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Keep food, cooking safe this Thanksgiving holiday
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McDONOUGH — Whether you’re going with a traditional Thanksgiving meal or trying something a little different this year, it remains paramount that food be cooked and stored properly before and after the big celebration.

Thawing and cooking the bird

According to


, there are three ways to safely to defrost your turkey. The first is to store it in the refrigerator for one to two days. Allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds. Keep the turkey in its original wrapper and place a pan to catch any juices that may leak.

The second is to submerge the turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes, approximately 30 minutes per pound. A bird weighing 4 to 12 pounds should soak between two to six hours; 12-16 pounds between six to eight hours; 16-20 pounds between eight to 10 hours; and 20-24 pounds between 10 and 12 hours.

Finally, a turkey can be defrosted in the microwave. Remove the original wrapping and place on a microwave safe dish to catch any juices. Use the minutes per pound and power level on the microwave to determine the length of time.

No matter which way the bird is thawed, it should be cooked immediately.

Once in the oven, the turkey is not safe to eat until it reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the bird — breast or innermost part of the wing or thigh. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. After removing from the oven, it’s recommended to let the turkey rest for 20 minutes to allow for easier carving.

Any items such as utensils, plates, counters and cutting boards that come in contact with raw meat should be separated and washed immediately.

Keep frozen

It’s safe to cook a turkey while still frozen; however, USDA officials said cooking time will take at least 50% longer than if thawed. Remember to remove giblet packets before cooking.

Deep frying

If you’re deep frying your turkey this year, smaller birds work best — no larger than 12 pounds. The bird should be thawed. Cooking time is three to five minutes per pound. The turkey is safely cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Ham safety

Uncooked ham, fully cooked spiral-sliced or unsliced ham can be stored for three to five days in the refrigerator. After cooking, the meat is safe to keep for three to four days.

Thawing a ham is similar to turkey — in the refrigerator, cold water or microwave. Thawing time is four-six hours per pound.

Cooking and storage times vary depending on the kind of ham you have purchased — fresh, cooked, cured or uncured. Each can be refrigerated for a number of days. Visit www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/hams-and-food-safety to see the full storage chart.

When cooking a ham for the holidays the minimum internal temperature is 145 degrees. Allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving and reheat up to at least 140 degrees.

Storing leftovers

When the meal is over, all leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours. They’re safe to eat up to four days in the refrigerator or within two to six months in the freezer.

The USDA recommends placing smaller portions of all leftovers into shallow covered containers to allow for quick cooling.

When it’s time to warm everything up again, bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil. Turkey should be rewarmed to at least 165 degrees.

To find additional information on food safety, visit www.foodsafety.gov or www.usda.gov and select food and nutrition under topics.

Jonesboro hosting annual Christmas Parade
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JONESBORO — Jonesboro will host the city’s 27th Annual Winter Wonderland Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting.

The event will be held on Dec. 4. The parade will begin at 5 p.m. followed by the tree lighting at Lee Street Park.

There will be Christmas music, Santa’s mailbox, food and craft vendors, photos with Santa, fire pits and s’mores along with hot cocoa and donuts.

Residents wishing to watch the parade should line up along Main Street.

Those who would like to enter a float in the parade or vendor at the park should contact City Hall at 770-478-3800.

Clayton County School district hosting vaccination sites for children
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JONESBORO — Clayton County schools will host three vaccination sites for children ages 5-11.

Pre-registration is required at https://forms.gle/wHUTTgL4khk9r5T8A.

The Pfizer Pediatric vaccine will be given at the following dates and locations:

♦ Clayton County Public Schools International Center, 2260 Old Re Morrow Road in Morrow on Dec. 3 from 3-6 p.m.

♦ Lovejoy Middle School, 1588 Lovejoy Road in Hampton on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

♦ Charles R. Drew High School, 6237 Garden Walk Blvd. in Riverdale on Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The second vaccination will be administered in January 2022.

There will be drawings for giveaways, music and food.

For more information, email studenthealth@clayton.k12.ga.us.

New road opens in Forest Park, paving way for Kroger home delivery
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FOREST PARK — The city of Forest Park and the Kroger Fulfillment Center celebrated the grand opening of Rateree Road at Gillem Logistics Center on Nov. 17.

The road, according to Forest Park officials, will allow Kroger home-delivery vans to access Forest Parkway and Interstates 75 and 285. The access will provide grocery delivery services to customers who live within 90 minutes of the company’s fulfillment center in Atlanta.

“Our city is known as a major logistics center for a variety of different industries, and we continue to seek ways to expand our regional, national and international presence with the goal of creating high-wage jobs,” said city of Forest Park Mayor Angelyne Butler, who also serves as chair of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. “These types of public-private partnerships only help to strengthen the message that the city of Forest Park is committed to economic and community growth.”

The Kroger Atlanta Fulfillment Center supplies groceries for more than 200 stores in and around metro Atlanta and employing nearly 200 people. Future plans include the addition of 410 new jobs at the fulfillment center.

“Kroger is committed to increasing market share in the e-commerce space through our home delivery modality,” said David Matthews, general manager of Kroger’s Atlanta Fulfillment Center. “We are thankful for the improvements the city is making, which allows us to drive last mile efficiency to better serve our customers.”

In 2011, the city purchased 1,100 acres at the Fort Gillem Army Base and has converted the land into one of the largest distribution hubs in the Southeast. Since then, the Gillem Logistics Center has developed over 15 major distribution facilities for several well-known companies, including Kroger, Amazon, Home Depot, Cummings Inc. and Kalera.

“We are incredibly pleased that Kroger leadership has decided to expand its home-delivery business and look forward to this road being used as a vital transportation route so goods and services are able to get to those who may not otherwise be able to access things like fresh produce or much needed medication,” said Forest Park City Manager Marc-Antonie Cooper.

The Rateree Road construction project was funded through a $1.3 million grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Department of Community Affairs and from the city’s tax allocation district.

To learn more about the Gillem Logistics Center, visit www.gillemlogisticscenter.com.