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News for our Senior Community

  AARP Georgia will host a panel discussion focused on age discrimination in the workplace on Friday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m. to noon, at Georgia Public Broadcasting 260 14th St., N.W., Atlanta.     The Asso


Local News

African-American Bar Associations to support ‘Ferguson to Atlanta’ conference this weekend

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Michael Brown

Some of Georgia's largest and oldest African American bar associations are supporting a conference focused on community organizing, legal rights and legislative changes to address many of the issues raised nationally as result of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and other unarmed African American men by police. 

The “Empowering Ourselves Now Conference: Asserting Our Rights and Educating Beyond Ferguson” will be held this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24-25, at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC),  700 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta. 

The Bar Associations supporting the conference are the Gate City Bar Association, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorney's, Georgia Alliance of African America Attorneys, DeKalb Lawyer's Association, Advocacy for Action, Black Law Student Association of Georgia State University and Attorney's United for Peace and Justice.  

On Friday, there will be a town hall meeting from 7 to 9 p.m.  where victims of police brutality will speak along with community organizers from Ferguson Missouri. 

On Saturday, there will be several workshops including discussions on police body cameras, litigating police brutality cases, serving as legal observers during protests, the impact of judicial elections on the African American community, and teaching people their legal rights when encountering the police. State Sen....


Supporters urge D.A. not to retry case

Mistrial leaves Ellis in limbo


Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis remains in limbo and it is unclear if he will ever return to finish his second, four-year term, which will expire at the end of 2015.

Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson declared a mistrial in the Ellis case on Oct. 21 after jurors had deliberated 51 hours over 11 days and could not reach a unanimous decision on any of the 13 felony charges against Ellis. While the mistrial means Ellis still has his freedom, he is not really free. He would have needed an acquittal to avoid prison time and return to work.  


Now, it remains to be seen if District Attorney Robert James will retry the case or if a plea deal may be negotiated or the case dropped altogether. James has not made any statement regarding the case because of a court gag order. Neither has Ellis nor his attorneys because of that order.    


Meanwhile, a group led by DeKalb NAACP President John Evans, is urging James not to retry Ellis. The group held a news conference the day after the mistrial was declared asking to meet with James, who was unavailable.




Rockdale Democrats to host former Ambassador Andrew Young


Former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young will visit Rockdale County next month for a much-anticipated event the Rockdale Democratic Party is hosting.


The Party is presenting "An Intimate Conversation with Ambassador Andrew Young " on Nov. 1 at Cameron Hall, 1035 Green St., Conyers. The black tie, ticketed event, which includes a VIP reception and dinner with Young, is a fundraiser to help the Democratic Party maintain its presence in Rockdale.  


"This is not an event to endorse anyone. It's a fundraiser. We want to keep our headquarters open so that we can continue to work to have Democrats elected," said Tommy Plummer, the Party's chair. "We are one of the few county parties that has maintained an office since the 2012 Presidential election."


Plummer said the event is open to anyone who wants to attend and meet the living legend.  


"Andrew Young is a living legend and we're looking forward to all that he has to say about his political life, the Civil Rights Movement, and other things that he wants to discuss," said Plummer.


Plummer said he recently had the opportunity to sit down with Young at Young's home and is eager to hear...


Two African-American women make historic promotions with DeKalb Fire Rescue Department


DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department will get its first ever African American women to hold the title of Battalion Chief.


Fire Chief Darnell Fullum announced he is promoting two women and five men from Fire Captains to the rank of Fire Battalion Chie. The appointments are effective Oct. 25.  


Fire Battalion Chiefs Zina Gresham and Vera Morrison become DeKalb County Fire Rescue’s first ever African American females to hold this position. Gresham, a 12-year veteran, and Morrison, a 13-year veteran, are both based out of Station 15 on Flightway Drive in Chamblee.  


“It is a top priority to ensure that our Public Safety Department has the help it needs to serve and protect our residents and that takes leadership,” said Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May. “Not only do these promotions reflect the breakdown of gender barriers, but it illustrates the reward given for dedication and service to one’s job.”


Chief Fullum said the women are highly qualified.


“While it is important to recognize these historic appointments of these two ladies, it is even more important to acknowledge that they are highly qualified and fully capable of performing the duties of a Fire Battalion Chief having...


Audit shows Gannon used P card for county-related business


DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who represents the Super District 6, used her P card (county credit card) for county business and provided valid receipts for 97 percent of the 243 purchases she made, according to an audit by O.H. Pounkett Accounting and Management Consultants.


The independent auditor released the results of an examination of all P-Card and other discretionary spending, Gannon announced in a press release on Thursday, Oct. 23.


On Common Ground News was unable to get a copy of the full report by its deadline on Thursday to determine how the other commissioners fared.


Gannon expressed her satisfaction with her outcome in the news release.


“Earlier this year, investigative reporting by the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution) revealed excessive spending by former Commissioner Boyer. It was apparent to me that we should hire a professional auditor to review the discretionary spending of all of the Board of Commissioners,” said Gannon. “I am pleased to have sponsored the legislation that called for a thorough and professional examination of the expenditures of all Commission offices and the BOC Central Staff.”


Boyer has pleaded guilty to defrauding DeKalb taxpayers of more than $90,000 through the use...


Expansion project to relieve congestion on Rockdale’s Highway 138


Rockdale County is planning to bring some relief to congested Highway 138, its main shopping district, with a $4 million expansion project that will include improvements from Green Street to Old Covington Highway.


Officials say the widening project, mainly funded by a Special Purpose Local Sales Tax (SPLOST), also will be paid for with a $1 million federal grant. The project will be done by Construction Management Engineering Services, Inc. (CMES).


"This is a huge step for Rockdale going forward and it will be a welcome relief," said Rockdale Board of Commissioners Chairman CEO Richard Oden. "It won't happen in 90 days. There's a lot of work that needs to be done and it will take some time, but it will be well worth it."


Construction is expected to begin in 30 days and will be completed by 2016, officials say. From Green Street to Old Covington Highway will be widened and traffic will be re-routed under 138 near Dogwood Drive to create a better traffic flow.

The first phase of work will be the relocation of utilities alongside the existing 138 right of way, said Miguel Valentine, Rockdale's director of transportation.


“Most construction until the...


St. Paul AME celebrates Pink and Blue Ribbon Sunday


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St. Paul AME Worship Center in Lithonia celebrated its Pink and Blue Ribbon Sunday on Oct. 19 with a balloon release in honor breast cancer survivors and in memory of those who have died from the disease. The church hosted guest speaker, Dr. James Benton, president of Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia, and held a reception after the balloon release.


St. Paul AME is located at 1704 Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road and is under the leadership of the Rev. Cheviene Jones.


Watch the video of the release at    



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