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Free Press 2-10-12

Free Press 2-10-12

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Published by: hudgons on Feb 13, 2012
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 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.com
fter being wrappedin a Torah and de-clared a king, Bish-op
Eddie Long
of NewBirth Missionary BaptistChurch in Lithonia, apolo-gized for the ceremony thatmany Jewish leaders foundoffensive.A Youtube video of theJan. 31 event shows Long being wrapped in a Torahand later lifted in a chair  by four men who carry the bishop around the stagein front of a worshippingcongregation.“He is now raisedup from a commoner toa kingship,” said Rabbi
Ralph Messer
, who per-formed the ceremony.“He’s raised from earthinto a heavenly realm.“He is a king,” Messer said. “God’s blessed. He’sa humble man. But in himis kingship. In him is roy-alty.”In an apology to theJewish community, Longsaid, “The ceremony wasnot my suggestion, nor wasit my intent, to participatein any ritual that is offen-sive in any manner to theJewish community or anygroup.“Furthermore, I sin-cerely denounce any actionthat depicts me as a king,for I am merely just a ser-vant of the Lord,” Longsaid. “I apologize for anyaction on my part that mayhave caused damage to theJewish faith.”Long said he under-stands that the ceremonycaused harm to the Jewishcommunity, but believesMesser had “good inten-tions.”Messer’s website sayshe is the president andfounder of Simchat TorahBeit Midrash, a congrega-tion and school based inColorado. He is describedas an internationally ac-claimed Bible teacher,conference speaker and
Bishop Long apologizes after being wrapped in Torah
Jews and people of faith take great strides to ensurethat the Torah is not touched....To wrap someone in aTorah is to show disrespect.”
 – Rabbi Joseph Prass
Bishop Eddie Long, of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is wrapped in a Torah during a service at his church on Jan. 31. The cer-emony was performed by Rabbi Ralph Messer of Colorado who declared Long a king. Source: Youtube
Rabbi Joseph Prass, of Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs, demonstrates the care and respect given to a Torah. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
S lg  pg 15a
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 10, 2012
Brookhavensupporters push forvote on cityhood
Thanks to you, over 1.4 million Georgia high school seniors havehad something more to celebrate on graduation day—the chanceto go to college. Every time you play the Georgia Lottery, you helpfund the HOPE Scholarship Program that provides Georgia studentswith nancial assistance at any of Georgia’s colleges, universitiesor technical colleges. That’s awesome! And on top of that, you’vehelped send over 1.1 million 4-year-olds to a Lottery-funded Pre-KProgram and raised more than $13 billion for education. That’s anA+ in our book.
With this many seniors going to college,a high-fve just wouldn’t cut it.
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comIt was neighbor againstneighbor on Jan. 31 whenDeKalb residents voicedtheir views to state lawmak-ers about a proposed city of Brookhaven.“There’s no reason what-soever that we shouldn’t beable to do what Dunwoodyhas done,” said Rep.
, who authored HouseBill 636 that calls for a ref-erendum on Brookhaven’scityhood. “It is a city of roughly the same popula-tion. It is a city located in thesame county.”Last year, the Universityof Georgia’s Carl VinsonInstitute released a studyshowing that the proposed12-square mile city would be nancially feasible. If itincorporates, Brookhavenwould have 49,000 residentsand would be the state’s 16thlargest city.Jacobs said residentssupporting the proposedBrookhaven feel they would be better represented by acity government.“This is about your neigh- bors making decisions aboutyour local government ser-vices,” Jacobs said. “I amtoday to put forward a billin this General Assembly togive you the opportunity tovote whether or not you wantthat.”Rep.
Elena Parent
saidthe cityhood of Brookhavenis a controversial topic, butmany of her constituents“feel that this is being rushedand they would just like it toslow down.”“Most of my constituentsthat are in the Brookhavenmap are not ready to voteon it this summer,” Parentsaid. “I’ve got people whoare ‘yes’ and I’ve got peoplewho are ‘no.’ I’m talkingto you about the prevailingsentiment which is ‘let’s justchill out a little bit.’”Instead, Parent said thatmany of her constituentswant to know what problemswould be solved by incorpo-ration.“The vast majority don’tseem to have a problem withthe services they currentlyreceive from DeKalb,” Par-ent said. “They want to knowwhat the effect is going to be on the rest of the county.They want to know if thecounty is going to have toraise taxes.”DeKalb County Com-missioner 
Jeff Rader
, whosponsored a resolution ask-ing for a comprehensivestudy of impact incorpora-tion on the unincorporatedareas, said more time isneeded before making a de-cision on Brookhaven.“I’m not against new cit-ies,” Rader said. “I’m notagainst the existing cities.We need to look carefullyand make a good decision.We need to look before weleap.”CEO
Burrell Ellis
saidthe process of incorporationhas shortcomings that needto be addressed.“We’ve looked at thefeasibility of cost on those49,000 citizens within these proposed boundaries, butwe haven’t looked at the fullimpact of all of the decisionswe’re making on the 735,000citizens who live throughoutDeKalb County,” Ellis said.Another problem with the process is the estimate of thenances needed to run the proposed city, said DeKalbresident
Jim Eyre
.“The two-year-old budgetsnapshot used for the pro- posed city of Brookhavendoes not take into accountthe reality of today’s sky-rocketing cost of publicworks,” Eyre said. “The fea-sibility study does not accu-rately reect the true costs tomaintain the older infrastruc-ture in Brookhaven.”The proposed budget of Brookhaven would put thecity on “perilous nancialfooting from day one,” Eyresaid.Supporting the movementfor a new city, DunwoodyMayor 
Mike Davis
said histhree-year-old city is “verycomfortable in what we havedone.”“We became a city pri-marily to represent our-selves,” Davis said. “DeKalbcounty commissioners repre-sent 140,000 people. [Dun-woody’s] council people rep-resent 15,000. Your neighbor is actually your representa-tive.”Many supporters askedthe committee members toallow the Brookhaven com-munity to vote.“I’m just here to say‘please give us the right tovote,’” said
Jeff Keller
, board member of Citizensfor North DeKalb, a group pushing for Brookhaven’scityhood. Let the political process ride its course. Whenyou vote for HB 636, you’resimply voting on voting.”Resident
J. Max Davis
 said, “If you vote ‘no,’ wedon’t get a say. Voting ‘no’on this bill will deny us thatright.”Jacobs said if Brookhavenresidents vote to incorporate,they would not “stop beingcitizens of DeKalb County.”“At the end of the day,88 percent of our tax dol-lars will continue to go toDeKalb County governmentand the DeKalb Countygovernment will continue to provide … certain services,”Jacobs said. “We’re not breaking away from DeKalbCounty. We’re still a part of DeKalb County, but we’rechoosing for our truly localservices…administered at amore local level.”Rep.
Alisha ThomasMorgan
(D-Austell), amember of the governmentalaffairs committee, said shewished the decision to al-low residents of Brookhavento incorporate “would gothrough the normal processof going through the delega-tion so that people who don’tlive in DeKalb don’t have tohear your business.”“I don’t live in DeKalbCounty but I feel I knowmore of your business thanany other county,” Morgansaid.
Members of the governmental affairs committee of the Georgia House of Representatives hold a hear-ing on the proposed incorporation of Brookhaven. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 10, 2012
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comTwo and a half years ago
Vinh Glover
and his wife
Martha Brown
movedinto a house directly behindClarkston’s Friendship For-est.“I remember walking be-hind the house and discover-ing these nature trails back there that looked like theyhadn’t been used in years,”Brown said.The trails Brown had dis-covered were, at one point, part of Friendship Park,which had become over-grown and had fallen intodisrepair. Soon, Brown andGlover began working torevitalize the area.“We started volunteer-ing but it was more like themilitary coming in becausewe didn’t have the supportof anyone else,” Glover said. He said the earlycleanup projects consistedof him and a large group of volunteers “invading” theforest to spend hours clean-ing trash and other debris.Glover then decided todocument one of those earlycleanup efforts with a videocamera.“We made a movie andshowed it at city hall andlet everyone know that wewould like to take care of our own backyard,” Glover said.Clarkston City Manager 
Keith Barker
said over the past years the city wassometimes at odds with resi-dents’ volunteer efforts atthe forest because they feltlike taking care of the forestwas the city’s responsibility,not theirs.“There’s been a voidof leadership and you’vegot the citizens like Vinhand other organizationswho have sought to ll thatvoid,” Barker said.Barker was hired lastyear, and Glover said sincethen he’s seen the forest,and the neighborhood, gethealthy. Glover attributed itto the city’s new willingnessto work together with resi-dents to revitalize the area.“I feel like our city coun-cil has denitely gottenmore progressive,” Glover said.Last month, theClarkston City Council passed a community gardens policy and ratied a memo-randum of understanding toallow a community gardento be established at Friend-ship Forest and other loca-tions throughout the city.“We’ve also received agrant from the DeKalb De- partment of Health to hirea part-time employee tohelp us forward that effort,”Barker said.The city also receiveda $25,000 grant from theDeKalb County CommunityDevelopment Department toremove cement from an old parking lot, basketball courtand tennis court from theforest grounds.“Additionally, we’re go-ing to apply some of our own funds and plant groundcover grass in those newlyexposed areas, as well astrees and wildowers,”Barker said. “Lastly, there’sa little stream down there backed up with debris andwe’re probably going to usestorm water utility funds totrench that out.”Barker said having greenspace in Clarkston was atremendous advantage for the city, and residents likeGlover and Brown helpedturn what was once an old park in disrepair into a beautiful forest and wildlifesanctuary.“You could look at thisas a potential headache,and it probably was at onetime. But, with the proper attention and management itcould turn from a headacheinto a tremendous benetfor the community,” Barker said.
Clarkston residents, officials work to revitalize green space
Local arborist Gretchen Musser instructs two employees how to properly prune a newly planted tree at Clarkston’s Friendship Forest. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

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