- Created on 28 January 2013
With icy weather in the forecast, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens wants to remind Georgians of some important insurance and fire safety tips for winter.
-- If icy conditions cause damage to either your house or car, contact your insurance agent immediately. Your agent should provide you with claims forms and arrange for an insurance adjuster to visit your property. If you can't reach your agent, contact the insurance company.
-- When filing a homeowners claim, make a list of all your property and valuables you believe were damaged or destroyed. Take photographs of damage to submit with your claim.
-- Secure your property. For example, if a tree falls and damages your roof, cover the affected area with a tarp or plywood to reduce further damage. Your insurance company will reimburse you for repair costs, but may not pay for subsequent damage caused by rain, sleet or snow. Keep receipts of materials used for repairs.
-- If damage is so severe you have to leave, remove valuable items if there's nowhere in the home to lock them up.
-- When temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, homeowners should be prepared for frozen pipes. Leaving kitchen cabinet doors open will allow warm air to reach pipes. If the worst happens, repairing damage to internal plumbing caused by freezing, and related damage to carpeting, furniture and other belongings may be covered by your homeowners policy.
-- If you rent, you must have your own renter's policy to cover your personal belongings such as furniture, appliances and clothing. The management/landlord is not responsible unless you can prove they were negligent.
-- Remember in severe weather to drive with caution. Inclement weather does not absolve you of liability should you have an automobile accident. It is your responsibility to drive with a degree of caution warranted by hazardous conditions.
-- Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in Georgia. Portable space heaters, open fireplaces and wood stoves can be dangerous if misused. Keep them away from curtains, draperies, and other flammable material. Make sure heaters have adequate ventilation, and always follow the manufacturer's operating instructions.
-- Have your home heating unit checked annually to be sure it is working efficiently and safely. Make sure all fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces are properly vented. If you suspect a gas leak in your home, leave immediately and call the gas company from elsewhere.
-- If you use kerosene space heaters, make sure each heater has an automatic shut-off in case it tips over. Use only K-1 kerosene in a space heater; gasoline can cause an explosion.
-- Install an adequate number of smoke alarms. Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while the family is asleep. The advance warning of a smoke alarm may mean the difference between life and death. Nine out of 10 fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases. Also, Georgia law requires a smoke alarm in every home. If you already have smoke alarms, don't forget to replace the batteries annually.
-- Each household should have a well-rehearsed family escape plan. All rooms, especially bedrooms, should have two escape routes. Have a predetermined meeting place outside the house so you can be sure everyone is out safely.
If you have questions about your policy, contact your agent or company. If you are experiencing difficulty reaching your company or your agent, call Commissioner Hudgens' Consumer Services Hotline at 404-656-2070, or, outside the Metro area, 1-800-656-2298. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Created on 24 January 2013
Walmart Store Manager Quincy L.A. Springs, IV, is congratulated by Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president, global community connections for The Coca-Cola Company, on Wednesday morning at the grand opening ceremonies for the new store in the Historic Westside Village on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Photo By M. Alexis Scott
- Created on 24 January 2013
Rep. John Lewis, an icon of American civil rights, has been named a recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, Georgia Institute of Technology President G.P. "Bud" Peterson announced this week. Lewis will be honored during events at the Institute's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts on April 4.
"John Lewis put his life on the line for many years during the 1960s to bring about equality under the law for all Americans. His unflinching civil rights leadership and ongoing advocacy for social change throughout his career have elevated the causes of human rights around the world," said Peterson. "It is our privilege to honor the life and work of Congressman Lewis through the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage."
The college will award Lewis a $100,000 prize in recognition of the achievement, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Lewis became known around the world at the age of 25 when he called on President Lyndon Johnson for federal intervention following a brutal attack on peaceful protesters by law enforcement near Selma, Ala.
Lewis' appeal on that "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, turned public opinion against those trying to maintain the old social order of the South and moved President Johnson two days later to present to Congress what would become the Voting Rights Act.
"Congressman Lewis is one among us who has had the discipline and tenacity to stand tall, even in the face of physical danger, and he continues the struggle to change the world and make it a better place. His courage in the non-violent movement for civil rights and his ongoing work to build communities of trust provide both a watermark and a signpost in the quest for human rights and human dignity in our world," said Jacqueline J. Royster, Dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He is the last surviving keynote speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, of which he was a core architect.
Lewis' impact on civil rights for African-Americans included advocating desegregation laws and voters' rights. A founding member and president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis planned and led many of their activities.
His personal courage was first evident when he led student sit-ins that resulted in the public accommodation of African-Americans at Nashville restaurants. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders who challenged legally sanctioned segregation on interstate buses. Despite repeated attacks on his dignity, physical beatings and arrests, Lewis remained staunchly committed to nonviolent work for social change.
Lewis was elected a U.S. Congressman from Georgia in 1986 and represents the state's Fifth Congressional District including Atlanta and parts of four surrounding counties. He has remained an outspoken advocate for domestic and international social and human rights issues. As recently as 2009, he was arrested at the embassy of Sudan, where he was protesting the obstruction of aid to refugees in Darfur.
The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage recognizes individuals such as Lewis who, by standing up for clear moral principles in the social arena, have positively affected public discourse at the risk of their own careers, livelihoods and even their lives. The Prize is endowed in perpetuity by the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.
More information on the Allen Prize can be found at the following link: http://ivanallenprize.gatech.edu/home/.
- Created on 24 January 2013
The University of West Georgia all-female cheerleading squad successfully defended their Universal Cheerleaders Association National Championship at the 2013 competition on Saturday, Jan. 19, claiming their third-straight championship and sixth title since 2005.
This is the second win for head coach Nicole Wiltsie who joined the UWG staff last summer. Both the all-female squad and the coed cheerleading squad earned paid bids to this year's UCA National Championship in Orlando and were judged based on a number of categories including partner stunts, choreography and basket tosses.
The all-female squad competed for the first time in the Division I category that includes Morehead Sate and Slippery Rock.
- Created on 23 January 2013
As the featured speaker for Kennesaw State University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance on Jan. 20, Cornel West said he didn't come to present a "sanitized, deodorized" talk on the civil rights leader.
Instead, the scholar and author of critical books about race and democracy said he came to properly situate King in the context of his "examined life," as a follower of Jesus and as a radical fighter for justice and freedom in the face of "crimes against humanity" like racism, war and poverty.
"We gon' keep it funky tonight," promised West, whose appearance before a standing-room audience at the Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center was presented by Kennesaw State's African-American Student Alliance and the Office of Multicultural Student Retention at Kennesaw State.
West, the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University, is the author of 19 books, most notably his classics, "Race Matters" and "Democracy Matters." His recent books include a memoir, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud," and a social commentary, "The Rich and the Rest of Us," which he co-authored with broadcaster Tavis Smiley.
Before he finished his hour-long talk, West linked the nation's Monday King birthday celebration to Barack Obama's second presidential inauguration on the same day. He noted the announcement that the president would take the oath of office by swearing on King's Bible.
"I hope and pray that [President Obama] knows what he's doing — that this is not just a matter of presidential display and political calculation and that, as symbolized by that Bible, he comes to terms with Martin's challenge."
Not sidestepping controversy, West said King would not support the "new Jim Crow" of the criminal justice industrial complex that disproportionately imprisons black, brown and poor people, or the use of military drones to kill innocent people in Pakistan.
West positioned King and the civil rights movement he led within the long line of those who came before him and struggled against "200 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow and Jane Crow and various forms of American terrorism."
"We're going to keep it real in the face of the superficial," he said. "This Martin Luther King Day celebration is not about pageantry, but it is a matter of Martin's witness, which comes from the prophetic fire of righteousness and indignation, like Jesus in the Temple."
West remembered King and those he surrounded himself with as extraordinary human beings who understood the difference between justice and revenge.
"There is a message in the moral and spiritual high ground they took — a message for the world and for the Middle East," he said. "When our precious Jewish brothers and sisters wrestle with our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters ... When our Palestinian brothers and sisters run out of patience with being terrorized and traumatized, do they respond with counterterrorism? Or, do they try to deal with what Martin and the others were saying?"
Asking that question may make it seem like he's naïve, West admitted. "Anytime you talk about justice in the face of might, it sounds naïve. Anytime you talk about love in a dark world, it sounds naïve. But it's not a matter of naiveté. It's about how many bodies you can put into place so you can begin to destabilize things in such a way that the powers that be have to come to terms with your concerns. That's called a social movement. That's what Martin did."
As King and his colleagues built that social movement, they also began to raise their voices against what West called "the second crime against humanity — the corporate bombing of Vietnam, killing innocent folk." It was a move that changed the trajectory of King's life and struggle, West contends.
"They said, 'Martin, that's not your concern; you ought to be concerned for Negroes,'" West said of King's many detractors. "Martin responded by affirming his belief as a freedom fighter and a human being that 'every human being has the same value, whether they are in Georgia, Ethiopia, Vietnam, London or Argentina.'"
"When he came out with that magnificent speech on April 4, 1967, one year before he was assassinated, everybody turned against him," West said, citing polls that showed 72 percent of Americans disapproved of King and 55 percent of black people disapproved of him, especially after he denounced the Vietnam War. "He became one of the FBI's most dangerous people. He cut against the grain, like Jesus, and was willing to pay the price for it."
In assessing King's fight against poverty, which West called "the third crime against humanity," the scholar said King connected his poor people's campaign to the struggles of poor people around the world — another stance West says constituted a threat because it called into question "how so few people could have so much wealth at the top."
"In 2013, we have the highest poverty level since 1961," West said. "How can we talk about the legacy of Martin Luther King and not talk about the connection between wealth and inequality at home and militarism abroad. ... That is the challenge. Martin set such a high standard and the tradition that produced him is getting weaker and weaker. Everything and everybody is for sale."
West implored the largely student audience to avoid the pitfall of making the rule of money, status and position the focus of their attention.
"I'm not anti-rich; I'm anti-injustice. We have to be faithful to something bigger than success so we can use our success for something even bigger," he concluded.
Students questioned West for half an hour before giving him a standing ovation.
"Dr. Cornel West was amazing!" said Khalfani Lawson, a senior political science major who introduced the speaker. "His speech was dynamic, informative, inspiring, and he left KSU with a new outlook on our responsibility within the community, having charged us to uphold principles Dr. King stood for."
As part of the celebration, the Kennesaw State Gospel Choir also performed, prompting President Daniel S. Papp to laud the choir and its long-time director, Oral Moses, who recently retired after 29 years as professor of music and who returned only to lead the choir's King Day performance.
Papp also thanked students who planned and participated in the celebration for their foresight in selecting West, whose talk he called "inspiring and thought-provoking."
"As Kennesaw State looks forward to celebrating its 50th anniversary next fall," said Papp, "we will continue to live Dr. King's legacy as we strive to be one of the most welcoming, diverse and inclusive universities in the nation."
Photos: Courtesy of David Caselli, Kennesaw State University