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Early Retirement Saves Money, Creates Budget Crunch at Dekalb Jail

DEKALB, Co.-- An effort to save money in Dekalb County has put the Sheriff in a budget and manpower challenge at the jail.

Sheriff Thomas Brown lost 89 employees when early retirement was offered by Dekalb County as a cost saving measure. Most of those employees worked at the Dekalb County jail. The sheriff says as he has struggles to find qualified entry-level replacements, he's working his remaining detention officers overtime to maintain order at the jail.

"We have to have enough people at the jail to operate it safely," said Sheriff Brown. "We been having regularly work people overtime, and that's pushed against a depressed budget I have."

Sheriff Brown said he's already spent a million dollars beyond his overtime budget. He's been using money from other areas of his budget to keep the jail fully staffed.

Attorney in Bishop Eddie Long Case Fires Back

ATLANTA -- Attorney B.J. Bernstein, who filed four lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long, is speaking out for the first time the pastor of the mega church addressed the allegations head on Sunday.

Jamal Parris, one of the young men accusing mega-church leader Eddie Long of sexual coercion tells an Atlanta television station his former pastor is "a monster."

"Jamal was at the grocery store in the middle of the night. He wasn't expecting a reporter to be there. You can see by his face he is kind of, um, shocked," Bernstein said. "He was so emotional yesterday.  He texted me last night. Unfortunately I am in another state and I was asleep and in the morning he was telling me what happened. It was a very emotional converstation."

Bishop Long's attorney issued a statement in response:

Is Texting-While-Driving Ban Making an Impact?

ATLANTA -- Early data from Georgia, and the most recent national study, suggest texting bans aren't as effective as most wish they were.

The numbers show a very heated law off to a very slow start.

READ: Highway Loss Data Institute Findings

In Georgia, Governor Sonny Perdue signed a texting-while-driving ban into law earlier this year; it went into effect in July and started getting enforced in August.

"Since then, we have issued 30 citations," said Trooper 1st Class Carlos Searcy of the Georgia State Patrol.

That's less than one per day.

Bishop Long: I'm Under Attack

LITHONIA, Ga. -- Bishop Eddie Long spoke for more than 20 minutes Sunday to his congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in the wake of allegations of sexual coercion, dismissing the claims head on.

"We're here every Sunday Morning, and we'll be here next week," Bishop Long said. "We are humbled by such a loving congregation."

He walked out on this Sunday morning with his wife to a two-minute standing ovation from some 8,000 people. He paced the stage while his congregation clapped uproariously.

"This is an extremely difficult time for me and my family."

But Long did not shy away from addressing the now infamous lawsuits and his portrayal all this week in the media, saying "I'm under attack".

How to Avoid Weekend Roadwork

ATLANTA -- Road crews are revving their engines ahead of weekend work around Metro Atlanta, weather permitting. Here is how to avoid getting caught in the congestion.

Clayton/DeKalb/Henry: I-675 Northbound

8 p.m. Friday - 5 a.m. Monday: One rolling left lane closure between I-75 and I-285.

Take I-75 as an alternate.

DeKalb: I-20 Eastbound

9 p.m. Friday - 5 am Monday: Two left lanes closed between Exit 74 / Evans Mill Rd. and 1 mile east of Turner Hill Road.

I-20 Eastbound Alternate (North of I-20): Exit onto Panola Road and go left. Follow Panola Road to Covington Hwy. and turn right. Follow Covington Hwy. to either Turner Hill Road or Sigman Road. Turn right on either one and follow back to I-20 Eastbound.

DeKalb Gets Federal Funds to Fight Fat

ATLANTA -- DeKalb County is getting $2.35 million in federal cash to help residents slim down.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is giving the grant to the DeKalb Board of Health and says it must be used for obesity prevention.

Initiatives can include promoting healthy eating, exercise and discouraging tobacco use.

The DeKalb grant is part of $31 million in federal funds awarded
to communities across the nation.

Other communities to receive funding include Mobile, Ala. and North Little Rock, Ark., along with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Owners of Blighted, Foreclosed Homes in DeKalb County Face $1000 a Day Fines

DECATUR, Ga. -- The hammer's about to come down, hard, in DeKalb County on owners of foreclosed homes who let their properties deteriorate.

DeKalb is the first local government in Georgia to crack down like this; beginning October 25, owners of any blighted, foreclosed homes in DeKalb County will have to pay a fine of $1,000 a day until they fix them up and clean them up.

"Somebody's coming after them now," said Homeowner Brenda Pace Tuesday evening.

Her neighborhood's story is an old, sad one -- with, maybe, a new, happy ending.

Pace is President of the East Lake Terrace Neighborhood Association, off of Glenwood Ave. in DeKalb County.