May 2011, Vol.5, No. 5 Past issues | Printer Friendly | Advertise | eMagazine Archives

GCIP Interns Rock the News in Rockdale County

Lights, camera, action! For the Georgia County Internship Program (GCIP) interns in Rockdale County, these words don’t just belong in the movies but are part of their daily routine working for the Community Affairs and Innovative Programs Department.  This department handles the communication needs for the county, including the production of the public access channel program, News on the Rock.  GCIP interns provide the on-air talent, editing, filming, storyline ideas and graphics for this program.

Corey James serves as the lead anchor for News on the Rock. Currently a student at Georgia Perimeter College, James plans on transferring to the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue a career as a reporter and work his way up to news anchor.  This internship has provided ample opportunity for him to learn the news production process from start to finish by allowing him to participate in the entire process from pre-production to post-production. Not only does James serve as the on-air talent, but he also pitches story ideas, conducts interviews and writes the script for News on the Rock.

There is just as much action behind the camera as there is in front of it. David Dennis, a student at Southern Crescent Technical College, works with technical producer, Sean Kimbell, to prepare each segment of News on the Rock for final production. Once the anchor’s segment has been taped, Dennis inserts the anchor in the video, places the background, and inlays any text that is needed for that segment.  He also assists with the B-roll (background footage) that is used for the program. Although Dennis’ initial career goal was to become a videographer, after the exposure to the production process he is now considering a career as an assistant technical producer.

In addition to producing News on the Rock, the Community Affairs and Innovative Programs Department also provides media relations and coordinates community outreach efforts for Rockdale County. Hope Howell, who will be pursuing a masters’ degree in public relations and mass communications from the University of Georgia in the fall, is interning as the news editor for the department.  Howell assists with weekly department updates and the chairman’s monthly message, writes press releases and is the sports writer for News on the Rock.  Howell took the internship to prepare for graduate school and believes the experience will allow her to hit the ground running once school begins in the fall.

Kristin Byars, a public policy student at Georgia Tech, worked on several database projects to better coordinate outreach efforts between the county and community groups. Byars also served as coordinator for the Global Youth Service Day, an event hosted by Rockdale County and Keep Conyers Beautiful with over 100 attendees.  Being a public policy major, she had an interest in learning how county government policy is created. As such, Byars was given the chance to attend county commission meetings in order to observe the county government policy process from a firsthand perspective.

Although Rockdale County provided a wealth of exciting projects for their interns, the real success of the program is due to the guidance and support of the department director, Erica Fatima and the training provided by technical producer, Sean Kimbell. As the intern supervisor, Fatima allows the interns to be involved in every aspect of news production and has provided many opportunities for the interns to have real responsibility. As such, the interns have had a chance to be creative and to make significant contributions to the department.

However, the program has not only provided opportunities for the interns, but it has also provided much needed assistance to the Community Affairs and Innovative Programs Department.  "As the director for the department, the internship program is of particular value to me, as we have experienced unprecedented budget reductions which limited the amount of programs and services our department could offer the citizens and stakeholders of Rockdale County" stated Fatima. "The use of interns literally became the life blood of our department and because of the grant funds provided we have delivered dynamic, innovative and relevant information in an environment conducive to learning that also benefited the student interns."

The GCIP grant funding also enabled the department to employ an additional intern through the county.  Logan Gunzenhauser, a Georgia State University student, had a part time position with the county recreation department thus making him ineligible to receive GCIP funding. However, the GCIP funding made it possible for the Community Affairs and Innovative Programs Department to supplement Gunzenhauser’s salary with county funds so that he was able to intern with that department. Gunzenhauer worked with the GCIP interns to produce News on the Rock as a videographer and editor by assisting with the production of public service announcements, shooting and editing B-roll footage and assembling program packages. 

To view News on the Rock and see the Rockdale County Interns in action, please visit the following link:

From left to right: Hope Howell, Logan Gunzenhauser, David Dennis, Kristin Byars and Corey James.


Is Your County Property Adequately Covered for Damage from Natural Catastrophes?

Recently, the world has experienced a string of natural catastrophes, from earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, and Haiti, to floods throughout Europe and Australia, to spring thunderstorms and tornadoes in the southeastern United States.  Events such as these have caused enormous property damage and should serve as a reminder of the value of insurance.  Please take this opportunity to review your current coverage and how it would respond to such disasters.

In addition to typical property coverage, ACCG-IRMA members are provided with limited flood and earthquake coverage.  For properties located in Special Flood Hazard Areas, additional coverage is available, excess of the limits offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Whether your county participates in the ACCG-IRMA or purchases insurance through the commercial market, it is a good practice to review your property coverage for adequate limits, or to determine if coverage exists for catastrophic events such as earthquakes, floods and windstorms. 

For questions on the ACCG-IRMA program, call Ben Pittarelli at ACCG at 404-522-5022, or Ashley Abercrombie at Marsh at 1-800-295-8179.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) just announced the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 COPS Hiring Program (CHP).

Approximately $200 million may be available under FY 2011 CHP for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers.

Important Dates:
Solicitation opens on May 2, 2011. 
Application deadline is May 25, 2011, at 8:59 p.m., EDT.

Applications are to be submitted in two parts:
1) applicants must apply online via to complete the SF-424, which is a government-wide standard form required for competitive grant application packages.

2) once the SF-424 has been submitted you will receive an email from the COPS Office with instructions on completing the second part of the CHP application through the COPS Office Online Application System found on the COPS Office website at  Applications must be submitted via the COPS Office Online Application System to be considered for FY 2011 CHP funding.

Information and updates from the Department of Justice on the COPS Hiring Program can be found here forms repository can be found here.
Census Count Question Resolution Training

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs will host a 2-hour training session on procedures for the U.S. Census Bureau Count Question Resolution Program.

Census Bureau staff will conduct this training Wednesday, June 8, 2011 from 1-3 p.m. in the Department of Community Affairs, Room 302.

Although the Census Bureau attempts to count everyone during the Census, historically, there has been a small percentage of cases where a wrong geographic boundary or coding of a housing unit was used to produce the official census population and housing counts for a local area. There may also be cases where due to processing errors, the Census Bureau mistakenly duplicated or deleted living quarters that were identified during the census.

A process has been established by the Census Bureau for elected officials to challenge their jurisdiction’s 2010 Census count — Count Question Resolution. The program was created to specifically address three types of instances where a state, local or tribal government feels an error was made in the 2010 Census results for their area.

Count Question Resolution will accept challenge submissions from governmental units beginning June 1, 2011. All challenges must be received by the Census Bureau no later than June 1, 2013. It is important to note that the Census Bureau will not collect any additional data or conduct additional surveys during this challenge process.

If a challenge results in a change, the Census Bureau will issue official revised counts to the affected governments. These changes can be used by the governments for future programs that require official 2010 Census data. They will also be used to calculate subsequent population estimates for that community.

To register, go to
Mid Georgia Ambulance
The Potts Company

Association County Commissioners of Georgia
2013-2014 ACCG Board of Managers

Association County Commissioners of Georgia
50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1000 | Atlanta, GA 30303
phone: 404-522-5022 | fax: 404-525-2477 |

We would appreciate your comments or suggestions. Your email will be kept private and confidential.

Courthouse photos courtesy of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia.