When Jacqueline SmithCotter and her husband, Larry, adopted their fifth child, 14-year-old Sean, they also reunited him with his biological sister, Jasmine. 2
Holiday revelers can enjoy Christmas carols, cookies, hot cider and other treats as east metro towns hold celebrations to light their Christmas trees. 6
Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt and free rapid HIV tests are among local initiatives to draw attention to the worldwide epidemic. 9
Coming full circle
Copyright © 2009 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.
World AIDS Day
Volume 15, Number 30
Thanksgiving A Time for Caring... Sharing... Helping... More than 1,000 families received boxes filled with turkey and other foods for a Thanksgiving dinner through an initiative spearheaded by Berean Christian Church’s outreach ministry.
Food donors open hearts for holiday By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Thousands of adults and children will have turkey and all the trimmings on the table this Thanksgiving because of the kindness of their neighbors. On Saturday, families began lining up at 7:30 a.m. for Thankgiving boxes that Berean Christian Church was giving away at 11 a.m. They came from down the street in Stone Mountain and Lithonia, from across town in Decatur and Ellenwood, and from as far away as Gwinnett County seeking a little help to provide a traditional Thanksgiving meal for their families on Thursday. In October, 481,980 Georgians, or 10.2 percent of the state’s workforce, were unemployed. That slight rise in the state’s unemployment rate, from September’s 10.1 percent, matched the national unemployment rate of 10.2 percent for the first time in two years. County statistics were not available for October at press time, but in September, 40,790 people, or 10.7 percent of DeKalb’s workforce, were unemployed. State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said the recession will not end for the thousands of jobless Georgians until more employers start hiring again. “Georgia’s public and private leaders must work together to develop a bi-partisan recovery strategy that focuses on three critical elements – protecting vulnerable citizens, including children, the elderly, and the sick; preserving our health, safety and educational institutions; and encouraging economic development and job creation,” he said. In the meantime, people who are unemployed have to make do to keep food on the table and roofs over their heads. As the nation sits down to its 388th Thanksgiving Day observance, individuals, students, churches, civic and community groups have been stepping forward to help fill in the gap. Columbia High School students prepared and served turkey dinners
CrossRoadsNews Photos by Jennifer Ffrench Parker & Curtis Parker
Stephanie Griffin, a social worker at Columbia High School, delivers cranberry sauce for people at the school’s annual Turkey Dinner.
More than 750 families lined up outside Berean Christian Church’s Family Life Center on Nov. 21 to receive free boxes of food.
year to nothing,” Thomas to about 400 homeless said. “I lost everything. people who were bused to We’ve hit the bottom of the school on Saturday by the bucket.” two local churches. Her story was echoed Robin Thomas of by other families leaving Stone Mountain, who with boxes packed with has been unemployed stuffing and cornbread, for months, made her green beans and yams to way to the Kerwin B. Lee Robin Thomas go with the frozen turkeys Family Life Center on Young Road to get one of the 1,000 in plastic bags. Some said they have been out of Thanksgiving boxes that Berean members prepared with help from work for a year or more. Thomas, who said she has lived other area churches and a host of out of her car most of the time other partners. The laid-off telemarketer for a this year, said she and her two home improvement company was daughters – including 25-year-old so grateful for the help that she Crystal, who is paralyzed from the broke down in tears while telling a waist down after a stroke – and two visitor about the year she has had. grandkids live in a cramped one“I went from making $88,000 a bedroom apartment right now.
“It keeps us out of the rain,” she said. “It keeps us out of the cold. We are going to make it. We’ve got love. That’s what keeps us together.” Vickie Anderson of Decatur still has a job as a cook at Canby Lane Elementary School in Decatur, but her $1,000 a month salary doesn’t go far for her and her 15-year-old daughter. “I appreciate the help so much,” she said. On Thanksgiving Day, she is cooking dinner for six people. When she got back to her car in the Berean parking lot, there was a puddle of antifreeze on the ground. “Oh no,” she said. “The car is leaking again. I got to get the car
fixed again. Lots of stuff going on, but I still feel blessed.” Barbara Martin, a mother of three youth ages 12 to 17 years old, called her Thanksgiving box “something excellent.” “Words cannot explain what they have done today,” said Martin who came all the way from Norcross. “It’s a beautiful thing.” The industrial sewing machine operator said she lost the job she had for 12 years in February because of lack of work. “I am trying to pay my rent this month,” she said. “I greatly appreciate the help.”
Food campaign took on life of its own. Page 4
“I just wanted to say thank you for all they done for me.”
Lithonia couple thankful for beautiful family sent to them by God By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Sean Smith couldn’t stop smiling. His grin was so wide, two dimples took up residence on both cheeks. Tuesday was one of the happiest days of his life and it showed. Sean, 14, was sitting on a bench outside Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger’s courtroom at the DeKalb Courthouse surrounded by the family who loved him enough to open their hearts and door to him. Everyone was there for him – his new mom and dad, Jacqueline Smith-Copper and Larry; his new grandmother, Laurene Smith; and his four siblings, his biological sister Jasmine, 12, his adopted sister Lauren 9, and adopted brothers Jay-Alan, 8, and Chad-Collin, 3. Standing nearby were his social workers Andrea Perkins and Toni Berry and their supervisor Denice Brooks. Earlier that morning, Sean didn’t need anyone to get him out of bed. He woke up at 6:25 a.m. and the first thought in his head was: “I am getting adopted. I am getting adopted. It’s final. I can finally be with my sister forever,” he said. “I went and hugged my mom.” Sean’s journey to a permanent family began in 2004 when he and Jasmine went into state care because of neglect at home. He lived in many foster homes before he was placed with a family who intended to adopt him. In January, they changed their minds. Jacqueline Smith got Jasmine as a foster child in 2004 and adopted her in 2006. When DeKalb Family and Children Services (DFACS) called her about Sean, it was a nobrainer for her. “I already had his sister,” she said. “I figured one more child wouldn’t make that much of a difference.” But the placement was not easy.
Jacqueline Smith-Copper (second from right), with husband Larry, her mother Laurene and (clockwise from front right) Jasmine, Jay-Alan, Lauren, Chad-Collin and Sean. Sean and his biological sister, Jasmine.
“He didn’t want to be here,” Sean had become attached to the family he had been living with, Smith-Copper said. “He blamed and he did not understand why he DFACS. He blamed us. I told him, it doesn’t matter what you do, I am couldn’t be with them anymore.
not going to give up on you.” While they waited for the judge to finalize the adoption last week, Sean gave the two social workers poems he wrote for them. Before he handed over the sealed envelopes, his new mother helped him sing, “I never could have made it without you…” There wasn’t a dry eye in the hallway. Sean said he began writing the poems a week ago. “I just wanted to say thank you for all they done for me,” he said. Smith-Copper, a warm, effervescent woman, became a foster parent in 2000 and adopted her first four children while she was single. She said she found out about foster care when she saw a woman with a cute baby in a supermarket checkout line and helped her take
her groceries to her car. The woman told her the baby was a foster child and gave her the number for DFACS. Smith-Copper said her first intention was to adopt a child about 5 years old who could be dropped off at school on her way to her telecommunications coordinator job at Coca Cola. “I wanted to make a difference,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was, but my heart wanted to be there for them.” After her foster care training, the first child DFACS called her about was an 8-month-old baby girl, named Lauren. “She clung to my leg and smiled at me,” Smith-Copper said. Next came Lauren’s brother, Jay-Alan, at 5 days old. But why stop there? Jasmine joined her family as an emergency foster care placement and Chad-Collin arrived three years ago when he was 8 days old. She adopted them both in 2007. Laurene Smith said that her daughter has a big heart but she never imagined five children. “When she got Chad-Collin I said, ‘Girl, you are crazy,’ ” her mother said. Two years ago, the Lithonia mother married Larry Copper, the son of a neighbor, because he is patient and kind and great with the kids. When Sean came along in January, they just made room for him. “It seems like it’s not much difference between four and five especially when he is a good kid,” Copper said. On Thursday, when they gather at Grandma Smith’s Stone Mountain house for Thanksgiving dinner, Smith-Copper says they have much to be thankful for. “I ended up with this beautiful family,” she said. “I didn’t choose them. God sent them to me. It’s a blessing for me to be there for the kids through everything.”
“Police officers who thought they had to live elsewhere for quality housing will now have a viable option in the community where they work.” Workers have nearly completed clearing the land to the east of Berean’s current building on Young Road to make way for a new sanctuary, retail space and day care center.
Lithonia street project enters second phase Pedestrians in the city of Lithonia will soon have sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks along the portion of Evans Mill Road within the city limits. City and county officials broke ground Nov. 23 on the $1 million Evans Mill Road/ Main Street Streetscape phase 2. The second phase includes sidewalks, pedestrian lights, landscaping and resurfacing along Evans Mill Road/Main Street from Covington Highway to about 300 feet east of Johnson Street in downtown Lithonia. It also consists of pedestrian facilities to the traffic light at Covington Highway. The project is partially funded by the federal government. The anticipated completion date is May 20, 2010.
Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews
Meeting scheduled to discuss Berean expansion By Donna Williams Lewis
The $27 million expansion of Berean Christian Church, which provides for a new sanctuary, retail space and a day care center, is well under way. New roads are being developed to flow traffic to the church from Panola and Young roads and about 800 additional parking spaces are under construction. A community meeting to discuss the expansion will be held Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at the church Fellowship Hall, 2201 Young Road. With 11,000 members, upwards of 5,000 people attend Berean’s four Sunday services, including three at its DeKalb campus. After Dec. 1, Berean’s Gwinnett location will grow from one to two Sunday services. Senior pastor Dr. Kerwin B. Lee said “anticipation is in the air” now that land has been cleared and construction has begun. The church last year assembled enough property to nearly double its campus, from 21 to 39 acres. “It’s just been a real motivation for the congregation to see the land from a different
perspective as opposed to with the trees and houses,” Lee said. The expansion plan went under the microscope of Berean’s neighbors in the Hidden Hills community last year as Berean sought rezoning and building permits from DeKalb County. Several community meetings were held with residents who wanted specifics, particularly in regard to parking, square footage of apartments, buffers and landscaping. Apartments and office space have been removed from the plan, according to Robert Howze, Berean’s chief financial officer. In an interview Monday, Jan Costello, coordinator of the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District, said the church has been supportive of the overlay district group’s effort. “They continue to be supportive of the work we’re doing in an overlay zone which they’re affected by,” Costello said. Berean’s current seven- to 10-year plan calls for a sanctuary of up to 5,000 seats, a shopping plaza, a day care center and a banquet facility. The church already has a
school that has been adding one grade per year, and Howze said it currently serves 144 children in grades pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. The additional parking under construction will bring Berean to 1,200 spaces and should be completed by March, Howze said. The former Hope of Glory church next door is becoming Berean’s day care center. Renovation begins in March and should take six or seven months, he said. Later in the spring, the church will completely renovate its community center on Young Road and will also convert a 6,000-square-foot home purchased last year into a banquet hall. The new elements planned for the growing church will help it minister holistically to the community, Lee said. “We want the people in this community to know our church is committed to the community,” Lee said. “It’s more than just a place to worship. This will be a place where you can work, live, play, worship and feel good.”
munity Development director, said the initiative could create work for real estate agents and building contractors. Ann Brown, a 28-year resident of the Belvedere community in Decatur, said there are almost 100 foreclosed homes in her neighborhood. In September, there were three murders in Belvedere. Brown said she wants an officer living next door to her. “It would make me feel safer,” she said.
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DeKalb residents could soon have an officer next door – literally. The “Officer Next Door Program,” launched by DeKalb County in October, is offering down payment assistance of $14,150 to $25,000 to police officers, firefighters and sheriff deputies to encourage them to purchase and live in foreclosed homes in neighborhoods across the county. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said it will help deter crime in local neighborhoods. The program is funded by an $18.5 million National StabiliBurrell Ellis zation Program grant DeKalb received in 2008. It will provide subsidies of $14,150 for officers who live in the home a minimum of five years, and $25,000 for those who stay for 10 years. Ellis said the program is focusing on vacant homes that destabilize neighborhoods, while providing an opportunity for officers needing quality housing to embrace the communities where they work by buying a home there. “Police officers who thought they had to live elsewhere for quality housing will now have a viable option in the community where
they work,” Ellis said. “The inventory of high-quality, middle-class empty houses in DeKalb neighborhoods presents us with an opportunity for some of our public safety officers and first responders to achieve the American dream of affordable home ownership.” Ellis said the program was created after a survey of 500 police officers. He said 300 officers showed a strong interest in the program. William Miller, the county’s public safety director, said officers owning homes in subdivisions will make neighbors feel safer. “More officers owning homes means an increased presence of officers in our neighborhoods,” he said. “This increased presence will deter crime and improve the relationships between officers and residences.” Miller said the program can also help the county recruit and retain officers. Police officers, firefighters and sheriff deputies within DeKalb and its municipalities who have passed a probationary period and whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the area median income are eligible for the program. In the first eight months of this year, there were over 7,000 foreclosed homes in DeKalb County. Public safety personnel will be buying homes in areas hardest hit by foreclosures including ZIP codes 30087, 30083, 30032 and 30034. Chris Morris, DeKalb Com-
Families and kids can meet children’s authors Evelyn Coleman and Josie Bailey at the Dec. 12 Jubilee of Reading Book Club Conference For Families and Kids but they have to register by Dec.1. The conference at the Scott Candler Library in Decatur will feature keynote addresses from the authors and appearances by writers from the teen magazine “My.” It is part of the ninth annual Jubilee of Reading Book Club Conference sponsored by the DeKalb Public Library. Scott Candler Library is at 2644 Mc Afee Road. To register for the conference, call Myguail Chappel at 404-370-8450, ext. 2257.
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“We were crying at the end. I’m just grateful to my pastor and to God because I get to do this for a living.”
Campaign to feed 1,000 families took on life of its own By Donna Williams Lewis
This time last year, Andrea Diallo was handed no small task by her boss. The minister of outreach at Berean Christian Church was asked by her pastor to find a way to feed 1,000 needy families this Thanksgiving. She came through with flying colors. On Saturday, Berean, in partAndrea Diallo nership with local agencies, schools and churches, handed out 750 boxes of donated Thanksgiving treasure at the church at Panola and Young roads. Another 150 boxes were delivered and distributed on Sunday. The last boxes were handed out Monday morning in what became a “street ministry” in the parking lot outside the Covington Highway Department of Labor office. “It was overwhelming for all of us,” Diallo said. “We were crying at the end. I’m just grateful to my pastor and to God because I get to do this for a living.” Inside each box were cans of greens, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce; boxes of mashed potatoes, rice, and macaroni and cheese; and mixes for cornbread, stuffing, gravy, cake and drinks. Topping it off was a frozen turkey for every family’s oven. Berean’s senior pastor, Dr. Kerwin B. Lee, reflected on the enterprise in an interview last week. “We just felt like we wanted to do something for people who were in need and who have been affected directly by the economy and wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner but didn’t have the resources to pull it off,” he said. About 200 volunteers taped, labeled and packed boxes last week to prepare for the event. Berean, which runs a food pantry, kicked off the giveaway by looking for additional needy families. For help, they turned to school
Members of Berean Christian Church collected and distributed about 1,000 boxes of food to make Thanksgiving dinners to families in need.
Lynn Young was among about 200 volunteers who pitched in to fill the boxes with greens, mashed potatoes, stuffing, a turkey and other foods.
systems, Departments of Family and Children Services, and other agencies in DeKalb, Rockdale and Gwinnett counties. Berean’s members were asked to sponsor families at about $40 per box. However, Diallo said this was not a Berean event, but rather “a community event.” Other churches joined the effort: New Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur, JAM Worldwide Ministries from Con yers, Rain Outreach Ministry in Stone Mountain, and First Afrikan Church in Lithonia. Tina Backus, a teacher at Columbia Middle School, volunteered from New Piney Grove. “It turned out to be a fantastic event,” she said. “A lot of people came in. We didn’t make people feel like they were begging. ... We embraced them, smiled, shared stories of our struggles.”
Backus’ son, an unemployed 27-year-old father of two, was among those in line for a food box on Saturday. He ended up helping others carry boxes to their cars and wound up getting a good lead on a job while he was there “from someone who knew someone who needed someone,” his mother said. Sponsors who signed on included Agape Hospice Care, Archway, Cardiology Consultants of Atlanta, Circle of Sistas Inc., Georgia Link Public Affairs Group, Sara Lee, Mahatma Rice, Crystal Springs and Publix. A team led by Berean member LaVonda Perkins worked for months with Diallo to pull off the event, tapping the resources of hundreds of volunteers from inside and outside the church walls. Applicants for boxes were asked to provide basic demographic in-
formation on applications that will help the church plan for community needs, Diallo said. Income was not an issue; the church trusted that those who applied needed help. Some families arrived at Berean Saturday morning in cars or on public transportation. Others rode shuttles the church provided at pickup points in DeKalb, Rockdale and Gwinnett. They were welcomed by Pastor Lee, DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May and state Sen. Gloria Butler. The welcome was followed by several hours of sustenance for the soul: music and worship, optional private prayer, a hula hoop contest whose winners took home donated hams. “We forget that there are people whose lives are centered around pain,” Diallo said. “Sometimes you need to have fun.” Keisha Tompkins arrived at the family life center and 7:30 a.m. and joined a few other people waiting in line, three hours before the giveaway was to begin. She didn’t have a ride so she carpooled with four other women. All of them were out of work. Tompkins said she lost her job six months ago and has no help at all with her 4-year-old daughter Miracle and her 3-year-old niece Jacariah. “I feel blessed,” she said of the Thanksgiving box she carried to her car.
Lithonia couple thankful for ‘Housewives’ to be at mall 6 Resist temptation to pig out beautiful family 2 8 “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” – Kandi during holidays Sean Smith couldn’t stop smiling.His grin was so wide, two dimples took up residence on both cheeks.
Burruss, Lisa Wu Hartwell, Nene Leakes, Sheree Whitfield and Kim Zolciak – will be back at the Gallery at South DeKalb on Dec. 5 for an encore appearance.
With all of the great food that comes with Thanksgiving, it is easy to fall victim to succulent turkey, golden ham, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing and sweet potato pie.
Meeting scheduled to discuss Fun, food and cider at area Signs a senior may need help 8 Berean expansion 3 tree lighting festivities 6 It’s the holiday surprise no one wants, The $27 million expansion of Berean Christian Church is well under way.
Christmas trees will be all aglow starting this weekend in town squares across east metro Atlanta.
coming home to find an elderly loved one in deteriorating condition and in need of immediate help.
Floats, award-winning bands, and Santa and his reindeer will kick off the holidays at the Dec. 5 Children’s Christmas Parade in downtown Atlanta.
Candlelight vigils, free HIV/AIDS tests and a tour of the AIDS Quilt are some of the ways that health and community organizations will mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
Police, firefighters get help buying homes 3 Atlanta’s annual Christmas AIDS Day draws attention to The “Officer Next Door Program” is of- parade is Dec. 5 6 disease 9 fering down payment assistance to police officers, firefighters and sheriff deputies to encourage them to purchase and live in foreclosed homes in neighborhoods across the county.
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“We want to give our customers another opportunity to meet the ladies up close and personal.”
Fun, food and cider at area tree lighting festivities By Stephen Paterson
The Housewives of Atlanta will greet fans at the Gallery at South DeKalb mall on Dec. 5.
‘Housewives’ to be at Gallery “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” – Kandi Burruss, Lisa Wu Hartwell, Nene Leakes, Sheree Whitfield and Kim Zolciak – will be back at the Gallery at South DeKalb on Dec. 5 for an encore appearance. The women from Bravo’s hit reality series created quite a stir during a summer appearance at the Decatur mall. The series offers an up-close and personal look at five fabulous women from Atlanta’s social elite – from NFL wives and Grammy Award winners to sassy single moms – as they juggle their burgeoning careers and busy home lives with the whirl of the South’s hottest city. The top-rated reality show, which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m., is in its second season with its highest viewership. Tené Harris, the mall’s general manager, said she is excited to have the housewives return. “The show’s overwhelming popularity originates from their Atlanta fans, so we want to give our customers another opportunity to meet the ladies up close and personal,” Harris said. The women will sign autographs and meet fans starting at 4 p.m. at the Macy’s performance stage. For information visit www.galleryatsouthdekalb.com or 404-241-2431.
Christmas trees will be all aglow starting this weekend in town squares across east metro Atlanta. The annual tree-lighting festivities, which include Christmas parades, the arrival of Santa, hot chocolate, doughnuts and cider, are designed to get residents in the holiday spirit. The Village of Stone Mountain will light its tree on Nov. 27. The Ruby Red Band is performing again this year, and there will be marshmallow roasting, fresh-made snow, a “Dear Santa” writing station, and gifts from Santa. The two-and-a-half hour event kicks off at 6 p.m. on Main Street, near City Hall. For more information, call 770498-7334. The Ruby Red Band (left) will perform at the Nov. 27 tree lighting celebration in downtown Stone Mountain.
Carols in Lithonia Lithonia’s tree lighting festivities in Kelley Park will begin at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. They include a retelling of “The Christmas Story” and singing of Christmas carols. Cider and Christmas cookies will be served. Residents are asked to bring canned food and toys to donate to the needy. The park is lo- cated between Main Street and Max Cleland Boulevard. For more information, call 770- 482-8136.
ring in the Christmas season in a fire engine parade. Cider and donuts will be served afterwards. For more information, call 404-294-5400.
Olde Town Conyers Olde Town Conyers’ holiday season kicks off Dec. 4 with the Olde Town Christmas Party on Dec. 4. The 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. party includes free carriage and train rides, a Secret Santa Shop for children, visits and photos with Santa at the Depot, and a free performance by Conyers Kids at the Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts. On Dec. 5, the Hometown Holiday Parade starts at 4:40 p.m. at Rockdale County High School and terminates at the Rockdale County Courthouse for the lighting of the Christmas Tree and local performances. For more information, call 770-602-2606.
Avondale Estates Avondale Estates’ Christmas tree will be lit on Nov. 30 at the intersection of Clarendon Avenue and Avondale Road. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with Boy Scout Troup 6 serving hot dog dinners. Avondale First Baptist Church members will sing Christmas carols at 6:30 p.m. The tree will be lit at 7 p.m., and Santa Claus will make an appearance to officially
Sleigh upgrade in Clarkston Santa will fly in by helicopter to Clarkston’s tree lighting on Dec. 12 at the Clarkston Women’s Club, 3913 Church St. Mayor Lee Swaney said Santa will flip the switch lighting up the tree at 6:30 p.m. A fireworks display follows. Cookies and hot chocolate for the kids and hot coffee for the adults will be served inside the Women’s Club, which will be decorated for the holidays. For more information, call 404-2966489.
Atlanta’s annual Christmas parade is Dec. 5 Floats, award-winning bands, and Santa and his reindeer will kick off the holidays at the Dec. 5 Children’s Christmas Parade in downtown Atlanta. The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta event, which is in its 29th year, is said to be largest Christmas parade in the Southeast, attracting
more than 300,000 spectators. This year’s parade, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, begins at Peachtree Street near Baker Street. The route follows Peachtree, turns right onto Marietta Street and finishes along Centennial Olympic Park Drive. Attendees are encouraged to use MARTA. The Five Points and
Peachtree Center stations are within walking distance of the parade route. Proceeds from the parade help fund programs and equipment to serve patients and families at Children’s Healthcare. For more information about the parade, log on to www.choa.org/parade.
Ice skating available in two venues
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Even if snow is scarce this season, kids and adults can glide on ice at the Conyers Olde Town Pavilion and at Centennial Olympic Park. The Conyers ice rink opened Nov. 13 for its ninth season. A spin on the ice is $7 plus $2 for skate rental. $1 coupons are available at the Conyers Welcome Center while supplies last. Monica Coffin, Conyers Main Street manager, said Main Street is pleased to offer “Have an Ice Day” as a holiday tradition. “Ice skating is a fun and popular component of the holiday events we promote throughout Olde Town and in the community,” she said. For more information, call 770-6022606.
Centennial Olympic Park The outdoor ice skating rink at Centennial Olympic Park offers skating under its 100- by 130-foot tent through Jan. 31. The rink, which opened Nov. 14, has covered observation seating, theatrical lighting and holiday music. It is open daily including all holidays. Admission is $7 per person for
People can glide over the ice in Conyers and at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.
90 minutes of skate time. Skate rental is $2. Discounts are available for college students and groups. The ice skating rink has partnered with the Georgia Aquarium and other city attractions such as the Center for Puppetry Arts, Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and the Inside CNN Studio Tour. The 21-acre park is decorated with thousands of lights for the 13th annual season of Holiday in Lights. For more information, visit www.centennialpark.com or call 404-223-4090.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends only purchasing frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that have a USDA or state inspection mark.
Proper food handling reduces risk of illness A cooked whole turkey is safe at a minimum internal temperature of 165Â° F throughout the turkey and stuffing.
The Thanksgiving menu is finalized and the guests have RSVPâ€™ed. Now itâ€™s time to take a few minutes to check out these tips for a safe Thanksgiving dinner. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, the Georgia Department of Community Health offers this advice.
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Clean hands, surfaces Wash hands with soap and warm, running water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry. Wash utensils, cutting boards and thermometers between uses. Between preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods, sanitize all countertops and cutting boards using a solution of 1 tablespoon unscented chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Thaw safely There are three ways to safely thaw your turkey: in the refrigerator at 41Â° F or below, in cold water, or in the microwave. It should be cooked immediately after thawing. If using the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. D o n o t t h aw a t r o o m temperature,which increases the risk of bacteria growth. Look for mark of inspection The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends only purchasing frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that have a USDA or state inspec-
tion mark. These turkeys are safe because they have been processed under controlled conditions. Do not thaw pre-stuffed turkeys before cooking. Follow package directions for proper handling.
Cook to proper temperature A cooked whole turkey is safe at a minimum internal temperature of 165Â° F throughout the turkey and stuffing. Keep a food thermometer handy to ensure proper temperatures in the innermost part of the thigh, wing, the thickest part of the breast and the stuffing. Hold the turkey at safe temperatures prior to serving. Insert a cooking or meat thermometer inside the inner thigh area or the breast of the turkey (careful not to touch the bone) and lower oven temperature (read thermometer packaging to ensure that it is safe to withstand oven temperatures). Make sure that the temperature of the turkey does not drop below 140Â° F during holding time. It is
recommended that the turkey remain covered during holding time so that it does not dry out.
Separate raw, ready-to-eat Keep raw poultry and its juices away from ready-to-eat foods. If possible, use separate cutting boards and utensils for fresh produce and raw poultry to eliminate the potential for cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are spread from one food product to another. Refrigerate leftovers Divide leftovers into smaller portions in shallow containers to cool quickly in the refrigerator. Store leftovers in the refrigerator at 41Â° F or lower for up to three to four days for turkey, stuffing and gravy. Recommended safe cooling procedures are to cool first from 135Â° F to 70Â° F within two hours, then from 70Â° F to 41Â° F in an additional four hours for a maximum cooling time of six hours.
Resist temptation to pig out during holidays With all of the great food that comes with Thanksgiving, it is easy to fall victim to succulent turkey, golden ham, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing and big slices of sweet potato pie. With temptations like this, who can resist? The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the typical Thanksgiving meal can add up
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to 3,000 calories or more. If you snack throughout the day or eat more than one big meal, you could easily double that number and gain the more than five pounds that the average American packs on annually between Thanksgiving and New Yearâ€™s Day. TOPS, a nonprofit weight-loss support organization with chapters in Decatur, says there is a middle ground between deprivation and over-eating. It includes eating smarter and consuming smaller portions. Here are some TOPS tips to navigate too much family favorites. n Choose two slices of skinless turkey breast over a drumstick to save calories and reduce fat and cholesterol. n Avoid using boxed stuffing mix. Instead, make your own with whole-grain bread and turkey or chicken sausage. Add fruits like
apples, pears and cranberries or almonds and walnuts for more nutritional value n Canned cranberry sauce has high-fructose corn syrup. Make your own cranberry sauce by pureeing dried cranberries in orange juice and water or use fresh cranberries with sugar. n Replace candied sweet potatoes with mashed or baked sweet potatoes. n Replace heavy cream in the mashed potatoes with low-fat buttermilk and add a vegetable that mashes easily, such as turnips or green onion. Olive oil and dried or fresh herbs liven up roasted red potatoes with minimal calories. n Swap potato chips and dip for the crunch of veggies dipped into hummus or salsa for a low-calorie, flavorful topping. n For a sweet snack, enjoy an apple baked with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Signs a senior may need help Itâ€™s the holiday surprise no one wants, coming home to find an elderly loved one in deteriorating condition and in need of immediate help. Senior Helpers, a Towson, Md.based company with franchises in 38 states including Georgia, offers 10 warning signs that your older family member needs help: n Poor eating habits resulting in weight loss, decreased appetite and missed meals. n Neglected hygiene. n Neglected home thatâ€™s maybe not as clean as you remember growing up. n Inappropriate behavior, such as acting loud, quiet, paranoid or
making phone calls at all hours. n Changed relationship patterns that friends or neighbors have noticed. n Burns or injuries resulting from weakness, forgetfulness or misuse of alcohol or medicines. n Decreased participation in activities. n Scorched pots and pans, showing forgetfulness. n Unopened mail, newspaper piles, missed appointments. n Mishandled finances, such as losing money, paying bills twice or hiding money. For more information on Senior Helpers, log on to www.seniorhelpers.com.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the world’s largest piece of ongoing community art. It began in San Francisco in 1987 as a single panel.
AIDS Day draws attention to disease Candlelight vigils, free HIV/AIDS tests and a tour of the AIDS Quilt are some of the ways that health, collegiate, faith-based and community organizations will mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. More than 1 million Americans and an estimated 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Although blacks, including African-Americans, account for about 13 percent of the U.S. population, the federal Emory University students unfurl panels of the AIDS Quilt on the quadrangle as part of the college’s World AIDS Day memorial. Centers for Disease Control says they account for 49 percent of the people with HIV/AIDS and for more community who contract HIV/AIDS. Because of barri- understanding and response to the disease. Participants are encouraged to bring picers to health care, they can suffer the worst tures, clothing items or other memorabilia of outcomes. The nonprofit STAND Inc. will showcase their loved ones who died from AIDS for a its “Green Light” service and treatment pro- memorial in their honor during the vigil. First Afrikan is at 5197 Salem Road. For grams from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its office at 4319 Covington Drive in Decatur. Visitors more information, email email@example.com will tour the facility and view panels from or call Tiffany Pennick at 678-749-4788. the AIDS Quilt, which is on loan from the NAMES Project Foundation. Free Rapid HIV Quilt on Emory’s Quad Emory University is hosting an 800-panel tests will also be offered at its 3435 Covington Drive location. For more information, call display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on its quadrangle. 404-284-9878. It is the Atlanta college’s fifth annual Charles Sperling, STAND’s founder and executive director, said the open house has “Quilt on the Quad” to mark World AIDS Day. In the event of rain, “Quilt on the Quad” more than one goal. “The intent is not only to bring about the will be held on the fourth floor of the Woodfull awareness of STAND Inc. services, but ruff P.E. Center. The event kicks off with a keynote talk by to educate the community of our services – empowering individuals to lead healthy lives Sandra Thurman, president and CEO of the International AIDS Trust based at the univerwith dignity and self-respect,” he said. For more information, contact Mimi sity’s Rollins School of Public Health. After her talk, the names of individuals memorialBrown at 404-288-4668, ext. 22. ized by a quilt panel will be read aloud. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the world’s Candlelight vigil First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Li- largest piece of ongoing community art. It thonia is hosting an HIV/AIDS candlelight began in San Francisco in 1987 with a single vigil from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the church panel. Today, it has more than 47,000 individual 3-by-6-foot panels, each commemosanctuary. Members will pray for people infected rating the life of an AIDS victim.
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