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MAY 31, 2014


Recount confirms Mayfield and Turner headed to a runoff


By Joshua Smith

recount has confirmed that incumbent Thad Mayfield and Vickie Turner are headed to a runoff on July 22. The DeKalb County Board of Registration & Elections conducted a recount of votes for School Board District 5 on May 29 at the request of challenger Jesse “Jay” Cunningham, who came in third in the May 20 election. Challenger Vickie Turner had 64 more votes than Cunningham. The numbers are in and the results are the same. “Mr. Cunningham’s recount request was taken and accepted because it is his right under Georgia Elections Code. We started the recount at 10 a.m. and we were basically finished by lunchtime,” said Maxine Daniels, Director of DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections. “My view is that it is within his rights to request it but we didn’t expect any change in the outcome of count that was certified on May 20 by the DeKalb Board of Registration & Elections.” In the five-way race Mayfield came in first with 4,407 votes (36.05 percent); Turner came in second

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

DeKalb County Director of Voter Registration and Elections Maxine Daniels, explains the results of a recount to Jesse “Jay” Cunningham in Stone Mountain. Cunningham filed for the recount after the results of the May 20 election.

with 3,436 votes (28.11 percent); Cunningham came in third with 3,372 votes (27.59 percent). Cunningham, a former McDonalds general manager and founder of the South DeKalb Parent Council, said he wouldn’t have pressed the issue, but he received too many phone calls to just let the results sit

Mourning Maya April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

Atlantans reflect on celebrated poet By Mackenzie N. Morgan & Joshua Smith


dmirers in Atlanta mourned the death of Maya Angelou, one of America’s great literary giants. Angelou died May 28 at her home in Winston-Salem, NC. She was 86. The accomplished poet and author was honored by President Barack Obama in 2011 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, the country’s highest civilian honor. This week, she was championed by local leaders as a champion for Mankind. “Maya Angelou is hailed as one of the most influential voices in modern literature, film and stage. She will be remembered not only for her wit and wisdom, but also her compassion and grace,” said Dr. Jabari Simama, president

of Georgia Piedmont Technical College. “We are all living in a better world because she chose to share her wisdom and to maker herself accessible to us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends in their time of grief.” In a prepared statement, the King Center said: “Our nation and world have lost one of the great Renaissance women of this, or any age, Maya Angelou. Our hearts go out to her son, Guy Johnson, and to all of her family and friends. A prodigious writer, artist and thinker, Maya Angelou was also a woman of matchless compassion and an eloquent humanitarian activist and champion of the poor and oppressed of all nations. She supported Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and served the Civil Rights See Maya, page 6

and not challenge them. “Between my wife and I, we got about 50 calls, three from lawyers telling us to take another look at those results. That was all the confirmation I needed,” said Cunningham, who won the District 5 seat in 2006 and again in 2010. “I heard all kind of crazy stories from polling procedures not being properly followed to not properly filing the District 5 numbers after the other districts filed. But I have no proof so what can I do? All I can do is petition for a recount. So that’s what I did.” Cunningham said that now that the recount has concluded, he can move forward. “Now I can work for the children of DeKalb County with nobody looking over my back. I’ll still be around, at all the board meetings, working for the district,” said Cunningham. “Now I plan to organize a group or committee of concerned parents to fight for our children.” Cunningham was one of the six school board members who Gov. Nathan Deal removed after scathing reports that the school district was placed on probation See Runoff, page 5


Photos by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Whether it was learning the hula, partying to the beat of live drums or munching on pineapple chicken and salsa, senior citizens in DeKalb County had a blast at the “Hawaii 5.5” Senior Celebration on May 28 in Decatur. For more on the story and some colorful pictures, see page 10.


MAY 31, 2014

Georgia Piedmont Technical College Foundation Hosts the

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MAY 31, 2014 PAGE 3

Community News

MAY  31, 2014  VOLUME 20, NO. 9 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.

HOW TO REACH US On Common Ground News  1240 Sigman Road  Suite 107  Conyers, GA 30012  (678) 526-1910 (P)  (678) 526-1909 (F)


DeKalb health officials working with CDC for outbreak The DeKalb County Board of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control to investigate a gastrointestinal illness that has reportedly impacted over four dozen employees of the CDC during the last few days. “We are investigating all the reports we are receiving,” said Dr. Sandra Ford, District Health Director of the DeKalb County Board of Health. “We will continue to work with Dr. Sandra Ford the CDC.” Employees reported to have contracted the illness worked in the CDCoccupied building in DeKalb County. Several employees with the illness have been telecommunicating from home, officials said. Employees were sent home early on May 23 and have been encouraged to telecommute for the time being. The affected building is leased in DeKalb and Ford says the board of health will continue to work with the CDC until the issue of the illness and its origin is resolved.

Michael Erwin

Atticus LeBlanc

Karen Carter

Jim McMahan

Thad Mayfield

Vickie B. Turner

One appointed school board member cruises to victory, others face runoff


nly one of Governor Nathan Deal’s six appointed DeKalb County School Board members knows for sure that they will stay on the board after the May 20 election – Dr. Joyce Morley. “I was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the Board of Education and I believe I have served the board successfully. I am an educator, a parent of not only my three daughters and my four grandchildren, I am the parent of the more than 99,000 students in the DCSD. said Morley, who lives in Stone Mountain. “Those are the thoughts I have at every meeting as I continue my servant leader position as a member of the Board of Education,” Morley, the sitting board member for DeKalb’s District 7, faced two challengers, Kim Ault, who received 1,590 votes (20.86 percent) of the total 7,623 votes; and Lee V. Dukes, who received 1,341 votes (17.29 percent). Morley experienced an overwhelming victory with 4,692 votes (61.55 percent). The other remaining appointed members: Thad Mayfield, Michael Erwin, and Karen Carter must await the results of the July 22 runoff. Incumbent Marshall Orson defeated Don McChesney with 4,259 votes (61.10 percent of the total 6,971 votes) for the Board’s District 2 seat. McChesney received 2,712 votes (38.90 percent). “We are on the right track and have started the process of reforming our school system. We

have a great opportunity to do some great things for our children,” said Orson, who is one of the two remaining board members that Gov. Nathan Deal did not remove. “We know what everyone else knows in that there is a lot more to do. I will work with whoever is elected to make sure we have a healthy partnership with the rest of the community to ensure that we all have a clear vision.” The DeKalb County School Board made headlines when in February 2013 Gov. Nathan Deal removed six school board members and replaced them with a group of people selected by him and a board of experts. The remaining school board members: In the District 3 race, appointed incumbent Michael Erwin will face his neighbor and businessman Atticus LeBlanc in the runoff. Erwin got 3,603 (37.23 percent) of the total 9,677 votes to LeBlanc’s 2,025 votes (20.8 percent). In District 4, which had two appointed incumbents seeking the seat, Karen Carter will face Jim McMahan, who was elected to the board in 2012, in the runoff. Carter got 3,407 votes (35.38 percent) to McMahan’s 2,848 votes (29.57 percent). In the District 5 race, appointed incumbent Thad Mayfield will face private school founder and operator Vickie Turner in the runoff for the seat. Mayfield received 4,407 votes (36.05 percent). Turner received 3,436 votes (28.11 percent).

Because you get what you pay for.

That’s why I invested in ENERGY STAR® appliances and received rebates in return. Thanks to the money saving tips on the Georgia Power website, I learned exactly how to turn my renovation into a reward. First, I got $50 for taking advantage of the Georgia Power Refrigerator Recycling Program. Then, I got a rebate for purchasing ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, and since these appliances use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models, I get the benefit of a lower monthly bill. For more information on tips and rebates, visit Certain restrictions apply. Must be a Georgia Power customer. Rebate available through November 30, 2014. Customer must submit receipt/invoice for the ENERGY STAR® appliance with the rebate form.


MAY 31, 2014

Coming Up

Central Library hosts 7th Annual Caribbean Film Festival

Play, Jankanu Play: The Garifuna Wanaragua Ritual in Belize

DEKALB Stonecrest Library ready for children movie series DeKalb County Public Library’s Stonecrest branch, 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia, will host a children’s summer movie series, “Kids Movie Matinee” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June and July, 1 – 3 p.m. The series starts on June 4 with a free screening of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” The series concludes on July 29 with “The Lego Movie.” Other films in the series include: “Frozen,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Frankenweenie,” “Pirate Fairy,” “Monsters University,” and “The Jungle Book”. Movie titles are subject to change. No registration required unless you are with a camp or large group. 770-482-3828.

“The Anonymous People” screening set for community DeKalb County’s Community Service Board will host a free community screening of “The Anonymous People” on Thursday, June 12, 6 – 8:30 p.m. in the Bohan Auditorium, 445 Winn Way, Decatur. DeKalb CSB and the GA Council on Substance Abuse will present the free screening. This feature film documentary is about the 23.5 million Americans in long-term recovery and the emerging public recovery movement that will transform how alcohol and other drug problems are dealt with in our communities.  The event concludes with a panel discussion with medical experts on these issues and CSB staff. Registration is required for seating purposes. For more information or to register, visit or call 404-892-4646.

ATLANTA Mayor’s CAS office releases grant program guidelines Contracts for Arts Services (CAS), the City of Atlanta’s program for financial support of arts and culture, has announced the release of updated program guidelines for fiscal year 2015. The CAS program awards contracts related to the production, creation, presentation, exhibition and managerial support of artistic and cultural services in the City of Atlanta. CAS awards contracts to non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations and individual artists based and producing work in the City of Atlanta. Both general operating and project-based requests are accepted. Examples of previously funded projects include: a series of watercolor painting workshops at a local YMCA, a series of masking workshops at various local senior centers, and a multidisciplinary event celebrating the cultures of French-speaking African nations. Contracts are awarded in the following categories: Major Arts Organizations, Arts Organizations, Community Cultural Development Organizations, Individual Artist Projects and Emerging Artists. “Atlanta is increasingly being recognized as a city where the arts can thrive. Supporting the Atlanta arts community through the Contracts for Arts Services program adds to that vitality,” said Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Workshops covering the application process will be held in various locations throughout late summer. Workshop dates and locations are published in the program guidelines. The deadline for applications is Friday, Aug.15. All new applicants are required to attend a workshop prior to submitting proposals to the Office of Cultural Affairs. For more information, including access to the guidelines, application as well as workshops schedule, visit the Office of Cultural Affairs website at www. or call 404-546-6815.

GWINNETT Learn preservation basics in Lawrenceville Gwinnett County’s Cooperative Extension Office will host a free workshop, “Home canning basics,” on Saturday, June 7, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at 2780 Five Forks-Trickum Road, Lawrenceville. Interested in canning, but don’t know where to start? This class will show

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s central location, One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, will celebrate Caribbean heritage with a film series for all ages during the month of June. The seventh annual Caribbean Film Festival kicks off on Tuesday, June 3, 4 p.m. with a meet-and-greet reception. All are invited to meet representatives from various Caribbean countries and organizations and to get information about the month’s festivities. The Film Festival begins Saturday, June 7, 1 p.m. with “Play, Jankanu Play: the Garifuna Wanaragua Ritual in Belize” and “The Boys of Summer.” Oliver Greene, filmmaker and professor, will introduce and facilitate a discussion about his film, “Play, Jankanu Play.” “The Boys of Summer” documents the exciting journey of a Curacao team to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Book signings, storytelling and other films will be hosted at the central library during the month of June. For more information or a complete schedule of events, visit or call 404-730-1904.

you the equipment and supplies you will need and cover the basic procedures of home canning. The workshop also clarifies whether you should pickle, jelly, or simply can your produce, and answer the question of when to use which method of canning. Sources of tested recipes and insider tips will be shared as well. No preregistration required. For more information about this program, email france. or call 678-377-4010.

Free fishing derby for kids in Norcross Gwinnett County’s Park and Recreation Department will host a free fishing derby for children in the community on Saturday, June 7, 9 a.m. at Jones Bridge Park, 4901 East Jones Bridge Road, Norcross. Reel in some summer fun. Parents are invited to bring the kids for food, fun, prizes and fishing for beginners to advanced. Rod and bait provided on a first come, first serve basis. No fishing license necessary. All ages of children are welcome. For more information, call 678-277-0920.

ROCKDALE Learning with my Mom workshop free for young ladies and mothers The American Cancer Society will host a free workshop, “Learning with my Mom” on Thursday, June 5, 6 – 8 p.m. at the A.R. “Gus” Barksdale Boys & Girls Club, 1015 O’Kelly St., Conyers. ACS’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program will provide the workshop to the community. Organizers say the event provides everything you should know about the human papillomavirus also known as HPV. The interactive workshop will provide information on HPV vaccines as well. HPV is a virus and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Food will be provided. The workshop is open to women and their daughters, ages 10 – 18. Registration is required for food and seating purposes. For more information or to register, call Monica Martinez at 404-782-8865.

Community drumming circle set in Conyers The City of Conyers and the Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts will host a community drumming circle on Friday, June 6, 7 – 8:30 p,m. in Olde Town. The community drumming circle takes place on the first Friday of each month, weather permitting. The drum circle takes place in the Lewis Vaughn Botanical Gardens and is hosted to promote community awareness, goodwill and positive energy. Open to the public. No fee, no vendors, no alcohol. For more information, call Jackie Sprague at 770-922-3143 or visit

Home Depot to spruce up Decatur’s VFW Post 4706 Home Depot is going to renovate the aging VFW Post 4706 in Decatur. Home Depot will deploy 150 employees to the 5362 Covington Highway address to complete several projects on Thursday, June 5. Projects include painting the entire outside of the building, painting the walls of the inside of the bingo room, planting new shrubbery and grooming current shrubbery, building benches, grinding stumps, repairing the retaining wall adjacent to the flag pole, and removing old and rotting railroad ties. “This post is very grateful to Home Depot and we thank them for their generous donation of time and services to assist us,” said Harold Roberts, VFW Post 4706 Commander.

MAY 31, 2014 PAGE 5


continued from page 1

by its accreditation agency February 2013. Cunningham said he knows that is a negative aspect that he has continually had to fight against. “I feel bad for the parents and their kids because they don’t see what’s going on behind closed doors, they just know the governor came and removed us. There is a lot going on behind closed doors that they don’t see, especially when it comes down to the charter schools issues,” said Cunningham. “I don’t want parents, especially those in South DeKalb, to look up down the line and say what just happened? I’ll do my best to keep educating the parents on what is really going on.” Cunningham says he will meet with Vickie Turner on June 3 or June 4 to talk the issues and a possible endorsement. “I called both Thad and Vickie to congratulate them and make them aware of the runoff results,” said Cunningham. “I plan on meeting Vickie on Tuesday or Wednesday so we can make sure we are on the same page. After that meeting, I’ll be more comfortable endorsing a candidate.” Turner, who serves as the headmaster of Augustine Preparatory in Decatur, said she is ready for the challenge. Whether it’s being a counselor for a parent in tears, providing spiritual guidance for a teacher, or offering motivation to a student, for Turner, “a typical day” doesn’t exist. “I have to remain ready and adaptable to all challenges, at all times. I am building a successful environment by handling several different tasks,” said Turner. “At any given time, I can be called on to oversee finances, be a nurse for a wounded child, look over strategies to make sure we are in compliance with the state or just relieve a teacher who may have fallen ill. You make your schedule everyday, and on any day, that schedule can change.”

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Vickie Turner (right) and her husband Robert Turner, II great a constituent at a candidate meet and greet in Atlanta.

Turner said wearing multiple hats and performing successfully on a daily basis are skills she would bring to the DeKalb County School Board if elected. “I work in a spirit of excellence, at the same time, remaining flexible and fair to everyone. I can take the ability to handle pressing issues into the board room,” said Turner. “I have the vantage point of being in the classroom and having experience as a teacher. My husband and I have raised three children here. I’ve been in an administrative role and have proven to be successful with the support of a great staff. I will bring a firm, yet collaborative, voice to the school board if elected.” Turner said a couple of scenarios have been weighed out as far as who will lead the private school, which currently educates students in preschool – 8th grade. “We have considered several options for the school. We would more than likely move someone up on staff. Whatever decision is made, I want the voters to know that I will work tirelessly

for them and their children,” said Turner. “When you vote for me, you’re voting for someone who will work with integrity, passion and someone who is committed to persevere. I will make sure everyone’s input is considered and nobody will be left out of decisions in our district.” After receiving the news she would be in a runoff, Turner visited the Cherry Ridge neighborhood in Decatur and the

Fairington Farms community in Lithonia to talk school board issues with parents and garner support. “My husband of 37 years, Robert Turner III, and myself, are products of public schooling. There is no reason why we have to keep seeing our parents in tears and anguish, or our great teachers leaving our county due to desperation or micro-management,” said Turner. “Voters should choose me because I care and I am committed. I am a collaborator and can support and get the support of my peers. Ultimately, I get positive results,” said Mayfield, who lives in Lithonia. “Equally as important, I am a visionary when it comes to the outlook for our children and our school system. I believe I can contribute to a way forward.” Turner and Mayfield will discuss the issues and their platforms on decreasing class sizes, closing disparity gaps, improving district technology and other goals they see for the district at upcoming forums and both say they will continue to go into neighborhoods and talk to parents. One of those forums will be on Saturday, May 31, 10 a.m. at the DeKalb County branch of the NAACP.

Thank you for your Vote!

Vickie B. Turner DeKalb School Board District 5

We’re In A Runoff

VOTE July 22,2014

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Vickie B. Turner

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MAY 31, 2014

Judge gives Ebenezer UMC green light to expand daycare

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News


By Joshua Smith

benezer United Methodist Church plans to expand its hours of operation now that a judge has ruled that it can have a special-use permit. “We prayed on this and got the ball rolling. Everyone at the church is excited to see that things worked in our favor,” said Paige Roberts, who serves as church administrator. Rockdale Chief Superior Court Judge David B. Irwin overturned the decision by the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners to deny the church a special-use permit to expand its daycare hours of operation. Irwin ruled on May 15 in the daycare’s favor, paving the way for the church to expand its hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The daycare had been operating from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for nearly three decades at the church’s 2533 Stanton Road, Conyers address. “The Board of Commissioners made an off-the-wall decision to deny us and their reasoning didn’t make any sense. All we wanted to do was extend the daycare’s hours to simply address the needs of our community and

our working parents,” said Roberts. “Nobody understood why parents should have to find a place for their children when we have the space and staff here. We, as a church staff, didn’t understand it either.” Judge Irwin ordered the county to issue the permit and to pay attorney fees and all filing fees associated with the action. About a month after the county turned down Ebenezer for a specialuse permit, it granted the Conyers Seventh-Day Adventist Church a special-use permit for its daycare. The board’s differing decisions concerning the two churches have come under scrutiny. “This was an entirely preventable and avoidable expense incurred on Rockdale County taxpayers by the actions of two voting County Commissioners,” said Conyers resident John Bowden. “In my opinion, Commissioners Oden and Nesbitt should personally reimburse the county coffers for their irresponsible, unjustified and unfounded actions.” County officials said they consider this matter resolved and have no further comment.

Maya continued from page 1

Movement as a fund-raiser and SCLC organizer. She was also a very close and trusted friend, to our Founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The King Center was proud to present our Salute to Greatness Award to her in 1998 in recognition of her humanitarian work and contributions to society. Maya Angelou leaves a great and memorable blessing in the hearts of the millions whom she touched with

women were more than just people here to make babies. Her poems spoke to the tenacity, creativity and boldness in a black woman,” said Juliette Hill of Decatur. “Because of her, I was able to write my own book of poetry, ‘Golden Moments.’ Her work inspired me at 75 years old, to keep on pushing and working on my writing even after the death of my husband.” Mae Jones of Stone Mountain, said

“She showed the world that black women were more than just people here to make babies. Her poems spoke to the tenacity, creativity and boldness in a black woman.” – Juliette Hill, Decatur her artistry; and, she leaves behind a luminous vision of hope that will inspire millions more for generations to come.” Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis. Her real name was Marguerite Annie Johnson, according to Wikipedia. Several news sources said Angelou started writing after she was raped at age 7 by her mother’s boyfriend. The perpetrator was beaten to death by a mob after she testified against him which caused Angelou to stop speaking for six years. Literary fans such as Juliette Hill of Decatur said they will miss Angelou greatly. “She showed the world that black

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We Worship

Faith-Based News & Inspiration

Vacation bible schools travel the world this summer


By Mackenzie N. Morgan

t’s that time of year again. Churches throughout metro Atlanta are opening their doors to take their congregation members and visitors on a hands-on exploration of the Bible. Some of the local churches will be teaching from the same Vacation Bible School curriculum. While some programs cater exclusively to children and provide light snacks, others cater to families in the evenings serving dinner, picnics or snacks. All have the same goal: to learn about God, people and the world around them. Below are some of the churches in metro Atlanta that will offer Vacation Bible School in June and July: Voices of Faith Ministries, Conyers location Conyers June 2 – 6, 8 a.m. to noon, 1290 Sigman Rd NW, Conyers. Program at a glance: Join Agency D3, to investigate what the Bible tells us about Jesus so you can “discover, decide and defend His claims.” Snacks provided. For more information about the Stone Mountain location call 770-498-5850. Cascade United Methodist Church, Atlanta Open to all ages, June 23-27, 5 – 8 p.m., all age groups.3144 Cascade Road, S.W. This year’s theme is “Jesus’ Family Reunion: The Remix Part 2. Families will learn “the good news” through stories, music, art, food, crafts, movement and drama. Dinner will be served each night from 5 – 8 p.m. 404-6915770.

Decatur First Baptist, Decatur Open to ages 4 to rising 5th graders, June 9 June 13, 9 a.m. to noon, 308 Clairemont Ave. Program at a glance: “God’s Big Backyard,” the program will focus on Liberia and will integrate various activities to reinforce Bible learning. Light snacks will be provided. 404373-1653. First Baptist Church, Conyers Open to students in Kindergarten through 6th grade, June 9 – 12, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 2100 Highway 138 N.E. A preschool program for 3 and 4-year-olds will also be provided. Children will enjoy Bible stories, crafts, music and games. Light snacks provided. 770-4838700.

Saint Philip AME Church, Atlanta Open to students of all ages, June 16 – 20, 9 a.m. – noon, 240 Candler Road. Kids explore the bible and learn about being a follower of God. 404-371-0749. Rockdale Baptist Church, Conyers Open to students who have completed Kindergarten (Five years old by Sept. 1, 2013) through 5th grade, June 9 – 13, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1295 Smyrna Road. The event is free. Program at a glance: Come join Agency D3, to investigate what the Bible tells us about Jesus so you can “discover, decide and defend His claims.”  To register online and for more information, visit  VBS is open to members and non-members.




MAY 31, 2014


Movers & Shakers in the Community

Stone Mountain interior designers honored in international competition a turquoise blue velvet and an animal print fabric. A Murphy bed was installed that would also allow the client to have display space while being used as an office and a bed when guests arrive. The large arch window was treated with a roman shade in a beautiful citrine harlequin fabric that allowed for privacy while the two large graphic panels added the softness to the window that it needed. Beautiful accessories were chosen to display in the cabinet of bright bold colors. Huge custom memo boards were made for the client to keep track of all her projects. A beautiful white chandelier added that final touch for a beautiful multi-purpose room. Elliott and Ward-Wood, who are sisters, also had designs selected: L-R: Jennifer Ward and Barbara Elliott

• First in the bedroom category,

tone Mountain designers Barbara Elliott and Jennifer Ward-Wood were named first runner-up Decorator of the Year by Decorating Den Interiors, North America’s largest interior design and home furnishings franchise company. As owners of Decorating Den Interiors located in downtown Stone Mountain, they also received other design and business achievement honors at the company’s 45th annual international conference and supplier market held earlier this month in San Diego. Their design of a multi-function home office that is warm and full of color was selected best in category and second best overall from among more than 250 room makeovers in 12 categories by a panel of international interior design journalists. They chose a beautiful white acrylic desk and two large armchairs to address the space for work. They covered the chairs in

• Second in children’s rooms, and


DeKalb CSB selects new chief human resources officer


ia Plunkett-McQueen has been named the new Chief Human Resources Officer of DeKalb Community Service Board, the public nonprofit provider of mental health, addiction and developmental disability services in DeKalb County. For over 20 years, Plunkett-McQueen has served as a strategic human resources executive helping nonprofit organizations maximize their human capital. Plunkett-McQueen has held executive and senior leadership roles as HR Strategic Business Partner at Georgia Tech, National Director of Human Resources at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), consulting Corporate HR Director at Volunteers of America and Director of Human Resources at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities. She has also served as Managing Principal for Emergent HR Solutions, a consulting services firm providing organizational analysis, workforce planning, performance management and benefits and compensation design to trade and nonprofit membership advocacy and human service organizations. “Since joining DeKalb CSB, I have witnessed how our talented staff push the boundaries in providing behavioral health and developmental disability services. It’s evident that DeKalb CSB’s success is fueled by a commitment to service delivery, innovation, and employee engagement at all levels,” PlunkettMcQueen said. “I am excited to be part of an organization with a strong commitment for the value HR can advance in fulfilling its mission and look forward to expanding current

• Third in dining rooms Additionally, they were awarded the company’s Horizon Award for being the fourth highest in sales in 2013. Decorating Den Interior’s room makeovers have been featured in such publications as Traditional Home, Good Housekeeping, Arabella—the Canadian magazine of art, architecture and design, Better Homes and Gardens, Woman’s Day, House Beautiful and House and Garden. In addition, the company has been featured in a variety of design segments on HGTV and The Discovery Channel. Decorating Den Interiors 770-498-7780

GA Pre-K

2014 Summer Transition Program

Cost: FREE

Rainbow Academy of Learning 4177 Rainbow Drive Decatur, Georgia 30034

6-week summer program designed to prepare your child for kindergarten. • Child must be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2014 • Child did not attend Georgia Pre-K • Families must meet 85% of the state’s median income • Be a Georgia resident • Eligible for kindergarten in the 2014-2015 school year

Tia Plunkett-McQueen

efforts while establishing new goals to support our growth.” Although she was born in Washington D.C., Atlanta is home. She grew up in the city and attended schools in the Atlanta Public School System. Plunkett-McQueen is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland at College Park, M.A. degree in Human Resources Management from Webster University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership Behavior. She lives in Grayson with her husband and teenage daughter and is actively involved with the Junior League of Atlanta and Awesome Atlanta.

Call 404-534-9379 to register.

MAY 31, 2014 PAGE 9

Brenda “Bre” Minkoff March 25, 1946 – May 24, 2014

Local “mother to many” remembered for reaching out to youth Brenda “Bre” Minkoff had a giving heart – so much so that she often took in kids who needed a helping hand. “We could wake up in the morning and you never knew who would be at the door. Teens would tell us others told them to come to us and we would just say OK, that’s fine. We just did it,” said Michael Minkoff, Benda’s husband. “Brenda never turned away a child. She gave them the love, affection, stable home life and everything else a mother would do.” Mrs. Minkoff passed on May 24 at 11:41 p.m. at Eastside Medical Center after a nearly three-year battle with lymphoma. Mr. Minkoff says he and other family members were at his wife’s bedside when she died. Mrs. Minkoff was 68. Mrs. Minoff worked as an

administrative assistant for some of the largest accounting firms in Atlanta throughout the 80’s and 90’s until she retired and put all her focus on helping troubled youths. “I know she has a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face looking down on us. From day one, Brenda’s been my whole world. She was my strength, my sunshine and just basically my whole life,” said Mr. Minkoff. “We have a wonderful, beautiful, very large family. I love Brenda for her undying kindness and generosity in opening our home to all the wonderful children over the years.” The Minkoffs were recognized for their work in the community by Rockdale County officials. Several expressed their condolences in an online guestbook.

“I really hated to hear this but I’m glad she is at peace and will suffer no longer,” said Rockdale County Tax Commissioner RJ Hadley. “My condolences go to Mike and his family. We will all miss Brenda and what she did for the community,” said State Rep. Pam Dickerson. “I am so sorry to hear this. Brenda was such a special person and she will be missed. My prayers go up for Mike and the family,” said Democratic Delegate Rhonda Taylor. “Michael’s dear wife will be missed greatly. Her years long battle with cancer is now over. I have visited Michael and his family and we want them to know that we will always be there for the Minkoff family,” said Doreen Barrie Williams. Williams served as the chair of the Rockdale Democratic Party before entering the election for a Board of

Commissioners seat. Mrs. Minkoff was preceded in death by her parents, Henry Ford and Juanita Dunn Ford Roberts. Over the years, Brenda and her husband adopted some of the children they took in and all of them are still very close and consider Brenda their mother, according to Michael Minkoff. Mrs. Minkoff is survived by her loving husband, Michael; sons, Steven Harwood, Alfonso “David” Del Negro & Nathan Dwight; daughters, Erica Minkoff Dismukes, Judy Linton, Kimber Hudson, Estela Cuenca, Denise Simms; and 11 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held for Brenda “Bre” Minkoff on Tuesday, June 3, 1 p.m. at the Levett Funeral Home, 1041 Bryant Street, Conyers. 770-483-9885.


FIGHT BACK Have you applied for social security disability benefits and been denied?

I can help!

EXPIRES: 6-15-2014

VIETNAM VETERAN RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HEART FOR A JOB WELL DONE CALL WELDON 678-413-9823 Otis L. Weldon, Esq. The Weldon Law Firm, LLC 1071 West Ave Conyers, GA 30013

(678) 413-9823 (Office) (770) 860-8735 (Fax)


MAY 31, 2014





News for our Senior Community

Luau draws dozens of seniors to Decatur

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Our next edition of


By Joshua Smith

enior citizens like 84-yearold Sylvia Moore were transformed into hula dancers from the tropical Hawaiian Islands on May 28 in Decatur. “I dance on three speeds: slow, slower and stop, so I know I have some nerve entering a dance competition,” said Moore, who lives in Lithonia. “Everyone looks so beautiful in all these different colors and I look forward to meeting some seniors who are active like myself.” Moore won the hula dance competition where she took home a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and other goodies for being the best at “shaking her groove thing,” island style. About 100 seniors from Lithonia, Stone Mountain, Chamblee and other parts of the metro area, visited the DeKalb County Central Library to learn the hula from a Polynesian dancer, rock out to drum groups and didgeridoo music as part of DeKalb County’s 4th Annual Senior Celebration, “Hawaii 5.5.” “I’ve been in this room a lot over

the years like one time I was in here with almost 200 little preschoolers and I’ve never seen more excitement in this room than what I just saw from these seniors,” said Alison Weissinger, director of the DeKalb County Public Library System. “I hope that our seniors keep coming back because we will continue to offer services especially for them.” Paying homage to the classic television show, Hawaii 5.0, seniors donned Hawaiian clothing and were greeted with leis when they entered. Seniors were also treated to a free tropical lunch of pineapple chicken, white rice and a colorful mango and corn salsa. One of the performers at the event, Emma Salahuddin, who is 66, said everyone had a great time at the annual event. “We had a blast. We were thrilled to be a part of this party and help celebrate some active, festive seniors in our community,” said Salahuddin, who performed as a part of the six-member female drum group, ConunDrums. “I think it’s safe to say we all had a great time enjoying each other.”

Top Docs


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Top_Docs_2013_Fall.indd 1

10/6/13 3:42 PM

MAY 31, 2014 PAGE 11

Community Market Place



Music lesson available. Voice, keyboard, music theory and choir directing. Tutoring for reading also offered. Call 404-284-3935. Mr. Handy. Small and large jobs. A/C services, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, lawn service, gutters. Call for free estimates at 404-281-6503. SCHOOL

Tutoring assistance available for Georgia state board cosmetology exam. Get help in choosing the right school for your career path. Licensed instructors. Call CNR Cosmetology Prep consultants: 404-493-8771.

Shampoo Assistants Needed! Experienced or trainable...great personality, energetic with flexible hours and braiding skills. Call 404 285-2454.


Weekly Specials

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Wash & Set $10.00

FOR RENT 4BR 2.5BA Condo 6080 Regent Manor Lithonia. Sec 8 ok. $875mo. Deposit negotiable, call Paul at 404422-7285.

(when you bring in a one subject notebook)

Rinse $11.00

2910 Evans Mill Rd. Lithonia, GA 30058

(when you bring in a pack of pencils)

Trim $12.00


(when you bring in a pack of pens )

Relaxer touch - up $ 24.00


Sunday: 12 - 6 p.m. Monday & Tuesday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Partial Sew in $50.00! ( when you bring in 4 glue sticks )

• Church Meetings

• Seminars

• Business Meetings

• Wedding

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A$20 -$125 per hourA MINI MALL


( when you bring in a box of crayons )

• Parties

Booth Rental $50 1st Month

A $500 MOVES YOU IN A 678-755-5955

To help us support our back to school event!!! For less fortunate children !


Kutz town


B arbershop

DEKALB COUNTY GOVERNMENT Advertisement for Thursday, June 5, 2014 Sealed bids will be received in the Department of Purchasing and Contracting, The Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive, 2nd Floor, Decatur, Georgia 30030, for the following until 3:00 P.M. on date(s) designated below: REQUEST FOR QUOTATION NO.

3003265 ITB



100 Ft. Tractor Drawn Aerial

July 1, 2014

Specifications and other details will be available in the Purchasing and Contracting Department, The Maloof Center, 2nd Floor, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30030. For additional information, please view the DeKalb County Website at:



Sew ins DeKalb County reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids or any part thereof, to waive any technicalities, and to re-advertise.


Weave STOP

4869 Covingtom Hwy Suite D, Decatur, GA 30035

404 - 284 - 8833

By: Scott M. Callan, Acting Chief Procurement Officer DeKalb County Department of Purchasing and Contracting

A Full Service Barbershop

Professional Barbers Quality Cuts • Special Touch 7986 Rockbridge Road, Suite 102 Lithonia, GA 30087

770-482-5033 770-780-2557


Professional and Personalized Services On-Site Crematory Contemporary & Traditional Services Cremation and Memorial Services Pre-Planning Arrangements International Shipping Service On-Site Floral Design & Print Shop

Dove Releasing Ceremony Military Honors Cadillac Fleet Police Escorts Free Notary Public Clergy, Harpist and Musicians

Serving all cultures and faiths • Licensed Funeral Directors & Staff available 24 hours

North Gwinnett Chapel • Est. 2009 201 Morningside Dr. • Buford, GA 30518 770-945-9999

Gwinnett Chapel • Est. 2004 914 Scenic Hwy • Lawrenceville, GA 30045 770-338-5558

South DeKalb Chapel • Est. 2000 4347 Flats Shoals Pkwy. • Decatur, GA 30034 404-241-5656

Avondale-Scottdale Chapel • Est. 1980 351 North Clarendon Ave. • Scottdale, GA 30079 404-294-5500


MAY 31, 2014

950 Dogwood Drive SE Conyers, GA 30012 • 770-483-8766



As Low As

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$66,300 MSRP $70,300

STK # 9867

MSRP $40,374

STK # 8152

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2010 Suburban

STK # 9848A

2013 Altima

STK # P1912

2012 Camaro

STK # 7777A

$35,274 MSRP $39,274

STK # 8044


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$47,449 STK # 8968

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MSRP $52,449


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2008 Mercedes

STK# P1931

2013 Impala

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2009 Lexus

STK # P1627

$28,632 MSRP $31,905

STK # 7317


2010 Maxima

STK # P1924

2012 Camry

STK # 1883

2009 Honda Accord

STK # P1925

May 31, 2014  

The May 31, 2014 edition of On Common Ground News.

May 31, 2014  

The May 31, 2014 edition of On Common Ground News.