The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on May 12, 2005 · JI1
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · JI1

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 12, 2005
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ZI0512-A-JI@1 -Composite Proof 05/11/2005 0:07 0:00 IN BUSINESS In the market for a great job Felicia Barnes-Beasley’s job is the envy of many ashopaholic. J3 INSIDE Unemployment rate still leads Clayton County has the area’s highest jobless rate. J5 RZI0512JI1 FZI0512JI1 Thu. Zone I 1JI 1JI R R R R *TEI12JI001CY* *TEI12JI001CY* *TEI12JI001MA* *TEI12JI001MA* *TEI12JI001YE* *TEI12JI001YE* *TEI12JI001KB* *TEI12JI001KB* Blue Red Yellow Black Blue Red Yellow Black I Big hearts fill home Photos by JOHNNY CRAWFORD / Staff John Murphy ties son Nicholas’ shoelaces while daughter Kristina plays with his hair. About $30,000 has been donated to help Murphy and his wife, who have 18 adopted kids with special needs, renovate their cramped home. Donations slow, steady to family of 24 By PETER SCOTT Awalk-in refrigerator awaits John and Jeanette Murphy at the Polar King refrigeration company in Indiana. AClayton County company wants to fix the Murphys’ 20-by-40-foot swimming pool. The Claymates, the Atlanta area fan club of “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, have given the family a year’s worth of school supplies. This is some of the help offered to the Murphys, aLake City couple with a packed-to-the- seams house populated by 24 people. About $30,000 has been donated nationwide to help the Murphys renovate their 10-room, 6,000-square-foot house. But the whole job will cost about $300,000. Most of the occupants are the Murphys’ 18 adopted children with special needs. The oldest is 35, the youngest 2. Plus, two of the Murphys’ biological children still live at home — Joshua, 20, and Bethany, 17. The family gives new meaning to the phrase “cramped quarters.” Life is often hectic. John Murphy recently sidestepped one of six bicycles to reach his two-car garage. But no car is IF YOU WANT TO HELP Send any donations to the Keenan’s Kids Foundation at and designate it for the Murphys. The Murphys may be contacted at ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Please see MURPHYS, J4 John Murphy examines the gap in the siding over the garage door of his home. Renovations to the Murphys’ 10- room, 6,000-square-foot house will cost $300,000. Henry weighs housing project By ERIC STIRGUS Henry County commissioners are scheduled to vote next month on plans for a major residential development near an increasingly bustling stretch of Jonesboro Road. The question for some is, can the area handle the additional traffic? Agroup of developers wants to build 620 homes on 495 undeveloped acres near Jonesboro and Dutchtown roads. The developers want the land rezoned from residential agricultural to single- family residence, which would allow more homes to be built on the property. The vote was scheduled for May 3, but it was postponed because county workers needed more time to alert citizens about the hearing. Commissioners are now scheduled to vote on the project June 7. The project has the potential to be big. The developers say it will likely take more than a decade to complete. It would connect with Crystal Lake, a 500-home development and 18-hole professional golf course under construction by the same group of developers. The home prices in Crystal Lake range from $375,000 to $2 million. The least expensive prices in the proposed development would be about $250,000. David Black, the project’s lead developer, has compared it to Eagle’s Landing, the 4,000-home, pro golf course community that is still a work in progress more than 15 years after the first phases were completed. “Our development is of that quality and maybe even a step above that quality,” Black told the county’s planning commission during a _________________________________________________________________________________________ Please see REZONING, J4 Developers’ 620 homes on 495 acres raise questions about Jonesboro Road traffic. ByADDSEYMOUR JR. Riverdale’s turbulent past has created a current problem. Thecity has spent the past month without an insurer for employment discrimination claims. Riverdale officials are scurrying to find another employment discrimination insurer afterPennsylvania-based insurer Diamond States Insurance Co. discontinued Riverdale’s $2 million policy April 1. “We’re searching for coverage right now,” said City Manager Iris Jessie. “I’m hoping we’ll have someone any day now.” Diamond States didn’t renew the city’s policy on April 1 because of the number of discrimination complaints in the past few years, Jessie said. Jessie estimates there have been 15 employment discrimination complaints since 2000. “The city is very, very vulnerable,” said Councilwoman Michelle Bruce. “With Riverdale being in the news, with the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] complaints, nobody wants to touch the city.” Jessie said none of the 15 complaints went to trial, but two are still pending. Some of those complaints came out of the Riverdale Police Department, which has seen some officers allege the department has had racial problems over the years. Last year a U.S. Department of Justice report that was requested by Riverdale officials recommended cultural diversity training for all police employees. The report said the Police Department needed to berestructured. Local civil rights groups blamed former City Manager Billy Beckett and former police Chief Mike Edwards for the racial tensions in the Police Department. Beckett resigned for personal reasons. Edwards decided to retire. The employment discrimination policy with Diamond States had paid for attorneys and provided $2 million worth of coverage. But now if the city were found guilty in a discrimination case that originates after April 1, Riverdale would have todirectly pay for any damages. “It would come out of the general fund,” Bruce said. “Taxpayer money. I hope this gets rectified soon.” Jessie said the city’s other insurance policies are all paid upand in effect. Riverdale scrambles to find insurer City Manager Iris Jessie said two of the 15 complaints are still pending. Discrimination cases rise Reward mayjog memories in slayings By KATHY JEFCOATS Brittany LeAnn King was weeks away from her 17th birthday when she went missing two years ago from her DeKalb County home. “Italked to her an hour and ahalf before she left the house,” said her mother, Charmaine King. “It was not like her to leave for no reason, especially since she had plans for later in the evening. She was going to the movies.” Eight days later, May 24, 2003, Brittany’s body was found in an abandoned house in Henry County. Noone has been charged in her death but the establishment of a reward fund for information in the case may spark renewed interest. Gov. Sonny Perdue approved a $1,000 reward in the King case and in a second coldHenry case involving the death of Joshua Dustin “D.J.” Bargeron, 18. Bargeron was found dead more than a year ago. “We are hoping the reward will help,” King said. “It will depend on the conscience of people who know something.” Brittany was living at home with her mother and brother in DeKalb County when she disappeared. “I know someone had to have lured her out of the house,” Charmaine King said. “It is strange. I feel in my heart it had to be someone she knew. Maybe she got a hold of some bad information.” What Brittany may have endured in her final hours also torments her family. “We had to have a closed casket ceremony because of the condition of her body,” said Phylis Riley-Arnold, the girl’s aunt. “We wonder if she suffered, did she cry out for us, did she call on the name of Jesus, did she even have time to do so?” Henry police Lt. Jason Bolton said the cause of Brittany’s death remains under investigation. The house she was found in has been demolished. Behind the house was a vehicle taken in a carjacking in Riverdale the month before she was found. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Please see REWARD, J4 THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION CHECK FOR BREAKING NEWS UPDATES AT AJC.COM I THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2005 J8 ON AJC.COM INSIDE TODAY J The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Clayton/Henry Workers coming in: See the percentage of Clayton and Henry workers who commute from other counties. Setback at abad time Akey injury could hurt the Morrow Mustangs’ chances at the state track and field meet. CONTACT US: Ralph Ellis, editor / / 770-282-8310 ajc a

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