Friday, October 22, 2010

Georgia man's death confirms presence of Africanized honeybees

Last week’s death of an elderly Dougherty County man has been attributed to Africanized honeybees. This fatality confirms the bees’ arrival in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
“The victim was operating a tractor and mower, aggravated a nest of bees and received more than 100 stings,” said Keith Delaplane, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension entomologist.

Africanized honeybees have been in the United States since October 1990 when they were found in Texas. In 2005, they were confirmed in Florida.

European cousin essential to crops

A sub-species of honeybee, Africanized honeybees can interbreed with the European honeybee that is well known throughout Georgia as an important pollinator and producer of honey. One-third of American diets contain food crops that rely on European honeybees for pollination, according to the Georgia DOA.

Africanized and European honeybees look and behave alike in some respects. Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee.

However, “the African variety is extremely defensive and responds with a massive stinging reaction with little provocation,” Delaplane said.

Don't swat, run, get inside and stay inside

The UGA honeybee expert urges the public to become aware of how to react if Africanized honeybees attack. He offers the following lifesaving tips:

1. Be cautious around places where Africanized honey bees are likely to nest, such as abandoned sheds, bee hive equipment, discarded tires and underground cavities.
2. If you are attacked, RUN AWAY. “You may think this sounds silly, but experience has taught us that people don’t run away,” he said. “Instead, they stand and swat, which simply escalates the defensive frenzy until it reaches lethal proportions.”
3. Get inside a closed vehicle or building as fast as possible, and STAY there. “Here’s another hard lesson we’ve learned. People don’t stay inside a closed vehicle if a few bees follow them inside,” Delaplane said. “Instead, they panic and flee back outside where tens of thousands of angry bees attack them."
This pattern has repeated itself over and over in the stinging incidents entomologists have monitored in Latin America and the southwestern U.S., he said. "The lesson is, don't worry about the few bees that follow you indoors. Get inside, and stay inside."
4. European honeybees and beekeepers are our best defense against Africanized honeybees. “Some communities may be considering zoning restrictions against all forms of beekeeping. This essentially cedes territory to the enemy. Only gentle European bees can genetically dilute the defensive Africanized variety,” he said.

First aid tips

If stung, the Georgia DOA says to follow these steps:

• Scrape – do not pull – stingers from skin as soon as possible. Pulling the stinger out will likely cause more venom to be injected into the skin.
• Wash sting area with soap and water.
• Apply ice for a few minutes to relieve pain and swelling.
• Seek medical attention if your breathing is troubled, if you’re stung numerous times or if you’re allergic to bee stings.

For more information on Africanized honeybees, read the UGA Extension publication at http://pubsadmin.caes.uga.edu/files/pdf/B%201290_2.PDF .

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

CALLING ALL FRIENDSHIP FORCE MEMBERS: Take part in Georgia-to-Georgia Event Saturday

/PRNewswire/ -- All Friendship Force members in the Greater Atlanta region and anyone who participated in the first Friendship Force exchanges to Tbilisi, Georgia in the old Soviet Union in 1985 and 1990 are invited to Atlanta City Hall Saturday for ceremonies commemorating the anniversaries of their journeys.

Special recognition will be given to all American Georgians who traveled in those first Georgia-to-Georgia exchanges. Honored guests Saturday include U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall and Jack and Norma Hassinger, who established an orphanage in the country of Georgia.

The celebration starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Atlanta City Hall in downtown Atlanta.

For more information, please visit www.atscc.org, the official site of the Atlanta-Tbilisi Sister City Committee.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Show Me the Money! Portfolio.com Unveils Top 100 U.S. Cities with the Highest Income Growth Rates

/PRNewswire/ -- Portfolio.com – the national business news site for small and mid-sized business (SMB) executives – today revealed its latest U.S. Uncovered study, ranking U.S. cities with the highest income growth. The study, which looked at the nation's top 100 metropolitan areas, analyzed 25 years of federal income data to calculate how income level growth compares across the nation. El Paso, Texas, ranks in first place, with a 147 percent increase in income levels over the past 20 years.

The study used a 25-part formula to analyze the consistency and strength of per capita income (PCI) growth in each market. The formula compared each area's growth rates against the U.S. averages for 25 different time spans, yielding an overall score for income growth. All 25 spans ended in 2009, ranging in length from 25 years (1984-2009) to a single year (2008-2009).

"It's refreshing to see that the cities with the best opportunities for income growth go beyond the major metros," said J. Jennings Moss, editor of Portfolio.com. "When you consider the current high rate of unemployment in this country, our study suggests that people may want to explore job opportunities or start businesses in smaller cities, like Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City, where income growth is higher and the economy has been relativity stable in comparison to other parts of the U.S."

El Paso, which ranks as the 99th lowest per capita income of $28,638, holds first place in 13 of the 25 time spans, including a 147 percent increase in income levels between 1989 and 2009, and two percent during the recessionary period of 2008 to 2009. Meanwhile, Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut, which had the highest PCI in 2009 ($73,720), ranks 33 in the income growth index.

Cities with the Highest Income Growth

El Paso, Texas
Baton Rouge, La.
Baltimore, Md.
Virginia Beach-Norfolk , Va.
New Orleans, La.
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Little Rock, Ark.
Jackson, Miss. Honolulu, Hawaii

Most cities in the top 10 have around one million or fewer inhabitants, except for Baltimore, Md. (#3) and Pittsburgh, Pa. (#6), which both have populations of more than two million. Jackson, Miss. (#9) is the metro with the lowest population at 540,866 on the top 10 listing. Rounding out the top 10 are Baton Rouge, La. (#2); Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Va. (#4); New Orleans (#5); Oklahoma City, Okla. (#7); Little Rock, Ark. (#8); and Honolulu, Hawaii (#10).

"Most people are interested in knowing what cities have the highest per capita income, but that doesn't always reflect the areas with the most available opportunities," said G. Scott Thomas, a nationally-recognized demographer who participated in the analyses for Portfolio.com. "The highest income growth rankings are designed to give the people an alternative view on what constitutes a flourishing economy and maybe even the chance for a fresh start."

Larger metros were not ranked high on the list. New York City, the area with the nation's highest population, ranks at #35; Los Angeles at #54; and Chicago at #73. The bottom three cities, Raleigh, N.C. at #98, Detroit at #99 and Atlanta at #100, have been hurt badly by declining real estate prices and the erosion of the manufacturing industry, which has contributed to declining income growth rates.

The U.S. Uncovered series provides original, insightful analysis of the American lifestyle and business trends of interest to the highly lucrative market of small- and mid-sized business executives, who will fuel the country's economic recovery over the next five years. Most recently, the U.S. Uncovered revealed the "Most Stressful Place in America," ranking Detroit as the most stressful city. The series also disclosed the rankings of "Best Mid-size Places to Live" ranking Boulder, CO as the small city with the highest quality of life; "Best Big Places to Live," ranking Raleigh as #1; "Best Cities to have fun," ranking New York City as #1; "Top U.S. Wealth Centers," naming Newport Beach as #1; "Small Business Vitality," naming Texas the best state and Austin the top city for small business; and "Best Places for Young Adults," naming the Southwestern region the new frontier for young Americans with Austin as #1.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Be Someone, Inc. and National Leadership Group Come Together to Empower Single Parents

/PRNewswire/ -- To lend a helping hand to single parents, The National Leadership Group Inc. and Be Someone, Inc. will hold its second annual Single Parents Workshop Saturday, October 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, GA.

The workshops will consist of 45-minute sessions in Money Management, Credit Counseling, Parenting Skills and other topics designed to help and assist single parents. There will also be vendors providing information for home buying and different down payment programs that are available.

"The success of the first Single Parents Workshop last year," founder Beverly Brewster explained, "led me and the National Leadership Group to conduct another workshop. With the help of Choice Events of Atlanta this year will be more exciting than last year with vendors, simultaneous workshops and breakout sessions designed to help parents and families. There's something for everyone." Prizes will be awarded throughout the day.

"We are in a race between education and disaster." - Be Someone Founder Orrin C. Hudson

A new study shows a disturbing trend facing our nation: The U.S. is losing ground in educating black males. Researchers say tens of thousands of young black males are headed for futures with low-paying jobs, continuing the cycle of generational poverty.

Only 47 percent of black males are graduating from high school compared to 78 percent of whites, according to the "Yes, We Can" study released by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Just two years ago, the same organization found that 48 percent of black males were graduating from high school. The five worst-performing districts with large black male student enrollment exceeding 40,000 include New York City (28% of black males graduated); Philadelphia (28%); Detroit (27%); Broward County, FL (39%); and Dade County, FL (27%).

The new study underscores the fact that black males are continuing to slip through the cracks, says motivational speaker Orrin C. Hudson. The gap is one that parents and the community as a whole must work harder to close, or the U.S. will be burdened with a growing uneducated and unskilled population, Hudson said.

"We are in a race between education and disaster," Hudson said. "For too long we have given lip service for a change in our communities and it is time to GET IN THE GAME. If each one of us would make a commitment to the at-risk children in our own cities -- a commitment to mentor and influence them in a positive way -- real change can be accomplished."

Single Parents Workshop participants can obtain this $150.00 value for only $10.00 in advance by registering online or $15.00 at the door. There is no cost for children between the ages of 6-12.

Tickets can be purchased and donations can be gifted online using major credit cards or PayPal at http://www.t1tg.com. Vendors are welcome and can sign up on the website also. Checks or money orders can be sent to The National Leadership Group, Inc. POB 962546, Riverdale, GA 30296. Additional questions can be addressed at info@touchonetouchageneration.com, or by calling 770-997-6868.

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Baby Boomers Turn 65, Creating a Doctor Shortage to Care for this new Geri-Boom Population

/PRNewswire/ -- January 2011 marks a significant milestone for the "Baby Boomers" generation when its first members - born in 1946 - begin the year in which they will celebrate their 65th birthdays.

The "boomers" transition into the years that traditionally denote the beginning of senior citizenship also draws attention to the graying of America.

Stephen G. Jones, MD, a geriatrician and expert in gerontology and director of the Center for Healthy Aging at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, says the impact these so-called Geri-Boomers will have on American health care will be significant on numerous fronts.

"It is wonderful news that we are living longer, but it also creates an entirely new set of challenges for families and the health care system," says Jones. "The face of medicine is going to start to change rapidly because of this transition," he adds. While the leading cause of death in America 100 years ago was infection, "now true diseases of aging; cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease are the leading causes."

One of the forthcoming issues, according to Dr. Jones, will be the shortage of doctors trained to care for an aging population. Geriatrics, the sub-specialty that focuses on the specific health needs of the elderly, is facing an acute shortage of physicians. Low insurance reimbursements rates for the care they provide and other factors have reduced the ranks of doctors seeking Geriatrics training. In 2007 only 91 American-trained doctors sought specialty in Geriatrics compared to 167 in 2003 and spots in many fellowship programs were not filled.

Who will care for this population? While the care burden, in many instances, falls on the shoulders of primary care physicians, they, too, are facing similar challenges to keep their practices solvent and viable.

Insights from Stephen G. Jones, MD, on the Geri-Boomer population:

* Boomers will number 70 million by 2030, making them the oldest generation of seniors in history. The children of Geri-Boomers will struggle to manage care for multiple generations in their families. Rather than the sandwich generation, which refers to adults caring for both their parents and their children, Dr. Jones refers to the "Club Sandwich Generation," as more adult children will be faced with the responsibilities of caring for their parents and sometimes grandchildren."
* Longevity is advancing faster than our ability to keep up with the diseases of aging. Arthritis, orthopedic problems and chronic illnesses will increasingly burden the population and the health care system.
* Alzheimer's disease, which impacted about 4.5 million Americans in 2000, will more than double in incidence by the year 2030 and is likely to reach epidemic proportions by 2050. To put this illness in perspective: A new case is diagnosed every 71 seconds and one out of eight Americans 65 and older will be diagnosed. The statistics are more staggering for those 85 and older where one out of two seniors in this age range faces a possible diagnosis.
* Seniors age 85 and older are predominately female, raising new issues for women who will spend their later years widowed or single. (Their numbers will increase from 4 million in 2000 to an estimated 31 million in 2030.)

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Georgia summertime weather seeps into September

September was hot and dry in Georgia, with many locations setting daytime temperature records. Several locations had the hottest April-through-September period on record.

Rainfall across the state was very spotty. Severe drought returned to southeast Georgia, which missed the rainfall.

Temperatures were warmer than normal everywhere in Georgia. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 78 degrees F (4.7 degrees above normal), in Athens 75.8 degrees (3.2 degrees above normal), Columbus 80.7 degrees (4.5 degrees above normal), Macon 77.4 degrees (2.9 degrees above normal), Savannah 79.4 degrees (2.5 degree above normal), Brunswick 80.7 degrees (2.6 degrees above normal), Alma 78.9 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal), Valdosta 80 degrees (3.3 degrees above normal) and Augusta 76.7 degrees (2.9 degrees above normal). Sweltering conditions set many new daytime temperature records. Atlanta set new records Sept. 11 with 96 degrees, breaking the old record of 95 degrees set on that date in 2002, and again Sept. 25 with 93 degrees, breaking the old record of 92 degrees set on that date in 1993.

Columbus broke daily highs Sept. 11 (99 degrees), Sept. 12 (98 degrees), Sept. 18 (98 degrees), Sept. 19 (97 degrees), Sept. 20 (98 degrees) and Sept. 21 (98 degrees), breaking records from the 1990s and 2002 by 1 to 3 degrees.

Brunswick also set daytime high records Sept. 9 (98 degrees), Sept. 10 (97 degrees), Sept. 11 (98 degrees) and Sept. 20 (97 degrees). Daytime high temperature records were tied at many other locations across the state.

Several airport locations recorded their warmest April through September ever, including Savannah, Athens and Columbus. Columbus had its warmest and Atlanta had its second warmest September ever due to the very warm daytime temperatures. Atlanta reported the second highest number of days above 90 degrees after the notorious summer of 1980. (The old second-place record was 84 days above 90 degrees set in the summer of 1954.)

Many areas experienced extended dry spells punctuated by a few heavy rainfalls. Generally, the central part of the state was the wettest with above-average rainfall. Border regions were well below normal, particularly the southeastern coast.

The highest monthly total from National Weather Service reporting stations was 7.32 inches in Valdosta (3.52 inches above normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at 1.47 inches (4.77 inches below normal). Athens received 5.35 inches (1.82 inches above normal), Alma 3.31 inches (.03 inch below normal), Atlanta 1.60 inches (2.49 inches below normal), Columbus 3.17 inches (.10 inches above normal), Macon 5.45 inches (1.82 inches above normal), Savannah 3.01 inches (2.07 inches below normal) and Augusta 1.89 inches (1.70 inches below normal).

Columbus got 1.85 inches of rain Sept. 26, breaking the old record of 1.55 inches for that date in 1953.
The highest single-day rainfall from Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 6.33 inches reported in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Sept. 27. An observer in Taylor County received 6.07 inches on that date. The highest monthly rainfall total from the network was 9.57 inches at the Lexington site, followed by 9.06 inches in Oglethorpe County and 9.04 inches in Lowndes County.

Scattered wind damage hit somewhere in Georgia on three days during the month. Moderate-sized hail was reported at several locations in northern Georgia Sept. 27, including golf ball-sized hail in Fulton County. No tornadoes were reported.

The dry conditions affected the development of peanuts across Georgia in non-irrigated fields, leading producers to harvest early. Pastures were severely affected by the lack of rain.

By Pam Knox
University of Georgia

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