NEWS BRIEFS

CHICAGO: Bally Total Fitness has hired Matthew Messinger for the newly created position of senior director of media development and communications, where he will manage the company's East Coast efforts and will report to Jon Harris, VP of communications and media development. Messinger was a VP at The GCI Group.

CHICAGO: Bally Total Fitness has hired Matthew Messinger for the newly created position of senior director of media development and communications, where he will manage the company's East Coast efforts and will report to Jon Harris, VP of communications and media development. Messinger was a VP at The GCI Group.

CHICAGO and NEW YORK: The United States Department of Agriculture is working with Edelman to promote wallet-sized cards to help consumers select the leanest cuts of beef. Nineteen cuts currently meet the government's standard for "lean," and the USDA is promoting these cuts as rich in nutrients. The agency's Diversity team has also been tapped by The Epilepsy Foundation to increase disease awareness among African Americans.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Jessica Kourakos has joined Intuit as VP of IR. Kourakos, who will report to SVP and CFO Brad Henske, replaces Linda Fellows, who is retiring. Kourakos joins from Synopsys, where she was VP of IR. Synopsys is currently looking for her replacement.

SAN FRANCISCO: Rebecca Fuller has joined Sparkpr as a senior managing director. She will oversee the consumer-technology and enterprise-software teams. Fuller joins Sparkpr from Blanc & Otus, where she was a VP.

BETHESDA, MD: Equals Three Communications, a social-marketing agency, has hired Kristen L. Musumeci as EVP. Musumeci was VP for Finding Cures, a start-up affiliate company of Matthews Media Group.

LOS ANGELES, CA: Caroline Rothwell and Alison Mamana Sabo have formed 323 Agency, a full-service marketing firm. Rothwell had been VP of marketing for Von Dutch Originals. Sabo had been owner of PR firm Belladonna.

TORONTO: Larry Parnell, a 30-year veteran of the agency and corporate communications fields, has established Nomad Strategic Communications to focus on strategic IR and PR consulting. He also has signed on as a senior counselor to Hill and Knowlton Canada. Parnell had been SVP of corporate relations for gold-mining company Barrick Gold in Toronto.

NEW YORK: Ed Rady has been promoted to CEO, and Nicholas Colucci to COO, at Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. Roger Haupt, Publicis Groupe president and COO, had overseen the healthcare group after the 2002 merger of Publicis and BCom3. Rady had been chairman and CEO of the Publicis Healthcare Communications Specialty Groupe and Colucci had been CEO of the Medicus Group.

SANTA MONICA, CA: The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has named Ron W. Roecker as its VP of communications. Roecker, who recently has served as the senior director of communications, will continue reporting directly to Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy.

SAN FRANCISCO: Exigen has selected Lewis PR to manage a yearlong, $150,000 media campaign. Exigen develops software and services to help companies improve the financial performance of complex business processes.

WASHINGTON DC: O'Keeffe & Company, a northern Virgina-based tech firm, has added three new accounts equaling $315,000: EzGov, a provider of online transactional applications for government; V-SPAN, a global collaboration services provider; and Xacta Corporation, an information security company.

PLYMOUTH, WI: Orion Energy Systems, which designs and makes lighting systems and controls, has retained KCSA Worldwide to establish a national profile and to help educate the U.S. manufacturing community about the role energy efficient lighting can play in benefiting their bottom line, improving their productivity, and safeguarding the work environment.

PHILADELPHIA: Bellevue Communications Group has signed on two new clients: the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board.

ATLANTA. GA: Precision Communications, a marketing firm, has changed its name to Attention, launched a new website, and expanded into a virtual agency.

DES PLAINES, IL: Blyth HomeScents International - North America, a competitor in the $2.5 billion home-fragrance category, has appointed Wheatley & Timmons as its PR AOR after a review.

NEW YORK: Video-game advertising company Massive Incorporated has selected San Francisco-based PR agency SutherlandGold Communications as its agency of record. Massive is an in-game advertising specialist, creating advertising opportunities within video-game content.

SAN FRANCISCO: Bronwyn Boyd-Sanders has joined Schwartz Communications as a VP, focusing on the Bay Area office's healthcare practice. Boyd-Sanders has held senior positions at The Bendigo Group, Neale-May & Partners, Somatix Therapy, Burns McClellan, and Immune Response Corporation.

SEATTLE, WA: Richmond Public Relations has added seven new clients to its roster: American Liver Foundation, BizXchange, Christina's Cookbook, Emerald Downs, Hotel Elliott, Jamba Juice, and TimelessNow.com.

FORT WORTH: InterStar Marketing & Public Relations has been selected by Rucker Performance to provide PR services to introduce and promote the company's new custom motorcycle products nationally.

OREM, UT: Snapp Norris Group has been named AOR by Agilix Labs, iTerra Communications, Silex Technology America, and Vintela. Levanta also selected the agency for the strategic development and implementation of its PR program and new product launch.

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