ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

heavy-rain-night
51°
Sunny
H 69° L 44°
  • heavy-rain-night
    51°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 69° L 44°
  • clear-day
    54°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 69° L 44°
  • clear-night
    44°
    Evening
    Clear. H 56° L 30°

Local

    They may have intellectual or developmental disabilities, but that doesn't mean that the former high school students taking part in a TSYS intern program can't learn new things and dream big just like anyone else.'I want to be a veterinarian,' exclaimed Nick Brundidge from Shaw High during a recent visit to the TSYS North Center card production facility in Columbus. Another has hopes of being a doctor, one wants to join the U.S. Army, and a third is looking forward to one day having a wife, kids, house and car.They all are part of a national program called Project SEARCH that was launched in 1996 with the goal of helping young people with disabilities learn meaningful skills that they can use both in life and the workforce. The ultimate goal is for graduates to land a good-paying job with a solid company such as TSYS, which currently is the only local participant in the program.'These children, or interns, come out of a self-contained classroom — they were escorted and chaperoned and protected their whole 13 years of school,' said Loretta Fuller, a Muscogee County School District special education teacher who also is an instructor in the program. 'Then they come out here and we teach them in nine months how to be responsible for themselves.'This is the second class to take part in the internship training at TSYS, with the first group graduating last spring at the company's corporate headquarters downtown. There were five graduates then, with eight former students participating in the current class that will include three 10-week sessions leading to their own graduation next May.Pino Wells Davis is the TSYS business liaison working with Project SEARCH, which also involves Easter Seals West Georgia and the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. Thus far, the credit-card and payment processor is the only host-site participant in the Columbus area and one of 21 Georgia employers taking part in program. There are about 500 nationwide.'I think to whom much is given much is required, and TSYS is truly a blessed company,' Davis responded when asked why TSYS is involved in the effort. 'We have so many wonderful resources and great team members who are always looking for an opportunity to give back to others, especially within the communities in which we live. And this is such a brilliant opportunity for us.'Nationally, 33 percent of graduates are hired by the host site, with the remaining 67 percent taking a job with another employer in their community. Of those who made it through the program earlier this year, three are now manual operators in the mailroom area at the TSYS card production and statement facility off Moon Road. Another is with a third-party vendor, Southern Management.Cynthia Rodriguez is among those now fully employed with the technology company, working with machinery that sorts credit-card statements bound for customers throughout the U.S.'It was pretty hard at first, because I didn't know how to do it very well,' she said of her work, which she enjoys because of the interaction she has with colleagues. Asked what she would be doing if not for the program, Rodriguez said she likely would be looking for a job somewhere, probably with Walmart or something similar.Fuller said those selected for Project SEARCH go through a process which includes a referral from their school or family members or a vocational rehabilitation counselor. There are interviews and hands-on assessments for the opportunity to learn under a certified instructor and eventually jump into on-the-job training at a workplace for four hours or so each weekday.'We take children that are moderately disabled. We don't take the higher functioning ones,' she said. 'We get the children who need the most assistance to get a job.'Rayshun Grant, who came from Kendrick High School, is one of the current crop of intern participants. He ticked off the things he already is learning in the program. They include basics such as following the rules and wearing appropriate attire, but also picking up skills such as the use of Microsoft PowerPoint and Publisher, and creating a Google email account.'We learn how to work together, respect each other and how to get along,' he said. 'We need to learn how to take good care of ourselves, because we're not children anymore, we're adults. Project SEARCH is a place that can help you be more independent, and how to take full responsibility for ourself.'Working with and keeping an eye on Grant and others in the program is TSYS employee and mentor Jimmie Walker, himself a manual operator in the mailroom. Duties include sorting and processing mail, as well as delivering and picking up packages. Walker noted his own grandson is autistic, which means he wants the program to be around for him when it's time to get ready for a job.'I enjoy doing it, and teaching young folks things other than a job,' Walker said. 'We talk about the workplace, how you dress, how you interview. We talk about hygiene. We talk about eating. We talk about home life, because if you've got a messed-up home life, you're not going to be thinking about work and being focused.'Davis said part of the beauty of the program is the interns learn skills some people without disabilities can take for granted, such as being punctual and in the right place at the proper moment. They're taught responsibility and the need to stay focused on the job, which in the case of the TSYS mailroom can mean processing millions upon millions of credit cards and statements each year.'You can see that they have rather serious jobs,' she said. 'It's not just busywork, and that's what we're committed to ... Their day-to-day jobs are meaningful jobs here that we need to have done at TSYS.'Taking part in a tour at the TSYS facility was Georgia Rep. Carolyn Hugley of Columbus, who was first elected in 1992 to her district, which includes southeast Muscogee County. She called the program fabulous.'It's wonderful for the young people to have the opportunity to build on the skills that they've learned in high school, and come here and make the transition from high school to work and setting goals and being part of a team,' she said.Those in the current Project SEARCH class are Deshunte Banks of Carver High, Nick Brundidge of Shaw High, Rashaan Davis of Northside High, Darrius Elias of Carver High, Tionna Evans of Carver/Shaw High, Reuben Stephen of Spencer High and Sam Thomas of Northside High.Aside from Rodriguez, the first class graduates now working at TSYS are Anthony McCommons and Kiara Willis, while Zach Motycka is employed with Southern Management.
  • The winning numbers in Saturday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 3 Night' game were:7-1-0(seven, one, zero)
  • The winning numbers in Saturday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 4 Night' game were:0-8-9-3(zero, eight, nine, three)
  • The winning numbers in Saturday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Fantasy 5' game were:08-17-18-31-41(eight, seventeen, eighteen, thirty-one, forty-one)Estimated jackpot: $125,000
  • The winning numbers in Saturday evening's drawing of the 'Powerball' game were:17-28-31-32-39, Powerball: 26, Power Play: 3(seventeen, twenty-eight, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-nine; Powerball: twenty-six; Power Play: three)Estimated jackpot: $119 million¶ ___ ¶ Online: ¶ Multi-State Lottery Association: http://www.powerball.com/
  • Kyrie Irving appreciates what he calls 'the innocence of the game' during Boston's 15-game winning streak.In his first season with the Celtics after demanding a trade from Cleveland, Irving is enjoying the torrid start because everything feels so new.'Most of us have never been on a winning streak like this,' he said. 'I don't know if we even know how to pay attention to all the hoopla that goes on in terms of the excitement of it. I just think that every single game we take it as a challenge.'Irving scored 30 points, Jaylen Brown added a career-high 27 and the Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday night.At 15-2, Boston leads the NBA and has matched the best start in franchise history through 17 games. The winning streak is the club's fifth-longest, four behind the 2008-09 team that set the franchise mark.Dennis Schroder had 23 points, and Kent Bazemore added 19 for Atlanta. The Hawks are an Eastern Conference-worst 3-13, but they still had plenty of adrenaline following a 46-point victory over Sacramento — the biggest in franchise history — two nights ago.'I still feel like we can make some big things happen this season,' Schroder said. 'We just have to stay together as a team.'The Celtics erased a 16-point deficit to take their first lead on Brown's 3-pointer midway through the third. It marked Boston's fourth win when trailing by at least 16 during the streak.It's been a tough week for Brown, a 21-year-old whose best friend Trevin Steede passed away this week in metro Atlanta. Brown and Streede went to Wheeler High School together in nearby Marietta. He spoke publicly about Steede a couple of days ago and skipped talking to reporters after beating the Hawks.'He's not alone,' Irving said. 'That's the spirit in the truest form. (Brown) may not say much but he knows we're all here for him.'Irving, playing with a protective mask to protect a minor facial fracture, ended the game with a right-handed finger-roll layup, delighting a few thousand Boston fans who were chanting 'MVP! MVP!' in the fourth quarter.In 31 minutes, Irving made 10 of 12 shots, including five 3-pointers, and hit all five of his free throws.Irving, frustrated that the mask was affecting his peripheral vision two nights ago, took it off to help Boston beat defending NBA champion Golden State by four points. He scored 16 points, but was just 4 for 16 from the field.'I could see just a little bit more of the crowd tonight,' Irving said. 'The eye holes were a little bit bigger. The basket looked a little bit better. I was told to kind of keep it on, so it was a better fit.'The Celtics lead NBA in scoring defense, but they gave up 35 points in the first quarter and trailed by 15 entering the second.'I think the biggest thing is that we can't keep digging these holes,' Boston coach Brad Stevens said. 'We need to put an emphasis on playing with pace and getting the ball to the other side of the floor.'Atlanta used a 16-0 run in the first to take a 15-point lead. But fueled by Marcus Smart and other reserves, Boston pulled within four twice in the second and cut the lead to six in the closing minutes on Brown's 3.Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum each had 14 points for Boston. John Collins scored 18 and Taurean Prince added 14 for AtlantaTIP-INSCeltics: Tatum was scoreless until he stole the ball and dunked to cut the lead to four in the third. The 19-year-old former Duke standout followed with an acrobatic, one-handed dunk on a fast break to make it 75-72 and had another dunk to put Boston up 78-77 near the end of the period. Tatum had all 14 of his points in the third.Hawks: Prince is developing into a solid option on offense, spinning for a layup against Shane Larkin and floating a soft assist on Collins' dunk that put Atlanta up 84-82. But Prince has a substandard reputation as a defender, and coach Mike Budenholzer gave him an earful after calling timeout in the third. Prince had just missed an assignment that left Brown open to hit the big 3 from the left corner.UP NEXTCeltics: At Dallas on Monday night.Hawks: At San Antonio on Monday night.___For more NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
  • The winning numbers in Saturday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'All or Nothing Night' game were:01-02-04-07-08-09-12-13-14-15-17-23(one, two, four, seven, eight, nine, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, seventeen, twenty-three)
  • BOSTON (110) Tatum 5-11 3-3 14, Morris 5-9 3-3 14, Horford 3-11 0-0 7, Irving 10-12 5-5 30, Brown 10-13 3-7 27, Ojeleye 0-1 0-0 0, Theis 0-2 0-0 0, Baynes 1-3 0-0 2, Larkin 0-5 0-0 0, Rozier 2-7 0-0 6, Smart 3-8 2-2 10. Totals 39-82 16-20 110. ATLANTA (99) Prince 6-8 0-0 14, Babbitt 4-12 0-0 11, Dedmon 3-5 0-1 6, Schroder 9-18 3-3 23, Bazemore 5-8 7-8 19, Bembry 0-0 0-2 0, Collins 7-8 4-4 18, Cavanaugh 0-4 0-0 0, Delaney 1-5 2-2 4, Belinelli 2-10 0-0 4. Totals 37-78 16-20 99. Boston 20 24 36 30—110 Atlanta 35 15 27 22— 99 3-Point Goals_Boston 16-34 (Irving 5-6, Brown 4-6, Rozier 2-5, Smart 2-5, Morris 1-2, Tatum 1-3, Horford 1-5, Larkin 0-1, Ojeleye 0-1), Atlanta 9-24 (Babbitt 3-9, Prince 2-2, Bazemore 2-2, Schroder 2-4, Delaney 0-1, Cavanaugh 0-2, Belinelli 0-4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Boston 41 (Tatum 7), Atlanta 35 (Dedmon 8). Assists_Boston 21 (Horford 6), Atlanta 24 (Schroder 9). Total Fouls_Boston 22, Atlanta 19. Technicals_Boston coach Celtics (Defensive three second), Atlanta coach Hawks (Defensive three second) 3. A_16,381 (19,049).
  • Curtis Phillips Jr. scored 21 points with eight rebounds and five assists and led five players in double figures as Tennessee State beat Kennesaw State 82-68 on Saturday night.Phillips was 7 of 18 from the field including three 3-pointers for the Golden Eagles (3-1). Aleksa Jugovic added 14 points and four assists, Mason Ramsey had 12 points and seven rebounds and Courtney Alexander II and Kajon Mack had 10 points apiece. Alexander also led the team with 10 rebounds.The Golden Eagles led by three at the break and surged 18-9 to start the second half with the help of 3-pointers by Phillips and Jugovic and a pair of dunks by Alexander to lead 54-42 with 13:52 to play. Kennesaw State never threatened after that.James Scott scored 19 points to lead the Owls (1-3). Jordan jones added 15 points with seven rebounds and four assists.
  • Ria'n Holland dropped 29 points to spark Mercer to a 78-59 victory over Drexel in a semifinal-round game of the Paradise Jam tournament at Liberty University on Saturday night.The tournament, originally scheduled to be played in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was relocated after the islands suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Liberty University and Paradise Jam will donate all gate receipts to the humanitarian relief efforts in the Virgin Islands.Mercer built an 11-point halftime lead, 36-25, and the Dragons never threatened in the second half.Holland hit 9 of 15 from the field, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Stephon Jelks added 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Bears (4-1).Tramaine Isabell scored 14 points off the bench for Drexel (2-2). The Dragons shot just 37.5 percent from the field (21 of 56), including 10 of 24 from deep.