Grist for the Mill: Howling about garbage, exit the vampires and Stonecrest politics heat up

Grist for the mill: A summary of what’s on the local news Web sites

Greetings, kind readers. Here is our weekly feature on The Yeast called “Grist for the mill,” which is a rundown of the what the local news media. I will look for the most interesting and newsworthy stories across the three-county area and deliver them with commentary. I am aware these newspapers have small staffs with people dedicated to the craft, so my hope is that whatever analysis I provide is offered as constructive feedback and not intended to tear people down.

Your tax dollars at work:

The Citizen reports on an upcoming resolution by the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners to oppose attempts to expand the makeup of the board from the current two, at-large commissioners and a chairperson to a proposed four members representing districts and a chairman. It’s from a meeting story and is straightforward. The link is here.

In another story, the Citizen reports the legislation proposing the change has stalled in committee. The story link is here.

Right now, the story doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. The county will still collect taxes and provide services. However, as the Citizen reports, the proposal is not dead and will return in 2018. It means another year for people to debate the issue, which is a reason for the commission to pass their resolution. If it ever happens, it will be big news.

In Covington, the big government news is that Newton County’s Solid Waste Authority is shelving plans for mandatory curbside garbage pickup in unincorporated Newton County. It seems local trash haulers complained, and county commissioners listened. A committee was formed to study the matter. I noticed that when it comes Mandatory garbage pickup proposals. The story link is here.

I have almost given up on the Covington News and their insistence to put everything behind a paywall. Their story (subscription required) is linked here.

Mandatory curbside garbage pickup is nothing new. Many cities have it as a service that residents pay a fee on their annual tax bills. Controversy is also never far when curbside garbage pickup is brought up especially in places that had never had the service.

It took Gwinnett County a few years, lots of angry residents and a lawsuit before its garbage pickup service began. The Gwinnett Daily Post covered the issue extensively. Camie Young’s 2009 story is a good start. The story link is here.

Curbside garbage service was brought up in Rockdale County, and residents shouted it down. I covered a town hall meeting in 2014. The story link is here.

The Champion had a report on Congressman Hank Johnson holding a town hall meeting in Clarkston, which has a significant immigrant population. The story link is here. http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/rep-hank-johnson-clarkston-mayor-listen-to-immigrant-refugee-concerns/

A candidate for mayor of the newly-formed city of Stonecrest accused a state representative of physically accosting him during a candidate forum. The Champion story explains all and gives new meaning to the term “rough and tumble” when applied to DeKalb County politics. The story link is here.

In what appears to be a big story for both East DeKalb and Rockdale counties, the company Atlanta Sports Connection announced plans to build a $200 million sports and entertainment complex near the Mall at Stonecrest. The story link is here.

The most interesting person of the week:

The Champion has a feature piece on a kindergarten student who dressed up like former Secretary of State Colin Powell as part of his class’ Black History Month lessons and then got a phone call from the real Colin Powell. The story link is here.

On Common Ground has the same coverage, but more pictures! The link to their story is here.

The Citizen and News covered the celebration welcoming U.S. Army Sgt. Lakeia Nicole Stokes back home in Covington. Stokes, a Purple Heart Medal recipient, was injured in a suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan on Veterans Day 2016. The Citizen’s story is linked here.

The News (subscription required) filed its story here.

“It’s a wrap.” The Vampire Diaries, the television series filmed in Rockdale and Newton counties, is ending its eight-year run. The show filmed its last episode in February. The show’s finale appears on March 10. The Citizen has it covered here.

Public Enemy No. 532:

Rockdale Sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect in connection with a drive-by shooting that occurred last month. The story link is here.

Newton Sheriff’s deputies arrested nine men as part of a criminal enterprise ran out of a house. The charges cover stolen property and drug possession and intent to distribute. The News (subscription required) story is linked here.

The Citizen covered the story, too. Their story is linked here.

Local media pet peeve of the week:

I wish some of the local newspapers could do a better job of archiving stories. The Citizen’s Web site only has stories going back as far as 2006, and most of those are jail blotters and community calendars. The Champion has an archive for its “Free Press” publication. That is better to navigate than others. However, the “Free Press” is a freebie and it would not offer the value for someone doing research on local events.

I have argued this before that local papers could repackage their archives and present them as a perk for paid subscriptions. For now, everyone depends on their Web site’s search feature to store stories. Ideal for the paper, but difficult for readers looking up stuff from more than two years ago.

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