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June 9, 2011 Issue

Students produce Warrior Nation News
Cummings to take part in CNN program
The Piety Variety Gospel Show aims to please...
County works to reduce budget

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Students produce Warrior Nation News

By Bonnie K. Sargent
Apprentice

For most teenagers, picking up a newspaper or watching the evening news on television isn’t that big of a priority, but for four students at Jefferson County High School, the news has become a big part of their everyday lives.

High school seniors Zavaien McBride, Marissa Nelson, Briana Roberson and sophomore Quinton Cummings recently took on the challenge of starting the first news program JCHS has seen in five years.

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What started as a closed circuit television news program has now moved on to the internet. Every episode of the news program, called the Warrior Nation News, can be viewed at www.ghsa.tv/JeffersonCounty. This could be helpful for people in the community who want to keep up with the events at JCHS, students who missed days and even seniors who graduated halfway through the school year who still need to keep up with the events at JCHS so they don’t miss any important graduation information.

Anna Lush, a computer teacher at JCHS, helps the four students organize and upload the program. She said they did a live broadcast from the Prom. They produced a live broadcast of graduation, that way people who were not in Jefferson County at the time, including people who are serving in the military overseas, could view the ceremony.

When asked what made them want to do the news, the students responded that they thought it would be a good experience.

“It’s just fun and it will give me a lot of opportunities in the future after I graduate,” said Cummings.

“It just sort of fell upon me,” said McBride. “I just happened to walk into the classroom one day and was offered the opportunity. I have three YouTube channels that I maintain and I have a strong background in video shooting and editing. Really, I think it’s a way for me to contribute to the school before I graduate.”

The students said their inspirations ranged from Nancy Grace and Anderson Cooper, both of CNN, to Jay Jefferies of News Channel 26.

The Warrior Nation News first began airing in January at 9:25 a.m. daily, but after technical difficulties with the television system, they began uploading their videos for everyone to view at their leisure.

"The system is old,” Nelson said, referring to the television system within the school.

“The system is an analog system and two years ago they got rid of the analog,” Lush elaborated, saying that they had difficulties putting the show on television because of that.

“They said we may be in HD next year,” said Cummings.

The Warrior Nation News team covers a variety of events including sports, lunch, birthdays, community activities and anything that is school related. They also show bloopers at the end of every show.

“I am the one that keeps everybody laughing,” said Cummings.

McBride, Nelson, Roberson and Cummings all agreed that the best event they had covered so far was when the Atlanta Falcons manager Chris Millman came to JCHS in February to hold a camp for local fifth graders who were visiting the high school.

When asked about the hardest part of doing the news, Nelson said it can be difficult for them to stay on task.

“We don’t really have a problem with editing or anything like that,” Nelson said.

“Editing is the easy part,” McBride added.

“Our biggest controversy has been about the music,” said Cummings, referring to the music played at the beginning and end of each show. “You can’t satisfy everybody’s tastes.”

The students said they want to thank Lush, who coordinated the program for them and helps put the show together.

“She motivates us to work,” Roberson said.

“And she referees all the time,” added Cummings. “Without her, we’d be in here all day.”

The students also wanted to thank the new principal, Dr. Alan Long, whose idea it was to start the show.

“We’d also like to thank the entire student body for watching,” said Roberson.

Lush said that next year, doing the program will be offered as a class, but for now McBride, Nelson, Roberson and Cummings are volunteering their time to do the news and aren’t getting any pay or class credit for it.




Cummings to take part in CNN program

By Bonnie K. Sargent
Apprentice

A familiar face to many area students, 15-year-old Quinton Cummings is usually seen with a clipboard around any of Jefferson County High School’s sports events or in the hallways with the other members of the school’s news team.

A sophomore, Cummings is the sports manager at JCHS. He spends his time helping with administrative work in the office, helping teachers in and out of the classroom, motivating his friends and helping produce the school’s news program, the Warrior Nation News.

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Cummings is one of 75 high school students who were selected in the state of Georgia to participate in CNN and Turner Broadcasting’s 21st Century Leadership Unplugged program on media and communication skills.

This summer, Cummings will travel to Atlanta where he will stay on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus. From Sunday, June 19-24, Cummings will work with leadership development specialists, professionals in the media and communications field as well as certified educators to enhance his leadership, media and communication skills.

During his time in Atlanta, Cummings will spend a lot of time at the CNN studios, located in downtown Atlanta, where he will be allowed to meet with and interview on-air personalities. He will also work throughout the CNN studios learning various jobs. The group will also help create segments for CNN.

Cummings said it was Coach Anna Lush who first told him about the program, back in the winter of 2010.

“I manage football and I was on my way to practice one day when she called me back and told me about it,” he said.

Lush, a computer teacher and softball coach at JCHS, also helps Cummings and his fellow student anchors produce the Warrior Nation News program.

To apply for the program, Cummings had to submit an essay, along with three references. He also had to make it through a two-hour interview in Augusta. Cummings said he was grateful for his friends and Tammy Hodges’ Work-Based Learning students, who helped him prepare for his interview.

Cummings said he wanted to apply for the program because he thinks it will be an interesting experience.

“I will be able to learn a lot and bring things from the experience back to JCHS to enhance our news and media department,” he said.

Cummings said he is excited about going to Atlanta but feels nervous about meeting people that he has never met, that he has always wanted to meet.

“I’m ready though,” he said confidentially.

Cummings most looks forward to learning different things, enhancing his vocabulary and being able to bring something profound back to the school that others can learn from. He said he will also learn how to speak more clearly and project his voice and learn business and technology skills that will help him in the future.

Cummings said his family is excited for him to have this opportunity.

“They love the idea. They think it’s a good opportunity for me. Plus, they won’t have to deal with me for a week,” he said with a laugh.

Turner Broadcasting System Inc. will be providing Cummings with a scholarship to cover the cost of participating in the program, including his stay at Georgia Tech.

“All I have to bring is $150 for a key deposit,” Cummings said. “I’ll get that back at the end of the week if I return my key, which I will.”

Cummings said he’s not really sure what all they have planned for the program participants, apart from work experience, a luncheon at the Georgia Tech campus and the opportunity to do some shopping at the CNN store.

Cummings won’t be paid for the work in a monetary sense.

“I feel like payment isn’t always monetary, sometimes it is learning something valuable,” Cummings said. “And I feel like that is payment enough.”

Cummings said while in Atlanta he will miss his school, all the students and teachers, his family and friends and especially the graduating class of 2011, which includes his fellow student anchors on the Warrior Nation News.

With the help of Coach Lush, Cummings and three seniors Zavaien McBride, Marissa Nelson and Briana Roberson, started the school’s first news program in five years. What started as a closed circuit television news program soon progressed to the internet. Every episode of the Warrior Nation News can be viewed at www.ghsa.tv/JeffersonCounty.

Cummings said his role in creating the news program includes doing interviews, writing script and scheduling. He also gets the public involved in the program and co-produces if McBride is out.

“Hopefully before the year is out I will get to go to the middle schools and tell kids about the show and try and get them interested in participating,” Cummings said.

Among the newscasters and reporters he admires, Cummings mentioned Fraendy Clervaud of FoxNews, Kimberly Scott of WJBF and Parish Howard, editor and publisher of The News and Farmer.

Cummings said his dream job would be to one day be a school principal or superintendent.

“I’d like to be an assistant principal first though because to be principal, you need to know the roles of your employees in order to be a good, equal-opportunity employer,” he said. “I’d also like to be a producer and have my own broadcasting company.”

Ten years from now, when he is 25 years old, Cummings expects he will be a successful businessman, who owns at least one business, and a billionaire.

“Or close to it,” he said with a grin. “I may even still be in school. I’m going to try and reach the highest potential I can reach.”

Cummings had a long list of people he wanted to thank who have supported him, which included Coach Lush, Principal Alan Long and other members of the school’s administration, as well as all of his teachers and coaches.

“Also my mother and all of my family,” he added.

Cummings is the son of Viola Cummings. He has two brothers, Chris Cummings and Pastor Eustache Cummings, and a soon to be sister-in-law, LaVeisha Mobley.

Cummings said he likes hanging out with friends, going to the beach, doing administration work in the office and managing sports.

“I love sports,” he said. “Or I should say, I love Warrior sports.”

Apart from managing the sports teams and helping out in the office during fourth period, Cummings also helps the janitorial staff of JCHS.

“I help pretty much with everything that goes on in the school. I enjoy motivating people and helping people with anything they need help with,” he said. “I just like to be able to do my part and help people.”




The Piety Variety Gospel Show aims to please...

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The Schoolhouse Players production of “The Piety Variety Gospel Show” chronicles the hilarious fundraising efforts of Brother Shelby Green and friends after FCC regulations changed regarding free on-air time for religious programming in 1960. The popular musical comedy is in its second and final week at the Bartow Community Center. Pictured are Brother Shelby Greene (Roger Burge - left) and Sister Mary Ethel (Ann Smith - front center), quartet members (from left) Helen Highwater (Rosy Burge), Bradley (Brad Smith), Sharon (Nan Gunn) and Rob (Wendell Stephens), accompanied by Briscoe Darling Jr., III (John Mole), singing “Over the Hilltop.” Show times are 8 p.m. Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 12. Call (478) 364-3340 for reservations. Tickets are $10 for each adult and $5 for children 12 and under. Prepaid groups of 12 or more are discounted $1 per ticket.

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County works to reduce budget

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

In a monthly work session with the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan discussed a proposed budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The commissioners reviewed the budget, which Bryan said is $183,909 less than the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

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“As it stands right now, the dollar amount of a mill will probably stay the same or go down,” Bryan said to the board.

“The millage rate will go up because the value of a mill will go down because the digest is going down,” he said, adding, “There is no cutting of this budget; there is elimination.”

In an interview after the meeting, Bryan pointed out several obligations the county pays to the various cities and to other agencies that are not county operations.

For example, the county pays $12,500 to Wrens and to Wadley for recreation. These payments are not part of the SPLOST funds earmarked for those cities, he said.

Additionally, the county provides a total of $70,000 in assistance to the cities’ fire departments. The county pays $10,000 to Stapleton, $10,500 each to Avera and Bartow and $13,000 each to Louisville, Wadley and Wrens. These funds are paid to the city on behalf of the fire department.

There are two county fire departments, Hillcrest FD and Matthews FD. They are not included in this list because all of their funding comes from the county.

The county also provides $150,000 to Jefferson Hospital to pay on a bond, $156,984 to the library, $51,593 to the county extension agent as a salary supplement and to help with travel expenses, $23,876 to the forestry service to provide fire fighting assistance in forest land, $5,052 for electricity for Family Connection, $152,791 to the county’s health department as a budget supplement, $2,679 to the county’s Department of Family and Children Services to assist the needs of the children and $100 for rural health outreach. The total of these payments is $613,075.

“This is how much is in the budget going to non-county operations,” Bryan said.

Bryan said the $183,909 reduction in the overall budget for the upcoming year compared with the current budget is because of several factors.

“Accounting went down,” he said. “Last year, we replaced computer software; so, that’s a decrease of $10,707 over last year. The sheriff’s department went down $83,000. This is because the new cars for the sheriff’s office will be purchased from SPLOST. Also, from time to time, we have positions that are not immediately filled. So we have started taking that into account and using actual expenditures.”

The administrator said this is the same reason the budget of the Correctional Institution will go down $13,474.

Bryan said there was a reduction of $11,590 in the state judicial budget because all portions of that budget are allocated based on the census.

“Our census went down; so, our portion of the judicial circuit budget has been reduced accordingly,” he said.

“Registrar went down $7,803 because we anticipate only one election, that being the presidential preference, that will require early voting,” he said.

Bryan said because of a reduction of EPD testing requirements, there will be a reduction of $13,551 in the budget for the old landfill.

Bryan also recently told each of the county’s department heads to reduce their budgets by 6 percent. This reduced the health department’s budget by $10,209 and the county agent’s budget by $3,079, he said.

The recreation department’s budget was reduced by $9,799 because no additional equipment purchases are required.

In transit, the county decided to not fund a vacancy, reducing that department’s budget by $24,751. The senior center’s budget was reduced by $12,759 because of a reduction in the requirement to provide meals.

“The senior center still has a budget of $111,416. We have not been serving as many meals as we have in the past,” Bryan said.

“The road department’s budget has been cut by $169,119,” he said. “Capital projects changed to SPLOST funding, namely Thomas Street in Wrens Quarters and Lincoln Park in Wadley.”

Bryan said the Lincoln Park project involves work on culverts and a bridge.

The department of elections’ budget decreased by $30,626 because of a reduced number of elections, he said.

On the other side of the budget are the increases.

The budget for administration budget increased by $2,519 because of an interdepartmental personnel change, Bryan said.

The JCSO has a budget increase of $26,478 over last year because of additional personnel whose salaries were only partially funded in the current budget as those officers did not start work until after the fiscal year began, he said.

There was an increase of $23,044 in the board of equalization because of additional hearing requirements and emergency management has a $23,030 increase because of the hiring of a new director, he said.

“These are all increases in the general fund budget,” Bryan said.

Bryan said there will be an increase in the water department’s budget of $7,654.

“This increase is primarily because of increases in gasoline, utilities and supplies,” he said. Bryan pointed out the water department is an enterprise fund, as is the new landfill.

This means those departments must operate only on fees paid for services.

The new landfill has an increase of $296,524 in its budget, Bryan said.

“This is due to the construction of a new cell at the landfill that should be completed sometime in early September. None of the cost to construct this new cell will come from general funds,” he said.

“In the new SPLOST, there is $60,000 for work on government buildings, $67,000 for cars for the sheriff’s office, $300,000 for the Lincoln Park and Thomas Street projects and $356,000 for 911 equipment,” he said.

“It’s been three to four years since all employees have had salary increases,” Bryan said.

“Employees currently contribute approximately 10 percent of the total cost of their health and disability insurance. This compares favorably to other nearby counties,” he said.

Bryan said he contacted other counties and was told employees in Burke County pay 22.15 percent of the insurance premiums; in Richmond County, employees pay 24 percent of the cost; in Columbia County, it’s 25 percent; in Washington County, it’s 25 percent; and in Bulloch County, it’s 20 percent.

Employees in McDuffie County do not pay anything towards their insurance premiums, Bryan said.

“Jefferson County provides no assistance to an employee for family coverage or two-person coverage,” he said.

“Always, since I’ve been here, the budget has been balanced on the backs of the employees,” Bryan said.

The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the budget during the board’s regular monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, at 6 p.m. in the commission meeting room. The meeting is open to the public.




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