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Georgia Department of Education Names Economic Development Partnerships (EDP) Pilot Systems

November 9, 2017

Marietta City Schools logoThe Georgia Department of Education has named five local school systems as pilot participants in its new Economic Development Partnership (EDP) program. Pilot work will begin with Whitfield County, Marietta City, Newton County, Muscogee County and Wayne County this school year, with plans to roll out to all interested school systems in the 2019-2020 school year.

The EDP program seeks to promote improved relationships between local school districts and business/industry. The program, which is loosely modeled on GaDOE’s STEM and STEAM certification for schools, aims to meet the workforce development needs of Georgia’s current and future employers and expand opportunities for students. The designation is endorsed by the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA).

“We have been pleased to partner with the Georgia Department of Education in the development and rollout of the Economic Development Partnership,” GEDA President Kevin Shea said. “We are excited about the potential for an improved partnership with school districts and GEDA member economic development organizations throughout the state of Georgia, to enhance communication and opportunities for business and quality of life and place.”

Alignment of common priorities among education and industry leadership is a central tenet of the program. Pilot systems will work with Department staff to ensure smooth program delivery and broad applicability across the state.

“It’s our primary goal and responsibility to equip students with the tools they need to live successful, rewarding lives after they complete their K-12 education,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “As the primary emphasis for so many businesses has shifted from physical location to future talent, it’s critical that we facilitate a stronger connection between our educational system and the business/industry community. The EDP program will make that connection an ongoing reality in Georgia’s public schools.”

The Economic Development Partnership will include required leadership trainings and a review of local Carry Pathway offerings, as well as components that can be scaled or modified to fit individual communities.

“The ability of CTAE to keep up with changes in technology and workforce trends is dependent on building and maintaining open lines of communication and lasting partnerships with business and industry,” said Dr. Barbara Wall, State Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Director.


524 Creative Garners W3 Award Win for Town Center CID Website

November 9, 2017

524_w3-Awards524 Creative was distinguished as a Silver Award Winner by the W3 Awards for their recent development of the Town Center Community Improvement District (TCCID) website. The W3 Awards honors creative excellence on the web and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, videos and marketing programs.

Receiving over 5,000 entries, the W3 Awards honors outstanding Websites, Web Marketing, Web Video, Mobile Sites/Apps, and Social content created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers and creators worldwide. The W3 is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier leading professionals of acclaimed media, interactive, advertising and marketing firms. The website was judged on creativity, usability, navigation, functionality, visual design, and ease of use.

Scott Wright, Principal and Creative Director at 524 Creative, was at the helm leading the design and development of the TCCID site. Wright says, “At 524 Creative, a well-designed, comprehensive website is an indispensable tool in promoting a client’s brand, mission, and connection with their audience. We are very proud of this recognition and of the ongoing relationship we’ve built with the Town Center CID. Trusting us with representing their brand means a lot, and we are thankful for the surefooted, collaborative spirit they put into everything we do together.”

524 Creative built, designed and created content for the TCCID site from the ground up. Their collaboration began with an intent to make the site different from those of other Community Improvement Districts: to promote the community as well as the TCCID and its projects. Because of the myriad of sectors the TCCID impacts, from economic development to infrastructure improvements, the website must appeal to a variety of audiences, such as business owners, policy makers, visitors, residents, and students. The home page invites users to “Explore Town Center,” using a clean, contemporary design that reflects the organization’s dedication to progress and sustainability. Colorful, smart and intuitive navigation makes it user-friendly, while large, impactful images attract the eye of the visitor, as well as show off the characteristics and achievements of the TCCID. One of the more unique features of the site is its series of interactive maps, which depict all of the shopping, dining, and entertainment options available in the area. This makes the TCCID website a valuable resource, and it highlights the many benefits that the organization brings to the community.

Executive Director of the TCCID Tracy Rathbone says, “Our website has been extremely successful for the CID and we love it. It helps keep the community connected and aware of our work by showcasing our projects, representing businesses in the district, and encouraging new development. It also highlights what the Town Center community has to offer and reinforces our place-making efforts. The W3 award acknowledges 524 Creative’s hard work and is an exciting win for us both. 524 Creative consistently delivers professional, creative marketing projects and is integral to our ongoing success. They are always able to anticipate our needs and deliver impeccably.”

About the W3 Awards
The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the people behind award-winning sites, marketing programs, social content, mobile site/apps and online video. In honoring the best of the Web, the W³ Awards is the first major web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.

About 524 Creative
524 Creative is an award-winning, full service marketing firm located in Marietta, Georgia. The firm combines the talent of proven marketing and branding professionals to create content and design innovations that capture attention and inspire action. 524 Creative delivers branding, strategy, websites, social media and other marketing solutions that produce results, while staying true to clients’ ideals. For over twelve years, 524 Creative has provided effective and successful communication strategies for a myriad of clients ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multi-million dollar entities. Find out more at

About the Town Center Community Improvement District
Founded in 1997, the Town Center CID is dedicated to the betterment of the Town Center area through transportation infrastructure, safety improvements, beautification and other projects that enhance property value by increasing interest and investment in the community. The Town Center CID utilizes funds from voluntary commercial real estate taxes to implement its projects. For more information, please visit

Annual Lights of Life to Commence Thanksgiving Evening, November 23, on the Campus of Life University

November 9, 2017

The 2017 edition of the annual Lights of LIFE on the campus of Life University (LIFE) will commence on Thanksgiving evening, Thursday, November 23 and will run every night, rain or shine, through New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31.

LIFE introduced the Lights of LIFE in 1989 as a gift to the local community, and it has now grown to be one of the most popular light shows in the Southeast, attracting nearly half a million spectators from the surrounding region. Cars, vans and buses cruise through the spectacularly illuminated campus each year, often stopping along the 1.5-mile drive to enjoy an array of seasonal entertainments.

Costs are $5 per car Monday-Thursday, $10 per car on Friday-Sunday, as well as November 23-26 and December 15-31. It is $20 per bus at any time. Families are encouraged to come during the week to take advantage of the lower price, as well as to avoid the busier weekend traffic. The display opens at dark every night and runs until 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Each year, the display is a little different, making each experience unique. With more than one million LED bulbs, combined with the low cost, Lights of LIFE is the most affordable, quality light display in the metro area.

As in years past, Santa Claus will be visiting on weekends for photographs. Pony rides ($5 per rider), train rides ($3 per rider) and the petting zoo ($3 per person) will also return, as will our concession stand, offering seasonal drinks and snacks for purchase.

The Lights of LIFE is a zero-profit operation. Per-car fees go to offset the cost of electricity and those associated with ongoing operations. Fees for individual goods and services are at the discretion of the vendors.

About Life University
Founded in Marietta, Georgia in 1974, Life University is a health sciences institution most known for its chiropractic program, the largest single campus chiropractic program in the world. Life University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees, and also has programmatic accreditation through the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic  Training Education (CAATE). The mission of Life University is to empower students with the education, skills and values necessary for career success and life fulfillment, based on a vitalistic philosophy.

Six Flags Over Georgia to Honor Service Members over Veterans Day Weekend with Military Appreciation Days

November 8, 2017

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Six Flags Over Georgia is proud of the men and women of the military who protect our freedom. In honor of the service military personnel provide, the park will be hosting Military Appreciation Days on Veterans Day Weekend, November 11 and 12.

During this weekend, there will be complimentary admission for current (active) military members and up to three dependents. If a military service member is currently deployed during this day, a spouse and up to three dependents can receive complimentary admission with a current military ID card. Active service members can purchase an unlimited amount of additional tickets for family members or friends for 50% off, which would be $34.49 plus tax per ticket.

NEW for 2017: Veterans and disabled Veterans will recevie one free admission ticket to Six Flags Over Georgia with a valid Military ID card and can purchase an unlimited amount of additional tickets for family members or friends for 50% off, which would be $34.49 plus tax per ticket.

Also NEW for 2017 – Government Civilian and Contracted workers can purchase an unlimited amount of admission tickets for themselves, family members or friends for 50% off, which would be $34.49 plus tax per ticket.

All admission tickets must be purchased at the front gate to receive these special military discounts and a valid military ID card is required.

Please come join us as we honor the men and women who protect our freedom.

Packing a Punch vs. the Pounds at TITLE Boxing Club on Thanksgiving

November 8, 2017

While lists are popping up across the nation of retail stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving, one important piece of information is missing. Where can people go to fight Thanksgiving’s battle of the bulge? TITLE Boxing Club members in Kennesaw can feel good about going to a feast. The club will have classes at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving and classes throughout the day on Black Friday.

According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories during a typical Thanksgiving gathering from snacking and eating the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Members can burn up to 1,000 calories in TITLE’s 60-minute class, which is dubbed the Power Hour. Rather than sparring or one-on-one bouts, TITLE members receive a full-body workout through the combination of boxing and intense cardio.

“The holidays are happy, festive times, but they also bring a lot of stress and calories,” said TITLE Boxing Club Kennesaw’s Owner Ben Olmstead. “TITLE is helping people get a jump start on their health before the Thanksgiving turkey is even served. Rather than packing on the pounds, we’re helping people have a healthy holiday by packing a punch.”

Along with energizing people and keeping them in shape, a visit to TITLE includes several other benefits over the holidays. Going to TITLE helps people avoid becoming a total couch potato. If people need some time away from holiday visitors, TITLE is a great escape and can lower any festive stress levels.

TITLE Boxing Club Kennesaw is located at the corner of Baker and Jiles
(2090 Baker Road). More information can be found at:

About TITLE Boxing Club
TITLE Boxing Club, a Franworth company, is a boutique fitness studio that specializes in boxing and kickboxing fitness classes. Based in Kansas City, the company has over 160 clubs open and operating across the country and another 250 in development. The brand is currently ranked on Entrepreneur magazine’s prestigious Franchise 500 list and No. 1607 on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of American’s fastest-growing, privately-held companies. Inc. magazine also ranked the brand as one of the Top Kansas Companies in 2016.

City of Acworth Mayor to Officially Open Creekview Park November 14

November 7, 2017

Fortress Builders Logo_400x300Hometown builder Fortress Builders is excited to announce the grand opening of its newest Acworth community Creekview Park on November 14. The festivities will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Acworth Mayor and Cobb County Commissioner followed by an agent open house afterward.

The grand opening event and ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on November 14 at 11 a.m. Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood and Cobb County Commissioner Bob Weatherford will be in attendance for this exciting event.

Creekview Park is a highly anticipated new community featuring 53 new Acworth homes from the $300,000s. Homes will feature four thoughtfully crafted home designs with main-level owner’s suite or guest retreat options available. Homes will also feature several upgraded appointments as standard features that include hardwood floors, quartz and granite countertops, tile baths and more. Creeview Park_ChattoogaPerfectly set between the City of Acworth and the City of Kennesaw, Creekview Park offers convenience to a multitude of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Nearby amenities include Swift Cantrell Park, Cauble Park, Lake Acworth and Acworth Beach, as well as a picnic and playground area, cabana and a private, community activity and walking trail.

Creekview Park is located at 3187 Blue Springs Road in Kennesaw. To learn more about available opportunities or incentives at Creekview Park, or the grand opening event, visit, call 678-348-0322 or email

About Fortress Builders:
Locally owned, Fortress Builders has more than 50 years of combined experience in constructing attractive homes and communities. Fortress Builders does more than just build new homes. The builder also creates a distinctive sense of community, and does so in two of Atlanta’s most sought-after locations, Cobb and Cherokee counties. Over the years, the Fortress team has accumulated a vast archive of attractive new home designs with emphasis on tasteful architecture and cozy, livable interiors. Feature by feature, Fortress offers its homeowners the most complete package of attractive elevations, quality construction, financial affordability and an industry-standard warranty to back it up.  A Fortress-built home is built to last. For more information, visit

MassMutual Approves $1.6 Billion 2018 Policyowner Dividend Payout

November 6, 2017
Demonstrating the longstanding commitment to its policyowners and customers, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved an estimated $1.6 billion dividend payout in 2018 to eligible participating policyowners and members. The landmark accomplishment marks 150 consecutive years that MassMutual will be paying a dividend.
“This is truly a significant achievement that illustrates MassMutual’s strength and stability as a mutual company–a century and a half of sharing our success with our eligible participating policyowners and members through a consistent annual dividend payout,” said Roger Crandall, MassMutual Chairman, President and CEO.
Crandall added, “Against the backdrop of a prolonged low interest rate environment, this accomplishment embodies MassMutual’s competitive advantage – particularly the contribution of earnings from our diverse portfolio of businesses, which include our institutional, workplace and international insurance businesses, as well as global asset management subsidiaries OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and Barings. Combined, these enable us to provide exceptional value to our policyowners and help them secure their future and protect the ones they love.”

The 2018 estimated payout reflects a dividend interest rate1 of 6.40 percent for eligible participating policies. While dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid them to eligible participating policyowners every year since 1869. In fact, with the 2018 estimated payout, MassMutual will have paid more than $14 billion in dividends since 2009.

Over the past decade, MassMutual has also paid more than $35 billion in insurance and annuity benefits – including $5 billion in 2016, the most the company has ever paid in a year – delivering on its obligations to its policyowners and customers. Additionally, in 2016, MassMutual achieved its 11th straight year of record weighted whole life insurance sales2, while total adjusted capital has reached nearly $18 billion (as of September 30, 2017).

Moreover, MassMutual’s financial strength ratings3 remain among the highest of any company in any industry, illustrating its strong operating fundamentals and a prudent, long-term investment philosophy.

“This estimated dividend payout once again demonstrates our ability to honor our commitments,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S. “It is also yet another way we help our policyowners protect their families, support their communities and help one another. Still, there are millions of individuals and families who are financially underprepared4 and, through our expanded tools and channels, we have an opportunity to make our solutions more accessible to a broader range of people.”


About MassMutual
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit