Saturday, December 19, 2009


Shaw University cornerback Quintez Smith, the CIAA's Defensive Player of the Year, was named First Team All-America by both the American Football Coaches Association and Daktronics, Inc. Wednesday.

The senior out of Dublin, Georgia is the first Shaw player named to the AFCA's All-America squad. The AFCA squad has been selected by college football coaches since 1945.

Smith received the highest number of votes among cornerbacks in the Daktronics selection, which is made by sports information directors of NCAA Division II members. This is the 17th year for the poll.

The honors are piling up for Shaw. In addition to being named the CIAA's defensive player of the year and the dual all-America selections, he was named to the East Coast Bowl and the HBCU Bowl, which will pit players from the CIAA and MEAC against players from the SIAC and SWAC Dec. 19 in Montgomery, Alabama.

During the 2009 season, Smith tied a Division II record when he intercepted and returned four passes for touchdowns. He finished the year tied for first in Division II with nine picks. He accumulated 302 return yards, made 49 tackles and recovered two fumbles for scores as well, leading Shaw to a record of 8-2 (5-2 in CIAA).

In the first week of the season, against Elizabeth City State, he set a new Division II single-game record with 194 interception return yards and set the single-game mark of three interceptions returned for touchdowns.


Smith, the AA 2002 defensive player of the year,  led the Dublin Irish (14-1) to the championship game of AA in 2002.  He led the team to its first Georgia Dome victory over Laney.

Sunday, December 13, 2009



Jack Walker’s heart is where his home is. And, that home is right here in Dublin, Georgia. If you ask him, he will probably tell you he’’d rather be in his home town enjoying life with his family and friends than living and working in New York or Hollywood. No longer does he dream of being a movie star. Today, Jackson Walker dreams of great movie roles and seeing Dublin growing into an even more wonderful place to live.

"I'm proud of Dublin. I was born here and I'll probably die here. Hopefully, a long time from now," he aid.Walker wants to see Dublin grow and offer more of what people expect of a quaint southern town. He would like to see that aggressiveness directed towards more progressive ideas.

"Accomplishing progressive ideas while maintaining the quaint charm of a southern town is attractive to everyone and could help Dublin become a place that people want to return to or retire to," Jack added.
When Jack and his family returned from the fast paced life in Hollywood, he had a dream. And, that dream was to build downtown Dublin into a place where people, not only locals, but travelers as well, wanted to come to. "We need businesses like The Freckled Frog, a hair salon, boutiques etc. to move there," Jack maintains.His first fun project was to open The Blackbird, a coffee shop with a personal touch, and not just another cookie cutter Starbucks in a plain space. "Old buildings provide something you cannot get anywhere else in town," the former architect said. "I think I helped to start something great,”” but regretfully added, "I just couldn't afford to hang on long enough for it to catch on."

Promoters of downtown Dublin will tell you that the current wave of revitalization efforts are due in a big part to Jack’’s investment and dedication to his dream. "I've heard that a few times recently, that I started something downtown. I hope that's true because that would be something I would be proud of," he adds. Happy with what is going on downtown, Jack credits Josh Nichols,Morris Bank, and Townsend Funeral home for their efforts in improving the new commercial viability which evolved from the opening of the Blackbird."I would like to be more involved in the revitalization efforts of downtown Dublin. Though owning a business requires a lot of time and makes it a bit difficult," Walker says."I'm going to do what I can."

In "Madea Goes to Jail"

"Brutal" is the word Jack uses to describe balancing his business interests with his acting career. With a flood of new opportunities, Walker wants to take advantage of a surge in his film roles, but at the same time wants to be involved in operating his businesses here by adding, "Regardless, we won't be moving away from Dublin. This is home and we love it here." Being not far from Atlanta and through the use of technology, Jack plans to continue a dual career. "I do some auditions at home on video and email them to casting directors for different projects. It takes all the awkward part out of the audition process," as he relates how hard it is to be away from home, believing that he would have more time with his kids than if he were living in New York or LA.

With Forest Whitaker, right, in "The Great Debaters."

With no less than seven films being released in 2009, this year has been a breakout one for Walker, who sees the doubling of his lifetime roles as a fluke. "It's unheard of to do this many films in a year especially in this market. I know that because from November until this mid July I have done nothing at all in film," he added. Walker credits his increase in work to his appearance as a pig farmer in The Great Debaters. "That film propelled me to a different level. Both Madea Goes To Jail and The People vs. Leo Frank happened specifically as a result of Debaters," said Walker, who, in Tyler Perry’’s latest Madea movie, portrayed Mr. Brackman, an amoral employer who gets his just deserts from co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam, of Cosby Show fame.

In three of this year’s roles, Jack Walker portrays historical characters. In the PBS production of We Shall Remain, Jack portrays Daniel Ross, a Scottish trader and the father of future Creek Indian chief, John Ross. "I was speaking Cherokee with a Scottish accent. I am fortunate that no one knows what that should sound like," Jack said in relating his fortune in part of a challenging and rewarding project. The film is available for viewing on the American Experience web site. In PBS’s The People vs. Leo Frank, Jack plays the role of John Black, the lead detective in the investigation of Leo Frank, an employee of an Atlanta pencil factory, who was convicted of the brutal child murder of Miss Mary Phagan in 1913. He enjoyed the experience of portraying a real person, though he was the one who bungled the investigation, thereby causing a lot of trouble. The movie is scheduled to premiere on PBS in February 2010.

In the role of Terry Walker, a real life hero, Jack Walker (no relation) took on the role of a Carroll County, Georgia man, who with his father find a missing toddler Joe Simpkins. In June of this year, Walker hosted a premiere of the film at Theater Dublin, a red carpet event attended by many of the movie’’s actors and the real persons they portrayed.

Perhaps Walker’s most notable 2009 role comes with the release of The Final Destination Four, which is scheduled to run in Dublin. In the action packed 3D horror film, Jack portrays Jonathan "The Cowboy" Groves, one of the film’’s many characters who actually die twice.

In the end, Jack Walker has learned that you can make a movie in your own back yard. Not really, but he starred as Rusty Rozier in 12 FL OZ., written and directed by Dublin native Dalton Harpe and scheduled to be shown on the film festival circuit very soon. Shot in Dublin and Dexter on a shoestring budget, "the movie is dark allegory of the spiritual journey of some very angry people, " in the words of Walker, who added, "I can't wait to hear the audience reactions. I expect to hear everything from hate to love. No one will emerge without an opinion."

Jack Walker loved the challenge of playing the racist in The Great Debaters, finding the role as a challenge in its body position, walk and dialect. His favorite character so far is a short film produced by the Doorpost Film Project as a metaphor for rescuing abused and neglected children. In the film due to be released on the studio’’s web site in September, Jack plays the role of a man who wakes up next to his burning car in purgatory, where he finds a little girl who helps guide him through to the other side, only to ultimately rescue her.

As the Hero in "Awake O'Sleeper"

Jack Walker can’t see very far into his future. "Life is never what we plan so I will be surprised at whatever it delivers," Jack said. Though he hopes to continue doing great roles in TV and film and do them more often, he has put aside his youthful dreams of being a star. "Having children, being in love, experiencing incredible loss, loving a community, all of that changes things.

Poster from "That's Magic"

I have always loved the craft of acting and film making but now I'm free to pursue and to fail," he related. In the meanwhile, Jack Walker and his family are back home, happy with life, and right where they belong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Thanksgiving Celebration Warms the Hearts of Less Fortunate


By Ben Koconis - Special to the Informer

Thursday, December 03, 2009 06:41 PM

Bishop Imagene Stewart Provided Food, Fun for the District’s Poor

Bishop Imagene Stewart was in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day boiling chicken gizzards for giblet gravy, stirring industrial-sized pots of string beans and keeping a watchful eye over the turkeys.

Bishop Imagene Stewart, right, shares a laugh with several volunteers in her home in Northeast on Thanksgiving Day as she prepares to feed the homeless in her Northeast neighborhood. Stewart, who has held the annual Thanksgiving Day feeding program for 45 years, said this year may be her last. Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

The stalwart for the District’s poor hosted her 45th annual Thanksgiving dinner in Northeast to ensure that those who would not otherwise enjoy a turkey dinner feasted on a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings.

About 20 volunteers showed up at the House of Imagene, a shelter for battered women at 6th Street and Florida Avenue, early Thu., Nov. 26; to help bake turkeys, carve hams, set up tables and to ensure that the music jibed with the community members who turned out in droves to participate in the Thanksgiving Day festivities.

“We are all just regular people coming to help out,” Stewart said. “You better be nice because you don’t know when your day is coming.”

Stewart, 67, a self described “Georgia Peach” known for her warm heart and charismatic personality grew up in Dublin, Ga., but moved to the District in the 1960s. Early on she was a victim of domestic violence and understands the consequences of life on the street for women and their children. Today, she’s a staple in the District’s social services community.

Since 1972, Stewart has run the House of Imagene, Shelter and Women’s Center. Each year the soft-spoken minister hosts annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinners for the District’s less fortunate. Stewart has received numerous awards for her humanitarian efforts and has been acknowledged by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Wayne Ireland, Stewart’s son, a 51- year -old builder who lives in Northeast, said that he has helped his mother to organize the Thanksgiving Day dinners for the past 15 years. Ireland said that he and his mother worked all night to prepare for this year’s celebration.

“We have been cooking for what seems like forever,” he said.

Ireland has fond memories of past Thanksgiving dinners.

“People always come with big smiles on their faces. You are always smiling when your stomach is full,” Ireland said.

Harvey Hall, a 61-year-old friend of Stewart, has shown up to volunteer for the past 12 years. This year was no exception. It’s one of his traditions.

“I love it around here. There’s good music, good food and good people,” he said.

Hall said that in the past, Stewart has served Thanksgiving dinner to more than 200, this year, due to the economic downturn; he was certain that other charities also pitched in and served dinners to the less fortunate.

The Northeast resident said folks are experiencing difficulty trying to make ends meet nowadays.

“It is hard times. The older you get the harder it is. It doesn’t matter what kind of trade you’re in.”

Hall, Stewart and other guests danced much of the morning away; they listened to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown and Chicago crooner Tyrone Davis compliments of Lucius McInnis, a local disc jockey from Maryland.

“This is my way of contributing,” said McInnis. McInnis said that he brings [Tyrone] Davis’s music every year because its Stewart’s favorite.

Volunteer Thandi Myeni, a 33-year old ophthalmologist who hails from Swaziland, Africa but who now lives in the District came out with her girlfriend to lend a hand.

“I think it is great when individuals take it upon themselves to make a difference. We have an obligation to help the less fortunate,” she said.

Although much of Thursday’s Thanksgiving celebration was positive and upbeat, Stewart expressed her concern for society’s lack of interest in social causes.

Stewart said people like herself are a dying breed. “The youth just are not interested.”

“The atmosphere has changed,” she said. “People think they have arrived -- everyone wants to go to Harvard University, but people who go to Harvard also get sick and die. Many people who thought they were doing ok are now coming over here to eat. There is no such thing as doing all right. You never know what tomorrow may bring,” Stewart said.

Donaye Fleming, a 16- year -old student who attends Suitland High School in Forestville, Md., served plates to guests during the event.

She agrees with Stewart about the indifference of youth.

“I don’t think people my age appreciate things like this. People should try it. It will change the way you think,” Donaye said.

Stewart who recently suffered a stroke said that she isn’t sure how long she can continue her annual dinner.

“This may be one of the last years,” she said.

For further information on volunteer opportunities or to make a donation to Bishop Stewart’s ministries, visit

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Demaryius “Bay Bay” Thomas, former star West Laurens star was named to the 2009 All-ACC First Team.   Thomas, an NFL prospect in the 2010 draft, was named to the NCAA Division I, All American third team.  Thomas so far this season has accumulated 1,077 yards season, 4th most in Georgia Tech history, on 44 receptions. His 24.5 yds. per reception leads the ACC and the nation (more than 30 receptions). In his career, Thomas has average 19.169 yards per reception (118/2262).

The junior receiver is 2nd in Tech history for a single game reception total with 230 in 2008.

Thomas is poised to become the all time Georgia Tech leader in yards per reception per game in a single season and a career as well as setting the record for most yards receiving in a career and a season with one final bowl game to be played.