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Free Press 6-24-11

Free Press 6-24-11

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Published by hudgons
A weekly community newspaper of DeKalb County, GA. Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
A weekly community newspaper of DeKalb County, GA. Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.

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Published by: hudgons on Jun 24, 2011
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02/14/2013

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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2011 • VOL. 14, NO. 13 FREE
RE
RESS 
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
The Champion staff members, from left, Kathy Mitchell, Dan-iel Beauregard, Gale Horton Gay, Robert Naddra and AndrewCauthen. Photo by John Hewitt
The Champion Newspaper 
earned rst place ingeneral excellence for the third consecutive year at theGeorgia Press Association Better Newspaper Banqueton June 10 on Jekyll Island. It was the fourth time inve years the newspaper has won thegeneral excellence award.The paper won rst place in sixcategories and took home a total of 22 awards, including 13 for second place.
Travis Hudgons
won rst placefor sports feature photograph, sports photograph and photo illustration.
Robert Naddra
earned rst placefor sports writing and headline writ-ing.The paper earned second place in the followingcategories: photo gallery on a newspaper website; web photo; business coverage; feature writing; hard newswriting; layout and design; news photograph; photoessay; religion coverage; serious column; sports sec-tion; editorial writing and editorial cartoonist.Third-place awards for 
The Champion
were for lifestyle coverage, feature writing and photo essay.
Newspaper wins top awardfor third straight year
Hudgons
 by Elizabeth Wilson
B
ob
 
Scofield
had thoughtabout this call for more than50 years, and when it came, itmade him cry.“My name is
Kathy Chris-tensen
,” the voice said, “I was bornSept. 16, 1949, in Fresno, Calif.And I believe I’m your daughter.”She was. Ten years ago, Atlantaand DeKlab County resident KathyChristensen set out to discover her  birth parents. What could have beena very difcult and unhappy situa-tion turned into a very happy end-ing—or rather, a musical beginning.Christensen had found her way back to her birth father. Scoeld andhis wife
Martye
welcomed Chris-tensen into their family, and Chris-tensen, whose adoptive father diedwhen she was 4 years old, againknew a father’s love. They alsofound themselves sharing a loveof music. Throughout their adultslives, each of them had been pursu-ing music in their off hours–she as asinger, he on trumpet. Now, 10 years after that rstmeeting, Christensen and Scoeldhave combined their talents—her voice and his horn—along withsome exceptionally talented musi-cians on keyboard and drums, to produce a collection of jazz stan-dards titled
 Past &
 
 Presen
t. TheCD compilation of 10 classic jazzvocals, ranging from
When I Fall in Love
and
The Very Thought of You
to
 Deed I Do
and
 I’ll String  Along with You
, is available onlineat http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kathy- bob.
The story
“I always wondered where my‘musical genes’ came from,” Chris-tensen said. “It turns out they camefrom my birth father, before him mygrandfather and uncles.”Born to teenage parents, Chris-tensen was adopted within a few
Daughter and father celebrate reunion with music
DeKalb resident Kathy Christensen and her father Bob Scofield. Photo provided
See Music on Page 14A
st PlaceGeneral Excellence Award Winner 
Georgia Press Association‘Better Newspaper Contest’, ,   
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
 
The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 24, 2011 Page 2A
Local News
The DeKalb County Board of Education does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be held at theDeKalb County School District Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard,Stone Mountain, Georgia on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 6:00 p.m., and pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. 48-5-32, doeshereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy, along with the history of the tax digest and levyfor the past five years.PROPOSEDM & O DIGEST200620072008200920102011
REAL & PERSONAL 22,043,418,123 22,733,547,716 23,682,799,490 22,743,672,353 22,184,019,392 19,183,990,438MOTOR VEHICLES 1,263,116,150 1,318,080,060 1,357,307,770 1,385,428,820 1,254,986,790 1,225,978,410MOBILE HOMES 1,236,493 749,797 779,464 740,987 656,584 510,171TIMBER - 100% 55,442 0 0 91,018 0 0HEAVY DUTY EQUIPMENT 2,686,586 4,646,669 581,681 163,106 65,347 82,712GROSS DIGEST 23,310,512,794 24,057,024,242 25,041,468,405 24,130,096,284 23,439,728,113 20,410,561,728LESS M&O EXEMPTIONS 2,914,297,856 3,021,895,215 3,038,896,350 3,029,052,913 3,039,974,697 2,912,047,454NET M&O DIGEST 20,396,214,938 21,035,129,027 22,002,572,055 21,101,043,371 20,399,753,416 17,498,514,274GROSS M&O MILLAGE 22.98 22.98 22.98 22.98 22.98 22.98LESS ROLLBACKS 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00NET M&O MILLAGE 22.98 22.98 22.98 22.98 22.98 22.98NET TAXES LEVIED $468,705,019 $483,387,265 $505,619,106 $484,901,977 $468,786,333 $402,115,858NET TAXES $ INCREASE $37,890,460 $14,682,246 $22,231,841 ($20,717,129) ($16,115,643) ($66,670,475)NET TAXES % INCREASE 8.80% 3.13% 4.60% -4.10% -3.32% -14.22%
NOTES:
1. THE NET LEVY DOES NOT REFLECT ACTUAL REVENUE RECEIVED OR AVAILABLE DUE TO VALUE ADJUSTMENTS RESULTING FROM APPEALS, DELINQUENT TAXES,COLLECTIONS FROM PRIOR YEARS, AND A FEE OF 1.25% PAID TO THE COUNTY FOR BILLING AND COLLECTIONS.2. THE 2011 MILLAGE RATE IS THE PROPOSED RATE. THE PROPOSED SCHOOL OPERATIONS MILLAGE IS 22.98 MILLS.3. 2011 DIGEST FIGURES ARE AN ESTIMATE.
CURRENT 2011 TAX DIGEST AND FIVE YEAR HISTORY OF LEVY
Former clerk with dementia still seeking reinstatement
Recreation department worker accused of accepting bribe
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comFormer Superior Court Clerk 
Lin-da Carter
, who claimsshe was tricked into re-signing during a period of dementia, is still ghtingto regain her old job.In an afdavit ledearlier this month, Carter stated that she is under medical treatment for a condition that causestemporary episodes of dementia.“I am generally ableto comprehend my surroundings andto understand the consequences of myactions,” Carter stated.In March, Gov.
Nathan Deal’s
 ofce received a letter of resignationwhich purported to be from Carter.“Effective at ve o’clock p.m. onMarch 24, 2011, I resign the Ofceof Clerk of Superior Court of DeKalbCounty,” the ve-sentence letter stated. “It has been a great privilegeto serve in this capacity for over tenyears.”
Debra DeBerry
, Carter’s chief deputy clerk, was named to the ll theremainder of the position’s term.
Lee Parks
, Carter’s attorney, hassaid the former clerk is beingtreated for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.As clerk, Carter statedthat she was able to carryout her job “with reasonableaccommodations, which in-cluded a mutual understand-ing with my senior staff that,during episodes of dementia,my senior staff memberswould serve as delegees for my duties.“I believe that I could continueto perform my elected duties as clerk of Superior Court with or withoutreasonable accommodations,” Carter stated.In one court document, Parks stat-ed that “a letter of resignation is inval-id to relinquish a public ofce unlesssaid letter was executed with intentionto relinquish the public ofce.“Furthermore, an invalid letter of resignation does not create a vacancyof ofce; therefore, an order by thegovernor appointing a non-elected person into such ofce is void uponits face,” Parks said.Carter has led a petition for quowarranto, a legal maneuver in whichDeBerry would have to prove her claim to be the rightful holder of theofce of Superior Court clerk. In the petition, Carter claims “she was re-moved from that ofce in a fraudulentand unlawful manner by being in-duced to sign a document that she didnot know” was a resignation letter.Carter has also led a petition for writ of mandamus to compel the of-cial recognition of her status as therightful elected clerk.In a response to that petition,DeBerry’s lawyers argue that Carter should not be reinstated because her “dementia and her inability to under-stand the consequences of her actionswould subject her to removal fromofce because of her mental incapac-ity.”DeKalb Superior Court Judge
Daniel Coursey
is expected to ad-dress the motions during a hearing onJuly 26.
Carter 
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comA worker with the DeKalb Coun-ty Recreation, Parks and CulturalAffairs Department was arrested onJune 15 and charged with accepting a$40 bribe from an undercover agent.In addition to a bribery charge,
 Shirley Harland
, 58, a part-timeworker who coordinated volunteer and court-ordered community ser-vice workers, was charged with falsi-fying community service records andconspiring to defraud the state of thevalue of an individual’s communityservice obligation, according to courtrecords.After Harland appeared beforea magistrate judge on June 15, bondwas set at $3,000.Harland, of Conyers, allegedlyaccepted money in exchange for falsifying documents detailing thecommunity service work completed by offenders.Investigators with the district at-torney’s ofce shut down the mainofce of the Parks, Recreation andCultural Affairs Department at 10a.m. on June 15, said
Burke Bren-nan
, the county’s chief communica-tions ofcer. Investigators questionedHarland and seized several boxes of les from the ofce.“The CEO has ordered all staff to cooperate fully,” Brennan said.“Abuse of the public trust will not betolerated.”Harland, who has worked for thecounty since August 2004, is a rela-tive of 
Donald E. Frank 
, a former DeKalb deputy police chief who wasindicted last year on federal chargesof soliciting and accepting bribes.Frank had served as the head of for-mer DeKalb County CEO
VernonJones
’ personal security detail.
 
The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 24, 2011 Page 3A
Local News
County approves gas plant in Lithonia
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comAfter a highly chargeddebate that has lasted for several months, a companyhas received the OK  by the county’s board of commissioners to construct a proposed gasication plant inLithonia.“Yes we’re emotional, butthat doesn’t change the facts,”said Dr.
Darren Harper
,a professor at MorehouseSchool of Medicine who livesin Lithonia. “And the facts arethat these toxins that will bespewed into our environment[and] into our community will be killing people and makingthem sick. Just say ‘no’ to thisgasication plant.”Upholding a motion toapprove the plan by Commis-sioner 
Lee May
, the boardvoted on June 14 to approve a proposed 10-megawatt facili-ty to be located on 21 acres onRogers Lake Road outside thecity limits of Lithonia. GreenEnergy Partners is planning toconstruct a $60 million plantto convert yard waste intorenewable natural gas.According to Green En-ergy ofcials, the plant willuse a method called pyroly-sis in which yard trimmingsare placed in oxygen-freechambers. The chambers arethen heated to 1,400 degreesFahrenheit with natural gas burners to produce syngas,which is turned into renew-able natural gas (RNG).During construction the project would bring 500 tem- porary construction jobs andadd $60 million to the coun-ty’s tax base. Nearly 100 per-manent jobs will be created torun the facility.May added 18 conditionsto the plant’s operations,including the formation of acommunity advisory com-mittee that would monitor the activities of Green EnergyPartners. The plant would berestricted to using only woodand yard waste; must maintainan air quality permit and resafety plan; and would be re-quired to publish all warningsfrom the Georgia Environ-mental Protection Division inthe county’s legal organ,
TheChampion
.
Patrick Ejike
, represent-ing Green Energy Partners,said the project is “good for the county on a number of levels.”“This is a $60 million in-vestment in the county,” Ejikesaid. “There has not been a$16 million investment in thecounty in past years.”Allegations that the proj-ect is harmful to the environ-ment are false, Ejike said.“I have kids. I couldn’tsupport something that I knowthat is harmful to the countyor to my kids,” Ejike said.
Courtney Miller
, a resi-dent supporting the Green En-ergy project, said the project“is good for the environment[and] good for our nancialhealth.”Miller said the projectalso helps DeKalb Countyanswer the charge given byPresident
Barak 
 
Obama
todecrease the country’s depen-dence on foreign oil.May said the controversysurrounding the project stemsfrom a difference of opinionon the technology used.“The overwhelming evi-dence is that converting woodinto energy is better for theenvironment,” May said. “It’s better for our public health. Itreduces our dependence onfossil fuels like coal.“That allows us to be bet-ter stewards of the environ-ment,” said May, who livesnear the site of the proposed
DeKalb County Police Department Notice of Public Hearing
The DeKalb County JAG Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, June 30,2011 at 10:00am. The meeting will be held at the DeKalb County Police Departmentlocated at 1960 West Exchange Place, Tucker, Georgia 30084. This hearing will addressthe use of the FY 2011 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Fundsallocated to DeKalb County. The JAG Program is the primary provider of federalcriminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. JAG funds support multiplecomponents of the criminal justice system to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of criminal justice systems, processes, and procedures.
development.“I live closer to this de-velopment than 99 percentof everybody that was herein opposition,” May said. “Idrive by it. I have a 2-year-oldand a 4-year-old. I would not jeopardize their health.”As May voiced his supportfor the proposal, there wereshouts and general rowdinessin the packed auditorium. Two people were escorted out of meeting. One person yelled,“It’s going to cost you.”Some opponents of the project have vowed to con-tinue ghting against it, ob- jecting to the permitting of the plant by the Georgia En-vironmental Protection Divi-sion and by recalling countycommissioners.“If we have to recall thiswhole slate of commissioners,we will start the recall pro-cess starting with Lee May,”said Dr.
Jewel Crawford
, a professor at the MorehouseSchool of Medicine, who wasone of two opponents of the project who were escortedfrom the meeting by police.Crawford said DeKalbCounty will be adversely af-fected by the plant, which will“spew out tons of pollution.”“This wood is treated with pesticides,” Crawford said.“That wood has pesticidesand carcinogenic chemicalsin them. We have enough sick  people in this county.Resident
Tracy Ann Wil-liams
said the Lithonia area is“already oversaturated withthis industry and to add morewould be negligent.”“The only green in this project is the money thatGreen Energy will receivefrom stimulus dollars and thetaxpayers’ money,” Williamssaid. “The only green in this project is the money thatDeKalb County will hope tocollect in taxes.”
Proponents stand in support of a proposed Lithonia plant that will convert wood chips a DeKalb landll into renewable natural gas. Pho-tos by Andrew CauthenAfter the Board of Commissioners approved the Lithonia gasication plant on June 14, residents rally against the decision and pray for their continuing efforts to oppose the plant.

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