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Free Press 6-1-12

Free Press 6-1-12

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Published by hudgons
DeKalb County Community Newspaper: serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
DeKalb County Community Newspaper: serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.

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Published by: hudgons on Jun 01, 2012
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, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 10 FREE
Bobbie Wakamo looks over the thousands of books donated to the United Methodist Children’s Home that must be sorted by type and subject. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
 by Kathy Mitchellkathy@dekalbchamp.com
ears of shopping flea mar-kets and yard sales haveleft
Bobbie Wakamo
 with a good eye for qual-ity used goods and a talent for pric-ing such items. That has made her anideal volunteer with United Method-ist Children’s Home, whose principalfundraisers are its flea markets.“I know what I’m doing,” said80-year-old Wakamo, who’s beenvolunteering with the children’shome approximately 20 years. “Wehave a reputation for good valueand we don’t sell junk. I identify theitems that are up to our standards.Some aren’t what we want, but arestill in decent shape; we donate thoseto another charity.” Some items,she said, aren’t suitable for sale or giveaway and are sent for recycling.There are usually three sales a year, but donations are accepted all year long, so Wakamo stays busy not onlysorting by quality, but putting likeitems together—even down to orga-nizing clothing by size.”Wakamo’s devotion to volunteer work has led to her being named thisyear’s Georgia winner of the HomeInstead Senior Care network’s Saluteto Senior Service award. The spon-soring organization, Home InsteadSenior Care, provides non-medicalin-home services to older people.In the nationwide competition,launched this year to honor seniors’commitments to their causes andcommunities, she emerged as oneof 50 winners from among approxi-mately 1,330 entries.
Jeff Huber
, president and chief operating officer of Home InsteadInc., called Wakamo “a senior heroto many.”“She has shown that volunteer opportunities for older adults shouldnot diminish because of age. Seniorssuch as Bobbie are making importantcontributions to their communitiesthrough charities, nonprofit organi-zations and faith communities,” hesaid.
Jane Howland
, who nominatedWakamo, said, “Bobbie Wakamocan be found almost any day of the month rummaging through oldclothes and dusty, discarded furni-ture…though most of us couldn’tthink of anything much worse.”Wakamo calls her work at theSouth Columbia Drive facility “my job” and attends it as faithfully asany paid employee might.The more than 550 volunteer hours she puts in each year includeshelping to oversee the work of 60volunteers at the home. Wakamoexplained that she doesn’t want vol-unteers who aren’t serious. “Anyonewho thinks they can just drop by for a couple of hours and it’ll be fundoesn’t understand what we’re do-ing here. This is hard work. There’sa system and we want volunteersto understand that system. We wantconsistency in the way we select and price the items.”A retired nurse, Wakamo said she believes her training and experiencein health care have contributed toher organizing skills and attention todetail that are so valued at the chil-dren’s home.In her work with the children’shome over the years, Wakamo hassorted through countless donatedclothing, sports equipment, books, jewelry, shoes, toys, games, furni-ture and china. Two buildings on theMethodist Children’s Home campusare devoted largely to storage of do-nated items. In a building erected in1907, china and glassware alone filla large room. Another is filled withclothing. In the adjacent building arerooms of furniture and a collection of  books larger than one might find atmany libraries.“The flea markets are such animportant fundraiser for the home,”said Wakamo, who estimated thateach raises about $35,000. “I’m proud to be associated with this or-ganization,” she said of the homefounded to care for Civil War or- phans. It has been at the Decatur lo-cation since the 1870s.Thanks to the meticulous work of volunteers, the flea market has areputation as one of the best in themetropolitan Atlanta area. “Peopleknow they can get great bargainshere. They line up outside even be-fore we open,” Wakamo said.She said she plans to continueto volunteer with United Method-ist Children’s Home as long as her schedule allows.
Organizing donated items a labor of love for 80-year-old volunteer
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 1, 2012
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
Liam Wilson
, 9,
stood proudly saluting as dozens of friends and family membersof deceased law enforcement
ofcers watched as color 
guards marched slowly bythe steps of the old Decatur courthouse.Late last year, Liam losthis father, Doraville Police
Robert Shane Wil-son
, 27, who died after col-liding with a drunken driver traveling the wrong way onI-20.Liam was invited to take part in the presentation of colors May 23, as DeKalbCounty honored law enforce-
ment ofcers who were killed
in the line of duty. To date,there have been 40 in DeKalbCounty. As Liam and the col-
or guard nished their salutes,
the mood was somber.“It’s so humbling for myson to be honored here for losing his life in the line of duty,” Wilson’s stepfather 
Jim Hanson
said.Both Hanson and his wife,
Gayle Hanson
are retiredfrom the DeKalb County Po-lice Department. Hanson saidlife has been painful sincehis son’s death but his familyappreciates the support of thecommunity and the law en-forcement community.On Nov. 14, 2011, Wilson,the overnight on-call police
ofcer in Doraville, was re
-sponding to a reported homeinvasion when 39-year-oldDunwoody resident
allegedly struck andkilled him. Jones was later 
charged with rst degree ve
-hicular homicide and DUI.Hanson said his grandsonLiam was fortunate to knowhis father for the eight yearshe did, and both he and hisgrandson knew Wilson dieda hero.“At the moment Shanelost his life on I-20 when hewas struck by a drunk driver going the wrong way, if hedid nothing else in the line of duty, he stopped that drunk driver from hitting someoneelse,” Hanson said.Doraville Police Chief 
John King
said this wasn’t
the rst time he has lost anofcer but it wasn’t any
easier.“In a small agency likeDoraville you participate inthe hiring of almost every oneof these kids and you person-ally end up going out on callswith all of these young menand women,” King said.“It’s a small agency andwe’re grieving; our agency isgrieving and our communityis grieving. It’s tough and itreally pushes every strain ittakes to be an effective leader and member of the police de- partment.”DeKalb County CEO
Burrell Ellis
thanked Liamand the rest of Wilson’s fam-ily for being present and tak-ing part in the ceremony. Ellis
said the list of ofcers killed,
dating back to 1852, has be-come far too long.“Although we understandthe risks associated with their 
seless service it does not
 prepare us for the time whenone of our own is lost,” El-lis said. “Every day they dontheir uniforms could be a daythat they won’t return home.”The ceremony drew to a
close as a ring squad offered
a three-round salute to the
fallen ofcers. As the smell of 
gunpowder rose into the air, alone bugler stationed beneaththe gazebo played
to anaudience who bowed their heads in silence.
Fallen Doraville ofcer honored at ceremony
Work from HomeBusiness Opportunity
People lined the steps in front of the old courthouse on the Decatur Square on May 23 to honor DeKalb County law enforcement ofcers who had died in the line of duty.
Among those in attendance were the family members of Robert Shane Wilson, who died last year when he was responding to a home invasion call and was killed by an al-
leged drunken driver traveling the wrong way on I-20. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 1, 2012
Report alleges leaks by Dunwoodyattorney, city council member
GPC planslayoffs toclose $25millionbudget deficit
City of Decatur Georgia Ad Valorem Tax Digest History Decatur - Digest200720082009201020112012 Assessment Ratio50%50%50%50%50%50%Real Property$1,088,563,6001,124,007,000$ 1,162,026,500$ 1,157,883,900$ 1,149,844,600$ 1,174,037,800$ Personal Property$17,577,80018,342,500$ 20,387,500$ 20,069,600$ 21,146,700$ 19,962,600$ Public Utilities$18,632,60016,893,389$ 16,473,60011,673,700$ 18,933,750$ 14,299,300$ Motor Vehicle$47,267,60049,014,800$ 50,081,000$ 46,119,000$ 46,119,000$ 49,311,000$ Total Digest$1,172,041,600$1,208,257,689$1,248,968,600$1,235,746,200$1,236,044,050$1,257,610,700City OperationsGeneral Fund Exemptions$157,384,000157,384,000$ 118,900,000$ $122,579,000125,075,000$ 126,914,000$ Net City Operations Digest$1,014,657,600$1,050,873,689$1,130,068,600$1,113,167,200$1,110,969,050$1,130,696,700City Operations Millage13.03513.03513.03513.03513.00013.000City Operations Levy$13,226,062$13,698,139$14,730,444$14,510,134$14,442,598$14,699,057Percent Change5.933.577.54-1.50-0.471.78Dollar Amount Change$740,585$472,077$1,032,306($220,310)($67,537)$256,459The Decatur City Commission announces that the 2012 tentative millage rate was adopted at their meeting on Monday, May 21, 2012.Hearings on the budget and millage rate will be held on:Monday, June 4, 2012 at 7:30 pmMonday, June 18, 2012 at 7:30 pmThe hearings will be held at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, Decatur, GA. Final adoption of the 2012 millage rate and fiscalyear 2012-2013 budget is scheduled for consideration at the Decatur City Commission meeting on Monday, June 18, 2012. The abovetable is presented pursuant to O.C.G.A. 48-5-32 showing the estimated current year's digest and proposed millage rates along with a five-year history of the tax digest and millage rates.
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comAn report released May21 indicates Dunwoody CityAttorney
Brian Anderson
and a city council member may be responsible for al-leged leaks from an executivesession regarding a compli-cated land deal.The 40-page report issued
 by law rm Wilson, Mortonand Downs details ndings
regarding the improper re-
lease of condential informa-
tion from executive sessionsof the mayor and city coun-cil.Attorney
Robert Wilson
said his rm was hired by the
city in early February to in-vestigate the allegations.The beginning of the re- port, which is addressed toDunwoody Mayor 
Mike Da-vis
and the rest of the counciland signed by Wilson states,“We have determined that the
condentiality of executive
sessions was breached and by whom. Our investigative
reports and ndings are at-
tached.”The report then describeshow Anderson and CityCouncilwoman
Adrian Bon-ser
allegedly leaked detailsof a land deal they disagreedwith to a reporter at the
 Dun-woody Crier 
newspaper anda political blogger.In Anderson’s case thereport states that on Jan. 23and Feb. 3 the DunwoodyCity Council went into ex-ecutive sessions to discussthe “Georgetown Project,”a city revitalization plan in-volving a complex real estatetransaction. According to theGeorgia Open Meetings andRecords Law, the sale is notcovered under executive ses-sion.However, the projectincluded a complex landtransaction involving the saleof portions of a 16-acre farmknown as the PVC Farm to purchase a 19-acre parcel of  property in an area known asGeorgetown.“Brian Anderson advisedthe council that the sale and
acquisition, as part of a single
transaction, were proper sub- jects for discussion at theseclosed meetings,” the reportstates. “After this investiga-tion was under way, however,
he claimed, for the rst time
that the sale should not have been discussed in executivesession.”Following the Jan. 23executive session the reportstates that Anderson breached
condentiality by asking a
 Dunwoody Crier 
reporter whether he was aware of theland deal. The report claimsAnderson then made another 
 breach of condentiality
when an Open Records Act
request was received.
“At that time, Andersonsuddenly took a different position and claimed that thesale of the PVC Farm was
not condential or exempt
from public disclosure, eventhough it was inextricably
intertwined with the acquisi-
tion of real estate. Anderson began pushing the city clerk and city manager to imme-diately release, in redactedform, the documents dis-cussed during the executivesession,” the report states.According to the report,Anderson wanted to releasethe documents to make his previous leak a “moot” point.Councilwoman Bonser alleg-edly leaked information toa source who gave blogger 
Bob Lundsten
details re-garding the Feb. 3 executivesession. When Bonser wasinterviewed by investigators,the report states she “was nottruthful in her responses.”“She insisted that she was‘warming up’ to the project atthe Feb. 3 meeting and wenton to claim that she declaredin the meeting that she ‘likedit,’ the report states, allegingemails to her constituents fol-lowing the meeting disputethat claim.In the evidence portion of 
the report’s ndings, Bonser 
states in an email to one of her constituents, “There isnothing going on with thesale or trading of this landthat could not be discussedin public…there is no needfor executive session discus-sions.” The report states Bon-ser had a personal interest inleaking details from the ses-sion because she opposed theland purchase.At a May 14 councilmeeting Davis and Council-man
Terry Nall
called for Anderson’s dismissal butfailed to reach a majority.Several council memberssaid they want to read the fullreport before making a deci-sion. The item is expected to be brought up again duringthe May 29 council meeting.Bonser disputes the re- ports claims and claims in-vestigators didn’t approachthe investigation as “a searchfor truth.”“Mr. Wilson and his as-
sociate had a specic agenda
and set of targets,” Bonser said in a statement providedto
The Champion
. “I fun-damentally disagree with
the ndings and believe the
integrity of the investigation
itself is highly questionable
and, the expenditure of anestimated $50,000 of Dun-woody taxpayer monies onsaid report wasteful.”Anderson could not bereached for comment onthis story but claims he didnothing wrong, according toreports.
 by Daniel BeauregardDaniel@dekalbchamp.comGeorgia Perimeter Col-lege (GPC) is planning tolay off 185 people to helpclose an anticipated budget
decit of approximately $25
million next year.Interim President
announced his planMay 25 and said it will be“dynamic” and subject tochange according to input
from the college’s nancialstaff and as nal revenue
and expenditure amountscome in at the end of sum-mer semester.“We do not know whatwill happen with fall andspring enrollment, and thecorresponding effect on rev-enue,” Watts said. “We needto re-examine the way our functional areas are orga-nized and staffed. We mustreduce our personnel costs,which represent more than90 percent of the college’s budget, by $10.7 million.”Watts stated in his planthat the 185 employee re-ductions will not include“tenured and tenure-track”faculty members but thatstaff would need to “stretchto take up the slack that will be created.”University System of Georgia (USG) Chancel-lor 
Hank Huckaby
namedWatts interim president of the college in early May.Former President
stepped down May8 after a $16 million bud-
See Budget on Page 11A

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