A1 A1
Clayton schools hosting Friday Food Pantries through July 16
  • Updated

RIVERDALE — School is out for summer, but Riverdale Middle School was buzzing with activity Friday morning.

Volunteers were gathered at 8 a.m. to begin packing food boxes to pass out to the community as part of Clayton County Public Schools’ Friday Food Pantries program. Every Friday through July 16, the district will host a pantry throughout the county to pass along food to the community.

Riverdale Middle School coordinator Amanda Moore said volunteers have been working together and passing out food since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last March. She said the meals are a blessing.

“This is something to help fill the gap,” Moore said. “Our schools are a staple in our communities, and we feed everyone that needs it.”

Vernice and Nehemiah Johnson have been visiting the school for over a year. The couple said the meals they receive come in handy.

“The food we receive is excellent, and everyone here is so friendly,” Vernice Johnson said.

Moore encourages all in need to come out to the food pantry.

“There’s no judgement and no shame,” she said, “We don’t turn anyone away, and we’re here to help.”

Riverdale Middle School Principal Prince Bowie was among the volunteers Friday. He said he’s there every week to make a connection with the community.

“It’s awesome we’re able to do this, and I’m excited to be able to give back to our families like this,” he said. “Our schools have a strong impact on our community, and we have good people here.”

The food pantry offers a variety of foods including breakfast cereal, bread, meats, spices, canned and fresh vegetables and salads.

Five locations will be distributing food packages from noon to 2 p.m. every Friday.

♦ Lee Street Elementary, 178 Lee St. in Jonesboro

♦ Huie Elementary, 1260 Rock Cut Road in Forest Park

♦ West Clayton Elementary, 5580 Riverdale Road in Atlanta

♦ Riverdale Middle School, 400 Roberts Drive in Riverdale

♦ Lovejoy High School, 1587 McDonough Road in Hampton

In addition to food pantries, the district is offering free summer meals to children ages 18 and younger and older students with physical or mental disabilities through July 23, except July 5. Food will be distributed from 8 a.m. to noon at the following locations:

♦ Babb Middle School, 5500 Reynolds Road, Forest Park

♦ Brown Elementary School, 9971 Poston Road, Jonesboro

♦ Church Street Elementary, 7013 Church St., Riverdale

♦ Fountain Elementary School, 5215 West St., Forest Park

♦ Hawthorne Elementary, 10750 English Road, Hampton

♦ Haynie Elementary, 1169 Morrow Road, Morrow

♦ Huie Elementary School, 1260 Rock Cut Road, Forest Park

♦ Lee Street Elementary, 178 Lee St., Jonesboro

♦ Smith Elementary School, 6340 Ga. Highway 42 South, Rex

♦ Swint Elementary, 500 Ga. Highway 138 Southeast, Jonesboro

♦ Tara Elementary, 937 Mount Zion Road, Morrow

♦ West Clayton Elementary, 5580 Riverdale Road, College Park

Clayton County Water Authority earns industry awards
  • Updated

MORROW — Clayton County Water Authority earned several awards from the Georgia Association of Water Professional’s recent spring conference.

The awards were presented over the six-week GAWP virtual spring conference from April – May and include Biosolids/Residuals Program of Excellence, Public Education Program of Excellence in Water, Denise Skinner-Hurst Pretreatment Award and 100% permit compliance awards.

“We take great pride in earning these awards. We are true competitors in the water industry, and we will never stop raising the bar,” said CCWA General Manager H. Bernard Franks. “We know our customers, community and board of directors are also proud of the award-winning services we provide on a daily basis.”

Biosolids/Residuals Program of Excellence Award – Northeast Water Reclamation Facility in Rex

CCWA’s Northeast WRF earned this award for the Small Operating System Less than 5 Dry Ton Category for 2020. This award recognizes excellence in biosolids management. Biosolids are the solid organic matter recovered from the wastewater treatment process.

Herlon Fayard is the plant supervisor and Keith Kiblinger is the chief operator. They work with a team of seven other plant operators and support staff.

Public Education Program of Excellence in Water Award

CCWA’s Communications & Community Relations staff earned the Public Education Program of Excellence in Water Award for Large Systems. Recipients must score at least 90% in the general section and then at least a 90% in the water education section. Evidence is provided showing program planning, promotion, implementation, and follow-up. This award encompasses school programs, facility tours, waterway clean up events like Rivers Alive, community outreach events, conservation programs and participation in national campaigns such as Fix A Leak Week and Drinking Water Week.

Denise Skinner-Hurst Pretreatment Award

CCWA Environmental Compliance Manager Jennifer Brandon received the Denise Skinner-Hurst Pretreatment Award for her contributions to the industrial pretreatment profession. The purpose of industrial pretreatment program is to prevent industries from discharging excessive pollutants to municipal wastewater treatment systems. The program requires industries discharging excessive pollutants to treat their wastewater before releasing it to municipal sewer systems like CCWA. The national program was created as part of the 1972 Clean Water Act to protect treatment plants and waterways.

Brandon has served in several leadership roles in the Pretreatment Committee and is a respected industry leader throughout the state of Georgia.

Facilities Mark 100% Permit Compliance

Water production and water reclamation facilities earn Gold Awards for meeting 100% permit compliance for a calendar year. After earning Gold for five years, they earn Platinum Awards.

All three CCWA water production plants earned Platinum Awards for 100 percent permit compliance in 2020: J.W. Smith Water Production Plant — 12 years

♦ Platinum Terry R. Hicks Water Production Plant — 20 years

♦ Platinum W.J. Hooper Plant — 23 years

♦ Platinum The Shoal Creek Water Reclamation Facility also received its 23rd consecutive Platinum Awards for 100 percent compliance in 2020.

The Georgia Association of Water Professionals is the State’s premier professional association for water, wastewater and related issues. GAWP was founded in 1932 and started the first license program for water professionals in Georgia. For over 75 years, GAWP has provided the bulk of certified professional training for water and wastewater operators here in Georgia. GAWP is the nation’s second largest state- level association of water professionals and is formally affiliated with several other national organizations.

Clayton County Board of Education adopts FY 2022 budget
  • Updated

JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Education has approved its fiscal year 2022 budget.

The vote was 7-2, with Mark Christmas and Jasmine Bowles opposing.

The total budget is $767.7 million. Of that total, $502.4 million makes up the district’s operating budget.

This year’s operating budget will include an increase of $40 million over last year that will fund salary increases and compensation incentives to district employees.

The district’s goal in the coming year, school officials said, was to focus was on competitive compensation packages.

All employees will receive a step increase and a 3% Cost of Living Allowance. Financial incentives will include years of service, retirement contributions, longevity and equity adjustment of the teachers salary scale.

Employees in grades 13-19 will receive an additional 2% COLA. Substitute teachers will receive an increase in pay, and additional positions will be added.

“I am glad that the Clayton County Board of Education voted to adopt the budget as recommended,” said Superintendent Morcease Beasley said in a district release. “It is our objective every year to create a sustainable budget that prioritizes the collective belief that ‘people are more valuable than stuff.’ I am proud of the work done by our Business Services Division, our Chief Financial Officer Ms. Emma Benton, to prepare a budget that highlights the district’s commitment to our employees, students and stakeholders of Clayton County Public Schools.”

To fund the additional expenses, $32.4 million in CARES funding will be used as well as $6 million from the district’s fund balance.

The district is expecting an increase in local revenue in 2022, which includes property taxes, of approximately $17 million and $31 million in increased state revenues.

The millage rate will remain the same at 20 mills, the highest allowed by law. Due to an increase in the tax digest, residents will see their property tax bills go up for fiscal year 2022.

The board will adopt the final millage rate in July.

To see to district’s fiscal year 2022 budget, visit www.clayton.k12.ga.us.

Jonesboro man sentenced to 200 months in prison
  • Updated

MACON – A repeat offender arrested during an investigation into the distribution of heroin in Middle Georgia was sentenced to serve a total of 200 months in prison for his crimes.

Kenneth Bernard Miles, 59, of Jonesboro, was sentenced to serve a total of 200 months (16.5 years) in prison, to include 30 months of imprisonment for violating his supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on June 10, after previously pleading guilty to one count distribution of heroin. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Miles chose to distribute a substantial amount of heroin into our Middle Georgia communities,— undoubtedly causing death and despair for users and their families — even after he served time in federal prison for trafficking drugs in Florida. Miles is now being held accountable for his continued criminal actions,” said Middle District of Georgia Acting U.S. Attorney Peter Leary. “Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will work together to root out the most egregious repeat offenders who continually violate the law.”

On June 20, 2020, a confidential source (CS) contacted Miles about obtaining heroin. They agreed to meet off Exit 205 on I-75 in Butts County. Prior to meeting with Miles, the CS was searched by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and provided with an audio/video recording device. The two met, and Miles provided a bag of what was later confirmed to be 27.47 grams of heroin. As part of his plea, Miles admitted that the amount of heroin attributable to him in the investigation was more than 3 kilograms, but less than 10 kilograms.

Miles was previously convicted of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of cocaine base and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine in the Northern District of Florida. In that case, Miles was sentenced to a total of 135 months imprisonment and ten years of supervised release on April 12, 2006. When Miles entered his guilty plea in the Middle District of Georgia, he admitted that he had violated the terms of his supervised release from his prior Northern District of Florida conviction.

This case was investigated by the DEA, GBI, Butts County Sheriff’s Office and Byron Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard prosecuted the case for the government.