It’s that super-busy second week of the month, and a lot of wheeling and dealing is going on. Budget season is upon us, for one thing. Jonesboro is looking at privatizing garbage collection and raising fees for the popular Jonesboro Farmers Market, with Mayor Donya Sartor saying the increase is to cover marketing and advertising. Forest Park presents its proposed budget. The Clayton County Board of Education holds a budget hearing today (see separate story) on its proposed spending, which includes more construction. The Board of Commissioners’ work session involves a couple of sole-source contractors with City of Atlanta ties (a recurring theme throughout the county and municipalities in the past few years). Lake City will discuss the holiday calendar, which does not include a Juneteenth holiday, to the dismay of local activists.


Most local government agencies will be closed next Monday, June 19, in observance of the holiday, which marks the belated news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching Galveston, Texas. Local celebrations include the Juneteenth Freedom Festival at Jonesboro’s Lee Street Park this Saturday, June 17 from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., as well as Forest Park’s Juneteenth celebration at Starr Park Amphitheater, also on Saturday, June 17, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both events feature African heritage and culture and fun for all ages:

Check out this 2022 webinar from the home of Juneteenth to learn more about this American holiday and why it matters:

YouTube video

Pride Month

The only nod to Pride Month in Clayton County that we’ve seen is a web graphic the City of Jonesboro posted to Facebook. Once known as Gay Pride Month, Pride Month marks the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, where LGBTQ+ people fought a running battle with police for three days after a raid on the nightclub. (Atlanta Black Pride celebrates in September and Atlanta Pride in October because June is too hot.)

Before Stonewall, it was common practice for police to raid gay bars and arrest people. The names of those arrested were regularly published in newspapers at a time when being “out” would cost a person their job, their family, and sometimes their life. Stonewall was the tipping point where LGBTQ people said, “Enough.”

After Stonewall, many gay and lesbian bars served as de facto community centers, where political campaigns and responses to the AIDS crisis and targeted violence were headquartered. As LGBTQ+ people won greater acceptance from straight society and a few civil rights protections in places like Vermont and California, bar culture became less central to the community. Since the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida, numerous attacks on and murders of Black transwomen, and increased legislative efforts by Republicans to criminalize LGBTQ+ people (particularly in Florida), the community is experiencing targeted attacks at a rate not seen since Stonewall days.

Despite the fact that Clayton County is overwhelmingly Democratic (and thus presumably supportive of the county’s LGBTQ+ residents), to date there has been almost no official recognition of that vital part of the larger community. The City of Forest Park did pass an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The current political climate has included a school visitor making derogatory and false statements about lesbians during a presentation to girls at Jonesboro High School, as well as statewide legislation banning transgender students from taking part in school sports, and a homophobic attack aimed at Clayton County Chairman Jeff Turner and now-Forest Park City Manager Ricky L. Clark, Jr. by Donald “Dee Cee” Craddock during the sheriff’s race. (Craddock now sits on the board of the Development Authority of Clayton County.)

The anti-LGBTQ+ backlash has also targeted the editor of The Clayton Crescent, who is openly gay, with one sponsor complaining that we should not have covered the anti-transgender youth medical treatment issue during the last legislative session, claiming that we were “biased” on the issue, and pulling their sponsorship. It should be noted that we covered both sides of the issue, speaking directly with the lead author of the bill, as well as with parents of the children affected. We also received anonymous hate mail after covering the death of former Riverdale City Councilwoman Michelle Bruce, who was transgender. Previously, The Clayton Crescent has covered the landmark Bostock v. Clayton County Supreme Court decision, a local case that has had national impact, and Forest Park’s first openly LGBTQ+ fire chief, Latosha Clemons.

It is The Clayton Crescent’s job to cover news affecting the daily lives of Clayton County residents, and that includes the LGBTQ+ community. We are proud to have supporters across the political spectrum—Democratic and Republican, liberal and conservative, gay and straight. We try to do right by everyone by keeping you informed. You might not like everything we cover. We don’t endorse everything we cover just because we cover it. But we do cover it so that everybody will know what’s going on in our community.

AIDS/HIV information for Clayton County

The Clayton County Health District had a table at last weekend’s Clayton County Show on the Road event at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, a public event. However, representatives of the state agency told The Clayton Crescent they were not “authorized” to speak to us about the HIV/AIDS information on their table at that public (government) event. Because HIV/AIDS today is most likely to affect Clayton County’s largest demographic—Black women, regardless of sexual orientation—here is information about what you can do to protect yourself and your partner, and where you can get support if you test positive.

AIDS is a serious disease but it is no longer an automatic death sentence. Many people have been living happy, healthy lives for decades, thanks to new treatments.

HIV is a disease that attacks your T-cells. T-cells help your body fight infections. Left untreated, HIV can turn into full-blown AIDS, which is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The virus spreads through body fluids. Like pregnancy, it only takes one sexual encounter to get AIDS from unprotected sex. That’s why it’s important to use condoms, especially if you are a man or if you have sex with a man.

Stigma around sex in general and sexual orientation in particular helps spread HIV and AIDS. When people do not feel comfortable talking about sex with their partners, they are at increased risk of catching HIV. It is important that you know your partner’s sexual history and HIV status and that they know yours. If you have multiple partners, it is especially important to use a condom.

If you use intravenous drugs or share needles, you are at increased risk of catching HIV. Do not share needles or syringes with other people. The virus can live up to 42 days inside used syringes and needles. Scientific studies show that using bleach or alcohol to clean syringes and needles between uses does not completely kill HIV or hepatitis C.


Monday, June 12

  • 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Education holds a public hearing on the proposed FY2024 budget at CCPS Headquarters, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro. If you want to ask your school board members about spending priorities or amounts they have planned, now is the time to ask. (agenda)
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Riverdale City Council holds a special called business meeting to discuss the FY 2024 budget. A budget resolution is also on the agenda.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Ethics Board holds its monthly meeting at BOC Headquarters.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Lovejoy City Council holds its pre-meeting, followed by the 7 p.m. council meeting. The agenda includes
    • the budget hearing
    • a public hearing and vote on whether to rezone 0.95 acres of property at 11527 Hastings Bridge Road (parcel number 06157B B032) from Downtown Commercial/Office to Downtown Residential for the purpose of townhomes. The parcel is owned by AMHS LLC of Griffin, according to county tax records. Lonnie D. Joyce is the organizer and registered agent of the company, according to state business filings.
    • a public hearing and vote on whether to rezone 18.4 acres of property located at 0 Tara Boulevard (parcel number 06157 164010) from GB (General Business) to PUD (Planned Unit Development) for a mixed-use development. The property is owned by Ellis Wesley Enterprises LP, according to county tax records. The company’s registered agent was Lamar Cagle of McDonough, and the general partner is James Penton Enterprises, LLC, whose registered agent is James Matthew Cagle of McDonough.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Lake City City Council holds a 6 p.m. Conditional Use application hearing, followed its 6:30 p.m. work session, then the 7 p.m. regular meeting.
    • The Conditional Use Application is for 1540 Forest Parkway (Tax Address 5221 N. Lake Dr.), which is the lot next to North2South Cidery. The owner, according to county tax records, is WT Investment Properties LLC, which state corporate filings show is owned by Wayne Pham and Tramy Nguyen of McDonough. The registered agent is V N Accounting and Tax Services LLC of Lake City.
    • The council will also discuss ARPA funding, city events, upcoming holidays, and the Small City Conference.
    • The business meeting will take up the Single Family Residential ordinance (aimed at limiting Air BnB-type uses) and an updated version of the transient merchant permit ordinance.
  • 6 p.m.: The Jonesboro City Council meets at City Center. See the 444-page agenda packet or just the 3-page agenda:

Items of note include:

  • amending the city charter to make the city clerk (as opposed to the city manager) the official Open Records custodian, with the assistant city clerk authorized to act in the city clerk’s absence
  • privatization of city sanitation services
  • an update on the timeline to find a permanent city manager (longtime city manager Ricky L. Clark, Jr, left Jonesboro abruptly for the same position in Forest Park)
  • changes to the city’s fee schedule. Mayor Donya Sartor has proposed raising the Jonesboro Farmers Market’s $25 per season fee. On Saturday, she told The Clayton Crescent that a city official was polling vendors about the issue and that a reported increase to $50 was not true, but that the fee could go to as much as $40. Sartor pointed to other markets that charge as much as $100 per day. The Jonesboro Farmers Market, which features homemade foods, produce, eggs, and handcrafts, has been a pet project of former councilwoman Pat Sebo-Hand, who ran against Sartor for the mayor’s seat. The pair had been friendly until announcing their candidacies.
  • The council also will consider a Notification of Absence, which Sartor told The Clayton Crescent the city had never required until she was out of town on business.

Tuesday, June 13

  • 4:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration holds its monthly meeting (in-person only) at the Clayton County Election Center, 7946 N. McDonough Street, Jonesboro.
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will hold a budget hearing in the Commissioners’ Board Room, 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro, Georgia. The county says, “All interested citizens will have the opportunity to give written and oral comments. Citizens are encouraged to attend” the budget presentation. You can read the proposed budget online or in person at Clayton County Library branches during regular library hours at:
    • Forest Park Branch Library, 4812 West Street Forest Park
    • Headquarters Library, 856 Battlecreek Road, Jonesboro
    • Lovejoy Branch Library, 1721 McDonough Road, Hampton
    • Morrow Branch Library, 6225 Maddox Rd, Morrow
    • Riverdale Branch Library, 420 Valley Hill Road SW, Jonesboro
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners also holds its work session. (agenda) (livestream) Items of note include:
    • an update on Clayton County Animal Control, presented by Chief Kevin Roberts, Assistant Chief Bruce Parks, Deputy Chief Michael O’Shields, Major Stefan Schindler, Captain Jodi Turnipseed, and Dr. Margaret Chastine. Some local animal rights activists have been protesting euthanasia schedules at the shelter.
    • a presentation on electric vehicle charging stations by George Gamble, CEO of Powerhouse Energy 360. Last week, Gamble was named to the board of the Atlanta Airport Chamber of Commerce.
    • a discussion of legislative update on Peachtree Government Relations which apparently includes Ohio River South president and CEO Howard Franklin, whose bio says he “maintains dual citizenship in public and private sectors.”
    • a presentation from the Finance Department on the FY2024 proposed budget
    • an update from Atlanta Regional Commission Executive Director Anna Roach, on ARC’s long-range transportation plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law federal funding opportunities
  • 6 p.m.: The Development Authority of Clayton County (Invest Clayton) meets at the Lake City Community Center, 5471 Jonesboro Road, in Lake City. (agenda) You can listen in by conference call at (605) 472-5254; then AC number is 136500#. Items of note include:
    • an update on a proposed “social event” between the DACC Board and the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, from C. Harrison Braddy, who was tasked with putting together the meeting. Braddy said at the last meeting that the event is to improve relations between the two boards. When fellow DACC board member Terry Baskins said the word “quorum,” attorney Michelle Youngblood hurriedly explained that this was to be a social event, not a business meting. Under the Georgia Open Meetings Act, as the Georgia First Amendment Foundations’ “Red Book” notes, “Whenever a quorum of the members of an agency—again, broadly defined—meets for the discussion or presentation of official business or policy or takes official action, the meeting must be open to the public. That means public officials may not exclude the public from workshops, fact-finding and purely deliberative sessions simply because no final action is taken or anticipated. Even meetings conducted by telephonic, electronic, wireless or other virtual means must be open.” Further, “Courts have held that committee meetings relating to policy or official business must be open to the public” and that “Any official action of any type take at a meting that is not open is invalid and may be set aside if an action is brought promptly.” The law “does not generally exempt agency decision-making sessions. It also does not exempt budget sessions, coroner inquests or meetings regarding business or industry relations, federal programs, financial data, gifts, trusts, honorary degrees, licensing, examinations, negotiations, collective bargaining of public employees, national or state security (subject top the law enforcement exception) or student discipline and other student-related matters not specifically related to education.”
    • an erosion control project at 5711 Jonesboro Road, the proposed site of the Roman United development
    • election of a new board chair, replacing Regina Deloach, whose term has ended
    • a discussion of a letter regarding DACC and Hallmark, a Dallas-TX-based insurer which requested to withdraw from A.M. Best’s credit ratings last month. According to a press release from A.M. Best, “At the time of the withdrawal, all [Hallmark’s] Credit Ratings (ratings) were under review with negative implications.” Also up for discussion are restructuring for Low Temp Industries of Jonesboro and an expansion bond application and inducement resolution for Toto of Morrow.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Morrow City Council holds its work session, followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Three major items are up for consideration, including:
    • a resolution creating a “bond debt repayment lockbox account” on the Georgia Fund 1 that would be specifically “to repay the balloon note” due in FY 2025
    • an ordinance to amend the zoning code
    • an ordinance to adopt the FY2024 budget
  • There’s also a recommendation to award a $711,750 bid to pour a concrete boardwalk at The District to RM Construction & Development LLC. State business filings show the address of the corporation’s registered agent is the same address as The District: 1065 Olde Town Morrow Road. The company is registered as a “foreign” entity from North Carolina, with a post office box in Dillard, GA. The North Carolina address is another P.O. box in Franklin. The registered agent is Robert Mills.
  • Here is the Morrow work session agenda:

And here is the draft agenda (note: this is a draft and could change):

Wednesday, June 14

Thursday, June 15

  • 6 p.m.: The Forest Park Planning Commission meets in the Environmental Courtroom at the Planning and Community Development Building, 785 Forest Parkway. (agenda) Items include:
    • VAR-2023-08- Variances for 732 Kennesaw Drive, Parcel #13018A E015 Forest Park, Georgia. The applicant, Juan Lopez, is requesting a variance to Increase Accessory Structure Total Square Footage.
    • CUP-2023-04 – Conditional Use for 5370 Ash Street, Parcel #13079D G010 Forest Park, Georgia. The applicant, Cynthia Waters, is requesting a conditional use permit to allow a youth performing arts facility, rehabilitation group home for teens, summer camp, health clinic and an adult education program in a church within the Single-Family residential District (RS).
    • CUP-2023-05 – Conditional Use for 4140 Jonesboro Road, Parcel #13015D C007 Forest Park, Georgia. The applicant, Gerald Tirella, is requesting a conditional use permit to allow a 6,152-sf renovation of the rear of the International Discount Mall to build self-storage units, to be rented by existing mall tenants and the general public.
    • RZ-2023-01-Rezoning for Parcel #13015C A006, 0 Scott Road, Forest Park, Georgia. The applicant, Divine Dream Homes ATL, LLC (owned by Bobby Giddens of Atlanta) is requesting to rezone 1.69 acres from RS (Single-Family Residential) to RM (Multi-family Residential) to build townhomes. The company’s address is 2486 Moreland Avenue, the address of Kendrick Radiator, and the registered agent is Lorenzo Kendrick.
    • RZ-2023-02-Rezoning for Parcels # 13015C A003, 13015C A009, and 13015C A002, 0 Scott Road, Forest Park, Georgia. The applicant, Divine Dream Homes ATL, LLC (owned by Bobby Giddens of Atlanta) is requesting to rezone 1.628 acres from RS (Single-family Residential) to RM (Multi-family Residential) to build townhomes. The company’s address is 2486 Moreland Avenue, the address of Kendrick Radiator, and the registered agent is Lorenzo Kendrick.
    • RZ-2023-03-Rezoning for 4233 Thurmond Rd., Parcel # 13017A B014, Forest Park, Georgia. The applicant, KINH Enterprises Inc. is requesting to rezone 0.287 acres from RS (Single-Family Residential) to GC (General Commercial) to rebuild a convenience store. That’s the site of the old In-N-Out convenience store, which served a neighborhood where almost no other stores are within walking distance.

Friday, June 16

  • TBA

Coming soon!

The Clayton Crescent is making some important changes to our web design to make it easier for you to get the word out about your upcoming events. Watch for our new calendar coming soon!

We also will be featuring sponsors on our website. These are not advertisements, and they are not priced like advertisements, but they look the same and serve a similar function for nonprofits. Just as local public radio sponsors are acknowledged on air, The Clayton Crescent’s business sponsors (prices vary) and major donors ($5,000 and up) will now get preferred placement on our web pages. It’s a “prestige buy” for you and a way for us to say “thank you” for supporting this vital nonprofit community news source. And it’s tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

If you are interested in elevating your business’ profile before a high-value, highly-informed, civically-engaged audience in Clayton County, metro Atlanta, and select cities around the U.S., e-mail with the subject line: Sponsorship information and your business name and contact information, and we will send you details. We regret that we cannot take sponsorships by phone at this time.

Happy Pride Month! Happy Juneteenth! Be safe out there! Be kind to each other! And please—share our stories on your social media networks. Tell your friends about The Clayton Crescent. Support real news for all of Clayton County with a recurring monthly gift (be sure to click that “Monthly” tab!). Thank you for making more than three years of support for watchdog reporting and civic coverage in Clayton County possible!

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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