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Charis Books honors Anne Olson as “July Book Curator” Age hasn’t stopped Anne Olson from remaining extremely active in her Atlanta community. The 80-year-old is being honored by Charis Books and More


Local News

Publishers honored with Exceptional Community Leaders Award


On Common Ground News publishers Glenn and Valerie Morgan were honored with Light of the World Christian Tabernacle International’s “Exceptional Leaders in the Community” award on July 18 in Stockbridge.

The award presentation was part of the church’s 2014 Holy Convocation, which was held July 12 – 20. The Morgans were honored “for ongoing commitment to keeping the community informed and dedication to community empowerment.”    

The newspaper, which marked its 19th anniversary this year, was established in April 1995.

Light of the World leaders, Archbishop Ruth W. Smith Holmes and Dr. Rickie Holmes, hosted the convocation. Church members say the Holy Convocation is designed for the worship of God, recalling the divine fruits and to bring repentance. Results of the Holy Convocation include bringing confession, giving participants a contrite heart and bringing a true repentance.


Local leaders honored as “trailblazers” at annual awards program

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JABY, Inc. and Suite 20 Day Spa hosted the 2014 International Trailblazers Awards on July 20 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in Decatur.

Radio news anchor Veronica Waters hosted the red carpet event. 

The first awards program was hosted in 2010.  

Suite 20 Day Spa was founded by husband and wife team Ceasar and Kristy Gaiter to provide affordable hair care in the community. After three successful years in business, Kristy Gaiter, a licensed hair care professional, founded the nonprofit, JABY, Inc. (Just About Blessing You) to put on the Trailblazer Awards.

Trailblazers recipients for 2014 include Justice Trailblazer Ashley Gibson; Leadership Trailblazer Keith Parker; Legend Trailblazer Barbara Jones Slater; Spiritual Trailblazer Bishop William L. Sheals, Pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church; Business Trailblazer Yaki Watkins; Community Service Trailblazer Stephanie Cogdell; and Future Trailblazer Trent Williams.

Past recipients of the Trailblazer Awards have included pillars in the community such as Congressman Hank Johnson, Bishop Gary Hawkins of Voices of Faith, and On Common Ground News Publishers Glenn and Valerie Morgan. 


National Bar Association honors DeKalb District Attorney Robert James

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DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James will be honored with the “My Brother’s Keepers” award by the National Bar Association on Saturday, July 26. James will receive the award during National Bar Association’s 89th Annual Convention, held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Atlanta.

“When I first decided to run for public office, I ran with the idea that I could not only prosecute cases but that I could, in some way, make a difference in my community,” said James.  “We all share the burden of ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. It is my sincere hope and prayer that together we can minimize the numerous hurdles facing our young people.”

The National Bar Association has partnered with 100 Black Men of America, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, local fraternity chapters and public officials for this year’s community education initiative. The National Bar Association’s convention will include various programs for middle school, high school and college-aged young people. Various convention seminars will teach young attendees how to interact with police officers and deal with various life challenges.

James was recently honored by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners for his work in creating the Anti-Recidivism Court (ARC)...


DeKalb’s Romeo Stockett is awarded at 100 national convention


Stone Mountain’s Romeo Stockett was awarded the “Dr. James Black Award” by the 100 Black Men of America Chairman Curley Dossman, at the group’s 28th Annual National Conference in Hollywood, Florida over the summer.  


Stockett was recognized for his outstanding achievements in research, data analysis, advocacy and advancing awareness and protocol changes in the education, care and treatment of prostate cancer. 

Stockett is currently participating in three national initiatives and research in prostate cancer as well as his independent research in advancing prostate cancer awareness and care through data informatics applications.


This year, the theme of the conference was “Education in an Era of Change.” With sponsors such as corporations Cadillac and the General Motors foundation, the Atlanta-based national mentoring organization attracted more than 2,000 attendees.


The 100 Black Men conference was welcoming to celebrities and dignitaries like comedian Jonathan Slocumb, performers En Vogue, Joe, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, Sevyn Streeter, Trevor Jackson, educator Dr. Dennis Kimbro, celeb fitness expert Donna Richardson, Olympian Tommy Smith and former NBA superstar Dikembe Mutombo. 


Voters keep some incumbents, elect new leaders


According to unofficial results posted by Georgia’s Secretary of State Valarie D. Wilson will represent the Democratic Party in the race for the State School Superintendent seat. The seat will be left open because current State School Superintendent John Barge is running for Governor.  


Wilson received 73,590 or 54.38 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat opponent Alisha Morgan who had 61,726 or 45.62 percent of the vote. In November, Wilson will face Republican Richard L. Woods, who received 199,259 or 50.09 percent of the vote. Woods defeated Michael “Mike” Buck who received 49.91 percent of the vote.


In the race to name DeKalb’s Sheriff, incumbent Jeff Mann easily defeated former CEO Vernon Jones with 40, 537 or 76.36 percent of the vote. Jones received 12,553 or 23.64 percent of the vote.

In DeKalb’s election to elect leaders for the county school system, former school headmaster Vickie Turner, with 5,192 or 59.74 percent of the vote, defeated incumbent Thad Mayfield for the District 5 Board of Education seat. Mayfield received 3,499 or 40.26 percent of the vote.


Incumbent Jim McMahan will keep his District 4 seat, receiving 4,618 or 57.57 percent of the vote. Competitor Karen Carter received...


DeKalb schools receive $3 million grant to improve instructional leadership


The Wallace Foundation is investing $3 million in a five-year effort to help the DeKalb County School District improve the instructional leadership skills of its principals and regional superintendents.


The DeKalb grant is part of Wallace’s new $30-million national Principal Supervisor Initiative involving 14 urban school districts across the country.


“We are honored to have been selected by the Wallace Foundation to participate in this groundbreaking initiative” stated DeKalb County School Superintendent Michael Thurmond. “This is a game-changer for the DeKalb School System.”  

DeKalb has come under scrutiny for its graduation rates. In May, 24 percent (1,456) of the county’s 4,498 students did not receive their diplomas. Only two of DeKalb’s 25 high schools – DeKalb Early College Academy with 37 seniors and DeKalb School of the Arts with 67 seniors – graduated their entire senior class.


School officials are looking at a number of ways to improve the rate.

The Wallace Foundation launched this initiative because the often overlooked regional superintendent position has emerged as central to improving principals’ performance and ultimately, student achievement.


“In many large school districts, principal supervisors oversee too many principals – 24 on average – and focus too much on...


Simulated school shooting keeps Rockdale deputies prepared


With the countdown on for students to return to school, Rockdale County Sheriff deputies recently got some classroom and hands-on training—a refresher course on how to handle a shooter on school campuses.



The mayhem: rapid fire, explosions and screaming children. Rockdale deputies took these dangers head on as a part of a simulated shooting at Honey Creek Elementary School in Conyers on July 16.

Rockdale students return to classes for the new school year on July 28. They are among the first school districts to head back to school in the metro Atlanta area.



gunwalk“If a school shooting happens in Rockdale, we don’t want our deputies wondering if they should wait for back up, should they just go in the school. We don’t want them to be caught completely off guard,” said Sergeant Jeremy Mote, training coordinator. “If a school shooting happens, our deputies won’t be looking around saying oh crap, what should I do, they will be prepared for it.”

The training and simulation will be conducted yearly for deputies to be up-to-date on training tactics and more importantly, so they will know what to do if they are put in the middle of a...



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