Johnson students, teachers collect gifts for migrants

When Vanesa Sarazua approached two Johnson High School teachers about a project, she wasn’t sure what reaction she would get.

Sarazua is the migrant program facilitator for Hall County Schools, and she wanted the help of the school’s Honors Academy students and their teachers, Frank Zamora and Thomas Stewart, to bring Christmas gifts to migrant children.

“Back in about September I approached coach Zamora and Mr. Stewart about maybe helping get some gifts for the migrant children in the district,” she said. “At first, they were a little overwhelmed with the whole idea, because we have 400 students in the district that are migrant.”

“Migrant” refers to the children of agricultural workers, Sarazua said. Migrant workers may travel the country following seasonal, temporary jobs, while their family resides in one location. Hall County’s strong agricultural industry makes it a hot spot for migrant workers and their families.

Many of these young people even work with their families in the field.

“They make Gainesville their home,” she said. “During the summer they might go work alfalfa in Wyoming, and then cherries and apples in Washington, and then come back to Gainesville.”

Zamora and Stewart presented the gift idea to 50 of the students in the high school’s Honors Academy, who agreed to take on the project.

“They took on this project, but they did so much more than that,” Sarazua said. “They learned about who the migrants are in the country. They did a migration map and studied what these students and their families do.”

The students watched films and did research projects about migrants in America and created a program called “Unwrapping Humanity,” to fundraise for the gifts.

“It’s something they created just for this, an organization with officers who had different responsibilities,” Sarazua said. “I mean, they turned it into a big-time learning opportunity.”

They were able to put together 350 gift boxes for migrant children, each box full of multiple gifts.

Zamora is also sponsor of Johnson’s Hispanic Organization Promoting Education, dedicated to promoting service, leadership and education in the Hispanic community at the school. The group’s mission is well in line with the work done by the honors students.

Sarazua said the students have plans to make the program an annual project and pass it on to other classes.

“It’s just an incredible thing they did,” Sarazua said. “It turned out great, because we have such organization in the school system and we were able to give out the gifts before we went on break. And even more than giving the gifts, I think the biggest thing here is what this did for the students who were giving, how much they learned and how much they wanted to do for these children.”

Johnson students, teachers collect gifts for migrants

Roma celebra la carrera de San Silvestre, ganada por el francés Carvalho

La capital italiana acogió la carrera de San Silvestre, conocida como “We Run Rome”, un recorrido de diez kilómetros que acabó con el triunfo del atleta francés Florian Carvalho, que lo completó en poco más de veintiocho minutos.

Roma celebra la carrera de San Silvestre, ganada por el francés Carvalho

Joe Diaz sworn in as new Juvenile Court judge

In a packed courtroom, Joe Diaz took the oath and pledged to work the long hours needed as a Juvenile Court judge.

“I hope to make you proud, and I hope to make the judges thankful that they appointed me to this position,” Diaz said.

Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver administered the oath this morning to Diaz, who is the first judge of Latino descent in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit.

When announced Dec. 7 as the judge to replace Bo Weber, Diaz started the process of closing his Green Street law office.

“I had three weeks to dismantle what it took me 23 years to build,” he said. “It was a very difficult process, an emotional process, but it is one that I can stand here today and say I completed.”

Diaz thanked his associates and family for the long journey that brought the seasoned Gainesville attorney to this point.

He will join Chief Juvenile Court Judge Lindsay Burton and Juvenile Court Judge Alison Toller on Jan. 4.

“Children are our greatest asset, our greatest responsibility and our great hope for the future,” Diaz said.

Joe Diaz sworn in as new Juvenile Court judge

El Benfica paga al Atlético de Madrid 8 millones por Pizzi

El Benfica anunció este jueves que pagó al Atlético de Madrid ocho millones de euros por el restante 50 % del pase del medio portugués Luís Miguel Afonso Fernandes, “Pizzi”, por el que el conjunto luso ya había desembolsado 6 millones en el 2013.

El Benfica paga al Atlético de Madrid 8 millones por Pizzi

Corps plans to begin dam releases Friday to draw Lanier’s level back down

Increased releases from Buford Dam are expected to begin Friday, weather permitting, to draw Lake Lanier down toward winter full pool of 1,070 feet above sea level.

The lake was at 1,075.38 feet as of noon Dec. 31.

“Due to recent rain events and as part of the flood damage reduction operations on the (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin), releases from Buford Dam were curtailed on Dec. 22 to prevent further flooding and impacts downstream of the project,” said Lisa Parker, deputy public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District. “…Lanier has risen over 4 feet in the past few days and the lake is expected to peak at 1,075.7 msl over the upcoming week.”

Flood risk management is one of the primary missions of the reservoirs in the basin, the largest of which is Lake Lanier.

Portions of North Georgia and Alabama have received up to a foot of rain over the last few days, causing lakes and rivers downstream to rise rapidly, according to the corps.

Increased releases from the dam cannot be made if it is raining as that will increase flood risk downstream, Parker said earlier this week. Rain isn’t forecasted again until a slight chance on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

“The corps continues to monitor the situation and will make necessary changes to water releases to ensure minimal impacts both upstream and downstream,” Parker said.

Drawing the lake back to 1,070 “could take more than a month because of forecasted above average rainfall and limited release capacity,” Parker said.

Many parks and boat ramps have been flooded and closed due to the high lake levels and marinas were working to respond as well.

Debris submerged or floating in the lake makes boating more hazardous.

“Boaters are urged to use extreme caution while operating their boat on the lakes,” Parker said.

Corps plans to begin dam releases Friday to draw Lanier’s level back down

Cristiano Ronaldo: “Ni siquiera Dios agradó a todo el mundo”

El portugués Cristiano Ronaldo se mostró orgulloso de su forma de ser, aseguró que está “hecho para ser el mejor” y afirmó que “ni siquiera Dios agradó a todo el mundo”, comprensivo ante los extremos en los que se instalan sus seguidores y detractores.

Cristiano Ronaldo: “Ni siquiera Dios agradó a todo el mundo”