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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On A National Note...


EDITOR'S NOTE: If you think this tragedy can't happen here, think again. Support Our Milton Police Officers. They are putting their lives on the line each and every day to protect our loved ones!

Convict Sought in Deaths of 2 Florida Police Officers

Courtesy FoxNews.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Police were searching Tuesday for the man charged with fatally shooting two Tampa police officers during an early morning traffic stop of a car that didn't have a visible license plate.

Officer David Curtis pulled over the red Toyota Camry around 2:15 a.m. and called for backup after a background check revealed the male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanor charge for writing a worthless check in Jacksonville.

The two officers approached the passenger side of the vehicle and six minutes later a witness called 911 to report they had been shot.

Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab, both 31, were pronounced dead at the hospital.

The woman who police believe was driving the car, 22-year-old Cortnee Nicole Brantly, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon for questioning, but she was not arrested.

Another individual, Dontae Rashawn Morris, 24, was still being sought by police, but was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a single count of felony possession of a firearm.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said "we know who he is and we're going to find him."Morris was released from prison in April after serving two years for cocaine possession and sales. He also served about nine months on other cocaine possession charges in 2004, according to prison records.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that in 2006, Morris was found not guilty of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, attempted robbery and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Pam Iorio announced Kocab's death at a news conference at the hospital where the officers were taken. Dozens of somber officers filled the hospital.

Kocab had been on the force for 14 months. His wife is nine months pregnant with their first child, police said.

Curtis, a father of four boys, had nearly four years with the department. He remained on life support as doctors prepared to harvest his organs at the family's request.

"They both said how much Dave and Jeff loved being a Tampa police officer. They both said their loved ones loved going to work everyday...that it was the best job in the world," Mayor Pam Iorio said of the officers' families.

"It's just been heart wrenching as the family members have said goodbye to their loved ones and then it's been heart wrenching to see the officers and how much they respect them," she said.

This is the region's second incident of law enforcers being shot in less than a week. Two Polk County deputies were shot early Friday in Lakeland after stopping a man riding a bicycle. They are expected to recover.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Online registration now open for HYA baseball.


Online registration for Hopewell Youth Association's (HYA) fall 2010 recreational baseball season has begun at the group's Web site, www.hopewellbaseball.org.
Please note the registration process is split into three parts: The first, for Milton residents only, is now open. The second, which begins Monday, July 5, is for HYA veteran players who do not reside in Milton. The third, kicking off Monday, July 19, is open registration for everyone regardless of residence or previous league history.
Registration will close Monday, Aug. 2. A $70 late fee will be charged for any registrations after this date. Each phase of the registration is open to all ages.To register online, click here or visit www.hopewellbaseball.org and choose the "Register Online" tab from the menu to the left.HYA, a longstanding, non-profit organization, schedules and programs the baseball activities at Milton's Bell Memorial Park through a joint agreement with the City of Milton.
For more information about the programs, including a full schedule of fall baseball, visit the group's Web site at www.hopewellbaseball.org.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The King Snake: The Protector Of Your Domain.

This King Snake Was Found at a residence on Bethany Road.

MILTON - With summer in full swing, nature is alive in abundance and activity. This time of year, citizens are more likely to see everything from turtles, to turkey, to even snakes. One snake in particular that calls Milton home is the King Snake.

Eastern king snakes are large 36 - 48 in shiny-black smooth-scaled snakes with white or yellow chain-link bands that cross the back and connect along the sides. Because of this pattern this species is also referred to as the chain kingsnake. Eastern kingsnakes have a short stout head and small beady eyes.

King Snakes thrive in habitats including hardwood and pine forests, farmlands and suburban areas.

They are strong non- venomous constrictors and consume a variety of prey including snakes, lizards, and rodents. Kingsnakes are resistant to the venom of pit-vipers and they readily eat and hunt for the vemomous copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes.

So if your yard has a resident as a king snake, consider yourself lucky. They are most likely on the trail of venomous snake that could seriously hurt or kill a loved one or beloved pet. If you still want to evict this fine fellow, give us a call. We'd love to have him live with us!

Tim Enloe / Accessmilton.com / 770 653 0552

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Milton Farmer's Market Kick Off July 10th!

Come and be part of the wonderful Milton Farmer's Market! Kick off date is Saturday, July 10th in Crabapple. All local gardeners and arts and crafts fanatics are encouraged to participate! Times are from 9am to 1pm each Saturday weather permitting. For more information, please contact Tim Enloe @ 770 653 0552.

Scoops Ribbon Cutting This Friday at 11am!


MILTON - Scoops in Crabapple will open it's doors officially this Friday at 11am. Be sure to stop in and check out one of the sweetest businesses in town!

Noise Pollution In Milton Trumps Sewer Extension.

By Maggie West / Beacon Media

Though Councilwoman Karen Thurman stated “I have to admit it’s probably the most entertaining presentation we’ve ever had,” Tim Enloe’s request for a sewer extension to compensate for noise pollution on his property was denied.

A Milton resident for most of his life, Enloe argued the noise pollution from Milton High School’s band practices robbed him and his family of the “peace and quiet” they’ve known. He cited rumbling floors and windows for four hours or more a day.

He presented his grievances to city council, on Monday June 14, via a ten minute video entitled “Silence for Sewers.” In the introduction, Enloe stated “What about the peace and quiet that came with our property that no longer exists?"

Then in bold underlined words, “Equal Treatment” flashed before the screen followed by “What is Noise Pollution?” also bold and underlined. Subsequently, the display offered two quotes: “Noise pollution is unwanted human-created sound that has the effect of being annoying, distracting, painful, or physically harmful.” And quoted from www.noiseoff.org: “People continuously exposed to noise experience hearing loss, elevated stress levels, mood swings, hypertension, depression, lost sleep and productivity.”

MONTANA’S BAR AND GRILL GOT THE SHAFT?

Enloe followed up with how Milton City Council intervened on behalf of resident’s for the excessive noise coming from Montana’s Bar & Grill. “After numerous field trips to Montana’s and $80,000 spent on sound-proofing equipment by the owner, Charles Eubank, the issue was resolved.”

The video showed Enloe dressed as a woman with “Star Wars” music in the background, and she said “We’re going to buy your land for a school,” while holding a gun to a man’s head.

“Since then, life on Bethany has been filled with traffic, trash, and noise,” Enloe said.

The presentation also cited numerous properties being sold in Milton courtesy of Realtor.com:

15385 Tullgean Drive / Milton / 7 acres“Enjoy the serenity and solitude of seven acres.”

15625 Tullgean Drive / Milton / 8.58 acres“Tranquil Equestrian Estate with pastures.”

16450 Hopewell Rd. / Milton / 1.79 acres“Tranquility & charm”

1530 Birmingham Road / Milton / 1.67 acres“Opportunity for sanctuary...”

“It’s obvious to see that “quiet” is a selling point when it comes to purchasing acreage in Milton,” grumbled Enloe.

Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood questioned the validity for sewers on the property due to a noise problem. And Enloe assured him “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the noise.”

“If I were to sell I’d have to disclose the noise. And people may not want to purchase it. So what I’m trying to do is because of my loss due to the noise, compensate for it here (meaning sewers).”

Lockwood explained that a city’s growth “is just part of life.” He continued, “What was fifteen or sixteen years ago is not what is today. I understand where you’re coming from, though.”

To which Enloe responded, “I don’t think you guys realize how bad it is. We didn’t move to the school, the school moved to us. The band sometimes plays from eight o’clock in the morning until eleven at night. And we have to leave the house.”

“IT’S HELL”

“I would agree with a lot of what you said, Joe” Enloe persisted. “But, honestly, the noise you hear ain’t like what we got. We’ve been robbed of our peace and quiet. For us, you killed half of the reason for living here. And nobody stepped forward for us. Nobody’s doing anything.” Enloe then added, “It’s hell!”

Councilman Joe Longoria weighed in: “I’m trying to understand. Your presentation makes a couple of assumptions. One asking for equal treatment under the law and that implies that somehow we’re not providing you equal treatment. I’m searching for what it is you’re looking for. You’re also somehow implying that we’re not taking action on the noise issue. I don’t know what action we can take.”

Enloe responded with “I want ya’ll to go meet with the Board of Education and work out something that they’ll compromise on. They might have the power, but that doesn’t mean we have to say ‘I’m not going to try.’ Go to them and say ‘You’re making people miserable around here.’”

The matter involving Montana’s resurfaced again. “In the one case [Montana’s Bar And Grill] we had jurisdiction. In the other we don’t. The Board of Education doesn’t look at the City of Milton in any different light than you -- a resident. So, if you want us to band together and write a letter to the Board of Education that’s certainly something we can do,” Longoria said.

Lockwood then suggested meeting with the new principal of Milton High School and talking to the Board of Education in an attempt to alleviate the situation.

Enloe concluded his argument by saying “I’ve begged and pleaded with a lot of you guys for five years. Let’s stick to the issue. Let’s make it happen, and move on.”

No timeline was established to address Enloe’s plea.



Identity theft a problem in Milton.

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

MILTON - Recently, the Milton Police Department received a resident complaint of possible mail theft in a city neighborhood. This is a common tactic employed by identity thieves in order to obtain personal information, warns Police Chief Deborah Harrell.

"We have had some problems with identity theft," said Captain Shawn McCarty. "What seems to be happening is that people will drive through a neighborhood looking for mailboxes with their flag up." The thieves then take the outgoing mail and look for identifying information such as bank account and personal ID numbers. This information can be used to open bank accounts or credit cards and ruin a person's credit rating through illegal charges.

"The main thing people want to be careful with is anything with personal information on it needs to be shredded or destroyed in some way," said McCarty.

For ways to protect yourself from being the victim of mail theft and identity fraud, see the sidebar (below).

In addition to the Milton Police Department's efforts, the United States Postal Service pays rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of mail thieves. You may report suspect or crime information to the United States Postal Inspection Service 24 hours a day at 1-877-876-2455 or https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.

Follow these tips to protect from identify theft:

• Outgoing bills and checks should not be placed in the mailbox. Instead, take them to the Post Office.

• Did you know there are mailboxes made with locks? It is also easy to convert your current mailbox to one with a lock. Please note, however, that a postal employee cannot retrieve mail from one of these boxes.

• Do not put the red flag up on your mailbox. This is a clear signal outgoing mail is inside not only to the postal carrier, but criminals as well.

• Check your mail and empty your mailbox daily.

• When you travel, stop mail delivery or have a neighbor get your mail for you. If you move, notify the Post Office immediately of your new address.

• Do not have new checks mailed - pick them up at the bank. In addition, use direct deposit services from your banking institution whenever possible.

• When issuing checks to be mailed, write out in full the payee and memo portions. Fill up the entire lines with letters or lines. Also, use thick, dark ink (red ink is best) to write your checks. Opt for roller-ball pens and avoid felt-tip ones.

• Shred all pre-approved credit applications that come to you. Do not throw them away without destroying them.

• And most importantly, keep your eyes open. If you see someone in your neighborhood taking mail out of boxes, call the police. You are the eyes and ears of the police department.

New Fulton school $14 million under budget.

This artist’s rendering of the new Bethany high school in Milton will come for millions less than first budgeted because the depressed economy has shrunk construction costs.

by Candy Waylock / Appen Newspapers

FULTON COUNTY – Apparently there is a silver lining in the dismal economic forecast for the Fulton County School System – construction costs are way down.

The Fulton County Board of Education approved a $45.5 million contract to build the new high school at Bethany Bend and Cogburn roads in Milton – more than $14 million less than originally budgeted for the school. Put into perspective, the cost savings is nearly the cost of building a new elementary school, and millions below the final price tag for other area high schools.

Evergreen Construction plans to break ground on the new high school site in the next few weeks, and the project is on schedule for an August 2012 opening. The construction firm has built several other schools in Fulton County, including Birmingham Falls Elementary in Milton and two new schools in Sandy Springs.

Patrick Burke, operations chief for Fulton Schools, said the original cost estimate for the Bethany high school site was developed in 2006, at the height of the building boom, as part of the planning process for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The funding for the new high school is coming from the proceeds of this 1 percent sales tax.

The cost was adjusted down to $52 million last year when construction costs began falling. The $45.5 final figure came as a surprise to board members who jokingly suggested the system should accelerate the building program while costs are low.

"This is the lowest bid we have ever seen for a high school and this is really wonderful. We need to run fast and do the rest of them to [keep getting] these kinds of prices," said South Fulton board member Linda Bryant.

Burke said there are no plans to move beyond the schedule of projects, noting the system is halfway through SPLOST collections and the goal from this point out is to align expenditures with revenue.

Last year the school system forecast a crisis in the construction program with revenues from the sales tax coming in much lower than anticipated. Since then, the revenues are starting to stabilize, and costs are lower than expected.

"Through calendar year 2010, revenues are slightly above projections, [but overall] revenues are down," said Burke. "However, there were several schools in [the 5-year construction plan] that are no longer needed due to less than projected enrollment growth. These projects have been deferred to a future program and these expenditures were moved from the program."

Redistricting for the Bethany high school site will take place next spring so that parents will know well ahead of time where their children will be in the fall of 2012.

Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors can remain at the high school where they started, but must provide their own transportation.

Milton cop details SWAT operations.

Ann Coggins is shown by Officer Andrew Phillips (left) just
how heavy the standard SWAT armor is.

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

MILTON – A recent class of the Milton citizens police academy detailed what police do in SWAT.

SWAT - "Special Weapons And Tactics" – was conceived in Los Angeles in the 1960's to combat growing violence from riots to drug runners to heavily armed criminals.

"There was a realization that the criminals were often better armed than the cops," said Andrew Phillips, the instructor of the class and a veteran SWAT officer, having served in Marietta and currently in Milton.

More police officers are hurt in their routine beat than SWAT officers. This is because a SWAT officer knows to be ready for a dangerous situation and has the armor and weapons to deal with it; a patrol officer on a routine stop may simply be checking a vehicle for an expired tag and find himself dealing with a car full of drug runners armed to the teeth.

SWAT officers are typical police officers who are trained on heavy weapons or specialized tactics. In Milton, several officers serve as a part of the Alpharetta team. They are often outfitted with special armor and heavy weapons.

There are only 10-12 calls a year for the SWAT in north Fulton, so there is no need for a full-time, standing team. The most common reason they are called out is to execute high-risk warrants where the suspect is known to be dangerous and armed. The next most common is a gunman barricaded in a building, possibly with hostages. They can also be used for counter-terrorism.

In each team every officer has a specific role. These are broken down into four basic groups – establish a perimeter, make entry into a building, snipers and tactical medics.

A small operation – an apartment with a gunman – could take upward of 20 officers. A perimeter needs to be set up to keep the gunman in and civilians out of harm, snipers need to be surrounding the building, and a 6-10 man team needs to be ready to break down the door and secure the area. Much larger operations, such as a large house or a commercial building, could require much, much more. The Milton-Alpharetta team has about 20 members.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Phillips informed the class that SWAT officers have been training the marines and army, since the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are typically more along the lines of clearing a house of armed suspects than a battlefield. And that's what SWAT does best. It's an even trade off, though, since many of the advances in battlefield medicine are born in, well, the battlefield, SWAT medics are often trained in military medicine.

But the there is no battlefield in Milton. Instead, SWAT teams are training more and more for a school shooting or hostage situation, similar to the horrific Beslan shooting in 2004 in Russia.

"We used to train for a Columbine-type shooting," explained Phillips. "Now we train for a Beslan-type with an organized threat." Terrorists overran the Russia school and more than 300 students lost their lives. A school, with a large number of hostages and potential exits, is Phillips nightmare scenario.

"There's no amount of instruction we can give to stop people trying to help their kids," said Phillips.

Milton man demands sewer instead of noise.

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

MILTON - Thirty-three-year Milton resident Tim Enloe has been trying to get the Milton High School to reduce the noise it makes for years now. According to him, whenever the drum line plays or a game is held, his windows rattle and the dogs get skittish. After years of attempting to get the problem solved, Enloe finally decided to take a unique and drastic step – he requested that council allow sewer on his Bethany Road property.

He made his case before the council during a work session last week, arguing that the noise was making his home unbearable to live in. Council denied his request.

"Don't you hate it when what you paid for isn't what you get?" read the opening lines of a video skit Enloe made for the council. Kermit the Frog was shown ordering lunch and repeatedly telling the waitress that he had asked for no crickets on his sandwich. He's ignored. Enloe likens himself to that frustrated frog, saying that all his complaints since the school was built have fallen on deaf ears. His only option is to sell his property and leave.

"Do I want to sell? No, I want to stay," explained Enloe, "but I'm not going to live the rest of my life like this, hearing this noise in my home."

"All I'm asking for is what I paid for," he added. That is, peace and quiet, two values that a rural community should be perfect for.

But what does this have to do with sewer? Simple – if Enloe tries to sell his property, he will have to disclose any environmental problems that may affect potential homeowners. A recurring noise that rattles windows would fall into this category. This will lower his selling price. To make up for that lost money, Enloe needs something else to sweeten the deal. That would be sewer access.

The council thought otherwise.

"There was never any interest from me or the council in extending sewer to his property," said Mayor Joe Lockwood. "It looked like he was requesting the sewer out of frustration of the noise problem he's having with the school."

The city's noise ordinance is already fairly strict. A year ago, Montana's restaurant on Highway 9 battled with a neighboring subdivision, Bethany Creek, over loud music late at night. The city considered lowering the decibel level of noise that is required to be noise pollution but eventually abandoned the idea as too restrictive.

"If we lowered [the noise level] anymore it would have had unintended consequences, like kids playing in a pool or birthday parties. Things like that," explained Lockwood.

Unfortunately for Enloe, the city has no control over the school, which is under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education. The best city leaders can do is explain the situation to the school principal and hope for a solution.

Until that time, Enloe will just have to suffer quietly in his own home.

"I don't want to leave," said Enloe. "I just want quiet."

Lightning destroys Milton home.

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

MILTON - Two homes caught fire last Wednesday during severe storms when lightning struck. One home, on Tullgean Drive, was burnt down and an Alpharetta firefighter who responded to the fire was injured when the roof collapsed on him. He suffered first and second degree burns on his leg and was treated and released from North Fulton Regional Hospital.

Alpharetta and Milton have an agreement where their emergency units - both police and fire - will respond to both cities needs.

Another home was struck by lightning in the Oxford Lake subdivision. The roof and two rooms were damaged by the fire.

In both cases, the families were able to escape unharmed.

"It was quite a night," said Milton Fire Chief Andrew Kennedy, who noted that such a busy night is not typical. "Resources were stretched thin but with the automatic aid agreement with Alpharetta, things went pretty well."

Kennedy suggests that proper fire safety is necessary to ensure catastrophes such as these are not fatal. Working smoke detectors with fresh batteries (changed twice a year) are recommended. Further, to protect against lightning strikes, a lightning rod can be used.

The next poll will be....

up to you!

Accessmilton.com was created with two things in mind: allowing you, the citizens of Milton, to choose the news and getting to know your Milton neighbors. This website has never been about any agenda other than giving residents a forum for bringing concerns and ideas that they have to the public eye.

Thus, we encourage you to send us everything from story suggestions, editorials, video, or poll ideas that you would like us to run. Of course, we give credit where credit is due.

We are in need of a new poll coming up in early July. If you have a suggestion, please email it to us at tmenloe@aol.com.

***DO NOT POST POLL SUGGESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. THEY WILL NOT BE USED.***

Thank you!

Happy 4th of July from The Beverage Depot!

Double click to enlarge image.

To find out more about Milton's own Beverage Depot, click here=>
http://www.accessmilton.com/Advertisers/BeverageDepot.php

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Poll Up.

All:

We have a new poll up.

It asks:

"Does the City of Milton violate citizens private property rights?"

Have your say in the upper right.

The previous poll asked:

"Who Would You Vote For If 2011's Council Election Took Place Now? (District 6)"

RESULTS:

District 6: Alan Tart 19% / 10 votes.
District 6: Another Candidate 81% / 43 votes.

Milton City Council: Community Preservation or Self Preservation?

Many thanks to Milton resident Bob Strader of The North Group: Liveinalpharetta.com / Liveinmilton.com for sharing his perspective with us.

Back in January I wrote about the desire of three Milton property owners to have T-Mobile place a cell tower on their properties. The property locations are 13302 New Providence Rd., 2880 Mountain Rd. and 14495 Hopewell Rd. All three properties are zoned agricultural and meet the City of Milton’s zoning requirements necessary to have cell phone towers placed there. In short - there was no reason why the requests should be denied.

Subsequently T-Mobile had community meetings for questions and input regarding the towers. These meetings were opportunities for residents to ask questions about the designs of the towers, height, exact locations, etc. T-Mobile ran balloon tests so residents could actually see how high the towers would be and what would be visible above tree-tops.

NIMBY

There was an organized resistance by many residents who felt that cell towers ruined the rural charm of Milton. They also felt that cell phone towers posed a hazard to health due to radiation. And some questioned T-Mobile’s business need for additional towers in our area. Finally, the Milton City Council voted on April 26th to deny two of the property owners the right to place cell towers on their properties. The location on New Providence was approved with a 100′ restriction, rather than the original request of a 150′ tower.

The arguments & questions are obvious and understandable and have been hashed out on local Milton blogs and in the newspapers:

• If you are a property owner and meet the legal zoning requirements then why shouldn’t you be able to benefit / profit from your own land?

• Does the cell tower infringe on neighboring property owners?

• If it does, does it matter since zoning codes state towers are allowed there?

• And if an owner has the legal right to place something like a cell tower on their land - should the City Council be able to deny them the legal right to do that?

• How far can the City Council go to squash private property owner’s rights?

• Why is the council against private property owners?

It’s More Than Just Cell Towers

Now there is an additional factor that affects everyone in Milton regardless of their proximity to any potential cell tower sites. T-Mobile is planning to sue Milton to gain the rights to place towers on the other two properties AND place the tower on the approved property based on original plans. Just a few weeks ago, for similar reasons, T-Mobile sued the City of Roswell, stating that they violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996 on three counts, claiming the decision was not supported by substantial evidence, the city is prohibiting wireless service and the city is unreasonably discriminating among providers of functionally equivalent services. I don’t think T-Mobile is new to this and probably has considerably more experience in determining the viability of their lawsuit than the Milton City Council has.

Outcomes and Missed Opportunities

I understand why some people wouldn’t want to see a cell tower near their community, but it seems to me that we sacrificed quite a bit in the push to stop the towers.

1. First, we have a City Council that has shown no qualms about stepping on the private property rights of its residents - nobody should feel comfortable with that - I wonder what rights they will step on next when an angry group threatens them with their votes?

2. Second, we missed a chance to press T-Mobile to build towers that might be unobtrusive (painted brown, made to look like a tree, etc.), cutting off our nose so-to-speak. I suspect that if they win their lawsuit, they aren’t going to be inclined to satisfy any cosmetic requests we may have.

3. And finally, we all as taxpayers get to see our City Council spend our tax dollars defending a lawsuit they have no real grounds to defend - since our zoning laws allowed for cell towers on those properties.

What rights are you willing to give up for the concerns of the next group? Are the aesthetic concerns of the community more important than individual’s legal rights? When you vote for City Council Members in the future, ask yourself whose rights you want them to defend…or step on.

SCOOPS, A New Ice Cream Store Opens Wedsnesday, June 23RD in Crabapple Mercantile Exchange.



Please join us as we open the doors (For our friends and family)

to the sweetest place in town!

Wednesday, June 23rd, from 11am to 10pm

12670 Crabapple Road, Suite 100

Another Wreck at Cogburn / Bethany Intersection.


Double Click To Enlarge Screen.

MILTON - At approximately 7:30pm this evening, another wreck transpired at the intersection of Cogburn & Bethany. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. Remember to drive the speed limit and respect your fellow commuters.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Milton firefighter takes gold.


Lt. Thom Brown sets record in Police and Fire Games.

Lt. Thom Brown, a Milton firefighter, took first place June 17 in the men's 5K race at The Georgia Police and Fire Games hosted by The City of Carrollton.

Brown, an avid runner and athlete, set a new state record for the games in his age group with a blazing time of 19:15 - about six minutes a mile. He is pictured above received his gold medal from games committee member Dottee Morton.

The Georgia Police and Fire Games began in Carrollton in 1984, growing to more than a thousand participants from its original 300.

For more information, click here.

A June Cartoon!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Recent Letters To Mayor Lockwood / Justice Fletcher Re Sewer In Milton.

All:

The following are two letters that were recently sent to both Mayor Joe Lockwood and Justice Norman Fletcher regarding sewer in Milton.
_______________________________________
BEGIN LETTER 1:

June 11, 2010
VIA HAND DELIVERY

The Honorable Joe Lockwood
Mayor
City of Milton
13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite E
Milton, Georgia 30004

Re: Council Vote of May 3, 2010 on Justice Norman Fletcher's Proposed Sewer Map.

Dear Mayor Lockwood:

We the undersigned write to you as citizens of the City of Milton.

We write to express our grave concerns at the manner in which you and a majority of the City Council acted on May 3, 2010.

We are referring to the City Council's consideration of the agenda item published and posted as "Discussion and Vote on Justice Norman Fletcher's Proposed Sewer Map with Fulton County, Georgia, pursuant to the Service Delivery Strategy Act Court Ordered Mediation." (Agenda item No. 10-1129)(See City Of Milton, Georgia Regular Council Meeting Agenda dated Monday, May 3, 2010).

As you know, Justice Norman S. Fletcher's mediated sewer map proposal encompassed just four (4) of eight (8) land lots that had been the subject of disputre with Fulton County, Georgia. Juistic Fletcher's recommended solution involved significantly less acreage than those areas excluded from his proposal. However, Justice Fletcher's letter to Council and accompanying his proposed map was never published by the City Milton - a circumstance that we find curious and inexcusable, not to mention wholly inconsistent with basic principles of transparency and good government. The Justice's letter requested that the governing authorities of Fulton County and the City of Milton provide "an up or down vote with respect to the sewer map I have enclosed." He went on to request that the two governing authorities "vote to approve or reject the enclosed sewer map." (Letter of Norman S. Fletcher to Ken Jarrard, Esq. and Vincent D. Hyman, Esq. dated March 16, 2010). But the very nature of this limited request was withheld from the citizens of Milton-at large. As a consequence, they were unable to make an informed objection when the City Council acted to exceed the request on May 3, 2010.

Further more, Justice Fletcher sent his letter to Milton's City Attorney on March 16, 2010.
The Milton City Council voted on the matter on May 3, 2010. This means that Justice Fletcher's
letter was withheld from public view for almost six (6) full weeks and was not made part of the Council's disclosures when posting the matter for vote on May 3. Georgia's statutory provisions having to do with comprehensive planning and service delievery by counties and municipalities, in particular its dispute resolution procedures under O.C.G.A Section 36-70-25.1 and pertaining to municipal service delivery systems, do not mandate the confidentiality of mediation proceedings.

As a result, your approach represented a significant departure from basic principles of open government and transparency. Futhermore, there was no legal basis for you and other members of Council to depart from the policy position that Milton's elected representatives had established as recently as 2008, and then after completion of an exhaustive and detailed review.
At the very least, the Council should have decided this question only after first giving the citizens of Milton proper notice of the precise issues being laid on the table by Justice Fletcher. Failure to publish the Justice's letter made certain that that opportunity would never be had.

The substantive consequences of yor approach are significant. As a direct result of the Council'
s May 3, 2010 vote, a total of 41 parcels representing 130.8 acres have now been designated as eligible for sewer access. These numbers reflect a marked increase over the number of parcels and total acreage encompassed by Justice Fletcher's mediated recommendation.

For all those reasons, we believe that you and other members of Councl fell markedly short of your public responsibilities in the days leading up to and including May 3, 2010. In addition to your disregard of Milton's historic concern with limiting sewer, we are concerned that you have made the City vulnerable to potential legal challenges. Prospective claimants include Milton land owners and affect citizens and governments located downstream, particularly as they relate to improper diversions of water from the Etoway Basin. It also appears that policies promulgated by the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Board have been violated. Finally, we are concerned that some citizens will view the Council's action as having opened up sewer access for those properties adjoining the parcels addressed by the Council's action of May 3, 2010.

Accordingly we write to request formally that you and Council move to nullify your earlier vote, posting this entire matter for immediate reconsideration. We ask that you do so with a renewed regard for the wishes of the Milton community as well as basic principles of open goverment and transparency.

Your prompt action in futherance of these concerns will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Joe Whitley
Kim Horne
Kurt Nolte
Jon McPhail
Michael Dailey

MAD/ms
cc: All Members of the Milton City Council

The Honorable Norman S. Fletcher
____________________________
BEGIN LETTER 2:

June 11, 2010
VIA HAND DELIVERY

The Honorable Norman S. Fletcher
Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis, LLP
615 West First Street
P.O. Box 5007
Rome, Georgia 80162-5007

Re: Action Taken By The City Council of Milton, Georgia on May 3, 2010/
Proposed Sewer Map/City of Milton

Dear Justice Fletcher:

We are citizens of the City of Milton, Georgia.

We write to express our unequivocal disagreement with the action taken by the Milton City Council on May 3, 2010 expressing its approval of eight (8) parcels of real property listed on your proposed mediation sewer map, which map accompanied your letter of March 16, 2010 to Messrs. Ken Jarrard and Vincent Hyman.

The basis of our objections and concerns are several. They are summarized briefly below:

(1) The action of the Milton City Council was taken without first having published your letter to the citizens of Milton;

(2) Your letter was also not made available to all members of the Milton City Council until shortly before the vote was taken, which means that it was kept under wraps for a period of approximately six (6) weeks;

(3) The Milton City Council's consideration of this issue was published only one week before the scheduled May 3, 2010 vote, while your letter remained withheld from widespread public disclosure;

(4) The Milton City Council's agenda item for this matter was published and posted as "Discussion and Vote on Justice Norman Fletcher's Proposed Sewer Map with Fulton County, Georgia, pursuant to the Service Delivery Strategy Act Court Ordered Mediation." ( Agenda Item No. 10-1129), yet your letter and its explanatory comments were withheld from public disclosure; and

(5) Despite the fact your letter simply requested an "up or down" vote on the mediated solution which it described, this fact was not made known to the citizens of Milton.

Milton's City Attorney, Ken Jarrard, explained his decision not to publish your letter as related to the fact mediation is customarily private in nature. Yet, this mediation deals with a lawsuit in which the contesting parties are governmental entities. As such, the parties reflect, or are supposed to reflect, the wishes of their citizenry. To suggestion, as did Mr. Jarrard, that your letter was "private" defies common sense, particularly when an issue of extreme sensitivity to the citizens of Milton - sewer access - is being considered. Our City Council arrived at its original position in calendar year 2008, and it did so following a detailed and exhaustive review process. When on May 3, 2010 our City Council proceeded to employ its consideration of your letter as an opportunity to go beyond the request contained within it, and did so without even disclosing the precise nature of your request, a serious but reversible breach of public trust occured.

It bears noting that when the Fulton County Commission took up this same issue on May 5, 2010, your letter was made public by that body before a formal vote was taken.

We have made our concerns known directly to the members of the Milton City Council including Mayor Lockwood. A copy of that correspondence is enclosed for your review. We are requesting that the mediation solution which you proposed entirely anew by the Milton City Council. Accordingly, we urge you to hold in abeyance the report from that body as it pertains to creation of the forthcoming Inter-Governmental Agreement on sewer until a proper consideration of this issue is had by the City of Milton.

Thank you for your every consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,

Joe Whitley
Kim Horne
Kurt Nolte
Jon McPhail
Michael Dailey

MAD/ms
cc: Mayor Joe Lockwood
City of Milton

All Members of the Milton City Council

Friday, June 18, 2010

TLAER donors get first glimpse of Randy.

The City of Milton Fire Department's Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue team (TLAER) recently held a special demonstration at Fire Station No. 43 for the donors that made Randy, a 400-pound horse mannequin, a reality.

Each of the invited guests helped raise the nearly $10,000 needed to purchase the training tool, which was made in the United Kingdom and shipped to Milton by freighter. The mannequin was purchased entirely through personal donations, not tax money.

Previously TLAER, which helps with animal rescues in Forsyth and Cherokee counties as well, had to train with sedated live animals and a veterinarian. Randy allows the team to prepare for dangerous situations too intense for a live animal, like being caught in a swimming pool or down an embankment, at any time.

For more information on TLAER or how you can donate for more needed equipment, click here.

Protect yourself from mail theft.

Recently, the Milton Police Department received a resident complaint of possible mail theft in a city neighborhood. This is a common tactic employed by identity thieves in order to obtain personal information, warns Police Chief Deborah Harrell. Click here for tips to help protect yourself from being a victim.

Protect yourself from car break-ins.

Always lock car doors, keep valuables out of sight.

The City of Milton Police Department responded to a call June 16 in the Fairmont subdivision in which an unlocked car was broken into. As such, Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty warns residents that summer time means an uptick in the number of car break-ins.

These crimes of opportunity, often perpetrated by criminals looking for easy-to-grab items, can be foiled by simply locking your car doors and keeping valuables out of sight, said McCarty.

"Always lock your car doors, even in your own driveway," he said. "These incidents occur because suspects simply go from house to house trying to open car doors. Whatever they can find inside they take."

Click here for more information.

Studio One to One launches in home personal training service.

Are you wondering how you are going to fit exercise in this summer with the kids at home?

Enter Studio One to One’s In Home Training solution! We searched high and low for a qualified, enthusiastic, results-driven trainer who can come to your home and get the job done with you this Summer!

Meet Kate McDermott.

Kate is a personal trainer certified by the International Sport and Sciences Association (ISSA) and a graduate from the University of Connecticut. Her strengths include energizing female clients by sharing their goals, knowing their capabilities, not under estimating their potential and creating enjoyable, yet safe fitness programs tailored to their needs. She works mostly with women post pregnancy and is known for her unique and always changing workouts. Kate is a mother of two and knows the areas women want to work on and how to get back to feeling and looking your best! She is available at your home and is a good multitasker if little ones are on hand during work outsessions.

Have you tried in-home trainers before but felt they couldn’t offer you the “whole package” in terms of covering nutrition in addition to exercise? Well then this is the opportunity for you! All of our in-home programs will include an initial physio-graph (body composition analysis), meal plan, Calorie King subscription, and ongoing physio-graphs in the studio every four weeks.

Our in-home rates are exactly the same as our super reasonable studio rates, so this is what I call a no brainer! Kate will come to you,give you a fat-blasting workout, all while your kids play comfortably in their own home. Time to dust off whatever fitness equipment you have at home (and guess what? you don’t need much!) and put it good use. Call us right now at (678) 367-3619 to take advantage of this offer.

You'll get all of the convenience, all of the accountability of a trainer, all of the body transforming RESULTS, all in your very own home while the kids play nearby.

Elaina Smith
Studio One to One


(678)367-3619

To find out more about Milton's own Studio One To One, click here=>

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Video Request / FCBOE Policy Change Copy.





Part 1 / Double Click to enlarge screen.





Part 2 / Double Click to enlarge screen.

Upon request, Milton resident Lisa Cauley has provided Accessmilton.com with the video taken at the Katie Reeves Community meeting on May 17, 2010.

LATER ADDITION: Please be advised that we did not edit the video from the meeting.Youtube only allows video segments to be uploaded under ten minutes. Thus, we had to split the video to get all content listed.

Below the two videos are the Fulton County Board of Education Policies on Volunteers and Controversial Materials, which passed unanimously at the BOE Board meeting the night before last. This information is also posted on the county website, www.fultonschools.org.

Tim Enloe /Accessmilton.com

___________________________

5.11 Board Policy – IFCD – School Volunteers (action)

Meeting: 06/15/2010 Board Meeting.

Category: 5. Consent Agenda

Agenda Type: Action

Agenda Item Content

Executive Summary

Since the May board meeting staff and board attorneys have worked to add clarifying language in the policy. We recommend that all volunteers that will work directly with students complete a Volunteer Registration Form. This will ensure relevant contact information is on file and that the Sex Offender list can be referenced.

We have limited the provisions about observation and public space to work done in the school during the school day. We have also clarified that individual volunteers should not be alone with individual students. We have added language regarding volunteers after school and at extra-curricular or other school-sponsored events. This language does allow individual volunteers to be alone with individual students, but only at the direction of the staff member in charge.

These changes are highlighted in yellow. (italics on Accessmilton.com)

We have reviewed policies on volunteers and visitors to schools from schools systems in Douglas, Fayette, Rockdale, Paulding, Cherokee, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties. None of these require background checks on volunteers. However, Cobb County Schools has language in their policy prohibiting volunteers from being alone with children. We propose this as an acceptable solution. It addresses the behavior we are trying to prevent, without causing additional effort and cost on the part of volunteers. We have inserted such language for consideration.

We have also deleted some extraneous language from this policy. We propose rescinding the procedure as it does not provide any additional direction.

MOTION STATEMENT:

I move that the Board rescind Procedure IFCD and accept Policy IFCD – School Volunteers, for action.

ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY:

Martha T. Greenway

Deputy Superintendent

Organizational Advancement Administrative Center

404-669-4922

greenwaym@fulton.k12.ga.us

________________________

Policy: School Volunteers

Effective Date: 07/01/1986 [08/23/10]

The Board of Education supports a close relationship between the school and the public, recognizing that successful operation of our schools involves a shared responsibility on the part of parents, professional educators and lay citizens.

THE FOLLOWING FROM 7/01/1986 WAS STRICKEN FROM THE POLICY:

“A vital element in developing a sense of shared responsibility for the success of our schools is the opportunity for parents and citizens to volunteer time and expertise to the education of our students. Under the direction of the Superintendent, administrative procedures will be established and maintained relating to the operation of this program”.

THE FOLLOWING IS NEW POLICY 8/23/10:

Local school principals are charged by the Board of Education with responsibility to develop programs which utilize the services of volunteers to support the school. All volunteers who will be working directly with students of the school must complete a Volunteer Registration Form each year. Principals should check the List of Registered Sex Offenders for all volunteers who will work directly with students.

On school property during the regular school day, volunteers and other non-System personnel should be observed at all times by appropriate System employees or be in an open area of the school building. When this is not possible, no less than two volunteers or non-System personnel must be present when a volunteer is engaged with an individual student.

After the school day, or during extra-curricular or school-sponsored activities, volunteers should not be alone with an individual student unless specifically directed to do so by a staff person in charge, and then only under emergency or exceptional circumstances.

Cross References: IFCD – School Volunteers Procedure Link to Procedure Legal Reference: Reference: Adopted Date: 01/31/1981 Revision Date: Scope Notes: Status: Current

____________________

Procedure: School Volunteers

Effective Date: 07/01/1986 [08/23/10]

THE FOLLOWING FROM 7/01/1986 WAS STRICKEN FROM THE POLICY:

“The School System defines a volunteer as an unpaid person who works in the school under the direction of the school principal and who offers special skills and services as needed, to support and implement the school program. Volunteers are divided into two categories: 1. Regular school volunteers who give time on a regular basis in the school, and 2. Community resource volunteers who may come to the school on request to make a special contribution. Volunteers may work with teachers in the classroom, cafeteria managers, help with office duties, assist teachers with clerical duties, work in the school clinic, help in the library, or assist in many other specialized areas of the school program. Local school principals are charged by the Board of Education with responsibility to develop programs which utilize the services of volunteers to strengthen the curricular offerings of the school and to bring into force the full impact of the talents of citizens”.

Cross References: IFCD – School Volunteers Policy Link to Policy Legal Reference: Reference: Adopted Date: Revision Date: Scope Notes: Status: Current

____________________________

5.13 Board Policy - IKB – Controversial Issues (action)

Meeting: 06/15/2010 Board Meeting

Category: 5. Consent Agenda

Agenda Type: Action

Agenda Item Summary

Executive Summary

Since the May board meeting we have added a provision that such material should not be taught by community or parent volunteers. We have revised this policy to more clearly delineate controversial materials and to require that any such materials that are not part of the system-adopted instructional materials be approved in advance by the principal and Local School Council. We have also added a provision that parents be notified if such material is to be presented and provided an opportunity to review the material in advance.

MOTION STATEMENT:

I move that the Board approve Policy – IKB – Controversial Issues – for action.

ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY:

Dr. Linda Anderson

Deputy Superintendent

Instruction Division Administrative Center

andersonLD@fultonschools.org

Martha T. Greenway

Deputy Superintendent

Organizational Advancement Administrative Center

404-669-4922

greenwaym@fulton.k12.ga.us

__________________
Policy: Controversial Issues

Effective Date: 07/01/1986 [08/19/2010]

THE FOLLOWING FROM 7/10/1986 WAS STRICKEN FROM THE POLICY:

“Study of controversial issues should be handled with objectivity and always within a framework of good taste and judgment on the part of the teacher, compatible with the ages and progress status of their students”.

THE FOLLOWING IS NEW POLICY 8/19/2010:

Controversial issues can relate to sensitive personal subjects, widely-debated scientific theories and political perspectives. Therefore any material related to these topics that is outside of the system-adopted instructional materials should be considered carefully and approved by the principal and Local School Council prior to its use in the school. This policy also applies to assembly programs and speakers. All such programs and invitations to any program participant or speaker shall be approved in advance by the principal of the school and the Local School Council.

All and the material used in such programs must be aligned with curriculum [standards.] oriented. The principal, in making his/her decision in this regard, shall consider the merit of the program or presentation of the method and materials used and its likely impact upon the student body, the image of the person making the presentation, parents and community. When material deemed controversial by the principal and Local School Council will be used or presented, parents must be notified and provided an opportunity to view the material in advance. Controversial material should not be taught by community or parent volunteers.

THE FOLLOWING FROM 7/01/1986 WAS STRICKEN FROM THE POLICY:

“This policy shall be unequivocally stressed to the principals with the distinct instruction that the necessity for community harmony must be observed”.

Cross References: Legal Reference: Reference: Adopted Date: Revision Date: Scope Notes: Status: Current

Thinking About Two Special MPD Officers.

All:

Sometimes, I think people forget that the men and women who make up our Milton Police Department are people too. They have families and lives just like the rest of us even though they put in long hours and deal with very dangerous situations on our behalf.

Recently, word came to us at Accessmilton.com that an officer lost their father earlier this month. In addition, another officer's father is not doing well at all.

While the names of these heroes are not important, if you have the time or a moment, please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers. They need them now more than you know.

Better yet, maybe drop some flowers or thinking of you cards by the police department at city hall. The people at the front desk will be able to help you.

Remember, if Milton is going to succeed we have to look out for and be there for everyone, especially those that keep our loved ones safe.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Letter To The Editor.

NOTE: Accessmilton.com does not take positions on letters to the editor. Here, we encourage all citizens to share their opinions on various issues related to Milton, GA.

The following letter is from Milton Parent Kathy Johnson in response to an article written earlier this month by Accessmilton.com titled "Questions Fly Regarding Alternative Energies Class Taught At Birmingham Falls Elementary."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to set the record straight on issues associated with my role and involvement with the environmental education program at Birmingham Falls, as well as my intentions during the May 18 community meeting held by Katie Reeves.

This is the first time I have commented on this story. Tim Enloe did leave me an e-mail asking for commentary prior to posting his article. I attempted to contact him twice before departing for a family vacation out of the country a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, we did not connect before I left and Tim decided to proceed with posting the article. A number of comments posted in response to that article contain what in my opinion are some significant inaccuracies and misconceptions about my conduct and the environmental program, as well as some broader issues of concern that I hope I can clear up in this letter.

During the recently ended school year, I worked with many people to develop and deliver three separate environmentally oriented lessons. One was on storm water drains and the water cycle. The second was on aquifers.

These first two lessons were delivered to different grade levels in the same month earlier in the school year. They were not delivered to students until they had been reviewed and approved by the school’s CST and the Principal. After approval, I and approximately 35 other parent volunteers delivered the lessons in class rooms with teachers present. Lisa Cauley, a Birmingham Falls parent and locally active community member, was one of the parent volunteers who taught the storm water and water cycle lesson.

These first two lessons proceeded without any controversy that I am aware of. In fact, there was substantial praise from parents, students and teachers for the quality and content of the lessons.

The third proposed lesson was on alternative energy and climate change. I was interested in delivering this lesson because I believed that students would benefit from an introduction to these topical issues. I also found in my research that these topics are currently being taught in many school systems across the nation.

I followed the same review and approval process for this lesson as I did with the earlier lessons. I think it is important to note that this process did not and does not include parental review and consent. No supplemental lessons or programs, including science lab, school assemblies, et. al., currently require that kind of prior approval. I also want to be absolutely clear that I would not have had any problem at all with that kind of review, and would have happily done so if the Principal (Tracy Trussell) had asked me to do so. I certainly wasn't attempting to hide anything from anyone. I was just following the process that was laid out for me.

The CST and Principal approved the third set of lessons on alternative energy and climate change. I then sent an e-mail to the group of 35 parent volunteers with the title of the lesson so that they could begin to work with teachers for scheduling classroom delivery. The lesson plan was going to be sent to these volunteers prior to delivery, as we did with the first two lessons.

It was at that point that Ms. Cauley noted the title of the topic and raised her concerns. She wrote me an e-mail saying that she may have a problem with the topic. However, within 24 hours of sending the e-mail to me and before I even saw it in my inbox, Ms. Cauley emailed Cindy Loe and the entire school board (including the superintendent’ s office) to voice her concerns directly to them. She also did not contact the Principal prior to sending her note to the school board. In a subsequent meeting, Ms. Cauley admitted to both me and the Principal that she "went straight to the top" and bypassed us regarding her concerns with the topic.

I then met with Area Superintendent Bob Lynch to discuss Ms. Cauley's concerns and the actual lessons. Mr. Lynch directed me to review the material with the head science CST for all grades for Fulton County. She suggested I modify the lesson, not due to any subject matter deemed as controversial material, but due to potential issues of grade appropriateness (especially understanding certain scientific concepts in the lower grades). I did so, and she approved the revised lesson.

Despite the modifications to this third lesson, at that point the Principal decided that there was still too much consternation about the lesson from Ms. Cauley and the people that she was lobbying at the school board, in particular Katie Reeves. He directed me to remove any references to climate change, up to and including references to the greenhouse effect. I and the school's CST then worked together to comply with Principal Trussell's instructions.

We then delivered the revised lesson, which dealt solely with energy and alternative energies (including fossil fuels), to grades 2 - 5. This lesson was delivered in a lab format with the assistance of The Science Academy, a fee-based outside after-school program.

There was no concern that I know of expressed by Ms. Cauley or anyone else with the delivery of this lesson to the higher grades. Again, as with earlier lessons and maybe even to a greater degree, there was much praise and appreciation for this lesson and the way it was delivered. Again, to be clear, this lesson did not address the topics of climate change or global warming in any way.

This lesson was too academically advanced to present to the lower grades. So the CST and I revised the alternative energies lesson for those grades. These revised lessons were also approved by the school’s CST and the Principal. Upon my recommendation, we also took the extra and unprecedented step to send the lessons (a two to three page document) to Ms. Cauley prior to sending it to other parent volunteers and prior to classroom delivery.

Ms. Cauley complained to Principal Trussell and Katie Reeves that she was not given a full week to review the material prior to scheduled classroom delivery. Principal Trussell then informed me that he was told to cancel the lesson. He informed me of the cancellation one hour prior to classroom delivery during the final week of the school year.

I must emphasize that Principal Trussell strongly implied that he was instructed to cancel the lessons by his superiors. I assumed, based on much prior involvement by Katie Reeves in this matter, that he was including Ms. Reeves in this group who directed the lessons to be cancelled.

That is everything I can tell anyone about the chronology of the green lessons during the just completed school year at BFES. From this point, I will relate how the circumstances behind the cancellation of the last lesson snowballed into a larger issue that is still ongoing.

Right after the last lesson was cancelled, I learned that there was a discussion during the May 11 school board meeting about amending the “Controversial Material” policy to include reference to "widely disputed scientific theories," a phrase which was specifically mentioned by Ms. Cauley during the same earlier meeting when she told me she was going "straight to the top" and "bypassing the chain of command."

This is when I became greatly concerned not just about the fate of the environmental lessons I had worked to deliver, but that that despite the extensive review and approval of the lessons from all levels of the system the opinions expressed by Ms. Cauley about these lessons were going to be written into county wide school board policy.

It is for that reason that I chose to question and confront Ms. Reeves at her community meeting on May 18. Obviously, with the environmental lessons I had developed so intertwined with this broader issue, I questioned Ms. Reeves about them as well. And, yes, I accused Ms. Reeves of cancelling the lessons (again, based primarily on the strong implications made by Principal Trussell and Ms. Reeves’ level of involvement with this issue prior to this time), a charge she vehemently denied.

After the meeting, I told Ms. Reeves that if I had incorrectly blamed her for the cancellation that I was sorry. Based on Ms. Reeves’ strong denial, I still do not know for certain who actually cancelled the final lessons.

For those of you who have suggested that I was too angry or animated at that meeting…sorry. But I had strictly adhered to the official and proper channels prescribed to me by the school’s principal and CST, as well as other higher ranking and county level school board members and educators. I made modifications when requested to do so and every lesson I delivered was approved by them, contributing in excess of 500 volunteer hours this past school year across the process. Then I saw all of that work and collaboration, which was met with almost unanimous praise and appreciation from students and teachers at the school, unilaterally upended based upon the concern of a single parent who had chosen to completely bypass me, the Principal and this same established process. Who wouldn’t be just a little mad?

Again, to be clear, I had concerns with two issues on her meeting agenda (the Controversial Material issue and the Volunteer issue) and I went, as a parent (as is my right or any parent’s right) to question these policies. I have seen many parents and community members talk at these meetings and express their opinions on policy. This is why, I believe, that Ms. Reeves has the meetings…so she can hear from parents themselves. So to anyone who is questioning my motives or rights in questioning Ms. Reeves at the meeting, I would say that you don’t have the right to complain and don’t understand why the meeting exists in the first place. If you don’t agree with my opinions, that’s fine. But I have every right, as well as a proper forum, to express them publically and directly. That’s what I did.

I have been accused on the Access Milton blog of enlisting sympathetic supporters to come that same meeting and attack Ms. Reeves. Not true. I was contacted by two concerned and like-minded parents who did attend but there was no conspiracy against Katie Reeves. The PTA members present were there to discuss and comment on the volunteer issue which substantially changes or removes the current volunteer policy. These PTA members regularly attend these Katie Reeves meetings. They did not attend based on any invitation from me or concern about the green lessons or the "controversial materials" policy I was there to discuss.

Which brings me to a set of final points…at least, for now. A number of people have suggested on the Access Milton blog that I am wrong to question Ms. Cauley's motives or tactics in opposing the third lesson, and mean-spirited in removing her from the volunteer program. I fully respect Ms. Cauley’s right to express her opinion and make her voice heard. I just think that she did not show the same respect to me in the process. When it became clear that we were not going to work together on the environmental program, and that Ms. Cauley was going attempt to dictate the content of the lessons by circumventing the process, I removed her from the volunteer program. If she had simply met with me to discuss her concerns prior to escalating her complaints to the entire school board, we may have been able to avoid a lot of grief for many people. But she didn’t. She made her call; I made mine.

Beyond that, some people have ridiculed the notion that Ms. Cauley or any single parent could use their relationships with school board members to strongly influence policy. I don’t know about any parent, but I will tell you Ms. Cauley has and is using her relationship with Ms. Reeves in particular to rewrite county wide policy. This statement is not based on conjecture. I have requested and received copies of numerous emails and draft documents on this matter from the Fulton County superintendent's office that corroborate my position. Many of these e-mails are between Reeves and Cauley regarding the specific topics discussed in this letter, including one that Reeves sent to Cauley during the middle of the May 11 school board meeting to get her opinion on proposed language in the revised "Controversial Material" policy. Other e-mails further confirm the uniquely personal and collaborative nature of Ms. Cauley’s relationship with Ms. Reeves.

In addition, Ms. Cauley has requested that the school board require parental review and consent for all outside materials presented to students. This wording is now in the proposed policy which was scheduled to be voted on during a June 14 meeting.

As I stated earlier, I have no problem with prior review and consent by parents for the materials I developed and presented this past year. I would have happily given it had I been required or asked to do so. However, as in my experience, I believe that Ms. Cauley is less interested in review and consent for all than she is in establishing herself as a final authority on any matter she chooses to weigh in on. I respect her passion. I do not care for her tactics or her presumption to “deserve” the final say.

Again, I have no problem with Ms. Cauley expressing her opinions on any of these topics. She has every right to do so. I also have no problem with her expressing an opinion in opposition to mine. I am perfectly comfortable supporting and defending my case to her or anyone else.

I do have, however, a large problem with any school board member or parent who doesn’t respect established chains of command, ignores or circumvents existing county school board-prescribed processes for developing, approving and delivering supplemental materials and conducts closed conversations regarding written policies that are not open to all concerned. My problem with this kind of conduct multiplies exponentially when these same people suggest that I have a damaging, ulterior agenda or desire to keep matters out of the public forum. Those charges are both false and hypocritical.

I believe the details I have laid out in this letter underscore the validity of my complaint. Even more, I hope they let anyone who reads this know that they can trust me to be open, candid and honest about anything we might work on together in the future.

I appreciate Tim Enloe for inviting me to send this letter and give my side of the story. Bridges have been burnt and feelings hurt on all sides throughout this process. That’s going to happen sometimes in life. But hopefully, for the sake of both personal and civic pride for everyone involved, the ties that bind us as parents, neighbors and citizens of Milton are resilient enough see us past our differences and allow us all to move forward with respect and civility.

- Kathy Johnson, Birmingham Falls parent and volunteer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Milton mayor building Forsyth fire station.

by Bob Pepalis / Appen Newspapers

June 14, 2010

CUMMING – Joe Lockwood will be doing some business with Forsyth County, but in his role as a builder, not as Milton's mayor. JK Lockwood Construction's bid won it the contract to build Forsyth's Fire Station 7, with a bid cost of $1.33 million.

The good news for the county's budget is that the remaining costs to build the fire station on Dahlonega Highway next to Silver City Elementary School can be paid entirely out of impact fees. During the Board of Commissioners' June 8 work session, Fire Chief Danny Bowman said SPLOST V included $570,000 toward the new station. By law impact fees can only go toward growth. But since the county has already spent what was calculated to be the required 17 percent of the costs to match the square footage in the existing building used as a fire station, all construction costs and even some money for furniture, fixtures and equipment can come from impact fees. That cuts SPLOST V funded expenditures by $220,000.

"This entire amount could be paid for out of impact fees as you have already met your requirement for 17.02 percent," Bowman said.

Staffing exists for the new fire station, though at dangerously low levels, he said. Bowman was scheduled to speak to County Manager Doug Derrer about filling vacant firefighters' position, though he hastened to assure commissioners he has made no assumptions that any of those positions will be filled.

The Fire Department needs to buy a new pumper truck for the fire station to replace the 2000 model. The current truck has been crashed, overturning soon after its purchase.

"It caught fire last year sitting in the fire station," Bowman said.

If tax collections continue at the current pace, the fire millage rate should bring in enough to fund the new pumper, he said.

Come Visit Robert Mondavi Jr. At the Beverage Depot!

Next Thursday, June 17th, the famous Robert Mondavi Jr. will be at the Beverage Depot for an autograph signing. Come between 5-7pm to get your bottles signed. He is the grandson of the late Robert Mondavi. I think we all have heard of him. Mondavi Jr. makes many great wines like the Medusa Zinfandel, IM Chardonnay, Spellbound and many more. See you Thursday!

Save 10% off his wines during the signing
Offer Expires: 6-17-10 Must present this coupon

To find out more about Milton's own Beverage Depot, click here=>

Monday, June 14, 2010

Milton Police & Citizens Together Meet (MPACT) Tuesday

MILTON - Residents interested in becoming part of a city wide crime watch program should attend a meeting scheduled for Tuesday night. Dubbed MPACT, the Milton Police Sponsored program will work to create a line of every day communication with the citizens and police heroes of Milton.

The first meeting of three for the year will be held at the Hickory Flat Firestation off of Hickory Flat Road in Milton. Time is 6pm.

For more information, call the City of Milton at 678 242 2500 or MPACT volunteer Tim Enloe at 770 653 0552.

Milton man denied in request to trade noise for sewer.


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By Patrick Fox / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Milton City Council applauded a Bethany Road resident for his creative presentation, but it didn't reward him.

On Monday night at a monthly work session, the council rejected Tim Enloe's request to obtain a sewer line in compensation for his claim of noise abatement coming from nearby and newly opened Milton High School.

To make his point, Enloe showed a video in which he played Kermit the Frog and Billy Bob Thornton.

Enloe said the blare of the band and incessant shouting over the loudspeakers has disrupted life for him and his family.

"Peace and quiet has been stolen from us," he said. "It's hell."

Enloe next asked the city to allow sewer on his property to compensate for the noise disruption. Council members congratulated Enloe on his presentation. But they were unmoved by his request.

Mayor Joe Lockwood said the issue was noise, not sewer. Lockwood wouldn't grant a variance for sewer lines on the property, but said he would join other council members and contact the school. Yet the city has no jurisdiction over the school property, he said.

Enloe's sewer request was prompted in part by the council voting 4-3 on May 3 to allow sewer service to eight land parcels within the city. The vote, which followed nearly an hour of debate and discussion, ended one argument in the city's negotiation with Fulton County over a state-mandated service agreement. The Service Delivery Strategy is now in court-ordered mediation.

Milton and Fulton County have disagreed on sewer service since the city was founded. Sewer is seen by many residents as the first step to uncontrolled growth.

Also, city officials heard an update on a revised ordinance governing cell phone towers. The new ordinance would require more stringent reviews of applications, height and setback restrictions and a new fee structure.

The city voted in March to place a moratorium on cell tower permits until it can revise its ordinance.

On April 26, after nearly four hours of debate involving a capacity crowd, the council granted permission to T-Mobile South to build one of three proposed cell phone towers.

The council said that tower, located at 13302 New Providence Rd., would be restricted to 100 feet in height and require an engineering plan for wind load requirements.