A bell tolls
Ashes to ashes Lenten season is upon us FAITH 7
Senior aids earthquake victims STANDOUT STUDENT 18
FEB. 6 — FEB. 19, 2015 • VOL. 9 — NO. 3
Go play on Senior Day
CATCHING UP 3
Under pressure, county restores library hours BY JOE EARLE
Sometimes, public protest pays off. Last year, Fulton County’s commissioners cut $5 million from the county’s library budget to save money. The move forced the library system to lay off staff members Read commission and cut back on chairman’s commentary the hours of opon libraries on page 6. eration of the library’s branches. Library fans publicly objected. “The voters told us this was a high priority,” said new District 3 Commissioner Lee May, who represents Buckhead and south Sandy Springs. “Everywhere I went, people asked about the libraries.” On Jan. 21, the commissioners approved a $629 million budget that restores money the library system needed to return the existing branches to 2014 pre-reduction hours of operation and to staff new branches. County officials combined the library, arts and cultural and
PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
Left, Naya Brooks, dribbling basketball, and Taylor Lucas, members of the North Atlanta High School “Warriors” girls’ varsity basketball team, took on the Riverwood International Charter High School “Raiders” on Jan. 31. Top, London Smith, 3, gets in some ball handling before the game. Above, the “Warriors,” playing their last game of the season, lost 59-24.
SEE UNDER PRESSURE, PAGE 4
Infrastructure bond ‘to fix broken stuff’ BY JOE EARLE
Debra Wathen sees the need for the infrastructure repairs and improvements Atlanta city officials propose to pay for through a $250 million bond. “I’m ecstatic about it,” she said after a Feb. 3 public meeting to discuss the bond proposal. “I think it is wonderful for the city to catch up with something they’ve left behind. If Atlanta wants to be a great city, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” Wathen was among about 50 residents who attended the meeting at the Atlanta Speech School, the first of the most recent round of discussions about the bonds that city officials have held in Buckhead. Another public meeting is scheduled for the Callaway Auditorium at the Shepherd Spinal Center on Feb. 17.
Voters are scheduled to go to the polls March 17 to vote on whether the city should issue $250 million in bonds to start work on a backlog of infrastructure repairs and improvements such as replacing street lights, rebuilding bridges and synchronizing traffic lights. A part of the bond funds is targeted at repairing city buildings. “The intent of the bond is to fix broken stuff,” said Richard Mendoza, city public works commissioner. City officials estimate the total cost of all repairs needed at nearly $1 billion, and say they expect the bonds on the ballot March 17 to be just a start. “This is just the first $250 million of what we consider will be a series of bonds,” Mendoza said. SEE CITY, PAGE 5
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Fifth-grader Perry LeBlanc was a winner in the “Playing with Shadows on PATH400” art contest. Read more on page 2.
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