by Robin Kemp

We’re back following a brief hiatus due to a death in the family. One of the pitfalls of being a one-person news operation is that there’s nobody to cover for you. Apologies for the break in coverage but it absolutely could not be helped.


  • The City of Forest Park already has narrowed down its list of three candidates for city manager, announced last week, to two. A banner on the city’s website February 1 announced that Jarvis Sims and Dr. Marc-Antoine Cooper are the final two candidates. Acting City Manager Shalonda Brown said East St. Louis, IL City Manager Brooke Smith voluntarily withdrew her name from consideration but gave no reason for doing so.
  • Tonight, Monday, Feb. 1, the Forest Park City Council holds a 6 p.m.work session followed by its regular 7 p.m. meeting. If you want to make a comment, you have to submit it before noon today via www.slido.com using event code 020122. Include your full name and address. The work session will include a pandemic plan presentation, discussion of adding a procurement assistant and business license assistant to the Finance Department, and discussion of the city’s joining a statewide mutual aid agreement. The regular meeting agenda includes these items up for a vote, as well as adoption of the minutes for the Saturday, December 19, 2020 Special Called Meeting; the Tuesday, January 19, 2021 Council Regular Meeting ; and the Monday, January 25, 2021 Special Called Meeting. It also includes space for additions to or deletions from the agenda, as well as an executive session to discuss personnel, legal, real estate, and litigation matters. At last check, the city faces three federal lawsuits from former members of the Forest Park Police Department. Former Chief L. Dwayne Hobbs and former Major Chris Matson allege the city discriminated against them because they were white, while former Deputy Chief Antonio Fletcher alleges he was not given the same 10% pay raise as white counterparts and that he was retaliated against for reporting what he thought were improprieties in the department. He also alleged that Chief Nathaniel Clark showed former Lt. Kelli Flanigan preferential treatment. Clark said he could give “No comments regarding pending litigation.” You can watch tonight’s meeting via Zoom at https://bit.ly/2YAuYn2 or listen by phone at 1-301-715-8592 with meeting ID 864 8363 3646 and passcode 803367.
  • The City of Jonesboro was slated to reopen the Lee Street Park Basketball Courts in February. However, a check of the courts this morning found them still taped off and a Jonesboro Police Department cruiser parked across several parking spaces by the Farmer’s Market pavilion. A sign zip-tied to the fence indicated the courts would reopen February 15 with hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Jonesboro City Council has a work session tonight, Monday, Feb. 1 to discuss a proposed dance studio at 272 N. Main Street, as well as a few items the Police Department is requesting: a new Sergeant Promotion Exam from L.J. Craig ($4,250), corporal badges and diecast for the new rank from T&T Uniforms ($2,930), and new firearms from AmChar ($2,747.50 after 23 trade-ins on $14,997.50 for 35 new 9mm Glock 17 GENS, each with three 17-round magazines, a 5.5-pound trigger, and Glock Night Sights.) The weapons upgrade is necessary because “members of the department are carrying various generations of Glock Brand pistols. Some officers are using generations 3 and 4, which are outdated models, spanning as late as 20 years. Because of this, two different caliber weapons are being used. For the safety of our officers and the effectiveness of our weapons and ammunition, we must standardize the firearms that are being utilized, ensuring that all officers are using the same weapon.” In other business, Georgia Power has a proposal to convert the lights at Battleground Park to outdoor LEDs. The council also will discuss its annual SESAC music license, the 2021 Strategic Planning Retreat, and “other business.” Join via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2148237355 and meeting ID 214 823 7355, listen by phone by entering +19292056099,,2148237355# or +13017158592,,2148237355#, or watch on the city’s livestream at http://jonesboroga.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=2095. You can read just the agenda or the full agenda packet with supporting documentation.
  • Also tonight, Monday, February 1, at 6:30 p.m., the Clayton County Zoning Advisory Group meets. Visit https://www.claytoncountyga.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/4379/610 to sign up.
  • On Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m., the Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds its regular meeting. Agenda items of special note include:
    • giving the Housing Authority permission to issue $10.6 million in bonds for The Villas at Mt. Zion, L.P. development
    • considering a request to add a social worker to the Clayton County Police Department. That person would “support the Police Department’s response to non-criminal calls for service that involves homelessness and individuals who are exhibiting unusual mental or emotional behavior that is not life threatening,” as well as train officers on how to handle such calls.
    • approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide “consumer education and programming” to seniors and caregivers in Clayton County
    • passing the “Clayton County Crown Act,” which would “prohibit business, housing, and public accommodation discrimination based on protective and cultural hair textures and hairstyles within the County”
    • authorizing a Sixth Amendment to the Purchase and Sale Agreement with Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership of North Carolina, “to provide for certain closing contingencies relating to the abandonment of College Street
    • Under board appointments, both Rodney Tookes and Latrevia P. Kates have resigned from the nine-member Land Bank Board.
    • See the full agenda packet for details and supporting documents.
  • On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the Atlanta Opera presents a Virtual Young People’s Opera performance of The Barber of Seville in both English and Spanish at Clayton State University’s Spivey Hall. Tickets for the online performance are $10. To sign up, visit https://spiveyhall.org/events/event/virtual-young-peoples-concerts-the-atlanta-opera-studio-the-barber-of-seville/
  • State Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-78, Stockbridge) has been named to the Special Committee on Election Integrity, as well as the Banks and Banking, Health and Human Services, Insurance, Intragovernmental Coordination, and Motor Vehicles Committees. “As I return to the State Capitol to begin my fifth term as a state legislator, I am still humbled and grateful to work on behalf of my district in the hallowed halls,” Douglas said in a press release, adding, “I am honored to have been appointed to so many important committees that oversee bills that have a direct impact on the residents in House District 78.”
  • Morrow is setting up the Morrow Convention and Tourism Association. The group aspires to “serve our business community with marketing, destination event planning, and tourism.” Interested parties should call Bao Dang at (470) 347-2969.
  • On Saturday, Feb. 6, Morrow celebrates the Year of the Ox at its Lunar New Year Festival. Held at the Morrow Convention Center in Southlake Mall, the event is being billed as “the biggest traditional Asian celebration of South Metro Atlanta.” The event kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with firecrackers and the traditional Lion Dance, and features food, music, dance, and games from a range of Asian cultures, including Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, Chinese, and Cambodian, with some Latino food thrown in for extra diversity. Scholastic awards, a children’s costume contest, a kid’s play area, a “Mrs. Pageant,” Bao Cua Ca Cop gameboards, and music from local and national singers round out the festivities. Admission is free.
  • The City of Lovejoy says City Hall’s front doors will stay closed until March 1. The next City Council work session is scheduled for February 8 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Citizens may e-mail public comments to LJCITY@CITYOFLOVEJOY.COM until 3 p.m. on February 8. All comments received will be considered part of the public record and will be documented in the official minutes of the meeting. To watch the meeting, go to https://bit.ly/2MolhWq , then enter meeting ID 609 230 8294 and passcode 2K7VEh. Questions? E-mail Marie Burnham at m_burnham@cityoflovejoy.com.

Let us know if you know of an upcoming meeting that we’ve missed here, or whether you have any concerns about any pending or recent agenda items. We are here to keep an eye on your local government and to make your concerns known. E-mail KempWrites@gmail.com with specific details, documents, etc. or drop them in the regular U.S. Mail to P.O. Box 2714, Forest Park, GA 30298. We understand some people prefer to remain anonymous. However, if we don’t know who you are, we aren’t able to contact you with follow-up questions. Please read about The Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee position on anonymity as it relates to newsgathering to understand the implications.

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