SERVING DEKALB, FULTON, GWINNETT, HENRY AND ROCKDALE COUNTIES
VOLUME 17 NUMBER 23
MARCH 1, 2012
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‘Family Feud’ spotlights Atlanta family, small town Montezuma By Valerie J. Morgan and Joshua Smith
he Ashmons sure know a thing or two when it comes to feuding. The Atlanta family beat out more than 500 families from across the state in a casting call for the upcoming “Family Feud” television game show. “I thought the casting call meant it would be my family and maybe 20 or 30 families there at the most. When we arrived at the Atlanta Civic Center and there were more than 500 other families, we knew it was serious competition trying to get on the show,” said Shay Ashmon-Franklin, who lives in Lithonia and works in Atlanta as an engineer. Ashmon-Franklin said when she heard about the taping at the Atlanta Civic Center last May, she e-mailed the show stating she wanted her family to compete. Within a month, she was invited. She said her family practiced for the game by playing DVD versions of Family Feud and downloading
the game show’s mobile cell phone application. They gave rapid-fire responses, demonstrating their teamwork and ability to win. “We gave the performance of a lifetime. A week after our audition, I received the phone call from the producers to appear on the show,” Ashmon-Franklin said. In the game show, two families compete with one another to name the most popular responses to a survey question posed to 100 people. The family with the highest scores wins prizes and gets a shot at a $100,000 grand prize and new car. Family Feud, which has been revived off and on since it premiered on ABC in 1976, is now in its 13th season. Comedian Steve Harvey currently serves as host of Family Feud. Ashmon-Franklin leads the Ashmon family team, which includes her two brothers, Thaddeus and Shannon, and two cousins, Felicia Cephus-Williams and Leroy Cephus, Jr., in three episodes of the show See Montezuma, page 6
CTB President Jim Young ‘a good banker, a good family man’
James “Jim” Young
By Valerie J. Morgan
tlanta is mourning the loss of James “Jim” Young, president and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank, one of the largest minority-owned financial institutions in the nation. Young died of lung cancer on Feb. 27. He was 62. Rebecca Young, his wife of over 39 years, said her husband’s death was sudden. He died peacefully at home under hospice care. “This has been such a snowball for our family. He was diagnosed in December, checked into the hospital for treatment in January, and now he’s gone,” said Rebecca Young, who enjoyed traveling with her husband on accompanying him on golf outings. In addition to his wife, Young is survived by three sons, Mel Christopher; Damon; and Justin; and one daughter, Jennifer Young. Cynthia N. Day, the bank’s newly-appointed president and CEO, said Citizens Trust Bank See Citizens, page 6
Community News................. P 3 Business News..................... P 8 Health & Wellness................ P 9 We Worship........................ P 10 Classifieds......................... P 11 CONTACT THE NEWSROOM Phone: (678) 526-1910 n Fax: (678) 526-1909 E-mail: email@example.com
The Ashmon family team, L-R: Thaddeus Ashmon, Shay Ashmon-Franklin, Host Steve Harvey (center), Felicia Cephus-Wiliams, Shannon Ashmon and Leroy Cephus, Jr.
Battle ends: One valedictorian will march at Gainesville High’s graduation By Joshua Smith
ody Stephens, 17, didn’t set out to make history, but now he has—amidst a controversy that ignited a civil rights battle and drew supporters from Atlanta and around the state to Gainesville in Hall County, where he lives. After much heated debate, Stephens will become Gainesville High School’s first African-American valedictorian and apparently, he will have the spotlight all to himself when he graduates this spring. School officials wanted Stephens and a white student, Charlie Bryant, to be the covaledictorians of the class of 2012. Stephens has a 4.7538 GPA—one one-hundreth of a point higher than Bryant. That decision, however, outraged the state NAACP and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, sparking protests in Gainesville. The organizations had threatened to call in the U.S. Justice Department and were preparing for a showdown at a school board meeting that was to be held on Feb. 28. The drama unfolded with a different spin on Feb. 27 after the School Board announced it was upholding the principal’s decision for the two students to share the title. Bryant’s family announced the same day, however, their son would withdraw from being recognized at graduation, ending the battle. “Because of Cody’s unique position of being our first African-American valedictorian, we propose that Gainesville High School utilize the upcoming graduation ceremony to celebrate his, and only his, academic record as valedictorian of perhaps one of the most talented classes that GHS has ever produced,” the Bryant family said in a statement released Feb. 27. “In support of this approach, we have made the decision to respectfully withdraw from the ceremonial recognition bestowed at
Photos by Glenn L. Morgan/OCG News
Cody Stephens and his mom, Valerie Stephens, were prepared to fight until graduation day for his right to march as Gainesville High School’s first African American valedictorian.
graduation. We believe that this decision is in the best interest of GHS and our community. More importantly, we feel the decision is in the best interest of two incredible young men, our son, Charlie, and his friend, Cody Stephens.” The school will have no salutatorian this year, according to Superintendent Merrianne Dryer, leaving Stephens to shine in the spotlight alone. State NAACP President Edward DuBose said the Gainesville City Schools took the cheap way out. “We are excited that Cody will be named the valedictorian, as he rightly deserves to be. However, we are totally disappointed in the school system because they ultimately took the cheap way out and let a family make the decision they should have,” DuBose said. “The Bryant family has done what was right. We are disappointed in the school system for attempting to cheat Cody out of the experience he deserves and we will be making our feelings known. We are not finished in Gainesville.” DuBose says NAACP representatives will hold a Town Hall meeting on
March 13 at a place to be determined. “The unified mass meeting will be held to speak out against the poor leadership within the Gainesville School Board and do what we can to ensure that no other student will have to go through something like this in the future,” said DuBose. Valerie Stephens, Cody’s mother, said she, too, is disappointed with the way school officials handled the matter. She had called for
the firing of Gainesville High School Principal Chris Mance, who led the way in the designation of dual valedictorians. “At the end of the day, Cody has the best GPA at 4.7538, and that’s all I needed to know,” Valerie Stephens said. The AP gifted student has a full scholarship to Emory University, where he plans to study creative writing. Cody Stephens is the eldest of three children.
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MARCH 1, 2012
MARCH 1, 2012 VOLUME 17, NO. 23
EDITOR/PUBLISHER Valerie J. Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org GENERAL MANAGER Glenn L. Morgan email@example.com STAFF WRITER Joshua Smith firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING MANAGER Richard S. Hill email@example.com
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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National Dr. Seuss tour stops at Rowland Elementary to celebrate reading
By Joshua Smith
eading is getting a boost at Rowland Elementary School in Stone Mountain. This month as the nation marks the 108th birthday of the late beloved children’s author, Theodor Seuss Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—Rowland Elementary was paid a special honor. The DeKalb County school was selected as Georgia’s stop for the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America Tour—Driven by Mazda.” The tour is traveling to 11 other major states, including Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Nevada, Arizona, New York, New Mexico and Texas. Rowland received a $1,000 donation from NEA for library improvements. The school also received a new line of Dr. Seuss books and every classroom received a copy of the new Dr. Seuss movie, The Lorax, the animated adventure of a grumpy, yet charming, furry, orange creature who fights to save the world. As part of the reading tour, some 275 Rowland
students in first through third grades met “The Lorax” character face-to-mustache. They also read the story with WXIA TV Channel 11 Alive’s Donna Lowry. “What a great way to bring in Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Reading is the most important thing you can learn in life,” said Roberta Walker, school principal. “Programs like this one are important because they allow students to learn outside the classroom, release some balled up energy and become life-long readers.” The students were greeted by DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Cheryl L. Atkinson; David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators; State Rep. Michelle Henson (D-87); and former NFL linebacker Chris Draft among others. The national reading tour, which will visit more than 20 cites across the U.S., is a partnership through NEA, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) and Universal Pictures to bring the gift of reading to thousands of public school students. Mazda has pledged to support the effort by donating up to $1 million toward to U.S. public school libraries.
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DEKALB DeKalb Schools’ chief to give update at PRISM meeting DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Cheryl L.H. Atkinson will present the Excellence in Education Plan at the next meeting of Pride Rings In Stone Mountain (PRISM) . The meeting will be held on March 8, 7 – 9 p.m. at St. Timothy United Methodist Church, 5365 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain. Atkinson will discuss student achievement and success, excellence in leadership, safe and orderly schools, strong partnerships for education and operational effectiveness. 404-296-1442.
Belvedere sets community forum The Healthy Belvedere community outreach group will host a community forum, “Keeping our Neighborhood Safe,” on March 13, 6 p.m. at Knollwood Elementary School, 3039 Santa Monica Drive, Decatur. The forum will cover how to create a safer, cleaner, more beautiful community. Participants will be provided with updates on what’s being done about abandoned/non-compliant homes in the neighborhood and Belvedere crime Stats. Transportation representatives will be on hand to discuss the concept of “Adopt-a-MARTA–Bus-Stop.” Other issues including what to do about street and house lighting and starting a neighborhood watch will be covered as well. 678-973-2186.
DeKalb NAACP sets membership breakfast
Decatur set for kids’ ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event The City of Decatur will host its “Touch-a-Truck” event for kids on March 3, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Callaway Building parking lot, 120 West Trinity Place, Decatur. The community event gives children of all ages an opportunity to touch, explore and see some of their favorite trucks or equipment on wheels. Dump trucks, firetrucks, tractors, police cars and motorcycles, and many other types of vehicles will be on display. Families can also ride their bicycles to the event. Decatur Police will be on hand to register bicycles in the event that the bikes are ever lost or stolen. In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, April 21. For more information, Formore information, call Cheryl Burnette at 678-553-6541 or email@example.com.
The DeKalb branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is selling tickets for its 2012 Membership Breakfast on March 31, 9 a.m., at Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, 4650 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur. The theme of the breakfast is “Affirming America’s Promise.” Charmine Ward, president of the National Black MBA Association, will be the guest speaker. In addition to holding corporate and civic leadership positions, Ward is a noted speaker and trainer for non-profit organizations, entrepreneur/small business organizations and higher education institutions on topics including: leadership, managing change, financial empowerment, developing a life plan, public speaking, networking, customer service, interviewing and resume writing and marketing. Ward graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Economics from Clark Atlanta University and earned an MBA with honors from the Executive MBA program at Kennesaw State University. Established in 1970, the National Black MBA Association develops partnerships that result in the creation of intellectual and economic wealth in the black community. In partnership with more
MARCH 1, 2012 than 400 of the country’s top business organizations, the association has inroads into a wide range of industries as well as the public and private sector. Organizers say the annual event provides residents with the opportunity to network and establish relationships with each other and local business leaders, in an effort to strengthen the community. The cost to attend is $30 per person. For more information or to purchase your tickets, contact the DeKalb branch at 404241-8006 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and naacpdek@ bellsouth.net.
Get free help with your taxes AARP and VITA have teamed up with the DeKalb County Public Library system to offer free tax help this season. The American Association of Retired Persons tax assistance assists lower and middle income taxpayers, with special attention to those 60 years of age and older. The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance tax assistance is for any taxpayer who can fine a 1040A or 1040EZ and who is not selfemployed and does not own rental property. No appointments are necessary. For more detailed information on who qualifies for assistance and what documents to bring, visit the calendar section www. dekalblibrary.org or call 404-370-8450.
ATLANTA High Museum offers free admission to Title I schools The High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta, has announced free admission for school groups and their teachers from every Title 1 School in the state of Georgia to enable more students to see Picasso to Warhol: Fourteen Modern Masters. The exhibition of more than 100 masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, will be on view until April 29. Free admission is made available through the Art Access program, which has welcomed more than 125,000 participants since its inception in 2004. Along with offering free admission, the High also has funding available to provide free transportation for at least 5,000 additional students, depending on the travel distance. In addition to presenting the masterpieces, the exhibition provides an introduction to 14 of the most important artists of the 20th century, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The exhibition also presents information about the most important artistic developments of the modern age. The museum is prepared to provide extended hours to accommodate more students. Reservations can be made by contacting ArtAccess@woodruffcenter.org or calling 404-7334476.
Washington Park cleanup set First Class Revolutionaries, a local community outreach group, will host “Clean the City Up” on March 3 – 4, 10 a.m. –
PAGE 5 6 p.m. in Atlanta’s Washington Park area, at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Ashby St. Volunteers are needed to assist with cleaning up this historic community. Anyone offering a helping hand is invited to attend. If you are able to volunteer, contact Isaiah Smith by e-mail at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ dontworktohard.
Youth: Enter photo contest for a chance at $100 The Friends of Atlanta-Fulton Library’s Sandy Springs branch will host a photo contest with a grand prize of $100 until April 30. Competition is open to all Fulton County residents, or students in any Fulton County middle or high school. Only one entry per contestant will be accepted. The photograph entry must have been taken within two years before the date of entry. It must be an original work created solely by the contestant and submitted in digital format. Participants must include the following information: Name, age, school, address, as well as a telephone number and/ or an e-mail address. The Sandy Springs branch is located at 395 Mount Vernon Highway, Atlanta. Entries will be accepted until April 30. All digital entries must be e-mailed to:firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, e-mail marlan.brinkley@ fultoncountyga.gov. 404-303-6130.
Kids invited to ‘Alphabet Soup’ songfest The Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts will welcome Wendy Bennett to present “Alphabet Soup Seconds” on March 6, 10 – 11 a.m., at the Rockdale auditorium, 903 Main St., Conyers. The performance is a part of the council’s “Preschool Pops,” a series of programs for 3-5 year olds featuring dance, music, and theater. Participants can stir up some fun and hook pre-readers with this program starring the entire alphabet. Attendees will learn not just the names of the letters, but the sounds they make. Students will yodel, crow, sing and wiggle to snappy tunes. The “literacy-building songfest” is $3 per child. Parents are free. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts youth programs. For more information, call 770-922-3143 or visit www.conyersarts.org.
Conyers gets set for super St. Patrick’s Day parade The City of Conyers will host the “World’s Fastest Growing St. Patrick’s Day Parade” on March 16, 4:30 – 6:30
p.m., in Olde Town, 933 Center St., N.E., Conyers. The homespun parade is an annual event. The parade will start at the corner of Main Street and Center Street at Evans Pharmacy and end at the Olde Town Pavilion for refreshments and entertainment. The parade is free to attend. 770-602-2606.
GWINNETT Homeowners: Plug those leaks and conserve Gwinnett County is urging residents to conserve water during Fix A Leak Week—March 12 – 18—to encourage homeowners to help put a stop to the more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted from household leaks each year. Gwinnett is asking residents to do their part by checking, twisting and replacing leaking water fixtures. Residents should look for dripping faucets, showerheads and fixture connections. Also, check for toilets with silent leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank and seeing if it appears in the bowl before flushing, twist and tighten pipe connections and replace the fixture if necessary. Gwinnett will also host a free Fix A Leak workshop on March 10, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at the County’s Suwanee branch, 361 Main Street, Suwanee, to offer more ways to find and repair leaks at home. Seating is limited, so participants must register by calling 678-376-6722 or e-mailing dwrconserve@ gwinnettcounty.com.
Extension Service hosts annual plant sale Blueberries, raspberries, figs, crape myrtles, and much more will be available from the Cooperative Extension Service’s annual plant sale this month. Plants are locally grown and are strong and healthy. Information about each of the plants is offered in the Extension Office to assist with planting. Pre-paid orders will be accepted until March 16. The pickup date is March 29, 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. All orders should be pre-paid with cash or check only. For more information or to receive a plant sale order form, visit www.caes.uga.edu/extension/gwinnett. 678-377-4010.
County seeks volunteers to help clean parks Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Department will host the “parknership” on March 17, 10 a.m. – noon, at Ronald Regan Park, 2777 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville. Volunteer are needed to clean up the park and help beautify the area. Organizers say the cleanup serves as an exciting and rewarding opportunity to come together and serve with other volunteers in the park system. 770-418-2331.
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MARCH 1, 2012
Citizens Trust to carry on legacy continued from page 1
employees will continue to honor Young’s legacy. “The passing of Mr. Young has left us deeply saddened. He will be tremendously missed but not forgotten,” Day said in a news release. “Mr. Young has left a lasting impact on us all with his wisdom, his character and his ability to inspire others. We will continue to honor him and the legacy he has left.” James E. Young was born in Rockwood, Tennessee on March 18, 1949. He grew up in Cleveland, Tennessee. He graduated from Tennessee State University in 1971 and got a job as a management trainee at then Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase & Co. Young spent over 40 years in the banking industry and was an anchor in the metro Atlanta community, serving several civic organizations including the Atlanta Committee for Progress, Board of Councilors of The Carter Center, the Atlanta Rotary Club, and the DeKalb County Chapter of 100 Black Men of America. John Evans, president of the DeKalb NAACP, called Young’s death a “tough loss.” “He was a good banker, good family man and good for our community,” said Evans, recalling that he and Young both attended Tennessee State University. “It’s a tough loss, especially for the business community. Jim was always willing to listen and he was genuinely concerned about the community.” Businessman Kenley Waller, who owns Kenley’s Catering in downtown Atlanta, said he can attest to Young’s passion for the business community. “He encouraged me to go into business
for myself and shared a lot of financial wisdom with me,” said Waller. Waller said he had a chance to say goodbye to Young the day before he died. He visited Young after church and thanked Young for his friendship. “Jim really cared about me and how my business was doing,” said Waller. “He helped so many people and he tried to
“He was a good banker, good family man and good for our community.” – John Evans
President of the DeKalb NAACP
educate them.” Young joined Citizens Trust Bank of Atlanta on Feb. 2, 1998 as president and CEO as a result of the historic merger of black-owned First Southern Bank, where he had been president and CEO since 1993. Citizens’ assets grew from $128.5 million the year before the merger to $385.3 million by the end of the third quarter of 2011. “I met him when Peoples Bank (in the city of Lithonia) changed to CTB. Such a nice man and what a loss to the community. My thoughts and prayers are with family, friends,and employees,” said Sandi Morris of the Granite City News in Lithonia. Under Young’s guidance and direction, Citizens Trust Bank continued to be well capitalized, offering a full range of quality business and consumer products and services including Small
Montezuma proud of native celebrities
Bank’s VISA card as one of the country’s top credit cards (with no annual fees). Young was named among Georgia’s Top 25 CEOs by the Atlanta Business League. Citizens Trust Bank was founded in 1921 by five African-American businessmen known as the “fervent five.” Lead by businessman Heman E. Perry, James A. Robinson, Thomas J. Ferguson, W. H. King and H. C. Dugas pooled their talent and resources to launch the bank. James Young’s body will lie in state on Friday, March 2, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., at the Gregorgy B Levett & Sons Funeral Home, 4347 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur. The funeral will be held on March 3, 11 a.m, at St. Phillip AME Church, 240 Candler Road S.E., Atlanta. The Youngs’ pastor, Antioch AME’s the Rev. Stafford J. Wicker, will preside.
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continued from page 1
that are scheduled to be televised April 30, May 1 and May 2. “We had a blast taping our upcoming episode. Steve Harvey was hilarious and very down-toearth,” said Ashmon-Franklin, who, along with her brothers, grew up watching Family Feud. Ashmon-Franklin’s parents, Calvin and Geraldine Ashmon, also got in on the action by attending the taping. They will appear in the show’s “Hometown Moment” segment. The Ashmons are originally from Montezuma, GA, a small city in Macon County. Even with Shay Ashmon living in Lithonia, her brothers in Atlanta, and her cousins in Decatur, AshmonFranklin says they are already celebrities in their hometown of just over 5,000. “They’re our celebrities. It makes us so proud to watch people like Shay grow up and go on to do things like this,” said Mayor Willie James Larry. “Our city couldn’t be any more excited and proud. Larry, who has held office since 2000, is proud not only as the town’s mayor but as a relative of the Ashmons. He is the uncle of Shay, Thaddeus and Shannon Ashmon. “We have family all over the country—from here to Las Vegas and New York. Because of this show, the Ashmon name will now be known across the nation,” Larry said. Larry said the city of Montezuma will be watching, no matter what lengths they have to go through to tune in. “When we first heard the news, my wife, Elizabeth, started calling all of our family and friends, and everyone else in the city,” Larry said. “My wife and staff realized we actually don’t get the Peachtree channel, so we will have to pick it up on a Albany affiliate channel. All of their classmates who are still here, family and friends—we are all planning to get together and cheer them on.” The Ashmons say the experience of being selected for the Family Feud game show has inspired them to begin thinking about making plans for a family reunion, the first in the family’s history that she can remember. “We’ve done things as a family in Montezuma over previous summers, but we’ve never had a real family reunion where everyone from all over can come together,” said AshmonFranklin.
Business Association (SBA) financed loans, residential mortgage lending, and consumer and business online banking products with 11 financial centers in metro Atlanta, Columbus, Georgia and in Birmingham and Eutaw, Alabama. With Young at the helm, the bank was honored for excellence and so was Young. Money magazine recognized Citizens Trust
SETTING THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE IN PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
Educating, Engaging, and Empowering Parents
Title I Annual Meeting: Parental Involvement Conference Saturday, March 17, 2012 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Stone Mountain Middle School 4301 Sarr Parkway, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Conference Highlights: • • • • • • • • • • •
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Joe Martin – Parental Involvement and How it Affects Your Children’s Educational Success Test-Taking Strategy Workshops: Math, Reading and Language Arts on all Grade Levels Special Education Workshops Early Childhood Workshops for Pre-K and K Language Translators/Interpreters Title I Parental Involvement Policy and Budget Child Care for School-Aged Children Special Workshops for Middle and High School Students Exhibitors from: DeKalb County Schools, Community Agencies and Educational Companies Light refreshments will be served Door Prizes (Donated by Exhibitors)
For additional information, contact Jackie Marshall, Chairperson at 678-676-0376 or by e-mail: Jackie_Marshall@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
MARCH 1, 2012
Ready to run
Photo by Glenn L. Morgan/OCG News
Dionne McGee, a candidate for DeKalb State Court Judge, hosted a reception and election kick-off party on Feb. 23 at Carpe Diem, 105 Sycamore Place, Decatur. The event marked the second fundraiser for McGee. Businessman Gregory B. Levett held a fundraiser for her campaign on Feb. 19 at his home in Stone Mountain. McGee will face Dax Lopez, who was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue on July 31.
First Fridays Jazz Night set DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson in conjunction with the Porter Sanford Sanford Performing Arts Center is launching First Fridays DeKalb Jazz and Networking to benefit the Porter Sanford Arts Foundation, a newly-formed nonprofit. Hosted by leading political and business professionals, the series will kick off March 2 and run through July 6. The series will feature live jazz, art collections and networking. “The Foundation will perpetuate the history of jazz and arts in DeKalb County and will provide a platform for professionals who share a passion for success to further develop and expand business opportunities in this area, said Watson. Casuell and The Soul Kitchen will perform at the launch celebration. There will be complimentary bites from Fletcher’s from 6 to 7 p.m. and the music will be from 7 to 9 p.m. The suggested contribution is $5. The Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center is located at 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. For more information, visit www. co.dekalb.ga.us/PorterSanford/ index.html.
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MARCH 1, 2012
Commissioner Johnson launches initiative to help South DeKalb businesses fight crime
Photos by Joshua Smith/OCG News
Earl Mitchell (right) joined nearly 20 fellow South DeKalb business owners to voice their concerns and receive crime prevention tips at Larry Johnson’s Feb. 23 “No Crime Zone” business forum.
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson
By Joshua Smith
arl Mitchell, managing agent of Lloyd Pro Group Insurance & Financial, still remembers the frustration he felt when vandals smashed the window of his Flat Shoals Parkway office two years ago. The bandits swiped a bubble gum machine. “When I walked up to what once was the front window lying on the ground in pieces, well, I just felt violated. Glass was shattered everywhere,” said Mitchell. “The whole situation was a hassle more than anything when you consider about $500 in glass repair, and since they broke in on the weekend, we had to wait until that following Monday to get our office fully repaired.” Mitchell was among about 20 business owners who attended the “No Crime Zone” business initiative hosted by DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, who represents District 3 in South DeKalb. Through the initiative, Johnson plans to hold
quarterly meetings to bring businesses in the district together to discuss problems of concern to provide better protection. Captain T. Voss of the DeKalb County Police Department said the department has stepped up its presence in patrolling the Candler Road/Flat Shoals area and having a greater presence is paying off. “We are employing three undercover teams to try to keep crime down. We also are encouraging businesses to participate in Operation Identification to mark all of their property for identification purposes,” Voss said. Public education specialist Sheila O’Rear and Sonja Brown, a prosecutor in the DeKalb’s Solicitor General Office, which handles misdemeanors, also addressed the group, urging communication. “Communication with all parties is a priority. We all have to do our part to work against nuisances and criminal behavior,” said Brown. “The people you see here today will review the existing loitering ordinance and look at ways to strengthen it.” Johnson is encouraging merchants to organize a Business Watch to communicate with one another. He said the overall goal of the forums is to help business owners address their concerns and to also help stimulate more business development in DeKalb.
CALENDAR Gwinnett sets Business After Hours The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will join forces with Blue Wave Computing and Delta Community Credit Union to host a “Business After Hours” networking mixer on March 14, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., 1980 Satellite Blvd., Duluth. The mixer serves as the Chamber’s largest monthly networking event, providing a way to meet new people, gather business leads and network with more than 300 Chamber members. The cost to attend is $10. For more information, contact Kim Jones at 770-232-8805 or email@example.com.
BBA welcomes Georgia Chamber CEO The Buckhead Business Association is will present the Georgia Chamber of Commerce CEO, Chris Clark, on March 22, 7:30 – 9 a.m. Clark earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and received his master’s degree in public administration from Georgia College and State University. He currently serves on the state board for the Department of Economic Development, the Governor’s Rural Development Council, the Georgia Academy for Economic Development Board of Directors and the advisory board for the College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Southern University. Clark is a graduate of Leadership Georgia. He served as president of the Georgia Economic Developers Association in 2009. Clark will discuss several issues including economic development, Georgia business interests and small businesses, at the breakfast. The cost to attend the meeting at the City Club of Buckhead, 3343 Peachtree Road, Suite 1850, Atlanta, is $20. Admission covers breakfast and parking. RSVP at 404-4677607.
Piedmont Park Conservancy seeks ‘wish list’ donations The Piedmont Park Conservancy is looking to local businesses and individuals willing to extend a helping hand by donating items on the park’s wish list for youth programs. “Giving back to the Conservancy can benefit your business by showing your most valued customers that you are concerned with the needs of a local nonprofit that provides so much to so many,” said Kate Conner, director of development at the park. “You will receive recognition within the park, depending on the type of in-kind gift you provide, giving you an opportunity to market to more than four million visitors each year.” The following items are needed: · Sturdy toys, puzzles, books · Golf cart · Kid-sized garden tools (shovels, rakes, hoes, pitch forks) · Salad spinner (large industrial size) · Cutting boards · Heavy-bottomed pots and pans · Lightweight nesting mixing bowls · Food processor or blender · Icecream maker · Toaster oven · Aprons · Measuring cups · Child-sized safety cooking tools · Kids’ chef hats For more information, contact Kate Conner at 404-875-7275, ext. 235 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The park is located at 1320 Monroe Drive, N.E., Atlanta.
“We are in this together. We have to continue bringing together great people to educate and share prevention tips and procedures,” said Johnson. Johnson said he plans to work on developing a Candler Road/Flat Shoals Parkway Festival to showcase businesses in the area. “Places like Red Lobster on Candler Road are continuing to thrive. The restaurant is one of the chain’s most successful locations and is still growing, so we know success does
live here in DeKalb and we should all work to protect it.” Johnson said he will hold a forum for businesses located in the Wesley Chapel/ Memorial Drive corridor next. A Business Night Out, planned for September, will be held for business to network and learn more about crime prevention. For more information, contact Commissioner Larry Johnson’s office at 404371-2425.
DeKalb Chamber offers workshop series to help small businesses grow By Valerie J. Morgan
he DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is offering a full-year semester of workshops designed to mentor new and existing small businesses in DeKalb County and the metro Atlanta area. The Chamber’s “Small Business Capacity Building Series” is offering four modules—one each quarter—covering topics to assist small businesses in significantly improving their business modeling. “In today’s competitive environment, it is important that small business owners have access to the variety of resources available to them to survive and prosper,” said Chamber President Leonardo McClarty. “The Chamber’s new program is geared towards emerging businesses that have weathered the start-up phase, yet are still trying to secure larger clients and contracts.” The Chamber’s Small Business Committee developed the Capacity Leonardo McClarty Building Series, launching the series in January with Georgia Power as the presenting sponsor for the first module. Cassius Butts, regional administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration, spoke at the kickoff. McClarty said the workshops are geared toward companies that have been in business for at least 2 years and those that have annual revenues of up to $30 million. The Chamber has recruited some of the region’s top industry experts to teach the workshops, which cover strategic planning, marketing, capitol improvement and human capitol. The sessions, held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., runs through Nov. 16 with a graduation on Dec. 7. “Each participant will have the tools and comprehensive skills for developing and/or significantly improving their own small businesses once they’ve completed the program,” McClarty said. “Both, DeKalb Chamber members and non-members, are strongly encouraged to sign up to participate.”
Small Business Capacity Building Series The DeKalb Chamber’s “Small Business Capacity Building Series” is $389 for the year. Participants may also register for individual classes. A description of the March classes is listed below. For details on classes for April and beyond, visit www.dekalbcapacitybuilding.com. Janniece Leonard, the Chamber’s marketing and communications manager, can be reached for more information at 404-378-8000, ext. 224.
Successful Business Module Friday, March 9 and March 23, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Location: Conference Center @ Georgia Piedmont - 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 - 404-297-9522 x 1800 Before implementing marketing tactics such as advertising and social media, business owners must begin with a clearly defined marketing plan. Participants will learn how to develop an effective marketing plan that really gets results Instructor: Sharon Macaluso, MBA: Area Director and a Business Consultant with The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC), DeKalb Office.
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Emory Healthcare hosts web chat on lymphedema Emory Healthcare, 1364 Clifton Road, Atlanta, will hold an interactive web chat covering lymphedema on March 6, 12 – 1 p.m. Emory’s “Lymphedema D-Day” will recognize the struggles cancer survivors have with lymphedema (an abnormal accumulation of fluid within the body which causes swelling). Participants are invited to log on and join lymphedema therapist, Stephanie Kirkpatrick, for an A-Z discussion covering causes, treatments and coping strategies. Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, an important part of immune and circulatory systems. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. For more information or to register, visit www.emoryhealthcare.org or call 404-778-7777.
Breast cancer patients find support in Rockdale Rockdale Medical Center will host its monthly support group for breast cancer patients, their families and survivors on March 8, 7 – 8:30 p.m., in the hospital’s East Tower Classrooms, 1412 Milstead Ave., Conyers. Some of the benefits of breast cancer support groups include: connection during an experience that can sometimes feel isolating, tips and information from those who've been through the same thing and opportunities to use your knowledge to help others. For more information or to register, call Gayle Kelly at 770-922-8060.
Atlanta Community Food Bank hosts annual hunger walk/run The Atlanta Community Food Bank will host the 28th Annual Hunger Walk/Run on March 11, noon, at Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Drive, S.E., Atlanta,. Hosted by the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the annual event brings together people of diverse faiths, socio-economic statuses, ages and activity levels to raise funds and awareness for those struggling with hunger. Gates open at noon and the walk/run begins at 2 p.m. The funds raised benefit the food bank and several faithbased organizations throughout metro Atlanta in their efforts to combat hunger and poverty, including Action Ministries United Methodists, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Lutheran Services of Georgia, and St. Vincent de Paul Society. Registration fees are $25. Team registration is also available. For more information, visit www. hwr2012.org or call Michael DeCoursey at 404-892-9822, ext. 1246.
Gwinnett Medical addresses low vision, diabetes Gwinnett Medical Center will host Managing Low Vision in the Home on March 13, 10 a.m., at the hospital’s Glancy Campus, 3215 McClure Bridge Road, Duluth. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20-74 years. People with diabetes can suffer from visual impairment and it’s important to know how to adapt. This talk will feature specialized equipment and hands on demonstrations. The free class will be facilitated by Occupational Therapist, Kim Mainer, OT/L, CLT-LANA. For more information, or to register in advance, visit www.gwinnettmedicalcenter.org or call 678-3126800.
DeKalb Medical to hold ‘Puberty Rocks’ for girls DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, 2801 DeKalb Medical Parkway, Lithonia, will host “Puberty Rocks” for girls on March 15, 6 – 7 p.m. Is it time to address your daughter’s journey into adolescence? Dominique Smith, MD will discuss how to open the lines of communication. Organizers say the event serves as a fun girls night out and will cover body changes, mood swings, peer pressure and more. Learn how to help your daughter navigate the turbulent tween and teen years. The session is not appropriate for males. Participants should meet in the hospital’s community room. Register at www.dekalbmedical.org or call 404-501-WELL.
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Worshippers Interceding For Excellence celebrates life Worshippers Interceding For Excellence Church, 3096 North Decatur Road, Scottdale, will present a seminar, “Celebrating Life,” on March 3, 1 p.m. The seminar will cover several topics relating to the structure of the family and a biblical perspective on understanding where life begins. Shealeta Reed, executive director of CareNet, an Atlanta resource center for pregnant women, will lead the seminar. For more information, call 404-587-2751 or 404-455-6678.
Hillside Chapel presents prosperity series Hillside International Chapel and Truth Center, 2450 Cascade Road, S.W., Atlanta, will begin “The Millionaire Moses” series on March 7, 7 p.m. The series focuses on Biblical characters and what they can teach about prosperity consciousness and positive thinking. The series will cover several aspects of the biblical character, Moses, as a man and an investor and gives a more modern, commentary look at the “Millionaire from Nazareth.” The study offers basic prosperity principles, which derives from the story of Exodus. For more information, call 404-758-6811 or 404-758-5029.
Saint Philip A.M.E. to host spring revival Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church, 240 Candler Road, Atlanta, will host its Spring revival service, “Speak Life,” on March 6, 6:30 p.m. The service includes an informational session with Elbert McWilliams, CFP ChCF, who will teach about security planning for the baby boomers generation. For 30 years, McWilliams has been teaching investors how to preserve their assets, increase their income and reduce the taxes they pay. He has extensive experience in financial planning, retirement plan rollovers and income/tax planning. “Speak Life” will conclude with a 7:30 p.m. inspirational message from Jessica Ingram, AMEC 10th Episcopal district supervisor. Her district encompasses the state of Texas. She Jessica Ingram oversees the work of members of the Women’s Missionary Society and the Young People’s Division of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Supervisors Council. Ingram has also done mission work in Angola, Namibia and South Africa. 404-371-0749.
Beulah Baptist focuses on prayer in March Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, 2340 Clifton Road Decatur, will focus on prayer during the month of March. On March 16, 7 p.m., the church will have a “Night of Prayer” in the sanctuary. On March 17, 9:30 a.m., the Decatur ministry will offer a prayer workshop that will take place in its Family Life Center. Come learn about the power of prayer and how prayer can be effective in your life. For more information, or to register for the workshop, call 404-241-3307 or visit www. beulahbaptist.org.
MARCH 1, 2012
Faith-Based News & Inspiration
Mount Zion A.M.E. seeks members for children’s choir Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church is seeking children ages 4 to 12 to join their children’s choir. Practice will be held on March 17, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary, 2799 LaVista Road, Decatur. Does your child have musical gifts and talents that you’d like to develop and showcase? Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church will host the vocal camp, open to beginners, intermediate and advanced dingers. All levels are needed. Children will learn traditional and contemporary gospel music. Snacks will be provided after the camp is over. There is no charge to join the church’s children’s choir, which performs on the fourth Sunday of each month. On those Sundays, breakfast and transportation are provided to any choir member living within 10 miles of the church. Parents should register children by March 13. The choir that is under the direction of Polly Nelms Hickman. 770-939-8250 or 404-294-3829.
Greater Fellowship Baptist welcomes Savannah State choir Greater Fellowship Baptist Church will welcome Savannah State University’s Wesleyan Gospel Choir, on March 18, 11 a.m. The choir travels the country encouraging and inspiring lives through the ministry of music. The Savannah State University (SSU) Wesleyan Gospel Choir is on its Spring tour performing at churches and schools in six states plus the District of Columbia, March 10-20. During the tour, choir members serve as university ambassadors, generating exposure for the campus among prospective students while displaying their musical talents. The church is located at 3600 Midway Road, Decatur. 404-534-0996.
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DEKALB COUNTY GOVERNMENT Advertisement for Week of March 1, 2012 Sealed bids will be received in the Department of Purchasing and Contracting, 2nd Floor, The Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30030, for the following until 3:00 P.M. on date(s) designated below:
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