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Chuck Dowdle is the former Sports Director/Anchor for WSB-TV’s Channel 2 Action News and current sideline reporter for the University of Georgia football team. Originally from Atlanta, Chuck attended the University of Georgia in his freshman year, where he played forward for the basketball team. He then transferred to Georgia State University, where he was a pitcher for the baseball team in his junior and senior years. After graduating college, Chuck’s career took off when he was hired at WPGL in Miami, where he covered the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami. In 1985, Chuck moved back to his native Atlanta and began working at Channel 2. As one of Georgia’s Own, Chuck took some time out of his schedule to share with us his story.
i[x] Tell us a little about your background and why you decided to attend the University of Georgia (UGA) and then transfer to Georgia State University (GSU).
CD I started out at UGA because it got me out of the house, but was still close to home. I played basketball there my freshman year, and then transferred to GSU my sophomore year to help my parents out by living at home and saving a little money by doing so. At the same time, I wanted to continue in athletics and GSU was starting a baseball team, so I decided to play baseball for GSU.
i[x] As part of the basketball team at UGA and the baseball team at GSU, how were you able to balance the rigors of college athletics while also being a full time student and maintaining good grades?
CD First off, who said I had good grades [laughs]? No really, what it taught me is to have respect for the kids who do that now. I think the demands on young people now are incredible and much more stringent than it was when I was a college athlete. For example, look at a young man like Aaron Murray who graduated early and is now working towards his doctoral degree while continuing to play football at UGA. Tavarres King is another one who has excelled at sports and academics and is teaching part time while playing football at UGA.
i[x] How did you get started in the TV business?
CD When I graduated from college and began looking for a job, a fraternity brother’s father knew of an opening at WJHL-TV in Tennessee. They were looking for someone to do sports and weather. As it turned out, I had taken some meteorology classes in college, and already had a sports background, so I went up there and was lucky enough to be hired for $105 per week to do sports and weather for them.
i[x] What career path would you be following had it not been for the television industry?
CD I can’t really answer that, because this is what I always wanted to do. My parents would often tell the story of myself as a little boy, sitting in front of the TV and telling them that I was going to do that one day.
i[x] Before arriving at Channel 2 Action News, you worked in Miami, Florida. What did you enjoy about Miami and reporting sports there?
CD The people and the weather, in that order. It was wonderful all around. I covered the Miami Dolphins, coached by Don Shula at the time and I also covered the University of Miami, where I first met a young Mark Richt.
i[x] After working in Miami for several years, you were able to move back to your home of Atlanta. What was it like to be able to work in the town in which you grew up?
CD It was fabulous. There’s nothing like being able to work in your hometown. There’s no way I can put it into words, except to say that it felt like a perfect fit. And to bring it full circle, when I was 5 and 6 years old, I was on “The Popeye Club” that aired on the station that I eventually worked at when I made it back to Atlanta.
i[x] What was your favorite thing about working for Channel 2 ?
CD Cox Media Group (WSB-TV parent company) is a great company. Working with former co-anchors Monica Pearson, John Pruitt and Glen Burns was the best.
i[x] Being on TV, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of interviews. Is there one person or interview that stands out that you would call your favorite?
CD I loved the time I spent with Evander Holyfield during his career. Evander was an international star. When you’re the world heavyweight champion, that transcends nations. He loved local Atlanta media and I was lucky to have a great relationship with Evander.
i[x] You are now doing work with UGA Athletics. What do you like most about working with the program?
CD It’s a great institution that has gotten even greater over the last 15 years. To see the school continue to excel athletically while growing academically has been the most fun to me. I know I could not get into Georgia today if I was trying.
i[x] What do you enjoy doing in your spare time – if you ever have any?
CD I love to play golf, and I love to play golf with my favorite player, Dave Preter (Georgia’s Own President & CEO).
i[x] What advice would you give to someone who may want to get into the television industry?
CD Get an education and try to gain as much experience as possible. Take jobs at the school newspaper, radio station, and television station as a place to start if you can.
i[x] Are there any charities or organizations you are involved with? If so, how can our readers get involved?
CD I’m the honorary chairman of the United Way of Northeast Georgia where we serve nine counties. I’m also a long time member of the board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which helps seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. There are many ways to help with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, from donations to hosting fundraisers. A list of ways can be found online at www.starlight.org/georgia.
i[x] i[x] is a program all about being smart with your money. Why do you feel it’s important for today’s youth to practice smart financial habits?
CD I think it’s more challenging today for adults to prosper and be successful if they didn’t develop those good habits when they were young. I think we can all agree that our economy isn’t where it was 10 to 15 years ago, and we went through times back then where it was pretty easy to do well financially, and that’s just not the case now. So, you’ve got to be smart with your money and work on creating good financial habits.
i[x] What is one thing you do personally to make sure you are on the right track financially?
CD I try to make sure that I’m wise about my investments, all of my financial decisions in general, and I always look to the future and not the right now.
i[x] Anything else you’d like to leave us with?
CD If I could say one thing, it would be to always surround yourself with good people.No Comments »
With colder weather arriving in Georgia, it’s time to get out your warm clothes. Go through your closets, boxes and drawers and get rid of clothes you no longer wear. With all of the items you gather, you can donate them or even sell them for some extra pocket cash. Have you gone through your drawers or closet lately? If so, what’d you do with the stuff you no longer use?No Comments »
These days it seems that so much of our money is spent at the gas pump! We drive everywhere and with a gallon of gas that costs over three dollars, it can get expensive. Instead of spending all of your hard earned cash on fuel, try a few of these steps to reduce your spending.
- Take public transportation when possible.
- If you live close enough to school or work, walk or ride a bike if weather permits. (You’ll also get some nice exercise in at the same time!)
- If you do end up driving to work or school, try to run any errands you may have on the way home so that you can cut back on extra trips.
- Start driving more efficiently by cutting out aggressive driving (rapid acceleration and braking, speeding) and observing the speed limit.
- Remove any excess weight you may have in your backseat or trunk (or front seat for some).
These are just a few ways you can start saving on fuel costs. What do you do to cut back at the pump?No Comments »
Most of us all have smartphones today and if you’re stuck with the dreaded flip-phone, you’re no longer considered “hip” by many (although my dad still has one and it still works like a champ). Smartphones can do everything and we are glued them, but there is one major problem with them – they are so expensive! Here are a few ways you can shrink your bill:
1. You may not need the “unlimited data plan”. Pay only for what you use. Try to limit the minutes you use talking on the phone with your plan and instead send a quick text or email. Most people you talk with probably have the same phone as you and those texts are usually free. iMessage for iPhone and G-Chat from Google are great tools to use for free messaging.
2. Monitor Usage. Track your actual usage and then determine a plan that works best. You just might be able to make a switch to a cheaper plan.
3. Utilize Wi-Fi. Whenever possible, connect to wi-Fi as it doesn’t use your data plan. This will allow you to search the web and stream videos and music at minimal costs. Also, only try to do your gaming and streaming while connected to wi-Fi.
How much do you spend monthly on cell phone bills? Do you know of other ways to lower your bill?No Comments »
Fresh off the 2012 London Olympic Games, i[x] had the chance to talk to one of Georgia’s own future Olympic hopefuls, Jenny Arthur. Jenny is a recent graduate of Chestatee High School in Gainesville, Georgia and competes in weightlifting. Although she didn’t make the 2012 team, she has a great opportunity to make the Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
i[x] How did you first get into the sport of weightlifting?
JA My high school offered weightlifting as a class and I joined to be more explosive and powerful in my other sports (Track and Field, and Softball).
i[x] In what events do you compete?
JA I compete in Olympic style clean and jerk, and snatch at Junior Nationals and also Junior Worlds. The American Open is in December so I’m looking forward to some new personal records.
i[x] What is a typical day of training like for you?
JA I’m doing 2-4 hours of training a day, six days a week. I also do relaxing stuff like sitting in the sauna, getting massages and taking ice baths.
i[x] What motivates you every day to get up and train?
JA I believe my talents are absolutely gifts from God so I try to use it to the best of my ability. The support I get from my teammates, coaches and family pushes me to work hard every day. Knowing that I have an opportunity to represent the United States during the 2016 Games in Rio also keeps me motivated.
i[x] You recently competed for a spot on the 2012 Olympic Team. Can you describe for us the feeling you had knowing you were competing for a chance to represent the United States at the Olympics?
JA It was a special experience for me. I was very thrilled and honored to have had the opportunity. It was such a great blessing.
i[x] Although you didn’t make the Olympic Team for 2012, you have a great shot to make the team for the 2016 games at Rio de Janeiro. How has not making the 2012 Team motivated you?
JA It’s motivated me tremendously. I just continue to strive for excellence. I’m working really hard right now for 2016 Games in Rio.
i[x] Is there any one song or music you listen to before you compete?
JA God In Me by Mary Mary
i[x] What has been your favorite place you’ve traveled for a weightlifting competition?
JA I traveled to Penang, Malaysia for the 2011 Junior Worlds Championships. I had the opportunity to experience a different culture. I also enjoyed site seeing and the shopping at the various markets.
i[x] When you aren’t training or weightlifting, what do you enjoy doing?
JA I love spending time with my family. I have two loving parents, six sisters and one brother. There is never a dull moment around our house. I always have fun with them at home.
i[x] What’s next for you? Are you planning on going to college? If so, where and in what do you plan to major?
JA Right now I’m a full time resident at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Yes, I plan to attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs during spring semester of 2013. I would like to major in Sociology or Education.
i[x] At Georgia’s Own and i[x], we believe in the motto of “people helping people” and giving back to the community. Are there any charities, non-profits or organizations you are involved with?
JA Throughout high school I took part in different leadership programs and community events. I think giving back is really important. Recently, I was involved with an event in Colorado that helped support the many families whose homes were burned or damaged by wildfires.
i[x] Who has had the most influence on you so far in your career?
JA My parents instilled hard working skills in me and my siblings, and many other values. If it wasn’t for them and the grace of God, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
i[x] What advice do you have for aspiring weightlifters or athletes?
JA Give and do your best during all workouts. You have to be willing to put in the work and do the things it’s going to take to get to the next level. Also, you must know that you will fail at times. Never give up. You’ll go through trials, but how you react to the set back will determine how well you’ll do and how far you’ll go.
On June 15th, L.E.A.D. hosted its 3rd Annual Ambassador Signing Day program at Turner Field’s 755 Club. The event highlighted four graduates from the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors program. Ambassadors are high school leaders from L.E.A.D.’s fall Legacy League who demonstrate athletic prowess on the baseball field, leadership amongst their peers and integrity and civic engagement in their communities. The Ambassadors represent L.E.A.D. and the city of Atlanta in summer college exposure tournaments and in community service/civic engagement experiences in the metro Atlanta area. This year’s graduates include Dexwin Thompson (LeMoyne-Owen College), Russell McKenzie (LeMoyne-Owen College), Mendez Elder (Savannah State University) and Miles Martin (Tuskegee University).
i[x] recently had a chance to talk with the graduates about how they got started in L.E.A.D. and what it has meant to them being a part of the organization.
i[x]: How were you first introduced to the L.E.A.D. organization?
Dexwin: I was first introduced through my school (D.M. Therrell High School.)
Miles: My little brother started in 6th grade, which is how my family first got started, and I tried to become involved after that.
Mendez: Through my trainer, Andy May.
Russell: Through fellow Ambassador Dexwin Thompson who started playing with L.E.A.D. two years ago.
i[x]: What are your duties as an Ambassador?
Dexwin: Community service, blogging, networking, being there for teammates, having a positive attitude and keeping good grades.
i[x]: What does it mean to you being an Ambassador?
Russell: It means a lot that I had the opportunity to help out and be a part of the organization. Being in L.E.A.D. gave me access to opportunities I didn’t know existed.
Mendez: For them [L.E.A.D.] to come into the inner city on a baseball standpoint is important because many organizations don’t use baseball. Community service is also important; we come into the organization as boys and leave as men.
i[x]: I noticed that part of the requirements of Ambassadors is participating in community service. Why do you feel that it’s important to be involved in the community?
Miles: There are so many things that could be fixed, every little thing we do counts. Through L.E.A.D. we learn how we can give back as kids and as we become successful we can give back more to the community.
i[x]: What has been the most exciting part about being an Ambassador?
Dexwin: Going out there every day, having fun with my teammates, getting a scholarship, playing baseball and seeing a more positive side of Atlanta.
i[x]: For our readers who may not be familiar with L.E.A.D, can you give us a brief description and how it has affected you?
Miles: L.E.A.D. is an organization that helps inner city kids go to college and serve the community through baseball. This experience has been awesome for me and my family. I’ve met people and been places that I wouldn’t have ever met or seen without L.E.A.D.
Mendez: I came into L.E.A.D. with a 2.1 GPA and graduated with a 3.3 GPA. For those inner city kids that don’t like baseball, it’s so much more than that. L.E.A.D. gives you tools for college and helps you do everything you need to do to become successful.No Comments »
Kasim Reed understands leadership. After growing up in Atlanta, he attended Westlake High School and later, Howard University. By the age of 18 he had already started two businesses and amazingly, he was just getting started. He earned a law degree and then pursued a career in public service, serving in the Georgia State House and Senate. In 2009, Mr. Reed became Mayor Reed after being elected as the 59th mayor of Atlanta.
i[x]: Were you involved in any programs or associations in high school or college that lead you into politics?
KR: I learned a great deal about leadership as an undergraduate member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees and I created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment since its inception. I was appointed as Howard University’s youngest General Trustee in June 2002, and remain a member of the Board.
i[x]: Why did you decide to enter politics?
KR: I decided I wanted to be Mayor of the City of Atlanta when I was 13 years old. When I was growing up, my father often discussed politics at the dinner table. He admired Thurgood Marshall and told me how influential he was in helping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. achieve his dreams through legal action. Those stories inspired me so much that I wrote a book report about Justice Marshall and decided I wanted to be a lawyer and have a career in public service.
i[x]: Why did you want to become Mayor of Atlanta?
KR: Growing up in Atlanta, the spiritual birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, I was surrounded by forceful and influential African-American politicians who made it possible for me to imagine becoming Mayor. I first met my mentor, Ambassador Andrew Young, who is also a former Mayor of Atlanta, as a teenager. We crossed paths again while I was a student trustee at Howard University serving on the board alongside him. During that time, he encouraged me to pursue this goal. Two decades later, Ambassador Young endorsed my candidacy and was with me at my inauguration. i[x] As you know, i[x] promotes financial literacy to youth throughout the state of Georgia. Can you tell us why you think it is important for today’s youth to practice smart money management? KR In order to achieve long-term financial success, our young people have to understand the importance of preparation and investment as well as the simple practice of saving a dollar. When I was about nine or ten years old, I started a business: Kasim’s Lawn Care Service. I canvassed my southwest Atlanta neighborhood with my very own business cards. Soon, I stopped mowing lawns myself and delegated the work by hiring older friends in the neighborhood. In turn, that allowed more time to cultivate new customers and subsequently, earn more money. If you practice smart money management as a youth, chances are you will carry those habits with you into adulthood. Another powerful lesson in money management that our children should understand is how crucial living within your means and staying within your budget can be for long-term gains. This is a lesson that we must all master as people live longer and healthier lives.
i[x]: What is your biggest hope for the youth of Atlanta?
KR: We all have a fundamental obligation to make sure future generations do better than we do. I work hard every single day so that our youth have the resources they need for continued success. I also want a young public-school boy or girl who is 13 years old right now to acquire the skills necessary to possibly become Mayor by the time he or she is 40, as I did. I want every child in this city to have the fundamental skills needed to pursue his or her chosen career path. The long-term vitality of this city is tied to the success of young people.
i[x]: What is the most challenging part of your job?
KR: Being Mayor is a privilege; however, it comes with huge responsibility. I work on about 12-15 different major projects every day that have an enormous impact on the residents of Atlanta.
i[x]: What is the most rewarding part?
KR:I wake up every morning and feel like it is Christmas Day. I love my job. It is far more rewarding than I ever imagined. It’s not an easy job, but working each day to make a positive difference in the lives of our residents and business owners is enormously satisfying.
i[x]: What makes Atlanta such a great city to reside?
KR:That’s easy. I always say that Atlanta’s greatest strength is its people.
i[x]: not only promotes financial literacy, but also an entrepreneurial spirit. You mentioned your lawn care business previously, but I also noticed you started a jewelry business at the age of 16. Can you tell our readers a little about what it took to start this business at such a young age and the obstacles you had to overcome to make it a successful business?
KR: With starting and running any business, you run into obstacles that you must overcome. However, I learned at an early age that in order to be successful, you must work very hard and make sacrifices. I tell young people that they have the advantage of youthful energy and vigor and that they should work hard now because they will never have the same kind of physical capacity they have right now again. I actually paid for a substantial portion of my education at Howard University with the profits from that 14-karat-gold jewelry business. While in college, I also sold Howard-themed boxer shorts and arranged the delivery of student possessions for off-site storage over the summer.
i[x]: Another important piece of the i[x] program is giving back to the local community. Are there any charities or organizations you are involved with and why do you think it’s important to give back to the local community?
KR: While at Howard University, I persuaded fellow students to approve a surcharge of $15 per semester to boost Howard’s endowment and decrease its reliance on federal funds. I believed that students were too comfortable with taking, and we weren’t accustomed to giving back. Throughout the years, money from the “Independence Fund” helped renovate a reading lounge, buy new equipment for the fitness center, and provide $1,000 debit cards to students who came to Howard from schools in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. This fund now holds more than $10 million. I continue to support higher education, especially at Howard University.
i[x]: Did you participate in sports or extracurricular activities in high school?
KR: I played football, basketball and golf.
i[x]: Favorite Atlanta pro sports team?
KR: It’s a tie among the Falcons, Hawks and Braves.
i[x]: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
KR: I enjoy reading, cleaning my house, and spending time with my family and friends.
i[x]: Top 3 artists on your iPod?
KR: Michael Jackson, Jay-Z and Journey.
Are you looking for a great idea for the moms in your life for this upcoming Mother’s Day? With Mother’s Day nearing, we have some tips for how you can show Mom you appreciate her without breaking the bank.
1. Cook a Meal
She always cooks for you, so why not show her you can cook for her. Even if it turns out a little on the bland or burnt side, she will appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort in trying. Here are some simple, cheap recipes to “Wow” your mom.
2. Plant Flowers
Even though buying cut flowers is great, they don’t last very long. Buy a packet of seeds or potted flowers and schedule a time to help her plant them. Check here for a list of the best flowers to plant in Georgia.
3. A Day or Night Outing
Give Mom a break from her day-to-day life by taking her on a special outing. Research free events around you (concerts, day at the museum) and pick something that she will enjoy. To find free things to do in Georgia, check here.
4. Free e-card
Moms love getting cards, so why not send a free e-card this year? Georgia’s Own is once again offering to help you send an e-card to those special moms. Visit georgiasownmom.com to get started on your card.
March is known for many things – midterms, daylight savings time, and, of course, spring break vacation. Spring break trips, by their very nature, vanquish hard-earned surplus funds and eliminate any and all leftover holiday checks from generous distant relatives. But while you might try to concoct a MasterCard-esque rationalization that a week’s worth of zany adventures with your best palls is “priceless,” bear in mind these few simple tips to save yourself some unnecessary expenses.
Firt, if you’re the owner of the vehicle tasked with transporting you and your buds down to whatever destination, use AAA’s online fuel cost calculator to determine (almost exactly) the cost of gas for the trip before you leave. While everyone tossing you twenty bucks on their way out the door is a nice gesture, it rarely amounts to the true proportional amount owed for the drive.
Secong, pack thoroughly. Things like car snacks, sunscreen, coolers, etc. are all significantly cheaper at your local grocery store than at a convenience store in a touristy town. Third, while on the road start looking for exits with multiple gas stations while you still have at least a quarter of a tank. Gas stations isolated off freeways in rural areas can have significantly higher gas prices than another station just thirty minutes away. Don’t wait until that foreboding red glow is emitting from your dash to pull off the road and subject yourself to the overblown prices of a two-pump shack in the sticks.
Upon arriving, your first stop should be to the largest local grocery store. Preparing food and cleaning up while on vacation may seem like a downer, but eating in at least twice a day can make the difference between having surplus cash for weeks after spring break and being too broke to eat anything but salty noodle soup until April. Also, you’ll likely find making food and cleaning dishes to be surprisingly fun if you can get just a handful of your group on board.
Finally, beware of package deals regarding clubs, restaurants, or other tourist attractions. While these “coupons” might seem like great deals at first, consider the following; purchasing one of these passes financially obligates you to organize all of your plans around those places; places that may be hard to get to (so add some money for cab/shuttle); places who’s appeal may be significantly compromised in adverse weather (no patio, pool, or beach bar); and if this deal is available for you and your group, you can be almost certain it’s available for anyone and any group, meaning these places can be swarmed with other breakers making it nearly impossible to truly take advantage of whatever “deal” you were offered (free cover form 6-7, free appetizers, frees t-shirts while supplies last, etc.).
Whether or not you choose to follow any of the aforementioned advice, take this suggestion above all others: have a safe, memorable, and, most of all, fun spring break vacation!No Comments »
Valentine’s can be one of the most expensive date nights of the year. It can also be one of the most unromantic times for daters who are hoping for a special evening but instead end up seated in a back corner of an overpacked restaurant next to a couple with a crying baby. Here are some tips to ease the planning stress and end up with a memorable evening that doesn’t have to break your wallet.
Dining for the ironic: WAFFLE HOUSE
Yes, it’s hard to believe but it’s true – many Waffle House locations offer a Valentine’s Day program. Bring your camera so you can brag to all your friends. HA! Its a great place to sit and talk and laugh and enjoy an all American meal, scattered, smothered and covered. Don’t forget to get reservations though. They do fill up. At Select Locations: www.wafflehouse.com
Just do dessert at CAFE INTERMEZZO
The largest beverage menu you’ve probably ever seen with over 100 coffees, teas and more. They also have the most mouth watering delectable desserts you’ve tasted. Very romantic, candlelit, classical music, hip atmosphere. You will feel you’ve been transported to a quaint cafe in Europe. Locations In Brookwood, Dunwoody, & Downtown. Vist the site: www.cafeintermezzo.com
Be early: DINE A DAY BEFORE
You can expect better service and a quieter evening if you pick another night to dine out. You can tell your sweetheart you are so excited about Valentine’s that you want to celebrate early. Also if you are a seasoned baby-sitter you know Valentine’s is a great time to make a little dough while helping out couples with kids.
Keep it simple: STAY HOME
Cook them their favorite meal or order in and light some candles. Or you could watch a romantic flick while eating chocolate fondue.
Plan ahead: TREASURE HUNT
Give your sweetheart a map with clues that only the two of you would get. The map can include some of your favorite locations or items that you can reminisce over. Hide clues along the way, limit clues to 4 or 5 making the hunt around 30 minutes. Make sure to hide a treasure ahead of time in a safe place. Treasure could be a box of chocolates and handmade card, or tickets to special event etc.
Enjoy nature: STARGAZING
This can be fun if you bundle up and drive a few miles out, away from the city lights. Don’t forget to bring a thermos of hot chocolate, flashlight, binoculars, constellation map/star chart and a blanket.
Bonus points: FLOWERS
Whole Foods and Harry’s have beautiful roses and other flowers that are very reasonably priced. Locations Around Atlanta: wholefoodsmarket.com/stores