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Free Press 1-20-12

Free Press 1-20-12

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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
CEO Ellis: County’s ‘house stands strong’
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comDespite facing a budgetary “hollow tree”that fell last year, damaging the county’s finan-cial house, DeKalb County CEO
said the state of the county is “strong.”“Through hard work, decisive action andcollaborative effort, we were able to hoist thetree, repair the damage, restore credit and savethe house,” said Ellis during his annual Stateof the County address before county businessleaders.“Today the house stands strong and the stateof DeKalb County is good,” Ellis said.In his address, Ellis said DeKalb is threat-ened by those who support the cityhood move-ment and would “exploit our rich diversity inan effort to divide our county.”“It is a fundamental right for our citizens tochoose more government and pay a premiumfor heightened levels of service, but it is wrongto impact others who have no voice,” Ellis said.Cityhood “places an undue tax burden onthose who are drawn outside of arbitrarily cre-ated boundaries and have no say in the process,”Ellis said.Better policy is needed to stop the move-ment’s “social isolation, class and ethnicstratification.”“We need laws that prevent the cherry-pick-ing of the choicest residential and commercialareas, while disenfranchising residents in theremainder of the county,” Ellis said. “We needlaws which respect the costs of services to our citizens in both cities and counties.”Ellis said the proposed penny sales taxreferendum that goes to voters this year is anopportunity for the DeKalb to get a “great returnon our investment…given DeKalb County’s40-year support of the MARTA tax.”“This is a regional stimulus plan, and that’swhy it is so important that we pass this trans- portation referendum,” Ellis said. “We havemuch at stake in the transportation referendum.”To help pass the referendum and to helpre-elect President
Barack Obama
, Ellis saidhe would “visit every corner in this county todiscuss the importance of voting and registeringnew voters.”
Kathleen Bowen
, who works with the As-sociation County Commissioners of Georgia,said Ellis’ address was “very optimistic.”“I’m proud of the accomplishments of the past year and I’m optimistic about the future,”Bowen said. “I’m leaving optimistic.”
Kevin Privette
, a senior project manager with Accura Engineering and Consulting Ser-vices, which does business with DeKalb Coun-ty, said he was impressed with Ellis’ address.“A lot of times people have a have a hardtime expressing what they’ve done,” Privettesaid. “I think he did a great job in bring to theforefront what he’s done.After the address, when asked by
The Cham- pion
why no new initiatives were introduced
See Calligraphy on Page 15A
Mastering the art of  
 by Gale Horton GaySome things are best done byhand.
 agree that learning the skills to docalligraphy is rewarding in moreways than one.Gray is both an instructor andstudent of the hand lettering artform. She first took a class in itin 1980. Since then she estimatesthat she’s probably taken 75 class-es and workshops to define andadvance her craft.She said she’s fallen in lovewith the simplicity of calligraphy.“It’s pen, ink and paper,” saidGray. “I think I like the order of it.It can be almost meditative.”Gray, an Avondale Estates res-ident, teaches at Callanwolde FineArts Center and the Lou Walker Senior Center and is a member of Friends of the Alphabet. She alsoruns a business doing calligraphyfor weddings and corporate eventsfrom the basement of her home.Gray has developed a niche mar-ket, inscribing Quaker weddingvows on large documents that brides and grooms sign and dis- play in their homes.While her two Dobermanskept watch, Gray showed an in-terested party the various tools of her craft–writing implements thatrange from a quill to a sponge tomarkers and other—more utilitar-ian looking—implements. Sheexplained that a wide array of instruments can be used to do cal-ligraphy, however, one needs toknow how to use them.“I don’t think it’s somethingthat’s for everybody,” explainedGray. “People who learn thingsquickly sometimes get frustratedwith calligraphy. You really haveto practice… work on smallsteps.”
in his address, Ellis said, “Implementation is going to be thekey in 2012.“We’ve got 4,700 jobs between now and 2015 to be cre-ated, so we’re going to have to implement that. We’ve gotto restore our neighborhoods, so there’s got to be the imple-mentation of that.Code compliance, construction of more libraries andrecreation centers, and working towards the passage of thetransportation sales tax will all be priorities in 2012, Ellis said.“It’s going to be all about implementation,” Ellis said. “Our work is not finished. Rolling out is one thing, but completingthe job, in and of itself, is a worthwhile task.”
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012
Sewage spills increase, judge signs consent decree
See Spill on Page 7A
Notice of Public HearingsJanuary 24 & 26, 2012
Notice is hereby given that the Board o Directors o the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authoritywill hold public hearings or the purpose o considering
Proposed Bus Service Modicationsfor April 24, 2012
Proposed routing and adjustments for the following bus routes:
Route 1 – Centennial Olympic Park /Coronet Way:
 The temporary re-routingimplemented June 18, 2011 to improve bus turnmovement is proposed to become the permanentrouting.
Route 12 – Howell Mill Road / Cum-berland:
 The temporary re-routing implement-ed June 18, 2011 to improve bus turn movementis proposed to become the permanent routing.
Route 32 – Bouldercrest / GeorgiaAquarium:
is proposed to terminate serviceat Five Points Station after 7:30 pm on all ser-vice days. The segment from Five Points Stationalong Marietta Street, Jones Avenue, Ivan AllenJr. Boulevard, Spring Street, Pine Street and WestPeachtree Street to Civic Center Station will bediscontinued after 7:30 pm on all service days.
Route 86 – Fairington Road / McAfeeRoad:
 The re-routing implemented December17, 2011 due to the closure of the Evans MillPark and Ride lot is proposed to become the per-manent routing. From Evans Mill Road and MallParkway, Route 86 will continue Mall Parkway,Left-Stonecrest Trace, and Left-Mall Loop Road tobus shelter at Mall at Stonecrest which will be thenew terminus for Route 86. The segment alongMillwood Lane will be discontinued.
Route 115 – Covington Highway /South Hairston Road:
 The re-routingimplemented December 17, 2011 due to theclosure of the Evans Mill Park and Ride lot is pro-posed to become the permanent routing. FromCovington Highway and Evans Mill Road, Route115 will operate via Left-Evans Mill Road con-tinue Main Street, Left-Max Cleland Boulevardand Right-Swift Street to Main Street which willbecome the new terminus for Route 115. Thesegment of Evans Mill Road south of CovingtonHighway, Mall Parkway and Millwood Lane willbe discontinued.
Tuesday, Jan. 24 Thursday, Jan. 26
55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta 30303
Downtown AtlantaCity Hall
7:00 p.m.
Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Bus route 49 from Five Points Station. Special bus shuttle also provided.
1300 Commerce Dr, Decatur, 30030
DeKalb MaloofAuditorium
7:00 p.m.
Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Walk one block west of Decatur Rail Station.
Copies o the proposed bus service modifca-tions will also be available at MARTA’s Ofce oExternal Aairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta,Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.For ormats (FREE o charge) in accordancewith the ADA and Limited English Profciency regula-tions contact (404) 848-4037. For those patronsrequiring urther accommodations, inormation canbe obtained by calling the Telephone Device or theDea (TDD) at 404 848-5665.In addition, a sign language interpreter willbe available at all hearings. I you cannot attendthe hearings and want to provide comments youmay: (1) leave a message at (404) 848-5299;(2) write to MARTA’s Ofce o External Aairs, 2424Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30324-3330;(3) complete an online Comment Card at www.itsmarta.com; (4) or ax your comments nolater than February 3, 2012 to (404) 848-4179.All citizens o the City o Atlanta and thecounties o Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are aected by the subjects to beconsidered at these hearings are hereby notifed andinvited to appear at said times and places and pres-ent such evidence, comment or objection as theirinterests require.
Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D. General Manager/CEO 
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comA full year after it wasannounced, a federal judgehas signed a consent decreein which DeKalb Countyagreed to pay a $453,000 penalty for excessive sew-age spills.In the consent decree,signed by U.S. DistrictJudge
William S. Duffey,Jr
., on Dec. 20, the countyagreed to pay the penalty,which was split betweenthe federal Environmen-tal Protection Agency andthe state’s EnvironmentalProtection Division. Thenes were paid earlier thismonth, according to
, the county’s direc-tor of watershed manage-ment.The approval of the de-
County enhances itsemergency alert system
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comThe alert system inform-ing DeKalb residents of emergency situations justgot upgraded.The Code Red systemthat the county has beenusing for several years has been enhanced with theCode Red Weather Warningsystems.The enhancement givescounty ofcials the abilityto pinpoint communitiesthat may be affected byweather-related emergen-cies.“This will allow recipi-ents of the alerts more timeto prepare and take precau-tionary measures while re-ducing the amount of falsealarms and unnecessaryalerts, as this system onlycalls those residents and businesses in the predicted path of the storm,” saidthe county’s Public SafetyDirector 
 during a Jan. 11 press con-ference.In the weather warningsystem, phone messageswill go out “moments af-ter the National Weather Service has issued a severethunderstorm, ood or tor-nado warning,” Miller said.The system “automaticallydisseminates warnings toresidents based on the pro- jected path of the storm,”Miller said.If the phone call fromthe system is missed, resi-dents will be able to call thesystem to retrieve the mostrecent warning.In the past the Code Redsystem has been used tonotify residents of severeweather, boil water advi-sories, gas main or water main breaks, road closings,and police or re activities,Miller said.“Some people didn’tget the alerts until after the National Weather Servicehad cancelled the warning,”Miller said.The system, which is being funded by a DeKalbEmergency ManagementAgency grant, is designedto give residents and busi-ness owners an “addedlayer of protection,” Miller said.A notice about the CodeRed system will go out inDeKalb County water bills.To receive the alerts, reg-ister at the DeKalb Countywebsite at www.co.dekalb.ga.us.
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012
Solicitor general a courtroom voice for victims
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comDeKalb Solicitor General
Sherry Boston
says her rstyear in ofce feels like “theday that’s never ended.”“It feels like yesterday Iwas getting sworn in,” saidBoston, who was appointedto the position previouslyheld by current county dis-trict attorney
.“It actually feels really good.It’s been a good year.”Boston began her secondyear in ofce by success-fully prosecuting
, a Lithonia womanaccused of not properly re-straining her two pit bullsthat attacked an 8-year-oldgirl who subsequently lost part of an arm.“I was really glad that Ihad the opportunity to try theTywann Vaughn case,” Bos-ton said. “[As] a trial lawyer, being in the courtroom is re-ally where my passion lies.”Boston said the Vaughncase was important for thecounty because it allowedher to be “a voice in thecourtroom for victims in our community.”“At the end of the day,that is the most importantthing that this ofce does,”Boston said.The solicitor general’sofce, which handled ap- proximately 13,000 caseslast year, prosecutes all mis-demeanor crimes, includingdriving under the inuence,family violence, elder abuse,sexual battery, animal cru-elty, educational negligence,second-degree vehicular homicide, non-payment of child support and shoplifting.DeKalb CEO
Burrell El-lis
said, “Sherry Boston hasdone an admirable job in her rst year in ofce, prosecut-ing and deterring crime andmaintaining the high qual-ity of life here in DeKalbCounty.“Her pre-trial diversion programs are at the forefrontof the national standard,which illustrates her leader-ship in this area,” Ellis said.Boston “came in and hitthe ground running,” saidDeKalb County Commis-sioner 
Lee May.
“One thing that I likeabout her approach is thatshe’s come forward with anumber of ideas as to howshe could bring additionalrevenue to the county [and]how she could streamlinetheir operations,” May said.“She’s kept the line of com-munications open with theBOC. I’ve been pretty satis-ed with her work.”After taking ofce, Bos-ton reorganized the opera-tions, establishing a specialvictims’ unit headed by Dep-uty Chief Solicitor General
Jessica Rock 
. Boston alsoformed Diversion and Com-munity Alternative Program(DCAP), which is the um- brella over all programs thathave a diversionary compo-nent.
Kiesha Storey
is thedeputy chief over DCAPand Deputy Chief Solicitor General
Kelly McMichael
 oversees the state court pros-ecutions.“We really are a familyand a team in this ofce,”Boston said. “I feel really blessed. I could not do any of what I do without the amaz-ing team of folks that is hereto help me every day.”Boston also hired thecounty’s rst full-time com-munity prosecutor,
.“She is really going to be the liaison between thecommunity, my ofce, other elected ofcials, homeowner associations, other com-munity leaders and private partners to nd alternativeways to attack crime,” Bos-ton said.Boston said she made the position full time to show“we can make sure we arefocusing in on the areas thatare the most crime-ridden.”Boston’s goal as solicitor general is to “make reallysmart decisions about howwe approach cases, collabo-rate with other partners inthe community in an effortto make sure that we are ad-dress all the issues that theyhave, not just opening andclosing cases that come to usthrough the door, but hopingto stop some of these crimes before they happen.”Last year Boston’s ofce participated in several com-munity events, includingPaws for the Cause, back to school expositions, anti-crime events, communityclean-ups and she held a do-mestic violence forum.When she’s not workingBoston tries to be a “normal,everyday, average mom” of her two daughters, ages 3and 5, that she rears with her husband of seven years,
, a vice president of a national sales account atCoca-Cola.“I don’t know if that’s possible any more, but I re-ally try,” Boston said. “Muchof my free time is spent withmy children and trying to be best mother and role modeland support system for them.”That includes being aroom mom at her daughter’s preschool, making crafts, baking cookies and “being acheerleader on the sidelinefor the stuff that they love,”Boston said.Boston is also an avidreader and considers herself to be “somewhat of a bud-ding culinary foodie chef.”Boston said her goals for 2012 are to make her ofcemore technologically savvyand to establish an abandon-ment court to address peoplewho are not paying childsupport.“Our goal, obviously, isnot to put those people in jail,” Boston said. “Our goalis to get those families thesupport that they are entitledto have.”
DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston, who recently completed her first year in office, says she wants to be “a voice in the courtroom for victims.” Photo by Andrew Cau-thenFile photo

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