DeKalb County

3:28 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Former DeKalb Commissioner Elaine Boyer Sentenced To 14 Months In Prison

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer was sentenced to 14 months in prison this afternoon on federal corruption charges. She pleaded guilty to stealing more than $90,000 from the county.

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5:06 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

DeKalb Commissioner Says She Welcomes Investigation

Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers said a request for an investigation of the executive branch is ''unprecedented.'' He and his legal team will be paid $400 per hour for its work.
Credit Lisa George / WABE

DeKalb’s Interim CEO has called for a full investigation of possible corruption in the executive branch of the county government.

But what about the legislative branch – the DeKalb County Commission?

Interim CEO Lee May says he wants to restore the public’s trust in DeKalb County, but he can’t ask for an investigation of the County Commission.

Commissioner Nancy Jester says she wants to help and welcomes a probe and an audit of the commission. 

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3:01 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

City Of Winship Latest Proposal In DeKalb County

A separate proposal would annex the Druid Hills neighborhood into Atlanta, including Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Rep. Michele Henson, D-Stone Mountain, said the city of Winship proposal "is to show there are additional opportunities for DeKalb County."
Credit Daniel Mayer / Wikimedia Commons

Two state lawmakers have introduced a bill to create yet another city within DeKalb County. That puts the total to at least five cityhood movements trying to carve themselves out of the county. 

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Former Ga. Attorney General Tapped
5:28 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

DeKalb Appoints Investigator To Probe Possible Corruption

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May and newly-appointed special investigator Michael Bowers are pictured here.
Credit Lisa George / WABE

DeKalb County’s interim CEO has appointed a special investigator to look into possible corruption in his administration.

Interim CEO Lee May wants a full investigation into the executive branch of DeKalb County government, saying as he made the announcement Wednesday, “Public cynicism continues to grow as the stench of corruption and distrust permeates our air.”

May is appointing former state Attorney General Mike Bowers to investigate county operations.

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1:01 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Protests Over Police Shooting Stop Traffic In Decatur

Decatur Deputy Chief Keith Lee asks activist Nelini Stamp to move off the street.
Credit Lisa Hagen / WABE

Protesters upset over the fatal police shooting of Anthony Hill marched in the streets of Decatur last night.

Hill was killed Monday by a DeKalb County Police officer responding to a call saying he was wandering naked near his home.

While waiting for the march to start, Marcus Coleman reminded his son to stop fidgeting with the bull horn they brought.

“Unfortunately, at 9 years old, he’s been to too many of these,” Coleman said. 

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5:44 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Few DeKalb Police Trained In Crisis Intervention

Fewer than 10 percent of DeKalb County Police get specialized training on how to deal with the mentally ill.
Credit Mikel Manitius /

Fewer than 10 percent of DeKalb County police officers get specialized training on how to deal with the mentally ill.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating why Anthony Hill, 27, was shot Monday while wandering naked near his home. On his Twitter feed, Hill often referred to being bipolar.

DeKalb County police officers get six hours of basic academy training on dealing with the mentally ill, said DeKalb County Captain Steven Fore.

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A Closer Look
4:57 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May Talks Cityhood, MARTA, His Vacant District Seat

Lee May in the Closer Look studios
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

To say DeKalb County is in the midst of a hectic time would be an understatement.  

A few short hours before Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May walked into the "A Closer Look" studios the Georgia House of Representatives approved HB 520, which would create the City of LaVista Hills.  

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6:36 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Deadline Looms For DeKalb Cityhood Proposals In State Legislature

The deadline nears for cityhood proposals to be introduced in the state legislature for bills to succeed this year.
Credit Elly Yu / WABE

The clock is ticking for new cityhood proposals to make it through the state legislature, but as of Friday, no lawmaker has introduced a bill for any of the DeKalb County city proposals.

In order for cityhood to happen, they’ll need state legislative approval first.

Allen Venet, co-chair of LaVista Hills YES, said he’s cautiously optimistic that his state representatives will sponsor a bill.

“We are hopeful that members of the legislature will agree that the people in our area have the right to vote on cityhood,” Venet said.

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4:06 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Cold Snap Turns Fire Stations Into Warming Centers

Peggy Ann Schnitzius, 77, looks inside a garbage bin while braving the cold weather in front of a frozen fountain in 2010 in downtown Atlanta. Dekalb County and the city of Atlanta are preparing for the winter weather this week by using recreation centers and some fire stations as warming centers and overnight shelters.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

DeKalb County says all of its libraries and recreational centers are operating as warming centers during this cold snap. It’s also using four fire stations as overnight shelters. They are Fire Station No. 6, 8, 21 and 25.

Captain Sell Caldwell at Fire Station No. 8 on Clairmont Road says no one has come by yet, but he expects visitors on Wednesday night when temperatures will drop to 13 degrees.

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5:06 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

DeKalb School District Must Return $2 Million To State

About 80 percent of schools - 102 - are designated Title I schools in DeKalb County. Title I schools receive federal funding in addition to local government funding.
Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

DeKalb County Schools have to pay back more than $2 million to the state because the district didn’t equally distribute money among the schools.

From the perspective of the DeKalb County School District, the letter from the Georgia Department of Education wasn’t too shocking. 

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A Closer Look
7:25 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander Discusses Lessons Learned From Ferguson

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander in his office at headquarters in Tucker, Georgia.
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander has a Ph.D. in psychology, and he is leader of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).  

President Barack Obama recently tapped Alexander to serve on the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, part of the administration's efforts to "strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve."

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5:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

DeKalb CEO Wants To Move Government Center Out Of Decatur

DeKalb CEO Lee May announces a proposal to move the DeKalb Government Center out of Decatur during his Thursday State of the County address.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

DeKalb County’s Government Center could move from downtown Decatur to Memorial Drive. DeKalb CEO Lee May announced the relocation proposal today during his state of the county address.

CEO May says the move is needed because it would spur redevelopment along the Memorial Drive corridor. He believes that’s essential for DeKalb’s future.

“This vision is about giving attention to a part of the county that has been neglected for decades.”

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4:50 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

65 Too Slow? Try 70 Miles Per Hour: GDOT Increases Speed Limits In Metro Atlanta

Last year, state lawmakers set the maximum highway speed limit in urban areas to 70 miles per hour.
Credit VA Department of Transportation /

Speed limits are increasing on sections of some major roads and interstates in metro Atlanta.

Last year, state lawmakers set the maximum highway speed limit in urban areas to 70 miles per hour.

So the Georgia Department of Transportation spent months studying where it could safely increase the speed limits. 

“We’re really just bringing these speed limits in harmony with what motorists are doing and so we’re really helping them out in the long run," says GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. "Hopefully less speeding tickets for them.”

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3:10 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

MARTA Is Making A Comeback, With Or Without Funding

MARTA is the ninth largest transit agency in the country.
Credit Allison Guillory / WABE

MARTA is no longer a four-letter word in metro Atlanta.

For years, MARTA has been the battered and neglected transportation stepchild in Georgia. But today, it's on the rebound.

The ninth largest transit agency in the country operating in the black. Its ridership is up. Its trains are running more often. It's even improving its bus service ─ cut during the Great Recession and tight budget years.

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9:28 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Inmates Released After Supreme Court Rules Tolling Is Illegal

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled last year that private probation companies can no longer extend sentences simply because a probationer doesn’t pay the required fees.
Credit Nick NeSmith / WABE

In Georgia, at least 38 inmates were released from jail and thousands of warrants were dismissed last month.      

That’s because the Supreme Court of Georgia decision said judges can no longer allow private probation companies to put sentences on hold when probationers fail to respond or pay the required fees.

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DeKalb Cityhood
9:50 am
Fri December 19, 2014

House Subcommittee Splits Northlake Mall Area Between LaVista Hills And Tucker

The proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker will have to split the commercial area surrounding Northlake Mall under a map approved today by a Georgia House Subcommittee.

Georgia lawmakers have drawn a new map that potentially puts close to 100,000 DeKalb County residents into two new cities.

The map also splits one of the biggest areas of contention right down the middle: it gives part of the Northlake Mall commercial area to the LaVista Hills and part to Tucker.

  A house subcommittee approved the map 3-1 with Atlanta Democrat Howard Mosby dissenting.

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DeKalb Cityhood
8:13 am
Thu December 18, 2014

DeKalb Superintendent Wants To Be Ready For Schools Annexation Legal Battle

Together in Atlanta wants to annex Druid Hills High School and two other schools into the Atlanta Public Schools system if the Druid Hills neighborhood ends up being annexed into the city.
Credit Titaniumjjp / Wikipedia

DeKalb County’s schools superintendent wants to set aside millions of dollars just in case the school system decides to fight a proposal to annex three DeKalb schools into the City of Atlanta.

An advocacy group called Together in Atlanta wants to annex Druid Hills High School, Fernbank Elementary School and Briar Vista Elementary School into the Atlanta Public Schools system if the Druid Hills neighborhood ends up being annexed into the city.

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5:03 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

DeKalb County One Step Closer To New Animal Shelter

Beulah is one of the puppies available for adoption with Dekalb County Animal Services.
Credit Dekalb County Animal Services

A new animal shelter in DeKalb County is one step closer to reality.

DeKalb County commissioners voted today to put out a request for design services. The Request for Proposal (RFP) calls for the construction cost of the new facility to be capped at $10 million and for design and architecture services to be capped at $800,000.

Five commissioners voted in favor of the measure.  District 3 Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton did not cast a vote nor did she officially abstain.

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DeKalb Cityhood
4:57 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

DeKalb Communities Try To Keep Up With Changing Cityhood/Annexation Plans

Druid Hills High School is on Haygood Drive just behind the Emory University campus.
Credit Titaniumjjp / Wikipedia

Two communities caught up in the DeKalb County battle for new cities are feeling the stress.

Druid Hills and Medlock Park may be very different neighborhoods, but the people who live in each are both feeling the pressure of annexation and new cityhood plans.

The latest wrinkle: a proposal to annex three DeKalb County schools, including Druid Hills High School, into the City of Atlanta along with the mainly affluent Druid Hills neighborhood.

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Police Shooting
1:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Two Officers Shot By Assault Rifle; Suspects Arrested

Dekalb County Police Officers Devon Perry and Tony Luong were shot in the leg Friday while responding to a report of an early morning home-robbery invasion. Perry has been released from the hospital and Luong is expected to recover.
Credit Courtesy of the Dekalb County Police Department / Dekalb County Police

Two officers were shot with an assault rifle this morning in Dekalb County, according to police. Two suspects are in custody.

Officers Tony Luong and Devon Perry were responding to a report of an early-morning break-in at the Colony Ridge Apartments. When they arrived, they were both shot in the leg with an assault rifle.

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Site Chosen 18 Months Ago
6:00 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Still No Vote On DeKalb Animal Shelter Design

Stanley is one of the dogs living at the Dekalb Animal Shelter
Credit Dekalb Animal Shelter

Eighteen months ago, the DeKalb County Commission approved a site for a new animal shelter. But the agreement appears to end there, and that is frustrating animal advocates.

No one disagrees DeKalb County needs a new animal shelter. The current facility is one of the oldest in the state. It’s too small and in bad condition.

Animal advocates walked away from Tuesday’s commission meeting disappointed that a vote on the architect and design proposal for the shelter had been deferred yet again.

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7:27 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Residents Near Emory Gain Momentum In Effort To Join City Of Atlanta

Under Together In Atlanta's annexation plan, Emory Village is one of the DeKalb areas that would become part of the city of Atlanta.
Credit Keizers via wikipedia

As part of an effort to gain more control over basic services like public safety and trash pick-up, several neighborhoods in DeKalb County want to incorporate.

Amid the debate over boundaries, a front-runner has emerged in the contest for which cityhood campaign will attract Emory University and the affluent area surrounding it.

Emory and its neighbors aren't currently part of any city - the area exists within unincorporated DeKalb County. But most locals identify with either the city of Atlanta to the west or Decatur to the south.  

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6:32 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Witness Credibility Issues Complicate DeKalb Corruption Cases

The prosecution's case against DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis relied heavily on Kelvin Walton, shown above.
Credit Kent Johnson/AJC

Two major DeKalb County corruption cases are in jeopardy. Part of the reason is the prosecution’s star witnesses have struggled with credibility issues.

It’s a constant dilemma for prosecutors – how much to rely on witnesses with questionable character.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is accused of shaking down county contractors for campaign donations. During the trial, DeKalb's former purchasing director Kelvin Walton was the state’s star witness. Walton cooperated with prosecutors only after being caught accepting gifts from contractors and lying under oath.

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8:19 am
Fri October 24, 2014

DeKalb Audit Shows Commissioners' Charity Spending, Spotty Record Keeping

DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton
Credit DeKalb County Government

DeKalb County has released an independent audit of County Commission spending for the last ten years.

The audit includes on use of county purchasing cards. The so-called “P-cards,” which function like debit cards, are used by elected officials and some staff members to pay for work-related expenses. The P-cards have been the focus of ethics complaints against several commissioners.  

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1:59 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

DeKalb County to Release Purchasing Card Audit Today

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer pleaded guilty to federal charges last month in connection with the use of her county purchasing card for personal expenses.

WABE has learned that DeKalb County officials will release the official audit of county commissioners’ purchasing cards later today.

The so-called “P-cards,” which function like a debit cards, let elected officials and some staff members pay for work-related expenses. The P-cards have been the focus of ethics complaints against several commissioners.  

The Commission called for the audit of all P-card purchases, dating back at least to 2010, for all commissioners, their staff members, and any employees of the Board of Commissioners’ central office.

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4:12 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Avondale Estates Getting Cold Shoulder From Some of its Annexation Targets

Avondale Estates was founded in 1924 and designed as a planned community.
Credit Lisa George/WABE News

The cityhood movement in DeKalb County – and the annexation efforts of existing cities in response to it – have two themes that keep coming up: securing strong tax bases and providing good schools.

Both issues are creating challenges for the small city of Avondale Estates.

With just 3,000 residents, Avondale Estates has long been a sleepy little enclave in DeKalb County. Now, a potential city is trying to form near its borders, and county seat Decatur is also trying to expand. So Avondale Estates wants to annex some land while there is still land to be had.

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Burrell Ellis Corruption Trial
3:29 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Judge Issues Allen Charge to Burrell Ellis Jurors: What Does That Mean?

DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis has been suspended since his indictment in June 2013.

The jury in the corruption trial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is wrapping up its eleventh day of deliberations. Monday, the judge gave the jury what is known as an Allen charge.

  DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson had already instructed the jury to keep deliberating twice when they said they couldn’t reach a verdict.

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7:21 am
Wed October 15, 2014

DeKalb Commission Frees Up Money for Ethics Board

Members of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics (shown here) have tabled complaints against former county staffers Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall. Walton resigned and Hall was fired after their testimony in the corruption trial of suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.
Credit Lisa George/WABE News

The DeKalb County Commission has freed up $90,000 in funding for the county ethics board, which was reconstituted just last year to deal with mounting ethics issues.

DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May very publicly announced in June he was getting his fellow commissioners to allocate money for a Chief Integrity Officer, an investigator and an assistant, three full-time employees to help clean up the county’s ethics problems.

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4:14 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Fate Of Ellis Now In Jury's Hands

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

After three weeks of testimony, attorneys for both sides in Burrell Ellis’ corruption trial delivered their closing arguments Monday. Whether Ellis goes to prison or retains his position as DeKalb County CEO is now up to a jury.

Ellis faces charges of extortion and bribery, the latter of which carries a sentence of up to 20 years. Three county contractors testified Ellis shook them down for campaign donations. Another contractor testified Ellis wanted a bribe of $25,000.

Ellis denies all wrongdoing and his lawyers claim the charges are politically-motivated.

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2:14 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Ellis Denies Retaliating Against Those Who Refused To Donate

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis on the witness stand Thursday.

Updated 4:10 p.m.

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and DeKalb District Attorney Robert James squared off for the first time Thursday in Ellis’ corruption trial. James grilled Ellis over allegations he shook down county vendors for campaign contributions.  

Under cross-examination, Ellis denied strong-arming vendors and insisted any issues between him and vendors were over poor customer service and unreturned phone calls, not donations. 

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