Tuesday, March 29, 2016

National Crime Victims' Rights Week 2016

Join the Victims' Rights Ceremony and 1 Mile Walk to show solidarity for victims of crime in Fulton County on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 1pm. The walk will begin at the Slayton Courthouse Steps, 136 Pryor Street, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Fulton County 2016 Bulky Trash & Secure Shredding Recycling Days - Saturdays, April 16 & October 8

Fulton County residents who would like to shred documents in a secure area or dispose of their bulky waste, can drop off materials or waste at one of the following Fulton County Solid Waste Stations on Saturdays, April 16 and October 8, 2016 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Merk Road Station
3225 Merk Road 
College Park, GA 30349

Creel Park 
2775 Creel Road
College Park, GA 30349

South Fulton Service Center
5600 Stonewall Tell Road
College Park, GA 30349

For more information, please call (404) 612-1011. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fulton Residents Reminded of April 1 Homestead Exemption Deadline

April 1 is the deadline for Fulton County residents to file for homestead exemptions. The homestead exemption is automatically renewed as long as the same homeowner continually occupies the home, but the homeowner must apply the first time.

Residents who purchased a new home in 2016 should make certain that they have applied for the basic homestead exemption by April 1. The basic homestead exemption is available online and may be submitted electronically.

Residents who qualify for additional homestead exemptions, including exemptions for individuals age 62 and over, or individuals with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities, must apply for these in person before the April 1 deadline.

A homestead exemption is a reduction in homeowners' property taxes. Homestead exemptions are only available for the property owner's legal residence for all purposes, including the registration of vehicles and the filing of income tax. Property owners may not file for homestead exemption on rental properties, vacant land or on more than one property.

Information about all homestead exemptions available to Fulton County property owners are available on the Fulton County Tax Assessors' website. For additional information and requirements, please contact (404) 612-6440 (press #4).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fulton County 8-Under Youth Boys Basketball Takes State Championship

Team from Burdett Gym represented Fulton County in statewide tournament

The Fulton County Youth 8-Under boys’ basketball team are Georgia Recreation and Parks Association State Champions.  The team won the championship early this month in Cartersville, Georgia after completing an undefeated basketball season.

The Burdett Trojans won the championship with a winning score of 39-38 in a hard fought contest against the Cobb County All-Stars. The contest came down to the last second of the game.

The winning team members are: Jared White, Asani Spivey, Qwes Williams, John Robbins III, Jayden Campbell, Jackson Rutley, Wesley Middlebrooks, Marvin Smith Jr., Sean Smith, and Jevonta Anderson. The Head Coach is Bryant Conner and he was assisted by Willie Upshaw.

Fulton County’s Parks and Recreation program produced several other winning teams that advanced to State competitions including the 10-Under Girls, 10-Under Boys, 12-Under Boys, 12-Under Girls as well as the 14-Under Boys and 17-Under Boys teams.

A total of seven teams both girls and boys advanced to the GRPA State Tournament. These teams represented approximately 800 youth from the Fulton County Parks and Recreation Youth Basketball Program.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Registration is Open for 22nd Annual Fulton Golden Games

Active older adults 50 and over can demonstrate their fitness and enjoy the warmer temperatures of spring during the 22nd Annual Fulton Golden Games. Registration is now open for local residents who want to participate in the games, which begin April 27, 2016 and continue through May 26, 2016. Registrants pay a $20 registration fee, which includes the cost of a t-shirt and opening day picnic lunch. Registered seniors can take part in all of the event's competitive games.

Residents can download the registration packet here or pick one up at any Fulton County senior multipurpose facility or senior centers. Nearly 400 participants registered for the Golden Games last year. The deadline for registration is March 29.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m., on April 27, 2016 at Bell Memorial Park in Milton located at 15245 Bell Park Road in Milton. Track and field events, including a one-mile walk and run, half-mile walk, flying disc throw, discus and shot-put throw, bocce toss, ladder golf, football throw and more begin after the ceremony.

Throughout May, players can take part in various tournaments, including bridge, pickle ball, tennis, canasta and poker, diving and swimming events, a nature hike, rock climbing, a biathlon, table tennis, and other competitive events.

A luncheon and awards ceremony will be held Thursday, May 26, 2016 at the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex in Sandy Springs.

For more information, contact Fitness Instructor Nicole Wyche at (404) 613-4900.

The 22nd Annual Fulton Golden Games are hosted by the Fulton County Aging and Youth Services Department, Office of Aging, Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Department in conjunction with the Johns Creek Recreation and Parks Division, City of Milton Parks and Recreation Department, Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department and the Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks Department.

Citizens in need of reasonable accommodations due to a disability including communications in an alternative format should contact the Disability Liaison in the Aging and Youth Services Department at (404) 613-7944. For Georgia Relay Access, dial 711.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Processed Foods Aren’t All Bad!

Processed food has a bad reputation as a diet no-no. It's blamed for our nation's obesity epidemic, high blood pressure and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. But processed food is more than boxed macaroni and cheese, potato chips and drive-thru hamburgers. It may be a surprise to learn that whole-wheat bread, homemade soup or a chopped apple are also processed foods.

  • Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — are often simply pre-prepped for convenience.
  • Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned beans, tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
  • Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include pasta sauce in the jar, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
  • Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
  • The most heavily processed foods often are frozen or pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.
While some processed foods should be consumed with caution, many actually have a place in a balanced diet. Here are some little-known nutrition facts about processed food from The Fulton County Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Program and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you decide when to say yes and when to say no.

What Is Processed Food?
Figuring out what processed really means is the first step to making smart choices. Nutrition experts consider white bread to be refined, since most of the healthy fiber has been removed during the processing. But as food is prepared for home cooking, we often process it as well.  That’s what food processors do, after all!

Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed. Here’s a guide:

The Positives of Processed
Processed food can be beneficial to your diet. Milk and juices are sometimes fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and breakfast cereal may have added fiber. Canned fruit that is packed in water or its own juice is a good option when fresh fruit is not available.

Some minimally processed food, such as pre-cut vegetables, are quality convenience foods for busy people. So although bagged vegetables and salads often are more expensive, if the choice is between paying less and chopping it yourself — when you know you're not going to do that, and paying a little more for the bagged vegetable you know you're going to eat, the latter is a better choice.

Be a Food Detective
To become a smarter eater and shopper, dietitians advise, become a food detective.  Read the ingredients list and review the nutrition facts panel. Food is complex.  Get to know it. Eating processed food in moderation is fine, but consumers should be on the lookout for hidden sugar, sodium and fat.
The food supply has tons of added sugars. Just because a product says “organic” or “natural,” doesn’t mean it's better and healthier. Beware if a product has added high-fructose corn syrup or natural cane sugar, even if it has no sugar.

Sugar isn't just hidden in processed sweets. It's added to bread to give it an appealing browned hue, and there's often a surprising amount added to pasta sauces in jars and to cereal. The number of carbohydrates on the nutrition label also includes naturally occurring sugars, which may be present in a significant amount in foods such as yogurt and fruit. That’s why it’s wise to review a product's ingredients list and check the ingredients list for various types of added sugars, such as sugar, maltose, brown sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, honey and fruit juice concentrate.

Most canned vegetables, soups and sauces have added sodium, which enhances taste and texture and acts as a preservative. Our bodies need some sodium, but we often consume much more than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans' recommendation of less than 2,300 milligrams a day.

Surprisingly, a heavy hand with table salt may not be to blame for our overconsumption of sodium. Only 20% to 25% of it comes from salting our food. Three quarters of it comes from processed foods, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
However, canned vegetables, soups and beans can be packed with nutrients, so don't cross them off the shopping list entirely. Instead, buy reduced or low sodium varieties and then sprinkle a little bit of salt on top as needed, nutritionists suggest. Another tip: Always rinse canned beans and vegetables. This simple step reduces sodium content by about 40%.

Added fat extends the shelf life of food and gives it body. Trans fats — which raise bad cholesterol levels while lowering the good ones— are on the decline in processed foods. But you should still read food labels. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a product can still claim it has zero trans fats if each serving has less than half-a-gram of the fat.

If a product has a really small serving size and you're eating three or four servings, trans fats add up. So, even if a product says it has zero trans fat, check the ingredients list. If it contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, then it's going to have to have some amount of trans fat in it.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you shop smart and eat smart during National Nutrition Month and all year long. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Fulton County’s Departments of Health and Wellness and Cooperative Extension Services offer a wide range of programs that teach citizens about healthy food, how to shop for it, how to grow it and how to prepare it. Cooperative Extension delivers tons of fresh food each summer to communities most in need through its popular Fulton Fresh Mobile Farmers Market program. 

Cooperative Extension

Under the umbrella of its Family and Consumer Science, Master Gardening and Urban Gardening programs, Cooperative Extension takes a holistic approach to nutritional education. Families learn the principles of basic nutrition and weight management and food preparation. They learn that many of the foods they’ve eaten all along can be just as tasty when prepared in a healthful way. Food safety, how to store food properly and the art of thrifty grocery shopping are skills also taught in Cooperative Extension classes.

Fulton’s Master Gardener training program introduces citizens to practical gardening that they can take back to their neighborhoods to grow fresh vegetables. Community gardening is now thriving at several of the County’s health centers and in neighborhoods nearby. Interested persons must sign up to plant and care for a garden. . A master gardener can provide guidance and assistance as needed. Plots have already been leased in the North and South Fulton gardens. Call Cooperative Extension at 404-332-2400 to check on the availability of garden plots in other locations.

Health and Wellness-WIC

In addition to nutrition counseling, the program provides support for breastfeeding and food vouchers for infant formula, milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, juices and other healthy foods. In 2011, Fulton County’s WIC program received a commendation from the state for having a 100% redemption rate for the vouchers it distributed.

Residents in need of any of these services and programs are urged to visit www.fultoncountyga.gov. The schedule for WIC classes is attached. For more WIC information, call 404-612-6750; for information on the programs offered by Cooperative Extension, call 404-332-2400 or visit www.ugaextension.com/fulton.

Fulton County’s WIC program is so successful; it has been used as a model for other programs around the state. WIC is the federally funded Women and Infant Children’s program available to pregnant women and to women who are breastfeeding up to 12 months after their deliveries. The program also is open to non-breastfeeding women up to 6 months post-partum and to children up to 5-years-old who risk not thriving for medical or nutritional reasons. All families must meet income eligibility requirements.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fulton County Hosts Information Technology Outreach Event

The Fulton County Department of Purchasing & Contract Compliance and Department of Information Technology will host a Technology Outreach Event on Thursday, March 10, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  

Registration is required for this event, which will be held at the Fulton County Aviation Community Cultural Center at 3900 Aviation Circle, Atlanta, GA 30308.
Technology firms will have the opportunity to learn more about procurement opportunities with Fulton County.   

The meeting agenda will include the following:

  • Introduction of the Information Technology team
  • One-on-One scheduled meetings with staff
  • Information on how to do business with Fulton County
  • Networking opportunities for potential suppliers/vendors

The Department of Purchasing & Contract Compliance is responsible for the countywide purchase of goods and services for all county departments. Fulton County Information Technology delivers, secures, innovative, reliable technology services and solutions, and provides guidance and oversight for Fulton County Government.

Prior to attending this outreach event, attendees are required to register at https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/1cs19850. For additional information, please call (404) 612-5800.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tips to Curb Bad Eating Habits

Are you guilty of skipping breakfast, ordering takeout, getting jitters from coffee overload and counting potato chips as part of a viable diet plan? It's time to kick those habits to the curb and start eating right. In honor of National Nutrition Month®, the Fulton County Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Program and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics present this guide to help you get started.

Eat Breakfast
There's no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. The key to a good breakfast is balance. Include lean protein, whole grains and fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. For example, oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk and sliced almonds and berries or crust-less quiche with mixed veggies, low-fat cheese and a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Cut Back on Caffeine
Too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, can make you jittery and can cause you to lose energy later in the day. Keep your caffeine intake in check by limiting regular coffee to 3 cups or less a day, and watch what you put into it. Skip unwanted calories and sugar by drinking it as plain as possible. Need to wean off? Try three things: switch to half decaf or tea, drink plenty of water and eat small, frequent meals to keep up energy.

Bring Lunch to Work
How do you make bringing lunch to work easy? Have your arsenal of food for the week. Have the right foods to put together. By stocking up the fridge, you're setting yourself up for success. Prepare the week's lunches over the weekend — bake chicken, chop veggies, steam rice. Make sure your options include a combination of lean protein and carbohydrates. For example, whole-grain bread with turkey, 1 cup of veggies and a piece of fruit. Or, try a salad with veggies and chicken, a piece of fruit and a 100-calorie cup of low-sodium soup. It doesn't have to be a full meal. If you're crunched, get a snack. Go for fat-free or low-fat yogurt and fruit, whole-wheat crackers and low-fat cheese or hummus and baby carrots.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture, plus vitamins, minerals and fibers to your plate. Pick one fruit or veggie you've never tried each time you go to the grocery store. It's a great way to discover new options. Don't let winter stop you from enjoying produce either. It might be harder to find fresh options, but frozen and canned are great alternatives.

Cook Dinner at Home
Making meals at home doesn't have to zap the last bit of your time and energy. The trick is to plan ahead. If the week is cramped for you, then prepping on the weekend is a great time saver. Choose options you can make in advance. For example, cook a batch of soup you can portion out for lunches or dinner during the week, or bake a whole chicken to slice for sandwiches, wraps and casseroles. Use shortcuts such as pre-cut or frozen veggies and keep staples on hand such as low-sodium broth, herbs and lemons for flavoring. A quick and easy idea is to turn leftover beef into stew with beans, no-salt-added diced tomatoes and pre-cut veggies.

Quick Tips
For breakfast eat …
Berries with low-fat cottage cheese and high fiber cereal
Whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter
Whole grain cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk
Oatmeal with a side of hard-boiled or scrambled egg

For lunch try …
Oil-based salad dressing instead of a cream-based dressing
Salad with as many veggies as possible
Ordering an appetizer as a meal
Splitting an entrée or save half for later

For dinner use …
Pre-cut veggies
A slow cooker
Extra veggies in stir-fry, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce and soup
Frozen fruit for desserts

This message for healthy living is made possible by funding to the Fulton County Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.