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Gov. Deal swears in Ga. Supreme Court justice

Gov. Deal swears in Ga. Supreme Court justice

ATLANTA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal has sworn in the newest justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Keith Blackwell was sworn in Thursday morning in the House Chamber of the State Capitol.

Deal last month appointed the 37-year-old Blackwell to fill a vacancy left by Chief Justice George Carley. Carley's resignation as chief justice was effective Tuesday.

Blackwell had served on the Court of Appeals since he was appointed in 2010 by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. He is the 92nd justice since the court's creation in 1845.

Blackwell previously practiced civil and criminal law. He will serve on the court until 2014, when voters will decide whether to keep him on the bench for a six-year term.

Coach honed debating skills of young Gingrich

Coach honed debating skills of young Gingrich

ATLANTA -- Admirers of a young college professor named Newt Gingrich say he was always a dynamic speaker, but with flaws.

He frowned, titled his head awkwardly and repeated the same words. He also went for the rhetorical jugular.

Gingrich was running for Congress in the 1970s and supporters worried that TV cameras would magnify his delivery problems.

But Gingrich didn't have to look far for help when he decided to sharpen his debating skills.

In the building next to the one where Gingrich taught history at West Georgia College, professor Chester Gibson coached students in debate. He helped Gingrich for free.

Now retired, Gibson says Gingrich is the best debater among the four Republican presidential candidates.

UWG president honored by alma mater

UWG president honored by alma mater

CARROLLTON, Ga. -- Dr. Beheruz Sethna, president of the University of West Georgia, was recently honored by his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Founded with active collaboration from Harvard Business School, IIMA is considered to be one of the best business schools not only in India, but in the entire Asia-Pacific region. The school recognized Sethna and 39 of his fellow alumni as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.

Sethna has also been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. With these two awards, he has been honored by two of the top schools in his native country.

Georgia Trend recently named Sethna to its list of the 100 Most Influential Georgians as well.

Merry Christmas from Gov. Deal

Merry Christmas from Gov. Deal

ATLANTA -- Governor Nathan Deal issued a special holiday greeting for Georgia residents on Friday.

As Christmas nears, I wanted to wish every Georgian a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Christmas has a special way of reminding us what is really important: our faith in God, family and the well-being of our fellow man.

But Christmas is not limited to a single season or date on a calendar. These feelings of peace and love are always with us throughout our lives. For many, Christmas serves as a rejuvenation of these values and ideals.

After the gifts are all unwrapped and the candles begin to dim, our spirits will once again be enriched and fully restored.

As we reflect on all we have been able to accomplish this past year, we will cary this rejuvenated spirit to achieve all the goals that we have set for the coming years.

'Elf on the Shelf' creator to speak at UWG

CARROLLTON, Ga. -- Have you ever wondered how Santa really knows whether you've been naughty or nice?

Chanda Bell knows, and now she's sharing her knowledge in a presentation at her alma mater -- the University of West Georgia.

Bell is the bestselling author of the children's holiday book "The Elf on the Shelf," which follows one of the North Pole's many "scout elves" who help Santa determine which names to put on his naughty and nice lists. Named Chippy by his adoptive family, our elf friend is assigned to help a little boy named Taylor McTuttle believe in the magic of Christmas.

"The Elf on the Shelf" was co-written by Bell's mother, Carol Aebersold, and sister, Christa Pitts, who is also a UWG alumna. They self-published the book, which is based on a family tradition featuring Fisbee, a pixie elf who appears in the Aebersold home every holiday season.

Ludacris to perform at UWG

Ludacris to perform at UWG

CARROLLTON, Ga. -- Hip-hop star Chris "Ludacris" Bridges is coming to Carrollton.

Ludacris will perform at The Coliseum at the University of West Georgia on Thursday, Nov. 3. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

The three-time Grammy winner and multi-platinum rapper has sold more than 12 million albums in the U.S. His film and television credits have won him critical acclaim.

Ludacris is also known for his philanthropy, including helping Artists for Peace and Justice raise more than $4 million for Haitian relief efforts. Meanwhile, the Ludacris Foundation raised more than $100,000 for Atlanta flood victims.

The concert may contain adult lyrics.