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Health Headlines

    A newspaper survey of Ohio county coroners has found more than 4,000 people died from drug overdoses last year in a state among the hardest hit by a heroin and opioid epidemic. The Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday that the state's 4,149 unintentional fatal overdoses in 2016 are a 36 percent increase from the previous year when just over 3,000 deaths were reported. Citing an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation that used statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the newspaper said Ohio led the nation in the total number of fatal overdoses in 2014 and 2015. The increase is being attributed to heroin and the powerful synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil. Last year's total is expected to go higher as coroners tabulate final numbers. The newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/2r1jo4q) that coroners in six smaller counties did not provide overdose numbers. Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, far outpaced the rest of the state with 666 deaths in 2016 with the majority of those deaths blamed on fentanyl use. William Denihan, the outgoing chief executive officer of the Cuyahoga County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, called the opioid epidemic a 'tsunami.' 'We've done so much, but the numbers are going the other way,' Denihan said. 'I don't see the improvement.' In Akron's Summit County, nearly half of its 308 overdose deaths last year were attributed to the use of carfentanil, a powerful opioid that's supposed to be used as a tranquilizer for large animals. Gary Guenther, an investigator for the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, said addicts clamor to get the lethal drug when they hear it's on the streets. 'It doesn't make any sense,' Guenther said. The state Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services said Ohio's 2015 fatal overdose numbers could have been much higher were it not for lives saved with the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. While Ohio was one of the leaders in shutting down 'pill mills' that sold prescription opioids like oxycodone, health officials say it has led to addicts switching to more powerful opioids. Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for Ohio's health and mental health departments, said that while naloxone has helped prevent deaths, it's not the answer to solving opioid addiction. 'This is going to turn around,' Hurst said. 'I wish I could tell you when it's going to turn around.' ___ Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com
  • Fathers with toddler daughters are more attentive and responsive to their needs than fathers with toddler sons, according to a study published in an American Psychological Association journal. >> Read more trending news  Behavorial Neuroscience journal. Fathers of young boys engaged in more rough-and-tumble play and used more achievement-related language, while fathers of daughters used more analytical language, the study revealed. 'If the child cries out or asks for Dad, fathers of daughters responded to that more than did fathers of sons,' said lead researcher Jennifer Mascaro of Emory University. 'We should be aware of how unconscious notions of gender can play into the way we treat even very young children.' The research took a look at whether the different ways fathers treat sons or daughters may be influenced by different brain responses to male or female children. Emory University and University of Arizona researchers took their study out of the laboratory and used a sample with real-life situations, the APA said. The study used data from 52 fathers of young children (30 girls, 22 boys) in the Atlanta area who agreed to clip a small handheld computer onto their belts and wear it for one weekday and one weekend day. The device randomly turned on for 50 seconds every nine minutes to record any sound during the 48-hour period.  The fathers also were told to leave the device charging in their child's room at night so any nighttime interactions with their children could be recorded, said Mascaro, an assistant professor in family and preventative medicine at the Emory School of Medicine. In daily interactions, fathers of daughters used more language referencing the child's body (e.g., words such as belly, foot and tummy) relative to fathers of sons. Previous research has shown that pre-adolescent girls are more likely than boys to report body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem relating to body image. The study focused on fathers because there is less research about fathers' roles in raising young children than mothers, Mascaro said. If fathers are more attentive to daughters and open about expressing emotions, that may help girls develop more empathy than boys. Fathers of sons could take the same approach, Mascaro said. 'The fact that fathers may actually be less attentive to the emotional needs of boys, perhaps despite their best intentions, is important to recognize,' she said. Previous research has shown that rough-and-tumble play by parents can help young children better regulate their emotions. Fathers of daughters may want to engage in more rough-and-tumble play with girls, even though such play is more often associated with boys, Mascaro said.
  • India has reported its first three cases of the Zika virus, including two pregnant women who delivered healthy babies. Health Ministry officials said Sunday that the three patients in western Gujarat state had recovered. 'There is no need to panic,' Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a top Health Ministry official, told reporters. The World Health Organization said in a statement Friday that the three cases that India reported to the WHO on May 15 were detected through routine blood surveillance in a hospital in Ahmadabad, Gujarat's capital. Two cases were detected in February and November last year, while a third case was detected in January this year. Swaminathan, who heads the Indian Council of Medical Research, said the three patients had not traveled overseas and had acquired the infection locally. Zika is transmitted by the daytime-active Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The medical journal Lancet has said 2.6 billion people living in parts of Asia and Africa could be at risk of Zika infection, based on analysis of travel, climate and mosquito patterns in those regions. The vast majority of people infected by the Zika virus never get sick, and symptoms are mild for those who do, so surveillance systems may have missed cases. Although Zika was first identified in 1947, the virus wasn't considered a major health threat until a major outbreak in Brazil in 2015 revealed that it can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected. The WHO says that although Zika causes only mild symptoms in most people, it sometimes causes complications including microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Babies born to Zika-infected mothers have been found to have microcephaly, or a birth defect where the head is abnormally small and brains might not have developed properly. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The WHO said the three were the first cases of Zika virus infections from India and provided evidence on the presence of the virus in the country. 'These findings suggest low level transmission of Zika virus and new cases may occur in the future,' it said. The WHO said there was significant risk of the further spread of the virus and recommended that governments push ahead with efforts to control mosquitoes. However, the agency did not recommend any curbs on travel to India. Last year, the WHO declared the spread of Zika a global public health emergency.
  • Food authorities in Albania say they are returning a poultry shipment to Brazil after tests found high levels of salmonella. The National Food Authority statement said Friday that the 26 metric tons (28.6 tons) of frozen poultry imported by a local Albanian company was blocked at the western port of Durres earlier this month. The statement added that the 'poultry will leave for Brazil' after the proper documentation was completed by customs and the local company. Brazil is a main source of poultry and pork for Albanian companies. In March, Brazil's meat exports temporarily collapsed after investigators said that Brazilian health inspectors were bribed to overlook expired meats. Since the scandal, Albanian authorities have been vigorously testing meat coming from the South American country.
  • How can you get a gourmet Italian pizza delivered right to your door for no more than $7? Get locked up at Cook County Jail in Chicago. Inmates in the jail's medium-security Division 11 can now order pizzas made with the finest ingredients in the kind of ovens found in pizzerias. It's all part of Sheriff Tom Dart's ongoing effort to make jail a bit more humane while providing inmates skills that might help keep them from returning once they're set free. Pizzas have been served and prepared behind bars before. A few institutions allow inmates to order from nearby restaurants. At one Massachusetts jail, inmates make pizzas that guards can buy and take home and heat themselves. But it's safe to say Dart is the first jail administrator to bring into his facility an Italian chef to oversee an operation in which inmates bake a couple hundred pizzas a week in a $16,000 oven and deliver them piping hot to the cells of captive customers. 'We're teaching skills to make them more marketable when they get out of here,' Dart said. At the same time, by giving inmates a break from the bland jail food, he's employing what experts say is an effective tactic to keep inmates in line. 'If any detainee assaults staff or engages in misconduct they're moved out of that division, and they're not able to purchase the pizzas,' said Cara Smith, the department's chief policy officer. 'So it's an incentive to behave.' Other programs Dart has introduced include using chess to teach inmates about problem-solving and patience, and sending inmates from the jail's boot camp to tear down abandoned buildings. The pizza delivery service is an outgrowth of a program called 'Recipe for Change' that's run by Bruno Abate, a chef and owner of trendy Chicago restaurant Tocco , that teaches inmates about cooking and nutrition. Abate said there's no overstating the effect gourmet pizza has in a place where the drab food only reminds inmates of where — and what — they are. 'This is treating people with dignity and respect as a human and not (an) animal,' he said. The pizza also might be the best food some of the desperately poor inmates have ever eaten. 'How many of them even get to go to a decent restaurant?' asked Ron Gidwitz, a prominent Republican fundraiser who donated money to buy the oven and raised the rest. When the inmates bring the pizzas to the cells, the effect, inmates say, is immediate. 'Their eyes light up like it's Christmas,' said Jonathan Scott, whose nametag reads 'Chef Jonathan,' as he waits for trial on an armed robbery charge. Dart said he decided to sell the pizzas to raise money for the program. Initially, he planned to have the inmates sell them to correctional officers. But the jailers weren't interested in buying food prepared by inmates who might take the opportunity to add something to the recipe. Dart said they also groused that inmates were being coddled. So the sheriff decided to give the inmates, who can already use their own money to buy things like chips, a chance to purchase pizzas. Dart now hopes he can get his hands on a food truck and sell his pizza outside the jail and nearby courthouse, where good food is hard to find. Gidwitz is game to raise money for the truck, too. But he wonders why Dart would stop there. 'Maybe,' he said, 'you could get trustees to sit right outside the jail and sell pizzas from there.
  • The German government wants kindergartens to inform authorities if parents fail to prove they have attended a doctors' consultation on child vaccinations. The measure is part of a government effort to improve vaccination rates in the country. These have dropped in recent years, exposing children and adults to potentially dangerous illnesses such as measles. Authorities already can impose a fine of 2,500 euros ($2,800) on parents who persistently refuse to attend the vaccine consultations, compulsory for children attending kindergarten. But the authorities didn't always know which parents had dodged the consultations. Parliament will vote on the measure Thursday. Germany has reported 410 measles cases so far this year, more than in the whole of 2016. A 37-year-old woman died of the disease this month in the western city of Essen.
  • Republicans trying to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law are grappling with a hard lesson that vexed him: Quality health insurance isn't cheap, especially if it protects people in poor health, older adults not yet eligible for Medicare, and the poor. Something has to give. Now, the GOP's laser focus on lowering premiums could undermine comprehensive coverage, such as the current guarantees that people with medical problems can get health insurance, or that plans will cover costly conditions such as substance abuse. Consumers value comprehensive coverage, since no one is beyond the reach of sickness, or immune from the consequences of age. 'Premiums do not tell the whole story,' said Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, a nonpartisan organization that advises states. 'The questions that need to be addressed are what do those premiums buy, and what other costs besides premiums do consumers pay?' said Riley. 'If you buy a bike it will cost you less than a car.' With 'Obamacare,' Democrats set out to get more people insured, but they also wanted to bolster the underlying coverage. They required insurers to accept those with medical problems, prescribed a broad range of standard benefits, and established baseline financial protections. Previously, for example, people with a history of cancer could be charged a higher premium, or be turned down altogether. That led to 20 million more insured, but also higher premiums for people buying their own policies, along with tax increases and considerable federal regulation. Republicans trying to roll back the 2010 health care law have made their case all about premiums, trying to find ways to give states and insurers flexibility to design plans that cost less. About half the people who buy individual health insurance policies are subsidized under Obama's health law, but the rest are not, and many have faced stiff premium increases. The old saying about getting what you pay for still applies. Although many healthy customers would welcome plans with lower monthly premiums, the high cost of medical care isn't going down. The easy way for insurers to reduce premiums is by covering less. A nonpartisan analysis of the House-passed Republican bill said the potential consequences could be severe. The Congressional Budget Office said that in states that take full advantage of the House plan's waivers to insurance requirements, healthy people might flock to skinnier, lower-premium plans. Those in poor health left in comprehensive plans could face premiums that keep rising until they become unaffordable, because there would be fewer healthy people in those plans to share the cost. 'People who are less healthy (including those with pre-existing or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive ... health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all,' said the CBO report. Some Republicans, including Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, said they don't want that. But many still want to talk just about premiums. The CBO report did find that over time premiums would come down under the House bill, even if more people become uninsured. 'We want to focus on premiums, which is what I hear about every weekend,' said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who can recite personal stories of constituents slammed with big increases. Republicans may have a touch of tunnel vision, suggests Robert Blendon, who follows the politics of health care at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 'In 2016, the political ads they ran were all about rising premiums,' said Blendon. 'When they run in 2018, they are going to want to say that they lowered average premiums. That may be very hard to do without having it be obvious that they are reducing the level of coverage for people.' House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., used a Trump administration report on premiums as the centerpiece for a news conference. 'We see a law that's collapsing,' said Ryan. 'People can't afford this.' The administration report found that premiums more than doubled since 'Obamacare' took effect, but independent experts say it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. That's because prior to the Obama law, insurers were able to turn away people with costly conditions, and offer plans that limited or left out benefits like maternity care and prescription drugs. 'The premium might be lower but there will be benefits missing,' said Gary Claxton, a vice president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, a clearinghouse for health system information. With polls showing that only about 1 in 5 five Americans support the House bill, Republicans have many issues to resolve. Even Ryan, one of the bill's biggest cheerleaders, acknowledges that. 'We got two problems we got to solve here,' he said later in his news conference. 'We got to get premiums down and we got to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions can get affordable coverage.' ___ Associated Press reporter Matthew Daly contributed to this report.
  • South Korea will allow a civic group to contact North Korea over help in fighting malaria, the first government approval on cross-border civilian exchanges since North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January 2016, officials said Friday. The announcement is a sign that the liberal government led by new President Moon Jae-in is trying to restart stalled civilian aid and exchange programs as a way to improve strained ties with the rival North. Moon's conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, hadn't endorsed any civilian contacts since the North's fourth nuclear test. Seoul's Unification Ministry said the Seoul-based Korean Sharing Movement would be allowed to communicate with North Korea to discuss how to deal with malaria in North Korea. 'While the new government maintains a stance of firmly responding to North Korean provocations like missile launches, it's also clear that the current severance in ties between the South and North isn't ideal for stabilizing the situation in the Korean Peninsula,' ministry spokeswoman Lee Eugene said. The civic group said it will contact North Korea via email to try to provide North Korea with insecticides, diagnostic reagent kits and mosquito repellants and nets. Group officials said they last sent anti-malaria supplies to North Korea in 2011. Despite the lack of South Korean assistance, North Korea has in recent years reported declining cases of malaria largely thanks to anti-malaria aid programs by international organizations. According to World Health Organization records, North Korea had 21,850 malaria cases in 2012, but 7,010 cases in 2015. The presence of malaria in North Korea's southern regions also poses a health problem for South Koreans as malaria-carrying mosquitoes fly southward across the countries' heavily fortified border. Since taking office earlier in May, Moon's government has said it will flexibly evaluate expanding civilian exchange with North Korea. But many analysts say Moon won't likely push for any major rapprochement projects because North Korea has gone too far on its nuclear program. North Korea conducted two ballistic missile test-launches since Moon's May 10 inauguration. It's pushing to build a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the continental U.S., and as part of the goal the North carried out two nuclear tests last year — in January and September. ___ Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.
  • A deadly botulism outbreak linked to nacho-cheese sauce confiscated from a California gas station appears to be limited to an opened bag of the sauce, state health officials said Thursday. The state Department of Public Health said tests on the opened bag sold last month in Walnut Grove, a suburb of Sacramento, have already confirmed the presence of the botulism toxin. In addition, investigators found no traces of the toxin when they tested another unopened bag seized from Valley Oak Food and Fuel station, the department said Thursday. The outbreak left one man dead and sent nine people the hospital. A 33-year-old woman has sued the gas station and the maker of the sauce, alleging negligence in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the product. According to the suit filed Tuesday in Sacramento County Superior Court, Lavinia Kelly ate tortilla chips with nacho-cheese sauce bought from the station on April 21 and began to feel ill the next day. She was later admitted to a Sacramento hospital where she remains in intensive care. Her sister said she hasn't been able to move much, speak or breathe on her own and is facing a long recovery. 'She called me and told she was having double vision ... by the time she was admitted to the ER, she couldn't breathe and was struggling for air. She passed out a few times. It was scary for her,' Theresa Kelly said. 'She was hungry and she stopped for a snack to hold her off until she got home, she never expected a hold-off to potentially kill her,' the sister said. A spokeswoman for Wisconsin-based Gehl Foods said she hasn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment on the allegations. A call to the gas station went unanswered. Gehl has said it's working with federal, state and local health officials to determine what caused the contamination. The company says it retested samples from the lot of cheese linked to the outbreak and that it's clear of contamination. Botulism, a comparatively rare kind of food poisoning, can lead to paralysis, breathing difficulty and sometimes death. Survivors often are forced to spend weeks or months on ventilators to help them breathe. The family of the man who died in the outbreak, Martin Galindo-Larios Jr., 37, said on an online fundraising page that he suffered respiratory complications and became unresponsive. A 16-year-old boy from Walnut Grove has been hospitalized since April 25 after eating nacho-cheese sauce from the gas station, said Laura Uslan, the principal of his high school. An online fundraising page for Johnny Villasenor said he is in critical condition and faces many weeks of recovery. Kelly's attorney, Bill Marler, said he knows of two other people who fell ill after eating the nacho-cheese sauce but their cases have not been confirmed. The health department said symptoms usually appear within a few days after ingestion. Since the sauce was removed from the gas station on May 5, it is unlikely there will be any new cases associated with the weeks-old outbreak, the department said. ___ This story has been corrected to show that a spokeswoman, not an attorney, for Gehl Foods said she hasn't seen the lawsuit.
  • One in 4 Alzheimer's deaths in the United States are now occurring at home — a startling increase that marks a shift away from hospitals and nursing homes, according to a report released Thursday. Alzheimer's deaths in hospitals and nursing homes or other long-term care facilities shrank from more than 80 percent to 60 percent over 15 years. Meanwhile, those dying at home rose from 14 percent to 25 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that impairs memory, judgment and other mental abilities. It's most common in the elderly. In the final stages of the disease, people have trouble eating and carrying on a conversation, are vulnerable to pneumonia and infections, and often need around-the-clock care. The Alzheimer's death rate has risen nearly 80 percent since 1999 and the disease is the nation's sixth leading cause of death. Deaths have been climbing for some time. A big reason is declines in other causes of death — particularly heart disease and cancer — are enabling more people to live long enough to die from Alzheimer's, experts say. In the new report, the CDC analyzed death certificates from 1999 to 2014 and found a surprise — a shift in where people with Alzheimer's are dying. Experts said it's not clear why more people with Alzheimer's are dying at home than in hospitals or nursing homes. One possible explanation is patient preference. For people losing their memories, it can be a comfort to remain in familiar surroundings, said Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead Senior Care, an Omaha-based company that provides home care to tens of thousands of clients with Alzheimer's and dementia. But it can be difficult for families. Even if they have the insurance or money to get home-care workers to help, caring for an Alzheimer's patient can take an exhausting toll, experts said. As baby boomers age, 'the numbers dying from Alzheimer's are just going to get worse,' said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs for the Alzheimer's Association. The CDC also released Alzheimer's death rates for counties. The counties with the highest rates over 10 years were tiny Eddy County in east central North Dakota, and Hamlin County in eastern South Dakota. Several counties in the South were near the top of the list. It's not clear why. Doctors in some places might be better at diagnosing Alzheimer's, or coroners and medical examiners might more commonly put Alzheimer's on death certificates instead of other causes, said Christopher Taylor, a CDC epidemiologist who was the report's lead author. ___ Follow Mike Stobbe on Twitter: @MikeStobbe

Local News

  • Lake Lanier has a deadly reputation, and an examination at the statistics suggests it's warranted. Since 1994, northeast Georgia's favorite manmade lake — which touches parts of Gwinnett, Hall, Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties — has seen at least 160 people die. That's according to official statistics maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, which include boating-related fatalities and drownings (though drowning statistics were not kept between 1994 and 1998). The numbers also do not include an unofficial tally of this year's incidents, which include at least two deaths. This year's deaths include those of a Buford man who drowned in February and ajet skier from Cumming who drowned after a crash in April. In 2016, Lake Lanier saw 17 deaths, including nine drownings and eight boating-related fatalities. DNR statistics also track drownings, boating fatalities, boating under the influence and other 'boating incidents' that occur at each of the eight key lakes the agency patrols: Allatoona, Blackshear, Clarks Hill, Hartwell, Jackson, Lanier, Oconee and Sinclair. During the five years from 2011 to 2015, Lake Lanier had the lion's share of each category: • Drownings: 32 of 65, or 49.2 percent, occured on Lake Lanier. • Boating fatalities: 20 of 33, 0r 60.6 percent, occurred on Lake Lanier. • BUIs: 265 of 584, or 45.4 percent, occurred on Lake Lanier. • Total boating incidents: 174 of 342, or 50.8 percent, occurred on Lake Lanier. DNR spokesman Mark McKinnon attributed Lake Lanier's incident rate to the sheer number of visitors it draws.  'There are simply more incidents on Lanier due to the volume of visitors,' McKinnon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year. 'Lanier has many more boaters and swimmers than any other lake in the state, including Allatoona.'  That said, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that Lanier welcomes about 7.5 million visitors each year, while Allatoona, in northwest Georgia, sees around 7 million. That's about a 7 percent difference — but over the decade that ended in 2015, twice as many people have died on Lanier (90) as Allatoona (45).
  • The University of Georgia will sponsor additional research to learn more about the lives of the individuals whose gravesites were discovered during the construction of the Baldwin Hall expansion. The work is two-pronged, consisting of further DNA analysis of the remains and a historical mapping study to learn more about the physical environment in which the individuals likely lived and worked. Following the discovery of the remains in November 2015, the university immediately consulted with the State Archaeologist's Office for guidance. The university then commissioned a team of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students in the anthropology department to explore ancestry, age, sex and other characteristics of the individuals. About one-third of the 105 gravesites yielded samples suitable for DNA analysis, and the researchers found that the vast majority of these individuals were of maternal African descent. UGA Vice President for Research David Lee solicited further faculty input following the reinterment of the remains earlier this spring. He also consulted with leaders of the local African-American community. 'The university is committed to building upon the preliminary research and learning more about the lives of the men, women and children-who were likely slaves or former slaves, given the time period-whose remains were found adjacent to the Old Athens Cemetery on the Baldwin Hall site,' said Lee. 'These additional research efforts will help us in that pursuit.' The Office of Research will coordinate the next steps as follows: 1. The university will commission further DNA analysis to be conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin who specialize in the analysis of ancient DNA. These researchers already have been engaged with UGA assistant professor Laurie Reitsema in the first phase of research, which provided information only about maternal ancestry. The additional analysis will provide information about paternal ancestry and thus, paint a comprehensive picture of ancestral origin. It also will confirm the sex of the individuals and determine whether any of those buried on the site were related to one another. This detailed analysis should be completed within the coming year. 2. The supplemental DNA information gained through Step 1 could provide the reference materials needed to determine if any living community members are related to the individuals whose remains were found at the Baldwin Hall site. The Office of Research is exploring the means by which to make this option available, as economically as possible, to local citizens wishing to pursue a possible DNA linkage. 3. Professor Marguerite Madden, director of UGA's Center for Geospatial Research, will lead a team to create a dynamic time-series visualization of the cultural and natural landscape surrounding Baldwin Hall from the 1800s to the present. This project will incorporate historic maps, aerial photographs, satellite images and drone video to reveal more about the environment in which the individuals buried on the Baldwin Hall site lived and worked. In addition, the research will document the evolution of the cemetery and campus to present day. Most of this research will be done over the next several months. Madden's efforts will complement those of Southeastern Archaeological Services Inc., which will be conducting archival research and mapping services using ground-penetrating radar to identify, to the extent possible via this technology, the boundaries of the Old Athens Cemetery. Southeastern's mapping data will be included in the final report on the Baldwin Hall site that is required for submittal by the Office of University Architects to the State Archaeologist's Office.
  • With the help of two physical therapists and training equipment, Devon Gales, who suffered a significant neck injury while playing for Southern University against Georgia in the fall of 2015, walked on Thursday.   Gales was injured on a kickoff return collision with former Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan. Since then, Gales has been taken in by the Bulldogs as one of their own, initially led by former coach Mark Richt and continued by Bryant Gantt and the current staff.   Gales has appeared at Georgia football and basketball games during the last year and a half since his injury and had a long stay at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta before being able to return home to Baton Rouge.   He has occasionally posted videos of his progress on Twitter, always keeping a positive attitude and maintaining his goal of walking on his own one day. And in February, the University of Georgia announced a fundraising initiative to help the Gales family build a new house.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department says the summer swim season begins tomorrow. Leisure Services operates five public pools in Athens: Bishop Park, Lay Park, Memorial Park, Rocksprings Park, and the East Athens Community Center. They’ll be open through August 6.  Pool Locations The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department operates five outdoor pools. The pools are open during the summer months, only.  Bishop Park, 705 Sunset Drive, 706-613-3589 (open weekends, only) Memorial Park, 293 Gran Ellen Drive, 706-613-3580 East Athens Community Center, 400 McKinley Drive, 706-613-3593 Lay Park, 297 Hoyt Street, 706-613-3596 Rocksprings Park, 291 Henderson Ext, 706-613-3603
  • From UGA Sports Communications ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. ----- A $4.451 million increase in the fiscal year 2018 budget, athletic director’s overview of the athletic program, and a detailed review and explanation of the reserve funds highlighted the annual spring meeting of the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors Thursday. The total Athletic Association budget for 2018 was approved at $127,590,041. J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity’s report included an assessment of the overall athletic program. (full transcript of his report is included below). ‘’The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk’’ said McGarity. ‘’I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport.’’ McGarity said the Athletic Association’s goal is for every one of the Bulldog sports to compete in its national championship.   ‘’This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that,’’ he said. ‘’As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations while some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championships, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future.’’ The 2018 budget marked the first portion of a lengthy report by treasurer Ryan Nesbit, UGA Vice President for Finance and Administration. Nesbit also detailed the Athletic Association reserve funds and outlined spending restrictions. He said the total operating reserve funds amounted to $68.1 million; however, only $36.9 million of that amount are available to support credit ratings, future projects, and maintain a standard operating reserve to provide funding for unforeseen events. (A condensed summation of Nesbit’s report follows below and accompanies the attached slides.) Among the highlights of the many reports came from Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley, who announced that UGA’s 511 student-athletes posted a best-ever 3.13 grade point average in the recently completed Spring Semester.   Other highlights of the Athletics Board meeting included the following: • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Josh Brooks on the following current facilities construction projects: Phase 2 of Stegeman Coliseum upgrades that include all new seating, center court-hung scoreboard, as well as lighting and sound systems; the resurfacing of Spec Towns Track, scheduled for an Aug. 1 completion; reconstruction of the soccer stadium grandstand at the Jack Turner Soccer/Softball Complex; expansion and renovation of the Boyd Golf Center; upgrading of the restrooms on the 100, 200 and 300 levels at Sanford Stadium; beginning of the West End Zone project at Sanford Stadium. • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Matt Borman on his observations since beginning his position in Development in January of this year, and also on the progress of athletic fundraising efforts over the short and long terms. • A presentation from Shipley, representing the Student Wellness Committee, on the development of UGA’s Career Development program. Less than a year old, this program strives to counsel student-athletes on all aspects of career building and enhancement. • The announcement of the two student-athletes who will serve the 2017-18 year as representatives on the Board: distance runner Jonathan Pelham, a redshirt freshman from LaGrange, and soccer player Summer Burnett, a senior from Makakilo, Hawaii. • The introduction of Dr. Timothy Gray of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as the newest member of the Athletics Board. Gray replaces Dr. Jennifer Samp as an elected faculty member of the Board. • The announcement of Kessel Stelling, 1978 UGA alumnus and Chairman/CEO of Synovus, will join the Athletics Board in 2017-18, replacing new emeritus member Don Leebern III. • A glowing academic report from Shipley, the text of which follows: Spring semester Grade Point Average (GPA) for all 511 Student-Athletes (SAs) is a best ever at 3.13. It surpassed the previous high of 3.06, representing a significant increase. Over 65 percent of our student-athletes were at B or above; 29.4% were between 3.50 and 3.99; and 24 (4.7% of the total) were at 4.00. This was the eighth consecutive semester and 10th in the last 12 in which the overall student-athlete GPA was above 3.00. Cross Country recorded the highest GPA among the men's teams with 3.43, while the top women’s team was Tennis with a 3.49. All UGA women’s teams had GPA’s above 3.00. The NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all UGA our teams was solid with Women’s Cross Country, Volleyball and Men’s Tennis having perfect scores of 1000. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility and retention and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance. 97 student-athletes graduated on May 5. Their graduation speaker was Ernie Johnson, our own 2016 Hartman Award recipient and a former baseball student-athlete at UGA. Full Text from J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity: May 24, P.M. AD Report Narrative Thank you President Morehead Good morning. This is the seventh annual report I have had the privilege to deliver to members of our Athletic Board. I want to thank each of you, current and past board members, for the time you devote to our athletic program --- whether it’s spreading the word about UGA athletics, serving on a committee, being a sounding board, or lending an ear. People ask me frequently, how can I help? My response --- be “there”, be “present” and tell me what you really think. So I thank all of you for your offers of help and assistance. In my role as Athletic Director, I get to see the outstanding work our staff does on a daily basis to serve our student-athletes and the entire Bulldog Nation. Many positions in our department are very visible. However, the bulk of our work goes on beneath the surface and out of the limelight within departments such as compliance, maintenance, communications, marketing, promotions, student services and business operations. I want to express my appreciation to our entire staff and the scores of others who work hard every day on and off our campus for the betterment of our athletic association. We are truly blessed to have people who really care about the University of Georgia in our department. I have asked two of our senior staff members to make presentations today. Josh Brooks will talk about our facilities and Matt Borman will brief everyone on our Bulldog Club efforts. I’m confident you will find refreshing their insight as new staff members, who have joined, or in Josh’s case rejoined, our program after serving other institutions over the years. We look forward to these presentations. I would like to take a few moments and talk about the overall status of our program as it stands now, and as we look forward.  Much has been written about the status of our program from a competitive standpoint. Our stated goal is the extremely ambitious task of having every one of our sports competing in their national championship. This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that. As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations, some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championship, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future. Administratively, we continue to be committed to providing the resources necessary to make it happen. And the FY18 budget will reflect those commitments. The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk. I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport. Regardless of the outcome, we remain loyal and dedicated to fully supporting our student-athletes and our coaches.  On the facility front, we have, or will have, invested over $95 million in our facilities over the past seven years. That total includes seven-figure projects at Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum, Foley Field, the Spec Towns Track, the Jack Turner Soccer Complex and the David Boyd Golf Center—and it doesn’t count the west end zone improvements in Sanford Stadium. That’s a million-dollar – and in most cases multi-million-dollar – investment in the competition facilities for 15 programs. Our board members have approved every one of these expenditures and each of you should feel a great deal of satisfaction about your efforts to make our physical plant exceptional. Believe me when I say that we have more than adequately invested in our TOTAL athletic program. That investment should be applauded.  I agree facilities are a vital part of an athletic program, and our plan of action over the years, and over the coming years, will provide the environment to thrive and compete at the highest levels in each sport. It has become commonplace to refer to facilities from school to school as an “arms race.” The game of comparing one school to another will always be a popular exercise for many. We will do what we think is best on a sport-by-sport basis for our teams in order to achieve all of our objectives on the field, in the classroom and in the community.  At this time, I would like to ask Josh Brooks to come forward and talk about his return to UGA, and his view of our facilities, both presently and in the future. Moving to the world of development, I’m proud to report the Georgia Bulldog Club – which has been the backbone of our fundraising efforts since it was founded decades ago – has set records once again. All of the credit for reaching these remarkable heights is a result of the leadership of our development staff, both past and present, along with 16,000 donors who provide support to our program.  The Magill Society initiative, launched in the Fall of 2015, is a remarkable story in itself. But it is not just the Magill Society alone --- it’s also scholarship endowments, sports-specific educational funds, naming opportunities --- it’s been a great year! And Ryan’s presentation demonstrated how our financial resources are essential to our annual operation. I would like to ask Matt Borman to come on up, and talk about the accomplishments of the Bulldog Club staff and share his thoughts with you at this time. I would like to thank Professor Shipley for earlier reviewing the academic report of our student-athletes for the past semester, and the past year. Ted White and his staff at the Rankin Smith Center are the very best in college athletics and the work they do every day to enrich the lives of our student-athletes is a wonderful story. Those efforts are validated often, most often at the end of each semester and none more so than on May 5th, during our graduation reception in Sanford Stadium prior to Commencement.  This special time is when the life of a student-athlete comes full circle. We saw these youngsters enter our program as wide-eyed teenagers. During orientation, we educate them on what’s ahead, what to look out for, how to prepare. We also let them know we are here to help, to help create an environment that allows them to excel in the classroom, in athletics and in life.  To have parents approach you to on that special day, to hear their appreciation for our staff helping their child in their journey to earn a degree, and to single out a staff member for good deeds done --- well, that’s priceless! In closing, I want to thank the President’s Office --- we are encircled by the persistent support we receive from President Morehead’s staff --- we appreciate your help . We are constantly amazed and appreciative of the depth, passion and concern our President affords the University of Georgia community on a daily basis. You are laser-focused on making UGA better every day, and that rubs off on all of us. Thanks for leading our school into the future --- we are in good hands. Our institution is the very birthplace of public higher education in our country. We have a legacy unlike any other. We have a college town unlike any other. So many have “committed to the G” --- and we are now asking everyone who believes in all of the “good” the University of Georgia does not only throughout our state, but around the country – to “commit to GEORGIA”. Let us not be distracted by those who attempt to divide us --- we must be united and stronger than ever before to help move our athletic program forward in the future. That concludes my report. Summary of Treasurer Ryan Nesbit’s Presentation In addition to the operating reserves summary that is customarily reviewed with the Board, additional information about these reserves, as well as endowed funds held and managed by the UGA Foundation for the benefit of the Athletic Association was presented. This presentation covered the endowments that are in place to provide scholarship funds for our student-athletes, endowed funds that provide general support for athletics, and the operating reserve funds. SLIDE 1 - In terms of the major objectives of maintaining adequate operating reserves, first and foremost, an adequate operating reserve is absolutely essential to sound financial planning and fiscal management. In addition, adequate reserves are a very important component of enabling the Athletic Association to stay in compliance with bond-related covenants as well as enabling it to achieve and maintain a Aa3 credit rating from Moody's Investors Service. SLIDE 2 - The most recent balances for the scholarship endowments, the general fund endowment and the operating reserve total just over $140 million. But more importantly, of that $140 million, only about $36.9 million of the operating reserve funds are unrestricted or uncommitted. Best practices suggest that nonprofits should maintain an operating reserve equal to 3 to 6 months of an organizations average recurring expenses with 3 months being the minimum amount of an operating reserve. With about $110 million of operating expenses and recurring interest expense included in the Athletic Association’s FY 2017 budget, this uncommitted balance should be somewhere between $27.5 million and $55 million. While we do believe that we are maintaining a healthy operating reserve, these figures underscore why it is very important for the Athletic Association to remain committed to identifying opportunities for additional revenue growth and capital fundraising because without additional revenue or fundraising, the Athletic Association’s capacity to invest in additional capital projects is limited. This statement is supported by the Credit Opinion that Moody’s issued in September 2016 which described the Athletic Association’s unrestricted liquidity as healthy and a strength that is counterbalancing its relatively high financial leverage.  SLIDE 3 - The first black slice of this summary chart represents the scholarship endowments and shows that this $37.7 million is restricted, by donor intent, to be used for scholarships and provides about $1.2 million a year for scholarships for our student-athletes. The red slice represents the general fund endowment and shows that this fund, which by Board policy is being managed as an endowment, will provide about $1.4 million annually to support the Athletic Association’s annual budget. The larger gray slice represents the $21.2 million that is committed from the current reserve balance to current capital projects. This figure does not include the $56.4 million of reserve and operating funds allocated for facilities projects over the past 10 years. The smaller gray slice represents $10 million from the operating reserve committed to the West End Zone project; this does not include an additional $4.5 million in estimated financing costs associated with the line of credit for this project that will be funded from the operating budget. Because a line of credit is being utilized for the West End Zone project, the amount of the reserve funds currently invested in the UGA Foundation’s long-term investment portfolio will not be reduced to help fund this project.  The final green slice represents the $36.9 million of unrestricted or uncommitted funds that remain available to enable the Athletic Association to: 1. stay compliant with bond-related covenants,  2. maintain a Aa3 credit rating,  3. maintain a standard operating reserve to provide the financial capacity to respond to unforeseen events that may go beyond the $1.7 million of contingency funds included in the FY 2018 budget, and 4. provide support for future capital projects.

Bulldog News

  • With the help of two physical therapists and training equipment, Devon Gales, who suffered a significant neck injury while playing for Southern University against Georgia in the fall of 2015, walked on Thursday.   Gales was injured on a kickoff return collision with former Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan. Since then, Gales has been taken in by the Bulldogs as one of their own, initially led by former coach Mark Richt and continued by Bryant Gantt and the current staff.   Gales has appeared at Georgia football and basketball games during the last year and a half since his injury and had a long stay at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta before being able to return home to Baton Rouge.   He has occasionally posted videos of his progress on Twitter, always keeping a positive attitude and maintaining his goal of walking on his own one day. And in February, the University of Georgia announced a fundraising initiative to help the Gales family build a new house.
  • From UGA Sports Communications ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. ----- A $4.451 million increase in the fiscal year 2018 budget, athletic director’s overview of the athletic program, and a detailed review and explanation of the reserve funds highlighted the annual spring meeting of the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors Thursday. The total Athletic Association budget for 2018 was approved at $127,590,041. J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity’s report included an assessment of the overall athletic program. (full transcript of his report is included below). ‘’The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk’’ said McGarity. ‘’I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport.’’ McGarity said the Athletic Association’s goal is for every one of the Bulldog sports to compete in its national championship.   ‘’This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that,’’ he said. ‘’As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations while some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championships, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future.’’ The 2018 budget marked the first portion of a lengthy report by treasurer Ryan Nesbit, UGA Vice President for Finance and Administration. Nesbit also detailed the Athletic Association reserve funds and outlined spending restrictions. He said the total operating reserve funds amounted to $68.1 million; however, only $36.9 million of that amount are available to support credit ratings, future projects, and maintain a standard operating reserve to provide funding for unforeseen events. (A condensed summation of Nesbit’s report follows below and accompanies the attached slides.) Among the highlights of the many reports came from Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley, who announced that UGA’s 511 student-athletes posted a best-ever 3.13 grade point average in the recently completed Spring Semester.   Other highlights of the Athletics Board meeting included the following: • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Josh Brooks on the following current facilities construction projects: Phase 2 of Stegeman Coliseum upgrades that include all new seating, center court-hung scoreboard, as well as lighting and sound systems; the resurfacing of Spec Towns Track, scheduled for an Aug. 1 completion; reconstruction of the soccer stadium grandstand at the Jack Turner Soccer/Softball Complex; expansion and renovation of the Boyd Golf Center; upgrading of the restrooms on the 100, 200 and 300 levels at Sanford Stadium; beginning of the West End Zone project at Sanford Stadium. • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Matt Borman on his observations since beginning his position in Development in January of this year, and also on the progress of athletic fundraising efforts over the short and long terms. • A presentation from Shipley, representing the Student Wellness Committee, on the development of UGA’s Career Development program. Less than a year old, this program strives to counsel student-athletes on all aspects of career building and enhancement. • The announcement of the two student-athletes who will serve the 2017-18 year as representatives on the Board: distance runner Jonathan Pelham, a redshirt freshman from LaGrange, and soccer player Summer Burnett, a senior from Makakilo, Hawaii. • The introduction of Dr. Timothy Gray of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as the newest member of the Athletics Board. Gray replaces Dr. Jennifer Samp as an elected faculty member of the Board. • The announcement of Kessel Stelling, 1978 UGA alumnus and Chairman/CEO of Synovus, will join the Athletics Board in 2017-18, replacing new emeritus member Don Leebern III. • A glowing academic report from Shipley, the text of which follows: Spring semester Grade Point Average (GPA) for all 511 Student-Athletes (SAs) is a best ever at 3.13. It surpassed the previous high of 3.06, representing a significant increase. Over 65 percent of our student-athletes were at B or above; 29.4% were between 3.50 and 3.99; and 24 (4.7% of the total) were at 4.00. This was the eighth consecutive semester and 10th in the last 12 in which the overall student-athlete GPA was above 3.00. Cross Country recorded the highest GPA among the men's teams with 3.43, while the top women’s team was Tennis with a 3.49. All UGA women’s teams had GPA’s above 3.00. The NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all UGA our teams was solid with Women’s Cross Country, Volleyball and Men’s Tennis having perfect scores of 1000. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility and retention and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance. 97 student-athletes graduated on May 5. Their graduation speaker was Ernie Johnson, our own 2016 Hartman Award recipient and a former baseball student-athlete at UGA. Full Text from J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity: May 24, P.M. AD Report Narrative Thank you President Morehead Good morning. This is the seventh annual report I have had the privilege to deliver to members of our Athletic Board. I want to thank each of you, current and past board members, for the time you devote to our athletic program --- whether it’s spreading the word about UGA athletics, serving on a committee, being a sounding board, or lending an ear. People ask me frequently, how can I help? My response --- be “there”, be “present” and tell me what you really think. So I thank all of you for your offers of help and assistance. In my role as Athletic Director, I get to see the outstanding work our staff does on a daily basis to serve our student-athletes and the entire Bulldog Nation. Many positions in our department are very visible. However, the bulk of our work goes on beneath the surface and out of the limelight within departments such as compliance, maintenance, communications, marketing, promotions, student services and business operations. I want to express my appreciation to our entire staff and the scores of others who work hard every day on and off our campus for the betterment of our athletic association. We are truly blessed to have people who really care about the University of Georgia in our department. I have asked two of our senior staff members to make presentations today. Josh Brooks will talk about our facilities and Matt Borman will brief everyone on our Bulldog Club efforts. I’m confident you will find refreshing their insight as new staff members, who have joined, or in Josh’s case rejoined, our program after serving other institutions over the years. We look forward to these presentations. I would like to take a few moments and talk about the overall status of our program as it stands now, and as we look forward.  Much has been written about the status of our program from a competitive standpoint. Our stated goal is the extremely ambitious task of having every one of our sports competing in their national championship. This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that. As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations, some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championship, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future. Administratively, we continue to be committed to providing the resources necessary to make it happen. And the FY18 budget will reflect those commitments. The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk. I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport. Regardless of the outcome, we remain loyal and dedicated to fully supporting our student-athletes and our coaches.  On the facility front, we have, or will have, invested over $95 million in our facilities over the past seven years. That total includes seven-figure projects at Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum, Foley Field, the Spec Towns Track, the Jack Turner Soccer Complex and the David Boyd Golf Center—and it doesn’t count the west end zone improvements in Sanford Stadium. That’s a million-dollar – and in most cases multi-million-dollar – investment in the competition facilities for 15 programs. Our board members have approved every one of these expenditures and each of you should feel a great deal of satisfaction about your efforts to make our physical plant exceptional. Believe me when I say that we have more than adequately invested in our TOTAL athletic program. That investment should be applauded.  I agree facilities are a vital part of an athletic program, and our plan of action over the years, and over the coming years, will provide the environment to thrive and compete at the highest levels in each sport. It has become commonplace to refer to facilities from school to school as an “arms race.” The game of comparing one school to another will always be a popular exercise for many. We will do what we think is best on a sport-by-sport basis for our teams in order to achieve all of our objectives on the field, in the classroom and in the community.  At this time, I would like to ask Josh Brooks to come forward and talk about his return to UGA, and his view of our facilities, both presently and in the future. Moving to the world of development, I’m proud to report the Georgia Bulldog Club – which has been the backbone of our fundraising efforts since it was founded decades ago – has set records once again. All of the credit for reaching these remarkable heights is a result of the leadership of our development staff, both past and present, along with 16,000 donors who provide support to our program.  The Magill Society initiative, launched in the Fall of 2015, is a remarkable story in itself. But it is not just the Magill Society alone --- it’s also scholarship endowments, sports-specific educational funds, naming opportunities --- it’s been a great year! And Ryan’s presentation demonstrated how our financial resources are essential to our annual operation. I would like to ask Matt Borman to come on up, and talk about the accomplishments of the Bulldog Club staff and share his thoughts with you at this time. I would like to thank Professor Shipley for earlier reviewing the academic report of our student-athletes for the past semester, and the past year. Ted White and his staff at the Rankin Smith Center are the very best in college athletics and the work they do every day to enrich the lives of our student-athletes is a wonderful story. Those efforts are validated often, most often at the end of each semester and none more so than on May 5th, during our graduation reception in Sanford Stadium prior to Commencement.  This special time is when the life of a student-athlete comes full circle. We saw these youngsters enter our program as wide-eyed teenagers. During orientation, we educate them on what’s ahead, what to look out for, how to prepare. We also let them know we are here to help, to help create an environment that allows them to excel in the classroom, in athletics and in life.  To have parents approach you to on that special day, to hear their appreciation for our staff helping their child in their journey to earn a degree, and to single out a staff member for good deeds done --- well, that’s priceless! In closing, I want to thank the President’s Office --- we are encircled by the persistent support we receive from President Morehead’s staff --- we appreciate your help . We are constantly amazed and appreciative of the depth, passion and concern our President affords the University of Georgia community on a daily basis. You are laser-focused on making UGA better every day, and that rubs off on all of us. Thanks for leading our school into the future --- we are in good hands. Our institution is the very birthplace of public higher education in our country. We have a legacy unlike any other. We have a college town unlike any other. So many have “committed to the G” --- and we are now asking everyone who believes in all of the “good” the University of Georgia does not only throughout our state, but around the country – to “commit to GEORGIA”. Let us not be distracted by those who attempt to divide us --- we must be united and stronger than ever before to help move our athletic program forward in the future. That concludes my report. Summary of Treasurer Ryan Nesbit’s Presentation In addition to the operating reserves summary that is customarily reviewed with the Board, additional information about these reserves, as well as endowed funds held and managed by the UGA Foundation for the benefit of the Athletic Association was presented. This presentation covered the endowments that are in place to provide scholarship funds for our student-athletes, endowed funds that provide general support for athletics, and the operating reserve funds. SLIDE 1 - In terms of the major objectives of maintaining adequate operating reserves, first and foremost, an adequate operating reserve is absolutely essential to sound financial planning and fiscal management. In addition, adequate reserves are a very important component of enabling the Athletic Association to stay in compliance with bond-related covenants as well as enabling it to achieve and maintain a Aa3 credit rating from Moody's Investors Service. SLIDE 2 - The most recent balances for the scholarship endowments, the general fund endowment and the operating reserve total just over $140 million. But more importantly, of that $140 million, only about $36.9 million of the operating reserve funds are unrestricted or uncommitted. Best practices suggest that nonprofits should maintain an operating reserve equal to 3 to 6 months of an organizations average recurring expenses with 3 months being the minimum amount of an operating reserve. With about $110 million of operating expenses and recurring interest expense included in the Athletic Association’s FY 2017 budget, this uncommitted balance should be somewhere between $27.5 million and $55 million. While we do believe that we are maintaining a healthy operating reserve, these figures underscore why it is very important for the Athletic Association to remain committed to identifying opportunities for additional revenue growth and capital fundraising because without additional revenue or fundraising, the Athletic Association’s capacity to invest in additional capital projects is limited. This statement is supported by the Credit Opinion that Moody’s issued in September 2016 which described the Athletic Association’s unrestricted liquidity as healthy and a strength that is counterbalancing its relatively high financial leverage.  SLIDE 3 - The first black slice of this summary chart represents the scholarship endowments and shows that this $37.7 million is restricted, by donor intent, to be used for scholarships and provides about $1.2 million a year for scholarships for our student-athletes. The red slice represents the general fund endowment and shows that this fund, which by Board policy is being managed as an endowment, will provide about $1.4 million annually to support the Athletic Association’s annual budget. The larger gray slice represents the $21.2 million that is committed from the current reserve balance to current capital projects. This figure does not include the $56.4 million of reserve and operating funds allocated for facilities projects over the past 10 years. The smaller gray slice represents $10 million from the operating reserve committed to the West End Zone project; this does not include an additional $4.5 million in estimated financing costs associated with the line of credit for this project that will be funded from the operating budget. Because a line of credit is being utilized for the West End Zone project, the amount of the reserve funds currently invested in the UGA Foundation’s long-term investment portfolio will not be reduced to help fund this project.  The final green slice represents the $36.9 million of unrestricted or uncommitted funds that remain available to enable the Athletic Association to: 1. stay compliant with bond-related covenants,  2. maintain a Aa3 credit rating,  3. maintain a standard operating reserve to provide the financial capacity to respond to unforeseen events that may go beyond the $1.7 million of contingency funds included in the FY 2018 budget, and 4. provide support for future capital projects.
  • Athens, GA – While kickoff is still 100 days away, you no longer have to wait to find out what time UGA and Appalachian State will kick off in Sanford Stadium to start the 2017 college football season in Athens on September 2nd.    6:15 p.m., meaning the game will begin under the sun, but should be completely under the lights by the start of the second half. The time is a bit of a change from the usual, and almost expected noon kickoff the Bulldogs are used to being assigned for early-season home games against non-power five opponents.    The game will be aired on ESPN.    Georgia has played Appalachian State one time in its history, beating the Mountaineers 45-6 on Homecoming in 2013. Week two sees the Bulldogs traveling to Notre Dame, also a night game, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.     
  • The latest season of Georgia Bulldog baseball comes to a close: the Diamond Dogs lost 3-0 to Mississippi State in Wednesday’s rain-delayed opening round game of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover Alabama.  Sophomore Konnor Pilkinton carried a shutout to the ninth to lead 19th-ranked Mississippi State to the win over Georgia at the SEC Tournament Wednesday at the Hoover Met. MSU junior first baseman Brent Rooker, the SEC Player of the Year, provided a 2-0 lead when he smashed his league-leading 21st home run in the first inning off junior Chase Adkins. In the third, State loaded the bases with one out and only managed a sacrifice fly from Hunter Vansau to make it 3-0. State improves to 35-22 while Pilkington is now 7-5.   Georgia missed out on a scoring opportunity in the second inning, putting runners at the corners with nobody out after Mitchell Webb reached with a leadoff walk and LJ Talley lined a single to right field. However, Pilkington retired the next three Bulldogs to maintain their edge. Going to the ninth, Georgia had hits from Talley, freshman shortstop Cam Shepherd in the first inning and freshman catcher Austin Biggar in the eighth frame. Adkins saw his record drop to 6-7, allowing three runs on seven hits. Georgia’s bullpen of Drew Moody, Kevin Smith and Zac Kristofak combined to provide 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.   In the ninth, Georgia looked to rally as Shepherd collected his second hit to give him his team-best 21st multiple-hit game of the year and then Curry followed with a single. State turned to left-hander Riley Self. He got McGovern to bounce into a double play and then retired Webb to preserve the shutout for his fifth save.   Two weeks ago in Athens, Georgia claimed the regular season series over then sixth-ranked MSU two games to one. In that series, Pilkington and MSU won the opener 9-3 as he tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.   The Bulldogs end the season with a record of 25-32.   Dawg Tracks *Nine Bulldogs played in the SEC Tournament for the first time in their career including four freshmen starting position players. *Freshman Cam Shepherd registered his team-leading 73rd hit with a single in the first, and it extended his hitting streak to five games. Also, he played flawless defense with four putouts and four assists. *Junior Will Campbell saw his first action in more than a month (23 games) as he pinch-hit in the fifth inning and played right field for the remainder of the game. *Georgia is now 28-43 all-time in SEC Tournament games after making its 23rd appearance. The Bulldogs are 4-9 against MSU at the SEC Tournament.   Coach’s Corner: Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin “Konnor Pilkington was the difference in this game, that’s twice in the past two weeks that he’s shut us out for eight innings. We had our chance early in the game with two on and nobody out and he pitched out of trouble. I thought we pitched out of trouble a few times too. Still, we kept fighting and had a chance in the ninth with the tying run at the plate. I thought our kids battled down the stretch to get us to the SEC Tournament. It’s tough in this league and we won our last three SEC series against three really good teams.” 
  • ATHENS — All along, even after Yante Maten declared for the NBA draft last month, the expectation has been that the UGA basketball star would ultimately be back for his senior season. Now it’s official: Maten will do just that. Maten announced that he is withdrawing his name from the draft, two days before the NCAA deadline to do so. While Maten tested the waters, and participated in workouts with at least two NBA teams, he retained his college eligibility by not signing with an agent. This is obviously still great news for Georgia, which will thus return one of the SEC’s top players last season. Maten, a 6-foot-8 forward from Pontiac, Mich., was first team All-SEC by the coaches last season and second-team All-SEC by the AP. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while missing four games and almost all of a loss to Kentucky with a sprained knee. Georgia, which was a disappointing 19-14 last season, now projects to return nine of its top 10 scorers. The exception is a rather major one: J.J. Frazier, the consensus first-team All-SEC point guard. But with Maten back, and highly-rated recruit Rayshaun Hammonds, a wing player, the Bulldogs have a potentially strong nucleus. Sophomore Tyree Crump and junior Turtle Jackson are expected to divide up Frazier’s minutes at point guard. Hammonds should compete for a starting spot at small forward, with Maten’s return meaning he and junior Derek Ogbeide man the two post spots. (Although Maten could see more time on the wing himself.) The backcourt and small forward positions will be interesting to watch, with Hammonds joining senior Juwan Parker, who started most of last year, as well as sophomore Jordan Harris, Crump, Jackson, junior E’Torrion Wilridge. Two other incoming freshmen, guard Teshaun Hightower and forward Nicolas Claxton, should also compete for minutes on the perimeter. And incoming freshman Isaac Kante joins junior Mike Edwards as depth in the post. It was set to be a deep and balanced team, with or without Mante. But now Mante’s return gives it some returning star power.