NAACP gets fired up in Clayton

Recently, the Clayton county branch of the NAACP got a fresh start by electing a new president and installing several new officers.

“Contrary to what is perceived about the NAACP, we are not a political organization. We are a civil rights organization,” says C. Synamon Baldwin, who is the first woman to serve as president of the Clayton county NAACP. “We do not endorse any candidates! We do sponsor forums, debates and town hall meetings. We register people to vote and provide voter education. We are a 501(c)4 which allows us to promote issues that are important to people of all colors.”

Founded February 12, 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. As per the website, the organization was formed partly in response to 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois. Its main goals are to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minorities, eliminate racial prejudice, and …

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Seniors hit with membership increases

As of January 1, 2011, senior citizens who utilize the Frank Bailey Center and the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center began paying more money for their yearly memberships.

Clayton county seniors now pay $12 for a yearly membership, up from $1, non-county seniors who used to pay $10 must now pay $180, and the costs for meals were raised by $1.

According to a press release, the department lost grants which helped fund the senior centers. That in conjunction with a loss in tax revenue and fees led to the Board of Commissioners’ decision to raise membership fees, and the BOC “… continues to evaluate what other actions are necessary.”

Most will agree that if anybody deserves a break financially, it is senior citizens. To that end, Clayton’s seniors will receive the best deal on their yearly membership costs, and rightfully so since they pay taxes here and have presumably contributed to their community and/or county in some way.

But believe it or not, many come from surrounding …

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Tell your representatives what you want to see happen in Clayton

At a recent Chamber of Commerce breakfast, our legislative delegation discussed some of their future goals for Clayton county.

As per the Clayton News-Daily local state representatives Glenn Baker and Robert Abdul-Salaam along with a newly elected Atlanta state representative, would like to see House Bill 277 pass returning public transportation back to Clayton along with a one-percent sales tax to pay for it. Rep. Baker also mentions $2 billion in uncollected state taxes that could help to pay for public transit. Rep. Darryl Jordan added that we need to find ways to make Clayton more appealing to tourists and bring revenue and businesses back to the county.

What are other concerns and/or issues you would like to see our legislators address and accomplish for Clayton county? If their goals don’t align with yours as a constituent, and especially if they do, make sure to let them know before the new legislative session begins on January 11, 2011.

State …

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State Rep. Glanton leaves office, but not Clayton

State Rep. Mike Glanton will leave office Jan. 9 after serving Clayton County for two consecutive terms in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Although elected to represent the interests of District 76, you wouldn’t know that based on his accomplishments countywide.

“This was never a ‘part-time’ position for me,” says Glanton, who never missed a legislative day or a recorded vote during his tenure. “When I ran for office I promised my constituents that I would give 200 percent in my efforts to represent them.”

Throughout his 30-plus-year career as a public servant, volunteer and leader, Glanton has chaired and served on several committees, subcommittees and boards that have benefited Clayton County in various ways. This work led to his being the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including a recent proclamation from county commissioners.

Glanton serves as president of the Clayton County Ministers’ Conference and chairs the governing council at the Elite …

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Jonesboro property taxes revisited

Jonesboro residents might receive an unwelcome gift this Christmas: the resurrection of their property taxes.

According to the Clayton News-Daily, the proposed $2.58 million city budget includes revenue projections of $166,182 in property taxes.

Reinstating Jonesboro’s property taxes could help avoid city employees having to accept pay cuts and/or furlough days, and conceivably save jobs. As per the AJC, Jonesboro Councilman Bobby Wiggins estimated a one mil increase would generate $86,000, but the city needs at least three mills to help close the gap. It has been four years since residents in the city of Jonesboro paid property taxes.

But even with the revenue generated from property taxes, budget cuts will still need to be made and the number of special events residents have come to enjoy will be reduced. You can view the proposed budget at Jonesboro City Hall (124 North Avenue).

Jonesboro residents: do you support raising property taxes?

  • Yes, this is a necessary …

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Support Clayton and beyond this Christmas

This time of year there are many worthy causes vying for your contributions to help the less fortunate. One local group, who could use assistance year-round  is Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG), which serves 150 Clayton county families. The program is in great need of gifts for teenagers.

“My family has been truly blessed through the aid of Kinship Care,” says Mary Davis, who has raised her granddaughter since age four. Davis also gives back to the program by volunteering as an evening support group facilitator, serving as a council member, and teaching a class called Through the Eyes of a Child.  Take your donations to 849 Battlecreek Road, Jonesboro 30236 or call 770.477.3417.

Donations will be accepted until December 16 for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners’ toy drive for underprivileged children (ages 6 months–12 years old). Countywide drop off locations include all Clayton County Fire stations, Parks and Recreations facilities, and the BOC office …

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One of Clayton’s finest retires

Fire Chief, Chief of Staff, and longtime resident Alex Cohilas will retire on December 24 after 35 years of service to Clayton.

His accomplishments are too lengthy to name here, but include being the youngest person to ever be named Chief of the Fire Department at age 45, being named Director of Clayton County’s Emergency Management Agency, and most recently being appointed Chief of Staff by the Board of Commissioners.

I have had a few opportunities to speak with Chief Cohilas about various county issues over the years, and his love for Clayton was always plain. He always expressed his desire to see this county prosper, and had some great ideas for improving and moving us forward. Not only do I wish him well, but also hope that his successor makes some of those ideas reality.

Assuming there will be a successor, do you have any thoughts on who should be the next Chief of Staff?

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has kicked off the holiday season with a toy drive for …

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GRLI students attempt to empower community one citizen at a time

The Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institute (GRLI) Class of 2010 seeks to provide information on resources available right here in Clayton county.

The first annual Grassroots Hands on Clayton (GHOC) Empowerment Event takes place this Saturday, December 4 at Mundy’s Mill High School (9652 Fayetteville Road, Jonesboro 30238), from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and everything about this Event will be FREE to the public, including door prizes and giveaways!

Over 45 local businesses, professionals, and governmental agencies will provide information on various health and wellness concerns, credit counseling, employment leads, and job training, among other things. A sampling of those who will be in attendance are: Southern Regional Medical Center, Dr. Henry Anderson, Cornerstone Association, Inc., Georgia Department of Labor, Born II Win, Clayton County Parent-Teacher Association, Avon, local book club Twenty Women Dialogue, the Suicide Prevention Action Network, USA Boxing & …

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Good news in Clayton sometimes hard to find, but not impossible

While we seem to have no problem hearing about the crimes committed in Clayton county, we rarely get hear when crime is decreasing. But crime has continued to decrease here, although that is sometimes hard to tell solely by evening news clips.

As per WSBTV, Clayton has experienced a “dramatic drop in crime,” with violent crimes down 46% compared to Nov. 2009, and murders having dropped 29%.

Overall attitudes and perceptions of Clayton are changing, most importantly from within. I met someone last week who admittedly had only been to the airport in Clayton county, but had already formulated a negative opinion. He couldn’t even confirm where he got some of his (mis)information. Residents and business owners alike need to start touting the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives.  If we don’t do so, who will?

Another great story coming out of Clayton this week is the re-launch of We Are Clayton magazine.  By showcasing the positive images of Clayton from …

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Clayton gets ‘Work Ready’

The best gift some would like to receive this holiday season is employment. To aid residents with their job search, Clayton County became a Certified Work Ready Community via The Georgia Work Ready program, which could help bring businesses into the county, get unemployed residents working, and improve local high school graduation rates.

Applicants will need to take the GWR assessment, which focuses on test scores in three areas: applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information. “This is a good set of tools Georgians may access and earn to distinguish (or stand out!) from other job applicants,” says Debra Lyons, Director for the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. Skills gap training is available on any computer (including most public library computers) if scores need to be improved.

Further incentive is the pre-paid Visa card offered to assist the unemployed with job search expenses based on your score. For example, platinum is the highest …

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