“Throughout his illustrious career, Ken has made the Greater Atlanta community a better place.”
Veteran journalist Ken Watts retires By Rosie Manins
Ken Watts, who has covered DeKalb County for CrossRoadsNews since 2012, retired on Dec. 31. It is the second retirement for Watts, who joined the newspaper after retiring from television news in 2008. Watts, an Emmy Award-winning journalist with 45 years in news, was an anchor for WAGA-TV’s Channel 5 and Fox 5 programs and WXIA-TV’s 11Alive. This week, Watts, 65, fondly recalled covering his home community of South DeKalb and other highlights of his lengthy career that include covering Nelson Mandela’s first visit to the U.S. in June 1990 and witnessing President Ronald Reagan signing the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday bill into law at the White House in November 1983. His also covered national political conventions, the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake during the World Series. “In this profession, if you’re lucky, you do form a connection with the community, so in that sense I have been fortunate,” he said. Watts celebrated his last day at CrossRoadsNews with colleagues and community leaders on Dec. 30 at the Red Lobster restaurant on Candler Road. Jennifer Parker, CrossRoadsNews editor/publisher, said Watts first came to work part time but was soon all in. “Sometimes we had to remind him to go home,” she said, noting his dedication. Parker said he will be missed but deserves the time to pursue his bucket-list projects. Watts said he wasn’t thinking full-time work when he joined the paper. “It just worked that way,” he said, adding that DeKalb’s political and economic challenges over the past few years kept him and the newspaper busy.
January 7, 2017
Ken Watts (center) received proclamations from U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (at left) and Commissioners Larry Johnson (above left) and Mereda Davis Johnson (in red). With them are Genet Hopewell, and Jennifer and Curtis Parker.
He said it will be strange to take more of a back seat on local trends and issues. “I will miss the sense of being plugged in, being up-to-the-minute.” He said the paper has a tremendous impact on South DeKalb. “People depend on it,” he said. “And that felt good. There is a very powerful bond between the paper and the people who consume the news that you work so hard to put out there, so I’ll miss that.” At his retirement lunch, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson presented him with a proclamation, declaring Dec. 30 as Ken Watts Day in the 4th Congressional District. “Throughout his illustrious career, Ken has made the Greater Atlanta community a better place through his dedication, hard work and professionalism.” Proclamations honoring Watts and his achievements also were presented by DeKalb’s District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson and District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson. Watts said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and four grandchildren. Since 2015, he has been a commentator for “Just a Minute” on CBS 46 News and will continue his involvement.
Pump station open house DeKalb residents can learn about new construction for the Honey Creek Pump Station and Force Main in the Stonecrest area on Jan. 10 at a Community Open House at the Stonecrest Library. The Department of Watershed Management is host for the event, which will provide information about the sanitary sewer collection system. It begins at 6 p.m. The construction is a new phase of a capital improvement project under the federal consent decree. The sanitary sewer collection system in the Stonecrest/Lithonia area is designed to move wastewater through a sewer pipe from a higher elevation to a lower elevation, providing more sewer capacity and reducing sanitary sewer overflows. Construction will take place throughout 2017 and will require intermittent traffic detours as work progresses. Notices about traffic flow will be posted, advising residents and motorists of construction work and traffic restrictions. The library is at 3123 Klondike Road. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-986-1108.
More outreach to youth needed HOPES,
trust them more but so much has been going on between us and them.”
Johnny Mitchell, retired postal worker “More restaurant options beside fried chicken places and other fast food and a better assortment of stores here at South DeKalb mall like they have in the northern part of the county and lower the crime rate.”
Jade Rodgers, Decatur, teacher “I’d like to see more recreational places for our youth to help them avoid trouble. Maybe like more YMCAs that give scholarships to kids who can’t afford to pay to be a member there. I’m thinking specifically about our teen boys because a lot of them are running the streets.” Jade Rodgers
– Compiled by Ken Watts