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Falcons prepare for Minicamp

Falcons prepare for Minicamp

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga -- The OTAs are winding down at the Atlanta Falcons' headquarters in Flowery Branch.  The voluntary off season workouts have been well attended and the participation looks to be paying off.

With new Offensive and Defensive Coordinators, the team has spent the past few weeks digesting changes that are being put in place for the 2012 season.  Wide receiver Harry Douglas is glad the changes are taking place this year rather than last summer, when the NFL teams were locked out.  Douglas has spent time working special teams as a punt returner during OTAs and says "I did it some during my roookie season and fell in love with it."  It will be something to watch for during training camp.

Meanwhile, Head Coach Mike Smith was pleased with the level of participation and what the team has accomplished during the OTAs and says the upcoming Minicamp will be a continuation of what has been taking place the past few weeks.

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Incoming UGA Freshman Named Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year

ATHENS, Ga. - Incoming freshman softball player Geri Ann Glasco was named the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year it was announced on Wednesday at the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North/South All-Star Softball Classic in Roma, Ga. Glasco became both the first softball player from Georgia and thefirst Georgia signee to be named the National Softball Player of the Year. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to the ESPYS inJuly.

Ga. Connections Academy holding more information sessions

Ga. Connections Academy holding more information sessions

ATLANTA -- Georgia Connections Academy, the state's first public virtual charter school, has planned more information sessions across the state.

The tuition-free school, which recently earned accolades from the parents of current students, is expanding from K-8 to K-12 for the 2012-13 school year.

"Good things are happening in public education, and we're proud to be a leader in the future of great schooling in our state," GACA principal Heather Robinson said in a statement. "We look forward to welcoming more elementary, middle and now high schoolers next year."

Enroll your child in Georgia Connections Academy

Information sessions in metro Atlanta include:

Kenny Rogers auctioning Ga. home

Kenny Rogers auctioning Ga. home

ATHENS, Ga. -- Grand Estates Auction Co. will auction country music legend and Grammy Award winner Kenny Rogers' secluded lakeside retreat near Athens on June 26.

The custom-built Polynesian-inspired, five bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom lake home is on a property that includes a fully stocked private lake with an island, fenced horse pastures and miles of wooded riding trails on 150 acres of virgin forest.

The home was built around a lanai and pool and features oak and marble inlayed floors, custom millwork, a gourmet kitchen, three-car garage and separate guest house.

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Smoothie King raising money for Bert's Big Adventure

Smoothie King raising money for Bert's Big Adventure

ATLANTA -- Smoothie King locations across metro Atlanta are spending the entire month of June raising money for Bert's Big Adventure.

PHOTOS | Bert's Big Adventure 2012

Customers who give $1 to the non-profit will receive a $2 "bounce back" coupon from Smoothie King.

The goal is to raise at least $5,000 by the end of the month.

Bert's Big Adventure, which was founded by Bert Weiss of Q100's "The Bert Show," sends children with chronic and terminal illnesses on an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World.

Metro Atlanta has a number of Smoothie King shops:

Alpharetta
* 12280 Houze Road
* 5530 Windward Parkway, Suite 320

Athens
* 1591 South Lumpkin Street
* 2361 West Broad Street

Tin Drum Asia Café to open more restaurants

Tin Drum Asia Café to open more restaurants

ATLANTA -- Atlanta-based Tin Drum Asia Café plans to open six new restaurants this year and eight more in the coming years, the chain announced Tuesday.

The very first Tin Drum opened at Georgia Tech, alma mater of founder Steven Chan. Since then, it has spread to locations throughout metro Atlanta, including Atlantic Station, Buckhead, Cumming, Dunwoody and Georgia State University.

Brand new Tin Drum locations include Augusta, Chastain Park, Emory Village and the chain's first restaurant outside Georgia -- Birmingham, Ala.

More locations slated to open later this year include Athens, Roswell and Midtown's Colony Square.

"Our plan is to double the size of Tin Drum in 2012 with additional units throughout Atlanta and in Athens, Augusta, Birmingham and throughout the Southeast," Chan said in a statement.

Ga. Connections Academy gets high marks from parents

Ga. Connections Academy gets high marks from parents

ATLANTA -- Georgia Connections Academy has made the grade.

The state's first free virtual charter school received very positive feedback from the parents of its students during the 2011-12 school year.

Almost 90 percent of the parents who responded to a survey gave the school a grade of either A or B, and 92 percent they would recommend GACA to other parents. Eighty-five percent of parents said they were more satisfied with GACA than with their children's previous schools.

About 52 percent of the school's 610 families responded to the survey, according to GACA officials.

"Our parent satisfaction survey really illustrates our commitment to accountability," principal Heather Robinson said in a statement. "We value this parent feedback and use it to help make our virtual school program better. I am very pleased with the results, in particular the positive feedback about our teachers and the curriculum."