December 13 - 19, 2012
Volume 85 Issue 19
ADW ATLANTA DAILY WORLD Powered by Real Times Media
Bounce TV Adds Markets
Shaq’s Comedy Tour in Atlanta
Ford Celebrates Unsung Heroes
Getting Back to Number One NAACP Releases Education Agenda for America
Special to the Daily World On Georgia’s education front there is good news and bad news. The good: the Georgia Department of Education has announced high school students are performing slightly better on a statewide writing exam (see www.atlantadailyworld.com). The bad: Georgia high school graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students are still lagging (see story on Page 9). Meanwhile, nationally, the NAACP has taken an in-depth look at education in America and has released "Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America's Children." The organization says this report identifies the best practices for educating America's children.
Local Neurosurgeon Publishes Children’s Book About the Brain Special to the Daily World Dr. Cargill H. Alleyne Jr. was taking his family to Disney World four years ago when he had an idea for a children’s book. “It was a long drive, and my kids started asking questions about the brain,” Alleyne said. So the neurosurgery chief at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center began to share his scientific knowledge about the brain with his son and daughter. “I started droning on and on about the brain, and I think they started to fall asleep. So, I began making up limericks about the brain instead – how it looks and how it functions. I had to stop and scribble things down a few times so I wouldn’t forget. But by the end of the trip, I basically had the book written.” “Ned’s Head” was published in July 2012 through Create Space self-publishing. It is a light-hearted, rhyming book that examines what’s inside a little boy’s head. The boy’s name is Ned, and while getting ready for bed one night, he wonders what’s inside his head. Readers are taken on a ride through the inside of Ned’s brain, getting acquainted with all of
the nerves and parts of the brain that help answer questions many kids have, such as “How do I smile or frown? How do my eyes move around? How do I taste?” and “How do I stick out my tongue?” In addition to the facts presented in “Ned’s Head,” there is a glossary at the end of the book that provides definitions and pronunciations of the medical terms. A real “brain teaser” in the book is that the illustrators included small hidden brains in each of the illustrations for readers to find. Those illustrators are Michael A. Jensen and Karen G. Bradley. Jensen is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Illustration in Georgia Health Sciences University’s College of Allied Health. Besides medical drawings and artwork, Jensen has illustrated 12 Curious George children’s books. Bradley, who received her degree in medical illustration from GHSU, is an award-winning medical illustrator and founder of KB Illustrations.
It is the first time in nearly a decade that the NAACP has put forth a comprehensive education agenda. "If America is going to lead the world in this century the way we did the last, we must lead the world again in education," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "'Finding Our Way Back To First' is the road map for our activists, the communities they serve, and the nation as a whole. Our proposition is simple: if every public school does what the best schools do, every child will be able to get a great education. The NAACP has pushed America towards greatness before, and with this plan as our guide, our army of advocates will do it again."
Mayor Signs Resolution Backing Same-Sex Marriage Special to the Daily World In a largely ceremonial, but nonetheless groundbreaking move, Mayor Kasim Reed this week announced his support for same-sex marriage. Reed signed a resolution supporting marriage equality sponsored by openly gay City Councilman Alex Wan that was passed by the Council on Dec. 3. The resolution supports the city's lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community by endorsing marriage equality for same-sex couples. "Today marks an important day as I
announce my support for marriage equality," said Reed. "It is well known that I have gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone." Since the state, rather than individual cities, must rule on marriage law, the resolution was largely just a symbolic gesture, but Reed's support is
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December 13 - 19, 2012
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NEWS Erroll Davis Gets New APS Contract December 13 - 19, 2012
Special to the Daily World Erroll Davis' contract has been extended, but the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent who was brought in to clean up the mess after a cheating scandal that brought the district to its knees will be on a very short leash. Davis was given an 18-month contract extension by a board supermajority vote of 7-2, but his contract will include two trigger clauses that would give the board the power to fire him with 90 days notice at any time. His extension will begin in July. The two dissenting votes were from board members Brenda Muhammad and Nancy Meister. The deal was struck after hours of debate amongst the school board, which required a seven-vote consensus, instead of the typical five-vote majority, to retain Davis after he stirred up serious controversy by removing six administrators from North Atlanta High. Davis is obviously no stranger to controversy. He was brought in by Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed under the shadow of the APS cheating scandal to help repair the damage after former Superintendent Beverly L.
Hall left in the summer. At the time he said his goal was to make a difference. “When I look back at my life, I don’t want my contribution to have been shaving a few eighths off a bond deal to make a million dollars,” he said when he was appointed. He'll have about two years to prove to the school board that he can. Davis was the previous chancellor of the University System of Georgia. His salary as superintendent is less than half of what he had there, but he was still earning $240,000 a year under the terms of his previous contract, according to EducationNews.org. No financial terms of his new contract were reported.
Getting Back To Number One Page 1 The report highlights four areas for proactive education reform to ensure that, upon graduation, all American students are college ready and/or career ready. These areas of reform are: effective teaching; prekindergarten preparation; targeted spending; and expanded time for learning. ALMA POWELL "By every measure our children of color are behind. We get to where we are working hard, but we have to give our children more time and we have to level the playing field," stated Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who offered remarks at the press conference launching the report. "We have one common enemy, and our common enemy is academic failure." "The strategic, targeted investments outlined in the NAACP report will generate positive education outcomes for all of our nation's students, particularly the less fortunate among us," stated Dick Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former South Carolina Governor. "We cannot talk about advancement in America without talking about our young people and education," said Alma J. Powell, chair of America's Promise Alliance. "The simple truth is that preparing young people for success and 'finding
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our way back to first' is about much more than what happens inside the classroom, it takes the interest and investment from all of us. When we meet the needs of the whole child we are one step closer to preserving the promise of America." The NAACP's report also draws a connection between BEN JEALOUS our ability to successfully educate students of all socio-economic statuses and our strength in the global economic marketplace. The NAACP will share the report with activists at its over 1200 units across the country to use as a resource for education advocacy in their communities. The report will also be shared with other leading advocacy groups like Gamaliel, a non-partisan, faith-based organization that empowers ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives. Real improvements to our education systems start with parents and community activists demanding more than the status quo for delivering quality education," stated Ana Garcia-Ashley, executive director of the Gamaliel. "As activists, it is our responsibility to lift up these reforms and be the catalysts for change in our communities." "To fulfill its promise of greatness, this nation must adopt reforms that result in success for the vast majority
Mayor Backs Same-Sex Marriage Page 1 particularly appreciable given the high number of gays and lesbians living in Atlanta. The city was previously named the "gayest city in America" by leading LGBT publication "The Advocate." The City of Atlanta has one of the highest LGBT populations in the country, based on US Census and other data. For more on this story visit www.atlantadailyworld.com
of the country's young people, rather than a fortunate few," stated NAACP Education Director Beth Glenn. "The NAACP and its hundreds of thousands of members will continue to advocate for proactive education reform until our nation finds its way back to first." ANA GARCIA-ASHLEY
Neurosurgeon Publishes Children’s Book Page 1 “When I first thought of the book, I wasn’t even thinking of the actual character,” said Alleyne, who holds the Marshall Allen Distinguished Chair in the Department of Neurosurgery at GHSU’s Medical College of Georgia. “It was actually Jensen who came up with Ned’s character as an African-American boy. And, I thought, ‘That’s great, because I think it would be a good way to interest a group of kids who may not be thinking about doing neurology or neurosurgery.’ ” Dr. Alleyne’s goal is to have a wide spectrum of these books with diverse topics and characters. “I’ve already written the text for Bart’s Heart, Joan’s Bones, Nelly’s Belly and Malachi’s Eye,” he said. Other books would likely be about Russell’s muscles, and Keith’s teeth. Besides promoting reading, Alleyne says the children’s book series is a way of introducing kids to medicine at an early age. “I think that kids are smarter and smarter these days, and if you lead them in the right direction, they may get turned onto something. It’s a neat way to introduce them to their own body and what’s going on. We may get a new crop of physicians down the road.” “Ned's Head” received an honorable mention at the 2012 Fall Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. It is available for purchase on Amazon for about $12.
NEWS December 13 - 19, 2012 ‘Centers of Hope’ to Expand With South-View Cemetery $1.5 million from Wells Fargo Honors Atlanta Heroes Special to the Daily World A program that is increasing Atlanta students’ academic performance will expand dramatically as a result of a $1.5 million gift from Wells Fargo, Mayor Kasim Reed announced. The gift, Wells Fargo’s largest single gift to any group in Atlanta, was presented to Mayor Reed recently after he visited students at the Thomasville Center of Hope. Photo By M. Alexis Scott There, Boys &Girls Clubs Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Duriya Farooqui, of Metro Atlanta delivers chief operating officer for the city, receive the $1.5 programming and works million check from Wells Fargo in support of the closely with Thomasville mayor’s program to transform the city’s Heights Elementary School across the street. The Metro recreation centers into “Centers of Hope,” at the Thomasville Center, as Wells Fargo Georgia Atlanta YMCA provides President Mike Donnely (center) speaks with programming at the other officials following the dedication and Adamsville center. presentation. The programs are the models for after-school centers. The two centers had less than education for the city’s other recreation 100 youth participating at the start of the centers. Both centers are emphasizing not pilot programs, and now serve more than just academics but character-building, fit350 young people a week. ness, and service to the surrounding comThe donation from Wells Fargo comes munity. on top of nearly $2 million in private “Wells Fargo’s generous commitment funding raised previously, including an of $1.5 million strengthens our efforts to initial $100,000 gift from the company. positively impact the lives of deserving Thomasville Heights Principal Cynthia children and families in neighborhoods Jewell noted that many of her students are across Atlanta," Mayor Reed said. “We disadvantaged, and the federal penitentiary know that kids need safe, structured is just down the road. “The Thomasville learning environments, and the Centers of center is a beacon of light where there is so Hope initiative has been making a tangible much darkness around us,” she said. “The difference in the lives of young people at kids love going there and we are definitely these two centers. Through after-school seeing academic gains.” and enrichment programs supported by The school’s teachers share assessment vital business partners such as Wells tests of students and lesson plans so Boys Fargo, we will be able to help transform & Girls Club tutors and program staff can young boys and girls into strong men and focus precisely on the needs of the 60 women.” to 70 children who go to the center each Last year, following the reopening of afternoon. Total enrollment at the center is 16 recreation centers and seven pools in 180. Educators at the Thomasville and the first year of his administration, Mayor Adamsville Centers of Hope, working Reed launched the two Centers of Hope closely with those at nearby public pilot programs with the aim of expanding schools, are reporting solid improvement the programming to other recreation as a result of after-school programming.
The Historic South-View Preservation Foundation Inc. will celebrate the “Veterans Among Us” for the 2012 Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15 at noon. They will pay tribute to the hundreds of veterans that also had productive civilian lives and worked side-by-side within the community now laid to rest at South-View. South-View will honor such veterans as: Graham W. Jackson, Navy veteran and renowned musician; Jesse Bee Blayton Sr., Army veteran and first African-American to own and operate a radio station in the U.S.; I. Owen Funderburg, Army veteran credited for championing Citizens Trust Bank in 1975 when he became President/CEO; and many other veterans past and present who contribute to the fabric of Atlanta. The 2012 WAA ceremony will include the JROTC from The Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy under the direction of 1st Sgt. Mona Venning, with the invocation by the Rev. Samuel L. Mostella, retired Army veteran and president of the Georgia Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Joe Beasley, a retired Master Sgt. U.S. Air Force veteran, civil rights leader,
international humanitarian, and director of the Southeast Region Rainbow/ Push Coalition will participate as the guest speaker. South-View Cemetery welcomes all as they celebrate this poignant occasion and recognize the veterans among us. For more information about Wreaths Across America, go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org, and for more information about South-View Cemetery, visit www.southviewcemetery.com or call 404-622-5393. South-View Cemetery was chartered April 21, 1886, by six businessmen all born enslaved, to provide a dignified burial ground for all. They continue to carry forward the ideals of the founders and welcome all ethnic and religious backgrounds to entrust their burial and memorialization needs.
Thomasville Center of Hope Director Josh Dickinson (from left) stands with Wells Fargo’s Candy Moore, Concerned Black Clergy President Rev. Darrell D. Elligan, The Coca-Cola Company’s Helen Smith Price and the city’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs Director Camille Russell Love. The newly-renovated center was dedicated Dec. 12 as a part of the mayor’s public-private partnership to transform all of the city’s recreation centers, two-thirds of which had been closed prior to his election in 2009.
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December 13 - 19, 2012
BUSINESS Univision to Carry Bounce TV in Seven New Markets
December 13 - 19, 2012
Special to the Daily World Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, and Bounce TV, the nation's first-ever broadcast television network for African Americans, recently announced a distribution agreement in which Univision Television Group, which owns and/or operates 62 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico, will carry Bounce TV as a multicast channel of their stations in San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Raleigh and Tampa. The Univision launches will drive Bounce TV's coverage to 86 percent of African-American television homes and 68 percent of the total United States. Bounce TV will now be in all of the top ANDREW 10 markets and 24 of the top YOUNG 25 African-American markets. "Bounce TV is the perfect companion for Univision as we continue to serve the New American Reality," commented Kevin Cuddihy, president of
Univision Television Group. "It is a meaningful network that will serve African-American audiences in our communities joining Univision to create a powerful one-two combination for viewers and advertisers." Bounce TV targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sports, original and off-net series, documentaries, specials, and inspirational faith-based programs. Bounce TV airs 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the signals of local television stations. Martin Luther King III and Ambassador Andrew Young are among the founding group and board of directors of Bounce TV. Bounce TV is majority African American-owned. The network celebrated its first birthday on the air on Sept. 26; a year that has been overwhelmingly successful, with accelerated growth and expansion among station groups and distribution, advertisers and viewers alike. Bounce TV's most recent launches include WXYZ-TV, one of the leading ABC affiliates in the country and Detroit's #1 rated television station, and FOX-owned channels in Phoenix, Minneapolis and Orlando. Bounce TV is also seen in New York,
Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Houston, Cleveland/Akron, Baltimore, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Hartford/New Haven and other cities.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III
December 13 - 19, 2012
‘Technology JumpStart Your Nonprofit’ Contest Announced Special to the Daily World
Milner, a full-service provider of business-to-business solutions in the document imaging and technology industry, is offering nonprofit organizations in the 20-county greater Atlanta area, a chance to win the “Technology JumpStart your Nonprofit” contest. Two winning organizations, will receive an office equipment makeover, with a combined total value of $35,000. The makeover may include, but is not limited to: a black & white and/or color multifunction device, telephone equipment, IT Consulting Services, ongoing networking support, and other technologies to make the office run more efficiently. “This is our way of thanking nonprofit organizations in metro Atlanta for the work they do in providing charitable services in our communities.” said Charlie Gibson, vice president of Milner Inc. “This contest enables us to give back to the communities in which we do business – an endeavor for which we are very proud.” Milner invites all nonprofit groups with physical office locations in the 20-county greater Atlanta metro area to enter the “Technology JumpStart your Nonprofit” contest online at www.milner.com/jumpstart. Registration for the contest will close on Dec. 31, at which time all entries will be displayed on the website for the public to vote.
Voting for the Qualification Round will take place between Jan. 9 and Jan. 31, 2013. Milner will then narrow the entries down to a group of 10. This “top 10” Finalist Round, will consist of a combination of the highest number of votes received per organization and a Milner review committee that will select organizations based on the 200-word essay submission of “Why your nonprofit needs an Office Technology Makeover.” Milner will then invite the public to vote once again, online at www.milner.com, for their favorite nonprofit out of the 10 finalists. The nonprofit, in each category, with the most votes in the final round will win an office technology upgrade. For more information or to enter the contest, visit www.milner.com/jumpstart or contact Martin Froescher at 770-734-5433 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beware of Drivers Who Won’t Put Down the Internet Special to the Daily World Just in time for the busiest travel season of the year, State Farm has released its annual research report on distracted driving, with troubling results. Though texting while driving remains a concern on the nation’s highways, people are also webbing while driving with increasing frequency. These behaviors may pose equal or greater concerns in the effort to reduce distracted driving. The survey of nearly 1,000 motorists shines a light on a growing safety concern: people accessing the Internet while driving. Four years of data show a significant increase in the use of mobile Web services while driving. The growing popularity of smart phones is contributing to these escalating numbers. The survey revealed an increase in the percentage of drivers who own mobile Web devices, as well as an increase in the number of people who report accessing the Internet while driving. “The mobile Internet is generating another set of distractions for drivers to avoid,” said Justin Tomczak of State Farm. “While the safety community is appropriately working to reduce texting while driving, we must also be concerned about the growing use of multiple mobile Web services while driving.” While the distracted driving focus has traditionally been on young people, the data indicate that motorists of all ages are using the mobile Web while driving. • Smart phone ownership is on the rise, and people who report webbing while driving goes down with age. • Accessing the Internet while on a cell phone increased from 13 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2012.
Reading social media networks while driving increased from 9 percent in 2009 to 15 percent in 2012. • Updating social networks while driving increased from 9 percent in 2009 to 13 percent in 2012. • Checking email while driving rose from 32 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2012. When asked for their opinion on ways to reduce distracted driving, 72 percent of drivers surveyed strongly agree with laws or regulations prohibiting texting or emailing behind the wheel. However, almost two-thirds believe that laws governing cell phone use while driving are enforced too little or to no extent. To a lesser degree, 45 percent were extremely likely to support technology that would prevent texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.
Minority Democrats in Georgia House Led by All Black Team
By BILL BARROW Associated Press With a historically low number of seats in the Georgia House of Representatives, Democratic leaders acknowledge that they need to widen their base beyond African Americans and White liberals in urban areas. Yet when the Assembly convenes in January, the lower chamber's minority party's top leaders will all be Black Democrats, as Rep. Virgil Fludd VIRGILâ€ˆFLUDD of Tyrone was elected caucus chairman recently over Brian Thomas, a White Democrat from Lilburn who previously held the post. ``We have to reach out,'' Fludd said. ``We do have to have honest conversations about race moving forward.'' Thomas said, ``I certainly don't believe that we are headed to being a `Black Democratic Party.' I think everyone in our party and in our caucus understands there needs to be a diverse base of voters for us to move forward.'' The Republican leadership team, meanwhile, remains all White. The GOP re-nominated David Ralston of Blue
Ridge for another term as speaker. He will be elected when the entire body convenes. Larry O'Neal was re-elected as majority leader without opposition. Republican Caucus Chairwoman Donna Sheldon of Dacula withstood a challenge from Delvis Dutton, a Tea Party conservative from Glennville. The caucus is one seat shy of a two-thirds majority, enough to override vetoes from Gov. Nathan Deal or approve constitutional amendments without a single Democratic vote. The GOP re-nominated David Ralston of Blue Ridge for another term as speaker. He will be elected when the entire body convenes. The GOP re-elected Larry O'Neal as majority leader without opposition. Republican Caucus Chairwoman Donna Sheldon of Dacula withstood a challenge from Delvis Dutton, a Tea Party conservative from Glennville. From a policy perspective, there may be little consequence to any of those votes. But Fludd's ascension underscores the increasing racial and demographic polarization of Georgia's electorate. The dynamic is accentuated by the legislative districts that the Republican majority redrew after the 2010 census, further confining Democrats to metropolitan Atlanta and other urban areas, many of them dominated by non-White voters.
December 13 - 19, 2012
City Council Committee Assignments Announced Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell has announced City Council Committee assignments for the coming legislative year. Currently the City Council has seven standing committees: Finance/Executive, Public Safety & Legal Administration, City Utilities, Committee on Council, Zoning, Transportation and the Community Development and Human Resources Committee. All committees are comprised of members of the Atlanta City Council. The following is a list of the committee chairs and their regular meeting day and time. Committee on Council Yolanda Adrean, Chair Meeting: Monday, 11:15 a.m. City Utilities Committee Howard Shook, Chair Meeting: Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. Community Development/Human Resources Committee Joyce Sheperd, Chair Meeting: Tuesday, 12:30 p.m.
Transportation Committee C.T. Martin, Chair Meeting: Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. Zoning Committee Keisha Lance Bottoms, Chair Meeting: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. Finance/Executive Committee Felicia A. Moore, Chair Meeting: Wednesday, 1:00 p.m.
Public Safety Committee Michael Julian Bond, Chair Meeting: Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.
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December 13 - 19, 2012
School Construction Projects Kick Off in DeKalb Special to the Daily World
Three new DeKalb County School District (DCSD) construction projects were recently initiated with groundbreaking ceremonies. Using funds from a voter-approved Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST), the projects include: • New construction of a 35-classroom addition, an auditorium and an amphitheater and renovations to the existing building at Southwest DeKalb High School; • the addition of a two-story classroom addition and renovations to common classrooms at Miller Grove High School; and, • a new ninth-grade wing, new administrative area and new common classrooms at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. In November 2011, DeKalb County voters approved SPLOST IV to support construction in DeKalb County. The one-cent tax, which will help fund projects through 2017, will fund more than 300 projects district-wide. “We are so grateful to the citizens of DeKalb County for voting to support the future of education in our community,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson. SPLOST has provided more than $1.2 billion in revenue to support the Capital Improvements Plan for DCSD since 1997. Since then, 22 new schools, 22 major renovations/modifications along with many other capital renewal projects have been successfully completed.
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson was joined by Board of Education member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham Jr. and other community members at a recent groundbreaking ceremony at Southwest DeKalb High School. Additionally, SPLOST funds have been used to improve technology in the classroom and replace school buses as needed.
To view the list of projects in SPLOST IV, visit http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/splostiv/board-approved-splost-iv-sequence-schedule.pdf.
Digger Dog Visits Midway Graduation Rate for Minorities Lags in Georgia Elementary School Associated Press
Georgia 811’s mascot, Digger Dog, recently visited Midway Elementary School encouraging students in 2nd and 3rd grades to “know what’s below and call before they dig.” Sharing safety information and having a bit of fun, Digger explained the importance of not damaging underground utility lines by digging safely, how to be safe near overhead power lines and what to do if the power lines are down. He also demonstrated the smell of natural gas and what students should do if they smell it. Digger also discusses what the little colored flag and paint on the ground represent and that students should never move the flags. For more information about Digger Dog and his presentation call 770-823-3936. For more information about Georgia 811 or the Georgia Dig Law, visit www.Georgia811.com. The number to “Call Before You Dig” is 811.
High school graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students are lagging in Georgia, according to a recent analysis. U.S. Department of Education statistics for the 2010-2011 school year show that 60 percent of Black students and 58 percent of Hispanic students in Georgia graduated within four years, which trails the state's overall 67 percent graduation rate. Three states -- Minnesota, Nevada and Utah -- had lower graduation rates for Hispanic students than Georgia. Seven states had lower graduation rates for Black students. In Georgia, the 76 percent graduation rate for White students trailed all but four other states. Interviews with educators suggested there are many reasons students fail to graduate, from unplanned pregnancies to a desire by students living in poverty to quit school and get the extra income that even a low-paying job offers. None of those problems are necessarily tied to race. ``The statistics are very disturbing,'' said Sterling Hudson III, a former dean at Morehouse College who runs Child First USA, a nonprofit education group that works with at-risk students. ``With all of the so-called reforms in Georgia, you'd think we'd be doing better.'' One problem is that standards in initial grades are too low, Fulton County
Superintendent Robert Avossa said. ``You have a false sense of security all along the way,'' he told the newspaper. ``As they get older, they're not prepared to handle the more rigorous coursework. They can't handle it.'' In Georgia, high school graduates earn $8,000 more annually than dropouts, according to a 2011 study by the Alliance for Excellent Education. Georgia Superintendent John Barge said not all parents understand that. ``Having been a high school principal, I’ve heard parents say, `I didn't finish school, and I'm doing fine,''' he said.
Ways to Make A Holiday Party Beautiful
December 13 - 19, 2012
Special to the Daily World
The holiday season is the most festive time of year, from singing in the streets to gatherings with friends and family. So if you’re going to be entertaining, you’ll want your party to feel as cheerful as the season itself and to add some style and flair to make your party sparkle. From the décor to the table settings to the food, a few unique twists can make guests feel welcomed, impressed and ready to party upon arrival. So set the mood accordingly. Delight on Arrival You can delight their senses right away with a lit fireplace or by brewing a holiday punch or cider with cinnamon and other aromatic flavors. Also, be sure that your entranceway is decorated for the season and that there’s music playing. A crooner like Luther Vandross performing holiday hits is a classic choice. Just keep the volume at a conversation-friendly level. Think Small Presentation Instead of hosting a multi-course sit-down dinner, make life easier on yourself and more fun for your guests with a splendid spread of small plates. A small plate dinner means guests can eat whenever they arrive and mix and mingle as they do so – it’s an easy, fun way to entertain. When it comes to parties, the visual impact of your food
is as important as its taste. This is where small plates shine, as little tastes can have a big impact with their colors, shapes and designs. Give guests’ a taste surprise with a round-the-world line up of cuisines, from traditional sliders to more exotic choices like dumplings and Mediterranean dips. For inspiration, turn to a cookbook devoted solely to miniature appetizers and desserts, such as those from author Robert Zollweg. Aim for each dish to feature about four to six bites of food that can be eaten comfortably seated or standing, and arrange dishes on small, sleek plates, such as Libbey Just Tastings mini dinnerware collection. Both the Just Tastings collection and cookbook line are available at Bed Bath & Beyond. For the sake of presentation, be sure your dishes present a great array of colors. Attendees will naturally end up moving around the room in order to taste everything. Make sure to coordinate tablecloths, napkins, candleholders and centerpieces in a seasonal color scheme. You can find a colorful assortment of each at the following website: www.bedbathandbeyond.com. Don’t be afraid to think creatively!
Dress it Up You can dress up your party space with a few simple and elegant flourishes. You can make stylish centerpieces by taking clear bowls and filling them with colorful ornaments and pretty greenery. And you can fill glasses with colored stones or small candles to add a sophisticated glow to the room. By setting a mood that is both cheerful and chic, you can make a great impression on guests and throw a party they won’t soon forget.
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December 13 - 19, 2012
Dr. Leggett Honored with Ford Freedom Unsung Award Special to the Daily World Ford Motor Company in partnership with The National Center for Civil and Human Rights presented Christopher Leggett, M.D. with its Ford Freedom Unsung Award for Community Service during a ceremony held recently at the Historic Academy of Medicine at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Leggett, chief of Interventional Cardiology at East Georgia Medical Center and the Cardiovascular Institute of Georgia, was one of 25 honorees selected from among 177 nominees recognized for their outstanding achievements. “Ford is proud to honor the contributions of others who go above and beyond to positively impact communities, but are often not recognized for what they do,” said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Unsung heroes surround us every day and look for nothing in return.” Leggett has spent the past 25 years saving patient’s lives. As a graduate of Princeton University and a physician trained at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, he received his cardiovascular training at Emory University Hospital and acquired his interventional skills at the University of Alabama where the first intracoronary stem was developed. For the first 17 years of his career, he worked in rural north Georgia where he introduced advanced cardiovascular services and care to Canton, Ga. Three years ago, he accepted the challenge to introduce modern life-saving cardiovascular technologies to rural South Georgia by relocating to Statesboro, Ga. He sought to
revolutionize cardiovascular care to a grossly underserved population of the region where he felt deeply that these patients suffered from the combined disparity of ethnicity, gender and isolated geography. For the past two-and-ahalf years, he has successfully performed over 2,000 cardiovascular procedures without a single complication and a 100 percent success rate. Award-winning actress Keke Palmer, who is known for her ongoing commitment to youth issues, such as bullying prevention, Denise Leggett (from left), actress Keke Palmer, and Dr. Christopher Leggett participated in the presentation of the awards in the youth category and serves Military: John M. Bailey Jr., Marcelite J. Harris, Johnny as youth ambassador for the Ford Unsung Awards program. Miller, James Richard Morton and Garfield L. Peart 2012 Ford Freedom Unsung –Atlanta Edition awards were presented to: Youth: Sydney-Alyce Bourget, Nyomi Haynes, Community: Tracy Campbell, John “JT” Johnson, Cameron Harris, Alexus N. Means and Robin Okunowo Christopher Leggett, Sheila Tenney and Lisa C. Williams Organization: Atlanta Diaper Relief, Boys2Men Home Education: Ulester Douglas, Garry A. Harris, Allen E. & Sanctuary for Youth, Cool Girls Inc., Sisters … By Lee, Camille Russell Love and Alvetta Peterman Thomas Choice Inc., and Zion Hill Community Development Center
Flu Vaccine Available at Fulton County Health Centers Special to the Daily World
Flu season is here. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), now is the time to get protected. The agency says for the first time in almost a decade, flu season is ramping up early. Fulton County Health Services encourages all residents to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated. Vaccines are available at six health centers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. Residents can get the flu vaccine or the nasal mist (age 2 to 49 years) for $25. Visa and Master Card (credit and debit), Medicaid, Cigna, United Health care and cash are accepted forms of payment. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the flu is hitting Georgia earlier and harder this year than in previous years. The early onset of the H3N2 flu is one indication of a potentially severe flu season. Getting the flu vaccine is a good prevention pracwww.ADWnews.com
tice. The protection received from vaccination will last throughout the flu season. Individuals who fall within the priority high-risk groups identified by the CDC are strongly encouraged to get their shot this flu season. “This year’s vaccine provides protection against the seasonal flu,” says Patrice A. Harris, M.D., director of Fulton Health Services. “We strongly advocate the flu shot for all residents, especially those who fall into the priority high-risk category.” The high-risk groups include: • Children ages 6 months and older • Adults ages 50 and older • Persons over 6 months old with certain chronic medical conditions • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities • Healthcare workers involved in direct patient care • Caregivers, including daycare workers and household contacts of children under age 5 • Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
SPORTS Falcons Honor Community Volunteers at Third Annual Awards Dinner ADWnews
December 13 - 19, 2012
By Diane LaRcHe' Special to the Daily World Atlanta Falcons players are known for their weekly volunteer trips out of Flowery Branch and into metro Atlanta communities on Tuesdays, their only day off. On a day when they can easily sleep in late or run errands, they can be found around town visiting hospitals, schools and giving back to kids and organizations. And it's not just one or two team members who are civic minded, it's the entire team. The Falcons recognized players who went above and beyond with their service off-the-field along with community members who have done outstanding volunteer work as well, during the third annual Atlanta Falcons Community Honors Dinner recently. Falcons Punter Matt Bosher is the team's nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. Since 1970, the NFL has given the award to honor a player's volunteer and charity work as well as his excellence on the field. Each club is responsible for selecting its own nominee, while the 2012 national Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will be selected by a panel and recognized on the field before kickoff of the Super Bowl in New Orleans. When asked the volunteer activity that stood out for him, Bosher noted the 4th Annual Atlanta Falcons Dazzle & Dine event, which honored five breast cancer survivors for their commitment to the fight against breast cancer. Prior to dinner, the ladies were treated to a special day at Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, where they received hair, makeup and nail services. Bosher invited his mother, a breast-cancer survivor, and he spoke to the group about his
personal experience. "Having mom there to be a part of the event was great," said Bosher, who was accompanied to the Honors dinner by his dad, Carl. "I'm happy to be a part of a franchise that from top to bottom puts great emphasis on getting out in the community. It's humbling to go out and meet so many people. It makes them feel Photo by Chris Mitchell/Diane Larche' Communications better and you feel better yourself." Atlanta Falcons Community All-Star of the Month of October Winner LB Other Falcons players Stephen Nicholas (from left); September Community All-Star, WR Kevin recognized at the dinner were Cone, Falcons Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee and Community All September Community Star for November Punter Matt Bosher and Community Allstar for December All-Star Wide Receiver Sean Weatherspoon. Kevin Cone, October All-Star Community Quarterback honorees were: Anne Townsley Linebacker Stephen Nicholas, and December (October winner and a Fernbank Museum of Natural All-Star Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. History volunteer), Lauren O’Brien (November winner The Atlanta Falcons Community Quarterback Award who works to ensure all people have access to quality honors volunteers in Georgia (ages 13 and over) who orthopedic and prosthetic medical equipment) and exemplify leadership and dedication to bettering their Solomon Roberts (December winner and as senior at communities. Tucker High School who serves as a volunteer coach The Falcons named Bob Lehrer the 2012 for the Fugees Family under 14 soccer team) for their Community Quarterback MVP. A $4,000 grant from commitment to giving back to the community. NFL Charities will be presented to Habitat of for Humanity-North Central Georgia in his honor. Other
Fans Will Help Pay for new Stadium By Dion RaBoUin ADW Staff A new downtown stadium that will be the home of the Atlanta Falcons will be paid for in part by fans if the current deal is approved. Falcons owner Arthur Blank confirmed that the team plans to sell personal seat licenses (PSLs) in the planned new arena that will replace the Georgia Dome. That revenue would go toward the cost of building the stadium. "There will be some component of PSLs," Blank said in an interview at his Buckhead office shortly after the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board approved a nonbinding agreement on the framework of a stadium deal. "We're going to try to keep that to the lowest possible number we can that's feasible. It will not be in the range of some of the newer stadiums that you have heard and read about." PSLs are programs where fans are asked to pay one-time fees for the right to buy season tickets in a specific seat for the life of the building or a defined number of years afterward. Some of the recent PSL programs fans may have heard about were those built for the New York Giants' and Jets' new stadium where seat licenses were priced
from $1,000 to $25,000. The Dallas Cowboys PSLs ranged from $2,000 to $150,000 and the San Francisco 49ers reportedly are getting as much as $80,000 for licenses in the stadium being built in Santa Clara, Calif. Last week it was reported that the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board had approved a deal that would bring a new stadium to downtown Atlanta to replace the Georgia Dome. The plan is to build a retractable-roof stadium, costing around $1 billion. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), key business terms approved by the board include: • The GWCCA, a state agency, would own the stadium. • The Falcons would operate the stadium under a 30-year license agreement, with options to renew for an additional 15 years. • A portion of the construction cost would be funded by revenue from the hotel-motel tax in the city of Atlanta and Fulton County; that portion has been estimated at around $300 million. Read more about the new stadium at www.atlantadailyworld.com
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December 13 - 19, 2012
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December 13 - 19, 2012
BY GEORGE E. CURRY
BY JULIANNE MALVEAUX
Word and Number Games Played in Fiscal Showdown It should be embarrassing enough that President Obama and House Republicans postponed making tough fiscal decisions by kicking the can down the road to New Year’s Day – when certain automatic budget cuts will go into effect unless they act to avoid what is called a fiscal cliff. Instead of moving quickly to solve their self-created problems, both sides continue to misrepresent basic facts. For example, House Speaker John Boehner (D-Ohio) has criticized the Obama administration for refusing to give a list of specific cuts. He said the administration “put $400 billion worth of unspecified cuts that they’d be willing to talk about.” FactCheck.org stated flatly: “Boehner is wrong.” It explained, “The president’s deficit-reduction plan, as proposed to Congress in September 2011, itemizes ‘nearly $580 billion in cuts and reforms to mandatory programs, of which $320 billion is savings from Federal health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.’” FactCheck.org, an organization that holds public officials accountable, also noted that Republicans are running a numbers game. “In a Dec. 3 letter to the president outlining the GOP counterproposal for deficit reduction, Boehner and other GOP leaders said there is ‘four times as much tax revenue as spending cuts’ in the president’s proposal,” the organization recalled. “The GOP math works like this: Obama’s proposal includes $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue and roughly $400 billion in spending cuts. In an email to us, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said that ‘when Sec. Geithner made his proposal to us, the number he used – repeatedly – was $400 billion.’ However, as we mentioned earlier, on several Sunday talk shows, Geithner said the total savings comes to $600 billion over 10 years.” Both Republicans and Democrats are being selective in their choice of words. “In part, the discrepancy is a matter of language. Republicans are saying ‘spending cuts’ while Democrats are saying ‘savings,’ ‘reforms’ and ‘spending cuts.’ But the more substantial difference between the Democrats’ and Republicans’ spending cuts-to-tax hike ratios is that Republicans do not count the $1 trillion in discretionary spending cuts agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011,” FactCheck.org states. “The White House argues those are part of the ongoing negotiations to resolve a deficit crisis. Nor does the GOP include the $800 billion ‘saved’ from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” President Obama and Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner overstate the amount of spending cuts in the president’s plan, according to FactCheck.org. “On NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Geithner said, ‘We have laid out a very detailed plan of spending cuts, $600 billion dollars in spending in mandatory programs over 10 years.’ The president made the same claim in a Dec. 4 interview with Bloomberg News, saying his proposal has ‘$600 billion in additional cuts in mandatory spending.’ “It’s true that there’s nearly $600 billion in estimated savings from mandatory programs: $326 billion in health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, and $254 billion in other programs, such as farm subsidies. But not all of these are ‘spending cuts,’ and the administration’s own deficit-reduction plan doesn’t label them as such – instead calling them a combination of ‘cuts and reforms.’ Amid the word and numbers games, the public is clear about what should be done, even if Washington isn’t. A Gallup poll in November found, “Forty-five percent of Americans now say they favor reducing the federal budget deficit with an equal balance of tax increases and spending cuts, up from 32% last year. At the same time, the percentage favoring an emphasis on spending cuts is now 40%, down from 50 percent last year, while the percentage in favor of reducing the deficit primarily through tax increases is unchanged at 11%.” A Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 2 found that a majority of Americans – 53 percent – would blame Republicans in Congress if Washington fails to reach a deal in deficit talks to avoid the fiscal cliff. The survey found that only 27 percent would fault President Obama if negotiations between the executive and legislative branches of government fail, 12 percent would split the blame equally between the two sides and 2 percent have no opinion. Like Ronald Reagan, this could be Obama’s “make my day” moment. George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.
What about Kasandra Perkins?
By now, it’s old news that Kasandra Perkins was murdered by Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher, who was her boyfriend and the father of her daughter. By now we’ve read about how great a teammate Belcher was, how dedicated to his girlfriend and daughter. We’ve read his hardscrabble story of moving from the University of Maine, hardly a football powerhouse, to a coveted slot in the NFL. Belcher has been humanized, even enshrined, as his friends have talked about him not having a violent bone in his body. What about Kasandra? It has been disturbing that the news focused mostly on Jovan (yes, I know, he was the famous one), with a focus on Kasandra only later in the week. Her friends said they did not want her life to be overshadowed by the sympathetic coverage of Jovan. While Jovan Belcher was clearly a troubled man, the bottom line is that Jovan Belcher murdered Kasandra Perkins. Not just shot her, he murdered her. And then he killed himself. Yes, this is a tragedy, but it is also a murder, so let’s not use euphemisms, let’s just call it what it is. The news reports that Belcher was angry because Kasandra Perkins went to a concert and came home at about one in the morning. But another report says that he was parked outside some other woman’s house in the middle of the night. Go figure. What do we know about Kasandra Perkins? The 22-year-old woman from Texas aspired to be a teacher and was studying at a local community college. She had a 3-month-old child, Zoey. She made friends easily and worked with other wives and girlfriends of Chiefs players. She enjoyed going out with friends. There is probably lots more to her story, but it has been scantily reported. Nobody knows what goes on in a relationship except those who are in it. So it is also disturbing to see Belcher’s friends take to the media to describe the relationship as troubled and to suggest that Kasandra is at fault for her own murder. According to some, she provoked her own murder by staying out late at night. Guess what? Belcher’s mother was caring for their infant. Sounds like a control issue to me. Too often, men beat and even kill women when they step outside their sphere of control. Women are beaten or killed because they didn’t cook dinner, because they raised their voice, because they chose to spend time with friends or family, because, because. This violence does not know race, class or gender, though different groups have different levels of violence. While 1.5 million women experience domestic violence annually, African-American women are 35 percent more likely than White women to be battered. Without mentioning names, the Kansas City Chiefs called for a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence during the game that Jovan Belcher did not play. With football as the focus, they did not have the grace to mention Kasandra Perkins by name. It would have made a difference if they had. Despite the fact that Belcher was a member of the KC team, there is a villain and a victim in this incident. This type of violence is such an epidemic that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994. The act established an office in the Department of Justice works to prevent violence, and allocated $1.6 billion to work on violence against women issues, including strengthening existing state laws and raising awareness of this issue. Now the law is up for reauthorization, and some Republicans are holding it up because they do not agree with protections for Native American women, immigrant women, and people in same-sex couples. We know that VAWA is effective. Since its passage, intimate partner violence has dropped by about 60 percent, but it didn’t save Kasandra Perkins. If nothing else, her brutal murder reminds us why this act is so important. Jovan Belcher had a temper, drank heavily, and had at least eight guns. Some say he had suffered multiple head injuries playing football. That’s no excuse for a murder so brutal that he shot Kasandra nine times. And the stories about his supposed nonviolence is contradicted by some of his college behavior, including punching through a window when he was frustrated by a girlfriend who did not want to see him. This man was a serious candidate for anger management! Kasandra Perkins isn’t the only woman who has been murdered by a husband or boyfriend. According to the Department of Justice, three women are killed by spouses or partners every day. I don’t want to hear about the tragedy of football player Jovan Belcher. I want to mourn Kasandra and the many women like her. And in her name, and in the name of others, we must all fight to get the Violence Against Women Act renewed. Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is president emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.
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BY MARIAN WRIGHT-EDELMAN
BY M. ALEXIS SCOTT
December 6 - 12, 2012
Determined to Make a Difference This year, New York is facing the worst homeless crisis since the Great Depression. The city’s homeless population included a record-breaking 42,888 children. The many ways poverty scars a child today and long into the future are well-documented. Children who have to navigate the harsh reality of homelessness on top of poverty often fall through our already porous safety nets and disproportionately drop out of school and then too often drop into the prison pipeline. The New York Department of Education tracks these students, and according to Wayne Harris, “the data spoke about how two-thirds of [homeless] high school males aren’t even making it to the 12th grade, never mind graduating—two-thirds aren’t even making it, because of obvious reasons. They have to work. A lot of them leave the family structure because it’s one less person to feed in the household. Then we also were moved by the data that spoke about how many of them wind up in prison industrial complexes as well. So we said we’ve got to do something about this.” Harris saw the need and decided to make a difference. The result is a program supporting homeless youths in Brooklyn called Safe In My Brother’s Arms (SIMBA). “We went to the shelters, identified some . . . young men—and we just created a safe space . . . for high school homeless males to come support each other, receive a little bit more intensified services around education, some social emotional supports, and even some supports for parents.” SIMBA includes educational and youth development and college and career readiness programs. Young people receive after-school academic support such as tutoring and help preparing for SAT exams and the statewide standardized Regents exams. “We were shocked ourselves at our retention rate . . . They felt so safe that they really stayed in the program, and since then, you know, it really took on a life of its own,” Harris said. One of Harris’ success stories is Raymond Perez, a senior at New World High School in the Bronx, who is already taking classes at Hostos Community College. Raymond is one of this year’s recipients of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York’s annual Beat the Odds® awards, which provide a minimum $5,000 college scholarship, guidance through the college admission process, and an invitation to join CDF’s leadership development training programs, to high school seniors who have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated excellence, and given back to their communities. In Raymond’s case, this adversity included a new beginning in the United States that was far from an American dream. Two-and-a-half years ago, Raymond’s mother finally received the visas that allowed their family to move from the Dominican Republic to join her new husband in New York. Raymond’s stepfather became abusive. His behavior escalated to the point where Raymond’s mother needed to flee with Raymond and his younger brother, and the three of them wound up homeless. But Safe In My Brother’s Arms and Wayne Harris as a mentor made a big difference in Raymond’s life. Raymond increased his academic success despite being homeless. He was invited to become an intern with the program and serve as a tutor of others. Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.
ADWnews Founded August 5, 1928; Became Daily, March 12, 1932 W.A. Scott, II, Founder/Publisher, August 5, 1928 To February 7, 1934 C.A. Scott, Publisher February 7, 1934 to July 26, 1997 M. Alexis Scott, Publisher July 26, 1997 to Present
Happy 99th Birthday to Mother Mary Hughes “Mother” Mary Hughes has begun the countdown to her 100th birthday celebration. Mother Hughes celebrated her 99th birthday on Dec. 9 (her actual birthday is Dec. 8) at a gathering of friends and family at Frank Ski’s restaurant. The celebration was put together by her son Herbert J. Bridgewater, writer of the former Social Swirl column for the Atlanta Daily World. Bridgewater, well known around town for his charitable and community volunteer efforts, said this party was the kick-off for the big 100th birthday celebration. As she has for the last 74 years, Mother Hughes is donating boxes of clothing to charity -- one box for each year she has been on Earth. Bridgewater recalled her early years for those gathered, including Clayton Commission Chair Eldrin Bell, Fulton School Board member Catherine Maddox, East Point Fire Chief Rosemary Cloud, TV and real life Judge Glenda Hatchett and radio personality Frank Ski. She was born Dec. 8, 1913 in Maxie, Ga., in Oglethorpe County, and both her parents died before she was a year old. She was taken in by the White family that her mother worked for, but ran away from the abusive family at 11 years old. She ended up in Atlanta and attended Booker T. Washington High School. She went on to become a registered nurse, worked for the late Grace Towns Hamilton – the first woman to head the Atlanta Urban League and the first Black woman to be elected to the Georgia General Assembly. From there her love of the Atlanta community continued and in 2005 at the age of 91, she became the oldest person to graduate from the Interdenominational Theological Center with a certificate in Theology. Known as a very good cook, her friends conspired with Bridgewater to gather her handwritten recipes and produce “Heartwarming Recipes from Mother Hughes’ Kitchen.” The book was presented at the party and will be made available shortly. All proceeds from sales of the book will go toward a scholarship fund. Judge Hatchett read a letter of congratulations from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Frank Ski’s family came by for hugs and kisses. Bridgewater announced that Judge Hatchett, Frank Ski, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran and Congressman John Lewis will be honorary chairs for the 100th birthday celebration that will be a big gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta. I was privileged to be among the guests for this year’s celebration of a life well lived. I look forward to being with Mother Hughes to celebrate 100. M. Alexis Scott is publisher of Atlanta Daily World.
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December 13 - 19, 2012
Shaq Looking to Become the Pat Riley of Comedy By JOHN CARUCCI Associated Press With his latest endeavor, Shaquille O'Neal now considers himself the ``Pat Riley of comedy.'' The four-time NBA champion likens himself to the famed basketball coach with his ability to pick the right comedians for his ``All Star Comedy Jam.'' ``Humor is a big way to relieve stress, so me being a great leader and being an expert at organizational leadership, I could pick a team, I could pick a street ball team, I could pick a kickball team, I definitely could pick comedians,'' O'Neal said. O'Neal says he wanted to provide a forum for comics similar to Russell Simmons' ``Def Comedy Jam.'' He was a big fan of the HBO series that launched the careers of Dave Chappelle, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker, and others. But O'Neal said his revue not just about Black comedy. ``I am not biased. Even though I'm African American, even though I'm urban, I don't just like urban comedy,'' O'Neal said. ``The guy Jeff Foxworthy -- that's some of the best comedy ever -- ‘You know you're a redneck.’ I can relate to that because I went to school in Louisiana and Texas.'' The ``All Star Comedy Jam'' has a lineup that has featured Finesse Mitchell and Gary Owen. The tour ends on New Year's Eve in Atlanta. One of the comedians O'Neal is highlighting on the tour
is the Bronx-born Capone. ``This guy right now here is the LeBron (James). He's the closer,'' O'Neal said proudly as he patted the comedian on the back. The drug dealer-turned-comedian says he always had the gift. ``I was somebody who was notorious for pretty much always saying what I felt like saying and I grew a reputation for that,'' Capone said. But he says that being funny wasn't enough: ``I made the transformation from not wanting to be a drug dealer anymore and turning to comedy.'' After struggling for years on the circuit, Capone finally got his break. ``For somebody like Shaq to recognize that is really big,'' Capone said. Though his passion is comedy, O'Neal is still involved in basketball -- as NBA analyst on TNT. O'Neal is not shy
to speak his mind: Before the season started, he said Los Angeles Lakers' newly acquired center Dwight Howard was not the game's most dominant at his position. O'Neal caught a lot of flak for the comment, but stands by what he said. ``He's taking it personal, but I want him to get mad so he can dominate,'' O'Neal said of Howard. ``You push your employees' buttons and either they go to the next level or they decline.'' While brazen and often funny on television, don't expect O'Neal to get up on a comedy stage anytime soon. ``I know my limits. In my bathroom I'm funny as hell. I can give you seven, eight minutes straight. That's different from going on stage and looking at the guy in the front row and he's looking at you like this,'' he said, making a blank stare. ``So that's always been my fear.'' Shaq’s ‘All Star Comedy Jam’ In Atlanta The All Star Comedy Jam tour comes to Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, on Monday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. The lineup will include: tour Host Gary Owen, fresh off his costarring role in the blockbuster hit “Think Like A Man” as well as Capone, known as “The Gangsta of Comedy,” Tony Roberts, known as “The Comedian’s Comedian,” and Saturday Night Live alum Finesse Mitchell.
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