Thursday, February 2, 2023

Two DeKalb County cities get federal roadway safety grants

Decatur and Doraville have received a total of $400,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve roadway safety and lower traffic-related fatalities, the agency said Wednesday. 

A total of 20 such grants were awarded in Georgia totalling $6.53 million. About $800 million was awarded nationally.

Decatur and Doraville each received $200,000 "Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Action Plan" grant awards in the first round of funding.

DeKalb County did not receive a grant, though nearby counties are set to receive first-round funds. Gwinnett County was awarded $200,000, Fayette County was given $312,000, and Rockdale County was awarded a $240,000 grant. 

Roswell and Sandy Springs, both in Fulton County, received a total of $560,000.

The City of Atlanta received almost $30 million in an "All Implementation Grant."

"Action Plan Grants assist communities that do not currently have a roadway safety plan in place to reduce roadway fatalities, laying the groundwork for a comprehensive set of actions," the department said. "The awards also provide funding to communities that want to build upon an existing roadway safety plan."

The funds come from President Biden's 2021 infrastructure plan, which "provides $5 billion over five years for regional, local, and Tribal initiatives -- from redesigned roads to better sidewalks and crosswalks -- to prevent deaths and serious injuries on the nation's roadways."

Another $1.1 billion in awards are expected to be released in April.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Stone Mountain book illustrator recognized by Sibert Medal committee

A book illustrated by a Stone Mountain author has been recognized by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

"Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott," written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie of Stone Mountain, was one of four Honor Books selected by the 2023 Robert F. Sibert Medal committee, which recognizes informational books for children.

Christie is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and lecturer and was the artist for the United Postal Service's Kwanzaa stamp in 2013. 

The announcement came during the ALA's "LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience" held in New Orleans, La. The ALSC is the world's largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.

DeKalb prosecutor, CDC specialist to be honored as Georgia State alumni under 40

A DeKalb County prosecutor and a Centers for Disease Control & Prevention employee will be honored in March as "remarkable" alumni of Georgia State University.

The GSU Alumni Association has included Tyshawn Jackson (B.B.A. '05), a senior assistant district attorney in the Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney, as part of its 2023 class of remarkable alumni under the age of 40.

Also on the list is Arezoo Risman (MBA '15), a data modernization program coordinator who has worked at the CDC for more than a decade. Risman was previously recognized as one of the University of Georgia's 40 Under 40 Class of 2019.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Millions of gallons in DeKalb County sewage spills in January

"Major spill" notices by DeKalb County Watershed Management indicate that millions of gallons of sewage went into rivers and creeks during the first half of January.

The department blamed the spills on January 3 and 4 on "rainwater." About 2 1/2 inches of rain fell at the Atlanta airport on those two days. A total of 8.48 inches of rain fell at Peachtree-DeKalb airport in January, almost twice the normal amount of 4.57 inches. 

Here is a list of "major spills" reported by DeKalb County during the first half of January:

Monday, January 30, 2023

Darnell Fullum, DeKalb County's Fire Chief since 2014, has Pennsylvania roots

DeKalb County Fire Chief Darnell Fullum dreamed of being a fireman while he was growing up in Beaver Falls, Pa., according to a profile in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Fullum was appointed Dekalb County's fire chief by CEO Lee May in 2014 after 26 years with Fulton County's fire department. He replaced Eddie O'Brien, who had been with DeKalb County's first department for 25 years.

In his DeKalb County office, Fullum has a photo of a Beaver Falls fire station he walked past every day as a child. He says it helps "keep me humble in my quest to be the best I can be in my emergency management role."

Jackson named chair of DeKalb County Senate Legislative Delegation

State Sen. Kim Jackson (D-Stone Mountain) has been elected chair of the Dekalb County Senate Legislative Delegation for the 2023-2024 General Assembly.

"The citizens of Dekalb County share several concerns such as access to resources, cost of living, education and many more," Jackson says in a statement.

Jackson represents the 41st Senate District which includes portions of DeKalb and a small portion of Gwinnett County

Stone Mountain youth wins national classical string musician competition in Detroit

A Stone Mountain high school student has won the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization's national competition for young Black and Latinx classical string players.

Brandon Leonard, the 17-year-old winner of the 25th annual Sphinx Competition, has been playing the cello for eight years. Recognized as an All-State Principal Cellist, Leonard has also worked with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Mitchell sponsors bill to have Georgia driver's license include blood type

State Representative Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) has introduced a bill in the General Assembly (HB 13) that would allow Georgia driver's licenses to include a space to indicate the driver's blood type.

The proposal amends the current law governing driver's licenses to add this provision:

"Each license shall include a space for indicating the licensee's blood type, the completion of which shall be optional and shall be marked as optional. The state, the department, and officers and employees of the department shall be immune from liability for any injury resulting from an error in the blood type indicated on a driver's license."

Saturday, January 28, 2023

NAACP Black History Month event to discuss Georgia "divisive concepts" education law

"Our History Is Under Attack" will be the theme of a Black History Month Program from the NAACP's DeKalb County branch next month.

The event, free to the public, will be held at Rainbow Park Baptist Church, 2941 Columbia Dr. in Decatur at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 4.

A panel of legislators, educators, administrators, parents and students will discuss a Georgia law passed last year that seeks to prevent "divisive concepts and ideologies from invading the classroom" by barring any discussions that "the United States of America is fundamentally racist," "any other form of race scapegoating or race stereotyping," or "espousing personal political beliefs."

"They are trying to restrict teaching of Black History to our children," the DeKalb NAACP says. "Come and find out what you need to know to save our history."

All are invited to attend, online registration through Eventbrite is required.

Pay raises ahead for DeKalb County elected officials?

A legal notice has been filed suggesting that legislation will be introduced in the Georgia General Assembly this year to change the "compensation of certain county officers and officials of DeKalb County."

The notice, placed in the county's legal organ, does not indicate who will be sponsoring the legislation nor what the pay changes might be.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Name change for longtime Methodist church on Memorial Drive

St. Timothy United Methodist Church, 5365 Memorial Dr., has changed its business name to STAR Community United Methodist Church.

St. Timothy recently merged with Allgood Rd. United Methodist Church, 640 Allgood Rd. The combined congregations have been using the name The Church United Methodist Church and meeting at St. Timothy's Memorial Dr. building. 

The combined church updated its non-profit corporate registration with the Georgia Secretary of State's office earlier this month, changing its name from St. Timothy United Methodist Church Inc. to STAR Community United Methodist Church, Inc.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

DeKalb County rejects plan to put homes in woods near Hairston and Rockbridge Roads

A proposal to build 124 single-family homes on 40 acres of woods northeast of the intersection of Hairston Rd. and Rockbridge Rd. was rejected by DeKalb County commissioners on Thursday. 

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners voted 7-0-0 against the application after hearing opposition from residents of the Hickory Hills and Kenilworth subdivisions. County planners had recommended approval of the proposal with conditions. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

DeKalb County CEO says "terrorists" oppose Atlanta training center

Violent protestors at the site of Atlanta's proposed 85-acre public safety training center in DeKalb County are "terrorists," DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said Monday.

Thurmond, who receives 24/7 police protection, contends the $90 million center in southeast Atlanta will provide "recreation" and should create jobs for "young men, particularly young black men in that community so that they can pursue honest labor."

DeKalb County's government is "pro training center," Thurmond said on the GPB Radio program "Political Rewind." "If we get a safer Atlanta, we get a safer DeKalb County." 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Phone call from L.A.? Political robocalls from DeKalb County's CEO and top prosecutor.

DeKalb County residents have been receiving political robocalls from DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, with the Caller ID showing a telephone number with the 323- area code, which is the Los Angeles area. The calls promote a Democratic Party June 21 runoff candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Feds order DeKalb County to pay damages, adopt anti-discrimination policies and training

DeKalb County must adopt new anti-discrimination policies and training and pay $190,000 in damages and lost wages to a former employee to settle a federal lawsuit alleging county officials retaliated against a woman who complained of sexual harassment, government prosecutors said Friday. 

Federal prosecutors filed the lawsuit earlier this year, alleging that DeKalb County retaliated against Cemetra Brooks, who said she was the subject of unwelcome sexual advances, comment and conduct by the deputy director of the county's Facilities Management Department. 

A month after she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the county, the deputy director's supervisor, the director of Facilities Management, asked the county's human resources office for information that would help him to fire Brooks during her initial six-month probation, federal prosecutors said.