DeKalb puppeteer searches for permanent stage

by Daniel Beauregard n the basement of Michael Chechopoulos’ house, off Snapfinger Road near Glenwood Avenue, sit hundreds of handmade puppets waiting to see the light of day and teach a lesson. “I try to bring people together with this,” Chechopoulos said of his puppetmaking. Chechopoulos, 65, is originally from Chicago and lived in New York and Los Angeles before settling down in DeKalb County, where he and his wife have lived since 1994. He he has been making puppets since he was 12 years old. “These are all my own natural, found-material puppets,” Chechopoulos said. Some of the puppets are made out of pine cones, mango seeds, hollowedout gourds and even clay and grass. Chechopoulos’ puppet Doc, an old, bearded Black man, was sculpted out of clay and its eyes and eyebrows move. Doc is a hand-and-rod puppet, similar to Jim Henson’s Muppets, with a beard made entirely of tree roots and grass, although it’s hard to tell unless the viewer is up close and personal. “It’s been an ongoing work for many years,” Chechopoulos said of Doc. His basement is chock-full of puppets he’s made or acquired over the years, but Chechopoulos said he really needs a permanent stage. “DeKalb County has nothing—Fulton County has the Center for Puppetry Arts, which has been there forever,” Chechopoulos said. The Center for Puppetry Arts, located in midtown Atlanta, has been open since 1978 and is housed in what used to be Spring Street Elementary School. “They got it from the county for a dollar.” Chechopoulos said he wants to approach DeKalb County, which owns a lot of property and locations that aren’t being used to see if they’d be willing to do the same thing. His goal is to have a community-based puppet theater where he can perform shows, teach the art of acting and puppetry and give children something positive to do during their downtime. In addition to his work with puppets, Chechopoulos is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, has appeared on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. He was an actor at the Georgia Renaissance Festival several years ago. He currently works with the developmentally disabled,
See Puppeteer on Page 13A

Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.






Sixty-five-year-old Michael Chechopoulos has been making puppets since he was 12-years-old. A DeKalb resident since 1994, Chechopoulos makes the puppets out of natural materials such as pine cones, mango seeds, hollowed-out gourds, clay and grass. Photos by Daniel Beauregard



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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24,, 2012

The brainchild of Emory University oncologist Amelia Langston, the third installment of Oncology Olympics were held earlier this month. Patients and staff participate in various events designed to give patients a distraction from their ailments. “Cancer can do a lot of bad things, and we see that every day,” Langston said. “We want to be able to have fun when we can and celebrate when things are going well.” Photos provided

Emory’s Oncology Olympic games inspire, entertain
by Donnell Suggs The closing ceremonies of the XXX Olympiad in London, England, have come and gone. The culminating events on the last day of competition consisted of the men’s basketball final, men’s water polo final and the marathon among others. Thousands of miles away in DeKalb County, the third Oncology Olympics were closing as well. The final events of those games were the saline bag toss, bedpan shuffle-board finals, wheelchair races (patients were not allowed to participate because of their health) and the marathon, where patients kept count of how many laps they walked around the bone marrow transplant unit in a day. The largest of its kind in Georgia, the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute is one of 57 cancer centers in the United States with an “outstanding” rating by the National Cancer Institute. The BMT program provides cancer patients with high-dose chemotherapy via bone marrow or blood stem cell transplants. With all that goes into cancer chemotherapy and the challenges patients and their families face, any distraction that can potentially lift their spirits during these difficult times is welcome. Enter Dr. Amelia Langston who decided to bring the Oncology Olympics to Emory to do just that. The inaugural games began in 1996, during the Atlanta Olympic Games, while Langston was when I got here to Emory and the [2008 Beijing] Olympics came along, I suggested we try it here. “When I brought up the idea [at a meeting] people didn’t miss a beat in forming an Olympic organizing team,” Langston said. Winship Cancer Institute’s communication manager Virginia Anderson said the games have had a positive impact on the unit and its patients. “It is an honor to work among such dedicated, compassionate doctors and nurses who not only treat the body but also soothe the soul,” Anderson said. Langston, who bikes, swims and runs in her spare time, said, “Our main goal is simply to give everyone—patients, families, staff—a moment of fun and pleasure.” “Our patients are confronting the greatest challenge of their lives and it’s easy for them to get discouraged and tired,” Langston said. “Anytime we can make their time with us [at Winship] more bearable then that’s a victory.” Joseph Alexander, a patient of Langston’s and a bone marrow transplant recipient, echoed those sentiments. “The games were outstanding,” Alexander said. “They took [your] mind away from your treatment and put you at ease.” [We] just thought it was a really small thing, but they made sure it was a really big thing, they got us out of the rooms and made sure we got to watch and participate.” Alexander medaled in the bedpan shuffleboard event.

in residency at the Fred Hutchinson Research Center in Seattle, Wash. Langston said the timing could not have been better. “A group of us [doctors] were in the Olympic spirit and got the idea of having an Olympics among our three oncology floors in the hospital,” Langston said. “We thought it would be a great way to help patients, families and staff to be a part of the Olympic spirit, too. “Everyone liked the idea so we made up a bunch of events like saline bag toss and hulahoop contests that incorporated our own unique world,” Langston said. “The patients and staff had a great time with it so it was natural that

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24,, 2012

High court chief justice Hunstein wants fewer in jail
by Kate Brumback ATLANTA (AP) A nearly three-decade veteran of the bench, Georgia Supreme overhaul the state’s criminal justice system to provide alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders. The reforms were widely praised and unanimously approved by lawmakers in both chambers. Among the panel’s recommendations were treatment programs for drug offenders and increased supervision of released inmates. A next step in the process is a focus on juvenile offenders, something Hunstein feels strongly about. Teenagers don’t necessarily demonstrate the best judgment, but locking them up isn’t always the answer and often makes it more likely they’ll commit future crimes, she said. “I think we have to address problems with our juveniles to prevent them from becoming adult criminals,” she said. Locking people up for less time can also save the state enormous sums of money, an advantage that’s not lost on Hunstein. Since she took over as chief justice three years ago, she’s had to deal with substantial budget concerns. During her first year as chief justice, she had to fire some employees and furlough others. She and the other justices volunteered to take unpaid furlough days to keep costs down. “It’s not quite as bad now as it was, but there were times when we were looking for contributions of pens and pencils and that sort of thing, just to save as much money as possible,” she said. Hunstein was appointed to the state high court in 1992. She became chief justice in 2009 and has about a year left in her term, after which she’ll continue to serve on the court as a regular justice. She’s thinking ahead and has more ideas for reforming the criminal justice system in Georgia. “I’m very interested in traffic misdemeanors,” she said. “Most citizens in this state don’t realize that


Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein is a big advocate of finding alternatives to locking people up and thinks the state is on the right track with its focus on criminal justice reform. “We need to be open to new ideas rather than just put them away in prison as long as you can,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month. “If you put someone in the prison system, you effectively have harmed their ability to get work, and you probably have harmed them socially, as far as coming out and being a productive citizen.” She mentioned an example from her time as a DeKalb County Superior Court judge. She had to hand down a mandatory minimum sentence of five years to a 17-year-old who had used a plastic pistol to steal a Starter jacket. “I had no leeway,” she said. “Now, when that young man comes out, he may have a high school education. He won’t have any college. He will have no career. And it’s going to be very difficult for him to be successful in life.” Hunstein was part of a panel that presented recommendations to the state Legislature, which resulted in the adoption this year of legislation to

when they plead guilty to most traffic offenses, they are pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.” That plea can mean a fine and sometimes jail time and makes it so the offender technically has a criminal record, she said. Many states have changed this so that some traffic violations—like speeding or running a red light—are lesser offenses. Hunstein would like to see Georgia

make a similar change or at least look into providing a way for most drivers to get that conviction off their record. She would also like the state to consider a pretrial release program that would allow people accused of certain crimes to be released from jail without paying bond prior to trial. This would ease the burden on the local jail system and would allow people to get

on with their lives until their cases are heard. “When you are put in the jail system and you have to wait to have your case disposed of by the county or the city, you’re talking weeks, sometimes months, which means that you may lose your job, you may lose your apartment, you may lose your home, you may lose your family because you’re waiting there for an adjudication,” she said.

Public Notice All City of Atlanta 2013 General Election Candidates Please be aware that any person planning to seek election to the office of Mayor, City Council President or City Council Member in next year’s November 5, 2013 City of Atlanta General Election must be a continuous resident of the City of Atlanta, and in the case of Atlanta City Council candidates - of the particular district or of one of four required districts for each at-large seat, for at least one year immediately preceding August 26, August 27, August 28, August 29 or August 30, 2013. It is very important for potential Atlanta City Council candidates to be familiar with the newly drawn City Council Districts. For detailed information: 1. View the redistricting page on the City of Atlanta’s website at 2. Visit the Office of the Municipal Clerk at Atlanta City Hall, Suite 2700, 55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. 3. Contact the Municipal Clerk/ Election Superintendent at or 404 330-6500.
*** Special Note: Based on the Atlanta Board of Education’s current Charter, the same requirements apply to candidates for the Atlanta Board of Education district and at-large seats.

Page 4A

Opinion The Newslady

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

infractions be punishable by fines and jail time. Apparently the rules don’t apply to Balfour. You see, I recall that in 1998 a certain senator named Ralph Abernathy, son of the late civil rights icon, was fined and sent to prison on similar infractions. He was prosecuted by Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker. Both men just happened to be African American. There she goes again raising the race card. You bet your sweet bippee! Race has nothing to do with this, you say. Au contraire. Race has everything to do with it. You see, Balfour is a good ole boy of high order. He wields considerable power and is politically connected. So was Abernathy. Good name. Good family. Son of the late civil rights icon Ralph Davis Abernathy II, the close aide to Dr. Martin Luther King. And? Well, Abernathy is Black. Balfour is White. Blacks accused of crimes do not get the same breaks that Whites do in our criminal justice system. Check the prison population. While I’m on this subject of fairness and playing by the rules, what about the Beltline project chief who falls on the sword a bit and says he’s “sorry” for spending taxpayers hard earned dollars. Sorry? Brian Leary spent or allowed Beltline money to be spent on alcohol, wedding gifts and other inappropriate items. He is sorry? Where is his picture on the front page of the AJC Metro section. Come to think of it Balfour’s picture was hidden somewhere in the back pages of section A. If the story about the skullduggery warranted a top of the fold front page story, good journalism would dictate that a picture accompany the story. It’s about the importance of the story and its treatment. The picture of a Black suspect is more often and more prominently displayed than that of a White suspect. Guess it’s embarrassing to air the family’s dirty linen. Anyone else is fair game. Yes, the race card is being raised here along with cronyism. We need to keep raising these issues until equity and fairness prevail and the same rules apply to all. Pandering to the pabulum of “political correctness” won’t cut it. It’s good to see the Tea Party and others pressing for Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens to bring charges against Balfour. Siphoning off taxpayers dollars is wrong, it’s a crime and Balfour should pay. Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, indeed. Balfour should be stripped of that lofty title, the electorate should dump him in November and Olens should prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp. com.

Dear readers help me understand why criminal charges have not been brought against longtime Gwinnett Senator Don Balfour, chairman of the Georgia Senate Rules Committee? In recent published reports, it appears the good senator gets what amounts to a mere slap on the wrists for cheating on his state travel expenses. On several occasions, it has been determined that the good senator falsified his per diem and travel expenses by billing the state for expenses already paid by lobbyists. For several violations he gets a fine of $5,000 and goes his merry way. The law requires such

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Opinion One Man’s Opinion

Page 5A

Go Walmart!

“I have committed my life to helping the poor, and I believe that if more companies followed WalMart’s lead in providing opportunity and savings to those who need it most, more Americans battling poverty would realize the American dream.”—Andrew Young, former U.N. Ambassador, Atlanta mayor and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Several years ago the great Satan from Bentonville, Ark., came to our community, building a huge new store where at that time there was only the abandoned Avondale Mall, sitting atop a huge rat warren. I’m not kidding. And my neighbors fought its arrival. Following several decades of decline, this formerly dead corridor of Memorial Drive near Avondale Estates is growing in investment, sales tax revenues and jobs. First the Walmart, then nearby and in short order, an Aldi discount grocer and adjoining Zaxby’s, upgrades and renovations to three adjacent

strip malls, new retail tenants in each, and this past summer a large and beautiful new SunTrust branch bank, anchoring the intersection of Columbia and Memorial Drives. For nearly a year prior to construction and the store opening, the landscape of a majority of front yards in the village of Avondale nearby sported yard signs yelling “NO WALMART.” At the time a resident of the Condominium of Avondale Estates, and, as is often the case representing a singular point of view, I planted a handmade “YES WALMART” sign. To the consternation of many of my neighbors, the project got built, the store opened, hundreds of full- and part-time employees were hired, and the store thrives to this day. I still smile and even occasionally wink at several of these same neighbors when I run into them at Walmart, often with their buggies full, enjoying the wide selection and low prices. It is not the only place I shop, but it is one where I get to enjoy a healthy dose of irony, along with my savings. Several miles further east on Memorial Drive, and in another challenged corridor of Memorial Drive, the community is welcoming Walmart to a 14-acre abandoned car dealership site at Hairston Road and Memorial Drive. This new Walmart Supercenter is planned to open in the second quarter of 2013, employing 250 full and part-time

employees and generating an estimated $4.9 million in sales tax revenues for DeKalb County and Stone Mountain. At yet another struggling strip mall, more centrally located and just outside the city limits of Decatur, another Walmart siting is being heavily debated. Suburban Plaza opened for business in 1959. My grandmother, former newspaper publisher Mary L. Crane, also served part-time as Suburban Plaza’s first director of promotions. Then the plaza had a BelkGallant department store, a Kresge Five and Dime (forerunner to KMart), and a Winn-Dixie among its thriving merchants. The parking lot now is more frequently used as a short-cut between Church Street and North Decatur than used by regular customers. The proposed new Walmart will change that. Yes, it will also likely impact vehicular traffic in the area. If you traverse the five-point intersection nearby, which includes Scott Boulevard, North Decatur Road and Ponce de Leon Avenue, you will find that during most any rush hour it is congested. And several times per week you will see placard-toting protesters with variations on signs saying STOP WALMART. A similar battle against Walmart, and in this case the same developer, Steve Selig of Selig Enterprises, is being waged on the east side of downtown Athens, an area

also plagued by high unemployment and with very few affordable retail choices nearby. What part of hundreds of jobs, millions in sale tax revenue and thousands in assistance to local charitable and civic concerns don’t these people get? So for now, I know the yard signs saying “STOP” that even my 5-year old has come to recognize, may well outnumber the “GOs,” but Walmart and I know that the majority of actual area residents will more importantly shop when those doors finally open. DeKalb County is blessed to soon have two new Walmarts—five new stores across the county could replace the tax revenues being lost by the creation of the city of Brookhaven. Meantime I’m offering to anyone reading this in Bentonville, if you will produce and drop ship a few GO WALMART signs here to Decatur, I will find them several nice prominent homes and locations. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@

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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions from its readers. Please write to us and express your views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain the writer’s name, address and telephone number for verification. All letters will be considered for publication.
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Publisher: Dr. Earl D. Glenn Managing Editor: Kathy Mitchell News Editor: Andrew Cauthen Production Manager: Kemesha Hunt Graphic Designer: Travis Hudgons The Champion Free Press is published each Friday by ACE III Communications, Inc., 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA. 30030 Phone (404) 373-7779.
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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing information submitted to us that is known to be false and/ or assumptions penned as fact.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012


Page 6A

We're all subsidizing free lunches for America's CEOs
It's time to close the tax loopholes that subsidize runaway executive compensation.
by Scott Klinger and Sam Pizzigati A generation ago, on National Secretary’s Day, America’s top corporate executives used to take their prized office assistants out to lunch. Times change, and National Secretary’s Day has become Administrative Professionals’ Day. But something else has changed. These days, CEOs are getting the free lunches. Secretaries and all the rest of us are picking up the tab. And not at Burger King either. Our current tax code has everyone in America essentially subsidizing the pay of millionaire and billionaire CEOs. Deductions, tax credits and other executive-compensation loopholes total $14.4 billion annually, the equivalent of $46 for each of America’s 311 million citizens. That figure appears in “The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam’s Pocket,” a new report we helped write for the Institute for Policy Studies. Our research team dug deep into the tax code’s weeds and pulled out one glaring example after another of tax code provisions enriching our already rich — at the expense of average Americans. Our tax code, for instance, lets corporations deduct all “reasonable” costs of doing business. But what’s “reasonable”? Over the years, corporate chiefs have stretched that definition beyond all reason. Years ago, they even claimed three-martini lunches as “reasonable” business expenses. Congress eventually cracked down on that unpopular giveaway. Back in 1993, amid rising public outrage over sky-high executive compensation, lawmakers also tried to crack down on tax deductions for CEO pay. Under a new rule, corporations could only deduct up to $1 million on their tax returns for any individual executive’s annual pay. Unfortunately, this new rule came with a built-in loophole. Any executive pay over $1 million linked to “performance” could still be deducted. You can guess what happened next: an explosion of “performance-based” CEO compensation. Corporate titans soon started landing annual performance pay deals worth tens of millions. Last year, Larry Ellison pocketed $76 million in “performance-based pay” for running Oracle, the giant business software company. That ploy saved Oracle $26 million in taxes. Overall, unlimited tax deductions on CEO pay cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $10 billion a year. CEOs regularly partake in a variety of other tax-avoiding games that all share one element in common: CEOs always win, the rest of us always lose. How outrageous have these CEO victories become? Try visualizing this: The IRS offers you a refund on all the taxes you’ve previously paid and then informs you that you also won’t have to pay taxes on your future income for years to come. Sweet deal. Corporations get it all the time — by paying their executives in stock options. That’s just what Facebook did in a move that saved the company an estimated $5.6 billion, including an approximately $500 million return of previously paid taxes. But let’s not pick on Facebook. Apple used this loophole to save $260 million on its 2011 taxes alone, and hundreds of other corporations have played this same game. Add up all the Facebooks and Apples out there, compute the cost of the tax giveaways they use to stuff the pockets of their top executives, and you end up with corporate tax bills over $14 billion a year less than they should be. With this $14 billion, our nation could provide health care for 7.3 million low-income kids or rehire over 200,000 laid-off public school teachers. Warren Buffett famously quipped that he has a lower tax rate than his secretary. But that’s an understatement. The secretaries of America’s CEOs are actually subsidizing their bosses’ pay. Let’s end this free lunch for CEOs. It’s time to close the tax loopholes that subsidize runaway CEO pay. OtherWords columnist Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly newsletter on excess and inequality published by the Institute for Policy Studies. Scott Klinger is an IPS associate fellow. Both are co-authors of the Institute’s new report, “Executive Excess 2012: The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam’s Pocket.”

The following comments are pulled straight from our website and are not edited for content or grammar.

School board promotes employees, hires public relations firm
Dekalb County Teachers will begin the 2012 – 2013 school sessions on Monday, August 13, 2012. They will have larger classes; more behavioral problems; fewer administrators to help with discipline problems; more demands from school administrators; extra duties, and less income. This is not the way to start off a new school session. The morale of the teachers is at an all time low. The school board, along with superintendent Atkinson are constantly taking away all the gains and promises made to the teachers, while they are promoting and giving raises to their own. This is not right superintendent Atkinson. A true leader leads by example. Make no mistake, the Dekalb County School System has the most qualified and dedicated teachers in the state of Georgia. Both of my children are products of the Dekalb County School System and are successful adults. Teachers should not have to suffer every time the so-called school board mismanages tax-payer s money. This has been going on too long and needs to stop. Some of the voters of Dekalb County have already expressed their displeasure with certain school board members by voting them out…that was a good start…NOW WE NEED TO FINISH!!!!! – Arnold Butler posted this on 8/12/12 at 3:02 p.m.

Four children taken by non-custodial mother
There are two sides to every story. Those children deserve to be with their mother. I agree with the previous poster,please get the mothers side of the story. I will gurantee she has just cause as to why she took her kids – Em posted this on 8/17/12 at 2:38 pm These precious children need to be with their father. – Sue posted this on 8/13/12 at 4:39 p.m. We need to encourage our legislators to do more to protect the children in these kinds of cases, – Deanna posted this on 8/13/12 at 11:17 a.m.

Sara Fountain to step down as executive director of Leadership DeKalb
Go Pine Forest !!! Beat these fakes and media darlings. Show them what real north Florida football is like ! – Arnold Butler posted this on 8/12/12 at 3:02 p.m.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Local News

Page 7A

County to spend $11.3 million on three new senior centers
by Andrew Cauthen Members of the South DeKalb Senior Center don’t like the building where they gather for meals, recreation and fellowship. “We are in line for a new center and that brings us great joy and pleasure to know that it’s coming,” said Sandra Harris, during a DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meeting. “However…we are presently housed in an old outdated funeral home.” The seniors’ days in the old funeral home are numbered after a vote by commissioners to build three senior centers at a total cost of approximately $11.3 million. The centers will be built in south, central and north DeKalb. The South DeKalb Senior/Community Center will be built by Possibility Construction Inc., of Johns Creek at a cost not to exceed $3.32 million. The building will be located at 1931 Candler Road in unincorpated Decatur. “For years, the seniors at the center have utilized what once was a funeral home, and with this award, in about a year the south DeKalb seniors will have a facility that they have helped to design and that they deserve,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson. The new Scott Candler Library that opened Aug. 20 is a part of the complex, which will also eventually include senior housing. The budget for the North DeKalb Senior/Community Center is up to $3.13 million. Talbot Construction Inc., of Suwanee was awarded the contract for construction of the building to be located at 3393 Malone Drive, Chamblee. Brenda Matthews said there is “a need for a new North DeKalb senior center.” Seniors “want and deserve to come and have a place to develop relationships with others because being at home alone is very, very disheartening,” Matthews said. “We need a place to come to enjoy each other’s company, to eat and play games and just hang out, as the young people say. “We like to do that just like the young people do,” Matthews said. The senior complained that the process was taking a long time. “I have sat through several meetings, looking at plans and discussing and developing and voting and we know that the property has been purchased,” Matthews said. “However there seems to be some sort of roadblock. I’m just here to figure out what the roadblock is. “We’re old,” Matthews said. “We can’t wait forever. We want a senior center.” Commissioner Lee May said, “The commission has not been dragging its feet. We are proposing to spend $11.3 million for these three senior centers.” The senior centers first appeared on the Board of Commissioners’ agenda July 10. “It’s appropriate for us to take our time as a commission to make sure all the questions are being answered regarding the design of the centers and any other questions,” May said. “Yes, we have taken our time. The [county’s] administration has been dealing with this for two years. This board has been dealing with this for a month and some change.”

Nadine Rivers-Johnson
to Mainstreet being awarded a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta’s Neighborhood Fund to renovate its existing 25-year-old playground. Another playground’s construction was funded by Foresters and the KaBOOM! organization. Rivers-Johnson helped create MainFor Nadine Riversstreet’s Volunteer Corp, Johnson, her home, her a group of more than 60 occupation and the fovolunteers. cus of her volunteerism She helped start a are all the same: the children’s reading proMainstreet community gram led by a retired in Stone Mountain. teacher at the comA Pittsburg, Penn., munity’s clubhouse, native, Rivers-Johnson part of which has been has lived in Stone turned into a resource Mountain since 1985 center with six computand has lived in the ers and a fax machine so Mainstreet community residents can do homefor 17 years. work, job searches and “This community was “do something to better one of the first natural themselves,” Riverspreserve communities,” Johnson said. Rivers-Johnson said. “I’m not just doWhen she first saw ing this as a fudiciary the community, she responsibility,” Riversknew she wanted to live Johnson said. “I have there. always been engaged “We had this diacivicly.” mond in the rough that Rivers-Johnson said wasn’t being utilized,” she encourages others she said. to “do what you can do Rivers-Johnson, the when you can do it.” community association “When I talk about manager for Mainstreet, volunteerism, I light up said she has worked like a Christmas tree,” to create a community said Rivers-Johnson who bond between young also has volunteered and old residents and with Habitat for Humanto “instill that sense of ity and attends various pride about that place community meetings that’s most dear.” each week. Her efforts led

Champion of the Week

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at or at 404-373-7779, ext. 104.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Local News
the PATH bike and pedestrian trail to downtown. The authority would hire a consultant to further plan the revitalization of the plaza, Jackson said. The city would also seek assistance from DeKalb County’s economic development department. “We want to put into action some the plans we’ve been working on over the past few years,” Jackson said. In addition to the Blueprints plan, in 2003, there was a Livable Cities Initiative plan. In 2005, the Arabian Mountain Area management plan addressed some issues in Lithonia. And in 2010, the city completed the 2010-2026 Comprehensive Plan update which is required by the state’s Department of Community Affairs. “A downtown development authority is a good tool for that purpose, to jumpstart that process,” Jackson said.

Page 8A

Lithonia funding to jumpstart renewal DeKalb teen turns down deal,
by Andrew Cauthen The city of Lithonia is getting $20,000 in seed money for its revitalization efforts. The Development Authority of DeKalb County approved the funding for Lithonia to start its own downtown development authority. One of the first goals of this group would be to address the Lithonia Plaza, Mayor Deborah Jackson said. The plaza “is the heart of the city’s downtown core,” Jackson said. Currently, it is “an eyesore to the community.” “It stands as a model of a plan that turned out to not be a good idea,” she said. In the 1950s, historic buildings, including the city’s granite railroad depot, old Baptist church and several houses, were demolished to make way for a then-modern shopping plaza. In addition to the rundown, city-owned portion of the plaza, part of the development is privately owned and houses various stores including a Wayfield grocery store and a Family Dollar discount store. Established in 1856, Lithonia was a major economic engine in the county due to the large deposits of granite in the area. The city, which contains about 540 acres, is approximately one-sixth the size of Stone Mountain Park. Earlier this year, a team of Georgia Tech students and a professor of architecture and urban design, studied Lithonia, met with residents and developed the Blueprints plan, which proposes the revitalization of the Lithonia Plaza. The recommendations include demolishing the cityowned section of the plaza, reconnecting Stone Mountain Street that was cut years ago by the building, creating a community garden and farmers’ market and connecting

could face life in prison
by Daniel Beauregard Charlie Oliver, 17, accused of killing his 8-yearold cousin, will be going to court later this month after he refused Aug. 13 to settle on a plea agreement offering reduced Oliver charges. Oliver was 16 when he fatally shot Solomon Zellner in the face July 6, 2011. Police said Oliver told them he was in his room playing with a 9 mm handgun when Zellner entered. He was trying to put the gun away when he said his finger caught the

trigger and the gun went off, shooting his younger cousin. Charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, Oliver faces life in prison if convicted. Even with the possibility of parole he would serve 30 years of a sentence before being eligible. Oliver had reportedly moved in with Zellner’s mother, who thought it would help him curb his misbehavior and delinquency. Officials from the District Attorney’s Office said they couldn’t comment on the terms of the plea agreement. Oliver’s trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 27.

Superintendent releases new system to measure student success
by Daniel Beauregard DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson released a preliminary draft of a new system the district will use waiver to opt out of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Under NCLB, end-ofthe-year results were based on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurements that used standardized test results, such as the CRCT, to determine how every public school and school system in the country was performing academically. The results then determined how much federal and state funding a system received based on the number of schools that made AYP. GDOE spokesman Matt Cardoza said now each school will be assessed based on more than just the English/language arts, reading and math criteria that AYP was based on. “It will change everything we know of AYP. Based on specifics, we will identify those schools that need improvement and provide services for them,” Cardoza said. The GDOE will implement the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which focuses on student achievement across the board and “attendance, content mastery and nextlevel preparation.” The balanced scorecard is DeKalb’s way of implementing both the local benchmarks as well as the data collected from the state’s new CCRPI. “The balanced scorecard will also be valuable to identify areas of growth, ascertain what we’re doing right and also identify areas of decline to determine where continuous improvement is needed,” Atkinson said. Atkinson said there are new measurements included in the scorecard that the district has not previously tracked and the coming school year will be a “baseline year to gather data.” Additionally, she said the scorecard is a “fluid” document and the district welcomes input from both the public and DeKalb County School Board members. “This is really something that I’m excited about and this is the kind of transparency that everybody in the universe can see,” board chairman Eugene Walker said. The draft is available on the school district’s website at

Notice oF PUBLic HeARiNG
The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following zoning matters: 1. Chapter 34, “Environment”, Article XV, “Stream Buffer Protection”, Section 341005(a), “Land development requirements”. The subject property is located at 1868 Dyer Circle. The applicant is requesting a variance to reduce the 75’ stream buffer requirement to 41’ to allow the construction of a 12’X15’ rear addition (2012V-007). 2. Pursuant to Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance”, Article II, “Administration”, Section 202.A.1 the City of Chamblee, GA seeks to rezone 5970 Peachtree Blvd from Neighborhood Residential (NR-1) to Corridor Commercial (CC) (2012Z-002). 3. Pursuant to Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance”, Article II, “Administration”, Section 202.A.1, the City of Chamblee, GA seeks to rezone 5000 Kristie Way from Corridor Residential (CR) to Industrial (I). (2012Z-003). 4. Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance”, Article XIII, “Signs”: Section 1307.B.2.b, “Planned centers: one principle building sign for each business on a wall facing a street frontage with a curb cut”; Section 1308.B.5, “20’ maximum setback for principle freestanding signs from the driveway curb cut”; Section 1304.B.1, “prohibition of a rotating sign”. The subject property is located at 5241 New Peachtree Road. The applicant is requesting variances to allow principle building signage to be placed on an accessory structure; to allow a rotating sign; and to allow a greater setback of the monument sign from the driveway curb cut (2012V-008).

to rate student success in the coming years at a Aug. 13 meeting. The balanced scorecard, Atkinson said, will be used to measure and monitor key performance indicators such as content mastery and predictors for high school graduation. It will use endof-the-year tests, yearly academic benchmarks and state indicators. Atkinson said a final draft will be presented by Sept. 30. Prior to this year, student benchmarks focused heavily on Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results. However, the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) was granted a

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Local News

Page 9A

Atlanta holds world’s first all-female street artist conference
by Daniel Beauregard Female artists from around the world descended on Atlanta Aug.15-19 for the third annual Living Walls Conference. This year’s conference featured 26 artists from places around the world, including Zurich and Spain as well as metro Atlanta. The conference, which started in 2010, sets out to highlight a number of problems facing the city. Alex Parrish, communications director for Living Walls, said this year the conference decided to feature an all-female cast of artists from around the world because in past years, nearly all of the participants were male. “Through organizing this over the past years, we’ve had more than 50 artists participate and only two of them were female so we wanted to change that,” Parrish said. All of the artists participating in the conference were responsible for creating a mural, or collaborating on a mural, in a public space in the city. A map of all the murals is available on the Living Walls website at and includes areas such as Kirkwood, midtown Atlanta and East Atlanta. “We’ll have 18 murals throughout the whole city,” Parrish said. Parrish said the conference has grown and changed over the years. Each year the conference touches on a different theme and Parrish said this year’s theme should be pretty self-explanatory based on the artists who were solicited to submit work this year. The five-day conference also featured film screenings, lectures, block parties, gallery exhibits and bike tours, all of which were free and open to the public.

Murals were painted on buildings all over metro Atlanta, including the Kirkwood community, during the third annual Living Walls Conference. Twenty-six female artists from around the world came to metro Atlanta Aug. 15-19 for the painting event. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Local News

Page 10A

Photos By Travis Hudgons

Creative OutHouse
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Help us create a smoke-free, healthy DeKalb. Join the Live Healthy DeKalb Coalition at

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Local News

Page 11A

Decatur dog lover killed by dogs
by Bryan Fazio Rebecca Carey never would have expected this. On Aug. 12 Carey was found dead, killed by multiple dog bites, according to DeKalb County police. The 23-year old Decatur woman and Georgia Perimeter College student had loved dogs her life. She worked at Loving Hands Animal Clinic in Alpharetta as a veterinarian technician trainee, volunteered at both the DeKalb and Gwinnett County Animal Control offices. Carey, who had been involved with animal charities since she was 13, owned five dogs and was always eager to care for more. Around the time of her death, Carey was dog sitting a friend’s Presa, a larger dog breed, adding to her own pets of two pit bulls, a boxer and a Presa, making the total five dogs in her home the day she died. According to DeKalb Police spokeswoman Mekka Parish, around 10:44 a.m. on Aug. 12, police discovered Carey dead in her home and believed it to be a homicide. However, after further investigation and an autopsy, results showed that the injuries were the result of bite wounds. According to Parish, the number of bites were not known and “a determination could not be made as to which dog was involved.” With none of the dogs being exonerated from the attack, none could meet the criteria to be fostered or adopted and all five of the dogs were euthanized on Aug. 15. “Once they came back with the cause, animal control had to euthanize them,” Parish said. According to the National Canine Research Council, from 1965 to 2011 there were 36 dog-related fatalities in Georgia, with 10 different breeds reportedly involved in the accidents. Among the 36 deaths, only nine were adults. Carey was laid to rest Saturday at Floral Hills Cemetery. One story of Carey’s love for animals and their effect on people was posted on the Loving Hands Animal Clinic’s Facebook page by Mia Frederiksen. It reads, “Rebecca’s love for animals went international. She helped rescue my very special beagle boy, my Bailey Butterbean, and get him to me in Canada. She was only 15 at the time. Without her I would never have had the chance to love my beautiful angel boy. I will never forget her.” The Loving Hands Animal Clinic has set up a fund in her name. All donations are to be used to support Angels Among Us, one of the organizations Carey worked with since working at Loving Hands.

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

The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Mostly Sunny High: 87 Low: 66

Aug. 23, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Aug. 23, 1933 - The Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane moved over Norfolk, Va. and Washington D.C. A tide seven feet above normal flooded businesses in Norfolk. Damage in Maryland was estimated at 17 million dollars. Aug. 24, 1989 - Late afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced severe weather in eastern Montana and western sections of the Dakotas. Thunderstorms in Montana produced wind gusts to 76 mph at Jordan and golf ball size hail at Rock Springs. Dunwoody 85/65 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 86/66 86/66 86/66 Snellville Decatur 87/66 Atlanta 87/66 87/66 Lithonia College Park 88/66 88/66 Morrow 88/66 Union City 88/66 Hampton 89/67

In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see mostly sunny skies with a high temperature of 87º, humidity of 54%. Light winds. The record high temperature for today is 97º set in 1938. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 66º. The record low for tonight is 57º set in 1931.

City of Doraville Surplus Auction The City of Doraville will hold multiple surplus auctions online beginning Friday August 24, 2012 at 6:00am and ending on Thursday August 30, 2012 between 7:00pm and 8:00pm. Use the following link to view and bid on surplus items: Items to be auctioned include vehicles, heavy equipment and lawn mowing equipment. Most items offered for sale are used and may contain defects not immediately detectable. Bidders may inspect the property prior to bidding. Inspections are by appointment only. Please contact Bobby Pittman, Public Works Director at (770) 936-3855 or e-mail: to schedule an appointment for inspection between the hours of 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. Payment in full is due not later than 5 business days from the time and date of the Buyers Certificate. Payment must be made electronically through the GovDeals website. Please refer to the Govdeals terms and conditions prior to bidding. All items must be removed within 10 business days from the time and date of issuance of the Buyer’s Certificate. The Buyer will make all arrangements and perform all work necessary, including packing, loading and transportation of the property. Property may be removed between the hours of 9:00 am - 2:00 pm by appointment only.
Mostly Sunny High: 89 Low: 68

*Last Week’s Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 86 67 88/70 0.46" Wednesday 83 70 88/70 0.01" Thursday 89 68 88/70 0.00" Friday 85 70 88/70 0.00" Saturday 85 68 88/70 0.01" Sunday 81 69 88/70 0.12" Monday 84 65 88/70 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.60" Average temp . .76.4 Normal rainfall . .0.77" Average normal 79.0 Departure . . . . .-0.17" Departure . . . . .-2.6
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport

Mostly Sunny High: 87 Low: 68

Mostly Sunny High: 86 Low: 66

Mostly Sunny High: 87 Low: 65

Sunny High: 90 Low: 68 First 8/24

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:05 a.m. 7:06 a.m. 7:06 a.m. 7:07 a.m. 7:08 a.m. 7:08 a.m. 7:09 a.m. Sunset 8:14 p.m. 8:13 p.m. 8:11 p.m. 8:10 p.m. 8:09 p.m. 8:08 p.m. 8:06 p.m. Moonrise 1:28 p.m. 2:33 p.m. 3:34 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 5:20 p.m. 6:05 p.m. 6:44 p.m. Moonset Next Day 12:04 a.m. 12:58 a.m. 1:57 a.m. 2:59 a.m. 4:04 a.m. 5:08 a.m. Last 9/8

Tonight's Planets
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 5:46 a.m. 7:28 p.m. 3:34 a.m. 5:32 p.m. 11:48 a.m.10:48 p.m. 1:14 a.m. 3:21 p.m. 11:24 a.m.10:46 p.m. 9:47 p.m. 10:08 a.m.

Sunny High: 91 Low: 70 Full 8/31

New 9/15

Local UV Index

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see isolated thunderstorms today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 91º in Terre Haute, Ind. The Southeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with scattered thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 94º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 91º in Torrington, Wyo. The Southwest will see isolated thunderstorms today and Friday, mostly clear skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 103º in Bullhead City, Ariz.

Weather Trivia
Does cold air hold more or less moisture than warm air?
Answer: Less moisture.

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

StarWatch By Gary Becker - Dusk, Dawn Highlights Planets and Moon
All of the planets, along with the moon, are on display this week if you are willing to observe the dusk and dawn sky. The more traditional evening viewers will see a thin crescent moon emerging from the WSW on Monday or Tuesday about 45 minutes after sundown. The young moon during late summer and fall is very elusive because its orbital path is positioned close to the horizon. Although the moon maintains its eastward trudge against the background of stars, it gains very little in the way of altitude above the horizon. So for nearly a week, after its new phase, its setting times do not vary greatly. However, if you happen to catch the crescent moon on Tuesday, you’re in for real treat. Above Luna will be two planets, Mars (slightly left) along with Saturn, and immediately to the moon’s right will be found the blue supergiant Spica. Spica, Mars, and Saturn are all bright if seen against a black sky; however, because of twilight observing conditions, coupled with their low altitude, binoculars will make the view more memorable. Switch to dawn about 45 minutes before sunrise, and behold the landscape created by Jupiter and Venus (lower and brighter). They dominate the morning sky, including the winter group of constellations rising along with them. Scanning with binoculars to the right of Jupiter will reveal the V-shaped head of Taurus the Bull. To Jupiter’s left is Capella, the sixth brightest star of the night. Castor and Pollux of the Gemini Twins can be found to the left of Venus, while to its right, Betelgeuse, and the star pattern of Orion are highlighted. Below Orion’s belt and very near to the horizon will be the Dog Star, Sirius. To Sirius’ left will be Procyon. Mercury is also emerging to Procyon’s left, below Castor and Pollux, and it is the faintest object of the current horizon huggers. View the Messenger God with binoculars before it succumbs to the morning twilight.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012


Page 12A

Feel your best at any age
Age is just a number, according to the adage. Whether you are turning 20 or 60, it is your inner age and how young you feel that really counts. This is even truer when you create everyday healthy habits that help you feel younger. “Living a healthy life starts from the inside,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian and national CocoaVia supplement spokesperson. “We don’t often think about it, but the health of your circulatory system is essential for a healthy life – it should be important to everyone and taken care of as you would any other part of your body. This is key to healthy aging.” Your circulatory system impacts many facets of your health and the way you look and feel. In fact, explains Taub-Dix, heart, brain and eye health – even exercise performance – depend on a healthy circulatory system. But as you age, your blood vessels may become less flexible and less able to expand when needed to keep circulation running smoothly. “Cocoa flavanols are scientifically proven to help support healthy circulation by helping your blood vessels stay flexible and expand as needed, even as you age,” says Taub-Dix. “With daily intake, cocoa flavanols – such as the 250 mg found in the CocoaVia Cocoa Extract Supplement – help oxygen and nutrients reach your organs and tissues, so you look and feel your best today and every day.” To help keep your circulatory system healthy, Taub-Dix has found a number of ways to help you be your inner best, including: Start your day on a healthy note. When you wake in the morning, set a healthy tone for the rest of your day and begin with a wholesome breakfast, such as almond butter mixed in oatmeal with a fruit smoothie or a yogurt parfait to make sure you’re nourishing your body with exactly what it needs. Add even more health benefits by stirring a package of 30-calorie unsweetened or sweetened Dark Chocolate flavored CocoaVia supplement in the oatmeal, smoothie, yogurt, or even your glass of milk or cup of coffee. With 250 mg of cocoa flavanols, it’s an easy way to have a delicious breakfast and support your cardiovascular health by supporting healthy circulation. Fit exercise into your day. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking daily walks is a great way to get your blood flowing, but speak with your doctor about the level of activity best suited for you. When possible, avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you work in an office, make sure to fit in small walks throughout the day – even if that means taking a short 15 to 20 minute walk during your lunch break. Try to get up and move around every half hour or so. Stay hydrated. Hydration is important for many reasons, but if you’re looking to stick to your goal of exercising daily, you want to make sure your body is properly hydrated. If you’re a soda drinker, consider switching to flavorful options that offer health benefits. For example, add a 20-calorie fruit-flavored CocoaVia packet to your water bottle or iced tea. With two refreshing flavor choices – Summer Citrus and CranRaspberry – it’s a flavorful way to stay hydrated while helping support healthy circulation. To learn more, follow CocoaVia on Twitter at @CocoaVia, like CocoaVia on Facebook or visit for more information.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

CDC no longer recommends oral drug for gonorrhea treatment
Change is critical to preserve last effective treatment option
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer recommends the oral antibiotic cefixime as a first-line treatment option for gonorrhea in the United States because of the possibility that the bacteria that causes gonorrhea is becoming resistant to the drug. The change was prompted by recent trends in laboratory data showing that cefixime, marketed under the brand name Suprax, is becoming less effective in treating the sexually transmitted disease. This change leaves only one recommended drug proven effective for treating gonorrhea, the injectable antibiotic ceftriaxone. According to the revised guidelines, published Aug. 9 the in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the most effective treatment for gonorrhea is a combination therapy: the injectable antibiotic ceftriaxone along with one of two other oral antibiotics, either azithromycin or doxycycline. In the past, gonorrhea has developed resistance to every antibiotic recommended for treatment, leaving the cephalosporins, which include cefixime and ceftriaxone, as the final recommended class of drugs. In light of this history and the recent lab data, CDC researchers are concerned that continued use of cefixime may prompt gonorrhea to develop resistance to all cephalosporins. Limiting the use of cefixime now may help preserve ceftriaxone as a treatment option for a little longer. “As cefixime is losing its effectiveness as a treatment for gonorrhea infections, this change is a critical pre-emptive strike to preserve ceftriaxone, our last proven treatment option,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “Changing how we treat infections now may buy the time needed to develop new treatment options.” To guard against the threat of drug resistance, the guidelines outline additional follow-up steps providers should take to closely monitor for ceftriaxone treatment failure. According to the new recommendations, patients who have persistent symptoms should be retested with a culture-based gonorrhea test, which can identify antibiotic-resistant infections. The patient should return one week after re-treatment for another culture test— called a test-of-cure—to ensure the infection is fully cured. In some instances, cefixime may be needed as an alternative treatment option. If ceftriaxone is not readily available, providers may prescribe a dual therapy of cefixime plus either azithromycin or doxycycline. Azithromycin may be given alone if a patient has a severe allergy to cephalosporins. However, to closely monitor for resistance, if either of these alternative regimens is prescribed, providers should perform a test-of-cure one week after treatment. These revised guidelines are one aspect of CDC’s response to the threat of untreatable gonorrhea. On Aug 9, CDC published a public health response plan, offering guidance on steps state and local health departments can take to keep a watchful eye on the emergence of drug resistance. In addition to closely monitoring for resistance nationally, CDC is working with the World Health Organization to monitor for emerging resistance on the global level. The agency is also collaborating with the National Institutes of Health to test new combinations of existing drugs. Gail Bolan, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said that additional measures will be needed to stay ahead of untreatable gonorrhea. “It is imperative that researchers and pharmaceutical companies prioritize research to identify or develop new, effective drugs or drug combinations,” Bolan said. “Health departments and labs can help CDC monitor for emerging resistance by enhancing or re-building their ability to do culture testing.” It is critical for individuals to take steps to protect themselves from infection. The surest way to prevent infection is not having sex. For those who are sexually active, consistent and correct condom use and limiting the number of sex partners are effective strategies for reducing the risk of infection. Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States; more than 700,000 infections are estimated to occur in this country each year. Although some men and women may have symptoms (such as burning when urinating or discharge), most people do not. As a result, many infections go undetected and untreated. Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious health problems, particularly for women, including chronic pelvic pain, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and even infertility. Infection also increases the risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Local News

Page 13A

Puppeteer Michael Chechopoulos, who is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” is looking for a permanent stage in DeKalb County for his hundreds of puppets that are now stored in his basement. Chechopoulos said he will soon focus his efforts and time on creating St. Michael’s Puppet Theatre, a nonprofit he hopes will eventually become a community learning center. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

Puppeteer Continued From Page 1A
which he has been doing for more than 20 years. However, Chechopoulos said, at his age, he will be retiring soon to focus on creating St. Michael’s Puppet Theatre, a nonprofit he hopes will eventually become the community learning center he’s described. “I’m just going to concentrate on getting the puppet show going and creating the nonprofit,” Chechopoulos said. Many of his plays are based around teaching children or young adults the importance of caring for their environment, staying away from drugs and other positive, educational themes. One play depicts different fruits and vegetables that are having trouble growing because humans are polluting the earth. Eventually, they all go out into the woods and surrounding landscape to clean up garbage. At the end of the play, Chechopoulos said, he and his assistants pass out recycling pamphlets. “Basically, you’ve got to recycle,” Chechopoulos said. “It’s everybody’s own personal way to save this planet and basically all you have to do is get a system set up and do it.” While he lived in New York, Chechopoulos and five others performed a play featuring a giant puppet he calls the “cocaine demon.” The play demonstrates the dangers of crack cocaine. Chechopoulos said throughout his life he has seen crack develop into an epidemic, so he wrote the play to make young adults aware of the dangers of the drug. “In this neighborhood, too, you see it— people are wandering the streets with nothing to do but to get that $10, $15 or $20, to immediately go and spend it on a $10 rock of crack cocaine,” Chechopoulos said. The play depicts a dancer who is smoking crack; all of a sudden she is attacked by the giant cocaine demon puppet and is eventually devoured by it. When the dancer is devoured he or she becomes part of the crew manning the puppet, which grows to 10 1/2 feet tall and begins to lunge at the audience. Chechopoulos said it can be pretty spooky. “There are certain drugs that you don’t want to mess with. Crack cocaine is one and heroin and LSD—these things can kill you or permanently damage you,” Chechopoulos said. “We need to make children aware of these things while they’re young. You mess with that [and] your life and heart and soul and everything else is gone.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 Needy populations examined in Emory lecture series An upcoming lecture series at Emory University will explore what happens to needy populations when the modern welfare state begins to collapse. “When Law and Religion Meet 2012-2013: The Rights of the Needy” begins Sept. 13 at Emory University School of Law, located at 1501 Clifton Road. The events are free and open to the public. Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) is hosting the series. Scholars from Emory and the University of Heidelberg will discuss basic human vulnerability, the role of church and community in protecting children, the American ethos of housing and home ownership and the power of mercy in caring for the weak. The series begins with “The Rights of the Needy: Children as the Most Vulnerable,” on Sept. 13, 4:306 p.m., at the Emory Law School in the Tull Auditorium. Speakers include Martha Albertson Fineman, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory; and Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, the L.Q.C. Lamar Professor of Law at Emory. Seven DeKalb students earn academic honors at Middle Georgia Collge Middle Georgia College (MGC) interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Mary Lou Frank announced that seven students from DeKalb County have been cited for scholastic achievement during MGC’s summer 2012 semester. Veronicah Mayira was named to the dean’s list. To attain the dean’s list, a student must have at least a GPA of 3.5 out of a possible 4.0 while maintaining a full academic load. Abdullahi Ali, Michael Hines, Mustapha Osekre, Charlie Parks Jr, Aaron Thomas, Dominque White were named to the Merit List, which requires a student to have a GPA of at least 3.5 out of 4.0 while taking between 3-11 credit hours.


Page 14A

Q&A with newly elected DeKalb County school board member Marshall Orson
Over the next several weeks The Champion newspaper education reporter Daniel Beauregard will be sitting down with newlyelected DeKalb County school board members to discuss their thoughts on the issues facing the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) in the years to come. Marshall Orson begins his term Jan. 1 as the District 2 board member. Readers are encouraged to submit questions via email at What do you think are some of the issues the school district is facing in the coming years? I think the financial crisis aside, which is very significant, and the lack of state funding aside, which has contributed to the problem, there has been a lack of clarity on an agreement of the mission of the school board, which you think would be pretty simple: it’s about making sure every child has a chance to get a high-quality education. When you see the performance of the board and the great disharmony that exists among board members you begin to wonder why they can’t really build a consensus. It’s not like a county commission where there are competing interests. There’s not really a set of competing interests in education–there’s really one interest. We may have some arguments on the margins about how to reach the best outcome…to me the biggest issue is that we need a board of education that operates with a degree of harmony and consensus and I continue to believe that that has to start with beginning to develop personal relationships among board member. If we don’t change the fundamental dynamics of how the board operates, it’s going to be very hard to have any meaningful reform in the school system. What are some of the reforms needed in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD)? We have this great disparity between a handful of schools that are performing very well and a large number of schools that are falling very short of delivering a quality education. We need to figure out what the components of

“We need a board of education that operates with a degree of harmony and consensus,” said newlyelected DeKalb school board member Marshall Orson. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

high functioning schools are and what we need to do develop that. If we have a school that doesn’t have a high level of parental involvement, how do we overcome the obstacles in order to change those dynamics? We make a lot of excuses such as there are high rates of poverty, but it is what it is and we can’t use it as an excuse for not turning those schools around. We can blame it on the children and their economic status or we could understand that when children get to school, they want to learn. It’s universally proven. Is the board of education too big for members to come to a consensus on a certain issue? I don’t think size alone dictates that, though it is ironic that three of the systems that have had the most trouble in Georgia—Clayton, Atlanta and DeKalb—have the largest boards. I think when you have a single mission, there’s a tendency to get wrapped up in the smaller items, which the board shouldn’t do, rather than larger vision and mission issues that you then turn over to the administration to actually execute. I think a smaller board would serve the interests by making members accountable to a larger population but that in and of itself isn’t going to fix the fundamental problems, which come from the lack of personal relationships

between the board members. The best boards of education don’t reduce their work to get a majority of the votes. What do you think about the charter school amendment? I’m torn. I’ll start out by saying that I’m on the board of a school that was chartered by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission called Provost Charter Schools of Georgia. We were then unable to open because of the Georgia Supreme Court decision. We were just recently given the status of a state-special charter school by the governor…. I’m torn because I do support charter schools and I think they’re an important component of the offering we make. I think the ideal situation is for local systems to take the lead and embrace charters. I think there are circumstances where it would be impossible to get a charter from a local charter effectively. There has also been hostility toward charters from local school systems—not to avoid your answer—but I don’t know. What I worry about is diverting funds from school systems that have already suffered significant cuts. What are your thoughts of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson? Has she done a good job up until this point? I like her. I think she is focused and has a plan; she

walked into a situation that was far more dysfunctional than she ever imagined. I would remind people that she has not been here even a year yet and has made significant changes in the senior staff. I think she was a good choice. She wasn’t hastily hired—it’s not as she materialized out of thin air—she was one of the finalists for the Atlanta Public Schools job, then they decided to go with Erroll Davis. It was a happy coincidence that there was a good candidate who had been vetted and wanted to come to Atlanta. What can you do to work alongside board members and develop better relationships? I think you have to start by reaching out to them and understanding that everybody comes with a bank of experiences and life history and relationships….I don’t expect that I’m going to agree with every board member every time. However, [we’ve] got to focus on the substantive things we agree on—it’s easy to agree on the superficial things. It’s hard but I think it’s an absolute necessity if you’re going to be an effective board of education. So one of my goals is to learn more about my fellow board members and for them to learn more about me and hopefully through that process figure out a way we can work together.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012


Page 15A

Pedal power:

41 years and counting
Business owner and advocate remains on the forefront of local biking scene
by Matt Amato across much of Atlanta and DeKalb County. Fred Boykin and Mark The model for more bikZuckerberg have more ing access, said Boykin, than one thing in common. was created in Europe and Zuckerberg attended Hais becoming more adopted vard. Boykin went to the in the United States. “The “Harvard of the South.” An- Dutch started looking into it other shared interest: Both in the ‘60s and 70s and made presided over successful a policy shift [to implement business startups in college. bike-friendly programs],” he Zuckerberg (with a little help said. “Europe has done exfrom others) conceived Face- tremely well so there’s some book. Boykin and his Emory role models to follow. Lots chums started Bicycle South. of countries are doing it; One thing, though, some of what’s been going Boykin can claim over cash- on is modeling those areas.” laden Facebook: 41 years Still, Boykin would like of service. For most of that to see further, significant intime the shop has been at frastructural improvements. the corner of Clairmont and “I do think elected officials North Decatur Road, a short should be looking at this,” he pedal away from the campus said. “It’s hard to get someit started on. body to listen to us. The As Boykin recalls those GDOT [Georgia Department early days, he was dating a of Transportation] is so road girl from Iowa whose dad focused.” “was French and big into However, while contembicycles. I’d visit in the sum- porary attitudes have made mer and really enjoyed the biking less hazardous, morides.” dernity has posed new chalAbout the same time, at lenges to Boykin’s business. Emory University, the bike Today, the internet, not the fad was taking off. Boykin interstate, is a greater threat. and his friends at this point That’s where Bicycle South were college juniors, and has relied on the more tradicame up with the idea of tional approach to retail. buying bike kits, putting “It’s tough, you have to them together and making a be very aware of what’s gosell-on profit. The concept ing on, there’s the internet worked so well that a storeand tons of competition,” front became the next step. he said. “You just have to “I liked Decatur and bebe honest with people and fore you know it, I’ve been give them the best service here 40 years,” he said. you can. If we were ripping During those decades, people off, we wouldn’t have Boykin has seen pedallasted this long.” power fads come and go, What customers can and a customer base expand expect from Bicycle South beyond students and young over others, including the inpeople. Society became ternet, is expert advice on bimore attuned to healthy cycles and which model best lifestyles and in-town livfits the customer’s needs. ing, while gas prices have “Suppliers are always led others to pursue carbon looking to get their product footprint-free transport. out through the internet. I’ve Also in the meantime, seen way too many bikes Boykin became a Decatur that aren’t built well, and city councilman and worked these can be dangerous for with bike-advocacy group the rider or provide a bad PATH to spearhead more experience,” he said. “There trails and access through the are plenty of places that will metro areas, culminating sell you a bike in a box.” with bike routes that stretch

“If we were ripping people off, we wouldn’t have lasted this long,” said Fred Boykin, owner of Bicycle South, which has been in business for 41 years. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Page 16A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24,, 2012

Poets to be featured at Callanwolde A poetry reading at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. will feature two guest poets, Alice Friman and Christopher Martin, in the Callanwolde Library. Friman’s fifth book of poetry is Vinculum from LSU Press. Previous books are The Book of the Rotten Daughter, Inverted Fire, and Zoo. Anthologized widely and published in 13 countries, she was professor of English and creative writing at the University of Indianapolis, and is now poet-in-residence at Georgia College & State University. Her new poetry podcast series is Ask Alice. Martin, author of the poetry chapbook A Conference of Birds, has poems published or forthcoming in Shambhala Sun, Ruminate Magazine, Drafthorse, Buddhist Poetry Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, and the Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia, due out in the fall. Martin is the founding editor of Flycatcher and is a contributing editor at New Southerner. He is pursuing a master of arts in professional writing at Kennesaw State University. (www. Tickets sold at the door are $5 for general admission and $3 for students with ID, seniors, and members. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 872-5338. Free health clinic comes to Ray of Hope Hope Through Health, a free clinic for persons with no insurance or limited insurance coverage comes to Ray of Hope Christian Church, 2863 Kelly Chapel Road, Decatur, Saturday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Services to be provided include medical, vision, dental, pharmacy, hearing screening, food and clothes. For more information, call (770) 696-5100, ext. 214 or Volunteers are needed. There are various opportunities for all not just medical professionals. Those who know a medical physician, dentist, dental hygienist, optometrist, pediatrician, etc. are asked to share this with them and ask them to volunteer. To register, log on to and complete the online registration form. D, the Italian Concerto, the infinite variety of moods in the famous Chaconne, and soul-stirring, fiery Preludes. This concert will be held at the MJCCA’s Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. For information, visit, or call (678) 812-4002. Dunwoody debuts ‘Government 101’ series In an effort to strengthen the community’s knowledge of municipal operations, the city of Dunwoody is hosting its Dunwoody Government 101 educational series. The series is an eight-week course designed to enhance residents’ understanding of city government and provide a chance to discover the primary undertakings of the city. The series will provide participants with a look inside each of the city’s departments through demonstrations, presentations and tours. Participants can expect to come away with a heightened awareness and knowledge of local government operations as well as a greater understanding of how to get involved in local civic and community affairs. Classes will be held each Tuesday evening beginning Sept. 25 and concluding Nov. 13. The sessions are free to attend and open to Dunwoody residents over 18. Those interested should complete the Dunwoody Government 101 application, which is available online at www.dunwoodyga. gov, or at the Dunwoody City Hall. Completed forms may be sent to Edie Damann at edie.damann@, dropped off at city hall or faxed to (678) 3826701. Class size is limited and applications are due Sept. 7. nomic development planning effort. The CID is working in coordination with the Atlanta Regional Commission and DeKalb Development Authority to complete the job-focused plan. “We are greatly encouraged by the quality of the participation we received from this important kickoff event,” said CID President Emory Morsberger. “The CID’s board of directors and our partners are committed to returning our community to its rightful place as a regional economic engine.” CID board member Steve Craine said the number of attendees at the meeting indicates extensive public interest in supporting job growth. “We are all about creating new jobs right here, and there is strong community support for this economic development initiative,” Craine said. “We’re going to keep these partners engaged and work together to revive businesses and bring in new employers.” The CID’s ultimate goal is to create a roadmap directing efforts to attract employers to fill available commercial and industrial spaces. CID leaders and stakeholders are aggressively working to attract 2,000 new jobs to the community before the end of 2013. Some of the improvements the CID is seeking includes upgrading roads to better accommodate manufacturing and distribution; streamlining processes for zoning, permitting and licensing to increase ease of access; connecting businesses with schools to produce a better-trained workforce; and combining public and private stakeholder groups with a common goal of job growth . Information about the planning effort, including forthcoming details about future public meetings, will be posted at Grenada Atlanta Assn. to hold Fun Day Grenada Atlanta Association is holding its annual Fun Day Sunday, Aug. 26, 1 – 7 p.m. at Wade Walker Park - Pavilion 1, 5584 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. The event will feature music by DJ Ezzy B and the Sound Xplosion. Those attending as asked to bring their favorite native dish, dessert or nonalcoholic beverage with enough to share. For more information, call Mike at (404) 545-7705.

Doraville holds surplus auction The City of Doraville will hold multiple surplus auctions online beginning Aug. 24 at 6 a.m. and ending Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. Surplus items can be viewed and bid on at doravillega. Items to be auctioned include vehicles, heavy equipment and lawn moving equipment. Most items offered for sale are used and may contain defects not immediately detectable. Bidders may inspect the property prior to bidding by making an appointment with Public Works Director Bobby Pittman at (770) 936-3855 or bobby.pittman@

Program on fall gardens offered Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, will be at the Decatur Library Monday, Aug. 27, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., to present a program called Plant Your First Fall Garden. The program is about fall vegetables and herbs that can be consumed all season long. This program, part of the library’s Living the Green Life series, is designed to assist first-time gardeners or those who are transitioning to organic methods of vegetable gardening. It is designed for adults 18 years old or older. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070.

Pianist Siegel returns to Marcus Jewish center Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) on Aug. 26, at 4 p.m., to perform The Spellbinding Music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Siegel’s “Keyboard Conversations®” program (concertplus-commentary) will explore the music of Baroque music’s most influential composer and the high voltage, romantic compositions Bach wrote to “wow” his listeners. Program includes the Toccata in

Stone Mountain CID launches job creation planning effort The Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID) held its first public meeting Aug. 15 to share and receive ideas on bringing employers back to the area. A large gathering of stakeholders joined in the CID’s kickoff function as part of its substantial eco-

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012
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Page 18A


Southwest DeKalb head coach Buck Godfrey, running drills in practice last week, has served as a role model for hundreds of players. Photos by Wade Marbaugh

Legendary Godfrey begins 30th season at SW DeKalb
by Wade Marbaugh It is a milestone in various realms, such as a 30th birthday or 30th year on the job, which often foreshadows a wristwatch and retirement. Don’t talk retirement as DeKalb County’s winningest football coach, Buck Godfrey, begins his 30th season at the helm at Southwest DeKalb High School. “Unless the good Lord has plans otherwise, I don’t see it looming,” Godfrey said. “But we’re grooming a couple guys.” grooming So, a talk with Godfrey soon moves to fundamentals, conditioning, discipline, teamwork, damentals, respect and academics. Those were values he says he learned from his father, William Godfrey Sr., and mentors— his high school coach, Robbie Johnson, and legendary coaches Eddie Robinson (Grambling State University) and Joe Gilliam Sr. (Tennessee State and Jackson State). Give them some credit for Godfrey’s record at Southwest DeKalb, 266-85-1, a winning percentage that ranks him among Georgia’s all-time top 10 football coaches. Averaging 9.2 victories per season, the Panthers made the playoffs in 26 of his 29 years and had only one losing season. They won 13 region titles and captured the state championship in 1995. The NFL has employed 22 Godfrey grads. In 2010 he was inducted to the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, along with pitcher Tom Glavine, coach Bill Curry and golfer Larry Nelson. Johnson, Godfrey’s coach at Immaculate Conception High in Charleston, S.C., “was a stickler for fundamentals and conditioning,” Godfrey recalled. “He would work you to death. Everything was discipline. The same goes for Eddie Robinson and Joe Gilliam.” Johnson’s Spartan techniques yielded after the team won a key homecoming game 6-0. “He gave us the greatest treat we ever had—Coke and chips,” Godfrey grinned. At Delaware State University, Godfrey played baseball and football, serving as captain for both teams. He attended Columbia and New York University, earned a master’s degree at AtGodfrey likes the football IQ he sees on the practice field. “We can adjust to the situation and go with three or four different game plans.” He takes pride in developing successful punters and place kickers. His own son, Colin, punted for Gilliam and Tennessee State. This year’s team boasts a bumper crop, three place kickers and four punters. “It wins ball games for you—getting good field position with a punt or kicking a winning field goal.” Though championships and win-loss records impress, Godfrey seems to hold as much stock in another set of stats. In 29 seasons, 262 Southwest players received college scholarships, and 211 of those earned college degrees. Thirty-two earned advanced degrees, 10 doctorates and 22 masters. Four are principals or assistant principals in DeKalb County. Four are clergymen. “That’s what it’s all about,” Godfrey said. Octavia and William Godfrey Sr. stressed to their children the importance of academics, family life, self respect and respect for others. Godfrey and his wife, Joyce, exemplify these attitudes, and he seeks to instill them in his players. Former Southwest nose guard Ronnie Swilling, a senior at Georgia Southern with a 3.2 grade point average, dropped by practice last week and discussed those values. “He was like a grandfather to me—he was always there,” said Swilling, who plays semi-pro football. “I come back to talk with him when I can.” Godfrey has written two volumes of poetry, a book about his Black Little League team’s encounters with racism and is finishing a forthcoming biography on Robinson. Simply put, he lives life large. Thinking back on his youth, he said, “I swam, fished, crabbed. It was something out of Huck Finn,” So, naturally, his children fished, and he taught daughter Rashan to swim so well that she won a full scholarship to compete for Florida A&M. No question he’ll be fishing with granddaughters Bailey, Gabrielle, Carter and Morgan.

Southwest DeKalb coach Buck Godfrey gets a visit from former player Ronnie Swilling, one of many who see Godfrey as a role model.

lanta University and taught high school English for 34 years. “First, you’ve got to love what you do and love the people you coach and teach,” Godfrey said. “Second, you’ve got to be knowledgeable in the subject matter. And third, never lie to a child.” Teamwork is sacred—Godfrey declines to name top players for his 30th season, but look for numerous standouts. A solid core returns from last year’s 8-3 squad. “This may be our best team since the 1999 team that went 12-1,” Godfrey said as the Aug. 31 opener at Pebblebrook approaches. The speed harkens back to the era of quarterback Quincy Carter, who led Southwest to the state title in 1995 and played for UGA, the Dallas Cowboys and other pro teams. “They’re athletic, physical—they can run the ball—they can throw the ball,” Godfrey said. The defensive secondary is exceptional. The coach calls the defensive scheme “a funny version of the 40 [four linemen, four linebackers], the Willie Hunter 40,” referring to his defensive coordinator.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

spate of transfers, said Jelks, is that colleges have favorite high schools for recruitment: “It’s hurtful to some programs; but they have to find a way to make it more attractive to them,” he said. In this regard, private schools still have an advantage, being able to dangle scholarships. “[The media is] paying more attention because it’s happening to the big schools [now],” said Ferguson. “When the little guys get it, it’s not a problem at all.” The official Georgia High School Association (GHSA ) rule is that a student can be eligible for another school if he or she moves out of a school zone. Otherwise, the student will be required to sit out the year before representing the school. But regulating the practice

Page 19A

Athletic transfers are a frustrating reality for most coaches
by Matt Amato here are two certainties in high school football. One is a homecoming game. The other, it seems, is transfers. Standout athletes jumping ship to other schools has long irked coaches, who feel the practice so prevalent that it has become a backdoor-recruitment strategy for flagship sports programs. However, contrary to conventional belief, private schools are not the sole-beneficiaries. More and more athletes are finding a better chance for college recruitment at schools with traditional on-field success. All transferring requires is a change of address. According to a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution report, there were up to 600 athletic transfers in Georgia last



year—a figure that doesn’t surprise area coaches. While Stone Mountain coach Dante Ferguson said the practice is “not good for the sport,” his counterpart at Lithonia, Marcus Jelks, remains more circumspect. “I think you should be able to go where you want to play,” he said, adding, “but I don’t like to see it in the senior year.” One overlooked factor for the


is difficult. “I realize the rich get richer [with transfers],” said Gary Phillips, the GHSA’s assistant executive director, in an interview with the AJC. “But it’s a free country. If you can buy and sell a house for the betterment of your children, why should we interfere with that?” The Georgia High School Association would have to prove that a student has moved outside of an area school for athletic reasons, with regards to a public school, while students are freely permitted to attend private school, if it is within a different school zone. Even then, the rules don’t necessarily stem the practice. “I think it’s always been there,” said Ferguson. “I know quite a lot of kids who live in my area who go to the big schools.”

Brandon Washington

Justin Haymes

Stephenson pair named to 2012 All-Madden Football Team
Stephenson Jaguars’ senior running back Brandon Washington and senior offensive guard Justin Haymes were recently named to the IMG Academy’s 2012 All-Madden Football Team. The pair took part in IMG’s invitation-only mini-camp in Bradenton, Fla., under the direction of former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, who won the 1999 Heisman Trophy while guiding the Seminoles to an undefeated season and a national championship. Their performances at the minicamp, both on and off the field, along with competing in 7-on-7 competitions, earned the pair the selection. Washington (5-6, 150) is the returning leading rusher for the Jaguars having rushed for 181 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and three touchdowns in 2011. “Brandon was our first running back off the bench last year,” said Stephenson head football coach Ron Gartrell. “He was selected to compete for the Cam Newton All-Star Team in the 7-on7 championships in Florida this summer. He’s an exciting player and works extremely hard.” Haymes (6-1, 265) is in his first year at Stephenson and is already committed to Georgia Southern. Haymes has settled in at right guard for the Jaguars. “Justin is a great kid who works really hard,” Gartrell said. “I’m not surprised he made an impression and was selected to the All-Madden team.” Stephenson travels to North Gwinnett to open its 2012 season Sept. 1 to take on Pine Forest of Pensacola, Fla., at 3 p.m. in the 2012 National High School Gridiron Challenge.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012


Page 20A

Defensive backs Ronald Peterson (18) and Cameron Glenn team up to bring down North Gwinnett’s Michael Pucciarello. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Dexter Neal hauls in a Justin Holman pass in the Aug. 17 game.

tephenson hosted North Gwinnett on Aug. 17 at Hallford Stadium in Clarkston. North Gwinnett had taken a 7-0 lead early in the second period as quarterback Michael Haynes connected with Caleb Scott on a 27-yard touchdown pass. North Gwinnett drove to the Stephenson four with a minute to play in the first half when Abdul Mahmoud stepped in front of a Haynes pass and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown to help the Jaguars knot the score at 7 apiece. The game was tied 7-7 after three quarters of varsity action then the junior varsity was inserted to get action in the fourth period. Stephenson lost 14-13.