Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Former State Representative Elena Parent Seeks Carter's Senate Seat

Get the Cell Out - ATL has learned that the seat in the Georgia Senate (District 42) that will be vacated by Sen. Jason Carter so that he can run for Governor is being sought by someone already familiar to area residents, former state Representative Elena Parent.  

It was not too long ago that Elena Parent and Scott Holcomb found themselves in a gerrymandered predicament when their districts were redrawn so as they would be required to run against one another.  The two met and determined that Holcomb should be the one to move forward at the time.  The two made the decision "amicably," according to a press release from the Georgia House Democrats.  At the time, Parent moved to "Georgia Watch," a consumer advocacy group.  

But, she's baaaack and she's bringing some much needed female democratic opinions with her, if elected.  Get the Cell Out first became familiar with Parent during the 2011-12 effort put forth by Rep. Dr. Karla Drenner to stop cell phone towers from being placed on school grounds.  At the time, Parent, Holcomb and most other Representatives signed on to the bill that would have been a national headline maker for DeKalb County.  DeKalb would have been the first local political district to officially place the lives and health of children before big business and technology when it comes to the practice of allowing cell towers on school grounds in exchange for funds with questionable contract terms. 

Drenner's ban would have required cell phone companies to follow the same rules as anyone else wanting to secure a building permit for the placement of their structures, which would have made most of the public schools off limits.  DeKalb has strict ordinances already in place regarding what can and cannot go into a residential area in terms of transmission towers, and the county requires certain setback and other safety requirements. To date, it remains a closely guarded secret whether or not the school board of today is obligated to uphold the contracts signed by the now-removed school board from 2011-2012.

Now Sen. Jason Carter will be giving up his seat and so Parent is back in the news, hoping to fill his shoes if elected.   The winner of the May 20 primary will face Republican Gregory E. “Greg” Williams, who is running unopposed for his party’s nomination.

You can visit Parent's website by clicking here.  To see if your home is in this district, see the map above. 

To influence the outcome of the November general elections, you can vote on May 20th in the primaries.  In addition to the school board members you will be voting on, if you choose the political party ballot that influences your area the most, you can also vote for or against Elena Parent and others who will be running for the spots in the state Senate and House, ultimately voting on bills that will impact your area.  EARLY VOTING is already underway! 

EMF Safety Network Provides List of Symptoms Possibly Related to Wireless Exposure

All around the world people are reporting wireless radiation is affecting their health.  Utilities claim smart meters are safe, and compare them to cell phones. However cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi and other wireless devices can also affect your health!

The EMF Safety Network has provided a list of symptoms (see below) and some other helpful information.

Reducing your EMF exposure can benefit your overall health and wellness.  Learn more about how to reduce EMF’s, and sign up for monthly email updates to stay informed!

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies wireless radiation as a 2B carcinogen, based on studies linking cell phone radiation to brain tumors!

List of symptoms:

Sleep problems (insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, night waking, nightmares)
Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability
Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head
Ringing in the ears, ear pain, high pitched ringing
Concentration, memory or learning problems
Fatigue, muscle or physical weakness
Disorientation, dizziness, or balance problems
Eye problems, including eye pain, pressure in the eyes,
Cardiac symptoms, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmias, chest pain
Leg cramps, or neuropathy
Arthritis, body pain, sharp, stabbing pains
Nausea, flu-like symptoms
Sinus problems, nose bleeds
Respiratory problems, cough, asthma
Skin rashes, facial flushing
Urinary problems
Endocrine disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes
High blood pressure
Changes in menstrual cycle
Hyperactivity or changes in children’s behavior
Recurrence of cancer

Taken from EMF Safety Network Survey 2011

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Early Voting Starts Monday in Georgia

By Kristina Torres
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Early voting for the May 20 primary election begins Monday in Georgia.

Voters will have their say on GOP challenges to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, contested races in both parties for Congress, as well as state and local races.

Primary winners will move on to the Nov. 4 general election.

Voters can see sample ballots, verify their registration status and find early voting polling locations on the secretary of state’s “My Voter Page” website (www.mvp.sos.ga.gov). Information about local elections can also be found on the state’s new “GA Votes” mobile apps.

You can download the free apps for both Apple and Android operating systems using either the iTunes app store for an iPhone or iPad or Google Play for Android.

Because the state conducts an “open” primary, voters may vote on a ballot of any party — you make your choice at the polls or when asking for an absentee ballot. You cannot, however, vote in more than one party’s primary.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cell Phone Causes a College Lock Down in Greater Atlanta

For all those people who say that you need a cell tower at your child's school in case of an emergency... 
here's an example of a cell phone causing the actual emergency!

By Rodney Thrash (AJC)

A lockdown of the state’s third largest university posed no threat to the campus community, officials said this afternoon.
Jamal Palmer took this photo
from Kennesaw State
University’s library.

About 2 p.m., Kennesaw State officials received a call about a suspicious man on campus with a possible weapon and put the school on lockdown as a precaution, university spokeswoman Tammy DeMel told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an emailed statement.

According to an emergency alert on KSU’s website, the suspicious man was on the Campus Green, the center of the north Cobb County campus.

KSU biology major Carly D’Allen and computer science major Matthew Crowley said the Campus Green was full of students when the lockdown began. They did not see or hear anything suspicious, and they were unaware of any problem until a siren came on telling everybody to move inside.

At one point during the lockdown, political science and international affairs department chair Kerwin Swint said he could see police “crawling over the study center parking lot” from his office.

But by 3:30 p.m., the university lifted the lockdown and said the unidentified person of interest had no weapon.

“Police found the individual with a cell phone in his pocket and confirmed that he was not a threat and never posed a threat to the community,” officials said in a statement.

— Staff writers Haley Castillo, Janel Davis and Aaron Gould Sheinin contributed to this report.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Frozen (in Atlanta) - the Real Life Drama that Still Awaits Its Happy Ending

There is a lot going on in DeKalb County, GA, right now.   But, not long ago, we were nestled into our homes, some without power, a week without school for the kids and lots of cold snow and ice all around. And, regular people from all over the metro were reaching out to help one another. It was actually heartwarming to read about the offers that people were extending to complete strangers: a cup of hot cocoa, a spot on the sofa for the night, an extra set of hands to push a car up a frozen hill. When we don't have much time to think, we Atlantians react in a manner that would confirm the notion that Southern hospitality still exists in Georgia.

If you recall the ice storm of 2014, one could say we were quite literally stuck:
Photo courtesy: CNN Report
But, we've also been "stuck" figuratively for a long time, too.

Some might say we're politically stuck, morally bankrupt and totally corrupt.

The most corrupt state in the nation.  The worst school cheating scandal in America's history.  The worst state response to inclement weather and what do we do?  Rather than sticking together, making it through the rough times and helping one another, we continue to play follow the leader with the same dirty rotten scoundrels that got us to this  notorious position in the first place.

For one bright shining moment, the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County were working together, bridging the gaps that had always kept them apart.  There was a focus on something bigger and more important than egos, or school board elections or even SPLOST funds - we were all concerned about the children.  And, even those who previously thought school issues did not pertain to them actually took notice and stepped up to support a major upheaval in our school system.

Collectively, the residents in our county decided to all head in the same direction, at the same time, and we pulled the decision makers along with us.  Soon SACS was responding, the state BOE was responding, even the school board we wanted out was working on finding real solutions and hired an excellent Interim Superintendent before they were removed by the Governor, his appointed team and affirmed by the judicial system.   We were moving in unison and for the first time in a decade, the train was headed in the right direction.  We focused on education and suddenly, we could see the horizon.

So what happened?

A few bumps along that highway toward better days and we all scattered like ants returning to our separate little holes in the ground, awaiting our next set of matching orders and keeping quiet while we watched all the other drones fall back in line.

Is there still hope?  Of course there is.  But, the hope was always there.

Is there still help?  Well, yes and no.  The help that arrived by way of an appointed school board held accountable to improved standards of conduct and results by SACS and the Governor will soon sit for an actual election.  Their tenure was short-lived, by design.  They accomplished the goal of saving accreditation, but what have they really changed that can't be undone in May? The future remains in the hands of the voters. Well, guess what? "The voters" are not a cohesive group of people who can be rallied easily by anyone. "The voters" are not a far off group of mysterious origin, either. If you are registered, in fact, you are one of "them." Do you plan to vote? Do you know who is even running and what they stand for? If not, action is required on your part right now... today! The job of reform for the better is a slow process and it is up to every resident and taxpayer to remain committed to staying the course. Do not give up. Do not sell out. And, don't make assumptions about how others will vote, either.

If you are curious, ask them. There might still be time to have an influence of their final decision, or even whether they show up to vote at all. If we don't continue the conversation about political subjects, as uncomfortable as they sometimes may be, we will never actually see real change. We will continue to pay our own money into a system that is harming nearly every person it is supposed to be helping. Don't continue allowing your money to be used that way. If you have any doubts about who to vote for in any election these days, consider the fact that big lobbyist funds have the greatest impact upon those they have had the most time to influence. So, it may be that the newly elected are the only ones in office today who still have some debt of gratitude to the voters who put them there. Everyone else can thank the big bucks that have supported their re-election campaigns ever since.

Several school board districts will have names on their ballots that sound familiar. Don't vote for someone simply because you recall hearing the name. Do your research. Read up on it. These decisions are important and your vote is your single, most effective way to have a real voice in the process. Wise up to the fact that there are factors at play in our political system that have systematically forced good intentions to fall to the wayside. "We" have the power but "we" do not have our own power structure to help guide us toward banding together, north, south, east, west. And those in power were perhaps more aware of that fact that we were.  They have experience in crowd control, persuasion, "group think" psychology and they knew that "we" had our moment of control, but "we" are not a static group of individuals who have a known goal to be collectively working toward.

We don't have "good citizen" committee meetings or "honest people" action groups.  We are just ordinary people trying to live our lives and work, work, work to  pay the ever-increasing tax demands being placed on our shoulders.  DeKalb pays the highest sales tax in the state, has nearly maxed out its property taxes and has to GIVE MONEY AWAY to other school districts because we all pay too much for schools that we don't appreciate or even fill with students.   Well, some of the schools we fill. We even over-fill them.  Others, not so much.

Get the Cell Out will bring you more about the school board candidates in the coming weeks. Voting will take place May 20. GET READY! Let's enjoy the Spring thawing out but let's vow to remember what it felt like to be "stuck" so that we don't repeat the same mistakes of the past. As nice as the people here may be, it's far more comforting to be able to rely upon yourself to improve your own situation than it is to rely on help from strangers. Get out and push your own car up the hill! Or vote for someone who will see the warning signs ahead without forcing you to get stuck in the first place!

Cell Towers Create Emergency Situations - Don't Schools Have Enough to Handle Already?

Posted: Apr 11, 2014 6:40 AM EDT

Updated: Apr 11, 2014 6:43 AM EDT
by Associated Press  / CBS Atlanta

Charlotte firefighters have rescued a cellphone tower worker dangling from the structure after a medical emergency.

Spokesman Mark Basnight says the Charlotte Fire Department was called to the scene on Thursday. Authorities said the worker had been dangling from the tower in a safety harness for about 40 minutes before crew members got to him.

Two rescue team members climbed up the side of the tower and then helped the worker get back down to the ground.

The tower worker was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. His name has not been released, and authorities are still investigating.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The "Shaq" Shaquille O'Neill Warns Kids in DeKalb About the Dangers of Texting While Driving

From the AJC:  Retired NBA star Shaquille O'Neal joined a program at Arabia Mountain High School this year.  It highlights the impact of dangerous driving practices and distracted driving.
Photo credit:  AJC Kent Johnson

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why We Like Ella Smith for the School Board Seat in District 4

Unedited comments from school board candidate Ella Smith, the only one to reach out to us directly with an opinion on this very important subject in our schools and community!

Here is her website if you would like to learn more.

Nice article. 
I am so opposed to cell towers being on school property.  Thanks for your fight against the decision previously made by the school board.
Ella Smith

GTCO-ATL Response...
Hi Ella, I spoke again at the school board meeting this month, but didn't prepare well enough to get all my points across.  I'm going to try again next month and already signed up to speak.  I am not asking them to go back and redo the contracts and commitments that already took place, but we just want an acknowledgement that they have heard the many complaints of the residents who are against this practice and that they will right the wrong by at least writing a resolution against the use of cell towers for school funding.  

If they won't do that, then at the very least they could provide a clear process by which they will handle any future such requests and how they will involve the public in that process. The way things have run so far, the public and the parents have been given the cold shoulder and have to live with the constant threat that any day now construction could start and it will be up to them to stop it legally at the drop of a hat.  It appears the goal is to just get the ones who know about it to move away and then they will go ahead with their plans.  I find that to be very objectionable if not outright illegal.  Thanks for your support on this issue!! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Let’s not be clueless about wireless

By Devra Davis

Devra Davis is the president and founder of the Environmental Health Trust. She has a doctorate in science studies and a Master of Public Health in epidemiology.

The following is an open letter to President Obama asking him to consider the full costs of wireless technology. Before this nation makes wifi in schools like it is in coffee shops, as the president recently urged, we need to consider what this could do to our children’s brains and bodies.

Dear President Obama,

Three years ago the World Health Organization declared cellphone and other wireless radiation to be a possible human carcinogen, the same category as some pesticides, lead and engine exhausts. Since then evidence has mounted that such radiation can profoundly affect human biology, altering brain metabolism, damaging animals exposed during pregnancy and reducing sperm count. Before blanketing our preschools, kindergartens and middle schools with wireless radiation we need a full life-cycle assessment of economic and health costs and benefits of wireless technology.

As you have said in other contexts, “Just because we can do something, does not mean that we should do something.”

The notion that the fast-developing brains of children benefit from digital devices flies in the face of what experts in neurodevelopment understand. Your pledge to put wireless in all schools for children from prekindergarten on does not rest on any proof that such technology is safe or that children actually learn better using such technology.

While our nation excels at many things, our wireless-based Internet connection is inferior to those of a slew of other countries, including Korea, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic — all of which have invested in “fiber to the home” rather than wireless Internet connections. Wireless routers are costlier and less reliable and can be three to 10 times slower than wired systems that can operate at speeds of up to 1 gigabyte a second. As other technologically savvy nations appreciate, there are also important health risks posed by classrooms full of closely held wireless devices.

Growing numbers of experts in telecommunications understand that plans to phase out wired phone lines or have energy systems rely on wireless metering are frankly ill-conceived and uneconomic. A parallel interdependent network of wired fiber-optic cables is faster, safer and more secure against criminal or terrorist attacks or wide swings in weather. It is more difficult to hack into or take down a wired network than a wireless one, especially if the latter has not been properly encrypted. Bravo to Google for recently announcing its expansion of wired services in many major cities.

Studies finding wireless radiation tied to serious biological impacts have moved governments in Israel, Canada, Australia, Korea, India and Finland to advise reducing children’s exposure. Following actions in Turkey, France and other nations, the health minister of Belgium recently banned the sale of cellphones for children ages 7 and younger. What does she know that you don’t?

Ignoring these serious concerns, the mobile phone industry has treated reports of risks of cellphone radiation as inconveniences to be rapidly undermined using science as a form of public relations. When confronted with the possibility that cellphone radiation could damage the brain cells of rats way back in 1994, Motorola wrote a memo to its public relations firm noting the need to “war-game the science.” More recently, in response to the World Health Organization declaration of possible dangers of cellphone radiation, the global manufacturers forum set up a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar fund to produce defensive information, effectively attacking the credibility of the WHO and its scientists and promoting other expert reviews that counter and undermine the WHO.

We are flying blind here, as there are no studies on the safety or efficacy of microwave-based learning for young children, nor are any planned. Despite repeated advice from expert groups, the U.S. has no training or research programs underway in this field and is forced to rely on outdated science and foreign reports. One way to fund such programs would be to impose a $1 fee (split between consumers and industry) on every phone for five years to fund much-needed independent training and research to evaluate and improve the technology.

Until we have better information at hand, you should encourage the growth of fiber-optic and Ethernet cables and order the Federal Communications Commission to drop wireless expansion into schools with young children — relying instead on wired systems and keeping wireless tablets on airplane mode if they have already been purchased. Apple should develop a lightning-to-USB-to-Ethernet adapter and software driver to reduce radiation from already purchased devices.

Years ago the philosopher Immanuel Kant noted that “What man must do, he can do.” But the opposite is not true. A rigorous analysis of the full costs and benefits of wired and wireless infotech is long overdue.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

SAVANNAH: Take Back Your Power: Public Screening of Award Winning Documentary

"Take Back Your Power" investigates the "smart" meter program being implemented worldwide by most of the major utility companies. These devices are not mandatory, but they are being installed without the consent of homeowners or even local governments.

This documentary introduces the viewer to the issues surrounding:
* In home surveillance and violations
* Plans to "skyrocket" utility bills
* The truth about health issues
* Protecting YOUR rights!

It includes interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden, former CIA director James Woolsey, former senior NSA Executive Thomas Drake, former Premier of British Columbia Bill Vander Zalm, and many others.
WINNER of the Indie Fest Award of Excellence!

It will be shown at the following location:

Date: THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2014
Time: Doors open at 4 p.m.; Movie begins at 4:30 p.m. (latecomers will be allowed to enter.)
Where: Southwest Chatham Library, 14097 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA
Guest: Josh Hart, M. Sc., founder of www.StopSmartMeter.Org
Why: To warn citizens that "smart" meter digital electric meters can start fires, emit radiation and EMF that are related to cancer. The smart meters can also be used to easily track your family's comings and goings, potentially placing you and your home in danger.

Get the Cell Out - ATL is currently working toward a public screening of this movie for residents in DeKalb County. Check back with this website for more details within the next 30 days.