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    Living thousands of miles apart as children Levi and Teodora Mitze-Circiumaru never knew their love for music would one day bring the two together - or to Meridian. Levi Mitze-Circiumaru teaches Algebra I at Meridian High School and Teodora is the organist at First Christian Church where the two attend. As a young girl in Romania, Teodora started playing the piano when she was in fourth grade. She later discovered in high school she wanted to play the organ and began to take private lessons. Levi is also a musician having played the violin since the age of eight. He plays the violin at First Christian Church occasionally. The two met when Teodora came to America in 2014 to pursue an Artist Diploma at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Levi was at the university finishing his undergraduate degree in violin and computer science. Being from Romania Teodora said her first time to America was a little bit of a culture shock. 'The way people eat, shop, even the density of the city is different — like not so many houses,' Teodora Mitze-Circiumaru said. 'You don't necessarily need a car everywhere you go.' Living in Romania After finishing her Artist Diploma, Teodora was offered a job in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. During the year they were living there, Levi Mitze-Circiumaru had the opportunity to play with several professional orchestras. But, the best experience was when the two had a second wedding with Teodora's family in Sibiu, Romania, Levi said. 'The ceremony was held at the Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary — it was an incredible experience,' Levi said. 'This city is like a medieval town, well preserved. So much beautiful architecture with a deep history. 'While traveling and performing with the orchestras, I also got to see such beautiful country and mountains with great cultural venues. I had played with some semi-professional orchestras in the states during college, but it was awesome playing with professional orchestras.' Moving back to the U.S. After living in Romania for a year the Mitze-Circiumarus decided to return to the states so Teodora could get her doctoral degree at Florida State University. While living in Florida, Levi Mitze-Circiumaru became interested in a program — The Mississippi Teacher Corps. A program that eventually led them to Meridian. 'The program takes people who don't have degrees in education but are suited to teach in a high need subject, like mathematics,' Mitze-Circiumaru said. 'In return for a full tuition master's degree from the University of Mississippi, you can commit to teaching for two years in a high need school somewhere in Mississippi. 'So they placed me in Meridian at Meridian High School. That's how we came to live in Meridian.' The Mitze-Circiumaru's said since moving to Meridian a month ago they haven't had much spare time, but when they do they enjoy playing music together, reading and watching movies. 'Teodora likes to cook, and I like to eat,' Levi Mitze-Circiumaru said. 'We play music just for fun, and like to watch shows on Netflix.' 'Levi likes to swim, but I hate the water,' Teodora said. 'We both like to play tennis but haven't had time to do that. We look forward to what Meridian holds for us, because we are here for two years, for sure.' ___ Information from: The Meridian Star, http://www.meridianstar.com
  • The fire and passion of Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst is known worldwide.  But with his team trailing 14-10 at halftime to Grayson, after two quarters where his offense managed just 77 yards and five first downs, he went the genteel route with his locker room speech. The Packers (6-0) and ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAAA, responded to the kinder, gentler approach, shutting out the Rams in the second half while scoring 16 points of their own to take a 26-14 win and ruin homecoming for Grayson (3-2), ranked No. 3. “I think resiliency was the key,” Propst said afterward. “I felt like in the first half we got hit in the mouth. No one was screaming or yelling [at halftime]. We just went in and made some adjustments. We were struggling with some of our blocking assignments, and I said we were going to have to come out and win an ugly second half. Defense balled all night and I’m proud of how we responded.” On the other side, Grayson head coach Christian Hunnicutt was disappointed in his team’s offensive performance. “We have to go back to the drawing board and find out who we are offensively,” he said. “We can’t sustain drives. Other than a big run and a play we drew up in the dirt, we can’t get into any sort of rhythm. Our defensive group has really settled in, and Colquitt is a very good defensive team. But on offense it’s almost like we have to go back to the beginning and figure out what we can do. We just don’t have any consistency there.” Grayson struck first with a big assist from its defense. The Rams sacked Jaycee Harden and forced a fumble that they recovered at the Colquitt 35-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, J’Kori Jones hit tight end Zach Bush up the far seam for a touchdown to put Grayson up 7-0. Colquitt moved the ball on its next possession and marched deep into Grayson territory after a roughing penalty on the Packers’ punter kept the drive alive. But the Ram defense stiffened and Ryan Fitzgerald missed a 35-yard field goal to keep Colquitt scoreless heading into the second quarter. Early in the period it appeared as if Grayson might go up two scores after the Rams took over possession at the Packer 35-yard line following a short punt by Colquitt. But linebacker Camari Lewis made a leaping interception at his team’s 20-yard line and returned it all the way down to the Grayson 15-yard line.  Again, Grayson’s defense bowed up as Colquitt lost a yard on three plays. But this time Fitzgerald drilled a 35-yard field goal to close the gap to 7-3 midway through the quarter. The Rams pushed the lead to 14-3 with a little over three minutes left before halftime when on third-and-one from the Colquitt 31-yard line, sophomore running back Phil Mafah took a dive play through the middle of the line and sprinted to the end zone.  But Colquitt answered immediately. Junior Montavious Ponder fielded the ensuing kickoff at his 2-yard line, darted through a seam up the middle, cut to his right and outran the rest of the Grayson coverage team down the near sideline for a 98-yard touchdown return to make the halftime score 14-10.  Unlike the start of the game, Colquitt’s offense got going early in the second half thanks to a couple of big plays on the Packers’ first two possessions. Ty Leggett’s 51-yard run on Colquitt’s first drive moved the ball to the Grayson 8-yard line. But a procedure penalty, a bad snap and a negative running play forced the Packers to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Fitzgerald to narrow the gap to 14-13. Colquitt’s defense got the ball back for the Packers when Nyquann Washington picked off an overthrown ball by Jones in the near flat, to set up Colquitt on its 35-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Harden threw a near-perfect ball to Ja’Naz Graves, who had a step on two Grayson defenders down the far sideline. The play was good for 50 yards to the Ram 5-yard line. Two plays later Leggett bulldozed his way in from 2-yards out to give Colquitt its first lead of the game, 19-14, heading into the fourth quarter after the Packers misfired on the two-point conversion pass. After the Colquitt defense forced a three-and-out, the Packer offense scored for the third time in as many possessions in the second half and put the game away when Leggett sped around the left side and outran the Grayson secondary for a 43-yard touchdown for the game’s final points. For Colquitt, it was the Packers’ six win over a top-10 opponent this season. “Our kids have been here before,” Propst said. “They always know they’re never out of it.”
  • A local teen is being called a hero after police said he stepped in to assist two coworkers who had been stabbed in a shoplifting incident. When 17-year-old Campbell High School junior Mario Alexander is not working, reading or practicing his French, he participates in the Cobb County Police Explorers. That program teaches young people about law enforcement, including some of the skills they will need for a future career as a police officer. Those skills may have saved two lives on Sept. 9. Alexander was working in the cafe area of the Target on Cobb Parkway near SunTrust Park when he saw a security guard chasing somebody out of the store. 'The security personnel raised up his arm, he had his arm lifted, and he said 'I've been stabbed, he got me,'' Alexander said. 'He threw his arm back, and I saw blood just coming out, just gushing out.' Alexander jumped into action. He remembered his trainers said to always put on gloves at a crime scene, so he snapped on his food safety gloves and ran over to help. First, he tried to make a tourniquet out of his apron, but he quickly realized the material was unsuitable, so he took off his T-shirt and tore it up to stop the security guard's bleeding. Not long after, another security guard came in with a stab wound to the neck. Alexander used a towel and gauze from a first aid kit to stanch the blood until Marietta Police and paramedics arrived. Speaking to the media after the incident, Alexander said thanks should go to the explorers for teaching him first-aid skills and God for helping him stay calm. 'I really don't think I'm a hero,' he said. 'I give all the credit to the Police Explorers, the Police Department and the Lord. Like I said, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have been able to apply my training . I was at the right place at the right time to apply those skills.' Alexander's mom, Gabrielle Cummings, said she's proud of her son, but not surprised. 'When I talked to him, I said 'Mario, you're a hero now,'' she said. 'He said 'No, mom, I'm not a hero, this is just my calling.' . He's a great young man. Helping is his passion.' Cobb County Police Officer Sara O'Hara, one of the advisers for the Explorers, was not surprised either. She said since he started the program 15 months ago, he has been a model for the other Explorers and has risen up the ranks quickly. 'He's already been blazing the path to be one of our officers since day one . When this came out and I got the email, I was like 'Well of course it's Alexander. Of course it's going to be him,'' she said. 'He was already making his footprint . We're definitely proud of him.' Alexander may have some awards and special recognitions coming his way from the Explorers, O'Hara said, more items for an already impressive resume. But when it comes time to apply for a job, the young man said he already knows where he wants to go. 'I'm coming home to the Cobb County Police Department,' he said. 'This is home, and I'm staying home.' Alexander said he loves to teach others, so he hopes to one day end up at the Cobb County Police Academy, helping to train other future officers. Marietta Police apprehended a suspect, 27-year-old Michael Leon Thornton of Marietta, the same day of the incident. According to his arrest warrant, police said he was attempting to shoplift an iPhone from the store. The warrant states he pulled out a pocket knife and attacked when the two security guards approached him. The two victims were reported to be recovering from their injuries. Thornton is being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center, charged with felony armed robbery and two felony charges of aggravated assault. ___ Information from: Marietta Daily Journal, http://mdjonline.com/
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 3 Night' game were: 9-9-4 (nine, nine, four)
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 4 Night' game were: 8-6-9-8 (eight, six, nine, eight)
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Fantasy 5' game were: 04-05-14-22-36 (four, five, fourteen, twenty-two, thirty-six) Estimated jackpot: $150,000
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the 'Mega Millions' game were: 01-02-11-52-64, Mega Ball: 9, Megaplier: 4 (one, two, eleven, fifty-two, sixty-four; Mega Ball: nine; Megaplier: four) Estimated jackpot: $275 million
  • E_Pivetta (3). LOB_Philadelphia 4, Atlanta 7. 2B_W.Ramos (22), Inciarte (27). 3B_Alfaro (2), J.Crawford (3). HR_C.Hernandez (14), Albies (23). CS_Quinn (3). WP_Pivetta. Umpires_Home, Gerry Davis; First, Pat Hoberg; Second, Brian Knight; Third, Hunter Wendelstedt. T_3:24. A_34,370 (41,149).
  • The Baby Braves are all grown up. It's almost time to celebrate. With another gutty performance that pushed Atlanta to the brink of its first NL East title since 2013, the Braves bounced back from Ronald Acuna Jr.'s defensive blunder with a five-run seventh inning that carried them past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 Friday night. Ozzie Albies sparked the comeback with a two-run homer and Johan Camargo finished it off with a two-out, two-run single, giving the youthful Braves a chance to celebrate as soon as Saturday afternoon with one more victory over the second-place Phillies. 'Man, this might be doable,'' manager Brian Snitker deadpanned. Acuna misjudged Wilson Ramos' liner to left in the top half of the seventh, turning what should have been an out into a two-run double. Pinch-hitter Jose Bautista tacked on a run-scoring single, giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead. It didn't last long. Tyler Flowers led off the bottom half with a single off Pat Neshek (3-2), and Albies followed with a drive into the right-field seats for his 23rd homer. Dansby Swanson walked and Lucas Duda followed with a pinch-hit single before Neshek finally got an out — on a grounder that bounced off the third-base bag and was backhanded by Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw home to get Swanson trying to score. That was only a brief respite for the Phillies. Luis Avilan surrendered a run-scoring double by Ender Inciarte into the right-field corner. With two outs and the bases loaded, Camargo came through on a 3-2 pitch by lining a single to left to put the Braves ahead for the first time all night . 'There's an 'it' factor with teams,' Snitker said. 'You don't know how they get it. But when they've got it, it's really something special.' Acuna and Inciate celebrated at home plate, while Camargo pumped his fist emphatically at first, knowing he had pushed the Braves another step closer to the postseason. The Phillies dropped 7 1/2 games behind the Braves, while the Washington Nationals were eliminated from the division race. After their last NL East title, the Braves went through a massive rebuild that led to three straight 90-loss seasons. With some of baseball's brightest young stars, including 21-year-old Albies and 20-year-old Acuna, they're pushing for the playoffs far sooner than most people expected. Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman are the only holdovers from Atlanta's last playoff team. 'We were talking about it the other day,' Teheran said. 'It's been a while since the last time we did this. We're excited. We have a new team. I'm excited to see the guys do it for the first time. It's going to be different for me. I was a rookie the last time we did it.' After giving up a leadoff homer to Cesar Hernandez, Teheran turned in one of his best outings of an inconsistent season. He didn't allow another hit until pinch-hitter J.P. Crawford started the sixth with a triple off the right-field wall. Teheran escaped that jam by striking out Roman Quinn, getting Hernandez on a grounder to second and retiring Rhys Hoskins on a fly ball to right. But the Braves defense let Teheran down in the seventh. With one out, Justin Bour walked and Carlos Santana singled before Ramos sent a liner to left field for what should have been the second out. Acuna completely misjudged the ball, however, realizing too late that it was over his head. After a futile leap, the rookie had to go all the way to the wall to retrieve it, as both runners raced home to break a 1-all tie. Jonny Venters (4-0) claimed the win by getting the final two outs in the seventh. A.J. Minter earned his 15th save despite giving up a run in the ninth , striking out Quinn to end the game with a runner aboard. ROUGH OUTING After a very effective season, Neshek had one of his worst outings. The side-arming right-hander was charged with four runs while recording just one out, bouncing his ERA from 1.16 to 2.66. Neshek claimed home-plate umpire Gerry Davis missed several pitches that should have been called strikes. 'When you leave it in thee ump's hands, that can happen,' Neshek said. 'It just didn't go my way.' TRAINER'S ROOM The Braves will likely want former closer Arodys Vizcaino to pitch in back-to-back games before deciding whether he deserves a spot on a postseason roster. Vizcaino has allowed three hits and two runs in three innings since returning from the disabled list a week ago, but he had his most impressive performance with a scoreless inning against the Phillies in the series opener Thursday. The hard-throwing right-hander had 15 saves before he went on the DL with shoulder inflammation. He missed 55 games. UP NEXT The Braves are skipping LH Sean Newcomb's spot in the rotation, moving up RH Mike Foltynewicz (11-10, 2.90 ERA) to make Saturday's start against Phillies RH Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.77 ERA). Newcomb has a 7.44 ERA over his last seven starts, endangering his spot in the possible playoff rotation after he spent much of the season as one of Atlanta's most effective pitchers. Newcomb will be available out of the bullpen for the remainder of the weekend but could still make another start in the final week of the regular season, according to Snitker. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'All or Nothing Night' game were: 02-03-06-09-13-15-16-18-20-21-23-24 (two, three, six, nine, thirteen, fifteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-three, twenty-four)