Gang activity decline continues in Gwinnett County Schools | Gwinnett Daily Post

SUWANEE — Each year when James A. Taylor presents discipline facts and figures about the previous school year to the Gwinnett County Board of Education, he has a favorite statistic.

On Thursday during a workshop meeting at the Instructional Support Center, the number was 99.2 percent.

For Taylor, executive director of academic support for Gwinnett County Public Schools, that represented the percent of students who last school year did not participate in a discipline hearing. And that’s why he added there is “no reason for alarm” despite there being 1,285 hearings and 13 expulsions.

Another favorite figure for Taylor was what he called the “dinosaur chart” when he referred to declining incidents of gang activity. Last school year, there were 37 referrals for gang activity, a number that continues a trend. The year before there were 62 incidents and two years ago there were 88.

“We’re not seeing as much,” Taylor said. “Administrators are trained. They have a keen eye and recognize gang signs and behavior and address it immediately.”

via Gang activity decline continues in Gwinnett County Schools | Gwinnett Daily Post.

Developer announces partner for Gwinnett movie studio campus | Gwinnett Daily Post

The Los Angeles-based management and production company behind movies such as Marvel’s “Iron Man 2,” “Captain America 2,” “The Avengers” and the next three “Avatar” sequels has been selected by Jacoby Development to market, lease and manage the Atlanta Media Campus, a 114-acre mixed-use development in Norcross expected to open in 2015.

MBS3 includes the MBS Media Campus and MBS Equipment Company. In addition to their major movie work, MBS Media Campus is also home to ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Revenge” as well as CBS’ upcoming new series “Scorpion.”

“We are fortunate to be teaming with one of the most experienced owners and managers of independent studios and accompanying production service providers in the country,” said Jacoby Development Chairman Jim Jacoby in a press release. “MBS brings valuable expertise and extensive industry relationships and connections that promise to continue to attract major film productions to the Atlanta Media Campus and Studios.”

via Developer announces partner for Gwinnett movie studio campus | Gwinnett Daily Post.

DeKalb commissioner sues over ethics complaint | www.myajc.com

DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader has filed a libel lawsuit against a resident who brought an ethics complaint against him, and the resident has responded with a new ethics complaint alleging retaliation.

Rader’s lawsuit said DeKalb resident Timothy Brantley made false and defamatory statements by accusing Rader of using his elected position to benefit himself and his former employer, which has won contracts from the county. The suit is seeking at least $100,000 in damages.

The Board of Ethics on Aug. 14 rejected the complaint against Rader because it lacked claims about any specific unethical action he took that could be investigated. Similar accusations were brought this week against Rader as part of another complaint.

“I feel like that type of allegation can’t go unanswered,” said Rader, who has recused himself from voting on matters related to Jacobs Engineering, which was his employer until last year. “My purpose in (filing suit) was not to retaliate against him; it was to try and clear my name against these accusations.”

via DeKalb commissioner sues over ethics complaint | www.myajc.com.

The Marietta Daily Journal – Sounding off on Lee Officials give their take on recent allegations against the BoC Chairman

MARIETTA — Members of the Cobb Board of Commissioners have taken different positions on the allegation Chairman Tim Lee acted inappropriately when he engaged an attorney to do preliminary work on the deal to bring the Atlanta Braves to the county.

A story published Sunday by the Atlanta media describes attorney Dan McRae’s involvement in the deal between the county and the ballclub to build a new $672 million stadium in the Cumberland area. The story alleges Lee acted inappropriately by working with McRae from July through November 2013 without knowledge or approval from the rest of the board or county attorney Deborah Dance.

“The essence of the story is … that I worked with Dan McRae, who is the attorney for the Cobb County Development Authority. I worked with him at no cost to the county to help figure out what financial opportunities were available to the county as far as the Braves deal,” Lee told the Marietta Daily Journal earlier this month.

Dance told the MDJ on Thursday she has “authority and discretion to hire attorneys to work on behalf of Cobb County, Georgia.”

She said because McRae was not paid, she considers his work a public service.

“Because there was no attorney contract and no money exchanged hands relative to Dan McRae’s services on behalf of the county, my professional opinion is that he provided those services to the county pro bono as a public service,” she wrote in an email.

via The Marietta Daily Journal – Sounding off on Lee Officials give their take on recent allegations against the BoC Chairman.

Public hearing on Common Core to be conducted at Northside High | Education | Columbus Ledger Enquirer

If you have something to say about the state’s public education system, especially the controversial Common Core, and don’t want to schlep to Atlanta to speak to the Georgia Board of Education, then you might want to take advantage of a local opportunity next week.

Each of the state school board’s 14 members has scheduled a public hearing for their congressional district.

Helen Rice, the board’s representative for the 3rd Congressional District, which comprises part of Columbus, will host Monday’s public hearing, starting at 7 p.m., in the Northside High School auditorium, 2002 American Way.

The public hearing for the 2nd Congressional District, which also comprises part of Columbus, will be conducted Sept. 4, starting at 7 p.m., in Crisp County Middle School, 1116 E. 24th Ave., Cordele. That board seat is vacant, so former board member Wanda Barrs will be the host.

via Public hearing on Common Core to be conducted at Northside High | Education | Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

At 64, Judge Bill Rumer finds satisfaction and joy calling high school football games | Latest News | Columbus Ledger Enquirer

Friday nights were made for Bill Rumer.

He loves the smell of tailgating and concession stand hamburgers on the grill. He loves the sound of high school bands marching into a stadium and football players getting ready for the game.

“It is all like a festival,” he said. “It is beautiful. Man, I love it. I just love it.”

He loves it enough to stay in the game at 64 years old.

The former Jordan High School cornerback is still a part of it, and tonight when high school football kicks off across Georgia and Alabama, Rumer will be officiating the Kendrick-Stewart County game at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium.

He’s a Muscogee County Superior Court judge by day and a side judge by night. While his day job is important, it is football officiating that gets him excited.

via At 64, Judge Bill Rumer finds satisfaction and joy calling high school football games | Latest News | Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

Former Monroe County tax office employee accused of stealing cash payments | Crime | Macon.com

A former Monroe County Tax Commissioner’s Office employee has been charged with fiduciary theft on allegations she pocketed $2,076 in cash property tax payments while at work.

Meguelletta “Meg” Dambri Ralls, 22, of Forsyth, turned herself in at the Monroe County jail Tuesday and was released the same day on $2,500 bond, according to the sheriff’s office.

An investigation was launched this spring after two people came forward saying they had received liens for unpaid taxes when they had receipts for making cash payments in November, said Allison Selman-Willis, sheriff’s office spokeswoman.

via Former Monroe County tax office employee accused of stealing cash payments | Crime | Macon.com.

Peach County working to finalize water park deal | Politics | Macon.com

FORT VALLEY — Peach County commissioners wanted to finalize a deal Thursday to help a businessman build a water park along Russell Parkway between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41, but commissioners paused when they saw the contract.

Commissioners thought they would be signing a deal with a company run by the water park’s developer, Jeff Franklin. Instead, the contract presented to them was with a company run by a Macon land developer, Tim Thornton, who wants to build a commercial subdivision, with the park inside.

Commissioners said they were willing to put as much as $300,000 toward building a road for the water park, which they say has to be built.

via Peach County working to finalize water park deal | Politics | Macon.com.

Bibb BOE rejects low bid from Albany firm | Education | Macon.com

What could have been a fairly routine vote about accepting a bid for kitchen equipment for Heard Elementary School turned into an extended discussion about Bibb County school board policy Thursday night.

Board members rejected in a 5-2 vote the low bid presented by Albany-based Trimark Strategic, even though the bid for the equipment came in $9,000 lower than a bid from Macon-based Direct South.

Board members Lynn Farmer and Thelma Dillard were the only board members who favored accepting the bid, but they were outvoted. Board president Sue Sipe was absent.

via Bibb BOE rejects low bid from Albany firm | Education | Macon.com.

Welcome centers, rest areas to get spiffed up | savannahnow.com

ATLANTA — One group that believes in the power of advertising are the members of the State Transportation Board because money from ads on official interstate highway exit signs is going to pay for renovating Georgia’s welcome centers and rest areas.

The Department of Transportation program that features logos of nearby establishments for $1,200 each per year is generating enough cash to enhance the appearance of the nine welcome centers and 17 rest areas that dot the Interstates.

via Welcome centers, rest areas to get spiffed up | savannahnow.com.