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Congressman Johnson announces 2014 winners of CBCF scholarships

Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) announced the winners of the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Spouses Education Scholarships. The five winners hail from across the Fourth Congressional Dis

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Local News

Ethics charge dismissed against DeKalb Commissioner Johnson

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The DeKalb County Board of Ethics on Thursday unanimously dismissed allegations that Commissioner Larry Johnson used his county-issued charge card improperly.

The independent investigator hired by the Board found no evidence of abuse by Johnson.

Board members said that it was appropriate for Johnson to use his purchasing card to donate $12,000 from his office’s budget to the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center from 2012 to 2014, the basis of the allegations

"We provided the board evidence that each and every purchase was made for a public use in the interest of DeKalb County," said Attorneys Mawuli Davis and Candice McKinley of the Davis Bozeman Law Firm, which represented Johnson.

Johnson said he donated the money to help support the Porter Sanford Center after it underwent budget cuts.

“We have to reinvest in our communities, especially in the area of the arts,” Johnson said. "This was a long process--five months--to clear me of any wrongdoing. I'm just glad the process worked and that our community will be served."

The vote to dismiss the complaint was 5-0, with Bobbi Sanford abstaining because the Porter Sanford Center is named for her late husband.

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DeKalb’s Public Safety Chief appointed to Obama task force

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President Obama has appointed Cedric L. Alexander, DeKalb County's deputy chief operating officer for public safety, to a task force that will develop measures to improve relations between police officers and the communities they serve.

The President signed an executive order Oct. 18 creating the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The task force, which includes officials from law enforcement, civil rights, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders will study methods that are working and report back to President Obama by March 2. The task force will terminate 30 days after it submits its report.

The assignment comes in the wake of protests across the country after grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. declined to indict white police officers in connection with the deaths of unarmed African American males.

President Obama said the group will "reach out and listen to law enforcement, and community activists and other stakeholders," and make recommendations on the best ways to promote working together.

The task force will be chaired by Charles Ramsey, the police commissioner in Philadelphia, and Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general who is now a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Ron Davis, director of the...

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‘A FRESH START’

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WRS, Inc. to bring mixed-use concept to Underground Atlanta site

WRS, Inc., a South Carolina real estate investment company, plans to redevelop Underground Atlanta, transforming the area from not only a destination for tourists, but a community where people will live and shop every day.    

WRS, Inc. is under contract to buy Underground Atlanta for $25.8 million from the city of Atlanta and the Downtown Development Authority, city officials announced Dec. 17.

The company plans to redevelop the Atlanta landmark with apartments built on top of retail stores located at the street level of Underground Atlanta. The "underground" portion of the 12-acre tract will remain in tact with new retail and restaurants filling up vacant spaces, officials said.

Construction on the project is expected to start in mid-2016 and be completed within three to five years.

“The sale of Underground Atlanta is another milestone in the revitalization of our downtown corridor,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “WRS, Inc. brings a high level of expertise and strong track record of successful developments to an area of the city in need of a fresh approach. Based on the city’s track record with Ponce City Market, the Lakewood Fairgrounds (now EUE Screen Gems)...

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Chick-fil-A Classic Basketball tournament to feature top talent

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High school basketball teams from Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama will join in competition against some of DeKalb County’s best squads and other Georgia teams at the Chick-fil-A Invitational Holiday Classic on Dec. 26 – Dec. 30 in Tucker.

The 16 high school boys teams will compete for bragging rights and tournament honors at Tucker High School, 5036 LaVista Road, Tucker.

Participating DeKalb schools include Columbia, Miller Grove, Martin Luther King, Jr., Stephenson, Tucker and Cedar Grove.

The tournament is the brainchild of DeKalb County Athletics Director Horace Dunson.

Dunson has expanded DeKalb County athletics to new levels by hosting tournaments like this one. He also brought to the county the “Battle of the Borders,” a similar tournament for high school football teams from Florida and Georgia to compete in a “battle of the bands” as well.  

“DeKalb County is one of the top-recruited districts in the Southeast. We have selected teams from states that have national reputations for top talent. It is a great competition to see these teams take each other on,” said Dunson. “We thank the schools, Chick-fil-A, the DeKalb Visitors Bureau, Sports DeKalb and everyone working with us on this event. Fans will be traveling from...

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Conyers Holiday Spirit

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DeKalb commissioners remain deadlocked over District 5 “temporary vacancy”

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The Maloof Auditorium was already hot due to the heater being on high, but residents and the Board of Commissioners were steaming when the issue of confirming George Turner for a seat on the board came up on Dec. 16.

Tempers flared as the board's three white commissioners--Jeff Rader, Kathie Gannon and newly-elected Nancy Jester--demanded a special election for the seat. The three black commissioners--Larry Johnson, Sharon Barnes Sutton and Stan Watson, say they don't want to wait any longer and demanded confirmation of Turner's appointment.

The board deadlocked again--for the seventh time. Watson, Johnson and Barnes Sutton voted to approve Turner's appointment, while Gannon and Jester voted against it. Rader abstained, avoiding a tie. Four votes are needed for a decision or if there is a tie, DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May would break it.

The board has been squabbling since May nominated Turner in August for the District 5 temporary vacancy.

The board's impasse has angered District 5 residents, who also are divided over Turner's appointment. The community of 140,000 has been without representation on the board for more than a year because their elected official-- May-- was appointed to serve as DeKalb's Interim CEO last year. Gov....

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GBI plans no action after reviewing detention officer’s death

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Following DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey L. Mann’s request last month for an independent review, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) has released its report on the circumstances surrounding the death of recruit George Ward. The GBI briefed Mann in a meeting and told him it does not plan to take any further action on the case.

training program. His death came under scrutiny after WSB-TV launched an investigation.

"While training, we responded swiftly, professionally and appropriately.” According to initial reports by

succeed.
“Given the nature of the detention

Ward was a detention officer recruit who died unexpectedly during training exercises in May 2013 during the second day of the Jail Academy

“We understand that Mr. Ward’s family continues to grieve his loss,
and they have our sympathies,” said Mann. “After reviewing the report, however, I remain confident that this agency acted responsibly with regard to his tragic death and to our training program during retired Sheriff Thomas Brown’s administration. We continue to do so today. When Mr. Ward became

the DeKalb Medical Examiner, Mr. Ward was a victim of serious pre- existing medical conditions. This
was reconfirmed by the GBI Medical Examiner as part of its review. Sheriff Mann refers to the...

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