Sunday, March 31, 2019

Stacey Abrams honored at Stone Mountain church

Stacey Abrams was honored with a Trailblazer Award at the Antioch African Methodist Episcopal Church in Stone Mountain on Sunday morning, as the church recognized women of DeKalb County during National Women's History Month.

Others honored with "Women On The Move Awards" included DeKalb NAACP President Teresa Hardy, On Common Ground News publisher Valerie Morgan and DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Pedestrians targeted in Memorial Dr. safety crackdown

Authorities in DeKalb County have begun an effort to caution pedestrians crossing major thoroughfares who aren't using crosswalks or are distracted by their electronic devices. WSB-TV reports DeKalb Police were on Memorial Drive on Friday evening, giving warnings about the risks to pedestrians.

The crackdown by police is in partnership with DeKalb County Board of Health, which received a $30,000 grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety last year for a "Live Safe DeKalb" program. The state office says that about one-third of the of the 196 deaths related to motor vehicle crashes from 2014 to 2016 in DeKalb County involved pedestrians.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dunwoody businesses complain of unfair property assessment hikes

DeKalb County officials say most of DeKalb County has not seen the sharp rise in commercial property assessments that has led to complaints by Republican leaders that Dunwoody businesses are being unfairly targeted for increases, according to the Reporter Newspapers.

"At no time did we unfairly target Dunwoody," the article quotes DeKalb County Board of Assessors chairman Robert Burroughs as saying. "We used the same standards across the county."

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

DeKalb BOC rejects slaughterhouse zoning application

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday evening unanimously rejected an application to permit an abattoir behind a single-family home located on a 5 1/2-acre lot at 1676 Rice Rd., in Lithonia. The zoning application sought a rezoning from R-100 (Residential Medium Lot) District to RE (Residential Estate) [large lots] for the property just north of S. Deshon Rd.

The vote against was 6-0-0. (Commissioner Nancy Jester did not attend the zoning meeting.)

Decision on Porter Road mixed-use development delayed one month

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday delayed action for one month on an application to rezone 11 acres of property at the corner of Porter Road and Covington Hwy. from R-75 to MU-1 (Mixed Use Low Density) for 60 townhomes and unspecified retail. The applicant has changed the proposal several times and presented a January 18 site plan.

At the BOC zoning meeting, a spokeswoman for the applicant said retailers including Panera Bread and Cold Stone Creamery have expressed interest in the retail space. However, Derik Rinehart, in opposition, said he had spoken to the woman who would be the first point of contact at Cold Stone Creamery and she said she had never heard of the proposed development.

DeKalb County approves elections board audit

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved an audit of the DeKalb County Voter Registration & Elections Department after hearing complaints from voters about the way last fall's elections were handled.

A resolution approved by commissioners in a 7-0-0 vote calls for the Office of Independent Internal Audit to coordinate and manage an external operational overview of the elections office that includes a fiscal and performance audit.

John Greene, Chief Audit Executive for DeKalb County, told commissioners that it would take a couple of months to determine the "scope, objectives and methodology" for the audit.

"It will become a high priority in our work plan," he said. He estimated that it would take "six months or less" for the audit to be completed.

Stone Mountain man arrested for robberies in two states

A 21-year-old from Stone Mountain is one of two men arrested in Mississippi for a series of robberies of fast-food restaurants in Mississippi and Alabama. WLBT-TV reports that Sharae Threadgill of Stone Mountain and Jaylen Benton, 18, of Ellerslie, Ga., were arrested near Vicksburg after a police chase. Brandon police say the two are also wanted for a murder in Georgia.

Coastal vote against new city may turn the tide

Voter rejection of a proposed city of Skidaway Island near Savannah last week may put a damper on legislative approval of new cities, writes Charlie Harper, the Marietta-based publisher of and executive director of PolicyBEST, which focuses on policy issues of business climate, education, science and medicine, and transportation.

Skidaway Island, a 6,300-acre island surrounded by tidal marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway, is in unincorporated Chatham County. About 63 percent of voters opposed the proposed new city. Of the island's more than 8,000 voters, 73 percent cast ballots.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Georgia gets failing grade for lead in school drinking water

Georgia is among 22 states that have earned a failing grade for their efforts to eliminate lead from drinking water in schools, according to an analysis by the Environment America Research & Policy Center and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

The "Get The Lead Out" report said Georgia had no policies related to lead in schools' drinking water. "Outlets at 25 of 60 Atlanta schools tested found lead in water above 15 ppb," it said, citing a 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution story.

Stone Mountain college student's beach litter pick-up goes viral

A college student from Stone Mountain has been thanked by Miami Beach Police for picking up litter on a busy beach. His efforts have gained widespread recognition in social media.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Commercial zoning sought for residential lots on Deshon Rd. north of Rockbridge

A zoning application has been filed to rezone three wooded residential lots located about 1,000 feet north of the intersection of Rockbridge Rd. and Deshon Rd., where Deshon Plaza is located. The application asks for the zoning at 425, 433 and 441 N Deshon Rd. to be changed from R-100 (residential) to NS (Neighborhood Shopping) for unspecified "commercial uses."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

DeKalb County is 16th healthiest in Georgia: report

DeKalb County ranks 16th in the state for health outcomes, according to the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Forsyth County nabbed the top spot as the healthiest county in the state.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Report: ARC official gets bonus after audit scuppers his spending

The Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission official has received a bonus, the year after his profligate spending led the state to cut the agency's budget, according to a joint investigation by WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Lithonia elected officials seek to vote themselves 40-percent pay hikes

City officials in Lithonia have scheduled a April 15 public hearing and vote on giving themselves an approximately 40 percent pay increase. The city of 2,000 residents has a mayor (Deborah Jackson) and five council members.

More late-night bars sought in central DeKalb

Two applications have been filed for Special Land Use Permits that would allow late-night establishments on Memorial Dr. and Rockbridge Rd.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

DeKalb legislators object to proposed new voting machines

Legislation that would call for new touchscreen voting machines in Georgia has been sent to Georgia's governor. The Georgia House passed a measure approved one day earlier in the state Senate, the Associated Press reports.

Public invited to DeKalb County SPLOST open-house meetings in April

DeKalb County officials plan three meetings on successive nights during the second week of April to answer citizen questions about the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters last November.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

DeKalb County seeks new emergency ambulance provider

Less than a year after DeKalb County extracted a $596,000 cash payment, new ambulance units for Dunwoody and Stonecrest, and another $1.3 million in service improvements from American Medical Response, the county is now looking for a new emergency ambulance transport provider.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Federal lawsuit over DeKalb election problems

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Atlanta over voter registration delays and problems that occurred in DeKalb County and three other metro Atlanta counties on Election Day last November, the Associated Press reports. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of the group Georgia Shift.

County tax assessor criticized in Dunwoody for business increases

Business owners in Dunwoody are seeing their property tax assessments quadruple unexpectedly because of a change in Georgia law, the chief of staff for DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester has told a homeowners' association. The aide, former Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis, says small business owners are being hard hit.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Development bringing higher costs to Doraville and Chamblee - report

Development is bringing rising rents to Doraville and Chamblee as affordable housing is being destroyed around the Atlanta Beltline and elsewhere, according to a article written by freelance journalist Adina Solomon. One resident says: "We're just all stunned by the sudden rise in housing prices, both cost of people's houses but then the impact of that on rent."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

PRISM meeting postponed until April

Dear PRISM friends:

We had scheduled our next PRISM meeting for Thursday, March 7, at St. Timothy United Methodist Church.

However, the guests we had invited to speak at the meeting have suddenly become unavailable.

As a result, we are postponing our next PRISM meeting until April. We will let you know when we have a firm date.

We apologize for the inconvenience and for this short notice.