DeKalb County

Dan Raby / WABE

People who tried to create the city of LaVista Hills in DeKalb County lost the vote in November, but some of them have a new idea: join an existing city.

Ben Shackleford wants to see the city of Chamblee annex parts of his neighborhood, which was in the LaVista Hills map.

The new AMI transmitter assembly will be applied to new water meters that are equipped to call in their own readings.
Dekalb County Department of Watershed Management

Over the past few years, DeKalb County residents have complained that their water bills were too high and sometimes inaccurate. The county is now installing new technology on its water meters to fix the problem.

Last fall, a Brookhaven homeowners’ association got a water bill for close to $800,000. Dekalb County later reissued the bill for the correct amount of nine dollars.

Courtesy of LifeLine Animal Project at DCAS

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has approved a contract to build a new animal shelter. The next step: choosing to use existing funds or borrowing some additional money to pay for the facility.

"I'm expecting it to come back before the board on January 26 and if approved on that day it just requires the time it takes to get to the CEO for him to endorse it," said Antwyn Brown, the chief of staff for the DeKalb County Board.

Animal advocates have spent the past decade fighting for a new shelter.  They have taken a wait-and-see attitude about this announcement.

The Federal Trade Commission says debt collectors operating out of DeKalb County may owe $4 million in damages to consumers nationwide.

"Consumers were being told they were going to go to prison, they were going to go be arrested, that they'd be embarrassed at work by a sheriff showing up to arrest them, which is absolutely not true," said attorney Robin Rock, who filed the case for the FTC.

Starting Saturday, the new silver Breeze cards will cost two dollars. MARTA has proposed a revised fare policy that may open the door to a fare increase.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Beginning Saturday, Breeze Cards coming out of MARTA machines will be silver and not blue. And at $2, they will cost double the price. Something that may also jump in price is the cost of a ride.

MARTA held the final public meeting required to update its fare policy Thursday night at the Dekalb County government building in downtown Decatur. When this new revised fare policy is adopted, MARTA's board of directors may elect to increase fares.

Police say a Tuesday morning standoff at a motel outside Atlanta has ended with the suspect stabbing himself but no one else injured.

Authorities had surrounded the motel as the man refused to leave a room, prompting concerns about the safety of several children inside the building.

According to the DeKalb County Police Department's Twitter account, the suspect was being brought to a hospital and everyone else involved is safe.

There has been no word yet on what sparked the situation.




Looking Forward to 2016: DeKalb County

Dec 30, 2015
Daniel Mayer / Wikimedia Commons

The WABE news staff is looking ahead to the big stories and issues of 2016.

Closer Look producer Candace Wheeler says she is following DeKalb County government. Specifically, she is keeping an eye on "the investigation that happened, and the allegations of mismanagement of funds.”

When it comes to DeKalb, newscast editor Lisa George says there are three big letters to watch: “CEO. What happens not only with interim CEO Lee May, but that very form of [county] government.”

The chief of staff and top adviser of the DeKalb CEO is resigning after news reports that he steered a county contract to a former official who later pleaded guilty to an unrelated bribery charge.

Media outlets report Edmond Richardson, who has been on paid medical leave for nearly three months, wrote in his resignation letter to CEO Lee May that he will step down Jan. 3.

Proposed property tax rates for Dekalb County residents who live in city limits and those who don't live inside a city.
DeKalb County

Residents of DeKalb County may pay lower property tax rates next year if they live in one of the county's 11 cities. 

DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said it will soon be 12 cities when DeKalb County's newest city, Tucker, forms its own government.

"This is a phenomenon with cityhood that's been going on now four years," Brennan said. "In order to equalize the different tax funds and with each new city, that changes the formula, you'll see an increase one year and a decrease the second year."

Updated at 11:20 a.m.

Fire officials say about a dozen people have been injured after a crash that involved an Emory University bus, an ambulance and another vehicle in DeKalb County.

Authorities say that the wreck happened around 6 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Candler Road and that the bus crashed into a building.

DeKalb County Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Garrett Smith says at least one injury is considered critical.

Smith says 10 people were taken to hospitals.

Mika Järvinen /

Monday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Dan Raby / WABE

Supporters of incorporating the city of LaVista Hills say they won't be challenging election results from earlier this month in court and are turning over evidence to the Georgia Secretary of State's office.

Attorney Christopher Chestnut, Hill's mother Carolyn Baylor Giummo, and Hill's uncle Pierre Baylor
Molly Samuel / WABE

Two weeks after a civil grand jury recommended further investigation into the death of Anthony Hill, who was killed by a DeKalb County police officer in March, his parents are suing the officer, the police department, the county and others.   

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia’s Secretary of State has now called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in to help probe all of Tuesday's election results in DeKalb County.

Even before the polls closed Tuesday, there were complaints about some people not getting the proper ballots for the LaVista Hills cityhood referendum. Thursday, the Secretary of State’s Office said it was investigating that vote.

But today, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said there are more complaints, and they do not all involve the LaVista Hills vote.

The DeKalb County Commission voted in August to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would have involved a $12 million investment by the county.
Atlanta United FC

A planned $30 million soccer training complex in DeKalb County for Atlanta’s new professional team will not happen.

That is according to the DeKalb County government, which issued a news release late Friday saying the deal had broken down in the due diligence process.

The statement quoted DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May: “…After reviewing the reports with Atlanta United FC, we decided together that the numbers going into it have changed so much that proceeding would not be a responsible decision for either party, and certainly not the DeKalb taxpayers.”

Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office

After winning a referendum to incorporate earlier this week, residents in Tucker now face the prospect of creating metro Atlanta’s newest city.

Officials with the cityhood movement, though, say they've got some time to figure out the finer details.  

Voters Tuesday approved the measure for Tucker to incorporate by nearly 3-to-1, or 3,937 votes to 1,389 votes. Population estimates for the planned city stand at around 30,000. 

Dan Raby / WABE

The DeKalb County community of Tucker won the right to incorporate as a city in Tuesday’s elections. But an effort to create the City of LaVista Hills on Tucker's western border failed by a narrow margin: less than 1 percent of the vote.

That could mean a recount.

"We realize that people have a right ask for it, and we don’t mind doing it,” says DeKalb County Elections Director Maxine Daniels. “We just have to have a legal basis to do it. It’s close, and so if I were involved with that, I would want a recount.”

Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Office

DeKalb County voters in the proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker came to opposite decisions Tuesday night, with one cityhood plan narrowly failing while the other passed handily.

Voters in the LaVista Hills area rejected the plans to create the new city within unincorporated DeKalb County by just 136 votes.

Allen Venet, who is chairman of Lavista Hills Yes, called the loss "disappointing,” and said it was the best opportunity the area had to improve local government.

A teenager who was shot by a DeKalb police officer in 2013 is suing the county for damages. 

Warren Redden, 16 years old at the time, had skipped school and was found hiding in a shed by DeKalb officers who were responding to a robbery call in Decatur.  

Redden said he raised his hands when police ordered him to but was then shot in the arm by an officer.

The lawsuit said the DeKalb officers violated protocol by using excessive force against Redden, but WABE legal analyst Page Pate said that will make arguing the county's fault nearly impossible. 

Brenna Beech / WABE

Many people who say they’re from Atlanta don’t actually live in the city of Atlanta. They’re what you might call … OTP … "outside the perimeter" of I-285 versus ITP ... "inside the perimeter." 

As part of our ongoing series on finding Atlanta’s identity, we explored how people outside of the perimeter relate to the city.

By The Numbers

Elly Yu / WABE


DeKalb County residents turned out to a town hall meeting in Brookhaven Tuesday night to discuss a recent report into countywide government corruption. 

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester, hosted the meeting of about 50 residents. She told the residents she recently introduced a measure that could prevent the abuse of county funds. 

"It should never be the case that these expenditures, that were illegal, questionable should have ever gotten out," she said.

Courtesy Office of Gov. Nathan Deal

Last week, special investigators released a scathing report on corruption in DeKalb County. In it, investigators Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde called on DeKalb CEO Lee May to resign.

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed May to the position more than two years ago when former CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted on corruption charges. Tuesday, Deal said he doesn’t regret tapping May for the post.

A proposal to build a soccer stadium in DeKalb County was approved by a majority of commissioners last month, but it faced fierce opposition at a meeting Monday night.

DeKalb Commissioners Nancy Jester, Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader hosted what they called a “community conversation” about DeKalb County's stadium deal with the new professional soccer team Atlanta United FC. All three voted against the plan, but were outnumbered by the other four commissioners.

About 70 residents attended the meeting. Some were upset the deal was approved without public input.

Rosalie, a dog up for adoption at Dekalb County Animal Services
Dekalb County Animal Services

If the Atlanta United Football Club builds its practice facilities in DeKalb County, one of the buildings set for demolition will be the county animal shelter.

There are plans for a new shelter near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, but at least one county commissioner says it's unlikely it will be ready in time.

Commissioner Jeff Rader says the county will need to spend a lot more money than the $7 million budgeted for the new animal shelter.

Mayor: Dunwoody Attracting High-Tech, White-Collar Companies

Sep 23, 2015
Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis joins A Closer Look to talk about the city of Dunwoody and new developments in the area.
Brenna Beech / WABE

Dunwoody, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta, is located in DeKalb County where Interstate 400 intersects with Interstate 285.

More than 46,000 people call Dunwoody home, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The city boasts a range of amenities, including shopping, entertainment, hotels, office space, the nearby DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and more. 

The city's wide range of offerings is what's drawing high-tech and white-collar companies to Dunwoody, according to Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis.

A rose and flag rest on the 9/11 memorial during DeKalb County's 9/11 commemoration.
Molly Samuel / WABE

On the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, DeKalb County commemorated the day with a color guard and moment of silence at its police and fire headquarters. 

No one spoke at Friday's ceremony, which was held in front of a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the attacks -- when planes were hijacked and hit the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May called a Wednesday press conference to "set the record straight" on the county's handling of tax dollars to entice a professional soccer club. He also, for the first time, publicly addressed a scathing, preliminary report that l
Jim Burress / WABE


Details about government corruption in DeKalb County could be revealed next week in a long-awaited report, according to Burke Brennan, a county spokesperson.

Earlier this month, former Attorney General Mike Bowers and investigator Richard Hyde, sent a scathing letter to the county, giving a sneak preview into their investigation.

Dekalb County Interim CEO Lee May and Mike Bowers at the podium
Lisa George / WABE

A former DeKalb County judge was indicted; then the charges were suddenly dropped.

The deadline for a report on DeKalb County government corruption by two special investigators has come and gone.

Colleges are back in session, and there’s already been two reports of sexual assaults at Kennesaw State University and an allegation of racial harassment by fraternity members at Georgia Tech.

WABE legal analyst Page Pate joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer to discuss these issues and take a more in-depth look at the cases on “Closer Look.”

Tenth grade students take a chemistry test while in class at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ill. Illinois high school juniors will be tested on writing skills for the first time in years next spring during state standardized tests.
Seth Perlman / AP Photo, File

The DeKalb County School District announced Tuesday it will change the dates of two mandatory standardized tests, after the original dates conflicted with Jewish and Muslim Holidays.

The district says it will move the Iowa Test of Basic Skills dates to earlier in September, while the Cognitive Abilities Test will move to early October.

DeKalb Schools had originally slated CogAT and ITBS testing from Sept. 8-11 and Sept. 14-25, respectively. Those dates conflicted with the Jewish Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

Police Killings Not All On Police, Says DeKalb’s Top Cop

Aug 20, 2015
Protesters gather in front of the Ferguson Police Department before the announcement of the grand jury decision about whether to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown
Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

Protesters and authorities clashed in St. Louis Wednesday night after an African-American man was killed by police earlier in the day. Officers went to a home to serve a warrant when a suspect, identified as Mansur Ball-Bey, pulled a gun on officers and was shot and killed, according to police.

Relations between some predominantly minority communities and police in several cities around the country have been contentious and fractured for some time, and escalated even more after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., just over a year ago.