Cover Story
  • Jen Liam in front of the rock climbing wall she built in her home gym.

    DeKalb Woman Takes on American Ninja Warrior

    As a clinical therapist Jen Liam helps people overcome obstacles.


    “Whether it is physical or something internal-slow and steady is kind of my approach- there is no quick fix-its hard work and persistence. It’s not how many times you fall down its how many times you get up,” she said. And as a lifelong athlete who thrives on competition, Liam knows a lot about overcoming obstacles. That competitive drive took Liam to Orlando last May where she competed in the regional qualifying round of the reality TV series American Ninja Warrior, where contestants attempt to complete a series of increasingly difficult obstacle courses called “stages.” The show premiered in 2009 and airs on both NBC and the Esquire Network.


    Liam said she has watched the show for years and constantly thought about giving it a try. One night Liam asked her daughter Blais if she should do it. “She goes, ‘yeah I think you should,’’ said Liam, “and then like 30 seconds later she got kind of panicked and said Mom I don’t think you should do it. That was the moment that kicked me into   Read more...

  • MelPender

    Mel Pender: Lynwood Park’s Olympic Hero

    It was a long way to Olympic gold but Melvin “Mel” Pender Jr. made it literally every step along the way. Born in 1937, Pender grew up in rural Lynwood Park, the historically black community off Windsor Parkway near Oglethorpe University. Gentrified in the early 2000s, the neighborhood now does not resemble Pender’s Lynwood, which had its own local institutions, segregated schools and sports teams, where Mel was a star base-ball and football player.


    Leaving home at 17, Pender joined the U.S. Army and served two tours in Vietnam. Officers at camp football games on leave in Okinawa noted Pender’s incredible speed and encouraged him, at age 25, to compete against top athletes from Japan in his first international race. It was not long before the Army was supporting Pender to train for the U.S. Olympic team.


    Pender competed in the 1964 Olympics, and in 1968 at Mexico City he won a gold medal, racing the 2nd leg of the 4 x 100 meter relay (“I felt like I was flying,” he said) in a new world record. Returning to the U.S. Army, he earned a Bronze Star in Vietnam and late   Read more...
  • GrandAlliance

    A Grand Alliance to Preserve Postal Service

    It’s hard to think of anything of value that 49 cents can still buy –except to send a letter clear across the country. Affordable, accessible and universal mail service has long been a vital link in America’s infrastructure. The United States Postal Service (USPS) currently serves over 150 million commercial and residential customers each day, and its living wage union jobs have catapulted hundreds of thousands of workers into the middle class, stabilizing com-munities and strengthening our economy. Although a “quasi-governmental” institution that is enshrined in the Con-stitution and subject to congressional oversight, the USPS operates without taxpayer funding.


    But this institution has come under siege by corporate interests –some driven by anti-union sentiment- that seek to chip away at the USPS in a march toward privatization of mail service. USPS opponents claim that dimin-ishing mail volume due to e-commerce and online banking warrants cutbacks, which have included slowing first-class mail service, closing post offices, cutting hours of operation and eliminating   Read more...

  • SummerSafety

    Get Into The Swing Of Summer Safety

    (NAPS)—Known as “trauma season” among public health and medical professionals, summer is a time when serious injuries and unintentional deaths increase dramatically among children. Statistics show that 40 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits happen between the months of May and August. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be prevented with a few simple precautions.


    “Sustaining a serious injury can be a life-altering event for a child,” said Dale Stauss, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. “We see patients every day with injuries caused by accidents, and we are committed to raising awareness about how to stay safe this summer.”


    As experts in the treatment of pediatric orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries and burns, Shriners Hos-pitals for Children provides critical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Shriners Hospitals encourages families to take these simple precautions to enjoy a safe, injury-free summer.


    Playground 101  

  • ScalySlimeyZoo

    Scaly, Slimy Spectacular At Zoo Atlanta

    Zoo Atlanta never stops improving and that is remarkable for a facility which has been delighting Atlantans and tourists for over 125 years. The newest attraction is the stunningly beautiful, multi-million dollar “Scaly, Slimy Spectacular.” This shiny new building and exhibit space houses the zoo’s collection of reptiles and amphibians.


    Admission to this new “pavilion” is part of the total zoo experience, so after reveling in the cuteness of the baby pandas, playful lemurs and elegant giraffes or pink flamingoes, the cool air-conditioned reptile/amphibian house is a perfect way to wind up any visit. Outside are the giant tortoises and a towering atrium welcomes visitors on the inside with its waterfall flowing into a pool of American alligators.


    After that, there is a wide, meandering walk through the exhibits and aquariums filled with geckos, lizards, toads, iguanas, monitors, frogs and, of course, snakes. Safely behind glass, the predatory and huge anacondas, pythons, co-bras, rattlers and vipers are all fascinating. The bright emerald green tree boa must be   Read more...

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