Clayton helps put chokehold on drug ring

Forty-five people connected to a Mexican drug cartel were arrested and its Clayton county based cell shut down thanks to federal and local law enforcement which included our District Attorney, Tracy Graham Lawson.

Operation Choke Hold originated in Gwinnett county back in May 2009 and as the drug cartel La Familia Michoacana spread they began operating out of Spalding, Henry, Cobb, and Clayton counties, along with several other states.

According to the AJC, Operation Choke Hold involved the Clayton and Griffin district attorney’s offices, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Atlanta High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. More than $2.3 million in cash and 20 firearms were seized, along with drugs that had a street value of more than $10 million which included 46 pounds of methamphetamine, 43 kilos of cocaine, and 4,120 pounds of marijuana.

Obviously this one bust will not completely eliminate drug rings in the Metro Atlanta area, and all of the …

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Should Clayton join MARTA?

Up for your consideration on the November 2 ballot is a non-binding referendum question asking whether Clayton county should become a full participant in MARTA by charging a sales tax in support of MARTA and the county’s public transportation needs.

How will you vote on the question of Clayton joining MARTA?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I’ll decide at the voting booth

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Getting this referendum onto the ballot at all has not been an easy task. First, the Georgia 2020 Transportation Act passed (HB 277) earlier this year, giving the county permission to break its seven percent sales tax cap to pay for public transportation. Next, the General Assembly passed HB 1446 last April (sponsored by State Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam) so that a non-binding referendum could be placed on the July 20 primary ballot. Then due to Governor Sonny Perdue’s late signature on the bill, the referendum was postponed to the November ballot.  Finally, the Board of Commissioners …

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CCSO and CCPS unite for community and student safety

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office and Clayton County Public Schools have joined forces to keep our schools and communities safe by adding law enforcement substations to four campuses.

“We hope to enhance the security of the areas immediately surrounding the substation sites through our added visibility there, increase the presence of CCSO in the community-at-large, and facilitate more interaction between deputies and citizens and their children,” says Sheriff Kem Kimbrough.

The program will be tested at: Northcutt Elementary/North Clayton Middle School (Hwy 314 at Norman Drive, College Park); Harper Elementary/Sequoyah Middle School (Valley Hill Road, Riverdale); East Clayton Elementary (Ellenwood Road at I-675, Ellenwood); and Lovejoy High School (McDonough Road, Lovejoy).

Initially, substations will be open only Monday thru Friday for eight hours a day with posted hours of operation. The pilot program will begin within 30 days and if successful, four additional …

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Who gets your vote on November 2?

Below is a listing of local candidates on the November 2 ballot who hope to represent Clayton county, including write in candidates challenging the unopposed.  If you need further information on any candidate, please refer to the AJC voter guide.

County Commissioner – District 4: Michael Edmondson (I) versus Lee Scott.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE:

76th District: Sandra Scott (no web site) versus Gail Buckner (write in).

77th District: Darryl Jordan (I) (no web site) versus James Brown.

STATE SENATOR:

34th District: Valencia Seay (I) versus Zannie (Tiger) Billingslea (no web site).

44th District: Gail Davenport versus Carlotta Harrell (write in).

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE:

District 5: John Lewis (I) versus Fenn Little.

District 13: David Scott (I) versus Mike Crane.

SCHOOL BOARD:

District 8: Alieka Anderson (no web site) versus Michelle Lake (write in; no web site).

CANDIDATES RUNNING UNOPPOSED ARE:

County Commissioner: Sonna Singleton (District 1).

Board of Education: Pamela Anderson …

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How is our BOE doing?

Clayton residents know better than any other metro Atlanta county the power a school board has, and how its members can contribute to making or breaking a school system.

Recently, other counties have been exposed for similar (or some may argue, worse) acts as compared to those which caused Clayton County Public Schools to lose its accreditation. While I wouldn’t wish what we went through on anyone, some Clayton residents wonder why SACS wasn’t as quick to punish those counties currently making headlines. Some have blamed this slight on race, but given DeKalb’s makeup that conclusion seems unlikely.

Four Clayton Board of Education members up for reelection in November are running unopposed. So if you have an issue(s) with how the BOE currently operates, know that the players will not change until 2013. This includes Superintendent Edmund Heatley, whose contract was recently extended through June 2013.

The AJC article lists the problem areas most school boards experience as …

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Celebrate with Riverdale as it opens new Downtown

While some believe Riverdale’s best days are behind it, others can see a promising future, thanks to the city’s new Town Center.

Almost three years in the making, Riverdale’s new “Downtown” has finally come to fruition and will celebrate its grand opening beginning this Saturday, Oct. 9, at 11 am (7210 Church St.).

Visualized by Riverdale’s Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) in January 2008, the plan included building a new 21,000-square-foot City Hall Complex, a 42,000-square-foot Center for the Arts, Business and Leisure Services, a public plaza with an interactive water feature and a 1,000-seat amphitheater.

LCI is still searching for a private developer to implement the second and third phases of the project, which will include a hotel, retail shops, restaurants and residential units.

The grand opening starts with a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by multi-cultural performances and tours of the business expo and complex. For the night owls, a celebratory concert …

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Clayton leaders come together on October 2

Some residents have wondered aloud why Clayton’s elected officials don’t appear to work together on issues that affect the county as a whole. This mindset could be changing, thanks to the newly formed Leadership Roundtable.

Co-hosted by Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt and Senator Gail Buckner, these monthly meetings aim to bring our leaders from all over the county together every month to communicate with each other and the public.

“The purpose of the Leadership Roundtable is to give the elected officials of Clayton County an opportunity to have on-going conversations on a regular basis,” says Buckner. “By getting together to share information about what we’re working on, we can maximize one of our most valuable resources – our time – to give and get information that is important to our community.” All county elected officials are invited to participate.

The first meeting will take place October 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake City Municipal Center council chambers (5455 …

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Jones NY rewards Forest Park educator in style

Recently, two of Clayton’s best made residents proud as they were recognized for contributions in different areas.

Forest Park H.S. World Languages Department Chair and Spanish teacher Tavane Moore was one of seven teachers in the USA (out of 1,500 nominees) who won the Jones New York (JNY), Back to School, Back to Style Contest.

Moore was nominated by former student Le Quach after helping her win a five-month scholarship to study in Mali, Africa. “Señorita Moore has something I believe many people lack within their professions: passion,” states the 2010 graduate in her nomination submission. “… My peers and I have learned … valuable life skills like patience, persistence, and respect. Señorita Moore takes learning beyond the classroom IN the classroom.” Quach is currently studying at the American University in Paris.

Moore’s prizes include: a two-night stay in NYC; a $1,500 JNY Macy’s shopping spree; a head-to-toe makeover; getting “styled” by JNY Style …

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Should school bus service be reinstated?

Should CCPS reinstate school bus service?

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  • Not sure

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Like all businesses these days, Clayton County Public Schools has been forced to make tough decisions in order to balance its budget. To that end, they recently enforced a 20+ year old policy terminating bus service for students living within a mile and a half of their schools, saving the system about $4 million.

Ever since this decision was made, I have been bombarded with stories from families directly affected and their supporters. Tonight, they will ask the Board of Education to put childrens safety first by reinstating school bus service.

Although Morrow resident “Dee” has transportation to get her children to school, she supports reinstating bus service for parents without alternatives. “The State Pardon Parole and Probation Office where criminals of all kind report, including people with a history of violent crimes, is two blocks away from Jackson Elementary …

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Quick Transit provides an option to bus riders

Although it may have felt like an eternity, C-Tran riders did not have to wait long for a public transportation alternative. And the best part for Clayton taxpayers is that this new bus service is privately funded, so no new taxes will be needed.

Although still working out some kinks in its service, Quick Transit is a lifesaver and money saver for residents who depend on mass transit. ”I split $24 cab fare one-way with my sister just to get to the airport and we still had to pay to ride MARTA,” says Riverdale resident and UGA student Myisha Jones. “We lived our lives around cab rides to and from the airport so we could split the fare, it was ridiculous.”

With 11 buses in its fleet (five buses and six paratransit vans), Quick Transit runs former C-Tran routes 503 and 504, which have been renumbered under their new system.  As per the web site, former routes 501 and 502 are on the way. The full price fare has risen to $3.50; senior citizens (65+) and disabled riders pay a …

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