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A C C E N T The Athens-Clarke County Employee & Retiree Newsletter • April 2013 • Vol. XVI, Iss. 4

Corrections and Transit embrace solar power at facilities The use of solar panels at the Multimodal Transportation Center (MMTC) and Corrections food preparation facility is not only continuing the Unified Government’s tradition of “green” initiatives, but also saving money. A photovoltaic system was installed in July 2011 on top of the MMTC that uses solar panels to convert sunlight to electricity. Power created through sunlight offsets power provided to the facility by Georgia Power. According to ACC Facilities Division Administrator Robert Baird, who oversaw the installation of the solar systems, the MMTC saves nearly $3,000 annually as a result of the solar panel system. “The multimodal transportation

solar panel system can generate 6,500 watts of canopy lighting for approximately nine hours per day for the next 30-40 years,” he says. A flat screen monitor that shows real-time data of the power generated, as well as the number of kilowatts used each day, is mounted on the wall inside of the transportation facility. The transportation center was the first Unified Government facility to receive solar panels. For those interested in seeing the layout of the system, the panels can be seen on top of the MMTC from any level of the Classic Center Parking Deck. On the other side of Athens resides the solar panel system at the Corrections food preparation facility, which houses the kitchen

Saunders is new Environmental Coordinator Andrew Saunders, ACC’s serving as the LEED policy new Environmental Coordinator in coordinator on Unified Government Central Services, is no stranger construction and renovation to the Unified Government. He projects; leading the development spent the last 5½ years of a Sustainability as the Community Plan; providing Forestry Coordinator and interdepartmental 3 years prior to that as a coordination of the Green Community Tree Program Space Program; and intern. working on electric vehicle As Environmental readiness initiatives. Coordinator, Saunders When not at the is responsible for office or out in the field, planning environmentally- Saunders Saunders spends time related projects and programs; hunting, fishing, gardening, and interacting with community and working on his house. Since he university groups and agencies on comes from a long lineage of do-it environmental topics; monitoring yourselfers, he is interested in planning and zoning requests for anything that makes him more selfpotential environmental issues; continued on p. 4 ►

Monitors for the solar panels provide educational information about their use.

area for the Corrections complex. This particular solar unit is the largest hot water glycol system in Georgia. Glycol is a fluid that helps collect heat from the sun through the solar panels and transfers that heat to water. Power Partners, a manufacturing company based in Athens, was one of the companies involved in the solar panel project at the food preparation facility. The Corrections solar system consists of 85 solar panels that are spread out on top of the food preparation building. Each panel collects heat from the sun, which then transfers glycol to the mechanical room and goes through a heat exchanger to heat the water. The water is then stored in one of two 650-gallon storage tanks for hot water use. Since the installation of the solar heat panels in the fall of 2012, ACC has saved approximately $6,000 annually at the facility. As a result of the system’s success, no natural continued on p. 4 ►

ACC library celebrates 100th year & renovations in April Employee Spotlight Diane James (Superior Court)

James was the Administrative Assistant for the court for 36 years before her retirement. How long were you in your position? I worked in the Clerk [of Superior & State Court]’s Office for 12 years and then I worked in the Superior Court for 24 years. What were some other places you worked before ACC? Actually, I got married a year before I came to work for ACC and didn’t work that year. I worked a little in Cincinnati, Ohio which is where I am from, in an electronic testing business for about 4 years. What did you do on a daily basis? It varied from day to day. There were a lot of different things I did. I did billing, purchasing, payroll. I would do research, work with IT equipment, field a lot of phone calls, take care of jury supplies, and really just anything else the judges wanted. I would do different reports for each of the judges. What do you miss most about working for Athens-Clarke County? I miss the people the most because I really don’t have a lot of family here. I have three brothers and two sisters and none of us live close. The people I worked with at ACC really became a part of my family and I miss seeing them every day. They were wonderful people to work with. How did you come to work for Athens-Clarke County? My husband got a job in Athens because he had family here. We came up here for that job, which means I got a job here then. He had a friend whose wife worked continued on p. 3 ►

The Athens-Clarke County Library has undergone drastic renovations and construction over the last two years. Funded by a combination of SPLOST 2005 funds and state grants, the renovations are now complete. Library staff will host a series of events throughout April to celebrate not only the construction completion, but also the 100th anniversary of the library itself. The SPLOST project included renovating all original 63,000 square feet of the library and constructing an additional 20,000 square feet. The additional area allows for many sections of the library and computer technologies, such as wireless networking, to expand. On Sat., April 6, the library invites the entire community to Family Fun Day and the Library’s 100th Birthday Celebration. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. and include a plethora of activities such as arts and crafts projects, a Junior Safari Petting Zoo, and a puppeteer production of The Adventures of the Gingerbread Man. A dedication of the library will take place on Sun., April 7 starting at 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Continuing the celebration of the 100th anniversary, the library will stage several events throughout the month, including an edible book contest and author visit. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 706-613-3650, extension 344 or visit www.clarke.public.lib. The Athens-Clarke County Library is located at 2025 Baxter Street. Food2Kids Program is collecting gummy snacks for students. Food donations are accepted at Satula Ave., City Hall & Solid Waste.

UGA Football G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium. The football team splits into two teams to scrimmage. Kickoff at 1:00 p.m.

Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan & others in concert at Sanford Stadium from 6:3011:00 p.m. Tickets: $47.35-$84.45. www.

Dreamgirls awardwinning musical production at the Classic Center at 7:00 p.m. Tickets: $15-70.

Wellness Total Health Fair at the Classic Center from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. for ACC employees and retirees. Screenings and much more.

Apr. Open 26 house at

Apr. 1-31

Apr. 13

Apr. 23

Apr. Dispose 26-27 unused or

expired medication at the Recycling Center at 699 Hancock Industrial Way from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Apr. 6

Apr. 14

the Police Department on Lexington Road from 3:00-6:00 p.m. to show the SPLOST-funded building renovations.

Apr. 34th 26-27 Annual

Twilight events in downtown Athens. Bicycle events, races, concerts, kid events, and more.

38th Annual Juried Art Exhibition The Lyndon House Arts Center is currently hosting the 38th Annual Juried Art Exhibition through Sat., May 4. The exhibition is a curated art competition for local Athens artists working in all visual media. The collection features a variety of media styles and concepts. Lyndon House hours are Tues. & Thurs.: Noon - 9:00 p.m. and Wed., Fri., & Sat.: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00

GreenFest events run through May GreenFest will host events through May to educate and promote environmentally-friendly practices. A number of ACC departments and divisions will take part in events. An awards ceremony on April 19 willl recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made a positive impact on the environment. For a full list of events, visit

Congratulations and thank you to these employees upon their retirement from ACC effective April 1: Lamar Brown (Trans. and Public Works) after 39 years of service and Vernus Huff (Public Utilities) after 21 years of service.



Retiree notices may include current employees or former City or County employees who no longer work for ACC, but are now eligible for pension benefits. Congratulations to these employees on their promotions between Feb. 17 - Mar. 4: Central Services: Andrew Saunders - Environmental Coordinator; Human Resources: Dena Shaw - Senior Administrative Assistant; Leisure Services: Desmond Watkins - Program Specialist; Magistrate Court: Krista Wideman - Deputy Court Clerk; Police: Scott Blair - Senior Police Officer, Adolfo Carrion - Senior Police Officer, Ben Dickerson - Police Sergeant, and Jamie Elder - Senior Police Officer; Public Utilities: Charles Felton - Heavy Equipment Operator II, Tommy Green - Heavy Equipment Operator II, Daphne Little Laboratory Operator; James Taylor - Heavy Equipment Operator I; State Court: Rebecca Steciw Probation Officer. ACC extends its sympathy to the family, coworkers and friends of James Billups (Retiree) who died on March 3 and David “Tiny” Hanson (Retiree) who died on March 24.

Organizational Development is proud to announce the following recipients of the Certificate of Accomplishment for 2013: Stephanie Aarstad (Tax Commissioner), Greg Amason (Fire), Robert Browner (Trans. & Public Works), Kathy Casper Human Resources sends cards (Central Services), Larry Gresham from ACC to employees, families, (Trans. & Public Works), Jessica and retirees for deaths or illnesses. Haley (Police), Tracey Hardigree (Police), Bill Hodo (Public Utilities), Congratulations to Jarita John Kamens (Solid Waste), Keith Smith (Clerk of Courts) Lester (Leisure Services), Traci and family on the birth of Mason (HR), James Mitchell, Jr. son Langston Lamar Smith (Trans. & Public Works), Samantha on Dec. 12, 2012. Pickel (Central Services), Beatriz Raygada (Municipal Court), Rafael Tina Callaway (Leisure) Rivera-Mendez (Public Utilities), was nominated for Lori Smith (Police), Reginald the Positive Coaching Smothers, Sr. (Corrections), and Alliance’s “Double Goal Coach Award” for her work with the Rebecca Whitney (Municipal Court). gymnastics program. ACC extends its sympathy to these employees and their families for the loss of their loved ones: Ken Edwards (Retiree) - son; Ben Holton (Retiree) - wife; Mike Hunsinger (Police) - father; and Annie Smith (Police) - father-in-law.

‘Employee Spotlight,’ from p. 2

for the Clerk, we talked to her and I pretty much started the next day. It was wonderful working here for so long because the people really made it enjoyable. What has changed most in the time you’ve worked here? Oh, everything. When I came, the old Courthouse building had radiators. We had an ice-storm once and Athens was without power for a few days. I said I was going to work because I knew there would be heat. All of the technology we are still in the process of getting just amazes me. The technology in the courtroom has changed and it just makes things so much more efficient. I love how the judges are really embracing technology. What are you going to do now? I am just kind of relaxing, trying to fix up my house and clean it out. I have to have surgery on my shoulder, so my children want me to sell my house and move closer to them to live in a little cottage behind the house. I have lived in this house since we moved to Athens, so you can imagine the amount of stuff that has gathered in the house over the years, but I

can be closer to my grandchildren there. Do you have any hobbies? There is a group of women that retired from the Courthouse that meet every couple of months. I will meet with them and I love gardening, so I want to keep up with that. Of course, I love being with my grandchildren. That is my favorite hobby. I have a swimming pool and they love coming over, so I get to see them almost every day in the summer. I’m helping my daughter-in-law at her house to get more plants and get a garden started. She’s just starting to learn gardening so I’m enjoying teaching her that. She is also really into couponing and she wants me to start that too. She can buy $150 worth of things and only spend $25. That is definitely something I need to learn, so that’s going to be another hobby. It’s unreal how she does it. So that’s my next big project. Where did you grow up? I was born in Detroit, Michigan and my dad got a job in Cincinnati. We moved there and I lived there most of my childhood. continued on p. 4 ►

Kent Person (Transit) has spent fitness center, but has transformed years figuring out what being his diet by preparing all of his healthy and reaching fitness goals healthy meals for the week on means to him. As an employee of Sundays. the Athens Transit System, he Kent says the hardest part about works a varied schedule sticking to a healthy diet that keeps him sedentary is resisting the unhealthy while driving for long foods that are available. periods of time. However, he does Several years ago, he indulge occasionally in began his weight loss his favorite frozen yogurt journey by losing from Menchies. He 50 pounds, but did says that support not continue along from others helps that path once his him stay dedicated Kent Person (Transit) work schedule got to his healthy eating busier and less routine. Up until and exercise. last year, he continued utilizing He really enjoys the camaraderie the ACC Fitness Center to that the ACC fitness center classes exercise, but irregularly, so he only have to offer. He commented that maintained his weight. the ACC wellness coaches have In January 2012, he took a fat designed workout routines that and body composition test that specifically build up muscles to changed his outlook on health and help him perform his job better and sparked his motivation to “finish the prevent injury. Exercising gives him job” that he started several years more energy and has lessened ago with his initial weight loss. muscular pain in his neck, arms, “I was so close to being in that and hips while driving long routes. healthy range [regarding body “There is no way I could finish the composition],” he says. “I had to go Saturday Route 25 on time without for it.” the benefits I’ve gained from our Since then, Kent has not only fitness center,” he says. regularly attended classes at the

Wellness Hero

‘Employee Spotlight,’ from p. 3

Tell us about your family. My husband was from Florida and we actually met on a blind date. I went down [to Florida] thinking I would have a nice Easter weekend in with my sister and ended up going home engaged four days later. We got married two months later. We had talked on the phone before, but had never met in person. It was love at first sight. We were married 26 years before he died.

ACCENT Produced monthly by the Athens-Clarke County Public Information Office with input from the Communications Work Team, a committee consisting of Unified Government department representatives.

What are three words that you think best describe you? Loyal, truthful, happy. I’ve had to work at the last one, but I’m definitely happy most of the time. My husband’s death was hard on me, but I’m working on trying to be happy with what I have. It’s taking me a long time, but I’m getting there. Employee Spotlight is a look at an ACC employee or a new retiree who has over 35 years of service.

‘Solar Power,’ from p. 1

gas from the facility has been used to heat water since the solar panels were installed. Similar to the solar system at the MMTC, the solar panels at the Corrections food preparation building also have a monitor that shows the system’s use in real-time and also serves as an educational tool. Funding for these projects came through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly referred to as stimulus funding or the Recovery Act. There are also solar-powered initiatives in use at ACC parking areas. The new Oconee Street Park and Ride utilizes solar power for lighting the entire lot, while Corrections has a solar-powered LED light in its parking lot. “Installing the solar hot water and photovoltaic system has been a great opportunity for AthensClarke County to do demonstration projects and show the public that this technology is here, it is effective, and it works,” says Baird. ◄

‘Saunders,’ from p. 1

sufficient. Saunders grew up in Cumming, Georgia and has lived in Athens for 11 years. He and his wife, Emily, have a 1½-year old daughter named Riley; a great Dane named Lilly; and a mixedbreed called Possum. Saunders has a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and management and a Master’s degree in forest resources from the University of Georgia. He credits his curiosity and respect for nature to running loose on land near Lake Lanier as a child.

Front page photos are of the Luminary Ceremony held on March 22 in honor of Buddy Christian and are courtesy of Hilda Sorrow (Police). Editor: Jeff Montgomery Layout & Preproduction: Elizabeth McLean Writer/Intern: Cory James

Send comments, questions, letters to: Public Information Office P.O. Box 1868 - Athens, GA 30603 706-613-3795 - 706-613-3026 (fax)