Taste of Clayton, GRLI, and Victor Hill return

On Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the annual Taste of Clayton event returns, continuing its 18-year tradition.

Think you make the best sweet tea?  Prove it by joining the Sweet Tea Challenge featuring entries from restaurants and individuals. Pre-register by Wednesday at 678.610.4242.

There will also be a Chick Fil A sponsored Sweet Tea Drinking Contest, which up to 25 people may enter up until the day of the event by dropping off a gallon of sweet tea. The objective is to see who can drink a gallon of sweet tea the fastest.

“We’re excited to help bring the Taste of Clayton to downtown Jonesboro on Main Street to showcase the new Streetscape Project, and to help make a signature event for Clayton County,” says Patrick Duncan, President and CEO of the Clayton County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Some food vendors include: Blue Sky Restaurant, Chili’s, Blue Bell Creameries, Hooters, Louisiana Catfish, the Georgia Shrimp Company, Sonny’s BBQ, and Upscale …

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Parents pay the price when kids violate Jonesboro curfew

The City of Jonesboro recently approved a revised ordinance that will fine parents whose children are on the streets past 11:00 PM. The revisions are in response to multiple teen incidents at The Party Hall, the most recent being where a 16-year old was arrested after elbowing a police officer.

Should parents be held responsible for their children’s actions via fines, jail, etc.?

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According to the News-Daily, “Jonesboro police will be tasked, under the ordinance, with picking up any children found violating the curfew, and taking them to the Jonesboro police headquarters. The parents of the youths will then be called . . . and they will have to come pick up their children. Upon picking up their children, the parents will be given a citation which will require them to appear in court and pay a fine.”

I think we all know at least one parent who cannot control their child(ren) no matter what they do or how hard …

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BOC approves new comment policy

Our Board of Commissioners recently approved a new public comment policy in order to stop personal attacks made against them during meetings.

According to Resolution 2011-28, “. . . it is the policy of the Board that it fully supports and encourages public participation, it does not support disrespectful behavior and therefore establishes the following policy with respect to receiving public comments at the regular meetings of the Board and that it is in the best interest of the citizen to establish this policy.”

It goes on to state that abusive language and personal attacks won’t be tolerated not only against BOC members, but also county employees and citizens. Additionally, all BOC meetings are audio taped “to ensure fairness and accuracy”, and speakers must identify themselves and the county they reside in before addressing the Board.

While Clayton residents who do speak out are very opinionated and passionate about various county issues, are personal attacks on anyone, …

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Protesters save CCPS art and music programs in preliminary budget

Monday night, 500 parents, students, and teachers protested many of the proposed budget cuts created by Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley in order to offset an estimated $49 million deficit over the next two years. One suggestion included cutting 37 days off the school year and making the school day two hours longer, which our Board of Education rejected.

“I am concerned about students being able to be actively involved in learning for two hours longer each day,” adds BOE Chairperson Pam Anderson. “I understand that such a move would save the district money, but I must have assurance that student achievement will not decline. We also will have to consider the effect such a move will have on after-school activities.”

According to the News-Daily, the list of cuts include: Reducing consultative teachers by 46 positions ($6 million); delaying textbook purchases in fiscal year 2012 ($2.8 million); reducing utility costs ($2.7 million); switching to a …

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Innocent until proven guilty

Clayton County Commissioner Wole Ralph (District 3) says that he is not guilty, and wants folks to keep an open mind about his recent arrest in Atlanta.

“I deeply regret this occurrence,” says Ralph via press release. “I am not guilty of these violations and I look forward to resolving this matter in court. I fully expect that I will be afforded the same due process as any other citizen and subsequently vindicated.”

Vice Chairman Ralph was recently arrested on charges of DUI, obstruction, reckless driving and failure to maintain lane. Atlanta police officers have challenged his claims of innocence, stating that he refused to cooperate, that they could smell alcohol on him, and he refused to take a field sobriety test according to the AJC.

Since being elected to office in 2004, Ralph has been nationally recognized for his leadership here and has received many awards as per the Clayton County website, including the Community Champion Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving …

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Sheriff’s Substation Super Saturdays

Sheriff Kem Kimbrough will be visiting different communities every Saturday during the months of February (10:00 AM through 4:00 PM) and March (Noon through 4:00 PM) to speak with Clayton County residents during a series of meet and greets.

“The community response has been very positive,” says the Sheriff. “People have come in and shared their concerns and have personally let me know what they need and what their expectations are.”

The public meetings will be held in the trailers donated by Clayton County Public Schools which were converted into law enforcement substations by the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. “The purpose of the substations is to allow citizens to have better access to law enforcement as well as enhance law enforcement presence in the community and around schools,” says Deputy Alicia Parkes, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Department.

Supervisors and deputies who are assigned to those substations will also be on site to speak with residents and …

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Lovejoy high school senior plays Carnegie Hall on Saturday!

We should celebrate and encourage the positives happening in Clayton County - especially from our students, and Lovejoy High School Senior Darrel Jones has definitely accomplished some things worth celebrating.

Darrel Jones playing before the Board of Commissioners and public during a Business Meeting. (Warren Bond, Clayton County)

Darrel Jones playing before the Board of Commissioners and public during a Business Meeting. (Warren Bond, Clayton County)

Jones will represent the very best of Clayton County and our public school system as he plays the violin at Carnegie Hall in New York City on February 19 as part of the 2011 American High School Honors Performance Series.

Darrel’s interest in playing the strings began as a third grader watching a video on string instruments in music class. Upon entering middle school he began playing the viola in the school’s orchestra, and this past summer at age 17, Darrel began taking violin lessons. He is now skillfully trained on both string instruments.

Darrel received a proclamation from the Board of Commissioners in January for his musical accomplishments, …

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Clayton celebrates Black History Month

From our local communities to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Clayton County is celebrating Black History Month in big ways, and at no cost to attendees.

Heritage Day Celebration: Historical Jonesboro has partnered with the Clayton County Archway Project to bring you an afternoon filled with fun, art, music, education, and most importantly, history, focusing on “The African-American Family”, February 19, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the National Archives at Atlanta(5780 Jonesboro Road, Morrow).

“There will be a tour of the artifacts and exhibits from 11-11:30 AM provided by Clayton County Historian Ted Key,” says Marie Barber, chairperson of Archway’s African American Historical committee. “We’re looking forward to making this a fun event for Clayton and the surrounding communities.”

Atlanta’s APEX museum, along with Lithonia’s Flat Rock Museum (home to comedian Chris Tucker’s ancestors) have donated many artifacts to share with Clayton County for the day. Additionally, an …

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Clayton hires new economic development director

Recently, our Board of Commissioners took a step towards moving economic development forward in Clayton county by hiring a deputy director who plans on undertaking many of the marketing issues residents often discuss.

Kevin Gullette brings 16 years of related experience to Clayton. He most recently served as Executive Director for the Stanly County Economic Development Commission in North Carolina, where he was responsible for the development of marketing, product development, and business retention and expansion strategies. Gullette was also the primary recruiter for new industrial and commercial development, where he successfully expanded three local industries which created over 120 new jobs and over $15 million in new investment.

“Clayton County offers so much potential for success,” says Gullette. “Home to the world’s busiest airport and the strategic logistics center for the southeast, Clayton County is the ideal place for companies looking for access into the global …

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BOE elects new leaders

Recently, a new chairperson and vice-chairperson were elected to preside over Clayton County Public Schools’ Board of Education.

In 2008, Dr. Pam Adamson was elected to fill an unexpired term in District 1. According to the Clayton News-Daily, Chairperson Adamson doesn’t believe her connection to the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools was the reason her peers elected her, and I’m inclined to agree. Despite her online biography, anyone who has spoken with Dr. Adamson can interpret she how much she cares about CCPS and Clayton’s children.

Vice-Chairperson Charlton Bivins (District 9) was elected to fill a vacant seat in 2008. His public service history includes being one of the founders of the Concerned Citizens of Clayton County, Inc. (C-4), an organization credited by SACS’ Mark Elgart for serving as “a barometer of the community’s tie with the school district” and responsible for educating over 800 citizens on the impact of accreditation loss when residents were …

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