Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Make Your Car Last 200,000 Miles -- and Beyond.

AM NOTE: With many Milton residents doing their best to stretch the dollar, we thought the following story would be of interest.


Last October, the odometer in Joe LoCicero's 1990 Honda Accord rolled past the 1 million-mile mark. He's a damage claims inspector who reportedly drives his Accord about 62,500 miles every year. Honda not only gave "Million Mile Joe" a new Accord, but organized a parade in his home town in Maine in honor of the milestone.

Not many of us will own a car long enough to drive it a million miles, since most of us drive our cars about 15,000 miles per year, according to AAA. But experts agree that basic maintenance can help you stretch your car to 200,000 miles and beyond.

[Related: 5 money-saving DIY tips for car owners]

Read Your Owner's Manual - and Follow it

Joe Malizia Sr., owner of Bel Air Fast Lube in Maryland, says the best thing you can do is read your owner's manual as soon as you bring your new car home, and find out what your car's maintenance schedule is, since keeping up with the recommended maintenance schedule can prolong your car's life significantly. It may seem like a hassle to have to visit your mechanic every few months, and some may lament the higher price of the premium gas that's recommended for their car. But following those simple directions can prevent unnecessary problems that will wear your car out prematurely.

John Lawlor, technical advisor at NPR's Car Talk, agrees, saying "the least-read book in the world is the owner's manual." He adds that not only is maintaining your oil and fluids important, but keeping your tires properly inflated to the owner's manual's specs is another important factor to keeping your car on the road. Though making regular visits to the mechanic for normal maintenance may seem like the expenses will add up quickly, you'll most often be saving yourself lots of money in expensive repairs down the road. Like Lawlor says, "It is the cheapskate who spends the most."

Get Personal With Your Car

Unless you're a gearhead, you probably won't know how to change your spark plugs, or what makes your electronic stability control system kick in. But knowing basics like how to check your oil level and paying attention to your car when something feels wrong could save you a big repair bill down the road, say both Malizia and Lawlor.

[Related: 14 Things You Should Always Buy Used]

Malizia also says that it's very important to pay attention to your warning lights. Your vehicle's monitoring systems are there for a reason, and it's better to nip a problem in the bud rather than to let it escalate to catastrophic proportions that could keep you from reaching that 200,000-mile mark.

Lawlor says that one of the most important things you can do is keep your car clean. The paint on today's cars can be damaged by simple things like bird droppings, acid rain or sap. Always having a coat of wax on your car will prevent the paint from being damaged, which can keep the metal from rusting. Additionally, Lawlor says you should make sure you keep your interior clean. Dirt on your seats or dash can act like sandpaper, grinding into the surface every time you touch it.

Find a Mechanic You Can Trust

One of the best ways to ensure that your car is well taken-care of for the long haul is to find a mechanic you trust, Malizia says. We've all heard horror stories about garages charging unsuspecting customers for fictional "blinker fluid" problems, or going in to fix one problem and finding 15 more. But most technicians are honest and up-front, and building a relationship with a mechanic you trust will help you as you push your car past that 200,000-mile mark.

[Related: Debunking Fuel-Economy Myths]

Lawlor suggests taking later-model cars to the dealership, especially if they're under warranty. The more recent the car's model year, the more complex it's likely to be, and dealership technicians undergo specific training so they know your car like the back of their hand. While the dealership is likely worth the money for newer models, Lawlor says that you'll be better off taking cars that are more than 10 years old to your local mom-and-pop repair shop. They'll know the basics of your car well enough to perform maintenance like changing the brake pads, but most won't charge you as much as a dealership might.

No matter how you take care of your car, accidents are bound to happen and mechanical failures may be beyond your control. Properly maintaining your car will keep it on the road longer and will get you a higher price when it's time to sell it or trade it in. Take it from Joe Malizia: The highest-mileage car he's seen in his shop is his own 1993 Ford Taurus SHO, which is still going strong after 19 years and 238,000 miles.

Heat Stroke - An Education.


Heat stroke facts

Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated.

Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke.

The most important measures to prevent heat strokes are to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.

Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke.

What is, and who is at risk for heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia, an abnormally elevated body temperature with accompanying physical symptoms including changes in the nervous system function. Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, two other forms of hyperthermia that are less severe, heat stroke is a true medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated. Heat stroke is also sometimes referred to as heatstroke or sun stroke. Severe hyperthermia is defined as a body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher.

The body normally generates heat as a result of metabolism, and is usually able to dissipate the heat by radiation of heat through the skin or by evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous physical exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106 F (41.1 C) or higher. Another cause of heat stroke is dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which causes the body temperature to rise.

Those most susceptible (at risk) individuals to heart strokes include:

infants, the elderly (often with associated heart diseases, lung diseases, kidney diseases, or who are taking medications that make them vulnerable to dehydration and heat strokes), athletes, andindividuals who work outside and physically exert themselves under the sun.

What are heat stroke symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of heat stroke can sometimes mimic those of heart attack or other conditions. Sometimes a person experiences symptoms of heat exhaustion before progressing to heat strokes.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

nausea,vomiting, fatigue, weakness,headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness.

However, some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heatstroke. Common symptoms and signs of heat stroke include:

high body temperature,the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behavior,hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and/or coma.

How do you treat a heat stroke victim?

Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. First and foremost, cool the victim.

Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin (for example you may spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose), fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, and place ice packs under armpits and groin.

If the person is able to drink liquids, have them drink cool water or other cool beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine.

Monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101 to 102 F (38.3 to 38.8 C).

Always notify emergency services (911) immediately. If their arrival is delayed, they can give you further instructions for treatment of the victim.

Atlanta weather | Temps in the 100s forecast; air quality in unhealthy range.

AM NOTE: Temperatures will be in the 100 plus area today. Please do your best to follow the advice of the folks below!

By Mike Morris
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The hottest weather in five years will push metro Atlanta temperatures into the triple digits by Friday and into the weekend, forecasters said.

Georgia has issued a code red air quality alert for metro Atlanta for Friday. That means the outdoor air may be unhealthy for most people. Children, people sensitive to ozone and those with heart and lung disease are considered at great risk, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection division. Limit prolonged outdoor exertion, especially during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone concentrations peak, experts advise.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton is forecasting highs of 101 on Friday, a steamy 102 on Saturday and 101 on Sunday.

If the forecast holds true, it will mark the first time since August 2007 that Atlanta's high has hit triple digits. During that brutally hot month, temperatures were in the 100s on nine days, topping out at 104 on August 22, 2007.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Atlanta was 105 during the summer of 1980.

Atlanta's high Thursday of 98 was 10 degrees warmer than normal for the date. The warmest reading in metro Atlanta Thursday was 101 in Cartersville, while in Rome, the mercury soared from an early morning low of 58 degrees to an afternoon high of 103.

Minton said the weekend will be dry, with the next chance of rain coming on Monday and Tuesday, when there's a 20 to 30 percent chance.

However, there is some good news, at least for outlying metro Atlanta areas.

Morning lows outside of the perimeter will be in the low 60s during the morning hours, Burns noted. Therefore, the National Weather Service is not issuing a heat advisory at this time.

"We will also have a nice northwest breeze and extremely low humidity," Channel 2 chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said. "The low humidity will actually make the 100 degree heat feel more like the mid 90s."
The heat was already playing a factor early Friday for firefighters battling a blaze in an apparently vacant house on Mayson Turner Road in Atlanta.

"The most important thing for us is short duration of exposure into the fire," Atlanta fire Battalion Chief David Rhodes said.

"Bring them out and get them out of their gear,"
he said. "We get them out and let the air cool them off and get them some water, wet towels on the head, that kind of stuff."
Rhodes told the AJC that he and other fire officials preach a message of hydration to their firefighters.

"They have to constantly be drinking water during the day, building up to the potential of having and incident," Rhodes said. "They can't wait until the incident occurs in order to get themselves up to speed and hydrated."
Rhodes said hydration isn't just a concern when temperatures approach the triple digits.

"With the weight of the gear, even in the wintertime, with the work, our firefighters dehydrate quick," he said. "The heat makes you sweat more, and it's real easy to lose a lot of your body fluids through sweat quickly, and we have issues with potassium and cramping and all that stuff when it gets this hot."
The Weather Service said all residents of north and central Georgia "need to take proper precautions against the heat, including drinking plenty of water and limiting outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day."

And, most important, don't leave any living thing — person or pet — in a hot car. This can quickly lead to tragic consequences, experts say.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Lynn Wallace said there are several things customers can do to help limit the costs of keeping cool during the heat wave:

• Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher and leave it there. For every degree below that setting, you'll use 3 to 4 percent more electricity.

• Set the thermostat even higher when at work or away from home for long periods of time, but no more than 5 degrees higher.

• Invest in a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts your home's temperature to your schedule.

• Change or clean your air filter regularly to maximize the unit's cooling potential.

• Check your windows and doors for a tight fit and apply weather stripping or caulking if needed.

• Use fans whenever possible. Ceiling fans can make the air in a room feel 6 degrees cooler and allow you to save energy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Neal Boortz Quote On Obama Care Decision.

"The power of the federal government is now complete.There is nothing it cannot do.Federalism is essentially dead. Bad day for America."--Neal Boortz

Senator John Albers Responds to U.S.Supreme Court Ruling on Health Care Law.

Natalie Dale, Director
Shawna Mercer, Sr. Communications Specialist

ATLANTA (June 28, 2012) – Senator John Albers (R-Roswell) has

released the following statement about today’s U.S. Supreme Court
ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA):

“This is an egregious overreach of federal government authority.

Our founding fathers feared this type of action and it is now incumbent upon the states to opt out of this flawed mandate and elect a President and Congress to overturn this law. We must return to the principles that made America great. I am disappointed and ready to do everything possible to protect Georgia and America by overturning Obamacare.”


Courtesy Ann Coulter.

Forget executive privilege, contempt of Congress, "fast and furious," how many documents the government has produced and who said what to whom on which date.

The Obama administration has almost certainly engaged in the most shockingly vile corruption scandal in the history of the country, not counting the results of Season Eight on "American Idol."

Administration officials intentionally put guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, so that when the guns taken from Mexican crime scenes turned out to be American guns, Democrats would have a reason to crack down on gun sellers in the United States.

Democrats will never stop trying to take our guns away. They see something more lethal than a salad shooter and wet themselves.

But since their party was thrown out of Congress for the first time in nearly half a century as a result of passing the 1994 "assault weapons ban," even liberals know they were going to need a really good argument to pass any limitation on guns ever again.

So it's curious that Democrats all started telling the same lie about guns as soon as Obama became president. In March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced to reporters on a trip to Mexico: "Since we know that the vast majority, 90 percent of that weaponry (used by Mexican drug cartels), comes from our country, we are going to try to stop it from getting there in the first place."

As she sentimentally elaborated on Fox News' Greta Van Susteren show: "The guns sold in the United States, which are illegal in Mexico, get smuggled and shipped across our border and arm these terrible drug-dealing criminals so that they can outgun these poor police officers along the border and elsewhere in Mexico."

Suddenly that 90 percent statistic was everywhere. It was like the statistic on women beaten by their husbands on Super Bowl Sunday.

CBS' Bob Schieffer asked Obama on "Face the Nation": "It's my understanding that 90 percent of the guns that they're getting down in Mexico are coming from the United States. We don't seem to be doing a very good job of cutting off the gun flow. Do you need any kind of legislative help on that front? Have you, for example, thought about asking Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons?"

At a Senate hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said: "It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors ... come from the United States."

And then, thanks to Fox News -- the first network to report it -- we found out the 90 percent figure was complete bunkum. It was a fabrication told by William Hoover, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF), and then spread like wildfire by Democrats and the media.

Mexican law enforcement authorities send only a fraction of the guns they recover from criminals back to the U.S. for tracing. Which guns do they send? The guns that have U.S. serial numbers on them. It would be like asking a library to produce all their Mark Twain books and then concluding that 90 percent of the books in that library are by Mark Twain.

You begin to see why the left hates Fox News so much.

Obama backed away from the preposterous 90 percent claim. His National Security Council spokesman explained to Fox News that by "recovered," they meant "guns traceable to the United States." So, in other words, Democrats were frantically citing the amazing fact that almost all the guns traceable to the U.S. were ... traceable to the U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that even if the percentage is inaccurate, the "vast majority" of guns seized in crimes in Mexico come from the United States. (And he should know, because it turns out he was sending them there!)

This was absurd. Most of the guns used by drug cartels are automatic weapons -- not to mention shoulder-fired rockets -- that can't be sold to most Americans. They are acquired from places like Russia, China and Guatemala.

Right about the time the 90 percent lie was unraveling, the Obama administration decided to directly hand thousands of American guns over to Mexican criminals. Apart from the fact that tracking thousands of guns into Mexico is not feasible or rational, the dumped guns didn't have GPS tracing devices on them, anyway. There is no conceivable law enforcement objective to such a program.

This is what we know:

(1) Liberals thought it would be a great argument for gun control if American guns were ending up in the hands of Mexican criminals;

(2) They wanted that to be true so badly, Democrats lied about it;

(3) After they were busted on their lie, the Obama administration began dumping thousands of guns in the hands of Mexican criminals.

We also know that hundreds of people were murdered with these U.S.-government-supplied guns, including at least one American, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

But let's look on the bright side. The BATF was originally going to ship warheads to Iran until realizing the explosions might disable the tracking devices.

(Contrary to more Democrat lies, there was no program to dump thousands of guns in Mexico under George W. Bush. The Bush administration did have a program that put GPS trackers on about 100 guns in order to actually trace them. That operation was ended almost as soon as it began because of the lack of cooperation from Mexican officials. You may as well say Holder's program was "started" by the first cop who ever put tracer dye on contraband.)

No one has explained what putting 2,500 untraceable guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers was supposed to accomplish.

But you know what that might have accomplished? It would make the Democrats' lie retroactively true -- allowing them to push for the same gun restrictions they were planning when they first concocted it. A majority of guns recovered from Mexican criminals would, at last, be American guns, because Eric Holder had put them there.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, some brave whistleblower inside the government leaked details of this monstrous scheme. As soon as Congress and the public demanded answers, Holder clammed up. He just says "oops" -- and accuses Republicans of racism.

1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

2012 Presidential Election Coverage.


With advocacy from both sides of the aisle becoming more and more pronounced as we come closer to the 2012 Presidential Election, will begin the process of aggregating election related stories for our readers here in Milton Georgia.

We will do our best to pull stories from various perspectives to insure a balanced approach. However, if we over look a story that you would like us to post, please email us at

It should be stressed, however, that will continue to the #1 site for all things Milton Georgia.

Thank you.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

New Poll Up / Old Poll Results.


There is a new poll up in the right margin.

It asks:

Will Crabapple be a good location for the library?

Have your say today.

Results from the previous poll are below=>

New Milton library site sits on history.

Members of Carroll Realty, Glenn Fletcher (left) and Wes Williams (right), with Williams' daughter, Colleen, said they are proud of their part in bringing Milton its own library, on the Dinsmore farm in Crabapple.

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald

June 25, 2012

MILTON, Ga. — Milton's new public library will be at the corner of Charlotte Drive and Mayfield Road, in downtown Crabapple. The county paid $1.1 million for the 4.09-acre piece of historic property where the homestead of the Dinsmore family still stands.

With a large white house sitting up on a slight rise from the road, there are two barns and a smaller, yellow house on the property. There are plenty of large trees on the property, including two massive oaks. A family of turkey vultures has taken up roost in one of the barns.

The Dinsmore farm belonged to Theodore Roosevelt (T.R.) Dinsmore and his wife Imogene. While the white farm house dates back to the 1950's, the property has been in the family for much longer.

"You would see [T.R.] sitting on his porch at all times," said Wes Williams, a long-time area resident and real estate agent for the property.

At one point, the Dinsmore family owned a large percentage of the Crabapple area, Williams said.

T.R. died in 2005 and Imogene died in 2009.

Drivers-by might recall that the property has had a "for sale" sign out front for the past several years.

Williams and Glenn Fletcher are partners in Carroll Realty, the Realtors who have tried to sell the property for the past seven years.

It was slow going, Fletcher said, trying to find the right developer and development for such an important site in Crabapple, especially with the newly formed City of Milton.

"This is the last big parcel in Crabapple that wouldn't require an assemblage of lots," said Fletcher. "We went looking for the right fit."
They then heard about the $275 million library bond.

"When Wes and I happened to along how Fulton County passed their bond and they were looking for a library site, we knew it was a perfect site," said Fletcher.

The lot has road visibility and is within walking distance of several schools – Milton High School, Northwestern Middle School and Crabapple Elementary School – all important criteria for site selection by the library board.

The realtors reached out to the library director, John Szabo, and invited him to walk the site.

This was all in 2008. Two years later, Fletcher, Williams and Williams' 10-year-old daughter, Colleen, went to a Library Board of Trustees meeting to make their case.

They think the decision was made easier for the board when young Colleen stood up and wanted to speak.

"She told them, 'I think that Charlotte Drive would be a great location for your new library,'" said Williams. "She got up there and was unfazed by the people in the room."

The Fulton County Commission voted at their June 6 meeting to approve the $1.1 million to purchase the Dinsmore estate. The motion to approve came from North Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann and was unanimously approved.

The 25,000-square-foot library is part of 10 new or renovated libraries that were approved in a 2008 referendum worth $275 million, and work has been moving on a few sites since then. The library in Roswell already has preliminary designs drawn up, and the new Alpharetta Library is part of the new designs of downtown Alpharetta. The next step for the library is for architecture and designs to be drawn up.

For Fletcher and Williams, it's a perfect fit for Milton.

"It's nice to think this piece of property will be the center of learning for young kids," said Fletcher, who also helps teach special needs children at the Old Milton High School.

"This is one of the main entrances into Milton," said Williams. "What better way for a city to be represented than a landmark to learning?"

Volunteers needed July 11 for wildlife preservation group.


Want to help preserve the habitats of local wildlife? On Wednesday, July 11 the City of Milton will hold a meeting to kick off the city’s efforts in being named a “Community Wildlife Habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation.

The meeting, which lasts from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will be held in the executive conference room at Milton’s City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 107 G (Click here for directions, click here for a map of City Hall).

Additionally, city staff will hold an information meeting on the effort for the public July 16 before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Refreshments will be available starting at 5:30 p.m.

This distinctive certification would make the City of Milton just the third city in Georgia and 61st in the nation to become a National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat, said William Check, who is organizing the initial meeting. He said volunteers are needed to carry out the certification project with city staffers.

“We’re looking to bring awareness to the community about our local wildlife while preserving their precious natural habitats,” said Check, a Milton resident and Blessed Trinity High School student. “Anyone who is interested in preserving Milton’s diverse and robust environment is encouraged to attend.”

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Check at or call 678-242-2500 for more information.

To stay up to date with the project’s progress, visit To certify your backyard or for more information, visit the National Wildlife Federation‘s Web site.

Boot drive total rises to $42,965.

Courtesy Milton Fire Department

As part of its yearly Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Fill the Boot Campaign, the Milton Fire Department’s A Shift raised nearly $10,000 June 22. The total raised over four days is now nearly $43,000.

The department is trying to top its 2011 total of more than $60,000, which was second in the state in fundraising.

Milton firefighters will continue their drive July 6.

In just five years, the City of Milton Fire Department has raised more than $221,000 for MDA, which uses the money to aid local children and adults affected by neuromuscular diseases by providing wheelchairs, leg braces, clinic visits, support groups and a chance for children to attend Camp Walk-N-Roll.

Crabapple antique fest now accepting applications.

Courtesy City of Milton

The Crossroads at Crabapple Antique and Art Festival Committee is now accepting vendor applications for its one-day, outdoor festival on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Antique dealers and local artists are encouraged to apply. Be advised that space is limited. To apply for the event, which brings thousands to historic downtown Crabapple, e-mail or call Amanda Quintana of the Crabapple Community Association at 770-241-1125.

A tradition since 1969, the festival features thousands of antiques, accessories and unique pieces of art in all mediums. Last year’s event drew more than 10,000 attendees and 100-plus vendors from six states. The City of Milton is a presenting sponsor of the event.

Parking and admission are free, and proceeds benefit local community programs and non-profits. For more information, visit

Cogburn Road construction update 6.


Foundation work is done, as is construction of the bridge footer. Bridge structure is scheduled for delivery on Wednesday and will be going in.

For more information, visit the project's site by clicking here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Milton moves ahead with Crabapple plan.

By Patrick Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Milton's city council has passed ordinances to allow planners to enforce form-based zoning codes in the Crabapple area. The action means the city can now create a uniform aesthetic in one of the city's oldest districts while preserving the surrounding open spaces.

Over the past two years, the city has held public meetings to draw up a Crabapple Visioning Study that will now be used to guide the area's development.

Information: Contact city planner Robyn MacDonald at 678-242-2540.

Crabapple plan taking shape.


The policy tools for City of Milton to implement the Crabapple Visioning Study, which foresees a bustling, aesthetically uniform city center in the historic crossroads area, are now part of the city’s zoning laws.

At its June 18 meeting, Milton’s City Council passed ordinances establishing transfer of development rights and an overlay district for Crabapple allowing planners to enforce form-based coding principles. These two zoning tools mean Milton can now create a uniform, community-approved aesthetic in the area while protecting the surrounding open spaces from development.

To view new laws, click here. This packet of information is also available during normal business hours at Milton’s City Hall, located at 13000 Deerfield Parkway, suite 107.

“These innovative zoning tools will allow the city to implement the Crabapple Visioning Study’s village concept,” said Kathy Field, director of Community Development. “Now, development in the area can reflect the community’s architectural ideals and be confined to those areas with existing infrastructure, meaning protection of precious green space.”

Monday’s vote caps more than two years of work to create the vision and framework for an ideal Crabapple. In 2010, Lew Oliver Inc. Wholetown Solutions created the Crabapple Visioning Study after numerous meetings with residents, planners, citizen volunteers and elected officials. Then, in December 2011, Field and Community Development staff began meeting with Crabapple residents and business owners to craft a new type of zoning district that fit the area’s unique nature.

For more information on form-based code and transfer of development rights, contact City Planner Robyn MacDonald at 678-242-2540 or

Police chief returns from counterterrorism training.

Harrell with an Israeli police commander at the Israeli Police’s Bomb Disposal Division.


Milton Police Chief Deborah Harrell has returned from an intensive two weeks of public safety training conducted by Israeli police.

Harrell traveled to Israel as part of a 14-member delegation of public safety officials from Georgia who studied best practices in counterterrorism, emergency management, and other types of public safety and homeland security strategies through the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE).

“This was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a transformative experience,” said Harrell, who was hand-picked for the program. “I gained unparalleled knowledge of practices I would have had no exposure to before the trip.”
GILEE was founded prior to Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Games as a joint program between Georgia State University and the state’s law enforcement community. The program continuously works to improve public safety in Georgia and the nation by enhancing inter-agency cooperation and educational training among and world’s top law enforcement communities, with Israel a principal partner in this exchange.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, GILEE has provided more than 800 senior law enforcement officials worldwide – more than half from Georgia – critical knowledge in current public safety practices through more than 200 peer-to-peer training exchanges. More than 15,000 public and private leaders in law enforcement and public safety have attended GILEE’s special briefings, such as the annual Business Continuity Summit.

“I am an avid supporter of GILEE,” said GBI Director Vernon Keenan, a 1993 graduate of GILEE’s training exchange. “When we send our men and women into critical incidents, it is too late to worry about whether we have trained them properly. GILEE delegations gain valuable, peer-to-peer training with international partners where they are exposed to new techniques, new skills and new ideas – many that validate the public safety practices we use here.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

Woman charged in Wal-Mart fracas.


By David Ibata
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Click here for video coverage.

An altercation between two women in a food aisle of a north Fulton County Wal-Mart left one injured and the other taken to jail, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Fulton County Sheriff's Office, Fulton County Sheriff's Office Dorothy R. Kemp, 63, of Sandy Springs was arrested and charged with simple battery after police said she pushed a co-worker into a produce cooler during an altercation at a Wal-Mart store in Milton. The two women work for an independent contractor that provides samples to customers

The incident, involving two women who work for a private contractor that supplies samples to customers, happened about 2 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart at 5200 Windward Parkway in Milton, police said.

"The employees got mad. One got upset with the other and went over and pushed her,” Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty told Channel 2. "In this case, the suspect lost her temper in the crowded Wal-Mart and took it out on the person she was angry with."
The incident was recorded on the store’s surveillance video, police said.

The victim, 56-year-old Marissa Audry Moody, told police the confrontation started when Dorothy R. Kemp, 63, took her cutting board, according to a police incident report. Moody said she asked Kemp to return it.

Kemp ignored her, so Moody put her frying pan down on Kemp's cart and repeated her request, police said. Kemp allegedly told her to go away.

Moody said she told Kemp she needed a bottle of disinfecting spray, and there was none in the back room, according to the police report. So, Moody said, she grabbed a bottle of the spray from Kemp’s cart and starting walking back to her cart.

An officer who watched the video described what happened next in the recording: “Ms. Kemp ran after Ms. Moody and grabbed her by the shoulders to stop her. Ms. Kemp grabbed the disinfecting spray and pushed Ms. Moody into the fruit [cooler]. Ms. Moody’s feet were up in the air and she could not get out of the cooler.”

A Wal-Mart employee came over and helped Moody out of the cooler, police said. Kemp, meanwhile, had returned to her stand and gone back to work, preparing samples to hand out.

The police were called. After speaking with both women and watching the video, police said, they arrested Kemp and charged her with simple battery. She was released Sunday after posting $3,000 bond, according to Fulton County jail records.

Moody, meanwhile, was taken to North Fulton Hospital to be treated for her injuries. The Roswell woman told Channel 2 that she was injured badly enough to require X-rays and physical therapy.

When contacted by Channel 2 Thursday, an official for the California company that employed the women would not comment when asked if Kemp still worked for the firm.

Contacted at her Sandy Springs home, Kemp also declined comment to Channel 2.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Milton library has a home.

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald / Appen Newspapers

June 15, 2012
MILTON, Ga. - The Milton library officially has a home – the old Dinsmore farm at the corner of Charlotte Drive and Mayfield Road in Crabapple.

"Hopefully in the next couple years we will see a library here in Crabapple," said Milton Council member Karen Thurman at a meeting of the Crabapple Community Association June 14 at Milton's Cuisine, on Mayfield.

The 25,000 square foot building is part of 10 new or renovated libraries were approved in a 2008 referendum worth $275 million and work has been moving on a few sites since then. The Roswell library already has preliminary designs drawn up and the new Alpharetta library is part of the new designs of downtown Alpharetta.

The Fulton County Commission voted at their June 6 meeting to approve the $1.1 million to purchase the farm. The motion to approve came from North Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann and was unanimously approved.

Cogburn Road construction update 5.


Foundation work is continuing on the south side of the work site and crews are currently scheduled to pour the footing at the end of the week. The concrete bridge structure has been completed and is ready for delivery.

For more information, visit the project's site by clicking here.

Fulton Buys Land for New Library In Milton


At the Fulton County Board of Commissioners June 6 meeting, Commissioner Liz Hausmann, who represents north Fulton, made a motion to approve the county's purchase of land for a library in the city of Milton.

Fulton County has purchased, for $1.1 million, the Imogene Dinsmore estate at 855 Mayfield Road. The motion was approved unanimously by commissioners.

Read more: - Fulton buys land for new library in Milton

Council surprises retiring veteran officer.

Hayes and his wife, Elaine, with, from left, Councilwoman Karen Thurman, Mayor Joe Lockwood and Councilman Lance Large.


At its June 18 meeting, Milton’s City Council surprised Bill Hayes, a veteran law enforcement officer who is retiring from the force to begin a new career as a code enforcement officer for the city.

Hayes, who has served Milton since its inception, was invited to the meeting under the guise of being sworn in as a code enforcement officer. However, he didn’t know that council and the police and fire services were going to honor him for his 43 years of law enforcement.

Hayes was given a proclamation recognizing his four decades of service and a plaque commemorating his dedication to residents. He was then congratulated by a number of officers, firefighters, city staffers and elected officials.

Hayes and his wife, Elaine, with, from left, Councilwoman Karen Thurman, Mayor Joe Lockwood and Councilman Lance Large.

Milton delays vote on apartments.

By Patrick Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Milton City Council voted Monday evening to delay action on a request by Crescent Resources to build a 256-unit apartment complex on Deerfield Parkway. The 5-2 vote came after several council members questioned whether a high-density residential complex would cost the city more in services than it would deliver in property taxes.

City Manager Chris Lagerbloom told city leaders that Milton is developing a land use formula to help determine cost-effective zoning, but the study will not be ready for another few weeks.

The application will be reconsidered in August.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TLAER practices getting horses from mud pits.

Training part of unique team.

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald / Appen Newspapers

MILTON, Ga. - In late May, the Milton Fire Department's Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) unit trained for mud entrapment scenarios over four days.

Firefighters used "Randy," the 400-pound horse mannequin, to train for situations in which large livestock can become entrapped in deep mud.

"A horse or any large animal can fall into a sink hole or a mud hole," explained Bill Bourn, TLAER coordinator for Milton. "We've had a couple rescues like that already, but training gets everybody familiarized with how to do it."
It's not as simple as just pulling the animal out, Borne said. The mud creates suction around the horse, dragging it down, similar to how you can lose a boot in the mud. With a horse, it can be even more dangerous. Bourn said horses have lost whole hooves due to suction.

"We needed to break the suction," he said.

To do that, the team stuck special pipes into the mud and used a fire engine to pump water in through those pipes. The water displaces the suction and allows the horse to get out.

Then it's just a matter of lifting the animal out of the hole.

"This is all part of continuing education for the department," Bourn said.

The Milton Fire Department's TLAER team is a privately funded specialty unit utilized in Milton and Forsyth and Cherokee counties to rescue large animals. No taxpayer dollars are used for its equipment or training.

Since its inception in August 2008, TLAER has responded to more than 70 calls for help involving horses.

Monday, June 11, 2012

On A National Note...

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90.

School pulls patriotic song at graduation, but Justin Bieber's 'Baby' is OK.

Read more:

A controversial Coney Island principal has pulled the plug on patriotism.

Her refusal to let students sing “God Bless the USA” at their graduation has sparked fireworks at a school filled with proud immigrants.

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, won’t allow kindergartners to belt out the beloved Lee Greenwood ballad, also known as “Proud to be an American,” at their moving-up ceremony.

Five classes spent months learning the patriotic song, which skyrocketed in popularity after the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags — which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.”

But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said.

She told the teachers to drop the song from the program.

“We don’t want to offend other cultures,”
they quoted her as explaining.

The curt edict stunned both staff and parents.

“A lot of people fought to move to America to live freely, so that song should be sung with a whole lot of pride,” said mom Luz Lozada, whose son, Daniel, is in kindergarten.

The song has been sung at previous school events. Last year’s fifth-graders, including another Lozada child, performed it at graduation.

“Everybody applauded and whistled,” the mom said. “They gave it a standing ovation.”

Parents — many immigrants from Pakistan, Mexico and Ecuador — “love it,” Lozada said.

A teacher agreed: “It makes them a little goosebumpy and teary-eyed. I’ve never come across anyone who felt it insulted their culture.”

Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti gave The Post an explanation staffers said they never heard — that Hawkins found the lyrics “too grown up” for 5-year-olds.

The song starts: “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life. And I had to start again, with just my children and my wife, I’d thank my lucky stars, to be livin’ here today.”

Scaperotti said the department supports the principal’s decision. “The lyrics are not age-appropriate,” she said.

But Justin Bieber’s flirty song about teen romance, “Baby,” was deemed a fine selection for the show. Hawkins had no problem with 5-year-olds singing lines such as, “Are we an item? Girl, quit playing.”

The other songs: “We’re All Together Again,” popular at Scout campfires; “The World is a Rainbow,” which celebrates diversity; “Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi; and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story.”

Scaperotti noted PS 90 kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “America the Beautiful” each morning. Insiders say Hawkins tried to end that tradition a couple years ago but staff objected.

The principal, a Jehovah’s Witness, does not recite the pledge because her religion forbids followers to salute any nation’s flag. Staffers gripe she doesn’t stand in respect during the school-wide ritual.

The song uproar comes amid tensions. Hawkins has been called a tyrant and bully by some staffers.

The DOE reprimanded her in 2010 after teachers complained she called the school “racist” and declared: “I’m black. Your previous principal was white and Jewish. More of us are coming.”

Scaperotti said Hawkins is being targeted by the teachers union and has received hate mail, which is under investigation by the NYPD.

A Sad Note From TV Land.

Frank Cady, character actor on TV sitcom 'Green Acres,' dies at 96.


Frank Cady, a character actor best known as the general-store owner on the sitcom "Green Acres," has died. He was 96.

Cady's daughter Catherine Turk tells the Los Angeles Times that her father died Friday at his home in Wilsonville, Ore. A cause of death wasn't released.

Cady played Sam Drucker, one of the less loony denizens of Hooterville in "Green Acres." The show, about a Manhattan couple who left the big city to live in a rundown farm, ran from 1965 to 1971. Cady also played the same character in "Petticoat Junction" and "The Beverly Hillbillies."

He also had a recurring role as Doc Williams on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."

He and his wife, Shirley, moved to Oregon in the 1990s. She died in 2008.

Friday, June 08, 2012

I'll Have Another out of the Belmont Stakes, out of the Triple Crown and retired for good.

AM NOTE: With horse racing being discussed for Georgia and the possibility of Milton benefiting , we thought the following story would be of interest.

Courtesy Yahoo Sports

A leg injury has taken I'll Have Another out of the Belmont Stakes and out of the running for the Triple Crown.

The issue is with a swollen left-front tendon. Trainer Doug O'Neill said something was first noticed in the leg on Thursday, but hoped I'll Have Another had "just hit himself."

Trainer Doug O'Neill, rear left, kneels to wrap I'll Have Another's left foot at Belmont Park on Friday. (AP)

I'll Have Another looked fine during a morning workout on Friday, according to O'Neill, but in the cooling down period "you could tell that swelling was back and at that point I didn't feel very good."

O'Neill talked to owner Paul Reddam and the two summoned a doctor, who determined I'll Have Another showed signs of tendinitis beginning in his left-front leg.

The doctor indicated the horse would need 3-6 months of rest. After conferring, O'Neill and Reddam opted to retire I'll Have Another.

"It's a bummer," O'Neill said, "but it's far from tragic."

The inflammation to the tendon is a "one-bad-step injury," according to equine veterinarian Larry Bramlage, and doesn't have anything to do with overuse or I'll Have Another's schedule of races.

"In the whole scale of tendon injuries, it's minor. In the scale of the Triple Crown, it's huge," Bramlage said.

There were indications Friday morning that something was amiss. O'Neill took I'll Have Another to the track for his morning jog hours earlier than he had been going for the past three weeks. O'Neill then left the Belmont track without speaking to the media, and Reddam was also not available. That was highly unusual for what had been a media-friendly group.

"I was watching him this morning," said trainer Ken McPeek, who has two horses in Saturday's race – Unstoppable U and Atigun. "I wanted to see what his energy level was like, his aura, and the screen [on his stall] was closed. I thought, 'What's that about?' There was people in there. It was a little unusual."
Rumors began to circulate late Friday morning that something was wrong with the horse, and O'Neill confirmed the shocking news on The Dan Patrick Show.

"It's too bad," McPeek said. "It's a hard thing. I feel really bad for the connections. I feel terrible for them." Saturday's running of the Belmont Stakes was highly anticipated, as I'll Have Another was on the cusp of becoming the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. Never a favorite in any of his previous races, the three-year-old I'll Have Another was a 4/5 favorite to win the final leg of the horse racing's most elusive prize.

"Now," McPeek said of Saturday's race, "it's wide open."
I'll Have Another is only the third Triple Crown aspirant to miss the Belmont Stakes due to injury. The others are Bold Venture in 1936 and Burgoo King in 1932.

Help protect Milton Georgia's horses from abuse and harassment by supporting Liberty's Law!

On A Different Note...A Very Good Thing!

Courtesy Boston CBS

MBTA workers sprung into action on Wednesday to rescue a little girl’s close friend, who had fallen onto the tracks.

Casey and Michelle Carey-Brown’s 3-year-old daughter Riley said her beloved stuffed animal bunny, Nummy, was nervous about riding the T.

While on their journey Wednesday, the four all rode one stop on the Orange Line from Stony Brook to Green Street. While getting off the train, Nummy’s worst fears were realized when the bunny fell out of Riley’s stroller and onto the tracks between the platform and train.

Riley immediately screamed for her friend.

“My friend! Nummy! She fell on the tracks and now a train is going to run her over! She will be squished by the train! On the tracks! I NEED MY FRIEND!!!” said Riley

Casey rushed to find an MBTA worker for help while her wife Michelle waited with an anxious Riley.

The worker then radioed ahead to the conductor of the next train.

“I guess the little kid’s stuffed animal that’s very dear to them fell into the pit there on the southbound,” said the worker.

“OK… do you want me to stop and get that in the pit?” said the conductor. “Wait a minute, I think I see it right here.”
After stopping the train in the middle of rush hour, the conductor got out, picked up the bunny, and tossed it onto the platform.

Casey then ran back to her wife and daughter with Nummy in hand.

Riley shouted “thank you!” to nearby MBTA workers for saving her bunny.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

D-Day Remembered.

Click here to read more about this historic date.


June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

Cogburn Road construction update 3.


Water valves have been installed to isolate the water line in the work zone and the foundation work has begun.

For more information, visit the project's site by clicking here.

Horse dies after lengthy rescue from 8-foot hole.



Despite rescue efforts by Cherokee County firefighters, the horse trapped in a sinkhole for six hours died early Tuesday morning.

"Not the outcome we were hoping for," said owner Patty Sloan of Timber Ridge Farm.

Sixteen-year-old Brittany Holt was riding the 4-year-old quarter horse, Glory, as part of a trail ride Monday evening, when she said a sinkhole suddenly opened up and swallowed the horse.

"There was a tree, and when we were going over it, it was just dirt," said Holt. "There was no hole there, but when the horses started to walk over it, it started to sink. So, I went to turn around and get away from the hole, and the horse's back end sank into the ground. I jumped off of her and grabbed the reins to make sure she wouldn't get more hurt and freak out."

Cherokee County firefighters arrived on the scene at 7 p.m. and began a valiant effort to dig Glory out of the sinkhole, at times even using their hands to try and move the mud and dirt. They brought in a vet who sedated Glory so the horse would not hamper their rescue efforts by thrashing around.

"When it fell into that hole, it was covered up, half the body was covered up with a lot of dirt and mud," said Cherokee County Fire Department spokesman Tim Cavender. "We had to dig that out."

They were finally able to use a harness to hoist the horse out of the hole at about 1 a.m. Sloan said they put Glory in a trailer and rushed her to a vet, but by the time they arrived, Glory had died. She believes it was a combination of stress and other complications.

Sloan thanked everyone who worked so hard to try and rescue Glory.

"If you choose the love and companionship of being there with horses then this part, unfortunately, does come with it," said Sloan. "You just enjoy them while they're here, and thank God for having them and remember the good stuff."

She is also most grateful that Holt wasn't injured.

"I'm just so thankful Brittany wasn't hurt," said Sloan. "She's a great kid. As much as you hate to lose a horse, you can't risk a child. You're always grateful they're fine."

Audit reveals ‘egregious' conduct by charter school.

The Fulton Science Academy, named a Blue Ribbon School last year, was set to build a new campus with its two sister schools, but the Fulton school board decided not to renew the charter school because of management problems. Officials at the school plans to open the school as a private school.

By Nancy Badertscher and Daarel Burnette
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Alpharetta charter school has spent taxpayer money to hire workers from overseas, run international field trips without proper supervision and give business to a related non-profit, an audit released Tuesday shows.

The audit, ordered by Fulton County Public Schools, questions management and financial decisions by leaders of the academically acclaimed Fulton Science Academy Middle School, one of about 130 charter schools with ties to Turkish imam and educational leader M. Fetullah Gulen.

They include a decision to secure a $19 million loan and break ground on a new building for the middle school and companion elementary and high schools, before knowing if the middle school’s charter would be extended.

The academy’s request for a 10-year charter extension was turned down by the Fulton school board last winter and the state in May, largely due to financial and management issues. The academy refused a county offer of a shorter term contract and plans to continue as a private school.

The findings raise questions about the oversight of charter schools, which use tax money but are given far more autonomy and flexibilty than regular public schools, said Fulton schools superintendent Robert Avossa, who released the audit at a school board meeting.

“How did this happen?” Fulton school board member Gail Dean asked during Tuesday’s discussion.

Officials of the school didn’t respond to the audit Tuesday.

Avossa said a charter school’s governance board has chief responsibility for oversight of operations, though, in this case, the audit offers evidence that members of the middle school’s board had conflicts of interest.

“That’s why the conflict of interest is such an issue. That’s the rub,” Avossa said. He said the middle school received $3.7 million in tax dollars last year and more than $30 million over its 10 years of operation.

Additional audits are planned at the nearby charter Fulton Sunshine Academy elementary school and Fulton Science Academy High School, which have overlapping management staffs, the superintendent said. They still have charter status. Together the three schools have about 1,250 students.

Avossa said he will await the response of administrators at the middle school before deciding whether to forward the audit to federal officials or prosecutors.

Middle school officials received a copy of the audit early Tuesday. One member of the school’s governing board, Ayhan Korucu, said he expects school leaders to issue a statement Wednesday. Calls to other board members, the principal and a public relations representative weren’t returned.

Concerns about the school’s financial and management practices have been raised previously, including by State School Superintendent John Barge when the charter extension was denied. The construction loan, Barge said, threatens the financial viability of the three charter schools.

Fulton hired a forensic auditor in February, in part to determine what taxpayer money or assets belonged to the school system, Avossa said. Auditors from IAG Forensics said that when they went to the school to examine records they were met by an “environment of resistance and obstructionism.”

The audit shows that Fulton Science Academy spent nearly $75,000 helping new employees -- and in some cases, their relatives -- who were coming from overseas to maneuver through the immigration process.

Even with Georgia public school systems shedding employees and other well-educated people seeking work, the school hired about 20 percent of staff from foreign countries, mainly Turkey. Most were hired to teach electives and one was hired as human resources manager, the audit found.

Auditors also reported finding “numerous inter-relations between the school, its vendors and other interested parties.”

In one case, the academy paid $239,366 to non-profit Grace Institute for Educational Research and Resources Inc. of Alpharetta, whose board included at least three employees of Fulton Science Academy Middle School, including the school’s then-executive director, Selim Ozdemir; principal, Kenen Sener; and curriculum director, Ali Ozer.

Grace Institute had the same address as the school at least one year, the audit found. It also found that Grace had only two paid staffers -- a receptionist and an IT person -- neither of whom had experience in the services Grace was hired for.

The academy also hired Atlantic Wind Productions for video production services, advertising and other services in December 2010, six months after the company was created and five months after its president, Baybars Bakay, ended a seven-month stint as a teacher at the middle school.

Asked about Bakay’s relation to the academy, school officials told auditors Bakay had been a computer science teacher at the school “maybe five years ago,” the auditors said.

The audit also discusses field trips to Turkey in 2011 and 2012. Almost half of the 33 people who participated in a summer 2011 trip did not appear to pay their own airfare, the auditors found. They said they found no evidence that background checks were performed on adults who traveled with the students and teachers and noted that, on one of the trips, some chaperones did not return with the group and stayed in Turkey longer, possibly on vacation.

“It is unknown where the trip participants stayed, where they ate while they were traveling, and how these expenses were paid for,” the auditors wrote.

Elizabeth Hooper, a public school parent from north Fulton, said the audit findings point to problems that can come from giving charter schools autonomy.

“Why would anyone think it is a good idea to remove oversight of how taxpayer money is spent?” she asked. “Taxpayers need to know who is spending their money and where. And the legislators who want to remove that from public view are obviously doing it for reasons that have nothing to do with public education.”

Fulton County is considered charter-friendly, with 9,000 of its 93,000 students attending 12 local charter schools.

Charter schools are a small but powerful force in the national education reform movement. State legislative leaders are among their biggest supporters and in the last legislative session pushed through a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters in November, will reinstate the state’s authority to approve charter schools over local school district objections.

Gulen-influenced schools, which emphasize math and science, have grown rapidly into one of the nation’s larger collections of charters. That has brought scrutiny of their associations with Turkey.

Lou Erste, director of the state Department of Education’s charter school division, said one or two charter schools around the country typically will run into major financial problems every year. In Georgia, he said, “I’ve not seen anything quite like this.”

The fact that Fulton Science Academy Middle School had to apply for renewal of its charter application helped shine the light on the school’s problems, Erste said.

“This points to the fact that the law works,” he said. “They failed on every part of the test but academics.”-- Russell Grantham and John Perry contributed to this article

Fulton School Board passes budget.

By Nancy Badertscher
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fulton County Schools will be hiring – not laying off staff – under a 2013 budget plan approved Tuesday night.

The $814.1 million spending plan calls for adding 102 new employees -- including 90 teachers, the bulk of which will be staffing a new school.

The budget also includes other good news that some metro districts can’t claim:

No teacher furloughs;
No property tax increase;
And no additional increases in class size.

School Superintendent Robert Avossa said local school board members deserve the credit for being proactive early on in the recession.

“You all made the tough decisions during a troubling time and you had the courage to make the decisions while others waited and hoped for the best,” Avossa told the board. “That’s why we’re weathering the storm when others are struggling.”
The budget does not call for any salary increases, but the district gave one-time $1,000 checks to teachers and $500 to non-teachers.

"This has been as good as it gets for a bad year," said school board member Linda Bryant.

The school system is pulling $19 million out of savings to balance the budget, which is increasing by $4 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The tax rate has yet to be set, but is expected to stay at 18.5 mills, said Marvin Dereef, budget director.

The school system expects to add 700 new students in the new fiscal year. In August, the system will open a replacement for Banneker High School in the College Park area and, on the other side of the county, it will open a new school Cambridge High in Milton.

Check This Out!

Iowa Family Finds Mammoth Bones In Backyard.


To view the video segment on this story, please click here.

An excavation is underway thanks to the discovery of the bones of a prehistoric mammoth in one Oskaloosa, Iowa, family's backyard.

According to ABC's affiliate ABC5-WOI in Des Moines, the first bones were discovered in July 2010 by a man named John and his two teenage sons when they were walking in the woods of their property looking for blackberries.

One of his sons pointed out what he thought was a ball in the creek below to his family. Once they got closer, John, who has an interest in archeology, noticed a marrow line at the top of the object, said reporter ABC5-WOI reporter Katie Eastman, who interviewed the family.

Realizing this was no ball, the family dug out what has now been identified as a mammoth femur.

Despite discovering the bones nearly two years ago, the bones were brought to the University of Iowa for identification only last month, sparking the interest of Holmes Semken, professor emeritus of Geoscience.

Semken enlisted the help of volunteers from the University of Iowa as well as Iowa State University, to help to uncover the fossils lying six feet below the surface.

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History is overseeing the project's excavation and research.

"The size of this discovery is quite uncommon,"
said Sarah Horgen, education coordinator at the museum. "It's pretty exciting-partially because the mammoth is being discovered where it died. And we know that because we're finding very large bones right alongside very small bones."
Horgen says the mammoth is at least 12,000 years old, and was extinct by the end of the last ice age.

Horgen also noted that the mammoth's discovery is not uncommon in Iowa, and that the museum has a working record of reported fossil discoveries around the state.

"The bones discovered could be 100,000 years old or more," she said.

Two digs have been held so far. In addition to the bones found by the landowner, volunteers have since uncovered the mammoth's feet bones, as well as its floating and thoracic ribs.

"The femur is about 4 feet long. The ribs of the diaphragm that move when you breathe are 2 and half feet each. The ribs that connect to the breast bone are 4 feet. You could use one for a walking cane," Semken said.

But what will happen to the mammoth's bones once they've been all dug up?

"The bones really belong to the land owner," said Semken. "Our agreement with him is we get the science."Semken is interested in finding how the animal died, but more importantly, how it lived.

He plans on studying the pollen samples and seeds lodged within the bones, as well as the compound make up to understand the environment the mammoth lived in, what it fed on, where it fed in terms of grassland as opposed to forest.

Semken says the digs should progress through the summer. He plans to enlist the help of volunteers from William Penn College in Oskaloosa, the local county conservation board, as well as rock clubs around the state to partake in the digs.

"We'll go as long as it takes," said Semken, "We don't know how widely scattered the bones are.""For us to work with somebody who's so interested in these types of materials and has a working knowledge of what to look for has been really great," Horgen added. "The landowner is clearly quite interested in the time period."
The landowner could not be reached for comment.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Alpharetta couple charged in teen house party.


By Joel Provano
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Alpharetta couple is facing charges after a party at their home in which 18 teenagers were cited for underage drinking.

Andreas Droege, 53, and his wife, Dagmar Droege, 48, were charged with furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors after police interrupted the party Thursday night at their home on Waters Mill Court.

An Alpharetta police officer investigating a complaint that cars were parked at a closed neighborhood clubhouse said he saw several teenagers leaving the Droeges' house and smelled alcohol on them, according to a police incident report.

When the officer knocked on the door of the home, Andreas Droege answered and allowed the officer to enter the house, the report stated.

"I noticed a crowd of about 15 underage subjects in the living room sitting down with the lights off," the officer wrote in the report. "I asked if any of them [had] been drinking underage and only two subjects said they did not drink anything."

Another officer who had arrived as backup searched the house with Andreas Droege and found six teenagers hiding in the attic with a bottle of liquor, the report stated.

Meanwhile, another officer entered the basement and found "a ping-pong table set up to play a drinking game called beer pong" and several coolers full of beer, the report said.

Seventeen of the teens were cited for minor in possession of alcohol and released to the custody of their parents.

Another person, identified by police as 19-year-old Michael Whitehurst, was taken to the Fulton County Jail North Annex because he was uncooperative, the report said. He also was charged underaged drinking.

Six other teenagers who tested negative for alcohol were detained until their parents could pick them up because they had provisional drivers licenses that prohibited them from driving at night.

Ohio crash Kills 3 Teens, One On Graduation Day.

June 3, 2012: People gather at the scene of an early-morning crash on Boston Road in Lorain County, Ohio to pay their respects and mourn three teens who died there. (AP)


Read more:


CINCINNATI – A car carrying five teenagers went airborne as it sped over railroad tracks in northeast Ohio early Sunday and crashed, killing the 18-year-old driver hours before his high school graduation and two of his passengers, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The other two passengers, one of them also an impending graduate, were hospitalized.

Less than 13 hours after the crash, Brunswick High School students left empty seats covered with flowers at their graduation ceremony to remember driver Jeffrey Chaya and Kevin Fox, who was critically injured.

"It was very sad," Superintendent Michael Mayell said after the commencement ceremony at the University of Akron. "There were a lot of tears."
The 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier was traveling at a high speed just after midnight when Chaya lost control in Columbia Township, troopers at the Elyria post said. The car went airborne and off the right side of the roadway, then swerved across the left side of the road, hit a ditch and tree, then flipped over, according to the troopers' report.

Chaya, a senior football player, and two passengers, 17-year-old Blake Bartchak and 16-year-old Lexi Poerner, were killed, the patrol said.

Fox, a back-seat passenger, was thrown from the car into a ditch, troopers said. He was flown to Cleveland Metro Health Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. Fox, 18, also was scheduled to graduate Sunday.

The fifth person in the car, identified by troopers as 17-year-old Julia Romito, was taken to Southwest General Hospital, which wouldn't release information on her.

Fox and Chaya were called during the commencement, which included a moment of silence and comments about the tragic accident, Mayell said. More than 600 students graduated Sunday.

Grief counselors were available to meet with students at the high school later in the day. Memorial services were held Sunday evening at a church and a performing arts center.

"We want to allow the families to grieve in peace, and do whatever we can to get through this very tragic situation," Mayell said.

Troopers were still investigating the crash Sunday. They said the only confirmed factor was unsafe speed, although they were still calculating the car's estimated speed.

Mayell has known Poerner's family for years, and said the students who were killed were well known at school, taking part in school activities and volunteering.

"They were very popular students, very well-liked," Mayell said.

"We've always been a very tight-knit community," he said. "It's one of those things that happens that I just don't get."Chaya, a wide receiver on the Brunswick High football team, had posted Saturday on his Twitter account: "Weird to think graduation is tomorrow time does fly big time."

On Saturday, graduating seniors at another northeast Ohio high school wore special red and black ribbons as a sign of unity and remembrance in the aftermath of the Feb. 27 Chardon school shootings that killed three students and wounded two others.

Read more:

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