Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Dr. Michael D. Toews has been named the University of Georgia 's new assistant dean for the UGA Tifton campus effective March 1 .

Toews succeeds Dr. Joe West , who retires Feb. 29 as head of the Tifton campus .

Toews is a professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Entomology in Tifton and co-director of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

He received a bachelor's degree from Fort Hays State University followed by a master's and doctorate from Oklahoma State University . Toews joined UGA in 2006 as a research entomologist with responsibilities in applied insect ecology and pest management.

The 2015 Southeastern Branch recipient of the ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management , Toews has served on 23 graduate student committees, secured $14.9 million in competitive grant funding and published more than 60 research papers.

West is retiring after a 34-year career with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. During his 12 years as assistant dean, West spearheaded extensive capital improvements on the UGA Tifton campus, including the renovations of the Tift Building and Agriculture Research buildings and the construction of the Centennial Garden as part of the campus’ 100-year celebration .
Rally for Reading participants gather Sunday with Rikki Reader, the Reading Capital of the World mascot.
The 7th Annual "Rally for Reading” (R4R) this past Sunday at the ABAC Tennis Center was a "win-win-win," says Mike Brumby , executive director of the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.

According to Brumby , Win No. 1 was 33 sponsored, young tennis players put their rising court skills on display before a cheering crowd of supporters for a great cause; Win No. 2: 15 international ABAC players (representing 10 countries and eight languages) offered their time and  talents to the participants for two hours of competitive and instructive tennis; and Win No. 3: The Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence raised more than $3,600 to fund reading grants  for Tift County children up to age nine .

Tift's eight elementary schools may apply for grants that will be funded by the R4R proceeds.

Among special guests at the Rally were Annie Dimon and her dog Sammie . Dimon was not only this year’s R4R largest sponsor but has a 70-year history of reading aloud to family, schools, churches and impoverished children's programs. Sammie is perhaps her most devoted listener

ABAC Varsity Tennis Coach Dale White hosted the event on the college's 12-court complex. 
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) announced its 2020 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award winner: Hannah Holmes , an English instructor at SRTC Tifton.

Holmes has been an SRTC instructor since 2015 . She has been involved in applying Educational Assessment Corporation data to improve and streamline student learning outcome reporting, served as a National Technical Honors Society advisor, and participated in implementing open education resources in online English courses for cost savings to students.

In her nomination, her peers noted her passion and enthusiasm for teaching .

Technical education actually chose me ,” Holmes said. “My whole life I knew I was going to be a teacher and every time I entered a new grade, I was exposed to new information, causing what I wanted to teach and at what level to constantly change. However, I knew I would end up where I needed to be . ... I am part of a journey for these students who are capitalizing on an opportunity to better themselves , and I want to be a part of that.”

Holmes will next participate in the regional level in Tifton . Winners of the regional competition will go on to participate at the state level in April . If selected as the Technical College System of Georgia’s award winner, Holmes will serve as statewide ambassador for technical education in Georgia. 

The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction honors the Technical College System of Georgia’s most outstanding fulltime faculty members. Nominated and selected by fellow SRTC faculty and staff, the distinction recognizes technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their respective fields.
Jackie Sheppard of Kansas City, author of "Silent Takeover: How the Body Hijacks the Mind," talks with Tifton Rotarian Mike Brumby after Wednesday's Rotary Club meeting.
Jackie Sheppard , educator and author of the book “Silent Takeover: How the Body Hijacks the Mind,” told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday that she has been researching the mind for more than 50 years and how the brain affects the body .

“At one point, I said, ‘Wait a minute; we’ve got it backwards . It’s the body affecting the brain .’”

Sheppard , a South Georgia native who lives in Kansas City , said her book is not on inspiration or coping with physical conditions. She said it is on the physiology of the body that causes conditions such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and addiction .

For instance, she said, Bill Wilson , the man who started the 12-step program, did not stop craving alcohol until his doctor friend told him there was a connection to a Vitamin B3 deficiency .

“What if the deficiency preceded the alcoholism ? You cannot treat the soul and the spirit if you do not take into account the body ," Sheppard said.

"What can be the underlying causes of depression ? You look for the spiritual reasons, the mind . Now we all know about the neurotransmitter serotonin because one out of four people adults in America is on an antidepressant .

Serotonin is made in your gut , not your brain . We didn’t know that until 15-16 years ago .”

If the gut doesn’t make these, your brain can’t use them, she said. Probiotics and prebiotics are part of the solution , along with herbal extracts that cause our bodies to make its own antioxidant enzymes , such as glutathione and catalase . In correcting your gut , you get a better outcome in the brain , she said.

“In the emerging field of epigenetics , we now know that your genetics do not have to dictate your lifespan . People are biohacking their genetic code through diet and exercise ," Sheppard said. ”However, our foods have pesticides and herbicides . They affect your food . So you’re going to have to be more proactive and better educated .”
Artist Donna Falcone, left, and Curator Polly Huff with the award for “A to Z.”
Two of the top awards at the annual Georgia Museums/Alabama Museums Association Joint Conference belong to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College's Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

Museum Curator Polly Huff brought home the 2020 Best Museum Exhibition Award , Category One , for “One Small Step: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing Day and Everyday Life in 1969,” and the 2020 Special Project Award , Category Two , for “A to Z: A Story of Hope, Healing, A Book, An Exhibit, A Springboard.”

“It’s a real honor for me to accept these awards on behalf of the Gallery at the museum,” Huff said. “The Exhibition Award recognizes outstanding achievement in projects with a budget below $1,000 by the institutions, friends, and supporters of the Georgia Association of Museums. The Special Project Award encompasses projects with budgets below $25,000 .”

On the “One Small Step” project, Awards Committee Chair Christy Crisp of the Georgia Historical Society said, “The decision to use existing college archival materials and collection items from the 1960s to round out the exhibit, and also the community-sourced moon landing objects, were particularly interesting and resourceful aspects of this project. This was a creative project that seems to have expanded the museum audience.”

The “A to Z” project was an exhibit for children of all ages built by Huff to spotlight the work of Tifton resident, artist and illustrator Donna Falcone . A debilitating case of Lyme disease ended Falcone’s long career in early childhood education in 2009 . For years, she had helped children, college students, and teachers find their creative voices.

“Now, she has discovered her a voice of her own through a venture into alcohol inks and through a serendipitous connection with the gallery that had the desire and connections to springboard her talent and works into a full-blown exhibition ,” Huff said.
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