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Free Press 7-20-12

Free Press 7-20-12

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01/02/2013

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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 17 FREE
REE 
RESS 
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
M
ore than 15 years ago a Decatur resident told
Sally Wylde
howupset she was that childrenwalking home from schoolwere trampling her small garden. Rather than punish the children, Wylde decided toengage the students and encourage them to plant a garden.“There was this median strip by wherethe new 4/5 Academy is now, and they plant-ed that area,”
Stephanie Van Parys
, execu-tive director of The Wylde Center, said.Recently, the Oakhurst Community GardenProject changed its name to The Wylde Cen-ter, in celebration of its 15th anniversary andin memory of Wylde, who died in 2010.
Champion
News Editor 
RobertJoseph Naddra
, 51, died July 11,following whatappears to have been a massiveheart attack. Hewas driving fromhis Decatur of-
ce when he
 became suddenlyand violently ill.He was rushed toDeKalb MedicalCenter, where hewas pronounced dead. Naddra joined
The Champion
in
2009, rst as a freelance contribu-
tor, then as a staff reporter. In 2010he was promoted to news editor.He had a career as a journalistthat spanned more than 26 yearsand included positions at
The Augusta Chronicle
and
 Augusta Herald 
,
The
 
 Fayette Citizen
,
The Henry Record 
,
The Dailey
 
Tribune News
(Cartersville),
The DaltonCitizen
and
The
 
 Naples
(Fla.)
 Daily News.
He spent two yearsas an editor at
Georgia Football  Magazine
and had been a freelancecontributor to the
 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
and the
Gwinnett Dai-ly Post 
. Among his specialties as a journalist were sports writing andtravel writing. Music was a specialinterest of his.Born in Atlanta, Naddra wasa 1978 graduate of Tucker HighSchool. He held a bachelor’s de-gree in journalism from GeorgiaState University. He also wasa 2012 graduate of LeadershipDeKalb.“Robert was a talented and de-voted journalist and a joy to work with,” said
Champion
Chief Oper-
ating Ofcer 
John Hewitt
. “Morethan that he was a dear friend anda respected colleague to all of ushere at
The Champion
. He will besorely missed.”Survivors include his wife,
Amy Laird Naddra
; his daughters
Alex
,
Kelsey
and
Bethany
; hismother,
Angie Naddra
of Roswell;and two sisters,
Christi Naddra
 of Marietta, and
Cindy Smith
of Roswell as well as several niecesand nephews. His father,
RobertVernon
 
Naddra
, preceded him indeath.
Champion NewsEditor Robert Naddradies of apparentheart attack
Naddra
 
www.facebook.com/ championnewspaper
 
www.championnewspaper.com
 
www.twitter.com/ championnews
 
Follow us.
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See Wylde on Page 15A
WYLDECENTER
Oakhurst Community Garden Projectcelebrates with name change
Photos by Daniel Beauregard
 
The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 20, 2012 Page 2A
Local News
FAMU president resigns, parents sue school
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comFlorida A&M University(FAMU) President
JamesAmmons
resigned July 11in the wake of ahazing scandal thatled to the death of one student fromDeKalb Countyand the arrest of more than 10 mem- bers of the school’sfamed “Marching100” band.Ammons’ an-nouncement cameon the same day the par-ents of 
Robert ChampionJr.
led a lawsuit against
FAMU. Champion was adrum major in the school’smarching band and wasa graduate of SouthwestDeKalb High School.Champion’s death wasruled a homicide as a resultof the alleged hazing inci-dent, which occurred Nov.19, 2012, on a tour bus after a football game in Orlando.Champion’s parents
RobertChampion Sr.
and
PamelaChampion
have also namedin the lawsuit the companythat owns the bus on whichthe incident occurred.“After considerablethought, introspection andconversations with myfamily, I have decided toresign from my position as president in order to initi-ate my retirement on Oct.11, 2012,” Ammons, whoserved as president since2007, said in a statement.In the medical report,
ofcials from the Orange
County Medical Examiner’s
Ofce concluded that “the
death of Robert Champion,a 26-year-old male, is theresult of hemorrhagic shock due to a soft tissue hemor-rhage, incurred by bluntforce trauma.”Several days after Cham- pion’s death, FAMU BandDirector 
Julian White
was
red. In a press release,
FAMU President Ammonssaid White was dismissedfor “alleged misconduct andincompetence in-
volving conrmed
reports and allega-tions of hazing.”The lawsuit al-leges FAMU hasa long history of “knowledge andtolerance” of haz-ing within theFAMU band andcites examples of hazing incidents dating back to the early 1980s.Additionally, the suit al-leges that three days beforethe incident that causedChampion’s death, universi-
ty ofcials knew about ritual
hazing, and FAMU Dean
Henry Kirby
 proposed im- posing a long-term suspen-sion of the band to deal withits “egregious” hazing.“FAMU failed to imple-ment Dean Kirby’s proposalafter opposition was voicedfrom FAMU Band Director Julian White,” the lawsuitstates. “FAMU refused tosuspend the FAMU Band prior to the Florida Classic,as suggested by Dean Kirby,due to the public notoriety
and nancial gain of partici
- pating in events during thethree-day Florida ClassicWeekend.”The Florida State At-
torney’s Ofce has charged
13 individuals in the haz-ing death of Champion. Of the 13 individuals charged,11 are charged with felonyhazing; the remaining twoare charged with a hazingmisdemeanor. All of theindividuals charged withfelony hazing have turnedthemselves in to variouslaw enforcement agenciesthroughout Florida.
Candidates,
GET YOUR MESSAGE TO DEKALB VOTERS NOW!
Only
ONE
issue remains beforeElection Day.
Contact Louise Dyrenforth Acker 
LouiseD@dekalbchamp.com
or 
404.373.7779 x102
RESERVE ADVERTISING SPACE INTHE JULY 26 ISSUE TODAY!
www.championnewspaper.com
Election 2012
James Ammons (AP Photo/Don Juan Moore)Robert Champion
Clarication
In the Election Guide that appeared in the July 12 issueof 
The Champion
, Clerk of Court candidate
DebraDeBerry
’s name appeared incorrectly. The correctspelling is DeBerry.
The Champion
regrets the error.
 
Your votecounts
 
The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 20, 2012 Page 3A
Local News
Please Recycle This Paper
County mulling $2 million
purchase for remen’s air packs
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comDeKalb County Fire
Rescue ofcials are rush
-ing to replace 300 faulty air masks.The department askedthe county’s Board of Com-missioners on July 10 to ap- prove $2 million for the pur-chase of 300 self-contained breathing apparatuses, 640air bottles, 725 masks, 10Rapid Intervention Team packs, 725 regulators and725 voice amps.The funds would also pay for user training facili-tated by a technician fromScott Safety, the air pack  provider.The Board of Commis-sioners voted to defer ap- proving the purchase for 
two weeks to give re of 
-
cials time to test breathing
apparatuses from the four companies that respondedto the county’s request for information.
Originally, re rescueofcials had planned to thetest air packs during the rst
two weeks of August, saidDeputy Fire Chief 
Norman
 
Augustin
.“Prior to this emergencyrequest, that was going to be our plan,” Augustin said.“In light of recent incidentswe’ve had, we decided to goaround the competitive bid process and move forwardgetting the Scott air pack.”In June, a DeKalb Coun-
ty reghter was forced
to jump out of a two-story building after his air pack 
malfunctioned during a re.
Since the departmentstarted using the air packsin 2009, they have malfunc-tioned 29 times during an
emergency, according to rerescue ofcials.
Many of the deviceshave had to be sent back toDraeger, the manufacturer,to repair problems with their quick-release connectionsfor the pressurized air bot-tles and battery connections,among other problems.“In light of all the prob-lems we were having, wedecided to bring this [emer-gency request] to the board, because we didn’t want
another incident with a re
-man,” said
Kelvin
 
Walton
,the county’s purchasingdirector.Commissioner 
Lee May
 said he was concerned aboutthe hurried process of pur-chasing the air masks.“We put the money in place for this back in Febru-ary,” May said. “That’s four 
or ve months ago. This
seems a bit hurried.“I want to make surewe’re making the right deci-sion, and we’re not puttingat risk or in jeopardy our 
reghters,” May said. “We
know the issues they werehaving with the other ones,
 but we don’t want to nd
ourselves in the same pre-dicament.”Commissioner 
ElaineBoyer
, who asked for thetwo-week deferral, saidScott Safety is a well-known
national rm that other large
departments use.“One of the things I wantto take into consideration isthe actual usage by the end
users which are the reght
-ers, to see how they feelabout this,” Boyer said.“I’m more concernedwith the safety than thecost,” Commissioner 
Sha-ron Barnes Sutton
said.
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.com
A lawsuit led July 3against three county of
-cials over a land displace-ment permit calls into ques-tion the DeKalb CEO’s hir-ing of an interim planningdirector.
Bobby Buckler
and
An-thony McCullar
led the
lawsuit “because they won’tlet us put a cul-de-sac onour property,” Buckler saidJuly 13.The lawsuit namesDeKalb CEO
Burrell Ellis
,interim planning director 
Gary Cornell
, and associ-ate planning director 
Hari
 
Karikaran
as defendants.Buckler and McCullar are asking a judge to com- pel Cornell and Karikaran“to issue the land distur- bance permit to which [the plaintiffs] are legally en-titled following the decisionof the DeKalb County Plan-ning Commission approv-ing the plaintiff’s sketch plat.”The plaintiffs contendthat the planning depart-ment’s approval of their sketch plat gives them theauthority to subdivide their 4.62 acres on Clifton Roadinto seven residential lots.The lots will rangefrom 0.4 acres to 0.6 acres,Buckler said.The lawsuit asks a judgeto make a “declaration thatdefendant Gary Cornelldoes not lawfully occupy
the ofce of director of the
department of planning andsustainability because theDeKalb County Board of Commissioners has neither 
conrmed his appointment,
nor recognized his authorityto act as director becausedefendant Ellis wrongfullydelegated his authority tothe department’s director toa private party, namely theDruid Hills Civic Associa-tion.”“Ellis effected this il-legal delegation by refus-ing to nominate anyone for the director position so he
could ll it on an ‘interim’
 basis with Cornell who heknew would never be con-
rmed by the board,” the
lawsuit states.In December 2011, Ellisannounced that he had hiredCornell as an interim plan-ning director and the nextmonth, the board decidednot to vote on Cornell’s ap- pointment by Ellis.In one board meeting,some board members ex- pressed concern that Ellishad hired an interim plan-ning director when interim
 positions are usually lled
 by an existing employee.“I believe this action isillegal,” said Commissioner 
Lee
 
May
at the time.
 
“Ellis is charged by lawwith the nomination of allcounty department direc-tors,” the lawsuit states.“Those appointments must
then be conrmed by the
 board before the nomineescan be appointed and actu-ally serve in the position.Ellis has intentionally cir-cumvented the nomination process.”The lawsuit by Buckler and McCullar also seeks“a declaration that all of 
defendant Cornell’s ofcial
actions since his illegal ap- pointment are void since hewas without legal authority
to act in an ofcial capac
-ity.”Buckler said he is not
a pawn in a larger conict
 between the Board of Com-missioners and Ellis.“I am the game,” Buck-ler said. “Cornell is there because of me. Period.”Buckler said it was be-
cause of his conict with
the county that DeKalb’sformer planning director 
was red and Cornell put in
 place.Cornell has used his po-sition “to effectively vetothe decision” of the Plan-ning Commission to allowthe plaintiff to subdivide the property, the lawsuit states.Cornell’s actions “areintended to further the in-terests of private citizensacting through the [
DruidHills Civic Association
],which has used its political power to…prevent develop-ment within the Druid Hillscommunity.”
Burke Brennan
, thecounty’s chief communi-cations director, said thecounty does not commenton pending litigation.“We conduct ourselvesin complete accordancewith the law,” Brennan saidabout the allegations in thelawsuit.
Ellis, planning directornamed in lawsuit
DeKalb County Fire Rescue Chief Eddie O’Brien demonstrates how the department’s air masks arefaulty. File photo

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