Gwinnett Gab 3/20/2008

Gala proceeds to benefit Hi-Hope

LAWRENCEVILLE - About 600 people attended the Hi Stakes Gala sponsored by Hi-Hope last weekend.

The money raised in the fundraiser will go toward furniture for group homes, operating expenses for a day center, money for the construction of additional group housing and other projects.

Hi-Hope Service Center is a nonprofit organization providing comprehensive quality services to adults with developmental disabilities. Its goal is to help its clients build self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

The organization runs a day center and five group homes where clients live full-time. The day center offers a variety of activities, from art to computer training. It also helps its clients with employment, from job placement, transportation, training and monitoring.

An outreach program enables disabled clients to volunteer in the community with groups like Meals on Wheels.

The Hi Stakes Gala is the group's main fundraising event each year. It also does Taste of Buford in the fall.

Switch collection cuts mercury

ATLANTA - The National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program pulled the millionth mercury switch from a vehicle at Pull-A-Part in Atlanta, a business that also has a Gwinnett location.

The program has cut more than one ton of mercury by collecting one million switches from scrapped vehicles nationwide. The National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program is a collaboration among the Environmental Protection Agency, automobile manufacturers, steel makers, scrap recyclers, automotive recyclers, states and environmental groups.

Before model year 2003, some vehicles contained mercury switches for convenience lighting in hoods, trunks, and some anti-lock breaking systems. The program provides dismantlers with information, materials, support and incentives to remove these switches from end-of-life vehicles before they are crushed and sent to furnaces that recycle the steel.

The goal of the program is to capture 80 to 90 percent of available vehicle mercury switches by 2017 when most pre-2003 vehicles are expected to be off the road and the program is scheduled to end.

If mercury switches are not removed from vehicles, a significant amount of that mercury can be released into the environment as air emissions. These air emissions are considered a primary source of mercury that poses a risk to human health and the environment.

For more information, see www.pullapart.com.

Gwinnett Gab appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. To submit an item to Gwinnett Gab, e-mail gab@gwinnettdailypost.com.