Monthly Archives: June 2014

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m not judge or jury, just the messenger.  The message of the day, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted in 2013 by a grand jury on 15 counts that accused him of trying to pressure county contractors for campaign contributions. Ellis’ indictment claims that all the dirty work was done “at the offices of R.L. Brown”.
R.L. Brown and Associates is an architectural firm that contracts to school districts. Robert L. Brown was appointed liaison to the Governor for the appointment of the new DeKalb board members. Prior to selecting the new DeKalb Board, R.L. Brown was a board member at Grady where his architectural firm received millions of dollars in contracts for a major expansion of Grady Hospital.
Mark Niesse is reporting in the AJC today,

“COLUMBIA, S.C. — Defendants in a corruption trial told the head of a construction company he’d have to pay off DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson if he wanted to do business in the county, according to testimony Wednesday in South Carolina federal court.”

A few years back, this email was revealed in a DeKalb Schools open records request for Friends of DeKalb emails,

“Sent: Mon, October 3, 2011 11:22:23 AM
From: Amy Power
To: Barbara Colman (, Marshall Orson, Thad Mayfield Jim McMahan
Subject: TC w/ CEO of Winter Construction
Barbara, Bob, and Marshall,
I just had a call from Brent Ried, CEO of Winter Construction. Before Winter could even consider contributing to the SPLOST campaign, Brent wanted to know how the school system would avoid the impropriety that occurred in the past. He said that Winter, in particular, suffered a great deal when — although it scored highest for Arabia Mountain — other processes (to put it politely) affected the contract award.

He then explained that Winter wanted to support SPLOST and would make a small contribution of $500. On a related note, I saw this Stone Mountain/Redan Patch article that portrayed the audience at Stan Watson’s breakfast as unsupportive of SPLOST in the absence, at a minimum, of better control and oversight.”

The word of the day, “Discouraged”.

DeKalb Students Get Office 365 For Free

Office 365
The Microsoft Student Advantage Program allows free access to Office 365 Pro Plus for any student enrolled in DeKalb Schools on up to 5 devices. Don’t get too excited before you understand Office 365 … it’s not your mom and dad’s Office software.
Online Office
Office 365 is cloud based which means the office suite itself is set up to save your documents to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud. You can save documents locally and work offline, but the application suite is integrated tightly with SkyDrive. The focus is online work including collaboration, sharing and social networking. It’s unclear if the NSA or DeKalb Schools administrators will have access to the files.
Software as a Service
In 2012, Adobe rolled out it’s “Creative Cloud” subscription package for renting Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver. Even though this particular program is free to students, it’s noteworthy that Office 365 marks the migration to software as a service.
Download and Install
Visit to download and install. Email for help retrieving your username and password. Read the installation instructions for step by step instructions.