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Community News. . . . . . . . . P 3 Business.......................P 8 We Worship ..................P 9 Health & Wellness. . . P 10 Classifieds..................P 11



Phone: (678) 526-1910 n Fax: (678) 526-1909 n E-mail:



JANUARY 18, 2014


Ellis turns to YouTube to tell public he is innocent Grand Jury hands down new indictment

A Volunteers needed to help count homeless veterans By Joshua Smith


he U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is calling on volunteers to help count homeless veterans living in the metro Atlanta area. Federal officials need volunteers to hit the streets and shelters in the City of Atlanta, as well as DeKalb and parts of Fulton County on Monday, Jan. 27. “Homelessness is an issue that we can not ignore. A number of our veterans who have served this country are homeless,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson. “Under bridges, in abandoned forest areas, you always wonder how do these people exist in these cold conditions. It is imperative that we get an accurate count of the homeless so we can get them the services they need.” The data will be reported as part of the 2014 Metro Atlanta Homeless Census.

“Veterans homelessness is a serious issue across our nation. We need your help. Please join us for this count,” said Johnson, who has assisted in the count before and is currently working on finding a place in DeKalb to house homeless veterans. “We must all come together in this partnership to help our veterans. Help us understand how many vets are homeless and what we can to help in Atlanta, DeKalb County and Fulton County.” The Pathways Community Network Institute is leading the effort to sign up volunteers to conduct the count. “To best serve the homeless, we must gather accurate data on our homeless population to track the success of local efforts to end homelessness,” said Josie Parker, who is heading the Metro Atlanta Count for Pathways. “By complying with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) requirements, such as conducting a homeless census, our community receives more than $10 million annually in federal funding for homeless services and housing.” In 2009, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki See Ruling, page 7

By Valerie J. Morgan

s a Grand Jury indicted suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis on new charges, he spoke out on a YouTube video telling viewers that he’s innocent. He maintains the charges against him are politically motivated. The 14-count indictment, filed Jan. 16, include bribery, perjury and theft by extortion. Prosecutors dropped seven counts from the original indictment, replacing them with six new charges. In the latest charges, Ellis is accused of canceling work with Brenda Cornelius (The Cornelius Group, Inc.). She had served on Ellis’ transition team when he was first elected in 2008. Cornelius was hired in 2012 to promote the Clean Cities Atlanta Peritoneum Reduction Program, a compressed natural gas program unitizing the county-owned landfill. The indictment said Cornelius’ work was cancelled after she criticized Ellis professionally. Ellis’ video, which is 2 minutes and 44 seconds long, doesn’t address specific

Burrell Ellis

Robert James

charges, but he maintains his innocence. The video was published on the internet on Jan. 15. More than 1,000 people had viewed the video by On Common Ground News’ Jan. 16 deadline. Comments that were posted on the video, several of them mocking and insulting, were removed from the site. Ellis, who appears on the video dressed in a dark suit, had told On Common Ground News a few weeks ago that he could not speak publicly about the case on the advice of his attorneys. But now Ellis is speaking out on the video: “This is DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and it is now time for me to speak directly to my constituents who have placed faith and confidence in me as their duly elected CEO. I am innocent of the charges against me. They are politically motivated. I have never violated the trust the voters of DeKalb County have placed in me in more than 13 years of public service. I have never stolen nor profited from my public

service. I stand for honest, open and transparent government. “One year ago, the DeKalb District Attorney raided my home while my 83-year-old mother was there alone. The trauma of that event lingers to this day. The D.A. went through my closets, my wife’s personal items, my kids’ toy bins and even my trash and found nothing illegal or improper because I have done absolutely nothing wrong.” Investigators from District Attorney Robert James’s Office raided Ellis’ Stone Mountain home and his office searching for financial records that might offer evidence of conspiracy, extortion and theft. Ellis is accused of pressuring county vendors to contribute to his political campaign in 2012 and using county workers to solicit on his behalf. Ellis describes the D.A. of having a “zeal to destroy him.” His attorneys said in court documents the D.A. had Kelvin Walton, the county’s purchasing director, wear a super spy wristwatch to secretly videotape Ellis. Ellis’ attorneys recently filed several motions asking Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson to dismiss the charges against him. James’ spokesman, Erik Burton, has said the D.A. will not comment on the pending court case. You can the view indictment online at

Rockdale CEO Richard Oden addresses dozens of attendees at the “State of the County” on Jan. 16 in Conyers.

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Rockdale CEO Richard Oden lays out plans for more development


By Joshua Smith and Valerie J. Morgan

ockdale County CEO Richard Oden told residents and stakeholders that Georgia’s second-smallest county plans to do great things in the future, including continue revitalizing neighborhoods, increasing the tax base with more commercial development, and boosting tourism under his administration. “Throughout all the challenges and obstacles in 2013, we remained steadfast on our journey to center ourselves in a position to gain a strong, sustainable future,” said Oden. “Here, in Rockdale, we will grow our tax base and will work hard to snag great economic development opportunities. I am sure of it because we have valuable tools and dynamic leaders.” Oden gave his speech, despite dealing with the recent death of his mother. The CEO planned to rest after the State of the County Address and then leave early for Akron, Ohio to attend his mother’s funeral. Shirley Oden was 83. She died at

home on Jan. 6. About 50 people attended the CEO’s address at the Rockdale Auditorium. This year, department heads shared their accomplishments in a video that played rather than give individual reports. The theme of his address was “Continuing to Move Forward by Uniting, Building and Energizing the county.” Oden said his vision for the future includes building a performing arts civic auditorium and developing the area on Sigman Road near I-20 with a banquet hall facility, trade center, five star hotels and other facilities to attract tourism. Oden said the county’s accomplishments included restoring the historic Milstead community, laying the groundwork to increase economic development, continuing to gain neighborhood revitalization grants and developing a tax base ratio that is moving toward less residential and more commercial property values making up the tax base. See Rockdale, page 7


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JANUARY  18, 2014  VOLUME 19, NO. 42

Community News


Rockdale Boys & Girls Club’s re-opening thrills parents and kids



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

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


Anna Salva

Rockdale deputy fired for inappropriate relationship with inmate


detention deputy with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office has been terminated for developing and continuing an inappropriate relationship with an inmate currently being housed in the Rockdale County Jail. Anna Salva, 31, of Conyers, was terminated by the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 15 after an internal affairs investigation regarding allegations of inappropriate contact between Salva and an inmate were revealed.   The initial report to the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) alleged that Salva had developed a personal relationship with an inmate that is currently being housed in the Rockdale County Jail.   During the investigation, it was determined that Salva met and became close friends with the inmate after exchanging handwritten notes with the See Deputy, page 6

Brandi Bonner and her daughter, Amaya Samuel, are all smiles now that the Boys & Girls Club is back open.

By Joshua Smith

CONYERS—After being closed for six days, the A.R. “Gus” Barksdale Boys & Girls Club is open again and parents are as happy as children on Christmas day. Parents have had to find other ways to provide after-school care for their children since the recent cold front caused water pipes to burst, flooding the facility. Brandi Bonner was among the working parents who had nowhere to turn during the facility’s shutdown, Jan. 9-14. Bonner had her 11-year-old daughter, Amaya Samuel, take the school bus home and then Bonner called every hour to check on her. “I was just really nervous having her at the house like that, but I honestly had no choice,” said Bonner. “This opening day is like Christmas for us. We are so glad to be back.” Sherrie Lawhorne is another parent who was happy, happy, happy when the facility reopened on Jan. 15. “The Boys & Girls Club is like the vessel keeping the heartbeat going for a lot of families in this area,” said Lawhorne, who has two

Photos by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Club Director Terrence Artis surveys the flooding damage that closed the club.

children, Ashley, 12, and Dante, 15, who attend the club. “The schools offer afterschool programs, but they are so expensive. What we pay a year, $50, is what some schools charge per week for after school care. That’s not really an option for a lot of us parents.” Aldren Sadler said he found himself serving as the “bus driver” for his two grandchildren, Chase Sadler, 10, and Caylen Lacky, 11, when the club was closed and he became babysitter for his daughter. “I was in the C.J. Hicks school line everyday at 1:30. I never knew until now that I would be a bus driver for the kids,” said Sadler. “I was very, very happy the club opened back up.” Currently, only half of the facility is open. Executive Director Terrence Artis said the remainder of the work is expected to take about two

months to complete. The flood damaged the club’s game rooms, kitchen, showers, offices, and main front room. Just last February, the facility got a facelift from volunteers from the CSX Corporation who came in and painted, landscaped and made other improvements. Much of that work was destroyed, Artis said. “The flooding was very serious. You are talking about months of work in the future. We hate that this happened,” said Artis. “We will try to salvage what we can from the work CSX has done to help us out. We really appreciate when corporations reach out and help us. I personally would be glad to accept any help from them or other groups in the future because I grew up in a Boys & Girls Club myself.” Artis said it was a real team effort from his staff to get the club re-opened. “We could have easily

been closed for a month, but we know our parents wouldn’t be able to handle that,” said Artis. “Everyday we sent out emails to parents to keep them in the loop on the process. Although we have had to make some adjustments, we are really happy to get the club back open for our kids and their parents.” Artis said the club has been forced to make some adjustments with its basketball team, which had to travel to a Lawrenceville club to compete. The Conyers club was set to host other clubs for basketball games on Jan. 16, but that is no longer possible. “It may be a challenging process, but we will get through it. This was an unseen disaster that we had no control of. Adjustments and team work from this staff will be the keys to us continuing to provide a great service to the children and parents here,” said Artis.

DeKalb commissioners deadlock over leadership roles New vote set Jan. 28


By Valerie J. Morgan

he DeKalb Board of Commissioners couldn’t muster enough votes to elect a presiding officer or deputy presiding officer at its Jan. 14 board meeting. The board is expected to try again at the Jan. 28 meeting. The commissioners were supposed to choose one of their peers to fill the two positions, but they ended up squabbling. They couldn’t get enough votes between the six of them to support Larry Johnson, Stan Watson or Jeff Rader, all three of whom were nominated for presiding officer. The board also couldn’t get the required four votes to elect Sharon Barnes Sutton, who was nominated for deputy presiding officer, or Watson who was nominated for deputy presiding officer after he didn’t get presiding officer. The presiding officer runs the board’s meetings, appoints chairs to various board committees, and could be tapped as interim CEO of the county in the event of an emergency. The deputy presiding officer fills in for the presiding officer as needed. The board’s non-election brought the cauldron that has been brewing for months to a head. Johnson called what happened “gutter politics.” “The comments that Commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader made

Larry Johnson

Jeff Rader

during their nomination of Stan Watson that attacked my character and attempted to denigrate my leadership were unfortunate, misguided, divisive, and borderline delusional,” said Johnson. “Gutter politics at its best.” Johnson said despite the attacks, he planned to “continue to serve the people of District 3 and DeKalb County without missing a beat.” During the meeting, Rader urged the board to consider new leadership and seconded a motion for himself after the motion to elect Watson failed. “Our board needs strong, transparent and inclusive leadership. This shouldn’t be either a beauty contest and it certainly should not be a contest of political alignment in order to get this done. What we should have are people who are genuinely committed to making every member of the commission effective,” Rader said. “We have had the leadership of

Sharon Barnes Sutton

Stan Watson

Commissioner Johnson in the past. We know what we can expect. He’s a good man, but he has not been able to accomplish the necessary goals to make DeKalb County a place that people don’t want to incorporate out of,” said Rader. Watson didn’t comment on the debates during the meeting, but acknowledged after the meeting the board’s divisiveness. “I think what has happened has allowed us to see our differences and similarities and to work harder for one common goal--leadership,” said Watson. “All of us care about the leadership of this county. At the end of the day, that’s really what this is all about.” Since the board did not elect its leaders, Barnes Sutton will remain interim presiding officer. Barnes Sutton has held the position since last summer when Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Lee May, who was presiding officer at the time, to interim CEO. May moved up after Burrell Ellis was suspended amidst corruption charges that he is now battling in court.


JANUARY 18, 2014

Coming Up

DeKalb Need help enrolling in affordable healthcare plan? State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon will host an Affordable Care Act Enrollment event on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 6 - 8:30 p.m. at Robert Shaw Elementary School, 385 Glendale Road, Scottdale. Health insurance enrollees should bring their Social Security Number, employer and income information, policy numbers for any current health insurance plans and completed employer coverage tools, which are available at www. Licensed navigators will be available to assist with enrollment. The event was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, but was reschedued due to inclement weather.

Free creative writing workshop set This 1939 small American house is on East Lake Drive in Decatur.

DeKalb History Center welcomes architectural historian Richard Cloues The DeKalb History Center, 101 E. Court Square, Decatur will host a free educational workshop, “After the Bungalow, Before the Ranch,” on Tuesday, Jan. 21, noon – 1 p.m. Architectural historian Richard Cloues will discuss the impact of architecture from the 1920s to the 1950s, explaining how these small and seemingly simple houses form an important chapter in the history of American houses. Cloues has a Ph.D. in architectural history and historic preservation from Cornell University. He worked at the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office for 34 years, retiring in June 2012. Admission is free. Bring your own lunch. Participants meet on the second floor of the History Center. For more information or to register, call Melissa Forgey at 404-373-1088, ext. 22.

Ready to start a business? Rockdale Chamber opens registration for entrepreneur class CONYERS—It took Esther Williams two years to earn her master’s degree in business administration in 2000 at the University of Phoenix. It took her six weeks at the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneurial Academy to learn everything she needed to start her own business. “Everything—from insurance to opening policies—was covered. It’s really what I needed to get things up and running,” said Williams, a retired Rutgers University professor who completed the program last year. Since graduation, Williams has launched the Green Hygiene Company, LLC. The business offers environmentally safe cleaning products on both, the corporate and the household level. She says right now she is running the mail-order businesses in Decatur and looks to have a permanent office by the end of 2014. The Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Academy is designed to assist those who want to start a business but are unsure where to begin. “This entrepreneurial program is a course designed with the small business entrepreneur in mind. Whether you have an existing business or dreams of starting one in the future, the academy has something for you,” said Fred Boscarino, president/ CEO of the Chamber. “Experienced business people who have ‘been there, tried that’ share their voices of experiences to help you avoid common pitfalls and be better prepared to establish your business for growth and prosperity.” Academy topics include: Accounting/bookkeeping; Legalities of starting a business; Performance management; Handling expenses; managing revenues; Marketing your business; Retirement planning for the small businessperson; Business liability insurance; Community involvement; Computer/Technology Resources and Website Marketing. Boscarino says through a series of workshops, seasoned entrepreneurs share their lessons learned. Each week, a new topic is introduced. The format ranges from panel discussions to lecture to hands-on training. “Of more than 300 academy graduates who have come through the program since it started in 2004, more than 50 percent are now in business for themselves,” said Boscarino. “In addition to gaining valuable information, you will also have the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals who hope to establish or expand a small business.” The academy has drawn participants from Stockbridge, College Park, Stone Mountain, Forest Park, Lithonia, Decatur and even McDonough. The Rockdale Chamber of Commerce is currently enrolling students for the fall semester, which starts on Monday, Feb. 17. New this year: Academy participants will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and a Certificate of Completion from Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Classes are held Mondays, 6:30 – 9 p.m., for seven weeks at the Chamber’s office, 936 Green St., Conyers. The academy costs $175 if registration is made on or before Saturday, Feb. 1. The cost will be $195 after Feb. 1. The fee includes class materials, a light meal before each class, graduation dinner and certificate of completion. For more information or to register, call 770-483-7049 or visit

Writing coach Wayne Smith and the DeKalb County Library’s NorthlakeBarbara Loar Library, 3772 LaVista Road, Tucker will host a free creative writing workshop on Saturday, Jan. 25, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The “Writer’s Success Essentials” seminar will provide tips on writing—from inspiration to the final edit. Smith regularly provides personal coaching and editing, facilitates workshops and presentations, and mentors creative inspiration and writing skills through fiction and non-fiction genres. The workshop is open to adults ages 18 or older. For more information, call 404-679-4408 or visit

Atlanta Buckhead library to sponsor poetry contest for students The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s Buckhead branch, 269 Buckhead Ave., N.E. is encouraging students in grades K-8 to enter a poetry contest. The deadline to enter is April 19. Poetry can be free verse or rhyming. Entries can be hand-written, typed or computer printed. Gift cards for Barnes & Noble will be awarded as prizes. There are three grade categories (grades K-2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-8) with many chances to win first and second prizes in each category. The photographs and poems of all the winners will be on display throughout the year after April. Students may submit more than one entry. All entries must be submitted by Saturday, April 19. For more information or to submit your work, call 404-814-3500 or visit the Buckhead branch.

Gwinnett AARP provides tax assistance to low-income residents The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) will partner with the Bethesda Park Senior Center, 225 Bethesda Church Road, Lawrenceville, to offer free tax services for moderate to low-income residents Feb. 4-7, 9 a.m. – noon. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is available free to taxpayers with low and moderate incomes, with special attention to those 60 and older. Trained volunteers will be on hand to help. For more information, call 678-277-0179.

Rockdale County Parks and Rec seeks public input The Rockdale County Parks and Recreation Department is asking residents to participate in an online survey for future park planning. County officials want to know what additional recreational or sports facilities would you recommend for Rockdale County Parks and Recreation and what improvements are needed for parks and programs. It is optional to provide your complete name and phone number. You can drop off your surveys to the County Administrative Building, 958 Milstead Ave., N.E., Conyers or email your answers to You can also send survey results via fax at 770-278-8939 or mail them to: Rockdale County Recreation Department, P.O. Box 289, Conyers. LEGAL NOTICE

DEKALB COUNTY GOVERNMENT Advertisement for Thursday, January 23 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.

13-100377 ITB


Fork Creek Mountain Park Development (Phase I)


February 20, 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: DeKalb County reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids or any part thereof, to waive any technicalities, and to re-advertise. By: Kelvin L. Walton, Director/Chief Procurement Officer DeKalb County Department of Purchasing and Contracting

JANUARY 18, 2014


Celebrating the King Holiday A Day On—Not Off’ Bethel to present 13th Annual MLK Drum Major Awards Pastor Richard Allen Washington, Sr. and the New Bethel A.M.E. Church, 8350 Rockdbridge Road, Lithonia will celebrate its 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award Celebration on Monday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Continuing the Dream: The Fight for Justice.” The keynote speaker will be State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, District 39. DeKalb Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond will be among several people honored at the program. The event is free and open to the community. 770484-3350.

Gwinnett United Ebony Society ready for Annual MLK Day Parade


he nation will celebrate Monday, Jan. 20, as the King Holiday. The day will mark the 28th anniversary of the National Holiday named in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Nobel Peace Prize winner would have been 85 on Jan. 15. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Events are planned throughout the metro Atlanta area to remember King for the indelible mark he made on the nation. Organizers want people to use the holiday not as a day off, but as a day of activism. In Atlanta, Emory University students and staff will be working with residents on various beautification projects in the city. Volunteers from the DeKalb County Service Board will be doing cleanup, painting, landscaping and other projects in Tucker, Lithonia. In Gwinnett County, the Delta Sigma Theta sorority will conduct a roadside cleanup and voter registration drive. The Chi Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha in Rockdale County will be improving the appearance of the Westbury Health and Rehabilitation Center in Conyers on the holiday. Here’s a listing of some of the other ways local residents will remember Atlanta’s native son:


Ebenezer to host commemorative service The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service will be held on Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m., at Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Horizon Sanctuary, 407 Auburn Ave., N.E., Atlanta. The ecumenical service, which is open to the public, is the spiritual hallmark of the King Holiday Observance in Georgia. Members of various religious traditions and state, national, and international governments will participate. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Warnock became pastor in 2005. The church was originally founded in 1886 during the Reconstruction Era. The Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. his father, Martin Luther King, Sr., and Martin’s brother, Alfred Daniel “A.D.” Williams King, have all pastored the church. The church seats 2,000 people. Early arrival is suggested.

Bishop Paul S. Morton to keynote Ben Hill MLK program

Bishop Paul S. Morton will be the keynote speaker for the Ben Hill United Methodist Church Martin Luther King Day Program on Monday, Jan. 20, at 10 a.m. “Continuing the Legacy of Faith, Hope, and Love” is the theme of this year’s program, which will be held at 2099 Fairburn Rd. S.W., Atlanta. The public is invited to attend. Bishop Morton, senior pastor of Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church, is an anointed singer with six Stellar Awards to his credit. He was recently nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award. He is the founding President of the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship International. Born in Ontario, Canada, he relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1972. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Bishop Morton relocated to Atlanta to open his current church. He co-pastors with his wife, Debra Morton, the Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church in New Orleans, where he was senior pastor for 33 years.

DeKalb Esteemed grand marshals to lead NAACP King parade, rally Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church Pastor William E. Flippin, Sr. and DeKalb County Public Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond will serve as grand marshals of the DeKalb County NAACP’s 12th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. The parade and annual rally will take place on Monday, Jan. 20. The parade will start at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Green Pastures Christian Ministries Inc., 5455 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur, and end with a rally at MLK Jr. High School, 3991 Snapfinger Road, Lithonia.

The United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County, Inc. will host its 14th Annual MLK Day Parade on Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. The parade will start at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, and end at Moore Middle School, 1221 Lawrenceville Highway. The theme of the parade is “Strengthening our Community, Nation and World.” A free health fair will take place at Moore Middle School. 678-227-3190.

Rockdale Rockdale Chamber, NAACP set benefit breakfast The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce and the Rockdale branch of the NAACP will co-host a benefit breakfast on Monday, Jan. 20, commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will be held at 7:45 a.m. at Longhorn Steakhouse, located on Iris Drive near I-20 and West Avenue. The keynote speaker for the event will be the Douglas R. Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission. The cost to attend the breakfast is $10. Limited seating. A large turnout is expected. Proceeds will benefit the United Way.


JANUARY 18, 2014

“Symphony in Your Neighborhood” gives up-close experience


By Joshua Smith

ight-year-old Sarah Cooper has dreams of performing on her violin around the world. Although she still has a long way before she makes it to Carnegie Hall, she’s getting her feet wet by “experiencing” professionals. She had the chance to hear and meet members of an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) quartet on Jan. 11 in Tucker. Want to hear the Atlanta Symphony in your community? Here is a schedule of remaining performances: Chamblee Library Decatur Library Clarkston Community Center Stonecrest Library

Saturday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, 7 p.m. Saturday, April 26, 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, 7 p.m.

Photos by Joshua Smith/OCG News

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra took the audience through a classical music timeline on Jan. 11 in Tucker.

* Concert dates and times subject to change. For more information or to verify dates, call 404-370-8450 or visit

“This is my first time hearing pros like this live,” said Cooper, a home-schooled student who practices regularly. “It was really nice hearing them and seeing where I could be one day.” The Atlanta Symphony’s free performance and conversation session afterward was a part of the DeKalb County Library’s “Symphony in Your Neighborhood.” The partnership brings free music performances by Atlanta Symphony musicians to library branches throughout DeKalb County during the Orchestra’s 2013-14 season. “The Library is particularly pleased about offering this wonderful series of musical programs to families at our branches,” said Library Director Alison Weissinger. “We believe our patrons also will be pleased about the opportunity to hear members of the ASO perform in their own neighborhoods.” The casual, hour-long concerts provide audience members with the

opportunity to learn about the music being performed as well as interact with ASO musicians. The program will be presented with Spanish features and selections at the Chamblee Library, which serves a community with many Spanish speakers. “We are very proud to partner with the DeKalb County Public Library, as we share a goal of enriching lives and

communities through collaborative programming,” said ASO Manager of Community Programs Ahmad Mayes. The standing-room only Jan. 11 performance at the library’s TuckerReid H. Cofer branch featured JunChing Lin and Anastasia Agapova on violin, Reed Harris on viola and Christopher Rex on principal cello. “We really thank everybody for

coming out. It was our pleasure to play for you all today,” said Rex, who led the ASO performing quartet through a series of classical greats such as Mozart and Beethoven. “It’s really fun to see the kids faces light up when we get going and we enjoy when parents recognize songs we perform from movies and other well-known compositions.”

DeKalb commissioners urge lawmakers May to deliver DeKalb’s State of the County address On Thursday, Jan. 23, DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee to “pause” cityhood proposals May will deliver the State of the County address at the Porter


By Valerie J. Morgan

he DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has approved a resolution urging state lawmakers to take a one-year “pause” on creating new municipalities. County officials want state lawmakers to hold off on making a decision on any cityhood proposals for one year. At the board’s Jan. 14 meeting, interim DeKalb CEO Lee May had originally asked for a three-year moratorium on cityhood proposals, but amended his resolution to one year. With three cityhood proposals already on the table before Joint delegation meeting state lawmakers, May said set on cityhood, other issues he put forth the resolution to encourage lawmakers to hold off on making any decisions State Sen. Ronald Ramsey, chair of the this year on incorporations. DeKalb Senate Delegation, and State Rep. Howard May said he wants to Mosby, chair of the DeKalb House Delegation, will know the economic impact host a joint delegation meeting on Wednesday, the incorporations would have on DeKalb, and would like Jan. 22, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Manuel Maloof to see if issues and concerns Auditorium. The auditorium is located at 1300 that prompted communities to Commerce Drive, Decatur. seek cityhood might be worked Members of the delegation will discuss out with residents in those areas. May said the county is cityhood, annexation, education and DeKalb’s form hiring more police officers, of government. Time will be allotted for public more firefighters, beefing up comment. beautification and economic development efforts this year. Meanwhile, state lawmakers, who returned to the Capitol on Jan. 13, are studying cityhood proposals to determine if voter referendums should be held. The three community groups that have submitted cityhood proposals are Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker. The incorporation of Stonecrest, a fourth proposal, did not receive a favorable feasibility study. Stonecrest was not deemed viable as a city because it would be too costly to start up and operate, the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government said in its findings. The institute’s 59-page study showed that Stonecrest as a city would cost $45.4 million to operate annually, compared to the $31.1 million it would generate in revenues. Jason Lary, who headed the Stonecrest City Alliance, has said he will resubmit information with a smaller population for a new feasibility study. That information will not be ready, however, for state lawmakers to consider Stonecrest for cityhood during this year’s Legislative Session.

Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Doors will open at 6 p.m. May will address the community at large at 7 p.m. in the 500-seat facility. May will present his outlook for 2014 and mark the accomplishments DeKalb has made in 2013. In his position as CEO, May administers the county’s $1.2 billion annual budget. As the youngest person to sit in the highest executive seat of the third largest and most Lee May populous county in the State of Georgia, May said his goal has been to promote progress and movement through collaboration with the local school district, responsive public safety, community beautification initiatives, empowerment of youth and children, engaged economic development and business growth. May also wants to enhance government efficiency. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 404-3714745.

Deputy transferred personal funds to the inmates continued from page 3

inmate during the hours in which she was working within the jail. The investigation revealed that the relationship grew stronger between the two when Salva provided her cellular phone number to the inmate and allowed him to make pre-paid phone calls to her during her off-duty time. At present, over 500 minutes of recorded phone conversations between Salva and the inmate have been archived by OPS investigators. Salva used her personal funds to place money on the inmate’s fund account. She also used personal funds to send the inmate care packages through the jail’s commissary vendor using an alias name to avoid detection by the jail staff.  Additionally, Salva created an online account through the jail’s pre-paid phone service provider and transferred personal funds to the inmates account so he could make phone calls to her.  The OPS investigation determined that the allegations were founded and Salva was placed on paid administrative leave. Salva also admitted to all allegations.  There was no evidence discovered during the OPS investigation that Salva and the inmate had any physical contact within the Rockdale County Jail.   “This is a situation that we take very seriously. These types of relationships are strictly prohibited, and are detrimental to the safe and efficient operations of the Rockdale County Jail.” said Chief Deputy Scott Freeman. “Although there was no evidence of a physical relationship between Salva and the inmate, it was determined that Salva violated numerous policies and procedures of the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office. After reviewing the information provided by OPS, and hearing Salva’s version of events, I terminated Salva’s employment from the RCSO.” Salva was hired by the RCSO on Aug. 24, 2009 as a GCIC Operator in the Warrant/Civil Division.  On July 1, 2011, Salva was transferred to the Jail Division as a Detention Deputy.    

JANUARY 18, 2014


Parks Director Jackie Lunsford is excited about new projects in Rockdale By Joshua Smith

CONYERS—In the next coming months, Rockdale County residents can expect to see a new pavilion, playground and a facelift for the football field at Earl O’ Neal Park, including new bleachers. “We will also put curbs in at that park, completing the work by March,” said Jackie Lunsford, director of Rockdale’s Recreation and Maintenance Department. “Also, in the summer of 2014, Milstead residents can expect to see the demolition of their pool, a new pavilion, playground, a water feature and a walking trail.”

Rockdale County offers free play days at tennis center Rockdale County is offering “Free Play Days” at the Rockdale County Tennis Center to county residents and employees. The Free Play Days for 2014 will be offered on:

• Friday, March 7, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. • Friday, June 6, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. • Friday, Sept. 5, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. • Friday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Residents and employees are encouraged to visit and play with family and friends or take lessons, which are free and offered at specific times during these special days. Racquets and balls will be available to rent at no cost as well. Free refreshments will also be offered during lessons. For a lesson schedule or for more information, call 770-278-7251 for a lesson schedule or more information.

Since Lunsford took over as director of Rockdale’s Recreation and Maintenance Department in April 2013, she has worked to improve eight different county parks. In her position, Lunsford also oversees a list of County divisions, including recreation, senior services, animal control, fleet services, building and park maintenance, the recycling center and capital projects. She said one of her achievements she is proud of so far is reorganizing the department’s divisions to improve staff utilization and efficiency. “One of my main goals for 2013 was to reorganize the department by putting in working managers. For example, instead of having all of the park maintenance people report directly to the

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

deputy director, they now have working managers to report to, and to go on their behalf before the deputy directors. It’s more efficient and employees like the new system,” said Lunsford. “I enjoy everyday at this job. I work with a great group of people and everyday I learn something new because everyday, we see progress. I love that.” Other Rockdale facility improvements under Lunsford’s leadership include installing new gates and handicap parking for Black Shoals Park, resurfacing the tennis courts at Pine Log, Johnson and Richardson Parks, and new playgrounds were installed at Richardson and Lakeview Parks. “Three sections of the Rockdale River Trail were completed and construction has begun on the final two sections that will connect the Monastery of the Holy Spirit with the Lorraine Trailhead and South Community Park. Soon, people will be able to walk from downtown Lithonia to the Monastery,” said Lunsford. “We are very excited about that and look forward to the completion of several more projects in 2014.” With a three-year, $100,000 per year general fund budget and an earmarked $5 million 2011-2016 SPLOST budget, as well as grants, Lunsford and her department want to continue park renovations and upgrade other divisions she oversees. “We plan to install a sewer system for Johnson

Volunteers search for homeless vets continued from page 1

announced the goal of eliminating homelessness among veterans by 2015. Parker says collecting accurate data on the numbers and demographics of individuals and families experiencing Hank Johnson Larry Johnson homelessness is a critical part of the VA planning and program be neglected. We must do development to end all we can to help veterans homelessness. get back on their feet.” In July 2013, Volunteers will receive Congressman Hank coffee, tea and snacks and a Johnson rallied for continental breakfast during more than $4.5 million the count. to help fight veterans’ Volunteers will conduct homelessness. The money count surveys at emergency went to two ministries shelters and transitional and shelters that provide housing programs from 4 – emotional and financial 9 p.m. Street counts will be support, as well as housing conducted from 9 p.m. – 3 stability. a.m. “Often veterans have In case of bad weather, put their lives on the line the count will be held on for us, for our freedoms,” Thursday, Jan. 30. For more said Rep. Johnson. “The information or to sign up U.S. military is the greatest to volunteer, call 404-639fighting force in history, 9939 or visit and the men and women who serve in it must never

Park, add playgrounds and pavilions to at least four other County parks, provide kitchen and equipment renovations at the senior center and install a new playground in the Grimes Street community,” said Lunsford. “We want to do everything we can to develop excellence in customer service, including developing a new fleet services vehicle inventory system, continue quarterly maintenance checks for County facilities, revise the animal control ordinances and continue to develop new recreational activities like pickle ball for our seniors.” Along with park and other facility improvements, Lunsford said residents can expect “free play days” and the March 8 “Rockdale Voice” competition. The registration deadline for the completion is Feb. 1. The contest is open to singers ages 5 – 20. “Contestants will be judged on their vocal quality, appearance, presentation, confidence and overall performance. Local artists associated with music professions will handle judging. It’s going to be great,” said Lunsford, who, in her free time loves to sing Oldies with her husband, who plays guitar. “We used to be in a band. I love to sing it all—from Prince to jazz, scat and the blues.” For more information on the County’s upcoming improvements and programs, call 770-278-7529 or visit

Minkoff praised for good job continued from page 1

Photo by Joshua Smith/OCG News

CEO Oden (left), presented Michael Minkoff with the Charles P. Cole Citizen Involvement Award. Minkoff is joined by Maggie Dwight-Hill (center) in the picture. Dwight-Hill is the mother of Nathan Dwight, whom Minkoff helped exonerate.

Oden thanked county staff and Rockdale’s team of directors, while congratulating the departments that “make Rockdale work.” “I am honored that you decided to join me and I sincerely thank all of my colleagues and our elected officials who have joined me here tonight,” said Oden, who was first elected to the position in 2009. He was re-elected in 2012 for the four-

year seat. “The year 2013 was filled with so many different kinds of experiences—from government shut-downs to unemployment continuing to hamper some of our workforce. It ultimately united us in more ways than one.” At the conclusion of the event, Oden honored Michael Minkoff, a retired police officer, with the Charles P. Cole Citizens Involvement Award.


JANUARY 18, 2014

Business News



DeKalb Chamber of Commerce introduces new board members


he DeKalb Chamber of Commerce will introduce its new board members and recognize its outgoing members at its Annual Meeting & Lunch on Thursday, Feb. 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St., N.W., Atlanta. “The DeKalb Chamber board has always consisted of men and women who are highly distinguished in their respective fields. The individuals selected this year continue in that tradition as they represent local small businesses along with major corporations,” DeKalb Chamber President Leonardo McClarty said. The six new members who are joining the Chamber’s Board of Directors represent a cross section of industries and companies. The board is comprised of 45 members who serve three-year terms, provide strategic direction and set policy for the organization. The incoming directors are filling slots vacated by board members whose terms expired this year. The six new members are Ted Cummings,

Ted Cummings

Angela Graham

Michael Reeves

Brenda Reid

president of Onyx Media Group; Angela Graham, president of Graham and Associates; Michael Reeves, vice president of Reeves and Associates Consulting, Inc.; Brenda Reid, director, Publix; Kelsi Robinson, CEO EGM Services, and JaKathryn Ross, director, Georgia Pacific/YEG. Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, will be the keynote speaker. McKay was the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the team won the Super Bowl XXXVII. McKay earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton

Kelsi Robinson

JaKathryn Ross

Rich McKay

University in 1981 and graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1984. Prior to entering the NFL, McKay was an attorney with the Tampa law firm of Hill. In 2003, McKay left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and became president and general manager of the Atlanta Falcons. Registration and open networking will be held from 11 a.m. – noon. The luncheon will begin at noon. The cost to attend is $100 per person. For more information or to register, call Katerina Taylor at 404378-8000, ext. 225.

City of Atlanta’s license Shoney’s new prototype adds bar service to offerings Shoney’s has opened a new prototype at Mills mall in Gwinnett County. The new renewal deadline is Feb. 15 Sugarloaf restaurant, which opened inside the mall, features

Businesses located within the city of Atlanta will have until Saturday, Feb. 15, to file their business license renewal application. Once renewal applications are filed, businesses will have until April 1 to pay the invoiced amount. Businesses are encouraged to renew their license, using their PIN online at Some businesses are not eligible for online renewal. Those businesses include: parking garages, attorneys, legal services and any business with an account with a returned mailing address omitted from their online renewal file. These businesses are encouraged to download and complete the city’s new renewal application form. Businesses will be penalized for not filing. Businesses that have not filed by Feb. 15 will receive a failure to file notice and a $500 fine. For more information or to register your Atlanta business, call 404-330-6270 or email  

traditional favorites, cooked-to-order entrees and seasonal buffets and full liquor service. “This has as much historic implication as the very first Shoney’s in 1947,” said Shoney’s Chairman and CEO David Davoudpour. “The stories you hear about Shoney’s aren’t myths. This brand was the premier family casual dining concept in the world. And this opening represents another step towards returning Shoney’s to its glory days.” Shoney’s held its grand opening and ribboncutting ceremony on Jan. 16. Pro wrestling icon Scott “Big Poppa Pump” Steiner and former NBA All-Star Ralph Sampson will also be at the ribbon cutting ceremony.   “Sugarloaf Mills already delivers a unique brand of shopping with more than 180 popular

stores, plus great family dining and entertainment options,” said Karl Woodard, general manager at Sugarloaf Mills. “This noteworthy prototype location from Shoney’s will be a welcome addition, enhancing our retail mix and meeting shopper demand for more culinary diversity at Sugarloaf Mills.” Shoney’s new restaurant also will add over 70 full and part-time jobs to the local economy. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant seats 107 guests. Shoney’s is a Nashville-based company with more than 165 restaurants in 16 states. The first store opened in 1947 as a drive-in in Charleston, West Virginia.


ABWA sets networking meeting

Dunwoody Chamber to host young professionals

The American Business Women’s Association will host a networking meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., at The Wall Street Conyers Office Condominiums, 2365 Wall St., Conyers. The organization’s goal is to help business women of diverse occupations grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and recognition. The cost to attend is $20. For more information or to register, call Patti Bryson at 770-712-1688.

The Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce will host “Networking with YPOD” on Friday, Jan. 24, 7:30 – 9 p.m., at DaVia: Perimeter Place Shopping Center, 4511 Olde Perimeter Way, Suite 800, Atlanta. The Young Professionals of Dunwoody (YPOD) will enjoy relaxed networking, and special deals on food or wine, beer and sangria—all priced at about $3. Socialize and connect with fellow young professionals while supporting the recently opened Da Via Italian Market. For more information or to register, call Erika E. Henry at 678-517-0240.

Gwinnett Chamber to host “Drugs Don’t Work” workshop

DeKalb’s ‘Job Bus’ coming to a community near you

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, will host a business workshop, “Drugs Don’t Work,” on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 8:30 – 11 a.m. Chuck Wade, state director of Drugs Don’t Work in Georgia and executive director of the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, will provides a program overview on how to monitor drug usage in the workplace. Wade has been certified to teach drug identification by the Chuck Wade Peace Officers’ Standards of Training Council of Georgia, has taught undercover drug investigation classes at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, and he has conducted employee drug education and supervisor training classes for businesses throughout Georgia. The cost to attend is $25. Participants meet in the Chamber’s John D. Stephens Education Room. For more information or to register, call 678-957-4958.

DeKalb’s Mobile Career Center, known as the county’s “Jobs Bus,” will be stationed at various locations throughout the county during the month of January. The mobile unit provides work readiness services to help put DeKalb citizens back to work. Some of the services include job search assistance, adult workshops and training, resume writing pointers, and interviewing tips. Businesses are also able to use the mobile unit for recruiting, pre-employment screenings, interviewing, and training. More than 2,500 DeKalb residents have used the mobile career center’s services since its launch in February 2012. The mobile center is funded through the Workforce Investment Act grant and all services offered are free.  Below are the Mobile Career Center’s scheduled locations for the month of December:  

Conyers-Rockdale Chamber sets Annual Meeting The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce will host its 60th Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Georgia International Horse Park, 1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway, Conyers. In addition to passing the gavel to a new president, several awards will be given, including the A.R. “Gus” Barksdale Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented annually since 1987 to an individual or group that has positively impacted the community continually. Other awards to be presented by the Chamber are the Education Partner of the Year Award, the Community Spirit Award, and the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Tickets for the Annual Meeting are $35 per person. Participants meet in the Horse Park Carriage Room. Reservations are required. Call 770-483-7049 or email

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. - 4pm North Lake-Barbara Loar Library 3772 Lavista Road, Decatur

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Department of Family & Children Services 178 Sams Street, Decatur

Monday, Jan. 27, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Covington Library       3500 Covington Highway, Decatur

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m. - 4pm Tucker-Reid H. Coffer Library 5234 LaVista Road, Tucker Thursday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Clarkston Library DeKalb Access and Resource Center 951 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston 949 North Hairston Road, Stone Mountain   Thursday, Jan. 30, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Stonecrest Library 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia




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We Worship

Faith-Based News & Inspiration

Father Luke Knot

Monastery of the Holy Spirit’s founding monk dies at 102

Photos by Joshua Smith/OCG News

Devoted Monk, Father Luke Knot, was the last remaining founder of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.

CONYERS—Father Luke Marion Knot, the last survivor of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit’s 21 founders, has passed. He died peacefully after a period of declining health in the monastery infirmary in the company of his brothers on Jan. 9. The burial service took place on Jan. 13 in the monastery church. Scot Ward Funeral Services was in charge of arrangements. Father Knot was the last surviving member of the monastery’s founding monks who came to Conyers in 1944 to build a Trappist monastery. He spent 76 years in different roles in his religious life. He was a priest for 66 of those 76 years. Father Luke was the oldest monk of the worldwide Cistercian Order (OCSO). In a story On Common Ground News published on Knot turning 100, he said he knew at the age of 14 that he wanted to follow the path of religion.

“My family gave me a good Catholic foundation, but as I grew up, I had questions they didn’t have the answers to. I had a vision that this is where I needed to be and I followed

that vision,” Knot said as he prepared for his 100th birthday. “I always believed in prayer. Prayer and waiting.” Knot was born on Aug. 3, 1911 in Great Falls, Montana. When he was

two years old, the family moved to Niagara Falls, New York, where he spent his childhood. His parents were Joseph and Maryanna Kocik. Both parents were immigrants from Poland. Knot was baptized at St. Ann Cathedral in Great Falls, Montana. “In 1937, I saw a two-page spread in the Buffalo newspaper about a Trappist monastery, Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. The photos of the monks got my attention to say the least. Shortly after, I saw another article in a magazine, ‘An Introduction to a Trappist Life.’ I didn’t know much but I knew this couldn’t be a coincidence,” Knot said during an interview in 2011. “Admittedly, I had never heard of a Trappist before, but after reading the articles, I had a conviction that a Trappist was what God was calling me to be.” On March 19, 1944—just a month after his solemn profession in February 1944— Father Luke was selected as one of 21 monks to begin a new foundation in rural Conyers. The monks left Gethsemani on March 21 and arrived at the former Honeycreek Plantation the next day, the “Feast of Saint Benedict.” The land was merely cotton fields then, but a lone barn where they lived and prayed for the first nine months served as the beginning of Our Lady of Holy Spirit Monastery. Knot served the monastery for many years as secretary. He also served his brothers as a tailor for 50 years. The last two years of his life, until he became ill, he served at the welcome center greeting visitors while making rosaries that were sold at the gift store. Father Luke Marion Knot was preceded in death by three sisters: Stella Beebe (Rayman); Julia Cahill (David); and Helen Rose Truesdale (George). He is survived by six nephews and six nieces. Condolences and donations may be sent in Father Luke’s memory to: The Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Highway 212, SW, Conyers, GA 30094-4044.


Ray of Hope offers health tips for women Ray of Hope Christian Church, 2778 Snapfinger Road, Decatur, will host “Fresh Faith—Fresh Power Jump Start,” for women on Friday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m. The church’s women’s ministry, “Daughters of Destiny,” invites women to “jump start the New Year” with this health event. Get fit facts, Zumba lessons, try samples and shop at a smoothie and snack bar. As you fellowship and listen to music, you can also enter your name into raffles for prizes. 770-696-5100.

Springfield Baptist invites men to devotion line Pastor Eric W. Lee, Sr., pastor of Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers, is offering a prayer and devotion line for men, every Tuesday at 7 p.m. The call-in line will provide inspiration, prayer and intercession for men, the church body and the world. Pastor Lee and other members of the church’s men’s ministry will lead the inspirational call. The number is 641-715-3300, access code 348986. For more information, call Brian Russell at 770-296-8958.

First Baptist of Decatur sets modern science conversation First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, will host “An Intimate Cosmos: Why Modern Science is Good News for Believers,” for adults only on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. The discussion will survey the ways science has been looked at through history and present alternative views. Church member Paul Wallace will lead the discussion. Wallace holds a Ph.D. in physics and a M.Div. in theology and biblical studies. 404-373-1653.

Hillside welcomes African children’s choir Hillside International Truth Center, Inc., 2450 Cascade Road, S.W., Atlanta, will welcome members of The Young Africans children’s choir to perform a free concert, “Our American Dream,” on Thursday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. “Our American Dream” is an authentic presentation that showcases African dance and music, as well as contemporary worship and gospel favorites. There is no admission charge. A love offering will be collected. For more information, call Dale China at 404-758-6811.

Elizabeth Baptist celebrates 85 years of ministry Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta will celebrate the church’s 85th anniversary this month. The celebration kicks off on Jan. 25, 6 p.m., at the church’s main campus, 4245 Cascade Road, S.W., Atlanta. On Jan. 26, all five locations will celebrate the anniversary at their regular service times. The church was established in 1928 when six members moved from Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Atlanta to organize another church. By unanimous vote, the church was named Elizabeth, a biblical name after the mother of John the Baptist. Craig L. Oliver, became pastor of the church in 1995. Under Pastor Oliver’s leadership, EBC has grown to a membership of more than 15,000 with more than nine weekly services in five locations: EBC, Atlanta; EBC, Fairburn; EBC, Smyrna; EBC, Douglasville; and EBC, Conyers. For more information, call 404-691-3146 or visit


Health & Wellness



JANUARY 18, 2014

Dr. John Lipman offers minimally invasive help for fibroids Dr. John Lipman, founder and medical director of the Atlanta Interventional Institute, has devoted his practice to focusing solely on the care of women suffering with uterine fibroids. On Wednesday, Jan. 29, 12 – 2 p.m., Lipman will host “Freedom from Fibrosis without Surgery: A Community Health Talk” at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library’s Central location in downtown Atlanta. Lipman says he recognized many years ago that women were not satisfied with the traditional surgical approach to treating fibroids. “A woman doesn’t need to lose her uterus over fibroids,” said Lipman, who also serves as the medical director of the Center for Image Guided Medicine at Emory-Adventist Hospital. “There are over 1 million women in the United States suffering with uterine fibroids who do not want surgery (hysterectomy) and instead suffer in silence with miserable periods that ensue each month.” Lipman says fibroids affects one in three women of childbearing age regardless of race although the condition is particularly common, as many as four out of every five, in African-American women. Emory’s Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) and Lipman will sponsor the free educational event at the library this month. Lipman says he has made it his life’s goal to educate and treat women suffering from uterine fibroids. He is one of the nation’s leading fibroid experts and specializes in the non-surgical UFE procedure. UFE is a minimally invasive,

non-surgical, outpatient option that is performed in less than an hour by an interventional radiologist. At the end of the procedure, the uterus survives but the fibroids will not. Lipman has performed more than 4,000 UFE procedures. “Women suffering from fibroids may only hear about the surgical options


DeKalb Medical presents “Healthy Life Tips” DeKalb Medical Hillandale’s primary care physicians will host “Healthy Life Tips for the Whole Family,” on Thursday, Jan. 23, 6 – 8 p.m., in the hospital’s community room, 2801 DeKalb Medical Parkway, Lithonia. Hosted in a panel forum, the free workshop will teach participants how to keep those New Year’s resolutions for managing weight, improving health and living healthy. For more information or to register your family, call 404-501-1000 or visit

Red Cross, GSU sets community blood drive The Red Cross and Georgia State University will host a community blood drive on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Georgia State University Urban Life Building, 140 Decatur St., Atlanta. Donors receive free snacks and juice. The Red Cross will accept all blood types, with a special need for double red cells. For more information or to register in advance, call 1-800-733-2767.

from their doctor. It is important for women to know that they have other non-surgical options as well,” he says. Lipman attended the Georgetown University School of Medicine and was the chief resident at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medicine School. Lipman is board certified in radiology by the American Board of

Radiology. The event will be held at the public library system’s central location, One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta. At the end of this event, lunch and gift bags will be provided. You must register in advance by Monday, Jan. 27, to attend. For more information or to register, call 404-730-1875.

New Visions.. New Horizons.. New Beginnings For all your women’s healthcare needs • Adult & Adolescent Gynecology • Normal & High Risk Obseterical Care • Contraceptive Management • Management of Fibroids • Laparoscopic Surgery • Gynecological Surgery • Disorders of the Cervix • In office Essure tubal ligation and Endometrial Ablation • Family Planning • Ultrasounds • Infertility • Menopause Management • Hysterosonogram

Emory Healthcare shows the ins and outs of nutrition labels Emory Healthcare, 1525 Clifton Road, Atlanta, will host a free educational workshop, “Reading Nutrition Labels,” on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 8:30 a.m. Participants will learn how to quickly read through a nutritional food label. Participants will learn: what is really in their food, which ingredients make one age quickly, what ingredient names really mean and how to decipher which brands to buy. The workshop will be held in the hospital’s fifth floor conference room. For more information or to register, call 404-778-7777 or 1-800-75-EMORY.

Piedmont Healthcare offers “Cancer Wellfit” for survivors Piedmont Healthcare will present a free workshop for cancer survivors, “Cancer Wellfit,” on Sundays and Tuesdays at the Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center, 2001 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. Cancer Wellfit is an exercise program developed to improve the physical health and quality of life for people with cancer. Participants must be under the care of an oncologist. The program consists of one hour of group exercise two days per week plus one-on-one exercise consultations with a degreed exercise physiologist. Times vary depending on level of participation. To register, call 404-605-1969.

Kenya M. Prade M.N., CNP

Veronica Garrett MD, F.A.C.O.G

Naomi R. Harris MD

Comprehensive Women’s Healthcare

1415 Milstead Rd. Suite A. Conyers, GA 30012


Most major health plans are accepted!

JANUARY 18, 2014


Community Market Place



Music lesson available. Voice, keyboard, music theory and choir directing. Tutoring for reading also offered. Call 404-284-3935.

Residential Instructors/ Houseparent’s needed: Direct Care Live-In FT, PT and Hourly Positions Available in Decatur, Lithonia, Dallas, and Powder Springs. HS diploma required. Fax/ email cover letter and resume to 770-808-3269 or, call 770.593-0913 Ext 114.

Mr. Handy. Small and large jobs. A/C services, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, lawn service, gutters. Call for free estimates at 404-281-6503. Pure Excellence Cleaning Service, Clean your entire house for $50. Get 50% off your first cleaning with a 6-month contract, or one free cleaning with a twelvemonth contract. Call 678562-9960. ADVERTISE IN THE MARKETPLACE.


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JANUARY 18, 2014


February 7-9, 2014

February 14-16, 2014 February 21-23, 2014 February 28-March 2, 2014

Visit our website for more details: or call: 770-270-1600


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

The Jan.18, 2014 issue  

The Jan.18 issue of On Common Ground News

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