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    An East Point councilwoman is thousands of dollars behind in her utility bills to the city, but city officials have kept her power on even while hundreds of residents are threatened with losing theirs. Sharon Shropshire, who lives with her parents in the south Fulton city of 35,000, did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but she’s been a vocal critic of East Point’s utility rates for years. In 2011, when the council proposed increasing the rate by $28 per month for water and $7 per month for electricity, then-citizen Shropshire made her opinions clear. “Who do you think is going to pay all this? You will not be sitting in these seats in November,” she told the council. Shropshire ran and was elected to the council in 2013. Since that time the amount owed at her address has skyrocketed and months often pass without even a minimal payment, records show. An Open Records Act request with the city turned up a list of more than 1,000 city residences scheduled to have their utilities disconnected for not paying their water or electric power bills. But the councilwoman’s address doesn’t appear on that list, despite a past-due balance of nearly $9,000 in December. “It needs to be brought to the public’s attention, not just because I’m running against her,” said resident Christopher Weed, who is running against Shropshire for her council seat. Weed obtained city utility billing records for Shropshire’s home address through an open records request and found the account had a running past-due balance in the thousands. What happened when Weed put this information up on his campaign website? Read this week’s AJC Watchdog column here to find out.
  • DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann, who was arrested for allegedly exposing himself in Piedmont Park, is suspending himself for one week. “I cannot ask my employees to abide by a code of conduct unless I am willing to subject myself to it as well,” Mann wrote in a Tuesday email to DeKalb Sheriff’s Office employees. “In fact, I must be held to an even higher standard.” Mann wrote in the email that he imposed on himself the maximum penalty for the infraction of engaging in conduct that “has a tendency to destroy public respect ... or destroy confidence in the operations of the county service.” The normal penalty for this infraction is written counseling. His suspension begins Saturday and lasts until June 4. Mann wrote he will donate the equivalent of one week’s pay to charities to be determined in the near future. Mann said he’s not admitting guilt to the city of Atlanta ordinance violations of indecency and obstruction.  An incident report said a police officer saw Mann exposing himself in Piedmont Park on May 6, and then Mann ran away when the officer identified himself and turned his flashlight on Mann. “The mere fact of placing myself in a position to be arrested is sufficient reason for this self-imposed discipline,” Mann wrote. “I cannot, in good faith, fail to take responsibility for the negative and unwanted criticism brought to this great agency and the county, and I apologize to each of you. You deserve a leader who takes responsibility for his actions.” Besides the charges, Mann is also being investigated by a panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Based on the panel’s findings, the governor could suspend him for up to 90 days, order an additional investigation by the GBI and ask the DeKalb District Attorney to initiate proceedings to remove the sheriff from office.  Mann and his attorney are asking a judge to stop the investigation, saying Mann isn’t accused of any misconduct in his official capacity as sheriff. Exclusive to subscribers: Read the full story. MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC's Mark Niesse keeps you updated on the latest happenings in DeKalb County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories: Arrested DeKalb sheriff apologizes, says he plans to stay on the job City of Stonecrest launched with promises to improve the area  How DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis spent $755K on his defense  Never miss a minute of what's happening in DeKalb politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.
  • If Draco, the prized police K-9 dog sued for biting a suspect, lost his case, what would he pay in damages? Would the court garnish his dog treats and biscuits? Would he have to relinquish his favorite bone? The notion of a dog having to pay damages in an excessive-use-of-force case was one of the reasons the federal appeals court in Atlanta recently determined a dog can’t be sued “since a dog is not a person.”  To read the full story about this highly unusual lawsuit, please go to myajc.com.
  • Governor Nathan Deal signed a revised executive order Tuesday that calls for an investigation of DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann, who was arrested for allegedly exposing himself in a park and running from police. Deal’s new order addresses concerns raised by Mann’s attorney, who said last week the alleged city ordinance violations by Mann don’t amount to criminal charges. Deal had cited criminal charges as the justification for appointing an investigative committee. The updated executive order broadens the investigative committee’s scope to include other purposes allowed by state law. Besides criminal charges, the committee will also look into alleged misconduct in office or alleged incapacity to perform the functions of office. The committee must report its findings within 30 days and, based on its findings, Mann could be suspended for up to 90 days. Deal appointed Attorney General Chris Carr, Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown and Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese to the committee. Mann apologized Friday for bringing an “unfavorable light” on the county, and he previously characterized his arrest as a misunderstanding. He’s accused of public indecency and obstruction violations as a result of his arrest at Piedmont Park on May 6. MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC's Mark Niesse keeps you updated on the latest happenings in DeKalb County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories: Arrested DeKalb sheriff apologizes, says he plans to stay on the job City of Stonecrest launched with promises to improve the area  How DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis spent $755K on his defense  Never miss a minute of what's happening in DeKalb politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.
  • One of the nearly dozen candidates being considered at the moment to become next director of the FBI has Georgia ties.  Larry Thompson is a current University of Georgia professor. His resume also includes time as U.S. deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, as well as a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta.   “Very well respected, life-long Republican, African-American, very well known in D.C., and was discussed more than once by Presidents in both parties for the position of both Attorney General, and at least once to head the FBI previously,” says WSB Radio political analyst Bill Crane. “He’s getting a little up there in years, so given this 10-year appointment, that may be a knock against him. But he’s very well regarded politically, in the legal community, and in the law enforcement community.” The 71-year-old Thompson, according to the Associated Press, is a candidate in a group of others that include several lawmakers, attorneys, and law enforcement officials. 
  • With I-85 in Atlanta ready to reopen, Gwinnett County will discontinue the direct-to-MARTA-stop bus routes it initiated after the interstate collapse. The transit system will be back to normal operations on Monday and will no longer have routes taking riders to the Doraville and Chamblee MARTA stations, officials said. PHOTOS: I-85 northbound reopens 6 weeks after fire, collapse MORE: Gwinnett chair wants a vote on more transit; are the people ready? “The additional routes were only intended for the short-term,” Karen Winger, Gwinnett County’s Transit Division director, said in a news release. “With the reopening of I-85, those direct routes are discontinued.” The rebuilt northbound lanes of I-85 opened about 7 p.m. Friday, about six weeks after a significant portion of the interstate collapsed near Piedmont Road. The southbound lanes are expected to open by Sunday. 
  • DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann, speaking through his lawyer, apologized to his constituents on Friday and said he plans to continue serve in his job. “I am still your sheriff and hope to remain your sheriff,” Mann said in a statement read by his attorney Noah Pines. Mann stood behind his lawyer but did not comment. It was his first public appearance since his arrest last weekend after allegedly exposing himself in Piedmont Park and then running from an Atlanta police officer. Mann was flanked by former DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown and other high-ranking sheriffs officials.  In the statement, Mann apologized to the citizens of DeKalb County for the “unfavorable light” his arrest had cast on the county. But Pines said he had counseled Mann not to speak on the particulars of the case. “I trust the judicial process and I trust the presumption of innocence,” Pines said. Earlier in the day, Pines told Gov. Nathan Deal he was wrong to launch an investigation into the sheriff’s arrest for allegedly exposing himself and running from police. Pines wrote a letter to Deal on Friday asking him to reconsider his executive order that appointed a panel to investigate and consider suspending the sheriff. Though Mann is charged with indecency and obstruction violations, Pines wrote that those aren’t “criminal charges” that would authorize the governor to appoint an investigative committee. “Sheriff Mann is not facing ‘criminal charges’ as defined by Georgia law; instead Sheriff Mann was only accused of violating city of Atlanta ordinances ... which are not criminal charges,” Pines wrote. READ the letter from Mann’s lawyer to Gov. Deal State law allows the governor to investigate sheriffs as a result of criminal charges, alleged misconduct in office or alleged incapacity to perform the functions of his office.  Deal cited criminal charges as the justification for starting the investigation Thursday. Deal’s committee must report its findings within 30 days, and then Mann could be suspended for up to 90 days. Please read the full story on MyAJC.com.
  • A backlog of tens of thousands of voter registration applications is facing local elections officials ahead of next month’s runoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The need to process them comes after a federal judge last week ordered registration reopened until May 21 ahead of the June 20 election. And it has left the three counties in the 6th District scrambling. To see just how many applications there are and how election officials expect to get the work done, click here to read our premium story only on myAJC.com.
  • Georgia police regulators have opened an investigation into DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann’s arrest over the weekend on charges he exposed himself and ran from authorities. Mann, who has called the allegations a misunderstanding, plans to continue doing his job, said his attorney, Noah Pines. But Mann didn’t report to his office at the DeKalb Jail on Monday after his arrest. “Sheriff Mann will continue to run the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office at the level of excellence it is known for and in keeping with what the citizens of DeKalb County expect and deserve,” Pines wrote in an email. “He asks that you respect that this is a personal matter, which should have no bearing on the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and its staff.” Mann was re-elected in November and can’t easily be removed from office. But Georgia law allows the governor to convene a panel of two sheriffs and the state attorney general to investigate the allegations and recommend whether he should be suspended. In addition, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council can suspend or revoke an officer’s certification if it finds he engaged in unprofessional conduct. Certification from the council is required for sheriffs to hold office. The council has opened an investigation of Mann but will wait to make a decision on the allegations until the criminal charges are resolved, said spokesman Ryan Powell. Mann faces two misdemeanors, for indecency and obstruction after he ran from an Atlanta police officer who confronted him Saturday night. Mann, an attorney, was first elected sheriff in a special election in 2014.  He was previously the chief deputy under Sheriff Thomas Brown since 2001.  Before Brown, every sheriff elected to a full term in DeKalb since 1965 had faced criminal charges.  MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC's Mark Niesse keeps you updated on the latest happenings in DeKalb County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories: DeKalb ethics case heading to Ga. Supreme Court How DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis spent $755K on his defense Are Georgia film tax credits worth their high cost? Never miss a minute of what's happening in DeKalb politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.
  • Now Democrat Jon Ossoff doesn’t have to worry about another awkward question about when he’s going to propose to his girlfriend. The 6th District candidate popped the question to his longtime girlfriend Alisha Kramer on Friday night. His supporters showered her with congrulatory wishes at a campaign stop on Saturday morning. She and Ossoff had been dating for 12 years, and she’s played a prominent role in his campaign. She’s a third-year medical student at Emory University, and Ossoff cites her need to be close to school when he’s pressed about why he doesn’t live in the suburban Atlanta district. He and his bride-to-be have been planning the next step for a while, but the pressure has ratcheted up of late. In on CNN interview, after Ossoff said he planned to move to the district once Kramer graduates, anchor Alisyn Camerota asked a blunt question. “So when are you going to marry her?” “Well, I don’t want to give anything away,” Ossoff said with a smile. “But I think I can reasonably say that’s more of a personal question.” Kramer grew up in Atlanta and went to Georgetown University with Ossoff. She’ll soon apply to OB-GYN residency programs. The former congressional aide faces Republican Karen Handel in a nationally-watched June 20 runoff to represent the district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb.

News

  • Great Britain lowered its security threat level from “critical” to “severe” on Saturday, Prime Minister Theresa May said. >> Read more trending news Earlier, police hunting a suspected network behind Salman Abedi, the bomber who killed 22 people on Monday night during a concert in Manchester, said they had made two further arrests overnight as they closed in on other possible cell members, Reuters reported.  As a result, soldiers who have been assisting police would be withdrawn from Britain's streets at midnight on Monday. 'A significant amount of police activity has taken place over the last 24 hours and there are now 11 suspects in custody,' May said. May cautioned, however, that the lesser threat is still a dangerous one. 'The public should be clear about what this means. A threat level of severe means an attack is highly likely,” she said. “The country should remain vigilant.' The threat assessment has returned to the level it was at prior to the Manchester attack. In Manchester, events planned around the spring bank holiday will go ahead with additional security, including a significant number of armed officers, police said. British officers do not usually carry guns, CNN reported. Events include the Manchester Games, the Great Manchester Run, and a stadium show by bands including The Courteeners, all of which are likely to attract big crowds. This weekend also marks the start of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar, CNN reported.    
  • A Cobb County mother was jailed after her 5-year-old son said she beat him with a belt and a broom, hit him in the head and stomped on his stomach. Nakeisha Lashay Logan of Mableton faces first-degree child cruelty, battery and family violence charges in connection with an alleged May 17 attack. The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile victim, said during a forensic interview that he tried to hide under the bed to avoid the “terrible” beating but Logan beat him with a broom and threw a box of toys at him, a magistrate court warrant states. RELATED: ‘I’m going to rape you’ man allegedly tells mother in front of kid Mom, friend jailed after child suffers broken bones, electrical burns Babysitter charged after 5-month-old breaks 4 bones After the box of toys hit the child in the shoulder, Logan grabbed his head and smashed it repeatedly on the floor, according to the warrant.  The warrant adds that Logan stomped on the child's stomach, making him feel nauseous.  The warrant doesn’t state who called police, but by the time an officer arrived the boy’s bleeding cheek had scabbed. His face was still red and swollen, Officer Sydney Tschappat wrote. Police took the boy to a nearby hospital and arrested Logan. She was being held in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. In other news:
  • Police say a metro Atlanta couple locked the woman's 86-year-old mother in her room and used furniture to block the door closed. Katie Son and her husband are both charged with cruelty to an elderly person. Officers say 86-year-old Bong Le managed to escape out a front window. She was found a couple of blocks away, wrapped in a blanket and sitting under a tree. Investigators say she smelled like urine and feces. Her daughter and son-in-law, who are now out on bond, told Channel 2's Tony Thomas that they were just trying to protect her from herself. 'Did you lock your mom up?' Thomas asked. 'No. No sir,' Son replied. Gwinnett police say they found tables, chairs and other items stacked high against the door of the downstairs bedroom in the home. 'It looked quite unusual,' Cpl. Michele Pihera said. But Son said it was all to keep her mother safe. She said when she and her husband went to work each day at a Hall County nail salon, her mother couldn't be trusted alone in the house. 'They told our officers that the reason they had stacked up the furniture was to prevent the mother from going into the kitchen to access the stove or access any kitchen utensils,' Pihera said. TRENDING STORIES: Police search for teens accused of setting off fireworks inside grocery store Watch your step! Snakebites on the rise World falling in love with Georgia father's letter to Ariana Grande Deputies still have questions. 'It's very possible they were trying to prevent her from getting into the food or any kind of items to eat,' Pihera said. She says the state of the room was disturbing. 'They found human feces and what looked like human urine that looked like it had been smeared into the carpet or never even cleaned up,' she said. She said that, combined with the furniture, led to the arrests. 'You combine the lack of access to food and water and the living conditions and that's what led our detectives to take out warrants for their arrests,' Pihera said. Neighbors didn't want to talk about what happened, but said they recognized Le as the woman who didn't really have a memory and would get lost easily. She's now in the hospital. Her daughter and son-in-law have been ordered not to go near her.
  • Toni Rosenberg has spent the past week chatting non-stop with her half-sister, Florence Serino, 82. After all, they have decades worth of memories to catch up on. The two met for the first time May 16 at a crowded airport gate in Fort Lauderdale. Rosenberg, a Boca Raton resident who was given away as a newborn in a secretive “black market” adoption, tracked down Serino just last year. “We both have big mouths,” Serino, who lives in Irvine, California, said with a laugh. The two have spent the past week shopping, eating and sharing memories, stories and photos of two families that, despite living on opposite sides of the country, are inextricably connected. Rosenberg even learned that she had biological cousins living just miles from her in Boca Raton, she said. Serino introduced them. “It’s crazy to think I had family right there,” said Rosenberg, the only child of her adoptive parents. >> Read more trending news The sisters have spent hours looking at old family photos, including ones of the pair’s biological mother Ilene Gallagher, which Serino brought with her from California. “If you saw my mother walking down the street, you’d say immediately, ‘She must be related to Toni,’ ” Rosenberg said of her resemblance to Gallagher. The union has brought immeasurable joy to Rosenberg and her family and friends, Rosenberg said. But a sadness still lingers. Serino plans to fly back to California on Tuesday. “All this time has gone by and we could’ve shared children and grandchildren,” Rosenberg said. “We could’ve had more years ahead of us.” The sisters aren’t sure if they’ll meet again in person. A 2,200-mile flight is a financial and health strain on most, let alone on two elderly retirees. “It’s kind of hard to think far ahead,” Rosenberg said, adding that they’re strategically packing half-a-century’s worth of conversations into a two-week visit. “How much time does God give us?”Read more about the sister's journeys to meet one another here.
  • The Hall County Sheriff's Office says they are investigating the discovery of a body floating in Lake Lanier just south of Don Carter State Park. Deputies say they body has likely been in the water for more than a day. The victim is that of a white man, possibly in his 30s. Authorities are working to ID the man. They said there is no obvious signs of trauma. We have a crew headed to the scene and will have the latest on this developing story on WSBTV.com and on Channel 2 Action News at 6:00.
  • Police say the drowning a 3-year-old in a swimming pool Saturday afternoon is likely a 'tragic accident.' Emergency responders were called out around 1 p.m. to a home along Waterford Drive in Cartersville where a child had been found unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing in the family's pool. Bartow County EMS says 3-year old child drowned at this home's private pool in Cartersville. pic.twitter.com/D4Amic1MzH-- Chris Jose (@ChrisJoseWSB) May 27, 2017 Family members were doing CPR on the little girl when emergency responders arrived at the home. They took over from there. TRENDING STORIES: Witness: Officer fatally shoots man breaking up fight at Sweet 16 party Georgia soldier killed in overseas crash Child killed, another injured in crash The child was taken to Cartersville Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. The Cartersville Police Department said the investigation is ongoing.