Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker
and Stone Mountain.
LifeLine public relations representative Karen Hirsch plays with cats at the LifeLine Animal Project facility in Decatur.
WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, DEC. 28, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 40 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
See Page 8A for our 2012 Year in Review
The LifeLine Spay & Neuter Clinics have performed more than 50,000 low-cost or no-cost spay/neuter surgeries.
LifeLine Animal Project:
Saving pets through adoption and neutering
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
en years ago, Rebecca Guinn, got tired of seeing so many animals being euthanized at animal shelters. The practicing attorney decided the answer to that problem is to spay and neuter. So, she founded LifeLine Animal Project, a program that is working to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in animal shelters. LifeLine public relations representative Karen Hirsch said at the time LifeLine was founded there were 60,000 dogs and cats being killed in the metro Atlanta area every day. “[Guinn] thought if we can spay and neuter we could reduce that,” Hirsch said. “And she hopes to end euthanization.” LifeLine, which has locations in Decatur and College Park, promotes homeless pet adoptions, provides affordable spay and neuter services, increases public awareness and advocates
lifesaving public policy. The group goes to animal shelters to get animals that wouldn’t be adopted and brings them back to the facility to rehabilitate them. “They have trainers that work with the dogs,” Hirsch said. “They have people that walk the dogs, they have foster homes and programs where people can take them home over the weekends.” They have 30 people on staff and 60 volunteers. Each year, approximately 400-500 pets are adopted from LifeLine. If a an animal doesn’t get adopted, it remains at the facility. “They’ll be here forever,” Hirsch said. “There is no time limit.” The LifeLine Spay and Neuter Clinics have performed more than 50,000 surgeries. They also have a feral and stray cat assistance program called Catlanta. It’s the only program of its kind in Atlanta and it has provided more than 15,000 belowcost sterilizations and vaccinations for Atlanta’s feral and stray cat population. Each year, nearly 500 dogs and cats come through
LifeLine’s Dog House and Kitty Motel, where staff provide medical and behavioral rehabilitation for abandoned and abused animals with special needs, particularly victims of animal cruelty. It’s nationally recognized shelter evaluation team provides assessments and consultations at animal care and control shelters across the country to improve operations, reduce disease and help animal control agencies save more lives. LifeLine also has the largest online pet adoption network in Atlanta. More than 50 shelters and rescue groups throughout the area
LifeLine operates Catlanta, a feral and stray cat assistance program that has provided more than 15,000 below-cost sterilizations and vaccinations for Atlanta’s feral and stray cat population. Photos by Carla Parker
To donate to LifeLine Animal Project, visit www.LifeLineAnimal.org or mail a check to: P.O. Box 15466, Atlanta, GA 30333.
post adoptable animals to its searchable database, which features more than 1,500 animals available for adoption each day. Hirsch said LifeLine started the database because animal shelters didn’t post information about available animals on their websites. “LifeLine used to go over [to shelters], get their list, come back and put it on their website,” Hirsch said. LifeLine also provides services to the community. Every two months staff members go into lowincome neighborhoods and offer free shots as well as
See Lifeline on Page 15A
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
fees. “Property taxes–from the county government stand point–doesn’t get affected,” Grubiak said. This was the final meeting before the committee presents its findings to the General Assembly in its next session. State Sen. Gloria Butler (D-55) chairs the committee that includes
County, school system could lose revenue if cities annex
by Carla Parker email@example.com DeKalb County and the DeKalb County School District could lose revenue if cities in DeKalb are annex and, according to James Grubiak, general counsel of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. At the final meeting Senate Study Committee on the Incorporation of the City of DeKalb on Dec. 13, the issue was raised about the possibility that the annexation of cities would take revenue away from the DeKalb County government. Grubiak said it does take away some revenues. “Others, it doesn’t,” he said. “Property taxes for example doesn’t change at all for the county government.” Grubiak said it’s different for the school system. If a city that has its own school district annex, then its property taxes are not protected. “For example, if Decatur were to annex then any property taxes that were previously going to the DeKalb School system would be shifted to the Decatur School System,” he said. Residential property is a net loss in terms of property tax revenue generated, according to Grubiak, and commercial property is a net benefit to government. “Normally, cities would annex commercial properties if they can get to revenue,” he said. “The school board would be affected on that base because there are no kids in the commercial property.” Revenues that the county government would lose if cities annex include business and occupation taxes, alcohol and beverages taxes, insurance taxes, and various Democratic senators from DeKalb and Sen. Fran Millar (R- 40). Previous meetings included discussions on the process of creating a city.
See Annex on Page 17A
Notice of Availability DeKalb County 2013 Executive Budget Recommendation The Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County presented the 2013 Executive Budget Recommendation to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on December 14, 2012 for their consideration. A copy of the entire Executive Budget Recommendation is available for public inspection in the office of the Director of Finance, 6th Floor, Maloof Center during normal business hours. The Executive Budget Recommendation is also available electronically at www.dekalbcountyga.gov and at DeKalb County Library locations. The DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer and Board of Commissioners will hold Public Hearings on the 2013 Executive Budget Recommendation at times and places to be announced later.
DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION SCHEDULE OF APPROVED LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX PROJECTS YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2012
PROJECT Property acquisition, construction and equiping a minimum of eight (8) new schools and two (2) new centers; renovations, modifications, additions and equipment for existing schools; acquisition and installation of information systems harware and infrastructure at all schools and selected other facilities; purchase of both new school buses and school buses currently under lease. Property acquisition, renovations and expansion, construction and equipping, roofing, site improvements of new and existing schools; acquisition of buses, technology -media center upgrades, HVAC systems, roofing, school improvement projects throughout the district, technology additions, renovations and upgrades, transportation improvements and site acquisitions; paying capitalized interest on General Obligation Bonds.
ORIGINAL ESTIMATED COST (1)
CURRENT ESTIMATED COSTS (2)
AMOUNT EXPENDED IN CURRENT YEAR (3)(4)
AMOUNT EXPENDED IN PRIOR YEAR (3)(4)
609,460,500.00 $ 1,133,864,830.00
(1) The School District's original cost estimate as specified in the resolution calling for the imposition of the Local Option Sales Tax. (2) The School District's current estimate of total cost for the project. Includes all cost from project inception to completion. (3) The voters of Dekalb County approved the imposition of a 1% sales tax to fund the above projects and retire associated debt. Amounts expended for these projects may include sales tax proceeds, state, local property taxes and/or other funds over the life of the projects. (4) Details of specific project information is maintained on our website at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/splost-iv Specific project details are maintained on a separate project management software system and may not correlate to financial records due to timing differences.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Each year an average of 100,000 people visit Stone Mountain Park for its Snow Mountain attraction. Each day the park makes approximately 360 tons of snow and features a tubing area for families and a snow playground area. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
Snow Mountain offers a winter without the drive
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Each year, Stone Mountain Park celebrates the holiday season by transforming into a holiday wonderland complete with snow, Santa and festive lights. “We wanted to make sure metro Atlanta residents had some place to celebrate the season and see the snow without having to drive to up north,” Jeanine Jones, public relations manager at Stone Mountain Park, said. The attraction opened on Thanksgiving Day this year, the Snow Mountain be running through Feb. 18. Snow Mountain has several features, including a tubing area and a snow playground area, which Jones said is a favorite. “We didn’t anticipate how long families wanted to play in the snow,” Jones said. The park is featuring Snow Mountain for the fifth time and Jones said when it was first started, it only expected families to play in the snow for 30-45 minutes at most. Jones said she and other park officials soon realized that some families were staying in the playground area for several hours building snowmen or igloos and throwing snowballs at each other. “For many families, it’s the first time that they’ve ever been together in the snow,” Jones said. The idea for Snow Mountain was developed more than eight years ago by a member of Stone Mountain Park’s creative team. Jones said he “dreamed big” and had been thinking of the idea for years. “I remember going to one of the first meetings about eight years ago and we all came back kind of giggling about the concept because we thought it was so big we couldn’t do it,” Jones said. Eventually, the park was able to partner with a company that makes “temperature independent” snow, which means that it’s able to withstand temperatures of up to 70 degrees without melting. The park has been making snow for this year since Oct. 5; Jones said it makes approximately 360 tons of snow each day, the snow is made with water from the lake
in Stone Mountain Park. Jones said water is pumped from the lake, treated and cleaned, then turned into snow. Additionally, there are drains throughout Snow Mountain that take the water back to the lake as the snow melts. When the park first began Snow Mountain, Jones said there was a lot trial and error because many on the staff were southerners who hadn’t grown up around snow. “There was definitely a learning curve, but I think we’ve gotten smarter about how we groom the snow and we’ve added the family tube lanes and we’ve also added to our snow playground,” Jones said. Because of Snow Mountain, Jones said now the park is able to bring in more guests each year and keep its employees on longer. Each winter season the park gets an average of 100,000 visitors. “Now we’re pretty much a year-round attraction,” Jones said. “I think it’s a perfect accompaniment to our Stone Mountain Christmas event and it just adds to the winter memories that you can make at the park.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28 , 2012
Open Letter to Governor Nathan Deal:
Medicaid expansion will keep Georgia fiscally, physically and economically healthy
The historic passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) signaled the commitment of the federal government to improve the health outcomes for all citizens of this country. For too long, there has been a wide gulf between access to health care and those who need it. This has created a segment of the population in this country who do not have health care, a segment of this great country who cannot afford health care and whose care then falls to public hospitals, community health centers and other safety net providers–or worse, a segment of the population who without access to affordable health care, simply die. Across the country, low- and middle-income people find that access to health care is fraught with insurmountable obstacles. Families confronting a health crisis must rely on agencies to bridge the gap between what they can afford to pay and what needs to be paid –or face bankruptcy. All too often, the costs of providing health care to the uninsured or underinsured are passed on to local governments–an additional obligation that local taxpayers can ill afford. Safety net hospitals bear the brunt of these uninsured costs. Grady Hospital is a prime example of what unfunded mandates can do to the bottom line of a health care institution that is charged with providing care for those who are uninsured or underinsured. In addition to its safety net mission, Grady serves as a Level I Trauma Center for any resident of the metro Atlanta area who suffers catastrophic injury; for travelers passing through the metro Atlanta area and residents within 100 miles of the metro area. Grady’s woes need not be iterated here as we are all quite familiar with the gap that exists between the counties’ contributions, federal medical disproportional share hospital payments, low state Medicaid reimbursement rates, limited private insurance reimbursements and charitable contributions and what it actually costs to treat patients at Grady. Georgia faces a historical decision. Georgia will go down in history either as the State who cared and moved to expand the Medicaid coverage provided by the ACA or be forever known as the state that due to partisan politics opted to forgo an opportunity to improve the health status of all citizens. The decision to refuse to expand Medicaid will serve no one. Not expanding Medicaid will continue to grow the gap that exists between a class of citizens who have insurance and/or access to insurance and those who will never have that access and their health outcomes will continue to decline and Georgia will forever be ranked in the bottom tier of states for health and education. I do not wish to be a part of that Georgia and I am sure that you do not wish to leave that type of legacy when you leave office. Georgia hospitals in 2011 lost an estimated $1.5 billion caring for people without insurance. Citizens in Georgia pay for the cost of care provided for the uninsured through higher hospital bills and inflated insurance premiums. This system of cost shifting cannot continue when expanding Medicaid can help to alleviate this burden on the insured population. It is estimated that 650,000 people would be added to the Medicaid rolls here in Georgia. That is 650,000 who currently have no insurance and whose medical costs are currently being covered by Georgia taxpayers. The estimated $4.5 billion this would cost the state over time would be more than offset by the $35 billion in federal funding that would be made available under the ACA. I could also go on to tell you that these numbers represent people not abstract concepts—but I am sure that you as governor have reviewed, discussed and have been shown every possible scenario. But the bottom line here is simple—expansion of Medicaid for Georgia citizens is the right thing to do—morally, ethically and fiscally. I urge you, most strenuously, to expand Medicaid here in Georgia and allow the citizens of Georgia an opportunity for better health outcomes. When the legislation comes to your desk to expand Medicaid, I implore you not to veto it but to sign it immediately for the betterment of Georgia as a whole. In the end, it all comes down to one basic and simple question: Q: Who will pay for the person without health insurance who goes to the emergency room or goes to see a doctor? A: We all pay. Yours for a Healthier Georgia, Larry L. Johnson, Commissioner DeKalb District 3
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Opinion One Man’s Opinion
The differences between want and need
somewhat daunting admissions process, which included an essay for out of state applicants. I missed the needed essay score by two points. As I weighed trying again, and a deferred enrollment, my father set me down for a discussion of want versus need. I have three siblings, all later college bound. My parents had the “Over the course of history, men foresight to establish a Clifford learn that iron necessity is neither Trust to assist with our collegiate iron nor necessary.”—philosopher expenses. Dad further explained, and essayist Friederich Nietzsche without dictating my decision, that (1844-1900) in 1878. UVA attendance, and out of state tuition would likely consume the I am a loyal Georgia Bulldog majority of funds in the Clifford fan, as well as an alumnus of UGA Trust, before half of my siblings and its Grady College of Journalwere even college admission ism. Some close friends believe age. He would not stop me from that I bleed red and black. In truth attending if I was accepted, but I though–and the memories are a would need to be prepared to exbit vague even for me–there was a plain to my siblings why/how my time that I really wanted to attend choices had substantially limited the University of Virginia in Char- theirs. I decided to instead attend lottesville, Va. the University of Georgia, and As the end of high school drew help cover my own expenses durnear, I had successfully applied to ing college. a wide array of institutions. The This brings me to our recently University of Dallas, a smallcelebrated Atlanta Falcons and private Catholic campus in Irving, the new nearly $1 billion retractTexas, was offering me a free ride, able roof home that they are seeklargely based on my SAT scores. I ing. Their roost for past 20 years, had been accepted by UGA, Geor- the Georgia Dome, has also hosted gia State, Clemson (don’t ask), two Super Bowls, the SEC ChamDeKalb Community College and pionship, multiple Olympic events virtually every institution where I and as of the spring of 2013, a had applied. third NCAA Final Four. It is estiUVA, then and now, had a mated that the Georgia Dome has returned an economic impact of $10 billion to the state of Georgia. The Georgia Dome is currently the 17th oldest NFL stadium, and has far from outlived its usefulness. Arthur Blank, the Falcons owner and a noted businessman, civic leader and philanthropist wants a new retractable roof stadium. Who would not want the additional millions in new concession and parking revenues, other event income and dozens of millions in savings that come from borrowing construction funds with the state of Georgia’s bonded debt ratings and resulting low interest rates. The proposed public funding contribution of $300 million in hotel/motel and car rental fees is just icing on the cake compared to that potential debt-servicing expense. This project clearly has momentum and heavyweight support, from the business community, the Falcons, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and at least surprisingly to me, former Governor/Senator Zell Miller. Georgia needs improvements in public education, infrastructure and health care access. Each of those items falls in the immediate and billions category. Our graduation rates are near the bottom in the nation. I wanted Santa Claus to bring me a new car this Christmas. My trusty 2003 Jeep Liberty SE is more than beginning to show its age and mileage. In our little family, my car is the oldest—and has the highest mileage. I suspect the Jeep will spend a disproportionate share of 2013 in the shop. That said, my oldest is away in college, and there are several more pressing concerns (financially speaking) that need to be met. So though I have already narrowed my search to a late model Kia Sorrento or Sportage (the former manufactured here in Georgia), for the time being I will still only stare longingly when passing the Kia plant in LaGrange, or any Kia dealer. As a grown-up and even around Christmas time, I no longer need the difference between what I want versus what I need explained. Happy New Year! 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 email@example.com.
How many more angry young men?
In the riveting account of what happened in Sandy Hook, most of us try to make some sense of how this happens. What motivates a reclusive young man to target family and children in one of the worst mass shootings in US history? This collective grief is palpable as we each deal with it differently but dealing with it – we are doing. The media frenzy argues the point back and forth, do we need more gun control, do we need more security in our schools, and does our distrust for the eccentric loner grow with every young man we meet? Each time we endure another inexplicable mass shooting, we overemphasis gun laws and underemphasize mental health care and healing. Most mass shootings involve mental illness. We are failing our angry young men by not making access to mental health care easier. With determination and, importantly, help, we can change the course of many young men. How can we as a society change the culture and learn to understand and address the needs of young males? I’m not a doctor, nor counselor; just an executive director at a metro Atlanta counseling center. Each day, we welcome young men battling their demons through our doors. When done well, therapy with young men can be highly effective and quite rewarding for both the therapist and client. The field of mental health deserves very careful attention and respect. While we invest in cancer and cardiology we are obscenely remiss in discounting mental health as a viable avenue to changing lives. Please! Let’s not wait for another mass shooting. Make mental health a No. 1 priority in the public health and policy sectors. Barbara LeNoble Executive Director Odyssey Family Counseling College Park, GA www.Odysseyfamilycounseling.org
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Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send E-Mail to Kathy@dekalbchamp.com FAX To: (404) 370-3903 Phone: (404) 373-7779 Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior to publication date. EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.
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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. 28, 2012
Champion of the Week
Nicole Marchand Golden
Golden said. “When I met her she was fighting in school and hanging with the wrong crowd.” Golden said she saw what kind of impact she could have on her mentee just by spending a small amount of time with her each week. Erik Burton, a spokesman for the DA’s office, said Golden also spearheads many of the office’s outreach programs. She recently led a pilot program at Decatur High School that discussed the dangers of teen domestic violence. “These are the things she sees as a huge opportunity,” Burton said. “She’s always been volunteering at a hospital or just doing different things in the community.” Golden said programs such as the one started at Decatur High are important because in many of the domestic violence cases that come through the DA’s office, the type of behavior leading to violent relationships were perpetrated upon or accepted by young women when they first began dating. Next year, the program will be brought to 10 other schools in DeKalb County. Additionally, Golden coordinates the Regional High School Mock Trial Competition, which takes place every year at the DeKalb County Courthouse. “It’s an important program because it teaches high school students oral advocacy, presentation and critical thinking,” Golden said. Over the past several years, Golden she has seen a large increase in the number of young women coming through the justice system, which has motivated she and a friend to start the nonprofit in hopes to curb that trend. Golden recently got married and now has a 4-year-old stepson who she said is a joy to have in her life. She also said her work at the Boys and Girls Club has had one of the biggest impacts on her. “My proudest moment was when my mentee graduated high school,” Golden said.
The Ashford Dunwoody Diverging Diamond Interchange receives the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Georgia Section Innovation in Transportation Award. From left, pictured are ITE Georgia Section Past President Mike Holt; GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden; John Karnowski, president of Georgia Section ITE; and Perimeter CIDs President and CEO Yvonne Williams.
DeKalb County Chief Assistant District Attorney Nicole Marchand Golden said one of her biggest passions is helping young girls. Golden is the second in command in DeKalb District Attorney Robert James’ office and supervises all of the various departments in the DA’s office. She also is responsible for managing the office’s yearly $11 million budget and prosecuting cases. Outside the DA’s office, Golden’s time is spent serving on the board of the Scottdale Child Development and Family Resource Center, which provides child care services for children ages six months to five years in the Scottdale/Clarkston area. The center does enroll children from all economic backgrounds but Golden said more than 50 percent come from lowincome areas. The center also provides resources for parents with children who are homeschooled or too young to enroll in the center. The 34-year-old Golden is also a former Atlanta Falcon’s cheerleader. For the past seven years, Golden has volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club as a mentor. Recently, one of the young women Golden mentored graduated college and enrolled in the Atlanta Metropolitan College’s nursing program. “She came from a lowincome family and was raised by her paternal grandmother because her father is in prison,”
Dunwoody’s Diverging Diamond Interchange receives three state awards
The Ashford Dunwoody Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI), the first of its kind in Georgia, has received three awards from state transportation organizations for the project designed to improve traffic congestion at the I-285 and Ashford Dunwoody Road Interchange. The Georgia Partnership for Transportation Quality has awarded the Best Innovative Solution Award and the Grand Design Award to the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs), which initiated the project; Moreland Altobelli Associates, Inc., which handled the engineering and design; and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Office of Innovative Program Delivery, which funded and oversaw construction. The innovative solution award recognizes innovation and emphasizes new design solutions to engineering problems with broad prospects for future application, according to the design competition guidelines. The grand design award is made for one outstanding project that is judged especially worthy. The awards were presented at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia recent annual Georgia Transportation Summit. The DDI also has received the 2012 Innovation in Transportation Award from the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Georgia Section. The award was presented to both the PCIDs and GDOT at ITE’s recent annual meeting and awards ceremony. “We are proud now to be able to refer to the Ashford Dunwoody DDI as an award-winning project,” said PCIDs President and CEO Yvonne Williams. The DDI is a design that shifts the flow of traffic to the opposite side of the road to reduce points of traffic conflict and improve traffic flow and safety. “Each of our partners played an important role in delivering this $6 million project,” Williams said. In 2009, the PCIDs hired Moreland Altobelli engineering firm to find an immediate, low-cost way to make improvements to the more than 40-year-old I-285 and Ashford Dunwoody Road Interchange. “The interchange was inadequate to serve the nearly 55,000 vehicles that use it daily,” Williams said. Gerald Ross, who recently retired as chief engineer of GDOT, suggested the DDI to Moreland Altobelli, Williams noted. After researching the cutting-edge DDI design, which originated in France and had first been used in the United States in 2009 in Springfield, Mo., Moreland Altobelli recommended the DDI to the PCIDs. The PCIDs received grant funding from the State Road and Tollway Authority and DeKalb County for engineering and design and GDOT funded the $4.6 million cost of construction. “Police reports and commuter feedback indicate that congestion and accidents have significantly improved at this major gateway to the Perimeter Market,” Williams said. “We’ll have the hard data after traffic studies are completed in the spring.”
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.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Jones. The 2012 movie is rated PG-13 and runs 100 minutes. Movies in the Friday afternoon series are a mix of new releases and old favorites. When available, movies are presented with closed captioning to assist the hearing impaired. Screenings start at 1:30 p.m. Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library is located 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 679-4404.
Carlos Museum exhibition nears closing The Carlos Museum’s special exhibition “For I am the Black Jaguar”: Shamanic Visionary Experience in Ancient American Art ends on Jan. 5. More than 115 objects explore visionary experiences that deeply influenced the artistic output of American indigenous cultures, from the Maya to the Inca, before the European invasions of the sixteenth century. The exhibition’s title is a fragment of a larger quote from a Brazilian shaman: “For I am the Black Jaguar. It is me you must invoke if you wish to scare the illness away.” The words highlight the basis of shamanism “that the shaman is capable of changing her state of being, and “that anything is in flux between one state and another,” said Rebecca Stone, Emory professor of art history and faculty curator of the Art of the Americas at the Carlos Museum.
The town hall meetings are open forums 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.
New Year Youth Summit announced Breaking the Chains of Generational Curses, a nonprofit organization, is hosting a New Year Youth Summit with free seminars on social, physical and health education for children and parents at Ousley Methodist Church in Lithonia on Saturday, Jan. 5, 10 a.m-2 p.m. Breakfast will be served and there will be seminars for youth ages 11 through 18 as well as seminars for parents and guardians. There also will be entertainment and prizes. Ousley Methodist Church is located at 3261 Panola Road, Lithonia. For more information, visit www.BreakingGenerationalChains.org. Library to hold poetry event Stonecrest Library presents When Poets Gather, a creative collaboration of poets from across the Southeast, on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2:30-5 p.m. “Come out and hear the creative works and interpretations of poets who have been motivated to write about this year’s theme,” states an announcement from the library. The theme is a quote from Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (770) 482-3828. Stonecrest Library to host nonprofit seminar The Stonecrest Library will host a seminar on starting a nonprofit organization Monday, Jan. 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m. The seminar will cover marketing and fundraising for nonprofit organizations and is designed to help participants understands the challenges nonprofits face in today’s economy. There will be a special emphasis on ethics-based approaches. The session will also address how to develop initiatives for sustainable enterprise and fundraising in an era of increasing demographic diversity. Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (770) 482-3828.
Academy Theatre to hold New Year’s Eve show Magician David Howell will open for Tiger Peach Improv, who will present It’s a Blunderful Life on Dec. 31. The 7:30 p.m. show will be held at Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates. Tickets for the family friendly show are $13. Academy Theatre is at 119 Center Street. For more information, call (404) 474-8332. For tickets, visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/306724.
Theater company leaving Suburban Plaza After calling Suburban Plaza home for more than ten years, OnStage Atlanta (OSA) is preparing to move at the end of the year. It’s new 18,000-square-foot facility will be located at 2969 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, near the DeKalb Farmer’s Market and Kudzu Antiques. The building will include two performance spaces, a rehearsal hall, gallery/second lobby, offices and storage. This new home will give OSA less overall square footage than its Suburban Plaza space, but a better flow for patrons and performers. It will also have more space for special events, parties/receptions, classes and workshops. The theater company had been looking to relocate since the new plans for Suburban Plaza were announced in November 2011. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin immediately so that it will be available for rehearsals and performances as soon as possible. OnStage Atlanta, formed in 1971, is an organization of individuals who are committed to producing high-quality, diverse and eclectic theatrical offerings by providing an environment which fosters the growth and development of talented and creative individuals. Library to host author of book on loss of parents The DeKalb County Public Library will host author Claire Bidwell Smith Jan. 8, 7:15-9 p.m. at the Decatur Library. Smith’s debut book, The Rules of Inheritance, is about her own life: a personal account of her parents’ death when she was 14. The author is also an experienced grief counselor who is beginning a series of workshops around that subject. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information call (404) 370-8450, ext. 2225 or visit www.georgiacenterforthebook.org or www.dekalblibrary.org. DeKalb House Delegation to hold town hall meeting The DeKalb County House Delegation will hold a legislative preview town hall meeting in Decatur to discuss important 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. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center located at 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur.
Library offers story time for toddlers Toddlers can enjoy stories, finger plays, action rhymes, songs and more at Toddler Storytime at the Clarkston Library. Activities will be available for 2-year-olds, 10:3011 a.m. Activities will also be available for children ages 3 to 5 years old, 11:15-11:45 a.m. The Clarkston Library is at 951 N. Indian Creek Drive. For more information, call (404) 508-7175.
New Year events for seniors announced The Regency House, an independent retirement community, announced a series of New Year events for Jan. 4-6. They are: • Friday, Jan. 4, at 4 p.m., Mocktail Happy Hour – Area seniors are invited to get out and be social after the holidays. Drinks and supper will follow. • Saturday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m., Let’s Talk Seniors® Health Benefits of Laughter—Those who would like to come for lunch prior to the event should call to make a reservation. Light snacks will be served during the event. • Sunday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m., Wii Bowling Tournament—There will be prizes for all participants. Light refreshments will be served. These events are free and open to the public. The Regency House is located at 341 Winn Way in Decatur. To RSVP, or to learn more, call The Regency House at (404) 296-1152. Library to show Hope Springs Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library on Jan. 4 is presenting as part of its Friday Movie series Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee
DeKalb County Library holds writers forum Northlake-Barbara Loar Library will host a writers’ forum Tuesday, Jan. 8, 6:30-8 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to workshop original creative writings in a safe, community-friendly environment. Readings will be followed by audience feedback and discussion led by writing coach Wayne Smith. Writers of every skill level are encouraged to attend but are asked to limit works to 500 words or five minutes of reading time. All readings must be appropriate for family audiences. No registration is required. Northlake-Barbara Loar Library is located at 3772 Lavista Road, Tucker. For more information call, (404) 679-4408.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Dog Bite Trial
The Champion Newspaper
Year in review
A penny saved: Transportation tax fails
DeKalb residents and others in the metro Atlanta area voted to save their pennies instead of paying a one-cent sales tax for transportation. At stake in the vote were $6.14 billion of regional transportation projects selected by the Atlanta Regional Roundtable that represented Clayton, Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties and the city of Atlanta. For DeKalb County, there were $1.1 billion divided between 18 proposed projects, including a $700 million Clifton Corridor MARTA rail that would run from Lindbergh Center to Emory University and a $225 million I-20 corridor park-andride bus system that eventually would have been converted to high-capacity transit stations. Much of the opposition to the proposed tax in DeKalb came from south DeKalb residents who unsuccessfully campaigned for an I-20 rail system that would have connected Indian Creek MARTA station with Stonecrest Mall in Lithonia.
attack in which a little girl lost part of an arm. On Jan. 6, State court Judge Dax Lopez sentenced Twyann Vaughn, the owner of the dogs, who was convicted of two counts each of reckless conduct, violation of the vicious dog act, and violation of the rabies ordinance. Vaughn was sentenced to 16 months in jail, three years of probation, 240 hours of community service and restitution. The victim, Erin Ingram, 8 at the time, was attacked in her neighborhood in March 2010 by the two pit bulls. Police said several neighbors unsuccessfully tried to tear the dogs away from the girl, before a DeKalb County Police officer arrived and pulled the dogs off the girl. He ended up shooting one. DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston said Vaughn’s “bad decision turned into the worst day of Erin’s life.”
stage in front of a worshipping congregation. “He is now raised up from a commoner to a kingship,” said Rabbi Ralph Messer, who performed the ceremony. “He’s raised from earth into a heavenly realm.” In an apology to the Jewish community, Long said, “The ceremony was not my suggestion, nor was it my intent, to participate in any ritual that is offensive in any manner to the Jewish community or any group. “Furthermore, I sincerely denounce any action that depicts me as a king, for I am merely just a servant of the Lord,” Long said.
Brookhaven becomes a city
DeKalb County voters in a close race said “yes” to the proposed city of Brookhaven at the polls July 31. Brookhaven officially became DeKalb County’s newest municipality Dec. 17. Max Davis, who had been president of Brookhaven Yes, a grassroots organization promoting the cityhood of Brookhaven, was elected the city’s first mayor in a runoff election Dec. 4. The creation of the city has been a point of discussion for nearly a decade. In 2010, the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute released a study that stated the creation of the city was feasible and would result in a $135,000 surplus for the proposed city.
See In Review on Page 9A
Bishop Long apologizes after being wrapped in Torah
After being wrapped in a Torah and declared a king, Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, apologized for the ceremony that many Jewish leaders found offensive. A Youtube video of the Jan. 31 event shows Long being wrapped in a Torah and later lifted in a chair by four men who carry the bishop around the
‘Bad decision’ lands pit bull owner in jail for 16 months
An emotion-filled trial ended with a Lithonia woman sentenced to 16 months in jail for a pit bull
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
In Review Continued From Page 8A
Champion wins top award again
The Champion Newspaper won first place in general excellence for the fourth consecutive year and took home eight other first-place awards in its category at the Georgia Press Association Better Newspapers awards banquet July 7. Four of the first-place awards were for photography. Travis Hudgons won first place for best photo gallery on a newspaper website and for spot news photography. Andrew Cauthen won for a news photograph and Daniel Beauregard placed first in the photo essay category. News editor Robert Naddra placed first in the feature writing and sports writing categories, and Steen Miles won for best editorial. The Champion also won first place for lifestyle coverage.
Church rapist pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison
An 51-year-old Atlanta man will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to the brutal rape in a church of a DeKalb County woman. John Russell Carver was sentenced by Judge Asha Jackson to two consecutive life sentences plus 115 years behind bars. On June 29, Carver pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including rape, armed robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary and possession of a knife during commission of a felony. DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James called the crime “heinous.” According a police report, the then 53-year-old female victim was working in a church office around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, when she answered a knock at an exterior office door. When the door was opened, Carver forced his way into the building. During the attack, Carver choked the victim with his hands until she lost consciousness, according to the indictment. He stomped her head; and hit and kicked her face until her eyes were swollen shut. And all of this was done while brandishing a knife with a three-inch blade.
Cop killer receives life sentence
William Woodard was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering two DeKalb County police officers. On Oct. 19 a jury convicted Woodard, 34, of the shootings. DeKalb County Police officers Eric Barker, 34, and Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, were killed while they were working as off-duty security at Glenwood Gardens Apartments in 2008. The officers approached a vehicle in the apartment parking lot and Woodard got out of the car and began shooting. Woodard had admitted to shooting the officers but claimed he did it in self-defense after the officers pulled him out of a car and began beating and shooting at him. He was later found guilty on all counts. Woodard received a sentence of life in prison without parole, a sentence he previously turned down as a plea agreement. He faced the death penalty. DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James argued that Woodard, a three-time convicted felon, didn’t want to go back to jail and that’s why he killed the officers.
County opens ‘trash to gas to cash’ plant
DeKalb County bolstered its claim of being “the greenest urban county in America” with the opening of its $9 million renewable fuels facility at the county’s landfill April 16. The facility converts the gases that build up during the aging process of a landfill into renewable natural gas. Some of this gas will be turned into compressed natural gas (CNG) that will be used to fuel CNG vehicles. The county planned to replace or convert the entire fleet of
See In Review on Page 10A
Trash to Cash
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Incumbents Keep Seats
Karate Rape Trial
In Review Continued From Page 9A
306 sanitation vehicles to run on renewable natural gas (RNG) produced by the facility. County officials said the yearly environmental impact to air quality will be the same as taking 30,000 passenger cars off the road. Officials said $3 million will be saved over eight years and the county will make money from the CNG it sells to the general public. and then captain. He also worked as a precinct captain, chief of staff and a major in the interactive community policing unit. O’Brien was named interim police chief in 2009 when then chief Terrell Bolton was fired for insubordination, misuse of county property, and acts unbecoming an officer. in DeKalb County. With all district boundary lines redraw in response to the 2010 census, congressmen had to fight to keep their seats. John Lewis, Democrat, District 5; Hank Johnson, Democrat, District 4; and Tom Price, Republican, District 6, all retook their seats in the general election in November. Redistricting left District 13 entirely outside DeKalb for the first time since its inception. fied Spellen raped her twice while she attended a summer karate camp held at his Powerkick Martial Arts studio in Lithonia. Spellen was released from jail after posting a $50,000 bond. He faces life in prison if he is eventually found guilty of the charges.
DeKalb Police chief retires
DeKalb County Police Chief William O’Brien retired at the end of November. O’Brien, 49, who was named the chief of the DeKalb County Police Department in 2010, was a 27-year veteran with the department. In January 1985, he started working in the uniform division of the south precinct. After six years as a patrol officer, he moved to the detective division, where he investigated robberies and homicides. Later, O’Brien became a bike patrol officer with the communityoriented police team. He spent the next 10 years working in the internal affairs division, where he was promoted to sergeant, lieutenant,
Key officials keep their seats following elections
Most of the key political races in DeKalb County were determined in the July 31 primary, since candidates ran without opposition outside their parties. Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis, for example, was elected to a second term without having to face a Republican challenger in November. Every county commissioner facing re-election this year did so with no challengers from an opposing party. In District 1, Republican Elaine Boyer was re-elected, as was Democrat incumbent Lee May in District 5 and Super District 6 incumbent Democrat Kathie Gannon. The same was not true of seats in U.S. congressional districts partly
Mistrial declared for karate teacher accused of girl’s rape
A mistrial was declared in the case of Adrian Spellen, a Lithonia karate teacher accused of raping a 9-year-old girl, after the jury could not reach a consensus. Spellen, a 2012 Olympic hopeful, was charged in July 2011 with two counts of rape and one count of child molestation for allegedly attacking the victim sometime between May and June 2011. After a trial lasting nearly two weeks and jury deliberations that lasted more than four days, Spellen became a free man, although the two counts of rape and one count of child molestation will remain. During the trial the victim testi-
Shootout at gunshot victim’s funeral results in more deaths
Carlos Henderson Jr., 19, and Delmetrius Heard, 28, shot and killed each other in an altercation in a church parking lot June 7 following a funeral at Victory for the World Church in unincorporated Stone Mountain. The shootout came after the funeral of Ryan Guider, 19, whom police believe was shot to death May 26 in an act of vengeance. Camenthia Antwan Dixon, 21, of Decatur, was arrested June 12 when he took a stolen gun to a memorial service for Henderson. The gun had been stolen last year from the county district attorney’s evidence storage facility, according to law enforcement reports.
See In Review on Page 11A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
In Review Continued From Page 10A
Man sentenced to life for Dunwoody murder; victim’s widow now facing trial
It was a trial that received national attention: the case of GE engineer Hemy Neuman who was sentenced to life without parole on March 15 after a jury found him guilty but mentally ill in the November 2010 killing of Russell Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody day care. During the trial, both prosecution and defense attorneys maintained that Andrea Sneiderman, the victim’s widow, was having an affair with Neuman and convinced him to kill her husband. In August, Andrea Sneiderman was charged as an accomplice in her husband’s murder. In the indictment against Sneiderman, prosecutors said she and Neuman conspired to kill her husband to claim his nearly $2 million in assets. Three months later, prosecutors suggested in court that another man may have played a role in Andrea Sneiderman’s alleged plot to murder her husband. Prosecutors said that man, Joseph Dell, left his wife six months pregnant about six and a half months after the murder of Rusty Sneiderman and openly took up a relationship with Andrea Sneiderman. Sneiderman may have convinced Neuman to kill her husband so that she and Dell could be together, prosecutors said. Dell lived with Andrea Sneiderman at her parents’ house, where she is under house arrest, until a judge ordered them not to have contact because he is a potential witness in Andrea Sneiderman’s trial.
Plane veers off runway at PDK airport
An airplane veered off a runway the morning of June 18 at DeKalb Peachtree Airport (PDK) and crashed through a fence, stopping just a few feet from Dresden Road, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The two pilots and one of the two passengers aboard were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries and the others passengers was unijured, according to DeKalb County Fire Rescue spokesman Norman Augustin. According to the FAA, a Hawker Beechcraft 400 aircraft ran off the end of a runway during landing. It was arriving from Gadsden, Ala. Emergency crews cleaned up 700 gallons of fuel that spilled inside the airport as a result of the accident, Augustin said.
Columbia High Boys Sara Fountain
Leadership DeKalb’s Sara Fountain steps down
Leadership DeKalb had been around only five years when Sara Fountain joined its class of 1992. She was so impressed with the organization that she stayed involved. When the executive director position become available 11 years ago, she expressed an interest and was chosen. She retired following the graduation of the 2012 class. Her favorite part of the job, Fountain said, was bringing people together. “I try to get people to bond early, and some lifelong friendships have grown out of it,” she said. “Even though we have people from some lofty positions, they all are giving, considerate and eager to help others,” said Fountain, who added that she personally worked with more than 800 adult and youth leaders during the past 11 years. She said that it’s a shame leaders at the state and national level are not as effective in reaching consensus as Leadership DeKalb members are.
Columbia High Girls
State title sweeps by Miller Grove, Columbia add to county basketball legacy
Supporters of the Miller Grove and Columbia basketball programs had plenty to cheer about in March as both teams won boys’ and girls’ Georgia High School Association state basSee In Review on Page 12A Miller Grove High Girls Miller Grove High Boys Shooting Death
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
In Review Continued From Page 11A
ketball championships. Just a few minutes into the third quarter of Miller Grove’s 46-39 win over Southwest DeKalb in the girls’ Class AAAA championship, Wolverines’ supporters began the chant, “We’re gonna get a ri-ing, we’re gonna get a ri-ing.” It was Miller Grove’s first girls basketball state title. The Miller Grove boys followed with a 62-57 win over Southwest DeKalb for their fourth consecutive Class AAAA state championship. The history-making continued when the Columbia girls won their second title in three seasons with a 57-33 win over No. 1 Washington County in the Class AAA title game. The Columbia boys followed by winning their third straight Class AAA championship and fifth in the past seven seasons with a 65-46 win over Drew. The Eagles are the first team to win five titles in a seven-year span since the 1940s. It was also the fourth sweep in Class AAAA for DeKalb in the past five seasons, including Columbia (boys) and Southwest DeKalb (girls) in 2008 with Miller Grove (boys) and Southwest DeKalb (girls) in 2009 and 2010.
Walmart bringing more supercenters, markets to county
Protests, forums, petitions and legal wrangling were not enough to prevent a proposed Walmart from getting the necessary permits to begin construction. The planned 150,000-square-foot Walmart, to be located in Suburban Plaza near Decatur, is slated to have groceries, deli, a pharmacy, and optical center. Meanwhile, Memorial Drive is getting its second Walmart as construction is under way for the 148,000-square-foot store that is expected to employ 250 full-time and part-time associates and generate an estimated $4.9 million in sales taxes. It will have a grocery department, pharmacy and garden center. Work also began to clear the sites for Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Dunwoody at 5025 Winters Chapel Road and Tucker at 3201 Tucker Norcross Road and for a supercenter near Stonecrest Mall.
Georgia Perimeter’s president steps down amid money crisis
After running Georgia Perimeter College since 2006, Dr. Anthony Tricoli stepped down as president of the state’s largest two-year college on May 7. Tricoli’s departure came in the wake of financial difficulties at the college, according to the University System of Georgia. Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the university system, announced that Tricoli resigned following the discovery of an approximately $16 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2012 at GPC. Tricoli maintained that he had been given misleading data from his financial team.
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:
Judge sets trial date for Lewis criminal case
DeKalb County Judge Cynthia Becker has set a start date of April 15, 2013, for the racketeering trial against former DeKalb County Superintendent Crawford Lewis. The trial date has been reset several times since Lewis and others were charged in 2010 with conspiring to defraud the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) of approximately $2.4 million through illegal contracts. Lewis’ former construction chief Patricia Reid allegedly used her role as the district’s construction chief to award contracts to then husband Tony Pope. According to officials and court documents, Lewis signed off on contracts and knowingly participated in the conspiracy.
See In Review on Page 13A
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. 28, 2012
In Review Continued From Page 12A
Construction firm Heery International is suing the school district with regard to contracts with which it was involved. Lewis is expected to be a main witness in the civil trial. socioeconomic levels and geography; only 35 percent of the district’s classrooms contain up-to-date technology; and textbooks are in extremely short supply. Elgart said AdvancED has provided a list of actions DCSD needs to complete if it doesn’t want to risk losing accreditation. 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.
See In Review on Page 14A
Legal actions continue following death of FAMU drum major
In court documents filed in September Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) asserted that the university is not responsible for the death of drum major Robert Champion, who died as a result of a 2011 hazing incident. Responding in a lawsuit filed by Champion’s parents, FAMU stated that 26-year-old Champion, a graduate of Southwest DeKalb High School, was an adult who knew the dangers and willingly participated in the hazing. The Florida State Attorney’s Office has charged 13 individuals in connection with Champion’s death, 11 of whom are charged with felony hazing resulting in death. The others are charged with a hazing misdemeanor. Since the incident, FAMU Band Director Julian White has been fired and FAMU President James Ammons retired.
DeKalb Schools on Probation
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
Mostly Sunny High: 48 Low: 33
Dec. 27, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Dec. 27, 1982 - The worst Louisiana rainstorm in more than 100 years came to an end. More than 18 inches fell at Vinton, La. during the three-day storm. Damage was estimated at 100 to 200 million dollars. President Reagan declared ten parishes disaster areas. Dec. 28, 1987 - A winter storm produced heavy snow in the upper Mississippi Valley and the upper Great Lakes region. Up to twenty inches of snow buried southern Minnesota, and 20 to 40 mph winds produced snow drifts six feet high and reduced visibilities to near zero. Dunwoody 46/32 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 47/33 47/33 47/33 Snellville Decatur 48/33 Atlanta 48/33 48/33 Lithonia College Park 49/33 49/33 Morrow 49/33 Union City 49/33 Hampton 50/34
In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see mostly sunny skies with a high temperature of 48º, humidity of 53%. The record high temperature for today is 72º set in 1967. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 33º. The record low for tonight is 9º set in 1981.
Showers Likely High: 55 Low: 44
*Last Week’s Almanac
Hi Lo Normals Precip Date 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" Tuesday 58 36 54/36 0.00" Wednesday 67 33 54/35 0.00" Thursday 59 40 54/35 0.30" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.48" Average temp . .50.1 Normal rainfall . .0.84" Average normal 45.0 Departure . . . . .-0.36" Departure . . . . .+5.1
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport
Scat'd T-storms High: 61 Low: 42
Few Showers High: 60 Low: 41
DeKalb school district placed on probation
An accrediting agency said if the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) doesn’t comply with a list of required actions by the end of 2013, loss of its accreditation is “imminent.” Mark Elgart, president of AdvancED, which accredits the school district, 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. Some of the district’s problems cited by AdvancED include the following: school staff spends an “enormous” amount of time responding to requests from individual board members; the district is divided along lines of race,
Mostly Sunny High: 58 Low: 31
Sunny High: 49 Low: 26 Full 12/28
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:40 a.m. 7:41 a.m. 7:41 a.m. 7:41 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. Sunset 5:37 p.m. 5:37 p.m. 5:38 p.m. 5:39 p.m. 5:39 p.m. 5:40 p.m. 5:41 p.m. Moonrise 5:17 p.m. 6:10 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 8:01 p.m. 8:58 p.m. 9:56 p.m. 10:55 p.m. Moonset 6:53 a.m. 7:38 a.m. 8:19 a.m. 8:57 a.m. 9:33 a.m. 10:07 a.m. 10:39 a.m. New 1/11
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 6:49 a.m. 4:40 p.m. 6:02 a.m. 4:05 p.m. 9:23 a.m. 7:30 p.m. 3:34 p.m. 5:41 a.m. 3:13 a.m. 2:10 p.m. 12:23 p.m.12:37 a.m.
Sunny High: 45 Low: 24 Last 1/4
Local UV Index
National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see partly cloudy to cloudy skies with scattered rain and snow today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 56º in Annapolis, Md. The Southeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies today and Friday, scattered showers Saturday, with the highest temperature of 79º in Miami, Fla. The Northwest will see scattered snow today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Friday, scattered rain and snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 57º in Brookings, Ore. The Southwest will see scattered showers today, mostly clear skies Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 67º in Yuma, Ariz.
Wind speeds need to be at least how fast for there to be wind chill?
Answer: At least 5 mph.
0 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+
UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High 11+: Extreme Exposure
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Comet to Grace Spring Sky
“Oh no, Mr. Bill, it’s not another comet!” Yes, 2013 seems to be shaping up as a banner year for these hairy interlopers. First, it was Comet ISON, C/2012 S1, named after the International Scientific Optical Network, its mission to track high altitude geocentric space debris. Comet ISON is predicted to whip past the sun in late November 2013 at only a scant million miles from the solar photosphere, and this is where things might get tricky. Will the comet hold together under the intense heat of a close solar passage or will Comet ISON simply break apart and go puff, creating some beautiful space images, but little to see from the Earth? ISON’s orbit has some similarities to the Great Comet of 1680 which survived an even closer passage around the sun, and then became spectacular. Now, in addition to ISON, there is Comet PANSTARRS, C/2011 L4, named for the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System which monitors and detects objects which could strike the Earth. PANSTARRS reaches perihelion, its closest distance to the sun on March 3, and will become visible about one week later, low in the west as a fuzzy speck, 45 minutes after sunset. Because of strong twilight and its very low altitude, binoculars will most likely be needed to see the tail and maybe even the comet. PANSTARRS will be less than a half degree from the planet Uranus and 4.5 degrees from a razor thin crescent moon on the evening of March 12, but again an exceptionally good western horizon will be needed as well as binoculars to enhance the show. By spring, March 20, Comet PANSTARRS has gained a little altitude, but it has faded to the brightness of the stars of the Big Dipper, while the moon has blossomed beyond first quarter. With all of this hype, keep in mind that “comets are like cats. They both have tails and they do exactly what they want.” I’m still excited! www.astronomy.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Banker James E. Young
In Review Continued From Page 13A
Callanwolde Director Samuel Goldman
During 2012, DeKalb County mourned the loss of several prominent members of the community. Although they impacted the county in different ways, each left an indelible mark.
Samuel Goldman, longtime executive director Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, died unexpectedly at his home on Sept. 10. Goldman began working at Callanwolde in 1979 doing various administrative jobs and became executive director in 1998. A statement from Callanwolde reads, “For these 33 years he has shown the utmost dedication to providing arts to the community and to the mission of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Sam will be greatly missed and we express our condolences to his long-time companion Tom, and to his family. The arts center will continue to move forward with the values and commitment to the arts that Sam inspired in us.”
James E. Young, president and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank since 1998, died Feb. 27 after a brief battle with cancer. A resident of Stone Mountain, Young joined Citizens Trust Bank of Atlanta in 1998 as president and CEO as a result of the merger of the institution and DeKalb County’s First Southern Bank, where he had been president and CEO since 1993. Citizen Trust Bank officials said in a statement, “He is remembered as a leader who shepherded the bank through recent difficult economic times for the industry, during which the bank never failed to pay a dividend.”
Leila Denmark, world’s oldest doctor
Dr. Leila Denmark, the world’s oldest practicing physician when she retired at age 103, died April 1 at the age of 114. Denmark became the first resident physician at Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children on the Emory University campus in Atlanta when it opened in 1928. She also admitted the first patient at the hospital, now part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Denmark began her pediatrics practice in her home in Atlanta in 1931 and continued until her retirement in 2001. That year, she earned the distinction of being the world’s oldest practicing physician, said Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records. She was also the world’s fourth-oldest living person when she died.
Jame E. Young
Champion News Editor Robert Naddra
Champion news editor Robert Joseph Naddra, 51, died July 11, following what appears to have been a massive heart attack. He was driving from his Decatur office when he became suddenly and violently ill. He was rushed to DeKalb Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Naddra joined The Champion in 2009, first a freelance contributor, then as a staff reporter and sports writer. In 2010 he was promoted to news editor. He had a career as a journalist that spanned more than 26 years.
Judge Jack Bryan Smith
Judge Jack Bryan Smith, 88, died in his sleep of natural causes Nov. 24. A graduate of Emory University Law School, Smith, after a brief time in private practice, became an assistant solicitor in DeKalb County followed by promotion to head solicitor. He was appointed to the bench in 1968 as a judge in the State Court of DeKalb County. He later became senior judge of the State Court, where he presided in total for over 33 years. Upon retirement from the bench, Smith took senior status and continued to remain active on the bench. “He earned a reputation for being fair and respectful to all parties involved in the cases before him,” said State Bar of Georgia President Robin Frazer Clark in a statement following Judge Smith’s death.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Lifeline Continued From Page 1A
spay and neuter surgeries. “The last one they did [Guinn] said she was going to have to cut it off at 250 people but, they didn’t know if that many people would show up,” Hirsch said. “Nearly 450 people showed up before 9:30 a.m. So, she had to cut them off for that day but, she promised them that she would give them all free services.” LifeLine recently launched a program that trains dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. LifeLine outreach director Debbie Setzer said one particular dog is four months into his training and staff are now looking for a veteran to give him too. “[The dog] is being trained in the general guidelines of what a service dog needs to be able to do,” she said. “To be allowed in public, remaining calm, they can’t have any aggression and can’t startle people.” The program is mainly funded through a partnership with Anisa International, a cosmetic brush and accessory design and manufacturing company. Anisa Telwar, president and founder of Anisa International, gives 10 percent of her profits to LifeLine and another nonprofit. Telwar was introduced to Guinn 10 years ago through an animal awareness group. They talked and Guinn told Telwar about her dream to open a neuter facility. “She was a lawyer at the time but she wanted to take on this full time,” Telwar said. “And I said I would like to support her on that. I was able to give a monthly contribution and that’s what I’ve been committing to LifeLine.” “Anisa is the reason that we are here,” Setzer said. “We wouldn’t function without her.” Telwar wanted to find a bigger way to support LifeLine and was told about a “Challenge Grant.” The “Challenge Grant” allows Atlanta residents to donate to LifeLine, which Anisa International agreed to match donations made through Dec. 31, up to $25,000. Donations will be used to provide low-cost spay and neuter surgeries and discounted veterinary services to pets in financially struggling households, and to promote the adoption of homeless pets. “What I like about this is we’re not being just the sole supporter,” she said. Telwar said at press time they were at $10,000 and hoping to get more donations. To donate to LifeLine Animal Project, visit www.LifeLineAnimal.org or mail a check to: P.O. Box 15466, Atlanta, GA 30333.
An estimated 500 dogs and cats come through LifeLine’s Dog House and Kitty Motel, the special care facility that provides both medical and behavioral rehabilitation for abandoned and abused animals with special needs, particularly victims of animal cruelty. Photos by Carla Parker
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Stephanie Rockmore and her daughter, Dazzéa Rockmore, and niece, Christina Cook, have been collecting toys to give out to children for Blessings on Wheels’ annual Grant-A-Wish for Christmas event on Dec. 23. Photo by Carla Parker
Blessing on Wheels blesses families in need
by Carla Parker email@example.com In December 2009, Stephanie Rockmore had a vision to bless those who are less fortunate. She made a promise to God that she would do something once a month to help those who are in need. She went on to form ‘Blessings on Wheels,’ a nonprofit organization that gives back to some of Atlanta’s less fortunate residents and the homeless. The group started off small with Rockmore’s family and friends meeting at her Lithonia home to cook dinner and gather clothes and toiletries to take to homeless and women’s shelters in downtown Atlanta and to homeless people living under the city’s bridges. The group then began meeting at Malcolm Cunningham Auto Gallery in Decatur once a month where Rockmore used to work before the Ford dealership relocated to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta. They pray and load up their cars with food, blankets and bags of clothing and toiletries before heading downtown Atlanta. Since then, the group has grown from 30 to 150 volunteers and from feeding fewer than 50 homeless people under bridges to feeding and clothing hundreds of people during the holidays, and providing children
‘Each year it’s getting better and better. The word is out there and people want to give back’
– Stephanie Rockmore
with school supplies and gifts for Christmas. “[Blessings on Wheels] has grown tremendously with more volunteers, being able to feed more people, and giving a hand up to
more people.” Rockmore said. “Each year it’s getting better and better. The word is out there and people want to give back.” The nonprofit has also partnered with other nonprofit organizations such as Good Acts Community Empowerment Group, Toys for Tots and Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. “We did a back-to-school drive and Mr. [Afemo] Omilami gave us some book bags,” she said. “Different organizations come in and they help out by donating as well.” Donations from other organizations and the community helped them feed more than 200 people for Thanksgiving this year. Blessings on Wheels partnered with Vision on Vision organization to feed the homeless and give out coats and clothing. “Afterwards, I was able to gather up [leftover] food and give it to [Vision on Vision] and they went out and fed the Tony Grant community,” she said. Blessings on Wheels partnered with Good Acts Community Empowerment Group and Toys for Tots for its Grant-A-Wish for Christmas event on Dec. 23. The event allowed the group to surprise
more than 25 families, mostly children, with Christmas gifts. Keischa Robinson, project manager of the event, said most of the families are struggling right now and can’t afford gifts for their children. “Just to know that we’re going to make over 50 kids happy for Christmas makes my heart feels with joy,” Robinson said. Robinson has been with Blessings on Wheels since it started in 2009. She said she joined because she likes giving back and making a difference. “I love being able to bless somebody else,” she said. “I want to change their situation, if not a whole lot then a little bit.” With the first part of her vision coming to fruition, Rockmore said she now sees Blessings on Wheels moving into a building in the future. “I also see myself being able to take on some worries and burdens of some people and being able to assist them,” she said. “If I can’t do it I’ll have a direct line to someone who can.” For more information about Blessings on Wheels or to donate or volunteer, visit www. blessingsonwheels.com.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Some of those functions include the court system, medical centers, health care services, coroner’s office, the county jail, the sheriff’s office, tax collection, election office,
In those meetings, the main question repeatedly asked was about the county government’s role and function be if more cities are created? Grubiak said the county really
Annex Continued From Page 2A
doesn’t change its functioning when cities are created. “There are state relation functions and services that are still needed,” he said.
fire services, sanitation and water and sewage services. “There are lots of things that are required by somebody to do, and that is the county,” Grubiak said.
CITY OF DECATUR BOARD OF EDUCATION
SCHEDULE OF EXPENDITURES OF SPECIAL PURPOSE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX PROCEEDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2012
PROJECT Acquisition, construction, renovation and equipping of schools Debt Service on intergovernmental payable to the City of Decatur for general obligation sales tax notes
ORIGINAL ESTIMATED COST (1) 15,000,000.00 $ 6,157,000.00
AMOUNT AMOUNT CURRENT EXPENDED EXPENDED TOTAL EXCESS ESTIMATED IN CURRENT IN PRIOR COMPLETION PROCEEDS NOT COSTS (2) YEAR (3) (4) YEARS (3) (4) COST EXPENDED 15,000,000.00 $ 597,847.84 $ 12,048,797.00 $ 12,646,644.84 $ 6,157,000.00 21,157,000.00 $ 1,650,000.00 2,247,847.84 $ 2,747,494.00 14,796,291.00 $ 4,397,494.00 17,044,138.84
ESTIMATED COMPLETION DATE 6/30/2012 6/30/2013
To demolish existing structures or portions thereof at Renfroe Middle School and to design, acquire, construct, renovate, modify, add to, repair, replace, improve, and equip Renfroe Middle School and the surrounding green space, including the conversion of the area formerly used as a gymnasium for use as classrooms. Acquisition of facilities leased by the City Schools of Decatur, including the College Heights Early Learning Center and the 4-5 Academy at Fifth Avenue, as not existing and as hereafter improved. To acquire, design, construct, renovate, modify, add to, repair, replace, demolish all or a portion of, improve and equip existing school buildings and other buildings and facilities, including green space, useful or desirable in connection there within, including: 4-5 Academy at Fifth Avenue Oakhurst Elementary School Westchester Elementary School School improvement and maintenance projects throughout the City Schools of Decatur, including but not limited to, HVAC renovations, repairs and replacements; roofing repairs and replacements; electrical repairs, renovations and upgrades, including but not limited to cost-saving energy efficiency capital projects; boiler renovations, repairs and upgrades; and other similar capital improvements. To acquire, including, but not limited to, through lease-purchase, design, construct and equip a new Central Office for the City Schools of Decatur, including parking.
2012 Issue 685,441.00 $
2,500,000.00 2,500,000.00 0.00 1,000,000.00
2,699,947.00 2,595,237.00 424,668.00 1,500,000.00
1/6/2014 8/2/2013 8/1/2014 6/30/2017
(1) (2) (3)
The School District's original cost estimate as specified in the resolution calling for the imposition of the Local Option Sales Tax. The School District's current estimate of total cost for the projects. Includes all cost from project inception to completion. The voters of DeKalb County approved the imposition of a 1% sales tax to fund the above projects and retire associated debt. Amounts expended for these projects may include sales tax proceeds, state, local property taxes and/or other funds over the life of the projects. In addition to the expenditures shown above, the School District has incurred interest to provide advance funding for the above projects as follows: Prior Years $ 180,494.44
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Although performances are in a church sanctuary, many genres are included in the events.
Music, money flow into the community through church’s Music for Missions
by Kathy Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org Among the things dear to Jack Sartain’s heart are music and his church—especially the church’s missions program. He found an opportunity to combine those two passions and the community is benefiting with quality concerts and money for area nonprofits. In 1999 Sartain and other members of Lawrenceville Road United Methodist Church’s United Methodist Men started Music for Missions. Since then, the group, sponsoring one to three concerts each month, has held 204 concerts. A professional musician who’s both a tenor vocalist and a trumpet player, Sartain is emphatic that the music be of the highest caliber. Artists for the program are selected by what Sartain calls “informed referral.” “If a musician or a group is interested in performing here and I’ve never heard them, I ask where they will be performing and go hear them to be sure they produce the quality of music we’re looking for,” he said. Despite the fact that performers are never paid for their participation in Music for Missions, there’s no shortage of musicians who want to be part of it. “Most of them just love the idea of what we’re doing,” Sartain said. “We have never asked someone to perform and had them turn us down—not once. We usually have to work with their schedules, but they all agree to perform when they can. It’s amazing. “I know a lot of people in the field, so I’m already familiar with a lot of the area’s talent,” Sartain said, noting that sometimes he reunites with people he has performed with in the past. “For example, there’s Dan Doster, a world traveled tenor with whom I did opera and musicals, and Harland Ragle, who is now with The Atlanta Vocal Project a men’s choral group. He and I also sang opera and musicals together.” Most of the events have gone smoothly, although Sartain recalled an evening when there was a power outage at the time of the concert. “Lawrence Weaver, a pianist and tenor, provided us with a candlelight concert,” he said. Sartain said several elements come together to make Music for Missions a success. “There are three legs to this milking stool,” he commented. “First, we provide a place for artists to perform. They are always looking for performance opportunities. We provide a quality arts experience for the community and we use the funds to help charitable organizations in the community.” Although fundraising is part of the formula, Sartain said he was emphatic from the beginning that no tickets would be sold, no admission would be charged and there would be no parking fee. “People donate whatever they choose to donate. If somebody gives $1, that’s OK. A dollar may be all they have. We have one lady who gives $100 every time she comes. So far, we have collected about $130,000 in offerings from our generous audiences,” he said. The sponsoring church men’s group selects the charities that will benefit from Music for Missions. “The $500 to $1,000 we give a charity wouldn’t mean much to a large national charity, but it’s a lot to a small, local charity,” Sartain said, adding that none of the money stays with the church—it’s all passed along to nonprofit organizations. A typical audience is 100 to 150 people in the sanctuary that comfortably seats about 200. “The performers already have a following and some people come to hear a particular artist. We get more people from the community than from our church; I’m not sure why,” Sartain said, adding that another Tucker church often brings a van full of people. Sartain said that although the events are held in a church sanctuary, they are concerts, not worship services. Gospel concerts are among most popular in the Music for Missions series, but bluegrass and other genres also are included. Although performers are professional musicians, Sartain said he keeps an eye out for promising new talent. “I want keep the programs fresh and good—no junk. I am now looking for what I call the up and coming talent of every genre—strings, solo, choral, dance, circus, jugglers etc.” Sartain said he would like to see other churches duplicate the model that’s been a success for Lawrenceville Road United Methodist Church’s United Methodist Men for 14 years.
Jack Sartain, a professional musician, makes sure performers for Music for Missions concerts are The church has an active arts program that may include drama and top quality. Photos by Kathy Mitchell dance as well as music.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
“Mayor Floyd has provided outstanding leadership and support for the city of Decatur,” stated City Manager Peggy Merriss. “He has been a huge part of our success. His humble approach and obvious pride in the city makes others want to be successful as well. He has championed our staff and challenged us to be better people. He will be missed.” DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said Floyd “has been a beacon of leadership in Decatur for more than 20 years, and the downtown area’s transformation into a vibrant live-work-play community is a testament to the realization of his vision. “It has been an honor to know him and serve our shared constituencies with him, in our respective roles
Decatur mayor to resign in January
Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd submitted a letter of resignation from his city commission seat effective Jan. 7. “I have been offered the chance to pursue different professional opportunities that will require a significant amount of my time and attention,” Floyd said. “Decatur is a wonderfully unique community and it has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the City Commission and to be mayor.” Floyd was elected to the Decatur City Commission in Nov. 1991, served as mayor pro tem from 1994-97, and has served as mayor since 1999. Floyd has served on the Georgia Municipal Association as the president, Metropolitan Atlanta Mayors Association as chairman, executive committee for as mayor and CEO and on the ARC Transportation Roundtable. He has served well and I wish him all the best in all of his future endeavors,” Ellis said. The Decatur City Commission annually elects one of its own to serve as mayor at its first meeting each January. The election for mayor is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 7, at 7:30 p.m. It is expected that the Decatur City Commission will call a special election for March 19 to fill Floyd’s unexpired term as a commissioner for the city’s north district. The call for the election, the establishment of the qualifying period and other details will be considered at the commission’s Jan. 22 meeting.
Megachurch minister indicted for allegedly selling fake bonds
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Megachurch minister Wiley Jackson and his brother Rodney Jackson have been indicted by a DeKalb County grand jury for allegedly selling fake security bonds to parishioners. Jackson is the founder of the Gospel Tabernacle Church, which has locations in Atlanta, Stone Mountain and Griffin. Wiley Jackson was charged with six counts of violating the Georgia Uniform Securities Act in 2002, by selling more than $12,000 in bonds registered to the company Genesis LLC. Rodney Jackson was charged with five counts. According to the indictment, the two men sold securities to three church members but weren’t authorized by the state to do so; neither did they register the security bonds they sold the alleged victims with the state. The victims and the state weren’t aware of the alleged fraud until after Jan. 2009, the indictment states. DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said his office has been looking into the allegations against the Bishop Jackson and his brother for more than a year. “His members trusted him,” James said. “Our indictment shows that he didn’t have the legal ability to sell securities in the state of Georgia to his members or anyone else. Jackson did not return requests for comment on this story. According to jail records, Wiley Jackson and his brother were booked Dec. 21 and each was released on his own recognizance after the bond was set $10,000.
the Regional Transportation Sales Tax and on the board of directors of the Atlanta Regional Commission. Floyd has been active on numerous boards, including the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center and the Decatur Education Foundation.
Sneiderman case moves forward, motion hearing set for early February
Andrea Sneiderman, the widow accused of conspiring in a plot to murder her husband, has been ordered to appear before a DeKalb County judge in February. Prosecutors allege Sneiderman and her former boss Hemy Neuman plotted to kill her husband Rusty Sneiderman to collect his insurance money and assets. Neuman later admitted to shooting Rusty Sneiderman in front of a Dunwoody day care center and was convicted of his murder; he is now serving life in prison without parole. On Dec. 18 Judge Gregory Adams set a hearing date requesting Sneiderman and her defense counsel attend a motion hearing Feb. 21, at 1:30 p.m. The motions, filed by Sneiderman and her attorneys, consist of a “motion for juror questionnaire and individual voir dire, a motion in limine and a special demurrer and motion to dismiss.” The first motions, voir dire and the juror questionnaire, are to allow the state and defense attorneys a chance to create a questionnaire and interview potential jurors down the road to ensure they aren’t biased. According to legal definitions, a motion in limine is typically made at the start of a trial to request that the judge rule that certain evidence may not be introduced in trial. Criminal defense attorney Jill G. Polster said the third motion will be about the indictment against Sneiderman. Polster previously worked for DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office where she served as a senior assistant district attorney in the Trial Division and the Special Victims Team. “A demurrer is basically citing a flaw in the indictment and that’s why there’s a motion to dismiss attached to it,” Polster said. engineering supervisor was sentenced to serve two years and three months in federal prison on extortion charges. U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Neacacha Joyner, 40, abused her position by “shaking down” a local contractor for payoffs. Joyner was indicted March 6 on charges of extortion and bribery and pleaded guilty May 17. Her prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. Yates said Joyner executed a “pay to play” scheme, in which she compelled the contractor to pay her off for the contractor to complete the project, to avoid unnecessary work delays and to gain future projects. In September 2010, a private construction company was awarded a federally funded contract by DeKalb County, to construct sidewalks near the intersection of S. Hairston Road and Wesley Chapel Road. The total bid for the project was more than $1.4 million. Joyner was assigned to be the DeKalb County construction inspector for the project. The contractor was contacted by his employees in early April 2011 and told that Joyner would not allow them to continue working on the project. The contractor then went to the project site, where Joyner demanded to be paid off in order for construction to continue. The contractor notified law enforcement of the demand, then acting at the direction of the FBI, the contractor met with Joyner in Decatur and gave her a $2,500 bribe payment; the contractor met with Joyner two subsequent times as well and paid her and additional $4,000. In total, Joyner tried to extort more than $9,000 from the contractor.
DeKalb County Construction Inspector sentenced to two years
A DeKalb County Department of Public Works
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, Dec. 28, 2012
Hit the gym at 2 a.m.? Workout Anytime says, why not?
by Kathy Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org With the start of a new year, many people have self-improvement—especially becoming stronger, leaner and healthier— on their minds. Typically, gym memberships spike during January. But many who sign gym membership contracts later find scheduling and expense more difficult than they had expected. Bill Aicklen, who currently owns two DeKalb Workout Anytime locations, in Decatur and Dunwoody, and has just signed a deal to bring two more to the area, said the Workout Anytime gym franchise offers the flexibility and affordable cost that many gym members need. Workout Anytime is a 24hour, seven-day-a-week fitness concept, where membership rates start at $15 a month and there’s no contract. “With the economy still in a slump, many people are having to shift their priorities and such expenses as traditional gym memberships are regarded as luxury items. We are so affordable that even some members who have lost their jobs are able to keep their memberships,” Aicklen said. The frustrations that people sometimes have of arriving at a gym and finding all the machines of the type they want to use already in use don’t occur at Workout Anytime, according to Aicklen. “We have plenty of state-of-the-art equipment, and because we operate 24 hours a day, members aren’t all trying to fit their workouts in before closing time,” he said. “They come in and see rows and rows of equipment available and say, ‘wow.’ Workout Anytime is the best workout per square foot in the industry.” He describes Workout Anytime facilities as medium-size clubs of approximately 5,000 square feet. Because customer use is spread out, a gym can accommodate 1,500 or more members. Aicklen said that another thing members like about Workout Anytime is that people come just for the workout. “Some gyms have become social gathering places where people come to see and be seen. Here, it’s OK if you don’t have stylish workout clothes or if you’re not in great shape already. Women don’t have to put on make-up to come workout. We baby boomers especially appreciate that,” he observed. He said membership demographics vary with location, but anyone who’s at least 12 years old can join. Members must be at least 16 to come unaccompanied. “We have members in their early 90s,” Aicklen added. Founded in 1999 in Douglasville, Workout Anytime came about by accident, explained Randy Trotter, vice president of franchise development. “A salesman needed a place to show off some equipment and rented a club that had gone out of business,” he explained. The owners started letting people use the equipment at a low rate at odd hours and people liked the idea. That’s when the owners realized the business model they should be going for. Workout Anytime sold its first franchises in 2005 and now has 50 locations in nine states. “It’s a great franchise,” Trotter said. “It’s a proven business model with low startup cost and low overhead.” The business operates even when the owner or manager isn’t present, and that makes it a low headache operation for the owner. “If you own a restaurant, for example, and a cook or a waiter who’s scheduled to work doesn’t show up, you’ve got problems. Only one to three staff members are needed to operate a Workout Anytime and there are hours when no staff is present. Members use their key cards to enter,” Trotter said. Aicklen said there are people working out around the clock. “There are members in here at all hours. People who work shifts such as firefighters, police officers and hospital workers like to come in when they get off work—even if that’s 2 a.m. Also, lots of people like to come in early in the morning and work out, then shower and dress for work right here. We have locker rooms with showers for men and women so that’s no problem.” In addition to basic $15 a month memberships, Workout Anytime also offers premium memberships at $25 a month with such extras as tanning beds, hydro massage, and the privilege of bringing a guest. Aicklen said approximately 50 percent of his members are premium members.
Bill Aicklen, left, and Randy Trotter say Workout Anytime is a good value for customers and franchise owners. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
Rows of exercise equipment mean customers rarely have to wait for a machine.
Premium memberships permit customers such extras as use of the tanning bed.
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
DCSD’s extensive reorganization/ facilities plan open for public input
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) recently tabled a vote on an extensive proposed school reorganization plan until Jan. 7, 2013. Initially, the DeKalb County School Board was expected to adopt a draft of the plan at its Dec. 10 business meeting but school officials decided to delay the vote to allow staff to incorporate public suggestions and refine the working draft. Following the acceptance of the draft plan, which is scheduled to come before the board during its January business meeting, the district will hold public comment sessions. The final plan will then go to the board Jan. 23 for approval. According to school officials, the proposed school organization forms the basis for developing a new “Local Five-Year Facility Plan” (LFP). The LFP provides the district’s justification to participate in the state capital outlay program. Currently, DCSD is eligible to receive up to $40 million in additional funds dependent upon state approval of the plan. To be eligible for state funding, district officials said the board first needs to approve a list of schools so DCSD meets state processing deadlines. In a recent press release, school officials said the plan “is not a redistricting plan.” Every five years, school districts across the state submit a list of schools to participate in the capital outlay program. “The list of schools does not require any information about boundary lines. Consequently, the proposed school organization is not a redistricting plan but a list of school facilities the district expects to operate in the coming years,” the press release stated. DeKalb County Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said that the adjustment of attendance lines will take place through a “separate public process.” The 105-page draft plan proposes decommissioning schools, reallocating Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and adjusting enrollment maps and attendance zones. However, some of the schools originally slated to be decommissioned will now be “repurposed.” “I want you to know that this is the beginning of the process, it’s not the finale,” Board Chairman Eugene Walker said. Walker said the board would not be voting on anything until the community has had some input in the process of creating the draft. An element of repurposing the schools was to add grades six through eight to several high schools including Southwest DeKalb High School, a move which many parents protested at a recent board meeting. However, both Walker and Atkinson assured those in attendance that their message had been heard. “We heard loud and clear about the 6-12 issue and we’ve made a lot of adjustments,” Atkinson said. “There will be meetings by region to get input publicly and bring those suggestions back.” The public information meetings will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 8 at McNair High School; Jan. 9 at Redan High School; Jan. 10 at Martin Luther King Jr. High School; Jan. 15 at Tucker High School; Jan. 16 at Dunwoody High School; and Jan. 17 at DCSD’s Administrative and Industrial Complex in Stone Mountain. For more information and a copy of the plan visit www. dekalb.k12.ga.us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ga.us.
Areas addressed in DCSD’s proposed school reorganization and facilities plan
• Adjustments to district’s region map • 2012-17 school reorganization • Attendance line adjustment options • Approved cash flow basis vs. proposed bond basis • Aggressive bond basis options • Approval of proposed organization for five-year local facilities plan • Deem select SPLOST III and IV projects unnecessary and reallocate funds • Approval of SPLOST IV project sequence list • Approval of resolution to issue general obligation bonds • 2012-13 enrollment report and maps • 2016-17 enrollment maps and comparison • Georgia Department of Education: 2007-12 proposed organization and enrollment trends
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Stephenson Lady Jaguars:
disappointing ending leads to early success
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 email@example.com by Monday at noon.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Tahj Shamsid-Deen, Columbia (basketball): Shamsid-Deen scored a game high of 27 points in the 79-56 win over Stone Mountain on Dec. 14. The senior point guard is averaging 33.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game.
After losing in the second round of the playoffs last year, the Stephenson Lady Jaguars basketball team is off to a good start with the goal to win a third championship for the school. Photo by Carla Parker
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org he Stephenson High School girls basketball team members still the taste of defeat in their mouths eight months after losing to Hill Grove High School by two points, 50-48, in the Class AAAA second-round playoff game. Even after eight months, senior forward and team captain Kaliyah Mitchell said the loss still hurts. “All of the hard work you put in and to know that you came short, it felt like if we and worked a little harder we probably would have gotten a little further,” Mitchell said. But the loss has been a positive for the team this year, according to co-captain and senior guard Kyana Johnson. “It helped us for this year,” she said. That motivational factor has led the Lady Jaguars to early success with a 12-1 record. Head coach Dennis Watkins said the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team is its selflessness and commitment to winning. “This offseason they have been working hard,” he said. “They came back this year and we’re trying to put it back together and keep it going. So far, we’re doing pretty good. We have a lot of work ahead of us.” Stephenson, which has won state titles in 2004 and 2008, is in a region (6-AAAAA) with past state champions, including defending state Class AAAA champions Miller Grove. Mitchell said being in a region with past champions such as Miller Grove, Southwest DeKalb, and North Atlanta gives them extra motivation.
“Just knowing that you’re playing teams that have won championships, that motivates you more to go out there and give it your all and win,” she said. Watkins also recognized how tough the region is and knows team members have their work cut out for them this season. “We’re just trying to keep it going, trying to stay healthy, stay focused, and take care of business,” he said.
is playing. “We go out there and just give it our all,” she said. “We remember what happened last and we don’t want the same thing to happen this year.” The team is working to win a third state title for the school. Watkins said this year’s team reminds him of his 2004 championship team. “[The 2004 team] was a mixture of seniors, juniors, sopho-
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Asia Durr, St. Pius X (basketball): Durr scored 16 points and had six steals in the 54-10 win over Cross Keys on Dec. 11. The sophomore guard is averaging 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game.
“Just knowing that you’re playing teams that have won championships, that motivates you more to go out there and give it your all and win.”
Another thing that has got this team on a winning streak is its defense. Stephenson is only allowing 40 points per game. “We preach defense,” Watkins said. “If you can stop somebody from scoring then that makes it a lot easier for you. Sometimes you can struggle with your offense, but the defense is what’s going to win.” Johnson said they also worked on their 3-point shooting, which was a weakness for them last season. “Every team wanted to play us in the two-three [zone defense],” she said. “So, we worked on that this year.” It has helped, because the team is averaging more than 60 points a game. On Dec. 14, the team defeated Dunwoody 96-13. Mitchell said the team takes every game seriously, no matter who it mores and freshmen,” he said. “So, they kind of put me in mind of that group more than my ’08 team. My ‘08 team had a lot of seniors that were seasoned and they just went out there and took care of business.” Watkins said it’s still too early to tell if this team can win a state title like the 2004 team. “We’re just hoping we can stay healthy,” he said. “There’s a lot involved in getting [to the championship game] and you want to make sure everyone stays healthy.” He added that he tells his team to just take it one game at a time. “I don’t like looking past anybody,” he said. “This is a tough region. There are some good teams in there, so you want to make sure you’re doing your homework and staying focus.”
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.
Langston Hall, Mercer (basketball): The junior point guard from Chamblee scored 19 points and had five rebounds and four assists in the 6353 win over Chattanooga on Dec. 16. Hall is averaging 8.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Kevin Dukes, Bethune-Cookman (basketball): The senior point guard from Stephenson scored 14 points and had seven assists in the 102-51 win over Florida Christian on Dec. 17. He is averaging 11.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. Ebony Johnson, Alabama A&M (basketball): The freshman forward from Columbia scored 10 points in the 80-57 loss to Memphis. She is averaging seven points and four rebounds per game.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Happy New Year
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