2010 - March - Vol 26

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TheCITIZENS REVIEWNewsletter of the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association, Inc. March 2010Vol. 26FORBES MAGAZINE NAMES ATLANTA 3RD EMPTIEST CITY IN U.S.From the State Legislature, Edward Lindsey reports that Georgia faces some of the toughest challenges of his lifetime: 10% unemployment and growing; the state ranks FIRST in the nation in bank failures; and FIFTH in mortgage foreclosures. Here in Buckhead, many of our newer buildings sit largely empty and Forbes magazine named Atlanta the THIRD emptiest city in the country due to the extreme surplus of vacant residential and commercial properties. W h a t s important is what it means to the bottom line and how that affects you. Page 6FULTON COUNTYTAX ASSESSORS NEWSFulton County homeowners will receive a $25,000 homestead exemption that is applied to the value of their property in the calculation of property tax year 2010, and by 2011 the basic homestead exemption will increase to $30,000. Page 16Bruce MortonYolanda Adrean, left, sworn in to her first term as our 8th District City Council Representative along with Felicia Moore, District 9. Page 4EFFORT TO CHANGE ETHICS LAWS DRIVEN BY SCANDELBill Bozarth speaks for all Georgians who believe we have the right to demand the highest standards from those who serve in public office. Page 7City of Sandy Springs: Financially StrongMayor Galambos is sworn in for another term, and the City continues in its sound financial condition, with a property tax rate of 4.731 mills, which is among the lowest in the metro area. Although reduction in some revenue sources has hit Sandy Springs as in other local governments, the City of Sandy Springs has a sufficient cushion to absorb the cuts and maintain the high level of services of the past four years. Page 6Vandalism Nothing Petty About ItJ RauTwo of the four nearly vacant Buckhead office buildings that have business leaders talking the most: Alliance Two and Phipps Tower.For several months, yards throughout the neighborhood have been intentionally driven over and damaged. This fundamental lack of respect for other peoples property has got to stop. Page C2THROUGH THE EYES OF AARON FINKMy wife and I had occasion to visit the famous elephant seal rookery, which is just north of Cambria on the California coast (near Hearsts castle). Thought to be extinct, theyve made a remarkable comeback. Page 14FINDING A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AFTER 63 YEARSIn 1941, Dovid and Taiba Base Konvoij lived in Kaunas, Lithuania together with their six children Zelda, Moishe, Zelman (Jerry), Jeshua, Reize, and Yehuda. The parents, along with the two youngest children Reize and Yehuda, did not survive the Kovno ghetto. Jerry, Moishe, and Jeshua ended up in Dachau and Zelda in Stuthoff. While in Dachau, Jeshua disappeared one day, was never seen again, and was assumed killed. Page 8J RauCouncilwoman Clair Muller and the Atlanta City Council Honored the Fire Station 27 Task Force for its Efforts in the Renovation of the Station with a City Proclamation.Page 2Aaron FinkIN AND AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD CLAIR MULLER & CITY COUNCIL HONOR TASK FORCE WITH PROCLAMATIONThe Presidents CornerBy Marci Vincent Harris TrailI am thrilled to have been elected President of the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association for 2010. Our former President, Yolanda Adrean, ran a successful campaign for Atlanta City Council and was elected to serve District 8 for the next four years. We thank Yolanda for her years of service to our neighborhood and wish her success in her new position. Needless to say, I have large shoes to fill for our community. Although 2009 was a very difficult year for many, it was a year of major successes for our Neighborhood Association. We celebrated our 25th anniversary at our annual meeting on October 13th. The program featured a Candidate Forum that was informative for the nearly 200 neighbors who attended. In early October, we enjoyed our Annual Neighborhood Party at the lovely home of Brenda and Dick Smith. A great time was had by all who attended! Our Web Site (www.mpnca.org) has broken the 500-member mark and continues to offer outstanding information about our community. Our Treasurer, Cameron Adair, reports that we ended the year with a balanced budget, despite the recession. 80% of our operating budget is for the Security Patrol, which the Association contracts to provide coverage for the neighborhood within our boundaries. Our Security patrol is not a substitute for your own security system, but provides a service and acts as an additional deterrent to crime. The remaining 20% of our budget covers the Citizens Review Newsletters, the Membership Directory and Neighborhood Events. I might add that your Board Members dedicate endless hours of volunteer time to our community. This includes maintaining the membership database, website and pet registry, and facilitating neighborhood blast alerts for crime and lost pets. Our Membership Drive is in full swing and I hope that you will join both the Association and the Security Patrol. And, all dues paying members will receive the Associations invaluable Membership Directory, printed in the spring. Now that the Task Force to Renovate Fire Station #27 has wrapped up the completion of the building, task force member, Al Goodgame, is focused on the final exterior landscaping, that should be completed in the coming months. Look for a Pancake Breakfast Open House, to observe the final results of this large project. We are grateful to all of our generous donors. With their help, Fire Station #27 now provides decent housing for our first responders. Thats an accomplishment we can all be proud of! I look forward to serving you in 2010. There is no limit to getting better.Photos: Bruce MortonFrom Left: Cleta Winslow, Carla Smith, Anne Fauver, John Feeley, Clair Muller, Ann Warsham, Yolanda Adrean, Marci Vincent, Howard Shook, Lynne Moscow, Ivory Young, Ceasar Mitchell, President Lisa Borders, Felicia Moore, Jim Maddox, Joyce Sheperd, Mary NorwoodPresented November 16, 2009, The Proclamation Reads:Whereas, The Fire Station 27 Task Force (The Task Force) was organized in 2008 by concerned and dedicated volunteer members of the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association whose mission is to improve the living and working conditions for the men and women who serve Atlanta Fire Rescue at Fire Station 27, located at 4260 Northside Dr.; and Whereas, After discovering unacceptable living conditions at the 55-year old fire station, The Task Force estimated it would need $250,000 to renovate, furnish and improve the fire stations interior and exterior; and Whereas, The Task Force volunteers worked tirelessly to obtain permits and agreements Photo Detail with the city, draw up architectural plans and hire contractors. After raising the necessary funds, plus in-kind donations from surrounding neighbors, the fire station has been completely renovated and refurnished, including the addition of a second fully equipped handicap accessible bathroom; and Whereas, The Fire Station 27 Task Force is further commended for their humanitarian example to inspire other communities to pay it forward; and Whereas, The Atlanta City Council wishes to thank the Fire Station 27 Task Force members Yolanda Adrean, London Andes, John Feeley, Albert Goodgame, Lynne Moscow, Paul Muldawer, Marci Vincent, and Ann Warsham for their dedication and commitment to enhance the work environment for the citys brave men and women who protect our families, our homes and businesses. Now Therefore Be It Resolved that, We, the members of the Atlanta City Council and on behalf of the citizens of Atlanta, hereby extend the Citys heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the members of the Fire Station 27 Task Force for taking time to care so that our firefighters and our city will benefit for generations to come! 225TH ANNUAL MEETING ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND CANDIDATE FORUM ...as held on October 13, 2009. After electing new officers and board members for 2010, a candidate forum was held, sponsored by our civic association and four others: Paces Civic Association, Peachtree Battle Alliance, South Tuxedo Park, Tuxedo Park Civic Association and Wildwood Civic Association. The assembly hall at Northwest Presbyterian Church was filled to standing room only with over 200 attendees. Thirteen candidates for Atlanta City Council, including Council President, District 8, three At-Large Posts and the Atlanta Board of Education answered questions from neighborhood association representatives, like Elizabeth Pritchard and Henry Wyche in photo at left, and the audience. After taking questions about taxes, ethics, fiscal responsibility, public safety and getting the services we pay for, the candidates complimented the civic association on a well run forum, moderated by past president, Brenda Smith. Many attendees expressed the belief that they were better prepared to vote as a result of the opportunity to meet and listen to so many candidates. The civic association provided a sample copy of the November 3 ballot along with other helpful information.Candidate Photos: John Schaffner, Reporter Newspapers3GREETINGS FROM DISTRICT 8!By YOLANDA ADREAN Atlanta City Council Member, District 8In an effort to keep you abreast of happenings here at City Hall, I will be sending you periodic emails with information and calendar items that may be of interest to you. I will also be attending your meetings at least quarterly. I am serving on three Committees: Finance/Executive (Chair), Public Safety and City Utilities. Each committee meets bi-monthly and these meetings are open to the public. You are more than welcome to come to City Hall to observe the proceedings at committee meetings and Council meetings. Full Council meetings are held on the first and third Monday of the month beginning at 1 PM. Citizens are welcome to sign in to make public comments or you can tune into Channel 26 where meetings are aired live. City Utilities works on the following matters: sanitation, sewage and waste disposal, clean streets, safe bridges and sidewalks, Department of Watershed Management, Department of Public Works and matters pertaining to cable television. Public Safety has responsibilities for police, fire, corrections, office of emergency management and courts. Finance/Executive is responsible for matters pertaining to the budget, taxing and public revenues, department of finance, purchasing, contract compliance licenses, department of personnel and intergovernmental relations and more. There is no doubt that there will be challenges as we try to budget for top priorities during a period when every type of revenue is down. The City is not alone with these challenges. Here are some of the things that make our challenges more difficult: We are the 44th in the country for federal dollars. We also lag in support from the state. Our share of the stimulus dollars affecting the general fund amounts to about $30 million for roads and $11 million for funding more policemen. Do you know where your sales tax dollars go? 4 pennies for the state 1 penny for Marta 1 penny for the schools 1 penny for consent decrees for improvements to water/ sewer 1 penny is shared with Fulton county and the City of Atlanta (the citys share is .42) Last year City Council began working on a Five Year Plan which will help guide decisions and priorities over the next few years. While there has been much discussion about cutting expenses, finding efficiencies and privatization, the truth is without a solution to reducing annual pension obligations and developing a future plan that is sustainable, it will be very difficult to deliver services and make the types of investments in our infrastructure that are required over the next 5 years. The combination of enhancements to the pension plan, changes in accounting rules and a devastating recession have provided the perfect storm for a dramatic financial blow to the City. The Atlanta Public School system has used a SPLOST (Special Public Local Option Sales Tax) to fund its capital needs over the last 11 years and will have raised over a billion dollars when the SPLOST expires in 2012. I would argue that it is Atlantas turn to use a penny to fund its infrastructure needs. Rather than placing the entire burden on property owners, a sales tax would spread the burden on all who work, live, play and visitour city. Our daytime population is over 1 million while our night time population is about 560,000 residents. While the news is bleak, the silver lining is that it forces us as a community, region and state, to come to the table to find efficiencies, focus on core values and learn to be adaptive in the delivery of services. It is easy to manage during good economic times. During times like these, we all need to do our homework and make the best decisions possible on behalf of beleaguered taxpayers. These are some of the challenges! The elections this fall will matter and could affect Atlanta profoundly. My contact information is as follows: Email: yadrean@atlantaga.gov Phone: Home: Staff: Katie Howard and Priyam Bhargava Please stay in touch and let me know what we can do to help. For example, we can fill potholes right away. Send those in!Call For Action:Dont Let Yourself Be Over-Taxed!By LYNNE RILEY Fulton County Commissioner - District 3Its everywhere in the news todaythe recession continues, the unemployment rate is high, and real property values have lowered over the past year. Local governments collect taxes from property owners based on value. Property taxation is based on the concept that persons should share the cost of government according to their ability to pay. In the property tax system, ability to pay is measured by the value of property. A quick review of your property tax bill will indicate the amounts you pay to your City, County and School Board for the services they provide. The County Board of Assessors determines the fair market value of all real and personal property in the county. The Board of Assessors determines the estimate of property value, and sets the "Appraised Value" of property. The board then applies the statutory 40% to that appraisal to generate the "Assessed Value" on which taxes are based. With the recent property value decline, it is more important than ever to review the value of your home or other real property. If you believe your value is too high, now is the time to act. Real Estate property owners in Georgia may request an adjustment of the 2009 assessed value of their property from January 1 to April 1, 2010. The property owner must file a return of value with their County Board of Assessors. In Fulton County, the form for filing a return is available at the Board of Assessors site: www.fultonassessor.org Useful information about your property value and those of comparable value in your community are also available at the Fulton County Board of Assessors website. If the Board of Assessors does not adjust the assessment, the property owner may then file an appeal. Most of these appeals are heard by the Boards of Equalization. However, other arbitration options may be viewed on the Board of AssessorsContinued on Page 164Neighbors Gather Fun Followsn a pleasant October evening, over 100 neighbors, elected officials, candidates and other guests gathered at the Garmon Road home of Brenda and Dick Smith for the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association annual neighborhood social event. Neighbors and guests mingled outside where they were treated to Hors doeuvres surrounded by festive and unique Halloween decorations. There were more decorations inside where guests were served a delicious buffet prepared by Atlanta Ala Carte. Thank you, Brenda and Dick for your warm hospitality and creative ambiance. The event was truly a fun-filled evening for all who attended!Photos: William Rauhe Associations annual Christmas lunch at Fire Station 27 was a festive event thanks to some great food and special entertainment. On December 21, the B-Shift firemen, MPNCA board members, and invited guests were treated to homemade barbeque with all the trimmings. For the first time, participants were entertained with live music provided by A-Shift CaptainJoe Hussey on the harmonica and his band sidekick, Ron Levine, on the guitar. After lunch, a DVD of the before and after of the recent fire station renovation was shown to an appreciative audience. If you would like to see the DVD, be sure to stop by the station and ask one of the firemen to run it for you.Photos: John Feeley5CITY OF SANDY SPRINGS: LOOKING FORWARDBy EVA GALAMBOS Mayor City of Sandy SpringsThe City of Sandy Springs began its fifth year of existence with the swearing in of the Council and Mayor on January 5, 2010. Two new Councilmen took their seats: William Chip Collins, and John Paulson, both long time Sandy Springs residents. The City continues in its sound financial condition, with a property tax rate of 4.731 mills, which is among the lowest in the metro area. Although reduction in some revenue sources has hit Sandy Springs as in other local governments, the City of Sandy Springs has a sufficient cushion to absorb the cuts and maintain the high level of services of the past four years. There are different issues on the front burner from time to time. Currently the widening of the Roswell Road bridge over I-285 is a major focus. This is a terribly congested area, and the lane that now must accommodate left turners in both north and south directions is causing much of the back-ups. Therefore an addition of one lane to afford dedicated left turn lanes in both directions will relieve the frequent gridlocks. This general area suffers an average of one traffic accident daily!The problem of water rate penalties on Sandy Springs residents is constantly on my mind. There is no justification why the same water should cost 21% more on the Sandy Springs side of a street than it does on the opposite Atlanta side. The issue was on the way to adjudication in State Court, under a State law, when a Federal District Court ruled that the matter will be decided in that Court. That decision is under appeal. Even a cursory review of the prospectuses by the City of Atlanta for its sewer bond issues shows that water revenue is being commingled to pay for the sewer improvements. That means Sandy Springs water users are forced to pay for two sewer systemsthe Fulton County one that serves most of Sandy Springs, and the Atlanta one that does not serve any property in Sandy Springs. Many residents in the 30327 area of Sandy Springs are on septic tanks, so of course they too derive no benefit from the Atlanta sewer system. The regional transportation sales tax proposal under current discussion might result in Fulton and DeKalb citizens paying both the MARTA 1 penny tax and the new regional sales tax. My own feeling, which is shared by local government officials in these two counties, is that Fulton and DeKalb taxpayers should not have to pay 2 cents. It is high time the other counties in the Atlanta region step up to the plate to pay for MARTA.As a result, state revenue has been hit hard. Two years ago we passed a state budget of $21.2 billion. By contrast, our state expenditures for Fiscal Year 2010 will likely fall to $17.4 billion and the forecast for FY 2011 is likely to be the same. The bottom line is that we will work to preserve vital services even in these though By EDWARD LINDSEY times. However, we cannot show that we State Representative, District 54 have our constituents back in this economy by reaching deeper into their wallets. The 2010 Legislative Session began with new leadership in Ethics. the House and arguably some of the toughest challenges faced by According to one watchdog group, Georgia has the 6th strongest any General Assembly in Georgia in my lifetime. Here are a few ethics laws in the country. However, the recent revelations highlights: expose our need to do even better. The Joint House Senate New Session. New Leadership Team. New Job Duties. The Republican House Caucus faced a tough challenge in Ethics Committee will be holding hearings to come up with proposals to further strengthen our accountability and December after new reports broke alleging serious misconduct by former Speaker Glenn Richardson. While the allegations were transparency requirements. The bottom line is that the members in the General Assembly troubling, I was pleased by the swiftness of the resolution. Within must take steps to insure that we reflect the mores of the four days of the news report, Speaker Richardson had resigned. Two weeks later, our Caucus voted for sweeping leadership communities that elect us. Community, Neighborhood, Church, PTA and Civic Meetings. changes. One great advantage of representing Buckhead and Sandy Representative David Ralston of Blue Ridge was elected Springs in the legislature is that I get to sleep in my own bed at Speaker. Jan Jones of Alpharetta was elected Speaker Pro Tem, night. The other is that I am available to groups and individuals and I was elected Majority Whip. in my district to discuss issues that they are concerned about The Budget -- The Budget The Budget. We are in the grips of the most serious economic downturn since while the General Assembly is in session. If you have community, the Great Depression. Georgias unemployment is over 10% and neighborhood, church, PTA, NPU, or Civic group meetings during the session and would like an update on what is happening expected to peak at 11% by summer. Our state ranks number 1 in the nation in bank failures and we rank in the top 5 in under the Gold Dome, please give me a call and Ill attend. The above issues are only a small sampling of the several hundred mortgage foreclosures. Here in Buckhead, many of our newer bills that will be addressed by the legislature this session. For buildings sit largely empty and Forbes magazine named Atlanta the third emptiest city in the country due to the extreme surplus more information, visit http://legis.state.ga.us You can contact me via email at Edward.lindsey@house.ga.gov or 404-656-5024. of vacant residential and commercial properties.UNDER THE GOLD DOME6Relying on Experience in the Challenges AheadGeorgias New Secretary of StateBy Brian P. Kemp Georgia Secretary of StateFor almost eight years I have had the privilege of speaking for the members of Common Cause Georgia on behalf of all Georgia citizens who believe we have the right to demand the highest standards from those who serve in public office. The average citizen only has so much bandwidth to absorb and process information on who their elected leaders are, and how they conduct themselves once elected. Most Americans engage at the highest level, and a majority vote for president every four years, and follow national issues at some level. A smaller number may know about and engage with their Congressmen and Senators in Washington, but for the average citizen, their awareness and attention falls off sharply after that. Many otherwise informed, alert people couldnt tell you who represents them in their local and state governments, what they do, and how they are held accountable. The sad fact about American democracy is that at the levels where it matters most, where decisions by public officials, elected, and non-elected, affect our daily lives much more than what goes on in Washington, we are not tuned in. We leave it to the news media to let us know what happens in local government, and alert us when the system breaks down. But just as you shouldnt wait till your car stops running before you perform maintenance, you shouldnt wait until the political system screams for reform before you take steps to shore it up. But thats often the way it works. At Common Cause, we work every day, year in and year out, to remind our elected leaders that they work for us, and that they owe us a government that is open, transparent and ethical, and that it is not OK with us if they use public office for private gain. Human frailty insures that some in public office will abuse their positions, so we have rules that try and define what is and isnt kosher. Those rules need improvement from time to time, but its always a struggle. Elected officials rightfully claim that tight rules provide opportunity for their opponents to practice gotcha politics. So they always resist enacting the very laws that would discourage bad behavior. Lets start with the corrupting influence of money in the political process. Most of us agree that its reasonable to allow There will be a General Primary on July 20th and a General candidates to raise money from sources who support their Election on November 2nd. The ballot will include offices for: policies, to get their message out, to have spirited debate at election U.S. Senator, Fifth Congressional District U.S. House of time and let voters make their choice based on who has convinced Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State them they can do the best job. But thats not the way it works. At Senators, State Representatives, Secretary of State, State School the state level, most incumbents in the Georgia General Assembly Superintendent, Attorney General, Commissioners of Agriculture, dont have opponentseither in the primary or the general election. Insurance and Labor, Public Service Commissioners, District The more powerful their position, the less likely there will be a Attorneys, Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Fulton contested race. Ironically, these same top-tier legislators get the largest contributions for the races they never have to run. So County Board of Education (Sandy Springs voters). Nonpartisan offices to be filled on November 2nd include Justices its not unusual for leaders in the House and Senate to amass war for the Georgia Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Superior chests reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is then re-distributed to other candidates, to political parties, to political Courts and Atlanta Judicial Circuit. For new residents and teens who will be 18 by the July Primary, action committees and to a variety of uses that have nothing to the deadline to register to vote is June 21st. The deadline to do with the expenses of running for office or serving in office. register for the November General Election is October 4th. To That should be reined in. The other most-often-discussed piece of political dirty laundry register or to learn more about the upcoming elections, log on to the following websites: www.sos.ga.gov/election/ or www.fultoncoga.gov/county/elections/ Continued on Page 15I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as your Secretary of State. Among the offices wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum. I would like to share with you a couple of my ideas for how to continue to advance this already successful agency. Since taking office, Ive called upon my years of experience as a small business owner and state Senator to develop agency-wide plans that will achieve good government through sound budget principles, budget transparency, and accountability to Georgia taxpayers. I am keenly aware of the challenges involved with operating and growing a business, in good economic times and bad. As Georgias Secretary of State, I am committed to helping businesses remove the red-tape roadblocks that impede business growth and job creation. In fact, we are already developing and implementing tools that will save Georgia businesses countless hours of time previously spent on paperwork and bureaucratic compliance. For example, all businesses registered with our Corporations Division can pay their annual renewal fee online, and elect to receive renewal notices and other important information via email. This tool will also prevent corporate identity theft and fraud. Individuals can also form new businesses online. Additionally, more than 35 license applications in our Professional Licensing Boards Division are now available online, and we are adding more each week. Georgias elections are among the most secure in the nation. In an effort to ensure the continued integrity, security and fairness of our elections process, we will soon launch a new website and hotline so Georgians can quickly report any suspicious electionrelated activity. Election and voter fraud undermines the very foundations of our great state and country, and will not be tolerated. Please let me know if my office can ever be of assistance to you. (404-656-2881, sos@sos.ga.gov)OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE IN ETHICS LAWS DRIVEN BY SCANDALBy Bill Bozarth Director of Common Cause Georgia2010 Election Events7FINDING A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AFTER 63 YEARSBy HOWARD MARGOL Mt. Paran ParkwayIn 1941, Dovid and Taiba Base Konvoij lived in Kaunas, Lithuania together with their six children Zelda, Moishe, Zelman (Jerry), Jeshua, Reize, and Yehuda. The parents, along with the two youngest children Reize and Yehuda, did not survive the Kovno ghetto. Jerry, Moishe, and Jeshua ended up in Dachau and Zelda in Stuthoff. While in Dachau, Jeshua disappeared one day, was never seen again, and was assumed killed. LIBERATION After liberation from Dachau on April 29, 1945, Jerry, together with his brother Moishe ended up in Italy. (As a soldier in the 42nd Rainbow Division of the United States Army, I was at the liberation of Dachau so I felt a connection to them.) After liberation, Zelda returned to Kaunas, got married, and in 1971 immigrated to Israel. Jerry and Moishe, after time spent in Italy, ended up in Montreal, Canada. MEETING THE CONVOYS In the early part of 2004, I met Jerry and Roslyn Convoy from Montreal, Canada. They were visiting their daughter and her family here in Atlanta, Georgia where I live. During their visit, I showed them several issues of the Jerusalem of Lithuania newspaper published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Jerry informed me that his brother, Moishe, had recently died. At Jerrys request, I placed the following notice in the April-June, 2004 issue of the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" newspaper. Died in Canada on Feb. 21 MOISHE KONVOJ. Born in Kaunas on Oct. 13, 1929. Kaunas Ghetto prisoner from 1941-1943, taken from there to Dachau. Liberated in 1945. The editor of the newspaper added the following to the obituary notice; Submitted by Howard Margol. Rachel Kostanian, Vice-Director of the Jewish Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania saw the obituary notice in the Jewish newspaper. A Josef Konvoj, living in Vilnius, had previously worked with Rachels husband for a number of years. But that Josef was from Czechoslavakia and was Catholic, not Jewish. Still, Konvoj was not a common name so Rachel called Josef and told him about the obituary notice. Shortly thereafter, I received an email message from Rachel telling me about a Joseph Konvoj in Vilnius. Could he be a Holocaust survivor and a missing relative of Moishe Konvoj or, was it just a coincidence in a similar surname? I gave Rachel the email address for Jerry and Roslyn Convoy in Montreal and suggested she tell them about Josef. After hearing from Rachel, Jerry Convoy tried to temper his excitement. Could this Josef Konvoj be his brother Jeshua, thought to be killed in Dachau? Or, by some miracle, could Jeshua have survived? On the other hand, perhaps this Joseph in Vilnius was not related at all. TRYING TO PROVE OR DISPROVE The next step was to prove whether Josef Convoi in Vilnius was really the missing brother or just a coincidence in surnames. Correspondence was initiated and questions were asked. Question: What was Josefs fathers name? Josef responded 8Alte. Jerry decided that was not correct because his fathers name was Dovid. But wait!! Jerry remembered that when they were small children, his father became very ill. To fool the Angel of Death, Dovids name was changed to Alte. Josef was a small child at the time so it was possible he remembered his fathers name as Alte rather than as Dovid. Question: What was Josefs mothers name? Josef did not know. When the family members were separated, Josef was eleven years old. At that age, he would not have necessarily known his mothers name. He most likely would have referred to her as mother rather than by her first name. So, the question of any family connection between Josef and Jerry remained very uncertain and unknown. Question: Describe the house where you were born and grew up. Josef described the house and said it was near a river. He also stated there were six children in the family including him. He also remembered that his father was a tailor. This information was correct. This was the first real indication that Josef was, indeed, the missing brother. More family information Josef could not offer. Due to what he had gone through during the war, almost all of Josefs memory of his childhood was completely blocked from his memory. Next, Josef said that he had been taken from Dachau to Auschwitz, and sent Jerry the number on his arm, as well as his Russian identity papers and pictures. At that point, Jerry and his sister Zelda decided that Josef could not be their missing brother. The pictures bore no family resemblance and, as far as they knew, no Jews had ever been transported from Dachau to Auschwitz. It did not seem likely that Josef was even related. After all, he knew no Yiddish which would have been his native language, and was Catholic and not Jewish. To offer further proof, Josef obtained a copy of his birth record from the Lithuanian archive. He sent a copy of his birth record to the surviving sister in Israel and to Jerry in Montreal. Jeshua [Jesua], son of the tailor Dovid[as] Konvojas and Taiba-Base nee Zinger[yte], was born in Kaunas on the 31 of December 1929. Circumcision was done on the 8 of January 1930. The family lived in Kaunas on Malunu Street #6. The parents were Jews and residents of Lithuania. Initially, this appeared to be pretty good proof that Josef could be their missing brother. However, anyone could have obtained this birth record from the archive. Also, the birth dates did not add up. Moishe was born October 13, 1929 and this birth record says that Josef was born December 31, 1929. It would have been physically impossible for their mother to give birth twice in such a short period of time. Once again, Jerry and Zeldas hope that they had found their missing brother was dashed. In the meantime, I had obtained birth records from the Historical Archive in Vilnius for Moishe, Zelman (Jerry), Jeshua, and Reize. Lo and behold, Moishe was not born in 1929. His original birth record showed that he was born on May 13, 1925 and Jeshua was born in 1929, so no conflict existed as far as dates of birth were concerned.Continued on Page 13WHAT NEIGHBORS ARE DOING: IN-AND-OUT OF THE HOODThey Are Traveling Celebrating a 60th Anniversary... Getting Out the Vote... Being Sworn InFriends celebrate the 60th anniversary of Northside Drive neighbors Susie and Morris HabifThe efforts of Lynne Moscow, Elizabeth Pritchard, Brenda Smith, Yolanda Adrean helped make our neighborhood the highest voting district last Fall!Yolanda and Lee Adrean with Cleta Winslow, District 4Suzanne & Brooks Bollman hiking in the cloudlands rainforest of northcentral Costa RicaAttending a Grounding Breaking for a Tennis Center...Consistent with the 2008 Master Plans emphasis on sustainability, the City has applied for certification of the tennis center as an Earthcraft building meaning it reaches certain criteria as a green, energy efficient building and is similar to a LEED certification. SouthFace will conduct periodic inspections during construction to be able to grant the Earthcraft certification to the City on completion. The Conservancy will assist the replanting of new trees to replace those damaged or removed due to construction. The Chastain Park Conservancy and the PATH foundation will coordinate the slight rerouting of the PATH at the corner of Powers Ferry and Wieuca Road to ensure safety during construction. If you are coming to Chastain Park to walk or play tennis, the Conservancy would like to encourage you to park in the Red Lot (corner of Powers Ferry and Stella at the amphitheatre) and walk down to the courts to keep as much traffic out of the intersection as possible. Please use caution and look for new signs directing pedestrians in this area. For more information, please contact the Executive Director of the Chastain Park Conservancy, Gip Johnston at 404-237-2177.Reporting Hazardous Utility WiresWIRES ENDANGER WALKERSPhoto reprinted from CPCA websiteYolanda, and Chastain Park Civic Association President Jim King, attend the ceremony with shovels in handWin Prizes for Reporting Hazardous Utility Wires in March!Have you seen utility wires, telephone lines or metal cables on the sidewalks in your neighborhood or near your place of work? Loose wires in the pedestrian path can trip people up and cause serious injury. You could win a prize by reporting wire hazards in March. PEDS, metro Atlantas pedestrian advocacy organization, invites all metro Atlanta neighbors (thats you) to report wire hazards online at peds.org during the month of March. The more hazardous wires you report in March, the more chances you have to win. Learn how you can participate at peds.orgThe City of Atlanta and Chastain Park Conservancy held the groundbreaking ceremony for the start of construction of the new Chastain Park Tennis Center on Thursday, January 28. The mayor, Mr. Kasim Reed, members of the City Council, and Board members of the Conservancy were invited to attend, and members of the community as well. The new Chastain Tennis Center is one of the first of the major capital improvements set forth in the 2008 Master Plan approved by the City Council during the Franklin administration. The Astra Group will serve as contractor, and construction is projected to be complete in July 2010. The centers tennis courts will be resurfaced but will remain open during construction and temporary offices will be established on site.Joining Others to Honor a Man with a Message...The Atlanta City Council proclaimed Feb. 15, 2010 as "General Larry Platt Day"...primarily for his civil rights activities and decades of advocacy for the poor and downtrodden. In January, "General" Larry Platt sang before the American Idol judges when they were in Atlanta. He wrote "Pants on the Ground" to bring attention to the negative image young people portray with their low-riding pants. Although the judges appreciated the message, they disqualified the 62-yearold veteran because he was over the 28-year age limit. The Atlanta City Council recognized Larry Platt for his efforts to spread his positive message. You can listen to the performance by googling "Pants on the Ground" or on YouTube.Left: Council members Winslow and Wan, Mr Platt, Council members Adrean and Hall9Neighborhood BriefsTwo Brushstrokes Art EventsBrushstrokes Art Group is an organization of professional Atlanta artists committed to the creation of original fine art. This creative ensemble of 17 works in oils, acrylics and pastels. Their works are displayed in various locales, galleries and showrooms and can be viewed on their website: www.brushstrokesartgroup.com. Act3 Productions at 6285R Roswell Road is exhibiting Brushstrokes original art in the atrium. Call Suzanne Engel at for an appointment. The third annual Bank of North Georgia Art Show will be held on May 1st from 11 AM to 4 PM at 280 Sandy Springs Circle. Enjoy free hot dogs, ice cream and drinks on the front lawn while shopping for original fine art paintings by Brushstrokes Art Group.The Whitewater Creek Womens Bible Study GroupNow has 17 members. Please join us for a community Bible Study for neighbors and friends. All are welcome and may join at any time! Our group meets on Wednesdays at 4:00 PM. We are currently studying The General EpistlesJames through Jude. We hope to see you for coffee, fellowship, and study! Feel free to bring a friend. Hosted by Marie Stephens and Jennifer Wagoner at 4105 Whitewater Creek Road. For more info or to RSVP contact: Jennifer: 404-848-9143, email at jenwagoner@bellsouth.net or Marie: 404-261-5310, email at mhstephens4@bellsouth.net G-Capp Launches World Fitness Day: Georgia Dome, May 1 Actress, philanthropist, fitness guru Jane Fonda will introduce a unique event to Atlanta when she launches World Fitness Day, Saturday May 1 at the Georgia Dome. Fonda, and a host of entertainers and celebrity trainers, will fuel the event as more than 3,000 people come together to workout for a common cause the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, the nonprofit founded and chaired by Fonda. Stephanie and Arthur Blank and Ginny and Charles Brewer are co-chairs of the event. Slated to participate are celebrity trainers, Denise Austin, Billy Blanks, Richard Simmons, and actress Marisa Tomei. The Pointer Sisters and Donna Summer also will perform in a live concert of their greatest hits. Individual tickets are $100; student tickets $20. Festivities will also include an exclusive, star-studded cocktail party and auction on Friday, April 30. To purchase tickets, form a team, or become a sponsor, visit www.gcapp.org or call 404-475-6042.North Atlanta High School Pine Straw PromotionPlease pitch in and help bale us out at The NAHS Pine Straw Purchase Promotion, a Wrestling fundraiser. Pine Straw day is March 27th. Pick up at NAHS is $4.00 per bale. Delivery by Pine Straw Depot is $25.00 (over 25 bales inside the Perimeter.) Professional installation by Pine Straw Depot is $6.00 per bale (over 35 bales, includes straw and delivery). Order by March 23rd. Additional questions contact teresa@mccreight.us or leave message at 404-418-1015. PayPal coming soon. Visit www.northatlantahigh.org.Your Recipe for a Fabulous Night on the TownAnnual March of Dimes Dining Out Mixes Fine Food and Fun, All for the Sake of Healthy Babies, on May 14th What: The 26th Annual March of Dimes Dining Out When: Friday, May 14, 2010, 7PM Where: Dinner at participating restaurants Stepping Out After-party at The Buckhead Theatre, 9PM - 12AM Looking BackMoving Forward Who: Chair Philanthropist Cecilia Wright. Honorary chair 2010 is Northwest Presbyterian Churchs 50th Owner/chef of U Restaurants Riccardo Ullio. The pair has joined Anniversary, and the church at 4300 Northside forces to help raise $100,000 for the March of Dimes Georgia Drive invites the neighboring community to join Chapter. in events marking the milestone throughout the Price: $1,000 or $1,500 for a table of ten, depending on the year as it celebrates 50 years in our community. restaurant selection One highlight is a series of retrospective luncheons Nearly 60 restaurants some classic favorites and newcomers looking back at each decade of Northwests life to the culinary scene will join the March of Dimes in this years in relationship to this community and Atlanta at event, including: ONE Midtown Kitchen, Serpas, The Capital large. Next up is a fun and informative look back Grille, The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, and many more. Check at the 1970s on March 21st immediately following www.marchofdimes.com/georgia for a full, continually-updated list. Reserve early for your favorite restaurant as tables go quickly. the 11 a m. worship service. Check www.nwpcaatlanta.org or For information on hosting a table or purchasing after party call 404-237-5539 for details or to make a reservation tickets, visit www.marchofdimes.com/georgia or contact Margaux Espy at 404.720.5308. After-party tickets are included with the Got Pets? Get em in the Book! table purchase, but individual tickets to the after-party may be released to the public; check the web site for updates. ...in the Mt. Paran-Northside Pet Registry along with Tinkerbelle, Lucky, Rexy and Buddy whose Swathmore Drive Mom sent in this photo. We help unite & return Editors note: special thanks to all the contributors in this issue. little gu es and homes. Email your articles, ideas, events, tips an he Email with photos next issue of The Citizens Review to and descriptions. Its that easy. Do it now. 10MARCH 2010The Crime ReportThe Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association produces this public safety report for the benefit of our neighborhood. If you see suspicious activity, or are the victim of a crime, call 911 and then report the details for this newsletter to our Security Patrol (404)310-7361 or Jo Ann Rau (Security Patrol ActivityDuring the months of September 2009 through January 2010 Officers Doug Cole, George Robertson and Sergeant Ellis Logged 11,623 miles patrolling our neighborhood Made 1746 house checks for traveling subscribers Responded to 77 alarm calls Investigated 71 suspicious persons or autos Investigated 11 incidents of vandalism Investigated 9 break-ins Investigated 1 incident of larceny from vehicle Found 1 open doorSecurity Patrol Information The Mt. Paran Security Patrol is a neighborhood funded patrol staffed by retired and active duty Atlanta police officers. Officer Doug Cole and Officer George Robertson work full time8 hours a day and Sgt. Ellis (J.R.) works parttime3 evenings a week and some weekends as necessary. To date there are 383 patrol members of which 34 live in the Randall Mill Civic Association area. The patrol monitors the Atlanta police radio and responds to alarms in the area. The patrol checks doors and windows daily while you are out of town and picks up newspapers. The fee to join the patrol is $250 a year and covers the time period from January 1 to December 31. The fee for new residents will be pro-rated. Subscribers receive Membership in the Mt. ParanNorthside Citizens Association, neighborhood Directory, a mailbox Security decal, telephone stickers and access to the security hotline as well as daily surveillance of your house and property. For information on joining, or to meet the patrol officers, call (404)310-7361. Be sure to leave a message during off-duty hours and one of the patrol officers will call you back.September: Mail taken from mailbox in the 1500 block of Mt. Paran Rd. Suspect has been identified and an arrest warrant issued. Burglary 3700 block of Randall Mill Rd. No forced entry, alarm not activated, front door not secure. Burglary 1600 block of Mt. Paran Road, no forced entry, alarm not activated. Homeowner thinks it was a fired workman who had a key. Car break-in 4400 block of Northside Drive. Lookout for a white male, sandy hair, driving an older faded blue Honda. Homeowner reported FedEx package taken in the 1000 block of Regency Road. Officer Cole discovered sprinklers running for over 4 hours at the pocket park on West Conway and Broadland Rd. He called a member of the Mt. Paran Woods Garden Club to have them turned off. Tree reported down on East Beechwood. October: Workmen tools and equipment were taken from house under construction in the 1700 block of Mt. Paran Rd. In the 4300 block of Mt. Paran Parkway, the door panel was kicked out of the kitchen door. TV and jewelry were taken. A workman at a house under construction in the 1300 block of Swims Valley Dr. found a black male wearing an orange vest in his construction trailer. The suspect got into a light blue 4-door square back Honda with a black male driver wearing an orange vest. Police were not called. Mt. Paran Security was made aware of the incident several days later. Neighbor found three purses around Garmon Rd. and Northside Dr. She called one of the people whose ID was left in a purse and learned that three women left their purses in the car while attending an event. A Northside Dr. homeowner reported to Security and Sandy Springs police that he received a threatening note saying his property would be damaged around Halloween. November: Break-in on Paran Pines Drive. Homeowner watched as two black males in a white vehicle drove slowly down the dead-end street and turned around as she was leaving her driveway. While she was gone, someone entered her house by breaking a rear window and exiting through the kitchen door and garage. Officer Cole contacted a nearby neighbor with a security camera and obtained a video of the white vehicle. The video has been turned over to an Atlanta police detective.Continued on Page C2C1More Crime News: Be an Active Crime Fighter Security Patrol ActivityContinued from Page C1VandalismTheres Nothing Petty About ItFor several months, yards throughout the neighborhood have been intentionally driven over and damaged. Residents on Garmon Road, Mt. Paran, West Conway, Broadland, Regency Road, Randall Mill, Sentinel Post, Whitewater Creek and Harris Trail have had their yards trenched. In one instance, a homeowner had just installed new sod only to wake up the next morning to find it had been ridden over and decimated.December: Several lawns and mailboxes were damaged over two different weekends. Kitchen fire reported on Davis Drive. A neighbor on Flintlock Rd. reported two black males entered the basement where several young people were congregating. One of the suspects pulled a pistol and took money from everyone but the female. Homeowners son thinks it was an inside job. Break-in via the front door on Irma Court at 12:30 AM. Alarm did not go off. Homeowner locked herself in the bedroom closet. Several items were taken including a vehicle that was recovered shortly thereafter. Officer Cole recovered a stolen vehicle on Paran Pines Drive around 6:30 AM. The front tire was blown out and Officer Cole believes the stolen vehicle may be related to the break-in on Irma Court. January 2010: Two yards on Sentinel Post reported damaged. While checking a house for out of town homeowners on West Garmon, Officer Cole found broken water pipes. He contacted the homeowners and the water was turned off. Homeowner on Swims Valley reported being attacked, along with his dog, by a neighbors dog. Citations were issued to the neighbor with the vicious dog. A River Rill homeowner reported her home, which is being renovated, was entered while she was away. The alarm was not activated and several shot guns were taken. Copper pipes and electric wire was removed from a vacant house in the 1200 block of West Conway. The back door was unlocked. A North Harris Ridge homeowner reported that her identity was stolen. Someone used her name to open a charge card at Lowes with the address of a vacant house in another neighborhood.Notice to ParentsPast history points to these acts of vandalism being committed by teens. In an attempt to stop the destruction of property, the Mt. Paran Security Patrol has increased patrol hours and the Atlanta Police are increasing surveillance of the area. Teen drivers need to understand that vandalism is not a prank; it can result in very serious and costly offenses. Parents need to be aware of where their teen drivers are during unsupervised hours and remind them of the responsibilities that go along with driving, including respect for property. It is important to note that once the line is crossed from vandalism to second degree criminal damage to property, a felony charge will result in a permanent, lifetime record. Parents and their teens should be aware of the following law:Georgia Criminal Code 16-7-23.Teach Your Kids:How to Stay Safe on Social NetworksBy The Better Business BureauThe popularity of social networking continues to grow among kids. Social networking sites can provide a secure way for kids to connect with each other, but they can also be exploited for any number of nefarious purposes. Better Business Bureau recommends parents take specific steps to keep their kids safe online. Kids of all ages are getting into social networking. According to iStrategy Labs the number of users on Facebook that are between the ages of 13 and 18 grew by 88 percent in 2009 to 10.7 million. While Facebook and MySpace require all users to be at least 13 years old, some sites are geared for children even younger. For some parents, their kids know more about computers and the Internet than they do, however, its important to remember that kids arent old enough to understand all of the various threats that lurk online, said Fred T. Elsberry, Jr., President & CEO of the BBB Serving Metro Atlanta, Athens & Northeast Georgia. Even if theyre intimidated by technology, parents need to supervise their childs computer use in the house as well as educate their kids on how to play it safe online. BBB offers the following tips for parents who want to helpContinued on Page C4Criminal Damage to property in the second degree: (a) A person commits the offense of criminal damage to property in the second degree when he: (1) Intentionally damages any property of another person without his consent and the damage thereto exceeds $500; (2) Recklessly or intentionally by means of fire or explosives damages property of another person; or (3) With the intent to damage, starts a fire on the land of another without his consent. (b) A person convicted of criminal damage to property in the second degree will be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.Special Rules: Teenage DriversHolders of the Class D Driver's License (all drivers between 16and 18-years old) must abide by the following laws: After obtaining your Class D license, for the first six months you cannot have any passengers other than members of your immediate family in your car. After six months, until you are 18, you can have no more than 3 passengers who are not members of your immediate family in your car. You cannot drive between the hours of 12:00 Midnight and 6:00AM for any reason.REPORT CRIME TO 911 THEN CALL MT. PARAN SECURITY 404 310-7361C2More Crime News: Be Aware, Be Alert, Be VigilantSandy Springs and Johns Creek public safety functions are now dispatched from the ChatComm 911 center. The communications center opened in late 2009 and is considered state of the art. As we move from 2009 on into the New Year, we will work towards strengthening community ties and partnerships. Officers designated as community coordinators will work within the two districts to allow closer communication with the residential neighborhoods. By STEVE ROSE The Mt. Paran Community is located in the Sandy Lieutenant/Public Information Officer Springs south district. Community Affaira Unit Your district commander is Lt. Scott Jamison. scott.jamison@sandyspringsga.org As Sandy Springs Police moves towards its Your community coordinator sergeant is Sergeant Scott Levy. four-year anniversary in July, we are happy to scott.levy@sandyspringsga.org report our overall Part 1 crimes dropped 5.9% Your community coordinators are: Officer Tim Burell in 2009 compared to 2008. timothy.burell@sandyspringsga.org and Officer Elizardo Rodriguez Violent crimes reduced by 17.4 percent; Elizardo.rodriguez@sandysga.org property crime were down 12.6 percent. I urge you to utilize these new resources with community Rape assaults dropped 18 percent while aggravated concerns ranging from crime issues to flooded yards. Their goal assault fell eight percent. Robbery and theft is to solve community problems. incidents fell by 24% and 9% respectively. The organization and communications resources you have in Sandy Springs Police, as of January 1, 2010, the Mt. Paran Community are a vital link between the residents is working at full capacity with all sworn officer and the members of the Atlanta and Sandy Springs Police positions filled. In 2009 Sandy Springs PD, along with Dunwoody Departments. As we move forward into the New Year, I am Police and Johns Creek Police, formed the North Metro Swat hoping that we will continue this close communication and build Team, tapping into the resources of all three departments for timely on it. Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch and other and efficient response in all three cities. communitybased programs are always available. Also this past year, Sandy Springs Police renewed the H.E.A.T. The community affairs unit offers a variety of programs including Grant through the Governors Office of Highway Safety. The grant an 11-week citizens police academy, self defense training for supplements our traffic enforcement program targeting impaired women and a gun safety course all offered at police headquarters. and aggressive driving violators. The coordinator is Officer Larry Jacobs. Email him at Other federally assisted programs in full swing are the Safe-Streets Laurence.jacobs@sandyspringsga.org a n d h e w i l l b e program, targeting gang activity and Innocent Images, targeting happy to provide further information on these and other sexual predators including Internet predators. Both programs are in programs offered by SSPD. conjunction with metro area departments and the F.B.I. Sandy Please remember that you are the eyes and ears out there and Springs PD is also participating in the Fulton County Burglary Task any success that we enjoy is because of our partnerships with Force, started in late November of last year. you in the community so we applaud you for a successful 2009 Deputy Chief Kenneth DeSimone was selected as the departments and look forward to more success in 2010. first deputy chief of police. He came to Sandy Springs after a long career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC police.SANDY SPRINGS CRIME REPORTSellers Takes Buckhead in Blue DirectionBY VALERIE ROSE SELLERSMany of us remember James Blue direction (in the fight against crime). And, although Buckhead Sellers as the commander of Blue is new to the area, the Blue concept is not new; its fashioned Zone 2 Precinct in Buckhead, from the successful Midtown version, headed by Colonel Wayne where he led Atlantas Finest in Mock and sponsored by the Midtown Alliance. Similar to Midtown fighting and reducing crime Blue, Buckhead Blue is sponsored by the Buckhead Alliance, from 2005 until his retirement which has partnered with Accion to ensure a safer environment in February of 2009. You may in the business and residential neighborhoods of Buckhead. During my years as police commander in Buckhead, I wonder, what Sellers is doing these days? Well, he is still in gained a great deal of respect for civic and political leaders Buckhead and he is still a crime whose observations and concerns influenced actions, which, fighter. Known best for his approachable demeanor, his willingness when combined with police efforts made the entire community to address community concerns, and solve problems, Sellers has safer. I intend to combine the same concepts to make Buckhead not changed much. But, its not surprising to those who know him safer and Blue successful. best that Sellers has continued his efforts to focus on reduction of In fact, Sellers reveals, his respect and admiration for the crime and preserve the quality of safety in the community he loves neighbors dedication to their community is what influenced him and calls his own. In fact he has started Accion Security Consulting, to purchase a home and locate his business in Buckhead. Yet, LLC and launched Buckhead Blue, a specialized security patrol in Buckhead. You could say that Sellers is taking Buckhead in a Continued on Page C4 C3Keeping Kids Safe On-LineContinued from Page 2Ckeep their kids safe online: Explain the Difference Between Sharing and Oversharing While social networking is about sharing photos, thoughts and experiences, explain to your kids that they should never share personal information such as phone numbers, address, bank account numbers, passwords or their Social Security numbers. Also talk about what constitutes inappropriate photos or language and stress the fact thatwhile you may be able to delete themyou can never fully take them back. Never talk to strangers applies online too One of the first rules we teach our kids is to never talk to strangers; remind them that the rule holds true when online. Even though chatting with astranger online can seem harmless, the relationship can evolve and grow until the stranger has earned your childs trustand can then exploit it. Set strict privacy settingsSocial networking sites let users determine who they want to share information with. Talk to your child about restricting access to his or her profile to only friends or users in safe networks such as their school, clubs or church groups. Keep the channels of communication open Let your kids know that you are always ready to talk if they are ever threatened, bullied or feel uncomfortable about an experience they had online. Join them online - If you havent already, set up your own account in the same social networks. This will help you better understand what social networking is all about. You can also then Friend your child and keep an unobtrusive eye on what they are doing. Federal law requires sites collecting identifying information from children under 13 to get a parents consent first. Report concerns about data collection from children under 13 to the Childrens Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus at www.caru.org/complaint You can learn more about how to keep your kids safe online at http://www.onguardonline.gov/topics/net-cetera.aspx Parents can also learn how to keep themselves safe from ID thieves and hackers online at www.bbb.orgTHINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON'T TELL YOU1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator. 2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier. 3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste ... And taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have. 4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it. 5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway. 6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy. 7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom-and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too. 8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door-understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather. 9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.) 10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, bedside tables, the medicine cabinet. 11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms. 12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me. 13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. Find it at faketv.comEditors Note Sources Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs crimedoctor.com and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.Sellers: Motivated to Deter Crime in BuckheadContinued from Page 3CSellers is aware that like many other Atlanta communities, Buckhead is changing, especially as neighborhood charm expands to include additional services to accommodate growing and emerging lifestyles. And, with added conveniences aimed at making life easier, often the result is increased vulnerability to crime and compromise to safety. Sellers intends for small businesses like Accion, with Buckhead Blue to be a solution to combating any such change, by encouraging multi-layered strategies, opening up dialog between private security and public safety, and engaging civic leaders who want a safer environment for businesses and neighborhoods. This is what I love doing and where my focus is, and now I have more attention to devote to it, says Sellers. Sellers feels that maybe last years retirement should have been the end of all of police work, but acknowledges, instead that it was an opportunity for a new beginning. Just as when he was a law enforcement officer, Sellers value and concern for, and his commitment to, a safer community has not diminished. As I fondly reflect on a police career that began in 1986 as a paddy wagon driver that helped develop my passion for helping others, I credit the experiences and knowledge gained at Atlanta Police Department for making me a good listener and giving me a deeper understanding of community, and skills to resolve complex issues. In fact, as a private citizen Sellers seems more motivated than ever to deter crime, improve security, and heighten awareness in any way possible and he believes Blue patrols helps him accomplish that. Sellers also maintains a great commitment and respect for his former APD officers, who he calls, the real men and women in blue, with whom he says he shares an unbreakable bond. My dedication to officers is greater than ever; retirement can never change that. I still have so much pride and gratitude for the officers and the obstacles they prevail over each day, and I am grateful to maintain an ongoing professional relationship with many of them. To learn more about Accion and Buckhead Blue, contact James Sellers at info@accionsecurity.com C4Fire Station 27Not Just for Fighting FiresBy Rita Fink Somerset DriveThankfully most of us never have direct contact or need for a fireman, but did you know the Fire Department has other programs that can benefit you and your family? It late January I had the opportunity to visit our local fire station with the Voters Guild (a non-partisan educational group). We made arrangements with the station directly and offered to bring a potluck lunch for all. Need I add that the last part was well received? Our Interim Fire Chief, Joel G. Baker, was the speaker. His entire work career has been serving others. He was a Marine for 3 years and then joined the Naval Reserve as a corpsman, then went to Iraq in 2003 for 8 months. Were fortunate to have people like Chief Baker not only willing to educate us but assisting in the growth and development of the Department. All of the programs he discussed come under the purview of Atlanta Fire Rescue. There is a Citizens Fire Academy (CFA) which is the newest training program offered by Atlanta Fire Rescue. This program is designed for community leaders and others who have a genuine desire to reduce the number of lives lost and the amount of property damage in our city. This program covers departmental policies, procedures, staffing and the whys of Fire Department operations. This eight day program provides knowledge in fire prevention, rescue, communication, hazardous material ID, fire extinguisher training, basic first aid, and CPR. Citizens will be allowed to participate in practical drills, both fire-fighting and emergency medical exercises. Participants who complete this course are more conscious of their environment and more safety oriented. Citizens Fire Academy goals and objectives are: 1. To assist the participant in developing an awareness of the Fire Departments organizational structure, operational procedures and its general mission. 2. To strengthen community support for the Department. 3. To develop a commitment between community leaders, administration, and departmental staff members to decrease the loss of life and property through training and education. The next program is Atlanta Citizens Emergency Response Team (ACERT). This training prepares you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a disaster. As an ACERT member, you can respond to emergencies, participate in drills and exercises, and take additional training. Who should take ACERT training? Anyone interested in taking an active role in community awareness and preparedness: Neighborhood Associations Businesses Communities of Faith Parents Students ...Teachers and Administrators Members of Clubs and Civic Organizations Did you know that our Fire Rescue has a smoke alarm program? Dubbed ASAP for Atlanta Smoke Alarm Program, it is a free program that will provide you with a smoke alarm, check any you have or provide you with a carbon monoxide detector. In 2009 over 6000 smoke alarms were installed. It was suggested that you change your batteries twice a year coinciding with the change in time to help you remember. A surprising program was one about reducing falls in the elderly. The brochure for this program basically says it all. It has multiple educational web resources as well as specifics that you can do in all areas of your home to make it safe. Lastly, there is the Atlanta Fire Foundation. As with all foundations its purpose is to raise money. To protect life and property, the Atlanta 11Fire Rescue needs the tools, training, and equipment to provide the best emergency response. Budgetary constraints have made it increasingly difficult to secure the funding necessary to meet the public safety needs and expectations of Atlantas citizens and visitors. The Foundation provides a tax-deductible avenue for businesses and citizens to financially and materially support the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. To learn more, the following is a list of the individual programs and contact information: CFA - Citizens Fire Academy Captain Richard Chamlee 404-546-7060 rchamlee@atlantaga.gov ACERT Atlanta Citizens Emergency Response Team Battalion Chief Bernard Coxton 404-546-706 www.acert@atlantaga.gov ASAP Atlanta Smoke Alarm Program, 404-865-2727 Reducing Falls in the Elderly Community, 404-546-7000 Atlanta Fire Foundation, 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 2001 Atlanta, GA 30308 www.atlantafirefoundation.orgGreat Things are Happening in our SchoolsBy Nancy Meister Atlanta Board of EducationIt is a true pleasure to serve you on the Atlanta Board of Education. Many great things are happening in our schools and it is my hope that over the next four yearsinitiatives, reforms and a community based commitment will continue to grow. The Atlanta Public School system was recently awarded a $10M grant by the Gates Foundation to recruit and train top teachers. The foundation is the charitable foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates. This particular grant will fund APSs Effective Teacher in Every Classroom initiative, which has a stated goal of recruiting, preparing, placing and supporting effective instructors in every district classroom. The latest grant comes on the heels of $13.6M of support that the Gates Foundation has provided to Atlanta high schools in the past to implement the high school transformation initiative. As I am sure you have heard by now, APS is proposing, due to our increased capacity in the northern cluster of schools, a short term and a long term plan to relieve over capacity. These plans are being introduced simultaneously so that a seamless transition will occur for our students. The system has identified land in the district and is working to secure this property. We have received many email suggestions regarding the middle schools and high school. I encourage you to send me an email if you would like to have some input. Here are some facts about our current high school. North Atlanta High School (NAHS) currently has 1114 students enrolled. There is only one middle school (Sutton) that feeds into NAHS. There are on average 23 students in each class, 31 International Baccalaureate Diploma classes and 12 advanced placement classes. 23 sports teams, 9 Partners in Education and 31 schoolbased Student Exchange opportunities. Most impressive is that in the graduating class of 2009 there were 202 graduates, 198 of which enrolled in 102 different colleges. There were 135 Hope Scholars and a total of $18M received in scholarships. The 2009 Valedictorian is currently enrolled at Harvard University! Please feel free to contact me either by cell or email nmeister@atlanta.k12.ga.us orBoy Scout Troop 232 Illuminates its Rappelling and Climbing TowerBy RICHARD EVERETT, JR. Cave RoadThe Committee that oversaw Boy Scout Troop 232 during the service. The grand finale of the late 70s felt their Scouting program, even as outbound and demonstration had three scouts adventurous as it was, could use a new hook to prevent enrollment rappelling off the fifty-foot level decline. Boys were being bombarded with alternative activities, simultaneously, Australianinfluences and distractions. Some good. Some not. Kind of like styleupside-down, head first! The tower has an even more today. Lots of boys viewed Scouting as pale and somewhat rigid in comparison. Troop leaders knew their current and future interesting history. It has withScouts would rise to a reasonable challenge. So the concept was stood a tornado, which came born for a rappelling and climbing tower. It was constructed in roaring through the area many 1978, behind the Scout Hut at Northwest Presbyterian Church years ago within two hundred (near our recently renovated feet. It twisted and downed oak Left Sam Miller (Scoutmaster), trees more than two feet in Terry Watts (Troop Committee neighborhood fire station). Chairman), Pastor, Reverend Tim The tower was modeled after diameter. The tower survived! Boggess, Doug Cook (Church member those at Ft. Benning and Auburn Early on, an Atlanta FBI SWAT and past Scoutmaster), and David University using four, sixty-five- Team Commander, who also had Bock (Assistant Scoutmaster). foot treated pine poles sunken ten a son in the Troop, asked for feet in the ground and with bolted, permission to use the tower to train a new team. Before the key to heavy cross-beam bracing. It was the secured tower was procured, he had taken his team to the site built to withstand one hundred and found it padlocked. Not to worry, those SWAT guys just mile-per-hour winds resulting in a picked the lock. Leadership at Northwest Presbyterian Church (NWPC) and massive and well-constructed structure. Two high voltage linemen were Troop 232 dedicated the tower effective September 9, 2000, as employed to construct the tower The Doug Cook Rappelling & Climbing Tower in appreciation with the full-time help of three of Dougs many years of cheerful membership services to each Troop 232 fifty-foot rappelling Scoutmasters. It could not have NWPC and the Troop. Doug still loves to share many fond memories of his volunteer stewardship and leadership roles. He and climbing tower at Northwest been done without Presbyterian Church. remains active in both organizations today. the use of a line-truck The Troop is further indebted to Bruce Whitmer, generously lent by a former Army Ranger and Explorer Advisor, who Turner Outdoor Advertising. (Ted Turner, at the along with his son Mark, an Eagle Scout, Georgia time, had two sons active in the Troop.) R. S. Tech graduate, and Assistant Scoutmaster, have for Armstrong & Sons also donated usage of a sixtyyears headed up the tower program. They devoted five-foot high lift. It was built in less than ten significant effort to renovate the tower in 2007, days. replacing decking and safety hardware. An experienced rappeller was enlisted to begin Another recent renovation resulted in a firstan intensive, rigorous training program for the ever, comprehensive lighting grid for evening young Scout Safety Tower Officers who would usage. New high-tech equipment was also purchased run the program under the direct supervision of (adjustable helmets and harnesses, figure-8s, etc.) adult Scouters. Thus began an immensely and new perimeter benches were constructed for successful program. This was the first officially on-lookers waiting their turns. The tower will be sanctioned tower in the country by the Boy used on a regular monthly basis for evening and Scouts of America (BSA) that was situated off daytime enjoyment. BSA property. Many thanks are in order to Assistant Scoutmasters One of the Troops Assistant Scoutmasters, Photos: courtesy of Troop 232 Mark Whitmer, Fritz Neumeister, David Linder, Jonathan Simmons, is a BSA C.O.P.E. Certified Instructor. (C.O.P.E. stands for Challenging Outdoor Personal Jonathan Simmons, Richard Everett and David Bock for their efforts to complete the revitalization and lighting of the tower for Experience.) Project C.O.P.E. encompasses a series of inter-related outdoor future generations of Scouts. Boy Scout Troop 232 is Atlanta's High Adventure Scout events that challenge both at individual and group levels. It has seven objectives: Teamwork, Self-Confidence, Trust, Leadership, Troop. Sponsored by Northwest Presbyterian Church since 1964, the Troop offers an award winning Scouting program that emphasizes Communication, Decision-Making, and Problem-Solving. Mr. Simmons was certified at one of BSAs flagship venues, outdoor adventure, teamwork, and leadership. With more than 50 Woodruff Scout Reservation (during Summer Camp), which Scouts ages 11 to 18 years old and more than a dozen trained maintains its own tower program, high and low rope courses, and adult leaders, the Troop offers an active, fun-filled, year-round an incredible zip-line. Mastering the art of rappelling and climbing program. The Troop welcomes boys from all backgrounds and gives a Scout (and the instructors) a healthy dose of self- faiths. It meets Monday nights, at 7:30 P.M. For more confidence and a keen sense of accomplishment. It happens to be information, please contact Scoutmaster Sam Miller (whose father founded the Troop), or Terry Watts, Troop Committee a ton of fun, as well. Troop 232 held its first demonstration in 1978, for the Chairman, or Pastor, Reverend Timothy Boggess, or visit the congregation of Northwest Presbyterian Church (the sponsoring, Troops web site at: Troop232Atl.com Chartered Organization for the Troop) following a Sunday 12FINDING A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AFTER 63 YEARSContinued from Page 8After four years, Josefs adopted parents felt he was now old enough to see if, by some miracle, he could find family members Abe Beker, living in Toronto, Canada and born in Josvainiai, or relatives. Josef agreed and he went to Kaunas. His sister was Lithuania, was a very close friend of Moishe, Jerry, and Jeshua in living in Kaunas at the time, had married and changed her name, the Kovno ghetto and also in Dachau. The Convoys in Montreal and Josef was unable to find her or any other relatives. kept Abe informed of their correspondence with Josef in Vilnius. In the process, since Josef had come there from Czechoslovakia Abes wife, Simmie, went on the internet to a website containing and was asking questions about people, the KGB felt he could be information about Auschwitz. She keyed in the number from a spy from the West. Josef was arrested and sent to Siberia. After Josefs arm and amazingly, the name of Jeshua Konvoj from spending two years in Siberia, and after the death of Josef Stalin, Kaunas, came up! This was the final piece of the puzzle and Josef was released. He decided to not go back to Kaunas because there was no doubt that Josef, in Vilnius, was the missing brother that was where he had been arrested. Instead, he made the decision who was finally found after 63 years. to live in Vilnius. All of his Jewish upEven though further proof was not needed, DNA testing bringing, as well as his ability to speak conclusively proved that Jerry and Josef were indeed, brothers. Yiddish, had long since been blocked Arrangements were quickly made, and on April 14, 2005, Jerry, from his memory. That is why Rachel Josef, and Zelda had a family reunion in Israel. Needless to say, Kostanian knew him as a Catholic from it was a very emotional gathering but a very heart-warming one. Czechoslovakia. YAD LAYELED MUSEUM EPILOGUE While in Israel, Jerry and his wife As a result of the obituary notice in Roslyn, went to the Yad Layeled Museum. the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" newspaper, There, they received another shock; the surviving members of the family they learned what happened to Jeshua were, once again, reunited. It is amazing after he suddenly disappeared in that they have found each other after 63 Dachau. In late May, 1943 in the years but sad that they did not reunite middle of the night, 131 very young years earlier. For 27 years, Josefs sister children were taken to Auschwitz. Josef as he looks today Zelda lived in Kaunas, Josef lived in Jeshua was among them and they all Vilnius, 62 miles away and their existence was unknown to each were subjected to medical experiments by other. Under the Soviets, many roadblocks stood in the way of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. their finding one another. Thirty of the children survived and In July, 2005 I had the pleasure of meeting Josef and his wife twenty-three are living in Israel. In the and family in Vilnius. Even though Josef and I are not related, I Museum is a large plaque listing the H. Margol looking at records felt the existence of a certain type of kinship. in the archive of Nazi Dachau names of the group of 131 including A truly amazing story and I am proud to have played a small inmate records in Bad Arolsen, those who survived and those who part in it. Germany which included the died. Josefs name was among those Let this serve as a message to others never give up hope of name of Josef Konvoij. who had died in Auschwitz. finding missing family members, relatives, or friends. You have JOSEFS LIBERATION to keep trying. Even an obituary notice can bring results. In January, 1945, with the Russian army approaching, Jeshua Editors Note: The photo on page 8 is Josef after World War II, in (Josef) was among those taken on a death march toward the West Czechoslovakia, at the age of 16 or 17. by the Nazis. He was liberated by an advance unit of the American army. He does not know why but he was sent to Czechoslovakia Both of the authors, Howard Margols, parents were born in Lithuania and with a group of Catholic children. A Catholic couple took a liking Howard has researched his family back to 1747. Howard is a past to Josef and wanted to adopt him. Being 14 years old, and thinking president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical he had lost all of his family, Josef was receptive to having parents. Societies (IAJGS). In 2008, he received the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement th He agreed to be adopted on one condition he insisted on keeping Award. He is presently organizing his 17 annual group trip to Lithuania this June. Mr. Margol and his wife, Esther, have also been invited to a his name. It was the only thing he had left in the world and he two-day, all expense paid, observance at the Holocaust Museum, would not change his name. The couple agreed and, for four honoring camp liberators in Washington, DC in April. years, Josef was their adopted son. THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLEEASY WAY TO TRACK A TRAVELING LOVED ONERather than going to airline websites, just type the name of the airline and flight number into the Google search box. Click on the FlightAware site and youll see departure and arrival information, weather and traffic conditions, delays, and a map showing the flights current location.13Elephant Seals:Through the Lens of Aaron FinkElephant seals come ashore and form colonies for only a few months of each year to give birth, breed, and molt. They spend the rest of the year swimming thousands of miles alone at great depths. More info: http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/elephant-seals.html orhttp://www.beachcalifornia.com/piedras.htmlBaby elephant seal getting instructionsThe rookeryFor the Love and Care of Feral Cats:With the Advent of SpringBy Barbara White Andover DriveWith the advent of spring, also arrives the spring breeding season for our furry feral friends. When I returned to my Andover Drive home in spring of 2004 after living several years in Asia, the significant number of cats roamHMK King Tut: one of two feral cats to ing through my yard surprised adopt the author on Andover Drive me. By 2006, it became evident that many were feral. A lovely calico brought her four adorable, assorted-mix kittens to reside under the thick azaleas in my secluded back yard. As I have no pets to interfere with her parenting, this was, no doubt, a safe haven. I left cat food for them, and the kittens safely grew under care of the hardest-working mother cat I have ever seen. The mother and two kitties disappeared; two remained. As they matured, I realized I might have a yard full of kittens in the spring if I didnt take action. I called Fulton County Animal Control for advice. I was told that cats are free to roam and that they did not pick up feral cats. Web research uncovered numerous pet rescue and lowcost spay/neuter services for feral cats, and the Trap-NeuterReturn program. Most of the providers charged about $60 for spay and $40 for neuter, including rabies vaccination. Much higher fees applied for a female cat in heat or pregnant. These fees were less than local for-profit animal clinics that I called. I also learned that Georgia state laws prohibit the removal of feral cats to other locations, which is certainly an understandable safeguard against proliferation of cat populations Exploratory phone calls narrowed my search to Lifeline Spay and Neuter Clinic, a low cost, high quality, high volume spay and neuter clinic in Avondale. Low cost services are available for all cats and dogs, but the fee for feral cats is $15, regardless of gender. Their philosophy is to promote non-lethal population control without costing a well-meaning citizen more for the sex differential. For Fulton County residents who trapped and brought in the cats, the $15 fee would be covered by Fulton County. Rabies vaccination is only $5 for feral cats. I chose this clinic because it was open Monday through Saturday and because the fees were so reasonable that I was able to provide not only the neuter and rabies services, but all the other vaccinationsContinued on Page 1714ETHICS LAWS DRIVEN BY SCANDALContinued from Page 7is the role of the lobbyist. Theres nothing inherently corrupt about lobbying. I myself am a lobbyist. Like the other lobbyists, I engage on behalf of my issues and seek to gain support by appealing to their sense of what is best for Georgians. Ideas, not money should carry the day. I hardly ever report any money spent on gifts to legislators. However, in some circles, thats totally the name of the game. There is no limit on what a registered lobbyist gives an office holder in the way of meals, trips, tickets to events, or any other type of gift. The three top leaders in the Georgia House each received around fifty thousand dollars in these gifts since they came to power in 2005. We have some protection, in that the gifts must be reported, and if things get too outrageous, it becomes a news story, and the office holder is embarrassed, but seldom to the point of endangering their re-election. Many states have limits on lobbyist gifts, often allowing for a reasonable meal or the like, but prohibiting the big ticket items. Georgia should have reasonable limits on what lobbyists can give, and also determine ways in which to disclose gifts by non-lobbyists who have a stake in legislation. Another ethics reform item before the General Assembly this year comes in the form of a proposal to grant an independent body jurisdiction to investigate conflict-of-interest charges. That will be discussed, but it will be a tough sell. Legislators are notoriously suspicious of anybody outside their circle having such power over them. All of these reforms seem reasonable, and they have enjoyed good bi-partisan support among the rank-and-file in the General Assembly for many years. But it takes more than common sense to overcome the inertia and reluctance on the part of leaders who know theyve got a good thing going. Momentum for reform needs a tipping point. In late November, 2009, that opportunity came. A ten minute television interview with the ex-wife of Georgia House Speaker Glen Richardson accomplished what years of embarrassing news stories could not. Revelations of bizarre behavior by the Speaker and confirmation of an affair with an Atlanta Gas Light lobbyist while he was supporting a bill favoring the utility were enough to force the Speakers resignation, and send a message that it was time to revisit ethics reform. So 2010 will not go by without some overdue changes. Just how much remains to be seen. We are cautiously optimistic. The press has focused on demanding change in laws affecting lobbyists and their ability to influence policy through personal and social relationships. Its important to deal with that, but that may be secondary to the huge amounts of money flowing through the campaign system. Former Speaker Richardson is by no means the only office holder who could be used to show the following pattern, but because of his extraordinary power, his ability to use money to extend influence is truly astounding. Richardson collected around $765 thousand in campaign contributions from the beginning of 2007 through the end of 2009. During that time, he never had an opponent to run against. Only around $12 thousand of the total came from his district in Paulding County. The remainder came from a variety of sources inside and outside of Georgia for whom access to power wasclearly the driving factor in contributing. Some contributions came in bundles. Members of the family of Alpharetta businessman Rod Aycox contributed more than double the entire amount Richardson raised from his home district. (23,000 dollars). Another bundle came from members of the Donald Leebern family (Georgia Crown Distributors and the Georgia Board of Regents). They gave a total of $13,800 to Richardsons campaign. Smaller bundled contributions made up more of the total, but over $200,000 came from various Political Action Committees. Candidates love to move money from account to account. Richardson received over $8,000 from other candidates, including fellow legislators Paul Battles, Charlice Byrd, Tom Dickson, Bobby Reese, David Ralston, Mark Hamilton, Larry ONeal, and Jim Cole. Why they chose to give him their money when he already had so much is unknown. Lots of money went out of Richardsons campaign to other candidates. His largest single gift was $6,100 to Nathan Deals campaign for governor, but he gave over $80,000 to help fund other peoples campaigns in 2008 and 2009. Richardson made three contributions to the Georgia Republican Party totaling $185,000 from August to December of 2008. His final coup de grce was a donation of $219,915 to his own Political Action Committee on December 31, 2009, his last day in office. That has been challenged because Richardson didnt register the PAC properly, but is otherwise allowed, because of the vagueness of the statute. If all of this appalls you, then you need to ask your State Representative and your State Senator to get behind significant ethics reform in 2010, and join the fight to create a more ethical climate under the gold dome. This is the year when it can happen, but they need to hear it from the people, not just the press and Common Cause. The key piece of legislation is House Bill 920. Make that call today.Editors note: Common Cause Georgia, is a non-partisan good government advocacy group. You can follow their activity and find out how you can get involved by going to their website: commoncause.org/gaNotable NeighborNow that the City of Atlanta elections are over and the results are all in (some of which did not please some of our citizens whereas some of the results did please others) I want to say how much we are all so grateful to Brenda Smith. She worked tirelessly promoting, first and foremost, all of the issues that are so important to our neighborhood. She then promoted those candidates who would do the best job in taking on all of these issues. A day or a week did not pass that we did not receive an e-mail advising us of the issues in the election. She made it her business to keep all of us informed and she did it with such objectivity which gave us all time to think and be better informed as we went to the ballot box. As I have mentioned before if our Association had a program in which we selected annually A Person of the Year then there is no doubt that honor would definitely go to Brenda Smith. Brenda, on behalf of many our members who have spoken to me, I want to thank you for all that you did for us during the election which in the end made us all better informed citizens. We can also take great pride in the work that you did in working with Yolanda Adrean, who won by a very large margin and was appointed Chairperson of the very important Financeexecutive Committee. (Not bad for a first time councilperson)! Brenda, Thank you thank you and thank you. Albert D. Maslia, Conway Valley 15Fulton County Commission Adopts 2010 BudgetsBy LYNNE RILEY Fulton County Commissioner - District 3Once again, my colleagues on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners have engaged in deficit spending practices by adopting un-balanced budgets at our meeting on January 20th. Not only that, but the proposals presented to us at this meeting had been revised without notice or communication to the taxpayers we represent. My colleagues also added spending items during the meeting: the net result is that $27 million more is to be spent than will be collected in 2010. This action further erodes our reserve funds, and provides for little to no capital investment in our crumbling buildings and infrastructure. I can not and will not support deficit spending. Nor will I support the lack of full public disclosure of proposals presented to the Commission for consideration. A copy of the final 2010 General Fund Budget is posted at www.LynneRiley.com. Citizens in un-incorporated South Fulton will no longer be provided with enhanced ambulance services due to last minute changes in the budget. This action may result in increased response times to emergencies. This amendment to the South Fulton budget should have been fully disclosed to residents well before action was taken. Funds from other county budgets were transferred to the South Fulton Special Services District to provide for service delivery in 2010. Accordingly, I voted against approval of deficit spending in this fund. I remain skeptical of the revenue projections for 2010, just as I questioned revenue projections last year. It turned out that revenues came in over $60 million less than projected in 2009,and I fear similar results in 2010. The 2009 budget overpromised and under-delivered services to the citizens of Fulton County. The adoption of the 2010 budgets may be a case of history repeating itself. The value of residential, office and commercial property remains unstable. We can expect another large volume of property value appeals to be filed this year. When the 2010 property tax digest is presented in a few months, the Board of Commissioners may be faced with an un-pleasant decision: make drastic spending cuts or raise taxes to provide funds for promised service delivery. I will provide updated information on revenue and spending trends and projections during the next months. I urge the taxpayers to stay engaged in this process, as it will directly affect your service delivery, or your wallet.DONT BE OVER-TAXED!Continued from Page 4Fulton County Board of Tax AssessorsNewsBy LYNNE RILEY Fulton County Commissioner - District 3Fulton County homeowners will receive a $25,000 homestead exemption that is applied to the value of their property in the calculation of property tax year 2010, and by 2011 the basic homestead exemption will increase to $30,000. For those homeowners currently receiving a homestead exemption, no further action is required to get the increased exemption. You may need to act if there was an ownership change or if you become eligible for an additional exemption. First time Fulton County homeowners or those applying for an additional exemption have until April 1, 2010 to file. In addition to the April 1st deadline to apply for a homestead exemption, property owners have until April 1st to file a Taxpayer Return of Value (TPA) with the Board of Assessors. If you feel that your home or business real estate is appraised too high in value you may submit a TPA to indicate what you believe is the correct value. To learn more about all of Fulton County property tax exemptions, the Taxpayer Return of Value, and homestead office locations, please visit the Fulton County Board of Assessors website http://www.fultonassessor.org. 16website. Information about Fulton County property tax bills, i n c l u d i n g his torica l city, county and school taxes, millage rates and exemptions can be found at the website of the Fulton County Tax Commissioner Www.fultoncountytaxes.org There are a variety of property tax exemptions available to qualifying homeowners, and these exemptions vary from city to city, and from county to county. Homestead exemptions, a circuit breaker credit, assessment freezes, senior exemptions and low income exemptions are examples of the many tax relief opportunities. Please contact your county Board of Assessors, or visit their website, and take advantage of any and all property exemptions available to you. In most cases, you must apply for the exemption, and deadlines must be met to receive the exemption in the current tax year. My office stands ready to assist Fulton County property owners with questions on property values and property taxation. Please call us at 404-612-8213we are here to help.Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. -Oscar WildeWhen a Feral Cat Adopts You Association Membership & Security Patrol:NEVER TOO LATE TO JOINAnd Receive a 2010 DirectoryAnnual membership and security patrol statements were mailed in January along with self-addressed return envelopes. At press time, there were 482 paid members who will receive the 2010 membership directory in the spring. If you did not receive a statement, please contact membership Vice President, Carla Sklenka: You can also print the form from our website at www.mpnca.org Once you sign in, click the membership tab on the left. Mail your check and form to MPNCA, P. O. Box 724153, Atlanta, GA 31139. The cost for both membership and the security patrol is $250. For reasons we dont understand, some neighbors continue to write checks for $300. Our treasurer sends a $50 refund to neighbors who overpay. The cost for membership without the security patrol is $50. The cost for membership with the security patrol is $250. If you would like more information on the Mt. Paran Security Patrol or to meet the security officers, you can contact them by email: smpnca.@yahoo.com or phone: 404-310-7361. Whether you serve on the Board of Directors, a committee or just want to support the neighborhood with your dues, we hope you will join our MPNCA family of neighbors!Continued from Page 14and all kinds of treatments for a nominal fee. I returned the cats to my yard as part of this program. I did not expect them to stay, especially after I had frightened them with the requisite trapping and recovery caging procedures over a period of several days. Surprise, they adopted me. One loves to be indoors to v is it, th e o th er prefers outdoors with occasional overnights inside. They have become quite sociable with me and are easily handled on their return visits to the veterinarians. They still avoid other people, including my neighbors who lovingly feed them while I am out of town. Kool Breeze also adopted the author, named When their annual because she comes and goes like the breeze shots were due, I took them to the local animal clinic which caringly welcomed these feral cats. They received full examinations, tests for diseases and shots. I walked out with very healthy feline reports and a $525 invoice. While this sum was understandable to care for natures kitties, it was another surprise for one who has never had pets. In 2008, WellPet Humane (associated with Project CatSnip, see below) opened in Chamblee. They enthusiastically welcome feral cats and encourage your bringing them in for treatment by offering reduced fees for feral cats. I estimated about a 40% reduction from the fees I had paid previously. They also provide reduced fees for seniors. I took both cats there for their shots in 2009 and again, later, for bite wound treatments. They do not perform major surgery or services for catastrophic events. The lower fees were much appreciated. Conversations with neighbors have uncovered similar stories to mine. A couple of Northside Drive neighbors experienced multiple litters in 2007 and 2008. They, too, used Lifeline, which provided trapper assistance to trap the litters. That is a big aide, as the trapping experience was a difficult one for me to do emotionally. They trapped nine cats over a period of time. Another stray is being taken in this month. About five of the original nine remain in their yards and gladly accept food and water. Two adopted their caretakers and like to be petted and cuddled. The others have remained aloof but appreciative. Other neighbors on Northside Close, East Conway and Conway Glen have adopted strays as household pets or trapped kitties for no-kill neuter programs. There are a lot more details to the Trap-Neuter-Return programs and the many pet rescue resources. A search on the web will provide more information than I can provide in this article, but I am happy to talk with anyone who may be presented with unexpected feral kitties this spring. Below is contact information for several services that I know: Lifeline Spay and Neuter Clinic: www.Atlantapets.org; 404292-8800 ext 24. It also provides Kitty Motel, a cage-free halfway house for homeless cats with additional rehabilitation for those needing extra care to become adoptable. Project CatSnip a mobile low cost spay & neuter service for cats. See www.atlantaanimalalliance.com 770-455-7077 WellPetHumane veterinary clinic. 770-455-1011; info@wellpethumane.com Good Mews: www.goodmews.org 770-499-2287. It provides cage-free haven for homeless, abused or abandoned cats until placing them in permanent homes. For more feral cat photos see back page.PLEASE TELL US ABOUT:YOUR NEW NEIGHBORSWe need your help to keep up with new neighbors so tell us whenever you sell your house or see new neighbors moving in. Our hospitality committee has developed a welcome package for new residents that includes helpful information and some surprises. Please contact Ann OConnell with the information and she will personally deliver a Mt. Paran-Northside Association welcome bag:STOP THE PRESSES THIS JUST IN: CRIME ALERTIf you are driving at night and eggs are thrown at your windshield, do not operate the wiper or spray any water because eggs mixed with water become milky and block your vision up to 92.5% so you are forced to stop at the roadside and become a victim of robbers. This is a new technique used by thieves. Please inform your friends and relatives. This also happens on interstates near exits.17Return Service RequestedMT. PARAN-NORTHSIDE CITIZENS ASSOCIATION, INC. P.O. BOX 724153 ATLANTA, GEORGIA 31139 OFFICERS President/Marci Vincent Vice President/Communications/Jo Ann Rau Vice President/Membership/Carla Sklenka Secretary/Marilyn Midyette Treasurer/Cameron Adair BOARD OF DIRECTORS Sandra Adair, London Andes, Pat Daly, John Feeley, Peter Fleming, Rita Fink, Debra Fowler, Al Goodgame, John Gordon, Lynn Irvin, Paul Muldawer, Ann OConnell EX-OFFICIO (PAST PRESIDENTS) Yolanda Adrean, Brenda Smith, Lynne Moscow, Sheldon Schlegman, Robert Hurst (d), Edward Floyd, John R. Martin (d), Robert Miller, H. Clay Moore, Jr., J. Martin Turbidy Editors: Lynne Moscow and Jo Ann Rau Design & Typeset: Jo Ann Rau WEB SITEFirst Class Mail U.S. Postage PAID Marietta, GA Permit No. 7www.mpnca.orgAssociation Newsletter and Crime Report InsideE-Mail is Your Window To The NeighborhoodOver the years your Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association has discovered the value of getting important information to the neighborhood in the fastest, most efficient manner. Email is timely, cost effective, and enables our members to effectively affect outcomes on issues which impact our community. Your email address is never broadcast to others on our list and will remain confidential. If you did not include your email address on the annual membership statem has changedplease email it to And, be sure to include this address in your on-line address book so that youll be certain to receive these important emails when theyre sent.Feral Cat BeautiesPhotos: Barbara WhiteKitty adopted a council members family on Conway GlenTiger, Bandit and Prissy feeding at their Northside Dr. homeThe Citizens Review OnlineThis edition of our neighborhood newsletter is available online...in color! Tell your friends about our website: www.mpnca.org On The Home Page, click on the Citizens Reviews, for this issue and archived editions. From there, let the website be your window to the world!Gracie with Prissy at home on Northside Dr.See related articlePage 00