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Keep Cobb Beautiful Celebrates Earth Day with Community Recycling Events

April 17, 2015

CommunityRecyclignCenter_04-18-15_FINALGreat American Cleanup Community Recycling Center

Keep Cobb Beautiful is celebrating Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup on April 18. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. community recycling centers set up at Jim R. Miller Park and Sprayberry High School will be accepting your old or unwanted items. Free your home of unwanted clutter and help out the environment by dropping off items such as electronics, clothing, shoes, textiles, documents for shredding, latex paint,batteries, metals and appliances. For more information checkout the Keep Cobb Beautiful Facebook page or call 770-528-1135.

Celebrate Earth Day with Safe Kids

Safe Kids Cobb County is celebrating Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22nd by accepting old car seats! All car seats have an expiration date that can be found on the manufacturer’s label.
If there is not an exact expiration date listed, a general rule is 6 years from the manufacture date. Seats used after their expiration date may not be safe or function properly in a crash.
Expired or old car seats involved in an accident should never be reused or resold. In an effort to keep these seats off the streets, Safe Kids Cobb County will accept car seats at these locations and times:

Cobb County Safety Village 9:00am-4:00pm
1220 Al Bishop Dr., Marietta, GA 30008

Cobb County Water 11:00am-2:00pm
660 South Cobb Dr., Marietta, GA 30060

Kennesaw Police Department 9:00am-4:00pm
2529Stephenson Ave., Kennesaw, GA 30144

Smyrna Fire Department-Station #1 9:00am-4:00pm
2620 Atlanta Road, Smyrna, GA 30080

Acworth Police Department 9:00am-4:00pm
4400 Acworth Industrial Dr., Acworth, GA 30101

Positive Athlete Georgia and Hines Ward Honor Cobb’s Most Positive

April 16, 2015

positve athlete gaNorthStar Church in Kennesaw will host the Second Annual Cobb County Positive High School Athlete Awards on Wednesday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m.  Student Athletes representing 26 different boys’ and girls’ high school sports, 2 coaches, and Wheeler High School will be honored by community leaders and former professional athletes.   Seven of the student-athletes will receive college scholarships from local Cobb County businesses.

Over 600 nominations from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers, and parents were submitted representing all Cobb public and private schools. Former University of Georgia and Pittsburgh Steelers star, Hines Ward, and local businessman Scott Pederson created Positive Athlete as a movement for more positivity in youth sports.  In addition to excellence on the field, each nominated Positive Athlete was required to show characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time, and realizing the team as more important than the individual.

“We did not put out a search for the best athletes in Georgia,” said Ward, “We put out a search for kids with positive attitudes whose efforts don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheets.  These kids are also positive role models in their schools who get involved in charitable causes, have already learned the meaning of giving back at an early age, and many have overcome difficult circumstances and remained positive”.

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Award Winners:

Football – Chandler Watson, senior, Allatoona

Volleyball – Alexandria Hopkins, junior, Wheeler

Softball – Hope Etheridge, senior, Harrison

Cross Country (B) – Conner Head, senior, Hillgrove

Cross County (G) – Ariel Adler, junior, Sprayberry

Cheerleading – Essynce Jenkins, senior, South Cobb

Basketball (B) – Todd Bryant Jr., senior, Dominion

Basketball (G) – Kandi Hudson, sophomore, Pebblebrook

Wrestling – Alex Lebarre, senior, Sprayberry

Swimming (B) – Chase Carson, senior, Kennesaw Mountain

Swimming (G) – Ella Hasty, junior, North Cobb

Gymnastics – Caroline Hohl, junior, Lassiter

Soccer (B) – David Wright, junior, Kennesaw Mountain

Soccer (G) – Jocelyne Martinez, senior, Campbell

Lacrosse (B) – Parker Lavelle, senior, Pope

Lacrosse (G) – Isabella Palermo, junior, Kell 

Tennis (B) – John Johnson, junior, Pebblebrook

Tennis (G) – Suzanne Zenoni, senior, Walton

Track (B) – Clark Price, junior, Walton

Track (B) – Monica Kantor, sophomore, Pope

Golf (B) – Kyle Ponder, senior, Marietta

Golf (G) – Lexie Newhouse, junior, Wheeler

Baseball – Justin Evans, senior, Allatoona

Alternative (G) – Lily Morin (Diving), junior, Kennesaw Mountain

Alternative (B) – Steven Kent (Water  Polo), sophomore, Wheeler

Adaptive – Josh Joines, sophomore, North Cobb

Boys Coach – Jerad Johnson, Pope    

Girls Coach – Jamaine Pearson, South Cobb

In addition to recognizing the athletes and coaches, Wheeler High School will be honored as the Most Positive High School. Wheeler submitted over 60 nominations, many of which were finalists in their respective categories..

Seven corporately sponsored college scholarships that will be up for grabs are:

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – “Hope & Will Award” ($500) – “Given to the Positive High School Athletes who represented a Hopeful attitude and strong Will for their team, school and community.

College Planning Institute – “Bright Future Award” ($500) – Given to a Cobb County underclassman who is developing a bright future based on their volunteerism, academics and college planning.

Chattahoochee Technical College – “Academic Excellence Award” ($500) – Given to a Cobb County student-athlete who has also achieved academic excellence in the classroom.

Northside Hospital – “Leadership Award” ($500) – Given to a Cobb County student-athlete who has shown exceptional leadership skills at their school and in their community.

Cobb EMC – “Positive Energy Award” ($500) – Given to a Cobb County student-athlete who brought positive energy to every practice and competition.

LGE Community Credit Union – “Extra Credit Award” ($500) – Given to the Cobb County high school student-athlete who goes above and beyond for their team, school and community to make the world a better place.

LOUD Security Systems – “LOUD Statement Award” ($500) – Given to the student-athlete whose positive attitude made a LOUD statement about the importance of a positive attitude to their school and community.

“These young men and women deserve our highest praise for their accomplishments on as well as off the playing field,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “Through these awards, I know that we can hold up these young adults as an example to others of the importance of hard work and civic engagement.  These athletes have worked hard on the playing field and in their communities, and I could not be more proud of them.”

“The most successful business men and women are positive individuals, so we’re using sports to help instill those characteristics at a young age”, said Scott Pederson, President of Positive Athlete Georgia. ”Positivity is a life skill that will help any young person deal with relationships, obstacles and opportunities”.

Positive Athlete Georgia, a subsidiary of parent company Celebrate Positive, LLC, is a group of high-character professional athletes who have teamed up to promote the benefits of positivity to young athletes around the world. Winners of regional events will be eligible to win the title of “most positive” in the State of Georgia at the annual Georgia Positive High School Athlete Awards held at the new College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.  Positive Athlete Georgia mirrors the successful program put together in Pittsburgh by Pederson and Ward http://pittsburgh.positiveathlete.org. Positive Athlete Georgia’s website (http://georgia.positiveathlete.org) is designed to be the centerpiece of positive sports news in sports for the state of Georgia.

Millennium Benefits Consulting Merges with BeneServe and Associates

April 10, 2015

Millennium Benefits ConsultingBeneServe and Associates’ President Scott Samuels and the Partners of Millennium Benefits Consulting, Inc., Angie Marchant and Keith Tallmadge, are pleased to announce the merger of their respective firms. This merger adds value and additional services to the combined client list.

Per Samuels, “In today’s insurance employee benefit brokerage business, there is a need to add more services to meet client needs.”

Millennium is pleased to bring Samuels on board and the team looks forward to providing the standard “high-touch” service to the larger book of business.

BeneServe, started in 1991, is an Atlanta-based benefit consulting firm.

Scott Samuels brings over 30 years of employee benefit consulting experience to Millennium Benefits Consulting and will continue with his duties, but at a new location.Millennium Benefits Consulting

The combined company, doing business at the Millennium Benefits office in Sandy Springs, will offer clients traditional employee benefit consulting, retirement planning, property and causality coverage, human resource outsourcing and other client-centered project work as needed.

Shepherd’s Men to Run 911 Miles to Save Veterans’ Lives

April 8, 2015

Shepherd's Men Large GroupFrom April 19 – April 26, a team of 13 marines, veterans and civilians who support soldiers returning from battle with invisible injuries, will run from the Freedom Tower in New York City to Shepherd Center in Atlanta—a journey of 911 miles.

The group, known as Shepherd’s Men, will raise money and awareness for the growing number of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the most common injuries affecting returning troops since 2001. One hundred percent of the funds raised goes directly to the Shepherd Center SHARE military initiative, the only private program of its kind in the country.

Of the more than 294,000 returning Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers, one in five need treatment for these devastating conditions. Though undetectable visually, TBI and PTSD devastate service members and the families who suffer with them, often leading to broken homes and suicide. Statistics show that 22 veterans a day commit suicide in the U.S.

The SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center was founded to save the lives of service members with neurotrama through innovative research and treatment. Often these neurotrauma injuries go undetected. With a soldier’s stoicism and commitment to putting the mission and team first without complaint, many returning men and women are reluctant to admit that something is wrong and that they need help.

Shepherd’s Men was started by Travis Ellis, Vice President of Mobilized Fuels, and Gunnery Sergeant Troy Campbell to help fund the SHARE initiative.

“We have a responsibility to engage in the fight; this is how I have chosen to do it,” Ellis said. “The important thing to realize is that we have been at war for 14 years and we have asked 1% of our population to fight that war. During WW II, the entire country came together as a nation to support the troops: loved ones enlisted, we rationed, we bought bonds. Now we are all insulated, so far removed from what is going on in a different land. Sending sons and daughters to fight and die, we owe it to them to see that they are cared for when they return. Their lives are worth it. And going untreated, PTSD can have an affect on families for generations.”

Shepherd's take a break from training to pose for a picture on Kennesaw Mountain.

Shepherd’s Men take a break from training to pose for a picture on Kennesaw Mountain.

At its inception last year, the race went from D.C. to Atlanta and raised $130,000, which helped five soldiers go through the program. The program costs $40,000 per veteran with only one-third being covered by insurance. Though the program works with 40 clients each year, there is a diagnosed population of of 294,000 who need its help. Each patient is admitted by severity of injuries; no one is denied care based on cost. Donations are much needed in order to increase the organization’s ability to care for more service members.

This year, race organizers say, the goal is $250,000 and they are on track. Along the route, the team receives support from VFW, American Legion and Rotary groups, police and fire departments, businesses and citizens who are aware of their cause and who come out to cheer them on, provide meals and hotel rooms. The Shepherd’s Men refuse to spend any of the donations on themselves and gladly sleep in local firehouses or other community facilities to give as much as possible back to the SHARE initiative.

The Shepherd’s Men route begins each day in the following cities:

  • Day 1, April 19: Begin at Ground Zero, Freedom Tower, NY, NY
  • Day 2, April 20: Princeton, NJ
  • Day 3, April 21: Philadelphia, PA
  • Day 4, April 22: Baltimore, MD to Washington DC
  • Day 5, April 23: Quantico, VA
  • Day 6, April 24: Lynchburg, VA
  • Day 7, April 25: Gastonia, NC to Athens, GA
  • Day 8, April 26: Shepherd Center, Atlanta, GA

Active duty Purple Heart recipient Marine First Sergeant Justin Ezell, who ran the event last year and will run again this year, feels strongly about the SHARE Military Initiative. He experienced the program through one of his own former Marines, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head. He was suicidal and couldn’t get his life back on track. Thanks to SHARE, the former Marine is now healthy and whole, with a girlfriend and a life he loves.

“SHARE provides a path to wellness for people who are suffering and don’t know where to turn. Whether you have physical scars or the problems are emotional or mental, no one really knows that help exists. We want to make people aware of the program so that they can get help they need to get on with a good life,” Ezell said.

A soldier’s experience

When Jarrad Turner returned from Iraq, having deployed with the Army as a combat medic in 2003 and 2006, he had injuries to his head, shoulders and neck from an RPG attack. He couldn’t remember anything, from where he’d put his car keys to what day it was. He couldn’t sleep and was suffering from chronic vertigo.

“I would look at this guy in the mirror with no visible injuries and be mad at myself. ‘Suck it up’; that’s what we’re taught in the Army. ‘If you’re weak, you won’t be able to make it. Push. Life will suck, but it’s not about you; it’s about the team.’ When you carry this mentality around with you, even when you’re out of the military, you still carry the pain.”

After unsuccessful, medication-heavy treatment from the VA, a friend recommended SHARE, and Turner found hope and healing.

“I wanted and didn’t want to go to SHARE. I didn’t want to talk about my feelings and do the ‘Kumbaya’ thing. That’s not me. But that wasn’t SHARE. There is dignity there. They treat you like a human being, with kindness and respect. I am thankful for SHARE. It may sound cliché, but it saved my life.”

At SHARE, staff members explained the symptoms and treatments of Turner’s injuries to him and his family, providing care to all of them together. Now Turner is largely recovered and ready to do what he can to promote awareness of injuries like his and how SHARE can help.

“People still don’t know SHARE exists. It’s more than sad that people say they love us and are thankful for us, but if you really care, listen to us. If you open your eyes, there are a lot of men and women that are suffering in silence,” Turner said.

“I can’t give back enough to SHARE. When they told me they were doing the race again this year, I asked if they would let me join them, and they said sure. I will be the slowest person out there, but I will walk if I have to, if it inspires one person to raise their hand, pick up the phone and say, ‘I need help,’” said Turner.

To support the Shepherd’s Men and the SHARE Military Initiative, please donate here today or consider becoming a sponsor. You are also invited to cheer on the runners along the route and when they arrive at Shepherd Center, their final destination, on April 26 at 1PM. They will be joined by current and former SHARE program participants during the last leg of the route.

To find out more about Shepherd’s Men, visit www.shepherdsmen.com

SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center

SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center is a comprehensive rehabilitation program that focuses on assessment and treatment for service men and women who have sustained a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury and PTSD from the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

SHARE Military Initiative provides assistance, support, and education to service members and their families during their recovery treatment and beyond. In addition, the program compiles data that is beneficial to policy and legislative change to advocate for unfunded services.

Find out more about SHARE by visiting www.shepherd.org/patient-programs/care-for-us-service-members.

All Covered Acquires Assets of Atlanta-based IT Services Company

April 6, 2015

All CoveredAllCoveredLogo, an IT services division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. (KMBS) and one of the nation’s leading IT services companies, has acquired the assets of Preferred Networks Corporation of Atlanta. The company’s clients will now be serviced by the All Covered IT Services division of KMBS, giving All Covered a stronger foothold in the greater Atlanta area. The acquisition became official January 1, 2015.

“We are excited to begin 2015 with news of this acquisition,” says Todd Croteau, president of All Covered. “Preferred Networks Corporation has developed an outstanding model of delivering cloud technologies, data backup solutions and managed IT services to its customers in the Atlanta area. The company’s mission and services align perfectly with All Covered’s commitment to providing unmatched IT services to organizations across all industries.”

In addition to gaining Preferred Networks Corporation’s clients, All Covered also expands their capabilities with a talented group of IT services professionals that understand the wide range of technology demands facing businesses today. All of Preferred Networks Corporation’s employees were retained in the acquisition, including David Webster, the company’s founder and president.

Since its inception in 2007, Preferred Networks Corporation has built a reputation locally for delivering top-of-the-line IT services to customers in the greater Atlanta area. Beginning with contract-based managed IT services as its core offering, Preferred Networks Corporation added cloud and desktop services in 2012. The company’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud offering focuses on hosted applications, backup and disaster recovery services, and Citrix XenApp virtual apps that allow companies to reduce or eliminate large investments on IT infrastructure and allow them to access data from anywhere in the world.

About Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. is one of the world’s leaders in information management focused on enterprise content, technology optimization and cloud services. Our portfolio of offerings deliver solutions to improve our customers’ speed to market, manage technology costs, and facilitate the sharing of information to increase productivity. The All Covered IT Services division offers a range of solutions across all verticals with their IT strategy, support, project and cloud computing needs. KMBS has won numerous awards and recognition, including placement in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Managed Print Services (MPS) and Managed Content Services (MCS). Konica Minolta has been recognized as the #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty in the MFP Office Copier Market by Brand Keys for seven consecutive years. Konica Minolta, Inc. has also been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for three years in a row. For more information, please visit: www.CountOnKonicaMinolta.com and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Comcast and TWC – More Competitive Choice and Cutting-Edge Products for Businesses

April 6, 2015

Bill Stemper, President, Comcast Business

One of the most important benefits of our transactions with Time Warner Cable and Charter will be providing our services to more businesses and the introduction of increased competition among communications companies, resulting in innovation and cutting edge products and services.

These benefits are real and quantifiable.  For example, the combined reach of the Comcast and TWC networks bring many benefits to enterprise customers – including the ability to link multiple offices spread across major markets like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Boston, or Philadelphia.  In total, we expect to generate almost $8 billion in price reductions due to our competitive entry in the enterprise business segment through the TWC transaction.

Nearly 600 thoughtful and positive comments from a wide range of supporters – including business organizationsbusinessesprogrammersdiversity groups and community partnersacademics and public policy leaders, and state and local leaders – have been submitted to the FCC about our proposed transaction, in large part because of the increased investment, innovation, and competition it will generate.

In Texas, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce stated that the “businesses and consumers of Fort Worth would benefit from access to these top-of-the-line services, and by approving the proposed transaction, the FCC could allow Fort Worth to catch up to current Comcast markets.”

In Chicago, a technology incubator called 1871 is expanding to accommodate more than the 250 small companies it currently serves.  Its clients demand industry-leading Internet speed and stability, so their CEO wrote to the FCC and said that fortunately, Comcast “has provided critical services to keep work and innovation flowing.”

In San Francisco, a tech firm called Nextdoor focuses on creating local social networks to improve community safety and relationships.  Nextdoor’s CEO and Co-Founder explained that, “Comcast has proven to be a leading innovator in its industry and a strong and steady partner to startups like ours.”

And small, local businesses like Ron Bill Auto Body in Monessen, Pennsylvania have found themselves supporting the transaction, based on the seamless service they have experienced in comparison with other options.  After many frustrations with his previous Internet service provider, “I switched to Comcast Business,” Ron Bill writes.  “Since then, Comcast has delivered superior services that are faster, more reliable, and more secure than those provided by my previous provider.”

These types of small- and medium-sized businesses are the job-creating heartbeat of the American economy, and based on their experience with Comcast, these entrepreneurs know that together with TWC, Comcast will be able to offer these benefits to even more businesses throughout America.

Since launching Comcast Business in 2006, we have been a disruptor in the business services market by bringing an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative products to business customers of all sizes.  But, in 2013, Comcast and TWC had a combined share of only about 10-15 percent of the market for small- and medium-sized businesses.  We’re committed to helping businesses of all sizes and types succeed and grow with our TWC transaction.

Small businesses will see faster Internet speeds to tackle the data-intensive activities like video conferencing with partners and prospective clients, running a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, or developing and testing new applications in the cloud.  Our groundbreaking Ethernet@Home service will bring enterprise-grade Ethernet capabilities to small businesses in TWC markets that work with sensitive data and want to extend private links to that data to employees at home.  Small, private financial services firms or healthcare organizations will have a solution for providing great customer service to clients and patients wherever they need it.

We will also offer TWC customers the fastest Wi-Fi with the most range.  Research has shown how important Wi-Fi is to small businesses – in a 2014 survey of more than 600 small business IT decision makers, 65 percent reported that offering Wi-Fi encouraged repeat business, and 55 percent said it brings in new customers.  The same survey indicates that 93 percent of these small businesses believe providing Wi-Fi enhances employee productivity.

In response to these trends, we have unveiled the Comcast Business Wireless Gateway, which provides both private and public Wi-Fi – from a single device – while using separate networks for added security. This is a great way for small businesses to deliver private Wi-Fi for their employees while separately offering public Wi-Fi to their customers.

In addition to better Internet and Wi-Fi, we will offer enhanced phone services throughout TWC territories, with “be anywhere” call features and a cutting-edge mobile app, to help businesses be more efficient.  Mobility-focused phone service can help small businesses that are trying to cover more ground every day.  For example, Pfeifer Industries, a Chicago-area manufacturer of timing belt pulleys, is a 10-employee small business with customers across the U.S.  They rely on inbound calls to generate sales and provide customer support.  Pfeifer uses Comcast Business VoiceEdge, a cloud-based phone system, to make sure that employees don’t miss a call from customers even if they are away from their desk.

With this transaction, our combined networks will also help small businesses take that next step in their growth plans using a combined network footprint and a more seamless experience from a single service provider with 24/7/365 support and unified billing.  We hope to make it easier for a small, Los Angeles-based law firm to open a second office in Washington, D.C., or a tech startup in Austin to establish a presence in San Francisco, or a chef-owner in Manhattan to open a new restaurant in Philadelphia or Boston.

Robert Irvine, the celebrity chef, restauranteur, and small business advisor, has said that the restaurant industry needs to change as technology evolves, and that technology is a competitive differentiator, allowing businesses to track inventory, accept online reservations and offer high-speed Internet to patrons.  “The restaurant industry has been set in its ways for a long time, but this ‘old school’ mentality has to change if restaurant owners want to be successful in a technology-focused world,” Irvine commented.  Products like faster Internet and Wi-Fi and innovative phone service, combined with a more seamless support from a single provider could be a huge boost to restaurants in competitive culinary hubs like New York and Los Angeles that are looking to grow.

Our view is that technology helps smaller businesses compete better with larger firms and is an engine for business growth.  Many companies have gone on the record to voice their support for this transaction, and once it closes, Comcast will offer more advanced and innovative products to business customers throughout the combined footprint with greater scale – and that means operational efficiencies to better serve our business customers both large and small.

Northside Hospital Ranked #23 of Best Employers by Forbes

April 2, 2015

Northside Hospital 2010Forbes has named Northside Hospital to its list of America’s Best Employers in a survey that polled U.S. employees across all industries.

Northside Hospital ranks No.23 in the magazine’s list of 500 employers and is one of 14 Georgia employers included in the overall rankings.

No other Georgia hospitals were ranked, and only one in the U.S. – the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics – ranked higher than Northside Hospital.

“Northside Hospital is honored to be included among the esteemed organizations on the Forbes list of America’s Best Employers,” said Bob Quattrocchi, president and CEO, Northside Hospital, Inc.  “More so, we are proud that our employees have placed us in such high regard.  Northside Hospital constantly seeks to foster an environment of professional and personal growth for every professional who works with us.”

Forbes selected employers based on independent survey data from Statista.com.  More than 20,000 American workers, across all industry sectors employing more than 2,500 workers, were anonymously polled with one simple question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend your employer to someone else?  How about other employers in your industry?”

The mix of respondents varied in gender, age, region, educational level and ethnicity.

Northside Hospital is one of the fastest growing healthcare organizations in the Southeast and currently employs 8,350 employees at its Sandy Springs campus, including physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, administrative and support services personnel.

For more information about careers at Northside Hospital, visit careers.northside.com.

About Northside Hospital (www.northside.com)

The Northside Hospital healthcare system is an 852 bed, not-for-profit healthcare provider with more than 120 locations across Metro Atlanta, including three acute care, state-of-the-art hospitals in Atlanta, Cherokee and Forsyth.  More than 2,500 physicians and 11,000 employees serve nearly 2,000,000 patient visits annually across a full range of medical services.

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