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'Merrill's Marauders,' WWII precursors to Army Rangers, hold reunion

The 62nd annual reunion of Merrill's Marauders, the infantry men who were the first American troops to fight the Japanese in Asia during World War II, will be held in College Park, Aug. 29 to 31, at the Marriott Atlanta Airport Hotel.

Merrill's Marauders made military history during the eight months of their existence, by marching farther than any other American fighting force during WWII, and are recognized as the predecessors of today's U.S. Army Rangers.

The reunion's keynote speaker will be Edward A. McLogan, who was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 2001 for his "exemplary conduct and actions in combat," while serving with Merrill's Marauders. There will be a memorabilia room with exhibits by WWII re-enactors Kelly's Zeroes, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum from Ft. Gordon, Ga., the American Rosie the Riveter Association and private collections; a 1940's swing dance demonstration and songs by June Midkiff Tinker, a former Ms. Senior Columbus Georgia and Rosie the Riveter.

For more information, call Phil Piazza, founder and president of Merrill's Marauders Association at (864) 882-9712.

The Clayton County Extension Service, 1262 Government Circle, in Jonesboro, will present "Divide to Multiply," an easy and inexpensive way to increase plant collections, on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The classes are free, but registration is required. Register at (770) 473-5434, or e-mail hortpa@uga.edu

Stroke screening will be coming to Jonesboro on Aug. 28. Screenings, including a new heart rhythm screening, can reduce the risk of a stroke, and will be offered at the Corinth Baptist Church, 398 Corinth Road, for $149. For more information regarding the screenings, or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-697-9721, or visit www.lifelinescreening.com. Pre-registration is required.

Clayton State University authors and professors Brigitte Byrd and Phillip DePoy will be among the readers at the 2008 Decatur Book Festival on Saturday, Aug. 30. Both Clayton State faculty members will be appearing on the Java Monkey Local Authors Stage. DePoy, director of the Clayton State Theater, will go on at 12:15 p.m., with Byrd, Assistant Professor of English, appearing at 3:30 p.m. DePoy will be reading from the sixth and latest novel of his Fever Devilin mystery series, "The Drifter's Wheel," while Byrd will be reading from her latest book of poetry, "The Dazzling Land." For more information, go to www.decaturbookfestival.com/2008/Schedule/index.php.

September

"Praze Him Cafe," a launching pad for upcoming Christian talent, will be held again on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 7-9 p.m., at the Frank Baily Center, 6213 Riverdale Road, Riverdale. Cost is $10 at the door. Previous cafes have had vocalists, bands, dancers, spoken word artists, etc. This is not an amateur, open mic night event, but a performance by skilled, professional ministers. Call (404) 914-4968 for more information.

The City of College Park will hold its 32nd annual Autumn Happening on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public. Autumn Happening is a day-long festival held on the grounds of the College Park City Auditorium located on Main street. The event coincides with opening day of youth football in College Park, and features a mini-parade, arts and crafts, flea market items, food and fun for the entire family. Music will be provided by DJ Tommy V. Artists, craftsmen, women, civic organizations and vendors are encouraged to participate. To participate or lease a space, call Arthur Lee Washington, Program Coordinator, College Park Recreation Department, at (404) 669-3773.

Southlake Mall, joining a handful of malls in Atlanta, will host UR Votes Count, an experience allowing teens to cast their vote for who they would elect as president of the United States on Saturday, Sept. 6, and Sunday, Sept. 7, from noon to 6 p.m. This national forum addresses topics, such as the environment, healthcare, the Iraq war, social security, national security and education. Each voter who participates at a mall event receives an instant prize. One winner per mall will receive a $100 Discover gift card. For more information, visit www.urvotescount.com.

New Birth South Metropolitan Church will be holding a Red Cross blood drive on Sept. 7, from 10 a.m,. to 3 p.m., at 2455 Mt. Carmel Road, in Hampton. For more information or to pre-register, call (678) 422-4787.

Learn the "11 Simple Steps to Home Ownership" at a free home-buying seminar held at the Virginia Burton Recreation Center, 1475 E. Fayetteville Road, on Sept. 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This seminar will also show how to obtain down payment assistance and overcome credit issues to purchase a first home. Register online today at www.SeymourHome.com, or call Mike Braswell at (678) 522-5760.

The Clayton County Extension Service, 1262 Government Circle, in Jonesboro, will present "Water Gardening," on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. Learn the ins and outs of pumps and plants, containers and critters, to enjoy the soothing delights of a patio water garden in a manageable, low-maintenance size. Examples of water gardens and mini-bogs will be on display. The classes are free, but registration is required. Register at (770) 473-5434, or email hortpa@uga.edu.

The Atlanta Airport Rotary Club is having weekly meetings on Fridays, from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Meetings are at GIOVANNA'S, 1375 Virginia Ave., East Point. For more information, call (404) 680-1743.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Augustin Clayton Chapter in Jonesboro, has members from Fayette, Henry and Clayton counties. The chapter meets the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. Membership is open to any woman 18, or older, who can trace her lineal descent from a Revolutionary War soldier, or patriot. Chapter members provide research assistance as necessary. Call Liz Grimes at (770) 477-5761, or visit the web site www.geocities.com/aclaytondar, for more information.

AARP Riverdale Chapter No. 4409 meets the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m., in the Frank Bailey Senior Center, 6213 Riverdale Road. Call Chuck Ware, president, at (770) 471-9004 for more information.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets each Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro (Lower level of ROC). Weigh-in starts at 6 p.m., and the meeting at 7 p.m. For more information, call Patti at (404) 766-8061.

The Southern Crescent Chapter of the American Business Women's Association, ABWA, meets the third Tuesday of each month at the Best Western, 619 Ga. Highway 138, Stockbridge. Networking begins at 6:30 p.m., and the program starts at 7 p.m. Contact Debbie Watkins at (404) 863-9568.

Datebook is a regular feature of the Clayton News Daily. To submit an item for publication, e-mail Daniel Silliman at dsilliman@news-daily.com, or fax to (770) 472-2060, attention: Datebook.