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Storyteller Madafo engages the crowd with a story during a workshop held at the Augusta Headquarters Library. Photo by Vincent Hobbs





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UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27-31, 2014

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By Vincent Hobbs “Can you tell me a story, pleeeeaase?” Everyone loves to hear a good story. Storytelling allows one to escape the physical bounds of an environment, and embark on a momentary adventure where anything in the imagination is possible. Stories communicate ideas, teach life lessons and can bring laughter and joy – or even suspense and chills. African and African-American folklore, myths, fables, legends and historical chronicles have provided generations of people with a rich narrative of culture and history. It was through storytelling that Africans who survived the Middle Passage were able to embrace and nurture the memories of their homeland and culture through sharing stories. Storytelling was the lifeblood that helped keep the historical narrative of the motherland alive and vibrant. Future generations of AfricanAmericans would continue this practice – grandmothers and grandfathers, fathers and mothers - telling their children amazing stories, from tall tales to wise fables. “My mother used to tell a lot of stories when I was growing up,” said Beverly Burnette, President of the North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers (NCABS). “We didn’t have a TV until I was eight. We would sit around and tell stories in my family”. NCABS is an affiliate organization of the National Association of Black Storytellers, a group dedicated to preserving the griotic legacy and oral tradition of African and African-American storytelling. Burnette and her fellow storytellers traveled to Augusta this past weekend to encourage young people to engage in storytelling. Their trip included stops at Paine College for a private workshop, CH Terrell Academy and the Augusta Headquarters Library. Burnette’s daughter Teri, an assistant professor of Media Studies at Paine College, arranged the visit to the Paine campus. Humanitree House, led by Baruti and Denise Tucker, coordinated the community workshops at CH Terrell and the Augusta Library. The group of four storytellers –Baba Jamal Koram, Madafo, Pinkie Strother and Beverly Burnette – mesmerized the children and adults who had gathered on the second floor of the downtown library with their captivating tales of animals and people, life lessons, and history. There was laughter, acoustic tribal rhythms and a harmonic demonstration of togetherness as attendees gathered in a circle to acknowledge each other at the beginning of the event. A tale of “a boy and tree”, narrated by Madofo, provided some of the most humorous moments of the evening, as the performer constricted and expanded his body and facial expressions to bring the story to life, much to the delight of several children in attendance. Pinkie Strother, a storyteller who is also an artist, amazed the crowd with her intricately detailed miniature

Storyteller Baba Jamal Koram (L) engages the crowd with music and a story during a workshop held at the Augusta Headquarters Library. Also pictured is storyteller and artist Pinkie Strother (R) and storyteller Beverly Burnette (L). Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Storyteller Beverly Burnette shares a tale with the crowd during a workshop held at the Augusta Headquarters Library. Photo by Vincent Hobbs sculpted artwork of her family sitting at the dinner table during her childhood. “The replicated structures invite the viewer to revisit my past – to associate, analyze and critique.” Baba Jamal Koram utilized a thumb piano, or kalimba, to engage the crowd with a call-and-response presentation of his story. At times, the crowd was so moved by the positive encouragement of his tale, a few “Amens” could be heard among those gathered. Koram has performed at the National Storytelling Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian and the National Black Storytelling

Festival. The storyteller not only uses their voice to give narrative, but they also express the narrated tale through exaggerated body language, visual props, appropriate choice of wardrobe and musical accompaniment. “I love history stories. I’ll dress in the guise of Zora Neale Hurston”, Burnette said. “I’ll put on a vintage hat and 1930’s clothes and tell some of the stories that she collected.” Hurston collected stories from folks in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida as she traveled the back roads of the rural South, hoping to preserve

the oral narrative tradition of AfricanAmericans, so that these stories could be shared. Burnette believes that it is important for children and young people to become involved with storytelling. “When you hear stories, you create your own pictures in your mind. You have your own characters and imagine how they look, and so it’s a personal thing,” she said. “Therefore, storytelling builds the mind and the imagination. It’s important, in order to gain that imagination, to hear stories - and then you can share your own stories, the way you want them to be told.”

UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27 - 31, 2014

Building the mind and imagination – the art of African-American storytelling


UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27-31, 2014



The SPLOST7CA$H GRAB By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer

AUGUSTA Les Morton is concerned that, if the city doesn’t get its act together, it will run out of money a couple of years after the new mayor takes office. One of the challenges Augusta faces is its ability and its willingness to rein in the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) which he says is not being operated in the manner for which it was created and may be in violation of state statutes. If Morton, a Paine College alumnus who holds a graduate degree in urban planning and public policy, is correct, then Augusta-Richmond has been wrong in the way it has been collecting and disbursing its SPLOST funds for over a decade. Also, if Morton is right, it calls into question the millions of dollars that have been funneled to arts, cultural, and recreational organizations through the years. These “outside agencies” are outside of the law when it comes to accessing special tax dollars, Morton asserts. Through the years, the city fathers have doled out SPLOST funds to various groups in order to garner their support in voting for the complete SPLOST package at the polls. It is a strategy that usually works. The bulk of these “outside agencies” are operating in the African-American community. African-American politicians are more likely encourage their constituents to support SPLOST projects at the polls if their community shares in the loot. The funds enjoyed by local arts and cultural organizations including the area’s museums, performance organizations, the Imperial Theatre, the Augusta Mini Theatre and other charitable nonprofit organizations has sustained and enhanced their missions, but to continue such disbursements is clearly outside of the law. According the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), the group by whose efforts the initial SPLOST ordinance was passed, these “outside agencies” cannot receive SPLOST funds. In one its documents, the issue is clearly addressed. According to the GMA, a frequently asked question is, “Can SPLOST funds be used to construct projects for local charities or other non-profit organizations?” The answer, “No, The gratuities clause of the Georgia Constitution

U W rban Pro


UrbanProWeekly LLC Mailing Address: 3529 Monte Carlo Drive Augusta, Georgia 30906

SPLOST has been a financial windfall for the Augusta Canal Authority

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The King and Sibley Mills on the Augusta Canal are owned by the Augusta Canal Authority according to public records. The Mills are the centerpiece of Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s Augusta Regional Collaborative Corp. The mayor pushed hard to corral $5.25 million for a renovation project even though there is little or no demand for the proposed project. In addition, the Canal Authority is scheduled to get an additional $2.5 million for “canal improvements.” The Canal Authority has used the SPLOST measure for its own cash cow. Since 2006, through SPLOST 6, the Augusta Canal Authority has already received over $13 million. bars local governments from using SPLOST or any other public funds to fund capital outlay projects for non-public entities. This restriction applies to for-profit organizations as well as not-for-profit organizations, including charitable organizations. [Ga. Const. 1983, art. IX, § II, par. VIII]. One of the major problems with the current SPLOST measure (SPLOST7) is the timing of the referendum. Morton addressed the Augusta-Richmond Commission earlier this month at its last regular meeting to ask the commissioners to delay the SPLOST vote until sometime in 2015. If the voters approve SPLOST 7 on May 20, the tax is supposed to go into effect sometime in August or September of 2014. However, Morton says, that overlaps the period in which the SPLOST 6 funds are being collected. The law says that “no more than a single 1% Tax ...may be imposed within a special district.” (For a summary of Morton’s report to the commission, see “Pattern of misuse of SPLOST funds” on page 5.) Continued on next page

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

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SPLOST 7 PROJECT LIST Administration 43,000,000 Project Administration (5,000,000) Municipal Building Renov. (30,000,000) (GRU Cancer Center) (8,000,000) Engineering 50,000,000 Fire 7,500,000 Fleet 8,450,000 Information Tech. 18,550,000 Planning & Development 6,500,000 Recreation 19,000,000 Sheriff 1,439,000 City of Hephzibah 8,375,000 City of Blythe 1,975,000 Augusta Authorities 5,750,000 Canal Authority (2,500,000) Econ. Dev. Authority (1,250,000) Econ. Dev. Authority (500,000) Downtown Dev. Authority (1,500,000) Library 2,000,000 Outside Agencies 21,775,000 Aug.Regional Collab.Corp (5,250,000) Augusta Arts Council (750,000) Augusta Arts Council (25,000) Augusta Arts Council (2,000,000) Imperial Theatre (2,500,000) Augusta Symphony (4,250,000) Paine College (6,000,000) Aug. Museum of History (500,000) S.E. Natural Sciences Aca. (500,000) TOTAL

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


email: Ben Hasan Frederick Benjamin Sr. Vincent Hobbs


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Documentation by Les Morton [Les Morton is a Paine College graduate with a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning and 25 years experience in real estate development, construction and policy research. He began researching public records and has documented what he views as violations of state laws that govern SPLOST expenditures. Mr. Morton has shared his findings with the Augusta Richmond County commission at its March 18 regular meeting.] On March 18, 2014, I addressed the Augusta Richmond County Commission with a request to consider delaying the SPLOST VII referendum until 2015. My request to delay the referendum was based on the following. (1). Ten projects of those approved by the Commission on 2/28/2014, for SPLOST VI funding are non-profit organizations. It appears these organizations do not fall within the guidelines of SPLOST laws per its definition of a capital outlay project, and are neither owned nor operated by the Richmond County Government. (See 48-8-110(1)(A-L), 48-8-110(2)(A), 48-8-111(c) (d). (2). SPLOST VI expenditures have not been officially audited by an independent auditor per 48-8-121(a)(2), and pg. 43 “ SPLOST, A Guide Book for County Officials.” Further, SPLOST VI expenditure reports show fourteen (14) projects that did not appear on the original list of projects approved by the Commission on 2/19/2009, but have received approximately $24,529,354 in SPLOST funding since 2006. (See pg.10 “SPLOST, A Guide Book for County Officials”, ” Ga. Const.1983, art. IX, par. VIII”, 48-8-121(a)(1), Dickey v Storey, 262 Ga. 452, 455 (1992). (3). SPLOST VI expenditure reports (unaudited) reveals the Augusta Canal Authority has received approximately $13,258,417 in SPLOST funding from 2006 – 2012. Of that amount $8,220,554 was for the Augusta Canal Authority’s bond repayment. According to 36-42-9(a)(2013) and 36-42-12 this appears to be a violation of SPLOST laws and regulations. Further, through SPLOST VII, the Augusta Canal Authority is scheduled to receive $2,500,000 through the Mayor’s Mills Project and $5,250,000 for renovations for the same project (Sibley Mill) of which the Augusta Canal Authority is listed as the owner (per the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office). If SPLOST VII’s Referendum is approved by the voters, this means the Augusta Canal Authority will have received over $21,008,417 of SPLOST funding. (4). Based upon SPLOST VII list of projects approved by the Commission on 2/28/2014, seven are non-profit organizations and three are Development Authorities. If SPLOST VII is approved, these ten entities will receive a total of $27,525,000 from the proposed $194,314,000 budget. (See SPLOST laws in comment 1 and 2 above) (5). One of the most important factors of my request is based on 48-8-112(3)(c)(1) which states “At any time no more than a single 1% Tax under this part may be imposed within a special district,” and 48-8-112(a) which states “ If the imposition of the tax is approved at the special election, the tax shall be imposed on the first day of the next succeeding calendar quarter which begins more than 80 days after the date of the election at which the tax was approved by the voters.” If the referendum is held on May 20, 2014, it will take effect on the first day of the next calendar quarter beginning 80 days after the election. This means it will take effect in the month of August or September of this year 2014, which 48-8-112(3)(c)(1) states it cannot. Finally, after reviewing the expenditure reports for SPLOST VI and the list of projects approved for SPLOST VII funding, it is disconcerting to see that the very communities that are in need of capital outlay projects have not and will not receive the necessary funding for such projects. It is apparent that after the recent ice storm, many communities are not just in need of cleanup of limbs and other debris, but streets, bridges, and roads are in disrepair. Even before the ice storm too many neighborhoods were neglected. For example, since the implementation of the first SPLOST, South Richmond County’s population has grown between 37 to 42% of the total population of Richmond County. Yet, areas where new subdivisions have been developed do not have streets wide enough for an increasing traffic flow, sidewalks, street lights nor a city administration building where the citizens can conduct their business affairs with the city. In conclusion, if we are to move forward as a city, then the outflow of services and expenditures for capital outlay projects must encompass the entire city and not just one or two privileged areas.

In Augusta-Richmond, the average person may think of the tax as just a way for groups and organizations to get money to carry out their programs. That, however, is a misunderstanding of the law. The original intent of the SPLOST law was to provide a way for cities and towns within a particular county jurisdiction to share in special tax collections and allocations that according to state law resides strictly with the counties. In a consolidated government like Augusta where the city and county are a single entity, it remains a way for Hephzibah and Blythe to access those funds. The SPLOST law is very specific in describing which governmental entities are eligible to receive and disburse SPLOST funds. The one cent sales tax is the vehicle the county uses to collect SPLOST funds. Only certain types of projects are eligible under the law for SPLOST funding.

The primary use of SPLOST funds is for: • Roads, streets, and bridges, which may include sidewalks and bicycle paths; • Courthouse or administrative buildings; a civic center; a local or regional jail, correctional institution, or other detention facility; a library; a coliseum; local or regional solid waste handling facilities; local or regional recovered materials processing facilities • Cultural, recreational, or historic facility or a facility for some combination of these purposes; • Water or sewer capital outlay project, • The retirement of existing general obligation debt of the county • Public safety or airport facilities • Capital equipment for use in voting in official elections or referenda; • Railroads, port and harbor facilities, mass transportation facilities. SPLOST law says that only public entities or entities owned and operated by the county can receive SPLOST funds. ACCOUNTABILITY The law imposes reporting and accountability requirements on local governments receiving SPLOST proceeds for capital projects. Those measures are as follows: SEPARATE ACCOUNT FOR SPLOST MONIES Any county or municipality receiving SPLOST monies must hold those funds in a separate account from other funds, and the county or municipality may not commingle SPLOST funds with other funds of the local government. The purpose of this language is to ensure that SPLOST revenue is not commingled with general fund revenue, which is, at least in part, spent on maintenance and operations. AUDIT REQUIREMENTS The law requires each local government


receiving SPLOST funds to maintain a record of each project for which SPLOST funds are used. Each annual audit is required to contain a schedule that shows the original estimated cost of each project, the current estimated cost of each project if it is different than the original estimated cost, amounts previously expended and amounts expected to be spent in the current year. The purposes of this requirement are to ensure that SPLOST revenues are spent on SPLOST projects, and to track local government SPLOST spending. PUBLIC REPORTING REQUIREMENT The reporting requirement ensures local government accountability to the public. Specifically, the law requires each local government receiving SPLOST proceeds to keep a record of each project funded by SPLOST. At least once a year, each city or county receiving SPLOST revenue must publish a simple, nontechnical SPLOST report in a newspaper of general circulation within that city or county and in a prominent location on the local government website, if they maintain one. The report must include information about the original estimated cost of each project for which the city or county receives SPLOST revenue, the current estimated cost if it is different, amounts spent on each project in prior years and amounts spent in the current year, any excess proceeds which have not been spent for the project, estimated completion date, and the actual completion cost of a project completed during the year, IF THE LAW IS NOT FOLLOWED: The superior courts have jurisdiction to enforce the SPLOST reporting requirements including the power to grant injunctions or other equitable relief. The Attorney General has the authority to impose either civil or criminal actions in order to enforce compliance with the reporting requirements.

The SPLOST CA$H GRAB from page 4 One of the most egregious abuses of SPLOST spending, according to Morton, is how the money is doled out to the various Augusta Authorities which, he suggests, do not qualify for SPLOST disbursements despite receiving millions of dollars in the past. The problem is that state law requires that in order to receive SPLOST funds, these entities “must be owned or operated by the county...,” but they are not. According to Morton, public records tell us that the Augusta Canal Authority has been singled out for special treatment. It has already received $13 million from SPLOST 6 and it is earmarked to receive an additional $2.5 million in SPLOST 7 along with $5.25 million additional as part of mayor Deke Copenhaver’s Augusta Regional Collaborative Corp. which seeks to renovate

the historic King and Sibley Mills. The fact that the Canal Authority owns those properties is not generally known. Other past flaws in the county’s administration of the SPLOST program highlighted by Morton includes the practice of giving SPLOST money to entities that were not listed on the SPLOST list of approved projects. Fourteen of such entities can be identified that received SPLOST 6 funds. Further, the county has not complied with the requirement for annual audits and the publication of detailed progress reports on all past SPLOST projects whether completed or not. These reports must also detail what has become of SPLOST money allocated for projects that were either not completed or underfunded.

5 UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27 - 31, 2014

Pattern of misuse What is S.P.L.O.S.T? of SPLOST funds Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax

UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27-31, 2014


My Journey toward Building a Model Community through Trust DEAR VOTERS:

detective. My program, “Comcast Community Concerns,” aired for 7 ½ years. I interviewed all of the candidates running for office, including your current commissioners. I never received “a dime” in compensation from Comcast. I did it in service to the community. My program was an opportunity for the public to see and hear our community leaders and their respective messages. On February 1, 2011, I appeared before the commission and charged them with violating the Consolidation Charter when they attempted to make the former administrator, the C.E.O of Augusta. The Consolidation Charter identifies the Mayor as the C.E.O. and Chairperson. As a result of my appearance before the commission and a suit filed by the Baptist Ministers Association, the title, C.E.O was never given to the former administrator. I have attended approximately 85% of the commission and commission committee meetings since 2006. The commission experience has been frustrating, entertaining and rewarding. It has given me valuable insight into how to start to Build a Model Community through Trust.

Below is a listing of some of the things I have done “lately” to build a Model Community through Trust: THE JOURNEY My journey started with me studying the power and influence of the media — talk radio, television news, print and social media. After about three years of a daily ritual of listening to and reading media sources, I came to the conclusion that Augusta’s best years are yet to come. I spoke with many elected officials and city leaders to try to get an understanding of the challenges facing Augusta. Unfortunately, at the end of this leg of my journey, I did not find answers to the question in my heart. The question was simply this, “why are we so divided as a community?” THE CHALLENGE I concluded that, if what exists now is a model, it is not working. So I asked myself, how do I help to begin the building of another model, a model based on trust? In 2006, I started a program on WKZK Radio 1600 AM, titled “Can We Talk?” I was purchasing radio time. The goal of the program was to publicly discuss issues that we don’t want to talk about. I believed the public discussions would help prepare us for where we are now as a community. We are a community that is transitioning its leadership. Additionally, in September 2006, I approached a Comcast employee about being a sponsor of “Can We Talk.” During that conversation, I was offered an opportunity to do Political Commentary on Connect Live, a Comcast program hosted by Austin Rhodes. I accepted even though, I had never done radio or television before. There was no pay involved. But, it was exposure that I hoped would lead to sponsorship of my radio program. It also gave me an opportunity to be a leader involved in diverse dialogues in the community. Furthermore, in December 2006, I approached Bill Botham of Comcast; he gave me the opportunity to do a Connect Live program dedicated to HIV & AIDS Awareness Month. My guests were, Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Sandra Wymberly of Richmond County Health Department and a pediatrician from GRU (MCG). I named the program, “Comcast Community Concerns.” At the conclusion of each program, I always quoted my motto, “Always Moving Our Community into the Future.” I utilized the same motto for radio and television. In January 2007, my guests were Minnesota Fattz, Reverend Larry Fryer and our current sheriff, Richard Roundtree. We discussed a program they were starting called, “Taking Back The Streets.” At the time, Sheriff Roundtree was a homicide

TRUST I believe that trust must begin with the mayor and the commissioners; they are the face of our city. When the trust is broken within the leadership, it enables the breaking of our spirits in the community. On the other hand, when trust is established within the leadership, it creates a community buy-in by the citizens. Here are a few of the benefits of living in a community based on Trustworthiness: 1. Trust with community buy-in creates an environment to work with other leaders and elected officials to ensure that good-paying jobs are attracted to our city, our streets are safe, our neighborhoods are clean and we experience growth and prosperity. 2. Trust creates an environment where businesses will be attracted to District 6 and other parts of South Augusta. This will greatly benefit Augusta-Richmond County. 3. Most importantly, when trust with community buy-in is realized, we can foster an environment together that encourages personal and business investment into our community. The generation of positive relations between the government and the citizenry will transform our efforts into the supreme accomplishment of “Always Moving Our Community Into the Future.”

ELECT Ben Hasan Commission District 6

I sincerely appreciate your Consideration and Vote. Please Vote for Ben Hasan during Early Voting or on May 20, Election Day. Thanks for taking the time to read my message to Voters: Building a Model Community through Trust.

FRIENDS OF BEN HASAN • 706-421-7568 P.O. BOX 92720, AUGUSTA, GA 30916 •

7 UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27 - 31, 2014

WORSHIP Directory 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: Web address: 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 @ • Join us on facebook

Sunday Morning Services 10 am Wednesday Services 7 pm 2070 Brown Road, Hephzibah, GA 30815 (706) 592-9221 |

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GRU assistant tennis coach Lissa Murakami (L) talks to Marie Vin (center) and Aida Castany (R) during a doubles tennis match this week against Georgia College at Newman Tennis Center. The Jaguars’ duo won their match 8-5, but the GRU women’s team overall fell to the Bobcats 6-3 in the final score. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Urban Sports Lens Photos by Vincent Hobbs

GRU Augusta’s Marie Vin returns the ball during a doubles tennis match against Georgia College at Newman Tennis Center.


Every 4th Saturday at 7:30 PM and features classic jazz music performed by the area’s top artists, various wines selected by the host, and light eats provided by Augusta’s finest chefs. All presented with state-of-the-art sound and lighting in a beautiful, historic building. RSVP Required due to limited seating. Dial 762.233.JAZZ (5299) Dress like you mean it.

Complete Performance Schedule: • Apr26: Soiree - A Step Up • May24: Soiree - 4 Cats in the Doghouse • Jun28: Soiree - B. Courtland & Friends • Jul26: Soiree - Augusta Big Band Aggregate • Aug23: Soiree - 3 Sides of Jazz • Sep27: Soiree - Travis Shaw 3

• Oct25: Soiree - UNITY Jazz • Nov22: Soiree - Dennis DiSano Jessye Norman School of the Arts is located at 739 Greene Street in Augusta. Visit http://ssme. to/SOIREE or email (name, number in party, telephone number) to

AUGUSTA AVIATION COMMISSION Marketing & Human Resources Sub-Committee Meetings The Augusta Regional Airport Aviation Commission Meeting and Human Resources Sub Committees Meetings are scheduled for Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. respectively in the Executive Conference Room located in Administration on the 2nd floor of the Airport. Each meeting will last no more than 30 minutes. Please feel free to contact Airport Administration at 706-798-3236.

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Soirée: Jazz and Wine at the Jessye-Norman School of the Arts

UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27-31, 2014


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AUGUSTA Tabernacle Baptist Church will host a Community Resurrection Service on Sunday, April 20th at 10 a.m. at the Augusta Convention Center located at 901 Reynolds Street Augusta, GA. This service will feature a performance by Gospel Recording Artist Earnest Pugh and the Tabernacle Baptist Church 100 Voice Choir as well as a special message from The Rev. Dr. Charles E. Goodman, Jr., Senior Pastor/Teacher of Tabernacle Baptist Church. “We are excited to have the opportunity and resources to be able to live out our Christian mission, which is to share the Good News of the Gospel with everyone, “ said Goodman. “The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be celebrated on this special Sunday. We invite everyone to be our special guests and to come as you are, to worship with us on the greatest day on our Christian calendar, “ said Goodman. In 2013, Tabernacle Baptist Church moved to three worship services to better accommodate its 5,000 plus congregation. With Resurrection Service being sited as the church’s largest crowd, the move to the Augusta Convention Center is both convenient for worshippers and a litmus test for the future.  The Community Resurrection Service can also be viewed via Tabernacle Baptist Church’s LIVE Streaming by visiting This service is sponsored in part by Faith Magazine, Perry Broadcasting of Augusta and Urban Pro Weekly. 

First Responders to be honored at community event AUGUSTA On Wednesday, April 2, the community will recognize and celebrate the service of the area’s first responders. The 5th Annual First Responders Appreciation Day will start at 8 a.m. and end at 9 p.m. at Minnick Park (1850 Kissingbower Road). All first responders will be treated to breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long. The invitation is extended to police, fire fighters, 911 operators, EMTs and all other governmental or military law enforcement individuals. Off duty law enforcement and rescue workerss as well as retired military and diabled beterans are also welcome. The event is sponsored by Monique “Dr. Mo” Braswell and Murphey Middle School in partnership with William Fennoy, Augusta Parks and Recreation, Positive Women Taking Action, and Cher’s Sisters Only Club.

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Earnest Pugh is a Dove and Stellar Award nominated recording artist. Pugh’s “Earnestly Yours” CD was his first #1 Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart and the first gospel album within the eOne Distribution system to debut in the #1 slot on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart. He’s since enjoyed other Top 30 radio hits with duets of “For My Good” with Beverly Crawford and “Every Promise” with Lalah Hathaway. His latest CD “The W.I.N. (Worship in Nassau) Experience” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart this past fall and has already produced two big Earnest Pugh, Gospel Recording Artist

chart hits with the soaring ballad “More of You” and the urban flavored collaboration with J. Moss, “I Believe You Most.” The new single “All Things Through Christ” is a no holds barred, down-home vocal slugfest between Pugh and gospel legend Rance Allen. The dynamic song with a neo-soul doowop groove is making its way up the gospel chart. For more information, contact Tabernacle Baptist Church at (706) 724-1230 or visit the Tabernacle Baptist Church website at www. Follow on Twitter @ TBCAugusta or via TBCAugusta

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Tabernacle Baptist to host Community Resurrection Service

UrbanProWeekly • MARCH 27-31, 2014


U W rban Pro



How the GOP is keeping millions from getting affordable healthcare by Katrina vanden Heuvel


ith one week remaining before the March 31 deadline for health coverage this year, a Republican filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act has become a familiar, if tiresome, sight. But Republicans filing a lawsuit against the law on the grounds of copyright infringement? That’s something new. Yet that is effectively what happened this month in Louisiana. On March 14, the state’s lieutenant governor sued the progressive group over a billboard criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid in the state. The billboard uses Louisiana’s tourism slogan — “Pick Your Passion!” — and adds: “But hope you don’t lose your health. Gov. Jindal’s denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.” The lawsuit claims that the MoveOn ad will “result in substantial and irreparable harm, injury, and damages” to the Louisiana tourism office — as if denying health insurance to the neediest will not cause the state “substantial and irreparable harm.” Legal experts say Jindal’s ploy has no chance of succeeding, thanks to the First Amendment. (This would be the same First Amendment that the governor passionately invoked in defense of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s right to spew racist and homophobic vitriol.) Jindal’s reason for refusing to expand Medicaid is as specious as

his reason for suing MoveOn. He claims, falsely, that the expansion would divert funds that now go to disabled individuals under traditional Medicaid. In reality, the health-care law doesn’t harm the existing program. It creates several programs to improve care for the disabled receiving Medicaid; Jindal enrolled Louisiana in three of them. But this hasn’t stopped him from blaming the ACA for his own bad policies, including cuts he made to state Medicaid funding for pregnant women. Louisiana isn’t the only state where Republicans are preventing thousands of low-income Americans from receiving health care. In Virginia, where state lawmakers refuse to expand Medicaid, hospitals will face higher costs and reduced services as a result. One million Texans will be denied access to coverage if the state continues to reject the Medicaid expansion. Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is willing to leave 300,000 of his neediest citizens uninsured. His reasoning? He’s afraid that the law might be repealed, leaving his state no way to meet its commitments — an ironic stance for a Republican to take, since they’re the ones trying to repeal it! The 19 states that are refusing to expand Medicaid aren’t just leaving low-income Americans out to dry —  they’re also leaving billions of health-care dollars on the table. While Bobby Jindal busies himself

over a billboard, his state’s internal analysis found that Medicaid expansion would save Louisiana as much as $134 million in 2015 alone. The real cost of Republican cruelty, however, cannot be measured in dollars and cents, but in people’s lives. Researchers at Harvard and the City University of New York concluded that without the Medicaid expansion, individuals will go without checkups, cancer screenings and treatment for diseases such as diabetes and depression — leading to thousands of premature and preventable deaths. So much for compassionate or fiscal conservatism. Amid the misinformation and fear-mongering, however, lies a real opportunity for Democrats to increase support for the ACA and win more races in November. Consider the recent special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, where Republican David Jolly’s victory is being widely interpreted as a rebuke of the Affordable Care Act. Polls suggest that it wasn’t Obamacare that hurt Democrat Alex Sink but the same factor that often hurts Democrats in midterm elections: low turnout. To combat this, what if Democrats organized a clear, concerted effort to demonstrate how Republicans are denying millions of Americans access to health insurance? There are already signs that raising awareness is working. The Moral Monday movement, which favors

expanding Medicaid, has been getting attention for its protests at public meetings in several southern states. Other states are considering following the lead of New Hampshire, where the state Senate voted, with Republican support, for a modified expansion. At the same time, progressives should back MoveOn’s brilliant billboard campaign parodying the tourism slogans of not just Louisiana but also Texas, Florida, Nebraska, Virginia and Wisconsin — which are all blocking the Medicaid expansion. The campaign might consider going to South Dakota, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Maine, which have Republican governors, contested Senate races and huge numbers of residents who are being denied access to health care. They need to know who is at fault. High-profile Democrats running for federal office this cycle should be similarly bold. Voters, especially low-income voters who are most hurt by the GOP’s cruel stance on health care, need to understand just what’s at stake. It’s time for Democrats to run on health-care reform, not away from it — and Medicaid expansion is a worthy place to start. If they need to know how far Republicans have gone to prevent it, there’s a billboard along Interstate 10 in Louisiana that’s a pretty good guide.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor of The Nation.

Political Forums Mayor’s Race: Thursday, March 27, 7 p.m. The Political Action Chair of the Augusta Branch of the NAACP is hosting a Mayoral Political Forum, and Voters Registration on Thursday

March 27, 2014 at 7 pm. This forum will be located at Beulah Grove Baptist Church (1440 Popular St.) in Augusta GA.

Tuesday, April 1, 7 p.m. All of the mayoral candidates have agreedto appear at Williams Memorial CME Church located at 1630-15th Street, Augusta, Georgia 30901.

Sponsored by: The United African Christian Methodist Ministerial Alliance; Rev. Larry Fryer, Coordinator 706-399-1292

Full House: Candidates Qualify for Local Elections MAYOR Helen Blocker-Adams Hardie Davis Charles Cummings Alvin D. Mason Lori Myles

COMM. DIST. 6 Bob Finnegan Roger Garvin Angela C. Harden Ben Hasan Tony Lewis

COMM. DIST. 2 Cleveland Garrison Dennis Williams

COMM. DIST. 8 Wayne Guilfoyle

COMM. DIST. 4 Melvin Ivey Tomasenia Jackson Sammie L. Sias Gwen Watts

COMM. DIST. 10 Brandon K. Dial Grady Smith STATE COURT JUDGE Richard A. Slaby


BD OF ED. DIST. 7 Frank Dolan

BD OF EDUCATION BD OF ED. DIST. 2 Frank V. Beckles Jr. Monique Braswell Charlie Hannah

BD OF ED. DIST. 9 Venus D. Cain James Swanagan Jr.

BD OF ED. DIST. 3 Alex Howard BD OF ED. DIST. 6 Jark Padgett Jr.

STATE SENATE DIST. 22 Elmyria Chivers (D) Corey Johnson (D) Harold Jones II (D) STATE SENATE DIST. 23 Jesse Stone (R) Diane Evans (D)



Why Uganda matters I t’s time for a pop quiz. How much do you know about Uganda? Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know a lot. Uganda is a small republic in East Africa whose borders include Kenya, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Recently, the Ugandan government passed sweeping legislation designed to cripple and basically eliminate their LGBT population. Simply being gay (or suspected of being gay) is now a crime punishable by death in the African nation. What’s more is that if you know that a person is a homosexual and you fail to report them to the authorities, then you can also be arrested and charged with a crime. Indeed, this is a horrific reality for the gay and lesbian citizens of Uganda. But what does any of this have to do with the United States? The answer may surprise you. Enter Scott Lively. Lively is an outspoken American author and activist. His foremost mission is to persecute homosexuality both in the United States and abroad. His primary vehicle for spreading his message is the American evangelical church. In his own words, Lively describes gays as being ‘agents of America’s moral decline’. Lively’s discriminatory message has caught

on in places like Russia, and you guessed it, Uganda. Lively has successfully used the American church to create a Ugandan theocracy hellbent on destroying the gay community. None of this sounds very Christian to me at all. I am a Christian and I am unapologetic about it. I am also an advocate for human rights and I am equally unapologetic about that fact. And yes, both devotions can co-exist in one human soul. I was raised in the South in a predominantly black Pentecostal tradition. It has been my experience that one of the unfailing open secrets in the black Pentecostal church is that homophobia is an accepted, almost expected, rite of passage. For this reason, many gay and lesbian African-American parishioners feel demonized and sink into the depths of depression and self-hate. My personal connection to the life of Christ teaches me to be radically tolerant and that God is the embodiment and manifestation of love. To hate is the exact polar opposite of God. While we certainly are not calling for the death of all homosexuals in America, we are allowing our churches to humiliate and emotionally traumatize our LGBT brothers and sisters under the guise of biblical tenets. This is our unfor-

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tunate and ugly connection to the current Ugandan crisis. As we remember our sisters and brothers in Uganda as they go through their struggle, we must also remember to check our own prejudice and wrongheaded teachings at the door. Here in America, it’s very easy to sit back and believe that we have the moral high ground because we no longer resort to public physical violence and state sanctioned

imprisonment in our judgment of lifestyles that differ from the mainstream. But we are quite a distance away from offering full equality to all. With any hope, perhaps the kinder hearts in both the U.S. and Uganda will prevail and the world will be all the better for it. @KristieRobinJ on Twitter

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Registration for Georgia’s PreKindergarten program will be conducted at all Richmond County Elementary Schools on Wednesday, April 2 starting at 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. Children must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2014 to be eli-

Mother Daughter Tea set for Diamond Lakes The Mother Daughter Tea will be held at Diamond Lakes Community Center on Friday, April 4. Ladies are being asked to wear their Sunday best, party hat, with white gloves and dress. Entertainment, a fashion show and a guest speaker will featured. Tickets are $10 per couple and $2 for each additional daughter. For more information, call 706826-1370.

gible and must also be a Georgia resident. Proof of age is required. Proof includes an original certified birth certificate, passport, green card, pink card or Federal I-94 card and official hospital record of live birth . Once enrolled, a child will need

a Certificate of Immunization (DHR Form 3231 within 30 days of enrollment, and a Certificate of Eye, Ear, and Dental Screen (DHR Form 3300) within 90 days of enrollment. Parents must bring proof of Georgia residency and age documentation to register for the

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Urban Pro Weekly  
Urban Pro Weekly  

The CSRA's free weekly newspaper providing news, commentary, sports, arts and entertainment.