News

Clarkston’s Ted Terry: His city is ‘ready to welcome more Syrians’

9/10/2015
 – 
Greg Bluestein @bluestein

As state leaders try to rein in the number of refugees resettling in Georgia, the mayor of one of the most popular destinations is laying out the welcome mat.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry wants Gov. Nathan Deal to know his city is willing to welcome more refugees fleeing from the Middle East and Africa.Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

“Clarkston is ready to step up and do our part to welcome more Syrians, more Iraqis, more Afghanis to our city,” said Terry. “Our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters from the Levant need our help. And I respectfully call on our state and federal leaders to answer the call.”

Terry is responding to the Deal administration’s decision to seek to limit the number of refugees coming to Georgia as the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria grows. Deal, in an interview, raised particular concerns about the influx coming to the DeKalb city. From the AJC story:

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Clarkston’s war against video gambling

7/30/2015
 – 
Maggie Lee

How one tiny city became a battleground in the coin-operated amusement machine war

Some of the bodegas on Clarkston's Market Street do a brisk business selling pandan cakes, aloe vera drinks, fresh-fried fish, and other Southeast Asian provisions to the weekday lunchtime crowd. But inside one bodega, nobody is browsing the dusty back parts of the aisles or considering the cans of sugar cane, some of which expired in 2012. All the store's customers are sitting in the game room glued to the video gambling machines.

In a Clarkston restaurant's game room, "Georgia Skill" is emblazoned across the top of the machines. Empty chairs are positioned at each of the six terminals. The games are touch-screen versions of the old one-armed bandits, though the machines take paper money rather than coins. Line up three pictures for a prize. One offers patriotic pictures of eagles, Lady Liberties, and silver dollars. It took less than three minutes to burn through $5 on 25-cent antes.

Clarkston City Manager Keith Barker gets a little tense talking about these terminals, what the gambling industry calls coin-operated amusement machines or COAMs. The video terminals offer a kind of gambling that experts say is especially toxic. Some Clarkston officials are skeptical of the machines and are enforcing some of the state's most stringent laws aimed at keeping COAM operators in check.

But now the small city is facing a state Supreme Court challenge from one shop's owners who say Clarkston is unfairly making them choose between selling six-packs and running state-sanctioned COAMs. The justices' decision could send ripples throughout the state, affecting where video gambling is allowed — and what kind of new cash flow that would mean for Pre-K programs and HOPE scholarships and grants.

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Clarkston officials discuss honey bee initiative

7/14/2015
 – 
Ashley Oglesby

On July 1 Clarkston officials debated partnering with Pesticide Action Network and Beyond Pesticides to protect honeybees and other pollinators by becoming a Honey Bee Haven.

Mayor Ted Terry said he saw it fitting to start the initiative after being approached by stakeholders about the epidemic affecting pollinators.

“It revolves around a certain pesticide, the neonicotinoids products that are believed to cause colony class disorder in certain bee populations,” Terry explained.

According to the resolution presented at the council meeting, scientific evidence shows that neonicotinoid insecticides, including clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid are threats to pollinators.

Terry said, “Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. They’re responsible for over $19 billion worth of services to U.S. agriculture.”

Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. The name literally means new nicotine-like insecticides. Like nicotine, the neonicotinoids act on receptors in the nervous system. They are much more toxic to invertebrates, such as insects, than they are to mammals, birds and other higher organisms.

The insecticide shares a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death.

Terry said, “I ran for office because I wanted to make a greener and more sustainable Clarkston. In our public parks and public areas we don’t use the chemical cocktail neonicotinoids. That’s one of the main criteria for becoming a haven–knowing that those chemicals are linked to causing bee colony collapse disorder.”

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Clarkston, Ga., Is Small In Stature But Big On Diversity

4/27/2015
 – 
By SHELBY LIN ERDMAN

Though the size of Clarkston, Georgia, is just a little over a mile, the city boasts one of the most diverse communities in metro Atlanta.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry wants to build a city that is ''safer, greener, and more prosperous.'' He discussed his plans on ''A Closer Look.''

During the 1990s, refugee asylum programs identified the small DeKalb County city as an ideal place to resettle the new immigrants in the United States.

Since then Clarkston has become known for its diversity – residents from more than 50 nations now call the tiny enclave home.

The town's diversity is something the city is proud of, according to Mayor Ted Terry.

Terry, who was elected to office in 2013, posted his vision for Clarkston on the city's website. "Together, with your support we'll build a Clarkston that is safer, greener, and more prosperous. We'll create a community that celebrates our youth, opening doors for their futures. And together, we'll create a Clarkston that our residents will be proud to call home."

Terry joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer on “A Closer Look” to discuss the impact of Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal, his town’s diversity, economic development, and more.

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New Roots Program Celebrates Spring at Clarkston High School

4/23/2015
 – 
Jillian Sico

On Thursday, April 23rd, the IRC in Atlanta’s New Roots Program celebrated its first spring harvest at the school garden at Clarkston High School. The 2015 Spring Harvest Celebration included garden tours, speeches, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and Clarkston High School Principal Michelle E. Jones.

The IRC in Atlanta’s New Roots program includes nutrition and gardening education for newly-arrived refugees, an active community garden at North DeKalb Mall, and the Youth Food Justice Program, which includes the creation of an onsite garden at Clarkston High School. The Youth Food Justice Program is funded through the generous support of the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation.

Mayor Ted Terry, addressing a diverse group of students, teachers, parents, and community members, gave his support for the school garden and addressed how the city of Clarkston is working to create a healthier, more sustainable, and more pedestrian-friendly community.

Mayor Terry, Principal Jones, donors, and Chipotle representatives toured the garden, which features raised vegetable beds, an herb garden, and a pond with koi fish and frogs. Student volunteers harvested mustard greens, arugula, radishes, and spinach to make a fresh salad to accompany the main dishes, which were catered by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

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Who is Mayor Ted Terry?

2/22/2015
 – 
Eric Gray

And why is he everywhere?

It is likely that you’ve never heard of the most important up-and-coming Democrat in the state.

In 2013, a long-shot candidate for Clarkston mayor appeared. Ted Terry, a young and energetic fellow, challenged an incumbent mayor in this refugee town in DeKalb County.

Refugee town? In Georgia? Indeed. Clarkston was identified as a good place for displaced folks sometime in the 90’s. The town has since been filled with families from over 50 countries, with over half of the population born outside the U.S. Twenty years ago, the town was 90% white. The white population has since declined to less than 20%.

Despite the odds, Terry soon started knocking on doors to replace an incumbent African-American mayor. It’s estimated that Terry went to over 1,000 homes during his campaign, gripping-and-grinning with people who, in all likelihood, didn’t speak English.

Ted Terry won his mayoral campaign. He hasn’t stopped since.

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Clarkston plugs public art as part of beautification efforts

5/15/2014
 – 
Daniel Beauregard

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said developing a comprehensive public art policy was one of his initiatives when running for mayor. Terry said that areas with a public art policy in place often see a drop in crime rates and more economic development.

“When you put a new coat of paint on a [blighted area] or better yet, you actually do a mural, all of a sudden this old building has something that adds a little character to it, and it actually looks nice—it’s not an eyesore,” Terry said.

Terry said when residents and city officials got together to paint the first mural in Clarkston, more than 60 people came out to help. He said part of the public art initiative is also building community.

“When I was inaugurated, one of the first resident committees that I formed was the public arts one,” Terry said. “What we’re really trying to focus on with this public art thing is how we can engage the kids and residents to be a part of it.”

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Three DeKalb cities among 50 safest in Georgia

2/27/2014
 – 
Carla Parker

The city of Decatur may have had a slight increase in crime in 2013, but the city is still one of the safest in Georgia.

Decatur, Doraville and Clarkston made Safewise.com list of the 50 safest cities in Georgia with populations of 5,000 or more as of 2012. Decatur led the trio at No. 38, with Doraville right behind them at No. 39. Clarkston was ranked No. 44.

SafeWise is a website that gives advice and information on home security and safety. According to SafeWise, they accumulated the list by combining their research with most recent FBI Crime in the U.S. Report.

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Clarkston Drops Ethics Case Against Mayor

8/14/2014
 – 
Lauren Ramsdell

Following weeks of back and forth between the council, the mayor and the residents, the Clarkston City Council voted unanimously not to publicly reprimand Mayor Ted Terry for ethics violations.
Councilman Robert Hogan made the motion not to accept the recommendation and not to issue the reprimand suggested by the city ethics committee.

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