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Free Press 7-6-12

Free Press 7-6-12

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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
SeeCamp onPage 13 A
 by Robert Naddrarobert@dekalbchamp.comTwo red silk ribbons hang 20
feet from ceiling to floor at CircusCamp in Decatur.
The trick for acrobats is to climbthe silks, strategically wrap the
ribbons around one’s body, thentwist downward, the silks unfurl-ing along the way until the partici- pant stops just a few feet above thefloor. Nine-year-old
Helen Stephens
used the silks to conquer her fears.Participating in her fth circuscamp this summer, Helen said thesilks and aerial activities such astrapeze are her favorite activities
there.“There were some scary things
to learn and they helped me over-come my fears,” Helen said. “The
drops were kind of scary and I
kept telling myself, ‘don’t fall,don’t fall.’”She did fall once, but with thehelp of a camp counselor got right back up and has been condentwith the silks ever since.“My condence has been builtup a lot because of the activitiesI do here and it helps me focus,”Helen said. “I get my work done
 better at school and my reportcards are better.”
Building self-esteem is just one
of the things camp owner 
tries to accomplish. Dwyer 
is in his 10th year as owner of thecamp, which is celebrating its 20thyear in the metro Atlanta area.Boys and girls ages 5 to 18 are
taught juggling, magic, clowntechniques, costume and set de-sign, and aerial tricks done on sev-eral different apparatus.“Our philosophy is building theself-esteem of children through themagic of the circus,” Dwyer said.“It doesn’t matter what skill levelsomeone has. There’s somethingfor everybody.”Circus Camp, which also is heldin Dunwoody and Sandy Springs,is composed of eight one-week sessions. There were 130 partici- pants at the most recent Decatur 
camp, which celebrated the endof the session with a performance
June 29.The unique part of the camp is
Circus Camp more than just clowning around
Circus Camp aerial director Jacosa Kato helps a camper on one piece of aerial apparatus, above, while campers and a counselor work on the trapeze and the silks at the Decatur camp. Photos by Robert Naddra
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 6, 2012
Dunwoody councilwoman files ethics complaint
Church rapist pleads guilty,sentenced to life in prison
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comDunwoody City Councilwoman
Adrian Bonser
led an ethics
complaint June
21 against Mayor 
Mike Davis
the rest of the city
council, alleging
that severalmeetings held over the past six months
were held illegally.
Bonser, who isalso facing an ethics investigation,alleges the city council held an illegalmeeting Feb. 3 to discuss a real estatedeal, then again in May when it metto discuss the ethics charges pendingagainst her.An investigation report releasedMay 21 states that Dunwoody City
Brian Anderson
Bonser were responsible for allegedleaks from an executive session abouta complex land transaction involvingthe sale of portions of a 16-acre farmknown as the PVC Farm to purchasea 19-acre parcel of property in an areaknown as Georgetown.The report also alleges Bonser leaked information to a sourcewho gave blogger 
Bob Lundsten
details regarding the Feb. 3executive session. When Bonser wasinterviewed by investigators, thereport states, she “was not truthful inher responses.”As a result of the investigationAnderson settled with the city andwas awarded a severance packageof two months’ salary and benets,totaling approximately $29,000.Dunwoody spokesman
Bob Mullen
said the city spent $25,000 on theinvestigation and it expects another invoice from the rm that performedit, but could not speculate on theamount of the bill.Bonser claims she never leakedany information and alleges aviolation for holding the executivesessions in question.“I haven’t leaked any informationever during the three years I’ve beenon the city council,” Bonser said.“The investigation was a waste of taxpayer money and sloppy at bestand politically motivated at worst.”At a council meeting June 26,Bonser said, the council voted to
appoint attorney
Richard Carothers
to lead the investigation into her ethics complaint. Bonser said beforehis appointment Carothers wasvetted by Dunwoody City Manager 
Warren Hutmacher
, which shesaid was a clear conict of interestsince Hutmacher is named in her 
Bonser’s ethics complaint alsoaccuses Dunwoody Mayor 
of asking her to resign from thecouncil for “using taxpayer funds tomisuse the Board of Ethics and Codeof Ethics for his political agenda,” before the investigative report was
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.com
An 51-year-old Atlantaman will spend the rest of hislife in prison after pleading
guilty to the brutal rape in a
church of a DeKalb County
John Russell Carver
wassentenced by Judge
to two consecutivelife sentences plus 115 years behind bars.On June 29, Carver pledguilty to 10 counts, includ-
ing rape, armed robbery, ag
-gravated battery, aggravatedassault, false imprisonment, burglary and possession of aknife during commission of afelony.DeKalb County District
Robert James
called the crime “heinous.”“I don’t really have wordsand it’s not often that I don’thave words to describe some-thing,” James said. “I don’treally have words to describehow bad that it is.“It’s terrible,” he said. “It’stragic. It is such a violation of the sanctity of a place of wor-ship whether you’re talking
about a church or a temple or 
a synagogue.”
According a police report,
the then 53-year-old femalevictim was working in achurch ofce around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26,2011, when she answered aknock at an exterior ofce
She slightly cracked thedoor…because [she thought]she was going to open thedoor and help a homeless per-son out,” James said.When the door wasopened, Carver forced his way
into the building.
“He immediately started
See Rapist on Page 7A
John Russell Carver of Atlanta, who pleaded guilty to the rape andassault of a church worker, wanted to return to prison where he hasspent much of his life, his attorney said. Photo by Andrew Cauthem
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 6, 2012
Advocates asked for input regarding arts community in DeKalb
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
To better understand the needs of the arts community in DeKalb County,CEO
Burrell Ellis
has tasked a groupof arts advocates, leaders and stake-holders to weigh in on the future of the arts in the county.Ellis formed the DeKalb CreativeIndustries Task Force to undertakea comprehensive study of DeKalb’screative and cultural industry. The task force is also charged with developinga plan to shape the cultural and artisticfuture of the county.There are four surveys availableonline designed to glean feedback from artists, art and cultural organiza-tions, faith-based institutions and resi-dents. The results will be used to de-velop a framework to foster a healthyarts and culture community, and sup- port artistic endeavors in the county.
Jan Selman
co-chairs the task force with
Mereda Davis Johnson
wife of Congressman
Hank Johnson
She said the task force was created alittle more than a year ago after thearts department created by former CEO
Vernon Jones
’ administrationwas deemed ineffective.“The task force was really chargedwith doing an assessment of the artsin DeKalb and since there hadn’t beenan assessment in so long, you can’trecommend what the county should doif you don’t know what there is,” Sel-man said about the decision to createa survey. “We wanted to know whatresources we have but also what re-sources people want…What resourcesare in each area of the county.”Selman, previously the executivedirector of the now defunct DeKalbCouncil for the Arts and at one timethe chairman of the Georgia Councilfor the Arts, said each of the four sur-veys is geared to a different segmentof the community.“Then we’ll hire a professional toassess the data that we get and helpus read what it means,” Selman said.“We’ll have a comprehensive report— the good, the bad and the ugly—to present to the CEO.”Selman said the reach of the task force is intended to have a broad viewand includes representatives from Cal-
lanwolde, Spruill, ART Station and
Porter Sanford Performing Arts &
Community Center, and community
members such as
Sara Fountain
, ex-ecutive director of Leadership DeKalb
Betty Willis
from Emory Univer-sity’s community affairs ofce.“I’ve been on this committee withJan Selman and the reason why theCEO asked us to do this to begin with,is to come back to the county andshow what the needs are aside fromfunding,” said
David Thomas
, presi-dent and artistic director of ART Sta-tion in Stone Mountain.
Thomas said ART Station is a non- prot arts center whose main fundingsource is private fundraising. ARTStation recently signed a new leaseagreement with DeKalb County thatallows the organization to use the fa-cility rent-free and the county pays theutilities.“This was a big change for us,”Thomas said. “When we went throughthe recession it was very scary butCEO Ellis was very amenable to it andwas able to convince the commission-ers.”Thomas said Callanwolde FineArts Center, on Briarcliff Road in At-lanta, has a similar agreement with the
ART Station has been operating for 28 years with an annual budget of ap- proximately $1 million; the organiza-tion receives approximately $75,000in funding from DeKalb County,$12,000 from the city of Stone Moun-tain and $6,000 from the state; the bal-ance comes from private donors andthe revenue generated by ticket salesfrom ART Station’s theater.Thomas said he thinks an impor-tant benet the county can do for thearts community, aside from funding, isto help centers similar to his with mar-keting and promote how success in thearts can lead to positive inuences on
the community.
“I think DeKalb could help byemail blasting our activities, thosekinds of things that really don’t costanything,” Thomas said. “Social me-dia is our biggest focus right now andour staff has been through two work-shops on how to use it for marketing.We’re trying to develop a younger audience.”
Angie Macon
, director of the De-catur Arts Alliance, said she isn’t onthe task force but thinks it’s a great
“It would be wonderful for thecounty to put more emphasis on thearts and I think a task force is a greatway to start,” Macon said. “As wecome out of the recession it will beeasier for arts organizations to receivesupport.”Macon said she considers herself lucky to be a Decatur resident becausethe city and community are support-ive of the arts. However, she said notenough grants are available for non- prot organizations such as hers.“When they dissolved the DeKalbCouncil for the Arts there was lessfunding from the county and the Geor-gia Council for the Arts has reducedits funding—that has pushed moreof the arts nonprots to have to look harder for grants and corporate spon-sorships,” Macon said.Selman echoed Macon and saidone of the problems DeKalb Countyfaced in the past was that it didn’toffer grants competitive with thoseFulton County and the city of Atlantaoffer.“Many times we heard of an artsorganization that wanted to relocate,and I would go try and recruit them torelocate to DeKalb County, but theywouldn’t because Fulton County andthe city of Atlanta give really nicegrants to organizations,” Selman said.“It has kept us from being competi-tive in the past. Those attractions arethe kind of things that keep peoplehere.”
Faulty re department air pack causes ‘near miss’
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.com
A DeKalb County re-ghter was forced to jumpout of a two-story buildingafter his air pack malfunc-tioned during a re.According to DeKalbCounty Fire Rescue DeputyChief 
the reghter was on a callat Woody Court at 9:45 p.m.on June 25.The reman “had anissue with his air pack,”Augustin said. “That’s our lifeline in a re.”When “he suddenlystopped receiving air, he bailed out of a window,”Augustin said.The reghter was takento an area hospital wherehe was treated for cuts andminor smoke inhalation andreleased, Augustin said.Augustin said the inci-dent was considered serious.“We’re classifying it asa near miss,” Augustin said.“Thankfully he was not se-riously injured,” Augustinsaid.Approximately 15-20 percent of the house was burned by the re, whichwas quickly stopped in theroom in which it started,Augustin said.Called a self-contained breathing apparatus(SCBA), the air packs areworn by re rescue person-nel to provide breathable air during res and other emer-gency situations.Problems with the air  packs came to light earlier this year during the county’s budget process when rerescue ofcials said theyneeded to replace its inven-tory of 325 SCBAs at a costof $2 million.Many of the devices havehad to be sent back to themanufacturer for repair be-cause of problems with their quick-release connectionsfor the pressurized air bot-tles and battery connections,among other problems.Fire rescue ofcialssaid that since 2009 whenDeKalb Fire Rescue startedusing the air packs, therehave been numerous poten-tially dangerous problems.The devices have mal-functioned during emergen-cies 29 times, according tore rescue ofcials.“We have numerouskinks [in the devices],” saidcounty re Chief 
in February. “A lotof them are potentially cata-strophic.”The county is in the pro-cess of writing a request for a proposal to replace the air  packs, O’Brien said.“It’s our top priority,”O’Brien said.Until the request for pro- posal passes the purchasingdepartment and Board of Commissioners, certiedtechnicians in the re rescue
department are doing their 
 best to keep the SCBAs in“top shape,” O’Brien said.
Art enthusiasts showed their support for local art during the Decatur Arts Festival held in downtown Decatur in May. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

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