I hope each of you had a wonderful summer and spent time with family and friends. This time of year is always very exciting. We transition from one season to the next, our young people settle into a new school year, and we prepare for the many holidays and observations that lie ahead. The same holds true for county government. We have much to accomplish in the latter part of 2012 as we commemorate important events in our nation's history and begin finalizing our plans for a fruitful and productive 2013.
On Sept. 11 at 8:45 a.m., DeKalb County will hold a wreath laying ceremony at the Public Safety headquarters in Tucker in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks. Last year, we installed a remnant of steel from the World Trade Center Towers as a permanent reminder of the courage and strength of our nation. Join us as we remember those who were lost in the attacks on our country and their loved ones, those who fought protecting our country's honor in the aftermath of the tragedy, and those who continue to fight to this day protecting the security and freedom we each hold dear.
As we embrace the change that lies ahead, I would also like to share with you one very important change in my administration. Dr. Jabari Simama, who has served as my Chief of Staff since 2009, was recently appointed to lead Georgia Piedmont Technical College as its new president. This is an awesome opportunity for Dr. Simama and his presence on my team will surely be missed. We wish him well and are confident he will take Georgia Piedmont to new heights. We also welcome Hakim Hilliard, an attorney with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLC, as the new Chief of Staff, effective Oct. 1. He brings to the county a depth of knowledge of the complexities of governmental affairs and keen insight and experience with key stakeholder groups that I am confident will serve the county well.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Simama in his new role and welcoming Hakim Hilliard to our team.
- CEO Burrell Ellis
Foreclosure Workshop Brings Homeowners Relief
The DeKalb County Foreclosure Prevention and Intervention Workshop held on Aug. 18 at Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church was a great success, with more than 130 homeowners receiving assistance.
Homeowners met one-on-one with their mortgage companies or a HUD-approved housing counseling agency to learn about resources available to prevent foreclosure. Participating servicers/lenders included Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, GMAC, and Ocwen. HomeSafe Georgia also attended to offer mortgage payment assistance to qualified homeowners. Non-profit participants included The D & E Group, Help the People, The Impact Group, Green Forest Community Development Corporation, No Limits Community Development Corporation, and RRC.
Workshop sponsors included DeKalb County Government, the Stone Mountain/Lithonia Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The D & E Group, Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, and the Council for Community Enrichment, Inc.
Recycling Efforts Net 26 Million Pounds of Materials
Just how green is DeKalb County? With approximately 26 million pounds of recyclable materials diverted from the landfill last year, residents have pitched in to make it the greenest urban county in America.
We were green long before it became the popular thing to do. We started collecting and recycling newspaper in 1974, and have continuously expanded our efforts to provide citizens the comprehensive program we have today.
DeKalb County's commitment to sustainability is clearly evident through the provision of recycling services to the public and the business sector. Commercial businesses and schools can recycle both mixed paper and commingled recyclables for just $1.25 per cubic yard, with an average 38 percent savings on solid waste disposal costs.
The Subscription Curbside Residential Recycling Program currently boasts more than 30,000 households receiving weekly pickups. Residents can subscribe to the curbside recycling program and receive an 18-gallon bin and 100 bags for recycling at a minimal cost.
All DeKalb stakeholders are encouraged to join the county in meeting organizational goals while preserving the economic and environmental integrity of DeKalb County.
The Sanitation Division can assist in answering "where do recyclables go" questions by facilitating the scheduling of free tours of the Sanitation Division's Seminole Road Landfill, LEED certified Central Transfer Station and the SP Recycling Co. Facility in Forest Park.
For more recycling information, please contact the DeKalb County Sanitation Division at (404) 294-2900 or email email@example.com for specifics on pricing and service scheduling.
DeKalb County Hosts Small Business Summit
The Office of Economic Development and the Development Authority of DeKalb County hosted a Small Business Summit in August at Agnes Scott College a part of the county's ongoing effort to promote the growth and development of small businesses in DeKalb County.
The 2012 DeKalb County Small Business Summit, Innovative Strategies for Business Growth, provided information to help businesses gain access to capital, identify public and private resources, and network with other companies.
Small business owners heard from professionals on topics, including "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Entrepreneurship," "Retooling for Small Medium Enterprises," and "Innovative and Emerging Business Strategies." Keynote speakers for the summit were R.L. Brown, CEO of R.L. Brown & Associates and Georgia Trends' Most Respected CEO of 2012, and Justin Sacks of Hub Atlanta.
Healthy Pets DeKalb Event Offered Free Care
DeKalb County Animal Services joined LifeLine Animal Project in hosting "Healthy Pets DeKalb" at Shoal Creek Park II on Aug. 11. Free rabies vaccinations were provided, along with free distemper/parvo shots (for dogs) and feline distemper shots (for cats). Licensed veterinarians were also on site to administer vaccines to pets.
LifeLine Animal Project, a non-profit leader in low-cost spay and neuter services in the state of Georgia, routinely aids pets and pet owners through its Community LifeLine program. This active outreach initiative was designed to help pets in the metro Atlanta area stay healthy and help dog and cat owners by providing services they might not otherwise be able to afford.
LifeLine Animal Project and Fix Georgia Pets copresented the event. Fix Georgia Pets (www.fixgeorgiapets.org) was the primary funder and made this event possible in DeKalb County.
Representatives from DeKalb County Animal Services, Ahimsa House, Frogs To Dogs, and the Best Friends Feral Freedom (cat) program were also on hand. In addition, Pet Buddies Food Pantry provided complimentary pet food from their food bank to area dog and cat owners.
More than 200 vouchers for free spay/neuter surgeries were made available for pet owners whose pets have not yet been fixed. These surgeries will be performed at one of LifeLine's Spay & Neuter Clinics (Avondale Estates or College Park). Free transport for pets to and from the clinics was also available on a limited basis, and free educational materials on pet health, pet overpopulation and dog bite prevention were provided to pet owners at the event.
CEO Ellis Applauds Dr. Simama Appointment
Senior staff member named president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College
The Georgia State Board of Technical and Adult Education recently approved Dr. Jabari Simama as president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Dr. Simama served as my Chief of Staff and provided guidance and leadership on numerous issues including legislative and political matters and stimulus funding opportunities, while also serving as a liaison with public and private sectors fostering partnerships and the development of initiatives that support and create opportunities for the community.
Notwithstanding his contribution to my administration since July 2009, I knew education was his passion. Dr. Simama devoted nearly 25 years to educating students and managing higher education institutions and will make significant contributions to Georgia Piedmont as its president. As a valued member of my team, Dr. Simama's contribution to my administration will be deeply missed.
Prior to joining DeKalb County, Dr. Simama most recently worked as Chief Community and Economic Development Officer for Benedict College in Columbia, SC. His experience includes serving as Executive Director for the City of Atlanta's Office of Community Technology, where he managed the mayor's initiatives to address the education and workforce related digital divide, and as the City of Atlanta's Director of Communications. He also served as an appointed member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority (MAOGA), the state authority that oversaw the 1996 Olympic Games committee, providing oversight of the organizing committee's $2 billion budget.
Dr. Simama holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Bridgeport, a master's degree from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), and a doctoral degree from Emory University.
DeKalb's Election Director Earns Top Certification
Maxine Daniels, Director for DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections, was designated as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA), the highest professional achievement for election officials. The ceremonies were conducted by the Election Center, also known as the National Association of Election Officials, on Friday, Aug. 17 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA.
Maxine regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the highest degree of professionalism and efficiency in the operation of DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections. I applaud and congratulate her on her achievement.
The CERA designation is achieved only through a multi-year course of study conducted by The Election Center's Professional Education Program and completion of 12 core courses taught by the Master of Public Administration faculty at Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama). The intent of the program is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration and promote and preserve public trust in the democratic process.
Maxine, a graduate of Spelman College, has been a resident of DeKalb County for more than 25 years, and was hired in the Voter Registration and Elections Department in 2001.