Friday, December 17, 2010

Jim Lientz Honored for Service in Governor’s Office

Former state Chief Operating Officer Jim Lientz has been named a 2010 Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures. Lientz was recognized as a social entrepreneur over 60 who, in his encore career, used his experience and passion to make an extraordinary impact on society’s biggest challenges. Now in its fifth year, the six-year, $17 million Purpose Prize program is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life.

Lientz was named a Fellow due to his time serving as Georgia’s COO, where he helped Governor Sonny Perdue create a customer friendly, people-oriented state government through the leadership, management, and supervision of state departments, agencies, and their respective boards and commissions. Lientz was instrumental in Georgia’s growth as a best managed state including recognition from the Pew Center on the States and Governing magazine.

“Purpose Prize Fellows show what’s possible in our communities – and the world – when experienced adults apply their passion and skill to improve the lives of others.” said Alexandra Céspedes Kent, Director of The Purpose Prize. “Imagine the potential for society if tens of thousands of adults focused their know-how on the social causes they are most passionate about – it’s a tremendous opportunity.”

The 46 Purpose Prize Fellows of 2010 were honored at the Purpose Prize Summit in November in Philadelphia.

“I am honored that my passion towards building a more customer-focused, forward-thinking Georgia has earned me such recognition,” said Lientz. “I dedicated my life to success in the private sector and it was important to me to continue striving for results-oriented solutions in a public role.” The Purpose Prize, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation, is a program of Civic Ventures’ Encore Careers campaign (, which aims to engage millions of baby boomers in encore careers combining social impact, personal meaning and continued income in the second half of life. For more information, visit:
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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Office Depot Foundation Honors Mark Dobosz with Listen, Learn, Care Award

The Office Depot Foundation presented the Listen, Learn, Care Award to Mark Dobosz, Executive Director of The SCORE Foundation and Vice President of Development at SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business”, for his outstanding creativity, innovation and achievement in serving the community of mankind.

Mark Dobosz received the Listen, Learn, Care Award at the Fourth Annual Office Depot Foundation Tropical Holiday Celebration on December 10, 2010. This annual event celebrated the outstanding work of the Office Depot Foundation and featured the presentation of the annual Listen, Learn, Care Award to five exceptional individuals.

Mark Dobosz has spent more than 26 years working in a variety of leadership roles and areas for non-profit organizations. He has been responsible for developing new fundraising programs as well as expanding several annual giving, planned giving and special event programs. Mark has helped raise more than $27 million for the organizations he has served.

SCORE CEO Ken Yancey says, “Mark Dobosz has demonstrated foresight and vision for SCORE’s future through his commitment to SCORE fundraising. He has tirelessly worked to ensure that the message of securing outside support becomes widespread across SCORE”. Yancey adds, “Mark has been integral to SCORE’s effort to expand its mission of serving small businesses across America and building the economic strength of local communities.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tift County 4-H declared national poultry judging champions

On Nov. 19, the local sheriff’s department escorted four Tift County teenagers into Tifton, Ga. It might sound like a parent’s nightmare, but the escort actually made parents proud. The reason for the eventful arrival: poultry.

The Tift County 4-H Poultry Judging Team was named the national champion at the National 4-H Poultry & Egg Conference in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 18. The high school seniors were greeted with sirens and police cars on their homecoming.

'Cool' win

“It was pretty cool. People pulled off on the side of the road. It was an honor to have that much attention,” said Sarah Harrison, one of the team’s members.

Harrison received the highest individual score in the national contest, and her twin sister, Rachel, came close behind in second place. Other members of the team included T.J. Chestnut, who placed seventh, and Michael Corbin, who ranked in the top 25.

Not a first

Coached by Brian Tankersley, Andrea Milton, and George Lee, this was Tift County 4-H’s sixth national championship in poultry judging. Tift County teams won the national championship in 1988, 1991, 1992, 2003 and 2005, too. The team placed second in 2008. Georgia teams have won at least eight times in the history of the competition.

“They have really fallen in love with poultry judging here, they do well with it,” Tankersley said.
He attributes the county’s continued success to experience. Between the members, this year’s winning team carried 25 years of experience to the national competition. Offering multiple teams allows Tift County youth to begin participating in poultry judging as early as sixth grade and continue their involvement all the way through their senior year of high school.

Sarah Harrison began her poultry judging experience when she was in the sixth grade. “I was very active in many different 4-H activities, but poultry judging just happened to be something that I enjoyed and also was really good at,” she said.

Practice, practice and more practice

Starting the poultry team in 1987 with little experience in poultry, Tankersley has gained his knowledge by working with specialists and attending 4-H trainings. He says that their teams begin practicing for the local and state competitions in March with two practices each week through May.

Practices include simulated contests with eggs donated by United Egg in Blackshear, Ga. If a team qualifies for the national competition, then they take a break from May to September, when they begin six weeks of heavy practice before the national competition in November. Competition is keen, as teams come from all over the country including California, New York and Florida. This year’s competition included teams from 19 states.

Not just about chickens

Awards are not the only benefit of poultry judging. The event is designed to sharpen communication, leadership and decision-making skills. It spurs an interest in science, agriculture and nutrition. Alumni from Tift County’s poultry judging teams include two doctors, multiple veterinarians, many teachers and a few engineers.

Poultry judging competitions consist of three categories: production hens, market poultry and market eggs. All team members judge each division, and the three highest scores for each category are used to rank the team. This year the Tift County team won all three divisions.

Will Walker, who won the National Egg Preparation Contest, and Scott Walters, who placed seventh in chicken barbeque, also represented Georgia at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference. Walker and Walters are from Turner County and were accompanied by Lynn Davis, the 4-H agent in that county.

To learn more about 4-H in your county, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

By Kristin Strickland

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Channel 2 WSB-TV Announces Angel Poventud as Atlanta's 2010 Cox Conserves Hero

/PRNewswire/ -- Channel 2 WSB-TV and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) have announced that Angel Poventud is Atlanta's 2010 Cox Conserves Hero. He was nominated for the program, selected as a finalist by local environmental leaders and ultimately named as the Hero after receiving the most votes in an online public poll. Poventud has selected Trees Atlanta to receive the $5,000 award.

He was nominated for his volunteer work within Atlanta's environmental community. Poventud's weekends are spent planting and mulching with Trees Atlanta. He also frequently volunteers for BeltLine clean-up projects and helps the group convert abandoned rail corridors into parks.

"I started volunteering to plant trees, and I quickly realized it's the most rewarding thing I can do in the city," said Poventud. "It's important to utilize vacant lots. When you do, trees start getting planted and birds start chirping. Before you know it, nature happens."

Poventud was named Atlanta's 2010 Cox Conserves Hero at a reception held at and sponsored by the Hotel Palomar. Each of the other four finalists received $1,250 to donate to their environmental nonprofits of choice:

* Bryan Holloway (Revive Atlanta)
* James King (Keeping It Wild)
* Bruce Morton (Park Pride)
* Kit Sutherland (Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy)

This is the second year Cox Conserves Heroes has taken place in Atlanta. Don Wells - an advocate for conserving and enjoying the open spaces of the North Georgia Mountains – was named Atlanta's 2009 Cox Conserves Hero. As Wells' environmental nonprofit of choice, Mountain Stewards received $5,000 that was used to build new public trails and connect students with nature through outdoor classrooms.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Channel 2 WSB-TV, to honor everyday conservationists. The program also runs in New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Amerigroup Foundation Honors Georgia Career Center Manager as a 'Healthy Hero'

/PRNewswire/ -- The Amerigroup Foundation today (November 4) announced that it is designating Woodstock Goodwill Career Center Manager Christine Rankin a "Healthy Hero."

Rankin is passionate about helping residents of northern Georgia find employment. She coaches them every step of the way -- from helping create resumes to practicing interviews. This year, Rankin helped more than 400 jobseekers find work. In addition, Rankin educates jobseekers about living a healthy lifestyle. She invites health care experts to speak at the career center, and she searches for health programs that benefit residents in her community.

"Christine Rankin exemplifies a 'Healthy Hero,'" said John E. Littel, chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. "Christine recognizes that a healthy community is a strong community. She does an outstanding job helping residents in her community find jobs, all the while empowering them to live healthier lives. The Amerigroup Foundation is pleased to recognize Christine for her important contributions."

Rankin donated the $1,000 "Healthy Hero" award to Goodwill. "These people come into our career center with the weight of the world on their shoulders," said Rankin. "I'm proud to do anything I can to help."

The Amerigroup Foundation periodically honors "Healthy Heroes" who have made a difference in the communities served by its corporate underwriter, Amerigroup Corporation, which administers publicly funded health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for state and federal governments.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Emory University Hospital Named Consumer Choice Winner for 13th Straight Year

For the 13th straight year, Emory University Hospital has been recognized as one of the nation's top hospitals by the National Research Corporation's (NRC) Consumer Choice Awards.

The award identifies hospitals chosen by healthcare consumers as having the highest quality and image in more than 300 markets throughout the U.S. This is the 15th year NRC has awarded hospitals whose consumers have recognized them for providing the highest quality healthcare.

“Having an opportunity to once again share this tremendous honor with the men and women who care for our patients and visitors each day is certainly a special and rewarding part of my job,” says Robert Bachman, Emory University Hospital chief operating officer. “Being recognized for what you do – and how well you do it – by the very consumers you are in the business of serving each day is an accolade that cannot be topped. I want to thank our entire team of physicians, nurses, support and business staff, volunteers and vast network of stakeholders and donors who strive to make Emory University Hospital a great center for care and discovery. Our customers have again spoken, and we will use this award as motivation to continue improving service in a safe, patient- and family-centered environment of care.”

Ginny Martin, president of NRC's Ticker Division, says winners are determined by consumer perceptions on multiple quality and image ratings collected in the company's Ticker study. Of the 3,200 hospitals named by consumers in the study, the winning facilities rank highest in their Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Ticker study surveyed over 250,000 households representing over 450,000 consumers in the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia.

"Healthcare has become an increasingly important issue across the country and empowered consumers are making decisions for themselves and their families when selecting their healthcare facilities and services," Martin says. "As care options multiply and financial challenges remain strong, consumer perception of quality continues to grow in importance. Dedication to providing high quality healthcare has become essential for all hospitals. In the face of adversity, these Consumer Choice award winners exemplify the dedication it takes to provide quality healthcare to their communities, and we are pleased to honor them through the eyes of their patients."

This year, Emory University Hospital for the 20th time, joined the prestigious ranks of America's top medical institutions in the annual U.S. News & World Report guide to "America's Best Hospitals." The hospital is at the heart of one of the nation's leading university-based health systems, with nationally and internationally recognized faculty physicians in a broad range of specialty areas. The 573-bed adult, tertiary care facility is a component of Emory Healthcare -- the largest and most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The hospital is staffed by more than 950 practicing physicians who are also faculty members of the Emory School of Medicine.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Governor Perdue Named One of GOVERNING Magazine’s Public Officials of the Year

Governor Perdue only governor recognized by national magazine

GOVERNING Magazine today announced that Governor Sonny Perdue is among a group of eight state and local government officials from around the country who are being honored for leadership and excellence as GOVERNING’s 2010 Public Officials of the Year. In its 17th year, the annual awards program recognizes leaders from state, city and county government for outstanding accomplishment in their department/agency, community or state.

“These dynamic state, city and county public officials faced both economic and political challenges,” said GOVERNING Publisher Fred Kuhn. “Through their collective vision, these eight stellar leaders worked to better not only their communities but set an example for future leaders to follow.”

“I am honored that this respected magazine has recognized our efforts to make Georgia one the best managed states in the nation,” Governor Perdue said. “This recognition has truly been earned by the agency leaders, state employees and others who have worked with us to give Georgians an effective, efficient state government.”

In announcing the honorees, GOVERNING issued this statement about Governor Perdue: “Sonny Perdue, Governor, State of Georgia, used his business-savvy leadership skills to turn Georgia into one of the best managed states in the country and confronted two of the most difficult challenges facing Georgia – shepherding landmark transportation funding and water conservation bills through the legislature—while keeping the state’s fiscal house in order.”

In March 2008, The Pew Center on the States and GOVERNING ranked Georgia among the best managed states in the nation in the Grading the States 2008 report. Georgia’s overall grade of B+ is the highest awarded to any state in the Southeast. Only three states received a higher grade than Georgia's B+, and four other states received the same grade as Georgia. The national average among the 50 states was an overall grade of B-. Thirteen states earned grades above the national average and 19 states were below the national average.

The 2008 report emphasized the value and impact of improvements made by the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia, an initiative Governor Perdue launched shortly after being sworn-in as Governor in 2003. The commission is made up of private sector business and community leaders who offer a fresh perspective on how to make government more efficient and effective.

“In 2003, when Governor Sonny Perdue decided to set up his Commission for a New Georgia, it sounded like a recipe for one more unread manifesto doomed to gather more dust than interest. But the Governor meant business,” said the report. “He ultimately pressed into service more than 300 private-sector representatives, promising to do everything possible to implement their recommendations. And since its creation, the commission has been slowly, quietly and deliberately infiltrating Georgia state government with best practices from private industry.”

Governor Perdue was the only governor honored as a Public Official of the Year by GOVERNING. The other recipients include: Mick Cornett, Mayor, Oklahoma City; J. Wm. Covington, Superintendent, Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools; J. Stephen Fletcher, Chief Information Officer, State of Utah; Ana Gelabert-Sanchez, former Planning Director, City of Miami, Florida; Rep. Diana S. Urban, State of Connecticut; and Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Jerry A. Madden, State of Texas.

Public Officials of the Year are selected from nominations submitted by readers, experts in the public and private sectors and the GOVERNING editorial team. Among the qualities recognized are leadership, courage, innovation, creativity and good management. Award winners are profiled in the November issue of the magazine and on They will also be honored at a dinner at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. on November 18. The event is hosted by GOVERNING and sponsored by Citrix, Motorola and Oracle.

Visit ..

More than 75,000 public officials turn to GOVERNING for the trusted information they can’t find anywhere else. GOVERNING covers state and local government politics, policies and programs essential to this audience. GOVERNING is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.

Friday, October 22, 2010

UGA Odum School of Ecology featured on National Geographic's "Great Migration" series

A film crew from National Geographic spent three weeks in June 2009 at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology shooting video footage for “Great Migrations: Born to Move,” which will air on National Geographic Channel Sunday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.It features the life cycle and migration of monarch butterflies, and includes scenes filmed at the Odum School with help from ecology faculty, students and staff.

Professor Gary W. Barrett, who holds the Odum Chair in Ecology, helped the film crew capture scenes showing predation of monarchs by mice and arranged for video footage to be shot at UGA’s HorseShoe Bend Ecology Experimental Research Site.

Associate Professor Sonia Altizer’s students and laboratory staff assisted with sequences of the monarch life cycle. “People in my lab guided the photographers and assistants and provided materials to them to film monarch eggs, larvae, pupation, adults laying eggs, praying mantis eating monarchs, and more,” said Altizer, an expert on monarch butterflies.She has conducted substantial research on the variation among monarch butterflies across their worldwide range, and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of their long-distance migration, particularly as it relates to host-parasite interactions. Her study of the relationship between migration distance and monarch butterfly wing shape, co-authored with Andy Davis, assistant research scientist in the Odum School, was published in the journal Evolution in Feb. 2010.

Monarch butterflies that breed in the eastern U.S. migrate to central Mexico each fall. The video footage shot in the ecology building and at HorseShoe Bend will appear in the first episode of the series, along with footage shot in Mexico.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue Honors TOTO

Governor Sonny Perdue honored TOTO USA on October 6 with the 2010 Conserve Georgia Water Conservation Award. The award recognizes the company for leading the way in sustainable water use by developing water-saving plumbing fixtures, ensuring the highest levels of efficiency in its Morrow manufacturing plant, and educating employees, the community, and fellow businesses on the importance of water conservation and how to achieve it.

The Governor began the Conserve Georgia program in 2008 with the goal of encouraging a statewide “culture of conservation” that helps preserve and sustain the state’s natural resources for generations to come.

“Georgia is blessed with abundant natural resources. It’s important to the vitality of our state that we protect these resources for the future,” said Governor Perdue. “Businesses like TOTO are leading the way in creating a culture of conservation, and it is my pleasure to recognize them for their accomplishments.”

Chris Clark, Chair of the Conserve Georgia Council and Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, affirmed the governor’s statement: "We are proud to recognize TOTO USA with the 2010 Conserve Georgia Water Conservation Award, acknowledging their commitment to promoting water efficiency in their facility, products, and community."

Over the past several years, TOTO has garnered numerous conservation awards, both local and national, for its commitment to environmental stewardship. For example, Georgia’s Southface Energy Institute, the Southeast’s non-profit leader in the promotion of sustainable homes, workplaces, and communities, has recognized the company with its prestigious Argon Award for Sustainability for its outstanding environmental leadership. At the national level, TOTO is the only plumbing manufactured honored by the Environmental Protection Agency with its coveted Water Efficiency Leader Award.

The company actively shares its passion for environmental sustainability by serving in the leadership positions of organizations focused on energy and water-efficiency, such as the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green buildingrating system, and the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a national organization dedicated to water efficiency that is spearheaded by the EPA.“TOTO is continuously looking for ways to eliminate waste, create more efficient products, and improve people’s lives through all levels of social sustainability.

From product lifecycle analysis that ensures thesmallest carbon footprint possible to advocating water savings through end-user practices, TOTO is dedicated to natural resource conservation,” stated Bill Strang, Vice President of Operations at TOTO.In fact, all employees at TOTO’s manufacturing facilities are personally involved in the company’s conservation efforts. At its encouragement, they bring their recyclables to the plant, and TOTO ships to the appropriate recycling facilities. “At TOTO, conservation at all levels, including recycling, reducing waste, and manufacturing high-efficiency products is a part of our DNA. It is part of our manufacturing practices and our employees’ daily lives,” continued Strang.

Photo source:  Toto USA, Inc
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Special Olympics Georgia Athlete Joins Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Committee; Begins Her Own Fundraising Project

/PRNewswire-/ -- Even though Paige Copeland, a Special Olympics athlete, has faced many challenges, it's her outlook that has made the difference and helped her become the athlete ambassador on the state's Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Executive Council.

Paige, recently appointed to the two-year term, will give feedback to LETR, the organization's largest grassroots fundraiser, about its annual plans. Her term officially started in August. She is the second only Special Olympics athlete to serve on the Executive Council. The first was Dekalb County Special Olympics gymnast Elena Weaver.

Paige, of Henry County, was selected through a nomination process by the LETR Executive Council based on her high community involvement and her previous role as Miss Special Henry County. She was also chosen based on her public speaking experience and good-natured personality. "Being special has brought many challenges into my life, and all special needs people have big challenges in their lives. We all face challenges. But whether or not you're special, you can face the challenges by seeing them as storms, or you can see them as rainbows. I choose to see mine as rainbows, and I challenge everyone to do the same," she said recently.

In addition to providing an athlete's perspective, Paige will make public presentations about the year-round LETR fundraising efforts for the 23,078 children and adults with intellectual disabilities registered in Special Olympics Georgia. Torch Run raises approximately $650,000 each year. Paige recently created her own fundraising page to contribute. Support Paige's new adventures with LETR by making a donation at

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Georgia Natural Gas Honored by Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta for Dedication to Community Service

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Natural Gas (GNG), the state's leading natural gas provider and a nationally recognized leader in corporate volunteerism, is the 2010 recipient of the IMPACT Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Engagement presented by the Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta (CVC). The award is in the medium to small category of companies, which includes companies with up to 500 employees. The IMPACT Award is the highest award given by the CVC.

"We are thrilled to honor Georgia Natural Gas as the winner of this year's IMPACT Award for medium to small business. Their exemplary volunteer program is truly part of their business culture and demonstrates their deep dedication to the Atlanta community, their customers and employees," said Lea Rolfes, CVC executive director.

In the eight years since GNG implemented its community service program, the company's employees have made a tremendous difference in the lives of Georgia citizens through volunteerism and philanthropy. In 2009 and 2010 the company's employees volunteered at numerous nonprofits throughout the metro Atlanta area. For the past six years, GNG volunteers have tutored at Centennial Place Elementary School.

In addition to their volunteer efforts, GNG employees have supported nonprofit organizations that offer services and programs to deserving Georgians, particularly children and seniors. For example, the company's employee volunteers, whose motto is "Working Together ... Serving Together," raised funds this summer for local charities such as Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, Senior Connections, and the Centennial Place School Foundation.

"We are so honored to be recognized by the Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta for our employees' dedication to giving back to the communities we serve," said Mike Braswell, GNG president and CEO. "All of the credit for this honor goes to our generous volunteers who prove day after day that a relatively small group of people can make a big difference in the community."

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Georgia's Woodlawn Elementary Takes 1st Place at World Championship Archery Competition!

Georgia is home to a world champion elementary school archery team after this month’s National Archery in the Schools Program World Tournament.  Woodlawn Elementary is the first Georgia school to compete on the World Competition level, which saw more than 950 student archers from 21 states compete in the elementary, middle and high school divisions.

“The students were awesome and really showed what hard work and determination can do,” said Coach Brad Bates, teacher and NASP coordinator for Woodlawn Elementary.  “These kids haven't stopped practicing since try-outs for the state tournament a year ago.  Each one on the team has a story and they pulled together in Florida to win a World Championship.”

Georgia School ranking:

Woodlawn Elementary School in Chatsworth finished first in the competition in the elementary division with a team score of 3,240. Woodlawn won the Georgia-NASP elementary school title during the state tournament in February 2010 and took third place at the NASP National Tournament in May 2010. Additionally, they were the highest scoring team at the State Tournament.

Georgia Student ranking:

Individually, Woodlawn Elementary’s Morgan Ray placed 1st in this competition by shooting a 291 in the elementary division. This score put her only one point behind the HIGH SCHOOL 1st place winner.


NASP is an in-school archery curriculum that meets all education department standards. Only schools that are certified in NASP through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are qualified to compete. Schools in nearly 80 counties in Georgia are NASP certified.

The program promotes instruction in international-style target archery to improve educational performance and participation in shooting sports.  Research has shown that the program, administered through a minimum two-week course during the school year, improves class attendance and behavior. NASP universal fit bows make it possible for students of all sizes and genders to succeed in archery while raising self-esteem levels and improving hand-eye coordination during physical activity.

NASP is taught in 46 states as well as Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. To date, more than 6 million students have gone through the program.

For more information on NASP in Georgia, recreational shooting sports opportunities or to find a range near you, visit, or call (770) 918-6416.

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Georgia Diabetes Pilot Bridging Cultural Health Care Gaps for African Americans and Hispanics Gains National Recognition

/PRNewswire/ -- A health equities pilot developed for Blue Cross Blue Shield members is one of seven programs recognized this year with a Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Award. The pilot, in which Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) was a participant, was developed for Hispanics and African Americans with diabetes. The award was given for the pilot's innovative and successful approach to improving access to high quality, safe and affordable health care for consumers.

The Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Program was developed by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy. The purpose of the Clinical Distinction Awards is to highlight the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans nationally that demonstrate innovation, efficiency and potential for replication.

The pilot, "Bridging Cultural Health Care Gaps: Diabetes," was submitted by BCBSGa's California affiliate, which also had participants in the pilot. Two other affiliated plans in Indiana and Maine also earned Clinical Distinction Awards.

"Research shows that ethnically diverse populations experience a higher prevalence of certain diseases and worse quality of care than whites regardless of the type of insurance they have or whether they have insurance at all," said Terri Amano, senior product manager of BCBSGa's parent company's Programs in Clinical Excellence. "With this pilot, our goal was to find ways to provide useful and relevant information to our Hispanic and African American members. This information helps them better control their diabetes and improve their quality of life."

In asking members their opinions and researching their behaviors and attitudes, it was discovered that aspects of culture—food, family, faith and fear of disease complications, such as amputations and blindness, were factors that may influence behaviors and attitudes toward health care among African Americans and Hispanics. These issues were explored in many of the educational materials.

The pilot focused on creative and culturally appropriate ways to communicate with members—including providing information on how members could reach out to local churches to share these messages with others and providing bilingual Spanish print Fotonovelas, a photographic comic strip version of a soap opera. The pilot also provided diabetes educational materials that included ways to substitute ingredients in favorite ethnic meals to make them healthier.

"Harvard is pleased to recognize this pilot that sets such high standards for its effectiveness in improving patient care," said Barbara J. McNeil, Ph.D., head of the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. "The Blues' focus on quality, safety and access plays a critical role in improving the healthcare delivery system and enhancing quality and value for consumers."

The randomized controlled pilot studied more than 4,000 African American and Hispanic members in California and Georgia.

"Even over the short term, we saw small but promising increases in disease management engagement among African American and Hispanic members," Amano said. "We see this pilot as an important first step in helping our diverse members make important changes to their health and helping to bridge the cultural care gaps that exist today."

BCBSGa's parent company plans to use this pilot in other states.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Governor Perdue Announces Fourth-Annual Customer Service Awards

Governor Sonny Perdue today announced the winners of state government’s fourth-annual Governor’s Customer Service Awards for 2010. Seven individuals and nine teams were recognized today by Governor Perdue.

“Part of making Georgia the best managed state is improving customer service and recognizing those employees who provide it,” said Governor Perdue. “These awards highlight exemplary employees and their commitment to changing processes and attitudes to provide faster, friendlier and easier service for the citizens of Georgia. Those recognized here represent scores of others who have found ways to produce and measure results.”

Winners in the fourth year of the Governor’s Customer Service Awards were selected from among more than 580 nominations from 42 different agencies across Georgia. Nominees demonstrate “above and beyond” service that is helpful, courteous and knowledgeable. Team winners dramatically shortened process times or responded quickly to customers. Awards were also given for Employee of the Year, Team of the Year, Contact Center Excellence, Leadership and Agency of the Year. Employees of state agencies and the University System of Georgia are eligible. Nominees were judged by a blue-ribbon panel of leaders from the business community and the public sector.


Individual Excellence in Customer Service

This award recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the citizens of Georgia over the last year. Their actions reflect all five of the state’s customer service commitments: HELPFUL, COURTEOUS, ACCESSIBLE, RESPONSIVE and KNOWLEDGEABLE.
Carleton F. Coleman, Aging Services Coordinator, Dept. of Human Services, Columbus
Jenna Miley, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Bainbridge College, University System of Georgia, Bainbridge
Bob Satterfield, Assistant Director of Maintenance, Georgia Building Authority, Atlanta
Eric Sellers, Warden, Burruss CTC, Georgia Dept. of Corrections, Forsyth

Customer Service Employee of the Year

This award is given to the individual who represents the most exceptional example of customer service in the state of Georgia.

· Dan Chan, Meteorologist, Georgia Forestry Commission, Macon

Team Excellence in Customer Service

This award recognizes those teams who have demonstrated outstanding service to the customers of the state of Georgia over the last year.

· Computerized Criminal History/Identification Team, Georgia Bureau of Investigation
· Financial Reporting Team, State Accounting Office
· Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Milledgeville, Dept. of Veterans Service, Milledgeville
· Hearing Examiners, State Board of Pardons and Paroles

Customer Service Team of the Year

This award is presented to the team which is the most exceptional example of customer service in the state of Georgia.

· Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism, Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs

Contact Center Excellence
The contact center excellence award is given to one call center based on outstanding performance and improvement in customer service.

· Motor Vehicle Citizens Help Desk Contact Center, Georgia Dept. of Revenue

Outstanding Process Improvement

The process improvement award is given to a division or program that has designed and implemented a planned process improvement or initiative that has resulted in a significant positive impact on their customers over the last year.

· Probation Reporting Contact Center, Georgia Dept. of Corrections, Atlanta

Customer Service Champion of the Year

This award recognizes the Champion who has successfully guided customer service improvements throughout his or her organization resulting in a significant, positive impact on customer service over the last year.

· Lisa Maier, Georgia Dept. of Public Safety, Atlanta

Outstanding Customer Service Leadership

The Customer Service Leadership Award recognizes a leader in an agency, division, institution or program who, through his or her leadership in customer service, has made a significant, positive impact on customer service to the citizens of the state of Georgia over the last year.

· Holly Robinson, Commissioner, Bright From the Start: Georgia Dept. of Early Care and Learning, Atlanta

Most Improved Customer Service Organization

This award recognizes the state organization or program that has demonstrated the greatest overall improvement in customer service during the previous year.

· Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources

Customer Service Agency/Institution of the Year

This award is given to the state agency or institution that has shown the highest commitment, the highest performance levels and the most improvement in customer service across the organization over the last year. · University System of Georgia

Spelman College Students Win 2010 AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge(SM)

/PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* is pleased to announce that Jonecia Keels and Jazmine Miller of Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women, have won the 2010 AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge(SM) with their next generation e-learning mobile application, HBCU Buddy.

HBCU Buddy is a mobile application created to educate and inform users, including both prospective and current college students, about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the United States. It is a fully-fledged mobile service application that provides detailed information about each and every HBCU in the nation and integrates all facets of college life.

The application opens with a directory profiling each HBCU with information on academics, admissions, research, student life, alumni, among other details. After selecting a school, students can navigate through the school – literally – by accessing virtual tours of buildings, on-campus videos, and local GPS and directions.

HBCU Buddy can also provide students with customizable social networking features to connect with each other, their school and community. The application connects to social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and integrates tools such as chat and calendar to help students stay informed. Students can use the application to follow the latest on school club and campus happenings, local events, hot spots around the community, and more.

Jonecia Keels and Jazmine Miller were recognized and awarded a $10,000 scholarship (divided between them) and a mobile device of their choice each at the Higher Ed Board of Advisors Meeting in Miami, Florida, on October 7, 2010. The pair will be demonstrating their HBCU Buddy application in the AT&T booth #1433 at the EduCause National Convention in Anaheim, California, on October 12-14, 2010. Additionally, they will be invited to participate on the judging committee for the 2011 AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge.

"HBCU Buddy is an outstanding mobile application, embodying everything this contest is about: providing a platform for higher education students to develop their innovative ideas into practical and useful e-learning mobile applications," said Chris Hill, Vice President, Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions (ABS).

"No one can indentify higher education opportunities and needs better than the students themselves. Jonecia Keels and Jazmine Miller of Spelman College saw a need and created an application that truly enhances the college experience for HBCU students. The application provides students with access to the most relevant information in real-time."

AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge for full-time college students was established in 2008 to recognize innovative and creative mobile applications that enhance the educational process for higher education students. For more information, please visit

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Georgia Employer Receives Top DOD Award

Southern Company received the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for going beyond the federal law requirements in support of Guard and Reserve members. A Southern Company employee who is an Army Reserve First Lieutenant nominated his company for the award.

Southern Company, the only Georgia employer to top the list, competed against thousands of U.S. employers for this award.

Southern Company is the nation’s largest producer of electricity and serves more than 4.4 million customers in the Southeast. The company’s “Support our Troops” project has sent more than 500 pounds of personal care items to military members in Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning from deployment, the employees were honored at the company-wide dinner hosted by the chief executive officer. Southern Company and its subsidiaries have received numerous Patriot Awards, Above and Beyond Awards and the ESGR Pro Patria Award.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to an employer for supporting employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

Since 1996, only 130 companies have been presented with the prestigious Freedom Award. Previous honorees from Georgia include Home Depot, Home Depot Southern Division, United Parcel Service Airlines and First Data Corporation.

About ESGR & the Freedom Award

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR. Nominations for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award were accepted from November 2009 through mid-January 2010.

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 whose mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve Service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflict through mediation. For more information, please visit
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Georgia DNRs Capt Doug Lewis Selected as Law Enforcement 2010 Supervisor of the Year

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recently selected Capt. Doug Lewis of the Brunswick Law Enforcement office as the 2010 Supervisor of the Year.

Until this past month when he was promoted to Captain of the Region, Lewis served as Administrative Sergeant for the DNR Law Enforcement office located in Brunswick, Georgia.  This office oversees operations in ten coastal counties, including Chatham, Camden and Glynn. He is a 24-year veteran of the department and served 13 of those years as Sergeant.

“Capt. Doug Lewis exemplifies the outstanding leadership that we expect from our officers,” says Col. Homer Bryson, Chief of the Law Enforcement Section of Wildlife Resources Division. “His motto is that ‘you take care of your staff and your staff will take care of you’ and he absolutely does his best to make sure that his staff receives the best, and they support him 100 percent.”

During this past year, Capt. Lewis was key to the success of a pilot CAD project for this Region, including involvement with installation, implementation and troubleshooting.  He also was involved in the procurement of equipment associated with a $1.4 million Port Security Grant awarded to this Region.

Lewis is involved with the administration of the Joint Enforcement Agreement and serves on the Grays Reef Advisory Panel.  In addition to the recognition as ‘Supervisor of the Year’ with DNR Law Enfocement, he also received the “Wayne County Volunteer of the Year” award for his efforts with a local catfish tournament and other events.

Capt. Lewis previously received the James R. Darnell Award and additionally, was recognized as Ranger of the Year in 1989.  Fellow law enforcement officers nominated for this award include Sgt. Steve Seitz, Sgt. Bo Kelly and Sgt. Butch Potter.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Georgia Southern University Students Selected for Eagles in D.C. Congressional Internship

Georgia Southern University has selected two students to intern in Washington, D.C. during the fall 2010 semester, as part of the Eagles in D.C. Congressional Internship Program. Following a competitive application process, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has selected Camille Daley from Kennesaw, Ga., and Joshua Combs from Dallas, Ga., to participate in the program.

“We are pleased that these two outstanding students have been selected to intern in our nation’s capital during the fall 2010 semester,” said Teresa Thompson, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at Georgia Southern University. “The program provides students with a well-rounded educational opportunity to complement their traditional classroom learning while also allowing them to immerse themselves into a unique political, intellectual and cultural atmosphere. We are continuously expanding the Eagles in D.C. program and continue to explore new ways to showcase the quality of students that Georgia Southern University cultivates.”

Camille Daley, a junior history major from Kennesaw, Ga., will be interning in U.S. Congressman John Lewis’ office ( During the 2009-2010 academic year, Daley served as a Southern Ambassador, community leader at Centennial Place, vice president of administrative services for the National Residence Hall Honorary and was a consultant for the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement’s INSPIRE program. Daley has donated more than 350 hours of community involvement and service to the University.

Joshua Combs, a junior political science major from Dallas, Ga., was selected to intern with U.S. Congressman John Barrow’s office ( during the fall semester. During his two years at Georgia Southern, Combs has been active on campus and most recently volunteered his time as a judicial advocate for the Office of the Dean of Students. In addition to his campus activities, he is also a member of two honor societies.

While working in our nation's capital, Eagles in D.C. interns are also making progress towards earning a Georgia Southern University degree. Students are provided with housing and a cost of living stipend during their time in Washington, D.C., making it one of the University’s most popular internship programs. To be eligible to apply, students must have completed 48 hours in residence at Georgia Southern University by the start of the semester in which they wish to intern and also have a GPA of at least 3.0.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Amerigroup Foundation Honors Fulton County Women's Health Program's Karen Russell as a 'Healthy Hero'

/PRNewswire/ -- The Amerigroup Foundation today (September 23) announced that it is honoring Fulton County Women's Health Program Coordinator Karen Russell by designating her a "Healthy Hero."

Russell has spent the past 18 years helping others, especially women and children in need. For the past five years, she has worked with underinsured and uninsured women to provide information on health screenings and referrals for The Women's Health Program.

"Karen Russell demonstrates a commitment and a passion to improving the lives of women and children who simply need a little help," said John E. Littel, chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. "She offers a tremendous example of the meaningful impact one person can make on a community. The Amerigroup Foundation is pleased to recognize and actively support her continuing efforts and achievements."

Russell has provided health care and social services for residents of Fulton County while working with special needs children for the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. In the past, she has worked with Children 1st, Children's Medical Services and Babies Can't Wait to meet the needs of children and their families. She also has worked for six years as program manager with the Mental Health Program including CHOICES, a women's substance abuse inpatient residential facility.

Russell has been integral in health awareness campaigns, and she takes special interest in activities surrounding Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January and Heart Month in February. She devotes time working on the National Women's Health Week Kick-Off Celebration in May and the Breast Cancer Awareness Month Celebration in October. With these events, Russell ensures that uninsured and underinsured female residents are invited and transported as her special guests.

"A lot of times, women who are underinsured or uninsured or are less privileged don't know about all the little tidbits out there that can help them take care of themselves," Russell said. "I want to make sure mammograms and self-exams are a regular occurrence, so I spend a good deal of my time getting the word out and educating them on the benefits."

When Russell is out in the community, she is a regular guest speaker at health fairs, churches, women's clubs and shelters.

To honor Russell's service, the Foundation presented a $1,000 contribution to The Breast Health Connections of Georgia at a ceremony Thursday morning at the Fulton County Health and Wellness Board of Health meeting. Breast cancer is the leading cancer among women in Georgia and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. The Women's Health Program provides eligible women with Pap tests, breast exams, women's health education and mammogram referrals.

The Amerigroup Foundation periodically honors "Healthy Heroes" who have made a difference in the communities served by its corporate underwriter, Amerigroup Corporation, which administers publicly funded health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for state and federal governments. Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia offers health care services to 259,000 people enrolled in Medicaid in Georgia.

"I'm just so humbled by this experience," Russell said. "I just do what I do because I am so passionate about women's health care issues and about getting the word out to women in need."

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Amerigroup Foundation Honors Georgia State Sen. Lester Jackson as a 'Champion for Children'

/PRNewswire/ -- The Amerigroup Foundation today presented Georgia State Sen. Lester Jackson with its "Champion for Children" award for his tireless work and devotion to children's issues, both personally and legislatively.

The "Champion for Children" award is part of a national program by the Amerigroup Foundation to recognize outstanding public advocacy efforts by government and community leaders to improve the health and well-being of children across the country.

Sen. Jackson donated the $2,000 award to the Greenbriar Children's Center and the May Street YMCA of Savannah. Both organizations are devoted to the care of children, especially those going through difficult times.

"We are pleased to recognize Sen. Jackson for his positive impact on the youth in our community," said John E. Littel, chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. "He shares our goal of building strong, healthy communities, while putting our children first."

Gena Taylor, executive director at the Greenbriar Children's Center, said Sen. Jackson has been instrumental in building and enhancing programs for children in the community.

"Sen. Jackson's donation to our center falls in line with his character," said Taylor. "His advocacy for children goes unmatched."

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Team Nutrena's Becky Holder Wins First Place in USEA American Eventing Championship

/PRNewswire/ -- Nutrena® brand horse feed congratulates Becky Holder and her horse, Courageous Comet, on winning the 2010 United States Equine Association (USEA) National Championship.

Holder and Courageous Comet finished the event with a score of 45.5 and also took home the title of Gold Cup Champion in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series. This is the second year the Nutrena® brand has sponsored Holder, and nutritionists worked closely with her to refine her feeding program.

"We are extremely proud of Becky and Courageous Comet," said Dan Limbaugh, Nutrena® brand consultant who works with Holder. "It was a tremendous event, and we're looking forward to continuing to work together to ensure Courageous Comet performs his best."

Fans can cheer on Holder at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., Sept. 25-Oct. 10, as she and Courageous Comet have been named to the United States eventing squad. Throughout the Games, the Nutrena® brand will bring all the action to fans with daily updates on its blog, The Feed Room, at

A competitor in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Holder is originally from Mendota Heights, Minn. She now lives in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga. where she feeds Courageous Comet and her other horses Nutrena® SafeChoice®, a controlled-starch formula, and Nutrena® Life Design® Compete for peak performance.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Couple Finishes All Three State Park Challenges

Nat and Delene Broeckling of Bryan County are the first Georgians to complete all three recreation challenges sponsored by Georgia’s state park system. The couple earned bragging-rights t-shirts and the pride of knowing they completed the Canyon Climbers, Muddy Spokes and Park Paddlers clubs.

The Canyon Climbers Club entices hikers to complete trails at Amicalola Falls, Cloudland Canyon, Tallulah Gorge and Providence Canyon state parks, while the Muddy Spokes Club sends mountain bikers out to tackle 11 state parks. The Park Paddlers Club encourages canoers and kayakers to explore six of Georgia’s lakes and rivers, including George L. Smith State Park near Statesboro and Crooked River State Park in St. Marys.

Nat is a project engineer for Rayonier Performance Fibers in Jesup, and Delene owns Curves Fitness Center in Richmond Hill. Their daughter attends the University of Georgia. The couple moved from Whitehall, Arkansas in 2007 and decided that exploring state parks would be a good way to get acquainted with their new home.

“We have literally seen the landscapes and nature of Georgia from the ground up,” said Nat. “We have crossed the state hiking, biking and paddling, enjoyed breathtaking sights, and gained knowledge about the history of the state. Our experiences and memories will last a lifetime.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ State Parks Division created the Canyon Climbers, Muddy Spokes and Park Paddlers clubs to encourage people to exercise in the great outdoors. Many would agree that climbing a 1,000-foot canyon or biking a 12-mile trail is more adventurous and challenging than spending 30 minutes on a step machine.

“I think the park clubs are a great way to challenge residents to ‘Get out. Get dirty. Get fit’,” said Nat, in reference to the agency’s activity-inducing slogan.

Among their favorite paddles were Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp and George L. Smith State Park near Statesboro.

“It was neat to paddle through the cypress trees at George L. Smith,” said Nat. “There’s a marked trail out in the lake, and you were in the middle of everything.”

To learn more about outdoor recreation at Georgia’s 48 state parks, call 770-389-7401 or visit The website offers maps, photos and telephone numbers of each state park, as well as the recreation clubs.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Georgia Dog Owner Wins Dream Dog Park Contest

/PRNewswire/ -- For Atlanta-area resident Pat McNeely and his dog Koda, doggie dreams really can come true. Today, McNeely and his four-legged best friend were crowned Grand Prize Winner of the Beneful® WagWorld® Dream Dog Park Contest.

To celebrate the special relationships we have with our dogs, the first-of-its-kind contest invited dog owners across America to answer the question: If you had $500,000 to create the ultimate dream dog park for you and your best buddy, what would you do? In addition to submitting a video that showed the many creative ways they would create their dream dog park, contest entrants were asked to write a short essay explaining how the makeover of a neighborhood dog park would enhance their daily adventures with their dog.

McNeely's winning entry will help serve as inspiration for a $500,000 renovation of the Newtown Dog Park in Johns Creek, Ga. In addition, McNeely won $5,000 cash and a year's supply of Beneful® brand dog food. The Beneful WagWorld Dream Team, led by dog lover, design expert and television host Jason Cameron, will manage the transformation of the dog park to create a dream dog park for the entire Johns Creek community to enjoy. Also on the team is pet expert and bestselling author Arden Moore, who will help manage the renovation from the dog's point of view. Plans will be reviewed and approved by the City.

"We were amazed by the creativity and quality of the entries we received in this contest - dog owners really know how to dream big," said Cameron. "While we received many outstanding entries, Pat McNeely's entry rose to the top and I am excited to manage the transformation of his neighborhood dog park into the WagWorld Dream Dog Park for his entire community to enjoy."

At a hometown celebration event today in Johns Creek, Ga., Cameron unveiled a preliminary blueprint design for the dog park renovation in front of a local gathering that included: McNeely and Koda; Johns Creek city officials; Mayor Mike Bodker; and members of the local dog community. A climbing structure, plastic tunnels, a doggie splash pad, lots of grass and shade trees, and running trails are some of the exciting features that will be included in the Newtown Dog Park makeover.

The contest entries were narrowed down to 10 finalists by an independent judging panel based on the following criteria: creativity of the dream idea (60%); feasibility of bringing the idea to life (20%); and demonstration of how life is better together with your dog (20%). Cameron and Moore then judged the 10 finalists using the same criteria, with their judging accounting for 90% of the final total score. In addition, the public was invited to vote for their favorites among the 10 finalists with the voting rank accounting for the remaining 10% of the final score. The nine runners' up each received a year's supply of Beneful® brand dog food.

"The Beneful brand recognizes that life is better when we are with our best buddies and we are delighted that so many dog owners across the country wanted to share their dreams for the ultimate dog park," said Joe Chatman, Beneful brand manager. "Going to the dog park is a fun adventure for many dog owners and their four-legged friends, and for one lucky community this adventure just got even better."

The much-anticipated unveiling of the renovated Newtown Dog Park will take place in Spring 2011. For more information on the contest and winning entry, please visit

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Habitat for Humanity to Honor Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter for 27 Years of Service at Oct. 4 Gala

/PRNewswire/ -- In observance of World Habitat Day, Habitat for Humanity International will honor former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Habitat for Humanity's "Thanks a Million! A salute to the life and service of our most famous volunteers -- Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter" Gala in Washington, D.C., at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium -- Monday, Oct. 4, 2010.

The evening will include a memorable celebration of the Carters' 27 years of service to Habitat and of their lifetime commitment to strengthening democracy and alleviating poverty. Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Frank Blake of The Home Depot, Andrew N. Liveris of Dow, and Larry Stone of Lowe's Corporation are gala co-chairs. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will serve as the guest speaker.

The gala will kick-off Habitat for Humanity's 27th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, where the Carters will lead 1,000 volunteers in a week of helping to build, renovate and repair 86 homes in six U.S. cities -- Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Annapolis, Md.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Birmingham, Ala. -- and actively demonstrate the pressing need for stable communities.

"It has been an honor for Rosalynn and me to work alongside so many dedicated Habitat volunteers and partner families over the years," said President Carter. "By joining together, we can build better communities and change lives around the world -- including our own."

President and Mrs. Carter became involved with Habitat for Humanity in 1984 when they led volunteers in New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed for Habitat's Carter Work Project, which has been an internationally-recognized event ever since.

"As tireless champions for social justice, the Carters have set an example of public service that we should all aspire to," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "We're grateful for their volunteerism and servant leadership, which has brought hope and stability to families worldwide."

The gala to honor the Carters will include a program and featured entertainment.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

University President Elected as a New Geological Society of America Fellow

/PRNewswire/ -- The Council of the Geological Society of America (GSA) has elected Southern Polytechnic State University President Dr. Lisa A. Rossbacher a new GSA Fellow.

The GSA is one of the largest and most prestigious organizations for professionals in geology and its recognition of Dr. Rossbacher's contribution to the discipline is a high honor. She will be recognized at the 2010 GSA Annual Meeting on October 30, 2010 in Denver.

GSA's mission is to be a leader in advancing the geosciences, enhancing the professional growth of its members, and promoting the geosciences in the service to humankind and stewardship of the Earth.

When Dr. Rossbacher was inaugurated as president of Southern Polytechnic State University in 1998, she was the first woman geologist to become a university president in North America.

She received a bachelor of science degree in geology from Dickinson College as well as a master of arts degree in geological sciences from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She also earned both a M.A. and Ph.D. in geological and geophysical science from Princeton University. Prior to moving to Cobb County, she held the position of Dean of the Faculty at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn.

She is the author of four books: Career Opportunities in Geology and the Earth Sciences; Recent Revolutions in Geology; Geomedia: A Guide for Geoscientists who meet the Press (with Rex Buchanan); Physical Geology: the Lab Manual (with geology faculty members at Princeton University and Whittier College).

Dr. Rossbacher was born and raised in Virginia. She is married to Dr. Dallas D. Rhodes, head of the Department of Geology and Geography at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.

At Southern Polytechnic State University, students study the sciences and technologies in a unique, practical manner, as they pursue an education that is career-based and well balanced. SPSU is a residential, co-educational member of the University System of Georgia with approximately 5,200 students who study on the 198 acres of naturally wooded landscape in the historic and vibrant city of Marietta (just 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta). SPSU, through a fusion of technology with the liberal arts and sciences, creates a learning community that encourages thoughtful inquiry, diverse perspectives and strong preparation of our graduates to be leaders in an increasingly technological world.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Zoo Atlanta Awarded Grant from the Institute Of Museum and Library Services

Zoo Atlanta has received a prestigious grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to lead a multi-institutional effort to examine heart disease in great apes. The $92,000 grant represents an historic show of support for an area of ape health care that has until now been poorly understood by veterinarians.

Identified as a leading cause of death in great apes living in zoological settings, cardiovascular disease (CVD) requires advanced understanding of diagnosing, treating and monitoring affected individuals, as well as adapting techniques already in use for treatment of heart disease in humans and domestic animals. Under the leadership of Hayley Murphy, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services, the Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Team will use the one-year grant to design an innovative national program for investigating ape CVD and establishing state-of-the-art diagnostics, treatment and prevention. Additional partners are The University of Georgia (including Rita McManamon, DVM, one of the project’s principal investigators and former head veterinarian at Zoo Atlanta); Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; and more than 15 other zoos, universities and scientists.

“We are pleased and proud that IMLS saw the merit in a project that will have a positive impact on great apes in zoological collections throughout the world,” said Raymond King, President and CEO. “This is an important step forward that will allow experts from around the country to share knowledge and build on their individual strengths.”

Zoo Atlanta is a likely candidate for leadership in a great ape heart health initiative. The organization houses the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, with 23 individuals, as well as the largest zoological collection of orangutans in the U.S., currently with 11 individuals. Four of the Zoo’s great apes are over the age of 45.

“National Leadership Collaborative Planning Grants provide opportunities to conduct research and develop the framework to support future projects that have the potential to generate new tools, research, models, services, practices, or alliances that will positively impact museums, libraries, and the communities they serve. These projects encourage partnerships that address national issues of importance impacting education, scholarship, and public service and encourage the broad application of standards and models to improve professional practice,” said IMLS Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, visit


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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter Wins State Tourism Award

Governor Sonny Perdue recognized the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter as the 2010 Tourism Champion Partner Agency. As Executive Director Ransom Moore accepted the award, it was noted that the Fairgrounds, in Perry, has attracted more than 15 million visitors since 1990 with an economic impact of more than $1 billion.

"We are extremely proud of this award," said James E. Sutherland, Chairman of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority. "For 20 years, the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter has attracted Georgia's young agricultural exhibitors, horse and livestock show people, Fairgoers, and year-round building renters."

The Fairgrounds works with the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism Division to encourage and enhance the tourism experience in Georgia.

"As part of our mission, the Fairgrounds attracts diverse events and activities which are entertaining, cultural, and educational in nature and also generate economic revenue for our state," Sutherland added.

Award recipients were nominated by the Georgia tourism industry. The Tourism Champion Award acknowledges the support and guidance given to the state's tourism industry by individuals and organizations who develop tourism opportunities across the state. Georgia's tourism industry ranks 8th in the nation and 2nd in the Southeast.

The Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter also is the proud recipient of the following:

Georgia National Fair
· 82 International Association of Fairs and Expositions awards for agricultural, competitive exhibits, and communications programs.
· 13 Southeast Tourism Society "Top 20" Event designations.
· 6 "Top 50 Fair" listings (Amusement Business and
· 1 "Special Events Directory and Events Business News Top 200 Event" award.
· 1 Southern Living's "Our Best 202 Things About the South First-Prize Fair."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's Go Play!: Non-Profit Organization KaBOOM! Announces List of 118 'Playful City USA' Communities

Editor's Note:  Kudos to the following Georgia communities for being a great place to play!
College Park
East Point
Richmond Hill

A super kudos to Atlanta for being a four-time honoree!

/PRNewswire/ -- To ensure children in their communities are active and healthy, 118 cities and towns across the country earned recognition as 2010 Playful City USA communities despite difficult budgetary decisions and Park and Recreation department funding at its lowest levels in decades.

A recent National Recreation and Parks Association survey found that 55% of its members suffered budget cuts in 2010 and 60% expect more in 2011. These funding cutbacks persist despite findings from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that only 20% of homes across the country have parks within a half mile.

Counteracting these issues, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of the Let's Move campaign in 2010, which is geared toward solving the childhood obesity issue within a generation through a variety of ways, including unstructured play.

This massive undertaking coincides with objectives of Playful City USA - a national recognition program honoring cities and towns determined to prioritize play and ensure that children are healthy by providing the time and space for play. KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to saving play, recognized 118 cities across the country as Playful City USA communities.

Hailing from 36 states and ranging in size from San Francisco and Atlanta, to Ottawa, Kan. and Shirley, Mass., these Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. In doing so, some of the most innovative ideas and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities - proving that parks and play are more important than ever.

Each of the 2010 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to the cause of play. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share creative ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MCG students receive medical illustration awards

Medical College of Georgia medical illustration students and alumni collected 14 awards recently at the 65th annual meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators in Portland, Ore.

“I am very appreciative of the support our program and students receive from the MCG administration and the deans, faculty and staff of all five schools,” said Dr. Steve Harrison, chairman of the Department of Medical Illustration. “Over the years, our students have collaborated with faculty to develop communication projects for varying audiences: medical specialists, students, patients and the lay public.  It is through these collaborations that our students prosper in the profession and receive recognition and awards.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization’s highest award, was given to MCG alumnus William B. Westwood, Class of 1972, of Westwood Medical Communications in Albany, N.Y.

Student Salon winners include:

·         Paul Kim (’11), Orville Parkes Award for Student Best of Show and Award of Excellence for “Superficial Parotidectomy,” Instructional Line category

·         Douglas Walp (’10), Award of Merit for “Kidney Physiology: Reabsorption in the Proximal Tubule,” Animation 

Professional Salon winners include:

·         Patrick Eckhold (’08), Award of Merit for “FDL Transfer for Drop Foot Using the Bio-Tenodesis System,” Instructional Color

·         Glen Hintz (’85), Award of Merit for “Pressure Ulcer Stages,” Instructional Color

·         Andy Rekito (’02), Max Brödel Award of Excellence for “Optimal Management of Malignant Epidural Spinal Cord Compression,” Instructional Tone, and Award of Merit for “Medical and Surgical Treatment of Movement Disorders,” Marketing/Promotion

·         Hardy Fowler (’07), Award of Excellence for “Severe Facial Laceration with Repair,” Medical-Legal, and Award of Merit for  “Tension on Anastomosis Leading to Leakage,” Medical-Legal

·         Paul Gross (’86), Award of Merit for “Weakened Cough Allows Aspiration,” Medical-Legal

·         Nobles Green II (’05), Awards of Merit for “Colon Resection” and “Ovulation,” Animation

·         Birck Cox (’80), Award of Merit for “Spine Surgery Tricks of the Trade,” Illustrated Medical Book - Atlas

In addition, three corporate awards included MCG alumni on the production team.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business Announces 2010 Bergeron Scholarship Recipients

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business today announced the recipients of the 2010 Bergeron Women in Technology Leadership Scholarship:

“The fund established by Sandra and Doug Bergeron enables us to make awards that will help these future leaders take full advantage of the resources available through Robinson College”

* Gayathri Kunapuli—a graduate student from Hyderabad, India, pursuing a Master of Science in Information Systems
* Natalia Long—a senior from Sao Paulo, Brazil, majoring in Computer Information Systems and Finance
* Lubna A. R. Memon—a graduate student from Mumbai, India, pursuing a Master of Science in Information Systems
* Rossita Presley—a rising senior from Riga, Latvia, majoring in Computer Information Systems and Business Economics
* Shavonne Verdree—a rising junior from Decatur, GA, majoring in Computer Information Systems
* Catherine Waquespack—a rising senior from Atlanta, GA, majoring in Computer Information Systems

The Bergeron Women in Technology Leadership Fund was funded with a $1 million endowment from Sandra and Douglas Bergeron and is awarded annually to female undergraduate or graduate students who have expressed or demonstrated high potential for leadership careers in technology. Since 2006, 21 women have been named Bergeron Scholars.

“These young women have great potential to advance into leadership positions in technology and we’re delighted to provide them with professional mentors and financial assistance to help them achieve their aspirations,” said Sandra Bergeron, a graduate of Georgia State University and chair of the mentorship committee.

The college’s Computer Information Systems Department is ranked in the top 10 for both undergraduate and graduate offerings by US News & World Report’s annual listings of best colleges and best graduate schools. This past year, the department partnered with the Atlanta-based Women in Technology (WIT) organization to recruit information technology executives to mentor Bergeron Scholars.

“If there is one consistent theme among our most successful women in technology, it is the impact of mentoring,” said WIT Executive Director Heather Rocker. “WIT is pleased to support the Bergeron Scholars program by connecting these students with the female technology leaders in our community - providing both a powerful mentoring experience and meaningful volunteer opportunity.”

The Bergeron Scholarship program rewards significant academic achievement and is the largest dollar award available to students in the Robinson College of Business.

“The fund established by Sandra and Doug Bergeron enables us to make awards that will help these future leaders take full advantage of the resources available through Robinson College,” said Robinson College Dean H. Fenwick Huss. “The mentoring program promotes diversity in the technology industry and will help the students prepare to exploit their leadership qualities in the professional world.”

Sandra Bergeron is one of the most highly regarded female technology leaders in Silicon Valley. She is a Venture Partner with Trident Capital. She is also chairman of the board of TraceSecurity Inc. and serves on the boards of ArcSight Inc. (NASDAQ: ARST), Qualys Inc. and TriCipher Inc.

Douglas Bergeron is CEO and largest individual shareholder of VeriFone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY). He also is a member of the Listed Company Advisory Committee of NYSE Euronext. VeriFone, based in San Jose, California, is the world's largest provider of electronic payments systems and employs more than 300 high-technology professionals in Georgia.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GaDOE School Nutrition Director Named 2010-2011 School Nutrition Association President

Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Director Nancy Rice was recently named the 63rd president of the School Nutrition Association (SNA). During the closing session of the SNA's 64th Annual National Conference, over 5,000 members and participants welcomed Ms. Rice to her new post.

"I congratulate Nancy for this distinguished honor and am proud to have one of our own be selected for this prestigious position," said State Superintendent of Schools Brad Bryant. "As a past president of a national advocacy association, I understand the importance of such a position and the perspective that it brings to the individual and state. I appreciate her willingness to serve the school nutrition community in this capacity."

Rice has held a distinguished career in the school nutrition arena for 25 years. In 2008, Rice accepted her position as State Director, School Nutrition Division at Georgia’s State Department of Education, where she oversees child nutrition programs throughout the state, serving approximately 1,188,000 lunches and 516,000 breakfasts daily.

Prior to joining the Department, Rice successfully managed three school nutrition programs, working as Nutrition Services Director for the Clayton County Board of Education (2006–2008), the Griffin-Spalding County Board of Education (1996–2006), and the Pike County Board of Education (1993–1996).  Nancy Rice has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgia State University (2001-2009), teaching classes in Nutrition Services and Food Service Management.

Rice has earned numerous awards throughout her career, most notably receiving the Dr. Josephine Martin Award of Excellence in 2000, the highest honor from the Georgia School Nutrition Association.  Rice, a Registered Dietitian who launched her career in the field of clinical dietetics, has also received awards from the Georgia Dietetic Association.

Nancy Rice earned her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Institution Management and her Master of Education in Nutrition and Food Service Management from the University of Georgia. 

"I am honored to serve as president of the School Nutrition Association and to represent the state in this position," said Rice. "I am continuously inspired and motivated by school nutrition professionals in Georgia and the rest of the nation. We have made great strides to improve the variety of healthy foods offered to our students and customers, and during my term of office we will continue to strengthen and build upon that important work."

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Hawk Claims Championship Title at Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier

/PRNewswire/ -- Kevin Hawk, originally of Ramona, Calif., but recently of Buford, Ga., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to claim the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion on Lake Lanier. Hawk, with a four-day total of 20 bass for 50-14, won by a 2-pound, 6-ounce margin over Cody Meyer of Grass Valley, Calif., who caught five bass weighing 9-13 for a four-day total of 20 bass for 48-8. Sunday's final weigh-in marked the finale of the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup, which featured 78 of the world's best professional bass anglers.

Hawk, who would have earned $500,000 for his Forrest Wood Cup victory, was pleasantly surprised when T. Boone Pickens, a new equity partner in FLW Outdoors, personally contributed $100,000 to the champion. With that, Hawk took home $600,000 for his victory on Lake Lanier.

"I'm super happy," Hawk said. "If I'm not showing it, I'm blowing up inside right now. It's probably not going to set in realistically until the next few days. I'm still kind of in shock. I'm just going to savor the moment. When it all calms down I'll have time to reflect on the moment, for sure."

Hawk relocated from California to Georgia in November 2009 after he qualified as a pro for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup through the 2009 FLW Series National Guard Western Division. He said the clear western waters he was used to are very similar to Lake Lanier.

"In southern California, the lakes I grew up on are deep, clear reservoirs, so when I came to Lanier I felt right at home," Hawk said. "They were set up exactly the same way -- light line and finesse tactics. So I felt comfortable from the day I got here."

Hawk said he concentrated on fishing between Brown's Bridge and the dam on the south end of the lake.

"Today they started biting the (Swarming Hornet) Fish Head Spin really good and when they started doing that, I knew I had to set down that spinning rod and cover as much water as I could and hit as many brushpiles as I could with the Fish Head Spin, because the Fish Head Spin is going to catch you better quality fish on average than a drop-shot (rig) by far," Hawk said.

Hawk said he threw the 1/2-ounce Albino Fish Head Spin on a cranking rod and 10-pound-test fluorocarbon line paired with a white Zoom Super Fluke Jr. Hawk said his drop-shot setup consisted of a Morning Dawn Roboworm paired with a 3/8-ounce drop shot weight on a 12-inch leader and 7-pound-test line fished from a drop-shot rod.

Hawk said he did not plant any brushpiles of his own because he felt there was enough brush in the lake; all he had to do was find it with his electronics.

"I didn't feel that I needed to go as far as to put out my own brush," Hawk said. "You need a boat that you're not going to tear up doing it with, and it takes a lot of time and work, and I felt with as much pressure as there was on the lake, every single point and every single hump has brush on it. So I felt that I could ride around and hopefully find enough.

"As far as where the brush is placed, it's generally placed on dropoffs," Hawk added. "Whether it be a point or a hump, wherever you get that good depth change, it's usually right on the edge of that."

Rounding out the top-six pros for the Forrest Wood Cup were:

3rd: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 19 bass, 47-3
4th: National Guard pro Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 19 bass, 46-8
5th: Troy Morrow, Toccoa, Ga., 18 bass, 41-13
6th: Ronald Hobbs Jr., Orting, Wash., 15 bass, 35-3

Overall there were 21 bass weighing 48 pounds, 7 ounces caught by five pros Sunday. The catch included two five-bass limits.

Dereal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., won the Co-angler Division on Saturday with 14 bass weighing 27-3. The win earned Rodgers $65,000 and comes on the heels of being crowned the 2009 FLW Tour Co-Angler of the Year.

Hawk and Rodgers each won a $5,000 gift card as part of the Cabela's Angler Cash program. In 2010, Cabela's offered pro and co-anglers the opportunity to register and win a $2,500 gift card for being the highest qualified finisher in each division at all FLW Tour events, making the stakes even higher in an already rich payout.

Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Lanier will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors," will air Oct. 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.

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President Honors Georgia School for the Deaf Parent with 2010 Citizens Medal

On August 4, President Obama awarded Kimberly McGuiness, a Georgia School for the Deaf (GSD) parent, and 12 others with the 2010 Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.

“What unites these citizens – what makes them special – is the determination they share to find a wrong and right it; to see a need and meet it; to recognize when others are suffering and take it upon themselves to make a difference,” said President Obama. “These honorees’ lives stand as shining examples of what it means to be an American. And today, we have an opportunity to tell their stories; to say thank you; and to offer them a small token of our appreciation.”

The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. This year, President Obama chose to use the 2010 Citizens Medal to recognize Americans whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention. In a video message in January, the President called on members of the public to nominate people in their lives who have performed exemplary deeds of service, including:
• individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to service in their own community,
• who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts,
• whose service relates to a long-term or persistent problem, and/or
• whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve.

GSD director Lee Shiver was eager to nominate Ms. McGuiness.

"Kimberly McGuiness has been a true champion for deaf students," said Shiver. "Her persistent letters, phone calls, and visits to state legislators helped spur the passage of the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights in Georgia."

McGuiness has led workshops, counseled parents, and changed lives by raising awareness and support for deaf education. McGuiness received the Citizens Medal for demonstrating the results one citizen can achieve for an entire community.

"I am grateful for Kimberly's advocacy for deaf students," said Superintendent Brad Bryant. "Her involvement and influence have helped make GSD a school of choice for deaf and hard of hearing students."

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