Archive for April, 2010

District Attorney’s office does a 180

What a difference a year (and four months) makes!  District Attorney Tracy Graham-Lawson has already tried more cases than former D.A. Jewel Scott did while in office (zero cases tried), successfully removing criminals from our streets.

“In 2009 we had a 15% increase in incoming cases as compared to 2008, yet we closed with 17% fewer cases than when I took office,” explains Lawson. “All [2004-2008 cases] that were unindicted when I took over are now either indicted or accused, have been dismissed or plead guilty.” These include Gerald Benn who shot a cop (sentenced to 120 years); William Cunningham for poisoning his kids using Campbell’s soup (100 years); and the Rainbow House embezzlement (20 years), among many other cases where defendants eventually plead guilty.

The D.A.’s goal for 2010 is to get all incarcerated felons indicted within 90 days and non-incarcerated felons within nine months, so all are hopefully completed within one year of the crime.

The D.A.’s office also …

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Clayton on the upswing?

Dare I say, again, that Clayton county is improving in small doses although an AJC quality of life survey suggests otherwise.

Freaknik is a good example since until recently, I don’t recall county officials taking much of a proactive approach to anything that could have a negative impact (in many cases some former elected officials were Clayton’s own worst enemy!) I was in college during Freaknik’s heyday but never experienced it in person and if you go solely by news coverage, it looks out of control. After hearing that Atlanta issued no permits to party promoters, I wondered if they’d end up in Clayton somehow since events were planned outside of the perimeter.

It was good to see CCPD Chief Tim Robinson, Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, and other Clayton officials publicly shut Freaknik down here early last week before it even got started, although Clayton’s curfew in and of itself should have kept kids away (children under age 17 must be off the street from 11pm-6am Sunday-Thursday; …

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Cleanup, community, and P.R.I.D.E. start with Rex

The Historic Rex Village Restoration Association, Commissioner Sonna Singleton, Keep Clayton Beautiful and Clayton County Economic Development join forces for the annual kick-off of The Great American Cleanup on April 17, beginning with a 10 AM parade at the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center.

“On this day all neighborhoods in the county are urged to participate,” says Singleton. “[We] felt this is a great time to clean up Rex Village, bring more attention to the area and get more residents involved in the revitalization project.”

About 300 kids will participate from all eight high school ROTC units alongside boy scouts, girl scouts, citizens, churches and seniors. The parade ends at Historic Rex Village and neighborhood cleanup runs from noon until 2 PM.  Food/drinks will be provided.

In addition, Edie Yongue, Executive Director of Keep Clayton Beautiful, aptly describes how and why residents should participate and feel a sense of P.R.I.D.E. about their …

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2010 census vital to Clayton (and Georgia’s) future

Providing your census information helps determine how more than $400 billion federal dollars are spent yearly on infrastructure and services such as hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, emergency services, bridges, tunnels and other public works projects. Thus far, only 44% of Clayton residents have returned their 2010 census forms compared to 71% in 2000, despite the fact that participation is required by law.

Notwithstanding the obvious benefits, the entire southern region was undercounted in 2000, and Georgia specifically lost over $250 million in federal funding. “After the 2010 Census numbers are released, political lines will be redrawn across the South through reapportionment — the redrawing of Congressional districts — and redistricting, changes states will make to their political boundaries,” according to the Institute for Southern Studies. “An accurate count will be especially important to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, all of which …

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