DeKalb commissioner to discuss senior home repair program

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Roy Barnes and his brother Ray Barnes. Three former tenants, who were represented by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, claimed they were locked out of their rooms and told to leave — sometimes at gunpoint — when they fell behind on their rent payments in 2020.","_id":"RV5UTIEY7RDDVJZBP62UXN6URI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646754819514,"type":"text","content":"A lower court found last year that Efficiency Lodge was acting as a landlord and had to go through the formal eviction process, which can be a lengthy court process. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling Monday. Lindsey Siegel, an attorney for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the case sets a legal precedent that protects the rights of extended stay motel residents.","_id":"BFPESX5EGZDDTCP5JV7PI6HTLA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018190,"type":"text","content":"“The ruling is not just about Efficiency Lodge. It applies to all extended stay hotels in Georgia,” she said during a Tuesday phone call.","_id":"WOVBN3PVTJGDJCK3CWPQA4LB34","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"4FPCGACNGNHY3NSZVNZKEZ7TOU","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Families forced out of extended stay motel in south DeKalb as activists sound alarm","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/families-forced-out-of-extended-stay-motel-in-south-dekalb-as-activists-sound-alarm/ZE3DOSM7QVGM3C4FV7IDFWQDBY/","_id":"NVWCN5HOCVB4BIA4D5WPBXA2DI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018192,"type":"text","content":"Roy Barnes, who represents Efficiency Lodge, said the case is not over and will be appealed to the state’s top court","_id":"FYA7CYEIABF3PHM754PCFE22FE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646754819515,"type":"text","content":"“Though we respect the ruling of the Court of Appeals, we believe the court was wrong in its analysis,” Barnes told the AJC in an email. “We will apply for review by the Supreme Court of Georgia.”","_id":"ZE6UQBI4EBCLXHI4PRDBOS7ZRA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018194,"type":"text","content":"»Read the full appeals court ruling at the bottom of this story.","_id":"IKEKYF6TXBHNFLIQPQAH4IDWKE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018195,"type":"text","content":"Efficiency Lodge has 15 locations in Georgia and Florida. It’s currently owned by Ray Barnes; Roy Barnes sold his interest in the company many years ago.","_id":"RLKW7KU2YZF3RPNP5VDDQUZ2SI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018196,"type":"text","content":"In October 2020, residents protested outside of the Efficiency Lodge off Flat Shoals Road in Atlanta’s Panthersville neighborhood due to the prevalent evictions. The motel was using private, armed security guard to evict residents. Barnes said those measures were not illegal and were necessary to deal with complaints about crime.","_id":"RDD5FBQMNRDLFC5DSM2BJBAMWA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"HYO3XHDZ6NGZNH4ANHVV4NZF3Y","type":"interstitial_link","content":"OPINION: Escaping the trap of extended stay motels","url":"https://www.ajc.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-escaping-the-trap-of-extended-stay-motels/RIA3KCK6YRGQDFAN76UD5RNL4I/","_id":"TJNHUMPQNNCA5AK6AO6FQ5T4PE","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"JKSZA2QLSVBB7JYTVOJGOIPGDI","type":"raw_html","content":"","_id":"WVWMEBDJ6NCKLKVMQRCA35UKFQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018199,"type":"text","content":"In the appeal, Efficiency Lodge argued they are an “innkeeper” and not a landlord, which means they can lock out residents who stop paying rather than going through the eviction process. The appeals court found that argument didn’t hold up well to scrutiny, given how Efficiency Lodge advertises itself and how its contracts with tenants are written.","_id":"TCVRVIL4WNGRJEQVFSIY57PYGY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018200,"type":"text","content":"The court’s 18-page ruling said the company uses the slogan, “Stay a Nite or Stay Forever,” on its website. And while contracts with residents explicitly say it’s not a landlord-tenant relationship, they included that residents would be responsible for expenses, attorney’s fees and court costs incurred in the event of an eviction, indicating there would be a formal court process.","_id":"NJSS5TSD2NCWJA3XECZR6GRP4I","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018201,"type":"text","content":"Siegel said tens of thousands of people in metro Atlanta rely on extended stay motels for stable housing, given they typically make low incomes and may be living on the brink of homelessness. She said it’s clear they deserve the same level of protections as apartment or home dwellers.","_id":"VPRV4V4UCNBH7GSU6OIN642IQQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018202,"type":"text","content":"“These are places where school buses are picking up kids for school, where people are receiving mail,” she said. “These are the addresses on their driver’s license. These are people’s homes.”","_id":"4ZD3SJPESJDAFJJP6TKFK5ZWEM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018203,"type":"text","content":"According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which joined the appeals lawsuit in support of the former tenants, there are nearly 26,000 extended stay units in the five-county metro Atlanta area.","_id":"2JWCPSF6GBHUPC527PXVDE3BCA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"6UWIHTCC5JGBVC2FI6CHF4MYLY","type":"interstitial_link","content":"SPLC supports eviction lawsuit against extended stay motel with ties to former governor","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/splc-aims-to-join-eviction-lawsuit-against-extended-stay-motel-with-ties-to-former-governor/MPSGKUYBEZH4FOPIZHXYL3O2JQ/","_id":"ZUH2YMRXUFHMDCNE467PD7DZIM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018205,"type":"text","content":"Siegel said the court’s ruling should stand if it goes before the Georgia Supreme Court.","_id":"EUDMQLIYGFEQ7H5OFQGV33HX3U","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646770018206,"type":"text","content":"“The facts are what matter in this case, and those facts have been established and they’re not going to change,” she said. “...We’re confident the supreme court would decide the case the same way the court of appeals has.”","_id":"NUB366FHF5CDNOJVMQERARLTGM","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"36373E6VHVFONCP6WNKSCUVINY","type":"raw_html","content":"

Appeals Ruling by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

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The city was considering using the property for a public safety center, a project that’s now under construction at a different location along the Peachtree Creek Greenway.","_id":"BXX7YWC3DRFQ5DY2UEZS33ZHYA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646742921142,"type":"text","content":"In return for a hefty $30-million tax abatement for the developer, the lawsuit claimed Brookhaven tried to require Ardent to pay the city a portion of its profits if the property was sold within four years. Ardent called the request a pay-to-play kickback. The city argued at the time the deal fell through due to disagreements over incorporating affordable housing into the development.","_id":"KOPT6C4DHJDILPCDPBISDGXXG4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646742921143,"type":"text","content":"Simon Bloom, Ardent’s attorney, argued the city officials abused their positions of power and ignored multiple conflicts of interest.","_id":"FPGD65YDL5BQBOGDLTZF22DD6M","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646742921144,"type":"text","content":"“(Cities) always want a concession... that’s normal and part of the everyday process,” he told the AJC. “If that’s all we had here, there would be no case. 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Who pays the bill?

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The City of Brookhaven, its mayor and city manager were ordered to pay fines totaling more than $6.6 million.

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rnrn

SOURCE: Simon Bloom's legal team

"},"_id":"4XUV22VVCZEZFIAZRJAIACQZWE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646853839137,"type":"text","content":"The city denied an Ardent zoning request in September 2018, unraveling the developer’s deals for homeowner properties. Ardent and two of the homeowners, Jon and Courtney Wheeler, filed their lawsuit three months later.","_id":"R77AN3KWBJGJDPXNIBWQJ3UMTY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646742921147,"type":"text","content":"On Friday, a jury agreed with the developer and Wheelers and ruled the city owed them about $5.8 million. The jury declined to tack on another $12 million, the estimated amount of profits Ardent expected to make if they finished the townhome development.","_id":"Q6H6CTWF7NBVXHWMYHUORQMVDU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646742921148,"type":"text","content":"On Monday, the jury also awarded them attorney’s fees and ordered Mayor John Ernst and City Manager Christian Sigman to pay $200,000 each in punitive fees. Bloom asked for $4 million apiece. The jury did not find councilmembers’ actions warranted punitive damages, and local government’s can’t be given punitive fines, since that would mean taxpayers would have to foot the bill.","_id":"HTZHFECWF5AOLGZSC43VTHFO7E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646747197942,"type":"text","content":"“It’s our position that the city hasn’t done anything wrong,” Brennan said. “But are there things that we could have done better, I’m sure upon further examination, we would say yes, there’s things we could have done better.”","_id":"3AEAAGY6HJAP3AYPDKDG6GPUZU","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"6ZI77TANOJB7LC7WKUWPGWJGJU","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Georgia jury awards $200M to family of child killed in boat accident","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-jury-awards-200m-to-family-of-child-killed-in-boat-accident/7DROIVTJDRCXPKPICFYUO5EY6Q/"],"display_date":"2022-03-08T13:48:54.772Z","headlines":"basic":"Brookhaven ordered to pay $6M over failed mixed-use project","first_publish_date":"2022-03-08T13:48:54.772Z","taxonomy":{"sections":["path":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","parent":"default":"/neighborhoods","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/neighborhoods","name":"DeKalb County","description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/neighborhoods","default":"/neighborhoods","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/neighborhoods","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site":"section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","site_title":"DeKalb County News ,"navigation":"nav_title":"DeKalb County","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"DeKalb County","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"TopNav":[],"order":"SectionMap":1014,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2010,"ComposerNav":1071,"_website_section_id":"ajc./neighborhoods/dekalb","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","_id":"/news","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","default":"https://www.ajc.com/","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","LoggedOutMenu":null,"MainMenuRedesign2021":"https://www.ajc.com/","TopNav":null,"TopicsBar":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site": Top News Page","navigation":"nav_title":"News","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"News","Sponsor":"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":"","_id":"/news","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"LoggedOutMenu":[],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"TopicsBar":[],"order":"AmpNav":1001,"default":1001,"SectionMap":1018,"MainMenuRedesign2021":1002,"ComposerNav":1137,"_website_section_id":"ajc./news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/neighborhoods","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"Local","description":"County by County Atlanta: Local news for metro Atlanta, including Gwinnett County news , Cobb, DeKalb, Roswelll and North Fulton, Clayton and the city of Atlanta. 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","_id":"J54QMDHFGNANXAUCDOJN5PJQXI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"For more information, visit dekalbsanitation.com, call 404-294-2900 or email [email protected]"],"display_date":"2022-03-07T13:34:19.651Z","headlines":"basic":"DeKalb’s hazardous waste recycling event returns this weekend","first_publish_date":"2022-03-07T13:34:19.651Z","taxonomy":{"sections":["path":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","parent":"default":"/neighborhoods","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/neighborhoods","name":"DeKalb County","description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/neighborhoods","default":"/neighborhoods","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/neighborhoods","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site":"section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","site_title":"DeKalb County News ,"navigation":"nav_title":"DeKalb County","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"DeKalb County","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"TopNav":[],"order":"SectionMap":1014,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2010,"ComposerNav":1071,"_website_section_id":"ajc./neighborhoods/dekalb","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news/atlanta-news","parent":"default":"/news","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Local News","description":"Atlanta Georgia city and county news, as well as Georgia state and regional news at ajc.com","_id":"/news/atlanta-news","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/news","default":"/news","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/news","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site":"section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Atlanta Georgia city and county news, as well as Georgia state and regional news at ajc.com","site_title":"Atlanta Local News","navigation":"nav_title":"Local News","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"Local News","Sponsor":"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":"","_id":"/news/atlanta-news","ancestors":"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/news"],"TopNav":[],"order":"AmpNav":2004,"default":2004,"SectionMap":1074,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2004,"ComposerNav":1083,"_website_section_id":"ajc./news/atlanta-news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - 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More discussions are planned, but the full commission could vote on an increase by the end of the month.","_id":"ZIN6HCNPJBB3PIZGS6K5MOFHM4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646397664297,"type":"text","content":"As currently proposed, new rates would start Aug. 1.","_id":"7WOHET7Y5JG2FFH7W2FNKSWEXY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582832,"type":"text","content":"DeKalb has a lengthy history of water and sewer issues, and some advocates would argue there’s still a whole lot of work to be done.","_id":"YPSJGIZHH5DFJDJTRH33WAEFAA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582833,"type":"text","content":"“I think the county owes us an explanation of why we are going to pay more for water when little has improved,” said Star McKenzie, a longtime advocate.","_id":"VWRAMLOX3BGCTGKHCDYJIRPVAI","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"GFWF64U6EFFLHBYE46PZZSWBT4","type":"raw_html","content":"rn","_id":"H2SMMETOBRGNRPKYVYUJE5AFB4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582835,"type":"text","content":"But since Thurmond took office in 2017, DeKalb has dedicated more than a quarter-billion dollars toward the water system, replacing nearly 50 miles of water mains and more than 100,000 water meters. Many of those meters were faulty, helping fuel a years-long saga of erroneous, extraordinarily high water bills for customers.","_id":"FXAPC7BSKBADZA6YREWUMZ3CTQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582836,"type":"text","content":"The county ended a five-year ban on water disconnections for unpaid bills last fall, saying the majority of issues had been addressed and disputes had dropped dramatically.","_id":"BPD6GZGUZRGWZN4B677VRZFFS4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582837,"type":"text","content":"At the same time, DeKalb has had to address a sewer system that was neglected for decades. More than $600 million has been dedicated to improvements and the county renegotiated a consent decree with state and federal environmental regulators, giving it about seven more years to address areas with repeat sewer spills.","_id":"7MU5JO3IYVCKNOXKCDVQATRQP4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582838,"type":"text","content":"Hundreds of millions more must be spent. And the county has, among other methods, secured big-dollar, low-interest loans from the Environmental Protection Agency to help cover the cost.","_id":"3RNK4A6HWRCFJMYTMIGUKHZARA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582839,"type":"text","content":"Thurmond said the county has done everything it can to reduce expenses and increase revenue. A rate increase this year — and likely others in 2023, 2024, and 2025 — is the next step to make sure it can complete legally mandated repairs, he said.","_id":"7NNT4MWFAVC37MD4XLY6AWVK5Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646397664303,"type":"text","content":"Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, who chairs the public works and infrastructure committee that heard Thursday’s presentation, said she was “comfortable” with the proposal. But she urged department leaders to continue focusing on improving service for ratepayers.","_id":"MOIO4PQO6BFA5CUMV36VGDKZGE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646397664304,"type":"text","content":"“I just implore you all to continue to solve all problems,” Cochran-Johnson said. “Because you can’t give a rate increase and have issues.”","_id":"QGVVFM3NI5EDXLSICA7T2VO2JQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582842,"type":"text","content":"Ted Terry, another commissioner on the same committee, said he’d prefer a tiered rate increase to ensure equity and avoid overburdening “economically vulnerable populations.”","_id":"3GIJJJQIGVDC5O75DQRSFEEIII","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582843,"type":"text","content":"Asked about that concept, Thurmond said the administration was “always open as to how we can make the system fairer going forward.”","_id":"7RWFV6AE3VERBOK6CU7L4EI7XQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646404582844,"type":"text","content":"“But we need to move forward right now with what we have,” he said."],"display_date":"2022-03-04T14:40:55.975Z","headlines":"basic":"DeKalb proposing 6% hike in water and sewer rates","first_publish_date":"2022-03-04T14:40:55.975Z","taxonomy":{"sections":["path":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","parent":"default":"/neighborhoods","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/neighborhoods","name":"DeKalb County","description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/neighborhoods","default":"/neighborhoods","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/neighborhoods","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site": Local news, sports, events, schools and info","navigation":"nav_title":"DeKalb County","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"DeKalb County","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"TopNav":[],"order":"SectionMap":1014,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2010,"ComposerNav":1071,"_website_section_id":"ajc./neighborhoods/dekalb","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news/atlanta-news","parent":"default":"/news","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Local News","description":"Atlanta Georgia city and county news, as well as Georgia state and regional news at ajc.com","_id":"/news/atlanta-news","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/news","default":"/news","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/news","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site":"section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Atlanta Georgia city and county news, as well as Georgia state and regional news at ajc.com","site_title":"Atlanta Local News","navigation":"nav_title":"Local News","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"Local News","Sponsor":"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":"","_id":"/news/atlanta-news","ancestors":"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/news"],"TopNav":[],"order":"AmpNav":2004,"default":2004,"SectionMap":1074,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2004,"ComposerNav":1083,"_website_section_id":"ajc./news/atlanta-news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - 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City leaders gave the art school its blessing this week to expand its kiln room, which will be financed by the Spruill Center, but the mayor and council are still working to figure out the funding details for the larger expansion proposal.","_id":"WD2QCYBSZNDDPOWNWUQFWN4KKA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333701353,"type":"text","content":"“One million dollars is not pocket change,” Councilman Tom Lambert said at a Feb. 14 Dunwoody Public Facilities Authority meeting. “...so obviously before any decision is made, we’d need to specifically source that funding, where it’s coming from.”","_id":"7VWOBSDFPRB5NOC6BVEJC6ISEM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646330366218,"type":"text","content":"The authority, which consists of the mayor and councilmembers, will reconvene with Alan Mothner, the Spruill Center’s CEO, after discussing options at their council retreat later in March. Mothner said his nonprofit is financially stable enough at this point to contribute $1.3 million to the expansion, which he said is vital given the pandemic’s effects.","_id":"RTBXGUZVH5HNBC2TBIY3PNE2FA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646322943352,"type":"text","content":"“We’ve seen a greater and greater focus on the arts with public art and with art activations and cultural activations throughout the city, especially post-COVID,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “And we want to be at the forefront of that.”","_id":"25ZWCTIF4NASRC57VVKPH2ONS4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646337740981,"type":"text","content":"The Spruill Center predates Dunwoody’s founding as a city. Founded in 1975, the school for adults and children provides classes varying from ceramics to jewelry to painting to photography.","_id":"SLRKDBVSWFFE5LLKI2SINFDWJM","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"RYFWV3LGJJH4ZKTR5ZSTPLVGZU","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Our Town: Spruill Center for the Arts","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/local/our-town-spruill-center-for-the-arts/KshFRRoloMxGbrft0ANQtI/","_id":"CYWQNYDT3RHF3DTGQZLOJT4IHQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646337740983,"type":"text","content":"The city owns the Spruill Center’s land, located at 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, which is why the city is so heavily involved with the nonprofit’s future. In 2019, the city conducted a master plan study to determine the future of the building and the school’s growth.","_id":"7HKKWA26YBCCXFNWW5KYBEG7VM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646337740984,"type":"text","content":"Mothner said they began reducing the number of students in each class once the pandemic began. Those smaller class sizes are likely here to stay.","_id":"7GRM4TVXNJAP5OJC2VZJBORS6E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646322943346,"type":"text","content":"“It was actually a better experience for the students to have fewer students per classroom,” he said.","_id":"G3ZSALOO7JGJHCL7ILHBESXJMM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646337740986,"type":"text","content":"Demand for classes has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, and Mothner is confident the extra classrooms will help the nonprofit accomplish its mission of getting more residents involved with the arts. He said hundreds of students will likely be placed on waitlists, unable to enroll, if they don’t expand. The extra space will also allow new classes, such as woodturning, to become options.","_id":"S2AXLITTFRBMNENTG3AENQO4RE","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"6IWXKNZW45AW5F2IQY4W24KC4Y","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Long-running Dunwoody festival to return this spring","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/long-running-dunwoody-festival-to-return-this-spring/OQHX7QXS4RDM5DX4OLFR2CYJLY/","_id":"UWXGCNA3FJBJ5AG6FVATRPWEGA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646337740989,"type":"text","content":"The plan also includes a double-size room, which could be used for larger lectures, classes or private events. Mayor Lynn Deutsch voiced concerns at the Feb. 14 meeting about using funds for a space that might only focus on private events.","_id":"NUSYQCE6UFCQDM77WHEXAXT3VQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646330366228,"type":"text","content":"“Certainly classroom space is a core function of Spruill. I don’t think it’s our job to necessarily fund places to have parties,” she said. Mothner replied that the larger space would still serve the nonprofit’s core mission.","_id":"4IGI6BKCB5GRNPUPIXMV7KOQEQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646337740991,"type":"text","content":"If the funding is approved, Mothner said they’re “shovel ready.” The kiln expansion, which adds six new kilns, shores up the space’s ventilation and creates extra storage, will begin soon. Mothner expects the full expansion — if the city approves the funding — to take roughly a year to complete once the permit process begins.","_id":"MRSE3NPVYBETJFFUZGYCNB3RYU","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"OGSVH474UZHS3NOMU5G3CMEM3U","type":"raw_html","content":"

Spruill Center for the Arts Kiln Room Expansion Presentation by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

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Candidates will have to qualify next week to have their names show up on ballots.","_id":"FNDR7U6NEBHTHDD3KNILVORIXA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"APSQ5EOSEJG2LLTUTCKBZWYXII","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Stonecrest sets May election date to replace mayor after guilty fraud plea","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/stonecrest-sets-may-election-date-to-replace-mayor-after-guilty-fraud-plea/V7VNPVEAR5ANLGDNI7MOD6U46I/","_id":"ZU7VYHIF7VH37JP6CAIDX2RTYM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":["pos":33,"comment":"March 7 "],"comments":[],"_id":1646243988415,"type":"text","content":"The qualifying period lasts from Monday through March 11. City Hall will accept candidate applications from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, while Friday’s hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There’s also a $600 qualifying fee.","subtype":"facebook-post","referent":"referent_properties":"additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1646339318935,"provider":"https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post/oembed.json/?url=","service":"oembed","id":"https://www.facebook.com/stonecrestcity/posts/260361262943083&locale=en_US","type":"facebook-post","_id":"HLNOYMLOMRHEJNFNRT4QDORQEM","raw_oembed":"author_name":"Stonecrest City","author_url":"https://www.facebook.com/stonecrestcity","width":552,"html":"

n

Posted by Stonecrest City on Wednesday, February 23, 2022

","provider_url":"https://www.facebook.com","_id":"https://www.facebook.com/stonecrestcity/posts/260361262943083&locale=en_US","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1646339318935,"provider_name":"Facebook","type":"facebook-post","version":"1.0","type":"oembed_response","_id":"RXOBOBTNFJGY3J6H6WJBXT6ZDI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646243988417,"type":"text","content":"Any Stonecrest resident who has lived in the city since May 24, 2021, can qualify. The city charter limits its mayor and councilmembers to two consecutive, four-year terms. This means whoever wins — unless they are a current councilmember — can run again in 2024 and 2028 if they choose.","_id":"F5LH6IAO3FAYJHZ2HEJ563CZLA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646243988418,"type":"text","content":"Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble and former councilwoman Diane Adoma have declared they’ll run to replace Lary. Cobble will resign her post once she qualifies for the mayoral election, so another special election will be necessary to fill her District 3 council seat. Her term is set to expire in 2026.","_id":"VFJPAPO5KVBLDMNFS72HMLG4QY","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"4LURYKXPCZARDJPYNMAOITTYWQ","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Stonecrest councilwoman among candidates running to replace disgraced mayor","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/stonecrest-councilwoman-among-candidates-running-to-replace-disgraced-mayor/4OMESTO7NBGDVH2D25LQKAOBLQ/","_id":"DNPNMYMDRVDYLCZ3NBCPPWVZZM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646243988420,"type":"text","content":"Until a new mayor is elected, the mayor’s responsibilities will be handled by the mayor pro tem. Those duties include acting as the figurehead of the city and appointing members to boards and committees. The mayor votes only in the event of a tie — a rarity for a five-member City Council.","_id":"4JRKD5QYSRHY3PMP6ITYAUHSCE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646243988421,"type":"text","content":"Residents will have until April 25 to register to vote in time for the mayoral special election. Early voting will be held from May 2 through May 20. Polls will be open on May 24 — the same day as the 2022 General Primary elections — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.","_id":"WUZK2IB7MVERRBGBROM4KB5QWU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646243988422,"type":"text","content":"For polling location information, visit your My Voter page at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at mvp.sos.ga.gov.","_id":"O4QTCKDOHJGOPG2QZQI3OOWFJI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646164724026,"type":"text","content":"
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Other people saying, ‘Finally.’”","_id":"G5Z26PBX3FBMJEOUUUVHPOXZ6M","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300415,"type":"text","content":"Decatur, after nearly 20 months of continuous mask mandates, was the last metro Atlanta city to let its face covering policy expire. The City Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to allow the policy to end, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new, less-strict guidelines.","_id":"XG5FZN2NZBEQ5CVGA6UC3HB42Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300416,"type":"text","content":"Decatur’s policy applied to both private businesses and government buildings, and the city capped off the last wave of governments to drop mask mandates over the past few days, which includes Atlanta and multiple school districts.","_id":"UCXFTN7JG5FKDN6QXWFR6YWQC4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300417,"type":"text","content":"“I feel like every business in the world right now is happy this is happening and they’re lifting mask mandates,” Pat Pascarella, chef and owner of The White Bull, said. He added that providing masks to employees and customers was costing about $400 a week.","_id":"FIVQ3EW5YZCFNO6CQWEQYZRX2Y","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289200,"type":"text","content":"Despite the policy change, Decatur residents and shoppers may still want to carry a mask. Mayor Patti Garrett emphasized that individual business owners can still require masks at their establishments.","_id":"UO7KA7CQJVFSRKEIMYJ26KUWMU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289201,"type":"text","content":"“I would also like to point out that this doesn’t prohibit individual businesses from making a different decision,” Garrett said during the Wednesday meeting. “I’ve seen the signs (that say), ‘No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.’”","_id":"BZWII26TSJEPTB7ROPH3BMCP2E","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"PUBS7IVDANDGFF25XF62T4WW44","type":"interstitial_link","content":"In Decatur, mask mandate may fall before masks do","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/in-decatur-mask-mandate-may-fall-before-masks-do/Q4JJMODFXFCYPIYBN2SSLVP33Y/","owner":"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc","address":"locality":"Atlanta","caption":"Farm Burger manager Dana Harrison wears a mask while getting ready for their lunch rush in Decatur Monday, February 28, 2020. 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City leaders let it expire for a brief eight-week period last summer, but it was quickly readopted in August 2021 when COVID-19′s delta variant ran rampant.","_id":"E5N7KUJUCVDMLFCIBIAHUZQ5SA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289205,"type":"text","content":"When the policy returned, Decatur allowed businesses to opt-out by posting signs that said they would not enforce the mandate. City Manager Andrea Arnold told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the policy did not garner much controversy among residents and did not lead to any calls for police intervention — let alone any citations.","_id":"EEY4WM2PVRC7TBUCZJ55MLZ5ZI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300424,"type":"text","content":"Business owners agreed, saying most customers and employees had no issues masking up while indoors. However, patience was beginning to wane over the past few weeks.","_id":"K7P5J7FGTFGRZHHXQGPHGSQSN4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300425,"type":"text","content":"“There’s kind of a sense of reading the room a little bit — that everybody was ready to be done,” Sean Crotty, owner of Kelly’s Market, said. “With Decatur being basically the last place in the metro area (to have a mandate), it was starting to grow old for most folks.”","_id":"THZA5T7WIRCN7HWRULUSLVHWDY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289206,"type":"text","content":"Arnold said the CDC’s new guidelines, which were announced last Friday, shift emphasis away from confirmed COVID-19 cases and instead focus on hospital capacities. She said DeKalb County falls into the CDC’s “low” community risk level.","_id":"OZFGG6L2BZHYZDOANC47V6ZB6M","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289207,"type":"text","content":"“At the low level, the CDC does not have a recommendation for face covering,” Arnold said during Wednesday’s meeting. “Rather, the CDC emphasizes promoting vaccinations, improving ventilation in public indoor spaces and ensuring access to testing.”","_id":"TMOJQT7AL5DEXH3FPWTGX6VLEM","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"4UL5EMXT7NFOND42MKABOQCIIA","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Complete Coverage: Coronavirus in Georgia","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/coronavirus/","_id":"OSGYHVCXGRD4DCRRV22MILIX2A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289209,"type":"text","content":"After peaking in late December, COVID-19 cases have continued to drop throughout metro Atlanta. According to the latest data from the DeKalb County Board of Health, confirmed infections dropped by more than 66% over a 14-day period in mid-February.","_id":"CL3HMZ74MJA3FLOTICVEYVAF6I","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289210,"type":"text","content":"Arnold said DeKalb County’s vaccination rate is still an “area of vulnerability” for the city, adding that the county’s 58% vaccination rate is “shamefully low.” That’s slightly above the statewide rate of 55%, but it lags behind the nation’s 69%. About 87% of full-time city employees are vaccinated, which the city partially credits to a policy that requires vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing.","_id":"F2DJL46MLVASVEJKBYAJY3W6AI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289211,"type":"text","content":"Garrett and commissioners urged residents against “mask shaming” people if they choose to still cover their face in public places. Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers said he believes residents know how much risk they are willing to take.","_id":"FPDZ5ZUQJJDD3OEWBV3DFLTHRA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646316289212,"type":"text","content":"“I trust that many people will still continue to do what they feel comfortable doing and what they feel will keep themselves and their families and others safe,” he said.","_id":"34MUG5MFY5HC3BLWNSV3TQXRLU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300433,"type":"text","content":"Most business owners the AJC contacted Thursday said it wasn’t their place to police people’s choices, and they’re glad they can shift their focus back to operating their kitchens, bars and stores. They also said some employees are ready to return to providing customer service with a smile that customers can actually see.","_id":"V2H7YN6SSJDT3PZNSUAOY3GYVU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646333300434,"type":"text","content":"“We’re trying to be personal with our guests, and it kind of gets lost (with masks),” Pascarella said. “You can’t see a server’s smile, you can’t see a guest’s smile and that kind of destroys the ambiance of a restaurant.”","_id":"FHLFEXJSDFEHDBC3HEDSVCEW5E","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"JZQ5TOVNRBG6ZHAYWTF4MWZJXE","type":"raw_html","content":"

Decatur Face Covering Memo by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

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The global headquarters of Almex, a manufacturing company, has been vacant since the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020.","_id":"WB7JBNTVQVDOTA2ALWNRBWG464","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646161884540,"type":"text","content":"The land is zoned for light industrial use, and a 75-foot buffer would be preserved between nearby homes and the studio site. There were no public comments opposing the annexation request.","_id":"XMX6BDSHOJCWRAHZ2ZX4J5DRSY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646161884541,"type":"text","content":"Battle also touted that “Steel Magnolias,” a romantic comedy series on Netflix, was filmed next to the 19-acre plot at a neighboring studio, NuGrounds Studios, which annexed into Stonecrest last April. Timothy Shaw, a Shaw DeKalb representative, said during a previous Stonecrest Planning Commission meeting that his company is in negotiations to acquire NuGrounds Studios to fold into the larger Stonecrest Studios project.","_id":"IFGYF4OTGZBJJFNE66MFWU6324","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"DBOA2WIEPVHQZCWPDD3AKGKHMQ","type":"raw_html","content":"","_id":"HA6Q7ONZN5D5FDKVRXJA4IQ2WQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646161884543,"type":"text","content":"Battle said the studio campus would cater to smaller productions for streaming services rather than blockbuster productions.","_id":"6A6N74A5BZHSTHTPLEBHEH2Z4A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646161884544,"type":"text","content":"“Their fear is that they get lost when they go over to the larger studios,” Battle said of companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime.","_id":"GKGYH4EP7REFVPNHNADIAHVI5E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646161884545,"type":"text","content":"The developer did not include a timeline for when the full Stonecrest Studios campus is expected to be completed.","_id":"2X6EB7XCLVBDTELPGIGZZWMSRY","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"JFMT3THBCNBNLM4Z7ENTENATMI","type":"raw_html","content":"

Stonecrest Movie Studio by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

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","_id":"KYKHKZPWFVARRGK3MMRC33Q73I","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"The resolution put forth Tuesday by Commissioner Ted Terry condemns Russian President Vladimir Putin following his military’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and endorses sanctions enacted by the Biden Administration.","_id":"OUG5JXP7QZD3VNBQCXGWC3JRYM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646158833940,"type":"text","content":"It says DeKalb prides itself on being a diverse, welcoming county and “proudly stands alongside Ukraine, its people, and its leaders.” It also says the county will commit to “fostering a welcoming environment for those seeking refuge from conflict.”","_id":"ZDMSN3PKLFFO3CTZVPXZS5GLAM","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"HHILCMUQSJA2RM5J4347F4PQ4Q","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Ukrainians, supporters rally in Atlanta","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/nobody-wants-to-help-us-ukrainians-supporters-rally-in-atlanta/NNKUF7TKAJEH5JENZMMRFI52JI/","_id":"7CKHBDF22FFUHDEO6ECOWCFINE","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"MYVNEZPPGNA55E6TMDG4ZWCNEQ","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Russian forces step up attacks on Ukraine's civilian areas","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/russian-forces-step-up-attacks-on-ukraines-civilian-areas/FOMC6YELHZEPJDBU2UXUFZRCHM/","_id":"T6Y2N56JOJFQJH3QIT7PVZRSJM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"The resolution could be voted on next week. ","_id":"2MX7YDLZABGFJOLEPA4V4ZV64E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"“The world matters to DeKalb County. More than half a million men, women, and children have already been displaced in Ukraine,” Terry said in a press release that referenced the poem enshrined at the base of the State of Liberty. 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He added that the larger events at the business could still recommend mask-wearing among attendees.","_id":"3W7EQPJLGRBTNFDL2OCFOAMQL4","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"5RMGR76G3FDMRBLCKSDAZBST3E","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Complete coverage of COVID-19 in Georgia","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/coronavirus/","_id":"7NB7DXN45RBTZA4UFMG5V5O52U","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199469,"type":"text","content":"After peaking in late December, COVID-19 cases have continued to drop throughout metro Atlanta. According to the latest data from the DeKalb County Board of Health, confirmed infections dropped by more than 57% during the first two weeks of February.","_id":"FHA2IJSJCRHENFVB5VRIGXIMFA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199470,"type":"text","content":"Most of Decatur is in the 30030 zip code, which underwent a 51% drop during that time frame, slightly less than the average for the county. Roughly 3% of the county’s confirmed cases came from that zip code, while the most infections were in the 30058 zip code area, which including Lithonia, the northern part of Stonecrest and a swath of unincorporated southeast DeKalb.","_id":"NOGRRGUXJ5F6NMFE4F5SUMXRXA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"J5INONOPIBDMBONQBFSINVKDRI","type":"raw_html","content":"

DeKalb COVID 19 and Vaccine Report 2-23-2022 by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

","_id":"CA3APCHFIJAIXGWHFKG62YXFFI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199471,"type":"text","content":"Decatur has been among the most strict when it comes to COVID-19 policies, implementing a vaccine mandate for new city employees. City Manager Andrea Arnold said 87% of full-time city staffers are fully vaccinated, well above the county’s 58% and the state’s 55%.","_id":"FBX4ROI35BAMTG3NBLWNTLZ7RA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199472,"type":"text","content":"Decatur City Schools, which makes policy decisions separate from the city government, has also been quick to require employees and students to get vaccinated and continue wearing masks. These policies did prompt several debates among parents and teachers, but some still feel like they’re necessary protections.","_id":"BHOCS4FPNNFO7FB3PWCIN6ZLC4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199473,"type":"text","content":"“Well it would be good in an ideal world, all the kids would be vaccinated,“ Stan Tullos, another Decatur Square visitor, said Monday. “... And the teachers would be vaccinated, and so nobody would have to worry about masks.”","_id":"SFHA36F3PRAXHCYBSI655JB2E4","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"MV5EJDT6VJAPJA7PDQSJZBUOIA","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens ends city’s indoor mask mandate","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/atlanta-mayor-andre-dickens-ends-citys-indoor-mask-mandate/UPQX74KIBVAFRO4RO3RCFXGGFA/","_id":"LZD7GJWGU5B6FBZF4V6OVMMCBQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199474,"type":"text","content":"Lawson wants Decatur to stick with masks longer, calling the actions by other governments and the school districts hasty.","_id":"PRQZFEJRV5DSHGRL6MRI4XYV7A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199475,"type":"text","content":"“I think that if it’s lifted, then it gives the illusion that everything’s good,” she said.","_id":"METCYS45QNHJBI5SW7TCT32B5I","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646082199476,"type":"text","content":"The Decatur City Commission will hold a special-called meeting Wednesday to decide whether to extend their mask mandate."],"display_date":"2022-03-01T12:00:00Z","headlines":"basic":"In Decatur, mask mandate may fall before masks do","first_publish_date":"2022-03-01T12:00:00.809Z","taxonomy":{"sections":["path":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","parent":"default":"/neighborhoods","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/neighborhoods","name":"DeKalb County","description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/neighborhoods","default":"/neighborhoods","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/neighborhoods","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site": Local news, sports, events, schools and info","navigation":"nav_title":"DeKalb County","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"DeKalb County","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"TopNav":[],"order":"SectionMap":1014,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2010,"ComposerNav":1071,"_website_section_id":"ajc./neighborhoods/dekalb","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","_id":"/news","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","default":"https://www.ajc.com/","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","LoggedOutMenu":null,"MainMenuRedesign2021":"https://www.ajc.com/","TopNav":null,"TopicsBar":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site":"site_url":"/news/","section_comments_enabled":"Yes","site_description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","site_title":"Atlanta GA News ,"navigation":"nav_title":"News","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"News","Sponsor":"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":"","_id":"/news","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"LoggedOutMenu":[],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"TopicsBar":[],"order":"AmpNav":1001,"default":1001,"SectionMap":1018,"MainMenuRedesign2021":1002,"ComposerNav":1137,"_website_section_id":"ajc./news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/neighborhoods","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"Local","description":"County by County Atlanta: Local news for metro Atlanta, including Gwinnett County news , Cobb, DeKalb, Roswelll and North Fulton, Clayton and the city of Atlanta. 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Stardust, Morrison’s store, closed after the city adopted a law in 2013 making it illegal to operate a “sexually oriented business” near a similar business or a residential district.","_id":"B6VEWBGQPBAVFOYN2AAD72TXNE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241357,"type":"text","content":"For the past eight years, Morrison and the city have been entangled in a legal battle, but Judge Mark Anthony Scott ordered last week that the penalties against Morrison were too steep.","_id":"YZSMRR3KWVALZCUSTMJZGAU74M","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646071281837,"type":"text","content":"“I’m not sure why it got this far to where I had this exorbitant fine and this jail sentence,” Morrison told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. “...The fine was excessive, and there’s no way for me to pay it.”","_id":"WGDOOKGYQJDFPIEXRETH6VOWD4","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"H4O3WRYIHFFAVCDGBU3437IR2M","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Sex shop owner facing court decisions, says litigation “part of the business model”","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/cobb/sex-shop-owner-facing-court-decisions-says-litigation-part-of-the-business-model/H5Q7NHNUJRDBTE45TBJWSH5AHI/","_id":"B6VEWBGQPBAVFOYN2AAD72TXNE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241360,"type":"text","content":"In addition to the judge, Morrison can partly thank the COVID-19 pandemic for his lesser sentence. Scott, who initially handed out Morrison’s sentence, said people convicted of violating municipal codes shouldn’t fill up county jails in legal paperwork filed last Friday.","_id":"VPHDGEAMCFFEPJEZJ7XA2B7V5Y","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646071281835,"type":"text","content":"“Since the time that the criminal fine was imposed, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the court’s judgment about the necessity, or propriety, of sentencing individuals to the DeKalb County Jail for failure to comply with orders relating to non-violent municipal code violations,” the order read. “The conditions at the jail and the risk to the safety of Morrison, other inmates and jail employees are paramount concerns for the court.”","_id":"TRR5OLZ3FNGFRPJSXLW5SO7HXQ","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"SU6EF5LTZFCYVO4C3IWLPKO3OM","type":"raw_html","content":"

Judge's order in Stardust case by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

","_id":"7Y65YM53BFESRJVMIA3RRB66LY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241363,"type":"text","content":"Stardust opened on Buford Highway in 2013 — shortly before Brookhaven adopted its stricter law curbing sex shops. Stardust was located across the street from an apartment complex and next to the Pink Pony strip club, which pays a fee to the city to remain open.","_id":"RPEH7KDODFB45MEQKGI5W4RYUA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"PRUEDRF2XREU5L63RLGM7UDVCE","type":"interstitial_link","content":"OPINION: End of the line for metro Atlanta sex shop mogul?","url":"https://www.ajc.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-end-of-the-line-for-metro-atlanta-sex-shop-mogul/SKHOGOKT6FBAHCAEJVM26FKMPI/","_id":"RWMFAQ6ROBEUBGAWYHO5W2J2SA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241365,"type":"text","content":"The city’s ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses has been challenged in court but was ultimately upheld. Morrison, who now owns the Tokyo Valentino sex shops in metro Atlanta, said he expects Brookhaven to appeal the recent ruling. In a statement, city spokesman Burke Brennan seemed to indicate the lengthy legal battle might be over.","_id":"U7JWQB2ALJHIDGYCSSIPCNQBZA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646157737496,"type":"text","content":"“The city of Brookhaven recognizes the underlying context of the court’s decision. Penalties are the prerogative of the court,” the statement said. “...the illegal activity has been discontinued. Those were always the city’s fundamental goals: to defend its lawful ordinances and to adhere to the Rule of Law.”","_id":"F3JA5OTKVVFSPORWI7ZTBVP6DU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241366,"type":"text","content":"Morrison questioned whether residents believe the entire ordeal was worth it.","_id":"OLF4UA6BXBH7HDGISMFBRCD76Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241367,"type":"text","content":"“Is it the right thing to do for the citizens of Brookhaven? Absolutely not,” he said. “You’ve already spent a million dollars to close a store, and now it’s been replaced by a vape shop. It just defies logic.”","_id":"BTQR4OBYEFBIDLNJ47SXAWNABY","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"MRX5J5IR4BA2RDGQUEEUFXPOGA","type":"raw_html","content":"","_id":"SXSZH57X5NDDFO4ITCXVJ6GBRU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1646078241369,"type":"text","content":"
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Cameras would be required at each entrance, each cash register, in parking lots and at other key locations, as applicable. ","_id":"22QFQQJUNBGBTOLHV5KNOQYHUA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"Existing stores would be required to install a system before their business license is renewed. New stores would have to have surveillance in place before opening their doors. ","_id":"CAKRDX5ESFG7JJ6OLGKSFWJ2LQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"In addition to convenience stores, the proposed ordinance also covers “high-risk businesses” — which it defines as any retail establishment where police were called more than three times in 30 days, or where “a serious crime” took place. The legislation lists murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, rape and several more offenses as serious crimes.","_id":"D633PAC25FHODO2VXWMQNE72TQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"The ordinance gives the DeKalb County police chief the authority to designate a business as high-risk.","_id":"TOHMVY6APFAQNJYQ5VAGOZX35E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"“Over the last few months DeKalb has seen a slight uptick in homicides at local gas stations,” Cochran-Johnson said. “The DeKalb County Police Department has enacted a plan to address this issue through measures such as increased patrols and assigning additional detectives. 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The city is gathering resident feedback via an online survey that closes March 18.","_id":"JBY7NVDLPBH63OKDN4BD2VKWOA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645817593148,"type":"text","content":"The path, which could be used for walking and cycling, would be separated from the roadway by a landscaped buffer, according to a news release. The path itself would be a 12-foot-wide concrete slab.","subtype":"facebook-post","referent":"referent_properties":"additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1646142119380,"provider":"https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post/oembed.json/?url=","service":"oembed","id":"https://www.facebook.com/CityofDunwoody/posts/317303730431028&locale=en_US","type":"facebook-post","_id":"P2NOFXXZO5DA7J3CFKIG4SDB2M","raw_oembed":"author_name":"City of Dunwoody - Government","author_url":"https://www.facebook.com/CityofDunwoody","width":552,"html":"

n

Dunwoody Public Works proposes installing a new shared-use path along the northern side of Peeler Road to connect...

Posted by City of Dunwoody - Government on Thursday, February 17, 2022

","provider_url":"https://www.facebook.com","_id":"https://www.facebook.com/CityofDunwoody/posts/317303730431028&locale=en_US","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1646142119380,"provider_name":"Facebook","type":"facebook-post","version":"1.0","type":"oembed_response","_id":"4N5455VZAZESBMAM7LPZIBVZ7Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645817593150,"type":"text","content":"It would run along the northern side of Peeler Road, connecting the park to nearby neighborhoods. It’ll also allow pedestrian access to the restaurants and businesses off Winters Chapel Road, which is about half a mile away from the park. The north side of Peeler Road doesn’t have a sidewalk, while the south side does.","_id":"HMUZEQMWWFEMHCND27EXPKAMMA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645817593151,"type":"text","content":"This project would join several other pathway projects that are currently under development. Three miles of multi-use trails are in the works, which would double the city’s path footprint when completed.","_id":"QYBNAOFR3BAIZDVWO3M77OCERA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645714552344,"type":"text","content":"“This is part of a larger system of paths that would eventually connect to Brook Run Park and the Winters Chapel Multiuse Path, which is beginning construction this year,” Michael Smith, the director of Dunwoody Public Works, said in the release.","_id":"AQZ4NWK66ZGANN7UW3M23X7MXA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"CRDGP2EE3FEQXEOQYYPRF5EJXU","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Dunwoody to pitch in for ‘commuter trail’ for bikes, pedestrians","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/local/dunwoody-pitch-for-commuter-trail-for-bikes-pedestrians/l52caMzA7h58KZTBAN5LDN/","_id":"5CDF5GELYVH35OM7BQ3BGWZPXA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645817593154,"type":"text","content":"The Peeler Road path project would be funded through the city’s special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). More details and access to the public survey can be found at dunwoodyga.gov/government/projects/public-works/peeler-road-shared-use-path.","_id":"ESDMGEQ4FVAEVH7PBNT6HMAADY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645536206648,"type":"text","content":"
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She argued it might be premature to lift the policy.","_id":"OL5IJ6JCHFEJFNDZFXMUSBRQDA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645738344591,"type":"text","content":"“Even though it is 75 degrees today, it’s still winter. There’s still lots of indoor activity,” she said.","_id":"YIEP5IZ33RHHTOFHAG44QSWYDU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645738344592,"type":"text","content":"While Arnold asked for the policy’s extension through March 21, the commission opted to extend the mandate through March 2. A special-called meeting was already scheduled for that day to discuss a bond resolution.","subtype":"facebook-post","referent":"referent_properties":"additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1645805006059,"provider":"https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post/oembed.json/?url=","service":"oembed","id":"https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10159608176429813&id=36795564812&locale=en_US","type":"facebook-post","_id":"O7RAA5K5EZHV7GNPFLEBOJCJRA","raw_oembed":"author_name":"City of Decatur GA- Government","author_url":"https://facebook.com/decaturga","width":552,"html":"

n

Update: At its regular meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Decatur City Commission approved to extend the Face Cover...

Posted by City of Decatur GA- Government on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

","provider_url":"https://www.facebook.com","_id":"https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10159608176429813&id=36795564812&locale=en_US","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":1645805006059,"provider_name":"Facebook","type":"facebook-post","version":"1.0","type":"oembed_response","_id":"AOJGSF2CHBHSXECOIMJPX37SBI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645738344594,"type":"text","content":"City leaders said the short extension will allow them to get another week of COVID-19 data to digest and additional feedback from residents and business owners.","_id":"B45P7OXFXFFHZKIBVADYRHJ2HQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"type":"text","content":"In addition, they said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely issue new guidelines soon. According to media reports, the Atlanta-based CDC is expected to loosen guidelines to allow more people to forgo wearing masks in indoor public areas.","_id":"HTMDOKUKVRFYJD3QTY4VGYZ4CM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645738344595,"type":"text","content":"Decatur, along with Atlanta, have been the most forceful with policies requiring masks. Both cities were quick to mandate face coverings at the onset of the pandemic, and both lifted that requirement last summer for a brief time before the Delta variant emerged. If Decatur opts to let its mandate expire, it’ll leave Atlanta with the strictest policy in the metro area.","_id":"S6P46B6UEBFCXAQ272UVANLYN4","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"IGZSPXLFAZBFJATTOI6Q45K4EU","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens extends COVID-19 mask mandate, emergency orders","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/atlanta-mayor-andre-dickens-extends-covid-19-mask-mandate-emergency-orders/WBYVWMT4MRA77ACCL3IURXJY6U/","_id":"LHSLZ3GQSFBHVFXWQE2HSBNMLE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645738344597,"type":"text","content":"Decatur’s ordinance carries the threat of a $50 fine for violators, but Arnold previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that no citations have been issued. The policy hasn’t proven controversial in the city, but waning case numbers after the recent Omicron variant spike have led to more questions about the ordinance, Commissioner Lesa Mayer said.","_id":"WH6WADJ7KFCCHIK47GXYR576GI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645738344598,"type":"text","content":"“I know that businesses who wish to do so can still put a sign on their door that says, ‘Masks Required,’ just as they did back in the summer when we removed our mandate the last time,” she said.","_id":"32KUTPSRCVAHHKBPFKJ2EYOMQM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645732415860,"type":"text","content":"
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(Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)","type":"image","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/YNAGXDMVQMQZQE4UEOZ4KWYS34.JPG","height":3648,"canonical_url":"/neighborhoods/dekalb/one-of-metro-atlantas-last-mask-mandates-may-end-soon/WPBIDJ73F5GKRISNG7ULAV6WSQ/","_id":"WPBIDJ73F5GKRISNG7ULAV6WSQ"},{"content_elements":["_id":"BCBUW42LGBB3DFCC4MTPT6BVOI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1600097861800,"type":"text","content":"Stonecrest is cleaning house.","_id":"QZLFKFGQBBHXVCB7RLIFL7GRFQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353939,"type":"text","content":"The city’s founding mayor, Jason Lary, recently pleaded guilty to concocting a fraud scheme using federal pandemic relief funds. In the wake of the scandal, the other city leaders are dismantling the last vestiges of the disgraced mayor’s influence by demanding members of the city’s authorities, who were all appointed by Lary, resign.","_id":"BZPUQ5FTNFCMFCAIV2FBU3V6GA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353940,"type":"text","content":"The city’s two primary authorities, the Stonecrest Development Authority and Stonecrest Housing Authority, both had close ties to the mayor during his administration, but authority members argue that isn’t the case anymore. Bill Bruckner, the chair of the housing authority before he submitted to the city’s request that he resign, said city leaders are overcorrecting by hitting the reset button.","_id":"T6C23IVHMRFU5LQH6UD2RGYKLQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353941,"type":"text","content":"“The problem with cleaning house is that if you’re not careful, you’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” Bruckner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. The housing authority has five members, while the development authority has six.","_id":"NXIDAMCGS5E6ZINQKEN5MFMSGU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479101,"type":"text","content":"Authorities, such as these, are separate legal entities from the cities they serve and are comprised of volunteers appointed by elected officials. They typically enter into agreements with their cities to make financial deals, offer incentives and issue bonds to foster development or create affordable housing.","_id":"POXYCCJBRVGP5MOCPSFR2CTNU4","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"7IFY3JPVWFBNBHJFQCR4GKUQMI","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Stonecrest moves forward without troubled development authority","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/stonecrest-moves-forward-without-development-authority/NQMZ6FU5EJE5XEBMSBTM2J2CTQ/","_id":"K7OWDN2EVRAXLCHM6OVIVPXQHA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353942,"type":"text","content":"Bruckner argued the housing authority has made great strides over the past year, greenlighting multiple housing deals, balancing the authority’s finances and publicly rebuking the former mayor multiple times. The first housing project that received assistance from the authority, the Stonepointe Apartments off Covington Highway, recently held a ribbon-cutting attended by multiple councilmembers. Bruckner said he and the other authority members who helped strike the deal were not invited.","_id":"A5PAKN4TDRCPNMCAUKZZ3ZH4FQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353943,"type":"text","content":"City Manager Janice Allen Jackson said the five-member City Council wants a clean slate.","_id":"KPJGZW2NCZDEXHZ5CMMSY3M22Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645628023612,"type":"text","content":"“Those requests for resignation were sent as a part of our ongoing efforts to seek a fresh start with various aspects of our organization,” she said in an email. “In the future, we may identify other ways for former members to serve Stonecrest.”","_id":"VFXF3EOTGVGNTILSKSFBNMP42A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":["pos":0,"comment":"Lary, the founding mayor of Stonecrest, was heavily involved in both authorities. After making two bond deals, the development authority effectively become dormant while losing all records of prior bond deals. The housing authority underwent a scandal last year where Lary tried to move $235,000 without anyone’s knowledge before returning the money the next day."],"comments":[],"_id":1645736778814,"type":"text","content":"","_id":"YPWRWNQBMJALXNGYPQQTID2Z6Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":["pos":0,"comment":"Among those financial transactions, Lary wrote a $100,000 check to a Nevada company that shared the same initials as the shell company the mayor admitted to setting up to defraud the city’s pandemic relief program. He denied all wrongdoing at the time, but city leaders and Bruckner decried his actions."],"comments":[],"_id":1645736778815,"type":"text","content":"","_id":"ZNCVJDMTOVFPPC5SG46FS7DTW4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":["pos":0,"comment":"“We went out of our way to rebuff the mayor when we felt like he was trying to influence us in ways that we didn’t think was appropriate,” he told the AJC. “...We tried to make a point of the fact that we were independent from the mayor.”"],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479116,"type":"text","content":"","level":3,"_id":"SDA4UAPE3JBPFO5GAJZHCU4JOE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645628023616,"type":"header","content":"The mayor’s heavy hand","_id":"K5Y2F22JCRHERPATFZVBBXYTCU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353946,"type":"text","content":"Lary, the founding mayor of Stonecrest, was heavily involved in the creation and operation of both authorities. They’ve both had their own financial scandals and allegations of political corruption.","_id":"DVOWRUX4P5A5POCI77J6NBT5A4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479109,"type":"text","content":"The AJC recently published an in-depth article on the development authority, finding that the authority’s leaders had no records of prior bond deals and was effectively defunct. The city defunded the authority, stopped communication with its members and pledged to look into how to oversee the prior bond deals.","_id":"6PXPKIVPI5AM3HOWZ3DG2JL5XE","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"ATFW6GIWDBHAHMR4MMGN7XUWGE","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Stonecrest authority in chaos after $750M bond deals","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/stonecrest-authority-slips-into-dysfunctional-chaos-after-750m-bond-deals/65P4MI2DCJG3TEM6AK2P5JJWBA/","_id":"AW6WYJJT3RBDZA7P5IFYEYH4DY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479111,"type":"text","content":"Belinda Hull, the development authority’s chair, did not respond to the AJC’s requests for comment about the resignation requests. The authority has not held a public meeting in more than a year.","_id":"JPE6WHTIHFASBFGQYNB2S4O6C4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479112,"type":"text","content":"In addition to appointing all members and being involved in meetings, Lary also set up the housing authority’s bank accounts and oversaw its finances.","_id":"OLWNM76U7JDOFPPNWX6QRZPLHY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479113,"type":"text","content":"In April 2021, Lary attempted to move about $235,000 of housing authority funds before returning the money the next day. This included writing a $100,000 check to MRPC Inc., a Nevada company that shared the same initials as the shell company the mayor admitted to setting up to defraud the city’s pandemic relief program.","_id":"CNUG52X43ZCNBHJQNK34BAAG3Y","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479114,"type":"text","content":"He denied wrongdoing at the time, but the incident led the council to revoke the mayor’s check-writing privileges and prompted an audit of the authority’s finances. City leaders also found the authority’s bank accounts were not created independently from the city’s finances.","_id":"KPXESGJBFZAV5JIEMF5KE7HTAI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479115,"type":"text","content":"Bruckner denounced the mayor’s actions during public meetings, which he said showed the authority wasn’t under the mayor’s thumb.","_id":"ZNCVJDMTOVFPPC5SG46FS7DTW4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479116,"type":"text","content":"“We went out of our way to rebuff the mayor when we felt like he was trying to influence us in ways that we didn’t think was appropriate,” he told the AJC. “...We tried to make a point of the fact that we were independent from the mayor.”","_id":"OXQIEIAFUJE4LPPGMLPCEY3B2E","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"INQBNV4R4JEIXJXZ3RLNRLCFQM","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Stonecrest Housing Authority never did business with company mayor gave $100K check","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/stonecrest-housing-authority-never-did-business-with-company-mayor-gave-100k-check/NBMKLVEKKBFRNBK3YPZQ62QI54/","level":3,"_id":"IKNXABBMC5FRNDIEASFSP3VDBA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353947,"type":"header","content":"‘We just see upheaval’","_id":"LUATX42EBFE5VI4S5FB2YQUILI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645649353948,"type":"text","content":"During the housing authority’s last meeting on Feb. 9, Bruckner said he was optimistic that the council would meet with them soon to work things out. Instead, he received letters asking for them to resign the next day.","_id":"4ZOLXUFK55D4TG5OYT5DLVCNPA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479121,"type":"text","content":"The letters, written by Mayor Pro Tem George Turner, cited Georgia law, which allows mayors to remove authority members for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or misconduct in office.” With the mayor’s office vacant, Turner temporarily fulfills the mayor’s duties until a special election fills the remainder of Lary’s term.","_id":"77N7YYKZEFAWJD24NYVJRWBQ2A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479122,"type":"text","content":"Bruckner resigned, calling it a “lost cause” to fight the council’s decision and tendered his resignation.","_id":"ERQK362NQJFF7KWVXWHFSS5ECA","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"CHO656ZBJVBX3AI4TWQM7GC7SI","type":"raw_html","content":"

Signed Letter of Resignation by Zachary Hansen on Scribd

","_id":"VMLCAV4BSJBVXJV7PW7BYQSSEY","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479125,"type":"text","content":"At least one authority member doesn’t see it that way.","_id":"4TCVD2FJHJDJRPOOTWFT5XNNM4","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479126,"type":"text","content":"“I decided not to resign pending the city council’s findings regarding the SHA,” Edwina Clanton, the housing authority’s treasurer, told the AJC in a Thursday email. “I believe the council will find that the SHA is and has been operating in the best interest of the City of Stonecrest and its citizens.”","_id":"LKEXMPSB25E63J4FMNKEBOBEHA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479127,"type":"text","content":"Clanton, the wife of former councilman Jimmy Clanton, added she still wants to be a “good partner” to the city, which did not include any funding for the housing authority in its 2022 budget.","_id":"OV2V7OKUV5H4ZGTDGNHETIB6RA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479128,"type":"text","content":"When asked whether other housing authority or development authority members have declined to resign, Jackson said she did not know. It’s also unclear if or when the council might make replacement appointees.","_id":"225STLNIE5HSDHSSHPFNHACDLA","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479129,"type":"text","content":"Bruckner said the entire situation is unfortunate, since it presented the opportunity for city leaders and the beleaguered authorities to come together and make more deals to benefit residents. Instead, he sees it as another dour news story that paints the city in a negative light.","_id":"FEKMJJIPRZHHFC6FUI2IDUVA7E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645717479130,"type":"text","content":"“This could have been a story about how we reconciled with City Council. And with reconciliation comes healing,” he said. “We don’t see any healing. We just see upheaval.”","_id":"GCL2ZZI6BNGXLKSTZHSYDVI234","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"RWZPHDGVAFC4RCBU263IB2STRA","type":"interstitial_link","content":"New Black Wall Street vendors complain of water damage, poor management","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/new-black-wall-street-vendors-complain-of-water-damage-poor-management/Q2KSZ3CWPFHXPAU5TOAFVVVWBE/","_id":"Y7AV6E2N7BEU7KJKWCIT3BEHDM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645475016729,"type":"text","content":"
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The lawsuit, which was filed in DeKalb County State Court last week, claims Espinoza sexually harassed the officer until he left the department, and it alleged city and police leadership did nothing to punish Espinoza.","_id":"EVXDZXK3YBG7ZFNEPCTJAM3GSQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298977,"type":"text","content":"This lawsuit comes shortly after another legal claim against Espinoza — filed by a different former Dunwoody police officer — was dismissed in federal court. That case is being appealed, but the new lawsuit means Espinoza’s alleged actions will continue to hang over the city’s police department for the foreseeable future.","_id":"GYGYCSJW3VDV7GNECO73ZGELQM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298978,"type":"text","content":"Dunwoody’s spokeswoman declined to comment on pending litigation.","_id":"X2SXNGHY5RGSZA3EBOU5SGOIW4","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"OAACBR5FWFHZDCNPR5BCELFHAI","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Dunwoody PD probe: Ex-lieutenant asked for nude photos from officers","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/local/dunwoody-probe-lieutenant-asked-for-nude-photos-from-officers/zWzv7T6wcdOg4FZyEm0ovN/","level":3,"_id":"LN5W6P5XGJAJDC3XE7GGZ6IU4M","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298980,"type":"header","content":"The new lawsuit","_id":"6XJ7W5KQVNGVRMP733MJ5DFVQU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298981,"type":"text","content":"Last Thursday, Bryan Castellanos and Leila Castellanos filed their lawsuit against Espinoza. They claim Espinoza sent inappropriate text messages, solicited nude photos and sent explicit photos of himself.","_id":"GYVIQ4G7CND2FMSEHM4SYXURSE","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298982,"type":"text","content":"In addition, Espinoza is accused of taking unsolicited photographs of Bryan Castellanos, a fellow officer, in bathroom stalls on multiple occasions, sending the unaware officer the resulting pictures afterward. The lawsuit also claims Espinoza texted Leila Castellanos and asked her inappropriate questions about her and her husband’s sex life.","_id":"PSL42NAE6RDVXKRXM7QD4QKEPQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645550328375,"type":"text","content":"“The lude (sic) and inappropriate behavior exhibited by defendant Espinoza began in 2017 up until his resignation in May of 2020,” according to the legal complaint. The Castellanos’ attorneys, Mande Gayre Moyer and Benjamin Bengtson, did not respond to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s requests for comment.","_id":"SGV6YMVJQNGXLPEHPMOU5UU4SU","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298984,"type":"text","content":"The lawsuit names several other defendants, including the city, Dunwoody Police Department, Dunwoody Police Foundation, county board of commissioners and three unknown and unidentified “John Does.”","_id":"P6TI7NLIDFGWDDMLGIQB7MWP6M","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"6DUDOLNBWFEV5C2JED24ED5WF4","type":"interstitial_link","content":"Dunwoody police spokesman charged with DUI after neighborhood crash","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/dunwoody-police-spokesman-charged-with-dui-after-neighborhood-crash/SNL6FNPB5VDDPNQ546NOUXZ2AE/","_id":"VPCZG4LZYBHW7OJ3OBMWFUAEMI","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298986,"type":"text","content":"The lawsuit argues the city and police department are liable for Espinoza’s alleged actions, since they continued to require Bryan Castellanos to “report to and interact with” Espinoza after he complained. The lawsuit also accused the department of failing to take “any remedial action” against Espinoza, who resigned in May 2020 before an internal investigation found evidence of the alleged sexual harassment.","_id":"NMTSJXLIJBDPJMUQY6NUJHIPGQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298987,"type":"text","content":"According to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) records, Espinoza does not currently work at a law enforcement agency.","_id":"PSL42NAE6RDVXKRXM7QD4QKEPQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645550328375,"type":"text","content":"The legal complaint asks for a jury trial to determine monetary damages due to “assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, negligent retention and/or negligent supervision.”","_id":"4SKUKHUMEFG77MPKVVNRKTNM4A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645645215718,"type":"text","content":"»Read the full legal complaint document here. Content warning: The document contains details of sexually explicit acts.","level":3,"_id":"L4MXOPQGGVB5VAV54ZUWDM4QGM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298989,"type":"header","content":"The lawsuit under appeal","_id":"WR5SHMFM55G3VBYW7HTU3IXNGQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298990,"type":"text","content":"The internal investigation found evidence that Espinoza asked for nude photographs from at least three police department employees, not just Castellanos.","_id":"SEMJBI2UNNCWRN5LEWLYJKX6KM","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298991,"type":"text","content":"The investigation prompted a 2020 lawsuit by former officer Roger Halstead, which made many of the same allegations against Espinoza and the police department. The lawsuit also argued there was retaliation against the victims by Espinoza and other department leaders.","_id":"RK4ESWVXXFA3ZEQBQXUVFNLAOQ","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298992,"type":"text","content":"Since then, at least one officer claims he was fired for speaking out against the department, and another is currently on administrative leave amid a “public criticism” investigation. The department denied allegations of retaliation and has declined to comment further on pending litigation.","_id":"HV57GMPKINHTFI7PWK4CVDU2AY","additional_properties":"comments":[],"_id":"KZC25H2XYRAUDBBJKUH2JHV2WU","type":"interstitial_link","content":"‘Keep the faith’: Dunwoody police whistleblower gets unemployment benefits","url":"https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/dekalb/keep-the-faith-dunwoody-police-whistleblower-gets-unemployment-benefits/ONCQN4ZNDZAIHJ5DHEACHDXYLU/","_id":"Q2GAISI7BVFF7IBENVD6LUKU54","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298994,"type":"text","content":"Halstead’s lawsuit progressed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, where Judge Steve Jones dismissed the legal complaint with prejudice on Jan. 4 this year.","_id":"JTVVM65RHNDTLHI6O5WXFVBA4E","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298995,"type":"text","content":"According to court documents, the defendants argued that Halstead’s legal team delayed court proceedings and was filing “bad faith” motions. Laura Austin, Halstead’s attorney, told the AJC on Tuesday that she’s appealing the dismissal, since their evidence and arguments were never heard by a judge or jury.","_id":"MXR5TDJB4JCCDBVZQZPEKYPG6Q","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298996,"type":"text","content":"“We’re hoping that they will entertain (the appeal), because we believe that the court should be more interested in hearing the case on the merits rather than the way it’s drafted,” she said.","_id":"Q2GAISI7BVFF7IBENVD6LUKU54","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645643298997,"type":"text","content":"Attorney Ted Meeker told the AJC he continues to represent Espinoza in Halstead’s lawsuit but he has not been retained to represent him in Castellanos’ lawsuit.","_id":"4SKUKHUMEFG77MPKVVNRKTNM4A","additional_properties":"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1645645215728,"type":"text","content":"»Read the full motion to dismiss here."],"display_date":"2022-02-24T12:00:00Z","headlines":"basic":"Dunwoody police, ex-lieutenant at center of another sexual harassment lawsuit","first_publish_date":"2022-02-24T12:00:03.053Z","taxonomy":{"sections":["path":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","parent":"default":"/neighborhoods","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/neighborhoods","name":"DeKalb County","description":"Local news for Dekalb County Ga. neighborhoods, including breaking news, DeKalb County schools, high school sports, crime, events, neighborhood development and land use issues","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"/neighborhoods","default":"/neighborhoods","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","MainMenuRedesign2021":"/neighborhoods","TopNav":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site": Local news, sports, events, schools and info","navigation":"nav_title":"DeKalb County","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"DeKalb County","_id":"/neighborhoods/dekalb","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/","/neighborhoods"],"TopNav":[],"order":"SectionMap":1014,"MainMenuRedesign2021":2010,"ComposerNav":1071,"_website_section_id":"ajc./neighborhoods/dekalb","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/news","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"News","description":"Atlanta Georgia News main page: Breaking News, Atlanta Weather Forecast, Crime, Politics, GA Schools, Local Articles - Atlanta Journal-Constitution","_id":"/news","additional_properties":"original":"parent":"AmpNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","default":"https://www.ajc.com/","BottomNav":null,"TopNavRedesign":null,"SectionMap":"https://www.ajc.com/","LoggedOutMenu":null,"MainMenuRedesign2021":"https://www.ajc.com/","TopNav":null,"TopicsBar":null,"ComposerNav":"https://www.ajc.com/","site": Top News Page","navigation":"nav_title":"News","inactive":false,"node_type":"section","_website":"ajc","name":"News","Sponsor":"sponsor_url_open_new_tab":"true","sponsor_desktop_banner":"","sponsor_mobile_banner":"","sponsor_url":"","_id":"/news","ancestors":"AmpNav":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"default":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"BottomNav":[],"TopNavRedesign":[],"SectionMap":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"LoggedOutMenu":[],"MainMenuRedesign2021":["https://www.ajc.com/"],"TopicsBar":[],"order":"AmpNav":1001,"default":1001,"SectionMap":1018,"MainMenuRedesign2021":1002,"ComposerNav":1137,"_website_section_id":"ajc./news","type":"section","version":"0.6.0","path":"/neighborhoods","parent":"default":"https://www.ajc.com/","_website":"ajc","parent_id":"https://www.ajc.com/","name":"Local","description":"County by County Atlanta: Local news for metro Atlanta, including Gwinnett County news , Cobb, DeKalb, Roswelll and North Fulton, Clayton and the city of Atlanta. 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