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Remembering Maya Angelou

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The CSRA’s FREE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER VOL.3 NO.37

JUNE 5 - 11, 2014

Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Meet MARK BOWEN: County’s new Coroner is making changes

Eddie Bussey 706-772-9800


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3 UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 5 - 11, 2014 Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen stands in the morgue next to an autopsy table at the 8th Street offices. Bowen was sworn in as Coroner in March. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Mark Bowen: Coroner finds value in assisting survivors Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen was sworn into office on March 1st, taking over the duties of the office after former Coroner Grover Tuten was arrested by the FBI and charged with theft. Bowen has implemented sweeping changes in the coroner’s office to protect the property of the deceased and to restore the trust of the community. He has also initiated a collaborative effort with GR Health Tissue Donor services to simplify the process of tissue

donations for families of the deceased. Tissue donations - such as eyes, skin, bones, pericardium, nerves, heart valves, connective tissue and veins - have made life-changing impacts for medical patients. Each donor can help up to 60 people in the community and over 2000 patients have been helped since the program started in January. Interview by Vincent Hobbs

UrbanProWeekly: The work of a Coroner can be an unglamorous and demanding job. Crime scenes can be horrific. Yet, death investigations are crucial in solving crimes - how did you become interested in this line of work?

ing directly from the RCSO where he was a Sergeant in the Criminal Investigation Division / Homicide Division. I am very confident in and proud of the team we’ve assembled.

MARK BOWEN: I have been interested in solving crimes and helping families find closure and comfort for really as long as I can remember. In high school, I started my career in public safety by volunteering on the ambulance service - at the time I was the youngest certified EMT in South Carolina. Also in high school, I started working part-time in a local funeral home and enjoyed being able to help families through difficult times. As a young adult, I entered law enforcement and worked for various agencies. The bulk of my career was at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office where I was a sergeant over road patrol and I worked with the DUI Task Force. I also served as a homicide investigator and served on a Fugitive Task Force, for a total of over twenty years in law enforcement. Being the Coroner has allowed me to provide a sense of closure to families and to pull all of my experience together into one role and apply it to death investigations.

UPW: It’s been a little over three months since you were officially sworn in as Richmond County Coroner. Can you describe the major changes you have implemented in the Coroner’s office? BOWEN: As you know, the arrest and ultimate resignation of former Coroner Grover Tuten is what led to my appointment as Coroner. I’ve spent the last six months restoring order and credibility to the office by implementing a chain-of-custody process that protects the belongings of the deceased and holds myself and the employees of the Coroner’s office accountable. I have shared each of these new processes with the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office and I have the support of both Ashley Wright and Richard Roundtree, who are also friends and colleagues. We are also now fully staffed with a very experienced, credible, and trustworthy team. Kenneth Boose was promoted to Chief Deputy. Kenny has worked with the Coroner’s office since 2010 and has twenty-eight years of law enforcement experience. Al Boudy came to the Coroner’s Office from the GBI, where he last worked as a Medical Examiner Investigator. He has over twenty-eight years in death investigation. Bill Leisey is the newest person on staff, com-

UPW: What services should a family expect from your office if the death of a family member requires a death investigation? BOWEN: First, families should expect to be greeted by a professional, trustworthy, deputy coroner during a death investigation. The Coroner’s office will communicate the process of the investigation with the family as thoroughly as possible, including what happens if an autopsy is necessary. The Coroner’s office will also contact funeral homes for the family and arrange the delivery of their loved one to their chosen funeral home. Coroners investigate the following types of death that occur within the various jurisdictions - deaths as a result of violence, suicide or casualty; deaths that occur suddenly when in apparent good health; deaths unattended by a physician; any suspicious or unusual manner of death, with particular attention to those persons 16 years of age and under; deaths occurring after birth but before seven years of age, if the death is unexpected or unexplained; deaths that occur

as a result of an execution carried out pursuant to the death penalty; and also when an inmate of a state hospital dies, or an inmate of a state, county or penal institution dies. The Coroner’s major role in the investigation is to establish cause and manner of death. The cause is the medical reason the person dies and the manner is whether they died as a result of violence, suicide, accidental, natural causes, or in an undetermined fashion. The importance of ascertaining the true cause and manner cannot be over emphasized. In addition to the monetary aspects, such as the difference between insurance payoffs in a suicide, as opposed to an accident, there may also be family and public health issues to address. The Coroner has the difficult responsibility of notifying families of the death of a family member or loved one. If the death is due to an infectious disease, proper authorities must be notified so measures to protect the public may be implemented. Advances in medicine, forensic sciences and death investigation techniques have enabled us to delve more deeply and be more accurate in determining the cause and manner of death. It takes a great deal more time to properly investigate a death today Continued on next page


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BOWEN from page 3 Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose (L) talks to Coroner Mark Bowen (R) in the morgue area of the 8th Street offices. Bowen was sworn in as Coroner in March. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

CORONER from page 3 than it did fifteen years ago, due to these advances. The Coroner also issues subpoenas for medical records used during the investigation. UPW: Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black males, aged 15-34, and is also the second-leading cause of death for black females, aged 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Recently, there was some discussion about the Coroner’s Office initiating a program for at-risk youth in the community. Has there been any progress made to start such a program? BOWEN: We have had initial discussions with judges about implementing an eight-hour class as part of a community service program. The class would bring youth, who have already entered the justice system, through the Coroner’s office for an up-close look at death. Initial interest and support is there - we need to further develop the class and set an implementation schedule. I am also interested in reaching youth in high schools, prior to them entering the judicial system. That will also be a part of the program once it is established.

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UPW: Has the GBI been able to hire a forensic pathologist for the Augusta area, or are bodies still being transported to metro Atlanta for autopsies? If so, how are the transportation costs being covered?

following the funeral or services. After that initial period, copies may be purchased from the Richmond County Department of Vital Records by calling 706-667-4319. The department of Vital Records is located in the Richmond County Health Department, 1916 North Leg Road. In order to obtain a copy of an autopsy report, you must call 404270-8527 and request a copy of the autopsy report from the GBI.

BOWEN: The GBI will not be placing a forensic pathologist in Augusta. They have hired someone to help UPW: What sorts of cases are the with the caseload but the GBI elected to move the position to Atlanta. most unsettling for you? Transportation costs are absorbed by BOWEN: I struggle the most with the budget, but it does put a strain the deaths of children. Certainly, on it. all deaths are meaningful because UPW: Are there any require- they’re someone’s loved one. But for ments for an individual to request me, seeing a child die unnecessarily is a coroner’s report or an autopsy particularly hard to deal with. report? UPW: Dr. G (Jan Garavaglia) is BOWEN: On completion of the Chief Medical Examiner in our Coroner’s investigation and metro Orlando, Florida, and we post-mortem examination, the understand that you’re a big fan of Coroner or his Deputy, upon deliv- her work. She wrote a book entiery of a death certificate initiated tled How Not to Die: Surprising by the Funeral Home, will complete Lessons on Living Longer, Safer said death certificate and return the and Healthier from America’s certificate to the funeral director, Favorite Medical Examiner. What who is then responsible for hav- snippets of advice would give your ing it certified. The death certifi- local Augustans on how to avoid cate is made available to the family early death?

Publisher Ben Hasan 706-394-9411 Managing Editor Frederick Benjamin Sr. 706-306-4647

Sales & Marketing Phone: 706-394-9411 Photography and Social Media Courtesy of Vincent Hobbs

BOWEN: I do love Dr. G and actually have been a part of a training program her staff also uses for continuing education - the St. Louis Medicolegal Death Investigation class. Use only the medication your doctor prescribes and be very careful with prescription painkillers. There seems to be an epidemic right now in the abuse of prescription painkillers. Many of the overdoses we see may have started out as legitimate needs - and escalated into a habit that couldn’t be controlled. And definitely have your priorities in place. Many deaths we see were not expected and stopped many lives short. UPW: Are there any plans for the Coroner’s Office to use social media to disseminate information to the public about its services? BOWEN: Not at this time. Unlike the Sheriff’s Office or Emergency Management Department, we seldom have events to report, areas to be avoided or need to report a “be on the look-out” alert. As we get our educational program up and running, we will think about using the City of Augusta’s social media outlets to get the word out about those events.

email: Ben Hasan bzhasan54@yahoo.com Frederick Benjamin Sr. editor@urbanproweekly.com Vincent Hobbs coolveestudio@gmail.com


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UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 5 - 11, 2014

WORSHIP

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Good Shepherd Baptist Church

Rev. Clarence Moore, Pastor 1714 Olive Road / P. O. Box 141 (mailing address) Augusta, GA 30903 706/733-0341- Telephone/706/667-0205 – Fax E-mail address: admin@goodshepherdaugusta.org Web address: goodshepherdaugusta.org Rev. Clarence Moore Church Service: 7:45 & 11:00 a.m. Church School: 9:45 a.m. / Prayer Service: 11:00 a.m. – Wednesday Bible Study: 9:00 a.m. - Saturday / 7:00 p.m. - Wednesday

Everfaithful Missionary Baptist Church

314 Sand Bar Ferry Road Augusta, Georgia 30901 (706) 722- 0553 Church School Sunday 9:25am Morning Worship Sunday 11am Evening Worship 6pm (1st & 3rd Sunday) Midday Prayer 12pm Wednesday Intercessory Prayer/Bible Study 6pm Wednesday

Bishop Rosa L. Williams, Pastor

Radio Broadcast: Sundays • WKZK 103.7 FM at 7:30 a.m. Sunday School 8:30 am Morning Worship Services: 9:45 am Evening Worship Services 6 pm (4th Sunday) Bible Study: 6pm (Mondays) Midday Bible Study: 12pm (Tuesdays) Prayer Services: 6pm (Wednesdays) Celebrate Recovery: 6pm (Fridays) and 12pm (Mondays) 2323 Barton Chapel Road • Augusta,GA 30906 706.790.8185 / 706.922.8186 (fax) Visit Us @ www.broadwaybaptistaug.org • Join us on facebook

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Augusta’s own world-famous ballerina Karen Brown returns home June 28 -July 3 to offer state of the art workshops for elite dance artists at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts

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Karen Brown will conduct workshops linking computer analysis with movement.

Karen Brown, master teacher, dance coach, professor of dance, and former principal ballerina with the Dance Theater of Harlem, is bringing her remarkable talents to elite dance artists around the country. As founder of the new En Pointe Plus (EPP) Refining Institute, Ms. Brown will present workshops utilizing computerized motion analysis (CMA) technology.  She will be offering workshops at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts June 28, 2014 to July 3, 2014. “I am compelled to help exceptional dancers to thrive in the world of dance!” says Ms. Brown, who is also a 2011 recipient of the New York Dance and Performance Awards - The Bessies. Ms. Brown has developed a new way of fusing the worlds of motion analysis technology and professional dance through her state of the art workshops. Ms. Brown is introducing the EPP Refining Institute workshops to Augusta, Georgia as part of a five city circuit this year that includes Chicago, New York City, Seattle,

and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The EPP Refining Institute, a Karenina enterprise, is geared toward assisting exceptional dance students in its technique refining CMA workshops. A true blending of arts and science achieves optimal performance in dance, the CMA workshops integrate the specific knowledge and skills needed for technical mastery. CMA is used to identify major and lesser strengths during the execution of movement. Participants will have unlimited access to their voice-over analysis video clips which are emailed daily to monitor and compare their progress. The EPP Refining Institute’s CMA workshops include private coaching sessions with Ms. Brown to diagnose, correct, improve and refine the dancer’s technical range. For more information on En Pointe Plus Refining Institute CMA workshops, private coaching sessions and scholarships visit www.kareninaballerina.com or call (302) 722-5538.

GRU student is USG’s second Tillman Military Scholar U.S. Army Veteran and Georgia Regents University student Adrienne Kambouris has been named a 2014 Tillman Military Scholar. Kambouris is one of 58 selected from over 7,500 applicants and the second student in the University System of Georgia to receive the prestigious award. The Pat Tillman Foundation creat-

ed the Tillman Military Scholars program in 2008 to honor the legacy of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who left his career to enlist in the U.S. Army after 9/11. Tillman served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before being killed in active service in 2004. The program supports active-duty

service members, veterans and military spouses through educational scholarships. As a supplement to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Tillman Military Scholarship covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, for full-time students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate degrees at a pub-

lic or private, U.S.-based accredited institution. “With so many applying for this highly competitive scholarship, I am deeply honored to have been chosen and forever grateful to have an opportunity to share in Pat Tillman’s legacy,” said Kambouris.

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Maya Angelou, the esteemed poet, writer, and actress died recently (May 28, 2014) in her Winston-Salem home. The literary giant, most known for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Phenomenal Woman, a collection of poetry, was one of the foremost African-American writers and thinkers of her time. But society often forgets her legacy as a fierce civil rights activist, and someone who did not shy away from political controversy.


Maya Angelou, whose landmark book of 1969, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — a lyrical, unsparing account of her childhood in the Jim Crow South — was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday, May 28, at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Her death was confirmed by her literary agent, Helen Brann. The cause was not immediately known, but Ms. Brann said Ms. Angelou had been frail for some time and had heart problems. In a statement, President Obama said, “Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time — a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman,” adding, “She inspired my own mother to

name my sister Maya.” Though her memoirs, which eventually filled six volumes, garnered more critical praise than her poetry did, Ms. Angelou (pronounced AHNzhe-low) very likely received her widest exposure on a chilly January day in 1993, when she delivered her inaugural poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton, the nation’s 42nd president. He, like Ms. Angelou, had grown up in Arkansas. It began: A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Marked the mastodon, The dinosaur, who left dried tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm of their hastening doom Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, Come, you may stand upon my Back and face your distant destiny, But seek no haven in my shadow, I will give you no hiding place down here.

Long before that day, as she recounted in “Caged Bird” and its sequels, she had already been a dancer, calypso singer, streetcar conductor, single mother, magazine editor in Cairo, administrative assistant in Ghana, official of the  Southern Christian Leadership Conference  and friend or associate of some of the most eminent black Americans of the mid-20th century, including James Baldwin, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Afterward (her six-volume memoir takes her only to age

40), Ms. Angelou was a Tonynominated stage actress; college professor (she was for many years the Reynolds professor of American studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem); ubiquitous presence on the lecture circuit; frequent guest on television shows from “Oprah” to “Sesame Street”; and subject of a string of scholarly studies. In February 2011, Mr. Obama  presented her  with the  Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Throughout her writing, Ms. Angelou explored the concepts of personal identity and resilience through the multifaceted lens of race, sex, family, community and the collective past. As a whole, her work offered a cleareyed examination of the ways in which the socially marginalizing forces of racism and

MAYA ANGELOU Marguerite Johnson was born in St. Louis on April 4, 1928. (For years after Dr. King’s assassination, on April 4, 1968, Ms. Angelou did not celebrate her birthday.) Her dashing, defeated father, Bailey Johnson Sr., a Navy dietitian, “was a lonely person, searching relentlessly in bottles, under women’s skirts, in church work and lofty job titles for his ‘personal niche,’ lost before birth and unrecovered since,” Ms. Angelou wrote. “How maddening it was to have been born in a cotton field with aspirations of grandeur.” Her beautiful, volatile mother, Vivian Baxter, was variously a nurse, hotel owner and card dealer. (Ms. Angelou’s 2013 account of life with her mother, “Mom & Me & Mom,” became a best seller.) As a girl, Ms. Angelou was known as Rita, Ritie or Maya, her older brother’s childhood nickname for her. After her parents’ marriage ended, 3-year-old Maya was sent with her 4-year-old brother, Bailey, to live with their father’s mother in the tiny town of Stamps, Ark., which, she later wrote, “with its dust and hate and narrowness was as South as it was possible to get.” Their grandmother, Annie Henderson, owned a general store “in the heart of the Negro area,” Ms. Angelou wrote. An upright woman known as Momma, “with her solid air packed around her like cotton,” she is a warm, stabilizing presence throughout “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The children returned periodically to St. Louis to live with their mother. On one such occasion, when Maya was 7 or 8 (her age varies slightly across her memoirs, which employ techniques of fiction to recount actual events), she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She told her brother, who alerted the family, and the man was tried and convicted. Before he could begin serving his sentence, he was murdered — probably, Ms. Angelou wrote, by her uncles. Believing that her words had brought

about the death, Maya did not speak for the next five years. Her love of literature, as she later wrote, helped restore language to her. As a teenager, living with her mother in San Francisco, she studied dance and drama at the California Labor School and became the first black woman to work as a streetcar conductor there. At 16, after a casual liaison with a neighborhood youth, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. There the first book ends. Reviewing “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in The New York Times,Christopher LehmannHaupt  called it “a carefully wrought, simultaneously touching and comic memoir.” The book — its title is a line from “Sympathy,” by the African-American poetPaul Laurence Dunbar — became a best seller, confounding the stereotype, pervasive in the publishing world, that black women’s lives were rarely worthy of autobiography. The five volumes of Ms. Angelou’s memoir that follow “Caged Bird” — all, like the first, originally published by Random House — were “Gather Together in My Name” (1974), “Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas” (1976), “The Heart of a Woman” (1981), “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes” (1986) and “A Song Flung Up to Heaven” (2002). They describe her struggles to support her son, Guy Johnson, through odd jobs. “Determined to raise him, I had worked as a shake dancer in nightclubs, fry cook in hamburger joints, dinner cook in a Creole restaurant and once had a job in a mechanic’s shop, taking paint off cars with my hands,” she wrote in “Singin’ and Swingin’.” Elsewhere, she described her shortlived stints as a prostitute and a madam. Ms. Angelou goes on to recount her marriage to a Greek sailor, Tosh Angelos. (Throughout her life, she was cagey about the number of times she

married — it appears to have been at least three — for fear, she said, of appearing frivolous.) After the marriage dissolved, she embarked on a career as a calypso dancer and singer under the name Maya Angelou, a variant of her married name. A striking stage presence — she was six feet tall — she occasionally partnered in San Francisco with Alvin Ailey in a nightclub act known as Al and Rita. She was cast in the Truman CapoteHarold Arlen musical “House of Flowers,” which opened on Broadway in 1954. But she chose instead to tour the world as a featured dancer in a production of “Porgy and Bess” by the Everyman Opera Company, a black ensemble. Ms. Angelou later settled in New York, where she became active in the Harlem Writers Guild (she hoped to be a poet and playwright), sang at the Apollo and eventually succeeded Bayard Rustin as the coordinator of the New York office of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization that he, Dr. King and others had founded. In the early 1960s, Ms. Angelou became romantically involved with Vusumzi L. Make, a South African civil rights activist. She moved with him to Cairo, where she became the associate editor of a magazine, The Arab Observer. After leaving Mr. Make — she found him paternalistic and controlling, she later wrote — she moved to Accra, Ghana, where she was an administrative assistant at the University of Ghana. On returning to New York, Ms. Angelou helped Malcolm X set up the Organization of Afro-American Unity, established in 1964. The group dissolved after his assassination the next year. In 1973, Ms. Angelou appeared on Broadway in “Look Away,” a two-character play about Mary Todd Lincoln (played by Geraldine Page) and her

sexism played out at the level of the individual. “If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat,” Ms. Angelou wrote in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Hallmarks of Ms. Angelou’s prose style included a directness of voice that recalls African-American oral tradition and gives her work the quality of testimony. She was also intimately concerned with sensation, describing the world around her — be it Arkansas, San Francisco or the foreign cities in which she lived — with palpable feeling for its sights, sounds and smells. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” published when Ms. Angelou was in her early 40s, spans only her first 17 years. But what powerfully formative years they were.

1928-2014 seamstress. Though the play closed after one performance, Ms. Angelou was nominated for a Tony Award. On the screen, she portrayed Kunta Kinte’s grandmother in the 1977 television mini-series “Roots,” and appeared in several feature films, including “How to Make an American Quilt” (1995). Ms. Angelou’s marriage in the 1970s to Paul du Feu, who had previously been wed to the feminist writer Germaine Greer, ended in divorce. Survivors include her son, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Some reviewers expressed reservations about Ms. Angelou’s memoiristic style, calling it facile and solipsistic. Others criticized her poetry as being little more than prose with line breaks. But her importance as a literary, cultural and historical figure was amply borne out by the many laurels she received, including a spate of honorary doctorates. Her other books include the volumes of poetry, “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie” (1971), “Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well” (1975), “And Still I Rise” (1978) and “Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?” (1983). She released an album of songs, “Miss Calypso,” in 1957. But she remained best known for her memoirs, a striking fact because she had never set out to be a memoirist. Near the end of “A Song Flung Up to Heaven,” Ms. Angelou recalls her response when Robert Loomis, who would become her longtime editor at Random House, first asked her to write an autobiography. Still planning to be a playwright and poet, she demurred. Cannily, Mr. Loomis called her again. “You may be right not to attempt autobiography, because it is nearly impossible to write autobiography as literature,” he said. “Almost impossible.” Ms. Angelou replied, “I’ll start tomorrow.”

UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 5 - 11, 2014

REMEMBERING Writer, Poet, Actress

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Paine Education Dept. receives continued NCATE Accreditation from CAEP AUGUSTA Official notices from the Paine College Department of Education will continue to bear the seal of meeting the rigorous standards set for educator preparation programs. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)’s Continuous Improvement Commission voted to continue National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation for the Department of Education at Paine College. NCATE and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) have consolidated and as of July 2013 they are now the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). A council of educators created to ensure and raise

MEETING NOTIFICATION Augusta Aviation Commission Masters 2014 Sub Committee Meeting The Augusta Regional Airport Aviation Commission Masters 2014 Sub Committee Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. in the FBO Conference Room located at the Private Aviation Services (FBO) at the Airport. Please feel free to contact Airport Administration at 706-798-3236.

Augusta Recreation, Parks and Facilities Introduces the New Mobile Playground

                                                                                                                                                    Friday, May 30th; 7:00p.m. Augusta Common 836 Reynolds St.

(Park is located across from the James Brown Statue in Downtown Augusta)   The Augusta Recreation, Parks & Facilities Department is now offering a Mobile Playground at a Park near you. Full of games & activities for the whole family to enjoy! Bring the kids to and help paint the mobile playground bus at the Augusta Common . Come paint the bus and enjoy the activities before the Free Movie – Frozen that will be shown at dusk at the Common. For more information, please contact 706-796-5025.

the quality of preparation for their profession, NCATE was founded in 1954 to accredit teacher certification programs at U.S. colleges and universities. Five national education groups were instrumental in the creation of NCATE. CAEP’s Continuous Improvement Commission, which assures the quality and continuous improvement of P-12 student learning, reviewed 66 institutions including Paine College, against rigorous NCATE Standards. The Paine College Department of Education passed the six NCATE standards that include qualifying candidate knowledge, system assessment, practical experience, diversity awareness, faculty qualifications, and institutional resources.

The commission recognized that the Paine College Educational Department is moving toward their target of involving faculty in designing and participating in a program that places student teachers and interns in roles to maximize their experience with P-12 students. The next accreditation visit is scheduled for Spring 2020. Paine College president, George C. Bradley says, “Paine College values the review process that accreditation provides. We are proud of the work of the educator preparation program and the work that faculty members are doing. The institution is proud of the world class faculty of educators under the leadership of a distinguished Paine College alumna, Dr. Judy Carter. The candidates who

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Symphony Orchestra Augusta Needs You The Education Department of SOA is currently looking to add artists to its educational line-up for the 2014-2105 school year. The department is interested in adding more Arts Integration activities such as hands on activities, kinesthetic learning activities, drama with a classical twist, etc. Email  Raine Wheeler your resume, including educational background and experience, plus a brief description of your idea or performance group. Videos are welcome! The SOA’s line-up of Musical Offerings for the 2014-2015 season chosen and ready to present to the teachers by August 1st. For information, contact Raine Wheeler, Director of Programs and Operations at raine@soaugusta.org or call 706.826.4706

complete the educator preparation program at Paine College are prepared to meet the needs of a divers P-12 student population and we look forward to continuing to meet that need.” Dr. Judy Carter, Chair, Full Professor, of the Department of Education shares what this prestigious accreditation means for Paine College and its students. “Our students will be accepted to teach anywhere in the United States, the college will be recognized by its constituents, and we will have the ability to have more partnerships with accredited colleges and universities”. Graduates from NCATE accredited schools can be assured that they are well equipped to find employment and to pass out of state licensure expectations.

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U W rban Pro

eekly

Commentary

L Lena Bonner, Clerk of the Commission, looks over paperwork in the new Commission chambers. The new space for the Clerk’s office, as part of the $40 million Municipal Building renovation, is poorly designed with inadequate space for offices and archived public records. Bonner’s staff has overflowing files in the new space, as well as in a small storage area on the second floor. Bonner spoke to the Commission on Monday about the lack of space for public record files. There is also only a single bathroom available for the Clerk’s office and Commissioners to use in the area, and no public bathroom facilities available for citizens who attend Commission meetings on the second floor. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Whatever Lena wants, Lena gets By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer AUGUSTA For as long as anyone could remember, Lena Bonner has always been the equalizer — a true pubic servant. She and her staff at the Clerk of Commission’s Office has always been courteous, never dismissive and always genuinely ready to assist the public in tracking down a valuable document or two. Her eight-year focus on maintaining the custody and preservation of historical documents for the citizens of Augusta-Richmond when the new renovation of the municipal building was being planned is close to paying off. This week at the regular commission meeting, no less than five sitting commissioners vowed to halt construction on the $40 million renovation project until the architects and project managers can figure out how to adequately provide for Bonner and her staff. Her request was a simple one. When the new building is being planned,

make sure that there was adequate office space for her and her staff to continue doing their jobs with the hope that their working environment would be enhanced at the same time ­— if at all possible. That wasn’t done. In fact, she was cast aside, marginalized and told — point blank — that if she would sit down and keep quiet that her concerns would be addressed after everything else was completed. After getting assurances from top management that her needs would be met, she waited. And waited. Finally, after years of keeping her eye on the prize, she was told that she would have to make do with what they came up with. However, what they came up with represented a degradation of her operation. And to add insult to injury, the architects, Virgo Gambill, the project managers, Heery International, and Mayor Deke Copenhaver all signed off on it with the blessings of the interim administrator Tameka Allen. Then, they tried to cover up their neglect by stating that they were never told that what they provided

for Bonner was not adequate and that any concerns that she had should have been addressed before now. That tactic of misrepresenting the facts and the time-line has been used successfully time after time to justify questionable moves by this governing body. The difference this time is that rather than misleading the commissioners and the public, the city administration was trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Lena Bonner. That was foolish. In a government, information is key. The last person they should have tried to misrepresent with the facts was Lena Bonner, without a doubt, the most knowledgeable person in the building. Cudos to Commissioner Marion Williams for placing Bonner’s concerns before the commission. It gave her the opportunity to state the facts of the case. First she addressed the communication that she had had with the construction and design professionals. Bonner told the commissioners that they hadn’t been given all of the facts.

“The time-line [being used] may not appropriately address the issue,” Bonner began. “In my opinion it is somewhat disingenuous . . . The issue with this time-line is that they do not note the communications that I had with them in 2008 along with the administrator. “Their time-line started in 2010 which I think is unfair to you [the commissioners] not having all of the information. The majority of my customers are the citizens. After you, come the citizens, but I have to serve you in order for you to serve your constituents.” Then she explained how preservation and storage of records was part of the original design of the building. “When this building was first built in the 1950s, they had the forethought to place a vault on the 8th floor for the storage of records as well as an area on the 9th floor,” Bonner said. “Now, as far as storage space, that is a tremendous problem. Those records are historical. We have records dating back to the 1700s. When we gave CONTINUED on next page


13

BY KRISTIE ROBIN JOHNSON

On the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou “My hero has the heart to live the life I want to live” - Cee-Lo Green

I

have lived through many losses. I have lost my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and father, as well. Each loss has been met with a unique lamenting, all its own. Each has its own singular heartache that leaves some sense of pain, urge, or emptiness behind. Yesterday I lost a great, personal hero and the world lost a legend. Dr. Maya Angelou, 86, slipped into serene eternity. While her passing might not seem as significant as the loss of a close blood relative, it has left a mighty puncture in the heart of humanity and a considerable charge for the lives of writers and artists everywhere. I love writing more than I love life itself and Maya Angelou is partly responsible for this love. I was introduced to her poetry in middle school and was instantly inspired. Like scores of young AfricanAmerican women, the first time that I read Phenomenal Woman I boiled over with esteem. Maya’s words injected my world with a priceless gift. For the very first time in my life, I was proud of my paper bag brown skin and wide nose. Maya’s words eased the awkwardness of teenage angst and made the metamor-

phosis into womanhood less a clumsy exercise in growing up and more a gratifying acceptance of the love and life that lay ahead. If Malcolm X was our Black manhood, then Maya was our living, breathing Black feminine dignity. Greater than Dr. Angelou’s shear talent, was her use of her talents. She constantly used her remarkable beauty, gift, and voice

Lena Bonner from page 12 up our charter and consolidated, Augusta was over 200 years old. We have those records here. They belong to the citizens of this community. “In the 8th-floor vault, we have records that are deemed by the Georgia General Assembly to be permanent documents. We are required by law to keep them,” she added. According to Bonner, the project managers were not impressed. “I was told by Heery that those spaces would not be reallocated to me. Where are we going to store them? Heery was very dismissive. They apparently didn’t appreciate the historical value of those records. In their mind’s eye they weren’t necessary.” Bonner then explained that things went downhill from there. “I wasn’t told that the space would not be reallocated for the records until Dec. 2012 in a meeting with the mayor, the architect and Heery. Not only would there not be space for the records, but there would not be space for the Clerk of Commission,” Bonner said. “Where do I fit in? Is my office going to be on the roof on the sidewalk — where? They had no answers for me,” Bonner said. “I had my deputy clerk on five different occasions conduct tours to let people know the amount of the space that we needed. It was dismissed, discounted and apparently ignored because we were never reallocated the space,” Bonner said. “Then when the subject came up again, they said. We’ll reallocate the space. We’ll put it on the seventh

floor. You’ll be on the second floor, but your space will be on the seventh floor. Then, when they realized that that would not be appropriate, they deemed an office outside of the mayor’s office for storage. “Where’s the efficiency in that. I’m having to access records that I need on a daily basis, five floors from me. I asked for the efficiency of that. If you are going to do new and improved space, why make all of that available at the same location.” Bonner had documentation from 2005 through 2012 proving that the design and construction professionals were aware — in detail — of her needs. Amazingly, the design and construction professionals even came up a layout that excluded the clerk of commission’s office altogether, Bonner asserted. “I find this very disconcerting. I’m very passionate about this. I’m not being adversarial. I’m not looking for a fight, I’m looking for facts,” Bonner added. The impact of Bonner’s comments were palpable. If what she was saying was true, there was apparently gross negligence on the part of the architects, the project managers and the city officials overseeing the process. The commissioners expressed their displeasure. Commissioner Williams, as usual, sought accountability. “When I saw the space, I was really disappointed. The first thing I want to know is, who signed off on this design to place the Clerk’s office

to improve the condition of mankind. She ensured that her celebrity was purposeful and never subject to the fickle whims of commercialized versions of success. Maya lived a brave, unconventional life and made each moment as teachable as it was sensational, an art that is lost on many current AfricanAmerican artists. She stood for justice before taking a stand became en vogue. where it is?” Williams asked. “I don’t want to hear about Mr. Russell. Fred is dead. . . I could have designed this better. Whoever did this, did a very bad job.” Commissioner Joe Jackson said, “This is really the reason that I didn’t vote for this [renovation]. The point being that, we have Heery, we have the architect. I don’t think that as tax payers that we should have to pay any more money to do any changing. It should be up to Ms. Bonner, Heery and the architects to figure out with no charge to the tax payers. “I’m not going to spend another dollar on this building until it gets fixed. There are questions that were asked and there were submitted plans. Now we’re looking to spend more money to remodel. Where’s the forethought?” he said. Commissioner Corey Johnson also wanted answers. “I concur with Commissioner Jackson. No more work (aside from demolition) should occur on the 8th and 9th floors until we make a decision as a body on which route we’re going to follow with the clerk and law department. “I don’t understand how the law department got so much space and the clerk got so little space. There’s a lot of unused space on this floor. We should not have to spend any more money.” Commissioner Mason wanted to know why the law department got so much out of the deal and cautioned the design and construction professionals not to be to complacent. “I go into the law department there are two almost private-looking bathrooms. I don’t get this. Why do we need so many conference rooms yet

She didn’t wait for permission to embrace feminism or Black Power, nor did she hesitate to reflect her deepest values in her work. For me, she will forever be the patron saint of the activist artist. The world has lost a gem and America has lost a national treasure. Black America, in particular, has lost a shining example of unapologetic African pride. Her regal stature, endearing smile, and unforgettably penetrating baritone inflection will undoubtedly be celebrated in the passing days. But we are most blessed by the volumes and volumes of work that she leaves behind. For those who would dare to walk in her legendary footsteps, she has blazed a trail unlike any other. The world is beyond fortunate to have been graced by such a brilliant, sincere soul. If, in the balance of my days, I am able to have just a fraction of the impact that Dr. Angelou had, then mine will have been a life well lived. From the depth of our collective soul, we shall whisper into sacred perpetuity these words: “Thank you, dearest Maya. Thank you.” KristieRobinJo@gmail.com @KristieRobinJ on Twitter we don’t have space for clerk that serves 10 commissioners. “The client is unhappy. If I was a vendor, I would be trying to see what I could do to rectify that situation and maintain good relationships with this government. “Ms. Bonner, I’m ashamed for what has happened to one of the most important departments in this government. You should not have to work in these working conditions. I don’t see where I going to look to spend any additional money to do anything. I don’t believe it’s up to the clerk of commission to come up with solutions,” Mason added. Commissioner Bill Lockett questioned the project’s design philosophy as well. “It’s more than footage and space. It’s location. The space allocated for the legal department should be allocated for the Clerk’s office. The commissioner’s don’t need space near the mayor’s office, they do business with the clerk. Why couldn’t the vaults be relocated to the second floor. “This is deplorable. We shouldn’t have to incur any additional cost. Let’s stop this project until we can get this thing ironed out and if we can’t get it ironed out, we need to shut it down. “We were better off with the building that was designed in the 1950s.” According to interim administrator Allen, there are three options for the commissioners to consider, but only one of them is remotely acceptable to the commissioners and that would be to relocate clerk of commission to the space that had been allocated for the law department. Actually, that would be a very good start.

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UrbanProWeekly •JUNE 5 -11, 2014

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