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Winter's blast cancels King tributes

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Weekend festivities leading into the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday were dampened Saturday by a wintery mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow.

On Saturday, temperatures reached a high of 43 degrees, at 12:19 a.m. before dawn. However by 1:30 p.m. the temperature had dipped to a low 31 degrees, bringing about an inch of snow or more to parts of north Georgia.

The inclement weather prompted organizers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Festival to postpone Saturday's community festival in Stockbridge.

The "Community Unity & Healing" themed festival, co-organized by the Henry County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC] and Shiloh Baptist Church in McDonough, would be the first of its kind in the area, celebrating the legacy of the late civil rights leader.

"The aim of the community festival is to transcend race, religion, or personal incidents and come together as a society for a common cause - a cause rooted in a movement toward love, a movement toward peace, a movement toward non-violence and a movement toward equality for everyone," said Pastor Edward Lee of Shiloh Baptist.

Organizers have rescheduled the festival to be held on to Feb. 23, 2008, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., at Clark Community Park in Stockbridge.

But other events continue today.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade in Jonesboro will take place as scheduled on Monday, from noon to 2 p.m., starting at Rum Creek Park on Government Circle in Jonesboro.

At noon, the parade will head south on North McDonough Street, to Johnson Street near the Confederate Cemetery, head south on North Main Street, to West Mill Street near the Tara Museum, and concluding at the Historic Clayton County Courthouse.

The Henry County Branch of the NAACP will hold its annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade today at 9am. - 11 a.m. The parade route will begin at the Henry County Performing Arts Center, located at 37 Lemon Street in McDonough. The parade will continue onto the McDonough Square and return to the performing arts center, where the NAACP will immediately host its annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day program.

Parade participants are asked to bundle up as they head out.

"It will still be chilly," says Mike Griesinger, National Weather Service forecaster. "Certainly around sunrise, you're going to see temperatures around 20 degrees. Monday's high will be around 44 degrees."

Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 262 Macon Street in McDonough, will host a commemorative march and candle light vigil at 5 p.m. Monday. The march and vigil will follow a 3 p.m. worship service at the church sponsored by the Henry County Ministerial Alliance.

Today, the Shiloh Baptist Education Center will be the site for blood donations, scheduled for 2p.m. - 6 p.m. Those wanting to give blood may also donate at the Henry County Performing Arts Center from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

"The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a key instrument in the inception of this movement," said Pastor Lee. "And Shiloh, along with the Henry County Chapter of the SCLC, would like to do our part in the continuation of the work Dr. King started."