Monthly Archives: July 2017

Pitch-Perfect

Sports

Nick SandlinIn some ways, little has changed in two years for former Greenbrier High School baseball standout Nick Sandlin – and that’s a good thing. He led the Wolfpack to the Class 5A Georgia state baseball title in 2015, and now he is cutting a striking figure at the University of Southern Mississippi as well. 

The sophomore relief pitcher finished this past season with a 10-2 record and had eight saves in 11 opportunities. He had an earned run average of .238 and struck out 80 batters in 56⅔ innings. He allowed only one home run and limited the opposition to a .201 batting average.

Recently selected a second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Sandlin attributes his success to USM pitching coach Michael Federico and his teammates.

“I’ve been lucky to have him both years,” Sandlin says about Federico. “Freshman year, I was learning from the older guys on the team and what to expect at the D1 level. I’ve just been on good teams with a good defense behind me.”

Arriving as a freshman at 5-foot-11 and 148 pounds, Sandlin has bulked up to 170 pounds as a result of strength training and a healthy diet. In high school, his fastball peaked in the mid-80 mph range. Now, he’s throwing in the upper 80s and low 90s. 

He also has added a splitter or changeup to complement his fastball and slider. It’s another pitch to confuse batters.

In addition to his pitching prowess, Sandlin recently was named a third team Academic All-American by the College of Sports Information Directors of America. He has earned a 4.0 GPA over two years in construction engineering technology.

“We’ve got a good academic support staff,” Sandlin says. “You gotta learn how to balance them (baseball and academics) your first year in college. Once you figure it out a little bit, it’s not too bad. You stay busy. It’s just the daily routine.”

The Golden Eagles set a school record for wins this season, compiling a 50-16 record. Southern Mississippi lost to Mississippi State 8-6 in the Hattiesburg Regional Final on June 5 to end its season. However, Sandlin has continued to sharpen his skills this summer by pitching for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod League for collegiate players in Massachusetts.

By Jim Irish

Take to the Water

Sports

Take to the WaterPaddle leisurely down the Savannah River in your favorite watercraft or vie for top honors in a homemade raft competition at the Big Float.

There are lots of ways to beat the August heat. However, Savannah Riverkeeper gives people the opportunity to cool off with 100 or so of their closest friends — with a little competition on the side as well — during the Big Float on August 26.

Kayaks, canoes, SUPs, inner tubes and homemade rafts are welcome on the 3.4-mile route. Prizes will be awarded in the homemade raft competition in categories such as Top Corporate Raft and Top Recycled Raft. Other awards will go to the most creative/well-executed raft and the most enthusiastic team (look for teams dressed up in themed costumes). 

1.-Batman-float“We want to encourage people to enjoy the Savannah River and celebrate the end of summer with a fun and leisurely day on the water. All registration fees directly support our efforts to protect the Savannah River,” says Elena Richards, the Savannah Riverkeeper communications director. “If you’ve never been on the river before, it’s a great opportunity to do that. We have an expert safety team, and it’s a fun way to cool off and enjoy yourself.” 

The launch will begin at 9 a.m. at the Hammond’s Ferry boat ramp in North Augusta and end at 105 Riverfront Drive, Augusta. Participants can drop off their vessels at the boat ramp between 7:30-8:30 a.m. and drive their vehicles to the office. A shuttle will take them back to the launch point. 

All participants must have a lifejacket, water, and a paddle or oar, including tube riders. “It’s a completely flat-water route,” says Richards. “Everyone needs to have a paddle so they will have a way to move if there’s not much current.”

An after party with local and regional craft beers, food trucks and live music will be held at the new Savannah Riverkeeper headquarters at 328 Riverfront Drive, Augusta. Spectators also can watch the rafts go by from the Riverwalk– the pavilion at 10th Street offers a great vantage point about 10-11 a.m.

If You Go: 

What: The Big Float

When: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, August 26 

Where: Hammond’s Ferry Boat Ramp, North Augusta

How Much: $30 and up

More Info: savannahriverkeeper.org

Avocado, Egg & Bacon Sandwich

Entrees
  • Avocado Egg-&-Bacon-Sandwich1 avocado
  • Dash lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bacon slices
  • 4 slices bread
  • Butter for bread
  • 2 eggs
  • Spinach leaves 

Mash avocado with fork and stir in dash lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Cook bacon and drain on paper towels. Poach or fry eggs soft to medium; season with salt and pepper to taste. Toast bread or butter and heat on a griddle or grill. Layer toast with spinach, avocado, egg and bacon. Serve immediately. Makes 2 sandwiches.

 

Clint Bryant

P.Y.S.K.

Augusta University Director of Intercollegiate AthleticsAugusta University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics 

Number of years in position: 30 

Family: Wife, Trish Bryant; daughters, Lauren Ashley Bryant, Washington, D.C., and Kristin Amanda Bryant, Boston 

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I’ve been in intercollegiate athletics since 1977, so I’ve had the opportunity to watch young people grow up. I enjoy seeing people come in as 17- or 18-year-old kids and seeing them leave as 21- and 22-year olds with their degrees. A lot of times they are the first generation in their families to get a college education. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: I support a lot of them. I don’t want to leave any out, but a few organizations that I’ve supported are Boys & Girls Clubs, Family Y, The Warrior Alliance, 100 Black Men of Augusta Inc., American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. You name it; I’ve done it. But my biggest passion is helping disadvantaged kids or kids with special needs, and helping kids overcome obstacles. I’m also very passionate about our warriors and wounded veterans.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: I guess growing up as an inner city kid in Washington, D.C. — I’ve seen how you can go from there to having an opportunity to live the life I’ve lived and travel all over the world. I’ve been to places such as New Zealand, Argentina and every state except one. I’ve never been to North Dakota. Some of the travel has been for pleasure, but most of it has been work-related over the years.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Probably when I was selected to the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team in 2013. The team is made up of former student-athletes who made a difference in competition during their playing days and as civic leaders after they graduated. I was one of 40 people recognized for contributions to the NCAA.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: A fireman. There were always a lot of firetrucks around, so I had a thing about firemen.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Grilling. I can cook anything – ribs, chicken, all kinds of fish and wild game. If it’s edible, I can grill it. 

Favorite TV Show: Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations”

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Favorite Sports Team: Golden State Warriors

Favorite Comfort Food: Gumbo. In 1984, Bill Foster and I left Clemson University to restart the basketball program at the University of Miami after it had been on a 15-year hiatus. I recruited a young man out of Lafayette, Louisiana. I stayed at the Radisson, and I went to the concierge and said I wanted some real Cajun food. There were a lot of restaurants around, but I went 10-12 miles out of town. I ended up on this bayou at a place where they put the food on a table with paper and cold beer. The people there took a liking to me because I stopped in there every time I went to the area. The grandmother finally said that if I came back again, she would teach me how to make Cajun food. She taught me how to make the best gumbo.

Favorite App: Vivino. It’s a wine app.

Last Book Read: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

Dream Vacation: I’d like to go to the San Francisco area, Sausalito, Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley because I’m crazy about wine.

Something That Has Changed My Life: The birth of my daughters and my basketball coach, Bob Hussey, at Belmont Abbey College. With his help, I had the opportunity to get into college coaching.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Life is a never-ending process of getting used to things that you never expected.

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Outgoing

Favorite Hobbies: Cooking, fishing, golf

Secret Aspiration: To write a memoir 

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Cooks Vs. Cons”

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I was born in rural, coastal, eastern North Carolina in a small town called Bolivia. It is 22 miles south of Wilmington and 24 miles north of Myrtle Beach.

Necco Augusta

Community Groups in Action

calling postNecco Augusta has a new home in Martinez. However, the nonprofit, which provides foster care and adoption services to children from birth to age 21, is more interested in finding forever homes for children.

“Our mission is to build families,” says Natasha Small, the program director. “There are thousands of children in foster care across the state, and it is our mission to provide loving homes and permanency for as many children as possible.”

Service areas for the local office include Columbia, Richmond, Burke and McDuffie counties, and Small says the agency tries to place children in forever homes in their home counties. “Reunification with the birth family is always the goal whenever possible,” she adds. “Otherwise, we try to find the best fit for the child.” 

Necco Augusta receives foster care referrals from state and county departments. The organization recruits potential foster parents through various events, social media and word of mouth. Requirements for becoming a Necco foster parent include passing a background check and being at least 21 years old. “The children we serve are from a variety of backgrounds, so we welcome diversity in our foster families,” says Small.

Support services include in-home case management, 24-hour emergency assistance, competitive reimbursement rates, coordination of services, licensed therapists on staff and ongoing training and outings.

“I believe foster parents are often the angels God sends as an answer to desperate prayers of children who are crying out for loving and caring adults,” says Phil Alexander, CallingPost founder. “I have great respect for people who give of their time and hearts to help children at a most vulnerable time in their lives.”

Necco Augusta will hold an open house at its new location, 432 South Belair Road, from 10 a.m. – noon Saturday, August 19. The organization also holds free weekly orientation sessions 10 a.m. – noon on Tuesdays. Orientation lasts 30 minutes to an hour, and in-home orientation appointments can be scheduled as well.

“Children are children, and youths in foster care need the same supports as other youths,” Small says. “Becoming a foster parent is one of the best ways to provide support.” 

For more information, call (706) 210-3435, visit necco.org or check them out on Facebook at Necco Augusta.

Taking a Bite Out of Zika

People
Dr. Jose Vazquez, chief of infectious disease at MCG at Augusta University, recently attended a seminar about the Zika virus at an infectious disease conference in New Orleans. No Zika cases have been reported in this area, he says, but outbreaks, which occurred in Florida last year, seem to move farther north every year. He also says scientists are working on three promising vaccines for the disease.

Dr. Jose Vazquez, chief of infectious disease at MCG at Augusta University, recently attended a seminar about the Zika virus at an infectious disease conference in New Orleans. No Zika cases have been reported in this area, he says, but outbreaks, which occurred in Florida last year, seem to move farther north every year. He also says scientists are working on three promising vaccines for the disease.

The Zika virus could make a comeback when the threat of mosquito bites returns with the summer heat.

No one likes to be bitten by mosquitoes, but the bug bites are more than an annoyance to some people. With the return of the summer heat and the pesky insects, women who are pregnant or who plan to get pregnant in the next three to six months need to protect themselves from mosquitoes. 

“We had no Zika cases here last year, but every year it spreads a little bit farther north,” says

Dr. Jose Vazquez, chief of infectious disease at MCG at Augusta University.

In the United States last year 77 babies died in the womb due to Zika, and 51 others were born with Zika-related birth defects. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 10 pregnant women with Zika gave birth to a child with serious birth defects. 

“The only people that really need to be concerned about Zika are the folks that are having babies,” says Vazquez. “We don’t know how long the virus will last in the system. We don’t know if a child can develop abnormalities down the road. It’s certainly a possibility.”

While there have been no reports of the Zika virus in Georgia, Vazquez says, pregnant women should avoid areas where it has been reported such as the Caribbean and the middle and southern parts of Florida.

Vazquez-2“The outbreak may be a little bit bigger this year,” he adds. “We might see an outbreak farther north around Disney World that could move its way up here.”

According to reports, however, the virus is not as prevalent this year in some previously hard-hit areas such as Puerto Rico and South America. Vazquez, who attended an American Society for Microbiology infectious disease conference in New Orleans in June, says herd immunity will curtail outbreaks of the virus in these regions.

“When an area has a lot of cases of any virus, everyone gets immunized. A lot of people had it and didn’t know it,” he says. “It’s not expected to be as bad in these areas because the body forms antibodies. In a couple of years, when people lose their immunity, we’ll start seeing it again.” 

Zika, one of several viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and by sexual activity, produces flulike symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, fever, muscle and joint aches, rash and inflammation around the eyes. The symptoms can last about a week. 

“Most people might not even know they had the Zika virus,” says Vazquez. “The biggest problem is with fetal malformation in pregnant women.”

Since the Zika virus has been around only a couple of years, Vazquez says no one knows if it has long-lasting effects. A diagnosis is made by a blood test performed by the CDC. Currently, no vaccine is available for the Zika virus. However, Vazquez says. “Scientists are working on three different vaccines that look pretty efficient.” 

Mosquitoes are most prevalent in the late spring, summer and into the fall, Vazquez says, and the mosquito that causes Zika is out day and night.

To avoid getting bitten by a mosquito, people should use bug repellant that contains DEET and wear long sleeves and long pants when they go outdoors. Vazquez also emphasizes that people should get rid of any reservoirs of standing water on their properties. 

“People should check around their houses once a week to make sure they have no standing water on low-lying land or in birdbaths or tires,” he says.

Reynold Borseth

People

Reynold BorsethReynold Borseth
Sales Center Manager, Augusta/Milledgeville
Augusta Coca-Cola, A Division of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United 

Number of years in position: 18

Family: Wife, Gwen; son, Jason; daughter, Dena

 Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I feel very fortunate to work for a company such as Coca-Cola United. It is a company that lives by its core values (integrity, respect, quality and excellence), from our CEO and president to all of our associates. It is 115 years old, and our employees have always taken pride in giving uncompromised service, great execution in our market and being involved in our communities. A company has to have great people to be as successful as Augusta Coca-Cola has been over the years. The reputation it has established today came from all the hard work so many people did in the past and that our employees continue to do today. It all goes back to the people. If you have great people and great brands, you are going to be successful and win. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: The Merchants Association of Columbia County and the Augusta Sports Council. I know there are a lot of great organizations in our community, but I have been a board member/member of the Augusta Sports Council for more than 20 years and a member of The Merchants of Columbia County for more than 12 years. I just enjoy being a small part of two great organizations and what they give back to the community…which is a lot.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How:  Losing our son Reynold Jr. in 1998 in a car accident. He had just started college, and there is no doubt we would have watched him on TV playing for a MLB team. When Reynold had his accicdent, you expect your family to be there for support, which they were, but it was our friends that reached out with love and support that helped so much, along with the memories of all the good times we had with Reynold for the 18 years he was with us.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of:  Since 1989, being a part of all the great teams we have had at Augusta Coca-Cola and what we were able to accomplish. Also, watching our employees grow and advance with their careers.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up:  When I was young I always thought I would join the military.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon:  Playing golf and then going out to dinner with my wife and mother-in-law.

Favorite TV Show:  “Blue Bloods”

Favorite Movie:  Saving Private Ryan 

Favorite Sports Team: There is only one team…Georgia Bulldogs! 

Favorite Comfort Food: My wife’s fried rice 

Favorite App: Finance

Last Book Read: Small Giants (Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big) by Bo Burlingham 

Dream Vacation (and Why): To spend the whole month of January in Hawaii. Play golf and attend the two PGA golf tournaments and Champions Golf Tournament.

Something That Has Changed My Life:  The tragedy with our son. Life is too short.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Gather your facts before you make a decision. Don’t assume or jump to conclusions. 

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Dependable.

 Favorite Hobbies: I love to play golf and go fishing.

Secret Aspiration: Back in the day, to play on some type of a tennis tour.

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Amazing Race” with my wife, Gwen. She is so competitive that I know we would win.

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I played competitive tennis for more than 20 years at the 4.5 level with great friends.