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by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org The DeKalb County School Board has hired former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond to replace Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, who left the district Feb. 8 after less than two years. Although Atkinson promised big changes for the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) such as rebuilding public trust and trimming central office employees, some residents say she has left the district in a condition much worse than when she was hired. The DeKalb County School Board held a meeting Feb. 8 and approved a separation agreement with Atkinson and voted to appoint former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond as interim superintendent. “We are delighted Mr. Thurmond has agreed to serve as our interim superintendent,” said board Chairman Eugene Walker. “Our school district is facing significant challenges, and we need a leader with a strong record of making fundamental changes in large, complex organizations. Throughout our state, you’ll find almost universal agreement that Michael Thurmond has consistently demonstrated those abilities.” “The board is committed to working with Mr. Thurmond,” said Jim McMahan, vice-chairman of the DeKalb board. “Under
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
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Finding love the second time around
by Carla Parker email@example.com Willie B. and Dorothy Devereux are proof that a person can find love a second time around. Willie, 87, and Dorothy, 82, were both divorced when they met in January 1983 at Mt. Vernon Baptist
‘I had been watching her at church for a while.’
Church in Atlanta. Dorothy, who was 54 at the time, was trying to leave church when her car wouldn’t start. That’s when she noticed 59-yearold Willie and asked him to help, which was the perfect opportunity for Willie to finally talk to her. “I had been watching her at church for a while,” he said. “I use to look at her every Sunday but I never got up enough nerves to say something to her.” However, Willie didn’t have his eyes on Dorothy first. “At first I was looking at the other lady sitting beside her,” he laughed. “Then later on I began looking at her.” He used his jumper cables to
his leadership, we will work to ensure that every child in DeKalb has equal access to a quality education.” Board member Marshall Orson said Thurmond will help bring stability. “He is a respected leader…we have a leadership deficit.” “I welcome the opportunity to serve the 99,000 students of the DeKalb County schools,” Thurmond said in a statement. “By all of us coming together across our county—parents, employees, citizens and businesses north and south—there’s no limit to what we will accomplish for our schoolchildren.” In a statement, DCSD said that Thurmond is credited with transforming two unwieldy state agencies, first as director of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and then as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor. At DFCS, Thurmond instituted a shift away from a culture of dependency for welfare recipients to a new focus on employment, job-training and personal responsibility. The Department of Labor underwent a similar change under his leadership, from a department that administered jobless benefits into a statewide resource for Georgians seeking career opportunities and training at newly created Career CenWillie B. and Dorothy Devereux, who will celebrate 30 years of marriage, spent Valenters throughout the state. tine’s Day with each other at home. Photo by Carla Parker “We think that fundahim down. start her car and then got her phone mental change is what our “I said, ‘no. You have to look number. That moment turned into 30 parents and stakeholders are me in the eye and then I will let you years of marriage for the couple. demanding,” Walker said. know,’” she said to him. “‘You have to The Devereuxs dated for six “We are confident that Miask me in person.’” months before they married on chael Thurmond is the leader “I asked her the next weekend July 9, 1983. On their first date the with the track record and the and she said yes,” Willie said. two went to Dorothy’s friend’s house ability to improve education Their union brought together two to have a few drinks and talk. for all of our schoolchilfamilies. Willie had five children from “It was real nice,” Dorothy said. dren.” his previous marriage, two boys and “He was the perfect gentleman. He In a statement, DeKalb three girls, and Dorothy had three wasn’t forcing me or trying to kiss schools spokeswoman Lildaughters from her previous marme.” lian Govus said Atkinson riage. Because Willie worked two jobs and news updates online from Because she gets herthe DeKalb County the The Champ The couple now live in the East during the week he could only talk to school board mutually County. Dorothy after he got off work, then he news updates online from the The Champion. Because she gets her Atlanta section of DeKalbDay togethagreed to end their relationTheir first Valentine’s would see her on the weekends. It her news updates online from the The Champion. Because she gets ship. er was not a big fanfare but was still a was during one of the nightly phone conversions when Willie asked Dorowww.facebook.com/championnewspaper thy to marry him. But, Dorothy turned See Love on Page 15A See School on Page 15A
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Pediatric urologist to discuss school restroom New city manager to start in April issues at Decatur library
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org by Carla Parker email@example.com Four out of 10 middle school to high school students will not use their school restroom because of sanitation issues. To address these issues, the Decatur library will host a free program on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. The program, which is sponsored by the Southwest DeKalb High School Parent Teacher Student Association, will feature Dr. Steve J. Hodges, MD, a board-certified pediatric urologist. The associate professor of pediatric urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., will discuss breakthrough solutions to bed Hodges wetting and potty problems for children, and restroom issues for teenagers in middle and high schools. His book It’s No Accident, published by Lyons Press in 2012, with health writer and parent Suzanne Schlosberg, has helped stressed out parents, kids trained too early, and school-aged siblings affected by bathroom policies. Dr. Tom Keating, founder and coordinator of Project CLEAN – Citizens, Learners and Educators Against Neglect, said he has received many complaints about school restrooms in DeKalb County schools and Decatur city schools. “Many times when people go into a school building they realize that the front bathrooms are in decent shape,” he said. “But if you leave the front two [restrooms] that are clean while guests are coming in and go to a locker room or the back halls, you will discover that there are many issues and problems.” Some of the issues that have been reported to Keating include scratches on walls, lack of sanitary product receptacles and graffiti on the restroom walls. There have also been cases where school leaders had to lock the restroom doors because of inappropriate behavior that has happened in restrooms. Keating has worked with some DeKalb and Decatur schools to fix their sanitary issues. He is currently working with Southwest DeKalb to address sanitary and environmental health issues. Project CLEAN had a restroom wall plastered and painted to cover up holes left after metal towel dispensers were taken out. “We’ve also built support in the PTSA and they have allowed me to speak [at the meetings],” he said. “And now the awareness is coming in. The kids are coming up in the middle of the day saying ‘here are some things we are doing and here is the problem.’” During his three day visit, Hodges will discuss gastrointestinal diseases, urinary tract infections, and school restroom policies in selected locations in the City Schools of Decatur and DeKalb County School District. The Decatur Library is at 215 Sycamore Street. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Dr. Tom Keating at (404) 694-2905, Southwest DeKalb PTA president Greg White at (404) 702-4117, or Decatur library coordinator Gina Jenkins at (404) 370-3070. Doraville has hired a new city manager after residents voted in favor of changing the city’s form of government last year. Shawn Gillen begins April 17 as Doraville’s first city manager in more than 20 years. In 1981, Doraville changed from a city manager to a full-time mayor form of government Gillen by way of a referendum. Now, like many other municipalities in DeKalb County, it has changed back. Mayor Donna Pittman said that Gillen will bring a wealth of experience to the city. Although the change means Pittman will have less power, it will be important for her to maintain a close relationship with residents. She said it is important for residents to continue to have the opportunity to speak openly with their mayor. Previously, Gillen served as the mayor of Monmouth, Ill., a town in western Illinois with a population of approximately 9,200 people— Doraville has an estimated population of 8,429. “That combined with his experience as city administrator and academic background will aid in our transition and position us for the future,” Pittman said. At the end of Gillen’s three-year mayoral term, Monmouth transitioned from a having a mayoral form of government and hired a city manager. Gillen then served as a council administrator in Lexington, Ky., and currently serves as city administrator of Grand Rapids, Mich. Gillen said his role as city manager is to take the mayor and city council’s vision for Doraville and turn it into reality by creating strategic plans and public policies. Doraville’s government will officially transition July 1, but Gillen said he will begin to prepare for that transition in April by taking over some of the day-to-day operations of the city. “The city manager’s role is basically like that of the CEO of an organization,” Gillen said. “We’ll start by looking at what the goals and objectives of the city council and mayor are and look at
what strategic planning is already in place.” While being interviewed for the city manager position, Gillen said, he met with Pittman and each council member individually and as a group. He also took a tour of the city. Although Gillen doesn’t begin his official duties until April, he said he will be taking several trips to Doraville to look for housing and get to know the more of city’s administrative staff. “Our focus early on is identifying their vision and creating performance measurements for that and making sure the things that we do day-to-day are moving in that direction,” Gillen said. Gillen holds a master’s of public administration and a Ph.D. in public finance from the University of Kentucky. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. Gillen and his wife Katie have three daughters. Pittman said she welcomes the transition to parttime mayor. “I’ve enjoyed my time as mayor and city administrator, but the dual role is taxing. I’m looking forward to a new era and I couldn’t be more excited about our selection,” Pittman said.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Financial adviser urges people to plan carefully for retirement
by Nigel Roberts with Merrill Lynch,” on Biz 1190 AM in Atlanta. For 18 It is imperative to months, he has been sharing know how much money common sense financial one needs to retire and to practices with his listeners. develop a plan, Howard When he cannot meet Joe urges. When he is not with clients in his Atlanta advising people at his office, office, Joe flies his private educating listeners on the jet, a Beechcraft Bonanza, to radio or conducting training meet with them. His desire sessions, Joe is jetting off to fly began at age 3 when in his private plane to meet he observed the astronauts with new or former clients. flying between earth and the Joe, a Dunwoody moon. He and his cousin resident, is a Merrill Lynch dreamed about becoming senior vice president. He has pilots while in high school. been with the Merrill Lynch Today, he has flown as far for 27 years—the only as Santa Barbara, Calif., to company the 49-year-old meet with clients who have financial advisor has worked moved away from the metro for in his life. area. Financial advising is Joe, a multiple Circle of nothing like the movie Wall Excellence Award winner Street, Joe explained. He for his productivity, started said his work is similar to out on an academic road a travel agent’s job. “I take leading to a career in people from where they medicine. His father’s side are to where they want to of the family is replete with be,” Joe explained, “and I doctors, so he entered the map that out through the University of Georgia as a medium of money. A travel pre-med student. agent’s medium is a plane, “From the time I was ship or train. My medium is little it was not whether I money.” was going to be a doctor but Joe’s typical client is what kind of doctor,” Joe a high-income individual recalled. But after seeing his because they have money mom’s success and taking to invest. People with a few business courses, fewer resources often come he decided to become a to him and express an business major. His interest interest in making money in business markets also in the stock market. But stems from sitting on his he recommends they first grandfather’s knee as a child secure their retirement. With and learning about the stock life expectancy increasing, market. people too often outlive Joe’s grandfather their retirement savings. emigrated as a child from Everyone should know Canton, China, to Augusta exactly how much money in the early 1900s. His he or she needs to save and success is one of the great develop a plan, he said. Joe American stories. He recommends the following worked first in a Chinese formula: 2 x 3 x 5 x 7 x 52 x grocery store and later 25 = $273,000. became a real estate What it reveals is the cost investor, buying shotgun of eating three meals a day houses and renting them. He for 25 years into retirement. invested the rental income It costs $273,000 for two into the stock market, and people to eat three meals a by the mid-1970s, when he day, at $5 per meal, seven died, had amassed a large days a week for the 52 financial portfolio of stocks. weeks of the year, 25 years As the eldest son, Joe’s after retirement. father, a CPA, became the “If you don’t plan to trustee of the family’s stock cross the finish line and portfolio. Since he traveled retire with at least $275,000 constantly, Joe’s mother, then you need to do a lot of a concert pianist, went to work,” Joe said. “Otherwise Merrill’s brokerage office you will not have enough routinely to watch the money to eat.” ticker tape and manage the Having enough money to portfolio. retire is one of the topics Joe After spending so much discusses on his radio talk time at Merrill, a manager show, “Financial Update invited her to participate in the company’s financial advisor training program. Ultimately, she not only obtained a position with the company but also worked her way up to the top, at a time when financial management was considered by many a man’s job, Joe said. He is fond of saying that he has a Merrill family: Joe’s two sisters and brothers-in-law also work for the company. Joe’s message is simple: know how much money you will need to retire and speak to an advisor to map out a plan.
Howard Joe, a Merrill Lynch senior vice president, shows people how to save $273,000 for retirement.
CLAUDIA G. LAWSON
DeKalb County Tax Commissioner
MOTOR VEHICLE OWNERS
Effective March 1, 2013, House Bill 386 removes the sales and annual ad valorem tax on newly-purchased vehicles. A one-time title tax of 6.5% (2013), 6.75% (2014) and 7% (2015) replaces the annual tax. Here’s what you need to know: • New one-time title ad valorem tax fee applies to all title transactions (new and used vehicle purchases, transfers, all transfers among family members, or vehicles new to the state) and eliminates payment of sales tax and annual ad valorem tax. • If you purchase a vehicle in Georgia after January 1, 2012 but before March 1, 2013, you may have the option of paying annual ad valorem tax or a one-time title ad valorem tax fee. Vehicles purchased out of state are not eligible to opt in. • Whether paying the one-time title ad valorem tax fee OR annual ad valorem tax, requirements for insurance, emissions, driver’s license and the renewal of your tag by your expiration date remain the same. • If you purchased a vehicle before 2012, you will remain on the current annual ad valorem tax system.
NORTH OFFICE 1358 Dresden Drive, NE Atlanta, GA 30319
MAIN OFFICE 4380 Memorial Drive Suite 100 Decatur, GA 30034
SOUTH OFFICE 2801 Candler Rd. #66 South DeKalb Mall Decatur, GA 30032
(404) 298-4000 www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner
Opinion The Newslady
history of the Confederacy against any such heresy. State Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican from Jefferson, has lobbed a pre-emptive strike. At the requests of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Benton has introduced House Bill 91 to prohibit local governments from hiding or removing statues of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee or other Confederate army heroes. According to published reports the bill is designed to indefinitely protect statues, plaques and other markers recognizing Revolutionary War or Confederate “heroes” from modern objections. Hmmmm. What are modern objections? The bill specifically mentions the Civil War Confederate Army carving on Stone Mountain, located here in DeKalb County. It depicts three heroes of the Confederate States of America: Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. If passed the measure would require that the Stone Mountain monument and others like it to be kept in a
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Sacred monuments and manuscripts
prominent place and would make it illegal to “deface, defile, or abuse contemptuously” any memorial dedicated to the Confederate army. To my knowledge, neither DeKalb commissioners nor the CEO have suggested anything about moving the mountain. But who can blame Benton from wanting to protect the cultural heritage of the beloved Confederacy? When power shifts occur, as it certainly appears to have in DeKalb and Stone Mountain, it is important that safeguards are in place to deter the irreparable damage done to the psyche and history of a people through the desecration of sacred monuments and writings. But laws are only effective when people obey them. Such has not been the case in the Middle East and Africa. It is no secret that the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany have plundered sacred archaeological sites removing priceless artifacts in those areas. It perhaps does come as a surprise that there are international laws in place to prohibit such destruction. Sadly, little attention is paid to the continued breaking of those laws. The hoarding, showcasing and international trade in these sacred writings and ancient artifacts have been the province of the very rich and powerfully elite in the world. Mainstream media has mostly turned a blind eye to these atrocities. Every now and then you might hear mention of the “antiquities.” Well, here on the other side of the pond, if Benton’s bill barrels through the legislature and it is highly likely it will, DeKalb commissioners and others won’t get to monkey around with the reminders of the glorious Confederacy. Not that they had planned to, but just in case, Benton and preservers of Dixie want to get ahead of the game that they know so well. Some historical monuments and manuscripts are sacred. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Miles at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
There have been disturbing news accounts of the burning of ancient books and manuscripts in the West African nation of Mali reportedly by Al Qaida rebels who have overrun the ancient seat of knowledge in Timbuktu. Similar lootings of artifacts and antiquities have occurred in wartorn Iraq, Syria and to some extent in Egypt. This area is a huge repository of early civilization and the rich cultural history of the world. Much of the Bible as we know it and other religious writings were recorded in these areas. These thefts and desecrations are prompted by greed and often a deliberate attempt to forever obliterate or distort history. Newsflash! Thousands of miles away here in Georgia, a move is under way to protect the
Our teens deserve better
by Sherry Boston abuse. Furthermore, only February 2013 33 percent of teens involved Jasmine Benjamin was a in a violent reyoung lady with a bright future lationship have ahead of her. The 17-year-old colever told anylege freshman from Lawrenceville, one about the was studying to become a nurse at abuse. Valdosta State University, because In Jasshe wanted to spend her life helpmine’s case, ing others. Instead, her life was the relationBoston tragically taken in a dormitory ship with the study room, and now her 18-yearyoung man accused in her death old ex-boyfriend is charged with was supposed to be over, but unher murder. fortunately, it seems that breaking As a mother, a community up was not enough to save to her leader and a prosecutor, I am anlife. My job as solicitor general gry and frustrated when I hear a of DeKalb County is to prosecute story like this. But sadly, I am not misdemeanor crimes. I want to put surprised. The depressing reality is a stop to abuse before our teens are that Jasmine’s death—allegedly at seriously hurt or killed. I underthe hands of an ex-boyfriend—is stand that reaching out for help can not that unusual. Her murder is part be terrifying. That’s one reason I of a disturbing pattern we’re seeing have created in my office a special across the country… an epidemic victims unit which assists victims of violence against women with through the criminal justice progrowing numbers involving teencess and connects them with imagers and young adults. portant community resources. My According to loveisrepect. staff speaks with parents and the org, one in three adolescents is community about the signs to look a victim of some type of dating for and how to support those who abuse—whether it’s physical, sexare experiencing dating abuse. ual, emotional or verbal—and one Many teens are afraid to tell quarter of high school girls have anyone that something is wrong. been victims of physical or sexual As a result, it is important to know what signs to look for—things such changes in behavior, failing grades, dropping out of activities or avoiding friends and family. Limiting and monitoring use of digital technology can also help keep our teens safe. In my office, we often prosecute cases of teen dating violence that are directly tied to social media websites, cell phones and email. Sadly, Jasmine Benjamin should be here with us today— pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. This February, in remembrance of Jasmine and in recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, I hope you will join me in encouraging healthy relationships, because our teens deserve better than this. If someone you know is experiencing violence, always call 911 if there is immediate danger. If there is not immediate danger, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 (8453 TTY) or text “love is” to 77054. We must do everything we can to save lives like Jasmine’s, while putting an end to this frightening increase in violence affecting our teens. Sherry Boston is DeKalb County solicitor general.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Opinion One Man’s Opinion
And ZIP code moves the mail
hours will remain open, and the Post Office will continue Saturday delivery to P.O. boxes. This service roll-back is projected to save more than $2 billion. Get Congress out of the way Our postmaster general wants to close several thousand smaller and rural community post offices, as well as redundant mail processing centers nationwide. Congress routinely blocks these changes, as it remains the gatekeeper and overseer of the USPS, while also requiring the unusual prefunding of pension benefits, based on the expected long term pension obligations of the service. As Congress has not been able to pass and produce a federal budget for years now, it should remove itself from this equation entirely. Ending the prefunding requirement would have saved the USPS more than $5 billion in 2011. and use the Post Office carriers to conduct our census, create a national holiday, or conduct the “Count Day” on an existing holiday such as Presidents’ Day or on a pre-selected Monday of a long holiday weekend. Pay the Postal Service $5 billion for the day, and save taxpayers $11 billion in the process.
“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed, rounds.—the unofficial motto of our U.S. Postal Service as inscribed on the James Farley Post Office in New York City. Our United States Postal Service, (USPS), a quasi-public/private entity, with all the benefits and costs associated with being an agency of our federal government, ended the last year with an operating deficit of nearly $16.5 billion. Declining mail volume, skyrocketing employee health care and pension benefit costs and an antiquated service delivery model have caused some to wonder if our Postal Service is heading the way of the Pony Express. However the USPS is still a very big business. Even with declining mail volume, its revenue in 2011 was $65.7 billion. Starting the week of Aug. 5, the Postal Service will curtail full scale Saturday mail delivery to every home and business. Parcel/ package delivery will continue on Saturday, post offices with Saturday
Convert pension plan to 401-Ks Cash out the pension accounts of existing workers, and convert those accounts to 401-Ks, putting each employee in charge of his or her future retirement, and capping the cost to taxpayers. Leave existing retiree benefits in place, reconfigure the package for new hires and slowly increase the co-pay of monthly healthcare premiums to a level commensurate with the private sector.
Open postal service product lines Priority mail, express mail and a wide array of parcel and certiGive Postal Service the U.S. Cen- fied mail services remain growing sus business and product lines for the During 2010 our federal govern- post office, despite steep declines ment expended nearly $16 billion in mail volume, supplanted by on the 2010 Census, hiring 400,000 email, texting and the near death temporary workers to canvas and of the hand-written letter. Allow count residents in their homes and the postal service to create and ofcommunities. Excluding Saturdays fer new services, such as certified in the near future, who already visits and secure email, for important and nearly every household and business financial documents and information or a wide array of same day last in our nation every weekday? And who delivers the U.S. Census forms, mile courier services, to compete post cards and reminder forms about with the overnight carriers, but only offered within specific geogracompliance to these same households? Use some common sense phies. Customers will always pay a
premium for a well-offered service, if the service is desired and the delivery is reliable. Weekly publishers and newspapers, who occasionally deliver their weekend publication on Saturday, may feel the biggest pain of this service reduction. Those publications will either shift their schedules, or like the Saturday Evening Post, they may find that their readers have left the building. The Post is now only published six times per year, by a non-profit entity, primarily as a piece of nostalgia. Our postal service and mail carriers are made of hardier stuff, and they should survive and thrive, if Congress gets out of the way and the service is allowed to innovate, modernize and offer more of what consumers want, and less of what they have traditionally always been obligated to provide.
Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@ earthlink.net.
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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, Feb. 15, 2013
Champion of the Week
C.O. Hollis Jr.
year from his work with CSB, CEO/Executive Director Gary Richey acknowledged Hollis’ contributions, saying to him, “Your presence, perspective and wise counsel will be missed by us all.” Another board member added,” I know that the DeKalb Community Service Board and its programs are leading examples of excellence in large part due to the significant contributions you have made during your tenure.” Hollis explained that he became interested in volunteering with CSB after enrolling his son Clarence in one of its program. “When my son Clarence graduated from the Margaret Harris School in the mid ‘90s, I was asked to join the DeKalb Community Service Board. I immediately accepted the invitation because I wanted to become more involved in programs that assist people who have challenges like my son. I was
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
Drivers using bike lanes to be fined
Decatur motorists caught driving in bicycle lanes could face fines up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail. Decatur’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Feb. 4 to adopt an ordinance that restricts vehicles from using marked bicycle lanes. Decatur city manager Peggy Merriss said the city has received complaints from the bicycling community about drivers “pulling into the bike lanes and making it dangerous for bicyclists.” “We’re trying to prevent dangerous conditions for bicyclists,” Merriss said. In a memorandum sent to the city on Jan. 28, Decatur Public Works Assistant City Manager David Junger said the Decatur Police
Department began receiving complaints that drivers were using the bicycle lanes, which were installed on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in the spring of 2012, to pass other vehicles. “[This results] in an unsafe condition, particularly with westbound vehicles using the bicycle lanes and parking stalls to pass other vehicles waiting to make a left turn onto a side street or into a driveway,” Junger said. “Based upon our review of existing state and municipal codes, the road is defined as the area from curb-tocurb regardless of the markings and vehicles passing on the right within the curb to curb area are not a moving vehicle violation.” The minimum fine will be set at $150, which is the same as the existing fine for improper lane usage.
DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) is a community-based behavioral health and developmental disabilities services organization that offers a full range of mental health services, developmental disabilities programs and substance abuse treatment to more than 10,000 area residents annually. As a public, not-for-profit organization, the DeKalb CSB depends on volunteers to help its workforce of more than 500 directcare and support staff carry out its mission. For more than 17 years C.O. Hollis Jr. has been one of those volunteers. As he retires this
impressed with the skill and dedication of the members of the board and the staff,” he said. “I also became familiar with the fiscal challenges and other issues that affect this segment of our population. I remained on the board for 17 years because we were making a positive difference in the lives of our clients, their families and the entire community. I’m proud to have participated in the success of the DCSB and its impact on our community.” In addition to his service on the regular board, Hollis served on the finance committee from its inception—17 years ago. Although he is officially retiring from service on the CSB, Hollis has asked to continue volunteering in other capacities. To which Richey responded, “Your continued involvement with the DeKalb CSB … would certainly be beneficial.”
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at email@example.com or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 104.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
ing to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, children who are read to at home enjoy substantial advantages over children who are not. Book Blast event offerings include a read-aloud session presented by DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson, Elizabeth Nickerson from Northlake-Barbara Loar Library and Gary Moore from Daffodil Pediatrics, set to take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Children are also invited to bring a new or gently used book to the event to be donated to the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library Branch of the DeKalb County Public Library, further fostering the importance of reading within the community. Simon Kidgits Club members will have the opportunity to decorate a library tote and spin the prize wheel for special giveaways. The Simon Kidgits Club is a program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. Since 2003, the Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards and games. For more information about the Simon Kidgits Club, visit http:// www.simon.com/kidgits/. holding a food sale Saturday, Feb. 23, noon-5 p.m. in support of the Virgin Islands All Star Majorettes. St. Paul Lutheran Church is located at 2569 Tilson Road, Decatur. Library to show Driving Miss Daisy As part of its Friday Movies series, Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library will present Driving Miss Daisy, starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, on Friday, Feb. 15, 1:30-3:30 p.m. The 1989 movie is rated PG and runs 99 minutes. Movies in the Friday Movies series are a mix of new releases and old favorites. When available, movies are presented with closed captioning to assist the hearing impaired. Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library is located at 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 679-4404. Writer to discuss slavery-era novel In observance of Black History Month, the Decatur Library is hosting Margaret Wrinkle, a writer from Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Wrinkle is the author of Wash, which the library describes as “a luminous debut novel which takes readers on an unforgettable journey across continents and through time–from the American South to West Africa to the ancestral stories that reside in the soul. Wash is a young man in the Revolutionary War era, the first member of his family born into slavery, who carefully navigates the currents of his difficult position, seeking to understand his place in this turbulent time with the help of a potent healer named Pallas.” Wrinkle also is filmmaker whose award-winning documentary broken\ground, about the racial divide in her hometown has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. The library event is 7:15-9 p.m. Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070.
Bookstore offers course based on The Artist’s Way Charis Books and More has announced a six-week course based on Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way beginning Feb. 20. This is not an art class and no creative background is needed, according to the announcement from Charis. “This course teaches that everyone is creative and we are meant to express this creativity in our daily life. Whole Brain community will provide a safe space and community to find your own inspired creative voice and experience ‘you’ in a whole new way,” the announcement states. The first session is on a Wednesday, but subsequent sessions will be on alternate Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., through April 30. Email Kendra@wholebrainbrands.com to reserve a place in the class and make a non-refundable $50 deposit. Charis Books and More is located at 1189 Euclid Ave., NE, Atlanta. Church to feature guest organist in concert Shallowford Presbyterian Church will hold the inaugural concert of its Allen organ in the chapel Sunday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. The concert will feature guest organist Christopher D. Wallace, who will play classical selections on the new organ. A reception will follow. The community is invited to attend both concert and reception. Admission is free; a free will offering will be taken. Wallace holds a doctor of musical arts from the University of Minnesota. He is president and owner of Allen Organs of the Twin Cities Inc. and is music director/organist at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Edina, Minn. Wallace is an Atlanta native and his parents, Buck and Louise Wallace, live in Decatur. Shallowford Presbyterian Church is located at 2375 Shallowford Road, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 321-1844 or visit www.shallowford.org. Book Blast to come to Northlake Mall Northlake Mall is hosting its free annual Book Blast event Feb. 16 and inviting families to participate and be inspired to read together at home and beyond. The event is part of Simon Malls’ effort to encourage children across the country to develop a love for literature and learning with books. Simon Kidgits Club’s Book Blast is offering an assortment of book-based activities to ultimately help youngsters reap the benefits of reading. Accord-
and characters. • Purim songs with Rabbi Brian Glusman, and a magic show featuring “Howie the Great” at the MJCCA’s Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 11 a.m.-noon. • The book launch of The Purim Superhero by Elizabeth Kushner, the first LGBTinclusive, Jewish children’s book written in English. The program is sponsored by The Rainbow Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and Keshet. Activities and storytelling will be in the Fine Family Gallery. Experts will be available to guide parents on how to talk to their children about the content of the book. The event will be held at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. It is free of charge and open to everyone. For more information, contact Rabbi Glusman at (678) 812-4161, brian. firstname.lastname@example.org.
the event is free, sign-up is requested so that the church will know how much food to provide. To sign up, call (404) 292-5514 or go to www.gracepca.org. Group undertakes intersection improvements The Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID) is working to increase the safety and accessibility at a key Mountain Industrial Boulevard intersection. The CID this month is moving forward with the design of improvements at Mountain Industrial Boulevard’s intersection with East Ponce de Leon Avenue. LAI Engineering has been contracted to prepare design and construction plans, including permitting, for the operational enhancements. Plans call for widening the existing lanes of East Ponce de Leon Avenue to 12 feet on both approaches to Mountain Industrial Boulevard. Additionally, the intersection’s overall radius will be adjusted to better accommodate freight trucks, and area stormwater drainage will be upgraded. The CID has partnered with the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and the county’s roads and drainage department to complete the project. Project funding is partially underwritten by a grant from Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA). Ted Rhinehart, DeKalb’s deputy chief operating officer for infrastructure, said economic development and transportation improvements are among the county’s highest priorities. The CID’s coordination efforts with DeKalb County will greatly increase the scope and magnitude of the planned improvements. “With funding for projects more and more limited, the partnership with the Stone Mountain CID and the SRTA allows us to stretch funds farther, and to ensure that the Stone Mountain industrial and commercial properties can continue to compete, and that the county can continue to find ways to improve our roadways,” Rhinehart said. For many years, the existing intersection configuration has posed a problem for truck movements. The damage to curbs, signage and guardrail at this intersection clearly indicates that trucks have been unable to efficiently travel through this intersection. Permitting for this project will occur with CSX and DeKalb County. The CID anticipates advertising for construction of this project in late fall of 2014.
Professional women’s group to hold mixer The National Association of Professional Women’s Lithonia Chapter is hosting a “Headshot Mixer” Saturday Feb. 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 2621 GA Highway 20 SE, Conyers, in the Parish Hall. Attendees will be able to get a professional headshot for $20, free makeup and hair tips, shop for accessories and jewelry and network with like-minded professional women. For more information, contact Mrs. Dildy at (404) 343.9026 or register http://napwlithonia-feb.eventbrite.com/.
Authors to present book on prayer Decatur’s First Baptist Church is hosting a program that celebrates the tradition of prayer in the Christian community, Yours is the Day, Lord, Yours in the Night: A Morning and Evening Prayer Book, on Thursday, Feb. 28. The presenters are Georgia authors/editors David and Jeanie Gushee. He is a scholar and teacher who serves as distinguished university professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. She is a published poet and teacher who has spent many years collecting and editing prayers from a variety of Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sources. The program, sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, is 7-9 p.m. First Baptist Church Decatur is located at 308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-8450, ext. 2225, or visit georgiacenterforthebook.org or dekalblibrary.org. Fundraiser to help majorettes St. Paul Lutheran Church is
Church hosting free dinner and movie Grace Presbyterian Church will be hosting a free dinner and movie Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. The church will be showing Soul Surfer, “the incredible story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds, through determination and faith, to become a champion again,” according to a movie preview. “In the wake of the lifechanging event that took her arm and nearly her life, Bethany’s feisty fortitude and steadfast faith spur her toward an adventurous comeback that turns her loss into a gift for others,” the preview states. The event is open and appropriate for all ages. Although,
Community invited to MJCCA’s PurimPALOOZA The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) invites the entire community to a festive Purim celebration for families—PurimPALOOZA—on Feb. 24, 10 a.m.- noon. PurimPALOOZA highlights include: • Crafts and activities for children at 10 a.m., followed by a Purim costume parade that will take place on the MJCCA’s Main Street, featuring visits from special mascots
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
DeKalb judges request salary increase
Augusta circuit. The state’s legislature has to approve the salary increases for judges. According to Adams, all Superior Court judges in Georgia currently receive a base pay of $120,000 from the state. Counties and municipalities are free to supplement that amount to increase the judges’ total salary. “What we’re asking for is an adjustment in the county supplement,” Adams said. “It is a salary adjustment so that we can match what is paid in Augusta.” In the Stone Mountain circuit, which includes DeKalb County judges, the county supplement is currently $49,711, bringing a judges salary in DeKalb to $169,711. With the proposed increase, their salaries would be $184,711. In Augusta, judges currently earn $185,100. Adams said judges’ salaries have not increased since 2008 “as far as the county supplement,” but during that time there has been a decrease in court budget, a 23 percent increase in the caseload (nearly 25,000 cases were filed in 2012), and a “slight” decrease in the number of court employees. The caseload per judge is 2,751 in DeKalb while judges in the Augusta circuit have a caseload of 1,662 but are paid $15,389 more. “I’m not asking for any additional personnel,” Adams said. “That’s not what I’m asking for. I am not asking for an additional judgeship. All I am asking for is a minor adjustment in the salary that is paid to the Superior Court judges.” Adams said it would cost approximately $1 million to add another judge to the circuit because with a judge would come two assistant district attorneys, two public defenders, furniture and computers. “If you look at it that way, I’m saving money by doing it this way,” Adams said. Adams said the proposed salary increase would
See Salary on Page 12A
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams asks members of the county’s legislative delegation to approve a salary increase for DeKalb’s judges. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com DeKalb County’s Superior Court judges want a raise. Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams asked
the county’s legislative delegation to the Georgia General Assembly on Feb. 4 to increase judges’ salaries by $15,000, which would make them the second highest paid judges in the state, behind those in the
Commissioner, solicitor general sponsor food drive
The plight of local food banks has caught the attention of two DeKalb County officials who are sponsoring a food drive to help replenish the shelves at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Commissioner Kathie Gannon and DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston are teaming up to sponsor a food drive that kicks off on Valentine’s Day. “Solicitor General Boston and I are asking all DeKalb employees and citizens to donate food for the hungry,” Gannon said. “I’ve seen the generosity of DeKalb County employees and I know they will help by donating food.” Hunger in Georgia has become a bigger problem since the recession, according to press release by Boston and Gannon. Approximately 17 percent of the households and 28 percent of children in the area served by the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which includes DeKalb, do not always know where their next meal is coming from. Food collection barrels will be in DeKalb County government office buildings, including the Court House and Maloof Center. The food drive will last from Feb. 12-28. Among the most needed items are canned tuna, peanut butter, fruit juices, canned vegetables and paper products. “This time of year after the holidays the pantry shelves at the Atlanta Community Food Bank are looking bare,” Boston said. “No one should have to choose between paying the rent, paying for their prescriptions or paying for food.” Residents and employees are encouraged to bring donations to the following county buildings: Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive; county courthouse, 556 McDonough Street; Clark Harrison Building, 330 West Ponce de Leon; or the Tax Commissioner’s Office, 4380 Memorial Drive.
Their next chapter will be even more exciting.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Moratorium imposed on ethics complaints
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and the city council recently agreed to examine and revise the city’s current ethics ordinance and place a 90-day moratorium on accepting or considering new ethics complaints. Davis said the goal is to amend the ordinance to provide a more orderly and manageable ethics complaint process. “This by no means diminishes our commitment to ethical behavior and practices. It serves as a beneficial opportunity to review alternatives to the current procedure and establish a set of updated guidelines,” Davis said. During the 90-day moratorium, which began Jan.14, city staff and officials are creating a new ethics ordinance for the city council to consider. According to Dunwoody spokesman Bob Mullen, the moratorium approval came after thorough discussion of the deficiencies within the existing ethics ordinance. “The city saw the primary deficiency as being related to the overly complicated and time intensive process for adjudication,” Mullen said. Last year, a lengthy investigation into an ethics dispute cost the city and taxpayers nearly $50,000 and lasted nine months. The investigation found that Councilwoman Adrian Bonser allegedly leaked information from executive council sessions. Bonser later apologized and admitted to leaking the information but said she was unaware she was doing anything wrong. Mullen said the moratorium and call for revisions of the ethics ordinance were not directly related to the investigation last year. However, he did say that “through the recent ethics investigation and hearings the city realized that the current processes were problematic and time consuming.” Ethics complaints submitted during the moratorium will not be accepted by the city clerk nor adjudicated or discussed by the current ethics board. However, once the moratorium is lifted, all ethics claims (including claims occurring during the moratorium) will be heard under a revised ordinance Mullen said residents and interested community members can learn more about the moratorium and proposed revisions of the ethics ordinance by attending the city council’s work session meeting Feb. 11. The city will vote on a new ethics ordinance sometime in the next few months.
From left, Pictured are Dan Hedges, of Specialty Car Company of Stone Mountain, cart owner Matt Miller and Clai Brown, city manager of Avondale Estates. Miller is the owner of the city’s first permitted motorized cart. Photo provided
Avondale Estates welcomes use of motorized carts
A former Peachtree City resident is the first person in Avondale Estates to take advantage of the city’s new motorized cart permit. “I plan to use my motorized cart both for utility– carrying firewood and pine straw around the yard–and also for transportation around town,” said Matt Miller, owner of Avondale Estates’ first permitted motorized cart. In Peachtree City where Miller previously lived, there are thousands of motorized carts in operation. “It’s convenient, relatively inexpensive to operate, and just plain fun to drive,” Miller said. Avondale Estates’ mayor and Board of Commissioners passed the city’s motorized cart ordinance in December 2012 to permit the operation of motorized carts and to outline safety and operational guidelines. Residents can now use motorized carts as alternative and recreational transportation in the city after registering their carts for a one-time registration fee of $10. Drivers of motorized carts must be at least 16 years old and hold a valid state driver’s license. “In passing the motorized cart ordinance in December 2012, our mayor and Board of Commissioners recognized the opportunity to provide the city’s residents with an alternative to driving their cars for short trips to visit the parks, the lake, the swim/tennis club, and local family and friends,” said Clai Brown, the city’s manager. “The wider benefit is that motorized carts, relative to cars, produce less tailpipe emissions and are therefore better for our air quality, reduce parking congestion because of their smaller size, and can be operated safely and cost-effectively for short trips around the city,” he said. Avondale Estates officials recently passed a resolution affirming its commitment to become an Atlanta Regional Commission Lifelong Community. One of the goals of Lifelong Communities is to create places where individuals can live comfortably throughout their lifetimes. Lifelong Communities are greatly enhanced by the availability of a full range of living and transportation options for residents, both young and old, according to a media release from Avondale Estates. Adding motorized carts to Avondale Estates’ transportation choices will help the city and its residents to embrace various transportation alternatives as they redevelop the historic downtown area, and add new businesses, community gathering places and mixeduse development, according to the media release. “We hope the motorized carts are just the beginning,” Brown said. “With redevelopment planning under way, as well as crosswalk upgrades for Avondale Estates, we are striving to create an accessible, connected and engaging city that best serves the needs of our local businesses and residents.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Senate bill would make DeKalb CEO nonpartisan
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com votes are here in the house and senate to look at changing our form of government A bill (SB-95) introduced anytime soon,” Millar said. by Sen. Fran Millar (R-40) “Since we cannot talk about would make the DeKalb doing that, then I felt that County CEO a nonthis gave us an partisan position. opportunity for DeKalb CEO people to at least candidates are be involved in William Miller, who worked in DeKalb for nearly 30 years, is retiring typically Demothe election of the as public safety director. ‘Republicans [are] not crats running in CEO.” a predominantly Commissioner allowed to vote in these Democratic county; Lee May said Republicans make legislators should particular races. By making up approximately focus on changing 30 percent of the the county’s form it nonpartisan, they’ll be After working for DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. population, Millar of government. DeKalb County for 29 “We wish him the very best said. “I’ve been on allowed to vote. I don’t think years, William Miller, the in his retirement.” “By doing this the record as saycounty’s public safety direcAs public safety director, election on a noning I think our that dilutes minorities. What tor will retire Feb. 28. Miller oversaw the police partisan basis, what form of govern“Miller has had a long department, fire rescue serit does is gives ment ought to it does is brings people and commendable 29-year vices, animal services, code [Republicans] a change,” May enforcement, E-911 center, voice,” Millar told said. “That form of career in DeKalb County, together.’ DeKalb Emergency Manthe Georgia Senate government breeds rising through the ranks of the DeKalb Police Departagement Agency, Recorder’s ethics committee conflict.” - Fran Millar Court and medical examFeb. 11. Sen. Bill Jack- ment from a patrolman to his current position,” aciner’s office. Millar said the son (R-24) said, cording to a DeKalb County Before taking over the bill would help “It looks like media statement. public safety position, Mill“bring the county we’re trying to “Mr. Miller has been out- er worked as an assistant together.” baby-sit a situadistrict attorney in DeKalb “It means whoever is “In communities that tion that needs to be handled standing in leading DeKalb County’s public safety efand served 20 years in the elected, which will probably have burgeoning minorback home.” forts, and we appreciate his DeKalb County Police Debe a Democrat, would have ity demographics, there’s a The bill was tabled for service to the county,” said partment. to spend some time in the move afoot to make those study. northern part of the county,” elections in local commuMillar said. “If he’s in a race nities nonpartisan,” Davis and there’s 30 percent of the said. “The reason for that is Request for Bids: people up there, he has to …to dilute the strength of spend some time up there. minority voters.” Rockdale Pipeline is soliciting quotes from any Certified LSBE Dekalb and LSBE MSA for We haven’t seen that in Millar said his legislation ITB No 12‐100334 Waterline Replacement, Groups 2 and 3. Bid date is February 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM quite some time.” would allow more people to Group 2 includes the following roadways: Because DeKalb is the participate in the process. Allgood Road from Redan Rd to Rockbridge, Conyers Street from Lithonia City limits to McDaniel St, only Georgia county with a “It’s not just one particuEastland Rd from Moreland Ave to Bouldercrest Rd, Elam Rd form Rowland Rd to South Hairston Rd CEO form of government, lar group that’ll be voting,” the bill would only affect Millar said. “Republicans and Second Ave from Flat Shoals Rd to Glenwood Rd. DeKalb County. [are] not allowed to vote Group 3 includes the following roadways: Fair Oaks Rd from Oak Grove Rd to LaVista Rd and Second During the Senate ethics in these particular races. Ave from Henry County line to Flat Shoals Parkway. committee meeting, Sen. By making it nonpartisan, Each street is a separate bid. When submitting quote please note which street the quote is for. Hardie Davis (D-22) asked they’ll be allowed to vote. Submit proposals to Rockdale Pipeline, Inc. fax 404‐920‐0082 or fax 404‐483‐2562 Attn: Rick Rearden Millar, “If it only affects I don’t think that dilutes cell 770‐231‐2217 by February 20, 2013 by 2:00 pm. DeKalb, why not handle this minorities. What it does is CONSULTING ROADWORK CONSULTING with local legislation?” brings people together. So HUMAN RESOURCE PUBLIC WORKS CONSULTING HOUSINGROADWORK PUBLIC WORKS CONSULTING Davis said measures that it’s not a Black-White situROADWORK ROADWORK HUMAN RESOURCE ROADWORK ROADWORK CONSULTING only affect one county are ation.” SERVICE PUBLIC WORKS HOUSINGROADWORK PUBLIC WORKS CONSULTING ROADWORK usually handled through the Millar said he sponsored HUMAN RESOURCE HOUSING ROADWORK ROADWORK CONSULTING HOUSING PUBLIC WORKS SERVICE PUBLIC WORKS local legislative delegation the bill to take a step at CONSULTING CONSULTING HUMAN RESOURCE HOUSING CONSULTING HOUSING ROADWORK “as opposed to taking local fixing problems with the HOUSING PUBLIC WORKS CONSULTING political fights and bringing county’s form of governCONSULTING HOUSING ROADWORK PUBLIC WORKS I.T. SERVICE WORKS PUBLIC them before the full body.” ment, which has been the SERVICE PUBLIC WORKS CONSULTING Millar said he presented source of “continual battles PUBLIC WORKS I.T. PUBLIC WORKS I.T. ROADWORK SERVICE the legislation as a general between our CEOs [and SERVICE PUBLIC WORKS CONSULTING HOUSING I.T. SERVICE I.T. ROADWORK I.T. bill instead of letting the Board of Commissioners] ROADWORK ROADWORK SERVICE SERVICE PUBLIC WORKS HUMAN RESOURCE HOUSING HOUSING county delegation vote on it ever since we created the HOUSING SERVICE I.T. ROADWORK I.T. ROADWORK ROADWORK partly because of politics. position.” HUMAN RESOURCE HOUSING PUBLIC WORKS HUMAN RESOURCEROADWORK HOUSING “There’s a lot of people “It hasn’t been pretty for ROADWORK HUMAN RESOURCE on the county commission the past 20 years between HUMAN RESOURCEROADWORK I.T. PUBLIC WORKS HOUSING ROADWORK CONSULTING that would like to run for our CEO and commissionHUMAN RESOURCE SERVICE PUBLIC WORKSCONSULTING WORKS I.T. PUBLIC WORKS HOUSING PUBLIC the CEO position,” Millar ers. It’s been divisive to say ROADWORK I.T. CONSULTING PUBLIC WORKS HOUSING PUBLIC WORKS PUBLIC WORKSCONSULTING said. “Some of the people the least,” Millar said. SERVICE PUBLIC WORKS ROADWORK CONSULTING I.T. SERVICE HOUSING I.T. don’t want to get involved “I don’t believe that the PUBLIC WORKS HOUSING PUBLIC WORKS within the delegation. I want to give some people some cover.” Davis questioned the motive for making the CEO position nonpartisan.
County’s public safety director retiring
FinAncing Government ContrActs I.T. I.T. Since 1993
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
“financial viability study shall be conducted on the proposed municipality and…on the proposed plan for the remaining unincorrated area of the county, if applicable, and the amount of taxes necessary to sustain the appropriate levels of services required by the municipality to meet the needs of its inhabitants,” according to the legislation. Planners must also consider the city’s financial impact on the county and any adjacent cities in the county. Planners must provide a comparison of the estimated costs of police, fire, and sanitation services in the proposed city, the county and adjacent existing municipalities in the county “before and after the proposed incorporation of the new municipality,” according to the proposed legislation. The legislation would prohibit the creation of islands of unincorporated areas by the new city. The bill would also re-
Proposed bill gives counties more power during incorporations
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org A bill in the Georgia General Assembly would require planners of potential new cities to consider the impact of their incorporation on the rest of the county. House Bill 22, sponsored by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-82) and cosponsored by Rep. Michele Henson (D-86), would “provide certain requirements and standards for the incorporation of new” cities, according to the bill. “New cities are coming to DeKalb County and I’m not happy with the current process we have. I think we need to have a more comprehensive planning process for DeKalb,” Oliver said. “The purpose of [HB22] is to have more of a comprehensive financial planning and governance discussion about how many cities we want. “It would be better, hypothetically, if we’re going quire the General Assembly “to determine the existence of less disruptive and less costly alternatives to the incorporation of a new municipality to meet the needs of the persons located in the area of the proposed new municipality,” including overlay zoning districts, special land use districts and special tax districts. “It creates a new financial and evaluation obligation,” Oliver said of her proposed bill. “It says it has to take two years to become a city, which is a current committee rule but not state law. It says you’ve got to have a map that is one map; you can’t change the map. It’s got a lot of process rules that make sure we know exactly what we’re going on and what the costs will be.”
‘New cities are coming to DeKalb County and I’m not happy with the current process we have.’
- Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver
to have new cities for them all to happen at once, rather than one at a time, because the piecemeal approach to just grabbing your highestdollar valued tax base and putting it in your city is not good for anybody,” Oliver said. According to the bill, a porated area of the county,” if the proposed city is in a county where more than 25 percent of the population resides in incorporated cities. The study must include “the economic viability of the proposed municipality and the proposed plan for the remaining unincorpo-
Three DeKalb cities are among nine communities selected by the Atlanta Regional Commission to receive Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grants. These grants help communities create new plans for quality growth and develop innovative policies that support more vibrant, connected communities. Avondale Estates was awarded $64,000 to complete an update of its downtown master plan. “The city’s current master plan was adopted in 2004 and is now considerably out-ofdate as market information has changed over the past nine years, new areas have been annexed by the City, and US 278 (East College Avenue/North Avondale Road/ North Avondale Plaza) was not sufficiently addressed in the original plan,” said Keri Stevens, Avondale Estates’ city planner. “By updating the master plan through our LCI grant, we’ll have an opportunity to incorporate city priorities, which include revitalizing the downtown commercial core by restoring its visual appeal, and establishing a mix of land uses that engage our residents as well as visitors from the metro area,” Stevens said. Avondale Estates will address multiple issues through
Three DeKalb cities review grants
the plan update, including land use, transportation and public transit, road networks, mobility and connectivity, changing market needs and demographics, and the role of public and private investment. A series of stakeholder and public meetings will accompany the planning effort. Once the downtown master plan is complete, the Avondale Estates expects to seek additional grant funding to implement new elements of the plan. The updated plan is also expected to serve as a tool to attract new developers and businesses to the area. Clai Brown, city manager for Avondale Estates, said, “We are looking forward to working with city residents to envision and then create an even more wonderful Avondale Estates. Positive changes ahead!” Lithonia was awarded $24,000 to implement a 2003 LCI plan. “This additional funding will allow the city to develop a zoning ordinance that is more compatible with the community’s vision for development. We truly want Lithonia to be a live, work, and play community that attracts a diverse population as well as respects the cultural heritage of the community,” said Lithonia Mayor DeboSee Grants on Page 14A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Another new DeKalb city being considered
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com gathering data.” “After years of being 50,000 citizens without a Another group of DeKalb voice, we are excited about residents are contemplating the prospect of examining the formation of a new city. a form a government that The residents have is both closer and more formed Lakeside City Alliresponsive to the people ance, a nonprofit group cre- it represents,” Woodworth ated to study the possibility said. and feasibility of establishWoodworth said the ing a new city in northern community is currently DeKalb County. represented by three county The alliance released a commissioners “who” don’t draft map of the proposed live in our community.” parameters of the new city, A city government would which would be bounded by allow people who live in the I-85 to the west, Clairmont community to make “better Road to the south, Chamdecisions” about the comblee-Tucker Road to the east munity, Woodworth said. and Pleasantdale Road to “The county has done a the north. great job,” said Woodworth, Included in the borders who has lived in DeKalb for of the proposed city of 27 years. “It was at one time Lakeside, would be Lakevery well managed. There side High School, Mercer is concern that, moving forUniversity, Northlake Mall, ward, services will decline. UPS-Pleasantdale, Emory “It’s more of a concern University Orthopaedics & for the future,” Woodworth Spine Hospital, Federal Bu- said about the cityhood reau of Investigation, half of talks. “I’m not real confiSpaghetti Junction and part dent in DeKalb County govof Tucker. ernment.” The boundaries are Major concerns of the roughly the Lakeside High Lakeside City Alliance are School attendance zone public safety, parks and recand contain “a good mix of reation, and zoning. commercial and residenWoodworth was quick tial areas,” said Mary Kay to say that the alliance’s Woodworth, chairwoman concerns about public safety of the alliance. are “no reflection on the The proposed city would DeKalb County Police Dealso have the “right mix of partment.” demographics,” she said. “We think there are not “We don’t want this to be a enough officers per person racial issue.” in the area,” Woodworth Lakeside City Alliance said. is composed of a group of As for parks, Woodworth neighbors in north DeKalb said there are several parks County who have been in the boundary of the protalking for years about city- posed city, but they are “unhood, Woodworth said. derutilized.” When asked They represent a community whose fault that is, she said, of people who shop together “If the government owns the and send their children to parks, it’s the government’s the same schools. fault.” “This is not an advocacy Woodworth said that if group,” said Woodworth, the city of Lakeside does who is the executive direcnot become a reality, things tor at Georgia Urban Agwill be status quo. riculture Council. “We are “We would be disapA B
A Spaghetti Junction B UPS-Pleasantdale C Mercer University D Federal Bureau of Investigation E Lakeside High School F Northlake Mall G Emory University Orthopedics & Spine Hospital
Proposed City of Lakeside
Map of the proposed city of Lakeside
pointed if there was not support and it was determined not to be economically feasible,” Woodworth said. “We think it’s a good possibility. “We are all DeKalb County residents who have all lived in the county for many years,” Woodworth
said. “We just felt that the time is right to move this forward.” The Lakeside City Alliance is the second group that has announced its interest in forming a city. Residents in the Druid Hills, Sagamore Hills and North Briarcliff communities–near
Shallowford and Briarcliff roads–have held meetings recently to discuss the possibility of creating a north central DeKalb city. The city would include areas north of Decatur, east of highway I-85 and west of I-285.
Salary Continued From Page 8A
become effective January 2014. Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-84) told Adams, “I certainly think you guys do a commendable job. I know the caseload is very heavy. My concern is with the county budget.” “All I can do is make the request through the delegation,” Adams said. “I can’t stand in front of you and tell you where the money will come from.” The county adjustment is paid from the county’s budget and the impact for DeKalb’s budget would be approximately $538,000 per year, Adams said. Of that amount, $150,000 would be divided among the circuit’s 10 judges, while the other $338,000 would be divided among members of the so-called “train” of other employees who automatically get an increase when the judges do, in accordance with state law. The are 49 individuals on the “train,” including seven state court judges, juvenile court judges, probate judges, the district attorney, solicitor general and chief magistrate. Rep. Mike Jacobs (D-80) said, “There should be some parity among the four counties in metro Atlanta.” Salary supplements for other metro areas include $41,932 for Atlanta, $48,211 for Gwinnett County and $58,711 for Cobb County.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Dunwoody moves forward with trail construction
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Dunwoody officials said the city will move forward with construction of phase one of the Brook Run Park multi-use trail after a DeKalb County Superior Court judge lifted a restraining order that had blocked the project. On Feb. 4, Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie lifted an injunction she placed on the project Dec. 13, a few days before city crews were scheduled to clear trees to make room for the 12-foot-wide and 3.3mile long concrete trail. Nearby homeowners filed a restraining order, saying water runoff from the trail would threaten their property. Friends of Brook Run Dunwoody have started a petition online to stop the construction. So far, they have gathered more than 600. The trail is designed as a recreational facility to promote connectivity between city parks, neighborhoods, and area businesses. Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis said he is confident the trail will be used by many residents. “The trail construction is in line with our parks master plan and speaks to the community’s vision for connectivity and the importance of providing walking, jogging, strolling and biking connections between our neighborhoods, parks, schools and commercial areas,” he said. The city anticipates on-site work to begin this month. Brook Run Park is the largest park in Dunwoody with a total of 102 acres. There are an estimated 60 acres of wooded space and 12,000 trees. The preconstruction trail assessment determined phase one of the multi-use trail would only affect approximately 2 percent of the trees in the park. Several trail updates and improvements were established as a result of the final trail walk through. The city’s arborist and engineering team identified 84 trees that will not be removed and no trees larger than 25 inches in diameter will be removed. They also determined that 50 percent of the trail will follow the general path of the existing asphalt trail, verified compliances with the American with Disabilities Act, and established trail designs to meet industry trail sharing and safety guidelines. Phase one is three-quarters of a mile long and will be part of a larger 3.3-mile long trail.
The city of Dunwoody will move forward with construction of phase one of the Brook Run Park 12-footwide and 3.3-mile long concrete trail.
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
Sunny High: 58 Low: 38 Sunny High: 57 Low: 35 Scat'd Rain High: 41 Low: 25 Sunny High: 44 Low: 28 Sunny High: 56 Low: 34 Mostly Sunny High: 53 Low: 35
Feb. 14, 2013
Today’s Regional Map
Dunwoody 56/37 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 57/38 57/38 57/38 Decatur Snellville 58/38 58/38 Atlanta 58/38 Lithonia College Park 59/38 59/38 Morrow 59/38 Union City 59/38 Hampton 60/39
Detailed Local Forecast
Today we will see sunny skies with a high temperature of 58º, humidity of 47%. West wind 5 to 10 mph. The record high temperature for today is 77º set in 1949. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 38º. The record low for tonight is 14º set in 1971. Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 60 32 54/35 0.00" Wednesday 68 38 55/35 0.00" Thursday 50 43 55/35 0.31" Friday 53 37 55/35 0.03" Saturday 62 30 55/35 0.00" Sunday 60 44 56/35 1.21" Monday 58 48 56/36 0.68" Rainfall. . . . . . . . 2.23" Average temp . . 48.8 Normal rainfall. . 1.13" Average normal 45.1 Departure . . . . . +1.10" Departure . . . . . +3.7 Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:22 a.m. 7:21 a.m. 7:20 a.m. 7:19 a.m. 7:18 a.m. 7:17 a.m. 7:16 a.m.
Feb. 14, 1988 - Strong northerly winds ushered arctic air into the north central United States. Snow and high winds created blizzard conditions in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Winds gusted to 56 mph at Rapid City, S.D. and reached 65 mph at Cody, Wyo. Feb. 15, 1982 - An intense cyclone off the Atlantic Coast capsized a drilling rig, killing 84 people. The storm also sank a Soviet freighter, resulting in 33 more deaths. The cyclone produced 80 mph winds that whipped the water into waves 50 feet high.
Last Week's Local Almanac
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Sunset 6:21 p.m. 6:22 p.m. 6:23 p.m. 6:24 p.m. 6:25 p.m. 6:26 p.m. 6:26 p.m.
First 2/17 Full 2/25
Partly Cloudy High: 54 Low: 32
Moonrise Moonset 9:40 a.m. 11:06 p.m. 10:16 a.m. Next Day 10:54 a.m. 12:03 a.m. 11:34 a.m. 12:57 a.m. 12:18 p.m. 1:50 a.m. 1:05 p.m. 2:40 a.m. 1:55 p.m. 3:28 a.m.
Last 3/4 New 3/11 Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 8:11 a.m. 7:46 p.m. 6:57 a.m. 5:28 p.m. 8:06 a.m. 7:24 p.m. 12:15 p.m. 2:21 a.m. 12:12 a.m. 11:05 a.m. 9:14 a.m. 9:28 p.m.
Local UV Index
0 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+
National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated rain and snow today and Friday, scattered rain and snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 54º in Germantown, Md. The Southeast will experience isolated showers today and Friday, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in Tamiami, Fla. In the Northwest, there will be isolated rain and snow today, mostly clear skies Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 62º in Medford, Ore. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 77º in Phoenix, Ariz.
Does weather arthritis? affect
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Mercury's Week
Copernicus, the Polish astronomer who hypothesized that the Earth revolved around the sun, was said to have lamented on his deathbed (1543) that he had never seen Mercury. Copernicus lived at a latitude similar to northern Maine, and it was difficult for him to see the most elusive of the classical planets. Mercury always hugged the horizon, even in the best of times. I was an adult before I first glimpsed Mercury, but since then I have observed the Messenger God perhaps a 100 times and imaged it on dozens of evenings. I have, however, only seen Mercury twice through a telescope. This week is definitely Mercury’s time. Through Feb. 20, Mercury hovers about 10 degrees above the WSW horizon, 30 minutes after sundown. That is a fist held at arm’s length above a true horizon. Use binoculars to spot Mercury initially, since there will be plenty of light from a recently set sun. On Monday, look for a razor thin waxing crescent moon about a fist and a half (14 degrees) above the WSW horizon and about five degrees higher and to the right of Mercury. Binoculars should be able to capture the pair in the same field of view. As it gets darker, note the earthshine on the unlit portion of the moon, light from a nearly full Earth reflected back to us from Luna. The clearer the sky, the more conspicuous the earthshine will become. One hour after sunset, the moon will still be nearly 10 degrees high with its ashen light (from Earth) easy to perceive with the unaided eye and absolutely spectacular through binoculars. As it gets darker, turn your attention to the NE where a very familiar star pattern is rising, the Big Dipper. It is not a constellation, because it is only famous as a “dipper” to Americans. Its bowl will be ascending into the night sky followed by its handle, the last star, Alkaid, not quite visible. By 9 p.m. the Dipper stands prominently, mid-sky, in the NE, a beacon to the approaching spring. www.astronomy.org
Answer: Science has not proven this, but many people with arthritis swear it is true.
UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High, 11+: Extreme Exposure
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
DCSD prepares to close, repurpose schools
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has announced that it will close 12 schools over the next five years in accordance with a facilities master plan. According to a recent press release from the district, the schools will be phased out under the 2011 10-year master facility plan. “These schools will be replaced by the construction of new facilities and we will be repurposing existing facilities,” according to the statement. The 12 schools being closed or phased out over the next five years are Austin Elementary, Avondale High School, Clifton Elementary, DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts at Terry Mill, Fernbank Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Midway Elementary, Ronald McNair Middle, Pleasantdale Elementary, Rockbridge Elementary, Smoke Rise Elementary and Wadsworth Elementary. A public hearing notice published in The Champion said students will be moved from their school while construction projects are taking placed then returned to their school when construction is complete. The construction projects will take place from 2013-18. Fernbank Elementary is the first facility slated to be torn down this summer and replaced by a new facility. While construction is under way, DCSD planning director Dan Drake said, students enrolled at Fernbank will be housed in the Avondale Middle School facility. Also being rebuilt are Peachtree and Gresham Park elementary schools, which were closed during the last redistricting plan. Drake said it was always the district’s intention to reuse those facilities in the future. Although officials have stated the phasing out and repurposing of the 12 schools is not a redistricting plan, only six of the schools on the list will be torn down and replaced by new facilities that students will return to. The remaining schools will be “declared surplus and possible reused or disposed,” according to the notice. The schools that won’t be replaced are Avondale High School, Clifton Elementary, DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts at Terry Mill Meadowview Elementary, Midway Elementary and Wadsworth Elementary. Students who attend those schools will be sent elsewhere. Several schools closed under past redistricting plans have since been repurposed and now house charter schools such as the Forrest Hills Elementary facility that now houses The Museum School; and the Medlock Elementary School facility, which now houses the International Community School. “If we don’t sell it, ultimately we want somebody in those buildings,” Drake said. District officials said that any attendance line adjustments will be discussed the year prior to the school in question being phased out. The district will hold public hearings about the proposed list of schools Feb. 19 and 26, from 6:30-8 p.m. at its DCSD Administrative and Industrial Complex in Stone Mountain.
Citizen Police Academy seeking applicants
The DeKalb County Police Department is seeking applicants to fill its April 2013 Citizen Police Academy. The Academy is a free 10-week course. Participants will meet one night a week for two-hour sessions. During the sessions, personnel from various police department units including uniform, criminal investigations and special operations divisions will teach participants about the complexities and operational structure of their respective units. The goal of the Citizen Police Academy is to provide participants with an insider’s view of law enforcement to assist in building and nurturing stronger relationships between the community and the county police force. Participants in the academy must be at least 21 years old, live or work in DeKalb County, have no prior felony convictions, consent to a background check and to participating in two ride-alongs with an uniformed officer. The deadline to submit applications is March 15. Applications are available at each police precinct or may be requested by emailing officer Jefferson at gkJeffer@dekalbcountyga.gov.
Sanitation service public outreach meetings set
The DeKalb County Department of Sanitation has added a public meeting to discuss the future of garbage pickup in the county. Residents are invited to share their concerns about potential changes to garbage collection at the upcoming meeting listed below: The meeting will be Monday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur. It will be hosted by Commissioner Stan Watson. The county is seeking input from residents on whether the current garbage collection schedule should be reduced to one day per week or maintained at twice per week. If DeKalb County maintains its current schedule of twice per week, the sanitation fee would increase from $265 to $305 per year. The fee is included on property owners’ annual property tax bill; however, it is not a part of the tax funds budget. DeKalb County has not increased sanitation fees since 2006. The fee adjustment would cover the increase in fuel costs and operating expenses for sanitation trucks. Expenses are expected to outpace revenues in 2013, thus necessitating a decision on whether to pick up fewer times or
charge more for the service. The CEO and the Board of Commissioners will receive the results of public input in February. For more information, visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov/publicwrks/ sanitationGarbage/index.html or call (404) 3713689.
Commissioner hosts third annual Soul of DeKalb
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson will present the third annual “Soul of DeKalbReflections of our Progress” discussion. The event will feature a series of panel guests sharing their insights and perspectives for solutions to critical quality of life issues that impact DeKalb County residents. Topics to be covered this year include education, economic development, community lobbying and involvement and health care. The event will be held at Southwest DeKalb High School, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Southwest DeKalb High School is located at 2863 Kelley Chapel Road, Decatur.
Grants Continued From Page 11A
rah A. Jackson said. Since its inception in 1999, LCI has assisted 111 communities with more than $154 million in planning and implementation grants to devise strategies that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by better connecting homes, shops and offices. The LCI program, funded with federal transportation dollars, provides grants which cover 80 percent of the study, with the recipient making a 20 percent match. “Communities are eager to revitalize their town centers and underutilized properties to create places that foster a vibrant neighborhood feel and environment,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “LCI grants have helped communities re-imagine what they can be, and then helped them make those plans a reality.” Chamblee also received $80,000 in supplemental study funds for a 10-year major plan update.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
School Continued From Page 1A
“The board and Dr. Atkinson each determined and believe that it is in the best interest of all concerned that there be a mutual separation and they wish each other well in all their future endeavors,” Govus said. According to the separation agreement, Atkinson will no longer be employed by the district “Feb. 8, 2013, as of midnight.” Atkinson will receive $114,600 in severance pay in monthly installments of $22,900 until June 2013. Atkinson also agreed to cooperate with the board, its attorneys and staff members in any pending administrative issues or litigation, as well as future issues in which she may be involved. Additionally, the agreement states that Atkinson and the board parted “amicably.” Four board members opposed the separation agreement with Atkinson. Board members Nancy Jester and Pamela Speaks were the only two board members who did not vote in favor of Thurmond. Jester said she doesn’t support a separation agreement nor the appointment of Thurmond because the deal was done too quickly and that state board and AdvancEd should have been notified and brought in to help the district determine the next best step. Shawn Keefe, co-founder of the Ashford Park School Education Foundation, said Atkinson’s departure is a “small step in the right direction.” “Atkinson has proven that she was not the right choice back in 2011,” said Keefe, adding that “the overall culture of DCSD is what needs to be radically changed.” “That cannot happen until Gov. Nathan Deal dissolves the current DeKalb County Board of Education,” Keefe said. DeKalb County “desperately” needs a superintendent and board that will work jointly and transparently to make the students and taxpayers their top priority, Keefe said. “Our schools are the backbones of our communities and we need make them strong again.” Deal stated in a recent interview with WABE that it didn’t matter who serves as superintendent—Atkinson or an interim. “It really doesn’t change the dynamics in my opinion because what has gotten them in trouble is the accrediting agency putting them [on] a probationary status. That is the point that triggers the state statute that requires the state school board to review the actions of the school system itself,” Deal said. The DeKalb board is required to go before the state board again Feb. 21, to show it has made significant improvement on the required actions called for by AdvancED. At that point, state board members will decided whether to make a recommendation to Deal to dissolve the current DeKalb County School Board and replace it with appointed members. “I don’t think replacing the school superintendent will change the dynamics of that particular process now,” Deal said. Mark Elgart, president of AdvancED, said if the district does not make significant improvement on the action items listed that loss of accreditation is “imminent.” President of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, David Schutten, said the lack of transparency and integrity of the current DeKalb school board is endangering the future of the entire school district. Schutten said many people have questioned the appointment of Thurmond because he has a long-term relationship with board chairman Walker. “I cannot fathom or believe Michael Thurmond would sacrifice the significant political capital and influence he has built up over the last two decades to protect and reinstate the nepotism and ‘friends and family network’ that ruled DeKalb for so many years,” Schutten said. Additionally, Schutten called for the resignations of both Walker and board member Sarah CopelinWoods, accusing them of “dozing off” during the last state board meeting. In a statement, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said he is “deeply concerned about the recent events involving the DeKalb County School District.” “Given the critical role the school system plays in preparing our children to succeed in a 21st century global economy, as well as in supporting community revitalization, public health, and our overall quality of life, I am compelled to act on this urgent matter,” Ellis stated. Ellis said he plans to “convene a meeting of academic, business, community, and political leaders to fully discern what actions the school board is taking to remedy the issues articulated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council (SACS) and the Georgia State Board of Education. “We will also explore how best to assist in the process,” Ellis said. Clarkston Mayor Emanuel Ransom described Atkinson’s departure as a “tragic loss.” “She upgraded education and teaching. Now, all of a sudden she’s gone. I’m sad to see her go,” Ransom said. Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson said she is concerned with the timing of Atkinson’s departure with the second meeting in front of the state board looming in the near future. “The school board needs to come together to address the issues that have been identified…so that the county doesn’t lose its accreditation,” Jackson said. “Whoever comes next…really will have their work cut out for them,” Jackson said.
The Devereuxs married on July 9, 1983, after six months of dating. They said trust is an important factor in a marriage.
Love Continued From Page 1A
special occasion for the couple. “He got me a box of candy and some pretty roses,” Dorothy said. “I like the colors yellow and red so he brought me yellow and red roses. We also went out to eat at Pascal’s [restaurant].” Because of financial concerns and Dorothy using a walker to get around, they plan to stay home for Valentine’s Day this year and enjoy each other’s company. “I’ll probably get her some candy and roses,” Willie said. The one thing Willie said he loves most about Dorothy is her selfless spirit. “She likes to do things for people,” he said. “She does everything she can for me and I like that.” Dorothy couldn’t decide on what she loves most about Willie. “He is kind, he’s loving, he’s truthful, he’s respectful and I love him,” she said. The one thing the two said that keeps a loving marriage going strong is trust. “You got to learn to trust each other,” Willie said. “You can’t be jealous and want to know this or that. I learned that from the first [marriage] and it didn’t work. You have to trust each other and try to be true to each other.” “You have to have faith in each other,” Dorothy said. “Trust each other, love each other and do what you know is right by each other.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Counselor helps students cope with grief
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Chamblee Middle School counselor Robert Rice said after a crisis, it is important to be clear and factual with students— especially younger ones— so they don’t come up with their own ideas about a tragedy. “The aftermath or stages of grief, they’re not linear, and at any point something could trigger that sadness or grief,” Rice said. Rice said helping students cope during the aftermath of a crisis or with the loss of a loved one varies depending on the age of the child. At the elementary level, Rice said he will have students draw for him and talk about what they drew—he said that children will draw emotions they cannot express in words. At Price Elementary in Atlanta Jan. 31, a student allegedly shot a student he reportedly had an ongoing dispute with. The shooter was apprehended and the victim received minor injuries, but Rice said an experience such as this can be traumatic for some students. Counselors and school staff are trained on how to deal with a crisis situation. Rice said there is a process school staff members go through during and after an incident to maintain order and reinforce the fact that students are in a safe place. “Many of the things that we do for a crisis we’ve practiced before,” Rice said. “Occasionally there will be children that are very upset about things that may occur and we try to get them out of the general population.” Rice said in some situations, counselors focus on addressing the needs of students who are most affected by the incident. He said it’s sometimes best to isolate children who are extremely upset rather than have them around other students. “We do grief groups with students who haven’t they are real feelings,” Rice said. In the case of the loss of a relative, Rice said that even if a child feels very connected to that person their parents usually send them to school. “What happens to the child very often is that they go through those stages of grief at school,” Rice said. Rice said students can process their emotions in a range of different ways: acting out in class, rage or anger, negative behavior, or becoming quiet or disconnected. It’s important that school administrators and teachers communicate with the child or the parents, Rice said, so they can understand what they are is going through. “If an administrator doesn’t know what is happening they will misinterpret what’s going on with children,” Rice said. “When the parent is able to communicate what’s going on with us it makes it so much easier.’ Rice said his job is to help students express their emotions and talk about what they are feeling. Additionally, he said it is helpful for the student to talk about the person they lost to make those feelings more concrete. “What I do with the child is identify the pleasant times they had with their lost loved one so we can get them to see the good that person was able to bring into their life,” Rice said. If the child comes to speak to Rice, he makes sure to notify his or her parents and teachers. Occasionally, a student’s parents will contact Rice and ask him to work with their child. Rice said he and his colleagues try to maintain an environment where students feel comfortable enough to approach them if something is wrong. “We make ourselves as visible as we can so students can see us as someone to talk to. We want to give them tools for how they can get over something,” Rice said.
A woman comforts a child after after a shooting at an Price Middle School in Atlanta Jan. 31. A 14-year-old boy was wounded outside the school by a fellow student. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
come to the point where they’re accepting it,” Rice said. “I’m not sure we ever resolve things completely but we can get to the point where we accept the loss.” Rice said there is often
a tendency to move on and get things back to normal as quickly as possible after an incident. However, he said students who have been through a traumatic experience need time to
process their emotions. “We have a tendency to try to let people think that the things they’re feeling are just temporary and not real, but it’s important for us to let them know that
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
sion of Thurmond’s tenure as interim superintendent is warranted, both he and the board will renegotiate on or before Aug. 1, 2013. Additionally, the contract states that Thurmond will be responsible for acting as a liaison for the school district and Georgia School Superintendent John Barge, and between the district and the community. Thurmond is also expected to form “a program of public relations and creating and maintaining a wholesome and cooperative working relationship between the schools and the community.” Thurmond’s contract also gives him the authority to:
Thurmond begins tenure as interim superintendent
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond was hired Feb. 8 to serve as interim superintendent of the DeKalb County School District. School officials stated that Thurmond has been credited with transforming two state agencies, first as the director of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services and then as a commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor. “Our school district is facing significant challenges, and we need a leader with a strong record of making fundamental changes in large, complex organizations,” board Chairman Eugene Walker said. For his duties as interim superintendent, Thurmond will receive an annual salary of $275,000. Thurmond’s contract also states that he will be entitled to the district’s standard benefits package and allowed $2,600 for monthly expenses. The board may terminate Thurmond’s contract at its convenience by giving him at least 30 days’ written notice; Thurmond is required to give the board 60 days’ written notice if he chooses to leave the district. Thurmond said he welcome the opportunity to serve the approximately 99,000 students in the district and by coming together as a community there is “no • Have charge of the administration of the district under the policy direction of the board. • Implement all policies of the board, the State Board of Education, and all federal laws relevant to the operation of the district. • Suggest policies, procedures and rules for the ordering of the district. • Recommend all employees for employment, assignment, and termination by the board, and supervise, direct and control all employees of the board. • Assume responsibility for the overall planning of the district and for the preparation of the annual budget.
limit to what we will accomplish for our schoolchildren.” According to Thurmond’s contract, his term of employment began Feb. 9 and will run through Feb. 9, 2014. The employment contract states that if an exten-
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE FOR PHASING OUT OF INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITIES
Public Hearings, 6:30 – 8:00 PM at: February 19, 2013 at AIC Auditorium 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd Stone Mountain, GA 30083 February 26, 2013 at AIC Auditorium 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd Stone Mountain, GA 30083
In accordance with SPLOST IV and the 2011, ten-year master facility plan*, the DeKalb County School District proposes to phase-out twelve (12) instructional facilities over the next five years: 1) Austin Elementary Facility, 2) Avondale High Facility, 3) Clifton Elementary Facility, 4) DESA/Terry Mill Facility 5) Fernbank Elementary Facility, 6) Meadowview Elementary Facility, 7) Midway Elementary Facility, 8) Ronald McNair Middle Facility, 9) Pleasantdale Elementary Facility, 10) Rockbridge Elementary Facility, 11) Smoke Rise Elementary Facility and 12) Wadsworth Elementary Facility. Students from these schools will return back to their schools after construction as listed in Table 1 and Table 2. The date of phase-out, date of last instruction, and proposed use for each affected building is also listed below in Table 1. In Table 2, please note that Peachcrest ES and Gresham Park ES are two, new, 900-seat schools. It is envisioned that students from Clifton ES and Meadowview ES schools will move into the new Gresham Park ES. Students from Knollwood ES and Midway ES will move into the new Peachcrest ES. Any attendance lines adjustments for any receiving schools and their adjacent schools in order to accommodate the relocated students within each school’s capacity limits will be discussed the year prior to phase out. Fernbank ES is presently scheduled to occupy Avondale MS during the construction period. References: Ten-year Facility Master Plan (http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/vision-2020/master-plan.pdf) Table 1. Instructional Facilities to be Phased-out Instructional Facility Austin Elementary Facility Avondale High Facility Clifton Elementary Facility DESA/Terry Mill Elementary Facility Fernbank Elementary Facility Meadowview Elementary Facility Midway Elementary Facility Ronald McNair Middle Facility Pleasantdale Elementary Facility Rockbridge Elementary Facility Smoke Rise Elementary Facility Wadsworth Elementary Facility Facility Address 5435 Roberts Drive Dunwoody, GA 30338 1192 Clarendon Ave Avondale Estates, GA 30002 3132 Clifton Church Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 797 Fayetteville Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 157 Heaton Park Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 1879 Wee Kirk Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 3318 Midway Rd Decatur, GA 30032 2190 Wallingford Dr. Decatur, GA 30032 3695 Northlake Drive Doraville, GA 30340 445 Halwick Way Stone Mountain, GA 30083 1991 Silver Hill Road Stone Mountain, GA 30087 2084 Green Forrest Dr. Decatur, GA 30032 Date of Last Instruction at Facility and Date of Phase Out June, 2018 June, 2016 June, 2015 June, 2016 June, 2013 Resident Students Transferred and Where All students to attend replacement Austin ES facility All students to attend new Comprehensive Arts Magnet School at Avondale MS facility All students to attend new Gresham Park ES facility All students to attend new Comprehensive Arts Magnet School at Avondale MS facility All students to attend Avondale MS during construction and then return to replacement Fernbank ES facility in Fall 2015 All students to attend new Gresham Park ES facility All students to attend new Peachcrest ES facility Future Use of Facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Torn down and replaced by new facility
June, 2015 June, 2015
Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal
June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2015
All students to attend replacement McNair MS facility All students to attend replacement Pleasantdale ES facility All students to attend replacement Rockbridge ES replacement All students to attend replacement Smoke Rise ES facility All students to be housed at Knollwood ES facility
Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal
Table 2. Receiving Instructional Facility, Proposed Size, Grade Configuration, and Cost Receiving Instructional Facility Arts School at Avondale Middle Facility Austin Elementary Facility McNair Middle Facility Fernbank Elementary Facility Gresham Park Elementary Facility Knollwood Elementary Facility Peachcrest Elementary Facility Pleasantdale Elementary Facility Rockbridge Elementary Facility Smoke Rise Elementary Facility Address 3131 Old Rockbridge Rd 5435 Roberts Dr 2190 Wallingford Dr. 157 Heaton Park Drive NE 1848 Vicki Ln 3039 Santa Monica Dr. 1530 Joy Ln 3695 Northlake Drive 445 Halwick Way 1991 Silver Hill Road Avondale Estates, GA 30002 Dunwoody, GA 30338 Decatur, GA 30032 Atlanta, GA 30307 Atlanta, GA 30316 Decatur, GA 30032 Decatur, GA 30032 Doraville, GA 30340 Stone Mountain, GA 30083 Stone Mountain, GA 30087
Prop. Facility Capacity (Students) 1,100 900 1,200 900 900 650 900 900 900 600
Grade Configuration K-12 PK-5 6-8 PK-5 PK-5 4-6 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5
Expansion, Cost, and Funding Source Add auditorium, $4.0 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 1200 seat school, $34.6 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV No expansion necessary Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 600 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV*
* Cost for 600-seat school pending review.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
AARP Foundation TaxAide provides free tax assistance and preparation
Free tax assistance and preparation for low- and moderate-income taxpayers of all ages, is available from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide through April 15. Those seeking assistance do not need to be members of AARP or retirees to use this service. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, offer help with personal income tax returns at various locations around Georgia. “Tax law can often be confusing. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers can make the process of filling out tax returns easier,” said Helen Lowenthal, district coordinator for much of DeKalb County. Last year, AARP Foundation TaxAide volunteers in the United States helped more than 2 million people file their federal, state and local tax returns. The program is offered at many sites in Georgia including senior centers, libraries and other convenient locations. Below is a list of help sites in DeKalb County. Those seeking help also can call the toll-free number, 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669) or visit the Web site at www.aarp.org/ taxaide during this tax season, to locate a convenient AARP Foundation TaxAide site. Bethesda Cathedral/ Austin Drive Senior Campus 1989 Austin Drive, Decatur Thursday, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Clarkston Library 951 N Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston Monday and Tuesday, noon-4 p.m. Decatur Library 215 Sycamore St., Decatur Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fairfield Baptist Church 6133 Redan Road, Lithonia Tuesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Northlake Library 3772 LaVista Road, Tucker Monday and Thursday 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Stonecrest Library 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Stone Mountain Library 952 Leon St., Stone Mountain Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Toco Hill Library 1282 McConnell Dr., Decatur Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Krystal prepares to move headquarters to Dunwoody
The iconic Krystal sign will soon be going up in Dunwoody. Positioned adjacent to Atlanta’s I-285, the restaurant support center offices will occupy 23,000 square feet in the Lincoln Parkway Building. The company plans to have its research and development center on the building’s first floor, which will include a conference area dedicated to focus groups and product testing. Offices will be located on the building’s sixth floor. With more than 60 restaurants in Atlanta, the new headquarters is not only well positioned to existing markets but to new ones as well, according to Krystal officials. Doug Pendergast, president and CEO of Krystal, said, “Our goal is to have 500 Krystal restaurants within five years. It’s an aggressive plan, but we’re well on the way toward building the foundation. By [re]locating to Dunwoody, we’re closer to an airport that provides easy access to all of our markets and will provide support to our company stores and franchise partners. We are grateful to our investors at Argonne Capital Group for their support.” Layton Grisette, principal of Argonne Capital Group, said, “Our excitement over the Krystal brand is nothing short of contagious. We wanted to make sure that this team had every tool available to them to grow and strengthen the brand. With the new restaurant support center in place, we believe they are well on their way to a very bright future.” Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis echoed those sentiments. “We are proud to welcome Krystal to our thriving city,” he said. “The continued growth of any city rests in its ability to attract companies like Krystal who bring sought after career opportunities and economic growth. We are honored to play a part in their future and for them to be a part of ours.” Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of Georgia Economic Development, noted that Krystal is joining many other widely known brands now making Atlanta their home. “Our state is committed to providing the best possible business environment for companies who are making their headquarters in Georgia. We are proud to welcome Krystal to our business community and we look forward to supporting their success here.” Pendergast said, “Our transition into Atlanta begins this month; however, it will take several months before the relocation is complete. Job one for us is making sure we’re doing all we can to support our stores and franchisees in their efforts. If we’re doing that, and doing it well, then we’ll be able to unpack our boxes for the work ahead.”
From left, Sean Carter, HarborTouch; Bill Grant, Bill Grant Homes; Terry Nall, city councilman; Dorothy Burke, Dunwoody Chamber; Debbie Fuse, executive director, Dunwoody Chamber; Kevin Mahony, Integrated Partners; Dr. Erika Henry, Elite Chiropractic; Glen Fuse, Dunwoody Chamber; Sara Massey, SunTrust Bank; Daniel Mastrodonato, Payroll 1; MJ Thomas, MJ Thomas Realty; Malcolm Battle, regional manager, HarborTouch; Denny Shortal, Dunwoody mayor pro tem, and Gerald White, HarborTouch.
HarborTouch holds ribbon cutting with Dunwoody Chamber
HarborTouch celebrated its new alliance with the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting at the chamber office on Feb. 6. HarborTouch is a national supplier of point of sale systems, credit card processing equipment and other merchant services. Ranked by the Nilson Report as one of the largest payment processors in the United States, HarborTouch currently handles accounts for more than 110,000 merchant locations and processes more than $9 billion annually. Malcolm Battle, HarborTouch regional manager, told those attending the ribbon cutting, “The company will be a partner to grow businesses in the community – from small to large.” City Council Mayor ProTem Denny Shortal welcomed the company on behalf of Dunwoody residents, saying, “It’s a great place to network.” Bill Grant, immediate past chairman of the chamber board, presented Battle with his membership credentials. HarborTouch is also actively involved in the community and philanthropic causes, contributing tens of thousands of dollars to Make-A-Wish Foundation and other charitable causes over the years, according to the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Chamblee linebacker/defensive end Davin Bellamy signs his letter of intent to Georgia as his mother, Bridgett, looks on. Photo by Carla Parker
Signees at Miller Grove. Photo by Travis Hudgons
National Signing Day:
Hundreds of DeKalb football players moving on to the next level
had 19 signees each. Columbia was led by offensive lineman Eric Smith (Virginia), offensive lineman niversity of Georgia football Charles Rutledge (Tennessee Tech) fans and local sports media and defensive lineman Mackendy have been wondering for Cheridor (Georgia State). Smith said weeks whether Chamblee Virginia’s academic reputation played linebacker/defensive end Davin a major role in his decision. Bellamy will stay in state and play for “They have [one of the highest] the Georgia Bulldogs. graduation rates of African Americans Bellamy made a lot of Bulldogs in the nation,” Smith said. “They are fans happy on Feb. 6 after he selected on the rise from a football standpoint. the red Georgia cap over the orange I know they didn’t have too much of a Tennessee cap. Bellamy, along with good season last year but I want to go 121 DeKalb County high school up there and hopefully get to a bowl football players signed on the dotted game or a national championship.” line of the schools of their choice on Stephenson’s class was led by National Signing Day. quarterback Justin Holman (Central Columbia players sign their letters of intent on National Sign Day. Photo by Carla Parker The 2013 DeKalb signing class Florida), defensive back Ali Groves exceeded the century mark for the (South Carolina), defensive lineman fourth consecutive year. The 2010 Khari Alexander (South Illinois) and class had 119 signees, the 2011 class defensive end Jonathan Wynn (South Carolina). had 120 signees and the 2012 class Cedar Grove was next with holds the record for the most signees 12 signees led by quarterbacks with 132. Johnathon McCrary (Vanderbilt), Colleges and prep schools from Joshua Heard (Yale) and defensive 24 states were represented in the end Daletavious McGhee signing class ranging from as far west (Minnesota). as California and as far north as New The Tucker Tigers had 10 who York. signed on the dotted line, including Georgia led all states with quarterback Juwaan Williams 10 colleges/prep schools and 35 (Oregon), offensive lineman Alex athletes staying in state to continue Hayes (Syracuse) and defensive their academic and athletic careers. Solomon Jackson (Buffalo). Kentucky had four colleges with 12 Several players signed with some DeKalb athletes signing while South of the top academic schools such as Carolina had 10 DeKalb athletes Vanderbilt, Yale, Air Force Academy, signing with six schools. Purdue, Syracuse and Virginia. Bellamy, who finished his senior Miller Grove (nine), Southwest season with 38 tackles and two sacks, Southwest DeKalb coach William ‘Buck’ Godfrey, standing, doles out sage advice to students and parents on signing day. Photo by Travis Hudgons DeKalb (eight), Arabia Mountain said one of the reasons he chose to (seven), Chamblee (seven), Lithonia sign with Georgia is to be close to his defensive coordinator Todd] 10, ACC and Big East conferences. (five), Druid Hills (two), McNair mother, Bridgett. Grantham, [Georgia head coach] Martin Luther King Jr. High led (two), and Dunwoody (one) round out “Me and my mom have been close Mark Richt, and coach [Bryan] the county with 21 players signing the current signing class numbers. for 18 years,” he said. “I didn’t want McClendon came in and I really letters of intent. The group includes Chamblee head coach Allen to go too far away from her. Just in formed a bond with them. I went up wide receiver Demarquis PoliteJohnson said he is proud to see his case something happens I’m only 45 there for my official visit after my Bray, defensive end JaCarthy Mack minutes away.” Tennessee visit, and I was sold on and offensive lineman Joshua Outlaw players moving to play at the next level. Bellamy, who was once committed Tennessee for a minute, but when I all signing with the Big 12’s Texas “They put the time in in the to Florida State, said he was looking went on my Georgia visit they really Tech University. Defensive back classroom and the weight room and for a school where he could bond with sold me the program.” Jeremy Tyler will face off against his the coaches. Forty-four DeKalb seniors signed teammates in the coming seasons as he that momentum carried onto the field,” “I couldn’t really form a with Division I programs and will signed with West Virginia, the newest he said. “This is my proudest moment. relationship with the coaches at To be able to put seven students to the be playing some of the toughest member of the Big 12 Conference. Florida State,” he said. “[Georgia next level is outstanding.” competition in the Pac 12, Big 12, Big Stephenson and Columbia by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
Dunwoody’s Steven Camara continues football career after cancer
by Carla Parker email@example.com
ational Signing Day is an exciting day for high school football players around the country. But the day was more exciting for Dunwoody’s Steven Camara because it was a day that almost did not come for him. In May 2008, Camara was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. Four years later, the cancer-free defensive end was sitting between his mother, Sophie Campbell, and younger brother, O’Bryan Conte, as he signed his letter of intent to play college football at Centre College in Danville, Ky. “I’m more excited than any man could be,” he said. Camara was 13 years old when he started feeling pain in his side. After suffering from a fever for three days, he went to a doctor who discovered a cancerous tumor under his lung. After surgery, Camara had to sit out football for three years as he went through chemotherapy treatment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. “[Not playing football] was really hard,” he said. “Whenever I would watch it I would want to be out there with my teammates. I would do whatever I could, even if that meant being on the sidelines.” “I always felt weak or sick all the time,” he said. “But somehow
Dunwoody defensive end and cancer survivor Steven Camara signed his letter of intent to play at Centre College. Photos by Carla Parker
I always found the courage to push myself and find the will to do what I wanted to do.” Camara was determined to get back on the football field. In the 10th grade, he began to work out with the team, but was still not at top strength because of the chemo treatments. “It was a bit of a challenge but I took it head on and didn’t let anything get in my way,” he said. Campbell said her son is the type of person who does not accept the words “you can’t.” “Whenever you tell him ‘you can’t do this,’ he would go out and do it,” she said. In his junior year Camara began feeling better and getting
stronger. In September 2011 he completed his chemo treatments and was clear of the cancer. He was able to play on the junior varsity team and also in one varsity game. As a senior, Camara started in all 10 games and finished as the sixth leading tackler on the team with 30 tackles. He also had a half sack and one tackle for a loss. Dunwoody head coach Jim Showfety said Camara was a very solid player last season and a prime example of perseverance. “When you look at what he has been through the last few years and where he is today, I think it is just a real tribute to his character and his determination,” Showfety said.
“I’m sure he is going to go off to college and do a great job.” Campbell said she still can’t believe how far along her son has come. “He has been through a lot,” she said. “He almost died. God was looking out for him.” Camara, who has a 3.3 GPA, said he chose to attend Centre College because he feels that it is a school where he can fit in. He has high expectations for the upcoming season. “I expect for great things to come out of me and I feel the people around me have high hopes,” he said. “They want to win a ring and if I can contribute to that then that’s what I’ll do.”
Chamblee running back Dazmin Reed (middle) signs his letter of intent to Georgia Military College as his parents look on. Photo by Carla Parker
From left, Miller Grove’s Quandarius Daniels and Courtney Miggins. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Columbia players. Photo by Carla Parker
Southwest DeKalb students and parents on signing day. Photo by Travis Hudgons
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
PO DL WR OL OL TE OL WR DB RB DB QB LB RB WR DE WR RB LB DB OL WR LB DL QB DL RB OL LB DB DB DL WR OL DL OL WR WR DE OL TE DE RB FB DB DE TE DB LB OL LB DB LB DB OL RB LB RB DL WR WR LB DL WR WR LB OL DL LB LB DL DB OL DB WR QB OL DB DL DB LB WR DB WR QB DE LB DE LB DE DB DL DB OL DB DL OL OL WR DE OL LB DB OL DL LB LB FB WR QB DE OL DB WR RB RB OL OL DB OL DL DB LB QB DEKALB COUNTY PLAYERS RECEIVING FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2013 NAME SCHOOL COLLEGE James Hanley Chamblee Air Force Jamir Hannah Cedar Grove Alabama State Xavier Howard Columbia Alabama State Kyle Bailey SW DeKalb Alabama State B.J. Barnes Stephenson Alabama State Edmend Banks Stephenson Alabama State Donald Clark M.L. King Jr. Arizona Western Corey Hunter Tucker Arizona Western Chris Turner M.L. King Jr. Arkansas Baptist Damien Hall Miller Grove Arkansas Baptist Ken Allen Miller Grove Arkansas Baptist Wesley Williams Miller Grove Arkansas Baptist Royal Lee Miller Grove Arkansas Baptist Melvin Staley Arabia Mount Atlanta Sports Acad Bryson Jones Arabia Mount Atlanta Sports Acad Octavius Dunn Columbia Atlanta Sports Acad Keith Flanigan Columbia Atlanta Sports Acad Jaquez Jackson Columbia Atlanta Sports Acad Eric Wooten Stephenson Atlanta Sports Acad Ryan Witherspoon Cedar Grove Benedict Demetrius Pinkett Cedar Grove Benedict Carlos Garrett M.L. King Jr. Benedict Solomon Jackson Tucker Buffalo Justin Holman Stephenson Central Florida Steven Camara Dunwoody Centre College Michael Holloway Arabia Mount Charleston Southern Justin Haymes Stephenson Citric CC Montez Brooks Columbia Clark Atlanta Charles Cullins Columbia Clark Atlanta Meshack Oakman Columbia Clark Atlanta Demba Tamba Columbia Clark Atlanta Cameron White Lithonia Clark Atlanta Cornelius Jones M.L. King Jr. Clark Atlanta Jacob Mitchell Miller Grove Clark Atlanta John Adams Stephenson Clark Atlanta Kazim Aminu Tucker Coffeyville CC Quincy Watford Chamblee Coll of Charleston Willie Paschall McNair Concordia Xavier Davis Lithonia Fayetteville State Desmond Noird Chamblee Florida A&M Davin Bellamy Chamblee Georgia Dezmin Reed Chamblee Georgia Military Marquez Williams Columbia Georgia Prep Sports Robert Brice SW DeKalb Georgia Southern Ryan George Stephenson Georgia Southern Mackendy Cheridor Columbia Georgia State Trenton Hill M.L. King Jr. Georgia State Kight Dallas Stephenson Georgia State Jordan Dunham Stephenson Howard Kwame Bowens Arabia Mount Jackson State Devin Crawford Arabia Mount Jackson State Hector Stanback M.L. King Jr. Jackson State Austin Benton Tucker Jackson State Chazmon Chapman Arabia Mount Johnson C. Smith Spencer Williams M.L. King Jr. Johnson C. Smith Rashad Payne Stephenson Johnson C. Smith Evans Jones Stephenson Johnson C. Smith Ken Kamana Clarkston LaGrange London Weathersby Columbia LaGrange Brian Jagne Columbia LaGrange Harold Peterson Columbia LaGrange Tolunte Anderson Lithonia LaGrange Marcus Valentine Lithonia LaGrange Jairus Reed M.L. King Jr. LaGrange Blair Lampkin Tucker LaGrange Timothy Matthews M.L. King Jr. Lane College Cameron Crawford M.L. King Jr. Lane College Roman Coats SW DeKalb Limestone Daniel Walker Cedar Grove Livingstone Courtney Miggins Miller Grove Louisiana Lafayette Michael Minter McNair Middle Tenn State Quandarius Daniels Miller Grove Miles College Daletavious McGhee Cedar Grove Minnesota Xavier Hopkins Miller Grove Morehead State Monquavious Johnson M.L. King Jr. Morehouse Jaylen Fareed SW DeKalb Morehouse Juwaan Williams Tucker Oregon Devante Blow Columbia Pikeville Chris Campbell Columbia Pikeville Rudolph Campbell Columbia Pikeville Travis Taylor Columbia Pikeville Renard Whyte M.L. King Jr. Post Marquise McAlpin M.L. King Jr. Post Dean Brinkley M.L. King Jr. Post Kamren Mack Chamblee Presbyterian Khari Rosier Chamblee Presbyterian Danny Ezechukwu Arabia Mount Purdue Najee Johnson Druid Hills Reinhardt College David Johnson Lithonia South Carolina Ali Groves Stephenson South Carolina Khari Alexander Stephenson Southern Illinois Kyle Simmons Druid Hills Stetson Alex Hayes Tucker Syracuse Everett Nicholas Cedar Grove Tennessee State Baron Poole SW DeKalb Tennessee State Evan Clay Tucker Tennessee State Charles Rutledge Columbia Tennessee Tech Demarquis Polite-Bray M.L. King Jr. Texas Tech JaCarthy Mack M.L. King Jr. Texas Tech Joshua Outlaw M.L. King Jr. Texas Tech Jyrus Mack Stephenson Tusculum Keith Johnson Cedar Grove Univ of Cumberlands Emmanuel Haynes Cedar Grove Univ of Cumberlands Michael Sutton Cedar Grove Univ of Cumberlands Daniel Wilson M.L. King Jr. Univ of Cumberlands Jalen Beale Walker M.L. King Jr. Univ of Cumberlands James Cromartie Stephenson Univ of Cumerlands Chris Berry Miller Grove Valdosta State Johnathon McCrary Cedar Grove Vanderbilt Jonathan Wynn Stephenson Vanderbilt Eric Smith Columbia Virginia Jalen French SW DeKalb West Georgia Tech Marques Ealey SW DeKalb West Georgia Tech Gerard Owens SW DeKalb West Georgia Tech Dejuan Beck Stephenson West Georgia Tech Trayvon Beck Stephenson West Georgia Tech Ted McGuire Stephenson West Georgia Tech Charles Bush Tucker West Georgia Tech Ian Rigby Tucker West Georgia Tech Emmanuel Bell M.L. King Jr. West Va. Wesleyan Jeremy Tyler M.L. King Jr. West Virginia Tyson Dickson Cedar Grove Western Carolina Joshua Heard Cedar Grove Yale
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org William “Buck” Godfrey has resigned as head football coach of the Southwest DeKalb football team after 30 seasons. Godfrey made the announcement at the Panthers’ award banquet on Feb. 9, according to reports. Godfrey, who has 273 wins under his belt as head coach, won the 1995 Class AAAA Georgia High School Association state championship and 13 region titles. Last season, the Panthers went 7-4, falling to Kell 19-14 in the first round of the playoffs. Godfrey never had a losing record at Southwest DeKalb and missed the postseason just three times. His records is 16th in alltime in wins, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. The Charleston, S.C. native moved to DeKalb County in 1974 and was an English teacher and baseball coach at Gordon High School before be-
Godfrey steps down as Southwest DeKalb head coach
coming the head football coach at Southwest DeKalb in 1983. He was at Towers High School in between, where he first began coaching swimming and led Towers to a second-place finish behind Dunwoody at the DeKalb County swimming and diving championships in 1978. Godfrey became the first Black male teacher and coach at Towers and was the first Black head football coach at Southwest DeKalb. Godfrey was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in June 2010.
Alex Kemenov’s gold leads Chamblee swim team to seventh place at state
Senior Alex Kemenov captured the 100yard breaststroke state title at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center on Feb. 9 to lead the Chamblee Bulldogs to a seventh place finish in the Class AAAAAA state swimming and diving championships. Kemenov swam a time of 57.93 in capturing the gold medal while also taking a fourth place finish in the 50 yard freestyle (21.10). He was also part of the Bulldog 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams that finished third and sixth, respectively. Kemenov teamed with Nicholas Oh, Jordan Jacob and Wesley Cheung in the 200 to swim a time of 1:28.43. Cheung, Oh and Mathew Williams were also part of the sixth-place 400 relay team with Kemenov. Oh picked up 13 points for the Bulldogs with a sixth place finish in the 100-yard freestyle in 48.68 as the Bulldogs totaled 131 points for the meet. Caleb Wickle finished eighth place in the boys’ one-meter diving with a total of 362.00. Tucker sophomore Cash DeLoache picked up a pair of top 10 finishes to lead Tucker to a tie for 17th in the team standings. DeLoache took a pair of fifth place finishes in the 100 yard butterfly (51.18) and the 100 yard backstroke (52.44). Hayes Burdette-Sapp picked up a bronze medal in the 100 yard freestyle in a time of 47.67 to help Lakeside to a tie for 25th in the team standings. The only top-10 finish in the girls’ state meet for DeKalb was eighth in the 400-yard relay by the Lakeside Lady Vikings’ team of Rachel Hu, Lizzy White, Julia Acosta and Anna Ewing. The team swam a time of 3:47.26. Lakeside finished 17th overall with 42 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. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Kelvin Brown, Dunwoody (basketball): The senior forward led the Dunwoody Wildcats in scoring with 17 points in Dunwoody’s 61-55 win over Clarkston in the Region 6-AAAAA tournament on Feb. 9. Brown averaged 11.9 points per game during the regular season. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Katie Hunt, Miller Grove (basketball): The senior guard led the Lady Wolverines with 19 points, six rebounds and eight steals in Miller Grove’s 68-37 win over Arabia Mountain in its final regular season game on Feb. 5. She finished the regular season with 8.4 points per game.
DeMarcus Taylor, Clark Atlanta (baseball): The freshman pitcher from Tucker had six strike outs and zero walks while allowing one run in the six innings in his first college game on Feb. 3. He was 3 for 6 at bat with two sacrifices while scoring two runs in Clark Atlanta’s 10-1 win over St. Augustine University. Marcus Vaughn, LaGrange College (basketball): The senior forward from Columbia went over the 1,000 point mark in his career with eight points in LaGrange’s 87-82 loss on Feb. 2. He became the eighth player to have 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career. La’Quisha Lewis, Clark Atlanta (basketball): The senior center led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 16 points in its 66-60 win over Fort Valley State on Feb. 4.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
School superintendent:‘We need to do what’s right for our children’
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org DeKalb’s newly hired interim school superintendent said he started Feb. 12 under a school bus. He wanted to make sure two a school employees had received a memo he sent to school personnel. “They thought I had lost my mind,” said Mike Thurmond. “You have to open up the lines of communication,” said Thurmond, adding that he will be transparent as superintendent. “I don’t have a magic wand, but I am willing to commit myself to working with all the stakeholders to develop solutions,” Thurmond said. “I can’t tell you what every solution is but I can tell that we are committed 100 percent to finding those solutions.” Thurmond made the comments Feb. 12 when he met with the DeKalb County legislative delegation in Atlanta. “We want to emphasize that we understand that missteps may have been made,” Thurmond said about his strategy when he speaks to the Georgia After serving his third term as labor commissioner, Thurmond made an unsuccessful bid to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. When asked about his lack of educational experience, Thurmond said, “I had no experience working at DFCS. I had never worked for the Department of Labor. The key for a great leader is to know what you don’t know.” Thurmond said that his experience so far with the county’s school board members is that “they are beginning to learn to work together.” “What I’m beginning to see from the board is a real clear vision,” Thurmond said. “We are going to be successful at the end of the day.” Thurmond said his goal is not to protect the school board from AdvancED, the agency that put the district on accreditation probation. “My goal is to do what is right for the children,” Thurmond said. “The school board made it clear that my priorities should be focused toward the children and not toward the board.”
Interim school superintendent Mike Thurmond meets with legislators Feb. 12. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Board of Education Feb. 21. “We want to focus on the future, not on the past. We want to let the state school board know that we are committed, we’re focused, we’re dedicated to doing whatever it takes to … restore full accreditation to the DeKalb school district.” Thurmond said the DeKalb school board has decided that he will be the spokesman when it appears before the state school board to address DeKalb’s accreditation probation. During his year-long role as the interim superintendent of the DeKalb County School
District, Thurmond said, he will focus not on the deficits in the school district, but on the assets. “We have people who are dedicated, who love children, who want to do the right thing,” Thurmond said. “We need to do what’s right for our children.” Thurmond began his public service career in 1986, after being elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County. While in office, he was the only Black legislator elected from a majority White district. After three terms in the leg-
islature, Gov. Zell Miller selected Thurmond to help transition welfare recipients to work. Thurmond created the Work First program, which helped more than 90,000 welfaredependent Georgia families move into the workforce, saving more than $100 million in tax dollars that were reinvested in child care, training and other support services, according to Thurmond’s biographic profile. In 1997, Thurmond became a lecturer at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government; in 1998, he was elected as the state’s labor commissioner.