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FREE VOLUME 24 NUMBER 13

MAY 19, 2018

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City of Stonecrest prepares to welcome epic crowd for Caribbean Carnival By Valerie J. Morgan

T

he city of Stonecrest is finalizing plans for the upcoming Caribbean Carnival, which is expected to bring an epic crowd to the new city on Memorial Day weekend. “This will be the largest event Stonecrest has ever hosted. We’re looking forward to it,” said Mayor Jason Lary, who will be one of the grand marshals for the event, which kicks off with a parade on Saturday, May 26, 12:30 p.m., on Mall Parkway. Charles Baker, who has been working closely with city officials on behalf of Carnival, said 25,000 people are expected to attend the event, which celebrates Caribbean culture over the Memorial Day weekend. Baker said some 3,000 participants alone will ride, march or perform in the colorful parade. The popular event, Baker said, is moving from Covington Highway in Decatur, where it has attracted some 30,000 people over the last

three years. The event is celebrating 30 years in the Atlanta area and has grown tremendously over time, he said. Organizers said the parade is expected to last five hours as it moves down Mall Parkway from the Wal-mart to Stonecrest Square, ending at the ring of hotels at the

Photos by Travis Hudgons

Mall at Stonecrest. After the parade, a festival will be held with vendors selling Caribbean foods, dancing and entertainment in the parking lot at the former Kohl’s building, now known as Atlanta Sports City. City officials met with organizers, businesses and community leaders for an informational meeting on May

15 to discuss logistics. Several business representatives who attended the meeting expressed concern about their customers’ ability to have access on the day of the event, but police assured them that plans are in place to handle traffic

SEE CARNIVAL page 2

DeKalb band director elected into American Bandmasters Association James Seda is one of only six African-American ABA members Southwest DeKalb High School band director James Seda has been elected into the American Bandmasters Association (ABA). As one of 13 new members, Seda joins recognized band directors from various public schools, universities and orchestras throughout the United States and Canada. Seda’s election also brings the total number

James Seda

of African-American band directors among the American Bandmasters Association to

just six of 325 total members. Seda has served as director of bands at Southwest DeKalb High since 2001. Previously, he served as assistant director of bands at Southwest’s feeder school, Chapel Hill Middle School. A product of the Atlanta Public Schools, graduated from Southside Comprehensive High School. He received his bachelor’s of science degree in music education from Florida A&M.

Photo by Travis Hudgons

Bands under Seda’s leadership have been featured in the movie, “Drumline,” marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and have performed at the 2016 Historically Black Colleges and Universities Band Directors Consortium. Seda is a four-time recipient of the Citation of Excellence award from the National Band Association.

SEE SEDA page 6

Georgia sets record for employed residents

G

eorgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that Georgia set all-time highs again in April as the labor force and employed residents in the state continued to surge. The state continues to approach the 5-million mark for employed residents. At the same time, the state posted more than 4.5 million jobs and a labor force of more than 5.1 million. Both labor force and employed residents were records again in April. The jobless rate, meanwhile, dropped by .1 percent. “The state really is prospering,” Butler said. “We continue to see our current businesses expanding and companies moving to Georgia to take advantage of our low taxes, great transportation system and excellent labor force.” In April, Georgia counted 4.92 million employed residents. That number was up by 12,611 over the month and by more than 123,000 since last April. Likewise, Georgia’s labor force continued to climb, increasing by 9,112 in April to 5.1 million.

It grew by 98,554 over the last 12 months. Butler said both numbers continue trends going back many months. “Georgia continues to produce quality jobs,” Butler said. “And better yet, people are getting those jobs.” Georgia’s April unemployment rate came in at

4.3 percent, down from 4.4 percent last month. A year ago it was 4.9 percent. Jobs were down in April by 2,800 to 4.5 million. However, over the past 12 months, Georgia added 67,100 jobs. Most of the job loss was in professional and business services which was down by 9,500. Leisure and hospitality noted the largest job growth at 2,800. Over the past year, Georgia has added more than 10,000 jobs each in the following sectors: education and health services, trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and construction. The number of claims filed in April was up less than 1 percent. As compared to April 2017, they were down by less than 1 percent. There were 58,756 jobs posted on employgeorgia.com during April. Visit dol.georgia.gov to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.


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CARNIVAL continued from page 1

flow and get people in and out of the businesses. Police said the parade will move intermittently, with officers directing traffic off Turner Hill Road to avoid a backup on I-20. Plans call for Mall Parkway to be open eastbound from Evans Mill Road. Police will be at the entrances of the automobile dealerships and Haverty’s furniture store to direct customers. Police said in the past, there had been no problems with Carnival events held on Covington Highway and they are prepared to handle crowds at the Stonecrest event. Antonio Avery Demarco Butler Clarissa McGhee Nashea Poole City Councilman Jimmy Clanton, whose District 1 includes the Mall at Stonecrest, said the festival presents a great opportunity for businesses in the area. He said he plans to conduct a survey post festival to get feedback from businesses and residents. “It’s a great opportunity for businesses and the city to gain exposure,” Clanton said. “If the city can manage DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry himself. His brother, Chad, was shot multiple the crowd control, the rest will only be dealing with the Boston announced a conviction by jury trial times in the leg and arm after twice trying to inconveniences of traffic with a large event like this. This in the homicide case against three gang assist him. Jordan Collins died at the scene. event gives us an opportunity to see how we will work with members, including a female decoy, tied to a The women and two gunmen fled following large events in the future.” deadly online dating scheme. Jurors returned the shooting. Cell phone records eventually Clanton said several residents expressed excitement at a guilty verdicts on May 16 against 28-yearled to the women’s identities and subsequent recent community meeting that he held. old Demarco “Blazalino” Butler, 26-yeararrests of the four suspects. “They were googling other places around the country that old Antonio “Killa” Avery, and 22-year-old Trial testimony revealed that all three have hosted Carnival and saying how excited they were that Nashea Poole on charges of Murder, Felony defendants were members of the 9 Trey it is coming to Stonecrest,” Clanton said. Murder, Aggravated Assault, Violation of the Bloods criminal street gang in which both Representatives from the DeKalb Fire Department, who Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Butler and Avery held high-ranking leadership also attended the meeting, said first aid and water stations Act, and weapons offenses for the shooting positions. Together with defendant Poole, the would be set up. death of Jordan Collins, 23, and gunshot two men orchestrated a plan to rob the victims Baker said he has hired a private sanitation company to injuries to his brother, Chad Collins, 26. via a dating ruse. Prior to trial, co-defendant clean up the area following the event and he is working with The incident happened on Sept. 1, 2016 Clarissa McGhee entered a guilty plea to a businesses to provide extra parking. in Lithonia at the Turnbridge Wells Crescent charge of Aggravated Assault for her role in Matthew Hampton, director of AEI StartUP Factory, home of the victims’ sister. According to the the crime. said Bill Allen, owner, plans to provide paid parking at the investigation, Jordan Collins met Defendant The remaining defendants will be StartUp Factory, located at 7310 Stonecrest Concourse, and Nashea Poole and her indicted accomplice, sentenced at a later date by DeKalb Superior the former Target store, located at 8109 Mall Parkway. About Clarissa McGhee, 22, via the ‘Plenty of Fish’ Court Judge Gregory A. Adams, who presided 75 to 100 spaces are available at the institute. Hampton said online dating site. The women came to the over the trial. 500 to 550 spaces are available at the former Target store. home under the pretense of a “date” with the The case was prosecuted by Major Case “The Allen Entrepreneurial Institute is a dedicated partner men. Unbeknownst to the victims, defendants Unit Senior Assistant District Attorneys of the City of Stonecrest, and we feel that it is important that Demarco Butler and Antonio Avery lay in Dwayne Brown and Buffy Thomas with we aid the city in its efforts to bring quality entertainment wait outside of the home where the victim assistance from DA Investigator Sweden to our community,” Hampton said in a May 17 letter to was lured by Ms. Poole. Once outside, Jordan Bailey. Detective Vance Van Hees of the Andre Matthew, production manager for Atlanta Carnival Collins encountered the two armed men and DeKalb Police Department led the initial Entertainment. was shot in the back as he struggled to defend investigation. For more information, visit atlantacarnival.net.

Gang members convicted in online dating murder, botched robbery scheme

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MAY 19, 2018 • PAGE 3

PUBLISHER Glenn L. Morgan

gmorgan1@ocgnews.com

EDITOR Valerie J. Morgan

editor@ocgnews.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Richard S. Hill

richardhill@ocgnews.com

STAFF WRITER Mackenzie Morgan

Tucker Day celebration draws thousands

Main Street in Tucker was Ground Zero for a celebration on May12. Hosted by the Main Street Tucker Alliance, this year marked the 63rd anniversary for the annual Tucker Day event. Thousands filled the streets to experience a parade, live music, dancing, arts and crafts, food and family-friendly activities. Photos by Travis Hudgons

mackenzie@ocgnews.com

PRODUCTION MANAGER Travis Hudgons travis@ocgnews.com

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.

On Common Ground News P.O. Box 904 Lithonia, GA 30058 (678) 526-1910 www.ocgnews.com

Stonecrest expands website for online permitting, code enforcement complaints The city of Stonecrest’s building officials have introduced an online portal that allows residents and builders to obtain building permits and schedule inspections. New business owners and residents interested in remodeling their homes can also use the online service to determine if a business license or permit is needed, obtain submittal requirements, apply and pay the licensing and permitting fees as wellas view the status of their application. Existing business owners can renew their current business

license online, provided the existing license was issued by the City of Stonecrest instead of DeKalb County. On June 1, the city is launching online filing for code enforcement complaints. Residents will be able to file and track the complaint at the city’s web site. Last year, code enforcement officers handled more than 900 complaints, most of which were submitted by email or phone. Complaints soon will be submitted and tracked online. Later this summer, the website will provide a planning and zoning feature that will

Stonecrest now has its own mailing address It’s official. The U.S. Postal service recently added Stonecrest, GA to its list of acceptable city and state designations. City residents may now use Stonecrest, instead of Lithonia when mailing letters or packages using the Postal Service. Stonecrest ZIP codes will remain the same. “This is one more step that will help put Stonecrest on the map,” Mayor Jason Lary said. The news comes as the city turned a year old this month. Amazon, United Parcel Service, and FedEx have not officially followed suit. However, the USPS change will make it easier to bring the other three shipping services up to date. Staff members are also working with Google Maps to get Stonecrest as a designation. Currently, Stonecrest addresses placed in Google still default to Lithonia. “The process of updating Google is a lengthy, arduous one. The City’s GIS manager submitted the necessary information to Google last summer,” said Adrion Bell, the city’s communications director. Google periodically verifies and updates their records, Bell said. In February, the city’s Google classification was upgraded from a “new submission” to “under review.” “We hope this process is completed by the summer,” Bell added.

give developers the document requirements and the ability to apply online. “Our website is a constant work in progress. Our goal is to use technology to make doing business with the City of Stonecrest a quick, easy, and convenient process,” said Adrion Bell, Stonecrest Communications Director. The link to start the online building permit process may be found on the city’s website under the Building Permitting and Land Use section or by clicking this link. http://stonecrestga. gov/building_permit.php


PAGE 4 • MAY 19, 2018 

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Watchdogs for Justice to host forum on how to interact with the police

Parents’ orientation for DeKalb summer camp set May 31

Watchdogs for Justice (WFJ) is sponsoring a “Keeping Kids out of Prison” seminar on Saturday May 26, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. WFJ is a nonprofit organization established to decrease the number of young people entering the criminal justice system. The seminars are designed to educate youths, their parents, and concerned citizens about the pitfalls that lure young people into behavior that can land them in prison. The community is urged to invite young people and their parents to attend and learn:

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs is inviting parents to learn more about summer day camp programs during an orientation on Thursday, May 31, at 6:30 p.m. Summer day camp programs are offered for youth ages 5-15 and information sessions will be held at all recreation centers, except Redan Recreation Center. For more information, contact LaShanda Davis, Public Relations Specialist, at (404) 371-3643.

• What to do if stopped by the police • How to safely exercise your constitutional rights • How to avoid getting caught up in the criminal justice system • When to talk and when to keep silent • The penalty for Georgia’s seven deadly sins • The importance of showing respect for those in positions of authority For more information, call 678-412-2299, email watchdogsforjusice@ gmail.com or visit www.watchdogsforjustice.org.

DeKalb County Recreation Centers • Browns Mill Recreation Center: 5101 Browns Mill Road, Lithonia, GA 30038 • Exchange Recreation Center: 2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA 30034 • Gresham Recreation Center: 3113 Gresham Road, Atlanta, GA 30316 • Hamilton Recreation Center: 3263 Chapel Street, Scottdale, GA 30079 • Lucious Sanders Recreation Center: 2484 Bruce Street, Lithonia, GA 30058 • Mason Mill Recreation Center: 1340-B McConnell Drive, Decatur, GA 30033 • Midway Recreation Center: 3181 Midway Road, Decatur, GA 30032 • N. H. Scott Recreation Center: 2230 Tilson Road, Decatur, GA 30032 • Tobie Grant Recreation Center: 644 Parkdale Drive, Scottdale, GA 30079

City of Clarkston to host City Council pre-work Session Mixer The City of Clarkston will host its Work Session mixer on May 29, 6 to 7 p.m., at Clarkston’s City Hall, 3921 Church Street, Clarkston. Clarkston residents and other stakeholders are invited to mix and mingle with elected officials, City of Clarkston administrative staff and community leaders before the Council’s regularly scheduled City Council Work Session. City Manager Keith Barker said the council’s pre-Work Session mixers are believed to be the first held in DeKalb County. “Mixers are another forum in which the City will continue to provide opportunities for civic and community engagement,” said Barker. Appetizers and beverages will be served at the mixers. To celebrate the city’s diverse population, some of the mixers will have food themes, according to the city’s news release.

Springfield Baptist sets food distribution Springfield Baptist Church, 1877 Iris Drive SE, Conyers, will hold its monthly Community Food Distribution on May 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All are welcome. Pre-registration is not required. An ID is needed for onsite registration. For more information, call 678-806-3378, ext. 226.

PET OF THE Week

LifeLine presents its DeKalb County Animal Services Pet of the Week, Darby. This amazing dog has been at the DeKalb shelter for 365 days! We don’t understand why, because she is the perfect dog! If you are looking for a dog you can take with you to Atlanta’s dog-friendly restaurant patios and decks, Darby is your gal. This sweet girl can relax just about anywhere, and on a recent outing, she was not bothered by large crowds and chose to take a quick nap in the middle of Ponce City Market! Darby rides wonderfully in the car too, and she loves all toys, especially big stuffed one. She carries them around gently in her mouth and resists the temptation to rip them up. Volunteers adore Darby, and when one recently took her home for a weekend sleepover, they said she was house trained and a total cuddler! When the volunteer had guests, Darby soaked up all the extra human attention and was loving toward everyone. Come meet Darby by dropping by 3280 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, emailing adoptions@dekalbanimalservices.com or calling 404-294-2165.

CITY OF STONECREST PLANNING COMMISSION, PUBLIC HEARING: TUESDAY, MAY 1ST 2018 AT 6:00 P.M. STONECREST CITY HALL, 3120 STONECREST BLVD LITHONIA, GA 30038 CITY OF STONECREST MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL, PUBLIC HEARING: MONDAY, MAY 21ST 2018 AT 6:00 P.M. CITY OF STONECREST, 3120 STONECREST BLVD STONECREST, GA 30038 The following Land Use Petition located within the City of Stonecrest is scheduled for Public Hearings as stated above. LAND USE PETITION: PETITIONER: LOCATION: CURRENT ZONING: PROPOSED ZONING:

RZ-18-002 Beverly J. Searles Foundation 6757 Covington Hwy C-1 (Local Commercial) District MR-2 (Medium Density Residential) District Conditional PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT: Request to rezone property to construct senior living facility LAND USE PETITION: PETITIONER: LOCATION: CURRENT ZONING: PROPOSED ZONING: PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT:

SLUP-18-002 Pawanjit Kavr 6721 Covington Hwy C-1 (Local Commercial) District C-1 (Local Commercial) District Request Special Land Use Permit to construct liquor store.

TEXT AMENDMENT: PETITIONER: PROPOSED AMENDMENT:

TMOD 18-0003 City Staff Amendment to Article IX, Section 9.1.3 to add a definition for “Short Term Vacation Rental”.

TEXT AMENDMENT: TMOD 18-0004 PETITIONER: City Staff PROPOSED AMENDMENT: Amend IV, Table 4.1 Use Table as to the permitted locations of Short Term Vacation Rentals, Amend Article IV, Section 4.2.5.8 to provide supplemental regulations for Short Term Vacation Rentals, Amend and Adopt. TEXT AMENDMENT: TMOD 18-0005 PETITIONER: City Staff PROPOSED AMENDMENT: Chapter 14, in its entirety, relating to Land Development, subdivision, soil and erosion, and tree regulations.


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MAY 19, 2018 • PAGE 5

Conyers pilot helps youths spread their wings through Young Eagles flight program

I

By Mackenzie N. Morgan had no idea when I woke up May 10 I would be flying a plane. It was a regular day and as I headed to my interview, I thought about what I might ask a retired pilot. When I arrived at my subject’s home, I was amazed to find a plane parked in the yard. Before I had time to process how the plane got there, my dad, Glenn Morgan, who is publisher of On Common Ground News, and I were greeted by the plane’s owner, Charles “Chuck” Roberts. Roberts, who will celebrate his 74th birthday in June, recently completed his 300th mission as a retired aviator as part of the EAA’s “Young Eagles” program. Founded in 1992, the Young Eagles mission is to inspire the next generation of aviators by providing free demonstration airplane rides to youths ages 8–17. We were eager and honored to meet Roberts and tell his story to our community. Roberts lives in a gated “fly-in community,” or airpark. All of the residents in his community share a main runway, forming their very own mini airport. As you enter the community, the main drive doubles as a taxiway where airplanes have the right-of-way since they don’t have the ability to reverse. When not in use, residents park their planes on their property in a hangar, which is essentially a garage for an airplane. After giving us a brief history of his plane, Roberts invited us into his home to talk about how he got into aviation and his involvement with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)’s “Young Eagles” program. “I was born and raised in aviation. I caught the flight bug as a child and I always wanted to be a pilot, but my actual background is in computer science and engineering,” Roberts said. Born into a family of aviators, Roberts’ paternal grandmother was a commercial pilot and flight instructor; his father was an Army Air Corps (Air Force) fighter pilot and Pearl Harbor survivor and his older brother was a career army pilot who did two tours in Vietnam. Although Roberts was surrounded by planes as a youth, he didn’t get licensed until age 33 when

Chuck Roberts stands next to his 1947 Stinson 108-1 in the driveway of his home, which is located in a secluded fly-in community also known as an airpark. This is the same style aircraft Roberts’ paternal grandmother flew during his childhood. Photos by Glenn L. Morgan

Mackenzie N. Morgan

an opportunity presented itself while working as an engineer for an aviation radio manufacturer. The retired aviator said that he loves inspiring kids to take an interest in STEM-related careers including aviation. He said flying is an attractive way to get kids curious in the STEM field, even if they don’t necessarily become pilots. Roberts is part of a network of more than 50,000 volunteers from around the world who enjoy recreational flight and dedicate their time and aircraft to the effort. Pilots in the Young Eagles program explain the safe operation of airplanes and principles of flight before the short

trips and participants become official Young Eagles. The names of the pilots and the participants are also included in the “World’s Largest Logbook,” which is on permanent display in the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and online through the Young Eagles’ website. As of May 14, 2018, the Young Eagles program has flown 2,090,238 kids between the ages of 8 and 17, according to the EAA’s website. After the interview, Roberts offered to take us out for a fly in his 1947 Stinson 108-1, the same model he grew up riding in as a boy alongside his grandmother. How could we say no? Getting in the plane was a breeze for me, but not for my 6’4-foot-tall dad. After maneuvering his way into the backseat of the small aircraft, we were provided a special pair of protective earphones, which enabled us to communicate with one another as well as hear real-time air traffic control broadcasts. Once safety belts were secure, we taxied down the driveway onto the main road and over to the runway. Once we reached the end of the runway, our pilot performed a final checklist and we throttled down the runway at top speed propelling us into the air. I watched Conyers disappear into tiny of patches of brown and green land and gray asphalt. It was exhilarating to say the least. In just a few short minutes, I could see Lenora Park in Gwinnett County, historic Stone Mountain and the Rockdale reservoir at Randy Poynter Lake. I quickly discovered that flying is electrifying. Our guide turned the wheel over to me. I mashed down on the pedal and turned

the control yolk (steering wheel) left and then right, soaring through the blue sky right alongside the birds. I never imagined a little black girl from Stone Mountain, Georgia with a degree in journalism would be flying a plane. It just doesn’t happen every day–especially on deadline. I gave the wheel back to Roberts and soaked up the rest of the experience by taking in all of the views. Roberts says he still gets a thrill from flying planes after becoming a licensed pilot over four decades ago. “Flying solo for the first time borders on a religious experience. Almost every pilot will tell you that you never lose the thrill of taking off. When you climb out away from the world and the world drops away from you, there’s always a thrill in that – you never get over that feeling.” Roberts said it is this feeling he wishes to share with young people in hopes of sparking more interest in aviation. Roberts and his wife, Gaye, are also helping coordinate this year’s Young Eagles summer aviation camp in Lawrenceville. “I’m not a pilot, but I like to go,” said Mrs. Roberts, who enjoys accompanying her husband on flights. “I just think it’s very unique and it’s not something everybody does so it kind of gives kids something special. It’s something they have to work towards and I think when you work towards something you value it more. When they accomplish becoming a pilot or airplane mechanic, they’ve really earned their wings,” said Mrs. Roberts.

Aviation Summer Camp for Kids EAA Chapter 690 is offering an immersive aviation-focused STEM program at the chapter hangar at the Gwinnett County Airport in Lawrenceville. The camp runs June 11-15 with a free Young Eagles flight on Saturday, June 16. Topics covered in the weeklong camp include aircraft construction methods, principles of aeronautics, R/C modeling, helicopter flight, ground and flight instruction and visits to select facilities located at Briscoe Field. Students in 7th through 12th grades may apply. For more information about the summer camp, visit www. eaa690.org. To learn more about the Young Eagles program, visit www.youngeagles.org.


PAGE 6 • MAY 19, 2018 

OP/ED

The Race for Public Service Commissioner

Why It Matters to You By Rita Scott and Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley

W

hat Georgia race could directly impact your monthly household budget? The most important race you’ve never heard of: Georgia’s Public Service Commissioner. While the Public Service Commission has many responsibilities, it ultimately has the power to regulate utility costs.

This position also has a direct impact on the health of black communities. Communities near coal plants are disproportionately black, leading to higher rates of asthma and other health concerns in our children. We must invest in clean, renewable energy.

Impact on the African American Community

Lindy Miller is running for Georgia’s Public Service Commission, District 3, which is elected statewide. She is fighting for economic justice and making it her mission to make utilities affordable again for families, schools, and small businesses. We need a Public Service Commissioner who is willing to fight for us. Please join us in voting for Lindy Miller for Georgia Public Service Commissioner on May 22.

Atlanta has the fourth highest energy burden in the country. We pay a higher proportion of our income toward utility bills than almost any city in the United States. This energy burden falls heavily on black families in the metro area. Bad decisions by representatives on the Public Service Commission have led to these increased costs. Plant Vogtle has added a $100 per year tax to our utility bills. These rising bills and taxes place the highest burden on those with limited incomes. Families across the state are choosing between paying their electricity bill and buying groceries. That is not right.

What You Can Do

Rita Scott is president of Communications Workers of America, Retired Members Council, District 3 and a long-time community leader. The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley is the former pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta and an advocate for social and environmental justice.

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SEDA continued from page 1

Seda and his wife, Jennifer, live in Ellenwood, according to musicedalliance.org. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. Seda also is a member of the Minority Band Directors National Association. The American Bandmasters Association, founded in 1929, is comprised of conductors, composers, and arrangers. The organization helps further the interests of classical American and Canadian musicians by providing significant services to bands nationwide. Some accomplishments include the establishment of the Journal of Band Research; the founding of the National Band Association Hall of Fame for Distinguished Conductors; the American Bandmaster Research Center at the University of Maryland; and half a century’s worth of dedication to the betterment of bands. – Staff writer Mackenzie N. Morgan contributed to this report.


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WorkSource DeKalb Audio/Video & Film students on set of commercial production.

DeKalb students help create TV commercial Registered apprenticeship commercial to air on MTV and VH1 Students in WorkSource DeKalb’s Audio/Video and Film Program recently helped United Youth of America film a commercial highlighting the organization’s Culinary Arts Registered Apprenticeship Program. The commercial encourages 16- to 24-year-old DeKalb County residents to explore careers in the culinary arts industry. In the commercial, United Youth of America’s culinary arts registered apprenticeship participants are featured receiving hands-on training from Zaxby’s counter and kitchen staff and store management. The commercial is scheduled to air May through August 2018 on the Viacom networks MTV and VH1 via Comcast cable. For more information about WorkSource DeKalb’s Audio/ Video and Film Program, contact Latanya Lowery at llowery@ dekalbcountyga.gov or (404) 3713038. For more information about the United Youth of America Culinary Registered Apprenticeship Program,

GO VOTE! Election day is May 22

contact Annette Wilson at awilson@ uyoa.org or (678) 362-8994. For more information about WorkSource DeKalb, visit www. worksourcedekalb.org or call 404687-3400.


PAGE 8 • MAY 19, 2018 WWW.OCGNEWS.COM

Rockdale Community Ambassadors to host second trash bash on June 9 The Rockdale Community Ambassadors is hosting its second “Trash Bash” clean-up event on Saturday, June 9, weather permitting. The event will take place in Zone 2, the Windridge and Queenie Woods Neighborhoods, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meet-up location will be at Pine Log Park, 1451 Pine Log Road, Conyers. If weather conditions change, the clean-up will be held on Saturday, June 16. Chairman Oz Nesbitt, Sr. created the Rockdale Community Ambassadors program to promote Rockdale County in a positive light. Within the Trash Bash campaign, there will be four separate community clean-up events, each hosted in four different parts of the county throughout the year. The dates and locations for each event are as follows: 1. May 12 - Zone 1 -Irwin Bridge Area 2. June 9 - Zone 2 - Windridge and Queenie Woods Neighborhoods 3. August 11 - Zone 3 - Johnson Park Area 4. October 6 - Zone 4 - Ogelsby Bridge Area Three ambassadors will serve as the lead contact for their zones: 1. Daniel Whidby – Zone 1 and Zone 3 daniel.whidby@rockdalecountyga.gov 2. Jerry Sheppard – Zone 2 jerry.sheppard@rockdalecountyga.gov 3. Jessica Ivey – Zone 4 jessica.ivey@rockdalecountyga.gov These ambassadors will act as liaisons for their zones and will be a point of contact for the residents in those areas after the clean-ups are done. They will notify code enforcement about any complaints or concerns they hear.
 Each clean-up event will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and food will be provided by Papa John’s and Kroger. Interested volunteers can register for the event on Eventbrite.com, by searching for “Trash Bash Zone 2 Clean Up”. Registration is free. 
For more information, contact Sitarah Coote at sitarah.coote@ rockdalecountyga.gov or 770-278-7057.



PAGE 9 • MAY 19, 2018 

DeKalb School District to host Region 1 Job Fair in Chamblee The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) invites all educators, administrators and support personnel to the 2018 Region I Job Fair on Thursday, May 31, 9 a.m. until noon, at Chamblee Charter High School in Chamblee The event will provide attendees with information about working in the Dunwoody, Cross Keys and Chamblee Charter high school clusters. Information also will be available about Kittredge Magnet, Oakcliff Theme, Warren Technical, Margaret Harris Comprehensive and the International Student Center. Participants should bring resumes, certificates, official transcripts, edTPA scores, GACE scores, program admissions, ethics assessments, and content assessments. To preregister for the event or apply for open positions online, visit the DCSD recruitment website. For more information, contact Julie Fincher at julie_fincher@dekalbschoolsga.org or call 678-676-0169.

DeKalb Police respond to protest over Sen. Williams’ “Deportation Bus” DeKalb Police thwarted a clash between Gubernatorial candidate Sen. Michael Williams and protestors demonstrating against Williams’ campaign’s “Deportation Bus” on May 15. The incident took place around 3:15 p.m. Protestors were gathered at a shopping plaza located at 2875 N. Decatur Road in DeKalb County, police said. A police supervisor and officers responded to the scene after receiving an anonymous 911 call. The caller said protestors were “getting violent” and would not allow the bus to leave. After police arrived on the scene, however, they said they did not observe any violence or criminal activity. The DeKalb County Police Department DeKalb Police Department is urging anyone who encountered violence or any criminal activity at the site to contact the DeKalb County Police Department.

Mobile Career Unit out of service for repair The WorkSource DeKalb Mobile Career Unit is out of service for repair. The mobile unit is anticipated to resume service in June. The mobile unit brings job assistance to DeKalb residents by conveniently traveling all over the county. Residents have access to services like job search assistance, workshops, training, resume writing and interviewing tips. Businesses may also use the mobile unit for interviewing, training, preemployment screenings or recruiting. Residents and businesses seeking WorkSource DeKalb services can visit www.worksourcedekalb.org or call 404-687-3400.

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DeKalb Ethics Board votes to fine former Commissioner Stan Watson Former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson is facing a $9,000 fine by the DeKalb County Ethics Board for using public resources and donations from county vendors for his re-election campaign. The board held its hearing on May 17. Neither Watson nor his attorney, Pam Stephenson, attended the hearing. Watson told On Common Ground News that he was not aware of the Ethics Board’s decision and he had not had a chance to speak with Stephenson. He deferred questions to her. She could not be reached late Thursday, May 17. Watson’s former aide, Kelly Cato, Jay Vinicki, DeKalb’s budget director, and Stan Watson Felton Williams, an employee in the county’s purchasing department, testified at the hearing about Watson’s campaign fundraising.  The fine by the Ethics Board include $1,000 per violation at five events. The board said Watson allegedly used money he raised from vendors who do business with the county to finance events that also promoted his re-election campaign.

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Vote for a better DeKalb. Early voting now-May 18. Election Day is May 22nd.

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MAY 19, 2018 WWW.OCGNEWS.COM

Rockdale’s Constitutional Corner

Now’s the time to clean up arrest records

Spring is a great time to clean out the old cobwebs, dust bunnies and pollen. It is also a great time to clean up that arrest record. If you have been arrested in Rockdale County or the City of Conyers, you MAY be eligible to have those records restricted from public view. If your arrest did not result in a conviction (PLEAS, JURY TRIALS, OR NOLOS) or if you completed a Pre-Trial Intervention/Diversion Program, you may qualify for this free opportunity. The City of Conyers Police and the Rockdale County Sheriff are waiving their fees for this event. You must apply online by May 30 to get the free Record Restriction Service. Parents, teachers and youth leaders this is a great opportunity to prevent future problems for our young people. JOB FAIR & RECORD RESTRICTION FORUM SATURDAY JUNE 9 • SPRINGFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH 1877 Iris Drive SE, Conyers, GA 30013 Saturday June 9, 2018 9AM to Noon Why Restrict Your Arrest Record? • Improve Housing Opportunities • Improve Job Opportunities • Improve Financial Access Opportunities MUST APPLY IN ADVANCE Applications Available Unitl May 30 onine at www.RockdaleClerk.com/Restriction For more information call 770-278-7903 or email RecordRestriction@RockdaleCountyGA.Gov

DeKalb Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit arrests Meshon Williams, 17, wanted in murder of 6-year-old The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Unit, assisted by the DeKalb County Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol, have arrested Meshon Williams, 17, who was sought in connection with the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy. Williams was arrested on May 10. The victim, Z'Mari Mitchell, was shot while inside his home on Sweetgum Lane in Decatur on Saturday, May 5, after Williams allegedly fired 31 shots at the house. The child, who was hospitalized in critical condition, died Meshon Williams May 9 from the injuries he sustained. The DeKalb Sheriff's Office received a warrant for Williams' arrest on May 5, on charges of Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery. The warrant alleges that an argument over a social media post may have caused the shooting. The charges were upgraded to Murder after the child died. The public had been alerted that Williams was being pursued by authorities, and was considered armed and dangerous. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Unit located Williams in the Candler Road area, and together with DeKalb Police and the Georgia State Patrol, pursued him in a short car chase. Williams jumped from the vehicle he was driving and began to run westbound along I-20. Sheriff's investigators continued to pursue him on foot and discovered Williams hiding in the underbrush. He was taken into custody without incident. The vehicle driven by Williams remained in motion when he exited, and it subsequently hit a second vehicle not involved in the chase. The unidentified driver was transported by Emergency Medical Services. Williams is in custody at the DeKalb County Jail. To follow the disposition of this case, including hearings, please go to https://ody.dekalbcountyga.gov/. If you have difficulty reaching this site, please use Explorer as your browser instead of Google Chrome.

Rockdale Sheriff’s Office investigating fatal shooting of teen The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal shooting involving a 17-year-old male. On Monday, May 14, 3:11 a.m., deputies responded to a 911 call that a person was shot at 798 Pleasant Hill Road N.W., Conyers and the subject was being transported by friends to Rockdale Piedmont Hospital. Christian Manuel, who lived at the residence, was pronounced dead at the hospital. At On Common Ground News deadline on May 17, no further details were available about what led up to the shooting, said Sheriff’s spokesperson Yolande Lovinggood-Moore. The public is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office if anyone has information about this case. Sgt. Darren Benedict is overseeing the investigation and can be reached at 770-278-8038. Information also may be provided to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)404-577-TIPS. (8477


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