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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, JAN. 4, 2013 • VOL. 15, NO. 41 • FREE
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Fernbank planetarium reaches new heights
The fulldome/immersive projection system throws extraordinarily bright light onto a spherical mirror the exact shape of the Fernbank planetarium dome. Photo provided
IS SHE WHYIS SHE SO SOHAPPY ? WHY
By Kathy Mitchell Kathy@dekalbchamp.com “Now we’re in the digital age,” That’s how Fernbank Science Center Director Douglas Hrabe summed up the recent changes at the center’s Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium. Already the biggest planetarium in Georgia and one of the largest in the United States, Fernbank’s planetarium near the end of 2012 underwent a major technological upgrade that was introduced with special free showings on Dec. 21. Planetarium visitors that evening saw programs on a new fulldome /immersive projection system. “This totally changes the planetarium experience,” said Ed Albin, a Fernbank astronomer, in a statement released by the science center. “For the video portions of our pro-
gramming, we’ve been using standard projectors, which put an image on only a small segment of the dome. The digital immersive projection system throws extraordinarily bright light onto a spherical mirror tuned to the exact shape of our dome. So now the video and other images cover the entire dome.” April Whitt, also a Fernbank astronomer, explained: “Before we could project images, but it was rather like a slide show. With the new system, animated images move across the entire surface. It’s what children today expect to see.” The fulldome system, made by e-Planetarium of Houston, is not replacing the planetarium’s Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champ iconic Zeiss star projector, but Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. will be used to complement it. gets her news updates online from the The Champion. Because she “Nothing gives you the feel of
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Fernbank Science Center Director Douglas Hrabe, left, and astronomer April Whitt both say they are excited about the planetarium’s new possibilities. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Agnes Scott boasts interactive arboretum centered on liberal arts
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org To Agnes Scott College classics professor Jim Abbot, a tree is much more than meets the eye—it’s a metaphor, an organizational tool, a symbol of life—he said the very idea of a tree is basic to the way humans think. “The crown shape of a tree is consistent from species to species and humans have been using the tree structure for hundreds of years as tools,” Abbot said. There are approximately 2,000 trees on Agnes Scott’s 100-acre campus, which consist of nearly 50 families of both native and nonnative trees, Abbot said. Recently Abbot, director of sustainability Susan Kidd and several students rejuvenated the campus’ arboretum. “We tried to go with something that you don’t see every day,” Abbot said. A typical arboretum, such as the one Agnes Scott used to have, contains trees identified by species accompanied by a database with descriptions of the trees. Abbot said they wanted to develop something appropriate for a small, interdisciplinary liberal arts school. Rather than focus primarily on the trees, Abbot and the others came up with broad topics to center the tree tour around, such as trees in the arts, sacred trees and the psychological benefits of trees. “Those kinds of topics then allowed us to bring in a little biology, a little English literature and so forth, and combine all that into the information we’re trying to get across to people,” Abbot said. Additionally, Abbot said there is a focus put on the individual trees and the college at each one of the 17 stops on the arboretum tour. “Because we’re using electronic means we have the option of continually updating for content but also adding in things like audio files,” Abbot said. Kimberly Reeves, a former Agnes Scott student now getting her master’s deserves at the University of Georgia, helped come up with the idea to display a QR code at each stop on the tour. The QR code, which can be scanned by a smartphone, then directs the visitor to the tour’s interactive website. Reeves, who studied anthropology and environmental studies at Agnes Scott, said she was asked to sit in on the preliminary meetings when Abbot and others were designing the new arboretum tour. “I was asking my dad and my brother what they thought about it and they were saying that QR codes would be a really good idea for keeping everything up to date,” Reeves said. Reeves confessed that she didn’t know much about trees until she met Abbot, who helped her learn a lot of the species. “I hope that people can learn about the trees and it’s not just a background for them anymore,” Reeves said. “UGA actually has an arboretum, it’s a little outdated, but it would definitely be really cool to get something like that out there.” One stop on the arboretum tour is in front of a bronze statue of poet Robert Frost, which depicts him sitting on a bench under a tree and writing in a notebook. “He would come on residence to work for a few weeks basically—he would do a public lecture and a reading and teach a class or two,” Abbot said. Abbot said at Frost’s stop on the tour, visitors will hear information on how trees are connected with the arts. Additionally, there is a link on the website to an audio file of Frost’s poem “After Apple-Picking.”
Anges Scott College classics professor Jim Abbot recently revived the campuses arboretum tour with the help of Kimberly Reeves. Reeves, who is now getting her masters at the University of Georgia, came up with the idea to include QR codes at each stop on the tour. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
as a deputy and ordered the suspect to drop his gun. When the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Eric D. Roberts, refused to comply with the investigator’s demands, the investigator fired, according to the media release. Roberts attempted to flee by breaking and jumping through a bank window, according to the release. He made it to the outside drive-thru banking area where he collapsed. Roberts was treated at the scene and transported to a local hospital where he later died. According to the media release, Roberts had been in the DeKalb County Jail charged with obstruction on Dec. 11. He was released the same day. Roberts was also arrested in DeKalb County in October 2012 for a failure to appear charge and in May 2012 on a loitering charge. The sheriff’s investigator, whose name is not being released, will be placed on a routine paid leave for evaluations, according to the release. ties say the family’s dog also died in the crash. Ainsworth Mallett operated the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, 7245 Rockbridge Road, Lithonia. Officials say the family was traveling to visit a relative in Connecticut and were rear ended by a tractor trailer Dec. 27 near Mount Laurel, N.J. Police say the crash is under investigation. A public viewing will be held Jan. 4 from 1-8 p.m. at the Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home on 4347 Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur. A wake service will be held from 7-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. at the Tabernacle Assembly of God at 1580 Agape Way in Decatur.
Bank robbery suspect fatally shot by deputy
A man who allegedly attempted to rob a Memorial Drive bank was fatally shot by a DeKalb County sheriff’s investigator Dec. 28. According to a media release, the attempted robbery occurred at the Capital City Bank and Trust, 5674 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain, at Roberts 10:35 a.m. The robbery was halted when the plain clothes investigator, who was in the bank conducting personal business, identified himself
Memorial growing for family killed in NJ crash
(AP) A memorial is growing outside a Lithonia restaurant owned by a couple who died in a car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. WSB-TV reports well-wishers have been visiting a Caribbean restaurant owned by 51-year-old Ainsworth Mallet and his 49-year-old wife, Jackie. The couple’s 12-year-old son, Drew, was also killed in the accident and their 18-year-old daughter, Nikki, survived with minor injuries. Authori-
Jobs bus attracts 2,000 people since launching
by Carla Parker email@example.com DeKalb County’s Mobile Career Center, also known as the “jobs bus,” has been a big hit in the community, according to the DeKalb County Workforce Development. The mobile center, which launched in February, is designed to help residents find employment by providing job search assistance, adult workshops and training, resume writing and interviewing tips. The bus has 13 computer stations, a meeting space, a smart board, and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Director of DeKalb County Workforce Development Sheryl Chapman said the mobile center has a lot of the amenities that are on site at the DeKalb County Workforce Development office. “We do job leads, we help with resume writing, we have various software,” Chapman said. “People can come in and do a job search. They have access to the internet; and they can print, fax, copy–they can do all those things right there on that mobile unit.” The jobs bus also has two staff members who help people with their resumes. “Someone is always there to help you,” she said. “We’ve gotten feedback just to say it is a needed resource.” Businesses are also able to use the mobile unit for recruiting, pre-employment screenings, interviewing and training. “We partner with varican come and use the internet, they can do the job search and practice interviewing.” Chapman added that the mobile center helped the DeKalb County Workforce Development exceed the state requirements for performance for the ninth consecutive year. “That is putting people back to work, helping people retain their jobs, as well as their average wages have met those thresholds,” she said. “We feel like we have really exceeded the bench mark that has been put out for us and the jobs bus definitely helps us do that.” For more information about the Mobile Career Center, visit www.dekalbworkforce.org.
DeKalb County’s Mobile Career Center, also known as the “jobs bus,” has attracted an estimated 2,000 people at approximately 200 locations since launching in February. The mobile center is designed to help residents find employment by providing job search assistance, adult workshops and training, resume writing and interviewing tips. The bus has 13 computer stations, a meeting space, a smart board and is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act. Photos by Carla Parker
ous employers but we have a business relations unit and its primary focus is to work directly with employers to match them with qualified applicants,” Chapman said. Since launching, the jobs bus has attracted an estimated 2,000 people and been to approximately 200 locations in DeKalb County. DeKalb County’s unemployment insurance initial claims have
dropped from 3,557 in October 2011 to 3,330 in October 2012. Chapman said they have been receiving good reviews about the bus. “People couldn’t get to [the DeKalb County Workforce Development] all the time and we put the bus out in the community wherever it’s needed,” she said. “So, we’ve had people to say that it’s a great resource because they
This year, resolve to love your body
You can buy another car, but you sure can’t get a new body
by Jill Richardson After a month of gorging ourselves on gingerbread, stuffing ourselves with Christmas cookies, and washing it all down with so much eggnog that we have to ask Santa to bring us clothes in a larger size, we end our year with a final night of feasting and champagne. Then we wake up on January first and think, “I ate what?” Most retailers wait all year for Christmas, but gyms live for January. That’s when Americans wallow in self-loathing at their flabby bodies and drag themselves to a gym to sign up for memberships en masse. We resolve that this year we will stick to a strict diet and hit the gym regularly. We spend more than $60 billion each year on weight loss — but then we spend more than triple that on fast food. But what if we didn’t do that this year? What if we did something crazy? What if we resolved to love our bodies instead? What if we took all of that selfloathing, that shame, that judgment we derive from the size and shape of our bodies and we left it behind in 2012? In 2013 and beyond, we should resolve that self worth is no longer connected to one’s waistline. No more fad diets. No more holiday binges. In their place: love and appreciation for our bodies’ beauty and capabilities. If you really want to be thorough about it, chuck the fashion magazines and turn off the TV. Human bodies in the real world don’t look like the ones portrayed in the media. In real life, fashion models, who are compelled to starve themselves until they’re skinnier than telephone poles, can actually look a bit freakish. But by loving our bodies, I don’t mean simply admiring your love handles and multiple chins as you sit on the couch watching TV and eating Cheetos. I mean something more like loving our bodies like we love our cars. Think about someone you know who loves his (or her) car. He takes good care of his vehicle, putting the right fuel in the gas tank, getting regular oil changes, keeping enough air in the tires, and so on. She doesn’t drive recklessly or carelessly fling open her doors in crowded parking lots because she doesn’t want to get in accidents or get a bunch of dents. A good car owner treats his or her car so that it will run well for as long as possible. But odds are that same car owner is not half so kind to his or her body. It makes no sense really, because you can always buy another car — given the right budget — but you sure can’t get a new body. So why would anybody spring for premium gasoline but then fuel their body with cheap junk food? Why would you keep to your car’s maintenance schedule perfectly while allowing your own body to fall into disrepair? Loving your body means eating food that makes you feel good and helps your body be able to do the things you love to do. A cookie may taste good, but does eating one make you feel good? Not in the way eating a hearty homemade dinner does. Real food — minimally processed foods that come from plants and animals — nourishes you. It satiates you. Junk makes you crave more chow without any satisfaction until you’ve got a stomachache because you’ve had too much. This year, let’s love our bodies by eating foods that nourish us, doing activities we enjoy, allowing ourselves to say no to things that stress us out, and getting enough sleep. Forget weight. Forget clothing size. Focus on what’s important and the rest will take care of itself. OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. OtherWords.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4 , 2013
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Opinion One Man’s Opinion
A welcome place for quiet, pause and reflection
Some things that you might expect to see at a Catholic Monastery are easily located—but you will also find quite a few surprises. The website is http:// www.trappist.net. Bonsai gardens and nursery The patient practice of cutting, trimming and shaping a tree in miniature is an art form primarily for contemplation of the viewer, as well as the regular efforts, ingenuity and exercise of the grower. Ambassador Andrew Young helped make me more familiar with and appreciative of bonsai more than a decade ago. The mother of my youngest child is also a fan. The monastery offers a greenhouse filled with bonsai, as well as all the tools to practice this unique horticulture on your own or to purchase and ship a bonsai most anywhere in the world. Stained glass studios If you visit the abbey during any of the multiple sessions of group prayer throughout the day, you cannot help but note the incredible stained-glass windows in the sanctuary. Each was designed and built by hand on the grounds of the monastery. An Old World production studio is helmed by Father Methodius, who has been designing and building stained glass for nearly 50 years. Stained glass is assembled here in much the same manner as in the 1150s, when Cistercian statutes of the order proscribed the use of stained glass in early churches and sanctuaries. Prayer Walk and PATH Trail The PATH Foundation, in partnership with DeKalb and Rockdale counties, as well as the Arabia Mountain Heritage Alliance have developed an extensive bike and walking trail system winding east of Atlanta through 7,000 acres of greenspace, passing the Mall at Stonecrest and into Panola Mountain State Park, Arabia Mountain and beyond. While 20 miles of trail are already completed into Rockdale County, by mid-2013, a new trail headend will terminate at the monastery, and once Atlanta Beltline connections are complete to the Silver Comet Trail (west of the city), continuous PATH trails will ﬂow from the Monastery Prayer Walk to Anniston, Ala. Retreat House Whether one wishes to reﬂect, retreat or renew, the monastery offers modest retreat facilities and overnight accommodations to the public to come and live among the order for a weekend or a few days mid-week. These unique retreats offer considerable time for prayer, reﬂection, contemplation and meditation or simply give visitors both a cause and a place for quiet rest and pause. Honey Creek Woodlands, Georgia’s ﬁrst conservation burial ground: For centuries our decedents were simply buried in plain wooden boxes or a burial shroud. This old practice is now newly relabeled as “green burial,” without chemical embalming, metal caskets and typical burial costs approaching $10,000-$15,000. The Honey Creek Woodlands is 500 acres of woodlands, wetlands and wooded streams permanently protected by a strong conservation easement, as well as an endowment created from a portion of the plot sales. The initial 70 acres in use for burial grounds contains abundant wildlife and 400 species of plants. Modest markers on natural and engraved stones replace mausoleums and life-sized headstones. Tours are available with advance appointments. My first trip to the monastery was as a young pre-teen. Honey Creek might be a good place to plan to spread my cremains for my last visit there when that day gets here. From what I’ve seen, I’m guessing they have figured a better path to the higher grounds. Hoping that you and your family and your God find peace, health and happiness this holiday season and in the New Year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Meditation is the action of silence.”— Krishnamurti (1895-1986), an Indianborn speaker and author on philosophical and spiritual subjects Perhaps little known today, and seldom seen, are monastic orders. In the hustle and bustle of our modern world, there are so few places reserved simply for quiet thought, reflection and asking the great questions of today. In east metro Atlanta, specifically in Rockdale County and not far from Conyers is the Monastery of the Holy Spirit (MOHS), a Catholic monastery originally founded in 1944. The monastery is a Roman Catholic religious community, belonging to the worldwide Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as Trappists. This Trappist community is currently home to 36 monks, a few of whom have been there more than 36 years, who live, work and pray repeatedly throughout the day at the Abbey. The monastery sits on 2,300 acres, 1,000 of those are under permanent easement protection. This is one of Georgia’s two National Heritage Areas.
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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, Jan. 4, 2013
Championof Brookhaven approves the Week municipal services
by Carla Parker email@example.com groups for those in need. With monthly meetings, students participate in activities that teach the after-effects of bullying and will meet new people that can relate to them. Milter said an average of 10 students attend the monthly meetings and they had as many as 33 attend one time. The main thing they talk about in those meetings is that violence is not the way out. “The best thing they can do is go get help from a parent, an administrator, a manager or wherever you are being bullied at,” she said. “Go and get help and report the situation.” Milter said the Push Back Project’s mission is to travel from school to school and build support groups for bullied students. “Not only do we want to help those in need, we also want to educate the entire school about bullying and ways they can help prevent it,” she said. She said she believes a lot of schools do take bullying seriously, but she does know of some schools that don’t. “I’ve been fighting really hard to make them see otherwise,” she said. “And I’ve been talking to the kids that go to school there and I keep telling them don’t give up. Keep fighting to help, keep fighting to report the issue, and speak to anyone that will listen.” The Push Back Project is trying to raise money to get more guest speakers, improve activities for students, something for them to take home provide and to purchase a building where students can come before or after school and hang out with new friends. To donate to the Push Back Project, visit www.gofundme. com/ThePushBackProject.
Polina Milter was a victim of bullying when she was a student at Dunwoody High School. The bullying, which ranged from name calling and being ignored by other students, had gotten so bad that she attempted to commit suicide. “I didn’t really feel like I had anyone around me and I felt like no one cared,” she said. “I was surrounded by so much depression and stuff. So, I just took a bottle of Ambien.” Surviving the suicide attempt changed Milter’s outlook of her life. “I made an agreement with myself that if I’m going to be alive then I’m going to live it the way I want to live it,” she said. The 22 year old vowed to fight back against bullying so no other student would have to go through what she went through. Last year, she came up with the idea to create the Push Back Project. The Push Back Project is a nonviolent organization that teaches students about bullying and builds support
to Jacobs Engineering Group. Jacobs, one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of professional techThe City of Brookhaven city nical services, also runs the court in council has awarded contracts and Sandy Springs. initial task orders for six of the seven InterDev Systems, a specialist inmunicipal government services work formation technology solution providpackages. er, won the contract for information The Governor’s Commission on technology services. Brookhaven issued requests for proThe firm of UHY Advisors Tax and posals for municipal government Business Consultants was awarded the services on Oct. 12 for government contract for the finance and adminisservices, including communications tration services. and community engagement, comOn Dec. 21, the city council chose munity development, financial and the firm of Clark, Patterson and Lee administrative services, information to provide community development technologies services, municipal court services that include zoning, planning, services, public works, and recreation building permits and code compliance. and parks. Back-up contracts were also awarded The city awarded contracts and task to The Collaborative, Jacobs and orders for communications and comSAFEbuilt. munity engagement, community deThe council awarded the contract velopment, financial and administrafor public works to Lowe. The countive services, information technologies cil has yet to reward the contract for services, municipal court services, and the parks and recreation services. The public works. council met on Dec. 22 for a work “Throughout the selection process session that included hearing from the we felt it vital to make prudent and former Brookhaven Governor’s Comfiscally conservative selections,” said mission’s park committee. Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis. Interim deputy city manager J.D. “We carefully examined all bids and Clockadale said several bidders were proposals to help make the most straawarded contracts, but only one firm tegic and cost-effective decisions for received the initial task order to perthe citizens of Brookhaven. Each of form the service. the firms receiving contracts and ini“With the task order approach we tial task orders provide the best overall can give them the contract but, the value to the city of Brookhaven for vendor that is actually going to be Municipal General Government Serproviding services to the city will be vices requirements.” awarded a task order,” he said. “The Fourteen firms submitted propos[vendor] that’s given the task order als to provide multiple services to the will be doing the work and getting city. paid for it.” On Dec. 18, the Brookhaven City The final costs will not be known Council awarded the contract for the until the task orders are fully negotimunicipal court services and commu- ated by the city attorney and interim nications and community engagement city-manager Marie Garrett.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Staff will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon to answer questions about email, finding information on the web, or Microsoft programs. The library located is at 951 N. Indian Creek Drive. To register, call (404) 508-7175. Jewish community center to host pajama party
Emory anthropologist receives awards Emory University anthropology professor Peter Brown has received two major 2012 career awards for teaching and mentoring: The American Anthropological Association (AAA)/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Anthropology and the Society for Medical Anthropology Graduate Student Mentoring Award. Both awards–the first recognition by his peers, and the second by his students–were presented at the recent AAA annual meeting in San Francisco. Many of his students have gone on to outstanding careers in anthropology, public health and other fields according to Emory officials. In nominating Brown for the awards, several of his students described how he cultivated their interest in medical anthropology by combining facts and personal stories.
Soil and water meeting scheduled The DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District monthly meeting will be held on Friday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. at the Clark Harrison Building, 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. in downtown Decatur. For additional information call (770) 761-3020.
The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is hosting a pajama party and Havdalah, which is a ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and the Jewish high holidays. The event will be Jan. 12, 6:30-8 p.m. at Ali’s Cookies, located at 4511 Olde Perimeter Way in Dunwoody. The event is free and parents and children are invited to come dressed in their PJ’s and listen to children’s songs with Rabbi Brian Glusman. For more information, call (678) 812-4161.
Business group steps up safety patrols The Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID) has increased safety patrols during the holidays. The CID is increasing measures to further deter crimes against commercial properties along the Mountain Industrial Road corridor as 2012 draws to a close. Every day, CID-funded private security and off-duty DeKalb County police officers provide a continual presence throughout the district. These law enforcement professionals are making special efforts to safeguard the area during the holidays. CID Chairman Larry Callahan said that expanded public safety throughout the greater Mountain Industrial corridor is a key benefit to district stakeholders. As a result, the number of reported incidents continues to decline. “We want all of our member properties to know that we are aware of the unique safety concerns that businesses have right now,” Callahan said. “We are committed to vigilantly monitoring the district and working closely with DeKalb County Police to limit opportunities for incidents.” Private security officers document details they observe during routine patrols and notify county police the
moment potentially criminal behavior is observed. These patrols have generated positive interactions with business owners seeking to increase the security of their facilities. Safety personnel have been alerted to situations where their presence could prove beneficial. Recently, representatives of an area corporate headquarters informed the CID of suspicious occurrences believed to be precursors to a burglary. The next weekend, a patrolling officer intercepted a vehicle and its occupant at the business during pre-dawn hours, potentially curtailing a crime. For more information about the CID’s efforts, contact CID President Emory Morsberger at (770) 4098100 or emory@stonemountaincid. com. Emancipation celebration scheduled Stone Mountain Village will host a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The event will take place in the village square Jan. 5 near the Sherman’s Neck Ties public art sculpture from 10:30-11:30 a.m. There will be a reception immediately following several speeches and Mayor Patricia Wheeler will give a proclamation. The event is sponsored by Main Street Stone Mountain. For more information contact Susan Ryles at (770) 413-0607. Professional football legend visits library Clarence Scott, former NFL defensive back for the Cleveland Browns (1971-1983) will visit the Hairston Crossing Library, located at 4911 Redan Road in Stone Mountain, Jan. 12 from 2-4 p.m. Scott will answer questions about his experiences in college and professional athletics and be available to sign autographs. Scott is a recent Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inductee and a Decatur High School Alumni. For more information call (404) 508-7170.
MJCCA announces new day camps The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) recently announced that its new online day camp registration begins Jan. 13. Additionally, several new day camps have been added to the more than 100 options MJCCA offers children ages 5 – 14. New camps for 2013 include: • Aerial & Acrobatics • Archeology Rocks • Atlanta Hawks Basketball • Chess Camp • CIA Fusion • Fencing • Hollywood Bound • Intro to Graffiti Art • Junk Art • Meteorology Camp • Need for Speed Travel • Painting Frenzy • Sports Broadcasting • Spy Camp • Video Game Builders, and • Water Wipeout Camps start the week of May 28 and continue through Aug. 9. For more information, visit www.atlantajcc. org/camps.
English as a Second Language class to be offered English classes will be held at the Brookhaven Library on Jan. 7 and 14. The English as Second Language class is sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of America-Metro Atlanta and DeKalb County Public Library. The free class is for adults 18 years and older. The class is 6:30-8 p.m. Brookhaven Library is at 1242 N. Druid Hills Road NE in Atlanta. For more information, call Literacy Volunteers of America-Metro Atlanta at (404) 377-7323 or DeKalb County Public Library Literacy Services at (404) 370-8450, ext. 2240.
Computer class offered at library Computer classes for adults will be held at the Clarkston library on Jan. 9.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Maloof Center Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur Maloof Center Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will hold Public Hearings on the 2013 Proposed Budget at the times and places listed below: Tuesday February 12, 2013 Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:00AM 10:00AM
All interested citizens are invited to attend these hearings and have the right to present comments pertaining to the proposed budget. The recommended budget is available for public inspection in the office of the Director of Finance, 6th Floor, Maloof Center, at all DeKalb County Libraries during normal business hours, and electronically at www.dekalbcountyga.gov.
TAX FUNDS GENERAL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Licenses and Permits Intergovernmental Charges for Services Fines and Forfeitures Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - GENERAL FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Chief Executive Officer Board of Commissioners Ethics Board Law Department Geographic Info Systems Facilities Management Purchasing Human Resources & Merit System Information Systems Finance Property Appraisal Tax Commissioner Registrar Sheriff Juvenile Court Superior Court Clerk of Superior Court State Court Solicitor - General District Attorney Child Advocate’s Office Probate Court Medical Examiner Public Defender Police Magistrate Court Fire & Rescue Services Planning & Development Public Works - Director Economic Development Library Cooperative Extension Public Health Community Service Board DFACS Human Services Contributions to Capital Projects Non - Departmental TOTAL - GENERAL FUND 2013 Recommended Budget
HOSPITAL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - HOSPITAL FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:
$14,267,569 (2,885,477) $11,382,092 $11,382,092
$235,614,163 120,000 3,372,969 38,631,649 10,669,691 5,902,303 7,269,453 (3,725,267) $297,854,961
POLICE SERVICES FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Licenses and Permits Charges for Services Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - POLICE SERVICES FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: DEBT SERVICE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - DEBT SERVICE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - DEBT SERVICE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - STD - DEBT SERVICE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: TOTAL RECOMMENDED 2013 TAX FUNDS BUDGET
$49,220,398 850,000 215,000 2,598,000 46,697,043 17,265,309 $116,845,750 $116,845,750
$1,869,545 3,062,075 4,500 3,139,711 1,902,262 17,319,915 3,179,928 3,102,415 16,238,033 5,650,199 4,390,264 6,629,597 1,889,295 75,717,002 9,444,635 8,392,003 6,121,920 13,213,450 5,951,607 11,843,372 1,816,119 1,577,720 2,278,903 7,283,038 4,521,684 2,706,229 9,120,920 973,957 267,196 1,186,797 12,376,767 $207,617 3,955,634 1,576,060 1,241,284 3,491,733 6,000,000 38,211,575 $297,854,961
$1,442,010 14,079,486 $15,521,496 $15,521,496
$26,326,854 1,263,865 $27,590,719 $27,590,719 $562,652,958
SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS DEVELOPMENT FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Licenses and Permits Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - DEVELOPMENT FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Planning & Sustainability Land Development TOTAL - DEVELOPMENT FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION & GOVERNMENT ACCESS FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - P E G FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:
$5,757,300 27,000 2,000 (20,000) 1,083,381 $6,849,681 $6,157,542 692,139 $6,849,681
FIRE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Property Taxes Charges for Services Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - FIRE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Fire & Rescue Services Non - Departmental TOTAL - FIRE FUND SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - DESIGNATED SERVICES ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Charges for Services Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - S T D - DESIGNATED SERVICES FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Transportation Public Works - Roads & Drainage Parks & Recreation Non - Departmental TOTAL - S T D - DESIGNATED SERVICES FUND SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - UNINCORPORATED ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Licenses and Permits Fines and Forfeitures Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - S T D - UNINCORPORATED FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: C E O Office - Cable TV Support Finance - Business License Recorder’s Court Planning & Development- Zoning Analysis Non - Departmental TOTAL - S T D - UNINCORPORATED FUND
$47,379,515 723,488 5,626,104 $53,729,107
$10,000 145,000 1,943,656 $2,098,656 $2,098,656
$45,528,336 8,200,771 $53,729,107
$6,225,365 756,529 260,394 20,013,019 1,501,416 $28,756,723
COUNTY JAIL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Fines and Forfeitures Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - COUNTY JAIL FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: FORECLOSURE REGISTRY FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - FORECLOSURE REGISTRY FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: HOTEL / MOTEL TAX FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - HOTEL / MOTEL TAX FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: RENTAL MOTOR VEHICLE EXCISE TAX FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Fines and Forfeitures Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:
$210,000 2,022,000 566,359 $2,798,359 $2,798,359
$240,000 1,061,820 $1,301,820 $1,301,820
8,543,051 8,761,770 9,419,451 $28,756,723
$27,516,430 24,048,234 24,039,726 (43,640) (64,185,506) (403,134) $10,972,110
$4,000,000 770,255 $4,770,255 $4,770,255
$379,745 721,343 3,966,446 2,771,661 3,132,915 $10,972,110
345,000 $1,000,000 231,458 $1,576,458 $1,576,458
See Budget on Page 9A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Budget Continued From Page 8A
RECREATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - RECREATION FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: LAW ENFORCEMENT CONFISCATED MONIES FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - L.E.C.M. FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Sheriff District Attorney State Court Marshal Public Safety - Police TOTAL - L.E.C.M. FUND JUVENILE SERVICES FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - JUVENILE SERVICES FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT & EDUCATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Fines and Forfeitures Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - D.A.T.E. FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: STREET LIGHT FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - STREET LIGHT FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: SPEED HUMPS MAINTENANCE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - SPEED HUMPS MAINTENANCE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: GRANT - IN - AID FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Revenue TOTAL - GRANT - IN - AID FUND GRANT - IN - AID FUND (continued) PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Community Development Workforce Development Other Justice Assistance Grants TOTAL - GRANT - IN - AID FUND
$885,814 (5,924) (464,890) $415,000 $415,000 PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Sanitation Finance - Revenue Collections TOTAL - SANITATION FUND DEKALB - PEACHTREE AIRPORT ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - DEKALB - PEACHTREE AIRPORT PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Airport Operations Transfer to Capital Projects TOTAL - DEKALB - PEACHTREE AIRPORT STORMWATER UTILITY OPERATING FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - STORMWATER UTILITY FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Stormwater Operations TOTAL - STORMWATER UTILITY FUND INTERNAL SERVICE FUNDS FLEET MAINTENANCE ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Charges for Services Miscellaneous TOTAL - FLEET MAINTENANCE PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Fleet Maintenance TOTAL - FLEET MAINTENANCE VEHICLE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - VEHICLE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Vehicle Acquisitions Interdepartmental Services Reserves and Other Miscellaneous TOTAL - VEHICLE FUND RISK MANAGEMENT ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Payroll Deductions and Matches Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - RISK MANAGEMENT PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Group Health & Life Buildings & Contents Boiler & Machinery Non- Immunity Expenses Vehicle Airport Liability Helicopter Money & Securities Loss Control Other TOTAL - RISK MANAGEMENT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:
$73,550,457 222,521 $73,772,978
$6,579,514 $6,579,514 $1,276,785 88,771 26,454 5,187,504 $6,579,514
$20,000 4,900,500 5,480,484 $10,400,984 $9,100,984 1,300,000 $10,400,984
$25,000 400 258,789 $284,189 $284,189
$14,815,936 10,000 5,788,162 $20,614,098 $20,614,098 $20,614,098
$60,000 125 99,307 $159,432 $159,432
$200,000 34,250,000 200,000 $34,650,000 $34,650,000 $34,650,000
$4,500,000 300 2,022,411 $6,522,711 $6,522,711
$12,476,208 25,000 500,000 11,170,255 $24,171,463 $8,962,879 227,400 14,981,184 $24,171,463
$9,000 9,750,000 5,557,926 $15,316,926 $15,316,926
$312,000 3,000 1,887,652 $2,202,652 $2,202,652
$6,978,648 95,074,385 7,601,754 $109,654,787 94,521,100 1,850,000 50,000 2,000,000 4,091,962 6,100 130,000 50,000 350,000 6,605,625 $109,654,787
$3,526,993 6,145,913 55,326,970 1,058,312 $66,058,188
$1,031,784 $244,784 8,342,709 $9,619,277 $9,619,277
ENTERPRISE FUNDS WATER & SEWERAGE OPERATING FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE OPERATING FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Water & Sewer Finance - Revenue Collections TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE OPERATING FUND WATER & SEWERAGE SINKING FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE SINKING FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: SANITATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - SANITATION FUND
REVENUE BONDS LEASE PAYMENT FUNDS BUILDING AUTHORITY LEASE PAYMENTS ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - BUILDING AUTHORITY PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:
$236,915,600 30,000 34,268,095 $271,213,695
3,712,325 33,115 $3,745,440 $3,745,440
$265,068,564 6,145,131 $271,213,695
PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUDICIAL FACILITIES AUTHORITY LEASE PAYMENTS ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous $3,075,089 Fund Balance Carried Forward 32,013 TOTAL - PS&J FACILITIES AUTHORITY $3,107,102 PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY BONDS DEBT SERVICE ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - URA DEBT SERVICE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: $3,107,102
$623,628 62,794,585 17,412,380 $80,830,593 $80,830,593
$766,122 1,121 $767,243 $767,243
$65,860,000 42,000 155,000 147,143 7,568,835 $73,772,978
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
‘Every single national accreditation you can have that speaks to our operational excellence, we have.’
– Thomas Brown
DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said his staff has worked hard to get away from the “colorful past” of the Sheriff’s Office. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Fireﬁghter turned sheriff starts fourth term
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com When Thomas Brown first became DeKalb County’s sheriff in 2000, the position had a tarnished reputation. A sheriff in the 1970s “stayed into a lot of stuff,” Brown said. “[He] had some argument with some kid in his neighborhood and ended up shooting the kid. But he was acquitted, as I understand it. I don’t know what was going on there.” Pat Jarvis, a longtime DeKalb sheriff in the 1980s and the man who is responsible for the construction of the current county jail, had some troubles. “He left the office before his legal troubles started,” Brown said. “He ended up having to serve some time in jail because of some actions that took place while he was here. “And everybody knows the story of Sidney Dorsey,” Brown added. Dorsey, who was the county’s sheriff from 1996-2000, was convicted of murder after the 2000 assassination of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown, who was returning home from his graduation from sheriff’s school when he was met with a hail of gunfire in front of his home. He was to have been sworn in as sheriff five days later. “It’s been a colorful past,” said Thomas Brown, who was named the interim sheriff in January 2001 and won a special election in March 2001, becoming the 48th sheriff in the history of DeKalb County. “When this tragedy happened on Dec. 15, , it took me about 24 hours to decide that somebody’s going to have to do this and so I decided that I was going to put my name out there and see if there would be an interest in me doing this,” Brown said. Brown was selected as interim sheriff and spent a month doing “some real soul searching to see if this was something I wanted to do.” After about 30 days it became apparent to me that it was a job that needed to be done and it was a job that I felt like I could do. It was a job that a lot of people were encouraging me to pursue.” On Dec. 21, 2012, Brown was sworn in for his fourth term as sheriff. When Brown became sheriff he had employees “that had been demoralized because of what had taken place: the tragedy and killing of the sheriff-elect and the cloud of corruption that had been placed over this organization.” “All of that was wearing on the
See Brown on Page 14A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
AdvancED’s report garners strong response from residents
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org A group of DeKalb County parents have been circulating a petition asking Gov. Nathan Deal to remove DeKalb County School Board members if the findings of a recent report from accrediting agency AdvancED are accurate. The petition, which has gained nearly 500 supporters since it was posted on www.change.org, asks Deal to review the findings of AdvancED’s investigation of the district and determine whether the board is competent to resolve the DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) issues Recently, DCSD was placed on “Accreditation Probation” by AdvancED, which said that if the district doesn’t make significant progress on a list of action items it will lose its accreditation. Betsy Parks, who authored the letter, said she doesn’t think the board will be able to comply with AdvancED’s action items, which include developing a plan to unify the nine-member school board, adhering to fiscally responsible practices, performing an internal audit on available technology and strengthening and bolstering its communication channels. “I think it’s doomed unless there’s something radically changed,” Parks said of the board. Parks said the board is dysfunctional and doesn’t work together and “when one person on a team does something unethical it affects everybody; and the school board is a team.” “If the district loses accreditation I don’t know if we could sell our houses,” Parks said. Parks and her husband moved to DeKalb County several years ago and enrolled their oldest son in Lakeside High School, where he graduated in 2011. Her two younger children attend St. Pius X High School. “I feel fortunate that we were able to get our two youngest children into St. Pius but it shouldn’t have to be that way,” Parks said. Three years ago Parks said she spoke before the board and former Superintendent Crawford Lewis about nepotism but nothing was done. Parks said she received a reply signed by Lewis and DCSD Open Records Officer Ronald Ramsey stating that there was no evidence of nepotism in the district. Lewis is currently facing charges that he and his former Chief Operations Officer Pat Reid ran a criminal enterprise within the district while he was superintendent. “It seems to me like nothing ever changed,” Parks said. “I felt like we needed a grass roots effort.” In addition to the online petition, Parks and several others have been contacting PTA and PTSA organizations in the district and providing them with a hard copy of AdvancED’s report. She is also organizing a community meeting and plans to invite all of the board members to attend and provide a response to AdvancED’s findings. David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, said that nearly every issue mentioned in the AdvancED report stems from the actions of the school board. Schutten also said he’s concerned because the report mentions the three new incoming board members who took office at the beginning of the year. “The team verified through interviews that the new board members are following in the current board’s footsteps by acting individually and misinterpreting their roles and responsibilities already,” the report states. According to outgoing board member Don McChesney’s blog, incoming board members have been jockeying for board chair and vice-chair positions or throwing their support behind other board members who will remain through 2013. “Do you believe the board can put down personal feelings and contribute to the greater good? My gut feeling is no,” McChesney said. “[AdvancED] has already cited the new members as being in the schools using their elected positions to set their expectations.” Another issue mentioned in AdvancED’s report that gave both Parks and her son pause was that the agency found board members had interfered in students’ school assignments based on athletic preferences. Parks’ son played football at Lakeside and she said when he heard about the possibility that the district was “stacking teams” he was angry. Online comments on the petition: Shannon Lee: I have two elementary school children in DCSD. The current board is corrupt and the system is crumbling. If my children are to get a good education in DeKalb County then we need a change....and fast!!! Scott Williamson: This situation is screaming for Leadership! Charles Wesley: The children of DeKalb County deserve competent, ethical leadership that will put their educational interests first. Lisa Lake: Our children are our future! It’s time we cure the sickness and make our children’s education a priority.
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
Scat'd Rain High: 51 Low: 32
Jan. 3, 2013
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Jan. 3, 1777 - An overnight freeze enabled George Washington and his troops to flank the British at Trenton, cross their lines at Princeton and seek security in the hills of northern New Jersey. Jan. 4, 1989 - Up to a foot of snow blanketed the mountains of West Virginia and strong winds in the northeastern United States produced wind chill readings as cold as 60 degrees below zero in Maine. Mount Washington, N.H. reported wind gusts to 136 mph. Dunwoody 49/31 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 50/32 50/32 50/32 Snellville Decatur 51/32 Atlanta 51/32 51/32 Lithonia College Park 52/32 52/32 Morrow 52/32 Union City 52/32 Hampton 53/33
In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see cloudy skies with a 40% chance of rain, high temperature of 51º, humidity of 71%. The record high temperature for today is 73º set in 2000. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 32º. The record low for tonight is 10º set in 1979.
Mostly Sunny High: 49 Low: 30
*Last Week’s Almanac
Hi Lo Normals Precip Date Monday 57 46 53/35 0.30" Tuesday 52 49 53/35 0.12" Wednesday 58 34 53/34 0.05" Thursday 43 31 52/34 0.00" Friday 50 30 52/34 0.14" Saturday 41 34 52/34 0.41" Sunday 46 28 52/34 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .1.02" Average temp . .42.8 Normal rainfall . .0.89" Average normal 43.4 Departure . . . . .+0.13" Departure . . . . .-0.6
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport
Sunny High: 52 Low: 31
Sunny High: 53 Low: 28
Mostly Sunny High: 54 Low: 28
Partly Cloudy High: 54 Low: 31 Last 1/4
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. Sunset 5:42 p.m. 5:43 p.m. 5:43 p.m. 5:44 p.m. 5:45 p.m. 5:46 p.m. 5:47 p.m. Moonrise 11:55 p.m. No Rise 12:57 a.m. 2:01 a.m. 3:08 a.m. 4:15 a.m. 5:20 a.m. Moonset 11:12 a.m. 11:47 a.m. 12:24 p.m. 1:05 p.m. 1:52 p.m. 2:46 p.m. 3:47 p.m. First 1/18
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 7:12 a.m. 4:58 p.m. 6:15 a.m. 4:12 p.m. 9:14 a.m. 7:29 p.m. 3:04 p.m. 5:10 a.m. 2:48 a.m. 1:44 p.m. 11:56 a.m.12:10 a.m.
Mostly Sunny High: 55 Low: 34 New 1/11
Local UV Index
National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see isolated snow today and Friday, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 45º in Germantown, Md. The Southeast will see scattered showers today and Friday, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see mostly clear skies today and Friday, isolated rain and snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 45º in Colville, Wash. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 72º in Fullerton, Calif.
What is the Bermuda High?
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: Each summer, a huge area of high pressure sets up over Bermuda.
StarWatch By Gary Becker - In the Goldilocks Zone
Do you remember Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Goldilocks tastes three bowls of porridge; one is too hot, the second too cool, but the third bowl is just right. The “Goldilocks” tale has been applied to the desire of astronomers trying to discover exoplanets orbiting stars in their habitable (just right) zone. With over 850 exoplanets identified and thousands more waiting to be confirmed, all but seven of these new worlds orbit outside of their Goldilocks zone. That number jumped in December 2012 by two with the discovery of five new planets orbiting a sun-like star named Tau Ceti, only 12 light years distant. All of the new planets are fairly similar to the Earth in mass, and one of them lies squarely within the Goldilocks zone, where conditions would be just right for life. Another planet lies just within the outer boundary of habitability of Tau Ceti. The favored world, Tau Ceti e, is about four times the mass of the Earth and completes one orbit around Tau Ceti in 168 days. Planets tug and pull on their parent star, creating minute oscillations in the motion of the star towards or away from the Earth. Currently with new data-crunching techniques, astronomers can measure changes in this radial motion as small as the speed of a crawling baby. The time period of the oscillatory motion yields the orbital period of the planet, as well as the planet’s distance from the star. The amount of induced wiggling of Tau Ceti, a star of known mass, yields the mass of the orbiting planet. One problem of the Tau Ceti system is that it is debris laden, with meteorite impacts occurring more frequently, including many more probable extinction events like Earth’s dinosaur-killer of 65 million years ago. Still many astronomers believe that Tau Ceti e has the potential for primitive life forms even with its higher bombardment rate. ET, we are almost home. www.astronomy.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Wilson was arrested in November 2010 after he was accused of molesting and raping a 12-year-old girl. The girl’s mother reportedly called police who then arrested Wilson, a resident of Ellenwood. DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said Wilson took an oath to serve and protect the people of Georgia but instead preyed upon the very individuals he was sworn to protect. Assistant District Attorney Dalia Racine, who leads the Crimes Against Children Unit, served as lead prosecutor on the case. “It is truly alarming that an individual tasked with protecting the public has violated his oath of office
DeKalb jury finds former Fulton cop guilty of child molestation
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com A DeKalb County jury found a former Fulton County police officer guilty of child molestation Dec. 27 Michael Bernard Wilson, 32, was charged with two counts of child molestation and sentenced to 25 years in prison. and became the predator himself,” James said. “I would like to applaud the effort of our Crimes Against Children Unit for their work in bringing justice to the family of our young victim,” It is unclear where Wilson will serve his sentence.
The Chick-fil-A’s mascot, Clemson football players and Miss Georgia, Brittany Sharp, visit patients at the Clemson football players autograph Chick-fil-A Bowl shirts for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at patients. Photos by Carla Parker Egleston.
Clemson football players visit Children’s Healthcare patient Cassidy Fletcher and her family.
Clemson football players visit Children’s Healthcare at Egleston patients
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org of the patients and posed for pictures with them. One patient, Keiondra Dupree, surprised Patients at the Children’s players by doing a freestyle rap Healthcare of Atlanta at Egand handing out her own busileston got a surprise visit Dec. ness cards. 27 from the University of Clem“I’m a motivational speaker, son football players. rapper, and dancer,” she told the The Chick-fil-A Bowl partici- players. pants along with Miss Georgia, Clemson linebacker Corico Brittany Sharp, went from Wright was very impressed room to room in the oncology with Keiondra’s rap skills. and hematology ward of the hos“I’m going to add you on pital and distributed autographed Facebook,” he told her. team gear to patients. The other Chick-fil-A Bowl participants Chick-fil-A Bowl participant, visiting patients at the Egleston Louisiana State University, and Scottish Rite campuses has visited patients at Scottish Rite been a Bowl tradition for at least campus. 25 years. Chick-fil-A Bowl presThe players spoke with some ident and CEO Gary Stokan called it a “special tradition.” “It really does warm your heart to see how much fun the kids have with the players,” he said. “And if it helps them forget they are in a hospital, even for just one minute, that time is the most valuable time we will spend during Bowl Week.” The goal is for the players to learn a new perspective on giving of their time and enjoy spending some quality time with some of their biggest fans around the holidays. The No. 14 Clemson Tigers and the No. 8 LSU Tigers hit the field on New Year’s Eve in the Georgia Dome for the 45th annual ACC and SEC showdown.
Clemson linebacker Corico Wright gives Children’s Healthcare patient Cassidy Fletcher an autographed Chick-fil-A Bowl shirt.
Brittany Sharp, Clemson football players and Chickfil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” cow visits patient Skyler Philips.
Clemson linebacker Corico Wright lets Skyler Philips handle some team gear.
Keiondra Dupree does a freestyle rap for the Clemson players.
Brittany Sharp and Clemson football players visit patient Keiondra Dupree.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
DeKalb County sues bank claiming loss of tax base
(AP) Three Atlanta-area counties have filed a lawsuit claiming that British bank HSBC cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in extra expenses and damage to their tax bases by aggressively signing minorities to housing loans that were likely to fail. The Georgia counties’ failure or success with the relatively novel strategy could help determine whether other local governments try to hold big banks accountable for losses in tax revenue based on what they claim are discriminatory or predatory lending practices. Similar lawsuits resulted in settlements this year worth millions of dollars for communities in Maryland and Tennessee. Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties say in their lawsuit, which was filed in October, that the housing foreclosure crisis was the “foreseeable and inevitable result” of big banks, such as HSBC and its American subsidiaries, aggressively pushing irresponsible loans or loans that were destined to fail. The counties say that crisis has caused them tremendous damage. “It’s not only the personal damage that was done to people in our communities,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader. “That has a ripple effect on our tax digest and the demand for public services in these areas.” The lawsuit states the banks violated the Fair Housing Act, which provides protections against housing or renting policies or practices, including lending, that discriminate on the basis race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability. The counties say their tax digests—which represent the value of all property subject to tax—have declined from a high point in 2009. Fulton’s tax digest has dropped approximately 12 percent, from $32.7 billion to $28.7 billion; DeKalb’s has dropped approximately 20 percent, from $22 billion to $17.5 billion; and Cobb’s has dropped approximately 15 percent, from $25.5 billion to $21.3 billion, the lawsuit says. That reduces their ability to provide critical services in their commu“If you can show that you yourself have suffered harm by an illegal act under the Fair Housing Act, even if you are not the target, even if you are not the intended victim, you can still sue to stop the behavior and to recover any damages that you can prove you suffered because of the violation of the Fair Housing Act,’’ said Steve Dane, a lawyer whose firm was involved in the Memphis and Baltimore lawsuits. The costs incurred by counties because of high rates of foreclosure are reflected in court records and related fees for each home, and police and fire departments can calculate the costs of responding to a given address, Dane said. He said it takes a lot of time and effort to gather the necessary records to prove the harm. Another discouraging factor could be a lack of political will, said Lisa Rice, vice president of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “Politicians may not want to go up against the banks,” she said, adding that there will likely be other local governments that give this a try but she doubts the number will be high. But Jaime Dodge, an assistant law professor at the University of Georgia, said she thinks more cases are likely, at least in the short term as municipal governments continue to feel the squeeze of a tight economy and seek ways to refill their coffers. They may try to test federal courts in different parts of the United States, she said. Successes in multiple jurisdictions could lead to more attempts, but if courts start knocking the suits down that would likely discourage them, she said.
nities, the lawsuit says. In addition to reducing tax income, vacant or abandoned homes that are in or near foreclosure create additional costs for the counties, the lawsuit says. Their housing code and legal departments have to investigate and respond to code violations, including having to board up, tear down or repair unsafe homes. They have to deal with public health concerns, such as pest infestations, ruptured water pipes, accumulated garbage and unkempt yards. And fire and police departments have to respond to health and safety threats. The lawsuit says predatory lending practices include: targeting vulnerable borrowers for mortgage loans with unfavorable terms; directing credit-worthy borrowers to more costly loans; putting unreasonable terms, excessive fees or pre-payment penalties into mortgage loans; basing loan values on inflated or fraudulent appraisals; and refinancing a loan without benefit to the borrower. The counties are asking the court to order the bank to stop its behavior and to take steps to prevent similar predatory lending in the future. They are also seeking financial compensation for the damages they’ve suffered and punitive damages to punish the bank for its “willful, wanton and reckless conduct.” The counties say the financial injury they’ve suffered is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Andrew Sandler, a lawyer for HSBC and its subsidiaries, said he couldn’t
comment on the case. A federal judge has given the bank until Jan. 25 to respond to the counties’ complaint. Lawyers for the counties declined interviews on the case, but one of them, Jeffrey Harris, said in an emailed statement that they are continuing to investigate other banks and could file additional complaints. Similar suits were filed against Wells Fargo by the city of Memphis and surrounding Shelby County in Tennessee in 2009 and by the city of Baltimore in 2008. Those suits were settled earlier this year. Both settlements included $3 million to the local governments for economic development or housing programs and $4.5 million in down payment assistance to homeowners, as well as a lending goal of $425 million for residents over the subsequent five years, according to media accounts. As in those cases, the lawsuit filed by the Georgia counties says the bank, in this case HSBC, targeted communities with high percentages of Fair Housing Act-protected minority residents, particularly Blacks and Hispanics.
“Communities with high concentrations of such potential borrowers, and the potential borrowers themselves, were targeted because of the traditional lack of access to competitive credit choices in these communities and the resulting willingness of FHA protected minority borrowers to accept credit on uncompetitive rates,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit states minority borrowers were disproportionately targeted with high-cost loans between 2004 and 2007. Before the beginning of the subprime lending boom in 2003, annual foreclosure rates in metro Atlanta averaged below 1 percent, but U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data show that the estimated foreclosure rates for each of the three counties now average more than 9 percent and are as high as 18 percent in the communities with the highest percentages of minority borrowers, the lawsuit states. It is the alleged targeting of minority communities that entitles the counties to seek action against HSBC for loss of tax income and other expenses, the lawsuit said.
The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, January 10, 2013, 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) Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance,” Section 202, “Zoning amendment procedure”. The subject property is located at 5485 Peachtree Boulevard. The applicant is requesting a rezoning from Village Commercial (VC) to Corridor Commercial (CC) zoning to allow a Popeyes restaurant with a drive‐thru. 2) Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance,” Section 1202.A, “Driveways and curb cuts”. The subject property is located at 3402 Hardee Avenue. The applicant is requesting a variance to the 22 foot interior driveway width requirement.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Brown Continued From Page 10A
entire rank and file here,” Brown said. “And that was unfair for them to carry that burden because…they’re good employees who just want to come to work every day and provide for their families. But because of actions of a few, the whole organization was painted with a broad brush.” The county jail was under court scrutiny because of charges of inadequate health care for inmates. A court-appointed monitor was assigned to the jail. “It took us four years to satisfy the courts that we’re doing as we’re supposed to do,” Brown said. The jail later received a national accreditation for inmate health care. “That was a huge thing because it set a foundation for the rest of the organization that we do things from a position of excellence,” Brown said. “That was very important considering the state of the morale of this agency when I came into office Jan. 1, 2001. The health care accreditation “helped start the process of rebuilding this organization,” he said. Now, 11 years later, “every single national accreditation you can have that speaks to our operational excellence, we have,” Brown said. That includes recognitions from the National Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, American Correctional Association and National Commission of Correctional Health Care. “Not many sheriffs’ offices in this country can boast of that feat.” “That gives us the opportunity to show off this place as a best practice in many categories,” Brown said. “People still come here to see how we do things because we do have a reputation now of running a good sheriff’s office. So I’m proud of that.” Brown began working in the public sector in 1972 as an Atlanta city firefighter. He advanced to become the deputy fire chief of operations at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. In 1985, Brown was chosen to DeKalb County’s fifth fire chief. After holding that position for four years, DeKalb CEO Manuel Maloof appointed him as the county’s public safety director, placing him in charge of all public safety functions of the county. While public safety director, Brown introduced the concept of communityoriented policing services in the police department (1992) and achieved the department’s national accreditation with the Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). He was appointed to head a task force of investigators to determine the facts of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office handling of the March 11, 2005, incident in which an inmate escaped from the Fulton County Courthouse and allegedly killed four people before being recaptured. Brown said his biggest challenges in his role are personnel problems. “Hiring and keeping good people are my biggest challenges,” Brown said. “Even in this tough economy, it’s still hard to get my vacancy levels stabilized to the point that I’m not dependent on overtime just to have a minimum manning level at this facility.” Unlike at some other metro area jails, Brown said he likes to brag that there has only been “one legitimate escape from the DeKalb County Jail” during his tenure. “And that was one very enterprising young man who found an architectural design flaw and was able to get out of the jail. “People don’t escape from the DeKalb County Jail, they literally walk out because we’ve failed to follow procedures that are in place to make sure that simply doesn’t happen,” Brown said. That was the case recently when a man convicted of armed robbery and aggravated assault was mistakenly released from jail. “Had it not been for the fact that he was scheduled to go and serve 10 years in the state prison system, we would have never known if the Department of Corrections didn’t come here to pick him up,” Brown said. When the error was discovered Brown notified the media of the incident. “We’ve been very transparent in letting the public know that we’ve had some flaws, in our procedures, but we correct those procedures,” Brown said.
U.S. flu season off to early start; CDC urges vaccination
Significant increases in influenza activity in the United States have occurred in December, indicating an early flu season. According to Dr. Melinda Wharton, acting director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, “Increasing flu activity should be a wake-up call. For anyone who has put off vaccination: It’s time to get your flu vaccine now.” According to CDC’s weekly surveillance report published on Nov. 30, 48 states and Puerto Rico have already reported cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza and, nationally, the percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza is rising fast. Influenza-likeillness (ILI) activity levels in parts of the country are already higher than all of last season. Nationally, the United States reached the baseline level for ILI the week ending Nov. 24, and five states are already reporting the highest level of activity possible. Wharton explained, “Baseline is the point at which we know the ILI activity we are seeing is most likely caused by influenza and not other viruses.” With the exception of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, this is the earliest that the nation has hit the ILI baseline since the 2003-2004 season, which was early and severe, especially for children. Last season, which was mild and late, the United States did not reach baseline for ILI until mid-March. According to FluView, activity is most intense in the south-central and southeast of the country right now; however, it shows signs of increasing across the rest of the country as well. Most of the viruses characterized so far this season have been H3N2 viruses which are typically associated with more severe seasons. The good news is that most of the viruses characterized at CDC so far this season are well-matched to the vaccine viruses. “How well the vaccine works depends in part on the match between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses,” Wharton explained. “If the influenza viruses spreading are very different from the vaccine viruses, the vaccine won’t work as well. While it’s early in the season, it’s encouraging to see a well-matched vaccine so far. That bodes well for how well this season’s vaccine will protect against illness, hospitalizations and deaths.” During a Dec. 3 media briefing, Wharton provided preliminary estimates of vaccination uptake through early-mid November. Vaccination rates among the general public are about even with last year at an estimated 37 percent. “We’re glad to see that – despite the mild 2011-2012 season – people are still getting vaccinated,” Wharton said. “But that number still leaves a lot of vulnerable people out there unprotected.” As long as flu season isn’t over, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Though each flu season varies, influenza can be severe, hospitalizing up to 200,000 people and killing between 3,000 and 49,000 during a season. While the protection afforded by vaccination varies based on vaccine match and the health and age of the person getting vaccinated, flu vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza. The CDC advises that everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccination each year. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of serious flu-related complications, including young children and people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, according to the CDC. In past flu seasons, as many as 80 percent of adults hospitalized from flu complications had a long-term health condition. More information about influenza and influenza vaccination is available on the CDC website at www.cdc. gov/flu.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Fernbank Science Center staff members watch as the new system is installed. Photo provided
Planetarium Continued From Page 1A
the night sky like our star projector, but today, some of the content in our shows comes in the form of images and video, and integrating these with the starfield has always been a bit awkward. Now our immersive projection system makes it seamless,” according to Albin. Whitt said that programs in the new format will come and go rather like features at a movie theater. Some will be provided for free from such government agencies as NASA. The new projector will also let the 500-seat planetarium be used for teaching more than astronomy. “The fulldome will let us make the planetarium a cross-curricular, technologyforward platform for delivering science instruction across several disciplines. Just for starters, we’ll be using it to show a life science program called The Body Code,” said Joyce Gamble, coordinator at Fernbank Science Center. “So DeKalb County students will be able to learn about physiology in this new immersive environment, really seeing the systems of the body working all around them.” Other sciences, including chemistry, biology, geology and oceanography, can be taught in the planetarium as well. The Fernbank Science Center, part of the DeKalb County School System, opened in December 1967. In addition to housing museum exhibits, many of which are interactive, it provides science education programs for pre-K through 12th grade. Although the DeKalb County School District is the principal source of funding for Fernbank Science Center, its planetarium and observatory are open for public shows on specific occasions with an admission fee charged for most. The museum is free to the public, but a donation box in the lobby invites visitors to give any amount they choose. Income from fees and donations made it possible for the center to build this new system even when the school system is on a tight budget. “We’ve been saving up for this for a long time,” Whitt said. “There have been challenges, but I think we’ve done very well.”
In addition to Christmas trees of various species, Gainesville’s Kinsey Family Farm grows acres of shrubs and other plants to be sold in its nursery. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Oglethorpe University President Larry Schall, seen above speaking at a graduation ceremony last year, recently authored a letter urging policy makers to impose stricter gun control laws. Schall, along with Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss, has circulated the letter and gained the support of more than 300 leaders of higher-learning institutions around the country.
University presidents author letter urging stricter gun laws
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com More than 300 presidents of higher learning institutions all over the country have signed a letter that calls for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The Dec. 19 letter is titled “An Open Letter to Our Nation’s Policy Leaders” and was authored by Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall and Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss. “Lawmakers shy away from taking action on one issue that prevents thousands of young people from living lives of promise, let alone realizing their college dreams. That issue is gun safety,” the letter states. In Georgia, a bill involving gun laws was introduced into the legislature in 2011. The bill, HB981, would make it legal for college students to carry guns on campuses. The letter states that all who have signed it come from varying backgrounds—parents, Republicans, Democrats and Independents—and urges President Barack Obama and Congress to take immediate action on gun control. “As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws,” the letter states. “It keeps coming up and there’s–I won’t say there’s no one who thinks its is a good idea, but not many,” Schall said. Schall said that many who received the letter asked, “Why now?” “That’s a great question. Why did this massacre stir people up in a way that others haven’t? I think it remains to be seen whether people stay engaged on this issue like they have in the past few weeks,” Schall said. Recently, Obama spoke at a memorial service for the 20 children and six adults who died in the shooting. Schall said the president’s speech resonated to him and he saw it as a call to action. “I just kind of laid in bed thinking about it—we’ve got four kids of our own who went to an elementary school just like that one—so I wrote the letter and I decided to send it on to some presidents,” Schall said. The letter states that
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reasonable gun safety legislation won’t prevent every future murder and the mental health issues that lie behind many of the recent mass shootings must also be addressed. Additionally, the letter calls for policy makers to end the “gun show” loophole, which allows the purchase of guns from an unlicensed seller without a background check. It also asks for the reinstatement of the ban on military-style, semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. After polishing up the
letter he wrote, Schall emailed it to Kiss who read it and began to circulate it to other presidents of higher learning institutions. “As soon as I read it I just thought it was such a powerful statement and echoed what I thought as well,” Kiss said. Kiss said the call to oppose legislation allowing students to carry guns on campus wasn’t in the original letter but after talking to so many Georgia colleges and university presidents, it was added. While the letter was circulating to educators around
the country, local legislators announced a plan to reintroduce gun legislation in the coming general assembly session that will make it easier for people to carry firearms. “That gave our letter a local resonance,” Kiss said. “I really hope that our letter can be a small part of an effort all across the country and state standing up and saying that we need some sensible gun control laws.” “Hopefully we’ll be speaking directly to some of the people in the legislature.”
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
The Erbert and Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop in Decatur was the first to introduce certified gluten-free menu options.
Edward Andrist says many customers thank him for offering tasty gluten-free foods.
In addition to gluten-free breads, the restaurant offers glutenfree chips, soups and cookies. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
Decatur restaurant leads national chain to join gluten-free movement
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop is the first national restaurant to offer, along with its other fare, a certified gluten-free menu—and it all started at the chain’s Decatur restaurant. Soon after Erbert & Gerbert’s on East Ponce de Leon opened in 2011 Michelle Kelly of nearby Pure Knead Bakery inquired whether the restaurant offered glutenfree selections. “She helped us understand the importance of gluten-free food for those with celiac disease and who are gluten intolerant and the importance of handling gluten-free food correctly,” said Edward Andrist, CEO of Fresche Start Restaurant Group, LLC, the East Lake organization that owns the Decatur store. “We had to convince the national headquarters that gluten-free food is a health need, not a food fad that will disappear in a few years,” Andrist said, explaining that celiac disease causes serious illness, not just mild discomfort. “Some of the symptoms are pretty severe. It can cause gastric disturbances, fatigue, weight loss, weight gain, numbness, soreness, and a long list of other things—and symptoms can last up to a month. It affects between 2 percent and 10 percent of the American population, but when you consider how large that population is, it’s a lot of people.” Andrist said the reason estimates of how many people have difficulty processing gluten cover such a broad range is that it’s a relatively recently identified disorder, “but more and more people are finding that gluten is responsible for illness they’ve been experiencing. Today, gluten-free food Andrist said, “but those on glutenfree diets are extremely vigilant. They have to be. They know the right questions to ask and you can’t fake it with them. [A national pizza chain] advertised that it had gluten-free pizzas. It turned out only the crust was gluten-free. They were found out and they had to pull the ads. They lost a lot of customers, too.” Health care providers urge those with celiac disease or even those who are gluten sensitive to be careful in nades, soups, sauces (including au jus), rice pilaf, french fries and hash browns.” Initially, the Decatur Erbert & and Gerbert’s bought its gluten-free bread from Pure Knead, but now, like the approximately 70 other restaurants in the chain, it buys from Udi’s, the largest gluten-free baker in the United States. It also sells gluten-free cookies, soups and chips. “Just as important as buying gluten-free is training our staff to handle it so there is no cross contamination with our other food. We use separate tools, a separate preparation table, a separate storage area, even separate wrapping paper,” said Andrist, who compared the procedures with keeping a kosher kitchen. He added that national consultants trained the staff and inspectors come in periodically to make sure the restaurant is in compliance with certification guidelines. Andrist said the response from his customers has been enthusiastic. “People just keep thanking us for doing this. We’re the only restaurant with gluten-free meals in a 25-mile radius. Some customers drive 30 to 40 minutes to come eat here. In addition to our food not making them ill, they like the way it tastes. Many of our customers tell us we offer the best tasting gluten-free food they’ve ever had.”
‘We had to convince the national headquarters that gluten-free food is a health need, not a food fad that will disappear in a few years.’
– Edward Andrist
is a $2.6 billion industry. It’s expected to grow to $8 billion by the end of the year.” He noted that finding certified gluten-free restaurant food is very important to those who are so gluten sensitive that even a small amount makes them extremely ill. “I hate to use a word as strong as militant,”
restaurants. On its website, for example, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta advises: “Ask your server or chef to explain how foods are prepared to make sure they are gluten-free. Take the list of the foods that your child needs to avoid with you. Foods that often contain hidden gluten in restaurants include salad dressings, mari-
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Lithonia junior varsity wrestling team wins county
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday at noon.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Daniel Graves, Chamblee (basketball): Graves scored 18 points and had four rebounds and three assists in the 62-58 win over Butler on Dec. 26 in the opening round of the second annual Nike Boys’ Basketball Invitational. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Miah Spencer, Columbia (basketball): The senior guard scored 21 points in the 51-46 win over Miller Grove on Dec. 21.
by Carla Parker email@example.com
The Lithonia High School junior varsity wrestling team won the DeKalb County Junior Varsity wrestling title on Dec. 22. Photo provided
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.
The Lithonia High School junior varsity wrestling team finally won the DeKalb County Junior Varsity wrestling title on Dec. 22 after placing third twice in the last three years. Lithonia won the tournament with a score of 190.5. They outscored McNair (171.5), Southwest DeKalb (167.5) and Stephenson (127) to win the county title. Wrestling coach Patrick Ryan said it felt good to finally win first place. “It feels good that all of the hard work has paid off,” he said. “I’m very proud of my guys.” The Lithonia Bulldogs had six wrestlers to move on to the final round and had three champions— Desmond Robinson (132-pound weight class), Christian Sanders (138-pound weight class), and DJ Wallace (220-pound weight class). They also had three runner ups—Shamel Findley (113-pound weight class), Chris James (160-pound weight class), and Davion Findley (170-pound weight class). Te’Andre Newell pinned his way to a convincing third place
‘It feels good that all of the hard work has paid off.’
– Patrick Ryan win and David Williams (fourth place), Starling Johnson (fourth place) and eighth-grader Victor Piedra all contributed to the Bulldogs’ final score. Ryan is hoping his varsity squad will have the same success at the DeKalb County Tournament on Jan. 25-26. Some of the varsity wrestlers are having a successful season so far. Sophomore Kirkglen Hudson is 28-0 on the season in 106-pound weight class, sophomore Shamel Findley is 30-4 in the 113-pound weight class, and first year wrestler Devon Wallace is 18-2 in the 22pound weight class. In Ryan’s four years as the wrestling coach at Lithonia, the Bulldogs finished in the top five of the varsity county tournament twice, had 12 state qualifiers and one two-time state placer and state runner-up—Anthony Smith. Smith placed sixth in the 140-pound weight class in 2010 and state runner-up in the 152-pound weight class in 2012. The senior received a wrestling scholarship to Brewton-Parker College. Ryan said hopes his varsity team will win a county title this season. “It’s been a work in progress getting these kids better,” he said. “But, we’re starting to get better.”
Breshad Perriman, Central Florida (football): The freshman wide receiver from Arabia Mountain had five catches for 90 yards in the 38-17 win over Ball State in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl on Dec. 21. Perriman finished the season with 26 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns. Shaq Goodwin, Memphis (basketball): The freshman forward from Southwest DeKalb scored 11 points and had seven rebounds in the 62-56 win over Lipscomb on Dec. 20. He is averaging 8.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Kayla Lewis, Florida (basketball): The sophomore guard from Southwest DeKalb had a double-double and led the team in scoring with 18 points and rebounding with 10 in the 81-75 win over Central Michigan. She is averaging 8.3 points and six rebounds per game.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013
Let’s Move: Commissioner, county awarded for exercise drive
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson has been recognized by the National League of Cities for his efforts to get DeKalb residents moving. Johnson was recognized for the recent completion of key health and wellness goals in the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC), a major component of first lady Michelle Obama’s comprehensive initiative dedicated to addressing the childhood obesity epidemic. “We may have the first generation that may not live past 50,” Johnson said. “We have teens going to the same cardiologist as their parents. We have to break that cycle.” Four medals were awarded to DeKalb County for action taken to improve access to healthy, affordable food and increase opportunities for physical activity. These medals were awarded because of DeKalb’s achievements for promoting participation in Let’s Move! Child Care among early care and education providers; having an active interagency collaboration on early care and education programs; mapping all play spaces, completing a needs assessment of play spaces and launching at least three proven policies, programs, or initiatives to continue to increase access to physical activity. As chairman of the United Way Early Learning/School Readiness Commission, Johnson incorporated obesity awareness in the goals and objectives of the commission. Johnson also created what he calls “The Wellness Zone,” incorporating the Porter Sanford Center, Exchange Park Intergenerational Center and (Wonderland Gardens) at Rainbow Park. This zone is a walkable area where residents can go to the Porter Sanford Center for arts and entertainment, walk next door to Rainbow Park’s Wonderland Gardens and set up their own garden plot, and walk around the corner to Exchange Intergenerational Center for physical activity, including basketball, indoor
Programs such as this exercise event at Exchange Park Intergenerational Center helped DeKalb County to win awards for completing health and wellness goals. File photo
walking, exercise classes as well as a workout room. “Childhood obesity is an epidemic affecting our young people,” Johnson said. “We have a generation of children who, because of the prevalence of obesity, may not live to their 40s and who will be facing myriad health issues due to obesity. We have an obligation to raise awareness of this epidemic and provide workable solutions to address these issues.
“Exercise and [healthy] eating is where you want to start to get a healthy attitude,” Johnson said. The National League of Cities is the lead collaborating partner on this initiative, working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, in assisting local elected officials to implement policy
and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity. More than 165 cities, towns and counties are participating in LMCTC. To date, NLC has awarded 578 medals to local elected officials across the country, recognizing these leaders for their progress in adopting long-term, sustainable, and holistic policies that improve communities’ access to healthy affordable food and opportunities for physical activity.