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Jennifer Ffrench-Parker

Stories by Jennifer

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Bill amending Stonecrest charter now focusing only on mayor's term and voting

State Rep. Doreen Carter has tabled changing council district lines in the city of Stonecrest but House Bill 600 is still seeking to amend the city’s charter to impose a two-consecutive term limit on the mayor, and limiting the mayor to voting only to break a tie. The tweaking come after push back from residents and members of the Governors Commission who said lawmakers did not seek input from them before writing the bill.

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Spring is here and Arabia Mountain is showing off

This time of the year, there is no place like Arabia Mountain. It’s spring and the granite outcrop is showing off. It’s signature bright-red diamorpha are in full bloom this weekend, and in the next two weeks, tiny white and pink flowers will emerge to carpet sections of mountain, that is part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Seem like there is surprise at every turn for walkers, hikers and the like.

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Negative campaign mailer targets Stonecrest candidate Charles Hill

Stonecrest mayoral candidate Charles Hill II is the subject of a negative campaign mailer that started arriving in the mailboxes of Stonecrest voters today. The glossy mailer, from a group calling itself “Blueprint to Restore DeKalb,” says Hill is mentally ill and featured a photo of Hill with the words “Bipolar Manic Depressive” written across his face. It also has a naked photo of the late Anthony Hill, a mentally ill Air Force veteran who was shot dead by DeKalb Police outside his Chamblee apartment in March 2015.

Low turnout expected for March 21 Stonecrest election

More than 38,992 registered voters in the new city of Stonecrest can go to the polls on March 21 to pick their first mayor and five-member city council, but election officials predict that a mere fraction of them will do it. “Most special elections have 3 [percent] to 5 percent turnout,” Maxine Daniels, DeKalb Registration and Elections director, said Thursday.

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Operation Clean Sweep underway, 50 tons of debris cleared from county curbs first day

Muck, gunk, debris and all that stuff that have been caked up along DeKalb County curbs are getting the boot. Operation Clean Sweep, which kicked off March 11, began chiseling away the built-up debris that DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond says blocks the flow of storm water into county drains and contributes to standing water on the roads leading to potholes and other issues.

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Lary and 'the Jason 5' benefit from campaign mailers from mystery benefactors

In the final weeks of campaigning for the new City of Stonecrest, an Atlanta-based firm is spending heavily to support a controversial “slate” of candidates, a move which is leaving voters mystified and raising questions about shadowy interest groups seeking to influence the March 21 election.

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Cynthia Houston inspired DeKalb's Operation Clean Sweep Initiative

Cynthia Houston, who has been picking up trash in her Stone Mountain neighborhood for more than 16 years, got roses and gratitude from DeKalb County government on March 11 at the kickoff of its Operation Clean Sweep Initiative to beautify the county.

DeKalb lawmakers amending Stonecrest charter to put term limit on mayor

A local bill to amend the city of Stonecrest’s charter is seeking to add term limits on the mayor, redraw council district lines, and limit the mayor to to tie-breaking votes. It made it out of the DeKalb delegation in the Georgia House Wednesday. State Rep. Doreen Carter, who is sponsoring the legislation, said she and other legislators have been inundated with calls about the fact the Stonecrest charter lacked term limits for the mayor, something that is common among cities in the county and the state.

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Businessmen battling to be Stonecrest mayor

Jason Lary, the defacto “Father” of the city, Charles Hill, 11, who grew up in the city and was shaped by it, and relative newcomer Douglas Favors all want to be mayor of the new 29-square-mile city. Lary, 55, thinks that having worked to bring the city into existence, he deserves the office. Hill, 32, thinks its time for new blood in his home town; and Favors, who arrived in Stonecrest a mere three years, says, “I am smiling all the time.”

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Safety Director Cedric Alexander departs DeKalb County

Dr. Cedric Alexander, who was DeKalb Public Safety director for three years, is leaving the county on March 31. Alexander announced his resignation March 1, saying he is retiring from his 40-year career in law enforcement but will continue working as an analyst for CNN.

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More than 33,000 eligible voters to pick Stonecrest mayor, council members

More than 33,000 Stonecrest voters will pick the first mayor and city council members in the March 21 special election. Three candidates are vying for mayor and 17 for the five council seats. Maxine Daniels, director of DeKalb Registration & Elections, said voting cards were recently mailed to 33,373 active and inactive voters.

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Voters to pick between community activist and educator in District 1 race

Jimmy Clanton, Jr. and Dr. Charles Ross bid to be the first city council member for the Stonecrest Post 1 seat has pitted a community activist against an educator. Clanton, a long-time community activist, lists economic development as the most pressing issue facing the new 29-square-mile city. Ross, a fifth-grade teacher, says education is key to spurring economic development.

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Stonecrest 4, the race with the most candidates, experiences

In an election that has attracted a crowd, the Stonecrest District 4 council seat is the big winner with most – five – candidates. The political hopefuls include the election’s youngest candidate, Mary-Pat Hector who is 20, its oldest candidate, retired police detective Geraldine Champion, who is 77; and the only former elected official, Jesse Jay Cunningham. Nonprofit executive Jonathan “JP” Phillips and community advocate George Turner round out the slate.

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District 3 candidates bring different government experience to table

In the battle for the Stonecrest Post 3 council seat, government auditor Jazzmin Cobble and congressional outreach director Eric Hubbard bring different government experience to the table. Cobble, a five-year resident of the newly-formed city, has audited local governments and the state university system. Hubbard, a 26-year Stonecrest resident, has strong chops in government relations and constituent services.

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Four Stonecrest District 2 candidates offer voters varied backgrounds

Businessman Plez Joyner, program manager Rob Turner, and teachers Alexis Morris and Dr. Gretchen Torbert want to see a vibrant city of Stonecrest, but are they are coming to it from different places. The four, who are vying for Post 2 council seat, are among 20 candidates seeking to be the new city's first elected officials in the March 21 special election

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Two teachers, a businesswoman and a retiree seeks Stonecrest 5 seat

The race for the Stonecrest District 5 seat is pitting a businesswoman, two teachers, and a retired police officer against each other. Dr. Diane Daniel Adoma, 60; Tammy Grimes, 51; Lloyd Morrison, 42; and Richard Stone, 63; are facing off in the March 21 special election to represent the district.

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Stonecrest to become the state's, region’s soccer mecca

In two years, the city of Stonecrest will be home to two professional soccer teams and it will be hosting regional and national soccer championships bringing thousands of fans to South DeKalb County. First Team, FC soccer club and the Georgia Soccer Association said this week that proposed Atlanta Sports City at Stonecrest that is going up on 200 acres along Mall Parkway between Stonecrest Trace and Evans Mill Road “is a fantastic location” for the fast growing sports.

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Fireworks at first Stonecrest candidate forum

Sparks flew at the first community forum for the 20 candidates seeking offices, and it wasn’t between candidates. Instead, forum host State Rep. Vernon Jones engaged in a spitting match with mayoral candidate Charles Hill, Jr, with whom he has a history dating back to when both competed for the House District 91 House seat last year.

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Maynard, the film, to tell the story of Atlanta's first African-American mayor

The much-anticipated documentary film Maynard about the life and times of Atlanta’s first black African-American Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. should be ready for a screening at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018. The film will present an intimate portrait of Jackson – the man, the mayor, the game changer, and the politician.

Probate Court Judge Rosh resigns

DeKalb Probate Court Jeryl Rosh, who has been in office since 2003 and part of the court for more than 30 years, is leaving Feb. 28. Rosh, who was re-elected unopposed in November, wrote her resignation letter on Jan. 3 – two days into her new four-year term.

Hector candidacy challenged for Stonecrest council

Board of Elections sets hearing for Feb. 9

Mary-Pat Hector's candidacy for the Stonecrest City Council is being challenged because of her age. Hector is 19 years old. Georgia law requires candidates for elected office to be 21 years old.

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Bishop Long remembered as visionary leader, caring pastor, family man

May, 12, 1953 – Jan. 15, 2017

Friends, family, and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church staff and members remembered Bishop Eddie Lee Long as a man who rose from humble beginnings to global prominence at his Jan. 25 Celebration of Life Service.

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CEO Thurmond plans to unify county to move it ahead

DeKalb’s new CEO Michael Thurmond took the oath of office on Jan. 13 and invoked a new day in the county. “We will not allow the past to define us, or prohibit us,” he told a packed Maloof Auditorium at the honorary swearing-in ceremony of county elected officials. “We will learn from our mistakes but we are not going to dwell on them.”

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Bishop Eddie Long's homegoing service is Jan. 25

May, 12, 1953 – Jan. 15, 2017

Bishop Eddie Long, who grew New Birth Missionary Baptist Church from a congregation of 300 on Snapfinger Road in Decatur to 25,000 with global reach, will be celebrated at a Jan. 25 home-going service in Lithonia.

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DASH to a healthy you in 2017

High blood pressure, also know as hypertension, is a common and dangerous condition. National data suggest that 31 percent of US adults have hypertension and another 31 percent are pre-hypertension, meaning that without intervention and life style changes, they too will have high blood pressure.

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DeKalb Democrat Sandra Austin remembered as ultimate party insider

Long-time DeKalb County Democratic Party chairwoman Sandra Austin is being remembered this week as the glue that held the party together over the good times and bad. Austin, 69, a DeKalb Democrat for more than 25 years, died unexpectedly on Jan. 13 at her Decatur home.

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Gannon, Rader to lead Board of Commissioners in 2017

DeKalb Super 6 District Commissioner Kathie Gannon is the new presiding officer of the DeKalb Board of Commissioner and District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader is her deputy. Both Gannon and Rader, who are white, were elected Jan. 10 to lead the majority African American BOC.

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20 candidates qualify for Stonecrest mayor and council seats

Twenty candidates qualified this week for the March 21 Stonecrest elections for mayor and five council seats. The slate includes 12 of the 13 people who previously announced they would run; and men outnumbered women two to one.

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Thousands to march in remembrance

Thousands of adults, children will be marching on Jan. 16 in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther Jr. and the ideals he stood for on the 32nd national holiday in his honor. ML King, Jr. parades will take in Lithonia, Conyers, McDonough and the City of Atlanta. Families, individuals, elected officials, high school marching bands and a host of civil rights, community, civic, social, fraternal, religious and other groups and organizations will march in memory of the late civil rights leader who fought of voting and human rights for African Americans.

City of Prosperity proposed for DeKalb District 3

District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson says today that he will be a pursing the incorporation of all of his district in a city called Prosperity. Johnson made the announcement at the Jan. 10 Board of Commissioners meeting after he lost the presiding officer position to District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon.

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Decatur church offering 'Drive Through Prayers' to hurting people

People use drive-throughs for fast-food, coffee, banking, weddings, and even funerals – so why not a drive through for prayers? That was the vision that came to Dr. Norwida Marshall, a ministry leader at Mountainside Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Decatur in October 2015.

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Six more candidates for Stonecrest races

six more candidates have announced their intentions to see elective offices in the city of Stonecrest. They are former School Board member Jay Cunningham, Jimmy Clanton, Jr., a web developer/graphic designer, non-profit executive Jonathan Phillips and youth activist and Spelman College student Mary-Pat Hector.

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Decatur church offers 'Drive Through Prayers' to hurting people

People use drive-throughs for fast-food, coffee, banking, weddings, and even funerals – so why not a drive through for prayers? That was the vision that came to Dr. Norwida Marshall, a ministry leader at Mountainside Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Decatur in October 2015.

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DeKalb mailing out water bills that had been withheld

The 34,300 DeKalb water customers who have been waiting on their bills since September will finally be getting them. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said Dec. 28 that the county will begin mailing 50,000 bills that it had withheld because of inaccurate data in its billing software.

Joyner, Turner join race for Stonecrest District 2 council seat

Businessman Plez Joyner and and program manager Rob Turner say they will be seeking the District 2 Council seat in the city of Stonecrest’s first elections on March 21.

Hubbard, Favors running for council and mayor of Stonecrest

Eric Hubbard and Douglas Favors have announced runs for council and mayor respectively of the new city of Stonecrest. They are the latest candidates to announce for the March 21 elections.

DeKalb sells Clark Harrison Building for $12 million

DeKalb County Government has sold its Clark Harrison Building in downtown Decatur for $12 million to the nonprofit Task Force for Global Health, which will make it headquarters. The sale, which was approved by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners In April, closed on Dec. 15.

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MLK band needs help raising final $25K to get to Rose Bowl

Twelve days from their Dec. 29 departure for the 2017 Rose Bowl Parade, Martin Luther King Jr. High School's “Kings of Halftime” marching band is $25,000 shy of its fundraising goal.

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Burrell Ellis could be back at his CEO job by Dec. 12, with back pay

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis could be back on the job by Dec. 12 with back pay, according to an opinion from County Attorney O.V. Brantley.

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Burrell Ellis' law license reinstated

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis can again practice law in Georgia. The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously reinstated his law license on Dec. 8. The order comes eight days after the justices reversed Ellis convictions for attempted extortion and perjury convictions for alleged attempts to “shake down” a county contractor for campaign contributions on Nov. 30.

Lawyer Bob Wilson tapped to lead DeKalb Medical health system

DeKalb lawyer Bob Wilson is the new CEO of the DeKalb Regional Health System, which does business as DeKalb Medical. Wilson was tapped last week to lead the nonprofit hospital system following the resignation of John A. Shelton, the layoff of 60 people, and the elimination of 80 vacant positions in recent weeks in the wake of declining revenues.

Assistant county attorney leading Thurmond transition

Incoming DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond is three weeks away from taking the reins of county government, and La’Keitha Daniels Carlos, whom he has tapped to lead his transition, is hard at work.

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Gregory Adams wins DeKalb Super District 7 seat in runoff

Gregory Adams, an Emory Police Officer, won the DeKalb Commission Super District 7 seat in the Dec. 6 runoff with 3,539 or 52.24 percent of the votes.

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20 DeKalb schools with high lead in water so far

Some 9,618 students at 20 DeKalb elementary schools were being exposed to unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water until DeKalb Schools identified the exposures and are removing them.

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Georgia Supreme Court reverses Burrell Ellis convictions

The Supreme Court of Georgia has unanimously reversed the attempted extortion and perjury convictions against former DeKalb Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis, for his alleged attempts to “shake down” a county contractor for campaign contributions.

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Mangham pays off balance on $5,000 ethics fine he first denied

Randal Mangham, who is a candidate in the Dec. 6 runoff election for DeKalb Commission Super District 7 seat, has paid off a 7-year-old fine for ethics violations that he denied ever having.

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Judge clears the way for DeKalb County to demolish a dozen buildings at Brannon Hill condos

DeKalb County can now move ahead with demolishing a dozen dilapidated buildings that threatens the safety of residents at Brannon Hill Condominiums in Clarkston. Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams signed the order on Nov. 15 authorizing the county to “demolish and clean up” the buildings with 68 apartment units if owners do not do it within 60 days.

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Mangham still owes most of the $5,000 fine he denied

DeKalb Commission Super District 7 candidate Randal Mangham no longer owes the state of Georgia most of a $5,000 fine levied for years of ethics violations.

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Stone Mountain family thankful for their first home

Thanksgiving at LaKesha Head’s home is a big, noisy affair. Everybody is there – her daughters Taylor and Kortney, her mom, dad, grandmother, five aunts and uncles, sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins. This year, the house will be teeming with family and friends again – and it will be full of extra thanksgiving.

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Lithonia officials break ground on $10 million Granite Crossing Apartments

Construction on the much anticipated 75-unit Granite Crossing Apartments in downtown Lithonia gets underway on Nov. 14. At a ceremonial ground breaking ground on the $10 million project on Nov. 9, officials from the city and Wendover Housing Partners, LLC, said families will be moving into the new apartment community within a year.

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