The Avenue Webb Gin honors art contest winners

SNELLVILLE - Cousins Properties' The Avenue Webb Gin recently announced the winners of the "Art for the eARTh" art contest, in which South Gwinnett High School students transformed soda cans, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and other recyclable materials into striking and unusual works of art.

The top 10 student art creations, as evaluated by the school's art teacher, were on display throughout April at Barnes & Noble. Shoppers voted at the bookstore for their favorite art creation, and Barnes & Noble donated a portion of its sales during the voting period to the South Gwinnett High School art program.

Maggie Ellis received the most votes for her creation, "The Winds of Change," and was named Voter's Choice Winner. In addition, Ellis received the title of Facebook Fan Favorite, garnering the most votes on The Avenue's Facebook page, ShopTheAvenue.

A judging panel selected Best in Show winners April Laurens in first place for "Rebirth," Ellis in second place and Leah Freeland in third place for "Guardians of the Earth."

The winners were recognized and awarded gift cards to The Avenue Webb Gin retailers at a May 2 awards ceremony. The ceremony featured a showcase of all South Gwinnett High School "Art for the eARTh" contest entries, as well as live music, organic product displays and giveaways from retailers including Natural Body Spa and Shop, a sustainable LEED-certified retailer. The first 100 guests received a free tote bag from The Avenue Webb Gin made of 100 percent recycled materials.

Jackson EMC recognized by EPA with award

JEFFERSON - Jackson Electric Membership Corp. (EMC) has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a 2009 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award.

This award recognizes Jackson EMC's efforts to promote energy-efficient construction and environmental protection by sponsoring an Energy Star for New Homes program in its service area last year.

To earn the Energy Star, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA. These homes are at least 15 percent more efficient than homes built to local code and include energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.

Energy Star qualified homes offer features such as effective insulation systems, high performance windows, tight construction and ducts, properly-sized and installed efficient heating and cooling equipment, efficient products and third-party verification.

Impact Group awarded $10,000 for homeless

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia has awarded The Impact Group $10,000 to help serve homeless families in Gwinnett during the coming year.

The grant will support the Transitional Housing Program, which provides working families with subsidized housing and intensive case management to address the causes of their homelessness. Now in its 13th year, the program has helped over 225 families achieve financial stability and permanent housing.

"With rising unemployment and many families losing their homes to foreclosure, this program helps stabilize entire communities by helping families reduce their reliance on outside assistance," said Tom Merkel, executive director of The Impact Group.

At any one time, The Impact Group can serve 22 homeless families through its Transitional Housing Program. Families that enter the program receive a variety of supportive services, including day care for their children, basic health care and screenings, basic home furnishings, career development and credit repair counseling. In the program, the heads of households work with a case manager to develop a plan with specific goals to address the barriers holding a family in homelessness.

To date, about 92 percent of the families that complete the program remain in stable, independent housing more than a year later.

Hotel general manager receives award

ATLANTA - Hotel Equities recently named Gwinnett resident Rosa Guerra the General Manager

of the Year for her success during the past year.

Recognized for earning top marks during two consecutive hotel industry inspections, Guerra also earned top guest and associate scores throughout the year.

"Rosa does a great job of balancing service to guests, associates and investors," said Tamara Markham, Hotel Equities director of operations. "Her hotel experienced very low associate turnover and she brought profits to the bottom line."

An employee of Hotel Equities for eight years, Guerra has progressed steadily to the position of general manager.

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