News for Thursday, July 5, 2012

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County hiring freeze thaws

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this week to lift a 15-month hiring freeze that kept the county from hiring new employees without the board’s approval.

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Sheriff’s office getting additional admin position

JONESBORO — Two of the 32 corrections officer positions Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said he needed in February were eliminated at his behest this week. The positions were dropped Tuesday by the Clayton County Board of Commissioners so the sheriff can get a civilian chief of staff position for his administration. Kimbrough said the loss of the corrections officer positions were a small price to pay to get the chief of staff position that he wants. He also said the county has to make “compromises” to properly run the sheriff’s office and the jail. “Two positions is not difficult to absorb,” said Kimbrough. “I think it would have been difficult if I had come back before the board and asked to abolish eight positions or 10 positions. Then I think you’d have a real question on your hands. Two positions? Two positions isn’t going to hurt us, but will allow me to expand my administration.” Kimbrough’s request to eliminate two corrections officer positions for the county jail reverses just slightly a move he tried to make in February when he asked commissioners to create 60 new positions in his office so he could reduce overtime payments. The sheriff’s office was going over budget on deputy overtime costs and the overruns were projected to reach $4.6 million when the positions were requested. The corrections officers were part of that request and the Commission approved it in March. The chief of staff position will be “responsible for managing the majority of all civilian positions within the sheriff’s office [and] managing all seized funds in the accounting division within the sheriff’s office,” said county Human Resources Director Renee Bright. Kimbrough and County Manager Wade Starr told commissioners earlier this year that a staffing study done in the 1990s showed 250 corrections officers would be needed to properly run the jail. The sheriff’s office has only 167 correction officer positions at this time. Kimbrough said he still has 24 corrections officer positions to fill from the slots created earlier this year. So, will the loss of two corrections officer positions mean overtime for other officers? That is a question Commissioner Michael Edmondson wanted an answer to. “Should we expect more overtime forthcoming?” Edmondson asked. Kimbrough said overtime will not happen. Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said Kimbrough still has to keep a promise he made earlier this year to stop going over budget if he got new positions in office. “He made a commitment to us that he would not be charging any more overtime and that was the reason why we gave them to him in the first place,” said Bell. “It’s perfectly all right [to trade correction officer positions for a chief of staff]. He’s within his rights as the sheriff as long as he keeps that commitment.”

Patty Thomas

Patty Thomas, 79, of Cumming, passed away Monday, July 2, 2012.

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Newnan’s Winger has quick rise to the top

Eddie Winger and his son, Ashton, heard an ad on the radio three years ago about Thursday Thunder racing.

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PAGLIA: Southern Crescent has more talent than two lists can fit

My apologies, Desmond Ringer. Sincerest regrets, Tiffany Wilson. You start making lists and find that they can be constraining.

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Jonesboro's Okeke on a new level

Basketball didn’t come easy to Cardinals' big man, but that’s changed

Chukedubem “Duby” Okeke’s love for the game is the reason why he didn’t quit when he easily could have.

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FIVE GIRLS PLAYERS TO FOLLOW

Here is a look at some girls players in the Southern Crescent that could emerge as the best in the area:

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FIVE BOYS PLAYERS TO FOLLOW

Here is a look at some boys players in the Southern Crescent that could emerge as the best in the area:

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Teen killed by police was troubled, court records indicate

Accomplice may face murder charges

A Jonesboro man reportedly caught burglarizing a house with three others, including a 13-year-old shot and killed by Clayton County police officers, could face murder charges in the death, the Clayton News Daily has learned.

Early voters get to skip the line

Monday brings start of ‘early voting’ period

Georgia’s primary Election Day is still three-and-a-half weeks away but voters will be able to cast their ballots much sooner than that. They will be able to have their say in the elections as early as next week when the state’s early voting period begins.

Forest Park starts recycling, receives first check

Forest Park received the first monthly check for its new recycling program — just over $700 for the first two pick-ups in June.

Bad vision affecting student learning

Doctors say eye health can be crucial to a child’s education. For that reason, one local eye doctor is giving parents the opportunity to schedule an eye exam before school is back in session.

Jonesboro leaders weighing survey of new park

Jonesboro officials are considering doing a survey of the land that some people have derisively called the “scorched Earth” of Lee Street Park.

Officials dispute mother’s claim in jail birth death

An internal investigation into a premature delivery inside the Clayton County Jail shows contradictions between witnesses and the inmate who gave birth to the male fetus, the Clayton News Daily has learned through an open records request.

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New medical-imaging gear reduces ‘freak-out’ factor

Riverdale office rolls out state-of-art MRI system

OMI Diagnostics’ new MRI system will be the first of its kind in Clayton County, being roomier and less closed-in, making it more accessible to obese and claustrophobic patients.

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Georgia high school students lagging in math

According to a recent report released by the Georgia Department of Education, students across the state struggled in mathematics 2 on the 2012 EOCT, a minuscule decrease of 1 percent from the previous year.

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John Roberts and America's political center — Joe Gandelman

You see few authentic political shockers anymore, and when Supreme Court Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberals to uphold President Obama’s health care reform law, that was one of them.

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Flushing away our freedom — Tom Purcell

For nearly 20 years now, the government has mandated that new U.S. toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush, down from the robust 3.5 gallons per flush Americans had enjoyed since we perfected the art of indoor plumbing.

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No dough for bread company robbers

Two men broke into the Fayetteville Atlanta Bread Company but fled before getting any dough, said police.

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