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Rockdale teen honored for quick thinking in saving umpire’s 3

DeKalb resident earns Eagle Scout 6



DeKalb D.A. reviewing commissioner’s spending By Valerie J. Morgan

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James is reviewing the financial records of DeKalb Commissioner Elaine Boyer after recent news reports revealed DeKalb County Commissioner that Boyer used Elaine Boyer her county credit card to make more than $12,000 in personal purchases. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spent months investigating Boyer’s expenses and uncovered that she and her chief of staff, Robert Lundsten, spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on personal items, including $11,000 at restaurants, in 2012 and 2013. Boyer also used the card for airline tickets, Kroger and Wal-mart purchases among other things. “We are aware of this and we are looking into the matter,” said the D.A.’s spokesman, Erik Burton. Boyer said she apologized to the Board of Commissioners. She said she takes full responsibility for improperly using the card. She said she did not realize that she was not supposed to use the card for personal purchases, even though she has served as a commissioner for 20 years and signed an agreement stating the card was not for personal expenses. Boyer is longestserving commissioner on the board. Boyer said this week she has repaid the money in question. The repayment, however, does not mean that the District Attorney cannot pursue an indictment for criminal charges. See Boyer , page 6



Healthcare enrollment events help constituents beat 6



MARCH 29, 2014


Immigration activists bring food fast to Atlanta

Supporters of “Fast for Families” unite in prayer in the shadow of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on March 26 in Atlanta.

By Valerie J. Morgan and Joshua Smith

ATLANTA – Immigration rights activists who started a food fast in Los Angeles a month ago brought their campaign to Atlanta to demand immigration reform that would provide a path for citizenship for an estimated 11 million people now considered illegal in this country. Eliseo Medina was flanked by a rainbow coalition of supporters for the March 26 “Fast for Families” demonstration at the steps of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue. “We cannot afford to have more people die on the border because there is no legal way to get here, except for working in the dessert in the heat of the day and the cold of night,” said Medina, a former international Union executive. “We cannot afford to have more families torn apart and more

children made orphans because of deportation. That’s not the America we all love. We are a better people than that.” As Medina brought his campaign to Atlanta, Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia’s Fourth District, was among dozens of legislators who signed a petition on the same day in Washington, D.C. demanding a vote on H.R. 15. For months, the Republican Party, headed by House Speaker John Boehner, has blocked the bi-partisan legislation for immigration reform. The bill has 200 co-sponsors. Said Johnson: “It is time for Speaker Boehner to stop blocking this sensible bipartisan reform, and allow a vote to create jobs, empower our small businesses, fuel innovation, reduce the deficit and energize the economy. It is time for us to fix our broken immigration system, and build a system

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

that respects our history and our values as a nation.” State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), who joined Medina and other activists at Ebenezer for the demonstration, said it’s time for Congress to act. “The time has come. This movement for freedom, justice and equality for immigrants is tied directly to the movement for civil rights. Dr. King’s dream of freedom, justice and equality is a dream that lives on to this very hour,” Fort said. “We are a nation of immigrants. We are going to tell Speaker Boehner to move out of the way. We know that Fasting for Families, the dreamers, are on the right side of history. ” Medina said his group’s fight is similar to the Civil Rights Movement. “There are parallels between See Food , page 6

Initiative to help delinquent dads kicks off in DeKalb


By Joshua Smith

tate officials are launching a new initiative in DeKalb County to help delinquent dads catch up on the millions they collectively owe in unpaid child support. DeKalb’s Division of Family and Children Services will host a workshop, “Readiness for Workshop Organizer Battle,” on Wednesday, April Adika Trimble 2, 1 p.m., at the Shirley Trussell Building, 178 Sams St., Decatur. State officials want fathers and those who support them to learn about resources that are available to them. Robert Riddle, director of the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Support Enforcement, said the initiative is about bringing people together to help dads get on the

right track. “Some fathers who don’t earn enough to pay court-ordered child support can get on their feet and fulfill their obligations – if the right mix of public and private agencies cooperate to help them,” said Robert Riddle, director of the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Support Enforcement. “We have moved from just enforcing child support orders to addressing the reasons why some parents who sincerely wish to support their children are unable to do so, whether it be substance abuse, mental health problems, lack of transportation or a history of incarceration.” The kickoff event will link fathers to representatives from organizations who specialize in community resources such as counseling, legal services and employment resources, including reentry into the workforce programs and job training. “This is a call to action. We are sounding the horn on the war against negative labels like delinquent dads or welfare moms. We feel there is no such thing. Our community needs to stop perpetuating these terms,” said workshop organizer Adika Trimble.

“There are some fathers, whether unemployed or not, who continue to share, educate, support, nourish and protect their children. We want to hear from fathers in our region who want to be involved with their children but may need our support.” Although fathers are targeted for the upcoming event, anyone in the community may attend including mothers, members of the faith-based community, human services staff, government officials and nonprofit organizations that are looking to help. “This event is focused on resources that can support fathers who have gone down the wrong path, as well as fathers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to circumnavigate systemic bias and roadblocks so that they can parent their children,” said Trimble. Trimble says the “Readiness for Battle” initiative plans to host a lunch and learn for fathers at the end of April, a fatherhood resource fair and monthly information sessions. No registration is required. For more information, call Adika Trimble at 678-205-4167 or email


MARCH 29, 2014

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Community News

MARCH  29, 2014  VOLUME 19, NO. 52 EDITOR/PUBLISHER Valerie J. Morgan GENERAL MANAGER Glenn L. Morgan STAFF WRITER  Joshua Smith ADVERTISING MANAGER  Richard S. Hill


On Common Ground News is published weekly 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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Rockdale Clerk of Courts co-sponsors free Notary training Rockdale County Clerk of Courts Ruth A. Wilson, in collaboration with the Georgia Superior Ruth Wilson Court Clerks Clerk of Courts Cooperative Authority (GSCCCA), will offer free training for current Notaries Public and those considering becoming one. The training will be held on Thursday, April 17, at the Rockdale County Government Annex, 1400 Parker Road, in Meeting Room A. The first session will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon and a second session will run from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registrations must be received by April 14, 2014.   The training will explain the nature and purpose of Notary duties and how to perform them with skill and in accordance with Georgia law. The training is designed to help avoid errors, which could result in costly lawsuits and penalties.   For registration and more information, visit the Notary Training link in the WHAT’S HAPPENING section of the Clerk of Courts website: www.  

Rockdale teen honored for quick thinking in saving umpire’s life


By Joshua Smith

ounty officials honored a Rockdale County teen who saved an umpire’s life using CPR during a recent baseball game. Officials paid tribute to Alex Norwood, 16, at the March 27 Town Hall meeting. “We wanted to take out some time to thank this courageous young man and honor Alex for thinking See Rockdale teen, page 7

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett, Probate Court Judge Charles Mays, Tax Commissioner RJ Hadley, and Clerk of Courts Ruth Wilson come together to celebrate Alex Norwood (center right) on March 27 in Conyers. Alex is joined by his mother, Marybeth Phazio-Norwood.

Wesley Chapel’s Krispy Kreme to open in December Wesley Chapel Road will be little sweeter come December, thanks to the Board of Commissioners approval for a Krispy Kreme store. The store is expected to open in December in the former Wachovia Bank building at 2533 Wesley Chapel Road. Krispy Kreme won’t be the only sweets. A Dunkin Donuts is also planned for the former Three Dollar Cafe building at 2555 Wesley Chapel Road. Decatur-based Sahil Enterprise Inc. is developing the store and is expected to start construction in April. The Board of Commissioners voted March 25 to approve the application of JDL Castle Corporation for the special land use permit required to allow a drive-

through for the Krispy Kreme. The plan received support from the community and Commissioner Larry Johnson, who represents District 3, where the store will open. The store will become one of the first in the Krispy Kreme family to operate on the south side of the metro Atlanta region. “Community engagement and collaboration has been the standard in District 3 and the community, JDL Castle Corporation, Red

Rock Global, LLC and I worked to ensure that this venture will be a positive one for the community,” said Johnson. The store will feature inside seating as well as a drive-through window. The famous “Hot Now” sign indicating fresh, hot doughnuts will soon become a neighborhood fixture with a target opening of late summer to early fall. “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work with JDL Castle, the community and Commissioner Johnson in bringing Krispy Kreme to the Wesley Chapel corridor.  This further enhances the economic revitalization taking place in the area,” said Commissioner Stan Watson, who represents Super District 7, which also includes Wesley Chapel.


MARCH 29, 2014

Fair food and a world of entertainment highlight Conyers festival


ith the sun shinning brightly, the city of Conyers welcomed thousands to the Georgia International Horse Park on March 2223 for the 33rd Annual Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival. About 30,000 people were on hand to shop with more than 300 vendors, enjoy performances from acts such as the Japanese Swordsmanship of Gwinnett and watch some high-flying dogs at the “Ultimate Air Dogs” show. Photos by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Coming Up



Clarkston sets Family Movie Night

Board members host information tour for parents, stakeholders

The City of Clarkston is hosting a monthly series, “Clarkston Family Movie Night,” on the first Fridays for the next three months. The movie schedule includes “Courageous” on April 5; “Hugo” on May 3; and “Dr. Suess: The Lorax” on June 7. The movies will be shown at Clarkston First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center, 4007 Church Street, Clarkston. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The movie starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Enjoy the movie with popcorn and a drink for $2.50. For more information, call Christin Taylor at 404-292-5686, ext. 248.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education will host a series of area board meetings across the county in April. Each spring, the school board goes on the road to share information with the public about the district. School Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks will deliver highlights from his annual “Address on the State of the School District.” GCPS officials say the board is seeking input from the community to ensure that the school systems’ vision, mission, and strategic goals remain relevant and resonate with the community. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the high school theaters. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. You can attend one or multiple meetings. The agenda will be the same at all of them. Interpreters will be on hand as well. Meetings are as follows: Tuesday, April 1, at Central Gwinnett High, 564 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville; Thursday, April 3, at Norcross High, 5300 Spalding Dr.; Tuesday, April 15, at Shiloh High, 4210 Shiloh Rd. 678-301-6000.

Film series at Stonecrest Library examines Civil Rights struggle DeKalb County’s Stonecrest Library will present a film and discussion series, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” on April 7, 8 and 12. The series is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative. The community is invited to the screening of Slavery by Another Name on Monday, April 7, 6 to 7:30 p.m. The film focuses on the years following the Civil War when new forms of forced labor emerged in the American South, which forced hundreds of thousands of African Americans into a new type of bondage. A screening of Freedom Riders will follow on Tuesday, April 8, 6 to 8 p.m. This film tells the story of more than 400 black and white Americans who risked their lives between May and November 1961 for simply traveling together through the Deep South on buses and trains. The Freedom Riders deliberately violated Jim Crow laws and met with bitter racism and mob violence. On Saturday, April 12, 2 to 4 p.m., Pellom McDaniels III, Emory University Faculty Curator of African American Collections and Assistant Professor of African American Studies, will lead a discussion about the changing meaning of freedom and equality in America. He will use the films as a starting point, but you are not required to see the films to participate in this program. The series is free and open to the public. The Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike Road in Lithonia.

Lithonia to celebrate City Week The City of Lithonia is inviting vendors and craft makers to participate in its observance of National City Week. The city is hosting a “Market Place” on April 12 and 16.  Booths are free.   To reserve your spot, contact Lithonia City Council member Darold Honore’ at 770-912-2177.

ATLANTA Festival offers everything Persian Piedmont Park and the Persian Community Center of Atlanta will host the Persian Community Festival on Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., at the park, 1320 Monroe Dr., N.E., Atlanta. Organizers say the festival was created to expose the public to the wonders of Persian culture and the Middle East. The festival includes authentic dances from men and women, singing, and musicians playing selections on authentic Persian instruments such as setars and tumbrek drums. Artwork will be on display and models will be on hand to show off authentic Persian dresses and other gowns. Attendees can also shop with vendors selling Persian fare and receive information on the culture from booth exhibitors. For more information, contact Hassien Bashirian at 678-283-4624 or hassein.

Peace march promotes non-violence for all

“Live Healthy Gwinnett” sets community health event Gwinnett County’s Parks and Recreation Department will host “Live Healthy Gwinnett” on Saturday, April 26, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Eastside Medical Center, 1700 Medical Way, Snellville. The program will encourage Gwinnett residents to invest in personal wellness. “Live Healthy Gwinnett” will combine clinical expertise from Eastside Medical Center physicians and staff, with wellness recommendations and activities offered by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation. The program will focus on four wellness areas: be active, eat healthy, get checked and be positive. Attendees can enjoy inflatables, face painting, stretching activities, free health screenings, zumba workouts and games of disc golf, sand volleyball and corn-hole. Participants can also receive gardening tips and enjoy live music from local acts, while shopping with food trucks. For more information, visit www. or call 770-822-8000.

ROCKDALE Dance to the beat of your own drum The Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts will host a free drumming circle on Friday, April 4, 7 – 8:30 p.m., in the Lewis Vaughn Botanical Gardens on Commercial Street in Olde Town Conyers. Hosted by the Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts, the communitydrumming circle takes place on the first Friday of each month, weather permitting. The drum circle promotes community awareness, goodwill and positive energy. It is open to the public free of charge. No vendors and no alcohol allowed. For more information, contact Jackie Sprague at 770-922-3143.


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The Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta will host the “I am Peace March” on Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at Freedom Park, on Moreland Avenue, N.E. in Atlanta. Friday, April 11, 2014 10 a.m.Academy - 31064 p.m.Culpepper Dr. Dr. April 11, 2014 Organizers say the march will serve as a celebration and a stance for Atlanta Rockdale Career 1064 Culpepper For more information, visit 10 a.m.Friday, - 3 p.m. 1064 Culpepper Dr. Rockdale Career Academy to advocate for peace. The march was inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial 1064 Culpepper Dr. Conyers, GA 30094 Conyers, GA 30094 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 1064 Culpepper Dr. GA 30094 anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Workshops Conyers, Conyers, GA 30094 Workshops Resume Reviews Conyers, GA 30094 Many Employers “The purpose of the event is to create an awareness of nonviolent principles (770) 278-7050 Resume ReviewsApril 11, 2014Workshops Many Employers Friday, and practice as a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and Friday, April 11,Reviews 2014 Resume Many Employers communities,” said Jill Waddell, event organizer. “The march will honor those who April 11, visit 2014 ForFriday, more information, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday, April 11, 2014 For more information, visit 10 a.m. 3 p.m. use nonviolence to build a community that honors the dignity and worth of every 10 a.m. - 3No p.m. RSVP necessary For more information, visit human being. Every person can move the world in the direction of peace through 10 a.m. - p.m. Workshops (770) 278-7050 his or her daily nonviolent choice and action.” (770) 278-7050 Resume Reviews Many Employers Workshops (770) 278-7050 The event will begin at Freedom Park and travel to the Martin Luther King Sponsored by Rockdale County No RSVP necessary Workshops Resume Reviews Resume Employers Many Reviews Employers Many Peace Pavilion. The march will be approximately 1.5 miles ending with a rally, led NoMany RSVP necessary Resume Reviews Employers For more information, visit WorkshopsNo RSVP necessary by guest speakers Bishop Carlton Pearson and Rev. Dr. David Ault, and music by Sponsored by Rockdale County For more information, visit information, Sponsored by Rockdale County an interfaith multi-city choir. For more visit Resume Many Employers For moreReviews information, visit (770) 278-7050 Sponsored by Rockdale County For more information, contact Waddell at or 404-793-8083.

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Gwinnett seeks workers for the polls Gwinnett County is seeking people to work as poll officials this election season. The county’s election office is hiring clerks, assistant poll managers and poll managers. The jobs pay from $75 - $300 a day, depending on positions and responsibilities. Training may be required. “Poll officials play an active role in ensuring the ongoing success of the electoral process in Gwinnett County. The Voter Registrations and Elections Division would like to add more dedicated citizens to serve as paid poll officials for the 2014 elections,” said Lynn Ledford, director of Gwinnett’s Voter Registration and Elections office. “Poll officials who are successful, demonstrate patience, enjoy working with people, take direction well, and are detail-oriented..” Applicants must be U.S. citizens and preferably, residents of Gwinnett County. Poll officials must have transportation to and from the polling location and be at least 16 or older. Workers can’t be candidates for public office or hold a public office. Experience with accounting, bookkeeping, auditing or record keeping or being bilingual is a plus. Those who were convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude or judicially determined to be mentally incompetent are not eligible to serve as a poll official To apply, visit For more information, call 770-822-8000. Rockdale and DeKalb election officials say they have a list of potential workers they pull from for poll monitoring during elections.

Rockdale Democratic Party to host candidates’ forum The Rockdale Democratic Party is hosting a candidates’ forum Saturday, April 26, 1:30 p.m. at Antioch A.M.E. Church, 790 Ebenezer Road, Conyers.  The Party has invited all candidates of the Congressional, State and local races. Come, bring your questions, a neighbor/friend/family member, and hear what each candidate has to say so you can make an informed decision and an informed vote.     There will be a raffle, refreshments and reserved time for you to meet and sign up with various campaigns.

DeKalb officials remind voters of key dates

The DeKalb County Board of Registration & Elections is now accepting voter absentee applications and will begin mailing ballots to those who request them on April 4. The election season is coming early this year because of a federal court order that changed the dates of the General Primary and Nonpartisan elections, customarily held in July. The elections will be held on May 20, along with the Special Sheriff Nonpartisan Election. Runoff elections (if any) will be July 22. DeKalb Elections officials are reminding the public that the registration deadline for new voter applications and changes to existing voter records is April 21. In-person early voting will begin on April 28 at three locations and will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The polls will also be open for one Saturday, May 10, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All early and absentee voting will end on Friday, May 16. The locations for early voting are:

Main Voter Registration & Elections Office Two Areas – One Exclusively for Senior and Disabled Voters 4380 Memorial Drive Decatur, GA 30032 North DeKalb South DeKalb Tucker Recreation Center Community Achievement Center 4898 LaVista Road 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway Tucker, GA 30084 Decatur, GA 30034 Additional early voting locations will be open beginning Monday, May 12, through Friday, May 16, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will not be open Saturday, May 10. Downtown Decatur Clark Harrison Building 330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Room A Decatur, GA 30030

North DeKalb Chamblee Civic Center 3540 Broad Street Chamblee, GA 30341

East DeKalb Berean Christian Church Community Center 2440 Young Road Stone Mountain, GA 30088

There will be no voting on Saturdays, May 3 and 17 or on Monday, May 19. Voters must go to their polling places on Tuesday, May 20 to cast their ballots. To find your polling place and see your sample ballot, once they are available, go to My Voter Page at Applications and other information may be obtained at the website www. or by calling the Voter Registration & Elections office at 404-298-4020.

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MARCH 29, 2014

Food fast

Austin David Phillips honored as Eagle Scout

continued from page 1


Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Flanked by state lawmakers and other supporters, Eliseo Medina shares his views on why immigration reform must happen in America.

the Civil Rights Movement and the Immigrant Rights Movement. We believe that we are the heirs of the struggle for social justice in the country,” said Medina, who has worked alongside labor leader and Hispanic civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. “We take the tactics of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s non-violent, but still effective procedures with us as we travel the nation.” Medina started the “Fast For Families” tour on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. He and other activists who joined the campaign have gone without food since they started the fast. They have survived off of water alone. He says the campaign plans to visit more than 100 Congressional districts in 32 states by April 9. Fast for Families also has another group traveling a northern trip, making stops in states such as Illinois and New York. Cobb County Police Chief Captain Jerry L. Quan said this project is critical for the future of America. Quann is

a fourth-generation decedent of a “paper son.” The term refers to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which made it nearly impossible for Chinese to immigrate to the United States. During the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, many immigrants from China arrived in the United States with purchased or forged citizenships. Those who utilized this method to enter the U.S. were known as “paper sons.” “Many of our leaders and our own community members are here as descendants of people who came her undocumented or what was ‘illegal’ at the time. I serve this country proudly and the fact is, so much of America’s history was built from the work of immigrants from all different ethnic groups,” said Quan, who has more than 30 years of service to the country between the police force and the military. “Immigration reform needs to happen now. We must come together on this. We hope Congress can come together on this soon. This issue matters to all of us. ”

eKalb County resident Austin David Phillips has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest award achieved as a Boy Scout. A member of Troop 106, Phillips joins an elite group of men including President Gerald Ford, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, and J. Willard Marriott, president of Marriott Hotels, all of whom earned the rank of Eagle Scouts as young men. Photos by Glenn L. Morgan/OCG News Austin David Phillips (center) celebrates with parents Ronald and The National Eagle Court of Honor for Phillips Karen Phillips. was held on March 22 at Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur. Phillips received letters of commendation from several dignitaries including Presidents Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. State Rep. Billy Mitchell attended the ceremony and presented Phillips with a proclamation Austin David Phillips receives his Eagle Scout pin from Joseph honoring his achievement. G. Hayes, District Director of Boy Scouts of America Phillips was distinguished because he joined the Scouts at age 13 and had to work hard to earn badges that many scouts earn when they are much younger, said Scoutmaster Tab Brown. “To see a young man make this trek is a huge accomplishment. Only 2 percent of Scouts become Eagles,” Brown said. Phillips organized and led a team of scouts and volunteers in improving the grounds of Interfaith Outreach Home, a transitional housing facility for homeless families in Atlanta. The team planted fruit trees, repainted and repaired a fence and painted two benches at the facility. A senior at Woodward Academy in College Park, Phillips is a four-year letterman in football and three-year letterman in lacrosse. Phillips is a member of Antioch A.M.E. Church in Stone Mountain, where he served on the junior usher board and athletic ministry. The pastors of his church, Dr. Stafford Wicker and Rev. Constance Wicker, respectively conducted the invocation and benediction for Phillips’ penning ceremony. In July, Phillips will attend a three-week Summer Engineering Enrichment program at Auburn University, where he will attend in the fall to pursue civil engineering. Phillips is the son of Ron and Karen Phillips, South DeKalb business owners.

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DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson and State Rep. Pam Stephenson co-hosted a healthcare enrollment event on March 26 at the Wesley Chapel Library in Decatur to help constituents meet the federal March 31 deadline. “We are in the final days of the ACA (Affordable Care ACT) enrollment period. No one in DeKalb should be without health insurance so take advantage of the locations remaining and sign up for health care coverage,” said Johnson. Exemptions that would allow an individual to file for insurance after the March 31 deadline include job loss, marriage or relocation. There will be trained navigators on March 31, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Exchange Intergenerational Center, 2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur. Health insurance enrollees should bring their Social Security Numbers, employer and income information, policy numbers for any current health insurance plans and completed employer coverage information.

Boyer continued from page 1

Burton said James is looking into financial records for Boyer for the last four years, the maximum that the law allows. Depending on his findings, the next step would be an indictment. Commissioner Larry Johnson, who serves as presiding officer of the Board of Commissioners, said he wants to make sure that proper auditing procedures are put in place and that commissioners properly use their county credit cards. “I want to make sure we do some refresher courses about the use of p cards for purchases,” Johnson said. Boyer said she supports hiring an outside agency to conduct audits. “I support hiring an outside accounting service to establish new protocols and procedures and give us the strongest financial safeguards in the state,” Boyer said in a statement released to On Common Ground News. “I will continue to handle taxpayer dollars in the most fiscally responsible manner possible, as my 20 years of public service clearly shows.”

MARCH 29, 2014 PAGE 7

GPTC seeks accreditation for Law Enforcement Academy

Rockdale teen

COVINGTON—Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is seeking accreditation for its Law Enforcement Academy. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) will visit the college’s Covington campus on April 7 to examine the Academy’s management, operations, and support services. The on-site visit is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation. “This accreditation exemplifies the progress we expect from our faculty and staff here at Georgia Piedmont Technical College,” said GPTC President Jabari Simama. “Achieving CALEA Accreditation simply tells our students and the law enforcement community, as well as the communities those graduates will serve, that we are committed to providing top-notch training.” The Law Enforcement Academy must comply with 159 standards in order to gain accredited status, officials said. “These standards help ensure the Academy is following the best practices in delivering the top training to students that will eventually find themselves in a position of protecting and serving our families and our communities,” said Major Harry McCann, director of the Law Enforcement Academy. As part of the on-site assessment, agency personnel and members of the community are invited to offer comments to the assessment team via telephone, Tuesday, April 8, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m., by calling (404) 297-9522, extension 5042. Calls will be limited to ten minutes.  Persons wishing to offer written comments about the GPTC Law Enforcement Academy’s ability to meet the standards for accreditation/ recognition are requested to write: GPTC Law Enforcement Academy Attention CALEA Assessment Team 8100 Bob Williams Pkwy. Covington, GA 30014.  A copy of the standards is available at the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Law Enforcement Academy. Once the CALEA Assessors complete their review of the Academy, they will submit their report to the full Commission, who will notify the college of its decision. Accreditation remains in effect for three years, during which the Academy must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

quickly on his feet and jumping into action with no hesitation,” said County Tax Commissioner RJ Hadley, who organized the town hall meeting. “I don’t know if I could have handled the situation as well as Alex did. Alex’s mother (Marybeth Phazio-Norwood) wanted us to do this tonight not only to honor Alex but to stress the importance of knowing CPR.” The Rockdale High Bulldogs were playing the Newton High Rams at Newton’s baseball field on March 21 when Norwood sprang into action. An umpire suffered a massive heart attack during the second inning. “He just collapsed out of nowhere. I think I was just in the right place at the right time. I had just learned how to do CPR two weeks before that game,” said Norwood, who is a junior at the Rockdale Career Academy and plays first base for Rockdale County High School. “I performed CPR on that umpire until two off-duty EMTs, who happened to be at the game, stepped in and took over.”

DeKalb’s homestead exemption deadline is April 1 DeKalb Tax Commissioner Claudia G. Lawson is reminding new homeowners that the deadline to apply for the 2014 homestead exemptions is April 1. The exemptions, which provide significant tax savings to homeowners, is available to people who have owned and occupied their home as their primary residence as of Jan. 1, 2014. Once an exemption is granted, there is no need to apply each year. In addition to basic homestead exemptions, there are special exemptions for seniors 62 years of age and older. Special exemptions are also available for citizens that are 100% totally and permanently disabled. Eligibility is determined by application based on age and household income. Applicants for senior or disability exemptions must visit one of the Tax Commissioner’s offices to provide required documentation, including federal and state income tax returns, proof of age and/or disability status. Any application received after the April 1 deadline will be applied to the 2015 tax year. The basic homestead exemption may be applied for by mail or via the internet:   DeKalb Tax Commissioner Office Locations Central: 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 100, Decatur (across from the DeKalb County Jail North: 1358 Dresden Drive, NE, Atlanta – 2 blocks east of Brookhaven Marta Station South: 2801 Candler Road, Suite 66, The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall near Macy’s

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Holmes to host Henry Town Hall meeting

Henry County’s District V Commissioner Bruce Holmes will hold his monthly Town Hall meeting on Saturday, April 5, at 10 a.m. at the Fairview Recreation Center, 35 Austin Road, Stockbridge. Holmes will introduce Woodland High School’s Henry Co. Commissioner State Sen. Woodland High Coach Bruce Holmes Emanuel Jones Steve Davenport new head football coach, Steve Davenport. Davenport recently took the position as Woodland’s head football coach in Stockbridge. He most recently served as head football coach for Savannah State University, and prior to that, coached at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He has a wealth of experience coaching high school teams and has roots in metro Atlanta as a player and coach. He was a standout player at Southwest DeKalb High School and Georgia Tech, where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In addition to Davenport, other special guests include State Sen. Emanuel Jones and State Representatives Demetrius Douglas, Sandra Scott and Pamela Stephenson, who will provide updates and answer questions. The Town Hall meeting is open to the public.

LIVING WELL HEALTH AND BEAUTY EXPO Mark your calendar for the Living Well Health and Beauty Expo on Saturday, May. 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Lou Walker Center, 2538 Panola Rd. Lithonia, GA 30058. The entire family is invited to enjoy a day promoting healthy living. The Expo will offer free health screenings, free samples, door prizes, professional makeovers, consultations, body wraps, facials, fitness clinics, health exhibits, and a children’s interactive pavilion. • Team 3, • Utley Chiropractic, Decatur • Belk • Jam in the Now Productions • Allstate, Moses Cowart Agency, Conyers • Bodies, The Exhibition • ARMSPA–Adonica’s Renewal Majestic Spa, Conyers Vendor and exhibit opportunities are still available. For more information, call Tamara Mack-Cox at 678-768-0890.   

According to Bulldogs staff, Newton County medical staff arrived on the scene about 15 to 20 minutes after the home plate umpire went down. School officials said the umpire, Woody Reagan, was initially taken to Newton Medical Center, and then later airlifted to Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta. He is expected to have a full recovery. The game in question has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 29. Norwood said he didn’t run to the rescue for recognition or fame, but he has been featured on news outlets across the state, including Augusta, where CBS affiliate WRDW’s Jorge Lopez reported the story. Lopez was on hand to serve as a host for the Rockdale town hall meeting. “This thing got really big, bigger than me or what any of us could have imagined,” said Norwood, who spends his free time doing community service projects. “II never expected all this, but if the situation came again, I would help anyone in need if I can.”

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MARCH 29, 2014

Our Schools, Students & Partners

Brookwood High’s Meyer named Georgia’s Spanish Teacher of the Year


winnett County educator Mary Meyer, who has taught foreign languages for more than four decades, has been named the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP-GA) Teacher of the Year. “My instruction is so much more than teaching students communication skills, vocabulary, and [grammatical] structures,” said Meyer. “I hope to pique student interest in a world that exists beyond their immediate horizon. I strive to instill my passion for language learning.” After more than 30 years of teaching in Orange County, FL, Meyer joined Gwinnett County Public Schools in 2005 at Brookwood High where she currently teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish and Honors Spanish III, and has served as an Instructional Team Leader. “This award is one of the most prestigious for K-12 Spanish in Georgia and we are absolutely

thrilled for Mary and all the students lucky enough to be in her class,” said Jon Valentine, Gwinnett’s director of Foreign Languages. “Congratulations as well to the entire teaching and leadership community at Brookwood High. Building a quality language program, particularly in Spanish, requires constant collaboration between many teachers and leaders at all levels, and we are grateful for the support of the entire faculty and staff.” Meyer volunteers with language camps across Georgia. She also hosts a monthly district-wide Spanish III collaboration group that shares best practices, activities, and planning materials. Meyer earned her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education-Spanish and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Meyer also holds a master’s degree in Spanish from the University of South Florida and a specialist’s degree in Teaching and Learning from Piedmont College.

Brookwood High Spanish teacher Mary Meyer helps her student set up to get ready to take the National Spanish Language Exam in a Beookwood High computer lab.

Darlene Caffey named the best teacher at Stephenson Middle Eighth grade Language Arts teacher Darlene Caffey has been named Stephenson Middle School’s “Teacher of the Year.” “I was ecstatic when I heard the announcement,” the DeKalb County teacher said. The school went all out. They had the band march behind me down the halls playing ‘Hail to the Chief.’ Students and Darlene Caffey staff were on both sides applauding and screaming, while previous Teachers of the Year walked beside me and behind me. It was basically a mini parade.” Caffey, who has taught Language Arts in

Augusta, Valdosta, Illinois and even Japan, said she was very honored to be a Stephenson teacher. “I answered a series of questions similar to an essay format and now I’m waiting for a response from the district on what comes next,” said Caffey, who has been teaching for 23 years. “I hope to be named Middle School Teacher of the Year for the district at the annual banquet for teachers, which will be held at the beginning of the next school year, around August.” When she is not at Stephenson teaching 110 students daily, Caffey, an inspirational poet, is learning herself. She is attending classes to become a minister at Voices of Faith Ministries in Stone Mountain. She also operates her own publishing company, Destiny Productions and Publishing, LLC. “I love teaching because I get the opportunity to incorporate so many options to learn. I write poems

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and songs and try to help students learn in different creative ways,” said Caffey, who is currently working on her autobiography, Left for Dead but Would not Die. “I will never have a dull day in my classroom. All students are capable of learning. We just have to realize what learning technique works best for them.” Caffey has a degree in journalism from Alabama State University and a master’s degree in Middle Grades Education from Walden University. Stephenson Middle School Principal Obelia Hall says she is honored to have teachers like Caffey on her staff. “We want to continue to congratulate Darlene for being our Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014. Darlene is a teacher who is creating critical readers, strong writers and great thinkers,” said Hall. “The kids are excited for her and the staff here is excited as well. We wish her the best on the county level.”

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Movers & Shakers in the Community

Loganville resident serving in Navy Construction Battalion Tanesha Tolbert, a 2012 Loganville High School graduate from Loganville, GA, is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11. The Battalion specializes in advance base construction, battle damage repair, contingency engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery support to fleet and unified commanders. Based in Gulfport, MS, Tolbert, 20, is one of 83 females in the 590-person Battalion 11. She was deployed to Guam in September 2013 and returned February 2014. “After high school, I had the Navy in one hand, and an all-girls school in the other. What motivated me to choose Tanesha Tolbert the Navy was all the opportunities that would be available to me,” said Tolbert, who has a cousin in the Navy in Virginia. “My family loves that I joined the Navy!” Construction Battalions, more commonly known as “Seabees,” are the premier military engineer units in the world today. Born out of necessity in the early days of World War II, their exploits are legendary. This legacy is carried on today by the men and women of the Naval Construction Force who build and fight. For more than 70 years, the Seabees of the Naval Construction Force have been deployed around the world, around the clock and have defended America at all times.

Attorney Jack Lance to retire from Rockdale County Schools After serving over 30 years, Jack Lance will retire as attorney for the Rockdale County Board of Education in June. Lance’s last day will be June 30. He began representing the Rockdale County Board of Education in November 1982. For the past thirteen years, he has served as full-time General Counsel for RCPS. A nationally-recognized expert in school law, Lance told the Board of Education and Superintendent Jack Lance Richard Autry that “it has always been an honor and privilege to represent the Rockdale County School District.” Board Chair Jim McBrayer thanked Lance for his dedicated service. “On behalf of the entire Board of Education, we express our sincere appreciation to Mr. Lance for his many years of service and dedication to this board, the school system and to the children of Rockdale County,” McBrayer said. “He has a reputation of integrity and is seen as an expert in school law, not only in Georgia, but across the nation and will certainly be missed.”

Conyers-Rockdale Library appoints Ben Carter as director Ben Carter will move up from interim director to director of the Conyers-Rockdale Library System. The Library’s board made the appointment official on March 25. “I am very excited to serve as director for the library and look forward to continuing to serve our community,” said Carter. A native of Walton County, Carter has degrees from the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Carter had served as interim director since June 2013. He originally came to the Library as head of the Youth Services department in 2006. Ben Carter He worked for the Gwinnett Public Library System for five years before returning to Conyers as assistant director for Public Services in September 2012. In his job as assistant director, Carter coordinated and supervised the four public service departments of the library. As director, Carter will work with the Board of Trustees on strategic development and community partnerships while ensuring that the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library continues to serve as a hub of learning, leisure, and support for our community.

East DeKalb Optimist Club honors two high school students The East DeKalb Optimist Club recently honored two high school students with scholarships for their winning essays on the topic, “how Dreams Lead to Success.” Moriah Barnes, the daughter of Michael and Kimberly Barnes, received the first-place award. Barnes, a sophomore at Alcovy High school, plans to study broadcast journalism once she goes to college. Kiandra Smith, the daughter of Keith and Angela Smith, placed second on the competition. Smith, a senior at Redan High School, plans to attend College of Wooster and study bio-engineering on a premedicine track.She is president of the Math Club and a varsity cheerleader. Among those who attended the awards program at the Redan-Trotti Library were: Albert Still, Lt. Governor of the Optimist Club, Zone 9; Mary Still, Georgia District Secretary, Mary Still; DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson was the guest speaker. Optimist International is an association of more than 2,600 Optimist Clubs around the world dedicated to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids.” Adult volunteers join Optimist Clubs to conduct service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best that they can be. Every year, Optimists conduct 65,000 service projects and serve well over 6 million young people. If interested in becoming a part of the East DeKalb Optimist Club, e-mail mtable@


MARCH 29, 2014

Business News



Bainbridge Manufacturing to expand, hire 100 employees

Thurgood Estates

Bainbridge Manufacturing LLC, which manufactures heating and cooling systems for the automotive industry, will create 100 new jobs in Bainbridge, Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal announced. Bainbridge is located in South Georgia near Albany, 230 miles from Atlanta. The company will invest $10 million into a new headquarters in Bainbridge,which will result in the creation of 100 jobs in the first year, with a total of 240 jobs and $100 million investment over the next 10 years. “Bainbridge Manufacturing’s dedication to the community and research and development speaks volumes not just for the future of Bainbridge, but for Georgia’s manufacturing industry as a whole,” said Deal. “I have no doubt that our excellent ports coupled with our No. 1 business climate will help Bainbridge Manufacturing better reach customers across the globe.” The company will add 1.6 million square feet to the existing 180,000-squarefoot facility that is located at the end of Decatur County Industrial Park. The headquarters will become the primary manufacturing center for the company. As the company relocates equipment from other facilities, the Bainbridge location will begin making filters, expansion vales, blower motors, driers, hoses, seals and cooling fans. “We believe the best investment we can make is in the community. The resources and potential in Bainbridge are limitless. This, combined with the pro-business climate in Georgia, creates a formula for success. We look forward to the opportunities that these endeavors will provide,” said Abraham Levy, CEO, Bainbridge Manufacturing LLC. Exporting to more than 37 countries around the globe, the facility will manufacture large heat condensers and smaller automotive heat condensers. In addition, the company will also establish one of the most advanced research and development centers in the industry and will create a 2015 summer internship program for highly motivated high school students to be exposed to robotics and product development. Bainbridge Manufacturing LLC supplies major automotive manufacturers such as Nissan, Toyota, Fiat, GM, CAT and John Deere.

Live the lifestyle you've always wanted. Here at Thurgood Estates, each home provides exceptional quality and design tailored to the preferences and lifestyle specific to each individual customer and their needs. We utilize the best products and practices in construction to ensure that you have the best home and community possible. We take pride in our ability to custom build luxurious homes with the utmost integrity, detail, and commitment. This will be the final phase for Thurgood Estates. There are 27 remaining lots nestled among million dollar homes in this luxurious community. Don't miss your opportunity to live in DeKalb County's premiere subdivision.

Rockdale sales tax returns to 7 percent The retail sales tax in Rockdale County will return to 7 percent on April 1. That’s when the new one percent Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) starts. Previously, the sales tax had been 6 percent.     Voters approved the new E-SPLOST in 2013. The additional penny sales tax is Rockdale’s fourth and is projected to raise about $84 million over five years for capital school projects.


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{Docs} Serving DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale Counties


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MARCH 29, 2014 PAGE 11

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Summer 2014 Admissions Application/Document

DEADlInE— April 7, 2014 GPTC has more than 140 programs to choose from. We have a low tuition rate with convenient large campuses in Clarkston and Covington. Most classes available online. • 404-297-9522 x1602 An Equal Opportunity Institution.

March 29, 2014  

The March 29 edition of On Common Ground News

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