FREE VOLUME 24 NUMBER 25
AUGUST 11, 2018
Published Since April 1995
Serving DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale Counties
New chapter for Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary: Ordained Deacon New online portal highlights DeKalb homes, businesses for film scouts
Pastor James C. Ward
Antioch-Lithonia MBC Pastor James C. Ward receives second music composer award
astor James C. Ward of Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia is being honored again as an accomplished songwriter. His latest work entitled “Nothin’ But Glory” has won an Editor’s Choice Award after being published by Shawnee Press, a division of Hal Leonard, one of the largest sheet music publishers in the world. “This is truly a blessing from God and is only a reality because of His favor,” said Ward. “It is truly an honor. It speaks to all of the people who helped me all along the way. Getting published is like getting a record contract. There are many talented people, but because of many factors, such as timing and song similarities, who do not get published. So I do not take this blessing lightly.” A team of musicians and others determined the Editor’s Choice winners based on music standards—from the uniqueness of the melody to the composition of the words and music. Pastor Ward said “Nothin But Glory” won in the Glee/Broadway category. “They looked at 21,000 songwriters—from classical to Broadway shows—and only 100 people were selected. I was in that 100,” Pastor Ward said. The Editor’s Choice Award is the second achievement the South DeKalb pastor has earned as a composer. In 2017, he was inducted into the Best Sellers’ Club after selling more than 100,000 copies of sheet music he composed. Pastor Ward collaborated with the esteemed Victor Johnson to compose an original spiritual, “King Jesus Is Alive,” which had sold more than 50,000 copies at the time, and he worked with the celebrated Heather Sorenson to compose the neoclassical, “O Sing Unto the Lord,” which sold 50,000 copies.
SEE WARD page 6
D Pastor Edward. L. Randolph, Jr. of Union First Missionary Baptist Church, far right, performs the ordination of Deacon Mayor Jason Lary, center, and Deacon Reginald Veasley. Photo by Glenn L. Morgan
tonecrest Mayor Jason Lary has been elevated to another level of service. Lary was ordained a deacon at Union First Missionary Baptist Church during the Lithonia church’s Aug. 5 worship service. Pastor Edward. L. Randolph, Jr. performed the ordination for Lary and Deacon Reginald Veasley, praying for both men and their wives, Debra “Debbie” Lary and Angel Veasley. “Serving as a deacon is a very important role. When we look at candidates for that office, the bible says in Acts that there are three qualifications: a man of
good rapport, filled with the Holy Ghost and wisdom,” said Pastor Randolph, who said he himself was a deacon. “Their job as deacon is that of a servant. It’s servant leadership. These two men have gone through over a year and a half of intense training of all the things they need to know from a spiritual perspective and a practical perspective—from visiting the sick to leading certain aspects of the worship service on Sunday. They have supported me in ministry and the congregation.” Pastor Randolph said the deacons are
SEE ORDAINED page 7
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
Full Story on Page 5
Doraville comes together to celebrate National Night Out
Photos by Travis Hudgons
eKalb County homeowners and businesses can now showcase their properties as potential locations and location scouts can easily secure locations and permits through a new online resource created by the DeKalb Entertainment Commission. The online portal is accessible at DeKalbEntertainment.com and via any mobile device. The system allows location scouts a onestop portal to find, secure and pay for ideal sites throughout the county for film, television and commercial productions. The system streamlines permitting and approvals through every county department involved in the process. “The new system makes location identification and permitting a completely electronic process, with every county department integrated into the online, paperless system,” said Shelbia Jackson, director of the DeKalb Entertainment Commission. “Our system is based on FilmApp, the accepted standard used across the industry.” DeKalb residents and business owners can also easily input their properties into the system as potential locations. From modern homes to 1970s-style ranches, from older offices to modern businesses, scouts are looking for the right “image” for their production. To use the portal, scouts, filmmakers, homeowners and business owners simply click to https:// dekalbentertainment.com/ film-locations/ and choose their option: 1) Permitting, 2) Finding a location, or 3) Inputting your home or business as a potential location.
SEE FILM page 6
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Police seek three suspects in Smokerise burglaries DeKalb County Police are seeking three suspects they believed are involved in several residential burglaries in the Smokerise community near Stone Mountain. Eleven burglaries were reported between June 26 and Aug. 3, said DeKalb spokesperson Shiera Campbell. Homeowners have reported jewelry and mail among the items stolen, officials said. “There were a number of homes where there was forced entry and some where doors were left unlocked. The homeowners said they were away for just a few minutes and returned to find belongings missing,” said Campbell. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating suspects who were captured on a homeowner’s exterior surveillance camera. On July 17, at approximately 10 a.m., several black male subjects arrived at the victim's residence in what appeared to be a grey Toyota Camry. One of the suspects went to the front door, while a second suspect ran to the rear of the residence, police said. The driver took mail from the mailbox near the street. Anyone who has any information regarding the suspects or cases is asked to call: 678 937 5301
Decatur suspect arrested in shooting death outside Kroger An argument outside a grocery store is what police say may have led to the shooting death of Jeremiah Flemister on Aug. 7. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Unit investigators, Field K9 Unit and SWAT team members arrested 27-year-old Dra James of Decatur on Aug. 9 on a warrant charging him with felony murder in the incident. According to the warrant, an altercation that allegedly began inside the Kroger at 3479 Memorial Jeremiah Flemister Drive in Decatur spilled out onto the parking lot where Flemister, a Decatur resident, was shot and killed. Video surveillance captured the incident law enforcement officials said. James was located on Aug. 9 at a residence in Lithonia, where he was taken into custody without incident and transported to the DeKalb County Jail.
PUBLISHER Glenn L. Morgan
EDITOR Valerie J. Morgan
ADVERTISING MANAGER Richard S. Hill
STAFF WRITER Mackenzie Morgan
PRODUCTION MANAGER Travis Hudgons firstname.lastname@example.org
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AUGUST 11, 2018 • PAGE 3
DeKalb Schools: Knock, Walk & Talk event
eKalb County School District (DCSD) Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green went doorto-door greeting parents and students during the annual Knock, Walk & Talk event. Green, accompanied by his wife and DCSD support staff, went door-to-door Aug. 4 at the Clifton Glen Apartments in Stone Mountain. “We are continuing a dialogue with our local communities to hear what they wish to achieve over the course of the year,” Green said in a press release. “We will share the wonderful new things our school district has to offer, as well as the goals we have for the oncoming months. We welcome our parents and students to share their thoughts and concerns so that every student in DeKalb County soars beyond expectations. Together, we are poised to provide the best educational opportunities in metro Atlanta, and beyond.” Green engaged with parents and students he passed out candy and invited them to attend the back-to-school rally later that day. Text and Photos by Travis Hudgons
DeKalb adopts new technology to fight crime The DeKalb County Office of Public Safety is one of the first large law enforcement jurisdictions in Georgia to join FirstNet – the nationwide public safety broadband network that gives first responders a reliable and highly secure connection to needed information. The network is being built by AT&T in publicprivate partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, which was established by Congress. “DeKalb County has embraced technology to aid crime reduction efforts and improve public safety,” said Joseph “Jack” H. Lumpkin, deputy chief operating officer of public safety. “FirstNet will enhance the county’s public safety
Joseph “Jack” H. Lumpkin
response by providing unprecedented coverage, connectivity and interaction during everyday situations and emergency events.” As a subscriber to FirstNet, DeKalb Public Safety agencies will use the system to share data and critical information that will enhance public safety, such as criminal records, police database information, photos
DeKalb County firefighter found dead at station A DeKalb County firefighter was found dead on Wednesday, Aug. 8, by a crew member at one of the county’s fire stations. Barrett Everett, 42, was found dead during a shift change at Fire Station 25, which is located on Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain. Captain Dion Bentley said firefighters had responded to a late night call on Aug. 7 and returned to go to bed at the station. A crew member found Everett deceased in bed during a shift change, Bentley said. Flags were flown at half mass throughout the county to remember Everett, Bentley said. Everett Barry “It is with great sadness that the DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department announces the passing of DeKalb firefighter Barry Everett, a nine-year veteran assigned to Fire Station 25’s B shift,” the fire department officials said in a news release. We ask that you continue to keep the family of Master Firefighter Everett in your thoughts and prayers.” At On Common Ground News’ press time, officials did not have any further information concerning Everett’s cause of death or funeral arrangements. The information will be updated at www.ocgnews.com when it becomes available.
and surveillance video. With FirstNet services, DeKalb County first responders will be able to maintain communications even when the network is congested. FirstNet will complement DeKalb County’s recent technology upgrades such as the new E911 software system, which went live in April. Provided by TriTech Software Systems, the $8.8 million computeraided dispatch system has improved how the county’s 911 center dispatches police, fire rescue, emergency medical services, Marshal's Office and the Sheriff’s Department. DeKalb began migrating to the FirstNet broadband network platform in January
2018 with the DeKalb County Police Department becoming the first police department in Georgia to subscribe to FirstNet. The county completed full implementation in July 2018 and is also working with its 12 municipalities on adopting FirstNet countywide. The DeKalb County Office of Public Safety is staffed by approximately 1,600 employees and consists of six departments including DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County Fire Rescue, DeKalb County Animal Services and Enforcement, DeKalb 911 Emergency Communications Center, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency and the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office.
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Jesse Cunningham Foundation to host backpack giveaways
DeKalb Commissioner Mereda Johnson to host Coffee with the Commissioner
The Jesse “Jay” Cunningham Foundation, in Partnership with Ark Of the Covenant Fellowship Center and Foresters Financial, will host a Back-to-School backpack giveaway on Aug. 18, 6 to 7 p.m., at the church, 568 Ladonna Drive, Decatur. Jesse ‘Jay” Cunningham The foundation was set up in memory for Jesse Jay Cunningham, who formerly served as a DeKalb County School Board member. Cunningham died on April 6 after health complications. Organizers said backpacks will be given while supplies last.
DeKalb County District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson will host “Coffee with the Commissioner” to meet and greet constituents In her district. The event is scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 15, 8 to 9 a.m., at Panera Bread, 8200 Mall Mereda Davis Johnson Parkway, Stonecrest. This is an opportunity for residents to hear updates on what is happening in DeKalb County. Residents also will have the opportunity to meet representatives from various county departments to discuss any concerns. For more information, visit www. commissionermeredajohnson.com.
Clarkston Police sets “Active Shooter Awareness” class The City of Clarkston Police will hold an Active Shooter Awareness Class on Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Clarkston Library, 951 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. The Clarkston Police Department is providing the free class so that the public may learn what to do when an active, mass casualty shooting occurs. Class topics will include Avoid/Deny/ Defend (ADD) survival tactics and techniques, local law enforcement preparedness, response and readiness; and U.S. Active Shooter events information and data. The class is open to the public. For more information, contact: Lt. Harry Hess, Clarkston Police at email@example.com or 404-292-9465.
Rockdale Chairman Nesbitt to host third “Shop Talk” forum
Rockdale County Chairman Oz Nesbitt, Sr. will host the third “Shop Talk” forum on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Trim Starz Barber Shop, 1910 Highway 20 SE, Suite 230, Conyers. The event, the third in the series, will feature the following speakers to answer community Oz Nesbitt residents’ questions and concerns: • Probate Court Judge Clarence Cuthpert • State Court Judge Nancy Bills • Cynthia Welch, Board of Elections Director The Shop Talk series introduces elected officials to those who may not know who they are or what their roles, duties and responsibilities are. For more information, contact Jorge Diez at jorge. firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-278-7056.
DCSD invites parents, teachers to run for 2018-2019 Principal Advisory Councils Those interested in uniting school communities while increasing student achievement and performance are invited to participate in DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) Principal Advisory Councils. Principal Advisory Councils are coalitions of parents, guardians, and teachers that serve their school communities at 112 DCSD schools. Councils act as a link between the school and the community, encouraging engagement with stakeholders, increasing transparency, monitoring progress, and participating in the selection of a school’s principal.
Those interested in joining a 2018-2019 Principal Advisory Council can declare their candidacy now until August 31. Applicants are required to complete a candidate declaration form, which can be
found at www.dekalbschoolsga. org/school-councils. The voting window for 2018-2019 elections will be open Sept. 18-25 from 8: a.m. until 5 p.m. Votes can be cast electronically via DCSD’s Infinite Campus system for parents/guardians, and on Outlook for teachers. For more information, contact Kina Champion, School Governance Liaison, at kina_champion@ dekalbschoolsga.org or (678) 676-0718. Further information can also be found at the DCSD website, at www. dekalbschoolsga.org.
Rep. Johnson announces annual App challenge for students Congressman Hank Challenge reception in Johnson (GA-04) is D.C. and serve as guests excited to announce of honor at a reception in the start of this year’s Georgia’s Fourth District Congressional App Chalwhere they will showcase lenge (CAC), an open their games and mobile competition for all K-12 applications. More prizes students who reside or will be announced closer attend a school in Georto the deadline for app gia's Fourth Congressiochallenge winners. nal District. The CAC was created Congressman Hank Johnson “Science and techbecause Congress recognology are transforming our world nized that STEM and computer-based and we must do all we can to ensure skills are essential for economic our kids are taking part in and helping growth and innovation, and that the shape the changing economy,” said U.S. has been falling behind on these Johnson. “I’m proud of the students fronts. By some estimates, the U.S. who participate in the challenge. This may be short by many as a million competition has showcased some of programmers by 2020. These are the Fourth Congressional District’s high-paying, high-demand jobs. brightest young minds as they take on To maintain American cutting-edge technology that is becom- competitiveness, it’s crucial that the ing an increasing part of all our lives.” United States invests in our youth now The challenge will run until Oct. and helps them acquire these valuable 15. The competition is open to all skills. The CAC encourages students students who meet the eligibility to pursue those skills and recognizes requirements, regardless of coding ex- them for their efforts. perience. Johnson encourages students Recognizing the racial, gender, of all skill levels to participate and to and other disparities in the tech sector, learn how to create their own apps. the CAC also focuses on inclusivity Winners will be selected by and making the Challenge widely a panel of judges and be given accessible to students from all backCongressional recognition for their grounds. Deliberate efforts are made achievements in STEM and Computer to include students from all backScience. Their apps will be featured grounds, including those traditionally on a display in the U.S. Capitol in underrepresented in tech. Washington D.C., on house.gov, and For more information about the on the Congressional App Challenge Congressional App Challenge, visit website. Winners also will receive an https://www.congressionalappchalinvitation to the Congressional App lenge.us/2018-student-registration/
AUGUST 11, 2018 • PAGE 5
Doraville comes together to celebrate National Night Out
by Travis Hudgons
undreds of people, mostly children, gathered in a Doraville shopping center parking lot to celebrate National Night Out. The family-friendly event provided an opportunity for the community, especially children, to interact positively with police. During the warm Aug. 7 evening, the children were entertained with an inflatable slide, boxing demonstrations, a police-manned dunk tank and other activities. “This is a way for the Police Department to repay our community,” said Capt. T.K. Gordan of the Doraville Police. Gordan said events like this help the community meet the police officers in a non-emergency setting. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign
that promotes police-community partnerships. National Night Out help to build and strengthen the relationship between members of the community and law enforcement. Various cities in DeKalb County participated in National Night Out including Tucker, Clarkston and Doraville. In addition to the Doraville Police, there were Representatives from the Georgia State Patrol, National Guard and local non-profits Smoke Free Atlanta, I Will Survive, Inc and I Care Atlanta, Inc community partners which Gordan described as a valuable resources. “We’re very blessed in Doraville with the community support we have,” Gordan said. “These events help us to get Doraville’s diverse community together and have fun–and the kids love it.”
Meet DeKalb’s Newly Elected Officials and
JOIN Stonecrest City Councilman Rob Turner and DeKalb School Board member Vicki Turner
Cultural Exchange Breakfast Free breakfast, community updates and more!
Saturday, Aug. 11, 9 a.m
Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church (House of Hope) 4650 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur
Photo via DeKalb County Schools
McNair Middle School’s STEM team receives top honors by Museum of Aviation
One of DeKalb County School District’s middle schools has claimed top honors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). McNair Middle School’s eighth grade STEM team was named Team of the Year by the Museum of Aviation Foundation in Warner Robbins, Georgia for the 2017-2018 school year. The team—made up of teachers Clare Gravolet, Tonya Green, Robert Russo, and Athalia James—became the foundation’s choice on Aug. 2 in a contest open to all Georgia teachers. As winners, the team will be awarded $1,000 at the 8th annual Georgia NASA STEM Conference on Aug. 25 at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robbins. STEM schools offer students access to such hands-on projects as robotics, aquaponics, a school garden, downhill racing, as well as face time with industry professionals, among other programs. In total, DCSD currently offers 26 STEM-certified schools districtwide.
PAGE 6 • AUGUST 11, 2018 WWW.OCGNEWS.COM
Rockdale’s Constitutional Corner
Are you an heir or beneficiary?
By Probate Judge Clarence Cuthpert, Jr.
he terms heir and beneficiary are often used interchangeably. However, they represent two different categories of individuals who may inherit from a deceased person. This misunderstanding has been
known to cause conflicts between those who stand to inherit from the decedent, either as heirs or beneficiaries, due to a misplaced sense of entitlement. An heir is a blood relative who may be entitled to inherit from a decedent simply because he or she is a family member. When a decedent dies without a will, the order of inheritance is determined by Georgia law. The spouse is the sole heir if there are no children. If the decedent is also survived by children, the spouse shall share equally with the children or the descendants of any deceased child. If the decedent is not survived by a spouse, the heirs shall be those living relatives, or the descendants of any deceased relatives, who are in the nearest degree of kinship to the decedent in the following order:
WARD continued from page 1 The James C. Ward Chorale performed “Nothin’ But Glory” during the Christmas season in 2015 and the song has since become one of Hal Leonard’s best-selling pieces. “Heather Sorenson arranged the song for me,” said Ward. We have worked together on several projects. We are now working on a composition to celebrate AntiochLithonia's 150-year anniversary in 2019. The inaugural performance will be at Antioch on March 31, 2019.” Pastor Ward said the song celebrating the church’s 150year anniversary also would be published by Hal Leonard. “This will be a great worship service because we will have one of the most gifted musicians, Heather Sorenson, in our midst. More importantly, we will thank God for our congregational ancestors who have gone before us and have sustained and advanced our congregation. We look forward to this day with great anticipation,”
said Pastor Ward. Pastor Ward credits the late Wendell P. Whalum, who was director of the music department and the Glee Club at Morehouse College, with cultivating his interest in music. “Morehouse really validated me. He (Whalum) said that I should have majored in music,” said Pastor Ward, who sang in the Glee Club and holds double bachelor’s degrees—one in philosophy and one German literature–from Morehouse College. Pastor Ward’s background in music is reflected in the music culture at Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church. “We enjoy all types of music— traditional gospel, contemporary, classical and even gospel rap music.” Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church is located at 2152 Rock Chapel Road (State Road 124), Lithonia.
FILM continued from page 1 The new DeKalb Entertainment Commission officially launched in October 2017. A division of Decide DeKalb, the Development Authority for DeKalb County, the Commission is charged with stimulating economic growth across the county in film, television, music and digital entertainment. An inaugural “Entertainment Expo” in October offered panels, networking and other resources for hundreds of DeKalb businesses and residents. “The DeKalb Entertainment Commission is about making connections, building collaboration and creating amazing content,” said DeKalb Entertainment Commission Chair Andrew Greenberg. New Tools, Resources, Economic Impact •A new website, DeKalbEntertainment.com, provides resources across all three entertainment industry sectors (Film/TV, Music, Digital Entertainment) • The county offers a regular series of events to educate and support residents and local business • An ongoing marketing effort showcases DeKalb to statewide, regional and national audiences About the DeKalb Entertainment Commission The DeKalb Entertainment Commission (DeKalbEntertainment.com) offers businesses in Georgia’s fast-growing entertainment industry access to a collaborative, supportive infrastructure which accelerates the growth and success of creative ventures in film, television, music and digital entertainment.
1) Children; 2) Parents; 3) Siblings; 4) Grandparents; and 5) Uncles and Aunts. A beneficiary is a person or organization who receives a gift or bequest because they are specifically named in the decedent’s will or trust to receive the same. Beneficiaries are also designated in insurance policies, retirement plans etc., to receive the proceeds after the decedent’s death. It is possible to be an heir and a beneficiary if you are a blood relative and you are named in the decedent’s will as a beneficiary of a specific gift or bequest. However, if the decedent dies with a will and distributes all of his or her assets through the will, even though you are an heir, your interest will be superseded by the named beneficiaries in the will. Thus, while
heirs can be beneficiaries, without a familial relationship, a beneficiary cannot be an heir. The information included herein is only intended to provide a basic understanding of the distinction between heirs and beneficiaries. This information is not all inclusive, and should not be used as or considered to be legal advice. Throughout each month, the clerk of courts, tax commissioner, sheriff and probate judge— Rockdale’s elected constitutional officers—discuss topics relevant to their respective roles. Throughout each month, the clerk of courts, tax commissioner, sheriff and probate judge— Rockdale’s elected constitutional officers—discuss topics relevant to their respective roles
PET OF THE Week
The DeKalb County Animal Services Pet of the Week is Sylvie, a low-key lady who is enjoying her foster family but is looking for forever home. This sweet 4-year-old has ears for days and a quirky personality that is sure to win you over. She likes to play occasionally, but only in short spurts. She loves treats and takes them gently from all humans. Sylvie loves to explore the great outdoors and enjoys pausing to take in the fresh air. Sylvie shares her foster home with another pup and does wonderfully. She doesn’t seem to mind kitties either! If you are looking for a calm, sweet pup who is sure to make you laugh, meet Sylvie! She is currently living in a foster home. Please email email@example.com to set up a meeting with her.
AUGUST 11, 2018 • PAGE 7
ORDAINED continued from page 1
Local baseball team named RBI champs
L-R: Angel Veasley and Deacon Reginald Veasley and Deacon Mayor Jason Lary and Debbie Lary are presented to the congregation. Photo by Glenn L. Morgan
not only held in high esteem, but so are their spouses. He said that was why it was important for the spouses to participate in the ordination. “They have exhibited the same characteristics of serving in supporting their husbands and the ministry,” said Pastor Randolph. Pastor Randolph said the deacons had to pass a catechism, an oral examination where they are asked several questions about the bible and the Baptist Church’s doctrine before being ordained. Lary said he was very humbled that Pastor Randolph chose him and “I was so honored after passing the test and going through the ordination. I got to wear my white gloves and perform Communion for the first time,” said Deacon Mayor Lary, who has been a member of Union First Missionary Baptist Church for 10 years. Lary said he knows his father, who passed away in May 2017 after a long illness, would have been proud of him. “I grew up in the Baptist Church. My dad was a deacon. I could feel him smiling down on me,” said Lary.
Lary, 56, said the ordination was a pivotal chapter in his life. “The five most important things for me in life have been finding Debbie, the right woman to be my wife; the births of my two sons (Jason and James “Jamie”). Unequivocally, my two boys have been the best kids in the world. If I could wear their faces on my shirt every day, I would. They are really great citizens. I am so proud of them; becoming a deacon; creating the city of Stonecrest; and becoming mayor,” said Lary. Lary said his role as the city’s inaugural mayor and his role as a deacon at his church “all comes down to service” in the community. “I was serving as a deacon before my ordination and my responsibility was to check on the elderly and make church repairs. That’s what I will continue to do,” said Lary. Pastor Randolph said Deacon Lary and Deacon Veasley have been embraced by the church’s congregation. “I know they are going to do well in their roles,” said Pastor Randolph.
League director John Hollins to be honored as Community Hero John W. Hollins, Jr. is proud of this year’s ATL Metro RBI senior baseball team. The team was named Southeast Regional champions in the Reviving Baseball In the Innercities MLB program. Fifteen players and four coaches flew to Minnesota where the team competed on Aug. 8 in the RBI World Series, which was held at the Neiman Sports Complex in St. Paul, Minnesota. Although the Southest Regional champs lost to the West Regional champions (Arizona) 7 to 5 in the first round, the Georgia team was honored to have the opportunity. “RBI is so important to our community. Thanks to the RBI program and the Atlanta Braves for its support, our African-American kids had the chance to compete at the highest level,” said Hollins, who is director of ATL Metro RBI. Hollins’ league provides training to kids ages 12 to 18 from DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and Henry counties whose families cannot afford the costs of participating on a travel
team, which Hollis said can run $2,500 to $5,000. “We only charge $100 for kids to participate and we make sure that our players receive the same level of training from pros that players on elite teams get,” said Hollins. “Over the last 10 years, we have helped numerous students improve their SAT scores and enter college.” Hollins said his program helped produce a total of six players, three of whom attended DeKalb County’s Redan High School, who were drafted by professional baseball teams this year. Hollins, who has been an RBI affiliate for 10 years, will be honored as a Community Hero for his work with RBI at the Sept. 17 Atlanta Braves vs. the St. Louis Cardinal game at Suntrust Park. A portion of the ticket sales will benefit ATL Metro RBI. Tickets are available at: https:// groupmatics.events/event/atlantametro. For more information, contact Celeste Mercer at Celeste.Mercer@ braves.com
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