First tiny house community in Georgia may arrive in Clarkston

Aiyana Cristal

The tiny house community will be built on a 1-acre lot near the Town Center in Clarkston. The start of the project will have eight homes that will all be under 500 square feet and cost you up to $80,000.

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Meet the Mayor in a Red State Who Switched His City to Renewable Energy

Nick Chedli Carter

So, as a climate mayor, and as a city that wants to move to 100 percent clean energy, we know that if we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, if we can stop getting to that 2 degree celsius scenario, then we can help mitigate a lot of these disasters that are happening now and could happen in the future.

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This small town in America's deep south welcomes 1,500 refugees a year

Katy Long

It turns out the story of Clarkston is not just about who is being welcomed: it’s also a story about who is doing the welcoming.

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Mayor Ted Terry talks about ICE with Rashad Richey

Rashad Richey

On Real Talk with Rashad Richey, Mayor of Clarkston, Ted Terry discusses the city’s new stance on ICE agents and how they will not work with federal authorities to violate the constitutional rights of citizens.

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Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry Tells Maria Boynton Why City Is Limiting Compliance With Immigration Rules

Maria Boynton

It all started, according to Clarkston, Georgia Mayor Ted Terry, when the federal government rounded up some Somali nationals and attempted to return them to their home country of Somalia. According to Mayor Terry, it’s “akin to a death sentence because hundreds, if not thousands, are at risk of starvation and dehydration.”

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The Mayor of 'The Ellis Island of the South' Has a Message for Donald Trump

Patricia Murphy

Twenty miles east of Atlanta sits a low-slung little town of 17,000 that could almost pass for any other in the American South. Train tracks split the town in half. Hulking gas stations serve commuters driving toward the interstate. Shops off the main drag are a little past their prime, but they’re nearly all full.

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City of Clarkston says executive order will affect their city

Carl Willis

The executive order signed by President Trump calls for suspension of immigration from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya.

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Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry on Trump's Immigration Order

Denis O'Hayer

On "Morning Edition," Mayor Ted Terry spoke with Denis O'Hayer about what he says are the potential effects on Clarkston's refugees, and on the community as a whole.

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This Georgia city could be one of the most affected by the immigration ban

Jeremy Campbell

“Somebody said to me one time, ‘Oh great you live somewhere where we welcome terrorists,’ and I said ‘No, we don’t welcome terrorists. We welcome people who run away from terrorists,” said Kitti Murray.

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Clarkston Mayor:"I am happy to report we are not a drug haven"

Greg Bluestein

The city has logged 23 citations for marijuana use since the June passage of the new ordinance, which reduces the fine for possessing less than an ounce of the drug from $1,000 to $75 and eliminates the possibility of jail time for breaking municipal law.

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High hopes for Clarkston's marijuana ordinance


“We’re not saying it’s legalized,” Terry said, “but we’re also saying we don’t want to ruin someone’s life or drain their bank account for what could be considered a simple mistake.”

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Ted versus the machine


First elected in 2013, he has flexed his municipality’s muscle—and irked Georgia’s conservatives—before. When, last year, the state’s governor, like many others, theatrically announced that it would not be accepting Syrian refugees (a position he was forced to reverse), Mr Terry said they were welcome in Clarkston. He mentors one Syrian family himself.

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Clarkston to consider decriminalizing marijuana

Greg Bluestein

“The bottom line is the War on Drugs has failed,” said Terry, also a vice chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “It is time for elected officials to use evidence-based policies to make our communities safer and fight drug abuse.”

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Clarkston Mayor, Ted Terry, welcoming Syrian refugees

Barbara Payne

“This will make our community stronger, not weaker. We should lead with love and compassion… this is the bedrock of our communities, principles. Ultimately it’s up to the State, everything is going good in Clarkston. People like to say that refugees cause crime..that there is ethnic conflict. That’s not true. Clarkston has low rates of violent crime. Resettlement agencies are good at understanding ethnic conflict,” Terry said.

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

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

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

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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New Roots Program Celebrates Spring at Clarkston High School

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


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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Meet a millennial mayor with a mind for citizen engagement


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Clarkston plugs public art as part of beautification efforts

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

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 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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Who is Mayor Ted Terry?

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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