Judge Steve Teske: The Blame Game – The Winner Loses and The Kids are Hurt

It was 1999, I was recently appointed to the juvenile bench, and we had a new presiding judge. A meeting was called to discuss the direction of the court.   Among several issues, we were concerned about the number of complaints filed by School Resource Officers (SRO) and decided to meet with the Chief of Police to discuss other alternatives to filing complaints.  We were prepared for the meeting. We had data reflecting an increase in referrals by over 1,000 percent since the inception of the SRO program in the mid nineties.  The data was broken down by offenses and most were misdemeanors primarily involving school fights, disorderly conduct, and disrupting public school. 

It was a frustrating meeting to say the least. Despite our preparedness, we were not talking the same language.  To our surprise, the Chief (who has since retired) was excited about the numbers.  He interpreted them to mean his officers were doing an excellent job.  Looking back at it, he was right – from his perspective!  We failed to consider the work culture of law enforcement.  Police grade themselves, in part, by the number of arrests they make.  After all, isn’t that what police do? The Chief made it quite clear to us: if my officers witness a crime, they are trained to make an arrest.   We walked away disappointed and scratching our heads.  We felt we had to accept what was referred to us – that we had no control over the decisions of police in schools.  As frustrating as this was, we were jurists.  We must respect the sound constitutional principle of separation of powers.  We had to find another approach. More



Frank Ski, Celebrities Raise Money For Kids

Movie stars, political leaders, entertainers, professional athletes, wine connoisseurs and novices alike lifted their glasses – ahem, wine glasses – over the weekend in support of a local prevention program for at-risk youth.

The Frank Ski Kids Foundation, the namesake of the V-103 Radio personality and host of the number one urban morning radio show in Atlanta, celebrated its seventh annual Wine Tasting & Live Auction.  The Sunday evening affair featured a live auction of authentic autographed memorabilia, vacation packages and rare bottles of vino. Funds raised at the $250-a-ticket soiree held at a swanky Buckhead mansion, will benefit the non-profit Foundation’s programs, which seek to expose young people to promising futures through science, technology, athletics and the arts. “Our efforts to date have helped many children, but the needs of our children remain immense,” said Ski. “We must continue with unfaltering determination and dedication.” More



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30-Proof Whipped Cream Spikes New Health Concerns

On the heels of the fight to keep caffeine-packed alcoholic “energy drinks” out of the hands of young people, a new health concern is emerging over a new product — whipped cream with a twist.

Along with concerns about high intoxication levels, public health officials are concerned that alcoholic whipped cream will be abused by kids who engage in the dangerous practice known as “huffing.”

Cans of flavored alcohol-infused whipped cream, yes whipped cream, with names like Cream and Whipped Lightening have been popping up on local liquor store shelves. Much like the alcoholic energy drinks that the Federal Drug Administration threatened to ban in November (the maker of the controversial Four Loko brand has agreed to remove caffeine and two other ingredients, guarana and taurine), the toppings come in flavors like raspberry, German chocolate, cherry, Amaretto, caramel and vanilla flavors, which are especially inviting to young people. Similarly these so-called “whipahols” also pack a powerful punch at 15 percent alcohol, about 30-proof. Depending on how much is consumed, some experts contend, that can be about three times the amount found in beer. More



Street GRACE Mobilizes Churches To Fight Child Sexual Exploitation

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted, young and needy.”

Karen Klett says that scripture, Psalms 82:3 to be exact, always comes to mind when she reflects on her church’s work with Street GRACE.

Street Grace, a Norcross-based non-profit, strives to eliminate child sexual exploitation in metro Atlanta.

The passage also seems to underlie the motivation behind why Klem’s church, 12Stone in Lawrenceville, and leaders from about 39 other metro Atlanta area churches, have been inspired to partner with the metro Atlanta-based non-profit. The non-denominational alliance of churches, community partners and volunteers is dedicated to “supporting, enlarging and allying with those individuals and organizations working toward eliminating the commercial sexual exploitation of children,” according to its website. Anyone who thinks underage sex for sale is not a church issue, should think again, Street GRACE leaders say.

“God is a God of justice and this is a justice issue,” insists Klem. “These girls are victims and they need to be defended.”

Amy Sink, of City Church Eastside near downtown, says until she got involved with the group eight months ago, she had no idea how serious a problem this was in Atlanta. More




Deal Taps Reese as Next DHS Commissioner

 

Governor – elect Nathan Deal has nominated Clyde Reese to run the Department of Human Services.   The announcement came Friday afternoon, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. 

Clyde Reese is an attorney and currently serves as Commissioner of Community Health, which administers Medicaid, Peachcare and the State Health Benefit Plan. He was appointed to the post last April by Governor Sonny Perdue.   The DCH website describes Reese as a health care regulatory and administrative law specialist. He’s also been General Counsel for the State Health Planning Agency, and an Assistant Attorney General.  Reese has a Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University in Macon, and a degree in World History from Georgia State. More



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