton State Center for Instructional Development were instrumental in compiling the winning entry.

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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Starr's Mill Panther Pride Marching Band of Fayette County Racks Up Awards

The band programs in Fayette County's public schools are some of the best in the state, earning a host of local, regional and national awards.

The Starr’s Mill High Panther Pride Marching Band has had a very successful season this year, adding to the numerous honors that Fayette’s bands have received this year. The Panther Pride was named Grand Champions at the North Paulding Southern National Band Championship and earned High Score in Contest for the Visual Ensemble.

Locally, the band received the Greg Miller High Music Award at the Fayette County LaFayette Marching Invitational as well as second overall by four tenths of a point and Best in Class Band and Color Guard.

The marching band took more honors at the Lassiter High School Band Showcase winning Best in Class Music, advancing to the finals and receiving the highest music ensemble score in the competition.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

EMC Linemen in Georgia Climb to the Top in International Competition

/PRNewswire/ -- Electric cooperatives in Georgia ranked among the top 10 in the nation during the 26th Annual International Lineman's Rodeo held October 17 in Bonner Springs, Kansas.

EMC journeymen (the highest qualified individuals) and apprentices (those in the first four years of linemen training) placed in the top 10 among 153 teams and 215 apprentices.

"This competition draws the most talented and dedicated line workers from across the nation and showcases these workers and the skills that are required of them to get the lights back on for millions of Georgians and others," said Jim Wright, Georgia EMC vice president of training, education and safety.

Journeymen and apprentices from across the country, representing electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities and municipalities, participated in the competition which tests skills in pole-climbing, hurt-man rescue, transformer repair and high-voltage line-insulator changes.

According to Wright, the primary purpose of the event is to promote safety and safe work practices and to provide a forum for the public to better understand and appreciate the exceptional performance of linemen.

In this year's rodeo, Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington placed second among 153 teams in the Overall Journeyman Division. In addition, journeymen teams from Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington, Carroll EMC in Carrollton and GreyStone Power in Douglasville won first, third and sixth places, respectively, in the EMC Journeyman Division.

In 2009, EMC apprentices were formidable contenders as well. An apprentice with Walton EMC ranked fourth nationwide among 215 competitors in the Overall Apprentice Division. And, apprentices with Walton EMC in Monroe won first and third places, while a lineman with GreyStone Power of Douglasville won sixth place in the EMC Apprentice Division.

"Few people understand what is required of a lineman," said Wright. " EMC linemen and apprentices in Georgia are among the best in their field and across the nation. The rodeo and the success of these line workers reinforces what we've known for some time--that EMC linemen in Georgia are experts and will go above and beyond to keep the lights on, and they'll perform the work with safety for themselves and the public foremost on their minds."

Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association representing the state's 42 EMCs, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp. Collectively, Georgia's customer-owned EMCs provide electricity and related services to four million people, nearly half of Georgia's population, across 73 percent of the state's land area.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grady Hospital Awarded Medal of Honor for Organ Donor Program

Grady Health System today announced the receipt of a National Medal of Honor from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for saving lives through organ donation in 2009. More than 104,000 are people listed for an organ transplant nationwide; in Georgia close to 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. For the third year in a row, Grady received this special recognition for achieving and sustaining national organ donation goals.

Grady works closely with LifeLink of Georgia, a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy, to develop best practices for sensitively encouraging organ donation. In the past four years, Grady has seen continued success in donation rates. Because of this, the hospital has achieved a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors during a 22-month award period (ending in April 2009). The conversion rate is the number of successful donors divided by the number of eligible donors.

“When we joined the collaborative in 2003, our conversion rate was about 38 percent,” said Gaynell Miller, vice president of Patient Care Services and Grady’s organ donation collaborative champion. “By implementing best practices, we met the national goal of 75% conversion rate in 2006 and sustained it for the following year which made us eligible for our first award in 2007. Since then we have been able to exceed and sustain the national organ donor conversion rate and, in so doing, have helped save countless lives. We are very proud to be receiving an award for the 3rd year in a row, because this is validation that we have respected the patients’ and families’ rights to have this end of life choice and participated in making more organs available for those in need.”

Every day, about 77 people get a transplant that gives them a second chance, but nearly 19 others die because then they did not. Chances of getting a transplant increase if a donor and recipient share the same racial and ethnic backgrounds, but more than half of the people on the waiting list for a donated organ are racial or ethnic minorities. Grady’s organ donation program includes a special focus on helping families understand the donation process and deal with the difficult questions that may come up, including religious, ethnic and medical concerns.

For information about the National Learning Congress and the Medal of Honor visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at www.organdonor.gov. To learn more about organ and tissue donation in Georgia visit LifeLink at www.lifelinkfound.org/ga and to designate your decision to be an organ, tissue and eye donor sign-up on Donate Life Georgia’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at www.donatelifegeorgia.org or call 1-866-57-SHARE (74273).

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Earl and Wanda Barrs Named 2009 National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year

The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) has named Earl and Wanda Barrs as its 2009 National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. The Barrs received the award during the 16th Annual National Tree Farmer Convention in Washington, D.C. on September 30. This annual award recognizes outstanding sustainable forest management on family owned woodlands. The Barrs own Gully Branch Tree Farm in Bleckley County, Georgia.

Every year, ATFS, a program of the American Forest Foundation, recognizes outstanding sustainable forest management for wood, water, wildlife, and recreation on privately owned woodlands across the country with national, regional, and state awards.

Earl and Wanda’s Gully Branch Tree Farm holds a unique spot in the history of the Barrs family. Earl’s family first settled the land in the late 1800s. His great grandparents share-cropped the land and raised their family there. Earl’s grandfather, James, was born on that farm. In the 1930s the land was up for sale for nine bales of cotton. Unfortunately, the family was unable to purchase it.

In the mid 1980s, Earl and Wanda were able to purchase 411 acres of the original farmland from a timber company that had purchased the farm in the 1950s. Now, expanded to 1,500 acres, the Tree Farm is a distinctive blend of heritage, venue for education, and personal experience for the Barrs’ role as private landowners.

Earl describes Gully Branch as a “work in progress,” and it is, just that. After acquiring the land from the timber company, the Barrs spent countless hours, endless energy, and ample resources to transform the industrially managed land into an esteemed, family-managed tree farm. Acres of topsoil piled high in windrows from the previous industrial owner was redistributed to yield more productive viewing and wildlife food plots, as well as acres of better quality soils.

Gully Branch is host to a variety of forest stands and soil types, elevations, vegetation, and wildlife. Loblolly pine plantations and natural loblolly and short leaf pine stands, as well as stands of upland and bottomland hardwoods are managed across the tree farm. Ponds are host to catfish, bream, largemouth bass, and grass carp. Above the waters and trees, red-headed woodpeckers, bluebirds, herons, kingfishers, and Canada geese take their respective “birds-eye” view of this well-managed forested land.

Earl and Wanda’s “work in progress” also includes influencing better management of woodlands by providing property tours, as well as political involvement, media relations, and taking on leadership assignments with natural resource groups.

If this is not enough, telling the story of Gully Branch should include counting visitors to the Tree Farm. Gully Branch as been used as one of the state’s premier outdoor classrooms since 1994. It began that year by hosting 100 seventh graders, and has grown annually to include some 700 to 900 students annually. Since 1994, more than 6,000 students have visited Gully Branch as part of forestry education field trips rooted in the American Forest Foundation’s Project Learning Tree® environmental education program.

As one third grade teacher said, after participating in an educational workshop and field trip to Gully Branch Tree Farm: “This was truly the best workshop I have ever attended” . . . what better way to learn than to ‘leave no child inside.’ Gully Branch Tree Farm was a joy to visit.”

As Wanda Barrs points out, “We believe leading follows learning. When we ensure learners of all ages are equipped with the facts, then the opportunity for effective leadership is greatly enhanced.”

Bob Simpson, AFF senior vice president of forestry, lauds Earl and Wanda. “Every year, we at the American Forest Foundation commit ourselves to the recognition of family forest owners like the Barrs. As winners of this year's National Outstanding Tree Farmer award, Earl's sustainable forestry practices and Wanda's gifts as an educator help ensure land like theirs will continue for the enjoyment for future generations."

The National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year awards are generously sponsored by Stihl, Inc. the world's leading chain saw manufacturer and a variety of handheld outdoor power equipment.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Helps Launch New Book for Young Readers With Habitat for Humanity and Candlewick Press

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed copies of a new book for young readers published by Candlewick Press that tells the true-life stories of Habitat for Humanity volunteers and homeowners working to build simple, decent and affordable housing.

If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity by David Rubel, with a foreword by Carter and an afterword by Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford, is now available nationally wherever books are sold.

Fans, both young and young at heart, gathered for the book signing at The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum at The Carter Center in Atlanta.

Carter, who is often referred to as Habitat's most famous volunteer, writes in the book's foreword, "There is no question that helping to create a decent home for a partner family is a significant act of giving, but volunteers typically find that they receive something in return that is even more valuable: a feeling of satisfaction and a connection to other people. Knowing that you worked alongside other volunteers to change a family's life is a powerful feeling that you will want to experience again and again."

The 160-page hardcover book is divided into eight chapters featuring stories of Habitat homeowners and volunteers at build sites in the United States and around the world, and is stunningly illustrated with full-color photos. If I Had a Hammer also tells the story of Habitat's early beginnings in rural Georgia and explores topics from interesting home design (like using window bars in India to keep monkeys out of houses) to the emotional rewards of helping to build a house from the ground up.

"We are immensely grateful to President Carter for his dedicated service and the inspiration he and Mrs. Carter have provided to volunteers," said Reckford. "It is our hope that 'If I Had A Hammer' will inspire a new generation of volunteers to get involved and help create better and safer communities."

Rubel, who authored the book, also has written the Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times, the Scholastic Atlas of the United States, and The Coming Free, a book for adults about the civil right movement. Rubel is a graduate of Columbia University and lives in Chatham, N.Y.

"At the heart of this book are the stories that people--homeowners, volunteers, staff-- shared with me about their experiences with Habitat for Humanity and, in particular, the Carter Work Projects. I know these stories will move young readers, because they certainly moved me," said Rubel.

"Candlewick Press is so proud to be the publisher of David Rubel's fascinating and moving tribute to the extraordinary accomplishments, history, and people of Habitat for Humanity. We hope the book helps inspire volunteers of all ages for years to come," said Karen Lotz, President and Publisher of Candlewick Press.

Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project began in 1984 when the former president and former first lady led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. Each year since, the Carters have given a week of their time--along with their construction skills--to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing. The Carter Work Project is held at a different location each year and attracts volunteers from around the world.

This year, from Nov. 15-20, 2009, Habitat's Carter Work Project will take place in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia. Volunteers will build 166 homes in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Atlanta Gas Light and News/Talk 750 WSB to Honor Atlanta Community Food Bank Founder Bill Bolling with 2009 Shining Light Award

Atlanta Gas Light, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based AGL Resources (NYSE:AGL) , together with News/Talk 750 WSB, the most trusted source for news, weather and traffic, today announced that Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (www.acfb.org), has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Shining Light Award. This award, established in 1963, is one of Atlanta's most prestigious honors and recognizes outstanding business and community leaders for their individual contributions to build a better Atlanta.

Bolling joins an impressive list of Atlantans who have received the Shining Light Award, including: President Jimmy Carter; Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy; baseball legend Hank Aaron; U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young; Shepherd Center co-founder Alana Shepherd; the late former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson; founder of the Georgia Aquarium and Marcus Institute Bernie Marcus; as well as businessman and civil rights leader Jesse Hill, Jr.

Bolling founded the Atlanta Community Food Bank and has served as its executive director since 1979. In this capacity he oversees the distribution of more than 20 million pounds of food and grocery products each year through more than 800 local and regional nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry. Prior to his association with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, he served as director of community ministries for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

"All of Atlanta salutes Bill Bolling with the Shining Light Award," said John W. Somerhalder II, AGL Resources chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Without him, there would be no Atlanta Community Food Bank. It is exceptionally fitting that we honor him this year, when the Atlanta Community Food Bank celebrates its 30th anniversary, and when the need in our community for the Food Bank's services has never been greater. We celebrate Bill's vision, his passion and his commitment to be a voice for the underserved."

In addition to his work with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Bolling, who grew up in Lexington, N.C., is a frequent speaker on topics related to hunger, poverty, regionalism, affordable housing and public policy reform. He is a charter member of the Board of Directors of Feeding America, the national network of food banks (formerly America's Second Harvest). He also serves on the Regional Commission on Homelessness, the Nonprofit Advisory Committee of the Andrew Young School at Georgia State University, and the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta. He is founder of the Atlanta Housing Forum, begun in 1988, and continues to serve as moderator of the Regional Housing Forum. He is past chair of the Board of the Regional Leadership Forum and the State of Georgia Housing Trust Fund Commission.

"In addition to his outstanding organizational and management skills, Bill is a magnificent bridge-builder," said Suzanne Sitherwood, president, Atlanta Gas Light. "Through his ability to link just the right people and bring various public sectors and the business community together, he has found practical ways to fight hunger in Atlanta. The Atlanta Community Food Bank benefits those who need it most, and his efforts have strengthened our entire community in the process."

Beginning Oct. 12, WSB Radio will broadcast congratulatory messages to Bolling from several past award recipients. The announcements will also be streaming live on the station's Website, www.WSBRadio.com.

"Bill Bolling has touched the lives of so many people - in Atlanta and beyond," said Tony Kidd, VP market manager programming, News/Talk 750 WSB. "Bill developed the model for efficient food collection and distribution that is now used throughout the United States. We congratulate him and the Atlanta Community Food Bank as they embark on their next 30 years."

Shining Light awards, which are eternally burning natural gas lamps, adorn many areas of Atlanta. Each historic gaslight is installed in a location that is meaningful to the recipient. Bolling's award will be unveiled on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, at a public event in his honor at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta, 435 Peachtree St.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Conductor Robert Spano Named Distinguished Artist in Residence

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano has been appointed an Emory University Distinguished Artist in Residence. He joins a prominent professoriate when he begins his appointment this spring. Emory has named seven other individuals to similar roles in recent years, including His Holiness the XIV Dalai in 2007 to an indefinite term as Presidential Distinguished Professor; and author Salman Rushdie, Distinguished Writer in Residence, who concludes his five-year Emory residency at the close of Maestro Spano's first residency year. 



"The appointment of Robert Spano supports Emory's artistic and creative goals," says Emory University President James Wagner. "Spano is an invaluable asset to Emory and the Southeast, and, on a global level, a key figure in the arts. He brings to Emory a wealth of knowledge in a wide spectrum of areas and will bring new strength to the artistic collaborations between our academic community and the greater Atlanta community."

The residency, the latest in a series of connections between Emory, Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, is made possible by funds especially designated to foster these kinds of significant collaborations and partnerships for the benefit of Emory students, scholars and the university as a whole.

Spano will co-teach seminars, lecture and present programs on literature, philosophy, science and musicology for three weeks during each of the spring semesters of 2010-2012. The university-wide residency has the potential to enhance the educational experiences of Emory's 12,500 students from the Emory College of Arts and Sciences and to multidisciplinary graduate programs as well as the greater community. 

The residency begins March 28-April 18, 2010. Spano will participate in a wide-ranging interdisciplinary dialog as he co-teaches and actively participates in Emory's scholarly community through colloquia and Emory's "Creativity Conversations" series. He also will participate in several public performances.

Read more about Robert Spano's appointment and public performance events on the Arts at Emory Web site.


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Monday, September 28, 2009

Georgia Debate Union reaches quarterfinals in season-opener

The Georgia Debate Union from the University of Georgia reached the quarterfinals of the National Season Opening Tournament held Sept. 18–21 at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

More than 170 teams from 50 colleges and universities traveled to Atlanta for the meet. The UGA team of senior Brittany Cambre and sophomore Mike Lacy won five of seven preliminary debates defeating teams from Trinity University, the University of Florida, Baylor University and Missouri State University. They defeated second seed Michigan State University in the octafinals to reach the quarterfinals.

The team of senior Karen Harrison and freshman Austin Layton also won five of seven preliminary debates and were the thirtieth seed in the tournament. They reached the elimination rounds of the tournament after defeating teams from Northwestern University, Wake Forest University, the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky.

Also attending the tournament were Dillon Horne, Jordan Edwards, Meredith McKay, Eric Bogart, Adi Sudarshan, Weilan Zhang, Justin Drew and Blaine Drew.

This was the Georgia Debate Union’s first debate tournament using their sustainable Paperless Debate Initiative. Rather than carrying four to eight 50-pound boxes filled with evidence, each team stored evidence on laptop computers. Students built their speeches, shared evidence and took notes on their laptops.

The UGA team is supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wells Real Estate Funds Named Atlanta’s “Best Place to Work”

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wells Real Estate Funds yesterday was named Atlanta’s “Best Place to Work” among midsize companies, by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. It’s the company’s fifth appearance among the finalists in the newspaper’s prestigious annual rankings, and its third in a row.

From dozens of firms considered, Wells earned the top spot among midsize companies (those with 101 to 500 employees). Wells, a national real estate investment company based in suburban Norcross, employs some 340 people in metro Atlanta, and 370 nationwide.

“For 25 years, I’ve wanted Wells to be the kind of company where people love to work,” said Leo Wells, founder and president of Wells Real Estate Funds. “This is a tremendous honor. My desire for this company since the beginning has been expressed in our creed: To glorify God and care for people. And I think caring for people extends to the people who work here every day.”

The rankings are based on an independent third-party survey of employees, under the auspices of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. This year’s winners are “war heroes of the recession,” said Greg Harris, president of Quantum Workplace, which administers the survey. The awards were announced this morning at a sold-out event in downtown Atlanta.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Emory Is '2009 Sustainable Development' Leader

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Atlanta District Council has recognized Emory University for its comprehensive sustainability initiatives. The University received the institute’s annual Sustainable Development Award Sept. 24 for its projects and programs in Atlanta and for its sustainable campus development principles and practices.

“Being recognized by the Urban Land Institute for our sustainable campus development is truly an honor,” said Ciannat Howett, Emory’s director of sustainability initiatives. “Emory is committed to positively impacting the region and world and educating our students about the social and environmental implications of their daily choices. This is why we place such an emphasis on sustainable construction of our buildings, purchasing locally or sustainability-grown food, recycling and reusing resources, and educating the future leaders of tomorrow about sustainable behaviors and environmental issues.”

Emory’s dedication to sustainability can be seen by the numerous initiatives on campus, including: dedicating 54 percent of the campus as ‘green space;’ integrating sustainability into the curriculum; promoting alternative transportation; campus recycling efforts; working to create social equity; promoting local and sustainably grown food; and energy and water conservation.

Additionally, the University’s approach to sustainable development has resulted in Emory holding the distinction of having one of the largest inventories by square footage of LEED-certified building space among campuses in America.

The ULI is a non-profit organization that provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI advocates progressive development, covering topics such as sustainability, smart growth, compact development, place making and workforce housing.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Atlanta Falcons Chauncey Davis Honors 2009 Community Impact Awardees

/PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta Falcons Defensive End Chauncey Davis recently honored Georgia Power Foundation's Michael Anderson, Aetna's Cynthia Follmer and Camp Kudzu- Georgia's largest camp for kids with diabetes, during the 2009 Community Impact Awards, at the Arthur Blank Family Office.

Davis was joined by a number of Falcons players including Jamaal Anderson and Jonathan Babineaux, corporate executives and community leaders during the inaugural awards reception created to honor the dedication, work and community outreach of outstanding Atlantans and organizations. Good Day Atlanta's Mark Hayes served as master of ceremonies for the evening's event.

"Our Man of the Year and Woman of The Year continue to inspire people to do great things in the community. The Chauncey Davis Foundation was truly honored to recognize not only their achievements but also their commitment to the people of Georgia," said Davis, a 5th year NFL star and Auburndale, Florida native. "Camp Kudzu remains on the frontline, working with young adults affected by diabetes. Camp Kudzu's work often goes unnoticed and unrecognized but I consider it an invaluable asset to our community."

In 2007, during Davis' second season with the Atlanta Falcons, his mother Glenda Davis, had her leg amputated due to complications associated with diabetes. This fueled Chauncey's desire to make a difference and directed his focus to participate with various health and wellness related outreach initiatives. That same year, the Atlanta Falcon's standout defensive end established The Chauncey Davis Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, with a focus on educating youth about health and wellness issues. Each year, the foundation provides a number of educational workshops, seminars and activities to promote healthy living, physical health, mental health and lifestyles with a specific concentration in diabetes awareness, detection and prevention.

Sponsors for the event included: Mercedes Benz of Buckhead, Georgia Power, DTLR, Orkin & Associates, Silverman Construction, Graham and Associates, Piedmont Heart Institute, Kellee Communications, RBC, Universal Sports Management Inc., The Shaw Group, Williams Realty, Aetna, BB&T, Nike, R.L. Brown & Associates, H.J. Russell New Urban Development, Pencilworx, Marketing Consultants of Atlanta, Profile Marketing & Public Relations, Affairs To Remember, Bezaar Events, Upscale Magazine, HealthNovation, Grey Goose and more.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Clayton State Names 27 Fayette County Residents to Summer 2009 Dean’s List

The following Fayette County residents were named to the summer 2009 dean’s list at Clayton State University. Students must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours and maintain a grade point average of 3.6 or higher to be eligible for the dean’s list.

Fayetteville Wendi R Bozeman
Leslie M. Carson
Joy Marie DeLay
Amanda L. Donaldson
Courtney L. Gratzer
Maureen S. Keillor
Angela Marie Lopez
Kelli D. Massey
Mary Lehang Nguyen-Quan
Kelly Vanessa Perdomo
Bonnie Ruth Sigman
Joan Wendaur
Jonesboro Cornelia Daniella Bouyea
Rhonda Elizabeth Brenner
Peachtree City Edward Andrew Case
Elizabeth J. Desch
Zachary Thomas-Albert Dicke
Tad Oliver Ericson
David D. Farr
Tim D. Fuller
Robert Lester Graham
Stanley Hinson
Chelsea Alice Martenson
Anne Louise Staigle
Stephanie Michelle Steele
Tyrone Jaymz Ryms
Patricia Delia Williams
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Georgia Division of Aging Services Recognized for Organizational Excellence

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services (DAS) is only one step away from winning Georgia’s highest award for organizational performance excellence.

DAS will receive the Georgia Oglethorpe Progress Award on October 29 during the 2009 Georgia Oglethorpe Annual Conference and Awards Banquet at the Marriott Atlanta Century Center in Atlanta.

“It is an honor to receive this award,” said DHS Commissioner B.J. Walker. “To achieve this level of recognition demonstrates Georgia’s commitment to enhance how it delivers services to older adults.”

The Progress Award is the second phase of a three-phase award process that culminates with the Georgia Oglethorpe Award. To receive Georgia’s highest organizational honor, DAS must continue to show continued performance success.

“The DAS team appreciates this award as validation that we are on the right track and recognize the value of continuing this systematic approach for managing our business and improving service to our customers,” said DAS Director Maria Greene.

Georgia Oglethorpe is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Georgia Department of Labor. Its mission is to lead organizations to improve by providing education, assessment, feedback, and recognition based on the Georgia Oglethorpe Criteria for Performance Excellence. These criteria are based on standards used to award the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Georgia Named as Motorcycle Safety Foundation Announces 2008 Award Winners

Each year, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation acknowledges outstanding achievement and excellence in rider education and training, honoring agencies, organizations, programs, dealers, the media and individuals who enhance motorcycle safety.

“The awards are our way of providing recognition and a thank you to those dedicated, hard-working and often unsung champions of rider education and training,” said Tim Buche, MSF president. “Whether the award recognizes an individual or an organization, behind it all you’ll find people devoted to the common goal of motorcyclist safety.”

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Awards for 2008 in Georgia are:

Outstanding RiderCoaches:
Donn A. Johnson, GA

Outstanding State Licensing Program:
Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program -
Department of Driver Services, GA

A multi-disciplinary evaluation committee composed of experienced professionals in the motorcycle safety field selected the award winners from nominations received from the training community. The committee of nine included the collective experience of four MSF staff members, three state administrators, and two RiderCoach Trainers.

“The MSF is honored to provide a forum for peer review when it comes time to acknowledge those in the training community who give of their time and energy to enhance safety for riders,” said Buche.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Four UGA scientists among 18 selected as Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholars

Four cancer researchers at the University of Georgia are among the 18 selected as Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists by the Georgia Cancer Coalition for 2009-10. UGA’s new Distinguished Cancer Scholars are:

Kevin Dobbin, Ph.D., assistant professor of biostatistics, College of Public Health;
Natarajan Kannan, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and Institute of Bioinformatics;
Mandi Murph, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, College of Pharmacy; and
Jia-Sheng Wang, M.D., Ph.D., professor and department head of Environmental Health Science, College of Public Health.

The Coalition selects scientists engaged in the most promising areas of cancer research. The four new UGA scholars will receive a total of $1.5 million over the next five years. UGA now has a total of 18active Distinguished Cancer Scholars.

“The support of the Georgia Cancer Coalition has helped the UGA Cancer Center grow significantly since its founding in 2004,” said Michael Pierce, Mudter Professor of Cancer Research and director of the UGA Cancer Center. “Having four new GCC scholars named in a single year certainly reflects well on the quality of the research in which our faculty members are engaged.”

Dobbin comes to UGA from the National Cancer Institute. His research focuses on modifying traditional statistical study design and analysis methods to accelerate the rate at which laboratory findings are translated into clinical tools that can be used to improve patient outcomes.

Kannan’s research focuses on mutations that are associated with the abnormal functioning of protein kinases, a large family of proteins that switch the “on” and “off” signals required for cell growth and differentiation. These mutations are involved in several human cancers, and a better understanding of them has the potential to lead to new treatments.

Murph is working to better understand a cellular signaling pathway known as the lysophosphatidic acid pathway that is involved in the progression of specific types of cancer. Drugs are under development targeting this pathway, and her research also aims to reveal their mechanisms of action to determine potential side effects before clinical trials and to maximize the likelihood of safe development.

Dr. Wang’s research focuses on the impact of environmental toxins on the formation of liver and esophageal cancers. He’s also a world leader in exploring the role natural products and dietary supplements may play in preventing cancer in high-risk populations.

Begun in 2001, the Georgia Cancer Coalition’s Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists program is an investment in Georgia’s future as a national leader in cancer control. The Scholars’ history of grants, publications and patents as well as their potential for attracting future funding is considered. In fiscal year 2008, Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholars were responsible for securing $47 million in privately and federally funded research grants for the state of Georgia; over the program’s 8-year history, scholars have generated more than $200 million in funding.

Scholar selection is based on how the applicant’s research relates to the goals of the Coalition, the research priorities of the National Cancer Institute and the strategic plan of the sponsoring institution. Applications are reviewed by a scientific review committee and an advisory review committee appointed by the Coalition in cooperation with Georgia’s research universities. Members rank candidates according to predetermined scientific and technical criteria.

“The National Cancer Institute has identified areas of discovery that hold promise for making significant progress against all cancers. The Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists program is the cornerstone of the Georgia Cancer Coalition’s efforts to advance scientific discovery into the prevention, treatment, causes and cures of cancer. These scientists and clinicians play an important role in positioning Georgia as a national leader in cancer research,” said Bill Todd, president and chief executive officer.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hail Mary Sports Pub Makes the Top 25

The Hail Mary Sports Pub in Grayson was recently named as one of the top 25 finalists for the Nations top new restaurant franchises. The contest, co-sponsored by The Franchise Edge and Sysco Foods is a national contest in which new independent restaurants compete to have their concept franchised for free.

The Hail Mary Sports Pub, located in downtown Grayson, entered the contest in August and was notified August 19th as being named in the top 25 out of 240 national restaurants. Upon entry, each restaurant conducted a phone interview with Franchise Edge management in order to determine the top 25 finalists. The contest winner will be announced on October 1, 2009.

Upon hearing the news, the Partners of the Hail Mary we’re overwhelmed, states Hail Mary GM, Blake Hawkins. “We entered at the encouragement of Sysco Foods Atlanta, and entered thinking that we did not stand a chance of competing nationally. The partners and I recall saying that if we made the top 25 we would consider that a great privilege and honor”. We were completely thrilled when we received the top 25 notification”, he continued.

Established in 2007, The Hail Mary Pub is a dream come true for a group of local Grayson friends & family who enjoy getting together to watch our favorite sports teams and enjoy great food and drink. By creating a special neighborhood place to call home —we are living our dream. After traveling the world over and visiting many great pubs along the way, we brought the best from these journeys to you to create The Hail Mary… Grayson’s Finest Sports Pub. Our name comes from the famous football “Hail Mary” play. Although originally coined by Notre Dame, the most famous play was the Dallas Cowboys’ Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson throw in 1975. It was a last second, long shot, against all odds play. This is our Hail Mary. We guarantee a friendly atmosphere, affordable spirits, great beer & liquor selections, tasty and unique food and great special events all while providing excellent customer service and televised sports in a friendly neighborhood environment.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Atlanta CEO to Chair Goodwill Industries International's(R) Board of Directors

/PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries International(R), Inc., (GII) has elected Ray Bishop of Atlanta, GA, as its new chair. Bishop took office during Goodwill's annual Delegate Assembly, held in Indianapolis, IN, this June, and will serve a one-year term.

Bishop has served as the President and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia, Inc. based in Atlanta for the last 19 years. Before joining Goodwill of North Georgia, he served as the CEO at Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina (Greensboro), Memphis Goodwill Industries (TN), and North Louisiana Goodwill Industries (Shreveport). Throughout his tenure, Bishop has demonstrated tremendous business management and a passion for serving others.

While at Goodwill, Bishop exceeded business goals by investing in the donated goods business line, including adding more convenient locations. He expanded commercial service lines by securing several large janitorial service contracts while supporting six self-funded career centers that maintained employment training, job placement and support services during a struggling economy.

"Ray Bishop set the bar by lending his financial and business expertise, which created new and sustainable jobs, and serves as a visionary leader within Goodwill," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "His passion for the Goodwill mission and his counsel will be invaluable to Goodwill in the year ahead."

Bishop is the 2005 recipient of the Kenneth K. King Management Award, recognizing a Goodwill executive for outstanding management abilities and accomplishments. Bishop is also the former chairman of Goodwill Industries International's Conference of Executives, the executive association of Goodwill CEOs.

Bishop earned his MA in Asian studies from Florida State University and his BBA in marketing from Florida Atlantic University. In addition to Goodwill Industries International's Board of Directors, Bishop previously served on the board of the Georgia Goodwill Association and was vice president of the Georgia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

88-Year-Old Chick-fil-A Founder Reaches $25 Million Scholarship Milestone; Honored at Aug. 24 Downtown Atlanta Ceremony

/PRNewswire/ -- In the midst of companies looking for ways to trim costs and reduce budgets, Chick-fil-A continues its 36-year commitment to education with founder S. Truett Cathy reaching his $25 million Leadership Scholarship milestone during a year when the restaurant chain has allocated $1.4 million in scholarships to be awarded to its restaurant team members.

Cathy was joined Monday morning by Ambassador Andrew Young and other local political and community leaders at a ceremony celebrating his milestone and acknowledgement of the 25,000th Leadership Scholarship to Chick-fil-A team member Jamie Dyche of Bossier City, La. The ceremony was held at Atlanta's downtown 23-foot Chick-fil-A "Climb with Care and Confidence" statue that was commissioned in 1995 by Georgia State University art students to celebrate Cathy's 10,000th scholarship milestone.

Commemorating the event was the unveiling of a plaque with the image of a mayonnaise jar. The plaque is symbolic of the story that occurred 54-years-ago when Cathy encouraged and helped one of his earliest restaurant team members, Eddie White, to attend college.

Cathy placed a collection jar in his first restaurant, the Dwarf Grill from which the chain was founded, to raise funds for White -- who was present at today's celebration. At the end of the summer, Cathy wrote a personal check to make up the lacking funds for White, who became the first in his family to attend and graduate from college.

The celebration will culminated Monday evening at the Gwinnett Braves' game in Lawrenceville, Ga., where Cathy and Dyche threw out the first pitch.

The venue was an appropriate ending to the day as it reflected other educational programs the chain supports. Chick-fil-A and the Atlanta Braves are partners in the All-Star Student Achievers program which awards Braves tickets and Chick-fil-A coupons to Georgia's high-achieving K-12 students.

In addition to Dyche, who works for franchised Operator John Roden at the stand-alone Bossier City Chick-fil-A restaurant at I-220 & Airline Drive, Cathy was joined by other milestone scholarship winners for the celebration including first Leadership Scholarship recipient Larry Jackson, who worked at the first Chick-fil-A restaurant at Greenbriar Shopping Center and graduated with a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech; and 20,000th recipient Erica Lampkin, who graduated from Atlanta's Spelman College in May and plans to attend medical school.

Also attending the events was recipient Dr. David Vaillancourt, founder of the National Math Bee, who symbolizes the great achievements of many scholarship recipients who have carried out Cathy's vision to have a positive influence on the world.

"I realized very early in my career that our restaurants present an opportunity to do more than just provide great service and food. They enable us to mentor our restaurant team members by teaching them core values and how to achieve excellence, as well as encouraging continued education with scholarships," said Cathy. "In these challenging economic times, we're thrilled to be able to help Jamie and some 1,400 other team members this year reach their academic goals so they will have the necessary tools to secure a bright future for themselves and our nation."

Scholarships have now grown to include 25,000 restaurant team members benefiting from the founder's commitment to education with Chick-fil-A's Leadership Scholarship program formally organized in 1973. Restaurant team members have attended more than 2,400 colleges, universities and other educational institutions across the country with the aid of these scholarships.

Following college graduation, many of these restaurant team members pursue full-time careers at Chick-fil-A, such as Dyche's franchisee Operator John Roden, who also received one of the chain's scholarships while working during high school for Chick-fil-A. Roden has now helped 19 of his restaurant team members benefit from the same scholarship program.

The Leadership Scholarship program provides $1,000 scholarships to its restaurant team members who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of work, education, community and personal leadership development.

Chick-fil-A also awards S. Truett Cathy Scholar Awards, which provide additional $1,000 scholarships to the top 25 Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship recipients each year. Implemented in 1996 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Chick-fil-A's scholarship program, this year's S. Truett Cathy Award recipients brought the total awarded to $325,000.

Additionally, Chick-fil-A's WinShape Foundation provides thousands of dollars in scholarships to qualifying students enrolled in Berry College in Rome, Ga. WinShape's partnership with Berry College offers joint four-year scholarship funding to students of up to $32,000. To date, the foundation has awarded approximately 951 scholarships to students from across the nation to attend Berry, one of the top regional liberal arts schools in the country.

The Council for Aid to Education has indicated that no other company in terms of size does as much in the scholarship area as Chick-fil-A. "Like the name of our foundation, WinShape, it has always been my goal to help shape winners out of young people," added Cathy.

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Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Establishes ‘The Vicki R. Palmer Scholarship Program’

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Coca-Cola Enterprises (NYSE: CCE), the world’s largest marketer, distributor, and producer of Coca-Cola products, yesterday announced the establishment of The Vicki R. Palmer Scholarship Program, created in honor of Spelman College trustee and retired Coca-Cola Enterprises executive Vicki R. Palmer. CCE will fund $25,000 in annual scholarships to the College in support of the program.

Given to students with academic promise, a demonstrated financial need, and a proven commitment to community service, The Vicki R. Palmer Scholarship will also provide Spelman students an opportunity to complete a summer internship at CCE.

“The Vicki R. Palmer Scholarship honors Vicki’s invaluable contributions to our company, while representing CCE’s ongoing commitment to attract and retain a diverse, inclusive, and highly talented workforce,” said John F. Brock, chairman and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Enterprises. “This program recognizes her dedication to community service, diversity, inclusion, and the empowerment of women, which are all trademarks of her leadership style.”

Throughout her 25-year tenure in the Coca-Cola system, Mrs. Palmer was committed to helping fulfill the Company’s diversity and inclusion goals of recruiting, retaining and promoting minorities and women, and providing opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses.

“I am honored by CCE’s generosity in establishing this scholarship program, which will serve as a lasting legacy,” said Mrs. Palmer. “This tribute underscores the missions of CCE and Spelman, both of which are committed to preparing young leaders for a competitive, global business environment while making a positive social impact.”

An avid supporter of Spelman College, Mrs. Palmer was elected to the school’s board of trustees in 1995. Currently, she serves as chair of the Investment Committee and is a member of the Audit, Finance and Budget Committee; Audit Sub-Committee; and Executive Committee.

“As a board member for more than 14 years, Vicki has demonstrated her passion for student development and mentorship by actively engaging business and community leaders in support of Spelman’s vision,” said Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president, Spelman College. “The Palmer Scholarship celebrates this passion by providing financial support and career training to help Spelman women become leaders in a 21st century global economy.”

Mrs. Palmer made lasting leadership contributions to both CCE and the Atlanta community over her distinguished career. She was initially hired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1983 before joining CCE’s initial leadership team as Assistant Treasurer when the company formed in 1986. She was then elected Corporate Vice President and Treasurer in 1992; Senior Vice President and Special Assistant to the CEO in 2000; and served as Executive Vice President, Financial Services and Administration from 2004 until her retirement earlier this year.

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts a 79 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DFCS case worker Rita Goodman receives National Adoption Award

Rita Goodman, a Clayton County adoption case manager for the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), has received the prestigious Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her successful work with Georgia’s foster children.

Goodman was honored August 4 in Washington, D.C., along with 16 other award recipients. She was recognized for finding permanent homes for more than 110 foster children, including some who faced enormous challenges to adoption.

“As the first Georgian ever to win this coveted award, we are all proud of Rita’s great work,” said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. “Her efforts on behalf of Georgia’s children reflect the state’s commitment to find a loving home for every child.”

Goodman, who works for Clayton County DFCS, was named “Queen of Adoptions” for metro Atlanta in 2006 and 2008. Her accomplishments include finding permanent homes for more than 18 sibling groups and more than 17 children aged 14 to 18 years old.

“We’re very proud of Rita, especially her work with children who face obstacles to a permanent home,” said B.J. Walker, commissioner of DHS. “Georgia is making real progress for foster children. Fewer kids are entering foster care. For those in our care, we are developing permanency plans that include a time table for when we hope to have each child matched with a safe and caring family.”

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Governor Gives Extraordinary Service Award to Health Agencies

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that employees of Georgia’s health and human services agencies have been awarded the “Governor’s Award for Extraordinary Service to Georgians” in recognition of their outstanding work during the reorganization of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Community Health.

“This is only the second time we have given out this recognition and I hope it stands as a real testament to those who worked hard for the benefit of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Governor Perdue. “Thanks to the work of over 200 state employees the reorganization of Georgia’s health and human service agencies has been completed successfully less than five months after it began with no disruption in services to constituents.”

The employees not only completed the transition without a break in customer service, they also helped move thousands of staff members physically and administratively to new agencies and new functions and maintained support for partner vendors without disruption, all while continuing to do their regular jobs.

“If you compare this to the corporate world, what we have accomplished is a simultaneous divestiture, merger, startup, and reorganization involving a company with 20,000 employees – in less than five months. That is unheard of,” said Jim Lientz, Chief Operating Officer for the State of Georgia.

The health and human services reorganization was initiated by Governor Sonny Perdue and approved by the Georgia General Assembly in its 2009 session as a way to bring greater focus to the state’s behavioral health services and to better align the state’s programs promoting public health.

The reorganization created a new agency called the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities with 8,600 employees from the former Department of Human Resources (DHR). At the same time, DHR’s Division of Public Health and Office of Regulatory Services, representing a total of 1,240 employees, were divested and transferred to the Department of Community Health. The remaining functions of DHR, including Family and Children Services, Aging, and Child Support Services, were reorganized to form the new Department of Human Services.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft Honor National Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals Winners

/PRNewswire/ -- While there is no question that today's generation is incredibly savvy when it comes to technology, many question how well-prepared they are for the 21st century workplace. Yet today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals, featuring some of the youngest and brightest tech talents, delivered a resounding, positive answer.

Boys & Girls Clubs members from across the world journeyed to Atlanta as reward for being named national winners of the annual contest. The trip was filled with hands-on experiences in the art and technology worlds. The 25 youth members took part in interactive workshops at the Art Institute of Atlanta and the global public relations firm, Manning Selvage & Lee. Participants also visited CNN, World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium for behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to keep the tourist destinations going.

"While many of today's youth utilize technology, we have the opportunity to give our members access to training in a unique way that builds not only their skills but their confidence," said Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). "Through the Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals we're not only giving them the technology tools they need, but we're also showing them first-hand how they can leverage the skills they've gained to be great at whatever they choose to pursue."

Throughout the year, Boys & Girls Clubs members competed locally with hopes of progressing to the regional competition and finally the national level. Participants were encouraged to combine creativity with technology know-how to create a digital masterpiece in one of five categories - photo illustration, music production, filmmaking, graphic design and website development. Youth, ranging in age 10 to 18, submitted nearly 1,300 pieces of original digital artwork, incorporating the theme "Nature of Design."

The digital arts competition is only one component of Club Tech, a partnership between Microsoft and BGCA that aims to equip America's youth with the skills needed to succeed in school and the workplace. The initiative successfully integrates software training, digital curriculum and hands-on experiences to level the "virtual playing field" for all youth.

"Our young people are central to our future economic success," commented Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs. "It is one of the reasons we are incredibly proud of our ten plus year partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Clubs provide young people with a supportive environment that fosters learning and growth, and readies them for the jobs of tomorrow. Initiatives like Club Tech and the Digital Arts Festivals offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase creativity using technology, promote digital literacy and expand skills that will not only benefit the participants but our entire society. I want to personally congratulate all of the winners. The quality and ingenuity of the winning projects is incredible."

According to a recent study by the University of Washington's Center for Information & Society, the technology access kids get outside of school is an important complement to the learning that happens in the classrooms. Researchers found that through Club Tech, Boys & Girls Club members not only learned the fundamentals of computers, but they also learned how to harness technology in a way that made them more literate in current affairs and other topics that spill over from school and from home.

"The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival goes beyond just providing access to computers. This experience affords all youth the opportunity to become productive citizens in a global economy that's driven by technology," added Spillett. "We are extremely proud of our winners as they are living proof that we're having a positive impact on the lives of our children."

The following Boys & Girls Club members were recognized as national winners:

-- Boys & Girls Club of Albany, OR - TheReef.com by Rylan H., Web Design
-- Boys & Girls Club of Huntington Valley, CA - A Better Place by Annie
A., Screenplay Writing
-- Boys & Girls Club of Pleasants County, WV - Pieces of Nature by Javier
Z., Photo Illustration
-- Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, IL, -Nature's Fantasy by Caitlyn C.,
Photo Illustration; People V.S. The Earth by Breanna W., Brendan E.,
Kailie W., Marlin D. and Michael L., Movie Making
-- Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, Seymour, TN - Bird Song by
Alexis T., Music Making
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue, WA - Scenery, Ivaylo D., Graphic
Design
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, Ft. Lauderdale, FL -
Construction by Desi M. Screenplay Writing
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Seattle, WA - J's Grand Canyon by
Jess J., Web Design; Tree in the Meadow by Naima Y., Graphic Design
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, GA - Outside by Stephen H., Music
Making
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, CO - Northern Lights by Raymond
P., Web Design; Sunny Day by Isaiah G., Graphic Design
-- Camp Zama Youth Center, Japan - Dancing Dandelions by Benjamin S.,
Photo Illustration; The Beauty of Nature by Amanda C., Ariel H.,
Christian C., Jennie R., and Maia W., Movie Making
-- Fort Bliss Youthplex, TX - Whale Song by Jared G., Music Making

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