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Community News............................... P 3 Business......................................... P 7 We Worship ................................... P 8 Health & Wellness......................... P 10 Classifieds.................................... P 11

Serving DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale Counties

CONTACT THE NEWSROOM Phone: (678) 526-1910 n Fax: (678) 526-1909 n E-mail: editor@ocgnews.com

www.facebook.com/ocgnews Volume 19 Number 11

www.ocgnews.com September 1, 2013

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Decatur hero Antoinette Tuff riding tidal wave as celebrity By Joshua Smith and Valerie J. Morgan

DECATUR—A few weeks ago, Antoinette Tuff started out having an ordinary day at McNair Discovery Learning Academy, doing the work that bookkeepers usually do. But now the Decatur resident is making plans to help needy kids through a new foundation that has raised more than $100,000 in her honor in seven days. Over 2,000 people have donated to the online host site, gofundme.com. Tuff’s fame is ever growing. Supporters have created an “Antoinette Tuff the Hero” Facebook page, and her own personal Facebook page has grown to 2,404 friends, with words of encouragement coming from as far away as Belize The 47-year-old is a hero in the hearts of people she doesn’t even know because she talked down a school intruder who was armed with an AK-47 rifle. She made national news on Aug. 20 when she diffused the dangerous situation, saving the lives of over 800 students and faculty at the elementary school where she works. “I was just praying on the inside saying ‘God, what do I do now? What should I say next?” said Tuff. “I thought about all the children and trying to keep him (Michael

Brandon Hill), in the office away from the children. I wanted them to remain safe. I couldn’t show on the outside what I was feeling on the inside, or the outcome of all this would have been different.” Principal Brian Bolden said school staff members regularly train for dangerous situations involving trespassers and emergency protocol, but he said Tuff deserved praise for going the extra mile to empathize with the intruder. “Her name, Antoinette Tuff, says everything about her. Tough. She has always been that way from the first time I met her. The school’s existing safety procedures will remain the same while the investigation takes place,” said Bolden. Tuff talked Hill into surrendering to police after he fired his gun and police returned fire. No one was injured in the shooting. Hill, 20, faces multiple charges and is being held in the DeKalb County Jail. His preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 5. Timothy Hill told authorities his brother has some mental problems. “I give honor to God. As we know, it wasn’t me and I don’t take any credit for it, because in all reality, I was terrified,” Tuff said. See Tuff, page 5

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

911 operator Kendra McCray and bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff join DeKalb County first responders in being honored by government officials on Aug. 27.

DeKalb faith leaders, police partner to launch ‘Right Choice’ after-school program

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By Valerie J. Morgan

coalition of pastors say they plan to launch an after-school program that will initially target boys at risk of dropping out of high school. The pastors’ partnership with the DeKalb Police Department and the DeKalb County School District was announced Aug. 29, following a shooting on Aug. 20 at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur. About a dozen DeKalb faith leaders, DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander and DeKalb schools chief legal officer Ronald Ramsey announced The Right Choice afterschool program. “What we’re basically saying is ‘the walls of our churches are down See Churches, page 6

Photo by Glenn L. Morgan/OCG News

A coalition of DeKalb pastors flank DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander and DeKalb schools chief legal officer Ronald Ramsey at a press conference to announce a new after-school program.

Railroad attraction to open at Rockdale horse park

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By Joshua Smith

ockdale County is preparing to welcome the Conyers & Hightower Trail Railroad, an attraction that officially opens on Nov. 2 near the Steeple Chase Grounds at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. The North Georgia Live Steamers (NGLS), a group of train enthusiasts who have spent the last four years constructing the railroad for the miniature train rides, is hosting a golf fundraiser tournament on Sept. 25 to complete the work. “We are so excited about showing off our railroad to the community,” said NGLS President Norm Wizner. “We are now looking at putting the finishing touches on construction and hope to begin to schedule regular public run days.” The group is raising money to complete the installation of a threetrack hydraulic lift, which will be used to load the heavy train cars onto the track. Each car weighs at least 750 pounds, volunteers say.

All Aboard The North Georgia Live Steamers is hosting its fundraising golf tournament, “Full Steam Ahead,” on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Cherokee Run Golf Club in Conyers. The cost is $75 per person. The fee includes cart, bucket of balls, playing fees and a buffet lunch. Proceeds from the tournament will go toward the costs of finalizing construction of the railroad. At the grand opening and spike ceremony, visitors can check out live steam locomotives, learn about how railroad systems work and, of course, ride the trains from 1 to 5 p.m. The fee is $1 per ride. There’s no cost for admission, if you want to simply tour the track and the facility.

The railroad features 6,000 feet of aluminum track, which runs through scenic wooded and grassy areas, and includes more than 50 switches, a hydraulic loading rack and five steaming bays. “We’ve been building the track as a club for four years, clearing the land, building a bridge and drainage

system, carefully putting in every bolt and screw, laying tons of gravel and concrete, building sections of the track in 10-foot piece sections. This is a hand-built track with hand-built switches and hand-built turn tables,” said NGLS Board Member LaVay Sheldon. “We plan to add more track in the future.” The railroad sits on 35 acres at 1632 Centennial Olympic Parkway in Conyers. The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners gave the nonprofit train organization permission to use the tract after it was forced to leave Duluth in 2008. The Southeast Rail and Transportation Museum moved to a new location, leaving the NGLS without a home for its track. Winzer worked with Conyers City Manager Tony Lucas to bring the railroad to the horse park in Rockdale. Construction began in 2009 behind the Steeplechase area, across from Hawthorne Suites. Tons and tons of fill dirt was donated to the group and Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News used to level the ground. The group of NGLS Board member LaVay Sheldon leads a group See Train, page 6

of riders at the 7th Annual Big Haynes Creek Wildlife Festival in Rockdale County.


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Community News

september 1, 2013  Volume 19, NO. 11 EDITOR/Publisher Valerie J. Morgan  editor@ocgnews.com GENERAL MANAGER Glenn L. Morgan gmorgan1@ocgnews.com Staff Writer  Joshua Smith  joshsmith@ocgnews.com Advertising Manager  Richard S. Hill  richardhill@ocgnews.com

About Us 

On Common Ground News is published twice a month on the 1st and 15th by On Common Ground, Inc. The newspaper serves DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Rockdale and Henry counties. The opinions expressed by writers and contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher or the newspaper’s advertisers. No portion of this newspaper may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. We reserve the right to reject material and advertisements we deem inappropriate.

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New expansion, new generation takes reigns of Levett family funeral homes By Valerie J. Morgan

DECATUR—Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes and Crematory recently celebrated the $1.3 million expansion and renovation of its South DeKalb facility. The funeral homes’ President and CEO Gregory Levett, Sr. and his wife, Betty, announced new leadership roles for the Levett dynasty as they welcomed community residents and special guests on Aug. 25 to tour the facility, located at 4347 Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur. The couple’s two sons, Bernard and Lanier, and daughter, Deana, represent a new generation of the family’s business in Georgia, one of the largest, independentlyowned and operated funeral homes in the state. Deana Levett, the couple’s 23-year-old daughter, has been named vice president of the newly-renovated South DeKalb Chapel. A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Deana Levett received her formal funeral Deana Levett home training and license from the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Decatur. As vice president, she is responsible for overseeing 17 full-time and 25 part-time employees at the South DeKalb funeral home. Conducting over 800 funerals per year, the South DeKalb facility, Gregory Levett said, is the busiest

Greg and Betty Levett dedicate the expansion of their South DeKalb chapel funeral home.

location of the four he owns in metro Atlanta. “We are pleased that our daughter is taking on this position while we’re alive and can help guide her,” said Gregory Levett, who, like his daughter, was 23 when he went to work at his father’s funeral home and started his own in 1980. “Deana is a hard worker and she’s very confident. I have faith she will succeed.” Ms. Levett said she feels blessed to have the opportunity to oversee the South DeKalb facility. She said she is looking forward to not only carrying on the family’s legacy, which spans three generations, but serving as a spokesperson in the funeral home industry.

Photos by Glenn L. Morgan/OCG News

“I have a mass communications degree from Clark with a concentration in public relations. I plan to use my degree in a number of ways to promote what we do,” said Ms. Levett. “I will be speaking and educating the community on the importance of planning and preparing for one’s transition, and other subjects related to the funeral home industry.” Deana Levett said she also plans to look at ways to use technology in her family’s business. Some of her handiwork is already visible in the funeral homes’ new web site and in television commercials that she scripted to promote the business. See Levett, page 5


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september 1, 2013

COMING UP

DEKALB

Bodybuilding championships set in Decatur DECATUR—DFAC Master Pro James “Ricky” Howell and Erica Howell will present the Georgia Natural Bodybuilding Championships on Sept. 21 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. The men’s competitions include Men’s Open Bodybuilding, Men’s Master Bodybuilding, Novice, Junior under 23, Teens under 20, and Men’s Athletic (non-sanctioned). The women’s competitions include: Women’s Open Bodybuilding, Women’s Athletic, Women’s Master Figure, Figure, and Bikini (non-sanctioned). Tickets for the Sept. 21 pre-judging event are $15; main event, $25; and all day passes are $35. The pre-judging event will start at noon. The main event will be held at 4 p.m. For more information, call 678-750-3065 or visit www.ganaturalchamp.com.

City of Decatur welcomes Concerts on the Square DECATUR—The City of Decatur and Decatur’s Business Association, 509 N. McDonough St., Decatur, will welcome the return of the Concerts on the Square series, beginning Saturday, Sept. 7, and continuing every Saturday, through Sept. 28, 7 – 9:30 p.m. Enjoy free concerts on the square in downtown Decatur. Pack your picnic, bring your quilts and blankets and enjoy an evening of music at the Community Bandstand. The series will kick off with the Atlanta Funk Society, who will pay a range of funk and soul covers. On Sept. 14, jazz and neo-soul artist Grant Green Jr. performs. The Troy Cono Band will hit the stage to play all-time Top 40 favorites on Sept. 21; and on Sept. 28, bluegrass artist Roxie Watson will play. A fireworks show will follow the Sept. 28 concert.

Meet-and-greet with DeKalb School Board set STONE MOUNTAIN—The DeKalb County Council of PTAs will host a meet-andgreet for the DeKalb Board of Education on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 6 p.m., at the district’s administrative complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain. The goal of this event is to give parents, staff and community at large an up-close and personal opportunity to meet their board representatives and engage in conversations related to education that are important to them. The DeKalb County Council of PTAs serves 116 PTAs and is comprised of more than 28,000 members who advocate for children’s education and learning.

provides an opportunity to visit with those who live in adjoining neighborhoods as well as officially launch the countdown for the annual Stephenson Road community cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 21.”   Attendees can meet representatives from the East Police Precinct, DeKalb County Code Enforcement, the Wade Walker YMCA and learn about important changes and documents now required to obtain or renew a Georgia drivers license. The breakfast is free and open to all DeKalb residents. There is no registration required. For more information, call Nichole Simms at 404-371-7031 or Kelly LaJoie at 404-371-3681.   

DeKalb History Center hosts genealogy ‘Lunch and Learn’

DECATUR—The DeKalb History Center, 101 E. Court Square, Decatur, will host “Genealogy: It’s Time to Get Started!” on Tuesday, Sept. 17, noon – 1 p.m. Have you always wanted to research your family tree, but just didn’t know where to start? Attend the History Center’s “Lunch and Learn” for some tips and information provided by Kenneth H. Thomas, Jr., a genealogy columnist. Technology has changed but the information you are gathering about your family has not. Thomas will offer pointers on using technology in your genealogy research. TA native of Columbus, Georgia, Thomas graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in history. He was the historian at the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for 33 years. He has been a genealogy columnist since 1977. The session is free to attend. Bring your own lunch. 404-378-1088.

FULTON State health officials seek input on budgets ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and its Board of Public Health is seeing public input as the agency begins to plan for the state fiscal year’s 2014 amended and 2015 general budgets. The Board is holding a public budget hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 1 – 3 p.m. at 2 Peachtree Street, NW, 5th Floor Board Room, Atlanta. The hearing will allow the public, special interest groups, and lawmakers to voice their opinions on how DPH resources should be used. Those interested in speaking at the meeting are asked to submit their intention to attend, along with a copy of their comments to DPHConstituentServices@dhr.state.ga.us, by Tuesday, Sept. 3. Speakers will be limited to three minutes each. Those attending the meeting must sign in and present photo identification at the security desk, located on the north side of the 2 Peachtree lobby to pick up a badge to gain access to the meeting. 404-657-2700.    

Commissioner Watson takes monthly breakfast to Stephenson

George Washington Carver High Class ‘73 marks 40-year reunion

STONE MOUNTAIN—DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson is taking his monthly Community Cabinet Breakfast on the road from Chapel Hill Middle to Stephenson High School, 701 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain, on Saturday, Sept. 7, 9 – 11 a.m. “I am pleased to partner with Stephenson High School for this month’s free community breakfast,” said Commissioner Watson. “Having the breakfast at Stephenson High School

COLLEGE PARK—The George Washington Carver High School alumnus class of 1973 is seeking all classmates who attended during this time period to join in a 40th-year reunion celebration and alumni activities. Cathelene “Tina” Robinson, clerk of Fulton County Superior Court, is helping to organize the event. The theme is “Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Present and Anticipating the Future!” A banquet is planned for Saturday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. – 1 a.m., at Diamond Hall Center, 5495 Old National Highway, College Park. Semi-formal or cosmopolitan attire is requested. Ticket are $40. For more information, call Jerry Anderson at 404-354-2109 or Danny Collier at 678-444-0426.

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Hank Johnson Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District hosts:

SAVING THE DREAM A Foreclosure Prevention Event

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GWINNETT ‘Princess and Me’ father-daughter dance set LAWRENCEVILLE—Gwinnett County will host the “Princess and Me” fatherdaughter dance on Friday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. Dads will bring their little sweethearts to the Superior Court Ballroom for dancing, desserts, and a keepsake photo. Each princess will be crowned upon arrival. Girls age 4 – 11 are invited to participate. The cost to attend is $10 per person. Seating is limited. Register by calling 770-822-5450.

Tribble Mill Park to host kids’ fishing clinic LAWRENCEVILLE—Tribble Mill Park, 2125 Tribble Mill Parkway, Lawrenceville, will host a free fishing clinic for kids on Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m. Instruction and equipment will be provided for children ages 5 – 15. Enjoy a fun-filled day of fishing and basic techniques. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 18. 678277-0900.

ROCKDALE Career bus to pull into Conyers library CONYERS—The Conyers-Rockdale Library, 864 Green St., S.W., will welcome the Atlanta Regional Workforce Board’s Mobile Career Lab on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Mobile Career Lab will park at the library to offer assistance in career planning, job readiness coaching, information about training opportunities and access to technology, specialized for job hunters. Services are available for those ages 16 an older. 404-463-3327.

Conyers, Saddle Club to host horse show CONYERS—The City of Conyers and the Newton County Saddle Club will host a free horse show on Sept. 7 – 8, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., at the Georgia International Horse Park, 1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway, Conyers. Organizers say this event is one of the largest open horse shows in Georgia, with many breeds showing. Breeds include the Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Miniatures and Gaited Horses. Classes of competition include jumping, halter, driving, pleasure, showmanship, challenged riders and trail. If you have your own horse, the event will feature payback classes, and money is dependent on the number of entries. The open show will be in the park’s arenas 8 – 10. For more information, contact Kathy Johnson at 678-873-3019.


september 1, 2013

PAGE 5

Levett family children carries on tradition continued from page 3

Taking the helm of three locations

Lanier and Dana Levett chart a new course

G. Bernard Levett, Jr. 43, the eldest son of Gregory and Betty Levett, has been named vice president of the family’s three other funeral homes: Avondale-Scottdale at 351 N. Clarendon Ave.; Gwinnett Chapel, 914 Scenic Highway, Lawrenceville; and North Gwinnett Chapel, 201 G. Bernard Levett, Jr. Morningside Drive, Buford. In addition to overseeing the operations of all three facilities and 45 employees, Bernard Levett is responsible for the maintenance of all four of the funeral homes. The Tuskegee University graduate who is a senior at Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service says he welcomes his new role. “Because of my background as an architect/ engineer, I have the best of both worlds now. Construction and architecture is what attracted me to my family’s business,” said Levett, who was responsible for overseeing the expansion of the South DeKalb facility. An architect, he owns B. Levett Construction Co., which has completed several residential and commercial projects. Levett said he is proud of the work he did on his family’s South DeKalb facility, which expanded from 9,000 to 15,500 square feet with the remodeling. The renovation includes an enclosed glass atrium, five new viewing rooms, a repast banquet hall that seats 112, renovated embalming and dressing rooms and a new parking lot. “The expansion will allow us to conduct multiple services at the same time. The viewing rooms have moveable dividers that allows the rooms to expand to 1200 square feet,” said Bernard Levett. “We look at the expansion as giving back to the community, a way to serve our families better with the latest technology.”

Lanier Levett and his wife, Dana, are striking out on their own as the owners and operators of YoungLevett Funeral Home.  The funeral home has one location in Monroe and one in Covington.      “Owning my own funeral home has always been my vision,” said the 40-year-old Lanier Lanier Levett and Dana Levett, the youngest son of Gregory and Betty Levett. “This is a business that I have a passion for and one that I’ve been involved in since I was 7 years old.”       Gregory Levett said his son, who previously oversaw the Gwinnett operations, has his and his mother’s blessings.      “He has the training and capability to be successful. He has our blessings,” Gregory Levett said.      Lanier Levett is a graduate of Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service and Dana Levett is a graduate of Howard University, Piedmont College and Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service. Lanier Levett and his wife acquired their new business on Aug. 1 from Dana Levett’s family, who has been in the industry for over 75 years.       Daniel and Grace Young, Dana’s grandparents, opened their first funeral home in Monroe in 1938. The Youngs expanded to Covington, purchasing a second funeral home in 1961. Before his death in 1988, Daniel Young handpicked his granddaughter, Dana, to one day carry on the family legacy.        Dana and Lanier met in 1995 and were wed the following year. “We are excited about the opportunity to serve and honor families, which has been a long tradition in both of our families,” said Lanier Levett.

Tuff: ‘We still need your prayers’ continued from page 1

Tuff received a call from President Barack Obama, who thanked her for heroism and invited her to the White House. Then another honor came from Congressman Hank Johnson, who visited her Decatur church, The Way, The Truth and the Life Christian Center on Aug. 25. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and DeKalb CEO Lee May presented her a proclamation and a gold pin. County officials also honored the 911 operator, Kendra McCray, and DeKalb County first responders for their roles in the incident on Aug. 27. Tuff, however, has Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News emerged as the main hero, Antoinette Tuff and Kendra McCray say they have become having coming face to face L-R: “best friends” since their life-saving experience. with the shooter inside the school’s main office. Authorities think Hill walked into the school behind someone who was buzzed in at the front door. As of Aug. 29, Tuff, who has worked with the DeKalb School District since 2005, had not returned to the school. Her daughter, LaVita Tuff, said she is planning to go back after everything dies down. She may have a new calling, though, as someone suggested in a post on her foundation’s web site. “God Bless you! You have a new calling, now is your time to lead the way for many that are less fortunate, those that have no hope and those that have lost their way. Keep doing what you are doing and there are many of us that will continue to support your movement and whatever you do,” said LaMichael Finney, who donated $100 on Aug. 28. The website started with a goal of $1,500. The donations poured in, however, piling up to $106,000 and counting. “Proceeds will be used to provide travel for underprivileged children. We will provide inner-city kids the opportunity to see the world. If you change their vision, you can change their lives,” said Tuff. Tuff continues to ask for prayers for her school. “I just ask that everyone, when you wake up and before you go to bed, continue to pray for the students and staff that are back in that building. We still need your prayers.”

Photos by Glenn L. Morgan/OCG News

Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes’ marked the re-grand opening of its South DeKalb Chapel on Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur, showing off its $1.3 million expansion. Hundreds toured the facility and enjoyed a reception by Kenley’s Catering of Atlanta. Below, Deana Levett and Betty Levett meet the public.

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september 1, 2013

The Benn Agency honored with Safeco community service award DECATUR—The Benn Agency is a winner of a Safeco Insurance® Make More Happen Award. Agency owner Terry Benn says the $2,000 donation from Safeco will help the Decatur insurance agency continue the vital community service work it performs throughout the year in the DeKalb County community. “We’re incredibly proud to have received this award, one of 57 given nationwide,” said Benn. “We’re also incredibly proud of everyone at our agency who volunteers in our community service projects.” The Make More Happen Award recognizes the community commitment of Safeco’s independent agent partners nationwide with a donation of $2,000 to the charities supported by their volunteer efforts. “Safeco is honored to recognize agent partners who volunteer, and we are thrilled to multiply

the impact of their efforts with donations to their favorite charities,” said Brenda Mann Harrison, manager of the Safeco Insurance® Agent Giving Program. The Benn Agency will use its award to support several initiatives of the nonprofit, Boys to Men Christian Mentors, Inc. The programs, which primarily serve the households of single female parents with sons between 8 and 18 years of age, include mentoring at McLendon Elementary School, a children’s summer reading program, community Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Adopt-A-Family Outreach, and the annual Deacon Oliver Lindsey Saving a Generation Scholarship and Achievement Awards. “We do more than just help to meet our customers’ insurance needs — we get involved with local causes, because we believe that volunteering makes our community stronger,” Benn said.

L-R: Terry Benn-Agency Owner, Lori Stewart-Safeco Territory Mgr, Olivia CrowSafeco Territory Mgr, Charles C Jones, Jr-CEO Boys to Men Christian Mentors Inc. Photo provided.

Rockdale’s student civic awareness program gears up for second year By Joshua Smith

Churches unite for kids continued from page 1

now’ and we see DeKalb County as our pulpit,” said Bishop Quincy Carswell, pastor of the Covenant Church in Decatur. “We are together. There’s no one pastor. We stand together as a unit. We’re going to work to the best of our ability to make a difference.” Police Chief Alexander, who is credited with having the vision to form the partnership between the three entities, praised the coalition for stepping up to work with the school district. “We’re going to move forward in terms of doing some very positive things together,” said Alexander. The churches are still working out the details of the program, but the pastors said churches would adopt schools in their communities. Students would come to the churches to get help with schoolwork. They said they envisioned mentoring not only students who were troubled but good kids as well. “It’s not all just young people headed down the wrong path. We want to work with all types of young people,” said Pastor Kerwin B. Lee of Berean Christian Church, which has campuses in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. “There are some people who are right on the edge of great things but need a little bit more support. In a nutshell what we’re looking to do is we’re starting where we are, using what we have and we’re doing what we can.” The coalition said it hopes to have a plan worked out within a few days.

$3,250 grant from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, GCAPS supports increased civic awareness and engagement among Georgia’s youths. The program first started in Georgia in 2006 in Oconee and Wilkerson counties. “GCAPS offers high school students a vital opportunity to experience government beyond the classroom and showcases the importance of local officials and citizens working together,” said Rockdale County GCAPS Program Manager Brittany Johnson. Students in the six-month program get a behind-the-scenes look at all the agencies that keep Rockdale running. In addition

to attending a Board of Commissioners’ meeting, students tour the county firehouse, county jail, Police Department, Watershed Management and even the State Capitol. Last year, students interacted with several state officials at the Capitol including State Representatives Tonya Peterson Anderson, Dale Rutledge and Chuck Williams, as well as Senator Bill Cowsert, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Gov. Nathan Deal. “The first year was awesome. We are looking forward to this year,” Johnson said. “This is a great program to put on your resume and college letters because at each monthly meeting, you will visit a new government agency. You

Train lovers share their passion continued from page 1

Join the chorus! TM/©2013 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. 62077 5/13

CONYERS—Trent Fowler, 17, loves biology. But the high school senior has a new-found respect for politics, thanks to Rockdale County’s 2-year-old Georgia Civic Awareness Program for Students (GCAPS). “I remember everything in this program. From touring the local jail to attending a Board of Commissioners’ meeting, all of it was very educational,” said Fowler, who attends Eastminster School. “The program helped me understand the magnitude of politics and the influence that I can have on my community.” Fowler is one of 12 students who were part of the Rockdale pilot program launched last year in Conyers. Students from all three of Rockdale’s high schools and one private school were represented in the program. Rockdale is now accepting applicants for this year’s program, which is open to students in public high schools, private schools and home schoolers. Twelve students will be accepted to the program. Developed and supported with a

will gain an understanding other students just won’t have.” Students eligible to participate in the program must live in or attend school in Rockdale County, and must be a high school sophomore or junior as of August 2013. The program is offered to students free of charge, courtesy of ACCG’s three-year government grant. Last year, Rockdale County spokesperson Tonya Parker says the program spent about $1,100 of the grant it received, providing the students with snacks, tour handouts, a graduation dinner and certificate of completion. “This program is perfect for that future politician, but overall, the program is great because it shows high school kids what the county does and gives them an in-depth look at careers in government,” said Parker. GCAPS participants must be able to attend monthly meetings held after school in the evening. The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 13. The program will run from October through April. For more information or to apply, contact Brittany Johnson at 770-2787373 or britj112@uga.edu.

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Members of the North Georgia Live Steamers have been quietly building a 6,000 feet track over the last for years at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.

volunteers, who come from all over east Georgia, have been steadily building the track ever since. “The City of Conyers and the Board of Commissioners have been really supportive through this whole process. I think they see the value of what the train will add to the horse park,” Winzer said. Steamers President Norm Winzer expects the train to have a regular schedule of runs in the spring. He said NGLS will be able to offer rides at least once a month, probably on a Saturday. To give the community somewhat of a taste for what is to come, NGLS has been offering a miniature version of the train ride at Conyers’ Big Haynes Wildlife Festival over the years, while they have been building the larger-scaled train system. “The kids just love riding the train. Their eyes really light up and the parents love it because they get to reminisce on the old locomotive trains they used to see in the movies. It’s fun for the whole family,” said Sheldon. “We are really looking forward to the grand opening so we can share in the fun with the whole community and the entire Metro.” The North Georgia Live Steamers, which formed in 1978, provides education about live steam trains and its members construct scale steam engines, diesel locomotives and railroad equipment.

Sept. 13–15

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september 1, 2013

PAGE 7

Business News

To Contact Us

By Phone: 678-526-1910 By Fax: 678-526-1909 By E-mail: editor@ocgnews.com Visit Online: www.ocgnews.com

BBA welcomes Kaiser Permanente President The Buckhead Business Association will welcome Kerry Kohnen, president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, to its business breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 5, 7:30 a.m. Kohnen will serve as the guest speaker at the networking event. He is responsible for the operations of the state’s largest nonprofit health plan. Along with its care delivery partner, Kaiser provides comprehensive health care services to more than 240,000 members in metropolitan Atlanta through its 29 medical office buildings. Kohnen was named president in May 2011. His Kerry Kohnen leadership reflects more than 38 years of professional commitment to Kaiser Permanente. In 1975, he started his career after high school as a cafeteria worker at Kaiser Permanente’s Panorama City Hospital in Southern California. The cost to attend the networking breakfast is $20. Price includes breakfast and validated parking. Participants meet at the City Club of Buckhead, 3343 Peachtree Road, Suite 1850, Atlanta. 404-467-7607.

Conyers-Rockdale Chamber presents ‘How to Grow Your Business’ The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce, 936 Green Street, S.W., Conyers, will host a series of workshops, “How to Grow Your Business,” on select Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The first workshop, on Sept. 10, is entitled “Dealing with Difficult Employees.” This workshop will cover identifying the seven most common types of difficult employees and the dangers of pretending the problem does not exist. Guest speaker Ben Mance, director of Rockdale Medical Center’s Facility Operations and Security Services, will lead the workshop. The workshop series continues on Oct. 8 with “Making Social Media Work for Your Business,” and will conclude on Nov. 12 with “Tools to Grow by.” The cost to attend is $30 for one workshop, or $75 for all three workshops. Lunch is included. For more information or to register, call 770-483-7049.

Gwinnett Chamber offers ‘Small Business Essentials’ The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, will host a free workshop, “Small Business Essentials—The Experts Speak,” on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 8 – 10 a.m. Attendees will hear from local experts about free education and assistance

resources that are available for starting or growing a small business. The workshop will cover: business plan development, business registration and taxes, financial and lending assistance, market research services, manufacturing assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance and doing business with the county. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Day-of registration begins at 8:15 a.m. Admission is free, but seating will be limited so registering in advance is suggested. 770-2323000.

GSU’s Business School hosts career expo for students Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business will join the college’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality to host a free career expo on Friday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta. This event will provide you with an opportunity to meet hospitality companies seeking talented students to fill full-time, part-time and internship positions. For more information or to register, call 404-413-7615.

ABL joins Grady Health Systems for Business Power Forum The Atlanta Business League and Grady Health Systems will join forces to host a Business Power Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m. The Atlanta Business League is hosting the Business Power Forums as an informative gathering where attendees will be given the opportunity to hear from some local entrepreneurs and CEOs. The cost to attend is $20. Participants meet at Grady Health Systems, 80 Jesse Hill Jr., Drive, Suite 13, Atlanta. 404-616-4307.

DeKalb Chamber sets “Coffee and Conversations” The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, is accepting registration for its networking and informational event, “Coffee and Conversations,” on Friday, Sept. 20, 9 – 10 a.m. The bi-monthly gathering is held for those interested in joining the DeKalb Chamber to learn about the benefits, initiatives and programs. For more information, contact Katerina Taylor at 404-378-8000, ext. 225 or ktaylor@dekalbchamber.org.

DEKALB COUNTY GOVERNMENT Advertisement for Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sealed bids will be received in the Department of Purchasing and Contracting, The Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive, 2nd Floor, Decatur, Georgia 30030, for the following until 3:00 P.M. on date(s) designated below:

REQUEST FOR QUOTATION NO.

ITEM

CLOSING DATE

3003049 ITB

Sale of Surplus Property at 1667 Cecilia Drive

October 1, 2013

3003050 ITB

Sale of Surplus Property at 89 Ericson Street

October 1, 2013

13-500266 RFP

Renewable Fuel Credit Manager Services

Let’s Move! DeKalb...Walk!

September 17, 2013

13-500279 RFP

Investment Consulting and Procurement of Record September 17, 2013 Keeping Services for 401(a) and 457(b) Plan Requirements Specifications and other details will be available in the Purchasing and Contracting Department, The Maloof Center, 2nd Floor, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30030. For additional information, please view the DeKalb County Website at: http://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/purchasing/index.html DeKalb County reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids or any part thereof, to waive any technicalities, and to re-advertise. By: Kelvin L. Walton, Director/Chief Procurement Officer DeKalb County Department of Purchasing and Contracting

ChurchesNow.com

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Don’t miss The premiere issueour of Churches Now Magazine next issue of and Web Site. A place where you Now, can Churches find a church by county, inspirational words, Faith coming Dec. 1, news, Events, Conferences, and Music videos. 2013. Deadline is November 22, 2013.

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september 1, 2013

We Worship

To Contact Us

By Phone: 678-526-1910 By Fax: 678-526-1909 By E-mail: editor@ocgnews.com Visit Online: www.ocgnews.com

SCLC honors Light of the World’s Archbishop Ruth Smith Holmes Archbishop Ruth W. Smith Holmes, senior pastor of Light of the World Christian Tabernacle in Stockbridge, was honored by the W. Smith SCLC during the Ruth Holmes 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. The award was presented on Aug. 26 at the SCLC’s Legacy Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., where Archbishop Holmes was lauded as a “Torch Bearer.” She was honored for her many years of work as a scholar and spiritual leader committed to the ideals and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who founded the SCLC. In keeping Dr. King’s dream alive, Archbishop Holmes passed the torch to her daughters, Dr. Tamica Smith Jones and Ms. Takiyah Smith, who attended the gala with her. “My passion is to never be the type of preacher, in the words of an old preacher, to take a photograph of a loaf of bread and try to feed the people with it or to paint a picture of a glass of water and try to give it to people to drink, but that I will in fact, feed people from the true Word of God,” said Archbishop Holmes.

Faith-Based News & Inspiration

Berean Christian Church sends medical supplies to aid Uganda

I

By Joshua Smith

n Uganda, Africa, a woman and her daughter walk into the Lion of Judah Medical Center seeking help. They have no money but a great need. The girl’s face is badly disfigured and she has lost one of her eyes. After wandering into a rival tribe, she was attacked—met with a bucket of scalding hot water thrown in her face. Such tragedies are all too familiar in Uganda, but a local church is focusing its missionary efforts on providing medical help to some of the worst areas in Uganda. “We witnessed a lot of things in Uganda,” recounted Gwen Little, a missionary at Berean Christian Church, which has a campus in Stone Mountain and one in Snellville. “We are building a relationship with the people of Uganda. We are leading the people to Christ, but with epidemics such as HIV and even the diseases the people are just forced to live with because they have no money, we wanted to offer them something tangible as well.” This month, members of Berean joined their pastor, Kerwin B. Lee and his wife, Yolanda, in sending off beds, wheelchairs, mattresses, needles, gloves, lubricants and gauze to Uganda. MedShare, a discount medical supplier, gave the church access to the items, worth $300,000. Berean paid the $22,000 raised from its congregation to ship the supplies. “A shipment like this is very, very important because you are talking about a city of 4 million people and hospitals and insurance are not readily available. This shipment will give thousands of people in the community an opportunity to get medical treatment free of charge,”

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Pastor Kerwin B. Lee and First Lady Yolanda T. Lee lead parishioners in praying over more than 13,000 pounds of medical supplies that will be sent to Uganda, Africa over the next coming weeks.

said Pastor Lee. “We are blessed to be a blessing. We have to use our resources to help people live a better lifestyle.” In July, Pastor Lee and 21 others from his congregation went on a 10-day missions trip to work in Ugandan medical centers. The trip marked the third time that Lee has traveled to Uganda, working on various projects with partner churches including establishing an orphanage, running water and electricity. MedShare Vice President of Corporate and International Relations Nell Diallo says the medical supplies are desperately needed in Uganda, where medical centers have been forced to reuse gloves and substitute hand sanitizers for lubricants due to insufficient funds. He

applauds Berean for its missionary work. “Something as simple as needles are just not available at the medical centers in Ghana. Patients there are forced to have family members raise money to be able to buy the needles, then go back to the hospital and search for the doctor who will treat them,” says Diallo. “What Berean has done is going to save many lives. The church should be very proud of the fact that 108 volunteers came from the church to help us box up these items, an act that took more than 324 hours of work. Berean has a dedicated pastor who has taken the time to think about people far away.” Berean Christian Church has a campus at 2201 Young Road, Stone Mountain, and at 1465 Highpoint Road, Snellville.


september 1, 2013

Rush Memorial celebrates 100 years in Atlanta community Throughout September, Rush Memorial Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ, 150 James P. Brawley Drive, Atlanta, will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Founded in 1913, Rush Memorial Congregational Church played an integral role in Atlanta’s history and the Civil Rights Movement. Known as “the little church with the big heart,” Rush Memorial opened its doors to the students of the Atlanta Student Movement during the Civil Rights Movement as a meeting place. The church’s pastor, Rev. Lawrence Colbert, said serving the community has always been the church’s mission. “The Rush Memorial family is committed to being a guiding light in the City of Atlanta and a phenomenal source for winning souls to Christ,” Colbert said. “Our ministry reaches far beyond our church walls to provide resources to all, by meeting them at their point of need, by providing hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry and spiritual food to feed the soul.” On Sept. 1, the historic church will welcome the Rev. Derrick Rice, pastor and community activist, as the guest speaker. Dr. Anne Watts of Morehouse College will be the guest speaker on Sept. 8. On Sept. 15, the church will welcome Lonnie King of the Atlanta Student Movement. The celebration continues on Sept. 22 with guest speaker Derrick Boazman, radio talkshow host and community activist. The Rev. Joseph Roberts, former senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, will be the guest speaker at the service on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 10:45 a.m. The community is invited to be a part of this memorable occasion. 404-525-6320.

Elizabeth Baptist to host singles conference Elizabeth Baptist Church, 4245 Cascade Road, S.W., Atlanta, will host a two-night conference for single Christians Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, 7 nightly. The conference, “In Order to have We, First fix Me,” is free to attend. Guest speaker Irishea Hillard of New Light Church in Houston Texas, will speak on both nights. A conference choir will perform on both nights as well. The conference will engage unmarried adults, single parents, divorcees, and widows in ongoing spiritual growth. For more Irishea Hillard information, call 404-691-3146.

PAGE 9

Clarkston First Baptist Church marks 13th pastoral anniversary October is the anniversary month for Pastor Karl D. Moore and First Lady Angela Moore of Clarkston First Baptist Church. The congregation Pastor Karl D. Moore and will mark this First Lady Angela Moore joyous occasion by hosting several events throughout October beginning with two celebratory worship services on Oct. 13 at 7:30 and 10:45 a.m., 3999 Church Street, Clarkston. The speaker will be the Rev. Charles J. Southall, III, pastor of First Emanuel Baptist Church in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA. The celebration continues with a Worship and Arts Explosion on Oct. 20, 3 p.m., at 3999 Church Street, Clarkston. It suppose sayof "Prayer The explosion will featureto some the best choirs, groups and singers in Metro Atlanta. & Miracle Service". The Larry Tinsley of V-103 will be the Master of Ceremony.Word Prayer is spelled The praise and worship experience will wrong and you forgot feature some of the best choirs, groups and sign. Can you singers in the metro"&" Atlanta. The anniversary celebration willto climax change the Color Red with a worship service on Oct. 27, 9:30 for Prayer and Miracle a.m., at Clarkston First Baptist South, 120 North Berry Street, Stockbridge. Service. Thanks   The community is invited to attend all of the celebrations. For more information, call Clarkston First Baptist Church at 404-2925686, ext. 221.

New Birth celebrates 26th pastor’s anniversary New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 6400 Woodrow Road, Lithonia, will celebrate the 26th pastoral anniversary of Bishop Eddie and First Lady Vanessa Long, on Sunday, Sept. 8 during the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. worship services. Bishop Long is senior pastor of more than 25,000 members. He is a best-selling author, life coach and motivational speaker. Long has been the pastor of the church since 1987. Bishop long has preached and spread the ministry to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Honduras and other countries across the globe. Bishop Long and his wife, Vanessa, are the proud parents of four children: Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor. 770696-9600. Come and experience

“The Power & Anointing of the Holy Spirit” Prayer & Miracle Service Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 9 a.m. The Colonnade Room, 8010 Rockbridge Road, Lithonia, GA 30058

Call (678) 580-3310

www.chimaindouglasministries.org Your Life Will Never Be The Same!!! Bring a Friend, Co-worker, Pastor, Everyone is Welcome!!!! 3 LOCATIONS AND ONLINE Salem Baptist Church in Lilburn Shiloh Baptist Church in McDonough Big Miller Grove Baptist Church in Lithonia

Ben Hill UMC to host blood drive Ben Hill United Methodist Church, 2099 Fairburn Road, S.W., Atlanta, will host a community blood drive on Sunday, Sept. 8, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. All participants will receive a gift. Donors meet in the church’s fellowship hall. Coming soon: To schedule an appointment, contact Brenda Aiken, American Red Cross Minority Board Member at 678-429-5768 or Colonel Anthony C. Aiken of Ben Hill UMC’s Veterans Ministry at 404-308-7077. To make an appointment online, visit ww.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: benhill.

il 1, 2013

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september 1, 2013

Health & Wellness

Helping Hearts 5K walk set in memory of Jeremy Nelson The Jeremy Nelson Memorial Fund is hosting the “Helping Hearts 5K” basketball dribble/fun run on Sept. 7, 8 a.m., at North Gwinnett Church, 4963 West Price Road, Suwanee. The event will be held in memory of Jeremy Nelson, who died in January during a basketball game from an undetected heart ailment. Nelson was in the 7th grade at Buford Middle School in Gwinnett County. The basketball dribble following the walk Jeremy Nelson will be held at the church. Medals and trophies will be given in each age category from children 10 and under through adults 65 and older. Registration is $28 after Aug. 31 and $30 on the day of the event. Families of four can participate for $79. Registration can be made online at www.fundracers. org. The foundation is seeking sponsors for the event. For details on sponsor levels and privileges, contact Rob Goldsmith at 678-985-3921 or rob@fundracers.org.

Commissioner Larry Johnson, Georgia Lupus Foundation host 8th annual walk This year, Commissioner Larry Johnson and the Georgia Chapter of the Lupus Foundation are teaming up to encourage the residents and employees of DeKalb county to make walking a part of their daily routine and “walk to better health.” “Let’s Move! DeKalb…Walk! Lupus Will be Defeated” will be Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Exchange Intergenerational Center, 2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9 a.m. Following the walk, guests will enjoy live entertainment by local jazz violinist Delores Majors and a Larry Johnson vendor information fair. The event is free and open to the public.  Groups are encouraged to wear T-shirts; the group with the most participants will be eligible to win a cash prize. For more information, call 404-964-4936.

Boys & Girls Club hosts a day of play for grownups

The Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta is inviting adults out for a day of play Saturday, Sept. 7, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., at Piedmont Park, 400 Park Drive, N.E., Atlanta. Grownups will compete in childhood classics such as tug of war and sack racing for the Metro Atlanta Boys & Girls Club fundraiser, “Day for Kids: One Day Can Change a Child’s Future,” in honor of the organization’s 75th year in the community. Registration is $25. For more information, call 404-527-7100. 

Rockdale Medical Center hosts prostate health and awareness lecture Approximately 217,730 men will learn they have prostate cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Join the physicians of Rockdale Medical Center, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6 – 7 p.m. at Rockdale Medical Center’s East Tower Classrooms, 1412 Milstead Avenue, Conyers. The Rockdale Medical Center Lab will provide free Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood testing for those in attendance. For more information and to register: 1-800-424-3627 or visit www.conyersrockdale.com.

Solomon’s Porch offers free health screenings Solomon’s Porch Ministries and the DeKalb County Board of Health and Wellness Assessment Team invite you to attend their fifth annual community health screening event, “Let’s Get Radical for a Healthy Community” on Saturday, Sept. 21, 11a.m. - 2 p.m., 2697 Tilson Rd, Decatur. Guests who attend the event will receive free screenings for diabetes, body mass index, vision, cholesterol, blood pressure, dental and hearing. The event will feature door prizes, chair massages, Zumba demonstrations and an assortment of healthcare vendors. There will be special lectures on breast cancer and bone density. Parents can help their children score a free kids’ hygiene kit while supplies last. For more information, call 404-680-6475.

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september 1, 2013

PAGE 11

EXPERIENCING TAX DELAYS?? RECEIVING LETTERS FROM IRS?? DELINQUENT TAX RETURNS??

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General Studies/Learning Support Health, Education & Professional Services • Nurse Aide • Clinical Laboratory Technology • Phlebotomy • Nursing - Practical • Cosmetology • Early Childhood Care and Education Industrial Technology • Commercial Refrigeration • Building Automation Systems Technology • Air Conditioning Technology • Automotive Technology • Computer Graphics & Design • Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology • Electronics Technology • Digital Media And Design • Drafting Technology • Green Technologies Academy • Motorcycle Service Technology • Welding and Joining Technology Public Safety and Security • Basic Law Enforcement Academy • Criminal Justice Technology • Emergency Medical Services • Fire Science Technology • Paralegal Studies Persons seeking further information concerning the career and technical education offerings and specific pre-requisite criteria for admission to these programs should contact: Georgia Piedmont Technical College Admissions Office – Interim Director, Corey Parker 495 North Indian Creek Drive Clarkston, Georgia 30021-2397 Office: Room 171 A-Bldg Phone (404) 297-9522 Ext. 1602 Fax: (404) 298-3617 Email; admissionsclark@gptc.edu Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator: Debra Gordon, Dean of Academic Programs, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021; Phone (404) 297-9522, Ext. 1176; Email: gordond@ gptc.edu. Equal Opportunity Officer: Lolita Morrison, Human Resources Director, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021; Phone (404) 297-9522, Ext. 1210; Email: morrisonl@ gptc.edu. ADA/504 Coordinator: Lisa Peters, Director of Special Services / International Student Advisor, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021, 404-297-9522, Ext. 1154; Email: petersl@gptc.edu. Equity Coordinator: Roz Bogle, Coordinator, Equity / Special Populations, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021, 404-2979522 Ext. 1280; Email: bogler@gptc.edu.

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On Common Ground News-Sept.1,2013  

The September 1 edition of On Common Ground News

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