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Community Spirit

Downtown Alpharetta Kicks Off Holiday Season

ALPHARETTA, GA -- A weekend of festivities will ring in the holiday season Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5 in downtown Alpharetta.

The fun kicks off with a Christmas Open House sponsored by the Downtown Alpharetta Trade Association on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Shoppers will enjoy refreshments, in-store specials and wonderful gift selections at all participating stores.

A special Christmas Farmer's Market will be open until 5:00 p.m.

Alpharetta PAL Plans "Shop with a Cop"

ALPHARETTA, GA -- The Alpharetta Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) will host the annual "Shop with a Cop" event on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 6:00 p.m. at the Alpharetta Walmart (5200 Windward Parkway, Alpharetta, 30004).

With exceptionally high unemployment in Georgia, the generosity of the public is more significant than ever, said Laurie Nicholson, Alpharetta PAL executive officer. This year, PAL aims to help more than 75 children. Each child will be accompanied by a police officer, firefighter or public safety volunteer as he or she shops for desired holiday gifts.

"Throughout the year, representatives of the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety come across families who, for whatever reason, face financial challenges," said Nicholson.

Alpharetta Student Recognized as Giver, Leader

ALPHARETTA, GA -- Isabelle Marsh, a junior at Alpharetta High School, has been chosen as one of 21st Century Leaders' "20 Under 20" for the Class of 2010.

The 20 Under 20 were honored at a special event at the Georgia Tech Student Center in late October.

Isabelle received the honor because of her commitment to youth services in Alpharetta through the GivingPoint organization. GivingPoint offers teens meaningful volunteer experiences that match their interests and provides them with innovative technology to track, verify and earn points for their service. Students can "cash in" their points for microgrants, which are donated to their favorite nonprofit groups.

21st Century Leaders is a leadership program for Georgia high school students, according to its Web site.

North Fulton Ready to Host Film, TV Productions

ATLANTA -- The best time to stoke the flames is when the fire is burning hot.

And that's exactly what North Fulton County is doing.

North Fulton joins 15 other communities across the state in being the first to earn the special designation of "camera ready" by the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office. Being named camera ready means that a county has a program that provides film and television production companies with easier, faster and better access to local resources and location information.

2009 was a banner year for filming in Georgia, with more than 348 productions bringing an estimated $770 million to the state's economy, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Productions were shot in 50 Georgia counties over the course of the year, impacting local communities throughout the state.

Scarecrow Tourists Visit Alpharetta

ALPHARETTA, GA -- Scarecrow Harvest has become one of the most popular events of the year in Alpharetta -- a celebration of fall, with colorful scarecrows lining Main Street.

Elementary school children participate in Scarecrow Harvest by designing scarecrows, with their parents and teachers helping to bring their visions to life. Once the scarecrows are assembled and on display, Alpharetta residents, commuters and travelers get to enjoy them while driving through downtown.

This year, businesses, neighborhoods and non-profit groups were invited to join in the fun.

Fulton Commissioners Vote to Accept Renewal Grant for Services to Homeless Citizens

As of October 6th, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved a one-year grant renewal for services to the homeless. The funds which will be provided by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to provide services to help homeless citizens to overcome substance abuse, to prepare for employment and obtain permanent housing through the Office of Emergency and Transitional Housing. 

The county will add matching grant dollars of $287,571, which will bring the actual funds committed to $974,058.

The grants funds will be used in collaboration with 31 community-based agencies to provide funds to address substance abuse issues for those who are identified as being in need of assistance.

HomeStretch Launches Fundraising Campaign

HomeStretch, a non-profit that helps homeless families in North Metro Atlanta with temporary housing and provides educational skills, has launched a fundraising campaign using Give By Cell.

HomeStretch has been providing families with low-rent housing and structured education programs for 17 years. There are 24 units where families can stay for six months to two years until they graduate from the program.

Last year nine families graduated; three of those families were approved for Habitat for Humanity homes and a fourth purchased their own home. These families go forth to own homes, having obtained new life skills such as vocational training and money management.