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Free Press 2-17-12

Free Press 2-17-12

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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2012 • VOL. 14, NO. 47 FREE
REE 
RESS 
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
 Heavy demand meansongoing challenges
 by Gale Horton Gay
Brittney Crowell
used to think that a Ronald McDonald House was a playhouse for children. However after her twins were born with a rare blooddisorder, she learned how important aRonald McDonald House can be for a family struggling with a long-termmedical condition.After spending 10 months atthe Gatewood House run by AtlantaRonald McDonald House Charitiesafter her daughters had bone marrowtransplants, Crowell has a newfoundrespect for the haven she found there.Had it not been for the facility,Crowell said she would have had tocommute from Macon—her home atthe time—to Atlanta each day.Begun in 1974 in Philadelphia,Ronald McDonald Houses providea place for families to stay close bytheir hospitalized children or withtheir children who need ongoing hos- pital care. Housing is provided at littleto no cost.However, across the nation,many Ronald McDonald Houses arescrambling to serve a growing heavydemand. According to the AssociatedPress, the facilities are experiencing aworldwide trend “with many RonaldMcDonald Houses filling each nightand having waiting lists.” In a recentarticle, the AP reported “As childrenare diagnosed earlier, treatments andsurvival rates improve, more hospitalsexpand and the need grows…”The international nonprofit Ron-ald McDonald House Charities has313 Ronald McDonald Houses in 31countries, including 175 in the UnitedStates, plus 176 Ronald McDonaldFamily Rooms in 19 countries and44 Ronald McDonald Care Mobilesin eight countries, the AP reports.Spokeswoman
Clara Carrier
saidthe organization and local chapters plan to grow 29 percent by the end of 2015 by adding 46 houses, 68 familyrooms and 14 more mobile clinics inresponse to health care trends and de-mand, according to the AP article.In metro Atlanta, two Ronald Mc-Donald houses are attempting to keep
Ronald McDonald Houses keep lights onfor families with critically ill children
After a 10-month stay at the Ronald McDonald House, Brittney Crowell of Macon is especially grateful at this special time of year to celebrate the long-awaited homecoming of her 22-month-old twins Khloee and Karmella.
 pace with the growing demand.The newest of the two homesis the Gatewood House, a 50-bed-room, 60,000-square-foot facilitylocated near Emory University andChildren’s Healthcare of Atlanta atEgleston. It opened in 2008 to re- place the original Ronald McDon-ald House on Houston Mill Road.The other home is located onPeachtree Dunwoody Road in San-dy Springs near Children’s Health-care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.This 11-bedroom house has takenin more than 7,000 families in its17-year history.Last year, the Gatewood Houseserved 1,569 families and thePeachtree Dunwoody House served323 families.According to
Linda M. Mor-ris
, president and CEO of AtlantaRonald McDonald House Charities(ARMHC), the homes have kept pace with growth fairly well andrarely have had to resort to wait-ing lists. She noted the Gatewoodhouse was full about a dozen nightsin 2011.However the PeachtreeDunwoody House, the older of thetwo homes, has limited ability toserve the diverse needs of its medi-cally fragile population. The househas only 11 bedrooms, no private bathrooms and no suites for chil-dren who need to be isolated. Thehome doesn’t have an elevator andis not fully accessible.Plans are in the works now toreplace the Peachtree Dunwoodyfacility with a 31-bedroom resi-dence complete with suites, anelevator, private bathrooms andlarger dining quarters. The projectis currently in the design phase anda capital campaign to finance it hasyet to be launched. However, Mor-ris said if all goes as planned, fund-raising will begin later this year,with the house taking about twoyears to build.“Right now it’s up to the hospi-tal to find housing for those folks,”said Morris, who has been at the
www.championnewspaper.com
 
www.facebook.com/ championnewspaper
 
www.twitter.com/ championnews
 
Follow us.
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See House on Page 15A
 
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comMore than 1,800 peoplehave signed an on-line peti-tion at www.change.org urg-ing the county to restore the budget for animal services tothe 2011 level, reduce animaleuthanizations and build anew shelter in 2012.“The animal control em- ployees work tirelessly to dothe very best they can withthe resources they’re given,”wrote
Aubrey Bowen
, whosigned the petition. “Unfortu-nately, their hands are tied bythe pitiful funding and sup- port the county allots them.”The petition was started by DeKalb Initiative, a groupof concerned residents inDeKalb County who want“to make county residentsaware of the conditions at theshelter and force the countyto do something about it,” ac-cording to
Wardell Castles
 of Decatur, a member of thegroup.
Robin Angel
, another  petitioner, said she had a badexperience recently at theshelter.“I went to the shelter thisweekend to volunteer andwas so disgusted by condi-tions that I don’t want to go back,” Angel wrote. “I caretoo much about dogs not todo something. Please usemy tax dollars to upgradethe shelter to be a place thatis humane and more pleas-ant for humans and animalsalike.”Petitioners are complain-ing about the 12 percent cutfor animal services in DeKalbCEO
Burrell
 
Ellis
’ proposed2012 budget. For 2012, thedivision, which asked for $3.4 million, would get $2.76million. In 2011, the animalservices’ budget was $3.14million.The county’s Board of Commissioners, which willadopt a budget on Feb. 28,has asked all departmentheads to consider the effectsof even deeper cuts of 5 to 10 percent.
Ashley Derrick 
, a DeKalbresident and a member of thecounty’s animal task forceformed to reduce euthaniza-tions, said she was “shocked”when the CEO’s budget wasreleased.“It’s so unfortunate,” Der-rick said. “It can barely func-tion as it is.”The proposed budget cutwould be “almost a deathknell for the employees andfor the animals,” Derrick said.“DeKalb County AnimalServices would cease to ex-ist to help animals in DeKalbCounty,” Derrick said. “Itwill literally become a eutha-nasia place.”Of the 25,600 animalstaken in by the DeKalbCounty Animal Services andEnforcement Division from2008-10, approximately15,600, or 61 percent, wereeuthanized.The cuts would be a“huge detriment for animalservices,” Derrick said. “Theservices will cease to exist.”It is a “difcult process totake care of the animals in theshelter, much less the abusedand neglected animals in thecounty,” Derrick said. With a budget cut, “it could becomea public safety issue.”Animal advocates say anew building is desperatelyneeded for the animal shelter.“The place has not beenmaintained,” said Castles,who was at the shelter re-cently to rescue a dog. “It’sunhealthy for people and in-humane for animals.“The animals basicallyhave to ght roaches and ratsfor food,” Castles said.One of the problems at thecenter is the salaries of theworkers, Castles said.Ellis’ proposed budgetcuts salaries and overtime by$160,000 for animal controlofcers who make less thantheir counterparts in Gwin-nett County, where the payrange for a senior animalcontrol ofcer is approxi-mately $30,000 to $48,000.In DeKalb, the same positionhas a range of approximately$26,000 to $42,000. In 2011,the average senior animalcontrol ofcer was making$27,900.The county currently has17 animal control ofcers,down from 22 in 2011 and27 in 2010. In addition to theanimal control ofcers theanimal services division hasthree supervisors, two animalcontrol cruelty investiga-tors, one police ofcer andone police sergeant.More cuts would mean“even less care than [theanimals] are getting now,”Castles said.In October 2011, a grand jury published a presentmentabout the animal servicesdivision that described the building as “old, unsanitaryand inadequate.”The oors were wet, theodor unbearable and the catcages too small, the grand jury stated.“And there is no separateroom for sick animals,” Der-rick said.“A lot of dogs are sick right now,” Derrick said. “If  people realize what the em- ployees are working with andwhat the animals are livingin,…they would want to dosomething about it.”“The people working thereare doing their best, but the building is disgraceful,” ac-cording to the presentment.The grand jury stated thatits members “would be hesi-tant to visit it again, but for the desire to save a life. It isnot a place we would like totake children to view pets for  possible adoption.”“It has to be a terriblydepressing environment for employees,” Derrick said.The county needs a “facil-ity large enough to handlethe volume, and we need anaggressive outreach programto educate high-complaintcommunities about the neces-sity of” spaying and neuter-ing, the grand jury stated.“DeKalb County shouldnot be killing dogs and cats because there isn’t enoughspace.”Derrick said she hopes thecounty will eventually out-source animal services to anonprot with a goal of sav-ing the lives of animals.DeKalb Animal Services’“main goal is not lifesaving,”Derrick said. “I don’t think they have a main goal. Theysimply do not have the of-cers to help.”The animal serviceswebsite says the role of thedivision is to “to protect the public from diseases trans-mitted by animals, from dam-age caused by animals, and to protect animals from abuse or neglect.”“I’m not sure that’s themission anymore,” Derrick said. “I’m not sure whatthey’re there for. They don’thave the staff to clean andfeed the animals.”Public Safety Director 
 William Miller
said thecounty’s CEO “has main-tained at all times that hewanted to completely staff animal services.”“There was an outcry fromthe community,” Miller said.“The CEO heard that outcryclearly.”Ellis asked the county’snance director 
Joel Gottlieb
 to restore the funding for 10animal control ofcers to put stafng back at the 2010level, Miller said.Four of those positionsare already in the process of having their funding restoredand the other six will be inan amended proposed budgetthe CEO will present to theBoard of Commissioners,Miller said.Previous budget cuts“hampered our ability tocontinue to provide the typeof services that DeKalb resi-dents” are accustomed to.“We obviously want toget back to that level,” Miller said. “We need more. We cando more with more.”A new shelter would be“ideal,” but the $7-11 mil-lion price tag is not feasible,Miller said.“Do we have that kindof money in these economictimes?” Miller asked. “Cer-tainly not.”Miller said “the next bestthing” is “cleaning and im- proving the shelter that wehave.”Miller said the county has pending requests for propos-als to privatize parts or allof the services the division provides. Another idea thecounty is considering is theacquisition of a storefront building to use in the adop-tion of animals.“We’re doing the best withwhat we have,” Miller said.
Petitioners want county to prioritize animal services
Subscribe now Save 20%. For more information, call (404) 373-7779
Responding to the 61 percent euthanization rate of animals taken in by the county’s animal servicesdivision between 2008-10, more than 1,800 people have signed an online petition asking for moremoney for the county’s animal services division. File photo
 
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012
Committee changes name of proposed city from Brookhaven to Ashford
Nominate a community servant, community organizaon or an individual in the DeKalbcommunity who relessly volunteers his or her service for the beerment of DeKalb County.Announcing the
CEO’s Community Hero Awards
presented by The Champion Newspaper and DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis
Please complete this nominaon form and return it to
The Champion
oce by March 30, 2012. A panel of civic, corporate, andgovernment volunteers will select the winners. Recipients will receive charitable contribuons to help further their eorts in the county.Winners will be honored at the
CEO’s Community Heroes Award Gala at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center on Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 4 p.m.
Nominaons may be faxed to:
404-373-7721
Or mail nominaon to:
The Champion Newspaper 
• P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, Ga 30030
Email nominaon forms to:
JohnH@deKalbchamp.com
Nominator’s name:___________________________________________________Nominator’s address:_________________________________________________City_________________________________ State __ ZIP Code_____________Nominator’s phone number_____________________________________________Nominator’s email ____________________________________________________Thank you for making this nominaon!
Deadline to submit nominaons is March 31, 2012.
Any quesons please contact: Erica M.Brooks 404.371.3695 
or
John Hewi 404.373.7779x110AWARD NOMINEE INFORMATION
 Aach additonal page if needed.
*All individual nominees must live in the DeKalb County. Any organizaon nominated must be able to demonstrate a clear presenceand direct impact on DeKalb County. Please indicate below which category best describes your nominaon:
COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD:____
This award acknowledges an individual and non-prot organizaon whose work has had a posive impact in strengthening communiesand improving the lives of others in DeKalb County.
ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AWARD:____
This award honors a community member and/or organizaon that works to preserve, protect, and raise awareness about ourenvironment.
YOUTH VOLUNTEER AWARD: _____
This award recognizes a DeKalb County young adult between the ages of 5-18 that exemplies volunteerism and community service.
NEIGHBORHOOD EMPOWERMENT AWARD:____
This award recognizes an individual and organizaon that fosters civic engagement and promotes community involvement.
THE VANGUARD AWARD:____
This award recognizes an individual and organizaon whose contribuons most exemplify the Naonal County Government Month themeas established by NACo each year. The 2012 theme is “Healthy Counes, Healthy Families; ONE Healthy DeKalb”Nominee’s name______________________________________________________Nominee’s Agency, Community Organizaon, or Individual Volunteer Focus ____________________________________________________________________Nominee’s address:____________________________________________________City______________________ State__ ZIP _________________Nominee’s contact info (required so they can be noed in the event they are selected):Name: Phone: E-mail address:
Please tell us why this nominee should be honored as a CEO’s Community Hero:
 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________Aach addional informaon if needed.
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comA House committeeagreed recently the residentsof Brookhaven should beallowed to vote this sum-mer on whether to create acity, but it may not be calledBrookhaven.Against protestationsfrom Rep.
Mike Jacobs
,the legislator championingthe cityhood vote, Rep.
Ed-ward Lindsey
attached anamendment to House Bill636 to change the name of the proposed city to Ashford.Lindsey represents resi-dents on the Atlanta side of historic Brookhaven. He alsolives there and said some of his neighbors and stakehold-ers expressed concerns over naming a DeKalb Countycity “Brookhaven.”“My amendment willhopefully further a dia-logue on the name as it goesthrough the General Assem- bly,” Lindsey said.Lindsey said his amend-ment was not a “be all andend all” name change—hesimply wanted to encouragedialogue among all of thestakeholders.“I want to get everyoneto the table and get all of the people with interests in it to be heard,” Lindsey said.The bill is currently in theHouse rules committee andLindsey, who is a member of the committee, said he ex- pects the bill to move to theoor of the House within thenext two weeks.“I do support the bill andI voted for it in committee,and as the House majoritywhip I do rmly believe thatif I propose an amendment tothe bill I need to support the bill,” Lindsey said.Jacobs said he anticipateda name change back to thecity of Brookhaven when the bill reached the Senate.“The argument ringshollow when a single drivearound the community willreveal that there is a lotof Brookhaven in DeKalbCounty that is no
t historicBrookhaven,” Jacobs said.However, Lindsey saidthere are a lot of good namesto choose from other thanBrookhaven or Ashford, andhe felt condent the stake-holders would come up withone.“I’ll have to quote
Shake-speare
on this one and say,‘A rose with any other namewould smell just as sweet,’”Lindsey said.If HB 636 passes it wouldallow residents in DeKalb tovote on a referendum to cre-ate the proposed city in theJuly primary elect
ion.
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comA DeKalb County legisla-tor wants to reduce animaleuthanizations in Georgia.Rep.
Dar’shun Kendrick 
 has introduced House Bill782, called the Animal Eutha-nization Registry Bill, whichwould set up a registry inwhich animal shelters would be required to maintain a listof rescue groups that are will-ing to accept animals that arefacing euthanization.“It saves animals andsaves the shelter the cost of euthanizations,” Kendrick said.Once the registry is setup, animal shelters would berequired to notify all rescuegroups on the registry at leasttwo business days before theanimal is scheduled to be eu-thanized. A rescue group thatwants to take the animal mustrespond to the noticationwithin 24 hours and will thenhave two business days totake possession of the animal,according to the proposedlegislation.The bill would help shel-ters save money because thecost of euthanizing an ani-mal is more than the cost of implementation of this bill,said Kendrick, adding thatthe bill already had bipartisansupport.In DeKalb, of the 25,600animals taken in by theDeKalb County Animal Ser-vices and Enforcement Divi-sion from 2008-10, approxi-mately 15,600, or 61 percent,were euthanized.“We can solve this prob-lem for pets, many of whomwe consider family,” Kend-rick said.
DeKalb legislatorseeks toreduce animaleuthanizations

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