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Free Press 3-30-12

Free Press 3-30-12

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Kamkwamba signs a copy of his award-winning book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, about how he built awindmill to bring electricity to his village. Photos by Daniel BeauregardWilliam Kamkwamba spoke to students and faculty at GeorgiaPerimeter College in Clarkston about his struggles growing up in asmall village in Malawi, Africa, and how he overcame them.
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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See Wind on Page 15A
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comFrom an early age,
William Kamk-wamba
was fascinated with how thingsworked.“I used to think that inside the radiothere were tiny people who spoke,” Kamk-wamba said.Kamkwamba later found a radio and pulled it open to see whether there reallywere tiny people. What he found insidesurprised him.“Are these the people who speak inthe radio?,” he asked himself of the differ-ent components. “I thought the only way Icould tell if they were people would be totwist one of them to see if it screamed.” Nothing screamed when Kamkwambatwisted the small component and fromthen on, he spent hours taking apart radios piece by piece.“That’s how I learned to fix radios,”Kamkwamba said.Kamkwamba spoke March 21 to stu-dents and faculty at Georgia Perimeter’sCollege’s (GPC) Clarkston campus abouthis book 
The Boy Who Harnessed theWind 
. English Professor 
Mary HelenRamming
said she read Kamkwamba’s book two years ago when she designed acurriculum for refugee students.
I knew at that point it was a dream Ihad to sell to my colleagues, to get him tocome to our campus, because I believe hisstory motivates us all,” Ramming said.Kamkwamba is currently attendingDartmouth College and plans to major inenvironmental engineering.Kamkwamba is from a small farmingvillage in Malawi, Africa. When he wasgrowing up, his parents farmed corn, to- bacco and soybeans, each year harvestingenough food to sell and to feed the familyuntil the next rainy season.“One year, because of a drought, thecrops only yielded a quarter amount of what they usually did. As a result a lot of  people ran out of food and many of peoplestarved to death,” Kamkwamba said.Like the rest of the village, Kamk-wamba’s family didn’t have enough foodto last them through the year. To supple-ment their income, his parents started a business selling cakes made of corn flour.However, the flour was imported fromTanzania and because of the drought the price tripled when sellers realized it wasan in demand commodity.“We started eating only one time aday—that time was tough for everyone,”Kamkwamba said.That year Kamkwamba began highschool but was forced to drop out after two weeks because his parents couldn’tafford it–only primary school was free inMalawi.“One day, I looked out at all of the dryfields—it was a future I couldn’t accept,”Kamkwamba said.Kamkwamba wanted to continue hiseducation, so he began checking out booksat the library and copying notes from hisfriends still in school. When the famineended, Kamkwamba hoped his parentswould send him back to school.“One day I went to the library andfound this book 
Using Energy
 by profes-sor 
Mary Atwater
,” Kamkwamba said.Atwater was a professor at the Univer-sity of Georgia. “Inside the book it saidwindmills pump water and generate elec-tricity. I figured, if we built a windmill wecould grow food two or three times a year,instead of just one time a year and wait for the rainy season to come.”Kamkwamba then began to construct awindmill using discarded scraps he foundin a junkyard. He built a windmill to gen-erate electricity for his home and the vil-lage.He said many of the villagers thoughthe had gone crazy and most of them hadno idea what a windmill was.“My mom said to me at one point,‘No one’s going to want to marry you be-cause you’re crazy,’” Kamkwamba said.“Regardless of what people were saying Ididn’t stop and I built my first windmill.
African student builds windmill to help family and villagers
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 30
Voters to decide charterschool funding in November
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comVoters will cast ballots Nov.4 on a constitutional amend-ment to decide whether the stateshould fund charter schools thathave been denied charters by lo-cal school boards.In 2008, the Georgia Charter Schools Act was passed, whichcreated the Georgia Charter Schools Commission. The com-mission allowed charter schoolsthat had been denied charters bylocal school systems to continueto receive state and local fund-ing.The commission was cre-ated as a way to circumventthe process of appointing char-ter schools because many lo-cal school boards were votingagainst them.However, last year the Geor-gia Supreme Court voted the billthat created the commission un-constitutional stating that it took away local control. Now after a contentious battle in both theGeorgia House and the Senate,voters will decide on a resolu-tion that would allow charter schools that weren’t approved by local school boards to receivestate funding.“First thing is that 1162doesn’t create a commission or do anything. It just removes theconstitutional obstacle,”
, president of the Geor-gia Charter Schools Association(GCSA), said.GCSA is a nonprot organi-zation that advocates for charter schools in Georgia.Roberts saidif HR1162 passes then the statewould be allowed to fund charter schools.“The major change is that nofunding is tied to local schoolfunds,” Roberts said.
“It was thesingle reason the school districtssued to close the Georgia Char-ter Schools Commission. Prior to that, it was never a problemuntil the local school districts began to see their income goingdown to reect the children go-ing to that charter school.”There are currently 12 charter schools in the DeKalb CountySchool District (DCSD), vethat are conversion charters,which started out as regular  public schools but convertedto charter schools. The restare startup charters, or schoolsthat are non-traditional publicschools created by private indi-viduals or organizations, or bythe state.Roberts said the only charter school that would be directly af-fected by the passing of HR1162is Ivy Preparatory Academy,located off Memorial Drive inKirkwood.
Nicole Knighten
, director of governmental relations and spe-cial projects at DCSD said thatalthough Ivy Prep is in DeKalbCounty, it was approved by thestate board of education rather than DCSD.“If 1162 does not pass on Nov. 4, Ivy Prep is in jeopardy,”Roberts said. “They could pos-sibly continue as a state specialschool as they are now but their funding would be at such a lowlevel that they could not be sus-tained. It would be about half of what other schools receive.”Roberts said opponents of theresolution fear the state won’t beselective enough in approvingcharter schools denied by lo-cal school boards. However, hesaid in the two years the GeorgiaCharter Schools Commissionwas in existence, it only ap- proved 15 charters.“The goal is not to saturatethe state with charter schools butto have them sprinkled acrossthe state for children who aren’tdoing well in a traditional publicschool setting and need an al-ternative,” Roberts said. “That’sthe ideal situation—we don’tthink that the best thing to do isto go around the school district.”The majority of charter schools in DCSD have been ap- proved by the district and Rob-erts said, overall, he thinks thedistrict had done a good job of approving charter schools thatwere successful.“I would give DeKalbCounty a good grade,” Robertssaid. “But HB797 answers thecomplaints of the local schooldistricts who want to make surethat their funds aren’t impacted.”
HGEREE O
1  6 AmERATRGGE WTH HGER.
Hunger is closer than you think. Reach out toyour local food bank for ways to do your part.VisitFeedingAerica.orgtoday.
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 30
Policeman and countyemployee underinvestigation for interferingin rape case
Video conference first-appearancehearings introduced at DeKalb Jail
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comA DeKalb County police ofcer and an employee for the DeKalb County solicitor general’s ofce are under investigation for interfering in a rape case.Police spokeswoman
Mekka Parsh
said theDeKalb County Police Department is investigating al-legations of a rape that took placeon Dec. 16, 2011.“As part of this investigationwe are trying to determine if one of our ofcers inuenced awitness or obstructed justice inthis case. Sgt.
Erc Adksn
ison restrictive duty pending theoutcome of this investigation,”Parish said.Adkison, as well as
Jeff Jaudn
, an employee for the so-licitor general’s ofce, both aremembers of Front Runnerz Mo-torcycle Club. The club’s websitelists Adkison as its president and Jaudon as its businessmanager.According to reports, the alleged victim was bar-tending a private event at the club where she said shewas drugged, then later woke up in a home in Lithoniaafter allegedly being raped. Although neither Adkisonnor Jaudon were named as suspects in the incident, thevictim said both men wanted to handle the situation “in-house,” and told her to keep quiet about the rape claim.The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Ofce is in-vestigating to determine whether Adkison and Jaudoninterfered with the case by telling the victim to keepquiet.“I can conrm we’re looking into the matter andwe’ll determine the right course of action,” DeKalbDistrict Attorney spokesman
Erk Burtn
Emly Gest
, a spokeswoman for the solicitor gen-eral’s ofce, said Jaudon is on administrative leavewith pay. Jaudon was hired in April 2005 as a senior investigator in the ofce’s Special Victims Unit, whichhandles pending high-risk domestic violence, stalkingand sex offense cases.“We take seriously any allegation regarding the con-duct of our employees,” Gest said. “We learned that theDA’s Ofce is investigating the conduct of several in-dividuals—including an employee of this ofce—who belong to the same motorcycle club.”
 by Kathy Mitchellkathy@dekalbchamp.comThe law requires that persons charged with acrime have the opportunityto appear before a judgewithin 48 hours when nowarrant was involved and72 hours when a person isarrested under a warrant.Until recently, this re-quired transporting the per-son charged from the jail toa courtroom. “This is not agreat distance,” said Sheriff 
Thomas Brown
, “but it in-volves bringing the inmatethrough the same entrywaysused by the general public.There are risks to staff, lawenforcement ofcials andthe public.”The DeKalb CountySherriff’s Ofce has initi-ated a pilot program thatoffers an alternative. Theaccused can be brought toa small courtroom insidethe jail and face a judgethrough video conferenc-ing. Chief Magistrate Judge
Berryl A. Anderson
andBrown demonstrated thesystem at a March 26 newsconference.The judge and the de-fendant face one another ona video screen. Attorneysand others can be present just as they are at a face-to-face hearing. In additionto creating a safer situationfor the public and for jailemployees, video confer-encing is safer for the judgeand the accused, the sheriff said. He added that elimi-nating the need to transportthe inmate to the courthousealso saves manpower andmoney.Brown explained thatsuch systems are widelyused in California andFlorida, and have beenimplemented in other metroAtlanta jurisdictions, in-cluding Cobb and Gwinnettcounties. “Normally, we’reout front with the newestinnovations, but budgetrestrictions kept us fromdoing this sooner.” He ex- plained the $40,000 neededto set up the system camefrom conscated drug mon-ey at no cost to taxpayers.“Sheriff Brown is verycreative about nding mon-ey to get what we need,”Anderson said.Video conferencing,which DeKalb County has been using for approxi-mately 60 days, is beingimplemented in phases.It will be used for rst-appearance hearings for inmates charged with felo-nies. “We’re starting withinmates charged with themost serious crimes—whatwe call ‘the seven deadlysins,’ murder, rape, etc.These are the situations inwhich emotions normallyrun high and there is thegreatest need to look out for the safety of those the in-mate is exposed to.”Anderson explained thatat rst-appearance hearingsthere is a formal reading of the charges against the de-fendant, bail is set and the judge determines whether a public defender needs to beappointed.Brown said the videoconferencing in no wayabridges the rights of theaccused and neither inmatesnor lawyers have com- plained. “All they want isa chance to appear before a judge as quickly as possibleand have an opportunity for  bail. They get that.”
In a room at the jail, Sheriff Thomas Brown looks at a split screen that shows him and Judge Berryl A.Anderson, who is in her courtroom at the courthouse, in real time. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
In the March 22 edition, in the article on page 16A titled ‘Museum School in Avon-dale gets ready to move,’
The Champion
misstated construction costs. The correctamount is $1 million out of the school’s operating budget over the next five years.

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