Taking A Tour Through Salt City

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We don’t ignore the salt of the story” says Aliyah Miller who plays Salt in the production of Salt City: A Techno Choreopoem. Salt City is a musical about a fierce indigenous black woman with an overwhelming future ahead of her. She was raised in Detroit, the home of salt mines and Techno.

The musical was held at Baldwin Burroughs Theater Fine Arts Building on Spelman College’s campus, free and open to the public from Feb 16-19 beginning at 8pm. The Director Aku Kadogo welcomed all guests and visitors to watch in hopes of learning about black arts in a different limelight.

As soon as the curtains open, the group of actors and dancers chant “Salt, Blood, Sweat, Tears” setting a powerful tone in the theater and evoking a response from the audience with big applause. Keri Garrett who plays Erzulie and Aliyah Miller who plays salt were dancing side-by-side on the stage, both imitating each move the other does, creating a slow paced anticipation for the audience as they both yell, ”Salt is the way of life. Salt preserves life. We are the preservers of life. ”

Jessica Care Moore, the writer of Salt City says, “Salt City was a dream project. Detroit Techno is an important part of my life. I know some of the legends, and I respect and love this community.” This is her third show she’s done at Spelman College. She’s been a poet and artist for 25 years and believes in being a voice for the African-American community. In reference to Salt City she quotes, ”I was trying not to cry backstage.”

The play ends with the actors saying,” We the ones they couldn’t kill.” “We don’t ignore the salt of the story”, says Miller. The reference was used to remind those of the brutal happenings in African history and how society doesn’t want to remember. However, Salt is a character from the future 2071, but still remembers the roots of her ancestors. According to Kadogo, this choreopoem is a time past, the now, and a tectonic shift in time to the future.

Sister Kadogo, explains how she wanted to get back to the authenticity of feelings and art. She remembers the of 1978 where she lived in Australia and worked with indigenous people and how it was such a genuine energy and fondness. She quotes,” I miss that authentic feeling. Everything we learn is mediated nowadays.” The play ensemble the genre of sci-fi Afrofuturistic dance theater work. Kadogo wanted to help bring Moore’s creation to life. Quoting, “How does one respond to a poem? With a poem.”

For the cast this musical was a theatrical journey that kept them guessing. One of the actors says, “We’ve been rehearsing since last September. This was such an original piece. The characters become part of you and the words become part of you.” Salt City: A Techno Choreopoem is an afro-futuristic piece that embodies the past, present and future of African-Americans in today’s world.

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KSU Dominates North Florida

With only 7.8 seconds left on the board and the North Florida Ospreys down by two points, Deandrea Sawyer shoots two free throws winning the basketball game 52-48 for the Kennesaw State Women’s team.

When a KSU Owl’s fan was asked how she spent her weekends, she enthusiastically replied,” Supporting my lady Owls!” The KSU Women’s Basketball team took their conquestful win over North Florida on Feb.18 at the Kennesaw State Convocation Center.

The first quarter of the game began with the KSU Owls falling behind by two points. By half-time North Florida was in the lead with a score of 28-26. That quickly changed in the fourth quarter with Kennesaw State leading 39-37 with nine minutes left. The game was close between the two teams and anticipation stirred a subtle prayer from the audience. Who would be the champion?

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After a time-out called by North Florida, with one minute and seven seconds left on the board Kelly Dulkoski steals the ball, making it a highlight of the game and amping the crowd up, KSU leading by one point. The most crucial moment of the game, North Florida fouls KSU, giving them an opportunity to shoot two free throws. The audience is silent and #44 Deandrea Sawyer, attempts two free throws. She makes them both and the fans start cheering, the lady Owls win the game.

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The all stars of the game were Kelly Dulkoski scoring a total of 15 points, Allison Johnson with 12 rebounds, and Clara Young with four assists. These ladies were the key ingredient to winning the game along with team effort and a vivacious cheering crowd.

The KSU Owl’s Coach Agnus Berenato had a brief pregame spiel. She made sure to encourage the girls by words of wisdom and doing their routinely huddle and warm up. The team’s assistant coach Ms. Head, made it her duty that all of the players uplifted each other and despite whether they won or not, they would still be victorious because of the effort and hard work they’ve put in.

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However, the North Florida Ospreys were not so lucky this game, their record 10-17. The team talked about remaining driven and confident, although they’ve experienced another loss of the season. The goal could possibly be to strengthen their offensive rebounds more than anything. The is a crucial component of a team that is great at shooting the ball, but not having the correct playing strategies. Although they were devastated, they shook hands with the lady Owls and congratulated them on their win.

When asked how they felt about winning the team replied back, “Excited.” This was a bounce back back from the last game with the Stetson Hatters, losing 43-60. The team hasn’t had the best season with a total of 5,225 points. However, the KSU Owls redeemed themselves with nine steals, thirteen assists, and thirty rebounds. They’ve won 8-17 games so far and encourage their fans to support them at their next home game against the Jacksonville State Dolphins Feb 20th.

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Feature Story: New Renaissance Era

Didn’t the Renaissance Era end in the 1700’s? Well according to Cyrus Speaks, the Renaissance Age is just beginning. The Renaissance Atlanta is a fresh, upbeat, contemporary yet modernistic event inviting all talents and gifts. “The Ren” is Christian based, but it welcomes anyone who is a follower or performer of the arts and is seeking to mingle with individuals who would rather listen to poetry than go partying on a Friday night. The different flairs staged are singers, actors/actresses, spoken-word artists, inspirational speakers, instrumentalists and acoustics. The Renaissance Atlanta occurs the second Friday of each month on the second level of the Epicenter in Austell, Georgia. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and close at 10:30 p.m., giving the audience more than enough time to enjoy each performance while meeting fellow originators. Since this event is Christian based, they require each person to donate a can good, blanket, or coat prior to entrance, yet the more donations the less the ticket cost. The regular fee is a seven-dollar cover charge at the door or a five-dollar cover charge including a donation listed above. Cyrus Speaks is the founder and creator of this event along with co-founder Winston Mayo and huge supportive team behind them.

When asked why they both decided to generate The Renaissance of Atlanta, Mr. Speaks conveys about the enormous amount of talent there is in the city of Atlanta and wanted to give a platform that would showcase each artist’s skills and gifts. Mr. Mayo added how this event is another alternative for Christians and others who still want to have fun and enjoy themselves on a Friday night have the opportunity and the pleasure of doing so without resorting to activities such as drinking, club-hopping, or an environment where they feel uncomfortable around. Cyrus says he is shocked by the turnout of the event and is amazed at how they are able to afford the rental space of the Epi Center where it is held. He says the donation each customer makes goes toward different charities, food banks and shelters, but the cover charge fees paid to get into “The Ren” goes toward the rental costs. One of the main reasons they are able to afford the necessities sustaining the event and making The Renaissance Atlanta possible.

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What makes “The Ren” stands out among other artistic events are their different approaches and techniques to emphasize the importance of the event and the productions of their artists. The first performer who blessed the stage concurs with this statement. Waneisha Spencer, 31 years old, an alumni of the University of South Florida performed for the first time at The Renaissance Atlanta stirring a big applause from the audience with her immaculate voice and powerful words. She also attends other creative events such as Poetic Collage, but says “The Ren” is different because she is allowed to share her poetry for ministry having an impact on the crowd and not for selfish gain. Another spoken-word artist who received a big uproar from the crowd is Nehemiah Grant, 26 years old, a regular attendee of “The Ren” says, “I love attending these events because of the good vibe and good energy.”

What all of these artists have in common are the love of God. Many of these gifted performers share the messages and the testimonies of Jesus Christ, helping others by sharing their life experiences, trials and tribulations giving all attribution to God and their Savior Christ. Yet, all people with different beliefs are still welcomed and will not be turned away. Their principle they live by is that everyone in the world is connected some way some how.

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Feature Story: Rezoning in Cobb County

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Photo Credited To: Lisa George / WABE News

 February 10th, 2016 a city council meeting was held in Marietta City Hall at 7p.m. Wednesday evening. The meeting was lead by a prayer from Mayor Tumlin following The Pledge of Allegiance. During this meeting, a discussion of rezoning the property of First Christian Church and the property of Cary Mccallum were examined. After the council sympathized with 1st lady Pamela Commorato about not having enough funds to pay for fixtures at the church, a heated debate broke out between councilman Coleman and Fleming. Before the boil burst, a proposal introduced by council for the renaming of Franklin Road was acquiesced.

The motion approved to rename Franklin Road in Marietta, Ga to Franklin Gateway was finalized by Mayor Tumlin the other 7 councilman. However, Blair Oaks, co-director of a boys soccer team of Marquis Place Apartments, opposed to this decision. He quoted, “ The apartment complexes on Franklin Road were demolished before a public hearing was held and the city in my opinion also failed to advertise the availability of these apartments for redevelopment and a R.A.P before they ended the lease agreement with the soccer club as required by law.” City Councilman Anthony Coleman looked confused and asked Mayor Tumlin if this was indeed required by law and Mayor Tumlin replied, “ No, it is not required by law. The fact it might take me 20 minutes to point out incorrect facts made in this statement.” The entire room let out an outburst of laughter. A denial of claim was filed of Mr. Oaks and the motion was denied.

Next up to the podium was Attorney Lee Culler, representing First Lady Pamela Commorato of First Christian Church. He explained the affliction to the public and there was no agreement reached between the two parties of the church and the elderly neighbors. His opening statement began with, “ This a church trying to do the right thing.” After he made his opening statement Mrs. Commorato was called up to the podium to speak in front of all 12 council members and the mayor. She stated,” We are here to request that you do approve our resummoning with all the stipulations except one.” The sixth stipulation is: Outside freezer shall be enclosed by a wooden structure. Since the last zoning meeting on January 13th, 2016, the church has followed the stipulations and remained in code, however the fence required to be placed between the two properties comes to the price of $1500 and the replacement of the roof which comes to $1200. Mrs. Commorato asked for a total of two years to pay for these expenses, explaining that the church and pantry they own are a non-profit and receive majority of their donations from the community. Her husband intervened, Pastor Smith, quoting, “ We have been here for 20 years. We started off with 120 members and now only have 40 members. We are willing to meet all the stipulations but our funds are limited. We try to be a good neighbor, but we try to help the community also.” Drayton Baker, who represents his in-laws living beside the church states he is not here to fight, but to compromise. He quotes, “ I’m tired of beating a dead horse.” He and his in-laws are asking that an 8-foot fence is built, First Christian Church repair their roof in one year and for the hours of operations to be pushed to a later time around 11a.m. Mrs. Commorato told the council, “We can’t afford to fix the roof in a year. We use the money out of our pockets to feed the community, we can’t afford it.” One of the women in the room shook her head in an agreeing manner and the council sympathized with Mrs. Commorato. They decided to extend her time for two years in order to fix the roof. Councilman Chalfant stated, “ I wish we could come up with a solution to make both parties happy.” After hearing both sides, the councilman approved 7-0-0 to remove #6 stipulation of the agenda and seven votes agreeing to motion zoning for the church.

The last public hearing was Carry Mccallum who owns a niche business particularly in the grass department and is requesting a rezoning of his property. He tells the court about himself and how small his company is a seasonal business, therefore his income is very limited. When speaking in front of the council, his wife had to come up and translate to him what they were saying due to Mr. Mccallum’s tinnitus. After his statement councilman Coleman asked him to explain why he has been operating a business out of a residential property without a license. Mccallum claimed a councilman said he was fine and did not need a license and councilman Coleman was upset that Mr. Mccallum was not cited. Councilman Stuart Fleming decided to motion for the rezoning of Mccallum’s property reaching for the button until councilman Coleman yelled, “No!” startling everyone in the room. The two councilmen were debating back for a total of three minutes, ending with Fleming saying, “ Don’t tell me what to do.” with a condescending sneer on his face. Coleman pounded his hand on the table then filed a substitute motion to deny, failing at a vote of 1-5-1, therefore Mr. Mccallum’s property request was approved for rezoning. Councilman Fleming looked at councilman Coleman and the room with a smug on his face. After the city council meeting was over, Mr. Mccallum was asked how he felt about the two councilmen going at it. He laughed it off by saying,” It was nerving, but I’m glad councilman Fleming took my word for it.”

Officer Ramirez was interviewed on what he thought about the issue of rezoning one’s property. He replied, “Rezoning in Marietta is more of a city council’s headache than issue.”

Possible Murder Weapon Found..

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Photo Credited To: Dailymail.Com

Who can forget the O.J. Simpson case in 1995? It was one of the biggest trials in the 90’s and caused major controversy nationwide. Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that a knife was found on O.J. Simpson’s former property in Brentwood, CA. Many are asking could this be the possible murder weapon that was used to take the lives of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman?
According to CNN.Com, retired police officer George Maycott received the knife from a construction worker in 2003, which the police have asked the construction worker to publicly come forward, but no word on that yet. After Maycott was given the knife, he immediately contacted the LAPD traffic division and they told him, “O.J. Simpson has been acquitted (so) there’s nothing we can do.” Therefore, he kept the knife in his toolbox for the next 13 years until finally handing it over to police in January. The issue LAPD has is the U.S.’s double jeopardy rule, so even if evidence shows the DNA of the two victims killed, Mr. Simpson can’t be tried again. The second problem is the significant amount of knives found around the Simpson estate, however the folding Buck blade is under forensic investigation. It is being tested for hair and DNA, and will be treated as all other evidence would according to LAPD Captain Andy Neiman.
The public of course wants to know if new evidence is found from this knife, could it possibly change things for the initial case at hand? The prosecutor in the Simpson case Marcia Clark, told Dateline NBC, “Honestly, I don’t know whether he would be convicted today. Because in the wake of all these police shootings and all the racial mistrust that has been exposed, probably what would result, in my opinion, is a hung jury.” She agrees that the understanding of DNA evidence is more accurate today than it was a decade ago, but due to the mishandling of the evidence by police and shoddy forensic collections created a distrust of the police.
Looks like the “Trial of the Century” might have possibly found the mysterious murder weapon and O.J. Simpson’s luck is running out.

Feature Story: Breaking Down Barriers Men’s Conference

Many would agree that breaking down barriers is tough, especially trying to carve a pathway for others following the same footsteps. According to Dr. Bernie Miller, Pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church in Tennessee, agrees with this statement and says it is just the beginning. The Breaking Down Barriers Men’s Conference is a youth, spiritual, nonsecular yet modernistic event inviting all men and boys. “The BDBMC” is Christian based, but it welcomes anyone who is a follower or seeker of God and is looking to engage with individuals who are like-minded or share similar beliefs. This youth meeting bring small groups of adult men and young boys, of all ages from different backgrounds together to unite and find different ways to improve understanding and communication between people who have different opinions. The different flairs staged a former football player, Christian radio personality, a former lead singer of Confederate Railroad, inspirational speakers, a book author and different pastors. The BDBMC occurs the second Friday of each month on the first level of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and close at 10:00 p.m., giving the audience more than enough time to ask questions while meeting fellow conference speakers. Since the event is Christian based, they require each person to donate can goods or make some sort of charitable donation, yet the more donations the more you are helping the less fortunate. The cost to attend the event is free cover charge at the door and you will be directed to your seat by Joe Kines, veteran football coach of four decades.

Dr. Bernie Miller is the founder and creator of this event along with co-founder Chris McDaniel and a huge supportive team behind them. When asked why they both decided to generate Breaking Down Barriers Men’s Conference, Dr. Miller conveys about how hard it is in the city of Atlanta and in life for men to overcome certain obstacles. He quotes, “ There are many groups for young women and girls, but not many for men. Men are looked at as hard and don’t have many support outlets, so that was part of the reason we started this conference meeting.” He also states that he wanted to give a platform that would showcase different perspectives and the ability to learn from one another. Mr. Mcdaniel added how this event is another alternative for Christian men and boys who still want to have fun and enjoy themselves on a Friday night have the opportunity and the pleasure of doing so without resorting to activities such as drinking, club-hopping, or an environment where they feel uncomfortable around. Chris Mcdaniel is a former lead singer of Confederate Railroad and he is also a  Worship Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA. Mr. Mcdaniel says he is shocked by the turnout of the event and is amazed at how they are able to afford to hold and host this event each month. He quotes, “ Anything is possible with God.” Dr. Miller says the donation that each person makes goes toward different charities, food banks and shelters, but other fees such as member fees which are optional and other outside donations made goes toward the conference meeting costs. Which happens to be one of the main reasons they are able to afford the necessities sustaining the event and making this event a unification between adults and adolescents.

        What makes “BDBMC” stand out amongst other youth conference meetings or events are their different approaches and techniques to emphasize the importance of the event and the productions of their inspirational speakers. The first speaker who blessed the stage concurs with this statement. Brent Manion, who is a known Christian radio veteran and station manager of WMBW Moody Radio in Chattanooga,TN attended the men’s conference meeting. When asked the question if men are given more access to opportunities than other social groups he retorted, “The question is whether there is the will and commitment among our region’s government, business, and philanthropic sectors to make the changes and take the chances needed.” John Croyle, 32 years old, an alumni and former football player of the University of Alabama, gave a speech for the first time at BDBMC stirring a big applause from the audience with his immaculate delivery and powerful words. When asked what he thinks about the men’s conference he says, “ It helps you think about how you can use what you gain from your experience here which is new understanding and planning and communication skills.” He also speaks at other youth meetings, but says “BDBMC” is different because it allows you to challenge leadership skills. You’re able to provide ministry, having an impact on the crowd and not for selfish gain. Another conference speaker in attendance who received a big uproar from the crowd is Allan Taylor, 42 years old, a regular attendee of “BDBMC”. Mr. Taylor is a former high school football coach, a church minister of education, a current author, and Director of Christian Education at LifeWay in Nashville, TN. He says, “I love attending these events because of the good vibes,good energy, and good food”, he says jokingly. He then goes on to say, “There are many barriers men face like competition, access to certain jobs, capital, social isolation, and other resources. We’re here to try to help and teach them useful resources.” Dr. Miller believes that in order to dismantle these and other barriers, BDBMC urges and encourages boys and men to increase more support for high-performing community organizations that help the youth and men improve their economic status. Different businesses, government, and the philanthropic sectors should also work together in order to succeed and support networking and peer-learning opportunities for all races and ages of men. Also  increase entrepreneurs’ access to business capital, develop supplier and market networks to help make certain businesses more sustainable, and expand access to skills training programs.

 What all of these speakers have in common are the love of God. Many of these blessed speakers share their messages and the testimonies of Jesus Christ, helping others by sharing their life experiences, trials and tribulations giving all attribution to God and their Savior Christ. Yet, all people from different backgrounds are still welcomed and will not be turned away. Their principle they live by is that everyone in the world is connected some way somehow and we should be in the business of helping each other.