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Early voting underway in Clayton County

JONESBORO — Rosaline Elliott arrived at the Elections & Registration Office in Jonesboro at 9 a.m. Monday, just one hour after the polls opened for early voting.

She wasn’t alone. Elliott waited in line four hours to cast her ballot with hundreds of other Clayton County residents. By 1 p.m. the line at the Jonesboro Historical Courthouse was wrapped nearly to the front of the building. The entrance to the Elections & Registration Office is at the rear of the building.

Early voting began in Clayton on Monday in six locations across the county for the Nov. 3 General Election.

Elliott said she’s having knee surgery on Oct. 28 and didn’t want to risk being unable to vote just six days after her surgery.

“I wanted my vote to be counted,” she said.

She called the line to vote “really great.”

Many others leaving the polling place said they stood in line between three and four hours, but nobody seemed to be complaining about the time spent.

“I’m hoping everyone gets out to vote,” Elliott said. “With the things that been happening in our country over the last four years, we need everyone to vote.”

Residents can cast an early ballot in the following locations:

♦ Elections & Registration Office, 2nd Floor, 121 S. McDonough St. in Jonesboro

♦ Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, 3499 Rex Road, Rex

♦ Headquarters Library, 865 Battle Creek Road, Jonesboro

♦ Morrow Municipal Complex, 1500 Morrow Road, Morrow

♦ South Clayton Recreation Center, 1837 McDonough Road, Hampton

♦ Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, 1475 East Fayetteville Road, Riverdale

The following are times and dates for early voting.

♦ Monday-Friday, Oct. 12-16, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

♦ Monday-Friday, Oct. 19-23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

♦ Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

♦ Sunday, Oct. 25, noon to 5 p.m.

♦ Monday-Friday, Oct. 26-30, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If voters chose to vote via absentee, ballots can be dropped off until 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 outside the Board of Elections & Registration office at 121 S. McDonough St. in Jonesboro. For more information, visit www.claytonelections.com.

To check your voter registration status or Election Day polling location, visit www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.

Fall season brings changing of the leaves

JONESBORO — One of Mother Nature’s most spectacular and colorful events, the changing of the leaves, has begun.

According to Georgia State Parks Leaf Watch 2020 website, patches of color are beginning to show, especially in sunny areas.

“Look for deep red sourwoods and dogwoods, plus yellow and purple fall wildflowers,” according to the Leaf Watch site.

The Great Smokey Mountain interactive 2020 Fall Foliage Map, predicts north Georgia colors will be at their near peak on Oct. 19 and hit peak color on Oct. 26.

Foresters with Georgia Parks forecast peak color will be late October through the beginning of November.

Due to the pandemic, staff with Georgia State Parks recommends residents plan to visit parks close to home. However, if you decide on a fall road trip, the following are the Top 10 state parks to visit for fall colors:

♦ Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, 418 Amicalola Falls Road, Dawsonville

♦ Black Rock Mountain State Park, 3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway, Mountain City

♦ Cloudland Canyon State Park, 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn

♦ F.D. Roosevelt State Park, 2970 Ga. Highway 190, Pine Mountain

♦ Fort Mountain State Park, 181 Fort Mountain Park Road, Chatsworth

♦ Moccasin Creek State Park, 3655 Ga. Highway 197, Clarkesville

♦ Smithgall Woods State Park, 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen

♦ Tallulah Gorge State Park, 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive, Tallulah Falls

♦ Unicoi State Park & Lodge, 1788 Highway 356, Helen

♦ Vogel State Park, 405 Vogel State Park Road, Blairsville

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, park staff may temporarily limit access to some portions of the park such as day-use activities, to ensure social distancing. This can delay admission up to several hours. Additionally, staff has increased sanitization of public areas such as bathrooms, door handles, railings and other high-traffic areas.

To keep track of the fall colors, visit www.gastateparks.org/leafwatch. To see the foliage map, visit www.smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map.

Clayton school board votes to name new school after Michelle Obama

JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Education voted to name the new school in Lovejoy the Michelle Obama STEM Elementary School.

The new facility is 169,523 square feet and will service 1,200 students. It’s expected to be completed in August 2021.

The BOE will need to get permission from the Obama family to name the building after the former First Lady.

BOE members were also considering naming the building after John Lewis, a local civil rights leader and member U.S. House of Representatives, who died in July.

Obama has ties to Clayton County. Her great-great-great-grandmother, Melvina Shields, lived in Rex. A monument dedicated to Shields was erected in the historic Rex village in 2012. According to the monument, Shields was born a slave in 1844 in South Carolina. When she was 6, she was brought to the Shields farm, which was located in what is now Rex.