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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

Ellis’ supporters urge D.A. not to retry the Ellis corruption case


A group of supporters, led by DeKalb County NAACP President John Evans, held a press conference today outside the county courthouse in downtown Decatur with one message for District Attorney Robert James: Don’t retry the Burrell Ellis case. Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson declared a mistrial on Tuesday after the 12-woman jury could not reach a unanimous decision in the corruption case.


Evans said that being said, the District Attorney should not retry the case.


“We don’t think it needs to go any further ,so we’re asking the D.A. today to stay away from it,” said Evans.


After the news conference, the group tried to meet with James but his staff said he was unable to discuss the case because of a court-ordered gag order.


See the DeKalb NAACP’s news conference at


Early voting available this Saturday

vote rockdale

Saturday voting will be offered across the Sate of Georgia this weekend and Rockdale County voters are being urged to "Go pink and vote" that day. Rockdale is also using the day to recognize “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” The Board of Elections is asking its voters to wear pink to raise awareness about breast cancer.


Rockdale will offer voting on Saturday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1400 Parker Road, Conyers, Lobby C.


Additionally, voters can cast their ballots at the Board of Elections Office during the following period:

Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 27 – 28, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Extended hours are:

Wednesday - Friday, Oct. 29 –31, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 31 is the last day voters may cast an early ballot or request a ballot by mail. After this time, voters must vote at their assigned precinct on Election Day, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Nov. 4.


All voters are reminded to bring one of the six forms of acceptable photo ID listed below:

  • § Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
  • § Valid photo ID card issued by any State or U.S. government
  • § Valid United States passport
  • §...


Mistrial declared in Ellis corruption case


DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson declared a mistrial in the corruption case of suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. After 51 hours of deliberation, the 12-woman jury sent the judge a note on Tuesday saying it could not reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges. Johnson declared a mistrial around 4:15 p.m.

The note from jurors was the fourth one they had sent the judge since they had begun deliberating. Tuesday's note read:   

"After thorough review of all evidence, having several talks, discussions and debates and trying a few different strategies, we the jury are unable to come to a unanimous conclusion in the matter of state versus W. Burrell Ellis Jr on all counts."

Johnson declared a mistrial after reading the jurors' statement. Ellis showed little emotion as Johnson spoke. He glanced back at his wife, Philippa, who smiled.

Neither Ellis nor his attorneys offered any comment, saying they were still under a gag order not to discuss the case.

It was unclear if District Attorney Robert James would retry the case. He offered no comment.

The judge said the jurors, however, were free to talk with the media, and there were plenty of questions.  




Metro-Atlanta officials urge emergency workers, community to take precaution

As top officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) respond to rising concerns over the deadly Ebola crisis, metro Atlanta officials are stepping up efforts to protect first responders and the public at large. Officials are going over drills and procedures on how to deal with deadly, infectious diseases.


In recent days, the CDC has revised its protocol in dealing with the virus, including adding more stringent screening at airports and stipulating that health care workers who treat Ebola patients wear more protective clothing, covering themselves from head to toe. The changes follow heavy criticism and scrutiny of the CDC as Ebola jumps continents and spreads. Officials report that Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people in West Africa. More than 400 healthcare workers and missionaries from around the world have contracted the virus while treating patients and 200 of them have died from the disease, officials say.      


Atlanta has witnessed firsthand how emergency workers must take precaution in responding to caring for Ebola patients. At least two Dallas nurses who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan have tested positive for the...


DeKalb schools on Ebola alert, implement strict admissions policy


DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond said the district is not permitting the enrollment of any new students from Ebola-affected West African countries, and administrators should be on the alert for anyone at school exhibiting fever.


The district issued the notice on Oct. 15 after a family from West Africa tried to enroll one of their children at Dunwoody Elementary and Dunwoody High School. The family reportedly moved to DeKalb at the end of September from West Africa and was cooperating with district officials to provide medical documentation.


Thurmond said anyone trying to enroll a child from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and other areas of West Africa, as well as affected areas in the U.S., would not be permitted to enroll or attend classes without proper medical documentation and permission from him.


Thurmond said he’s also urging principals and administrators to be vigilant in looking for symptoms of the virus. Staff members should ask those who seem sick if he or she has traveled to West Africa or other affected areas or come into contact with someone who has. If school officials encounter individuals whom they believe exhibit symptoms, they are to immediately separate the individual from...


Day 8: Judge orders jurors to keep deliberating in Ellis case


For two consecutive days, jurors in the Burrell Ellis case told the judge they couldn't reach a unanimous decision, increasing speculation the jury may not get past being deadlocked.


Ellis, who is charged with 13 felony counts including extortion and bribery, is accused of pressuring vendors to give to his elections campaign or lose out on county contracts.  


At On Common Ground News' Oct. 26 deadline, Judge Courtney Johnson had ordered the jury to continue deliberating. Johnsonreminded attorneys that the jury had been deliberating only 35 hours, even though it has been over eight days.  

The jurors--12 women, along with three alternates-- asked to listen to additional phone conversations that were secretly taped by the prosecution's star witness, former DeKalb Purchasing Director Kelvin Walton. Still, the jurors could not agree after hearing the tapes. Jurors have also requested and re-watched a special grand jury testimony of Ellis discussing DeKalb’s Watershed Management contracts.


burrell4Craig Bradford, a retiree who has attended the trial as an interested citizen of Decatur, said it seems some of the jurors had reached the breaking point. One of the women had smeared mascara and appeared to have been crying.


“You can tell some...


Conyers native lands leading role on Oxygen's "Snapped"


When 23-year-old Court King graduated from Rockdale County's Salem High School in 2009, he says he never would have imagined he would be playing the role of a music producer/murderer. 

But for about a month in July, it was just a part of the job for the Conyers native who starred in the Oxygen channel's nationally-syndicated show, "Snapped" as Jabrai Copney. 

"This was my first leading role after about five years of working professionally so it was a big moment for me," said King, whose birth name is Courtney Dillard, Jr. "I used any nervous energy I had as fuel to go harder in the role of Jabrai." 
King's family members and friends throughout Georgia, Minneapolis, Minnesota, California, and in Pennsylvania hosted watch parties on Oct. 12 to see the young thespian shine on the "Snapped" episode as Copney.  

Jabrai Copney was a promising music producer who worked with music heavy weights such as New Edition and Ryan Leslie but he led a secret criminal life which led to a botched drug deal and him shooting and killing Harvard student Justin Cosby in 2009. Copney was convicted of murder in 2011 with a life sentence and no possibility of parole. 




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