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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, JAN. 11, 2013 • VOL. 15, NO. 42 • FREE
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Thomas Stahl, owner of Blue Tarp Brewery in Decatur, checks the temperature of beer in the fermentation vats. The new brewery is located off East College Avenue in the East Decatur Station complex. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org
IS SHE WHYIS SHE SO SOHAPPY ? WHY East Decatur Station welcomes new microbrewery
Thomas Stahl, the 31-year-old owner of Blue Tarp Brewing Co. in Decatur, used to travel around the country on “beer trips” to find the best breweries. Before local microbreweries began sprouting up all over the country, Stahl said they were mainly located in places such as California and Colorado. Each year he and his friends would tour breweries out there and bring back as much beer as they could. “Back when you could bring bottles on planes, we would just take 100-pound carry-ons,” Stahl said. Blue Tarp Brewing Co. is located in the East Decatur Station complex off New Street, and is one of several new breweries moving into the area. Just down the road in the same complex is Three Taverns Brewery, which is expected to open in the next few weeks. Stahl said now there are local
breweries all over the place that offer beer connoisseurs a little taste of everything. In Atlanta in particular, Stahl said local breweries and craft beer stores such as Decatur’s Ale Yeah and Avondale Estates’ The Beer Growler, have been popping up everywhere. “It’s kind of exploding actually and the numbers of new breweries are phenomenal; for a while it seemed like every week I would meet someone who was starting their own brewery,” Stahl said. There is still a lot of outside competition in Atlanta, which Stahl said usually isn’t a problem in other states that are established brewing capitols. However, he said he wasn’t worried too much about competition in the Atlanta-area. “Atlanta is such a big market Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champ that it shouldn’t be a problem,” Stahl said. “In mostBecause she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. places like Colorado, new brewers haveshe gets her news updates online from the The Champion. Because to leave the market because there are
See Microbrew on Page 11A
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Stahl, 31, has always loved beer. When he waswww.facebook.com/championnewspaper younger he and his friends would take trips to visit breweries around the country.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
County leaders unite for ceremony
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com County unity was the theme Jan. 3 as commissioners, judges, school board members and the solicitor general joined DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis for the county’s second Unity Inauguration. The elected officials gathered at Saint Phillip A. M. E. Church on Candler Road during a ceremony to take their oaths of office. They were sworn in by Carol Hunstein, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, the Board of Commissioners’ former presiding officer, said the ceremony showed that the elected officials were ready to serve. “Tonight we stand united in purpose and duty as we prepare to serve the people of this great county,” Johnson said. “We will serve in partnership and we will work together in unity and we will preserve the public trust. We pledge to govern with the spirit of collaboration, engage in healthy discourse and debate where necessary.” Johnson said the governing of the county is “not a spectator sport.” “We all stand together as stakeholders,” he said. James Miller, chairman of Fidelity Bank, continued the unity theme in his remarks about the county and, in particular, about Ellis’ leadership. “I thank all of you for your past service, your future service and for making this county an example of great government,” Miller said. “Isn’t it amazing what we can accomplish when we come together and work together?” Ellis, taking his oath of office for his second term as CEO, said the first ceremony four years ago was a “showing of unity.” “Our reason for coming together was more than a show,” Ellis said. “We dedicated ourselves in the presence of our constituents and one another to work together to resolve our county’s most pressing issues.” At the time, the challenges faced by the county were “immense and perhaps unlike any other we had encountered”—home foreclosures, job losses, falling revenues and the “greatest loss of wealth to the middle class in the history of our nation,” Ellis said. “Yet we stood united, un-
Commissioners, judges, school board members, the solicitor general and DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis took their oaths of office Jan. 3 during the county’s second Unity Inauguration. “We stand united in purpose and duty,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
daunted, and took our oaths of office together, ready to be used by the God who called us to serve knowing that he would not call us without first equipping us for the task,” Ellis said. The work of the government has not always been easy in the past four years, said Ellis, recalling the county flooding in 2009, the loss of the county’s bond rating in 2011 and the shooting during a funeral last year at Victory for the World Church. “We remember the celebrations as well—the groundbreakings and ribbon–cuttings we shared; the libraries and recreation centers opening; and senior centers and police precinct that are now under construction,” Ellis said. “Whether it was celebration or adversity, we stood,” he said. “And we stood together as one DeKalb. “So again today, four years later, we have reconvened to stand with one another and those we have been called to serve,” Ellis said. “We have been called by our Creator for this moment, for this community, for this time. Our charge is to prove faithful with the trust to which we have been given.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Wife of Congressman John Lewis dies
(AP) Lillian Miles Lewis, wife of Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis, died Dec. 31 in Atlanta, according to Brenda Jones, a spokeswoman for the Lillian Lewis congressman. She was 73. The funeral was held Jan. 7 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Information on her cause of death was not immediately available. Xernona Clayton, CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation Inc.—which recognizes the accomplishments of Blacks—considered Lillian Lewis her best friend and said she recently struggled with a cold. Lewis was hospitalized Dec. 30 because of a persistent cough, she said. Clayton recalled meeting Lewis—then Lillian Miles— shortly after the two moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles in 1963. The women shared a passion for the arts and civil rights, and bonded over the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “She knew every word of every speech that he made,” Clayton said, “I was impressed with her intellect; she was well traveled. She lived in Europe and Africa and was knowledgeable about the world. She knew about art, about literature. She was invigorating to be around.” Lewis moved to the city to take a job at Atlanta University— now known as Clark Atlanta University—and was a member of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Clayton said. She introduced Lillian to John Lewis at a New Year’s Eve dinner party in 1967 and the two were married in 1968. They have a son, John Miles. “I just marvel in the fact that I had something at all to do with putting two people together who had a genuine love for each other,” Clayton said. “Somehow I just knew that they would gel because she was soft-spoken, she was kind, she was gentle,” Clayton said, adding that Lewis was also clever and quietly assertive. “She just had such a softspoken way of getting back at people,” Clayton said with a laugh, “You could see the egg on the person’s face.”
A false fire alarm in Dunwoody could result in a fine of up to $500. File Photo
Dunwoody hopes to put a stop to false alarms
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Dunwoody residents who call in numerous false alarms to the police department could face a fine up to $500. The city of Dunwoody is one of three north metro cities that are adopting ordinances that assess fines for false alarms. Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs, which share the same dispatch service, hope to have ordinances in place this month. Sgt. Michael Carlson, Dunwoody Police Department’s public information officer, said the department received 3,922 false calls in 2012 through November, which is up 7 percent. “False alarms are a big problem since over 98 percent of alarm calls are false,” he said. “These false calls pull our limited police resources away from other calls or activity where they are needed.” The proposed ordinance includes a $25 registration fee for commercial alarm holders. Residential alarm holders can register for free. decision about the structure of the ordinance before a final consideration would be given. The questions centered on the “do not respond” provision, according to a memorandum. The city council wanted to know whether the exclusion of the “no response” paragraph, would negatively affect a third party vendor’s interest in contracting with Dunwoody to manage the false alarm program. Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan told the council and the mayor that he spoke with a third party vendor and Glen Mowrey, a retired deputy chief with the Charlotte Police Department and a – Sgt. Michael Carlson law enforcement liaison with the Security Alarm Industry Coalition. “Both indicated that 10th false alarm. Each one the absence of this paraafter that is $500. graph should not impact The proposed ordinance a company’s willingness does not include a “do not to manage our false alarm respond” provision for reprogram,” Grogan said. peat violators. The Dunwoody City The request for an alarm Council has the proposed ordinance was presented to ordinance on the agenda the Dunwoody City Coun- for discussion at its Jan. cil on several occasions in 14 meeting. City officials August 2012, according to said a memo and proposed city officials. At a Dec. 10 ordinance will be available meeting, the city council on the city of Dunwoody and mayor Mike Davis website when the meetasked for additional inforing’s agenda is posted. mation prior to making a There is no fine for the first two false alarms, but a fine of $50 begins with the third false alarm. The fee continues to escalate after the third false alarm. Violators will have to pay a $500 fee after the
‘False alarms are a big problem since over 98 percent of alarm calls are false.’
Commissioner Lee May now head of county board
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has a new presiding officer. Commissioner Lee May was elected Jan. 8 by his peers to head the board for 2013. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton is the new deputy presiding officer. Both were chosen by a vote of 5-2, with commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader voting against them. “I’m fine with that,” May said about the votes against him. “More than ever we have to operate more inclusively, more together than we ever have,” May said. “We have challenges facing this county that are tremendous. It is my commitment…that I’m here to work with all the commissioners regardless of whether you voted for me or not. “I’m excited about the future,” May said. “I’m excited about this board. I wouldn’t rather be in any other county than DeKalb County.” Gannon said she hopes May will “dig deep and pull out those leadership skills” necessary to lead the board. “Our presiding officer, even though they are elected to chair these meetings, there is still a perception by others…that they will provide leadership to guide this board around difficult issues, Gannon said “I believe Commissioner May will do a good job chairing our commission meetings,” Gannon said. “But I also know that when tough decisions are made, he sometimes comes down on the side of political
See Board on Page 10A
Opinion The Newslady
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11 , 2013
Jubilee 150th anniversary
know. The last day of the year was a time when plantation owners took stock of their property and paid off debts to have a fresh start in the new year. Slaves were property, or chattel, and were often sold around the end of the year. So the ancestors of African Americans gathered together for what perhaps might be the last time they would see husbands, wives, children and other kinfolk. While the debate rages over whether the Jamie Fox movie D’jango trivializes slavery with its Hollywood liberties taken on the subject, it is based on certain truths. The selling, rape, murder and other violent inhumane acts against African people in this country is a scourge on our nation’s history and it was real. The use of the “N” word was as much a part of the lexicon as “hello” and is still used today, not in polite public, but in private behind closed doors. But picture in your mind’s eye late on the night of Dec. 31, 1862. Enslaved African men and women gathered to hear “the word.” About midnight, that word came. Indeed President Lincoln with the stroke of a pen had set them free. The next day, 150 years ago, Jan. 1, 1863, became known as “Jubilee Day” a time of celebration for to the newly freed African men, women and children. And so, also began the feast of collard greens, yams, black-eyed peas, meats pies and cakes. The NAACP picked up the mantle and kept alive the tradition of Jubilee Day. It is a time of remembrance, recounting and reshaping goals to face current and future issues of equality and justice. The African definition of life is the living, the dead and the unborn. It is important to honor the history of the enslavement of a people with truth. We must honor those of all races who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy. We understand that the psychological shackles too often remain on the slave master’s descendants and the descendants of the enslaved. As we embark on this journey called 2013, perhaps we should each ask ourselves. Am I really free? Am I really free from the bondage of bigotry? What can I do? Can I work to change Georgia’s Stand Your Ground laws? Can I work for quality education of all children? Can I have the courage to do what is right and not politically correct? Can I work to end the impotent death penalty? Can I work for transit equity? Can I support organizations with my finances that do the work? Can I merely tell the story to my children and grandchildren about the history and significance of Watch Night and Jubilee Day? Tell your children about their African and plantation owners’ kin and how we passed for White and blended in and how we became so many different hues and hair textures. Perhaps 150 years hence our children’s, children’s children can all shout in the words immortalized by Dr. Martin Luther King, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last”…of the shackles of racism and bigotry. Jubilee! Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Miles at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
Happy New Year! Although we’re a few days into 2013, it’s important to remember a very important milestone in our nation’s history. Jan. 1 marked 150 years since Jubilee Day, a day of celebration for enslaved Africans who learned about midnight on Dec. 31, 1862, that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, ending 244 years of slavery in the Southern states. On Dec. 31, like so many times in years past, many people gathered in churches around the country for what has become known as “Watch Night Service.” Unless reminded, few of us know the significance of that evening. The service grew in part out of a tradition for enslaved Africans gathering for what might have been the last time, they didn’t
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Opinion One Man’s Opinion
Can MARTA get smarta?
network for their transportation to work, child care, medical care, etc. Simply put, MARTA must do more to attract the occasional rider, weekday business commuter and other potential passengers who have more choices for their transit options. These customers pay full fare, buy a higher percentage of monthly and weekly Breeze cards (often employer “In a bureaucratic system, usesubsidized or funded) and generless work drives out useful work.”— ally make less frequent use (point to Milton Friedman (1912-2006), point commutes) than current riders. Nobel Prize winning American econ- Acquiring more “choice riders” will omist, statistician and author, who require some rapid, low-cost and taught economics for more than three in some cases revenue generating decades at the University of Chicago. changes for the system. Welcome to Atlanta to MARTA’s new general manager, Keith Parker, most recently successful in a similar role as transit system head for San Antonio, Texas. Parker, 46, also led Charlotte’s bus system as its chief operating officer, while that city completed its own light rail system. So with more than a tiny bit of skepticism, voiced by a regular user of MARTA, I have to ask, Can MARTA be run smarta? I think so, and certainly hope so. Attract choice riders The majority of MARTA’s daily 500,000 passengers are transit dependent. This means that absent further rate increases which can cause the loss of additional lower income riders, most of MARTA’s current customers depend on the rail and bus Re-open the restrooms During prior system budget cuts and the ongoing recession, MARTA closed practically all of its public restrooms. Adding insult to this passenger injury, as the restrooms are still physically in place, they are now only accessible to MARTA system employees. I routinely witness MARTA police, maintenance employees and train drivers sauntering right past passengers, using a MARTA badge to gain entry to these same restrooms, off-limits to the passengers funding those facilities. And every station still has a ‘de facto’ public restroom, except they are called elevators, and due to the restroom closures they all now reek of urine. STOP sign for the Green Line As part of the political compromise to garner sufficient votes in the early ‘70s MARTA referendums, MARTA promised an express short run train, making more frequent stops back and forth on the East/West Rail Line, primarily between large public housing projects then nearby. The Green Line now runs practically empty each day, and forces passengers off the train at the MLK and Reynolds Town/Candler Park stations, awaiting the next train. The housing projects once served no longer exist and yet the short train to nowhere takes up the tracks and MARTA staff with virtually no regular users in site. tract graffiti on MARTA overhead rails and the property of its Avondale Rail Yard. These minor crimes, filth and accepted law-breaking add to a perception of lawlessness and lack of safety for passengers. Though no small amount of prejudice and racial bias can be found rooted in some of those fears, in most cases the fear of some degree of criminal activity is justified. Pull the MARTA cops out of the squad cars driving around, put them in the stations and like U.S. Air Marshalls occasionally traveling in plain clothes and start making arrests. My welcome to Mr. Parker is sincere. I hope that he is able to asVendors in stations and on propsemble a team, and find support, as erty—new revenue he has already demonstrated in other In New York, Washington, D.C., markets, in atypical places, including Chicago and elsewhere, transit stastate legislatures. The Gold Dome tions are hubs of activity with heavy and State Capitol are just across retail presence, newsstands, coffee the street from the Georgia State carts, etc. And yet, somehow those MARTA station. Even heading to cities still manage to keep food off the airport I think the last time I’ve of the trains. This brings revenue, seen a legislator riding on MARTA people and yes, some additional trash was around 1996. It shouldn’t be collection to MARTA. One easily that way, and if MARTA were run seems to justify the small cost of the smarta, it won’t be. other. Crackdown on petty crime As a regular rider, I find that almost no trip on the train goes unblemished by aggressive panhandling, illegal merchandise/knock-off peddling or even the occasional game of “three card monty.” The East/West line is also starting to atBill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing information submitted to us that is known to be false and/ or assumptions penned as fact.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Championof the Week
ferent cancer colors—pink for breast cancer, purple for pancreatic cancer, yellow for bladder cancer, etc. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a tree that represents what we do here?’” Burr said. “I thought it would be a good conversation piece…for the cancer patient and their care-givers.” She spends much of her time at the hospital talking to the patients. Burr, who “wasn’t planAfter spending 33 days in ning on having breast canthe radiation oncology decer,” said “cancer can be a partment at DeKalb Mediterrifying experience.” cal for breast cancer, Anne “I talk to the patients as Burr decided to become a a survivor,” said Burr, who volunteer. has been volunteering for a “I felt the need to give years and a half. “I am a surback because I had been so vivor. I am cancer –free. blessed,” said the 76-yearI sat in the same chair for old Doraville resident. “I 33 days that they sit in.” have a lot to be thankful “I hope that I can give for.” some inspiration to folks Burr, who retired at 73 [and] comfort them,” Burr years old from her adminadded. “This has been a istrative job in the accounts very satisfying experience receivable department of a for me.” small company, volunteers Burr also sews circle for a daylong shift at the forms from which cancer hospital once a week. pillows are made, passes out During Christmas, Burr handmade greeting cards decorated a Christmas tree with words of encouragein the oncology department ment, and does “whatever with ornaments with the dif- they want some me to do.”
The elimination of the $30 fee for recycling has resulted in increased participation in the county recycling program. File Photo
Thousands take advantage of free recycling in DeKalb
More than 6,400 DeKalb County residents have signed up for the free curbside program since the subscription fee was dropped in late September. Prior to September, there was a $30 fee to enroll in the curbside recycling program, and 34,800 single family residential homes were participating. DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis directed the sanitation department to increase enrollment and set a goal of 40 percent participation within the next four years. As of Dec. 20, there were 41,231 subscribers, which is more than 25 percent of the 159,000 eligible households. Recycling households are averaging 15.5 pounds of reusable materials each week. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the measure to eliminate the $30 registration fee for curbside recycling which went into effect Sept. 26. “There are no more reasons not to participate so everyone needs to do their part in recycling,” said Billy Malone, director of DeKalb County’s Sanitation Division. “Throwing away recyclable materials is a waste. I hope more DeKalb County residents will
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add curbside recycling to their list of New Year’s resolutions.” The DeKalb Sanitation Division has a comprehensive waste reduction plan and a goal to reduce landfill disposal of solid waste, increase recycling and divert tonnage from the Seminole Road Landfill. Recycling bins, stocked with bags and instructions, are now available for order at www.DeKalbRecycles.com. Residents can visit the website and use the “click and send” process for recycling subscription. Once the application has been received, a bin, bag, and recycling education sheet will be delivered to the homeowner for free. Current and new subscribers can request an additional bin or box of blue bags for $15. Additionally, residents can stop by the Sanitation Division Administration Office at 3720 Leroy Scott Drive in Decatur to complete the application form and take home the recycling materials. For more recycling information, contact the DeKalb County Sanitation Division at (404) 294-2900, visit www. DeKalbRecycles.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
ture classical, contemporary and other musical genres. The hand chime team will also perform. The concert is free and open to all. Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church is at 1350 Hearst Drive NE, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 261-7181 or visit www. olachurch.org.
Callanwolde to hold Winter Tango Night Callanwolde Fine Arts Center has announced Winter Tango Night on Friday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. “Warm up with Winter Tango Night and learn about the rhythm and movement of authentic Argentine Tango,” states an announcement from the center. “Focus on connecting with the music and your partner and how two bodies can move as one.” Dancers of all skill levels are welcome and no partner is necessary. The evening begins with an introductory lesson from the expert instructors of Tango Rio. After the introductory lesson, participants can try out their new moves with an open tango dance party beginning at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are sold at the door; the price is $15 for the lesson and party and $10 for the party only. Soft drinks and light snacks will be provided. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 872-5338. Writers’ session announced Charis Circle will offer Writing With Intent sessions Monday, Jan. 14, and Monday, Jan. 28. Both sessions will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. This facilitated group is open to writers of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction who want a serious group to provide constructive criticism, motivational exercises, and interpersonal accountability to keep their writing on track. Writers are encouraged to bring copies of their work to share for critique. Those attending the group for the first time should bring a pen and paper and an open mind. For more information, contact Elizabeth at Elizabeth@Chariscircle.org.This event is part of Charis Circle’s From Margin to Center Literary Program and there is a suggested donation of $5. Charis Circle is located at 1189 Euclid Ave., NE, Atlanta.
Library to host social networking class The Clarkston library will have a social networking basic class on Jan. 19. Adults can learn the basics of Facebook and Twitter–what they are, how they work and how to get started using them. Participants must have an active email account prior to attending the class. The 2-3:30 p.m. class is open to the first 10 participants. The Clarkston library is at N. Indian Creek Drive. To register, call (404) 508-7175.
sics of managing finances. The workshop will be Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Cooperative Extension Office training room, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur. For more information about Cooperative Extension events and programs, call DeKalb Cooperative Extension at (404) 298-4080 or visit the web at www.ugaextension.com/ dekalb. Voting rights to be topic of library presentation
Library to host recycling presentation The Hairston Crossing Library will host the county presentation Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, designed to provide residents with information about DeKalb’s free curbside recycling pick-up. Laurene Hamilton, program coordinator for DeKalb County Public Works, will be on hand Tuesday, Jan. 15, 10-11 a.m., to provide information about DeKalb County’s green initiatives and specifics about the recycling program. Patrons will have an opportunity to sign up for recycling. This program is part of the series, “Living the Green Life,” to promote and educate the community about a green, sustainable lifestyle. Sponsors are the Wylde Center, the City of Decatur and DeKalb County Public Library. Hairston Crossing Library is located at 4911 Redan Road, Stone Mountain. For more information, call (404) 508-7170.
Handwriting expert to give presentation
In a presentation titled Handwriting and Literacy, Monday, Jan. 14, 6:30-8 p.m., at Northlake-Barbara Loar Library, certified graphologist Josh Batchelder will discuss how 15 minutes per day of cursive handwriting practice can accelerate children’s left brain development and lengthen attention spans, which in turn can lead to superior math, science and literacy skills. This presentation is appropriate for all ages. Funding for the event is provided by the Friends of the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library. Northlake-Barbara Loar Library is located at 3772 LaVista Road, Tucker. For more information, call (404) 679-4408.
Nancy Abudu of the American Civil Liberties Union will discuss the voting rights of people with criminal convictions at the Scott Candler Library on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2-3 p.m. A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion. Scott Candler Library is located at 1917 Candler Road, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 286-6986.
Fun run/walk to honor 10-year-old accident victim On a rainy day in August 2008, 10-year-old Olivia Hayes’ school bus was hit by an armored truck. She died from her injuries four days later. To cope with their loss, Olivia’s parents, Norman and Nikki Hayes founded Livvy’s Love, Inc. a nonprofit that supports underprivileged youth. To date, Livvy’s Love has donated more than $11,000 toward education, extra-curricular activities and community involvement for children in need. On Jan. 19, Livvy’s Love Inc. will host its second annual Livvy’s Love Fun Run/Walk at Stone Mountain Park. Funds raised from the event will benefit youth development grants and scholarships. The run/walk will begin at 8 a.m. Participant check-in and on-site registration will begin at 7 a.m. Prizes including a new iPad will be raffled during the event. There will be signs to direct participants to the event site upon entry into Stone Mountain Park. Participants can register online at www. livvyslovefunrunwalk.eventbrite .com. For more information about the organization, visit www. livvysloveinc.org.
DBA announces renewal deadline The Decatur Business Association (DBA) has announced that its membership renewal deadline is approaching. More than 98 percent of DBA members renewed their membership online in 2012 so the DBA is officially going “green” for 2013, requesting that members renew and purchase ads in the DBA directory at www. DecaturDBA.com. DBA membership includes listing in the DBA directory. Renewal by DBA’s early cut-off date of Jan. 15 ensures inclusion and early delivery to members. DeKalb Cooperative offers ‘Living Debt Free’ workshop Residents who overspent their holiday budgets or are worried about bills rolling in and living beyond their means can find help through a DeKalb Cooperative Extension workshop. The class, titled “Living Debt Free,” is designed to help participants get back on track. Brett A. Lewis, known as “The Income Protector,” will conduct a workshop to help participants meet their financial goals and get back to the ba-
Church to host children’s choir concert Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church Children’s Choir will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a concert on Jan. 12. The 7 p.m. concert will fea-
Investigators search CEO’s home, office
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com Just two work days after he was sworn in to his second term in office, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis’ home and office were searched by investigators from the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. After more than two hours in Ellis’ home Jan. 7, investigators walked out with a desktop computer and several boxes. The search was going on as Ellis was appearing before a special grand jury looking into watershed management contracts. “Today, I was requested to come before the grand jury,” Ellis said, during a media conference while investigators were still in his home. “I voluntarily did that. When we finished the testimony today I was informed [and] I was given a copy of the search warrant. At that time I learned they were at my home as well as at my office. I’m not sure why they chose to do it this way, but they did. They have that right.” The search warrant was “extraordinarily broad in scope, so I don’t know what they’re looking for,” Ellis said. Ellis said his grand jury appearance is part of an ongoing investigation of the contracting process in watershed management. “As always we’ve been fully cooperative,” Ellis said. “I’ve directed my staff to be fully cooperative. I’ve testified in the past and answered all questions.” Ellis said he does not know whether he is a target in the investigation. “I do know that [investigators] want to look at some documentation,” Ellis said. “It’s a pretty broad warrant that they’ve issued. I would have provided it. If there’s anything in the house they want I would provide it. “I’ve racked my brains,” Ellis said. “Other than my personal effects I can’t imagine anything in my home that would be of interest to the
See Ellis on Page 10A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Investigators carry a computer and several boxes from the Stone Mountain home of DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis Jan. 7. Other investigators searched Ellis’ office while he appeared before a special grand jury. Ellis said he was “perplexed” by the search and has nothing to hide. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Decatur Recreation Center to reopen in February
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org The newly renovated Decatur Recreation Center will be open for business on Feb. 4. The recreation center, which opened in 1958, closed its doors in May 2011 for renovation. The original 26,000-square-foot building was widened to 34,400 square feet and went from two levels to three. The $6.2 million project includes a new climbing wall and elevated track in the gym, new multi-purpose exercise and dance studio, institutional kitchen, new meeting rooms and lounge areas, additional staff office space, new plumbing and electrical systems, and new interior finishes. The improvements are also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. The Decatur Active Living and Children and Youth Services use the recreation center for services and have been using the Beacon Hill Center for the past year and a half. Decatur Active Living assistant director Cheryl Burnette said they are very excited to be coming back to the new and improved Decatur Recreation Center. “[The recreation center] was approximately 60 years old and had not been renovated once,” Burnette said. “It was just basically in need of a renovation to better serve the community.” The biggest change to the recreation center is the gym. “The gym is basically all new,” Burnette said. “We added a walking track above the gym. I think the walking track will be something really attractive to people and it’s free.” The old bleachers were taken out of the gym to add more space. The gym was once used for Decatur High School basketball games. Construction workers renewed the old bleachers and and repurposed them on the walls and ceiling in the main entrance. “Some of the boards from the gym floor have been made into tables as well,” Burnette said. An administration suite was also added on the second floor to bring the Decatur Active Living and Children Services back into the same building. Burnette said they use to be in the same building years ago. “We really outgrew the [old building],” she said. Another attraction in the center is the renovated kitchen. The kitchen is state of the art and has up-to-date appliances. “We’ll be able to do some cooking classes and cooking demonstrations in there,” Burnette said.
The newly renovated Decatur Recreation Center, which will reopen Feb. 4, will include an elevated track in the gym, new multi-purpose exercise and dance studio, institutional kitchen, and new meeting rooms and lounge areas.
The new recreation center also includes a multi-purpose studio that can be divided into sections to hold multiple exercise classes and activities. The studio has wooden floors. “Before, we had exercise classes that either had to be held in the gym or on a floor that’s concrete, which is not good for your joints,” Burnette said. The center has more space and conference rooms for people to rent and host parties. Although the recreation center will be open for business on Feb. 4, the front desk is now open for registration for sports, classes and afterschool programs, as well as payments and general information. The Decatur Recreation Center is located at 231 Sycamore Street. For more information, visit www.decaturga.com/activeliving.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
If Deal decides to suspend the DCSD Board of Education it would mark the second time since the law has been in effect that he has chosen such a measure. The first local board Deal suspended was the Miller County school board. Nolt said SB79 was developed in part, because of the Clayton County School System losing its accreditation in 2008. “We’ve had a half dozen hearings in front of the board and all of the other boards have worked out a consent agreement with the state board,” Nolt said. Any school district affected by the law is required to come before the state board no later than 30 days after being placed on probation, which Nolt said isn’t
DCSD board to appear before state to answer AdvancED allegations
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com The DeKalb County school board has been summoned to appear before the Georgia Board of Education to explain why it faces losing its accreditation due to governance issues. The hearing will take place Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. Members of the DeKalb County school board are expected to explain to the state school board why it shouldn’t recommend replace them Gov. Nathan Deal. Accrediting agency AdvancED recently placed the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) on accreditation probation and stated that if it didn’t make substantial progress on addressing a list of issues, it would lose its accreditation within the year. “It will be up to DeKalb to provide as to why they should not be recommended for suspension,” said Justin Pauly, liaison to the State Board of Education. “Keep in mind this is only a recommendation to the governor on whether or not to suspend; he has the authority from there.” Last year, Deal signed SB79, a bill authorizing the governor to remove members of local school boards if the district has not retained full accreditation status within a certain period of time. Section 3 of the bill, related to the removal of local school boards, states: “If a local school system or school is placed on the level of accreditation [probation] immediately preceding loss of accreditation for school board governance related reasons by one or more accrediting agencies… the State Board of Education shall conduct a hearing in not less than  days nor more than 30 days and recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all eligible members of the local board of education with pay.” Additionally, the law states that if the state board chooses to make such a recommendation, the governor is able to suspend all board members with pay and appoint temporary replacement members. Although individual DCSD board members can appeal Deal’s decision, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Education said Deal cannot choose to suspend some board members and keep others. “The law is all or none,” said Dorie Nolt, GDOE assistant director of communications. “The governor must either remove the entire board or keep the entire board.” a very long time to address the issues AdvancED has raised. “A lot of times the state board has felt it important to give the school boards that they are talking to time to work on what was recommended,” Nolt said. “They typically can delay a recommendation to the governor for a few months.”
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 Detailed Local Forecast Today’s Regional Map
Dunwoody 64/55 Smyrna 65/56 Doraville 65/56 Atlanta 66/56 College Park 67/56 Union City 67/56 Today we will see mostly cloudy skies with a 40% chance of showers, high temperature of Few Showers 66º, humidity of 83%. East wind 5 to 10 mph. High: 66 Low: 56 The record high temperature for today is 76º set in 1949. Expect cloudy skies tonight with FRIDAY a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Scat'd T-storms High: 68 Low: 54 Last Week's Local Almanac Date Hi Lo Normals Precip SATURDAY Tuesday 51 43 52/34 0.15" Partly Cloudy Wednesday 50 39 52/34 0.00" High: 72 Low: 54 Thursday 45 36 52/34 0.00" Friday 50 27 52/34 0.00" Saturday 49 26 52/34 0.00" SUNDAY Sunday 49 39 52/34 0.00" Few Showers 56 30 51/33 0.27" High: 69 Low: 53 Monday Rainfall. . . . . . . . 0.42" Average temp. . 42.1 Normal rainfall. . 1.02" Average normal 42.9 MONDAY Departure . . . . . .-0.60" Departure . . . . . -0.8 Few Showers High: 61 Low: 52 Partly Cloudy High: 59 Low: 45
Jan. 10, 2013
Jan. 10, 1949 - Snow was reported at San Diego for the first and only time since 1882. Snow was noted even on some of the beaches in parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Burbank reported 4.7 inches and Long Beach and Laguna Beach received one inch of snow. Jan. 11, 1972 - Downslope winds hit the eastern slopes of the Rockies in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. Boulder, Colo. reported wind gusts to 143 mph and 25 million dollars in property damage.
Decatur Snellville 66/56 66/56 Lithonia 67/56 Morrow 67/56
New 1/11 First 1/18
Partly Cloudy High: 57 Low: 39
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Sunrise 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:41 a.m. 7:41 a.m. Sunset 5:48 p.m. 5:49 p.m. 5:49 p.m. 5:50 p.m. 5:51 p.m. 5:52 p.m. 5:53 p.m.
Moonrise Moonset 6:21 a.m. 4:53 p.m. 7:16 a.m. 6:03 p.m. 8:05 a.m. 7:12 p.m. 8:48 a.m. 8:19 p.m. 9:26 a.m. 9:23 p.m. 10:01 a.m. 10:25 p.m. 10:35 a.m. 11:24 p.m.
Full 1/26 Last 2/3 Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 7:32 a.m. 5:20 p.m. 6:27 a.m. 4:21 p.m. 9:04 a.m. 7:28 p.m. 2:34 p.m. 4:40 a.m. 2:23 a.m. 1:18 p.m. 11:29 a.m. 11:39 p.m.
Local UV Index
0 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+
National Weather Summary This Week
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Surprises Could Make 2013 Interesting
After a dream year like 2012, where a major US solar eclipse, a transit of Venus, many great meteor showers with little or no intrusion from moonlight, and beautiful planetary gatherings graced the calendar, can there be any improvement? The truthful answer is probably no, unless there are some surprises. One of them could possibly be related to sunspot activity which is edging towards maximum during 2013. A bespectacled sun means it is more magnetically active and more likely to produce increased flare activity and coronal mass ejections. All of these can send charged particles—electrons, protons, and the nuclei of helium atoms screaming towards the Earth, some to be funneled into Earth’s magnetosphere to create the colorful, whimsical curtains of light we call auroras. For unknown reasons the fall produces the best displays of northern lights. You can sign up for space weather alerts at www.spaceweather.com. Another big surprise could come from comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), a sungrazer set to round Sol at a scant 1.1 million miles on November 28. If the comet survives perihelion, it could produce a magnificently long tail perpendicular to the horizon as it ascends higher and higher into the dawn sky during the first two weeks of December. Its survival at that close range sun is the big “if.” In addition, Comet PANSTARRS, C/2011 L4 should become an easy binocular target low to the horizon in the west after sunset during mid-March. Also the very predictable Perseid meteor shower, which rarely disappoints, reaches maximum activity on the morning of August 13. The moon sets around 11 p.m. the previous night. During the winter months Jupiter dominates the evening sky, followed by Saturn in the spring, and Venus, low in the west after sunset during the summer and fall. The year 2013 may seem dull on the surface, but then watch out for those big surprises. www.astronomy.org
Answer: Yes, the average year sees 47 tornadoes in its first month.
UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High, 11+: Extreme Exposure
The Northeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies today, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with scattered rain Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 55º in Do tornadoes occur in Germantown, Md. The Southeast will experience mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a January? few showers and thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 84º in Ft. Myers, Fla. In the Northwest, there will be widespread snow today and Friday, isolated rain and snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 42º in Colville, Wash. The Southwest will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated showers today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 72º in Yuma, Ariz.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
DeKalb County Police Department awarded $66,300 grant
Board Continued From Page 3A
expediency.” Rader said the election of May is a “continuation of the status quo.” “We have had a very difficult time having inclusive dialogue and participation from the Board of Commissioners on internal decisions,” Rader said. “I’m hoping we can get transparency in the future.” Before voting against Sutton for the deputy presiding officer position, Gannon said, “I try to be very positive as a person and in my life, but I cannot accept the choice before us.” “This is not the choice to represent DeKalb County,” said Gannon, who made an unsuccessful move to elect Rader as deputy presiding officer. “We should elect someone with a proven track record of truth
The DeKalb County Police Department has been awarded a public safety partnership H.E.A.T. grant totaling $66,300 from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) in Atlanta. H.E.A.T, which stands for Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic, includes the primary goals of (1) reducing impaired driving crashes; (2) reducing excessive speeding; (3) increasing the safety belt usage rate; and (4) educating the public about traffic safety. The DeKalb County Police Department H.E.A.T. Unit will develop and implement strategies to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities from drugs and alcohol, speed and aggressive driving, and non-use of safety belts within their jurisdiction. The grant went into effect on Oct. 1 of 2012 and will continue until Sept. 30 of 2013. “The H.E.A.T. grant helps support the DeKalb County Police Department’s enforcement efforts and is a reminder of their dedication in supporting the GOHS mission to protect Georgians from speeders and impaired drivers,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “Crashes involving impaired drivers killed 277 people across Georgia in 2011. The chance of a fatal crash involving drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol is much higher than the rate for fatal crashes not related to impairment.” H.E.A.T. programs based on impaired driving and speeding data include 22 Georgia counties and have covered most of Metro Atlanta. The H.E.A.T. initiative was designed to serve Georgia jurisdictions with the highest rates of crashes, injuries and deaths. “The H.E.A.T. initiative seeks to increase the impaired driver arrests, reduce dangerous speeders, educate the public about the dangers of DUI and provide a high visibility enforcement profile in the communities that need it most,” Blackwood said. Georgia’s H.E.A.T. units consistently provide the kind of high-profile traffic law enforcement required to save lives on our highways. Physician indicted for accepting Medicaid funds for abortions Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens announced Jan. 2 that a DeKalb County doctor has been accused of accepting $205,000 in Medicaid funds for services not rendered and for services associated with the performance of elective abortions. On Dec. 20, a DeKalb County grand jury issued an indictment against Andre Damian Williams on one count of Medicaid fraud for using Medicaid funds to perform elective abortions, according to a media release. The indictment alleges that from January 2009 to September 2011, Williams owned two businesses, Legacy Obstetrics and DeKalb Gynecology Associates, both
located on Snapfinger Woods Drive in Decatur. The primary business at DeKalb Gynecology Associates was the performance of elective abortions. According to the indictment, Williams accepted $205,003 in Medicaid funds for services not rendered and for services associated with the performance of elective abortions. Since 1976, the federal law known as the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and services associated with elective abortions. In conformance with federal law and regulations, elective abortions and services associated with elective abortions are not covered by the Georgia Medicaid program. Medicaid fraud is punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. District Attorney announces new appointments, hires
and integrity, someone who has chaired many committees–committees that meet, someone who has extensive board experience.” Gannon said the board should continue with its history of making “an effort to maintain a racial balance in the composition of its officers to take into consideration all of DeKalb County.” Gannon said the board does not need leadership that is broadcast in the media with “negative stories about financial issues, brushes with the law [and] misuse of public office.” After being elected to the leadership role, Sutton said, “There’s a big difference in truth and in real leadership than stories that are fed to friends in the media.”
DeKalb County DA Robert James announced Kellie Stevens Hill as his new chief trial assistant district attorney. She replaces former Chief Assistant DA Don Geary. Hill, who has practiced more than 20 years, will oversee all aspects of the DA’s public integrity unit and manage all trial line attorneys. “Kellie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position,” James said. “She has an impeccable reputation and has worked on some of the metro area’s highest profile cases including the Brian Nichols case.” Hill received her bachelor’s degree from University of Pennsylvania and her juris doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law. Prior to working in DeKalb County, she served as chief assistant DA for the Fulton County DA’s Office. James also announced that Christopher Timmons will serve as an assistant district attorney in the office’s public integrity unit. Timmons, who has more than 16 years of legal experience, was recently an assistant district attorney for the Cobb County DA’s Office. Anna Green Cross, a former chief assistant district attorney over the appellate division and death penalty unit in Cobb County, is a graduate of University of Notre Dame and received her juris doctorate from Emory University School of Law. Cross will be a deputy chief assistant DA handling capital/ complex litigation. “Chris brings a depth of experience in dealing with complicated white-collar, gang and racketeering cases,” James said. “Anna has an extensive legal background, has written over 40 appellate briefs to the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court of Appeals and handled numerous capital cases.” Assistant DA Mirna Andrews was promoted to the crimes against children unit. Assistant DA Carrie McCurdy was promoted to the domestic violence and sexual assault unit. Wayne Pinkney was hired as a gang unit and drug trafficking investigator.
grand jury, or in my office, but they’re certainly available if anyone wants to look at it.” Ellis said he did not know whether the grand jury was looking for a particular watershed management contract. Although he said he could not discuss the specifics of an ongoing investigation, Ellis said the grand jury “asked questions about our procurement process in DeKalb County, questions primarily about how we go about letting contracts.” Ellis denied knowledge of any wrongdoing. “I haven’t done anything that I’m aware of, nor has my staff done anything that I’m aware of that is inappropriate,” Ellis said. “I can certainly tell you that there’s nothing in there that is in any way done wrong.” County spokesman Burke Brennan said the special purpose grand jury has been looking into “a contracting thing” since March or April of last year. “We had a contract administrator under contract who was also working for the guy who had the contract, so he was on both sides of the fence and
Ellis Continued From Page 8A
Investigators from the county’s District Attorney’s Office load boxes and a computer into cars after searching county CEO Burrell Ellis’ home. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
the allegation was, he was approving contracts that he was supposed to deliver,” Brennan said. “That’s where it started.” Brennan said Ellis has “nothing to hide so I’m not expecting any bombshells to come out of this.” “We’ve provided any information and documentation that the District Attorney’s Office has requested,” Ellis said. “We’ll continue to provide any information and documentation that the district attorney should want as they continue through their investigation. “I’m going to continue to be honest,” said Ellis, who has appeared twice before special grand juries. “I’m going to continue to be transparent. I’m going to continue to work with all of the officials involved in this process and we’re going to continue to do our job.” Although he said he is perplexed by the search warrant, Ellis said, “I’m not concerned given the fact that nothing’s wrong that I have done, nothing improper that I have done, nothing that I have to hide. We will be as forthcoming as possibly can.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Stahl and his partner Rick Castellucis (pictured below) are currently producing two beers, a red ale and a double IPA. Blue Tarp beer can be found at locations throughout Decatur such as The Brick Store Pub and Mac McGee’s Irish Pub. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
Microbrew Continued From Page 1A
too many breweries but around here, there’s no local competition.” Stahl said he hopes as smaller breweries become more popular, they will eventually push away some of the out-of-state competition—the big guys.” Eight years ago, Stahl started brewing with a small home brew kit, then increased to brewing five gallons at a time. While working as a research assistant in a plant genetics lab at the University of Georgia, he decided it was time to pursue his dream job—brewing beer full time. Stahl said it has been a fiveyear process. “We had money lined up numerous times and it kept getting smaller and smaller and everything just fell out—about 15 months ago we just decided to cash in everything we’ve got and just shoot for it,” Stahl said. For the past year, Stahl, his uncle, his neighbor and several friends have been working to get the brewing equipment up and running. The company recently held a release party Dec. 27 at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur where it tapped its first keg of beer, which lasted only a day before running out. Stahl said the company currently makes two types of beer: Bantam Weight, a 4.5 percent light red ale; and Mother Hoppin’, a double IPA. In addition to Brick Store, Blue Tarp Beer can be found at Leon’s Full Service Bar, Mac McGee’s Irish Pub, The Square Pub and the Marlay House in Decatur. Within the next six months Stahl said he hopes to begin canning the beer and selling it in local stores. The cans will take up a lot of space but Stahl said he prefers canning rather
than bottling for a multitude of reasons. When beer is bottled, there is light and oxygen penetration that will affect the taste of the beer. Bottling beer in a darker bottle will minimize some of the light penetration but Stahl said it’s still better to use cans. “They’re much lighter and cheaper and
easier to recycle,” Stahl said. Stahl said his goal is to continue to brew beer and keep on expanding the brewery “to as big as it can get.” “We’ll just see how far it goes—as long as we don’t end up hating it, it won’t be that bad,” Stahl joked.
In addition to Christmas trees of various species, Gainesville’s Kinsey Family Farm grows acres of shrubs and other plants to be sold in its nursery. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Floral designer David Bouseman, below, creates many of the arrangements at Blooms. Photos by Kathy Mitchell, except where indicated
Florist-event planner creates budding business in Dunwoody
by Kathy Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Conreaux commented, “We wanted florists with an innovative flair Suzanne Conreaux said for design, and when David she has loved flowers for as became available to lead our long as she can floral staff, we knew remember and the stars had aligned to has studied flower realize our vision.” arranging in Bouseman takes Japan, the District pride in designing of Columbia and works of floral art Atlanta. When she with the individual was working as client in mind. “It an event planner comes down to our at a major Atlanta vision for customized corporation, her service,” he said. plan had been to “We make really Suzanne Conreaux retire at 55 and said opening Blooms unique designs for fulfills a longtime open a flower our customers that are dream. Photo proshop. truly special. We treat vided Fate intervened every arrangement as and Conreaux, art and every customer who’s nowhere near 55, is as somebody special no matter now owner of Blooms of their budget.” Dunwoody along with her The staff will even create a husband Patrick Conreaux. floral arrangement especially “I took an apprenticeship at for a vase or container that the David’s Flowers to learn from client brings in. the very talented master floral Now the only retail florist designer David Bouseman. shop in Dunwoody, according Soon after, he decided to retire to Suzanne Conreaux, and close his shop after 26 Blooms of Dunwoody is years,” Suzanne Conreaux a full-service business, said. offering arrangements for The closing of David’s funerals, weddings and special Flowers presented an occasions. It also offers unexpected opportunity. “My event planning services for a husband and I have worked in wide variety of celebrations, the event planning and design including weddings, industry for over 15 years bar mitzvahs, birthdays, and we have long dreamed anniversaries and corporate of opening a flower shop that events. inspires customers with unique “Our belief is that every day flower arrangements and there is a reason to surprise, innovative twists on traditional to touch, and to inspire others events. We decided this was with uniquely sentimental our moment,” she said. experiences. Whether it’s by Dunwoody did not lose adding new flowers to our Bouseman’s talents, however. floral arrangements or by going Although he no longer wanted the extra mile to unveil an to be a business owner, unexpected article of design or Bouseman stayed on to lead activity at an event,” Suzanne the floral design staff at the Conreaux said, “our mission is rebranded business. to make people feel celebrated in a distinctly memorable way.” She said Blooms of Dunwoody handles events from baby showers for 25 guests to weddings with hundreds of guests. “We manage as much or as little of the event as the client wants. Some want us to do everything—find a site, hire a caterer, rent equipment—others have already selected a site and need someone to come in make sure everything goes smoothly. For weddings sometimes the bride’s first impulse it to ask Aunt Sue to manage the event, but she may not know what to do and besides Aunt Sue doesn’t get to enjoy the wedding.” Suzanne Conreaux said although the business has only been open a few months and has only been in its current location since November, she sees every indication it will be a success. “Even when the economy is in a slump as it is now, people still get married, have babies, and celebrate anniversaries. They still want to make the major events of their lives special. They may budget a little more carefully, but they still want something memorable.” She said the Dunwoody Village Shopping Center location on Chamblee Dunwoody Road was especially important to her. “I didn’t want to be anyplace but right here in the heart of Dunwoody. People here know David’s work and the quality of work they can expect. If there hadn’t been a space available within this three-block area, I would have waited until one became available.”
Conreaux said she considers the Dunwoody Village Shopping Center an ideal location. Photo provided
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
DeKalb County school board member Marshall Orson was sworn in Jan. 7 before attending the first board meeting of the year. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
DCSD swears in new board members, discusses school organization plan
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com After a brief ceremony earlier in the day welcoming board members Jim McMahan, Marshall Orson, Melvin Johnson and Pamela Speaks, the DeKalb County school board held its first meeting of 2013. The board postponed a vote on a proposed school organization plan until Jan. 23. Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said no action from the board was needed at the time. However, DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Chief Operating Officer Stephen Wilkins discussed the details of the proposed plan. “The purpose of the proposed school organization is to simply report to the state those schools that we expect to operate over the next five years,” Wilkins said. “All that we are doing is simply reporting the information from that process in order to participate in the state capital outlay program.” ies or school consolidations will be done generally a year from now,” Wilkins said. “Anything else will be discussed as we go along over the next four and five years.” Originally, adding grades six through eight to several high schools was included in the proposed plan but after an outcry from residents, it was removed. Over the next several weeks, the district is holding public information sessions to gather input from residents. The remaining public information meetings will be held from 6:30-8 p.m., 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. School Board Chairman Eugene Walker urged residents to attend the meetings and said their input will be vital to the planning process. “We encourage residents and parents to see the proposal and make your comments known. Your participation and input to this process is crucial,” Walker said. Details of the plan can be found on the district’s website at www.dekalb.k12. ga.us.
Board members Melvin Johnson, Jim McMahan, Marshall Orson and Pamela Speaks attended a brief swearing in ceremony before the board’s Jan. 7 work session.
Georgia law requires all school systems to develop and maintain a long range comprehensive facilities plan that is updated every five years to make the system eligible for state funding. Wilkins said the purpose of the plan is to inform the state of the schools the district expects to operate over the next five years. Currently, DCSD is eligible to receive up to $40 million in additional funds
dependent upon state approval of plan. Wilkins said the only significant changes proposed in the plan are to convert Chapel Hill Middle School into a theme middle school and discuss developing a comprehensive arts school at Avondale Middle School or the district’s Stone Mountain Administrative and Industrial Complex. “Any other changes with respect to school boundar-
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Tahj Shamsid-Deen: a great player becoming a great leader
Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and former NBA player Allen Iverson. “I love those point guards, so I watch a lot of their highlights on Youtube and then I try to get in the gym and copy their moves and try to put it in my game,” he said. Sandifer said Shamsid-Deen is probably the smartest point guard he has ever coached and praised him for his competitiveness. “He doesn’t like to lose,” Sandifer said. “He’s not a three-time defending champion for nothing. Tahj is the first one in the gym. He’s focused and once he gets here he is ready to go.” The Eagles are striving to win a fourth straight state title, the sixth in eight years. Columbia could become the second team in DeKalb County history to win four consecutive state titles. Miller Grove boys basketball team became the first program to win four consecutive titles (2009-2012) last season. Shamsid-Deen said seeing Miller Grove win its fourth consecutive title last year has motivated him to reach that goal this year. “After I got the first championship in ninth grade I told myself that I want to win four,” he said. “So, I got one more to go.” Although this team may not be as talented as last year’s team, Shamsid-Deen believes this team has certain qualities that can help them go all the way again. “We’re not as big as we were in the past years, so we try to utilize our speed and quickness against other teams,” he said. “We like to play team ball, team defense, box out and rebound. We try to get out and run and push the ball down the court.” Besides winning another championship, Shamsid-Deen said the team is also playing hard to keep its seven-year home winning streak going and win another region title, which will be its seventh in eight seasons. “We definitely don’t want to be the team to lose that and mess that up,” he said.
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org ith eight seniors gone and a new coach taking the helm for the 2012-13 Columbia High School boys basketball team, former head coach Phil McCrary knew he needed one of his returning players to be the team leader and help with the transition. So, he asked his point guard, Tahj Shamsid-Deen, to step up. “That’s something I had to work on,” Shamsid-Deen said. “I think Coach McCrary knew he wasn’t going to come back [this season], so he knew I had to be a better leader. During the summer league he actually had me coach the team.” The senior point guard said experience has helped him become a better leader this season, and his new coach, Kerry Sandifer, agrees. “He has been a big help as far as assisting me,” Sandifer said. “When I’m having problems with [one of the players] I’ll go to him and say ‘Tahj, I need you to talk to this kid or that kid’ and they listen to him. He has been a great leader.” His leadership and basketball skills have led the Columbia Eagles to a 12-1 record. The ESPN 13-ranked player in the state is leading the team in scoring with 25.8 points per game, which is up from 12.7 points per game last season. The Auburn commit said one of the things he worked on during the off season was his jump shot. “My jump shots have been falling more consistently this year and my free throw percentage is up from last year,” he said. Most of his skills come from hours of practicing in the gym and watching NBA games. Shamsid-Deen said he studies some of the top point guards in the NBA such as
Basketball scores from Nike Tournament at Columbia High School on Dec. 26-29, 2012:
Dec. 26 Chamblee 62, Butler 58: The Chamblee Bulldogs defeated Augusta’s Butler High in the opening round of the tournament. Columbia 83, Auburn (AL) 46: Columbia point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen led the team 20 points (9-11 from field), five assists, and four steals in the win over Auburn. Forward Kyle Wallace scored 20 points (4-5 from three-point line), and forward Shadell Bell added 13 points and five steals. Norland (FL) 55, Tucker 46: Tucker shooting guard Devonte Fitzgerald led the team with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to beat Norland. Dec. 27 Columbia 74, Crisp County 55: Shamsid-Deen scored 15 points, forward Maurice Rivers added 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Wallace scored 13 points in the win over Crisp County in the second round. Greenforest 66, Chamblee 44: The Greenforest Christian Academy Eagles defeated Chamblee in the second round. Greenforest guard Justin Ravenel was named player of the game. Tucker 81, Meridian (MS) 72: Fitzgerald led the Tucker Tigers with 26 points and 10 rebounds over Mississippi Class 6A state champions Meridian. Tigers shooting guard Jon Dunmyer added 18 points. Dec. 28 Columbia 90, Wenonah (AL) 89: Guard Kiair Couch led Columbia with 24 points in the win over Alabama 5A state champion Wenonah. Rivers added 19 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. Wallace 14 scored points, Shamsid-Deen added 14 points, and center Jordan Anderson had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Jonesboro 63, Tucker 55: Dunmyer scored 15 points and Fitzgerald scored 13 in the loss to Clayton County’s Jonesboro High School. Dec. 29 Columbia 71, Norcross 67 in overtime: The Columbia Eagles won the tournament after beating Gwinnett County’s Norcross. Shamsid-Deen led the team with 22 points and seven assists. Kyle Wallace also scored 22 points, 4-7 from the three-point line and 6-6 free throws; and Rivers added 12 points.
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.
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Bakari Copeland, Arabia Mountain (basketball): The senior guard led the Rams in scoring with 16 points in the win over Lithonia on Jan. 4. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Jordan Dillard, Decatur (basketball): The senior forward scored 21 points and had four steals in the 41-38 win over Lovett on Jan. 5. Dillard is averaging 19.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.2 steals a game.
Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt (football): The junior safety from Stephenson had 10 total tackles and an interception in the 38-24 win over North Carolina State in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Dec. 31. Mfon Udofia, Georgia Tech (basketball): The senior guard from Miller Grove scored 14 points in the 7458 win over Chattanooga on Jan.2. Udofia is averaging 9.7 points per game on the season. Conisha Hicks, Clark Atlanta (basketball): The junior point guard from Miller Grove scored 13 points and had five assists and five steals in the 90-39 win over Lane College on Jan. 5.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
The Stone Mountain Village commemorated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 5. The event included ceremonial cannon fires, the singing of “God Bless America,” and speakers. Photos by Carla Parker
Stone Mountain commemorates 150th anniversary of signing of Emancipation Proclamation
nize the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation because of Stone Mountain’s part in the Civil War. “The city of Stone Mountain’s history and our awareness of the history all around us here made us really want to commemorate this occasion,” Ryles said. “We’re a significant point in the history of the Civil War here.” During the Civil War, Stone Mountain Village was destroyed by men under the command of General James Birdseye McPherson on July 19, 1864. On November 16, 1864, the right wing of Union General William Sherman’s troops destroyed the railroad track to the north of the mountain during the March to the Sea. “They destroyed all the railroad tracks between Stone Mountain and Madison [Ga.] to keep them from running through the mill again,”
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org The city of Stone Mountain had a significant role in the American Civil War, which led to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Stone Mountain Village recognized its part in history by commemorating the 150th anniversary of the signing on Jan. 5. The event included ceremonial cannon fires, the singing of “God Bless America,” and speakers. Stone Mountain mayor Pat Wheeler also spoke and presented a proclamation of Rev. Timothy Depp, pastor of the historic Bethsaida Baptist Church. Susan Ryles, executive director of Stone Mountain Main Street and Downtown Development Authority, said it was important to recog-
said Stone Mountain historian Dr. George Coletti. The railroad track is the oldest structure that was burned by Sherman during the Civil War that is still in use today. The city of Stone Mountain recognized Sherman’s mark on the city by creating a piece art called Sherman’s Neckties.” Sherman’s neckties were railway rails destroyed by heating them until they were soft and twisting them into loops resembling neckties, often around trees. Coletti said they also wanted to honor the residents of Stone Mountain and DeKalb County who voted against secession. “They did not want to leave the Union,” Coletti said. “So, we figured to recognize those citizens of our city who voted against secession.”