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Sunday, January 31, 2010

We Are Looking To Interview...YOU!


All:

So many times in America, people interviewed are typically either of the entertainment or political rhealm.

To actually find interviews of opinion and passion from the average tax paying constituent is rare to say the least.

Thus, we want to interview you about your thoughts on Milton; what you agree with, disagree with, and the like.

So give us a call at 770 653 0552 or email us at sales@magnoliamedias.com / subject line: INTERVIEW.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Lagerbloom Answers Inquiry

All:

City Manager Lagerbloom responded to our request regarding the ethics situation with Tina D'Aversa filed by Neal O'brien. From what he has relayed, this issue is still active and has not be removed or thrown out:

Tim,

Of note related to your question, the meeting of January 25th, 2010 followed this agenda: http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/cityclerk/ethics/2010/01-25-2010_Agenda.pdf.

Subsequent to that agenda, the following agenda has been posted for February 9, 2010:http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/cityclerk/ethics/2010/02-09-2010_Agenda.pdf.

Hope this helps guide you to the information you requested. Have a good Sunday!

Chris

So there you have it. The ethics investigation is on going and it has not come to an end as of this date. Many thanks to Chris for sharing this information with us.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Regarding The Ethics Charge Against Tina D'Aversa

All:

We are receiving requests to check on the status of the ethics complaint filed against Tina D'Aversa by Neal O'brien in the Fall of 2009.

Various statements of supposed fact have been left in our comments section. In order to figure out where things truly stand, we have contacted City Manager Chris Lagerbloom in the hopes of shedding some light on the topic.

Once we have that information in hand, we will post it here on Accessmilton.com.

Thank you,

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fox 5 Video Coverage on Tire / Chadwick Store Fire

11 Alive Coverage on Tire / Chadwick Fire

Courtesy 11 Alive

http://www.11alive.com/video/default.aspx?menuid=149#/News/Roswell%20Tire%20Fire/49906865001/50317397001/64119111001

'It's a miracle'

Rescue brings hope to Haiti natives

By Rachel Kellogg / Neighbor Newspapers

Julienne Jeune, who moved to Milton from Haiti four months ago, and her cousin Germaine Simon were relieved to find out after three days of worrying that their family members in Haiti were alive.

“I was upset and nervous about what happened to our families,” said Ms. Simon. “For three days, I was thinking they were all gone. It’s a miracle that they are alive.”

Ms. Simon’s niece, who was pulled from the rubble of the five-story school she attended, was injured.

But she and the rest of the family members who were in Port au Prince during the Jan. 12 earthquake have made it to safety in the city of Hinche.

Ms. Jeune, 26, has been in contact with her family and said they are living with fear and uncertainty for the future.

“Port-au-Prince was everything. There are small towns in the country, but everyone wanted to go to Port-au-Prince,” she said. “Now they have nothing to do, no universities and no jobs.”

Ms. Simon’s nephew just finished school and was excited to start working in Port-au-Prince, but now he has gone to the Dominican Republic to look for work.

Though separated from their homeland by more than a thousand miles, Ms. Jeune and Ms. Simon are still trying to help the victims of the quake.

The cousins have been working with their church, the Milton Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, packing boxes of food and supplies being sent by the church to Haiti.

Last week more than 300 volunteers from the church packed 918 supply boxes—a total of 80,000 pounds— to send to survivors in Haiti.

Ms. Simon said she and her family are grateful for all the relief efforts in north Fulton and all over the world.

“There are great people in this world. The love and the effort that I see is overwhelming,” she said. “It makes me feel wonderful.”

The retired bookkeeper who left Haiti in 1981 also said she is thankful for those who are traveling to Haiti to help out.

The church is going to reach out to the families and help them survive the aftermath.

The church is also helping Ms. Jeune obtain a visa to stay in Milton and realize her dream of attending a university.

Video Of Fire from Tire Company / Old Chadwick Store

All:

The following is a video segment from wsbtv.com on the fire at Old Chadwick Store.


http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22381292/

Tire company burning in north Fulton

By Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Firefighters now have the Torres Tire Company blaze under control in north Fulton county near the Cherokee County line.

The fire on Arnold Mill Road apparently began when a spark hit some gas fumes, according to Paul Piccirilli, assistant fire chief for Roswell.

No injuries have been reported, but the building is a total loss, Piccirilli said. Between 30 to 40 cars parked at the auto repair shop were also destroyed.

The blaze also came within feet of at least two other businesses, but firefighters were able to contain it. At 4 p.m., firefighters were focusing on hot spots under the collapsed building, Piccirilli said.

The fire began around 1 p.m., according to Sheryl Casher who lives across the street from the business.

"It's scary," said Casher, who was standing outside of her home around 2 p.m., listening to what sounded like explosions. "I think I'm going to get a hotel room tonight."

Casher's 12-year-old grandson is one of five students in the area who couldn't be dropped off on school buses, due to the road being blocked. Parents were asked to pick up the students at school, according to Susan Hale, spokeswoman for Fulton County schools.

Arnold Mill Road, which is also known as Highway 140, is expected to be closed for a few hours.

Thomas Paine Day

All:

Thought this would be of interest to our readers.

What happened to the Revolutionary War heroes that weren't lucky enough to eventually get elected to the office of President of the United States? Obviously, they can't be celebrated on President's Day. The answer: If they're lucky, the got their very own holiday, like Thomas Paine.

On January 29th, Americans (very few of them) celebrate a holiday dedicated to the philosopher who authored the famous "Common Sense" pamphlet -- Thomas Paine Day, also known as Freethinkers Day: "Freethinkers Day, also known as Thomas Paine Day, is an opportunity to promote appreciation of free thought thought the life and works of Thomas Paine. Free thought supports reason over faith, and rejects arbitrary authority."

Aside from lending his pen to the struggle for independence, Paine was also a soldier in the revolutionary army and became secretary of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs ... until his free-thinking eventually got him expelled.
Since the holiday is not widely celebrated (I'd never even heard of it before), the way to properly celebrate Freethinker's Day is limited only by your imagination, ironically. And though it feels strangely contradictory to suggest ways to celebrate Freethinker's Day, plenty of people have done it. Thomas Paine Day is best enjoyed by visiting Thomas Paine monuments, like Paine's New York cottage, and pondering (freely) over some of the thinker's most heralded works.

MFD 2nd in state for MDA fundraising


Milton's Fire Department thrilled at learning it was second in the state raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's (MDA) 2009 Fill-the-Boot Drive. Milton's firefighters raised $48,085 for MDA by hitting the streets during three consecutive weekends in late August and early September. The final day of collections was Labor Day, said Fire Chief Robert Edgar, and Milton citizens and visitors were extremely generous despite this summer's tough economic climate.

For more information, click here

Important filing deadlines

Finance Manager Stacey Inglis reminds Milton citizens the homestead exemption filing deadline with Fulton County is April 1 -- and that's no joke. The city's deadline for filing is May 31. Also, businesses must renew their licenses by March 31.

Click here to view Fulton County's Homestead Exemption page
Click here to view Milton's Homestead Exemption forms
Click here to view Milton's Business license renewal form

Milton firefighters featured on 11Alive


Firefighters from Milton Station No. 43 were recently featured on 11 Alive's "News Today" morning show.

Producers picked Milton's Fire Department for News Today's "Random Acts of Kindness" segment because of the extra work firefighters put into helping clean up Kids R Kids daycare on Ga. 9 Jan. 10.
Click here to watch the full segment=>

Milton to take part in Golden Games

The City of Milton will be supporting and participating in the 16th Annual North Fulton Golden Games for the first time this year.

The Golden Games are for adults ages 50 and over. Events include golf, tennis, field games, disc golf, 3-on-3 basketball, bridge, checkers, horseshoes, shuffleboard, bowling, biathlon, bocce, table tennis, billiard, swimming, ballroom dancing, cycling, walking, running, and Wii bowling. Whatever your interest, there is an event for you!


An opening ceremony with local dignitaries will kick off the games on Wednesday, May 5 at the Roswell Adult Recreation Center. Events will begin the last week of April and continue the first three weeks of May in honor of "May is Older Americans Month". The games will conclude with an awards luncheon on Thursday, May 21 at the Dorothy Benson Center in Sandy Springs.
Participant registration will begin in late February.The application will be available at
www.roswellramblers.org.

If you are interested in participating, please e-mail
Cyndee Bonacci, Director of Parks and Recreation, or call her at 678-242-2489.

Volunteers and sponsors are also needed.

Let's show North Fulton what Milton's made of!

Baseball starts Feb.6, first games March 6

The City of Milton/Hopewell Youth Association Spring 2010 Recreation Baseball Season starts with practices on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Opening Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 6.

This year there are 625 kids playing youth baseball at Bell Memorial Park on 56 teams, ranging in age from 4 to 15 years.

A Coaches Clinic for all coaches, with professional instructors, will be held Sunday, Feb. 7.
Practices and games are held in the evenings Monday through Friday and all day on Saturdays at the four fields at Bell Memorial Park.

For more information, go to www.hopewellbaseball.org
Or contact HYA Vice President Scott Stachowski

Parks and Rec. Needs Survey coming soon


Milton is hard at work planning for the future of its Parks and Recreation system.

In order to fully understand what citizens want and need, the city is conducting a Needs Assesment Survey, which will be mailed to every citizen near the end of February.

Keep an eye out for it in your mailbox.

Milton moving forward through 2010

Message from Mayor Joe Lockwood

It's hard to believe it's almost February. Isn't it strange how quickly time passes when you're doing the things you love?

In Milton, that means moving forward smoothly with the lingering aspects of our transition from the public-private partnership that served the city well throughout its startup. Things have never looked better at City Hall, with established members of the team meshing seamlessly with our hard working new hires.

But here's the real news: According to preliminary budget numbers prompting our transition, in Fiscal Year 2010, Milton will save about $1.265 million by cutting out private company overhead. City Manager Chris Lagerbloom tells me that number is expected to increase into the millions as one-time costs fall off in the coming years.

It seems all that hard work is really paying off.Among those new to Milton is Community Development Director Lynne Tulley. Ms. Tulley comes to us from Dawson County, where she served as Community Development Director. It's been an exhaustive process finding such a qualified, bright and hard working candidate, and I'm sure you'll all get to know and like her as much as we do. Feel free to pop in and say "Hi" anytime - though I have to warn you, she may be a bit busy.

We know at City Hall that high-quality, abundant parks and recreation services are at the top of many Milton citizens' wish lists. I'm pleased to tell you new parks and Recreation Director Cyndee Bonacci, who was an award winning director for Snellville, is in the trenches as you read this, building for the future.

As such, keep an eye out for our Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey, a questionnaire that will serve as a guiding light for the decisions Ms. Bonacci makes. Every Milton citizen will receive one in the mail soon, and it is imperative that we get as much input as possible to create the Parks and Recreation Department our city wants and needs.

That's it for now. As temperatures warm heading into March, I hope you all are able to get out and experience the many wonderful aspects of this beautiful city we all call home. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please call, e-mail or come and visit City Hall. We're always open to each and every one of you.

Sincerely,

Mayor Joe Lockwood

Arnold Mill Road (Ga. 140) shut down due to fire

Media Contact:
Capt. Shawn McCarty
shawn.mccarty@cityofmiltonga.us
678-242-2570 (office)

MILTON, GA., Jan. 29, 2010 - The Milton Police and Fire Departments advise that Arnold Mill Road (Ga. 140) in Milton is shut down from Ranchette Road to the Cherokee County line due to Milton and Roswell fire crews fighting a blaze.

Capt. Shawn McCarty, a spokesman for the Milton Police Department, said the fire is at 13680 Arnold Mill Road in Roswell. To date, there are no known injuries.

McCarty said the road will be shut down until the fire is extinguished.

Incorporated on December 1, 2006, the City of Milton is a distinctive community that embraces small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing the city's rural character. The City of Milton is committed to maintaining the unique quality of life for its constituents while efficiently delivering essential services to residents and businesses in an interactive community environment. For more information, visit www.cityofmiltonga.us, or call 678-242-2500.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Accessmilton Hero Of The Month: Officer Chad Taylor!



Double Click To Enlarge Screen.


Many thanks to Officer Taylor for keeping our families safe and being one of Milton's wonderful heroes!

Where Will The Milton Library Go?

All:

The topic of the Milton Library has been on and off since it's announcement this past year. Should it go in Crabapple? Should it go on Windward? Opinions and questions continue to be bounced around.

Well, the owner of one potential site was kind enough to share with us some information regarding his property on Windward Parkway. Dennis, the floor is yours:

All:

The Fulton County Library Board of Trustees and the Fulton County Commissioners will soon be making a decision on where to locate the new library in Milton . They want to hear from you on what location best serves the majority of Milton residents.

You can learn more about the proposed site located at Windward Parkway at Webb Road near Highway 9 by clicking on: http://www.fultoncountylibraryinmilton.com/

If you already know about the site and agree with many other Milton residents that it is the preferred location then please sign the petition by clicking on: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fultoncountylibraryinmilton/ Both sites have a Power Point presentation that shows the proposed layout of the site, demographics, transportation routes, etc. Thank you for your support of the Windward Parkway site for our new library in Milton .

- Dennis Potts

Feb. 1 Council Meeting Notice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:Jason Wright
jason.wright@cityofmiltonga.us
678-242-2523 (office)
770-825-3096 (cell)



Note: In an effort to provide the most up-to-date information for Milton citizens, the Communications Department will now send pre- and post-City Council meeting updates informing the public about events at City Hall and their outcomes. Following is the agenda for the Feb. 1 regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

City Council meetings take place at 6 p.m. the first and third Mondays of the month, barring a holiday, at City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway Milton, Ga. 30004. Work sessions take place the second Monday of the month.

For a full list of all city sponsored meetings, click
here to see the calendar.

Persons needing special accommodations in order to participate in any city meeting should call 678-242-2500.



Monday, February 1, 2010 Regular Council Meeting Agenda 6:00PM
INVOCATION


1) CALL TO ORDER
2) ROLL CALL
3) PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE (Led by the Mayor)

4) APPROVAL OF MEETING AGENDA (Add or remove items from the agenda)(Agenda Item No. 10-1042)
5) PUBLIC COMMENT
6) CONSENT AGENDA

1. Approval of the January 6, 2010 Regular Meeting Minutes. (Sudie Gordon, Interim City Clerk) (Agenda Item No. 10-1043)
2. Approval of the January 11, 2010 Work Session Minutes. (Sudie Gordon, Interim City Clerk)
(Agenda Item No. 10-1044)


7) REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
8) FIRST PRESENTATION
9) PUBLIC HEARINGS
10) ZONING AGENDA
11) UNFINISHED BUSINESS
12) NEW BUSINESS

1. Approval of a Resolution adopting the City of Milton Parks and Recreation Assessment Plan and Pattern Book for Use by the City of Milton Parks and Recreation Department. (Agenda Item No. 10-1045) (Previously Discussed on 2/14/09 at Council Work Session) (Presented by Cyndee Bonacci, Community Development Director)

2. Approval of a Contract Between the City of Milton and The Schapiro Group, Inc. for the Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment and related work. (Agenda Item No. 10-1046) (Presented by Cyndee Bonacci, Parks and Recreation Director)

3. Approval of A Resolution to Attach a Section Called Supplemental Plans to the Partial Plan Update of the City of Milton 2008-2028 Comprehensive Plan. (Agenda Item No. 10-1047) (Presented by Lynn Tully, Community Development Director)

13) MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
14) STAFF REPORTS
15) EXECUTIVE SESSION
16) ADJOURNMENT (Agenda Item No. 10-1048)

Thurman and Lusk complete government training


Media Contact: Jason Wright
jason.wright@cityofmiltonga.us
678-242-2523 (office)
770-825-3096 (cell)

MILTON, GA., Jan. 28, 2010 - Milton City Council members Karen Thurman and Bill Lusk received the prestigious Certificate of Recognition from the Georgia Municipal Training Institute at the Georgia Municipal Association's (GMA) Annual Mayors' Day Conference in Atlanta Jan. 24. They are the first two Milton City Council members to receive the honor.

The Georgia Municipal Training Institute, a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, provides a nationally recognized series of training opportunities for elected city officials. To receive a Certificate of Recognition, a city official must complete a minimum of 42 units of credit. The training program consists of a series of 24 six-unit courses.

"This is an outstanding achievement," said GMA Executive Director Jim Higdon. "We commend Council members Thurman and Lusk for this accomplishment and for the dedication they have shown in using this valuable resource to become a more effective city official."

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its 500 member cities.

Incorporated on December 1, 2006, the City of Milton is a distinctive community that embraces small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing the city's rural character. The City of Milton is committed to maintaining the unique quality of life for its constituents while efficiently delivering essential services to residents and businesses in an interactive community environment. For more information, visit www.cityofmiltonga.us, or call 678-242-2500.

A Bump In The Night.

All:

Last night, my wife Ginger and I had the dubious honor of having a fellow driver decide to back up in the middle of Webb Road and hit the front of our car in the process.

Thankfully, Officer Wong of the Milton Police Department was there within eight minutes or so to address the situation.

While some might not think such a story is news worthy, it actually is. As Officer Wong took care of us, the rest of our 40 square mile / 30,000 resident city was being protected by only three officers...provided no one had called in sick or was recovering from an on the job injury. Just three.

This is something to think about when you witness your next daily speeder in the open road neighborhoods or hear about a another break-in.

Milton is dropping the ball when it comes to having a properly staffed Police Department. These heroes are working 50 to 60 hours a week just to give the Milton public minimal presence on the roads. Even heroes get tired.

I urge our council and staff to re-evaluate the budget and hire more officers. Otherwise, both your family and mine are in jeopardy of becoming another number on a data sheet.

- Tim Enloe / Accessmilton.com

Many thanks to Officer Wong.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trapdoor, secret room found in Milton house

By Andria Simmons
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Milton couple who recently purchased a house discovered a feature that wasn't listed among the amenities: a trapdoor leading to a secret room.

Workers were pulling up the carpet at the house on Nix Road to install a hardwood floor when they stumbled across a plywood trapdoor, according to a Milton Police report. Stairs underneath the trapdoor led to a room behind a walled-off portion of the basement.

The workers contacted the homeowners, who then called police. Officers used their flashlights to search the darkened room. It was mostly cleaned out, but they discovered a large trash bag containing "miscellaneous equipment that could be used in the growing of marijuana plants," the police report stated.

The couple told police they purchased the four-bedroom, three bathroom home at foreclosure in December and were in the process of renovating it. They said the house had been inspected twice in September and October of 2009. The trapdoor went undetected both times. The house was built in 1995.

The police report indicates that investigators are looking into whether the prior homeowner was involved in growing and harvesting marijuana. Capt. John Huey of Milton Police would only state that "the investigation is ongoing."

The homeowners declined to speak on the record about the discovery and asked that their specific address not be revealed, citing safety concerns.
Many thanks to Travis Allen for bringing this story to our attention.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Milton residents offer transportation fixes

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

January 25, 2010 MILTON - Local residents who participated in a North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan meeting on Jan. 19 at Milton City Hall identified most of the same transportation headaches seen in previous studies by experts. Arnold Mill Road, McGinnis Ferry Road, Birmingham Highway, Ga. 400, Hwy. 9 – all of these roads and more were identified as problem areas.

The 20 or so Milton residents took part in the “charette,” an interactive meeting to gauge their opinions, breaking into separate groups under the direction of representatives of the firm Kimley-Horn. That firm was contracted by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), which in turn was asked by North Fulton’s municipalities to help create the transportation plan.

The nightmare scenario of Ga. 400 with eight lanes in either direction caught the attention of those in attendance, pushing home the concept that the age of widening roads to meet traffic concerns is over.

“For the past few decades, the way that we addressed congestion was to widen roads,” explained Cristina Pastore, of Kimley-Horn, “but as we’re starting to see, that’s not necessarily the way that we can continue to do this. We can’t continue to widen roads... so we’ve got to talk about sustainability and options.”

Without the option to widen roads, there are very few alternatives to ease traffic flow throughout the region. Unfortunately even public transport is unlikely to reach the majority of Milton - forget heavy rail at any time in our lifetimes, but even simple bus service is restricted. Milton’s one-house-per-acre preference is a far cry from the four per acre that MARTA uses as the minimum threshold for new bus routes. The best that could be had would be more Park and Rides, which some residents at the meeting whole-heartedly supported.

What many of the residents would do to improve traffic flow was perhaps different from the typical list of intersection improvements. Many suggested improving ways to direct traffic around the city instead of through it - a new road to the north could connect Cherokee County commuters to Ga. 400 without the need for them to even come into the city, for instance. A dedicated express lane on high-traffic roads such as Arnold Mill Road was suggested for those commuters wanting to cut through North Fulton en route to elsewhere.

Of particular concern was the proposed new Ga. 400 exit at McGinnis Ferry Road that would add significant traffic to an otherwise calm area of the city. Should that ever be built, Milton would have to start taking action soon to improve the roadways.

According to Pastore, Kimley-Horn will sift through all the suggestions offered by Milton and compare them with those offered by the surrounding cities to create the beginnings of a North Fulton transportation plan, full of projects the cities can all get behind and go to the state for funding.

Milton's January Wine Tasting!

"OUT OF THE CELLAR" WINES
January 27 6:00p-7:30p

Thierry et Pascale Matrot,Meursault 2006 Vincent Girardin,Volnay ler Cru 2005 Heitz Cellars, Napa Valley,Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Frontesca, Spring Mountain District,Cabernet Sauvignon 2004.

Cost is $10.00 per person and if you stay for dinner we will take $5.00 off your meal.
To find more out about the wonderful Milton's Cuisine & Cocktails, click here=>

Bring This Puppy Home!



My girls and I rescued this beautiful 10 1/2 week old puppy from the Humane Society in hopes of finding it a loving home. We couldn't bear to think he would be left there sitting in a cold large pen. He is playful, happy, loving and fun; however, our 4 year old small dog is not adapting well at all so we feel it would be best for both dogs if we were able to find this puppy a loving home of his own.

If you or anyone you know is wanting a loving puppy and loves the larger size dog, he is perfect!! A fenced in back yard would be ideal but he is good to stick by you as he loves people!!
I have attached pictures of him. He is a mix between a lab, rottie, shepherd but also has fluffy hair. He is free to the right owner and has a free "neuter" coupon from the Orr Animal Hospital when he turns 6 mos. in May. He has a large crate that is his as well. I'm not asking for anything except someone to give this little guy a good home!!
Please help. If he is not right for you, please let me know if you think of anyone who may be interested.

Thank you for your help!!

Lisa Whitmore
678.947.6875

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Poll Up.

All:

We have a new poll up. It asks:

*Milton hired a parks director for $85,000 / yr. Starting salary for a police officer is $39,500 /yr. Milton only has three parks: 1 is closed, the second is undeveloped, and the third is for baseball. Milton normally only has four officers per twelve hour shift and the city is right under 40 square miles. With the $85k, would you still have hired the parks director or two additional officers instead?

Have your say today in the upper right!

The previous poll asked:

Which makes Milton more unique; it's one home-per-acre subdivisions or it's equestrian estates?

RESULTS:

One-home-per-acre subdivisions: 63%
Equestrian Estates: 36%

CBS Atlanta Investigates: School Money Wasted

CBS Atlanta Asks The Tough Questions, Gets Action

Courtesy CBS Atlanta


ATLANTA -- A CBS Atlanta News investigation is getting action tonight following our Tough Questions about a waste of our school kids money.
The Fulton County School Board voted Thursday night to oust a questionable contractor we exposed was defrauding the school district out of tens of thousands of dollars.


It's now official. The Fulton County School Board voted to rebid their school supply contract.

You may remember CBS Atlanta asked the Tough Questions and exposed Office Depot overcharging the school district for basic school supplies, like pens, pencils and paper.

School board members ducked and dodged our Tough Questions. Now those same public officials are taking a stand against Office Depot after we exposed they were overcharging the schools, and wasting your tax dollars.

"The concerns about the recent pricing oddities have to be considered in our decision not to renew our contract," said Linda Bryant, the Fulton School Board President.

The board’s unanimous vote made it final. The Fulton County Board of Education will not be renewing the contract with Office Depot.

"The board is entrusted to make sure our dollars are used in the most efficient and effective means possible," Bryant continued.

Our exclusive CBS Atlanta Investigation found not only was Fulton County buying school supplies from one of the highest bidders, at a price tag $1.5 million, more than other bidders, we also found Office Depot was charging Fulton County Schools more than the general public for many of those same supplies.

Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman asked School CFO Robert Morales about his plans to notify Office Depot about the district's decision. "We have had a phone call with them know that we are going to proceed down this route," Morales said.

The deciding factor to cancel that contract were the pricing concerns CBS Atlanta first uncovered.

"Let's be honest as well, we have some issues regarding pricing difficulties. And so we wanted to make sure taking all of that into consideration that we go ahead and rebid," Morales told us.

As a result of CBS Atlanta's report, the school district was able to recover $23,000 in overcharges from Office Depot. Now the school district will rebid the contract, hoping to get the same supplies for less, saving our kids even more money.
"We look at it as better in several ways, one is pricing, that's one of the first things we look for," Morales continued.

Office Depot has also been accused of overcharging government agencies across the United States and they're under investigation for their questionable pricing tactics in at least five states.

The school district will start taking new bids as soon as possible and in the next few days they will be sending a letter to Office Depot to notify them of their intent to cancel that contract.

Office Depot told CBS Atlanta they had no response to our report.

Milton police to take the plunge

Media Contact: Jason Wright
jason.wright@cityofmiltonga.us
678-242-2523 (office)
770-825-3096 (cell)

Tell an officer to "Jump in a Lake" -- for a donation

MILTON, GA., Jan. 25, 2010 - The Milton Police Department will be "Freezin' for a Reason" Feb. 20 as officers take part in the first Special Olympics of Georgia Polar Plunge at Lake Lanier Islands.

In a nutshell, participants collect pledges from friends and family in exchange for the opportunity to jump into icy waters in the middle of winter. All proceeds collected by "plungers" will benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Georgia.

But the city's police officers will only risk life and limb in those freezing depths if citizens make it worth their while. Team Milton's goal is $3,000.

Donating is fast, easy and secure. To tell an officer to "Jump in a Lake," donate to Team Milton by visiting its fundraising Web site, http://www.firstgiving.com/shawnmccarty.

Milton Police are participating in the Polar Plunge as part of the "Law Enforcement Torch Run," which involves more than 1,000 law enforcement officers from over 100 agencies who take part in a 1,000-mile, two-week torch relay to pass the Special Olympics Georgia "Flame of Hope" across the state. All of the nine relays converge at Emory University during the state Summer Games Opening Ceremony.

In addition to the Polar Plunge and Torch Run itself, Milton police will also be participating in two other fundraising events -- "Tip a Cop" Feb. 9 at Dickey's Barbecue Pit on Ga. 9 and "Cuffed for a Cause" in early spring. Details about each event are coming soon.
For more information on the Polar Plunge and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, please visit
http://www.specialolympicsga.org.

Incorporated on December 1, 2006, the City of Milton is a distinctive community that embraces small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing the city's rural character. The City of Milton is committed to maintaining the unique quality of life for its constituents while efficiently delivering essential services to residents and businesses in an interactive community environment. For more information, visit www.cityofmiltonga.us, or call 678-242-2500.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Milton Vies For A Piece Of The Money Action

Courtesy By Annie Piekarczyk / Beacon Media

Under a new program of MARTA stimulus funding, North Fulton County has recently been allocated $6.25 million. Of that, $625,000 belongs to the city of Milton to enhance mass transportation service.

For Fiscal 2010, MARTA was authorized to use $25 million in stimulus funding (ARRA funds) to offset a deficit in operational funds. The use of those funds was to prevent a reduction in services provided by MARTA. In exchange for those funds, MARTA agreed to allocate capital reserve funds to qualifying projects within their operational area to offset the use of stimulus funding.

Milton Public Works Director Carter Lucas said the available $625,000 might be used on transportation enhancements within half an hour (approximately half a mile of an existing transit route within the city limits) of two bus routes near Milton’s City Hall.

As of Jan. 20, Milton’s staff has been authorized to pursue funding under this program based on a number of identified projects enabling a more comprehensive and improved transportation system. Such projects include filling in gaps on Cogburn Road, Webb Road, Deerfield Parkway, Morris Road, and Bethany Road, as well as upgrading signals, buttons, ramps, refuge islands and disability upgrades. Other items on the “wish list,” as Lucas referred to it, include gateway signage and streetscapes.

Also on the list are two more bus shelters on routes 143 and 185.

MILTON’S WISH LIST

“This list would be our wish list,” said Lucas, “And we could do any or all of these projects with this funding. We would not be expected to do any particular project that we so choose not to. (Rather), this resolution (will) authorize staff to move forward with inclusion of these projects with ARC.”

Milton also will soon receive $25,000 that will go toward purchasing a portable AFIS (automated fingerprint identification system) and an EWI (electronic warrant system) for the city to enhance the Fulton County Court system to make investigations and warrant procedures more efficient within the city. Such systems allow officers local means of speaking with a county judge and capturing and verifying suspects’ fingerprints quickly.

In 2009, the Byrne Formula Grants were distributed by the US Department of Justice to jurisdictions that met certain established criteria.

“Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the justice assistants distributed program grant monies to various police departments just in a lump sum without competitive application as a part of the act,” said Milton’s Assistant to the City Manager, Matt Marietta. “We were not able to apply for the grant [because] we didn’t have enough statistical data reported to the FBI.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Questions and Answers About T-Mobile’s Proposed Cell Sites in Milton

Courtesy T-Mobile

Will the presence of a cell site have a negative effect on my property value?

Independent appraisers across the country have analyzed the potential impact new cell sites might have on local property values. These studies demonstrate that having a cell site nearby does not diminish property values.

“Cellular phone towers do not have a measurable or identifiable impact on residentialproperty values.”
- The Valuation Group, Inc. in a study conducted for Twin Cities 13-County Metropolitan Area, Minnesota and Western Minnesota, January 2007

“Not a single example was found to support the test hypothesis that property values decline after the installation of a Wi-Fi or wireless antenna.”
- Tarantello and Associates in a study of numerous properties and communities in Southern California, April 2008

“There is no diminution in the value of homes with a view of a telecommunications facility.”
- Lane Appraisals, Inc. in a study conducted in Airmont, New York, May 2006

Why does T-Mobile need these three sites?


Current T-Mobile service in these particular areas does not provide the level of in-building coverage that customers tell us they need and expect. Our customers increasingly depend upon wireless coverage inside their homes and other buildings. Recent studies indicate that more than half of all cell phone calls are made from homes. In addition, 20 percent of U.S. households do not have landlines and rely solely on mobile phones.

Can T-Mobile co-locate on other cell sites to meet coverage needs in these areas?


Unfortunately no. Our preference is to always co-locate when and where possible. However, there are no existing sites available for co-location that will meet our coverage needs in these areas.

What about placing these cell sites in industrial or commercial zones in Milton?

There are no commercial or industrial areas available that will meet our coverage objectives for these three sites.

Why did T-Mobile choose these locations?


T-Mobile identified the largest parcels available that could be leased by the property owners and could meet our coverage objectives. The parcel sizes for the three proposed sites are 10, 26 and 51 acres, respectively.

Why are the proposed sites so tall?


Our equipment needs to be tall enough to ensure the signal can reach as large an area as possible, especially given the rolling hills and tall trees throughout the area.


- A PDF version of our Wireless Siting Brochure and link to our Take Action website that also has additional educational information about wireless technology included: http://www.t-mobile-takeaction.com/aboutwireless.html

T-Mobile’s Site Proposals for Milton 1

Double Click To Enlarge Image.

Mountain Road Site
Site Address:
2880 Mountain Rd., Milton, GA 30004
Existing Zoning: AG-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Height: 149 Feet
Parcel Size: 10.338 acres

The photo above simulates the proposed cell site as viewed from approximately 230 feet South of the site on the host property, looking North.

T-Mobile conducted a thorough review of alternative site options and no existing cell sites or properties in commercial or industrial areas are available to meet coverage needs in this area.


Courtesy T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s Site Proposals for Milton 2


Double Click To Enlarge Image.

Hopewell Road Site
Site Address: 14495 Hopewell Road, Milton, GA 30004
Existing Zoning: AG-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Height: 154 Feet
Parcel Size: 26.4294 acres

The photo above simulates the proposed cell site as viewed from approximately 250 feet northeast of the site on the host property, looking Southwest.


T-Mobile conducted a thorough review of alternative site options and no existing cell sites or properties in commercial or industrial areas are available to meet coverage needs in this area.

Courtesy T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s Site Proposals for Milton 3

Double Click To Enlarge Image.

New Providence Road Site
Site Address:
13340 New Providence Rd., Milton, GA. 30004
Existing Zoning: AG-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Height: 154 Feet
Parcel Size:
51.59 acres

The photo above simulates the proposed cell site as viewed from approximately 615 feet East of the site near 13255 new Providence Road, looking West.

T-Mobile conducted a thorough review of alternative site options and no existing cell sites or properties in commercial or industrial areas are available to meet coverage needs in this area.


Courtesy T-Mobile

Milton Police Department arranges donation for Birmingham Falls' Safety Patrol

Media Contact: Jason Wright
jason.wright@cityofmiltonga.us
678-242-2523 (office)
770-825-3096 (cell)

City vendor Command Uniforms cut vests specifically for students

MILTON, GA., Jan. 21, 2010 - The dozens of children in Birmingham Falls Elementary School's student-staffed "Safety Patrol" will really stand out thanks to the work of Milton's Police Department and its uniform vendor, Atlanta-based Command Uniforms. On Jan. 21, the company donated 40 bright orange vests manufactured to fit the children. The Milton Police Department, which had been contacted by the school for the vests and worked through Command Uniforms to provide them free of charge, gave administrators the gift.

Mike Dykes, a Birmingham Falls representative, said students in the Safety Patrol monitor hallways in the mornings and afternoons, mentor younger peers and act as ambassadors during special events. The vests will set them apart, he said, and make them especially visible on the school's sidewalks and in its carpool area.

Incorporated on December 1, 2006, the City of Milton is a distinctive community that embraces small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing the city's rural character. The City of Milton is committed to maintaining the unique quality of life for its constituents while efficiently delivering essential services to residents and businesses in an interactive community environment. For more information, visit www.cityofmiltonga.us, or call 678-242-2500.

Man breaks into same home twice

Courtesy By Andria Simmons
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


A 22-year-old man has been jailed on burglary charges for allegedly breaking into an acquaintance's house in Milton twice in the same day.

A 15-year-old boy who lived at the home overheard the alleged burglar talking on the phone downstairs around 3 p.m. on Jan. 9. The teenager apparently recognized the man's voice as that of a former familiy friend, David Hughes. Police said the teenager was too scared to confront Hughes, so he called his parents. The suspect left before the parents arrived home.

About two hours later, Hughes allegedly returned to the house and tried to get in through the kitchen door. A female resident spotted him and he fled. Later, the homeowners discovered that several blank personal checks were missing and one of them was cashed by Hughes.

Milton Police arrested Hughes Friday on charges of burglary, attempted burglary and first-degree forgery.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Philly Pretzel Factory Donates Food To Milton Officers



Double Click To Enlarge Screen.

All:

Many thanks to the folks at the Philly Pretzel Factory for donating food to our Milton Police Officers. If you or someone you know would like to work with Philly Pretzel Factory and Accessmilton.com in support of our Milton Fire and Police Departments, please give us a call at 770 653 0552.

To the Milton Officers - Thank You For Keeping Milton Safe!

To Find Out More About Milton's Wonderful Police Department, Click here=>

http://www.cityofmiltonga.us/safety/police/index.html

To Find Out More About Milton's Own Philly Pretzel Factory, Click here=>

http://www.accessmilton.com/Advertisers/PhillyPretzelFactory.php

Traffic must slow down in Milton


Courtesy Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

January 18, 2010 MILTON - For subdivisions demanding speed humps and other traffic calming devices on their streets, Milton may have some bad news.

At last week's council work session, the consensus was residents would pay for traffic calming devices.

The problem is this: A lot of traffic cuts through Milton and much of it goes through subdivisions and neighborhoods, often at speeds higher than the posted speed limit.

There is no way to reduce the volume of traffic, but speeds can be controlled.

Homeowners' associations (HOAs) have petitioned the city to install speed bumps and similar devices to slow vehicles down. Milton's current traffic calming policy does not specifically address such petitions.

"We have serious problems regarding speeders in our neighborhood. The speeding is atrocious," said Bret Cole of the Hopewell Plantation HOA.

According to Cole, Hopewell Plantation serves as an oft-used shortcut for traffic. "There's no way of controlling that right now," he added.

To combat this problem, Public Works Director Carter Lucas proposed a series of changes to the policy to formalize and regulate a system for accepting applications for traffic calming devices. Under his suggestions, an application would go like this: A formal request for speed control measures is made of the city.

City employees would then go out and conduct a traffic study to determine if the street meets traffic volume limits (between 400 and 4,000 vehicles a day) and if 15 percent of those vehicles speed in excess of 10 mph the posted limit.

If the road is eligible, an application fee is paid and residents sign a petition of approval (which requires 75 percent of the affected residents' signatures). The city designs and then installs it.

The questions put before council were "how fast is too fast?" and "how much should the subdivision pay?"

Under the current guidelines, of the 11 subdivisions that have requested traffic calming measures, only seven met the traffic volume requirements. Of those, most speeds on the roads were clocked in at between 5 mph and 8 mph over the speed limit. Only White Columns subdivision had speeds much higher – the average there was a full 16 mph too fast. Council was unanimous in their support of making the speeding threshold between 5 mph and 8 mph, which would allow most of the other subdivisions to apply.

Of more concern was cost. Speed control measures, depending on the design and material, cost between $2,000 and $5,000, said Lucas.

By attaching a fee to the approval process and requiring HOAs to foot some of the bill, the city can weed out those communities that are not entirely serious about putting in the measures. According to Lucas, a cheap material, such as rubber, would be covered 50-50 by the city and the subdivision. For anything different – such as brick – the HOA would fund the difference.

Council member Karen Thurman raised to question of installing such measures on open roads, where speeding is just as much of a problem as in the subdivisions.

"In south Florida they have them [traffic calming devices] everywhere you go," said Thurman. "And some of those roads are more than 35 mph."

"Once you get out of a typical subdivision, you really start getting into the question of liability on the city's part," warned Lucas. "It's really an obstruction of the roadway."

Mayor Joe Lockwood agreed. "My road is 35 mph and myself and my neighbors would love to put speed calming devices on our road, but it's not a neighborhood," he said. "We'd open a can of worms if we went [putting traffic calming devices on roads with speed limits] over 35 miles an hour."

City attorney Ken Jarrard said Milton must comply with Georgia law for what is safe to put in the road.

Chain reaction felt at Northwestern


January 18, 2010 MILTON - The students of Northwestern Middle School were able to meet a truly special girl last week.

Rachel Joy Scott spoke before several assemblies of the student body about five codes of ethics that each child should strive to live by.

By the end of the school day, more than 400 of these children had pledged to follow by Rachel's words of guidance.

What is more surprising is that Rachel has been dead for 10 years now.

Rachel was the very first victim of the Columbine massacre that occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado April 20, 1999, the first of 13 victims to be brutally gunned down by two classmates.

Through the efforts of her family and friends and the moving words she kept in a half-dozen notebooks, Rachel's words preaching kindness, understanding and love have reached the ears of more than 12 million people, including presidents, athletes and actors.

Her story was brought to Northwestern by the student body. A poll had been taken regarding bullying and the vast majority of students admitted to some form of bullying.

To combat that, the students searched for a program aimed at teaching respect and kindness.

"We do a lot of things for respect and bullying, and this program really helps," said Principal Bruce Fraser. "It has made a huge difference."

Through five simple steps, Rachel predicted that the world can be made a better place, so long as everyone does their part. They were included in a short essay she wrote just six weeks before her death.

The first code is "Look for the best in others." Only by getting to know the personality within people can one truly get to know them.

First impressions are not always correct. Only by making an effort to make a friend can eliminate you prejudices.

"Choose positive influences." Her killers chose April 20 because it was the birthday of Adolf Hitler, a man they idolized. Rachel, on the other hand, chose to admire Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager killed during World War II. Like Anne, Rachel's life is remembered most through her journal writings and ideals of a better world. You get out of life what you put into it, and keeping positive influences leads to a positive life.

"Kind words and acts of kindness" can open up doors normally closed. Rachel's kindness touched many students in her school. Through the Rachel's Challenge program, her message has touched millions.

"It's really touching and really sad," said one woman who saw the program and whose son is a seventh grader at Northwestern. "He was very touched by it. He thought it was good."

"This is probably the most motivated middle school I've ever had," said speaker J.B., who was amazed at the reaction of the Northwestern students. "You don't normally get that in middle schools."

The final code is by far the most important: "Start a chain reaction" and pass along her message and accept her challenge of making a better world.

For information, visit rachelschallenge.org.

Milton Council Council measures alcohol

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

January 18, 2010 MILTON – Sometimes the status quo is just fine. That's what Milton's council decided at a workshop session last Monday when discussing whether to change the restrictions on the distance of alcohol sales from a school.

The issue was raised during December's consideration of an alcohol license for Sip Wine Tapas restaurant, in Crabapple. According to state law, any business trying to sell alcohol must be a set distance from a church or school.

However, when measuring the distance from Sip Wine to Crabapple Crossing Elementary School, the restaurant and the city had differing methods – the city measured by the shortest distance; Sip Wine measured along the impervious surfaces (i.e. roads) to the entrance of the school. The problem is they were both right.

"We believed the school grounds were closer than their surveyor did," said City Attorney Ken Jarrard. "We decided that, in the absence of any language in our code that made it absolutely clear, we would yield to their surveyor in this situation."

Milton code follows exactly the state code for dealing with such issues. According to Jarrard, it was perfectly within the council's power to change the code if they wished it.

As Mayor Joe Lockwood said, a more restrictive code would only hinder Milton businesses.

"We've got such a a small commercial base that I would be for keeping within the state code," Lockwood said.

Milton has typically interpreted "impervious surfaces" as roads and sidewalks as well as grass and the right of way; anything on which people will travel. However, now there is precedent within the city that only roads and sidewalks are the standard.

Under the new interpretation, a school and a bar could theoretically be back to back and, instead of measuring the shortest distance, the city would have to measure from front door to front door following the nearby roads.

"[The state law] makes no sense but it is a formula," said Jarrard.

Along similar lines, the council debated whether a daycare counts as a school and therefore be included in the alcohol restrictions.

"A daycare's primary function is not to educate. It is to be a caretaker. A school's primary role is to educate," Jarrard said.

This issue was raised last month when the city was considering an alcohol application for a store that was near The Goddard School.

While technically a daycare, Goddard portrays itself as a teaching facility. This distinction led city staff to decide it was in fact a school a daycare.

The council agreed that daycares are not schools, and no change will have to be made to the city code.

Milton splits with private company

Courtesy by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

January 18, 2010 MILTON – The grand experiment is at an end for Milton – as of the first of the year, there was no longer any public-private partnership between the city and private company CH2M Hill.

"For all intents and purposes, we're done," said City Manager Chris Lagerbloom.

When Milton was first formed in 2006, CH2M Hill was brought in to manage much of the day-to-day affairs of city government, just as they currently are with the cities of Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.

The company bought equipment, computers, phones, an office building to serve as city hall, all to get the city up and running on its very first day of business.

"They provide a very vital service for a new government," said Lagerbloom.

However, with the economic downturn, cracks began to show in the relationship with city leaders.

Hill fees a problem

There was the trouble of having private employees scattered wherever the company thought it best. For instance, the city Web site was managed by a webmaster in Denver, where CH2M Hill has its headquarters.

For Lagerbloom, it was a constant problem having to rely on passing information to the public when that person was not only unable to attend informational meetings, but living two time zones away.

The biggest – and by far the most worrying – was that the city was contractually obligated to pay the company a lump sum every year for its services.

This created a problem when Milton had to pare back its budget to meet the economic climate and the company would not budge on the fee.

"How do we break apart this lump sum? How do we position ourselves such that we don't have this $7 million contract on us that will always be $7 million?" asked Lagerbloom.

To add to that, there was a clause in the contract that increased the fee based on a complicated formula. Had the city stayed with CH2M Hill, that $7 million would have risen to $8.2 million with no increase in performance or costs.

That's a lot of money for a city whose budget last year was a little over $17 million.

What now?

Now that the deal is done, the city is already seeing savings. By eliminating the company from contracts, Milton is able to directly negotiate with contractors used for public works and keep the fee that CH2M Hill would tag on.

Lagerbloom claims he has already seen overall savings of $1.26 million for taxpayers so far this year. He expects that number to go up, with even more saved next year.

"This wasn't a bad experience for the city," said Lagerbloom. "We wouldn't have been positioned such that we could make this transition if we hadn't had somebody like CH2MHill to start us up. [But] there is no middle man at this point."

Jan Jones could bring big changes to Georgia House

Jones.


Courtesy Jim Tharpe / Atlanta Journal Constitution

She has a husband, four kids and two dogs -- one named “Hotshot,” the other, “Rocket.” She likes to garden. She often reads herself to sleep at night.

Jan Jones also just happens to be the most powerful woman ever to sit in the male-dominated Georgia Legislature. The 51-year-old Jones, a Republican lawmaker from Milton, was last week elected speaker pro tem of the state House of Representatives, becoming the first woman in Georgia history to hold the title.

Jones’ rise to power could have big implications around the state Capitol, not to mention Fulton County, where she lives and which could be divided into two counties under legislation she advocates.

By week’s end, she was still trying to get settled in her role as well as her new Capitol office, just around the corner from House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). Her cellphone’s voice-mail box was jammed, and she was struggling to keep up with her e-mail. She suddenly had a lot of new friends.

Her lawyer husband, Kalin, and her kids -- ages 14 to 22 -- were not overly impressed.

“My kids laugh when they [reporters] say that,” she said of the reaction to her new title and its “most powerful” prefix. “They think of me as Mom. They think of politics as my hobby. Your family keeps you grounded.”

This is Jones’ fourth term as a state lawmaker, her eighth year at the Capitol. She was majority whip before she was elected to her current job. Friends describe her as a reserved woman who doesn’t mince words. Just ask about her political role models.

“I mostly found them [politicians] to be irritating,” Jones said during an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at her Capitol office. “When I got involved in things in the community, I mostly found them to be in the way.What I did not appreciate is how complicated things are. I have come to appreciate that.”

Jones will probably come to appreciate those complications even more in her new role. She was immediately inundated with praise as she held the House gavel for the first time

But critics were already circling, warning of bitter legislative fights ahead if she advances legislation to carve Milton County out of northern Fulton County. Milton was absorbed into Fulton in the 1930s.

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) fears Jones will use her newfound power to push a bill that could re-create the county. That House resolution has been lingering in the Legislature for four years.

“It’s a bad idea, and she’ll use her ascension as a platform to push it,” Fort said. “It’s a bad idea for Atlanta, and it’s a bad idea for the region. Essentially what you would have is the Balkanization of metro Atlanta.”

But Jones also has her fans. They see her as a fresh, new beginning after the sex scandal that forced former Speaker Glenn Richardson from office.

State Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs) described the new speaker pro tem as a quiet woman not to be underestimated. She was a key player in the controversial creation of his city out of north Fulton County five years ago, Wilkinson said.

“She was the one who came up with the financial calculation to prove we, as the city of Sandy Springs, would be viable,” Wilkinson said. “She would have won MVP in that fight.”

Wilkinson, who encouraged Jones to run in 2002 and sided with her in the Republican primary, said Jones is an understated politician who knows how to get things done.
“She’s not a back-slapper,” he said. “She is very reserved. She has a wonderful sense of humor. And it’s never humor at someone else’s expense. It’s usually directed at herself.”

Jones was born the middle of three children in Warner Robins, just south of Macon. Her father, Gerald Slaughter, was in the U.S. Air Force, and her mom, Mary, spent her days raising kids. The family moved a lot, living in California, Alaska and Labrador, but always seemed to end up back in Georgia.

"Dublin, Ga., [where her parents grew up] was always home base,” Jones said. “We’d move around the country and the world, but we’d come back there for summers.”

Jones got interested in journalism while the family lived in California. She and a friend attended the trial of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, arriving at the courthouse before dawn to line up for a seat.

“My mom always said that she always wanted her kids to come back to Georgia,” Jones said. “When it was time to go to college, it was the only offer we had on the table.”

Jones got a journalism degree from the University of Georgia. She worked briefly for a small Georgia radio station but stayed in the news business “just long enough to realize I didn’t want to be that poor.”

She met her husband while he was at UGA and he was in law school there. They got married, and she went back to UGA to get a master's in business administration.

Jones and her husband lived in the Garden Hills neighborhood of Atlanta for 12 years, and have lived in what is now the Milton area for the past decade or so.

During that time, Jones has held sway in a variety of roles, marketing executive for Home Box Office, stay-at-home mom (for 10 years) and self-described “community activist.”

“It never occurred to me I’d be a stay-at-home mom,” she said, “but then the baby comes and you think, ‘I’d like to try this.' ”

Jones got involved in community issues, both in Garden Hills and north Fulton, once trying to annex all of northwest Fulton into Alpharetta.

She said she never got interested in running for office until the 2000 census created three districts out of former Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter’s (R-Johns Creek) seat. It was Burkhalter, Jones said, who encouraged her to run for one of the open seats.

Burkhalter, she said, also gave her the advice that still guides her legislative career.

“He said, ‘Pick issues you care about. And pick something that matters to you.' "

For her, Jones said that means the creation of Milton County -- she thinks Fulton County is too big to be effectively governed -- and education.

The decision to run for office in 2002, she said, was made only after discussion with her husband and family. And it came after years of growing frustration from an activist working outside the system.

"I was tired of knocking on the door from the outside,” she said. “I’d been doing that for 15 years. It was an opportunity to be on the inside and make a difference.”

Now she is very much on the inside. Republicans control the House, the state Senate and the governor’s office. She said the prospect of life under the microscope as a GOP leader doesn’t bother her.

“My husband and I are pretty low-key people,” she said. “A big night for us is to go out on Saturday night to dinner and them come home and get in bed and read.”

Jones, however, can quickly become the politician. Just ask her if she sees her current job as a launchpad for higher office – governor, perhaps?

“I could just as easily see myself in four years running for something else as I could deciding I’ve had a great stint in public service and I’m ready to have a private life again,” Jones said. “I don’t see either as more likely than the other.”

***DANGEROUS DRIVER ALERT***

Stock Photos
All:

A black late model Pontiac GTO with "GTO" white lettering in the top of the front windshield was speeding on Bethany Road at approximately 1:58pm Today / Wednesday / January 20th / 2010. The vehicle in question was headed north bound from the Bethany / Mayfield intersection going appoximately 80 plus mph.

This open road neighborhood has a speed limit of 40mph and a 35mph sign placement regarding some blind drives. There are 40 plus Milton families that live in this open road neighborhood of Bethany.

If you see this vehicle, please report it to the City of Milton Police Department at 678 242 2500 immediately.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rat Terrier Found along Bethany Way

409472 - ID#A409472
I am waiting for my owner to find me. Please contact the shelter if you are either my owner or are interested in adopting me. My name is 409472.
I am a female, brown brindle and white Rat Terrier. The shelter thinks I am about 2 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jan 15, 2010. This information is 3 hours old.
For more information about this animal, call:Fulton County Animal Services at (404) 794-0358 Ask for information about animal ID number A409472

Pic to follow.