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Free Press 9-14-12

Free Press 9-14-12

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Published by: hudgons on Sep 14, 2012
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SEPT. 14
, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 25 FREE
Constitution Lakes, a 200-acre wetlands and nature preserve in south DeKalb County, is a popular place for birdwatching and hiking. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See Wetlands on Page 15A
South DeKalbboasts beautifulwetlands preservein unlikely place
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
ust off Moreland Avenue in southDeKalb County sits a 200-acrenature preserve that East Atlantaresident
Joy Carter
calls a “hid-den gem.”Constitution Lakes Nature Preserve,located off South River Industrial Bou-levard, is nestled among truck yardsand old factories; it was purchased byDeKalb County in 2003.“My understanding is that the countyhad money through a bond referendum to buy green space,” Carter said.Carter, who is on the board of the At-lanta Audubon Society, found out aboutthe preserve in 2006 while attending a bird-watching class taught by one of her neighbors. Carter lives in the Orme-wood Park area of East Atlanta and saidshe was amazed to find such a beautiful place with so much wildlife right downthe street from her.Over the years, the county has built a boardwalk, nature trail and parking lot, but most of the maintenance is done bya small group who frequent the park, in-cluding Carter and carpenter 
Joel Slaton
.Slaton, whom Carter calls the hon-orary historian of Constitution Lakes,said the area was once owned by a brick company, which used the soft red clayto make bricks. In 1908, the South River Brick Company moved away and thearea sat vacant for years. Slaton said thelake and its surrounding marshlands weremost likely made when the company wasdigging for clay.“It’s just natural mud pits,” Slatonsaid. Carter also thinks that the com- pany may have struck some undergroundstreams in the process as well.
Urban sanctuar
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 Page 2A
Local News
Three men soughtfor Decatur killing
Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper
DCSD superintendentforms team to respondto accrediting agency 
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comDeKalb County SchoolDistrict Superintendent
Cheryl Atkinson
has ap- pointed a special reviewteam to prepare a responseto the letter sent by accredit-ing agency AdvancED to thedistrict on Aug. 28.AdvancED’s letter statedthe agency had receivednumerous complaints aboutthe management of theschool district, ranging frommismanaging the budget
for the past ve years to
the DeKalb County School
Board’s inuence on the hir 
-ing process and day-to-dayoperations of the district.The district was given 30days to respond to the letter and Atkinson recommendedseveral actions at a Sept.5 special called meeting.Atkinson proposed to forma special team consisting of the school board chairman,vice chairman, superinten-dent, legal representatives,senior staff and communica-tions personnel to reviewthe letter from AdvancED.The team will then preparerecommendations to addressthe concerns outlined in theletter and submit the draft to board members for reviewand comment before send-
ing a nal response to the
accrediting agency.“You’ll notice we did not put a timeline, as we’ll tryto move as expediently aswe can through this process but did not want to give anexact date, knowing that wehave to work with several people’s schedules,” At-kinson said. “Certainly wewant to complete this wellin advance of the noticegiven.”Board member 
suggested the boarddiscuss the items in theresponse at an open meet-ing before submitting toAdvancED. However, some board members didn’t agree.“I don’t think [Ad-vancED] wants this in thenewspaper before it goes tothem,” board member 
said. The boardlater decided to discuss thedraft of the letter in a closedexecutive session, as theywere advised to do by their legal team.“The goal is to be astransparent and open as possible and to ensure thatwhatever comments you asa board member make, theywill be shared with all of the board members in someform or fashion,” boardchair 
Eugene Walker
said.President of AdvancED
Mark Elgart
, who pennedthe letter, said it was in re-sponse to a wide range of complaints from many dif-ferent stakeholders through-out the community.“It was from a broad baseof the community—from parents, taxpayers and staff,
to public ofcials,” Elgart
said.Currently, the DeKalbCounty School District hasan “on advisement” sta-tus with the Southern As-sociation of Colleges andSchools, the accrediting armof AdvancED. Elgart saidthe district’s status meansthe accreditation agency hasgiven the district a list of concerns to address. SinceDCSD’s last assessment El-gart said the district hasn’tmade adequate progress onaddressing those concerns.However, Walker said the board believes it has ad-dressed all of the issues.“We welcome any in-quiry by SACS, any at all[looking] into what we aredoing,” Walker said. “Butwe just had a full review back in March and we werereaccredited on “on advise-ment” and none of thesethings were brought forth.”Elgart said once theagency receives the dis-trict’s response, AdvancEDwill determine whether thedistrict is in violation of anyaccreditation standards or  policies and a special reviewteam may be appointed tovisit the school system.Elgart said DCSD isn’t indanger of losing its accredi-tation at the moment.“There is a potential thatcould change depending onthe outcome of that investi-gation,” Elgart said. by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comA man was killed Sept. 2while standing on the balconyof a Walden Pond apartment inDeKalb County.
, 34, of De-catur, was shot at approximately7:30 p.m. at the apartment com- plex located at 2826 Shellbark Drive, according to reports fromthe DeKalb County Police De- partment and DeKalb Sheriff’s
Ofce.An AK-47 assault rie was
 possibly used in the shooting,said Sgt.
, spokes-man for the DeKalb Sheriff’s
When DeKalb police re-sponded to the scene, the victimwas “lying outside the apart-ment suffering from a shot,” saidDeKalb Police spokeswoman
.Parish said witnesses reportedthat the victim was standing on a porch when they heard multiple
shots and then saw people ee
-ing the scene.Three men are being soughtin connection with the shooting:
Craig Tellis
.All three men have arrest re-cords, Bell said.Tellis, 22, has been arrestedfor theft by receiving stolen property, giving a false name to police and probation violation;George, 19, of Decatur, has hadcharges of marijuana posses-sion and violation of parole; andFennell, 21, has had a charge of driving while license suspendedor revoked.The shooting victim also hadseveral run-ins with law enforce-ment dating back to 1997 for  possession of cocaine with theintent to distribute, cruelty tochildren, battery, simple assaultand disorderly conduct.On Sept. 5, DeKalb Countysheriff’s deputies and membersof the SWAT team were called toa home off Flat Shoals Parkway.Police were looking for Tellis,whom police believed was bar-ricaded in an attic, Bell said.
Law enforcement ofcers didnot nd the suspect after being at
the location for more than threehours.
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012
Deal appoints commission to facilitate services for Brookhaven
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comGov.
Nathan Deal
appointed a ve-member 
commission in preparationof the establishment of thecity of Brookhaven, whichwas approved by voters inJuly.Under legislation passed by the General Assembly,upon voter-approval of thecity Deal was tasked with
creating a ve-member 
 panel consisting of a chair-man and four others who re-side in each council districtwithin the city.The commission will beresponsible for facilitatingthe provision of communityservices and facilities, col-lection of taxes and fees andthe negotiation of intergov-ernmental agreements in preparation of the new city.
Kim Gökçe
who servesas technical project manager for AT&T, will representDistrict 4 on the commis-sion. Gökçe said the com-mission doesn’t have muchto report at the moment because it’s still in the “for-mative” phases of develop-ment.“As individual commis-sioners we’re all waiting toget together and start thatagenda based on the stat-ute,” Gökçe said. Althoughthe commissioners have yetto meet, Gökçe said their duties are clearly outlined inthe statute that calls for thecommission’s creation.“The commission hasno budget and no decision-making authority as I under-stand it, and we’re preparingthe way for the decision
makers or the elected of
-cials,” Gökçe said.Previously, Gökçeworked as a manager for the Coca-Cola Company, project manager for Bell-South Telecommunicationsand BellSouth BusinessSystems. He has also servedas the founding director for the Brookhaven CommunityConnection and the CrossKeys Foundation.Gökçe said the statuteoutlined several duties for the commission, includinghosting training seminars
for all qualied candidates
as to what their roles will be if they’re chosen to leadBrookhaven in some capac-ity.The commission is alsoresponsible for produc-ing two reports to presentto Brookhaven’s electedleaders–one of possibleservice providers if thecity chooses to outsourceany municipal servicesand another to recom-mend facilities to housethe city staff and police.Additionally, Gökçe saidthe commission is taskedwith identifying candi-
dates to ll appointed city
 positions such as the citymanager, clerk and attor-ney.The rest of the com-mission consists of chair-man
Ben Vinson
, an at-torney at McKenna Long& Aldridge and chairmanof the Georgia Immigra-tion Enforcement ReviewBoard who previouslyserved as majority caucuscounsel in the GeorgiaHouse of Representatives.
J.D. Clockadale
willrepresent District 1 and iscurrently the director of marketing promotions for RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.Clockadale also chairsa private security patrolstaffed by off-duty DeKalb
County Police ofcers and
is a founding member of Brookhaven Yes and Citi-zens for North DeKalb.
Todd E. Lantier
willrepresent District 2 and iscurrently a sales manager for MassMutual FinancialGroup/Capstone FinancialPartners. He is president of the Brookhaven CommunityConnection and a foundingmember of the Ashford Park School Education Founda-tion.
Jed Beardsley
will rep-resent District 3. He is a
shareholder in the law rm
Baker, Donelson, Bearman,Caldwell & Berkowitz, andspecializes in real estate andtax law. He also serves as president of the board of theHistoric Brookhaven Neigh- borhood Association.A special election has been scheduled for Nov. 6to choose a mayor and four city council representatives.Each term lasts until 2015;the last day to register tovote in the election is Oct.18.“This is about your neighbors making decisionsabout your local governmentservices,” Rep.
Mike Ja-cobs
said. Jacobs was a vo-cal proponent in the creationof the city and authored the bill that allowed Brookhav-en to incorporate, which passed through the GeneralAssembly earlier this year.The cityhood referendum passed with 54.66 percentvoting in favor and 45.35 percent against it.
“Fifty-ve percent is a
solid majority,” Jacobs said.“However, it’s also clear that there were [residents]opposed to cityhood andthe time has come to bringtogether the proponents andopponents and build some-thing great.”
A list of all qualied
candidates for the electionis available at the DeKalbCounty Voter Registrationand Elections website atwww.web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/default.html under the “Current Elections” tab.
A street guide dening the
city council districts is alsoavailable on the website.
Proposed Substantial Amendment to the 2008-2012Consolidated Plan, including the 2008 Annual Action PlanFor 
the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 1
The DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department is proposing asubstantial amendment to the 2008-2012 Consolidated Plan, including the 2008 Annual Action Plan. This substantial amendment will amend the budget of NeighborhoodStabilization Program 1 (NSP1) Application submitted to HUD in 2008. In accordancewith the Housing and Economic Recovery Act 2008, the Department of Housing andUrban Development has allocated $18,545,013 in emergency funding for assistancewith the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed properties.The purpose of this amendment is to revise the budget to show the planned use of additional program income and any subsequent changes that may be necessary on theuse of NSP1 funds. The budget categories include acquisition, rehabilitation anddisposition of foreclosed homes; establishment of land banks; demolition of blightedstructures; redevelopment of vacant properties; and, complying with all NeighborhoodStabilization Program 1 (NSP-1) requirements. All citizens are invited to review the Proposed Substantial Amendment to the 2008-2012Consolidated Plan, including the 2008 Annual Action Plan for the NeighborhoodStabilization Program 1 from
September 13, 2012 – September 28, 2012
on theDeKalb County website, http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us/commdev/publicNotices.html, andat the location identified below.
DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department150 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330, Decatur, Georgia 30030Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Comment forms may be obtained and completed at the above listed location. Commentsmay also be faxed or emailed to the Human and Community Development Department
Fax: (404) 286-3337Email: amitchell@dekalbcountyga.gov
Help complete your child’s future by encouraging them to geta college degree. Call the Hispanic Scholarship Fund today at
1-877-HSF-INFO or visit
 to learn more.
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