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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 • VOL. 14, NO. 35 • FREE
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Lithonia election in danger of do-over
HYIS SHE HAPPY ?
The city of Lithonia may have to redo its recent election. To comply with the Voting Rights Act, all elections in Georgia must be precleared by the federal Justice Department—an action still pending for Lithonia’s election. And missing recordings of city council meetings may play a part in sparing the city a do-over. The Justice Department has asked for more information about the special elecResidents crowded into the parking lot of the old General Motors plant in Doraville for the ﬁrst DeKalb International tion to fill the vacant council seats, City Food and Music Festival. Photos by Daniel Beauregard Attorney Winston Denmark said. The department wants to see a resolution from the council showing that it voted to hold the Nov. 8 election. The city had the option to hold the election on Nov. 8 or in March 2012, but decided to hold it this month to fill the seats vacated by Deborah Jackson, who ran for and won the mayoral position, and Al Franklin, who sought unsuccessfully to keep his seat. Since there was already an election this month about school taxes, Lithonia council members decided to hold a special election this month to avoid using taxpayer money for another one in March. “It wasn’t fair to the citizens to have an election in November and another election that they were going to have to pay for out of tax money in March,” Kathleen De Cocq said. Although the city council did not adopt such a resolution, council members said they came to a consensus that would be reﬂected in the council’s minutes, if some were available. “There wasn’t a vote taken,” De Cocq said. “There was a discussion.” DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman, County Commissioners Stan Watson and Sharon Now the city is trying to locate the minBarnes Sutton, and former CEO Liane Levitan welcomed attendees and vendors to the ﬁrst DeKalb International Food and Music Festival held on Nov. 12. utes or tapes of meetings held from May to August. by Daniel Beauregard lies right here in DeKalb County so in putting the festival together, said “I don’t even know what to say,” said email@example.com give yourselves a round of applause the support was overwhelming and council member Doreen Carter. “I don’t and have a good time,” DeKalb all his expectations were met. know why we don’t have the tapes. I don’t he old General Motors facCounty CEO Burrell Ellis told the “They told me that a little over understand why we don’t have the minutes. tory in Doraville that has been crowd. 1,000 people showed up, which is “We have no control over these tapes vacant for nearly three years The food included reasonably impressive for the first year. I think once they leave the council meeting,” saw a ﬂeeting breath of life this priced dishes from Ethiopian, Jathe music was also the most diverse Carter said. “When we had a city clerk, weekend as hundreds attended the maican, Korean and Caribbean ven- thing I’ve seen in DeKalb County,” the city clerk had the tapes. But during this first DeKalb International Food and dors and attendees were encouraged Watson said. particular time we didn’t have a city clerk. Music Festival. to walk around and enjoy the music. Throughout the evening, musical The mayor is the one with possession of The festival, which was held There were also covered eating argroups performed traditional music Nov. 12, featured food vendors from eas. from places including Romania, the the tapes.” all over DeKalb County, and world “This is a wonderful day in Caribbean, Korea and China. City administrator Gerald Sanders said music performances throughout the DeKalb County because it is one “I had a great time; I stayed there Mayorshe gets her news updates online from the Thehired Because Tonya Peterson Anderson Champion. Because she gets her in our all online from the The Champion. an Atlanta company to transcribe the tapes afternoon and evening. of the most diverse countiesnews updatesday online from the Thegate. I Because she gets her news updates until they closed the Champion. “Thank you for coming out nation,” DeKalb County Commisthought about this a year ago and I whichyou can too! Follow us. the city. And have yet to be returned to today, for having a good time, for sioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said. saw my idea come to fruition and being a face that everybody doesn’t Stan Watson, the DeKalb I think that next year we’ll have an www.facebook.com/championnewspaper get to see. The true face of America County commissioner instrumental even bigger festival,” Watson said. See Lithonia on Page 15A ews updates online from the The Champion. www.twitter.com/championnews
International Festival revives old GM plant in Doraville for weekend
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The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Commissioners want to lengthen foreclosure process
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org It should take more than 30 days to foreclose on homeowners having difficulty paying their mortgages. That’s what the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners affirmed earlier this month when it voted to adopt a resolution to lengthen the foreclosure process from 30 days to 90 days. The resolution will ask the county’s legislative delegation to the Georgia General Assembly to support legislation extending the process. “Georgia is a leading state in the number of foreclosures,” said Commissioner Kathie Gannon. “That’s partly because of the very short Statewide, 10,000 homes length of time that it takes to received foreclosure filings, or process foreclosures.” one in 406 homes, in October. Gannon said that “in many “It’s a continuing probother states where that process is much longer, it proves to be an incentive to the banks to actually work out loan modifications and other alternatives to keep those homes occupied.” In Georgia, “the banks have no motivation or time, for that matter, to work out modifications,” Gannon said. In DeKalb County, one in every 320 housing units received a foreclosure filing in October, according to statistics from RealtyTrac. In Ellenwood the rate was one in 106 homes and Lithonia, the rate was one in 142 homes. lem,” Gannon said. “It’s certainly going to be an uphill battle in the legislature to change those kinds of laws, but I think that it is important that we continue to push for that.”
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The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Ordinance addresses undetectable water leaks, forgives associated high bills
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com DeKalb County residents with high water bills resulting from previously undiscovered water line leaks could get some relief from a new ordinance. The county’s Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance on Nov. 8 that sets up a policy of forgiving some excessive water bills. There are many circumstances that “make a high water bill a complete surprise to a constituent,” said Commissioner Jeff Rader. “When they get surprised by that, they often end up calling their commissioner’s offices and we try to serve as their intermediary to get an appropriate and fair adjustment to that water bill based on the circumstance of the situation,” Rader said. “This ends up taking a great deal of our time from the customer service side perspective.” “We do get a lot of complaints about high water bills,” said Commissioner Lee May. “This should provide a little additional relief.” “This does still mean you must watch you water usage,” May said. “As you see wild swings with your water bill you should take action right then and there.” Sometimes, an undetectable leak occurs in the underground line between the meter and the house. “It may be leaking water with no evidence whatsoever on the surface,” Rader said. The only way a customer may discover the problem is when an unusually high water bill is received. During a single billing cycle, if an undetectable leak is suspected because of a high bill, the customer will not be held responsible for that large bill, according to the ordinance. “If you received no beneficial use of the water, then you shouldn’t have to pay for the water,” Rader said. Previously, “the county’s basic policy was that if it goes through your meter, you owe for the water,” Rader said. “We’re glad that as we’re moving forward on a capital improvement program to eliminate the wasting of water on [the county’s] side of the meter, we’re likewise also going to raise the bar on the wasting on the customer side,” Rader said. The ordinance sets up penalties for wasting water and requires customers to fix broken systems once discovered. If a customer does not repair or report a leak “for any period of time beyond which the leak, break or malfunction reasonably should have been corrected, the county may terminate water service to the premises,” according to the ordinance. Once the customer discovers or is made aware of the leak, he has two business days to repair the leak. If water service is cut by the county, it will not be restored until the leak is repaired and all outstanding water bills, including the administrative fees for the termination and restoration of water service, have been paid to the county,” the ordinance states. The ordinance “gives the county the tools try to suppress the wasting of water,” Rader said.
School systems work on SPLOST schedule
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org With the passage of a special sales tax referendum on Nov. 8, DeKalb, Atlanta and Decatur school systems are developing a timetable over five years for the projects they will fund with the $600 million they are projected to receive from the tax. The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) passed countywide with a vote of 62 percent and begins on July 1, 2012. The 1 percent tax will help pay for school renovations, capital improvement projects and revamping technology in schools. City Schools of Decatur will receive approximately $18 million from the tax and has a project list that includes renovations at Renfroe Middle School, the creation of a new central office building, energy-efficieney changes for HVAC systems and additional elementary classrooms. “We are grateful for your continued support of our school district. Our students and faculty will benefit greatly from the priorities outlined in our SPLOST IV Plan,” City Schools of Decatur Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said. “On behalf of the board I want to make sure that we commit our pledge to you that we will be accountable and transparent to the use of those SPLOST dollars that you chose to trust us with,” DeKalb School Board Chairman Tom Bowen said at a recent meeting. In addition to the construction projects currently under way, such as the building of the new Chamblee Charter High School, the system is developing a timetable to decide which ones are most urgent. This year, the system is also rebuilding seven elementary schools. “For the capital renewal piece we’re going to do that in the order of the highest need but with the larger projects, it’s going to depend on the complexity of the project,” said Dan Drake, the system’s director of planning and forecasting. Drake said the system hopes to have a completed timetable by March but it would begin on some of the projects—such as installing new HVAC units at schools in need—as soon as possible. “We just want to make sure that we do the best planning,” Drake said. Recently, the system announced its development of a citizens’ oversight committee to watch how SPLOST dollars will be spent. Six members of the 12-person committee will be appointed by Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson. The first six will then appoint the additional six members. School system spokesman Walter Woods said the committee is a superintendent committee rather than a board committee and Atkinson would begin appointing members within 30 days. “We’re looking for people with expertise in terms of construction, accounting and audits, people who know what they’re looking at,” Woods said. Atlanta Public Schools also receives $19.5 million from the tax and school system spokesman Keith Bromery said several schools in the system located in DeKalb County would undergo projects such as upgrades of security infrastructure, and HVAC repairs and replacements.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Opinion Guest Columnist
Businesses can strengthen campaigns to restore U.S. leadership in STEM fields
by Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli Here’s a Sputnik moment: in the previous five years, which nation saw almost 47 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math? A hint: it wasn’t the world’s superpower, the United States. China lays claim to that impressive statistic, accompanied by South Korea Tricoli at almost 38 percent, and Germany at 28 percent. The United States awarded just 15.6 percent of bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines, according to the National Science Board. The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness reports that U.S. institutions annually send about 120,000 engineers into the workforce. In comparison, roughly 1 million engineers graduate annually from universities in India and China, collectively. One million versus 120,000 – even if you are math-challenged like me, you know those are not winning odds. If the United States is to maintain its status as a country of creative research, innovative solutions and leading economic growth – with all of the jobs that come with it – we have a lot of work to do to change these numbers. Across the country, in K-12 schools and colleges and universities, concerned citizens are waking up and making the effort to get more kids involved in STEM fields. That is certainly true here at Georgia Perimeter College. We are a powerful foot soldier in the campaign to prepare critically needed STEM graduates. As Georgia’s largest transfer institution and as the institution that serves more college freshmen than any other in the state, GPC is uniquely poised to make a difference by connecting with students at a critical phase of their education. Our doors are open for a wide range of students, tapping prospects from well-prepared academic and social backgrounds, as well as underrepresented minorities and those coming from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. In short, we are working to make sure the next Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking gets the chance, whatever his or her background. GPC has seen the positive impact of providing students research opportunities during their first two years and exposing them to real world STEM careers. To foster this environment, we connect our students to STEM research at four-year institutions, and we are establishing student internships within the Atlanta business community. Our efforts are paying off. The number of students enrolled in STEM programs of study at GPC has risen by 79 percent the past five years, outpacing the college’s overall growth rate. Now, four recently announced STEM grants—three from the National Science Foundation and one from the University System of Georgia—will provide unprecedented resources for GPC to further expand our best STEM practices. The awards guarantee $2.6 million to GPC over the next five years, with a potential for the total to rise to $3.5 million. In addition to the STEM funding, Georgia Perimeter also was just awarded a U.S. Department of Education grant guaranteeing $1.4 million over the next five years to enhance learning support for students needing assistance in math. Though not a STEM initiative, this award will help GPC expand access by helping students strengthen mathematical skills. We know that STEM careers drive innovation and that they are inextricably linked to the economic health and competitive positioning of our communities, our state and our nation. With this knowledge, GPC stands ready to expand our STEM successes. We ask Georgia’s business community to stand with us. By partnering with Georgia Perimeter College—and access institutions like us—corporate and business stakeholders can help broaden the STEM pipeline and ignite student passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Working together with four-year institutions and school systems, we can prepare tomorrow’s leaders in these crucial fields and build a stronger Georgia. Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli is president of Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year institution serving more than 26,000 students on five campuses in metro Atlanta.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 25, 2011
like Cynthia Tucker, Brenda Pace, Carlyn Forest, Tommy and Pat White—who came to visit, brought fruit and flowers, sent cards and called. Very vocal activist Gil Turman even carted in a big delicious chocolate cake I jokingly requested. Oh, the smiles and healing you brought. My Greenforest church family, Pastor Mitchell, Rev. Cody, Rev. Holder, Minister Ashe, Minister Fowler, Sister Sadie McCalep, Deacons Pimpton, Pettus, and Chester, the prayers you offered and communion you brought took me to another level in my spirit. Each prayer, each card, each phone call were all balms healing the wound. My recovery has been incredible for a condition the doctors described as “ugly.” I am so grateful. Speaking of doctors, I thank God for the healing hands of Drs. Harjee, Dorsey and Branch. They are God’s generals. The medical staff who attended me at DeKalb Medical, including nurses and therapists who had me up walking within 24 hours of my surgery were on the front lines. Thank you, Lorraine, Rosaline, Brittany, Nazzarie, Joe, Shamsha, Shavanda, Rachel and Melody. After four days at DeKalb Medical I spent the next three weeks at Manor Care Rehabilitation Center, a very clean, pleasant facility with surprisingly good food. My therapists, Phaedra and Cliff, were exceptional along with Michelle and Lachanda. Eula and Smitha were cheerleaders. Vaani made sure everything was in order. Among the nursing staff my standout angels were Bercherine, Robin, and the two Marcias. The finest C.N.A. in metro has to be Karen, who demonstrated daily that we were patients who needed her care and compassion and not merely customers. Lily, Nicole, Tamala and Joyce made certain any concerns I had were addressed. Nurse Sabina, a young Kenyan native, gifted me with her book. Our spiritual needs were also met at Manor Care. I am grateful to New Beginnings Church and the band of ministers and members who hold a devotional service with the patients. What an uplift. Also Rev. Jones and his group who minister on alternate Sundays. To see patients of all ages, races and physical conditions lifting their voices in spirited song and praise could be no more special than hearing the Hallelujah Chorus at Notre Dame. Sylvia helped lift our spirits with her ice cream socials, bingo and popcorn and movies. Finally, dear readers, during the course of this health hurdle, I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Pollack, a pulmonary sleep specialist. Dr. Pollack and I discussed health care and the direction of society in general – the greed, the sexual exploitation of children in the wake of the latest scandal at Penn State, etc. We agreed that we need to go back to basic values of intact families, integrity, ethics, living within our means, looking out and caring for one another. So much healing has taken place for me these past few week—physically, mentally and spiritually. I am so grateful. Dear readers, as you enjoy your holiday feast, be reminded of the preciousness of life itself, of the use of our limbs, the ability to think clearly, food, shelter, clothing and most of all each other and the vital roles we play in each other’s lives. African proverb: “I am because you are and because you are I am— grateful.” Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
Opinion The Newslady
Each year in this space I write about Thanksgiving and how much we have to be grateful for. This is another year of profound gratitude for me, especially having had major surgery for the first time in my life and realizing anew the importance of each and every person involved in the process. The Creator works through each and every one of us and each of us has a vital role to play on life’s stage. A great measure of recovery is our mental state which is bolstered by the presence and support of family and friends. My daughters Heather and Kellie, sister Mary, nieces Annette and LeToya, nephew Brad, brothers Richard and Brad, sister-in-law Renee and brother-in-law Lee showered me with unconditional family love. I thank God for those who live here and others out of town but near in spirit through their cards and calls. Friends—dozens of them
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The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Moving to the big table wouldn't have been such a big deal if what you found when you got there was broccoli.
Thanksgiving. It’s the principle of the thing, a thread of memory that reaches back into childhood when you sat at the card-table adjoining the big table until you’d reached a certain seniority. It was a big deal, moving to the big table. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if what you found when you got there was broccoli. I suppose we’ll have meatless lasagna — always a reliable substitute — or some such. Tofu, maybe. Whoopee. (Tofu is a high-protein meat substitute made out of recycled newspapers.) I’m thinking of carving a turkey out of balsa wood as a centerpiece for the table. Or maybe one made of paper mâché. Or maybe I won’t. I’d be tempted to eat it. But all is not lost. We still have the Thanksgiving tradition of giving thanks for our blessings. Religious people give thanks to their God, non-believers to the Unknowable Void that makes things happen for reasons of its own. This year I’m giving the Void thanks for the Republican slate of presidential hopefuls — Mitt, Newt, Michele, Rick, Herman, and Barney Fife. (Oops, sorry Mr. Paul. That was a slip of the tongue. Happy holidays to you, sir.) We poor ink-stained wretches are a lonely lot, sitting in our cell-like rooms, staring for hours on end at our computers, making things up. It’s a hard job. Candidates like the ones courting Republican voters cheer us up. Without them we’d be reduced to writing about the balance of payments, the threat of a Greek economic collapse, or the latest Kardashian divorce. Instead we get to glory in Herman Cain’s…Herman Cainishness. Or Rick Perry’s bizarre performance recently in New Hampshire, where he resembled the tipsy host of a children’s program, talking to 8-year olds. As one blogger put it: “The best case scenario is that he was drunk. The worst case is that he was sober, but drunk for all of his other appearances.” The Republicans are a gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, GOP, from the bottom of my tofu-glazed heart. Happy Thanksgiving. OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. otherwords.org
Thanksgiving is upon us. I once loved this holiday above all others — but no more. The day was an excuse for a gathering of the clan, without religious significance or pressure to buy everybody a useless present. It was essentially a festival of food. In my family, the menfolk would assemble in the living room to argue politics or football. Meanwhile, the women, supervised by the oldest among them, would engineer the meal in the kitchen. We’d all meet at the dining room table, representing as many as four generations, and conduct the ritual of the turkey. Oh yes, there was turkey. And ham, perhaps, as well as mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce and thick, brown gravy. At least that’s the way it was at our house. Strays and friends orphaned by distance from their homes were always welcome. It was, as I said, my favorite holiday. Ozzie and Harriet would have been jealous. Now, however, my wife and I have become vegans. Our Thanksgiving dinner will feature no turkey or ham. It will feature…vegetables. That’s what vegans eat — vegetables. “Nothing with a face,” my stormtrooper vegan sister-in-law is fond of saying. Which is nice for the fish and fowl, but I feel terrible. Not having turkey at Thanksgiving is akin to an un-American activity. Even if historians aren’t certain that Miles Standish and his crew ate turkey on Thanksgiving, it’s a virtually sacred tradition in this country. How dare the vegan Mafia I live among undermine that noble tradition? That argument has gotten me nowhere. It’s for my own good, they tell me. There’s no doubt I will enjoy the meal. I married a good cook from a family of good cooks. But still. It’s not the turkey, actually. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten turkey except on
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
New Lithonia city leaders ready for challenge
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com When Pat Miller, one of four newly elected Lithonia City Council members, moved into her home more than 30 years ago, the house was nearly 100 years old and needed significant work. “I see Lithonia like our house was–in need of a lot of repair but has potential to be wonderful,” Miller said. Miller and her other recently elected council members—Darold Honoree, TracyAnn Williams and Shameka Reynolds—will join newly elected mayor Deborah Jackson as they try to renew the small South DeKalb city. Rick Dodd is the only incumbent member of the council. Williams, an office administrator for an Atlanta company and a resident of Lithonia for 17 years, said the new government now has “the opportunity to move forward to rebuild and revitalize the city.” “I’m excited about that opportunity,” Williams said. The new council members will join other recent hires in the city’s government: city administrator Gerald Sanders, who was hired in September; Leah Rodriguez, on board since September; and police chief Kennis Harrell, hired a year ago. The new leaders will bring “a fresh look and fresh set of eyes” to the city’s issues, said Williams, adding that there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Code enforcement, downtown redevelopment and implementing the city’s Blueprinte revitalization plan are some of the tasks facing the council. Some of that work will be to the city’s image, tarnished by legal problems and discord. In March, the former city clerk was fired by the council, over the objections of current Mayor Tonya Peterson Anderson. The clerk, Missye Varner, was terminated after she accepted serpretty contentious for many years.” Miller, who has lived in Lithonia for 32 years, said she ran for her council seat after being approached by many residents. “I think the message of the people is that they haven’t liked what they’ve seen,” said Miller, a registered nurse for 21 years. “It’s time for a change.” That change will be the result of council teamwork aided by familiarity, said Williams, who said she considers everyone on the council as a friend or associate. “They’re not strangers,” Williams said. “That makes a big difference.” Miller, who knows several of the council members, said the new council has “similar goals, hopes and expectations for the city. But the challenge will be the political inexperience of many of the members. “That’s going to be a challenge,” -Pat Miller Miller said. “It will be really important for me and other people on the council vice of a lawsuit subpoena to get the training available” delivered by a DeKalb and counsel from veteran County Sheriff’s deputy. elected officials. In September, a fired “The lack of experience city of Lithonia bookis going to be a challenge, keeper pleaded not guilty to but I’m up for it,” Miller charges she stole $26,000 in said. “I don’t think it’s go2009. ing to be a serious prob“I think that time and the lem.” efforts that we’re going to Lithonia mayor-elect put into working together Deborah Jackson said that as a city council is going to “when most cities were just change” the city’s image, created, nobody had any Williams said. “We will be experience and they learned able to handle that task.” over time. Residents have also comThe government inexpeplained of internal strife rience of the new members among members of the city is an “asset because of who council. they are,” Jackson said. “That has absolutely They have life experibeen a problem in the past,” ence and have been active said Miller, whose husband in the community, but “the Larry, was a former council greatest thing they have is a member and unsuccessful passion to serve,” Jackson mayoral candidate against said. They also bring “a rePeterson. “I have attended ally positive spirit that we lots of city council meethaven’t always had.” ings and things have been
Champion of the Week
‘I see Lithonia like our house was–in need of a lot of repair but has potential to be wonderful.’
Brenda Pace said when she learned that, according to the 2000 census, income in her 30032 zip code is 22 percent below the national poverty level, she was overwhelmed. “I knew I had to do something to help my neighbors. Many of them are low-income seniors,” said Pace, who has lived in the East Lake area since 1975. Although a gentrification effort was prompted by the 1996 Olympic Games, not everyone benefited from the changes, she said. Talking with others in her neighborhood Pace learned that many are concerned about crime, education, economic development, health and the condition of their homes. “They needed someone to restore hope and pride in their lives,” she said. Pace said that at first she was frustrated when she approached elected officials and found them to be of little help. Then working with the East Lake Terrace Neighborhood Association, she reached out to such organizations as the Georgia Sustainable
Communities Alliance and Habitat for Humanity, and found others who were willing to provide information and assistance. “It was like a snowball rolling down a hill,” she said. “It just kept getting bigger.” Jacqueline James, who nominated Pace as a community champion, said Pace has worked tirelessly for the neighborhood for more than 20 years. “With little help at times, she keeps fighting to bring our neighborhood back from the brink to the vibrant area it once was,” said James, who added that Pace has established a working relationship with the DeKalb County police and fire departments to assure that her area gets the attention it needs. “Part of it has been an education process,” Pace said, “teaching people the importance of voting and getting involved with the schools, the PTA and other organizations. We’ve also helped people understand how government works and how they can work with government to get things done. “I’ve been volunteering all my life,” Pace said. “I was raised that way. From my mother’s point of view, older people who needed food, transportation or someone to cut their grass were our responsibility. I saw her serving others every day of her life. I know that I can’t do any less.”
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at kathy@DeKalbchamp.com or at 404-373-7779, ext. 104.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Life lessons on the run rewarding for Decatur teacher
by Robert Naddra firstname.lastname@example.org An accomplished runner, Kira Wilsterman was on the cross country teams at Decatur High School and Evansville University in Indiana. After taking a break for a few years Wilsterman got back into running and has competed in several marathons (26.2 miles). She now is involved in the sport as a pace group leader in marathons and half-marathons. However, the girls she mentors as a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run don’t want to hear about that. Instead, the group of third- through fifth-graders likes to hear Wilsterman tell the story of how she and a friend sneaked into a showing of Beverly Hills Cop as sixth-graders. “I’m always telling the girls stories about things that happened to me,” said Wilsterman, who has been a volunteer with GOTR for 10 years. “They like hearing stuff like that.” Girls on the Run is an international program that educates preteen girls on life lessons and healthy living. Wilsterman, a third-grade teacher at Oakhurst Elementary School, began the first GOTR program in Decatur. She is the longest tenured GOTR volunteer in the country. Now, all four K-3 schools in Decatur have a program and there are 12 overall throughout DeKalb County. When Wilsterman started at Oakhurst she realized there wasn’t an after-school program and found out about Girls on the Run. “I’ve always been a runner, so I was excited about starting a running club,” Wilsterman said. “I really enjoy helping other people meet their goals.” As part of the program, each girl participates in a 5K race at the end of the organization’s spring and fall seasons. The fall 5K Atlanta race was held earlier this month in Kirkwood. “Teaching life lessons and discipline in the pre-teen years are even more important than running,” Wilsterman said. I wish we had something like this when I was growing up. We talk about all kinds of things, like ways to deal with peer pressure and gossiping.” In a recent session about peer pressure, Wilsterman told the story about how she gave in to her friend’s peer pressure. “I remember feeling uncomfortable and got busted by the theater manager,” she said. “I got in trouble. I talk to them about ways I could have stood up to my friend.” Each practice session begins with a life lesson, such as ways to stand up to bullying,
Kira Wilsterman, third from right, a teacher at Oakwood Elementary in Decatur, has been coaching with the Girls on the Run program longer than any GOTR volunteer in the nation. Photo by Robert Naddra
before running. The girls get into small groups and discuss ways to handle different scenarios. “I like to hear [Wilsterman] tell us stories, like how she got into the movie,” said 11-year old Bailey Holbrook, who has been in the program since third grade. We do a lot of fun stuff and we learn how to cooperate with each other.” Wilsterman said she has learned a lot about herself and about the girls she mentors through the GOTR curriculum. “You really get to know yourself,” Wilsterman said. “It teaches you how to work within a group and about reaching out to your community.” Wilsterman said she has enjoyed watching the kids mature through the program. “You watch the girls grow into their own independence. They want to do this on their own. It’s huge step in their maturity.” The accomplishment of preteens being able to finish a 5K race is not lost on Wilsterman. Every girl in her program has finished a 5K, she said. “I’ve watched the kids grow up,” Wilsterman said. “One of the greatest accomplishments is seeing the joy and the smiles on the parents’ faces as they cross the finish line. When they’re 8-10 years old and finishing a 5K race, that’s huge.”
Referendums passed in Doraville will change government
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Doraville voters recently passed a referendum that will change the city’s government to one with a part-time mayor and a full-time city manager, making it one of the last cities in DeKalb County to convert to such a form of government. The close vote—50.47 percent voting yes and 49.53 voting no— means by 2014 the mayor and city council will have to hire a city manager and share some of their powers to run the city. “I respect the voters and we’re going to support them. I think that we need to find the most professional person when we’re hiring a city manager, and we need to make sure that we find the right one,” Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman said. Pittman also made clear it would still be important for the mayor to maintain a close relationship with residents even though he or she would have less power. She said it was important for residents to continue to have the opportunity to speak openly with their mayor. “I think it’s very important that you maintain the relationship that [residents] enjoy with the mayor. [Residents] like that one-on-one and I think that’s very important,” Pittman said. Councilwoman Karen Pachuta, who was in support of the referendum, said having a city manager would make running the city’s day-to-day operations smoother. Pachuta echoed Pittman and said the most important role for the mayor would be being a liaison to businesses and residents. “I hope with the new form of government, the council can concentrate more on policy rather than also having to be involved in day to day operations as it currently [does],” Pachuta said. Pittman’s assistant Luke Howe, said the idea for the change had been “batted around” for years but only gained traction recently. Howe said that in 1981 the city went from a city manager to a full-time mayor form of government by referendum, which is why it chose the same route to go back. “They’ve got some time to put together a job description and try to find somebody,” Howe said. In addition to the binding referendum, Doraville voters passed a homestead exemption referendum that provides a tax exemption for municipal purposes in the amount of $25,000 of the assessed value of the homestead of residents. Currently, Howe said the city’s homestead exemption was $50,000 with a 100 percent exemption for people older than 75. However, the new referendum will repeal that and implement a $25,000 exemption across the board. “Right now, as it is, $50,000 is incredibly high and most of the town wasn’t paying city taxes at all and [this is] going to help the financial situation a lot,” Howe said. Voters in the city also passed a redevelopment referendum that will allow the city to execute redevelopment powers under the “Redevelopment Powers Law,” which gives the city the authority to sell bonds to finance infrastructure and other redevelopment costs. “It enables the establishment of a tax allocation district, and that’s all it does. It’s just something that a city like [ours] needs to have in its toolbox,” Howe said.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Dunwoody man charged in death of Doraville detective
by Robert Naddra firstname.lastname@example.org Thirty-nine-year old Dunwoody resident Gene Jones has been charged with DUI and first-degree vehicular homicide in the Nov. 14 death of a Doraville Police Department detective. Detective Robert Shane Wilson, 27, was traveling on I-20 westbound near Panola Road on his way to a home invasion call when the accident happened at approximately 2:30 a.m., according to DeKalb Police spokeswoman Mekka Parish. Jones was traveling east in the west bound lanes and the two cars collided, police said. Wilson died on the scene. Jones, who remains hospitalized, also was charged with reckless driving and driving on the wrong side of the road, police said. “No words can adequately convey the immeasurable grief that grips our city and this organization,” said Doraville mayor Donna Pittman. “First and foremost, our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Detective Robert Shane Wilson.” Wilson began his tenure at the Doraville Police Department as a dispatcher in 2003. In 2007, Wilson became a sworn police officer and in September he was promoted to detective corporal. “Shane was a courageous young officer of the highest caliber and a rising star in the department,” Pittman said. “He died just as he had lived… a hero–a hero that protected the innocent and served the people of this city and state with bravery, honor and the utmost integrity.” Funeral services for Wilson were Nov. 17 in Conyers. He is survived by his wife Katy Wilson, son Liam Wilson, mother Gail Hanson and stepfather Jim Hanson, both of whom are retired police officers, and father J. D. Wilson.
County form of government hot topic at forum
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com The county’s legislative delegates disagree on the issue of getting rid of DeKalb’s CEO form of government. “The CEO form of government stinks and it needs to go by the wayside,” said Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-80) during the 2012 legislative preview forum held by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 16. “I don’t like it and I will vote in a heartbeat for a bill to put a referendum on the ballot to move to a county manager form of government,” Jacobs said. “But I don’t think that that solves all of what ills DeKalb County.” For example, DeKalb leaders still need the “political will that seems to be lacking to right-size this county government,” said Jacobs, referencing a Georgia State University study that concluded that the county has too many positions. The county’s Board of Commissioners is considering a resolution that would ask the state legislature to form a charter commission to study changing the county’s CEO-commission form of government to a county manager form in which a manager would be hired and accountable to the Board of Commissioners. Sen. Fran Millar (R-40), said he believes the county has the best group of commissioners its ever had. “But when they do something that’s right, because the CEO is separate and distinct, he can just ignore it,” Miller said. “And that’s basically what he’s done.” Millar said the first thing CEO Burrell Ellis did when elected was to move out of the building shared with the board of commissioners. “The CEO of the county has a separate office [building],” Millar said. “I go through more security to see him than I would to see the president of the United States. My point [is] if you have that kind of relationship, no matter what the legislative body says they want to accomplish, the CEO [can choose] to ignore it.” Other delegates were more supportive of keeping the CEO form of government. “I don’t have a big problem with the form of government,” said Sen. Steve Henson (D41). “There are problems with a lot of forms of government. People don’t want to really face some of the tough issues of government. They want to point to a cure-all.” Rep. Howard Mosby (D90) said county leaders need to look at addressing what is not working in the current form of government. “I think that any form of government we decide to have as a community we can make work if we are going to be the leaders that we were elected to be,” Mosby said. On the subject of the movement to incorporate Brookhaven, Jacobs said his top legislative priority for the upcoming General Assembly session beginning in January is Brookhaven cityhood “because of the number of people who have invested a tremendous amount of effort to the issue where it is today.” Jacobs said that some of the movement’s discontent goes back to the county’s most recent tax increase. “The question for citizens is whether they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth,” said Jacobs, who supports the proposed city. “It’s not necessarily about specific services.” Millar, who also supports Brookhaven’s cityhood, agreed that the move to incorporate Brookhaven has been fueled by a sense of frustration after the county’s “largest millage increase.” “My only issue is what the final borders would be,” Millar said. “I am absolutely for the concept.” Henson is on the other side of the issue. “I have concerns about this municipalization,” Henson said. “I want to make sure there is a comprehensive look at the situation. Personally, I’m not in favor of Brookhaven incorporating. “I would need a lot of information before I saw the benefits even to the people of Brookhaven, let alone the unincorporated areas outside the [proposed] city,” Henson said. “If the citizens really want it then we just need to look at how we can integrate that with the county as a whole.”
From left, Sen. Fran Millar, Sen. Steve Henson, Rep. Mike Jacobs, and Rep. Howard Mosby discuss the upcoming state General Assembly during a legislative preview breakfast sponsored by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
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The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Candler’s Dean Jan Love said, “This award is a well-deserved recognition of the outstanding work Liz has done to enrich the field of social ethics and improve the lives of prisoners.” According to the National Institute of Justice— the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice—restorative justice focuses on restoring the harm crime does primarily to victims but also to communities. This principle obligates offenders to make things right. “This approach signals an alternative to the eye-foran-eye approach to justice,” Bounds said. She pointed to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Council, which provided a forum for violent offenders to confess their deeds and for victims to achieve some level of resolution so that the society could move forward. She is also a strong advocate of alternative sentencing, which allows judges to send some nonviolent offenders charged with misdemeanors to programs that enable them to reform. “The aim is to repair rather than incarcerate,” she said. “It’s about reintegrating people back into society.” Bounds acknowledged that some offenders are so violent that they must be locked away for a long time. “But we don’t have to have as many incarcerations as we do,” she emphasized. In her inmate theology certificate program, Bounds oversees a group of seminary students who teach many of the courses through the support of the Atlanta Theological Association. “She is adept at guiding students as they take lessons from their classrooms and put them to work in our communities,” said Love, “and she has introduced many students to the idea that they can fulfill their calling in community set-
Emory professor recognized for work with incarcerated women
by Nigel Roberts Studies for inmates. In recognition of her Our nation’s incarcerawork, Union Theologition and recidivism cal Seminary rates are alarmingly awarded Bounds high and show no its 2011 Dissigns of abating, tinguished said Elizabeth M. Alumna Award Bounds. With nearly last month. The 30 years of prison award recogministries experinizes alumni ence, Bounds bewho distinguish lieves passionately themselves in the that people can rechurch, academy form and has advoand society. cated for restorative Bounds The award justice. announcement Her advocacy, though, stated: “Dr. Bounds is one goes beyond article writing of the most important voices and speech making. The in Christian social ethics in Emory University Christian academia and the church ethics professor has been today. Her trenchant social teaching a range of theolethical analysis connects isogy courses to incarcersues of race, gender, class ated women at the recently and sexuality to contempoclosed Metro State Prison rary issues.” in unincorporated DeKalb. Bounds, who earned And she has collaborated master’s and doctorate dewith the Rev. Susan Bishgrees from the seminary, op, a Chandler Theological was unaware that she had Seminary alum and prison been nominated and was chaplain, to develop a Cer“pleasantly surprised” that tificate for Theological she won. tings.” For Bounds, it is rewarding to see her incarcerated students wrestle intellectually with theological questions. “They have enormous energy and passion with what they are doing,” she said. “These courses give them something to think about. It’s very exciting.” Twenty students have graduated so far, and 10 are currently in the program. And there are 22 students waiting to enter in 2012. Bounds said closure of Metro State Prison has been “disruptive” for the program, which continues outside of the metro area. Looking to the future, Bounds would like to see the program expanded into more facilities, including men’s prisons. But funds are just not available right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to champion the cause.
MARTA unveils solar canopy
MARTA unveiled a new $10.8 million solar canopy at the Laredo Bus Facility near Laredo Drive in Decatur on Nov. 18. The project was funded by a Federal Transit Administration grant and was the largest awarded in 2009. It is the largest solar canopy in Georgia and the second-largest structure of its kind at a United States transit system. “We’re thrilled that the solar technology used to build the canopy for the bus facility was born out of Georgia Tech’s PV lab. To be able to use home-grown technology to power this landmark project is a clear demonstration of the clean energy innovation and leadership found here in Georgia,” MARTA Board Chairman Jim Durrett said. According to a press release, the solar panels generate enough electricity to offset a significant portion of the facility’s annual electricity consumption and have the same environmental benefit as planting more than 285 acres of trees a year. In addition to producing power, the shade structures will reduce summertime temperatures between 20 to 30 degrees underneath the canopies, lower bus fuel consumption, reduce the need for air-conditioning and enhance the general work environment for MARTA operators, maintenance and facilities personnel. “The Laredo Solar Canopy project is a shining example of this agency’s ongoing commitment to being at the forefront of environmental sustainability in the transit industry,” said MARTA general manager/CEO Dr. Beverly A. Scott. “As general manager of MARTA, I’ve had my share of truly great moments and can honestly say I will remember this as one of the happiest and proudest of them all.” The Laredo Bus Facility solar canopy joins MARTA’s growing sustainability program, which includes a fleet of clean-fuel buses, water reclamation and harvesting operations, the installation of LED lighting and a waste recycling program.
From left, Circle D Enterprises President Hebrew Dixon, III; Suniva Vice President of Sales for the Americas Matt Card; MARTA Board Member Harold Buckley; MARTA Board Chairman Jim Durrett; MARTA General Manager/CEO Dr. Beverly A. Scott; FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan; FTA Region 4 Administrator Dr. Yvette Taylor; DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May; and Executive Vice President of New South Construction Huntly Gordon. Photo provided
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
County finds new ways to address cybercrime and child sexploitation
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org A video of a 14-year-old girl went viral, recently. The video depicted the girl performing a sex act with an exboyfriend while his friends secretly taped it. Soon after, the video was posted on the web. DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May said this is what prompted he and his wife Robin to host a discussion panel titled “Wake Up Call: An Adult Discussion on Teens, Sexuality and Social Media” at the Lou Walker Senior Center on Nov. 17. “Today is an opportunity to have a conversation about our youth,” May said to the crowded room. “The key is, you have to know what’s going on in the lives of your kids.” The panel consisted of eight experts in various fields, including DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston, Director of the DeKalb Child Advocacy Center Trenny Stovall and Dr. Julianne Adams Birt, among others. “We can’t always prevent our children from making poor choices but we can gather and talk about the consequences of those decisions so that we can stop those things from happening,” Boston said. Each member of the panel spoke briefly about how today’s children are affected by easy access to social media and how that can sometimes leave them open to predators. Boston emphasized how some behaviors could unexpectedly send children to court. “We have a case right now with a young girl who took a picture of herself topless and texted it to her boyfriend,” Boston said. “When they broke up, he texted it to 15 other people in the high school.” Boston said that some of the people who received the image were as young as 14 and 15 years old. As a result, the boy who sent the image was charged with a misdemeanor for distributing it. “These little things that kids think are no big deal are in fact crimes,” Boston said. Stovall said parents need to take action and be involved in their children’s lives. She said it was just as much the parents’ responsibility as it was the child’s. Stovall also read a list of statistics complied by her office that made some of the attendees gasp. “Six in every seven teens report that they receive communications on the internet from strangers,” Stovall said. “Forty one percent receive unwanted sexual solicitation.” According to Stovall there are more than 50,000 sexual predators online at any given time and 20,000
See CRIME on Page 13A
Commissioner Lee May and Senior Assistant District Attorney Dalia Racine listen to Trenny Stovall, director of the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center, speak about how parent involvement can help curb child exploitation.Photo by Daniel Beauregard
© 2011 Georgia Power
What is it that makes us different here?
Maybe it’s just knowing when to help. Here in Georgia, some people are having trouble paying their bills. You can help us help them. Just make a small donation to Project SHARE on your next Georgia Power bill. Or give online at GeorgiaPower.com/ProjectSHARE. Together with the Salvation Army we can show everyone what makes us different here.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Pill mill leads to a dozen racketeering arrests
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com A dozen people have been indicted in metro Atlanta for their roles in a statewide “pill mill” operation that began in Chamblee a year ago. The indictments and arrests were announced on Nov. 15 by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the Georgia Drug & Narcotics Agency. “Pill mill” refers to a pain management clinic that excessively prescribes prescription medications. In this case, doctors and pharmacists worked together in a ring that included 19 locations. “The people that are part of this scheme are drug dealers,” said DeKalb District Attorney Robert James. “They’re dope dealers and they’re dealing in ostensibly legitimate items, so they hide in plain sight. “A crack dealer has to hide and cower behind a garbage can or bush or building when the police come through, these people hide in plain sight,” James said. “They’re no different than crack dealers. They’re pushing poison.” The suspects were charged with two counts of racketeering under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. James said the pill mill operation was a three-level scheme which began with an initial pain clinic set up in Chamblee approximately a year ago by owners William Dean Benton, Malcolm Dwayne Garrett and Richard Joseph Romero. The clinic, Better Living Wellness and Rehab Center of Chamblee was closed in July and later the operation reopened as Atlanta Counseling and Recovery Center in Sandy Springs. The three men had originally owned a clinic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “They were raided by the DEA and run out of Florida for operating an illegal pill mill,” James said. The owners “set up rules and regulations about how many people could be in the clinic, how many people could be hanging around so they wouldn’t be detected by police,” James said. “They also surveilled the parking lots and neighboring parking lots to make sure police weren’t watching. They actively participated in this criminal activity.” After setting up the business, they recruited Curtis Edwin Wills, a psychologist from Texas, and William Floyd Garrett, a physician, James said. William Garrett and Dwayne Garrett are unrelated. So-called patients would come from all over the country to get a purported psychological evaluation from Wills after which a prescription for Oxycodone would be written by William Garrett, according to James. Wills and Garrett would then steer the clients to pharmacists on a list. Pharmacists arrested in the case were David Ajueyitsi, of D&B Pharmacy in Douglasville; Uko Ukoh, of Mountainview Pharmacy, in Marietta; Richard Noell and Shad Justin Sutherland, of Olde Time Pharmacy at Sixes in Canton; Chris and Christy Parker, of Village Pharmacy in Douglasville; and Christian Monyei, of FHS Pharmacy in Douglasville. “They were prescribing 240 tablets of Oxycodone at one time for one person,” James said. “This is essentially enough to kill you over the course of a month if you simply took three tablets a day. “The only people that actually get even near this amount are cancer patients that are in their last days, people that are dying,” James said. “Nobody prescribes this much—no doctor.” James said that some people would come back every week to get that amount of Oxycodone and 99 percent of the customers were from out of state. One of the pharmacies did not see one single person from Georgia. James said that while the average pharmacy sells Oxycodone for $1 per pill, these pharmacists were selling the medication for $5 per pill and the street value was $30 per pill. “They’re not legitimate business people,” James said. “They’re not respected members of the community. They’re drug dealers. Drug dealers profit off of other people’s pain, off of other people’s addiction.” With the indictments, James said that “hopefully somebody’s mother or child is not going to overdose on prescription drugs.” “The [Centers for Disease Control] will tell you that more people die from prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined every year,” James said. “Don’t be mistaken; this is an epidemic and this is a very serious matter.”
SEE 20 YEARS OF DEKALB’S COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS
The DeKalb History Center, in cooperation with The Champion Newspaper, will host a new temporary exhibit highlighting 20 Years of Community Champions. As part of their 20 year anniversary, The Champion Newspaper recognized newsmakers who have made positive contributions to DeKalb County during this time period. This exhibit details the important contributions from these Champions by highlighting their accomplishments and achievements and includes community leaders from all walks of life. The exhibit showcases personal items and memorabilia from many of the honorees. The exhibit will be on the first floor of the historic DeKalb Courthouse, 101 East Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030. The exhibit will open to the public from October 19 to March 30, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
children on online safety. “A unit like this is absolutely needed, especially in such a large county,” Brown said. “In our current society technology plays such a critical role…and where technology is a very good thing, bad people can use those good things for bad purposes.” As technology evolves in today’s society, Brown said, the unit will grow to meet the demand. He urges residents with any questions regarding cybercrime or online child exploitation to call the DeKalb Internet Crimes Against Children Unit at (770) 724-7710.
Continued From Page 11A
new child pornography images, many presented by children themselves, appearing on the internet every week. However, a new unit of the DeKalb County Police Department is working to bring those numbers down. Sgt. David Brown, head of the recently formed cybercrime unit, said since it has been in operation his team has made more than a dozen arrests. “In five weeks, we’ve exceeded the number of arrests made the whole year prior on these types of cases,” Brown said. Brown said the unit’s work may bring to mind the popular television show To Catch a Predator but it encompasses much more than some might think. “Our detectives are specially trained to do these investigations as well as use the computer forensics to gather this type of digital evidence,” Brown said. The new unit focuses on online child exploitation,
which Brown said includes cases where adults are looking to engage in sexual contact with children, trading and distributing videos depicting children engaging in sexual acts and exploiting children for financial gain. “They basically post an advertisement on the web and are trying to pimp them out,” Brown said. Since the establishment of the unit, Brown said it has worked with other agencies across jurisdictional lines to assist in investigations. It also works with the community to provide presentations to schools, churches and events to educate parents and
Fire officials find two bodies after early morning fire
Two brothers, both in their fifties, were found dead during an earlymorning fire on Nov. 21. It did not take fire officials very long to put out the fire that occurred at a home on Parsons Drive near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, according to Steve Ham, assistant chief for DeKalb County Fire Rescue. “The fire had almost smoldered itself out,” Ham said. The home was not heavily damaged in the blaze, but had significant smoke damage, Ham said. The two men, whose names have not been released by fire officials, were probably deceased before emergency officials were called, Ham said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
DeKalb County Wants to Hear From You Regarding the Proposed Franchise Agreement Renewal with Comcast Cable Communications
Send your comments and/or concerns regarding Comcast’s current performance under the current franchise agreement and/or the future cable-related needs and interests of your community to www.dekalbcountyga.gov.
The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Sunny High: 66 Low: 41
Nov. 24, 2011
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Nov. 24, 1863 - The Civil War’s “battle above the clouds” was fought on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga. Pre-frontal clouds obscured the upper battlefield. These weather conditions contributed to a victory for Union forces. Nov. 25, 1970 - The temperature at Tallahassee, Fla. dipped to 13 degrees, following a high of 40 degrees on the previous day. The mercury reached 67 degrees on Nov. 26, and highs were in the 70s the rest of the month. Dunwoody 64/40 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 65/41 65/41 65/41 Snellville Decatur 66/41 Atlanta 66/41 66/41 Lithonia College Park 67/41 67/41 Morrow 67/41 Union City 67/41 Hampton 68/42
In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see sunny skies with a high temperature of 66º, humidity of 54%. East wind 10 to 20 mph. The record high temperature for today is 74º set in 1931. Expect mostly clear skies tonight with an overnight low of 41º. The record low for tonight is 14º set in 1950.
Sunny High: 66 Low: 44
*Last Week’s Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 75 62 63/44 0.23" Wednesday 73 55 63/43 0.70" Thursday 55 37 63/43 0.01" Friday 53 30 63/43 0.00" Saturday 60 41 62/43 0.00" Sunday 67 50 62/42 0.00" Monday 73 55 62/42 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.94" Average temp . .56.1 Normal rainfall . .0.99" Average normal 52.7 Departure . . . . .-0.05" Departure . . . . .+3.4
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport
Partly Cloudy High: 65 Low: 53
Few Showers High: 63 Low: 40
Partly Cloudy High: 49 Low: 31
Mostly Sunny High: 52 Low: 30 New 11/25
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:17 a.m. 7:18 a.m. 7:19 a.m. 7:20 a.m. 7:21 a.m. 7:22 a.m. 7:22 a.m. Sunset 5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:29 p.m. 5:29 p.m. 5:29 p.m. Moonrise 6:34 a.m. 7:43 a.m. 8:47 a.m. 9:43 a.m. 10:31 a.m. 11:12 a.m. 11:47 a.m. Moonset 5:02 p.m. 6:01 p.m. 7:03 p.m. 8:09 p.m. 9:13 p.m. 10:16 p.m. 11:15 p.m. Full 12/10
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise 8:50 a.m. 9:22 a.m. 12:28 a.m. 3:52 p.m. 4:19 a.m. 2:26 p.m. Set 6:31 p.m. 7:06 p.m. 1:33 p.m. 4:59 a.m. 3:42 p.m. 2:31 a.m.
Partly Cloudy High: 54 Low: 38 First 12/2
Local UV Index
National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see mostly clear skies today and Friday, isolated rain Saturday, with the highest temperature of 62º, found in Effingham, Ill. The Southeast will see mostly clear skies today and Friday, partly cloudy skies and a few thunderstorms Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in Hollywood, Fla. The Northwest will see partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 63º in Torrington, Wyo. The Southwest will see partly cloudy to cloudy skies with a few showers today and Friday, mostly clear skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 75º in Chandler, Ariz.
What is the rarest form of lightning?
0 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+
UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High 11+: Extreme Exposure
Answer: It is known as ball lightning.
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Magnitude: It's all Greek to Me
Look up into the clear night sky, and you’ll notice dozens to thousands of stars depending upon your location. Some stars are brighter, and others are fainter. How do astronomers identify stars with respect to brightness? It all started with the Greeks, and to the uninitiated, the system may still sound like Greek. To Greek philosophers of antiquity, the heavenly luminaries were divided into six categories called magnitudes. It was strictly arbitrary with the brightest stars of the night classified as first magnitude and the faintest as six magnitude. If two astronomers with different visual acuities looked at the night sky, the number of stars in each of the various magnitude categories would undoubtedly be different. But there was another catch. Normally, we associate bigger, more positive numbers with greater values. As an example five apples represent a larger quantity than two apples. However, in the Greek system, the more positive the number becomes, the fainter the star. To astronomers of all ages, a fifth magnitude star has always been less bright than a second magnitude star. In addition to this confusion, when the magnitude system was finally formalized in 1856 by the English astronomer, Norman Pogson, a first magnitude star wasn’t just twice as bright as a second magnitude star; it was 2.512 times brighter. A difference of five magnitudes represented an intensity change of 100. Brighter objects were even recognized to have negative magnitudes. Confused? You can image how my college students react to this system and to what could have been a much simpler way of quantifying stellar brightnesses. Science sometimes does itself a disservice when it isolates concepts from better public understanding. Astronomy remains popular, but with many misconceptions and poor community awareness of concepts like stellar brightness. www.astronomy.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
still smoking. We have to continue warning them through campaigns like this.” Health department officials provided some daunting facts about secondhand smoke: • Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, including approximately 70 that can cause cancer. • Secondhand smoke can cause numerous health problems, including cancer, hearth disease, asthma attacks, respiratory and ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. • Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion and increase risks for a heart attack. Materials distributed at the launch indicate that secondhand smoke costs an increased tax burden of $548 per DeKalb County household for direct healthcare charges. The campaign—which features actual DeKalb County residents and locations—will include radio, online and newspaper advertisements in English and Spanish. The
Board of Health launches secondhand smoke campaign
by Kathy Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org Amid balloons, ribbons and other symbols of celebration the DeKalb County Board of Health on Nov. 16 launched Picture DeKalb Healthy, a campaign to encourage residents to imagine and create a healthier DeKalb County by reducing their secondhand smoke exposure. Walls at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center, where the formal launch was held, were decorated with artwork produced by youngsters at DeKalb County schools during a Red Ribbon Week competition. Red Ribbon Week is a health-emphasis event in which youngsters are encouraged to avoid such harmful substances as drugs and tobacco. The schoolchildren had been invited to create artwork reflecting their vision of a healthy, smoke-free DeKalb County. Winners were recognized at the event. Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford, district health director of the DeKalb County Board of Health, said, “I’m a pediatrician, so I get excited about anything that focuses on kids and anything that focuses on health—so this event is doubly exciting for me.” Ford noted that although DeKalb County has a low smoking rate—11 percent of the adult population compared with 21 percent nationally— secondhand smoke still presents a significant risk. “Some people think that because they only smoke occasionally or only outdoors they are aren’t contributing to the problem. The truth is there is simply no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” Ford said. “Picture DeKalb Healthy demonstrates our commitment to helping residents breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives.” DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson said, “As a health professional, as a father and as a DeKalb County resident I am so happy to see this initiative. After many years of those of us in health professions educating people on the dangers of smoking, sadly, many young people are
District Health Director S. Elizabeth Ford, right, honors schoolchildren who were winners in the Red Ribbon Week artwork competition. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
campaign, supported by the agency’s DeKalb Putting Prevention to Work program, will also host special events to educate community members on the dangers of secondhand smoke. Residents interested in creating and supporting smoke-free environments are encouraged to join Live Healthy DeKalb, a group of
organizations, agencies, faithbased groups, businesses and residents working together to create a healthier DeKalb County. For more information, visit www.dekalbhealth. net. Residents looking for support and resources to quit smoking are encouraged to call the Georgia QuitLine at (877) 270-STOP.
Help us create a Healthy DeKalb. Join the Live Healthy DeKalb Coalition at www.dekalbhealth.net/DPPW.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 25, 2011
Doraville councilman resigns citing accountability Lithonia Continued From Page 1A issues with mayor and city council
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com
Doraville City Councilman Bob Roche resigned on Nov. 14, stating in a letter to City Clerk Melissa McCain that he could not in “good conscience” be a part of a city government that refused to hold its employees accountable. In his resignation letter, Roche alleged that Mayor Donna Pittman and city council members refused to produce a financial statement for fiscal year 2010-11 showing budget and actual spending on all accounts. “The motive appears to be protecting city employees who may have overspent budgets or diverted funds to unapproved uses,” Roche said. Roche recently ran as an incumbent for District 2 against candidates Chris Avers and Trudy Jones Dean Nov. 8, beating Avers but not receiving enough votes to avoid a runoff against Dean. In his resignation letter, Roche said that by vacating his council seat several weeks before the end of the term remaining council members have time to call a special election to fill the seat. “This has no effect on my candidacy for the Doraville City Council term beginning Jan. 1, 2012, except I will not be running as an incumbent,” Roche said in the letter. Pittman’s assistant Luke Howe said that the city and the interim finance director have been working diligently to review the city’s financ-
es and prepare reports, including financial statements to be used by the council as part of its upcoming mid-year budget review. “Mr. Roche has had access to all reports and information which exist,” Howe said. The Champion was provided with both a financial audit and a full financial report through June 2010 and Howe said that staff was working diligently to complete the rest of the reports. “The caveat is, we can give an accurate report through June but anything after June is incomplete and won’t project an accurate picture of where we are. We recently got a new finance director and there has been a lot of catching up to do,” Howe said. Roche said that he had requested financial statements from the past year broken down for each department and had yet to receive them. “The reason why that’s important is because the city council is responsible for passing a budget…as long as we don’t have a full financial statement we don’t know for sure whether a department has broken the law or not,” Roche said. Roche also claimed that both Pittman and the city council knew there was a problem with the previous finance director but refused to do anything about it for more than a year. “If the mayor wanted it to happen it would happen, she clearly does not,” Roche said. Howe wouldn’t comment on Roche’s accusation of trying to
cover up the misuse of funds by city employees but said the city was undergoing a careful review of its accounting records. “We will be addressing the handling of the vacancies in both Mr. Roche’s seat and the District 1 seat in our next meeting,” Howe said. The next council meeting is Nov. 24, 6:30 to 9 p.m. A recent resolution gives the option of appointment of council members to only one seat. Since Pittman left District 1 to run for mayor, the city now has two empty seats and will be forced to hold a special election. Howe said the cost to hold the election could range from $4,000 to $7,000. However, Roche said that to appoint a seat the council needs a majority of four votes and he didn’t think that would have happened, which would have left Pittman’s old seat vacant for the next two years. “The whole point was to get a full council instead of having two more years with just five people. I believe if I hadn’t resigned that seat would have remained vacant for another two years and frankly I believe the citizens have the right to elect their members,” Roche said. Roche added that he doubted it would be a substantial cost to add the election to the ballot in May, when residents will go back to the polls to vote for the presidential primary. “Even so, $6,000 or $7,000 is a small price to pay to make sure that everybody in Doraville is evenly represented,” Roche said.
“If we do not supply the resolution or the minutes or something else that would satisfy the Justice Department, they will not preclear the election and the election will be void,” Denmark said. “That is a result that nobody wants.” An option may be for the council members to sign an affidavit “indicating that the council did in fact take a vote…to the special election on Nov. 8,” Denmark said. “I think that will satisfy the Justice Department.” Council member Rick Dodd said he is concerned about signing an affidavit saying that a vote was taken if the tapes, if found, prove otherwise. And the council does not know the exact date of the meeting during which the consensus was reached. “Right now we don’t know whether it’s in the minutes at all, [at] which meeting [the vote] took place, and if it’s on tape,” Denmark said. “I cannot emphasize to the city enough that this is a critically important issue,” Denmark said. “The election results could likely be voided. “I don’t know if there is a greater priority that the city of Lithonia has at this moment,” Denmark said. “We need to marshal all of our resources as a city to find those minutes and if they don’t exist then to take some alternative steps that I’ve recommended.” Denmark said that “what the justice department pre-clears is a decision by the governing body to hold an election.” “If we don’t have a decision or some official action by the city….then there’s nothing that the Justice Department can preclear,” Denmark said. “We need something that shows evidence of that decision. I need something to work with.” The Justice Department is expected to make a decision by Dec. 15. “The stakes are high,” Denmark said. Justice Department officials “don’t know who or what Lithonia is. They don’t know whether there is a plan afoot to deprive certain individuals of their voting rights. “They take it very seriously,” Denmark said. A swearing-in ceremony scheduled for Nov. 14 for newlyelected council members Pat Miller and Tracy-Ann Williams was postponed indefinitely as the city works through its election troubles. Miller and Williams were elected to fill two seats vacated by council members who ran for mayor.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Something fishy is going on
Students release 36,000 fish into the Chattahoochee River as part of science program
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org On a cloudy day, students from 11 DeKalb County Schools stood on the muddy banks of the Chattahoochee River to say goodbye to some friends that had been a big part of their lives over the past few months. There were approximately 36,000 of them, all floating around in bright orange buckets and coolers waiting to be released into the river, which rushed by in dark green hues at Paces Mill Park in Cobb County. The friends were fish of course—some catfish and some trout—and had been raised by each school as part of the Small Fry 2 Go program. The schools participating this fall were Stone Mountain and Sequoyah middle schools; and Kingsley, Evansdale, Oakcliff, Rock Chapel, Browns Mill, McLendon, Henderson Mill, Oak Grove and Narvie Harris elementary schools. “Let me tell you what makes this project different from anything else: these kids understand science… The children understand it because they are doing science,” said Mindy DiSalvo, who coordinates the Small Fry 2 Go program for the DeKalb County School System. She said she created the ideas several years ago to have students hatch and raise fish in the classroom then release them into the wild. “I developed it just as a thought and a company came forward and has actually grown it into what it is today,” DiSalvo said. “We also partner with a school in Mayport, Fla., and two schools in Portland, Maine.” Each year the program releases 72,000 fish—36,000 each in the spring and fall— and DiSalvo said it has done much more for the students than she could have hoped. “Every student has a job back at school to take care of the fish. So, we think it has raised attendance and—oh my gosh—has it raised parent and community involvement,” DiSalvo said. On the weekends, DiSalvo said somebody had to feed the fish every hour and many janitors, business partners and parents took time to volunteer to help feed them. She placed importance on the fact that students weren’t just learning about fish in a book but getting the handson experience of raising them from birth. At the park, several fish died when one teacher hit a bump while wheeling a cooler down the boat ramp. Little fish were on the ground everywhere as parents, students and teachers ran to get buckets of water and scrambled to pick them up. “You know what, this is science,” DiSalvo said as she watched the scene. “One year every fish died at one school and what they learned from that was the importance of having scientific instrumentation to determine how much oxygen was in water. So, what they’ll learn from this is that these fish can’t survive stress like this.” At each school, the fish were raised in what DiSalvo called a “labitat,” which is a mini-replica of what the Department of Natural Resources uses in real fish hatcheries all over the Southeast. Oakcliff teacher Gerald Clancy said he had been involved with the program from day one, nearly seven years ago, and over time he had seen an incredibly positive impact on the students who participate. “We do a lot of math; when we get the eggs they do estimations to see how many eggs they’re starting out with. We do graphing…it’s kind of one of those activities where it’s not just a science activity, it actually goes out and touches every subject that they deal with,” Clancy said.
See FISHY on Page 17A
Students from 11 DeKalb schools gathered at Paces Mill Park in Cobb County to release 36,000 fish into the wild. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
State seeks No Child Left Behind waiver application
The Georgia Department of Education formally submitted an application for a waiver of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In September, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge personally delivered Georgia’s request for a waiver to certain provisions of NCLB, and an alternative accountability plan, to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Georgia is one of the first states seeking a waiver from some of the requirements within NCLB. The state is requesting permission to implement a new College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) for each public school, school district and the state for the 2011–12 school year. The CCRPI determination will vary based on grade levels. However, it will measure the extent to which a school, school district and the state are successfully making progress on a number of accountability indicators such as content mastery, student attendance and the next level of preparation. training program will educate the students on DeKalb County and provide leadership training in areas focused on justice, public safety, health, quality of life, business, government, banking and personal finance, career options, civic engagement and personal etiquette. Students accepted into the Youth Leadership DeKalb Class of 2012 are: Arabia Mountain High School Alivia Cromartie Ayana Sears Brittany Sears Avondale High School Gerald Brown Cedar Grove High School Damon Arline Joshua Heard Chamblee Charter High School Ashton Jordon Joya Reasor Kenzie Thompson Clarkston High School Taahira Sheffield Columbia Magnet High School Oliva Perdue DeKalb School of the Arts Courtney Neapollioun Richard Peay Druid Hills High School Tasneem Akbar David Egas Vivian Lee Jada Mack Jackson McCleary Dunwoody High School Madison Dill Whitney Dixon Lakeside High School Viviana Coronado Marist High School: Christopher Bowman Megan McKinstry Leigh Peters Martin Luther King High School Dyaneisia Deshay New Birth Academy Ramzee Cooper Redan High School Jordan Bennett Mekhi Seraile Craig Smith Southwest DeKalb High School Kristen Peagler Stephenson High School Brittney Goss Towers High School Luwana Alfred Tucker High School Chelse Brown W.D. Mohammed High School Naim Fareed Woodward Academy Stefan Gresham
Leadership DeKalb welcomes 35 high school students to Youth Leadership DeKalb
Leadership DeKalb has enrolled 35 students from schools across the county and the metro region to participate in the Class of 2012 Youth Leadership DeKalb program. With sophomore and junior representatives from 20 public and private high schools, the 10-month
Continued From Page 16A
Clancy said that usually in the mornings it was the students who would come to remind the teachers about feeding the fish, not the other way around. “They’re real conscious about their responsibilities throughout the day,” Clancy said. “This year it’s a third grade activity, but we’ve also brought a lot of other grades in. Second graders learn about life cycles so we brought them in so they could see that whole process before [the fish] left.” DiSalvo watched the students line up along the banks—each held a small cup with a few tiny fish. As they gently placed them in the water and watched them swim out of the cup, DiSalvo told a story about a recent fishing trip the owner of the Small Fry 2 Go program had taken. “He and his grandson were out here fishing earlier this year and they caught a fish, and he said, ‘I know that’s one of your fish because of the markings on it.’ How cool is that?” she said with a smile.
Students from several DeKalb schools gathered along the banks of the Chattahoochee River to release the fish they raised.
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
the same families week after week, I get to know their kitchens very well,” he said. Everything from home-style family dinners to elaborate fourcourse dinners is within Disend’s skill range. He even joins in the effort four times a year to
Personal chef solves dinner dilemmas for busy families
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com Those who walked into the Dunwoody Fresh Market grocery store to pick up items for dinner on a recent Saturday afternoon might have caught a whiff of pork chops being cooked with garlic, sage and butternut squash sauce and wished the person stirring up the culinary delights could come home with them to prepare their evening meal. That’s exactly how Jeff Disend, who was preparing the demonstration meal at Fresh Market, got his start as a personal chef. “About 10 years ago, I started doing in-store cooking demos and people loved the food,” Disend said. “People kept asking me if I’d come cook for them, so I started a personal chef company called Chef Jeff.” Disend said most of his clients are in Dunwoody or in Atlanta’s Buckhead area. “My clients are families that hate to cook or don’t have time to cook. Often both parents work and kids have lots of after-school activities,” he explained. “I learn their food likes and dislikes and then I create a weekly menu and send it for their approval. I cook their dinners in their kitchen and leave the meals in their fridge with written instructions for heating and serving. So, 10 minutes after they walk in the door, they’re eating a healthy, delicious meal made just for them. “My clients get great food with no effort and lots more free time. They say they gain an extra 10-15 hours free time every week because they don’t have to plan meals, shop, cook or clean up. They tell me that hiring me costs less than eating out or taking out every night—and without the hassle and expense of getting dressed, driving, parking, tipping and paying a sitter,” he said. “They can eat whenever they want— even in their jammies, if they choose to. “Most of my clients prefer fresh food rather than frozen, so I cook for them weekly. Other personal chefs often freeze dinners for their clients. Most of my clients ask me to cook three to four dinners each week,” he continued. Disend charges a professional service fee for each cook day plus the actual cost of the ingredients. The service fee depends on how many meals a client wants, how many courses at each meal, and the number of people. The service fee is the same for each cook day and the only variable each week is the food costs, which depend on what each client likes to eat. “I don’t make money on my clients’ food. In fact, I bring them the grocery receipts for reimbursement.” The Dunwoody resident acknowledged that it can be tricky cooking in so many different kitchens, but added that kitchens are all similar. “They all have a stove, sink, fridge, microwave, etc. Since I bring my own tools, it’s pretty easy to adapt to different kitchen layouts. And, since I cook for
Chef Jeff Disend whips up garlic sage pork with butternut squash sauce and a side dish of fennel salad at a recent cooking demonstration at Fresh Market in Dunwoody. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
cooking was just a hobby,” he recalled. “I’m mostly selfprepare food for 30,000 as non- taught, although I’ve taken classes with many of Atlanta’s profit Hosea Feed the Hungry serves holiday meals to those in best chefs.” Deciding that food preparaneed in the metropolitan Atlanta tion is his true calling, Disend area. left corporate training to work Disend, who grew up in Pennsylvania and holds a mas- in the wine and restaurant industries. He now has been ter’s degree in education, was cooking for more than 30 years lured to Atlanta by a job in and has established a reputaCoca-Cola’s corporate traintion that even led to his being ing department. “At that time,
considered for a chef’s position at The White House. In addition to his personal chef business, Disend is the director of recipe development for Chefs USA, a company of professional chefs, and the in-house gourmet chef at the Dunwoody Kroger. He also writes and publishes Food for Thought, a free monthly newsletter with recipes, humor, trivia and cooking tips.
Seminars designed to build economic success
Stone Mountain Toastmasters on Tuesday, Dec. 6, will host the first of a series of free seminars designed to provide area residents with skills for success in today’s economic environment. This first seminar will focus on successful job interviewing. Topics include “Surviving Performance Based Interviews” and “Presenting Your Best Self - Quick Tips on Dressing for Interviews.” Motivational speaker, trainer and humoroligist Al Wiseman will also speak on the topic “Finding the Funny—How Humor can Help you Succeed.” Wiseman, author of Finding the Funny, uses humor to inspire, educate and inform. The seminar will begin at 7 p.m., at the Village Corner German Restaurant, 6655 James B. Rivers Drive, Stone Mountain. The event is free and open to the public. Toastmasters is a nonprofit educational group helping people improve public speaking and leadership skills. Stone Mountain Toastmasters meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at The Titus House, St. Michael and All Angels Church, 6740 James B. Rivers Drive, Stone Mountain.
Dunwoody resident wins $1,000 in window treatments
Budget Blinds of North Atlanta, serving the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody communities, recently announced that Dunwoody resident Laura Stevenson is the winner of the Budget Blinds $1,000 Window Treatment Makeover Giveaway. Stevenson was presented a $1,000 Budget Blinds gift certificate at the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce by Karen Clay, owner of Budget Blinds of North Atlanta. Clay said that the makeover concept was so popular that Budget Blinds of North Atlanta is sponsoring a second giveaway on Small Business Saturday, sandwiched between black Friday (Nov. 25) and cyber Monday (Nov. 28). “In celebration of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, we’re inviting Sandy Springs/Dunwoody homeowners to post a photo of a window or room they’d like to transform on our Facebook page,” Clay said. “The first 25 residents to post will receive a free in-home consultation and $50 Budget Blinds gift certificate good through Dec. 31, 2011 to help a few more local homeowners like Laura Stevenson revive their home affordably for the holidays.” For details, visit http://www.facebook.com/budgetblindsnorthatlanta.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
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The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Dine & Dance returns to Northlake Mall Reading initiative to bring children’s author to Decatur
Memorial Drive at 240 Candler Road, SE in Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 371-0749. Little Shop of Stories, a children’s bookstore in downtown Decatur, recently announced it is sponNorthlake Mall will hold its monthly Big Band event featuring the Atlanta-New York Connection on soring a visit from children’s literature author NorTuesday, Nov. 29, in the mall’s Food Garden. Held ton Juster on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. at Agnes the last Tuesday night of every month 6-8 p.m., this Scott College’s Presser Hall. Juster is the author of The Phantom Tollbooth, social affair is free and open to the public. Those originally published in 1961. This fall marks the who come early can have dinner before dancing 50th anniversary of this quirky adventure full of the night away. Northlake Mall is located at 4800 Briarcliff Road, N.E., Atlanta. For more information, puns, word play, and unforgettable characters. Little Shop of Stories is bringing Juster to Decatur as part call (770) 938-3564. of new citywide reading initiative, On The Same Page (OTSP). The goal of this program is to foster a community of readers, both young and old, by bringing families together around the same book. In conjunction with the AJC Decatur Book Festival, the Decatur Education Foundation and the Decatur Rotary Club, Little Shop of Stories hopes to spark Soil and water meeting scheduled the minds and imaginations of readers this fall and The DeKalb County Soil and Water Conserva- in years to come. The Phantom Tollbooth is the intion District monthly meeting will be held on Friday, augural OTSP book selection. Seating for the Juster event is limited, and tickDec. 9, at 10 a.m. at the Clark Harrison Building, 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. in downtown Decatur. ets are required. Little Shop will start distributing tickets on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m. Tickets will For additional information call (770) 761-3020. be limited to two per person and must be picked up at the store. More information is available at http:// littleshopofstories.com/same-page.php. World AIDS Day event to feature
FODAC to hold Breakfast with Santa
Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) will hold a breakfast with Santa at the Marriott Evergreen Conference Resort in Stone Mountain Park on Dec. 10, 10 a.m. - noon. Arrive early for best seating. The festivities will include a gourmet breakfast buffet, free park admission and an opportunity to meet and take pictures with Santa and his elves. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children 5-11 (children younger than 5 are admitted free with adult admission). Call (770) 491-9014 or visit www.fodac.org for ticket information. All proceeds benefit FODAC.
Area residents can learn about the impact of HIV/AIDS on DeKalb County and get a free HIV test on World AIDS Day, Thursday, Dec. 1. In addition, they can join in a “dance to heal” workshop of AfriSalsa group dancing. This year’s World AIDS Day event will be 1 - 3 p.m. in the Bohan Auditorium of the Richardson Health Center, 445 Winn Way, Decatur. Free, walk-in, conﬁdential, 20-minute HIV tests will be available from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the DeKalb Addiction Clinic at 455 Winn Way. Dec. 1, 2011, marks the 24th annual World AIDS Day. This year’s theme is: “Getting to zero: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.” For information on the Dec. 1 event or the DeKalb County Board of Health, visit www. dekalbhealth.net or call (404) 508-7866.
Albany State University fair to be held
The Dekalb County Alumni Chapter of Albany State University will host a College Recruitment Fair on Saturday, Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., at the Stonecrest Library, 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia. Students and parents who attend will have an opportunity hear from representatives of the Albany Former bank opens as community State Office of Enrollment Services about admissions, housing, financial aid, athletics and student center life. There is no cost to attend this event. For more More than 75 Tucker residents gathered on Nov. information, visit www.asuramsdekalb.com 12 to celebrate the opening of the Tucker Commu. nity Center at the First Baptist Church of Tucker. The building is the former site of a Wachovia branch and was donated by Wells Fargo to the church for the purpose of ministry and community outreach. NETWorks Cooperative Ministry and Habitat for Humanity - DeKalb will operate out of the building. Free concert announced
From left, Jane Watson, executive director with Habitat for Humanity; Scott Asher, community bank president with Wells Fargo; Randy Shepley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Tucker; Gene Reeves, trustees chairman of the church; Dave Kivett, pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Tucker; Lynn Stone of NETWorks; Michelle Hamilton of Habitat for Humanity; Holly Duncan of NETWorks; and Courtney Gibson, children’s minister at First Baptist Church of Tucker.
Writers to meet at library
A creative writing group will meet at Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library Tuesday, Nov. 29. Aspiring writers have the opportunity to share their work and network. Sessions are held every other month on the last Tuesday, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., except on holidays. Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library is located at 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 286-6980.
Saint Philip AME Church invites the public to its annual Joyful Noise for Toys Concert on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m. in the sanctuary. This free concert will feature The Sanctuary Choir and Choir #1. Saint Philip is located on the corner of Candler and
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
Girls’ basketball preview
Teams benefit from abundance of returning starters
freshman and averaged 6.8 rebounds. Coach Jerry Jackson also will look for production from Brea Elmore and Jamesa Abney. Last year appeared to be the season that “We had a good offseason and the kids have Chamblee, 1-9 in state tournament games, spent a lot of time together,” Jackson said. “The would change its hard luck story in the postsea- chemistry of this team is strong and they pick son. each other up.” The Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 for three In Class AAA, St. Pius returns all five startweeks and recorded their second undefeated ers after winning the Region 5-AAA champiregular season in school history. However, an onship and finishing 25-6. The Golden Lions upset loss to Miller Grove in the quarterfinals of defeated 2010 state champion Columbia in the the Region 6-AAAA tournament kept Chamblee region finals and advanced to the AAA state (23-1) out of the state tournament. quarterfinals. The good news is that the nucleus of that Senior Sydni Payne returns as the Golden team returns. Jasmine Camp, now a freshman Lions’ leading scorer. Also, Emma Ucinski and at Stanford, graduated but three top players reAnna O’Donnell were voted to the 5-AAA allturn. Lucy Mason was the third-leading scorer region team, with O’Donnell voted the region in the county last season at 16.5 points per game tournament MVP. and Bre McDonald, who has signed with GeorColumbia will be attempting to make anothgia Tech, averaged 13.1 points. Also returning is er strong run in the state playoffs led by senior forward Chelsea Adams. guard Zuri Frost. The Eagles, 25-7 a year ago, Winners of their first two games this seawon their first state championship in 2010 and son, the Bulldogs begin region play Nov. 29 advanced to the state semifinals last season. at home against Lakeside. Chamblee has only Frost, one of the top defensive players in the two regular-season region losses over the past county, had 130 steals and averaged 10.6 points two years—and both came against Southwest per game last season. Also returning is junior DeKalb. Miah Spencer, who averaged 11.7 points per The Bulldogs were one of the top defensive game last season. teams in the county a year ago, allowing only 38 In Class AAAAA, Stephenson won the Repoints per game. gion 2-AAAAA tournament and finished 22-6. As in years past, the Bulldogs’ top competi- The Jaguars, however, lost in the first round of tion in the region should come from Southwest the state tournament. DeKalb, Miller Grove and Redan. Senior Joylyn Strauss and junior Kaliyah Olivia Gibbs and Nekia Sockwell, SouthMitchell will be among the leaders this season. west’s top scorers from a year ago, are back this Mitchell, a 6-2 post players, is regarded as one season. Gibbs averaged 13.8 points and Sockof the top underclassmen in the area and averwell averaged 11.7 points per game. aged 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds as a sophoMiller Grove will be strong again inside, with more. juniors Aniefiok Udofia and Klarissa Weaver, “Once we get some games under our belts and senior Tabitha Fudge leading the way. the girls will have some confidence,” coach Fudge, a 6-foot-2 post player, averaged 9.8 reDennis Watkins said. “Hopefully, we can get bounds and helped the Wolverines rank second in further [in the state tournament] this year.” the county in blocked shots a year ago with 136. In Class AA, Decatur returns one of the top Redan, which lost six seniors; including Ki- players in the state in Queen Alford. The 5-8 erra Paige (Alabama State) and Aneesah Dan- senior guard has signed with Jacksonville Uniiels (Alabama), will rely on a roster that includes versity. She scored 41 points in the Bulldogs’ five sophomores and four freshmen. Sophomore first two games this season. Decatur finished Jada Byrd, a 5-7 wing, led the county last sea21-9 last season and advanced to the state tourson by shooting 62 percent from the field as a nament. by Robert Naddra firstname.lastname@example.org
Chamblee’s Chelsea Adams, from left, Lucy Mason, coach Paul Ireland, Paden Smith and Aijah Crockett.
Southwest DeKalb’s Ciera Williams, from left, Nekia Sockwell, coach Kathy Walton, Nicole Razor and Olivia Gibbs.
Redan coach Jerry Jackson with, front row, Destini McClary (10) and Fatia Sams (20), and, back row, Brea Elmore (15), Jada Byrd (12) and Tyuana Ellison (42). Photos by Travis Hudgons
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
M.L. King offense feeds off last-second heroics
by Robert Naddra email@example.com n 82-yard kickoff return with 16 seconds remaining to beat Stephenson. A 31yard pass play with no time left to send the game into overtime in an eventual win over Brookwood. Those two plays suddenly typify the season for an M.L. King football team that has rallied on several occasions to remain undefeated. The Lions (12-0) won the Region 2-AAAAA title in the final game of the regular season when Blake Tibbs returned a kickoff 82 yards in the final seconds for the winning score. The Lions had trailed by three touchdowns in the second half. Then last week in the second round of the AAAAA state playoffs, a 31-yard pass from Jonquel Dawson to Cornell Boyd as time expired forced overtime against Brookwood. The Lions, who were down by a touchdown on three different occasions, won it on a 20yard touchdown pass from Dawson to Tibbs. “These guys just won’t quit,” Lions coach Mike Carson said. “We always feel like if there’s time on the clock we have a chance to win, no matter what the situation.” Against Brookwood, Dawson had thrown his third interception of the game with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. But M.L. King was able to use its three timeouts and force Brookwood to punt. The Lions took over at their own 28, and advanced to the Broncos’ 31 with nine seconds remaining before the game-tying toss. “To me, as much as we work on our two-minute drill, I felt like we had enough time to score,” Carson said. Carson and his coaching staff have worked on the Lions’ spread offense almost non-stop since he got the job two years ago. M.L. King is a regular competitor during the summer in 7-on-7 passing tournaments throughout the state. Our goal is to win a state championship,” Carson said. “That’s been our goal since January. We’ve competed in passing tournaments and have developed the type of mentality that we know if we have the football we’ve got a chance to score. They’ve developed a no-quit type of attitude.” That attitude served the Lions well earlier in the season as well. M.L. King trailed region rival Westlake in the first half before rallying in the second half to win 35-14. The Lions also trailed Luel-
la, another region foe, before rallying late in the game to win 49-42. Depth at wide receiver also has helped the Lions be able to stave off defeat in the final seconds. Tibbs, committed to a scholarship offer by Georgia, is the marquee receiver. With four catches against Brookwood, Tibbs has 63 catches for 1,042 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Joshua Stanford has 46 catches for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Boyd has 33 catches for 472 yards and seven scores. With three touchdown passes against Brookwood, Dawson is tied for the state career record for touchdown passes with 92. He also has unofficially 8,557 career passing yards, less than 600 yards behind state leader Zach Stanford of Metter, who passed for 9,062 from 2001-04. “Our other receivers are being overlooked and that’s fine with us,” Carson said. “Teams are double-covering and bracketing Blake and forgetting about our other guys.” Carson exploited that against Brookwood, calling the same play three times in a row. After two misfires, Dawson threw a strike to Boyd, who was wide open in the front of the end zone for the gametying score in regulation. “These guys [Boyd and Stanford] are better than most other team’s No. 1 receiver,” Carson said. “What Stafford did [against Brookwood] was outstanding. He’s a big-time player.” Winning two games in the final seconds in the past three weeks hasn’t taken a toll on his team, Carson said. In fact, it may have the opposite effect. “They feed off of it,” Carson said. “They’re a pretty poised football team at this stage. They understand that in order for us to win, we’ve got to play good on both sides of the ball and on special teams. “If we do what we need to do to have a chance to win, we believe nobody can beat us,” Carson said. The next challenge for the Lions is Lassiter on Nov. 25 in the third round, 7:30 p.m., at Hallford Stadium. The Lions will see a mirror-image of them on offense as Lassiter also runs a spread offense. Lassiter’s Eddie Printz has passed for 2,694 yards and 25 touchdowns. “It helps in a way that they’re a spread offense because our defense has been going up against a spread every day in practice all season,” Carson said.
Cornell Boyd hauls in a touchdown pass on the ﬁnal play of regulation to send M.L. King into overtime against Brookwood.
Jonquel Dawson (5) also threw a touchdown pass to Joshua Stanford (17) who was covered by two Brookwood defenders.
M.L. King’s Toronto Thomas, who had 11 tackles, delivers a hit on Brookwood’s Jamaal Cole. Photos by Travis Hudgons
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011
DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
Tucker’s Rondell Simons, left photo, pulls away from a defender while Jordan Landry (21), who caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score, reaches for a pass in Tucker’s 46-0 win. Photos by David Sibley
FOOTBALL State playoffs, second round
Tucker 46, Griffin 0: Jordan Landry, Yusuf Minor and Dallas Rivers each scored two touchdowns as the Tigers (12-0) posted their first shutout of the season. Rivers scored on runs of 3 and 4 yards, Minor scored on a 6-yard run and an 84-yard kickoff return, and Landry scored on a 44-yard run and a 44yard pass from Juwaan Williams. The Tigers rushed for 243 yards, led by Landry with 60. Eight players had positive yardage for the Tigers. Defensively, the Tigers have held nine teams to eight points or fewer this season. Tucker hosts Flowery Branch (11-1) on Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m., at Adams Stadium in the third round of the Class AAAA state playoffs. This is the fourth time in five seasons under coach Franklin Stephens that Tucker has advanced to the quarterfinals. M.L. King 27, Brookwood 21 (OT): Blake Tibbs caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jonquel Dawson in overtime for the gamewinner. Seconds earlier, Cornell Boyd caught a 31-yard pass from Dawson as time expired in regulation to tie the game 21-21. Tibbs caught four passes for 66 yards, Boyd had four catches for 76 yards and Joshua Stanford had seven catches for 198 yards for the Lions (12-0). Dawson passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns, tying him for the state record of 92 career touchdown passes with two other players. Defensively, Carlos Garrett led with 14 tackles, including three for losses. Also, Kendarius Whitehead and Toronto Thomas each had 11 tackles, with Whitehead getting three sacks. Jordan Moore added seven tackles, recovered a fumble and caused a fumble. The Lions host Lassiter (9-3) on Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m., at Hallford Stadium in the third round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs. St. Pius 31, Shaw 6: Ryan Braswell rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries for the Golden Lions (12-0), who amassed 351 yards on the ground. St. Pius has had zero yards passing in two playoff
AAAA state runner-up. Jordan Price added 20 points and 16 rebounds, while Kaderius Turner had 12 points and Emmanuel Walker had 10. Dunwoody: The Wildcats opened the season with a 72-59 win over North Springs. David Ani led the Wildcats with 17 points, Bradley McKnight added 15 points and Richard Carrington had 11.
Stephenson: The Jaguars defeated Hiram 5436 and Therrell 67-11 in their first two games of the season. Maima Jackson led with 11 points against Hiram while Schelbi McKenzie had 11 points and Kaliyah Mitchell added 10 against Therrell. The Jaguars will play in the Big Apple-Big Peach Classic over the holidays at Shiloh High School in Gwinnett County. Redan: The Raiders opened the season by beating Northside Columbus 62-28 on Nov. 18 and Carver Columbus 56-43 on Nov. 19. Tyuana Ellison led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Northside. Jamese Abney and Destini McClary each added 13 points. Against Carver, Brea Elmore led with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Jada Byrd added 13 points and seven rebounds. Decatur: Queen Alford scored 18 points and Jordan Dillard added 11 as the Bulldogs beat Providence Christian 60-30 in the season opener Nov. 18. Alford scored 23 points and Dillard added 12 in a 70-20 win over Druid Hills on Nov. 21. Chamblee: Three players each had doubledoubles for the Bulldogs in a 61-31 seasonopening win over Paideia. Lucy Mason had 20 points and 10 rebounds; Bre McDonald added 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks; and Chelsea Adams had 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs also beat Madison County 62-40 on Nov. 19.
Aaron Avant (6), above photo, pulls down one of his two interceptions while quarterback Trey White (12), top right photo, looks for running room in St. Pius’ 31-6 win over Henry County. Photos by David DiCristina
games. Quarterback Trey White, who gained 83 yards rushing, scored the other touchdown. St. Pius has held eight opponents to six points or fewer this season. Michael Healy led the defense with 12 tackles and a sack, and Joe Crochet had 10 tackles for the Golden Lions. Geno Smith and T.J. Holloman each added seven tackles. Also, Aaron Avant had two interceptions. The Golden Lions host Cairo (102) on Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the third round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
Southwest DeKalb: William Goodwin had 35 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Panthers to a season-opening 9081 over Rockdale County, last year’s Class
The Champion Free Press, Friday November 25, 2011 The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please e-mail nominations to robert@ dekalbchamp.com by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK William Goodwin, Southwest DeKalb (basketball): The 6-foot-8 senior had 35 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots as the Panthers opened the season Nov. 19 with a 90-81 win over Rockdale County, the Class AAAA state runner-up last season FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Lucy Mason, Chamblee (basketball): The senior, who was the third-leading scorer in the county last season, led the Bulldogs with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 61-31 win over Paideia in the season-opener.
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Algie Key, Barton Community College (Kan.), (basketball): The freshman from Columbia scored 23 points in an 86-78 win over Labette on Nov. 19 and had 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 75-66 win over Independence on Nov. 18 for 8-0 Barton. Kierra Paige, Alabama State (basketball): The freshman from Redan is starting at guard and averaging 11 points through the first two games. She had a team-high 15 points in a 62-51 loss to Samford on Nov. 16. Nikos Papanikolopolous, Oglethorpe (soccer): The sophomore defender from Lakeside, who transferred from Clemson, was named to the allSouthern Collegiate Athletic Conference second team. He started all 21 games and scored four goals on five shots this season.
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