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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, DEC. 21, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 39 • FREE
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DeKalb family ventures north to find perfect tree
Georgia’s tree farms offer tree-cutting tradition
sually my family gets a cut Christmas tree from a local home improvement center or nursery. But this year, I played the part of a lumberjack, traipsing through a forest (really a Christmas tree farm) with my wife Deanna and our youngest daughter, Adrianna, in tow. Adrianna, whose Nov. 24 birthday always competes with Thanksgiving, wanted an experience, which usually translates into more money and work for me. Her specifications were clear: Adrianna wanted to cut a live tree from a Christmas tree farm in view of the Georgia mountains. So we Googled “Christmas tree farms,” ruled out the ones south of I-20 and settled on the Kinsey Family Farm, located approximately one hour away in Gainesville on Jot-em Down Road. That’s really the name. After driving past the farm’s pasture with several cows mulling about, and past the petting barn with very friendly goats, we parked in the gravel lot. We brought our Jack Russell terrier as the farm is pet friendly, as long as the pets are on leashes. There were Christmas trees everywhere: cut ones standing in row after row; one- to two-foot living trees in pots; other tall, living trees with roots wrapped in burlap; and acres of trees—some waiting to be cut and others not quite ready for sale. We looked around at the cut Fraser firs imported from North Carolina because the Georgia weather makes it difficult to grow them. These trees were $50-$80 and more. After buying trees at a home improvement store for $20-$40 for years, I got a bit of a sticker shock. I tried to sell my wife on getting a living tree and planting it after the Christmas season and digging it up every Christmas. I told her it would save us money. She did not go for that. So we stood in line, got on the tractorpulled wagon to go to the cutting fields. The tractor’s path winded around the farm—past the barn, plant nursery, lake inhabited by
A tractor pulls a trailer carrying customers and their fresh-cut trees back to a barn at Kinsey Family Farm. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
IS SHE WHYIS SHE SO SOHAPPY ? WHY
Inside a barn at Kinsey Family Farm, customers walk through rows of pre-cut Fraser Firs imported from North Carolina.
It was 11-year-old Adrianna Cauthen’s idea for her family to get a tree at a Christmas tree farm. She said her experience was better than going to the American Girl store.
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Workers at Kinsey Family Farm put netting on a tree to prepare it for the trip to a customer’s home.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
“There are no words”:
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org
DeKalb responds to Conn. school shooting
tims, their families, and the entire Newtown community in this very difficult hour. We as a nation and as a people must A school shooting in Newtown, Conn., take a stand against the tragic problem that left 20 children and six adults dead of mass shooting in American schools. has turned the holiday season into one of There’s not any room in American society grieving for many. for these unspeakable acts of violence.” According to The Associated Press, DeKalb County School District 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a high“We join the nation in grief and mourn power rifle to kill his 26 victims, includthe loss of so many innocent lives. In light ing the principal of Sandy Hook Elemenof the tragedy in Connecticut, the DeKalb tary School where the killing took place County School District has asked all Dec. 14. school administrators and staff to review Law enforcement officials said Lanza, their safe school and emergency plans. whose mother was one of the victims, School resource officers and campus sucommitted suicide when he heard first repervisors will continue to be highly vissponders coming. ible at their assigned schools to provide Many flags around the state and county maximum security for staff and students. are at half-staff as local residents try to We will continue to communicate with the share the grief of those directly touched different police departments in the district by the tragedy. to provide support as needed. Flags are at half-staff around the county as leaders and residents reThe following are some local reactions member the Dec. 14 school shooting in Connecticut that left 26 dead. “The safety of students, staff and Photo by Andrew Cauthen to the shooting: visitors is our top priority in the DeKalb Rep. John Lewis (D-5) County School District, and we are dedi“This time of year is special for the children “I am incredibly grieved by this horrible trag- of this nation. They are looking forward to the cated to ensuring that our public schools remain edy. As one who has experienced violence and magic and wonder of the holidays, but today they the safest places for our most precious resourceven terrorism in my life, I deeply regret that are suffering through a very sad and dark hour in es—our children.” young innocent children were killed and that Rep. Hank Johnson (via Facebook) American history. The psyche of many children their families and the people of Newtown, Conn., in Connecticut and throughout this country will “As Americans, our hearts and prayers go must face this violence in their communities. My be scarred for decades to come. out to the families and friends of all those killed heart weeps at the senselessness of this atrocity. in this horrific event. The targeting of so many “My thoughts and prayers are with the vicSee No Words on Page 10A
Publix will close at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve. Be closed Christmas Day. And open regular hours December 26.
Merry Christmas Publix X mas
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Stone Mountain High School host Spirit Night for community
by Carla Parker email@example.com Stone Mountain High School is trying to bring the community back into the school. The school hosted a community spirit night on Dec. 11, featuring basketball games against Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School. The event included a pre-game East vs. West All-Star Game, giveaways and an award ceremony for basketball player Danielle Clark, who reached a milestone on Nov. 23 when she exceeded 1,000 points in her career. Students from Stone Mill and Stone Mountain elementary schools were on the East team and Hambrick and Rockbridge elementary schools were on the West team. The four schools are feeder schools to Stone Mountain High. Stone Mountain girls head basketball coach Stanley Clark said the goal for the event was to bring all the students from the feeder schools under one roof. “We had a good turn out,” he said. “The kids enjoyed themselves and we’re looking forward to big things happening again in the community in the future.” Before he began coaching at the school seven years ago, Clark said, Stone Mountain was a big community school. “[Stone Mountain] had big involvement [from the community],” he said. “So, what we’re trying to do is get the parents to see that Stone Mountain is a good school that you can send your kid to. And, we’re trying to bring everybody here so they can see that for themselves.” School assistant principal Jeffrey Tarver said it was important to have an event like this for the younger students and for the community. “It’s important to involve kids at an early level because if we can reach them at an early level they will bring more participation,” Tarver said. “You always want to involve the community in whatever you’re doing in the school because the community cannot live apart from the school.” The spirit night ended with both the Pirates and Lady Pirates winning. The Lady Pirates defeated Washington 64-22 and the Pirates won 86-67.
Stone Mountain High School hosted a community spirit night on Dec. 11 during the basketball game against Washington High School. The event included a pre-game East vs. West All-Star Game, give-a-ways and an award ceremony for basketball player Danielle Clark, who reached a milestone on Nov. 23 when she went over 1,000 points in her career. Photos by Carla Parker
Opinion The Newslady
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21 , 2012
Present evil killing our future
ance with heavy black clothing and makeup. In short, they are characterized by a love of the macabre. In the wake of the heart wrenching Newtown tragedy, our thoughts now turn to security and gun control. School districts around the country, including our own here in DeKalb, are reviewing their security procedures to ensure our children’s safety. There is a renewed call for gun control especially when one considers that gun deaths in the United States number in the tens of thousands annually, while in other civilized countries with tighter restrictions, gun deaths number in the dozens. The Newtown tragedy is our country’s second worse mass killing and the second fatal gun rampage in a week. Why, is the question we ask as we try to comprehend the incomprehensible. We are standing on the precipice of a spiritual cliff, and thousands are being hurled into a deep black abyss. The spiritual contrast is stark. Little children killed during a season celebrating the birth of a child who brought love, joy and peace. The tumultuous signs of our spiritual demise are all around us. The signs could not be more telling and they are relational. Until the horrific tragedy in Newtown, talk dominating the news was of our nation’s fiscal cliff—the agreements and the lack thereof. Our nation’s leadership fails to think on the lofty level of the greater good of all of the people, falling into the abyss of petty partisan politics. It is relational. Adam Lanza’s heinous killing spree in which innocent blood was shed is but a painful reminder that we, each other and especially our children, are what are really important. The president who was brought to the brink of tears when expressing his condolences to the victims’ families, reminded us to hug our children, hold them close and tell them we love them. Far too many of us only talk to our children about making good grades, keeping their rooms clean, taking out the trash and other chores. These are all very important to guide them in behaviors that ideally lead to good jobs and the obtaining of material trappings of success. But to model the spirit of all our faith traditions is priceless and has nothing to do with worldly success. It is the root of our development. Love costs nothing. Holding a child’s hand or giving him or her a hug costs nothing. Do we put more effort into our jobs than we do our relationships? We perhaps are so busy earning livings we neglect the importance of living. Discussing the whys and wherefores of the Newtown tragedy, several people from different generations speculated that perhaps the children were a target because Lanza felt his mother gave the school children the love and attention he wasn’t getting. The profile experts, psychologists and psychiatrists will offer their clinical “why” theories for weeks. But there is an axiom that may be offered with a degree of certainty. Love didn’t live there anymore. Loving relationships cannot and will not produce an Adam Lanza. It is a spiritual impossibility. Much has been reported about the affluence of the household and the community. We have heard nothing about the “loving relationships” between Lanza and his mother, between him and his father or between him and his brother who says he hadn’t seen him in a couple years. Lanza’s parents divorced when he was 16. Love is not disposable. It is unconditional. Assigning the catchall term “mental illness” to these tragedies is misleading. Lanza is said to have had some unidentified “personality disorder.” If base, evil, depraved behavior is mental illness, then we are experiencing a pandemic. We are at a spiritual cliff. If we allow our children to feed on a steady diet of violence sexual promiscuity and negativity, how do we expect positive outcomes? Healthy spiritual development begins with and is sustained by love for each other and respect for all human life. Put simply, “junk in equals junk out.” This present evil is killing our children, our future. Wishing you love, joy and peace this holiday season. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Miles at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
“Into the world of fears and hatreds we need to pour a double portion of the spirit of confidence in the power of love. Not peace at any price, but love at all cost. All our problems today resolve themselves into the problem of learning to live together.”— Canon Peter Green In a few days we will observe Christmas, the birth of our Savior who came to show us the way through truth, light and love. It is the holiest holiday in the Christian faith tradition and will be celebrated around the globe. At what should be a time of love, laughter and light, people around the globe are mourning with us the unspeakable evil unleashed on Newtown, Conn., where 20 elementary school children and seven adults, including the mother of the killer were slaughtered. Police say Adam Lanza killed himself and they will continue investigating why this oft-described genius, committed such an insane act. Acquaintances describe Lanza as a “Goth,” a worldwide alternative lifestyle whose members have a penchant for the dark side—movies about horror and massacres, rail thin, chalky white in appear-
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Opinion One Man’s Opinion
If this is my last column...
fighting illness, I experienced time with those living, knowing their days ahead were finite. They shared a clarity of purpose, and often a visible courage and good cheer as they came to peace with some of what historically troubled them, while making certain to set aside more time for their family, friends and closest loved ones. Success, careers and even the commitments we often make with the best of intentions, cause many of us to spend a disproportionate share of our days here doing what we have to do versus what we want to do. Priorities & promises Even writing this column in part with tongue parked in the side of a cheek, I am reminded how much time and energy I daily expend on projects and duties that are not at all close to my priorities. My heart can easily remind me what is most important, and what should come first, and at least for this month and the rest of this year, I’m going to actually try and do just that. their mothers, Nancy Powell and Tiffany Krista, thank you for the gifts and lives of Barclay and Olivia, though you have both done most of the heavy lifting, we all have much to be proud and thankful for as parents. To my parents and siblings, I owe you all a collectively large debt, which I will attempt to pay forward by raising my own daughters at least half as well as you raised me. Our longtime home on El Dorado Drive may not have actually been on a street paved with gold, but at many times and in many ways it certainly seemed so. To the women in my life, though you generally always knew and fully understood that you are the higher end of our species, you seldom let on, or rubbed it in my face. For that and many other kindnesses, hospitality, caring and good grace I thank you. To my many friends, colleagues, competitors, teammates, fraternity brothers and business associates—it has been quite a ride. Fellowship and the warmth of a shared laugh or good day together are largely what make life worth living. There are not enough words other than to say, “Thank you.” Though I have never been a huge “animal person,” I do “get” the many pluses of sharing our lives with God’s creatures great and small, and have witnessed love and even a miracle or two between dogs, cats, horses and their owners, and I’ve seen a few of both of my daughters’ respective animal menageries bring them some of the greatest joys of their lives. Thanks for sharing this place with us, and to the bigger and hungrier ones of you, thanks for not eating us. On the bright side later this week, and back to aging, as a now card-carrying member of the AARP (on the plus side of 50), if the world does end shortly, that must explain why I have been so much less concerned of late about proper retirement planning. The really great minds studying this subject in detail also say we are misreading the original Mayan forecast, by as many as another 60 days or so. That gets us fully into the New Year, Congress reconvening and more of the same ol’ same ol’—maybe Armageddon isn’t so bad after all. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSBAM 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.
“The words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls And tenement halls And whispered in the sounds of silence.”— Paul Simon, The Sounds of Silence, (1964) According to the Mayans and the Mayan calendar, the End of Days is fast approaching, and most of us can expect to “clock out” on that big time card in the sky at some point on 12/21/12. If they are right, then I guess this is my last column. Mayan civilization existed from A.D. 250 to 900 in the current geographical location of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and some of Honduras. Archaeologists studying their culture long ago deciphered their longest period calendar—the “Long Count”— which forecasts a specific date and time of no more counting.
Many, many thanks First to my two daughters who have blessed me since their birth, thanks for all that you are, all that you will become and for letBucket lists ting me stay a part of your lives. I Having a few friends and fam- don’t always deserve that, but ily who died young while valiantly I will always keep trying to. To
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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, Dec. 21, 2012
Championof the Week
never decreases by being shared.’ I truly believe that MedShare operates this way. This one place shares and oﬀers so much to many. And we, the volunteers, are excited and happy to drive to MedShare to give and do so with open hearts and smiles.” Keltz said that she and Peggy Healy, the friend who introduced her to MedShare, also volunteer at United Service Organizations (USO), a volunteer organization devoted to raising morale among those serving in the military. “She is turning 80 this month and I am helping her celebrate this milestone and giving her thanks for introducing me to the volunteer world of MedShare and USO,” she said. “Having military family members in my life, I felt this was another way to show my thanks and support for what they do for our country.” In 2011, Keltz received a Spirit of True Caring award. “The award came to me as a surprise, but I often think about it and what it means. I really do try every day to do some little something special for someone. It makes me feel good and I know I help someone just a little bit. I do believe I feel so blessed because it circles back to me. I love and enjoy people. I love to give.”
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said putting together his proposed 2013 county budget was “quite challenging.” Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Proposed county budget to include pay increase for some
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis hopes to hold the line on the county’s 2013 budget. Ellis’ proposed 2013 county budget is $562.7 million, up approximately 1 percent over the 2012 budget of $556.7 million. “The bottom line is a virtually revenue neutral budget,” Ellis said during a Dec. 14 budget presentation. His budget proposal includes a 1.69 millage increase. The average homeowner in DeKalb County has a home appraised at $134,000 and would see a tax increase of $30.12 for the year. Taxes on a $200,000 home would increase $48.48. “For the overwhelming number of DeKalb County citizens who have seen a decline in the value of their homes, even with this millage increase, they’re going to be paying less in taxes this year than they were paying in 2008,” Ellis said. Ellis said the proposed 2013 budget includes $22.8 million in additional spending reductions, $8.65 million in non-tax revenue enhancements, a budgetary reserve that is maintained at $30 million and a 3 percent living wage increase “for our lowest paid employees.” “Unfortunately we’re not able to give all of our employees [an increase],” Ellis said. “We can’t afford to do that for all of our employees but we have some employees in this county that don’t even make a living wage. And we should not be proud of that. In fact we should be ashamed of that. “People are making less than $38,000 a year—$37,700 or less to be precise,” Ellis said. “A number of these people are the people that ride on the backs of sanitation trucks, our public service employees who pave the roads. They do hard work each and every day. This is a first step, we hope in helping those lowest paid employees adapt to the rising cost of living.” The cost of living adjustment would affect approximately 2,500 employees, Ellis said. The proposed budget also includes the
When asked for names of conscientious volunteers, folks at MedShare didn’t hesitate to oﬀer Diane Keltz, who has volunteered there since 2007, when a friend and neighbor introduced her to the organization that collects surplus supplies from medical facilities in the United States and ships them to facilities in developing countries. “From the ﬁrst day I walked into MedShare and found out what they were all about, I knew I was coming back. I have some medical background and fell in love with the work and duty of sorting medical supplies,” Keltz recalled. “It made me feel good about myself and for others in need. There’s a quote from Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta: ‘Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 104.
“realignment of police precincts and the hiring of an additional 25 police officers,” according Ellis’ recommendation. Ellis said putting together the proposed budget was “quite challenging.” “We started this budget with a $40plus million gap,” Ellis said. “The amount of our anticipated expenses exceeded our anticipated revenue right off the bat. We knew we had to get to work. “In the past years, we had already cut about $100-plus million in expenses and to go further could potentially have an impact on our service delivery,” Ellis said. One of the county’s challenges is the loss in revenue during the past five years, Ellis said. “DeKalb County has lost 49 percent in property tax value in unincorporated DeKalb County over the last five years,” Ellis said. “That is significant; it’s probably unprecedented in the history of this county. That is a monumental asset loss. That’s not only an impact to our county government—obviously we receive the bulk of our revenue from property taxes—but it’s also a significant loss to the homeowners and commercial property owners who live and do business in DeKalb.” The decline countywide in property tax value is 25 percent, Ellis said. The greatest negative impact to the county’s budget has come from municipalization, Ellis said. “The creation of Brookhaven this year is going to cost the county somewhere in the neighborhood of $23 [million] to $25 million in lost revenue this year,” Ellis said. Dunwoody’s incorporation costs the county $20 million to $25 million annually. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, who along with Commissioner Lee May attended Ellis’ budget presentation, said, “The CEO has presented his recommendation for the budget and now we begin our work. “We have some work to do and we expected that,” Sutton said. “I’m looking forward to the budget process because that’s what we do. We’re going to do the best that we can for DeKalb County.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
byterian Church also holds Sunday school, at 9:45 a.m. each Sunday and a special music and prayer service, TAIZE, every Tuesday at 7 p.m. DeKalb House Delegation to hold legislative town hall meeting The DeKalb County House Delegation will hold a legislative preview town hall meeting in Decatur to discuss issues and initiatives taking place in the Georgia General Assembly during the 2013 legislative session. The delegation is soliciting comments from DeKalb residents as legislators prepare to start another legislative session. The meeting will be Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Maloof Auditorium, located at 1300 Commerce Dr., Decatur. The town hall meeting will be an open forum where residents can express concerns and ideas. The DeKalb House Delegation is made up of members of the Georgia House of Representatives that have any portion of their legislative district in DeKalb County. The Delegation meets every Monday (non-holiday) at noon in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building across from the state capitol. For more information about the town hall meetings, contact Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (678) 3237887 or email her at dkendrick@kendrickforgeorgia. com. Toys for Tots event announced
Grant to support seminarians’ financial literacy Emory University’s Candler School of Theology has received a $250,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to develop a model curriculum for improving the financial literacy of its students. Lilly Endowment awarded the grant as part of its Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers, which is designed to assist theology schools in examining financial literacy issues in order to improve the economic well-being of future pastoral leaders. Candler is one of 16 schools to participate in the program.
582512839), which for the past 15 years has provided a safe haven for youth from all backgrounds to freely express themselves through the arts in a positive environment. Contributions will help fund a full year of afterschool enrichment classes, leadership & arts summer camps, youth mentoring, garden projects, youth scholarships, a food pantry and a community art center and 6-acre garden that annually attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world. To make a year-end tax deductible donation to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation visit www.tasf. org/the-foundation/make-a-donation/. Checks or money orders can be sent to: Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, 5616 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083.
American Legion Post 66 to hold bingo night The American Legion Harold Byrd Post 66 will host Bingo nights Sunday and Thursday in December and January. Bingo will be played on Dec. 23, 27 and 30 and Jan. 3 and 6, 7 - 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. American Legion Post 66 is at 30 Covington Road in Avondale Estates. For more information, call (404) 292-2352.
Library to show The Way We Were Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library as part of its Friday Movie series is showing The Way We Were, starring Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand on Friday, Dec. 28, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The 1973 movie is rated PG and runs 118 minutes. The Friday Movie series is a mix of new releases and old favorites. When available, movies are presented with closed captioning to assist the hearing impaired. Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library is located at 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 679-4404. NAACP to celebrate Jubilee Day On Jan. 1 of each year, the NAACP DeKalb celebrates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This celebration is called Jubilee Day. The DeKalb County branch will hold its annual Jubilee Day Celebration Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 10:30 a.m. at Rainbow Park Baptist Church, where Steven N. Dial Sr. is pastor. The speaker will be Attorney Derrick Alexander Pope. Rainbow Park Baptist Church is located at 2941 Columbia Drive, Decatur. English as Second Language class set The Decatur Library will hold an English as a Second Language class on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2 – 3:30 p.m. The class is free and no registration is necessary. It is sponsored by Literacy Volunteer of America—Metro Atlanta and the DeKalb County Public Library system. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 377-7323. Church to hold Christmas Eve service Columbia Presbyterian Church is holding a Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Worship on Dec. 24, at 6 in the sanctuary. Columbia Presbyterian Church is located on 711 Columbia Drive, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 284-2441, or visit http://www.cpcdecatur.org. Columbia Pres-
This past Saturday, DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton in partnership with Stone Mountain High School alumni and Wade Walker Park family YMCA is hosting an inaugural Toys For Tots event at the YMCA branch, located at 5605 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. On Dec. 15 Sutton, along with the DeKalb Youth Leadership Academy, dropped off toys for the event, which will be Saturday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Those attending are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy and a $10 cash donation. All proceeds go to Toys For Tots. The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
Community invited to MJCCA’s Family Fun Day The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) has announced that it will welcome the entire community to its annual Family Fun Day on Dec. 25, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The event will be held at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. It is free of charge and open to everyone. For information, contact Rabbi Brian Glusman at (678) 8124161 at email@example.com. Family Fun Day highlights include a concert featuring The Baal Shem Tones with Helene and Michael Kates at 11 a.m.; inflatables in the Blank Gym, table tennis, basketball, activities in the Sophie Hirsh Srochi Discovery Center, and open swim in the indoor pool, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be a family-friendly movie in the Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 2 – 4 p.m. The MJCCA will be open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Dec. 25 and Goodfriend’s Grill will be open for breakfast and lunch, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Tupac Shakur Foundation seeking year-end donations The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation is soliciting gifts to help the organization’s efforts to assist youth. The foundation is a 501c3 public charity (tax ID
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
DeKalb chief prosecutors take jobs elsewhere
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Two of DeKalb County’s chief prosecutors will be leaving at the end of the year to pursue similar jobs in Cobb County. Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary and Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Melvin have taken posts with new Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds. Geary is an integral part of the state’s murder case against Andrea Sneiderman, who is accused of conspiring with her former boss Hemy Neuman to murder her husband Rusty Sneiderman. Neuman, who confessed to killing Rusty Sneiderman, was convicted and is now serving a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Melvin is one of the lead prosecutors involved in a criminal corruption case against former DeKalb County Superintendent Crawford Lewis, accused of operating a criminal enterprise within the school system. Prosecutors allege that Lewis, along with former schools construction chief Pat Reid and her exhusband Tony Pope, conspired to defraud the school district of approximately $2.4 million through illegal construction contracts. Although Geary and Melvin play a role in some of DeKalb County’s biggest cases, officials from DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James’ office said their absence will not hinder any of the cases from moving forward. “We have replacements that will be named soon,” said Erik Burton, a spokesman for the district attorney. “We wish them well.”
City of Lithonia has new top cop
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com A former DeKalb County Police chief has left retirement to head the Lithonia Police Department. The Lithonia City Council has selected Eddie J. Moody as its new police chief. Moody, 58, was the DeKalb County Police chief from 2001-04. Moody brings 30 years of law enforcement experience to the city, working his way up from a clerk typist in the county’s police department to become the police chief. After retiring from the county in 2004, Moody worked with Altegrity, a commercial provider of background investigations for the federal government, as an account executive and special investigator for several years. While with DeKalb County, Moody created the Junior Police Academy, which has been recognized by the National Association of Counties and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, established a crime analysis unit, munity. Moody, who started his new position on Dec. 17, was one of 22 applicants for the job. Other applicants included Melvin Douglas, an investigator for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office and Xavier Todd, who was the acting Lithonia police chief before Moody was selected. Washington Varnum, the city’s previous acting police chief was relieved of his duties after a 2010 police certification revocation was upheld leaving him with no arrest powers. Varnum, who served as acting police chief since January, replaced former chief Kennis Harrell who suddenly resigned last December after just a year on the job. Moody, who was the first Black to head the DeKalb County Police Department, retired from his position in 2004. “Chief Moody told us he was ready to leave retirement, and we are glad that he wants to work in the community he grew up in,” Jackson said.
reduced overtime for traffic court cases resulting in savings of more than $1 million, and managed the murder case investigation of Sheriff-Elect Derwin Brown. “The City of Lithonia is very privileged to have someone like Chief Moody, who has a tremendous level of experience and an impeccable reputation, interested in the position,” said Lithonia Mayor Deborah A. Jackson said. “The Council and I are excited about Chief Moody’s working with the police department to help raise the standards and quality of service provided to the com-
Newly elected Brookhaven City Council makes first decisions
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org The Brookhaven City Council made its first official vote Dec. 10 only moments after members were sworn in. The four-member council appointed a temporary city attorney, and city clerk, and authorized a temporary lease agreement for a city hall building and city court space. Bill Riley was named interim city attorney. Riley, who serves as city attorney for Johns Creek and Sandy Springs, also worked with Gov. Nathan Deal’s Commission for the City of Brookhaven. Lyn Rosser was named as interim city clerk. “They’ve done a great job and I extend my sincere gratitude to all the members on the commission as well as the citizen volunteers,” Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis said of the commission. Riley, who worked pro bono as the commission’s legal representative, appointed commission Chairman Ben Vinson, who has worked on every governor’s commission since Sandy Springs was established in 2005. Jim Eyre, the only council member who didn’t face a runoff after November’s election, said the council needs to begin working on the city’s first-year budget. He also said, after the contentious elections and cityhood vote, his only concern now is the best interest of Brookhaven. “We’ve got to get the city on strong footing with a balanced budget—we’ve also got to put away some reserves,” Eyre said. Additionally, Brookhaven will be leasing a 12,636-square-foot building located in an office complex on Ashford Dunwoody Road for $246,402 for one year. According to officials, the building is fully furnished. For its temporary court, Brookhaven is leasing an office building on Buford Highway for $60,800 for one year. The 3,800-squarefoot space, located in Brookhaven, will need to be refurnished and rewired for court use.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Agency says ‘critical’ problems in DCSD, places it on probation
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com An accrediting agency said if the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) doesn’t comply with a list of required actions within the next year, loss of its accreditation is “imminent.” AdvancED President Mark Elgart said during a Dec. 17 news conference that DCSD has been placed on “accreditation probation” until Dec. 31, 2013. “Today we found the school system in chaos and conflict,” Elgart said. Elgart said AdvancED, which sent a special review team to investigate the district in October, has provided a list of actions DCSD needs to complete to avoid losing accreditation. “I can honestly say we’ve given this system every opportunity to avoid the current condition they’re in but now time is critical,” Elgart said. Elgart said AdvancED investigators found evidence that school staff spends an “enormous” amount of time responding to requests from individual board members. Elgart also said the district is divided along lines of race, socioeconomic levels and geography. “Such divisions are continuing to paralyze the system’s ability to address the needs of all students no matter where they live, no matter where they go to school,” Elgart said. School officials released a statement Dec. 17 stating the district will work collaboratively to review the findings and begin to address the required actions. The special review team also found
that DCSD borrowed $25 million several years ago to purchase textbooks but said there is no evidence that textbooks were ever purchased. In fact, Elgart stated that half of the loan was used to pay for previously purchased
‘Today we found the school system in chaos and conflict.’
textbooks. “This school year, students began classes without textbooks,” Elgart said. “Students began classes with textbooks that needed repair and were asked to go home and use glue and put them back together so they could use them.” The district, which serves nearly 100,000 students, has a yearly operating budget totaling close to $1 billion. Elgart said there is no reason a district with such a large budget should have issues buying books and that the problem stems from 10 years of mismanagement. Additionally, according to both AdvancED and district officials, only 35 percent of the district’s classrooms contain up to date technology. “Connectivity that we normally find in nearly 90 percent of American schools—here is a system that has nearly $1 billion a year and yet they’re woefully behind,” Elgart said. “There is a culture that needs to change.”
– Mark Elgart
Accrediting agency AdvancED’s President Mark Elgart discusses why the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has been put on “accreditation probation” for the coming school year. Elgart said if DCSD does not make significant progress on a list of required action items, the district will lose its accreditation. Photo by Daniel Beauregard
Elgart listed a host of ways board members interfere with the staff’s day-to-day operations, including asking staff to take students out of specifically assigned schools because of athletic preference; asking principals to ignore the processes for students that have been previously expelled and to allow them back into school; and asking students to be reassigned to different schools based on parental preference. Additionally, according to AdvancED’s findings, DCSD is now currently running at a deficit, which is due in part to the district knowingly not budgeting for its actual expenses, such as legal fees. “They budgeted a certain amount for legal expenses that their contractu-
al obligations with their current legal firm exceeded,” Elgart said. “During recent meetings board members have been debating instituting a bus route that they cut to save money to meet the budget; now they’re going to reinstitute it without any inclination where the money is going to come from.” Since the district is running at a deficit of at least $25 million, Elgart said if any unseen problems happen in the spring the district may not have enough money to remain open until the end of the year. “We hope that does not happen to DeKalb County but they’re in a perilously close position where that may happen if anything unusual transpires in the next few months,” Elgart said. AdvancED has issued four actions
See DCSD on Page 11A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
No Words Continued From Page 2A
young children makes this an especially difficult and painful tragedy. We stand with the people of Newtown, Conn., as they begin to heal their community over the months and years to come.” Elizabeth Ford, DeKalb County Board of Health director (via Twitter) “There are no words. My heart literally hurts. Prayers for all affected by today’s horror. God help us all.” Phyllis A. Edwards, City of Decatur Schools superintendent (in a letter to parents) “On Friday, a horrendous, unthinkable event occurred which shook our nation and each of us individually. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is unimaginable. We can only pray that the families who lost loved ones and the entire community may rely on one another as they try to recover and heal. “This is a delicate situation for you, as parents, and certainly for school system personnel. Please be assured that we make every effort to maintain a safe and secure environment for your child.” Robert James, DeKalb County District Attorney “Like everyone else in the country and around the world, I was horrified when I discovered that someone had gone into an elementary school and murdered several children and some adults as well. My heart goes out to those families, the parents and loved ones and everyone in that town. I think it’s a black on the face of this nation when we have not just one incident like this, but repeated incidents like this. “It’s far past time for us to have a conversation about common sense gun laws and what we’re going to do to prevent this from happening in the future. “It could happen anywhere. Gun violence happens all over this country. Children are killed daily all over this country. The president referenced a street corner in Chicago, but I could reference south DeKalb. We have very high homicide rate here in this county. “It’s past time to have this conversation. For people that say gun control isn’t the answer, the way I would respond to them is having more guns on the streets is not the answer. More guns on our streets don’t make our streets safe.”
(From top left) Rep. Mike Jacobs, Rep. Scott Holcomb, DeKalb resident Keith Watkins, Rep. Michele Henson, Rep. Tom Taylor and Decatur resident David Duncan participated in a Dec. 13 Legislative Preview and Town Hall Meeting at Cross Keys High School. Photos by Carla Parker
MARTA a hot button topic at town hall meeting
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Fixing MARTA and how to pay for it came close to a heated discussion at a Dec. 13 Legislative Preview and Town Hall Meeting at Cross Keys High School. The town hall meeting was the first of three legislative town hall meetings that will be held across DeKalb County before the 2013 Legislative Session begins. The meetings give DeKalb County residents an opportunity to discuss important issues and initiatives taking place under the Gold Dome in the next session. At the meeting, State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-60), who is chairman of the legislative MARTA Oversight Committee (MARTOC), mentioned in his opening remarks that his major focus for the upcoming session is MARTA. Jacobs said there is some “significant” MARTA related legislation that was brought forward in the 2012 session that failed on the final night of the session that he anticipates will come back up in the upcoming session. “Two significant components of [the legislations] included a restructuring of the MARTA board to allow the appointments to be made by the mayors from Fulton and DeKalb counties,” he said. “It also includes a three-year relation of what’s known as the 50/50 split, which is the requirement for MARTA to spend up to half of all the sales tax revenue that comes in capital and the other half on operating.” When the floor was open for residents to ask questions or discuss issues DeKalb County resident Keith Watkins said he had a problem with Jacobs attacking MARTA as if MARTA were the problem. “I have a big problem with your constant attack on MARTA because the problem is racism, not MARTA,” Watkins said. “I’m sure MARTA can be improved, but this constant drum beating of MARTA when it has been victimized by racism throughout the years, I have a problem with that. You’re attacking MARTA when the problem is funding all backed by racism.” Watkins also brought up a long-time saying in Atlanta that MARTA stood for “Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta.” He said that MARTA was set up to fail from the beginning. “MARTA has been victimized by racism first in its formation with Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties refusing to join MARTA,” he said. Jacobs dismissed Watkins comments. “I don’t believe what you said about MARTA,” Jacobs said. Jacobs went on to explain how MARTA is a “state authorized authority.” “We sometimes lose sight of the fact that at the time MARTA was enacted, the use of a penny sales tax for a local purpose was unheard of,” he said. “The penny
See Meeting on Page 12A
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis reminds you of the Best Practices for Proper Disposal of
F.O.G. enters plumbing through garbage disposals, sinks and toilets. It coats the inside of plumbing pipes and also empties into DeKalb County’s sewer system. Here are three simple guidelines to help keep F.O.G. out of our pipes and sewers:
1. 2. 3.
POUR fats, oils or grease into a sealable container, allow it to cool and throw it in the trash. Do not pour down the drain or toilet. SCRAPE plates and cookware before washing. Do not throw scraps of any kind down the drain. Instead, place them in waste containers or garbage bags. WIPE excess grease from all plates, pots, pans, utensils, and surfaces with a paper towel before washing. Throw the greasy paper towel away.
Plumbing and sanitary sewer systems are simply not designed to handle the F.O.G. that accumulates in pipes. When it gets into the pipes and hardens, blockages occur and cause sewage to backup and overflow out of manholes or into homes. This is expensive for you, and for the County. The damages caused by fats, oils and grease in the sewer system are costly to repair. Over time, they increase the costs of our water and sewer services.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Anyone with information about the crime or the identity of the suspect is asked to contact the south precinct of the DeKalb County Police Department at (404) 286-7911. DeKalb announces holiday sanitation collection schedule DeKalb County government offices will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 25, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The residential collection schedule for the Christmas holiday will be as follows: There will be no collection service on Tuesday, Dec. 25. Collection services normally scheduled for Tuesday,
Page 11A Dec. 25, will be moved to Wednesday, Dec. 26, with the regular garbage collection schedule resuming on Thursday, Dec. 27. Yard waste and blue box recycling services will be delayed one day through Friday, Dec. 28. The residential collection schedule for the New Year’s holiday will be as follows: There will be no collection service on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Collection services normally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 1 will be moved to Wednesday, Jan. 2, with the regular garbage collection schedule resuming on Thursday, Jan. 3. Yard waste and blue box recycling will be delayed one day through Friday, Jan. 4.
DeKalb Police looking for suspect in several burglaries The DeKalb County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a burglary suspect. On Dec. 5 between 7 and 9 p.m., detectives believe the suspect burglar-
ized a home at 3263 Kings Bay Circle. When the homeowner returned, she discovered that items were taken, including laptops, jewelry and banking documents, according to a media release. Detectives reviewed the surveillance video inside the home and were able to obtain photos of the suspect. In the past three months there have been approximately eight break-ins in the vicinity and detectives are working to determine if this suspect is responsible for those incidents as well, according to a media release.
Continued From Page 9A
DCSD is required to address over the coming year if the district wishes to maintain its accreditation. The district is required to devise and implement a written, comprehensive plan to unify the board; ensure all decisions made by the school board are approved collectively; establish and implement procedures that ensure the segregation of the duties of the governing board and that of the administrators and implement; and adhere to fiscally responsible practices. Elgart said the district’s loss of accreditation is “imminent” if it fails to make significant changes to these and seven other prior requested action items. The other required action items include properly following the district’s chain of command, performing an internal audit on available technology and strengthening and bolstering its communication channels. Next year, AdvancED will send a monitoring team in the spring and fall to determine whether DCSD has made significant progress on the requested actions. Elgart said DCSD’s problems are equivalent to those that faced the Clayton County School District, which lost its accreditation in 2008 after similar sanctions by AdvancED. “Our hope is that they learn from Clayton County, who did not respond within the first year,” Elgart said. Because the district has been placed on probation for governance issues it is required by state law to go before the Georgia Department of Education for a hearing. Elgart said the state board could then determine whether to recommend the removal of the board members to Gov. Nathan Deal.
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
Showers Likely High: 61 Low: 31
Dec. 20, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Dec. 20, 1836 - A famous cold wave occurred in central Illinois. A cold front with 70 mph winds swept through at noon, dropping the temperature from 40 degrees to near zero in a matter of minutes. Many settlers froze to death. Folklore told of chickens frozen in their tracks. Dec. 21, 1929 - A tremendous storm produced snow from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to southern Arkansas. The storm produced 26 inches of snow at Hillsboro, Texas, 18 inches at El Dorado, Ark. and 14 inches at Bossier, La. Dunwoody 59/30 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 60/31 60/31 60/31 Snellville Decatur 61/31 Atlanta 61/31 61/31 Lithonia College Park 62/31 62/31 Morrow 62/31 Union City 62/31 Hampton 63/32
In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see mostly cloudy skies with an 80% chance of showers, high temperature of 61º, humidity of 72%. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. The record high temperature for today is 72º set in 1967. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 31º.
Sunny High: 48 Low: 28
*Last Week’s Almanac
Hi Lo Normals Precip Date Tuesday 47 36 55/37 0.00" Wednesday 51 36 55/37 0.00" Thursday 57 37 55/37 0.00" Friday 60 30 55/36 0.00" Saturday 59 41 55/36 0.00" Sunday 56 52 54/36 0.18" Monday 58 52 54/36 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.18" Average temp . .48.0 Normal rainfall . .0.84" Average normal 45.6 Departure . . . . .-0.66" Departure . . . . .+2.4
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport
Sunny High: 55 Low: 32
Sunny High: 57 Low: 35
Mostly Sunny High: 57 Low: 38
Partly Cloudy High: 58 Low: 39 First 12/20
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:37 a.m. 7:38 a.m. 7:38 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 7:40 a.m. 7:40 a.m. Sunset 5:33 p.m. 5:33 p.m. 5:34 p.m. 5:34 p.m. 5:35 p.m. 5:35 p.m. 5:36 p.m. Moonrise 12:36 p.m. 1:08 p.m. 1:42 p.m. 2:18 p.m. 2:57 p.m. 3:40 p.m. 4:27 p.m. Moonset 12:39 a.m. 1:36 a.m. 2:31 a.m. 3:27 a.m. 4:21 a.m. 5:14 a.m. 6:05 a.m. Last 1/4
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise 6:26 a.m. 5:47 a.m. 9:31 a.m. 4:05 p.m. 3:38 a.m. 12:51 p.m. Set 4:28 p.m. 4:01 p.m. 7:31 p.m. 6:12 a.m. 2:36 p.m. 1:04 a.m.
Partly Cloudy High: 54 Low: 35 Full 12/28
Local UV Index
National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see scattered rain and snow today and Friday, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 55º in Germantown, Md. The Southeast will experience scattered showers and thunderstorms today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in Ft. Myers, Fla. In the Northwest, there will be mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated rain and snow today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 52º in Colville, Wash. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 67º in Chino, Calif.
Does weather affect appetite?
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: Yes. In cold weather, your body requires more calories to heat itself.
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Low Sun, High Spirits
As we head full speed towards the Holidays, the sun is putting on the brakes as it reaches its lowest point in the sky, the winter solstice on December 21 at 6:12 a.m., EST. It’s the tilt of the Earth’s axis, 23.5 degrees from the perpendicular to its orbital plane that creates this effect and all of the other consequences of the changing seasons that we experience. During each quarter the sun’s noontime position either moves up or down by the same amount as Earth’s tilt. Why am I in such high spirits? I can’t deny the Holiday festivities, which are also related to the time of the solstice, play a part; but the downward trend of the sun is nearly over and Sol’s motions will soon be reversed and headed in an upward direction. On the day of solstice, which literary means “sun standstill,” Sol will rise at its most southerly position from the east and set at its most southerly position to the west. At noon when the sun is highest in the sky for the day, it will be at its lowest noontime position for the year. If the daily spin of the Earth could be stopped at local noon, when the sun was due south, and if we could take a hike over land and sea, what would we witness? Traveling southward over the curvature of the Earth towards the sun would find Sol getting one degree higher in the sky for each degree of latitude we traversed. We would have to stride some 4400 miles south or 64 degrees in latitude to move the sun into a position where it would be directly overhead. We’d find ourselves on the Tropic of Capricorn, assuming that we lived where I live at 40.5 degrees north latitude and celebrating the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Going northward would eventually cause the sun to dip below the horizon. So even though shadows are at their longest this week, the lowly sun starts coming back, slowly at first, but with the promise of another spring and the warmth of summer on the horizon. Happy winter to all!www.astronomy.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Continued From Page 10A
Decatur residents and businesses were adorned in a wide variety of decorating styles in this year’s Decorate Decatur contest, including everything from classic white lights and greenery to vintage Santa cut-outs and inflatable snowmen. There is even a huge, candlelit menorah with the Toy Story dinosaur and pig. See more pictures at http://thedecaturminute.wordpress.com/.
sales tax at the time was a state funding mechanism. Over time we’ve adopted a transportation [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] SPLOST in the general code, there is an educational SPLOST in the general code authorizing local jurisdictions to levy penny sale taxes for localized purposes has become more prevalent over time.” Jacobs added that he would be willing to see direct operating assistance at some point appropriated from the state budget. “But, I don’t think we’re going to get there until MARTA is operating as efficiently as possible,” he said. “And that’s where I come from as the chair of the MARTA Oversight Committee.” Jacobs said there is some operating assistance that comes from the state, but it’s not direct. Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-83) disputed Jacobs claim. “Of the 50 states in the United States of America, Georgia is the only one that does not spend one dime of generally created revenue on public transit,” she said. “How and when could we have fixed the problem and the error that was made when only two counties voted for it?” Jacobs said it is not true that the state has never contributed money to MARTA. “There is no direct appropriation from the state budget, that is true,” he said. “But there has been money provided by the state to MARTA in recent years.” Lyle Harris, MARTA’s media relations press officer, said that it is true that MARTA has not received any direct operating assistance from the state, but it has received some capital money. “We have over the last several years received a small amount of what they call capital money that has allowed us to buy buses,” Harris said. “But, that is not a direct year to year disbursement of money. MARTA is very grateful and thankful that they were able to provide that.” Jacobs said his objective is to deliver a MARTA that is efficient as possible. “I hope this ultimately yields more participation in MARTA,” he said.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Barbara Carrothers makes the flavored popcorn that she sells at Devon’s Gourmet Popcorn from scratch—never from a mix—and offers an assortment of sweet and savory varieties. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
Business is popping at a new North DeKalb Mall store
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com Carrothers said she chose the Decatur location because she believes that even When Barbara Carthough it has experienced rothers lived in Chicago, a slump, North DeKalb her favorite snack was flaMall is coming back. “And vored popcorn—a popular I want to be here when it offering in the area. When does,” she added. “Because her corporate job brought a the mall had seen some move to Atlanta in 1998, she tough times, space here was surprised to discover was a good value, and I’m that shops selling the treat confident that it’s on the upwere hard to find. swing.” “I started making my Devon’s Gourmet Popown, experimenting with corn doesn’t depend just flavors,” she said. The on mall traffic for business; batches she gave to friends many of Carrothers’ customdrew rave reviews. In Sepers are companies that order tember 2011, she decided to flavored popcorn as gifts to make popcorn her fulltime clients and employees or to business. Then in Februserve at events. “I recently ary she opened Devon’s had an order for 3,000 bags Gourmet Popcorn in North from a big company here in DeKalb Mall. Atlanta,” she said. “I wanted to open earlier, Although popcorn shops but I learned that the end of aren’t ubiquitous in the the year is not a good time Atlanta area as they are to try to open a business. in Chicago, Carrothers The people you need to see acknowledges that there to get through the paperis competition. She said, work just aren’t as availhowever, that her “premium able,” she said. Carrothers ingredients and signature added, however, that the lo- touches” result in a superior cal business community has product. “I make all of my been supportive and helpful. popcorn fresh from scratch. “People were always there I never use a mix,” she said. to point me in the right di“And that makes a big difrection.” ference.” Devon’s Gourmet Popcorn also offers flavors that customers won’t find at other stores. One such flavor came from a mistake. “I accidently put twice as much caramel as I was supposed to in a batch,” she recalled. “I was going to throw it out, but my husband said, ‘No, it’s good. Sell it as double caramel.’ I did and now double caramel is one of our most requested flavors. I have customers who swear they don’t like caramel. They sample this and always end up ordering some.” Taste testing the product isn’t the limit of family involvement. Carrothers describes Devon’s Gourmet Popcorn as a family business, explaining that her husband and children all work there. In fact, the business is named for her youngest son, who died in childhood. “Putting his name in the name of the business is a way of keeping
him with us,” she said. The shop offers a core of 14 sweet and savory flavors, including cheddar cheese, white cheddar, barbecue cheddar, bacon barbecue cheddar, spicy cheddar and an assortment of fruit flavors. There also are two specialty blends—the Chicago mix and the Atlanta mix, that Carrothers said are very popular. Customers also are invited to create their own blends.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Emory University freshman Jordan Newnam and Brian Konig take a 10-minute break from studying to play with the service dogs at the Robert W. Woodruff Library. For one day during finals week the university offered students a chance to sign up and pet the dogs to reduce stress. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
Dogs a welcome relief to Emory students during finals
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Emory University students lined the hallway, waiting outside of a classroom in the Robert W. Woodruff Library for a chance to relieve some stress for a few minutes. From noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 12, students had the chance to take a study break and play with several dogs for up to 10 minutes each. Librarian Erin Mooney said since noon more than 86 students had been to play with the three dogs and it was only 3 p.m. Service dogs in training from Canine Assistants, a Milton organization that trains and provides service dogs for people with disabilities, were set up in three petting stations. Each dog had a two-hour shift to play with the students before being replaced and allowed to rest. “We were supposed to have four dogs every hour for six hours but we’re down a dog until 4 p.m.,” Mooney said. “That’s cut back the number of people we could actually have.” Mooney said last year, Emory’s law library had dogs for the students and it was such a success that the Woodruff Library decided to be “copy cats” for a day. Several other schools such as Georgia Tech and Georgia Perimeter College have held similar events to help students deal with the stress that finals week brings. “They miss their dogs because they can’t have dogs in the dorm rooms,” Mooney said. Freshmen students Jordan Newnam and Brian Konig sat on the floor at one of the stations petting a golden retriever, which sat patiently on the floor wagging its tail. Both said the 10 minutes they spent playing and petting the dog was well worth taking time away from their studies. “I think it helped me de-stress and took my mind off finals for a little while,” Konig said. Konig, who is from Dallas, said he and Newnam were talking before petting the golden retriever about how much they both missed their dogs. “I definitely think this is a new trend and I’ve talked to friends from other schools who have done it,” Konig said. Although Newnam is from Atlanta, she isn’t able to make it home too often and she said petting the dog reminded her of home.
AAAS and Emory announce 2012 fellows
School superintendent responds to shooting
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson released a statement Dec. 14 in response to the recent school shooting in Connecticut. The shooting, which occurred at an elementary school in the small town of Newtown, resulted inthe deaths of 26 people including 20 children. Atkinson sent this statement out Dec. 17: “We join the nation in grief and mourn the loss of so many innocent lives. In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, the DeKalb County School District has asked all school administrators and staff to review their safe school and emergency plans. School resource officers and campus supervisors will continue to be highly visible at their assigned schools to provide maximum security for staff and students. We will continue to communicate with the different police departments in the district to provide support as needed. The safety of students, staff and visitors is our top priority in the DeKalb County School District,
Three Emory University professors representing chemistry, biochemistry and biomedical engineering have been selected as 2012 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. This year 702 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The Emory faculty to receive the 2012 AAAS Fellow distinction includes Xiaodong Cheng, professor of biochemistry and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar; Huw M.L. Davies, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Organic Chemistry and director of Emory’s Center for Selective C-H Functionalization, a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence; and Shuming Nie, Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in biomedical engineering.
and we are dedicated to ensuring that our public schools remain the safest places for our most precious resources - our children.”
GPTC’s longest-serving employee retires
Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s (GPTC) longest-serving employee Julian P. Wade, who most recently served as the school’s dean of operations, has retired after a 43-year career with the school. Wade began his career in higher education working at the College (then named DeKalb Area Technical School) in 1969 as a parttime evening instructor, teaching accounting. He later became a fulltime instructor, teaching in the Data Processing Technology program, now called Computer Information Systems (CIS). During the course of his career at the GPTC, Wade taught for 15 years, instructing nearly every course in the CIS curriculum. He served in several capacities, including chair of the CIS department.
Wade moved to the dean’s office in 1989, where he began as dean of evening programs. He also served as dean of other disciplines at the College; and ends his career in the position of dean of operation.
Vader named IHM employee of the year
Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School (IHM) teacher Haydee Vader received the school’s 2012 Employee of the Year award. Vader has taught physical education at IHM for 20 years, as well as fifth grade, middle school science, religion and math. She is also the adviser to the yearbook staff and the National Junior Honor Society. Currently Vader is the middle school coordinator and has been instrumental in the success of the new eighth grade iPad/NetText program, which replaces textbooks with iPads.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Continued From Page 1A Canada geese, and several fields of trees. The tractor driver dropped us off by a hill covered with Leyland Cypress, Carolina Sapphire Cypress, Blue Ice Cypress and Naylor’s Blue. Each tree had tags stating its price and approximate height. A worker gave me a hand saw and we walked up and down and back and forth looking at trees. Some were too tall. Some were too wide for our front window. Others looked a bit pitiful. Some had a bad side with a large spot with no branches. Some were not worthy of a trip to north Georgia. At $75 or more, some were more than I wanted to pay—especially since I had to do the work of cutting it down. Then after approximately 30 minutes of “no,” “no,” no,” we all agreed on a $36, 6-foot, Leyland Cypress that we believed would be perfect for the front window of our ranch-style home. In less than a minute, I felled the tree—the saw was sharper than I realized. I carried the tree down the hill to the waiting tractor which drove us back to the barn. Workers put the tree in netting and tied it to our car. After our tree-cutting experience, we hung around the Harvest Shop for a while, looking at the various offerings. The store sells several ﬂavors of honey, including sourwood, a stout honey with a strong aftertaste; and tupelo, a Mississippi honey with a cotton candy taste. There are also jams—such as T.O.E. jam, made of tangerine, orange, elderberry—and jellies, including Georgia Moonshine jelly. And for those who have challenges putting a Christmas tree in its stand, the farm sells its Marriage Saver Tree Stand which is touted as the “most accurate” and “honestly the last tree stand you will ever need.” “It takes all of 30 seconds for a real rookie to stand their tree up,” according to the farm’s website. “Deﬁnitely buy one if your marriage is a little shaky right now.” With our tree purchase, the Harvest Shop gave us a pewter ornament. For the past eight years, the Kinsey Farm has had an ornament designed for the Christmas season. According to its website, the farm, established in 1981, was designed “as a place to participate in the Christmas tradition of searching for and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree.” The farm has expanded to include a landscape nursery with azaleas, quince, spiraea bushes and other plants. In the fall, the farm offers daily educational ﬁeld trips for local schools, hayrides, ﬁsh feeding and lots of pumpkins. Organized in 1961, the Georgia Christmas Tree Farm Association lists 79 Christmas tree farms on its website.
Established in 1981, Kinsey Family Farm in Gainesville is one of 79 Christmas tree farms in Georgia that allows patrons to select and cut their own trees.
Customers at Kinsey Family Farm enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores at a bonﬁre after purchasing their Christmas trees.
A sampling of those Georgia farms listed at www.gacta.com/Finders/memberlist include:
Carroll County B & B Trees, 1487 Flat Rock Road, Villa Rica Oak Mountain Christmas Trees, 47 Amanda Ave, Carrollton Red Land Christmas Trees, 86 Red Land Road, Temple Spring Brook Farm LLC, 1520 Mandeville Road, Carrollton Cherokee County Barrett Acres, Fairmont Road, Waleska Newton County Berry’s Christmas Tree Farm, 70 Mt Tabor Road, Covington Forsyth County Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm, 5880 John Burruss Road, Cumming Fayette County Brooks Christmas Tree Farm, 352 Mask Road, Brooks Minter’s Tree Farm, 283 Hill’s Bridge Road, Fayetteville Henry County Brown’s Christmas Tree Farm, 86 Minter Drive, Hampton Clark Family Farm, 2845 Peeksville Rd, Locust Grove Homestead Christmas Tree Farm, 3850 Highway 81 W, Hampton Sleepy Hollow Christmas Tree Farm, 628 Sleepy Hollow Road, Powder Springs Sugarland Tree Farm, 3933 Highway 155N, Stockbridge Worthington Tree Farm, 145 Twin Oaks Drive, Hampton Yule Forest HWY 155, 3565 Highway 155 N, Stockbridge Cobb County Coker Tree Farm, 2280 Macland Road, Marietta Hazelip Christmas Tree Farm, Mckay Road & Highway 278, Kennesaw Clayton County Fourakre Christmas Tree Farm, 13887 Upper Woolsey Road, Hampton Fulton County Hunter’s Christmas Tree Farm, 14680 Wood Road, Milton Spirit of Christmas, 8070 Campbellton-Redwine Road (Georgia Highway 70), Palmetto Gwinnett County Mike’s Trees, 3847 Loganville Highway 20, Loganville Thompson’s Tree Farm, 1829 Prospect Road, Lawrenceville
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
News and events of the DEKALB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave. Suite 235, Decatur, GA, 30030 • 404.378.8000• www.DeKalbchamberofcommerce.org
2013 Equals New Year, New Changes, New Chamber!
soon unveil a new website, newsletters, social media strategies, new As we close out 2012, programs and most imit has been a world wind portant, we celebrate our of a year. The Chamber 75th Annual Diamond continued to create inAnniversary! formative and beneﬁcial To kick oﬀ the new programming for its year, please join us at the members as it welcomed 2013 Annual Meeting & famed restaurateur Reception on February George McKerrow at its 21 at the Courtyard MarSmall Business Awards riot in Decatur. Current luncheon. The ChamChair Elect Kevin Greiner, ber sought to tackle CEO of Gas South will tough community issues transition power to the through involvement in new 2013 Chair Elect the transportation refArnie Silverman, CEO of erendum. The Chamber McClarty Silverman Construction also continued to build Program Management. Mallory-Administration collaborative relationships with DeKalb County and Special Projects Man- Throughout the year, we ager. The Board of Direc- will focus on these core Government, the Board tors added 10 new Board strategies: Enhanced of Commissioners, and messaging, Enhanced the DeKalb County School members to the roster membership experience, now totaling 50 diverse System. Moreover, the Organizational ExcelChamber began cultivat- members representing the DeKalb business com- lence, Full Board member ing relationships with its engagement and Community! municipalities. munity involvement. With new staﬀ come Programs aside, we The new year is upon reﬂect upon the changes new ideas! We are proud to bring in 2013 with this us and we are excited to the chamber has experibring forth new changes motto, “New Year, New enced. We restructured the organization and wel- Changes, New Chamber”. and a new chamber! See The DeKalb Chamber will you in 2013. comed new staﬀ memby Leonardo McClarty bers; Noelle Lloyd-Marketing & Public Relations Manager, Katerina TaylorDirector of Membership & Programs and Bianca
It is our wish that this holiday season brings good tidings to all and that 2013 will bring much success. Celebrating 75 Years of service to DeKalb’s business community
Executive Speaker Series Luncheon
January 23, 2013 • 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Villa Christina
“New Year. New changes. New Chamber.”
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January 25, 2013 • 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. Cornerstone Bank, community Room
State of the County Address with CEO Burrell Ellis
January 29, 2013 Hellenic Center
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
St. Pius X running back Ryan Braswell tries to find running room as he is tackled by Buford defenders.
St. Pius X head coach Paul Standard consoles quarterback Jack Spear after he was sacked on a 4th down attempt in the final seconds of the Class AAA championship game. Photos by David DiCristina
St. Pius X falls to Buford in state championship game
Wide receiver Matt Pearson makes a catch in the fourth quarter.
St. Pius X fans look disappointed as they watch their team lose to Buford 10-3 in the Class AAA championship game.
by Carla Parker email@example.com he St. Pius X defense played stoutly throughout the playoffs and it carried over into the Class AAA state Championship game on Dec. 14. But in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 3, Buford had a fourth-and-1 at the St. Pius X 39yard line with 9:10 remaining. Buford quarterback Taylor Mitchell
pitched the ball to running back Dontravious Wilson, who followed his blockers all the way to the end zone to give the Buford Wolves the only touchdown of the game. Unfortunately for St. Pius X, that touchdown was all Buford needed to win its fourth state championship in five years. The No. 7 Golden Lions lost 10-3 to the No. 3 Buford Wolves and finished the season with a 12-3 record. Although disappointed with the loss, St. Pius X head coach Paul
Standard said he was proud of his team’s performance and effort. “I’m so proud of them,” he said. “They played St. Pius football and they never gave up and they played to the end.” The Golden Lions started off strong on their first possession with quarterback Jack Spear running the option offense. They got down to the Wolves 24 yard line in 13 plays, but the drive stalled after running back Ryan Braswell was tackled at the line of scrimmage by Buford linebacker Korie Rogers on a fourth-and-1 play. After that, neither offense did much. Most of the game consisted of three-and-outs, stalled drives and penalties. St. Pius X had a costly penalty in the first quarter. After the team forced a three-and-out for Buford, St. Pius X was flagged for roughing the kicker on a punt attempt, giving the ball back to Buford. However, the defense held strong and forced another threeand-out. Buford got the first points of the game in the second quarter when kicker Matthew Bonadies made a field goal from 43 yards out. The Golden Lions responded in the third quarter with a 47-yard field goal by kicker Thomas O’Leary. The tie broke in the fourth quarter with Wilson’s touchdown run.
St. Pius X, which relies heavily on its running game and averages 300 yard a game, was held to only 104 rushing yards. The Golden Lions had a total of 184 yards. Braswell led the Golden Lions in rushing yards with 88 yards. His only big run was a 41-yard run in the third quarter. Since St. Pius X was unsuccessful at running the ball, the team had to go into uncharted waters – passing the ball. “We just couldn’t move the ball well enough to do anything consistently,” Standard said. “When we got late in the game we had to throw it. That’s not our forte.” Despite the fact that they gave up the touchdown, Standard said he is still proud of his defense. “I thought our defense played lights out,” he said. “I thought all our kids played like we always do – with a lot of heart, grit and determination. That’s why we made it this far.” Standard said he knows his players are upset about the loss but believes they have nothing to hang their heads about. “They’ve done great things in their career here at St. Pius,” he said. “They got us to the state championship, which hadn’t been done in 40 years. They accomplished so many things. So, there are a lot of things to be proud of.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Second annual Nike Boys’ Basketball Invitational set for Christmas week
olumbia High School is set to play host to the 2012-13 second annual Nike Boys’ Basketball Invitational tournament beginning on Dec. 26. The 16 team field for the tournament includes five state championship teams from four different states, one Final Four entry, three Elite Eight finalists and four teams that reached the playoffs or the second round. Columbia (Class AAA) and Whitefield Academy (Class A) are the 2012 state champions from Georgia while Meridian (Miss., 6A), Wenonah (Ala., 5A) and Bartow (Fla., 5A) bring defending state champions from other states. Other teams competing include Auburn (Ala.), Alcovy, Butler, Chamblee, Crisp County, Greater Atlanta Christian,
Greenforest Christian, Jonesboro, Norcross, Norland (Fla.), and Tucker. Columbia won the 2011-12 tournament with a 44-37 win over Eagle’s Landing on its way to a third consecutive Class AAA title. The Eagles’ first game of the tournament is against Auburn (Ala.) at 7 p.m. on the opening day of the tournament. Alcovy, an Elite Eight state tournament participant in 2012, opens against fellow Elite Eight entry and tournament returnee Crisp County at 10 a.m. on opening day. Class AAAA Final Four participant Jonesboro meets Greenforest Christian at 11:30 a.m. and tournament returnees Butler and Chamblee meet at 1 p.m. The 2:30 p.m. game on opening day pits a pair of 2012 state champions in Bartow (Fla.) and
Whitefield Academy with Alabama state champion Wenonah taking on Greater Atlanta Christian, an Elite 8 participant in 2012, at 4 p.m. Tournament returnees Norland (Fla.) and Tucker tip off at 5:30 p.m. Tucker reached the tournament semifinals before losing to Columbia a year ago and finishing third with a win over Martin Luther King Jr. The Tigers and Norland met in the second round with Tucker slipping out with a 40-37 victory. Two-time defending Mississippi state champion Meridian returns to the tournament looking to improve on its first appearance, included a first round loss to Tucker. The task will not be easy as Meridian takes on perennial Georgia basketball power Norcross in the 8:30 p.m. nightcap.
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 Davonte Fitzgerald, Tucker (basketball): Fitzgerald scored 25 points and had six rebounds and two steals in the Tigers 72-34 win over Lakeside on Dec. 14. The senior shooting forward is averaging 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Klarissa Weaver, Miller Grove (basketball): Weaver scored 12 points and had eight rebounds and six steals in the 51-33 win over Arabia Mountain. The senior center is averaging 10.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Southwest DeKalb wrestling sweeps meets at Marist and Dunwoody
by Carla Parker email@example.com The Southwest DeKalb wrestling team is having a successful season so far after sweeping six schools in its past two meets. At the Dec. 12 meet at Marist, the Panthers outscored Lithonia 63-18, Stone Mountain 57-12, and Marist 46-16. On Dec. 14 at Dunwoody, they outscored Dunwoody 66-6, Miller Grove 42-21 and Martin Luther King, Jr. 54-12. The Panthers are in good position to win its second region title in three years. Southwest DeKalb won the region 6-AAAAA title in 2011 after outscoring Marist 178.5-146. “We’ll be in the hunt for the region title,” said Southwest DeKalb wrestling coach Keith Johnson. The Panthers are trying to continue its winning tradition in wrestling. The team has won two county titles in 2007 and 2011, and have had success at the state level. Last year, senior wrestler Gabriel Echols won the Class AAAA 285-pound weight division title. That same year, he also won the
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.
Matt Pierce, Valdosta State (football): The junior cornerback from St. Pius X returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in the 35-7 win over Winston-Salem in the Division II national championship game on Dec. 15. Pierce had 48 tackles, 11 pass break ups, and four interceptions during the season. Jordan Price, Auburn (basketball): The freshman guard from Southwest DeKalb scored 14 points in the 65-50 win over Furman on Dec. 15. He was 4-4 from the three-point line and 5-6 from the field. Price is averaging 7.2 points per game. Chancie Dunn, Clemson (basketball): The junior guard from Southwest DeKalb scored nine points and added six assists, six steals, and three rebounds in the 75-55 win over Radford on Dec. 16.
The Southwest DeKalb wrestling team beat Lithonia, Marist and Stone Mountain at the Dec. 12 meet at Marist. Photos by Carla Parker
Region 6-AAAA title and DeKalb County title. In 2006 and 2007, Dequan Wagner won the Class AAAA state title in the 102-pound weight division. Keith Barker won a state title in 1992 and 1993, and the Panthers have had six other state
winners before then. Johnson said he isn’t concerned about his current wrestlers making state just yet. “The hardest thing is sectionals,” he said. “I really don’t concentrate on state. If we can make it to sectionals we’ll be OK.”
Johnson has wrestlers who could make a run this year. Senior Corey Strickland won a region title last year in the 145-pound weight division. Junior Darnell Smith came in second in the region last year in the 120-pound weight division.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
— HAPPY KWANZAA 2012 —
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