By Mandi ColsonUniversity of Georgia A $1.3 million stimulus grant to University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences will help Georgians reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint, and create jobs in Georgia. Jorge H. Atiles, extension professor of housing and FCS associate dean, received the grant from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority. The authority manages federal stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy for the Georgia Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program. Weatherization assistance is provided directly by Community Action agencies and similar energy assistance agencies in the state to reduce infiltration and improve energy performance in homes of those on limited-incomes. The $1.3 million grant will fund the first seven months of a UGA Cooperative Extension program that will monitor weatherization activities and provide energy conservation education across the state to Georgians receiving weatherization assistance. Atiles said the grant will create a sustainable weatherization program that aims to ensure that after homes are weatherized, their occupants will be in the best position to realize energy savings and reduce their carbon footprint. The project will help Georgians meet the Governor´s Energy Challenge to reduce energy bills by 15 percent by 2020.The current contract is eligible for an additional two-year funding renewal that could exceed $4.5 million for this sustainable weatherization monitoring and education program. “Through this grant, UGA Cooperative Extension will be able to save at least five jobs and fund 20 new positions reaching every Extension district in the state. We are realizing one of the many goals of the federal stimulus package: the creation and preservation of jobs,” Atiles said. UGA Extension is a partnership between UGA colleges of Family and Consumer Sciences and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
SYDNEY: Novak Djokovic said Australian Open organizers should consider delaying the first Grand Slam of the year if haze from bushfires raging around the country threatens players’ health.The opening major of 2020 is due to start at Melbourne Park on January 20 and the city was blanketed by smoke from blazes burning to the east on Saturday, compromising air quality.Djokovic, president of the ATP players council, said in the early hours of Sunday that any delay would be a last resort, but it needed to be discussed.“I mean, it’s fair from you to say that (ask the question),” he said when pressed on the matter in Brisbane, where he is playing for Serbia in the inaugural ATP Cup team event.“Obviously, you have to always… because of some extreme weather and conditions, you just have to consider it.“But I think that’s probably the very, very last option for anything. I think they’re going to try to do anything to not delay in terms of days and when it starts.“I mean, and I understand why, but if it comes down to those conditions affecting the health of players, I think we should definitely consider it.”Catastrophic bushfires have been raging in Australia for weeks, leaving 24 dead and hundreds of properties destroyed.Tennis officials last week took the unprecedented decision to relocate the Canberra International — an ATP Challenger 125 event and on the women’s ITF World Tennis Tour, which serves as a stepping stone to the full tour.They said the play would not have been possible in the Australian capital which has been choked by smoke, with the tournament now due to start Monday at Bendigo in Victoria state.Djokovic said he had experienced air quality issues at tournaments in China, but the bushfires had created an unprecedented situation.The Serbian superstar said he not spoken to Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley “but people from my team have”.“They’re obviously tracking the situation every single day as it’s evolving and hopefully calming down with the smoke and fires,” he said.“I think they will if it continues the same way and if the quality of air is affected… I think Tennis Australia probably will be forced to, I think, create some rules about it.“I mean, it’s tough for them because scheduling has to be respected in terms of play and the Australian Open starts at a certain time, so there’s a lot of different things involved. “But health is a concern for me and for anybody.” (IANS)Also Read: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic makes winning start at ATP CupAlso Watch: Anti-CAA protests: Tinsukia District Congress demands release of party workers