Friday, November 22, 2019

Forgery claim in county small-business contract: report

WSB-TV reports there are questions about a DeKalb County program intended to help hundreds of companies owned by women and minorities.

A small business owner says her signature was forged on a contract where her business's name was used, the TV station says. She's complained to Decatur Police.

"They used us to get the bid and after they awarded the bid they feel like we do not need you anymore," the woman told reporter Richard Belcher.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

DeKalb CEO urges new five-year ambulance contract with AMR

Despite persistent complaints about ambulance response times, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond on Tuesday urged county commissioners to agree to a new five-year contract with American Medical Response.

Thurmond said a review of the county's emergency medical response system found fault with the contract that AMR obtained in 2013. That contract was scheduled to expire in 2018 but was renewed on a short-term basis in 2019.

Earlier this year, the county began relying on the county's medically trained fire and rescue personnel to supplement AMR to ensure that personnel and equipment arrive on scene as quickly as possible. Fourteen percent of DeKalb County firefighters are licensed paramedics, the county says.

In a lengthy presentation to commissioners at their regular meeting, Thurmond said that AMR was the highest scoring provider in an eight-month review that included representatives from the DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department, E-911, the DeKalb Medical Examiner’s Office and the CEO’s office.

"The emergency ambulance service provider recommendation is the product of public feedback, detailed evaluation, numerous meetings and discussions," Thurmond said in a statement.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Legislators propose task force study of DeKalb Ethics Board

State legislators from DeKalb County plan to appoint a task force to suggest a solution for ethics reform in the county after the defeat of a ballot referendum to change the county's Board of Ethics.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) says the goal of the task force "will be to gather information and provide recommendations on legislation to be introduced in the 2020 Legislative Session."

"It is clear the DeKalb County delegation still has work to do to produce a reasonable solution to ethics reform in our county,” Jones says in a press release. “Doing nothing is not an option, as the Georgia Supreme Court has already ruled that changes to the DeKalb Board of Ethics must take place."

Stone Mountain 2020 budget suggests "taxation by citation"

The City of Stone Mountain is proposing a $4.62 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year, an eight percent increase from the previous year. The budget would be funded by $3.17 million in revenues from taxes, a slight drop from the previous year. Meanwhile, money collected from fines and forfeitures would increase eight percent from the 2019 fiscal year.

Under the city's proposed FY 2020 budget, fines and forfeitures would represent the second largest proportion of the city's revenue -- $840,974, or 18.2 percent, a level that the Institute for Justice, based in Arlington, Va., says "suggests the cities' fines and fees behavior goes beyond what is necessary to advance public safety -- and thus qualifies as taxation by citation."

Friday, November 15, 2019

Stone Mountain city parks committee meets Monday

The City of Stone Mountain's Parks & Recreation Committee will hold a special-called meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The recently formed committee is scheduled to discuss its pending review of the city's parks and the Rock Gym. It will also hear an update on the use of SPLOST funds.

There are four parks in the City of Stone Mountain: Leila Mason Park, McCurdy Park, Medlock Park and V.F.W Park.

Gun taken from student at Stone Mountain High School

DeKalb County School Police say an officer tackled a student in a classroom at Stone Mountain High School on Thursday and found a gun, WSB-TV reports.

Higher security was noted at the school on Friday, the day after the incident occurred.

School officials said a parent called the school to report a student was carrying a gun. The student was tackled by police officers and the loaded gun stuff in his pants was taken from him, witnesses said.

Wording approved for historical marker on local lynchings

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved language for a historical marker at the DeKalb County Courthouse in downtown Decatur.

Language for the planned Equal Justice Initiative Historical Marker, approved by a vote of 7-0-0, had been submitted by the DeKalb County NAACP branch. The language mentions three lynchings in DeKalb County -- in 1887, 1892 and 1945. "Thousands of black people were the victims of racial terror lynching in the United States between 1877 and 1950," it will read.

"This is part of us acknowledging some past hurt, some truths that happened. And we want to make sure that's part of our memorialization and memory of the victims who were lynched. That we make sure we apologize and say that we're sorry for such a horrendous act," Commissioner Larry Johnson said.

Georgia DOT reschedules I-285/I-20 East open houses

The Georgia Department of Transportation has rescheduled two informal meetings to educate the public about proposed improvements to the interchange serving Interstate 285 and Interstate 20 East.

The open house public-information meetings are now scheduled for Nov. 19 for the Omega World Center on Snapfinger Parkway and Nov. 21 at the Lou Walker Senior Center have been postponed to allow time for further studies that are underway, DOT says. Both meetings are scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m.

"There will be no formal presentations," the department says. "A court reporter will be available to allow the public an opportunity to make verbal comments about the project."

The meetings were originally scheduled for September.
The project is one of the initial 11 large-scale Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP) projects to improve transportation in Georgia's metro areas.

Written comments about the proposal will be accepted until Dec. 9. They should be sent to:
Eric Duff
State Environmental Administrator
Georgia Department of Transportation
600 W Peachtree St NW
16th Floor
Atlanta GA 30308

Final Memorial Drive economic plan to be presented Saturday

Five months after it began, the DeKalb County Department of Planning & Sustainability has, with little advance notice, announced the last of four public meetings for its Memorial Drive economic planning study.

The final "Memorial Drive Revitalization Corridor Plan" will be revealed in 30-minute presentations at noon and 2 p.m on Saturday, Nov. 16. The department has scheduled the meeting for the DeKalb Conference Center at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 N. Indian Creek Dr., Clarkston.

Notice of the meeting was emailed to the public by the department on Thursday, Nov. 14, less than 48 hours before the meeting is scheduled.

There is a web site for the $175,000 study, being done by Pond & Company, but other than a mark-up map for public comments that was unveiled over the summer, it offers no information about the study's findings. It does not reflect any of the information that was gathered at meetings that began in June, nor does it explain the decision-making process that has gone into the final plan.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hearing set on Pine Lake city budget

Pine Lake has scheduled a public hearing on its FY 2020 budget for Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m.

The city says budget proposal will be posted on its web site on Monday, Nov. 18, and will also be available at City Hall during normal business hours.

Last year, Pine Lake proposed a $1 million budget.

Transportation, crime are biggest problems, ARC DeKalb County survey finds

Transportation is the biggest problem in the metro Atlanta area, according to a survey of DeKalb County residents conducted for the Atlanta Regional Commission.
More than 23 percent of those in DeKalb County identified transportation as the region's biggest problem. That was lower than the overall figure of 28 percent for the 13-county metro Atlanta region, where transportation was also identified as the biggest problem.

Crime ran a close second in DeKalb County, with almost 20 percent of the county's residents calling crime the area's biggest problem. Human services ranked third, while taxes and public education tied for fourth place in DeKalb County.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

DeKalb County sheriff to resign: media reports

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann is set to announce on Thursday that he is resigning later this month, after more than five years in the position, according to multiple media reports.
Mann pleaded guilty to obstruction and prohibited conduct two years ago after it was alleged that he exposed himself at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. He admitted that he ran from a police officer before he was arrested.

Doraville school one of Georgia's Places in Peril

A DeKalb County school is on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's 2020 list of 10 Places in Peril in Georgia. It is the only DeKalb County site on the group's annual list.
The Cary Reynolds Elementary School, located at 3498 Pine Street in Doraville, was designed by the late architect-developer John Portman, the trust says. Originally named the Sequoyah Elementary School, the school was built in 1961.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Smith reappointed to Stone Mountain Memorial Authority

Attorney Ray Smith III has been reappointed to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association by Governor Brian Kemp. The apppintment was announced on Nov. 4.
Smith is the chairman of the association, according to its web site. Association member Carolyn Meadows was organization's chairman when the association met in September. Meadows was elected the president of the National Rifle Association earlier this year. She is also a vice chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Smith was vice chairman at when the SMMA met in September. At that meeting, the SMMA voted to bar shareable dockable devices from the park.

Tyson is interim DeKalb school superintendent -- again

The DeKalb County Board of Education has dismissed Superintendent R. Stephen Green after 4 1/2 years in the position.

Green, who had announced in May that he planned to resign after his contract ended on June 30, 2020, was dismissed by the board at its Nov. 11 meeting, according to the Reporter Newspapers.

Ramona Tyson, who has been with the school district for more than three decades, will serve as interim superintendent until the end of the school year. She held the same position in 2010 and 2011.

Police officials at next PRISM meeting

The next PRISM meeting will focus on crime. Guests will be:

-Police Chief Mirtha Ramos, who took office November 1st
-Asst. Police Chief Greg Padrick of DeKalb’s Uniform Division
-Major Craig Medlin, Commander of Tucker Precinct (east-central DeKalb}

The PRISM meeting will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. this Tuesday,
November 12, at St. Timothy United Methodist Church, 5365
Memorial Dr., Stone Mountain.

Pine Lake seeks grant for Rockbridge Rd. agricultural project

The City of Pine Lake is applying for a $10,000 grant for an urban agriculture project on Rockbridge Rd.

The orchard project may get assistance from the Atlanta Regional Commission and the non-profit Food Well Alliance if the city receives the grant, Mayor Melanie Hammet said at an Oct. 29 Pine Lake City Council meeting.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Next step awaited on county ethics board

A group that successfully urged DeKalb County voters to reject a proposed revamp of the county's ethics board says it will soon announce its next step.

The DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council urged people to vote against the measure that was on the Nov. 5 ballot, saying it would have gutted the board's independence. "The Ethics Board would be under the control of the same politicians whose conduct is subject to oversight by the ethics board," the group said.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Two Stone Mountain city council members voted out of office

Two of three incumbents on the Stone Mountain City Council were defeated in a Nov. 5 municipal election.

Gina Stroud Cox, a special education teacher, and Clint Monroe, a financial analyst, ousted incumbents and were elected to the council. Chakira Johnson, a civil engineer who was first elected to the council in 2007, was elected to another four-year term.

In unofficial but complete results from the county election office:

Friday, November 1, 2019

Closed Kroger will not become new charter school

Contrary to a report last year in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a new DeKalb County charter school will not be moving into the former Kroger grocery store on Memorial Dr. at Hairston Rd. The site of the grocery store remains vacant.

Instead, the Community Academy for Architecture and Design says it will be located in the Village Square shopping center at Memorial Drive and Hambrick Rd.

The school had announced plans to open on Memorial Dr. in the fall of 2019. It now says it will open in the fall of 2020.