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August 6, 2011

“We’re really filling a gap. This approach is a combination of advanced ESL and GED preparation.”

Reed to discuss transportation at chamber lunch

GED classes for refugees offered Refugees who need to learn English to continue schooling or to create new lives for themselves can attend GED prep classes at the Clarkston Community Center. The center, which bills itself as a bridge that connects the past to a new world, says Clarkston and the surrounding vicinity have an estimated 26,000 refugees from around the globe. Many arrive with little or no schooling while others are highly schooled in their own languages with degrees that are not recognized in the United States. For older teens and young adults, a GED is often the jumping-off place to educational attainment but their English skills are not quite up to the task of the very challenging GED. Bobby King, a former English as a Second Language teacher, has created a program to help refugees get the skills they need. “We’re really filling a gap,” King said. “This approach is a combination of advanced ESL and GED preparation. Attendees will either be able to enroll in an actual GED prep class or register to take the test upon completion.” Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Clarkston Community Center is at 3701 College Ave. For more information, call 404-508-1050.



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No street sweepers Now that the county had to cut $100 million from its budget, Rhinehart said street sweepers are not on anyone’s radar. “We are wrestling with how we keep up with parks, libraries and police services.” Residents have to complain about overgrown grass to get action. After a September 2010 CrossRoads­News


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The commission adopted Plan 2040, a 30-year blueprint to sustainably accommodate future growth in the Atlanta region, consisting of a Regional Agenda, which outlines future development priorities, and the Regional Transportation Plan, which invests almost $61 billion in the region’s transportation network over 30 years (visit www.atl for more information). To register for the lunch, visit http://dcoc; member rates begin at $35 and the last day to R.S.V.P. is Aug. 11. General admission is $45. Villa Christina is at 4000 Summit Blvd. For more information, visit

Commissioners host road cleanups in their districts

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plan. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Reed was inaugurated as Atwill address the transportation lanta’s 59th mayor in January 2010. needs of the metro area at the He served in the Georgia General DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s Assembly for 11 years. He is the First Monday Lunch on Aug. 15 chairman of the Transportation at Villa Christina in Atlanta. and Communications Committee Reed, the keynote speaker of the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the 11:30 a.m.-to-1:30 p.m. and chairman of the Regional program, voted against the $60.9 Kasim Reed Transit Committee of ARC. billion, 30-year transportation The First Monday Lunch topic is “The plan approved by the Atlanta Regional Commission on July 27, saying it didn’t Economic Impact of Transportation on the Atlanta Metro Region.” spend enough on mass transit. The region is expected to be home to 8.3 C.J. Bland, a citizen member representing DeKalb County, also voted against the million by the year 2040, according to ARC.

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article on the area’s deterioration, the county launched a Great DeKalb Clean Up, using volunteers and county workers to clear trash and mow medians and rights of way from Flat Shoals Parkway to Buford Highway. District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson and District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson also have hosted cleanups along some of the main thoroughfares in their districts. On Aug. 27, Watson and state Reps. Michele Henson and Karla Drenner are cohosting a cleanup of Memorial Drive with the Memorial Drive Merchants Association. An Aug. 4 e-mail said litter and illegal signs plague the corridor. “Volunteers from community businesses and neighborhood groups are needed to help tackle the unsightly blight and rejuvenate the corridor.”

Watson said Thursday he is hosting a cleanup on Aug. 27 on Stephenson Road in Stone Mountain. He said he is doing his part to clean up the county and is working with state representatives to clean up state roads. “I am bothered by them, but I don’t have the equipment to clean up the curbs.” Watson, who has been in office for eight months, said there should have been a plan in place years ago to maintain the county. He said stricter enforcement is needed and that the judiciary must fine violators. When residents demand action, Turman said the administration and commissioners tell them they are waiting on the law department. “It’s the biggest crutch for them not doing anything. Meanwhile, the county is going backward.”

May says I-20 rail must be on list TRANSIT,

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billion on July 7 at the Executive Committee’s request. That list recommended $100 million for the I-20 East Corridor highcapacity transit project from Central Atlanta to Candler Road; MARTA had requested $1 billion. Another MARTA project involving a heavy rail line extension from Indian Creek station to Wesley Chapel Road near I-20 was recommended for $522.5 million on the July 7 list. During an Aug. 2 briefing, DeKalb’s deputy chief operating officer, Ted Rhinehart, told the county’s Planning, Economic Development and Public Works Committee that there was a strong consensus for the Clifton Corridor rail project, MARTA’s state of good repair project, the Atlanta Beltline project and a light rail project connecting

Midtown to Cumberland Mall. He also predicted that the I-20 East project would be left off the new list. “If I-20 rail is not on the [final] list, I will not support the referendum,” District 5 Commissioner Lee May said. “If it is included, the referendum will pass; if not, it will not pass.” May said support for the I-20 project was non-negotiable for him. Johnny Dunning, MARTA’s senior director of planning, told the committee MARTA wants $1 billion for MARTA state of good repair and enhancement projects. He said the earlier recommendation for $700 million was “woefully inadequate to address the SGR needs alone.” MARTA originally asked for $2.6 billion for these projects ($1.9 billion for SGR and $762 million for system enhancements).

ARC projects of interest to South DeKalb Other roadway projects under consideration that could benefit South DeKalb include: n I-285 East at I-20 East interchange improvement, $94.6 million n College Avenue from Adair Street to North Clarendon Avenue corridor improvements, $8.3 million n Columbia Drive from College Avenue to I-20 East corridor improvements, $1.3 million n Covington Highway from I-285 East to Turner Hill Road corridor improvements, $76.6 million n Glenwood Road from Candler Road to Covington Highway corridor improvements, $14.8 million n Hayden Quarry Road/Sigman Road extension from Turner Hill Road to I-20 East, new alignment, to connect Rockdale County to Stonecrest mall, $26.9 million n North Indian Creek Drive from Memorial Drive to Montreal Road corridor improvements, $6.5 million n Panola Road from Snapfinger Road to Redan Road, widening and corridor improvements, $70.4 million n Rainbow Drive from Candler Road to Wesley Chapel Road corridor improvements, $11 million n Multiple resurfacing projects in DeKalb, $15.2 million n Rockbridge Road from Memorial Drive to Rock Chapel Road corridor improvements, $21.9 million n Multiple pedestrian projects in DeKalb, $16.4 million n I-20 East at Panola Road intersection improvements, $21.2 million n I-285 South at Bouldercrest Road interchange improvements, $55 million

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CrossRoadsNews, August 6, 2011  

CrossRoadsNews, August 6, 2011 -- Sections A & B

CrossRoadsNews, August 6, 2011  

CrossRoadsNews, August 6, 2011 -- Sections A & B