The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on February 26, 1995 · 32
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 32

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Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 26, 1995
Page:
32
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Dl'Stinday, February 26, 1995 -- LOCAL NEWS The Atlanta Journal The Atlanta Constitution Law& Order Cpurt officials, others defend Fulton judge Attorneys for Fulton County State Court'Judge Dorothy Vaughn called a series of lawyers and court employees Saturday to testify that the jurist is fair, professional and polite. TJie Judicial Qualification Commission is considering allegations that Vaughn is sometimes intemperate and rude, has made unfounded accusations against court employees, has ignored requests to set bond for people convicted of misdemeanors in violation of state law, has rushed some defendants to trial and has had some people arrested illegally. i. Several lawyers said Saturday there was nothing unusual about how Vaughn has,conducted court business and they never saw any of the abuses detailed in the pqmplaint brought by lawyers, cpurt employees and former defendants peeking to have her removed from pffice and prohibited from running again for judicial office. . .J'She was courteous. She was professional. She was stern," said Columbia lawyer John Anderson Harp, who tried a personal injury case before Vaughn last March. POLICE INMATE'S DEATH PROBED: The Fult'ofi County Sheriffs Department is investigating the Saturday morning death' of a 21-year-old inmate. Ronald Freeman was found dead in his jail bed al t:10 a.m. He was last seen alive at breakfast two hours earlier, said Fulton County Sheriff Jacquelyn Barrett. An autopsy did not reveal the cause of death, so investigators are awaiting re-sufts'of a toxicology test. "What I am confident of is he did not die of trauma," said Gerald Gowitt, deputy chief medical examiner for Fulton County. ;He was not killed in the jail." Freeman, of Atlanta, had been hrthe jail since January, awaiting a probation violation hearing, Barrett said. Woman shot and killed: Atlanta police are looking for the live-in boyfriend of a young Vietnamese woman who was shot and killed at her Hollywood Road apartment in northwest Atlanta Saturday afternoon.J'Neighbors in the apartment complex who heard the noise of the gun came outside, wondering what happened," said an Atlanta police officer. The neighbors said the boyfriend told them "it was nothing, then got in his car and drove away," the officer said. The 22-year-old victim was found in a bedroom of the apartment, police said. "She suffered a gunshot wbtihd from what we believe was a handgun and died at the scene," the officer said. The shooting occurred at 3:20 p.m. TIED-UP MAN RESCUED: A Palmetto man found tied to a tree near Camp Creek Parkway in southwest Atlanta Saturday morning told police he had been left there Thursday afternoon by two robbers. The 39-year-old man, whose name was not released, was rescued about 7 a.m. after a passing bus driver heard his screams and notified police, said Detective D. Belt. The man said he was held up by two men at a gas station on Stewart Avenue. They forced him to drive around for about an hour before binding him with tape to the tree about 100 yards into the woods, Belt said. The man said the robbers took his wallet and his two-door, red Nissan Sentra. "He managed to get the tape off his mouth Saturday and started hollering for help," Belt said. The man was in good condition at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for exposure. OFFICERS ON LEAVE: Valdosta Police Chief Charlie Spray and three other top-level officers have been put on administrative leave as part of an investigation of how the department handled a double murder in March 1994. Valdosta Mayor James H. Rainwater also is asking the state attorney general's office to review the case. Patrol Officer Maurice Cassotta Jr., 36, found his former girlfriend and their son lying in a bathtub. Other officers decided the deaths were a murder-suicide and cleaned up the tub, according to recent testimony. Two days later, autopsy reports showed both mother and child were murdered. Cassotta was later charged in the deaths, and a jury found him not guilty last week. The other officers put on leave are Assistant Police Chief David Whitfield, Maj. Remer Croft and Detective Carl Smith. FIREFIGHTERS INJURED: Four local firefighters were slightly injured Friday night when the floor of a burning second-story apartment collapsed under them. An Atlanta firefighter and a Fulton County firefighter were treated for minor injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital and released following the 10:45 p.m. fire at the Westwood Glen apartments on Fairburn Road, said Lt. J. J. Anderson. Two other Fulton Coun-. ty firefighters were treated at the scene, he said. "Part of the floor gave way and they fell down to the first floor," Anderson said. There were no other injuries in the blaze, which was extinguished by midnight. , From staff reports and news services Skandalakis plan angers gays Ignorance said to be behind proposed ban on athletes with HIV By Seth Coleman STAFF WRITER Calling it "political grandstanding" and "inflammatory politicking," the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association on Saturday vehemently denounced a proposal by Fulton County Commission Chairman Mitch Skandalakis to ban HIV-infected amateur athletes from participating in sporting events in Fulton County including the 1996 Olympics. s. In a prepared statement released by GLMA president Dr. Bob Cabaj and the group's board of directors which is holding its quarterly meeting in Atlanta the organization said Skandalakis' proposal "is based on ignorance and fear and not sound medical judg- Won't take chances: Mitch Skandalakis, Fulton County Commission chairman, wants to ban HIV-infected amateurs from sporting events in the county. ment," and that "mandatory HIV testing benefits no one, but reflects bigotry ; and homophobic bias." "You would think that he would have learned something from all the Cobb County fallout," said GLMA board member Dr. Stosh Ostrow, referring to a controversial resolution by the Cobb County Commission that the "gay lifestyle" is contrary to family values. The action set off a deluge of criticism. "There is absolutely no case of transmission of the virus during an athletic event, and medical experts as ; well as both the Centers for Disease Control and the International Olym pic Committee say there is no need for mandatory testing," Ostrow said. ; But Skandalakis was not backing down Saturday. He said the fact that gold-medal diver Greg Louganis recently admitted he was concerned about the possibility of transmitting the virus when he cut his head on a springboard in the 1988 Olympics is reason enough to discuss changing the IOC's policy which does not require AIDS testing or disclosure for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. "Whether or not the chances of transmitting the disease during an athletic event are low is not the issue. If one athlete contracts it, that's one too many," Skandalakis said. "As the chief executive of this county, I think the county has to look at this on a responsible level." Skandalakis asked the county .law department to see if Fulton County had any authority to pass such a law., tie said he expects to hear back from the department this week. ' . , 6,000 go ape for Kudzoo's first birthday bask By Holly Crenshaw STAFF WRITER Like a typical 1 -year-old, Kudzoo spent Saturday clinging to her mother, picking at her food and teasing her elders. But all of her antics were utterly thrilling to about 6,000 Zoo Atlanta guests who came to sing "Happy Birthday," eat birthday cake and celebrate the adorable baby gorilla's first year. Throughout the warm, sunny day, hordes of camera-toting people swarmed around the observation deck to catch a glimpse of celebrity simian Willie B.'s only offspring, whose actual birthday was Feb. 8. "Look, there she is!" said Susan Fowler, as her friend Judy Levine aimed her camera at the 15-pound, bouncing baby girl. The women, both NationsBank employees, were there with their first-grade daughters Katie Fowler, 7, and Sarah Levine, 6, who offered simple explanations of why they had come to the party. "It's pretty out, and I love Kudzoo," said Sarah. "And we want to have some of Kudzoo's cake," added Katie. While other gorillas nonchalantly sunned themselves on the hillside, Kudzoo spent most of the afternoon playing with a stick near her mother, Choomba. As zoo workers doled out slices of 'J 4 jfTV I wr KEVIN KEISTER Sped! Simian celebration: Birthday gorilla Kudzoo plays on a log Saturday at Zoo Atlanta while her mom, Choomba, walks nearby. "When children arrive at the zoo, there are always two animals they know by name Willie B. and Kudzoo," said Eaton. "And because she's so playful and cute and energetic, kids can really identify with her." "People don't outgrow their love of animals," she added. "And we need the next generation of children to be committed to the survival of wild animals." birthday cake and 900 cupcakes, the gift stand did a brisk business in Kudzoo and Willie B. T-shirts, cups, pens and pencils, and other souvenirs. Gail Eaton, Zoo Atlanta's senior vice president for marketing, said Kudzoo's natural star quality plus the reflected fame of her father, Willie B. have made her an overwhelming crowd-pleaser. W . 1 Levetan could lose DeKalb GEO job IrJembers of neighborhood groups who have beep working since last summer to change De Kalb County's chief executive officer form of government and thereby demote DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan have stjrrejl some legislators to act Sfen. Jim Tysinger (R-At-lanta) has introduced a bill to transfer key powers from the CEO'to DeKalb's seven-member County Commission. If nnsspri. it would have to be an- proved by DeKalb voters in 1996. But Levetan waiits the issue to go to a study committee first, a'nji it appears she may get her way. ., Rf p. Doug Teper (D-Decatur) is drafting a bjfiyUo create the study committee. "I think there are some legitimate concerns," Teper said. "We donjt need to rush to judgment, but we need to hear what residents are saying." Levetan Levetan said, "You don't go ahead and change a system that has been working for 10 years, and change it on a whim, because of a few adversarial people that are not happy with things." She is the second CEO under a system that former CEO Manuel Maloof dominated for nearly a decade. . DeKalb's is the only CEO-type county government in Georgia. The DeKalb County Civic Coalition, an organization of 35 neighborhood groups from north DeKalb, is pushing for a county manager form of government that would make the CEO a commission chairman with the power to veto measures and break ties. They say the current system vests so much power in the CEO that commissioners can be thwarted in their efforts to respond to constituents' concerns. DeKalb voters approved the CEO system in 1982 to replace a traditional commission and chairman. Lucy Soto J&fttasy 5 hits it rich with Georgia's gamblers By now, TV viewers across the state are familiar with the Fantasy S, a group of rough-riding cowboys featured in a series of Georgia Lottery' commercials. -'''The promotions for the state's newest lottery gkrhe'have paid off. 'ff 4 Since the game started in the fall, Fantasy 5 , has averaged $3 million a week in sales. "That's a, good bit more than we projected," said lottery spokesman Chuck Reece. .tWJth two drawings a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, Fantasy 5 is a cross between the daily Cash, 3 drawings that pay $500 to winners and the weekly six-number Lotto drawings for multi-nillian-dollar jackpots. .i;Fntasy 5 players select five numbers from 1 to 35, .or they can let the lottery computer pick the numbers for them. The odds of matching all Ave numbers are 1 in 324,632, and prizes are determined by the total amount bet and the number of winners. Winners who match all Ave numbers average about $100,000. The biggest prize so far was the $494,352 won last month by Sidney Williams of Augusta. Williams says he has been playing Fantasy 5 occasionally since the game began, usually picking the same numbers. He had won small prizes a few times for matching three of Ave numbers. Unlike Lotto jackpot winners, who get their money in 20 annual installments, Fantasy 5 winners are paid in one lump sum. Charles Wakton News Update appears on Sundays. If you have an idea for an item, call Paul Kaplan at 526-5342 or write News Update, Box 4689, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Ca. 30302. Wounded teen athlete fighting back . if - ' ' f , 3 f - 1 JONATHAN NEWTON Staff LaTonya Wiggins, who was shot last year, cheers her Marietta High School basketball team. She has recovered some use of her legs and can stand and cheer without her wheelchair. A bullet cut short LaTonya Wiggins' athletic career, but her college career is right on track. The Marietta High School senior was a cheerleader, track star and member of the volleyball and basketball teams. She was hoping for an athletic scholarship to college last fall ' ' when she was shot in the spine. Her mother's boyfriend, Lee Otis Freeman, 45, was charged with aggravated assault after the Nov. 5 shooting. ' Wiggins, 18, was paralyzed from the waist down but has since recovered some use of her legs. She attends physical therapy sessions . three times a week at the Shepherd Spinal Center, and she walks intermittently without braces or crutches. Her injury kept her out of school fnr mnrfi than twn months hut shf returned last month. From her wheelchair, she cheered at.,. Marietta High's final home basketball game..;1 "It didn't feel right to be sitting there," she says. "I guess I'm used to standing up and yelling and acting crazy." Now, she's recovered enough to stand up , and cheer. , Meanwhile, the community is cheering her determination through an outpouring of generosity. Marietta High Principal Tom Wilson said a college fund set up for Wiggins has collected $6,500. Donations can be sent to Marietta High School, 121 Winn St. N.W., Marietta, Ga. 30064. The Sugar Creek Women's Golf Assocatioii will hold a benefit golf tournament for Wiggins on April 29 at DeKalb's Sugar Creek Golf and Tennis Club. Information: 241-7671. f Wiggins plans to enter Kennesaw State College in the fall and later transfer to Florida State University, where she hopes to earn a degree in marine biology. - But Arst, she has a goal in mind for her high school graduation. "I want to get my diploma ' without my braces. Just walk up there nor-' ' mally." b v Diani Loupe I

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