Middle Georgia is filled with people who commit their time and effort to make the community a better place, and these community leaders, students and organizations often receive awards for their dedication.

Here is a list of people in Middle Georgia who have recently received awards.

Businesses and local leaders received awards after NewTown Macon’s 2019 Tour of Progress on Wednesday.

“I like to say downtown development is a team sport. NewTown has been working at this for 23 years, there’s no way we could do this without lots of partnerships,” Josh Rogers, president and CEO of NewTown Macon, said. “We like to take at least one minute a year to say thank you to all the people and really to recognize how much hard work they’ve put in to making downtown a success.”

The awards and recipients of NewTown’s 2019 Partners in Progress awards are:

Partners in Progress Award for Growing Jobs: Z Beans and La Bella Morelia, for creating new jobs in Macon by expanding their businesses in downtown Macon.

Partner in Progress Award for Increasing Residents: Trace Butler, for renovating the historic Lawrence Mayer building into 10 loft apartments.

Partners in Progress Award for Creating a Sense of Place: The McEachern Art Center, for creating a space downtown that strengthens the art community in Macon.

Emerging Leader Award: Richard Frazier, for enhancing Theatre Macon productions by creating multiple sold-out shows.

Emerging Partner Award: Alex Habersham, publisher of the Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages, for working tirelessly to increase diversity of downtown business owners and customers.

Downtown Ambassador Award: Karen Hix, for increasing collaboration between downtown business owners by growing the Downtown Macon Community Association.

Special Recognition Award: The 567 Center for Renewal, for installing three more graffiti walls to encourage public creativity, and Visit Macon and the Georgia Beef Board, for their work making Macon Burger Week a success.

A local author has published a new book through Mercer University Press about the Bears men’s basketball team beating Duke University in 2014.

Daniel Shirley, author of “Mercer’s Moment: Mercer Beats Duke!,” said the idea came from Douglas Pearson, vice president and dean of students of Mercer University.

“He said, ‘Hey, it’s been five years ... since we beat Duke, that’d be a great time to write a book don’t you think?’ and I said, ‘Yea, that’d be a great idea,’” Shirley said.

The book focuses on Mercer’s win against Duke, but also explores how Mercer got to that moment and what it meant for the university.

Shirley said working on this book was fun because he talked with the players and coaches for hours about their experiences.

“This one has been great because just being around those guys and then calling those players and just hearing their voice, kind of reliving everything that they went through,” Shirley said.

Shirley also wrote “Hatch Attack,” a 2009 book about Chris Hatcher, head football coach at Samford University.

To purchase a copy of the book, go to Mercer University Press’ website or visit the campus bookstore in Macon.