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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, MARCH 22 , 2013 • VOL. 15, NO. 52 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
New school board members sworn in: See Page 10
From left, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson leads the swearing in ceremony of five of the six new DeKalb school board members: Thaddeus Mayfield, Michael Erwin, David Campbell, Karen Carter and John Coleman. Story on Page 10A. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org
League of volunteers assists the needy IS SHE
The mother of a 5-year-old student at Marbut Elementary School said she was overwhelmed by the help she received from the Chamblee-based Assistance League of Atlanta. “I must say I was reluctant to ask the counselors at Marbut Elementary for help,” the mother stated in a letter to the nonprofit. “I just knew the items being donated would be used items—to my surprise…it was a bag of brand new clothes. “I am moved to tears because my 8-year-old has necessities and wants provided by his father and his mother but my 5-year-old is not so fortunate from his father’s side,” she wrote. “It reflected in his response, the feeling of having new clothes. Thank you, thank you for helping my family.” In 1982, the Assistance League of Atlanta chapter (ALA) was formed by a group of 34 women. In the early years, ALA members sold crafts made by senior citizens at malls and outdoor markets. After 30 years, ALA has grown into an organization with more than 250 member volunteers who logged an estimated total of 180,000 volunteer hours in the past four years. The Atlanta chapter is housed in a 13,000-square-foot facility
WHY IS SHE SO SO HAPPYWHY ?
Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champi completed in August 2000. The volAngeles in the early 1900s and today “It’s just a phenomenal organizashe gets herhas news updates onlinenationwide from the The unteers raised $1.3 Because million in three 26,000 members do-Champion. tion,” said Ingrid Jarvis, president Because she gets her nating news updates online from the The Champion. years to pay for the building. more than 2.6 million volunof the Atlanta chapter. The national Assistance League teer hours and $36 million yearly to www.facebook.com/championnewspaper See Assistance on Page 15A organization was established in Los local communities.
Ingrid Jarvis, president of the Assistance League of Atlanta, shows off the nonprofit’s Attic Treasures Thrift Shop which raises funds to support various needs-based programs. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
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The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
DeKalb Medical foundation awarded $35,000 grant
by Carla Parker email@example.com DeKalb Medical Wellness on Wheels foundation was one of 19 breast cancer programs across Georgia that was awarded a grant from the It’s The Journey Inc., creator of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. The $35,000 grant will fund screening mammograms and breast diagnostic services, including biopsy in low-income areas of DeKalb County and surrounding communities. Wellness on Wheels Executive Director Janet Rizan said the foundation is grateful to It’s the Journey for providing the grant funds so that more women can be screened for breast cancer each year. “It’s the Journey and Wellness on Wheels has partnered for many years in the fight against breast cancer, and we are very happy to continue this partnership to meet our ultimate goal of diagnosing breast cancer in the earlier stages and decreasing mortality,” she said. The 19 recipients included those who provide screening and treatment to underserved communities, educate patients on early detection practices and offer multi-language treatment options. “We work all year for this one night – to present grants to the most deserving breast health and breast cancer programs in the state,” said Kimberly Goff, executive director of It’s The Journey Inc. “We want to ensure that these organizations can continue to provide services from basic clinical exams to hereditary screening and follow-up treatment for breast cancer. We are proud that our funds remain focused on local needs that make a difference in Georgia communities.” Wellness on Wheels has been providing breast cancer screening services to lowincome and medically uninsured clients with sensitivity to language and cultural barriers in DeKalb and surrounding counties for the past 14 years. The foundation provides 100 to 110 mobile digital screening mammograms each month mainly in the Stone Mountain and Doraville areas. People also come from other counties in Georgia. Each person receives a clinical breast exam, self-
City undertakes walkability audit
The City of Avondale Estates completed a daylong walkability workshop and audit of its commercial business district with the help of a national expert, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the Pfizer Foundation, Grantmakers in Aging and AARP. Dan Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, conducted the workshop to support the city’s residents, businesses, staff and elected officials as they plan for the city’s future, “As a nation, we took our eye off the prize, which was to build communities for people, not cars,” Burden said “We explored how to reengage all of Avondale Estates’ best historical features such as sidewalks, trolleys, public transit, bike paths, local businesses and more to create a place of the heart, a place we can love, and a place that makes money.” City Planner Keri Stevens said, “Today we gathered important data about the city’s accessibility needs, challenges and opportunities, incorporating the invaluable input of close to 50 city stakeholders. We now have a blueprint for prioritizing Avondale Estates’ best approaches to creating safe, attractive and enjoyable access to our commercial and recreational amenities.” According to the of audit, 96 percent of residents who responded to a February survey ranked safe, crossable streets as
See Audit on Page 12A
breast exam education and a screening mammogram. It’s The Journey Inc. is a charitable organization that serves Georgia’s breast cancer community by raising money and awareness for screening, early detection and support services through its 2-Day Walk and other events throughout the year. The Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is a 30-mile, two-day walk to raise money and awareness for Georgia breast cancer programs. For 10 years, the 2-Day Walk has generated almost $9 million to fund 188 grants, assisting programs in Georgia that help provide breast cancer screening, awareness, education, diagnosis, treatment, and much more. This year’s walk will be held Oct. 5-6. To register for the 2-Day Walk, visit www.2daywalk.org.
Name: Brooklyn • Adult • Vaccinated & heartworm negative • Spayed • Has a $250 training package at Frogs to Dogs Brooklyn is a gorgeous, fun loving girl looking for someone ready to play! She knows her basic commands sit and touch and she would probably excel in agility classes; she is very smart. She has lots of puppy energy, but once she gets her wiggles out she is ready for cuddles - especially big sloppy kisses and tummy rubs. She is sponsored by the Paideia High School Homeless Pets Club. Please come see Brooklyn; she would love to be your forever companion and snuggle up with you.
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The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Jury selection begins in trial for alleged serial rapist
DeKalb County prosecutors and the public defender of a Decatur man charged with raping three women and assaulting two others in 2011 began selecting a jury March 18. Gary Mincey, 36, of Decatur, was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of rape, two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of armed robbery, five counts of false imprisonment, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count each of burglary, robbery and aggravated sodomy. Mincey allegedly stalked his victims at a Publix grocery store and at nightclubs, according to the county district attorney’s office. According to the indict-
ment, Mincey assaulted or raped five women between Oct. 16 and Nov. 29, 2011, robbing them of money, jewelry, keys, cell phones and other electronics. Mincey allegedly used a knife, Taser or handgun in each of the crimes. At a bond hearing, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gail Flake said he posed a threat to the community and denied his bond. He has remained in DeKalb County jail since his arrest.
Sneiderman pleads ‘not guilty’ to all charges in new indictment
Andrea Sneiderman, accused of conspiring to kill her husband, pleaded ‘not guilty’ March 15 to all of the charges in a recently up-
dated 16-count indictment. In the new indictment filed Feb. 19, Sneiderman is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, hindering the apprehension of a criminal, concealment of material facts, four counts of making false statements and seven counts of perjury. Prosecutors allege Sneiderman and her former boss Hemy Neuman plotted to kill her husband, Rusty Sneiderman. Neuman later admitted to shooting Rusty Sneiderman in front of a Dunwoody day care center and was convicted of his murder; he is now serving life in prison without parole. According to prosecutors, Andrea Sneiderman was having an affair with Neuman. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory
Adams has set a date of July 29 to begin jury selection for Sneiderman’s trial, which is expected to last more than a month.
County hires new public affairs chief
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis announced March 15 that Jill Strickland Luse, former city of Atlanta press secretary, will be running the county’s communications. According to a press release, Strickland Luse is charged with developing and directing the implementation of a strategic communications plan for the county. She will also direct the county’s external and internal communications, including DeKalb County Television. Prior to joining the
county, Strickland Luse was the chief of staff for Atlanta City Councilmember Aaron Watson; principal of J. Strickland Communications Co. and state press secretary for the Al Gore/Joe Lieberman presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. Strickland Luse began her career as a broadcast journalist. She was a television news assignment editor and radio news reporter in Atlanta and a news anchorwoman in Huntsville, Ala. Over the past six months, Ellis has made several leadership appointments including Police Chief Cedric Alexander, who starts April 1; Deputy Chief Operating Officer Luz Borrero; Chief of Staff Hakim Hilliard; Chief Information Officer John Matalski; and Chief Operating Officer Zachery Williams.
Battle between DA, CEO over county watershed investigation continues
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James and CEO Burrell Ellis are in a legal battle over the findings of a special grand jury investigation into possible corruption at the county’s watershed department. The special purpose grand jury, impaneled in January 2012, has concluded its investigation but its findings have remained under seal, which DeKalb County prosecutors are opposing. Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott granted a motion filed Jan. 28, by attorneys of Ellis and his former campaign manager Kevin Ross, to seal the findings of the special grand jury’s investigation. Ellis testified before the special grand jury twice. While he was testifying the second time, investigators from the DA’s office searched his home and office for information that may prove a range of crimes, including racketeering, wire fraud, theft and bid-rigging. Ross’ home and office were also searched at the time, although he wasn’t required to testify before the special grand jury. According to search warrants, investigators also searched several county offices for records pertaining to the county’s capital improvement program, state and federal lobbying contracts and the ambulance or emergency services contract proposal. In court documents, Ellis’ attorneys said the second time he was called before the special grand jury the questioning by the DA’s office was more along the lines of a criminal investigation. “The inquiry far exceeded the stated purpose of the grand jury inquiry,” Ellis’ lawyers stated in a motion to seal the special grand jury’s findings. “The special grand jury is not authorized to return a criminal indictment, and therefore any portions of its presentment containing any allegations of wrongdoing must be redacted.” Attorneys for Ellis and Ross also filed a motion stating that any information in the special grand jury’s report could not be used against them in a criminal indictment and accused the DA’s office of “a pattern of abuses in the operation of the special grand jury.” Scott ruled Feb. 5 in favor of both motions and agreed to release the findings to Ellis and Ross’ attorneys for review before being made public. Scott also ruled that any subsequent motions be discussed in a closed courtroom, barring the media and public. Although the findings were ordered to be released to Ellis and Ross’ attorneys, James filed an emergency motion Feb. 6 to prevent the release of the special grand jury’s findings and appealed Scott’s decision. James stated that the court has no legal precedent to keep the special grand jury’s findings from being made public or to allow them to be reviewed by anyone before its release. He also requested that Scott either dissolve the special grand jury or extend it. On behalf of the members of the special grand jury James also filed a motion Feb.20 to hold attorneys for Ellis and Ross in contempt of court, alleging that to obtain access to the special grand jury’s findings, they intentionally misrepresented the facts. “The attorneys’ intentional and willful misrepresentation provided the sole factual and legal basis for this court to disclose the unpublished report,” James stated. James has also asked that the attorneys be sanctioned. Ellis has denied knowledge of any wrongdoing and questioned whether he is being dealt with “in good faith” by the district attorney’s office. “I haven’t done anything that I’m aware of, nor has my staff done anything that I’m aware of that is inappropriate,” Ellis said. “Since this investigation began about a year ago, I have cooperated 100 percent in good faith with the District Attorney’s Office.” Craig Gillen, one of Ellis’ attorneys, said that both times when Ellis was called to testify before the special grand jury he was told it was regarding the implementation of the county’s capital improvement plan. “We expect all public officials to be honest and direct with the citizens of DeKalb County. That includes the CEO and that includes representatives of the DA’s office,” Gillen said. Attorneys for Ellis and Ross filed a motion March 8 in the Georgia Court of Appeals contesting James’ appeal on the grounds that the DA’s office didn’t follow proper procedure when filing the appeal. This isn’t the first time that the DeKalb County Watershed Department has made headlines for alleged corruption. In April 2012, four county watershed employees were arrested for a fraudulent timekeeping scheme. A senior payroll personnel technician was caught charging out more overtime than three employees had actually worked, said Ted Rhinehart, the county’s chief operating officer of infrastructure. Officials from the DA’s office said there has not yet been a ruling on James’ appeal, nor the subsequent motion filed by defense attorneys for Ellis and Ross.
Bad law, good picks
great group of replacements for the ousted board members. Included among them are two lawyers, two college professors, business people and a professional mediator. Their educational credentials and experiences are impressive and represent the ideal skill sets needed to govern a school system of nearly 100,000 students. While we’re tossing out kuThe 2011 state law that allows dos, the governor’s nominating panel the governor to remove “non-funcis owed a huge debt of gratitude for tioning” boards is flawed, unconstitheir yeoman efforts. In three days, tutional and sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to the sanctity of they pared down a list of some 400 applicants to 60 semi-finalists who individual voting rights. The people were interviewed and then a dozen elected the DeKalb school board. finalists who were recommended to People should un-elect them. The law should be repealed or at the governor. Deal chose six new board members along the racial lines the very least—as Gov. Deal himof those who were removed. self suggested it—ought to include In case you were out of town, the academic performance as criteria for removal of a board. Also, this all new members of the DeKalb County prompts the question where does the school board are: John Coleman, District 1, is a law give the governor authority to Harvard educated strategic planning cherry pick which board members manager for Invesco and lives in Atshould go and which should stay? It lanta. Great skills for strategies and should be all or none. Also in changing the law, charg- forward-thinking planning. Michael Erwin, District 3, is a es levied against electeds should be Navy veteran with a Ph.D. in biologsubstantiated through due process. ical science from the University of The law allowed the governor to remove DeKalb school board members South Carolina. He is on the faculty on unsubstantiated allegations (opin- of Georgia Gwinnett College. Think curriculum. ion) of fiscal mismanagement and a David Campbell now represents lack of proper governance by a nongovernmental accrediting agency and District 5. He is certified public acwithout due process. Bad. Bad. Bad! countant and a senior manager with Georgia Power. Campbell received That said, Gov. Deal selected a his undergraduate degree in business administration from Albany State and is, among many community endeavors, a former chair of Leadership DeKalb. I served with him on that board and know him to be thoughtful, thorough and an allround class act. A “bean counter” is exactly what the school board needs for good financial management. Excellent choice. Another excellent choice is Joyce Morley, District 7. She was not sworn in with the other five new board members because she was out of town, no doubt on one of her many national speaking engagements. DeKalb’s children could not be better served by this certified counselor, trained mediator and nationally renowned relationship expert. “Dr. Joyce” holds a doctorate in counseling, family and worklife from the University of Rochester. I’ve known Dr. Joyce for most of the 22 years she has lived in DeKalb and proud to say she wrote the review for my first book. Karen Carter is the new representative for District 8. She has a law degree from Ohio State University and currently serves on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College. She is also a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and lives in the Lakeside area. A long-time educator, both classroom and administration, yes! Thad Mayfield, District 9, is another great choice. The Lithonia resident was a driving force with the Friends of DeKalb Education SPLOST IV campaign. He is politically savvy and leads with a quiet, thoughtful, servant’s heart. Thad has been involved in several business and civic organizations in DeKalb and the greater Atlanta area. He is a senior partner in a business development firm and has a master’s in business administration from Mercer University. Despite being in very strong opposition to the removal of duly elected officials who have not been charged with a crime, one has to agree with the governor’s observation about the new board. Said the governor, “I truly believe that the board members will do an incredible job for DeKalb County.” You never want to see the sausage being made. It’s not pretty. For the greater good of the school system and our children, let us embrace and support this selected board until we can elect another if we so choose. In the meantime, the questions of the constitutionality of the governor’s actions must be resolved in the legislature and the courts. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Miles at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 22, 2013
The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 22, 2013
One Man’s Opinion
A fresh slate
carried virtually no debt as recently as a decade ago. We are far from there now. An impressive and wide range of experience and resumes comprise this new board. Ages from 31 to 61, spanning from Generation X to the Baby Boom, parents with current and former students in DeKalb schools, DCSD alumni “The beginning is always and several previously active today.”—Mary Shelley (1797within their neighborhood schools 1851), English novelist, best or civic associations also working known for creating Frankenstein as to strengthen public education in well as being the wife of romantic DeKalb County. poet Percy Shelley. As a near lifelong resident of DeKalb, I was surprised to see Though it’s not exactly the and learn that I barely knew any dawn of a new era, our DeKalb of these volunteers putting their County School District (DCSD) shoulders up against such a chalstarts this week with a new and lenging grindstone. And though complete school board, as well as a this six largely matched the demofreshly minted, though experienced graphic composition of the group leader, serving as school system they replace, their experiences are superintendent. It has been awhile not identical. Degrees from Harsince many have felt able to say vard, multiple post-secondary and this, but with this fresh slate and a handful of Ph.Ds, a wealth of start, comes again, hope. business experience and the majorHope for focus on the classity have other gainful employment, room, hope for adults acting like and will not be living off of their adults and focusing on the busimodest wages from serving on this ness of educating our children, board. and hope for a new day in public Time will tell if this group can education instead of endless waitjell, and if along with the three ing for the next shoe to drop. And surviving and newly elected trio, given the nearly $1 billion in tax sworn in during January, if and resources collected annually by when they individually disagree, this system, hopefully tighter man- can they still be agreeable. In a agement will turn today’s deficits high performing team, disagreeinto tomorrow’s surpluses. The ments and dissent still occurs, but DeKalb County School District the work and results of the collec-
tive typically outshine the results from individuals. Picture the Atlanta Falcons of 2012, versus the expansion Falcons of so many long and losing seasons. In interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond, this new board has a proven leader, with a track record of meeting challenging situations, finding a better path, and leading teams in the right direction. He did that with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services and later at the Georgia Department of Labor, and he can do it again with the DCSD. There is no perfect governmental body, appointed or elected. Part of the beauty of our system is it’s built on an adversarial model, with separation of powers, multiple political parties and points of view and all formed on a bedrock of civility and the rule of law. High performing groups early on define their strategic mission, focus on their priorities and agreed group agenda, and work toward those critical missions. Individual board members may have individual concerns, and will certainly respond to constituents in their districts, but those interests should always be superseded by the desire to improve classroom performance and student outcomes first. For decades, the DeKalb school system led the state in standardized test scores, graduation rates, athletics and numerous other benchmarks
of excellence. That level of performance continued through the early 1990s, despite White flight, significant growth of private schools and the almost overnight explosion of the Gwinnett County school system, helmed by a former senior DeKalb school’s administrator. “Our greatest hope is to help the DeKalb County School District find its way back to being one of the highest performing school systems in the southeastern United States. That was still possible as late as the 1990s and it remains possible today,” said Mark Elgart, president and CEO, AdvancEd, the parent organization of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. I don’t know about the rest of you, but let’s get behind this new board and superintendent and help them retain our full system accreditation as well as build back excellence into the day-to-day reality of our DeKalb County Schools. I’ll be looking for you at the next PTA meeting. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSBAM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
New Birth to close Christian Academy
by Carla Parker email@example.com A year after reopening, New Birth Christian Academy will have to close again due to low enrollment, according to school officials. The academy, located on New Birth Missionary Church grounds in Lithonia, will close at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. “The decision follows careful consideration of all options at the disposal of the governing board of Faith Community Christian Academy,” school officials said in a written statement. In December 2011, parents and students were notified New Birth Academy would close at the end of the year and remain closed indefinitely for economic reasons. But the school reopened on Jan. 19, 2012, through a partnership with Aurora Day Schools. However, the school was not able to attract enough students, having about 40 students currently enrolled, causing the school to close again. “We understand the impact this decision will have on the students and staff of Faith Community Christian Academy but we are optimistic that the timing of the closing provides students, teachers and staff with sufficient time to transition to other schools,” the statement read. New Birth Christian Academy opened in 1993. The church and its pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, have been under fire since Long was accused of sexual abuse by four male former church members in 2010. Long and the church were also sued in February by 12 former church members charging Long and the church encouraged church members to invest in a fraudulent investment scheme that caused them to lose nearly $1 million. The church does not believe the school’s problems are related to the controversy surrounding Long and the church, according to reports. School officials said they will assist parents and students with transitioning to other schools. “We would like to thank parents for giving us the opportunity to educate their children and trust us with their care,” the statement read. “They will remain close to our hearts and in our prayers as they move on to continue their educational pursuits.”
Champion of the Week
Community Church in Poncey-Highlands and they’ve got a ton of Latino dudes and every time they get hot peppers the guys just love it, so we figured we’d grow some peppers on the farm,” Durkin said. Nearly five years ago, Durkin and Daniels founded Concrete Jungle, an organization that collects the forgotten fruit and vegetables in metro Atlanta and donates all of the produce picked on its excursions to local homeless shelters and food banks. Since its inception the organization has donated more than 10,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables. Eight years ago, Durkin and his friends began holding a “ciderfest” each year after noticing the large amount of unused apples growing all over Atlanta. He and his friends would turn all of the unused apples into
Craig Durkin is an engineer who works for a nanotechnology company but on weekends he spends most of his time on the farm. Durkin, along with friends Aubrey Daniels, Katherine Kennedy and Robby Astrove have started Doghead Farms, located in the Sylvan Hills neighborhood of Southwest Atlanta, to serve the food needs of metro Atlanta homeless shelters and food banks. “One of the places we donate a lot to is Mercy
fresh cider and throw a party outdoors. This year’s cider festival was held at the Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. After several years of holding the festival, Durkin said the scale of fresh produce going to waste in Atlanta became apparent, and Concrete Jungle was born. Durkin said he and his friends began donating the produce to various places in Metro Atlanta— during this time they realized all of the other fruits and vegetables growing in the city and going to waste. In addition to organizing picks and working on the farm, Concrete Jungle maintains a website that contains an updated map documenting food sources in metro Atlanta. The map contains edible plants on public and private property. “We still find something new every year,” Durkin said.
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The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Club. Awards will be given out for Best Costume, Best Owner/Dog Duo, Most Spirited/Enthusiastic, and Best Behaved. Onsite registration and check in is from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and the hour-long parade will begin at 10:45 a.m. For more information, contact Keri Stevens at (404) 294-5400 or kstevens@ avondaleestates.org. performances. The price to attend the conference is $50; for GPC students with ID, $5; students at other institutions, $15; and $20 for conference presenters. For more information, visit http://depts.gpc. edu/~gpcdiver/GeorgiaWomensConference.htm.
Community chorus to perform at Emory Collegium Vocale community chorus, under the direction of Kevin Hibbard, will perform Britten and Brogue, featuring Benjamin Britten’s Festival Te Deum, songs of the British Isles, and more. Leanne Herrmann will accompany the chorus on piano. The performance will be held Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m., at Glenn Memorial Auditorium, 1652 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, on the Emory University campus. Hibbard will give a pre-concert talk at 7:30 p.m. Special guests will be the Greater Atlanta Girls Choir, featuring Jenny Rawson, artistic and tour choir director; Eryn Sandhage, apprentice choir director; and Linda McKenzie, accompanist. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. Admission is free for children younger than 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or from chorus members at a discount before the performance. Collegium Vocale is a select nonprofit community chorus made up of approximately 65 experienced singers from throughout metro Atlanta. The group performs a variety of secular and sacred choral literature from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Repertoire ranges from short, a cappella pieces to major works with orchestra. For more information, visit www.cvchorus.org. Callanwolde Concert Band to perform Callanwolde Concert Band recently announced the third concert in the 41st season. The concert will be Sunday, March 24, at 3 p.m. at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Raymond Handfield is the band’s music director. Selections on this French-themed program include “Scenes from the Louvre” by Norman Dello Joio, “Parisian Sketches” by Martin Ellerby, and the Overture to Offenbach’s operetta La Belle Helene, among other favorites with a French air. The band, a community organization for more than 40 years, is DeKalb County’s premier symphonic wind ensemble. Admission to this concert is $10; admission for students, seniors, and Atlanta Artscard and Atlanta Planit members is $5. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta. Further information about the band is available at its web site, www.calcb.org.
Extension expert to teach gardening in small spaces Sarah Brodd from the UGA Cooperative Extension will help kick off spring with gardening ideas at her seminar Container Gardening for Small Spaces at the Brookhaven Library. “Do you love to garden, but don’t have a large space? Gardening can be done in the smallest of places. All you need are some containers to grow your favorite vegetables, fruits and plants. You can turn your porch, deck, or small yard into the perfect gardening space. We will show you everything you need to get started,” an announcement from the library states. The session is Wednesday, March 27, 3-4 p.m. The Brookhaven Library is located at 1242 N. Druid Hills Road, NE, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 848-7140.
Author to discuss book inspired by blog posts Those who enjoyed the Decatur Library’s program last spring with Austin Kleon and his book Steal Like An Artist may be interested in attending an upcoming session with the author of a book in the same vein. How To Be Interesting by illustrator and writer Jessica Hagy was inspired by a blog post that attracted 1.4 million viewers, according to the library. “How To Be Interesting is a ‘how-to’ book that combines quirky text with Hagy’s famous diagrams. Hagy is best known for her Webby Award-winning blog Indexed and cartoons that regularly appear in the The New York Times, the announcement from the library states. Hagy also writes a weekly blog for Smithsonian and an online column for Forbes. The event is Wednesday, March 27, 7:15-9 p.m. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070. Class to focus on email basics A class in email basics will be taught at the Flat Shoals Library Tuesday, March 26, 2-3:30 p.m. Participants will be taught how to set up a web-based account, send messages and attachments. Mouse, typing skills and some internet experience required. Registration is required and is now under way. Flat Shoals Library is located at 4022 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 244-4370. Creative writing group to meet A creative writing group will hold its March meeting Tuesday, March 26, 6:308:30 p.m., at the Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library. Aspiring writers have the opportunity to share their work and network. Sessions are held every other month on the last Tuesday, except on holidays. Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library is located at 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 286-6980. History Center to host annual meeting, silent auction The DeKalb History Center will host its annual meeting and silent auction Friday, March 22, 6-8 p.m. Attendees can enjoy an evening of wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres and music while bidding on items donated by local businesses. Silent auction packages may include event tickets, golf, dinner certificates, art, jewelry, hotel stays, special tours, books, professional services, children’s activities,
fitness opportunities and more. This annual fundraiser features food from Avenue Catering, Badda Bing, Black Tie Catering, Endive Fine Catering, LowCountry Barbecue, Sawicki’s, Soiree Catering, Sun in My Belly and Zest Atlanta. Décor or services provided by After Five String Quartet, Alecia Lauren Photography, BASH Atlanta, Bloom Floral Design, Eagle Rock, One Sound and Entertainment, The Plant Peddler, PPi and Zest Atlanta. The fundraiser is free and open to the public and will be held at the Historic DeKalb Courthouse, 101 E. Court Square, Decatur. To donate to the silent auction, contact Leslie at borger@dekalbhistory. org. Lupus support group to host community forum Commissioner Larry Johnson and the Lupus And Community Empowering Support Group (LACES) will host a community forum Saturday, March 23, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Exchange Park Intergenerational Center located at 2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur. “Currently 55,000 Georgians live with or are impacted by Lupus. Lupus is an unpredictable, misunderstood and potentially fatal autoimmune disease in which the immune system is out of balance, potentially causing damage to any organ system in the body. Lupus is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. Lupus affects mostly women aged 18-45, but also men, children and women of all ages,” according to a statement about the event. The forum guest speaker is Dr. Gary Botstein, a rheumatologist in DeKalb County. The forum is open to the public and is an opportunity to connect with others, learn healthy skills for living and coping with Lupus. For more information contact the Georgia Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America (770) 333-5930. LACES is a patient resource and advocacy organization that collaborates with other health organizations to promote lupus research, awareness and education, and serves the needs of people with lupus and their families. LACES was founded in 2003 by lupus patient Kim Schofield to empower other people living with lupus. LACES meets every second Tuesday of each month at the William C. Brown, Wesley Chapel Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Rd, Decatur, from 7-8 p.m. For more information about LACES, email the group at email@example.com.
Trinidad and Tobago Assn. to hold tea party The Trinidad and Tobago Association of Georgia Inc. will hold its second annual Tea Party, “Tea with a Passion,” Sunday, March 24, at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 N Indian Creek Drive Clarkston. Table captains will compete for best table. For more information, call Joyce at (678) 602-2424 or Hazel at (678) 516-6923. GPC to host first-ever women’s conference The Diversity Alliance at Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) will host the Georgia Women’s Conference of 2013 on March 22 and 23 at the Clarkston Campus. The theme of the conference, which will offer educational workshops and networking opportunities, is “The Female Perspective in Art, Scholarship and Politics.” Workshop topics include women’s health, fine arts, career advancement, international issues, financial advisement and more. “Women make up 62 percent of the student population at GPC. We want to acknowledge and empower them, because that is our job as educators,” said conference organizer Tiffany Delvalle. “Diversity has always been the one thing that made GPC stand out from the crowd. We see this conference as an opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to come together and celebrate that diversity.” In addition, the Diversity Alliance is teaming up with the Fine Arts Department and the Chattahoochee Review to provide a weeklong series of events, activities and
City to host Easter egg hunt and dog parade Children ages 10 and under can hunt for eggs at the city’s annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held at Lake Avondale, 59 Lakeshore Drive. The event will also include the annual dog parade in front of the Community
Book discussion announced A discussion of the book The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan will be held at the Hairston Crossing Library Tuesday, March 26, 7-8 p.m. The Hairston Crossing Library is located at 4911 Redan Road, Stone Mountain. For more information, call (404) 508-7170.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Denise Majette faces possible disbarment
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Former U.S. Rep. Denise Majette is accused of submitting false statements in legal fees and could lose her law license. Hal Daniel, the special master for the State Bar of Georgia, is recommending that Majette be disbarred for submitting “false and misleading” information about her attorney’s fees and misleading the State Bar about the legitimacy of her fee demand. Majette, now a private attorney, challenged Daniel’s report on March 8 before a review panel of the State Bar’s disciplinary board. After deciding Majette’s case, the panel will submit its recommendations to the Georgia Supreme Court, according to Jonathan Hewett, the senior assistant general counsel of the State Bar of Georgia. Majette served as a DeKalb County State Court judge from 1993 until 2002, when she resigned to run for Congress. In 2003, she defeated incumbent Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary and won the general election for the 4th District U.S. House of Representatives seat. Majette resigned after one term to run for the U.S. Senate and lost to Johnny Isakson in the general election. In 2008 she lost to Kathy Cox for state school superintendent. Daniel, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court to oversee Majette’s case after a State Bar investigation found there was probable cause of an ethics violation, wrote in a 36-page report that Majette’s conduct was “inexcusable.” Since 2005, Majette has worked as a part-time attorney and self-employed real estate agent, according to the report. In 2008, she began having financial problems because of the “real estate bubble” and began asking a number of lawyers, including former Avondale mayor and attorney John Lawson, for loans, according to the report. Instead of giving Majette Daniel wrote that Majette did not maintain concurrent time records of her work on the case. “She made notes on her calendar or computer and reconstructed her time sheets and invoices from memory,” Daniel wrote. At the last day of the estate litigation hearing in April 2010, Majette asked the judge about filing a motion for attorney’s fees. The judge said lawyers from both sides could seek fees, the report said. Lawson let Majette draft a motion for fees. She submitted the motion to the court before showing it to Lawson, the report said. Majette sought $130,000 in fees and stated in the motion that she had “expended” 260 hours on the case with her hourly rate at $500. When Lawson read the motion, he was “stunned” and withdrew the motion, the report said. Majette began asking Lawson to pay her, claiming he owed her $38,000. Lawson told her that she would have to contact Faulkner about payment of additional fees. She contacted Faulkner and told her about her money woes and that she needed money right away, the report said. Majette demanded $39,400 but Faulkner wired her $15,000 in April 2010 and also asked for a detailed billing statement before paying anything more, Daniel wrote. Majette did not send a bill until May and submitted a statement with very few details. After Faulkner threatened not to pay her until Majette provided an “explanatory” invoice, she provided a more detailed statement summarizing 170 hours worked on the case, the report said. Faulkner reviewed the invoice and challenged some of Majette’s entries. According to the report, Majette failed to account for the $24,500 in retainer fee that had been paid to her. In September 2010, Majette withdrew as co-counsel and began to file motions to receive money, including an
See Majette on Page 11A
Atlanta City Council approves use of the city’s hotel/motel tax revenues for sports stadium
The Atlanta City Council approved an amended resolution March 18 authorizing the extension and use of the hotel/motel tax to partially fund a new state of the art, retractable roof sports stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. The resolution was approved by a vote of 11-4. Yeas were: Councilmembers Carla Smith, Ivory Lee Young Jr., Cleta Winslow, Natalyn Archibong, Yolanda Adrean, C.T. Martin, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Joyce Sheperd, Michael Julian Bond, Aaron Watson and H. Lamar Willis. Nays were: Councilmembers Kwanza Hall, Alex Wan, Howard Shook and Felicia Moore. The new stadium is estimated to cost approximately $1 billion. The city’s development arm, Invest Atlanta, has agreed to issue its revenue bonds in the amount of $200 million as the public’s contribution for the construction of the new stadium. Falcons owner Arthur Blank will contribute the remaining $800 million needed for the public-private partnership. “From the beginning, I championed the need to make this a 360 degree deal that touches on the issues that are important to the community including infrastructure improvements, community investment and inclusion of local businesses during the construction of this new facility,” said City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell. “We look forward to our partnership with the Atlanta Falcons to tackle the hard work as we move forward,” Mitchell said. The resolution authorizes (1) the extension of the 39.3 percent hotel/motel tax to 2050, (2) approves a stadium funding agreement with Invest Atlanta and an operation and maintenance agreement with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA). Eightysix percent of the revenue generated by this tax comes from people living outside of Georgia. “We are grateful for the council’s vote of support today,” Blank said. “I would like to thank Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Moore and Council President Mitchell on their leadership in ensuring that this was a transparent process.” Since February the Atlanta City Council has held a series of work sessions and public hearings on the proposal including an extensive meeting last week with academic, accounting, and legal experts on the financial and community impact of a new stadium in downtown Atlanta. “The agreements approved today represent the fruits of more than two years of collaborative discussions leading to a solution that serves the best interests of all involved, including the neighborhoods surrounding the new stadium. The actions taken today are also a critical step toward the completion of final agreements necessary to move the new stadium forward,” Blank said. “The city of Atlanta and state of Georgia have a history of building strong public-private partnerships in areas that contribute to economic development. This project is no exception. We appreciate the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by the Mayor’s office, Atlanta City Council, Invest Atlanta, Georgia World Congress Center Authority and numerous community leaders in advancing a project that will benefit the city, region and state for many years to come,” Blank said. The Atlanta Falcons are proud to represent this fine city and state, and we look forward to continuing to work together, as well as being a significant contributor to the new stadium.”
a loan, Lawson offered to add her to the trial team of an estate litigation on behalf of Kells Rivers Faulkner, the granddaughter of the late Georgia Gov. Eurith Dickinson Rivers. Lawson had represented Faulkner since the mid-1980s, the report said. “Lawson and Majette orally agreed that each would charge the client at the rate of $200 per hour for legal work on the estate litigation,” Daniel wrote. “Lawson immediately signed and delivered to Majette a check dated Sept. 2, 2009, in the amount of $2,000.” Lawson was the lead attorney in the case and made assignments for Majette. From September 2009 through March 2010, Majette was paid $22,500, according to the report. The payment, which came in four installments, was made from Lawson’s trust account and was considered by him to be an advance to be applied against fees earned, Daniel wrote. According to the report, Majette sent Lawson an email on Nov. 20, 2009, that included a time sheet describing her work on the estate litigation. Majette said she spent 46 hours on the case between Aug. 28, 2009 and Nov. 20, 2009. “She calculated her fees at $200 per hour, reflected a credit of $6,000 and a balance due of $3,200,” Daniel wrote. “The time sheet also asked for an advance of $6,800. In total, Majette requested payment of $10,000.”
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Jazz jam at Twain’s in Decatur shows no signs of stopping
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Every Tuesday evening, musicians from all walks of life trickle into Twain’s— some older, others barely old enough to drink—all of them have one thing in common: they’re going to sit in. For the past six years, the weekly ‘sit in’—when unscheduled musicians show up for an impromptu gig— hosted by trumpet player Joe Gransden, has been a place where jazz musicians come to meet and learn from each other. Gransden said on any given night, the abilities of those onstage can range from those of a complete beginner to seasoned professionals. “We get a lot of people that have never sung before in their life all the way up to people who are touring as singers, the same thing with instrumentalists,” Gransden said. Gransden, who is a New York transplant, said he has always wanted to run a jam session and the opportunity arose when Twain’s owner Uri Wurtzel asked him to play a Tuesday night gig six years ago. “He asked me if I would play the following week— the more I thought about it the more I realized that I’ve always wanted to host a jam here in Atlanta like in New York,” Gransden said. The first time Twain’s held the official jam, Gransden said it was standing room only and both he and the owner were surprised at the amount of people who attended. After the first night ended, Gransden said there were still around 20 people who didn’t have the chance to sit in. “We knew we were on to something and we just kept it going every Tuesday,” Gransden said. Growing up in New York City, Gransden said a lot of the jam sessions he attended could be discouraging because it wasn’t always a friendly atmosphere. Gransden said he wanted to run a jam session that was supportive and open to anyone interested in sitting in. “In New York it can be kind of cutthroat—that can turn a lot of people away from music and I didn’t want to do that in Atlanta,” Gransden said. “It’s cool to be there onstage with a seasoned pro and nobody vibes anybody, it’s all positive.” It’s important for every musician to get used to playing in front of people, Gransden said, because the more you get used to it the easier it gets. Sitting in and attending the jam session is also a great way for musicians to network. “There are so many musicians that come in there week after week and leave with gigs—singers hire piano players and piano players hire horn players. It’s just unbelievable that so many people have met through this gig,” Gransden said. Other jazz clubs in metro Atlanta including Churchill Grounds, the Velvet Note and Café 290, host weekly jam sessions and live concerts but Twain’s is one of the few clubs that offer attendees a chance to see some of Atlanta’s best musicians with no cover charge. Gransden said it costs a lot of money to go out now, especially if people want to eat or drink on top of paying a cover charge. The jam was started at the beginning of the economic downturn so Gransden said both he and the owner decided not to
Trumpet player Joe Gransden takes a solo at Twain’s jazz jam, which is celebrating its sixth year. Photo by Susan Rosmarin
have a cover charge. “The food is good, the vibe is good, there’s no cover charge and free parking— I think all those things put together really made for a successful time,” Gransden said. Since it was started, Gransden said, there has
been a steady group of 10-12 people who haven’t missed a week, and actor Clint Eastwood has even attended. Famous jazz musicians such as pianist Johnny O’Neal and guitarist Russell Malone have also stopped by to sit in on a few tunes. Gransden’s backing band
consists of some of the city’s top musicians, including pianist Kevin Bales, who taught at the University of North Florida for 10 years and has played with jazz greats such as Marcus Printup, Bunky Green and Bob Reynolds; Bassist Craig Shaw, who holds
See Twain’s on Page 12A
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
John Coleman District 1 Replaces Nancy Jester
Coleman is a strategic planning manager at Invesco. Previously, he held various leadership roles at McKinsey & Company. An Atlanta resident, Coleman also serves on various nonprofit boards. Coleman has a master’s in business administration from Harvard and a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Michael Erwin District 3 Replaces Sarah Copelin-Wood Erwin, a U.S. Navy veteran, has been a research assistant at Duke University Medical Center and the University of South Carolina. He has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Services and is past chairman of the NOAA fisheries committees on fish species and fish diseases in Maine and South Carolina. In 2008, he earned a Ph.D. in biological science from the University of South Carolina. A Decatur resident, he has been a member of the faculty at Georgia Gwinnett College since 2009 and teaches undergraduate students in biological science. He graduated from North Carolina Central University with a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in biological science. David Campbell District 5 Replaces Jesse “Jay” Cunningham Campbell is a senior manager with Georgia Power, where he supports the company’s energy conservation efforts. A certified public accountant with managerial experience, Campbell received a degree in business administration from Albany State University. He is a former chairman of Leadership DeKalb, a member of the DeKalb 100 Black Men and an active member of St. Philip’s AME. He formerly served on the Stephenson High School Council and resides in Lithonia. Joyce Morley District 7 Replaces Donna Edler Morley is the CEO of Morley and Associates and is a nationally known public speaker and trainer. She is a certified counselor, a trained mediator and serves on several local and national governance boards. Morley has a doctorate in counseling, family and work life from the University of Rochester. She received her specialist’s and master’s degrees in counseling education from the State University New York (SUNY) College at Brockport, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the SUNY College at Genesco. A Stone Mountain resident, Morley has lived in DeKalb County for more than 22 years. Karen Carter District 8 Replaces Pamela Speaks Carter serves on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College where she is chairwoman of the business and social science department. She received a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Denison University and a law degree from Ohio State University. Carter has served as a classroom teacher and has held several senior administrative roles in the field of education. She is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and is an active community volunteer and a PTSA member. Carter is a resident of the Lakeside community. Thaddeus Mayfield District 9 Replaces Eugene “Gene” Walker Mayfield is a senior partner with FOCOM Inc., a Georgia-based business development firm. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Mercer University and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tougaloo College. He co-chaired the successful Friends of DeKalb Education SPLOST IV Campaign and is an active member of several business and civic organizations in the metropolitan area. Mayfield is a resident of Lithonia.
From left, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson leads the swearing in ceremony of five of the six new DeKalb school board members: Thaddeus Mayfield, Michael Erwin, David Campbell, Karen Carter and John Coleman. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
New school board members sworn in
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org In a symbolic sign of unity, five new members of the DeKalb County Board of Education placed their hands on a Bible and simultaneously took their oaths of office. The special ceremony occurred March 13 at the school district office just two hours after Gov. Nathan Deal announced the six new board members: John Coleman, District 1; Michael Erwin, District 3; David Campbell, District 5; Joyce Morley, District 7; Karen Carter, District 8; and Thaddeus Mayfield, District 9. Morley was out of town during the ceremony. “I’m happy to know that help is on the way,” said Mike Thurmond, DeKalb’s interim school superintendent. “We’re going to get the job done. We will not fail. We will not falter. We will not, under any circumstances, allow our accreditation to be lost. This is a great day. It’s an exciting day. And I look forward to getting to work for the children.” Deal said he expects cooperation on the DeKalb County Board of Education now that he has appointed the replacement board members. “We were brought to this occasion because of…accreditation issues that related to governance,” Deal told reporters who packed his office March 13. “Therefore, I have implored that they work together cooperatively [and] that they understand the importance of reaching some consensus on very difficult issues from time to time.” The DeKalb school district was placed on accreditation probation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the agency that accredits the school district through its parent company, AdvancED. That move triggered a state law granting the governor the authority to remove school board members. Acting on the recommendation of the Georgia Board of Education, Deal suspended six members of the DeKalb school board in February: Sarah Copelin-Wood, Jesse “Jay” Cunningham, Donna Elder, Nancy Jester, Pamela A. Speaks and Eugene P. Walker. Only the newly elected board members, chairman Melvin Johnson, vice chairman Jim McMahan and Marshall Orson, retained their positions. Deal appointed a school board nominating panel that received 403 applications and interviewed more than 60 applicants before narrowing the list to the six finalists. “I do not want governing to be a problem and I have no reason that it will with the group that we have selected,” Deal said. “We believe we have laid the proper foundation for the future for the DeKalb County school system. We certainly expect that good results will come from this.” Erwin, a Decatur resident and faculty member at Georgia Gwinnett College where he teaches biological science, said he accepted the position because he has a vested interest in DeKalb County. “I have a young children that are going to be educated by the DeKalb County school system and I want to make sure they get the best education they can get,” Erwin said. Coleman called his new position “a great challenge.” “I think there’s a lot of opportunity here,” said Coleman, a strategic planning manager at Invesco. “There are 100,000 kids that need to have a good education. There are 14,000 employees who need good working conditions and need to feel a part of the system and there are thousands of folks in the community—taxpayers and parents—who are counting on us to help provide some governance and make sure that trust is rebuilt in the system.” The board’s biggest challenge will be setting priorities after the probation is lifted, said Mayfield, a Lithonia resident and senior partner with FOCOM Inc., a Georgia-based business development firm. “Getting off probation is clearly a milestone that we’ve got to address quickly, but that’s not the end goal,” Mayfield said. “The end goal… is making this an elite school system.” Carter said she wanted this job because she is “willing to serve our students—the 99,000 students who deserve the opportunity to grow. “We are delighted to serve and our intent is to work in partnership with the superintendent to ensure the future of our students,” said Carter, a faculty member of Georgia Perimeter College where she is chairwoman of the business and social science department. The new board members want “to be a part of the change here,” said Campbell, a senior manager with Georgia Power and Lithonia resident.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Retired teacher marks 103rd birthday
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com For Lillian Harris’ 103rd birthday, the folks at Medlock Gardens assisted living home in Decatur where she lives bought a chocolate cake from a local bakery. Based on stories from those who knew the retired school teacher in her more active years she once might have baked a better one. “She was a wonderful cook. Man, she could make a pound cake,” recalled Harris’ son-in- law, Frank Rox. “She was an all-around great cook. She made homemade biscuits and gravy. I used to weigh 135 pounds,” Rox joked. He recalled that she made picnic lunches of fried chicken and deviled eggs for trips to football games at the University of Georgia. Rox said that in addition to being talented in the kitchen and the classroom, she was a generous and giving woman. “When we went to her home in Wrens for Sunday dinner, before we ate, she made me take plates of food to several of the older people there in the community.” On March 14, she celebrated her 103rd birthday surrounded by family and friends who offered gifts— chocolate was a recurring theme—and shared cake and lemonade. Still going strong in her second century, Harris walked into the party unassisted and opened many of the gifts herself. Born in 1910, the year George V (Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather) became
king of the England, following the death of his father, Edward VII, Harris lived most of her life in her native Wrens. She married Pete Harris in 1934 and taught for 35 years. She lived in her own home until she was 90, according to her daughter Jane Rox, who quipped that her mom “beat the system” since she taught 35 years and has been retired more than 40. The daughter said some of her mother’s siblings lived past their 90th birthdays, but others died relatively young.
Lillian Harris on her 103rd birthday awaits the serving of her cake at Medlock Gardens assisted living home. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
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 Detailed Local Forecast
Today we will see sunny skies with a high temperature of 53º, humidity of 25%. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. The record high temperature for today is 82º set in 1948. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with a 40% chance of snow, overnight low of 37º. Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 58 38 64/43 0.01" Wednesday 55 36 64/43 0.00" Thursday 55 29 64/43 0.00" Friday 74 32 65/44 0.00" Saturday 77 50 65/44 0.00" Sunday 71 51 65/44 0.00" Monday 65 46 66/44 0.49" Rainfall. . . . . . . . 0.50" Average temp . . 52.6 Normal rainfall. . 1.26" Average normal 54.1 Departure . . . . . .-0.76" Departure . . . . . -1.5 Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:37 a.m. 7:36 a.m. 7:35 a.m. 7:33 a.m. 7:32 a.m. 7:31 a.m. 7:29 a.m.
March 21, 2013
Today’s Regional Map
Dunwoody 51/36 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 52/37 52/37 52/37 Decatur Snellville 53/37 53/37 Atlanta 53/37 Lithonia College Park 54/37 54/37 Morrow 54/37 Union City 54/37 Hampton 55/38
March 21, 1932 - A tornado swarm occurred in the Deep South. Between late afternoon and early the next morning, severe thunderstorms spawned 31 tornadoes in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee. The tornadoes killed 334 people and injured 1,784. March 22, 1920 - A spectacular display of the Northern Lights was visible as far south as Bradenton, Fla., El Paso, Texas and Fresno, Calif. At Detroit, the display was said to be “so brilliant as to blot out all stars below first magnitude”.
Continued From Page 8A
Sunny High: 53 Low: 37 Scat'd Rain High: 50 Low: 40 Scat'd T-storms High: 51 Low: 42 Scat'd T-storms High: 57 Low: 41 Mostly Sunny High: 57 Low: 45 Mostly Sunny High: 58 Low: 42
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Tricky Comet PanSTARRS
Where is Comet PanSTARRS? I was asking myself that question for the last four days, and with the bad weather veiling the Northeast, I thought that maybe the comet was simply going to be a lost cause. Then with nearly overcast skies on Wednesday, March 13, and snowflakes flying in the air, I thought that I’d take a chance and schlep my photographic gear to one of my favorite haunts in the hopes that it would clear. There was a snow shower approaching; I could see darker virga, wisps of precipitation evaporating before reaching the ground, silhouetted against the brighter clouds. There was also a lighter band of clearing sky just along the western horizon, and from the direction of the wind, that band would get larger. Would the comet set before it cleared or would I get my first peek at PanSTARRS? I was lucky. It snowed for about 15 long minutes, then the strip of clearing sky rapidly expanded to about 10 degrees. I scanned the western horizon with binoculars, and there it was, an easy view with a small arched tail, probably no more than a half degree. Photographically, it was a much different beast, very prominent against a bright sky and with a tail extending just over three degrees. My March 13 image can be seen at www.astronomy.org. Click on “this week’s StarWatch.” If Comet PanSTARRS was higher and seen against a darker sky, it would be a very easy naked eye target and absolutely spectacular through a small telescope. Its low altitude makes it nearly impossible to see with the unaided eye from light polluted areas, but it presents a very nice sight through binoculars. During the next several weeks PanSTARRS will get slightly higher in the sky, but its orbit will preclude it from becoming more than a dozen degrees above the western horizon. Use binoculars. Make sure your west is unobscured. View around 8 p.m. Be patient. PanSTARRS will be there. www.astronomy.org
Answer: Some people get a rash after experiencing a sudden drop in temperature.
“action for breach of contract for attorney fees and expenses” that listed Faulkner as one of the petitioners. This led Faulkner to file a grievance with the State Bar of Georgia, where she alleged that Majette refused to account for the $24,500 in retainers paid to her, submitted inaccurate and fraudulent bills to clients, committed perjury or fraud on the court, submitted fee motions that exceeded hours and billing rates on a client billing statement, and committed client abandonment, the report said. The report stated that Majette did admit to not keeping detailed records, however, she repeatedly described the dispute with Faulkner as a fee dispute, saying “the real issue here is that Mrs. Faulkner is refusing to pay me.” “In her filings in this proceeding and at the evidentiary hearing, Majette never conceded any possibility of error or mistake in her time sheets or billing statements,” Daniel wrote. “Majette has shown no remorse whatsoever, and she has steadfastly maintained that she is entitled to payment in full of the balance in her sworn response to notice of investigation.”
Last Week's Local Almanac
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Sunset 7:50 p.m. 7:50 p.m. 7:51 p.m. 7:52 p.m. 7:53 p.m. 7:53 p.m. 7:54 p.m. Moonrise 2:32 p.m. 3:28 p.m. 4:26 p.m. 5:25 p.m. 6:25 p.m. 7:28 p.m. 8:32 p.m.
Full 3/27 Last 4/2
Partly Cloudy High: 54 Low: 41
Moonset 3:47 a.m. 4:26 a.m. 5:03 a.m. 5:39 a.m. 6:13 a.m. 6:48 a.m. 7:24 a.m.
New 4/10 First 4/18 Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise 6:34 a.m. 7:42 a.m. 7:59 a.m. 11:10 a.m. 10:46 p.m. 8:02 a.m. Set 5:50 p.m. 7:39 p.m. 8:16 p.m. 1:20 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 8:19 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 partly cloudy to cloudy skies with a few snow showers today and Friday, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 49º in Annapolis, Md. The Southeast will experience mostly clear skies today, scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in Tamiami, Fla. In the Northwest, there will be scattered rain today, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated showers Friday, mostly clear skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 59º in Medford, Ore. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 93º in Artesia, N.M.
Can you be allergic to cold weather?
UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High, 11+: Extreme Exposure
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Continued From Page 2A
Continued From Page 9A
“important” or “very important.” Survey respondents also expressed a desire for sidewalks throughout the city, and improved access to the business district and MARTA. Workshop participant Julie Feely, who also chairs the city’s planning and zoning board, said, “Participating in today’s walking audit of Avondale Estates was an interesting exercise for everyone. Together, we learned a lot about how walkable access to services and activities helps local businesses to thrive, and also creates connectivity and a sense of place. Most helpfully, we were able to give input on how we can revitalize Avondale Estates’ downtown area.” As a result of the workshop, Avondale Estates will create a 100day action plan for change, including a conducting a review of the city’s zoning and housing codes to identify ways to update them to best support community project; striping and improving at least two crosswalks along U.S. 278 this summer; and hosting, with ARC, health and wellness programs to connect community members with needed services. City Manager Clai Brown said, “The city of Avondale Estates is committed to enhancing our downtown for the benefit of all residents and businesses. We look forward with anticipation to mobilizing the whole community to take the next steps in this exciting process.”
a master’s degree in jazz studies from Georgia State University and has shared the stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis and George Benson; and bandleader and drummer Chris Burroughs, who has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia with Lizz Wright, Ike Stubblefield and Russell Malone. “Craig Shaw just lays it down and he can play all night and never get tired and he knows every tune in the book—same with Kevin Bales and of course Chris Burroughs really keeps it together— those are my go-to guys for sure,” Gransden said. “Sometimes the level of musicianship can be so high for everyone who comes out that for somebody who is just starting out it can be extremely nerve racking. But, once they get up there and play, they realize that everybody is cool and friendly, and it can be a really great experience, especially for the youngsters.” For those interested in attending, the jazz jam at Twain’s is held every Tuesday from 9-11 p.m.
Kevin Bales, the house piano player for Twain’s on Tuesday night, cheers on pianist Kenny Banks. Photo by Susan Rosmarin
Emory tells high court ban on same-sex marriage harms children
by Nigel Roberts
ing] youth growing up in the shadow of DOMA and Emory Law School added state laws prohibiting same its voice to those attemptsex couples from marrying,” ing to influence the nine said Barbara Woodhouse, justices of the U.S. Supreme law professor and director Court on same-sex marriage. of Emory’s Child Rights The school’s Child Rights Project. Project joined a coalition The high court has agreed that filed a joint friend of to review the Defense of the court brief. The brief ar- Marriage Act, or DOMA, gues that same-sex marriage which Congress passed bans harm the children of and President Bill Clinton same-sex couples and young signed in 1996. DOMA propeople who self-identify as hibits federal recognition of gay or lesbian. same-sex marriages. Also An estimated 6 million under review is California’s Americans have at least one Proposition 8, a ballot initiaparent who is lesbian, gay or tive that banned same-sex bisexual, a statement from marriage in 2008, despite the Child Rights Project California’s Supreme Court highlighted. The views of granting same-sex couples these children are largely the right to marry. ignored when courts conAccording to the brief, sider the constitutionality of DOMA and Proposition 8 same-sex marriage bans. violate the equal protection “The purpose [of the and substantive due process brief] is to provide the court rights granted under the with perspectives of chil14th Amendment to the U.S. dren and youth growing up Constitution. in families with same-sex Emory’s Child Rights parents, as well as LGBTQ Project trains students to [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, advocate for the interest of Transgender, & Questionchildren and youth in cases
coming before the Supreme Court. In this case, a group of Emory students collaborated with law students in a similar University of Florida program. The team conducted a recently released study that drew responses from 167 gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, ages 13 to 26. It asked the respondents how laws banning same-sex marriage affect them. Five themes emerged from the responses: stigmatization by peers and society, hardship in defining their sexual identity, difficult life decisions, negative impact on identity and anxiety about the future of society’s acceptance. One respondent, a 15-year-old girl, said she attends an “incredibly liberal” Long Island high school in which her peers either approve of same-sex marriage or do not oppose it. But she expressed deep anxiety that some of her teachers might unfairly punish her if they knew that she has a girl-
friend. A 22-year-old male commenting on DOMA said, “It basically is saying I am a second-rate citizen. This leads me to feel as though my LGBTQ identity makes me unworthy of basic human rights in the eyes of the U.S. government. I feel alienated from my own country.” This study seeks to give voice to the anguish young gays and lesbians experience. According to the brief, DOMA and other bans on same-sex marriage suggest to society that “non-straight relationships are illegitimate” and consequently contributes to an enduring stigma and “a culture of ostracism and bullying.” It highlights that these young people are four times more likely than heterosexual youth to attempt suicide. The rate doubles for gay and lesbian youth whose families reject their sexual orientation The brief also disputes the common argument that
having same-sex parents is harmful to children. It states: “Decades of social science research confirms that children of LGBT parents have similar levels of psychological adjustment and are no more likely than their peers raised by heterosexual parents to report behavioral issues. Several studies have suggested that children raised by LGBT families are better adjusted psychologically than their peers.” The brief was filed jointly with the Family Equality Council, Colage; Our Family Coalition; Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; the Center on Children and Families; and Sarah Gogin, the 24-yearold daughter of two fathers in a longtime relationship and married in 2008. Woodhouse is co-counsel in the brief with several attorneys from Bryan Cave LLP and Emily Hecht-McGowan of the Family Equality Council.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
State Supreme Court uphold lawyer’s contempt charge
The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld a DeKalb County Superior Court judge’s ruling that held attorney Herbert Adams in willful contempt of court for failing to be prepared for the trial of murder suspect Michael Blaine, according to a media statement. Adams appealed the decision, which included a $500 fine, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to hold him in contempt. In the March 18 opinion, however, Justice Robert Benham writes that the facts “were sufficient for any rational trier of fact to find appellant in contempt of court beyond a reasonable doubt for failure to be prepared for trial.” According to the media statement, Adams was appointed in November 2010 by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to represent Blaine in his criminal trial. Blaine had been charged in a 38-count indictment with being the leader of a robbing crew that had committed two murders and other crimes, stemming from six different incidents in 2005 and 2006. Eleven others were also indicted for the crimes. The case had initially been set for trial in 2007, but it was delayed when the night before trial, a 7-yearold boy who was a witness to one of the alleged home invasions was shot and killed in his bed by an intruder. Also, in 2010, the State Bar of Georgia released new rules clarifying what constituted a conflict of interest between public defenders, leading to Adams’ appointment to represent Blaine. In February 2011, Adams received documents and information from the state as part of the discovery process, detailing the witnesses and the case the state would try against Blaine. Trial was set for July 11, 2011. In June, Adams requested a postponement, which the judge denied. The day trial was set to begin, he again asked for a continuance, and the judge suggested he work with the prosecutor to facilitate interviews with some of the state’s witnesses and get back to him if he needed more time with any particular witness. Meanwhile a jury was selected, and the attorneys were due to make opening statements. On the third day of the trial, after hearing from the attorney representing the state’s chief witness, Walter Landers, and after questioning Adams directly, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott decided Adams was not prepared for trial. Adams did not have most of his case file with him, which he needed as witnesses were due to be called; he did not appear to know who Landers was even though Landers was one of those who had been indicted with Blaine and was a witness for the state; and he admitted to the judge that he had not obtained certified copies of the state’s witnesses’ past convictions, even though a significant number had felony conviction records. The judge postponed the trial and began contempt proceedings against Adams. Following a contempt hearing, Scott issued an order finding Adams in willful contempt for being unprepared for trial and ordering him to pay a $500 fine. Adams appealed to the state Supreme Court. In addition to arguing that the evidence was insufficient to find him in contempt, his attorney also argued the judge should have recused himself as he had initiated the proceedings against Adams.
To reduce its strain on the environment, DeKalb County is focusing on green initiatives such as reducing the county’s fleet of garbage trucks. File Photo
DeKalb County brings new focus on keeping county green
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Susan Hood, administrator of the DeKalb County Natural Resources Management Office, said the county is always looking for new ways to save energy and “the cheapest energy is the energy that you don’t use.” DeKalb County recently launched a website to emphasize its green focus and for residents to use as a tool for researching ways to make their homes or businesses more energy efficient. In 2011, DeKalb County completed a comprehensive energy and environmental study that identified initiatives and recommended actions for becoming more energy efficient, conservation-oriented and environmentally sustainable. Hood said the plan is the foundation for the county’s future energy and sustainability efforts. It includes suggestions on how to reduce overall utility costs, minimize the environmental impact of the county’s vehicle fleet, managing natural resources and producing locally grown food. The website also offers information about county initiatives such as a toilet rebate program that provides varying levels of rebates depending on the energy efficiency of toilet replacements. When an old house is sold, Hood said, before the new owner are allowed to get water services, they are required to replace the toilet fixtures with more energy efficient models if they’re out of date. Hood said the website also includes information about workshops the county is hosting on how to build rain barrels and appropriate landscaping techniques, such as including more native plants. The county also reduced downsized the number of trash collection vehicles it uses, and 70 trash vehicles will now run on compressed natural gas that is created at the DeKalb County landfill. Hood said material from the landfill is also used to create electricity. “We’re doing some really innovative things at out sanitation division right now,” Hood said. DeKalb County has operated the Seminole Road Landfill facility since 2006 and captures methane gas to convert into electricity. The county then sells the electricity to Georgia Power, and since opening, it has offset the cost of power plant construction and generates enough energy to meet the needs of 3,000 homes annually. Additionally, county officials said the Seminole Road facility removes greenhouse gasses equivalent to 3,300 vehicles each year. DeKalb County is also one of four entities that form a public-private partnership to convert methane to natural gas at Live Oak Landfill. The other partners include Jacoby Energy Development, which developed the program, Waste Management, which owns the landfill, and Atlanta Gas Light, which purchases the natural gas. According to county officials, this project was the first methane-to-gas recovery system in Georgia. For more information about DeKalb County’s green initiatives, visit www. dekalbcountyga.gov/greenfocus/.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following zoning matters: Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance,” Section 207, “Planned unit development procedure”. The subject property is City Farmers Market (fka Buford Highway Flea Market), located at 5000 Buford Highway. The applicant is requesting to develop the property as a planned unit development. Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance,” Section 512, “Single‐family residential detached height measurement”. The subject property is located at 3703 Spring Street (Lots 25 and 26). The applicant is requesting a variance to the front door threshold of a new single‐family residence. Appendix A, “Zoning Ordinance,” Section 908, “Site design” and Section 1402, “Landscape strips”. The subject property is located at 5000 Peachtree Boulevard. The applicant is requesting a variance to allow vehicular services such as a car wash between the building and street, and a variance for relief from the required 10’ landscape strip.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 22, 2013
Continued From Page 1A
“It’s really a very rewarding thing to do,” said Jarvis, who worked with the German Consulate for 37 years before retiring. “It’s amazing what we get accomplished.” The all-volunteer organization has 263 women and “a few good men,” said Jarvis, in her fifth year volunteering with ALA. Through one of its philanthropic programs, Operation School Bell, ALA provides new clothing, uniforms, jackets, shoe vouchers and health kits for elementary school children in DeKalb, Atlanta and Fulton County. During the past academic year, ALA provided clothing for more than 8,000 school children. In DeKalb County, 3,030 children beneﬁtted from the program, including 330 homeless children and ﬁre victims. ALA does not give items directly to individuals. Instead, it works through social workers and school guidance counselors. Operation School Bell is the group’s largest philanthropic program, said Debbie Baughman, who joined ALA in 2001. “We touch where the needs are the most,” Baughman said. “We don’t get involved with choosing who needs help. We pack up a week’s worth of clothing in some cases.” The program takes most of ALA’s budget, she said. Before joining ALA, Baughman did a lot of volunteering in schools and Girls Scouts. Then she read a newspaper article about the organization and decided to join it. “At that point, I wanted to get out of the Girl Scouts and PTA world,” said Baughman, who retired from the insurance industry. She currently co-chairs ALA’s funds and grants committee and has helped bring in $66,000 this year. Approximately 80 percent of ALA’s funding is raised through it Attic Treasures Thrift Shop, located in ALA’s building, across from the Chamblee Post Ofﬁce on Antique Row, at 3534 Broad Street, Chamblee. Attic Treasures is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m. Jarvis said many of the donations to the organization come from consignment shops in metro Atlanta area that donate what they are unable to sell. “It’s kind of a more upscale thrift store,” she said. “We don’t ﬁnd it beneath our dignity to take things home with us and wash them.” Other programs ALA supports include Bears for Children, which provides new teddy bears to
Three volunteers from the Assistance League of Atlanta dress up a dummy to demonstrate the fashions of the nonproﬁt’s thrift store. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
From left, Carole MacMullan processes clothes and Brenda McDonald shows the group’s warehouse.
comfort children during crises; Links to Education, which provides scholarships to deserving college students pursuing post-secondary education at Georgia colleges and New Beginnings, a program that donates new household goods, clothing and personal care items to victims of abuse, domestic violence and homelessness, who are receiving treatment or short-term care at nine social agencies. ALA also supports the Shepherd Center by providing t-shirts, socks, bathing suits, and tear-
away pants appropriate for physical therapy. The group also delivers a bag of cookies, smiles, hugs, and a greeting card to patients celebrating birthdays whose families may be far away. During 2011-2012, Assistance League of Atlanta helped more than 600 patients. “Baughman said, “It’s just wonderful to know that you get to help people out there, even though you don’t get to see them. I feel blessed to be able to help people.”
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Dunwoody Elementary orchestra gets superior rating The Dunwoody Elementary School (DES) String Orchestra Ensemble, led by Natia Esartia, participated in the annual District 4 Orchestra Festival hosted by Lakeside High School March 7. The ensemble, made of all students from the fifth grade strings class at DES, received the Superior rating from all three judges. Decatur High School named an AP honor school The Georgia Department of Education recently announced that Decatur High School was named as one of the 2013 Georgia Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools. Dr. Phyllis Edwards, superintendent of City Schools of Decatur, said, “Along with being a goal in the district’s strategic plan, opening access to AP classes has increased the overall rigor at Decatur High School.” Decatur High School was recognized in the following categories: • AP Merit School: Schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of three (3) or higher. • AP Challenge School: Schools of 900 or fewer students with students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies). • AP STEM School: Schools with students testing in at least two (2) AP math courses and two (2) AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science). Decatur High uses AP classes as a strategy to curb drop outs and close the achievement gap, according to a media statement. The numbers of AP students increased from 289 in 2010-11 to 307 in 2011-12, while the number of students scoring a 3 or better on AP exams increased by 6 percent in 2011-12. In 2010, 37.9 percent of the graduating class had scored a 3 on at least one AP course. In 2012 that number grew to 54.4 percent. Decatur was one of 424 schools to receive the honor. “For several years, the Decatur High School faculty and staff have worked to increase the numbers of students taking and succeeding in advanced content classes and this is well deserved recognition for their hard work,” said Decatur High School Principal Lauri McKain.
Students gain skills, friends through robotics
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com A team of DeKalb County programmers and engineers were trying to troubleshoot a problem with Bellatrickz the robot March 15. “We’ve had some difficulties today,” said Sang-Chan Kim, a 16-year-old programmer from Lakeside High School. “Once was we couldn’t get any communications and we don’t know why. And the problem we have now is a hardware problem and part of one of our motors came off, so we’re trying to fix that.” Kim was one of 30 members of the Fernbank LINKS Robotics team, the only representative of the DeKalb County School District in the FIRST Robotics Peachtree Regional Competition at the Gwinnett Civic Center March 15 and 16. The team, made of students from 16 public, private and homeschool groups, worked evenings and weekends for six weeks to build Bellatrickz in the engineering lab at Lakeside High School. This year’s competition requires students to design, construct and drive a robot that throws a Frisbee at a 10-foot tall, 4-foot wide target 50 feet away. The Peachtree Regional competition featured 30 high school teams from around the south. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering, according to its website. The project and competition, which costs approximately $9,000, is funded by a Women in Technology grant because 27 percent of the team is female; registration fees from the team-led Science Night Out at Fernbank; and funds from hosting the FIRST Lego League qualifiers and training sessions for DeKalb County schools. GE provides volunteer mentors and picks up the $6,000 registration fee. Kim said FIRST gives the teams access to a library of programs used to move the robot. Fernbank’s robot has two joysticks attached to a computer “which accepts input from the joysticks and maps it out accordingly,” he said. “If I move one joystick forward, it should turn on the drive motor, for example. “We also have vision processing code where we’re using a camera to get a picture of a goal and get the center coordinates of the goal so that the robot can autonomously move … so that it’s facing at the goal,” Kim said. This is Kim’s first year working with robotics “but I’ve been programming a lot, so it compensates for the fact that I haven’t been in robotics for a while,” he said. Some of his friends got him interested in the robotics program. ‘It sounded pretty cool.” Kim, who programs in Java, said a good programmer is essential to a team because “even if a team builds a robot, we need someone who’s good at programming to manipulate the robot to do stuff.” Another team programmer, Quinn Breedlove, 15, who is homeschooled, said he plans to be a mechanical or biomedical engineer one day. “I love science and engineering and I like to be able to take things out of my head and put them into the physical such as robotics,” Breedlove said. Decatur High School’s Solveig Olson-Strom, 16, has been involved with the Fernbank science program
From left, Fernbank LINKS Robotics team members Quinn Breedlove and John Amin carry the team’s robot, Bellatrickz, to a competition. The team won the Rookie Inspiration Award and its coach, Debi Huffman, won a coach’s award. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
since third grade. “It’s a lot of fun to work with all these people, especially people that I don’t get to see very often because they don’t go to my school,” OlsonStrom said. “It’s just a lot of fun to work on the robot and to work on our business plan…as if we were a real company. It’s really interesting to see how that all works and to be a part of it. “These competitions are always really exciting and energetic and it’s really great to be here,” she said. “It’s really cool to see all these other people my age who are so passionate about science and technology and that’s not something I see every day at my school,” said Katharine Walls, 17, who attends the Paideia School. “It’s really cool to find that community and really become more involved with the opportunities they have going into college and beyond,” Walls said. “I enjoy working with all my teammates. It’s been a lot of fun learning more about the process of building a robot and building a brand.” Debi Huffman, the team’s founding sponsor, said the students take full ownership of the project. “It’s their project,” Huffman said. “If you ask me to do anything to the robot, I didn’t do any of it. I’ve never designed or built or programmed a robot.” In addition to making a robot, the students “ make friends with common interests and it propels them to pursue careers that are going to be very meaningful and lucrative for them,” Huffman said. To learn more about the Fernbank LINKS Robotics Team, visit the team’s website at www.fernbanklinks. com.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
Mudfire founders say art center is in good hands with new owner
by Kathy Mitchell Kathy@dekalbchamp.com After 10 years of operating the Decatur ceramic art center, MudFire Clayworks & Gallery founders Luba Sharapan and Erik Haagensen are stepping aside “to allow MudFire to continue to grow and evolve under an infusion of new energy and ideas,” they announced. “It’s been our baby for 10 years. We gave birth to it, raised it and nurtured it; now we’re completely confident in the new parent we’re turning it over to,” Sharapan said. Deanna Ranlett, owner of Atlanta Clay, has acquired a controlling interest in MudFire with what she calls “an ambitious plan for building on MudFire’s sterling reputation in the clay community.” MudFire Clayworks is a community clay studio that uses a hands-on approach for students to learn the art of ceramics. It’s equipped to provide hobbyists, students and professional potters and sculptors the opportunity to be creative on their own schedules. MudFire Gallery is a showcase for functional and sculptural pottery. “Some people who’ve been coming here for a long time were a little scared when they heard there will be a change, but everything they love will still be here. It’s just going to get bigger and better,” Haagensen added. He and Sharapan plan to pursue their artwork and organic farming in rural Appalachia after an extended transition period at the art center. “Then Deanna thinks she’s rid of us, but we’ll be keeping an eye on things,” he said, adding that the founders will remain in an advisory role. Longtime members also may be pleased to learn that current staff, including resident artist Lori Buff, Atlanta marketeer Janet Carter, and ceramicist Daphne Dail, will remain. Among the changes Ranlett has planned are a new full-time artist residency program recruiting nationally; an on-site ceramic tools and supply boutique, Decatur’s first; expanded online presence with videos, articles, and frequent posting; creation of an urban organic garden on the spacious sunny lawn; more ticketed workshops held in a dedicated workshop space on-site; frequent special-topic clinics for area ceramicists to visit and learn; continuation of the studio memberships program and the gallery exhibit schedule with increased local focus. “Our main goal, with this purchase, is to strengthen and advance the clay community in Georgia and beyond. MudFire has been instrumental in building that connection and providing an exciting and inspirational place for people wanting to work in clay. We seek to bring in new clay enthusiasts to the center and serve as an educational resource to the public,” Ranlett said. MudFire was founded in 2002 in a shopping center in Brookhaven, and within a few years underwent a major transformation and expansion while moving to Decatur. MudFire will remain at its current location but with a bigger operational team “eager to launch a new and exciting phase in the studio’s evolution, fondly dubbed MudFire Version 3.0.,” Ranlett said. “I am thrilled to be leaving our baby in such capable and caring hands,” Sharapan said, “This group has the deep knowledge and love of clay, art and business needed for MudFire to continue to thrive. We spoke with dozens of interested parties during the sales process, and chose to work exclusively with Deanna to realize this transition.”
Luba Sharapan, left, one of the founders of Mudfire Clayworks & Gallery, gets a hug from new owner Deanna Ranlett, whom Sharapan says will “allow Mudfire to continue to grow and evolve.” Below, members work in the studio during the seamless change in ownership. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030 404.378.8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
uTRACK & FIELD
Henderson Middle School girls’ track and field team outscored Stephenson 97-48 to win the 2013 DeKalb County Middle School Track and Field Championship. Photo by Cherie Boyd
Cedar Grove boys, Henderson girls win Middle School Track titles
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Cedar Grove boys and Henderson girl’s track and field teams have bragging rights for the next year after winning the boys’ and girls’ titles at the 2013 DeKalb County Middle School Track and Field Championships at Panthersville Stadium on March 12. The Henderson girls’ outscored Stephenson 97-48, winning four gold medals and three silver medals to capture their first championship since the 2008 season. Henderson girls’ track coach Brett Ernst said it felt great to win another championship. “Every girl on the team was in it for the long haul,” he said. “Their ultimate goal was to win the county championship and that is what they prepared for from the first day of practice. This is what made it fun. They were focused on their ultimate goal every practice which made my job very easy.” Morgan Mihalis won the 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:38.49 to jump-start Henderson into a tie with defending champion Chamblee on the first day of competition. Syi Ojo clocked a time of 12.66 in the 100-meter dash to win gold on finals day as Henderson also swept the 4x400-meter relay (4:17.74) and the 800-sprint medley relay (1:57.57). Stephenson’s second place finish was the best over the past seven seasons for the Lady Jaguars. Joie Royer was the only individual to win two individual gold medals in the girls’ championship with wins in the 200 meter dash (25.80) and 400-meter dash (58.71). Champion Middle School finished third overall with 45 points led by the first- and second-place finish of LaShannon McCombs (35-10.25) and Ebony Upshaw (33-07.25) in the girls’ shot put. Chamblee’s Rachel Elder won the long jump with a leap of 17-00.50 to help Chamblee to its fourth place finish. Nina John took the 800-meter run with a time of 2:34.79 and Cedar Grove’s 4x100 relay team won the event with a time of 53.09 to round out the gold medal winners. Cedar Grove boys’ two gold medals and top three finishes in five of the seven individual events gave them 62 points to outscore Chamblee 86-58 for first place. Netori Johnson (45-09.00) and Jediah Johnson (41-02.00) took first and third, respectively, in the shot put and Rayquan Bonner took second in the long jump (18-10.25) in the opening day of competition to give Cedar Grove an early 24-20 lead. Zavier Anderson won the gold medal in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.64 and the 4x100 meter relay team captured gold in a time of 46.59 as Cedar Grove began to pull away. A second- and sixth-place finish in the 800 sprint medley also built the Cedar Grove lead by collecting 11 points in the event. Berhane Johnson’s win in the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.88 helped lead Chamblee to second place. Tucker finished third with 48 points and Dakari Brown finished with a 20-02.00 leap in the long jump, just three inches shy of the county meet record. Stephenson finished one point shy of third with 47 points behind a gold medal from Tyrell Brown in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.48 and a time of 3:43.07 in the 4x400-meter relay for the gold. Stone Mountain won the 800 spring medley with a time of 1:44.70. Sam Ellis of Decatur’s Renfroe Middle School won both the 1,600 meter run and the 800 meter run. He broke the county meet record of 2:06.79 set in 2010 by Lukie Teah of Tucker with a time of 2:05.61 in the 800. He finished with a time of 4:59.2 in the 1,600-meter run. It was Cedar Grove’s first track title since the 2007 season and second overall in the past seven years tying Chapel Hill (2009-2010) and one behind Henderson (2008, 2011-2012).
Chris Horton named Ohio Valley Freshman of the Year
Austin Peay University forward and Columbia High School alum Chris Horton was recently named the Ohio Valley Conference’s (OVC) Freshman of the Year. Horton became just the fourth player in conference history to record 100 blocks in a season and the first since Lorenzo Coleman of Tennessee Tech, also a Columbia alum, during the 1996-97 season. His 100 blocks broke the Austin Peay record of 83 set by Josh Lewis during the 2003-2004 season and moved him into seventh place on the career blocks list at Austin Peay. He is ranked sixth in the latest NCAA rankings with 3.23 blocks per game average this season. Horton is averaging 8.2 points per game, 54 percent shooting from the floor, 6.8 rebounds and seven double-doubles on the season. He also scored in double figures 13 times, including a season-high 21 points against Oakland City on Dec. 5. Horton was part of three state championship basketball teams at Columbia High School, including his senior season when he averaged 6.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.1 blocks per game on his way to earning a scholarship to Austin Peay. Including his senior season at Columbia, Horton has had back-to-back 100 block seasons. He blocked 194 during his senior year at Columbia. He ended the season with back-to-back double figure scoring games against Southeast Missouri (12 points) and Tennessee-Martin (10 points) while grabbing a combined 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots, which earned him OVC Freshman of the Week honors on March 4. He tallied his fourth seven blocks in a single game in the win over Tennessee-Martin to tie the mark set by John Fraley.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
M. L. King baseball team off to a good start after a disappointing 2012 season
by Carla Parker email@example.com The M. L. King, Jr. High School baseball team hasn’t won more than 10 games in a season since 2009. The 2013 team has already won eight games, losing just one game and tying another. The hot start has given the M. L. King Lions a confidence boost that they hope to carry into their region schedule and then into a potential playoff run. Head coach Richard Gaines said the difference between this year’s team and the 2012 team is their baseball IQ. “They’re more aware about baseball,” he said. “Last year we had players that never played baseball. They now understand the game better and are playing well together.” So far, the Lions have a .472 batting average, 114 runs scored, 79 hits, 10 triples and 80 RBIs. Their batting average is better than their 2012 average of .296 and they have exceeded their 2012 total of triples (9). Senior second baseman Freddie Martin said the team is playing better this year because they know each other and are more aware of each other on the field. “We all have a good understanding of the game now,” he said. “We started our season off strong and we look to continue to play strong. I like our chances. I think we have a good group of individuals on our team.”
After finishing the 2012 season with a 9-14 record, the M.L. King, Jr. High School baseball team is off to a good start in 2013 with a 8-1-1 record. Photo by Carla Parker
Junior centerfielder Marquis Cain also said the team is playing better as a unit and he credited the team’s success to the upperclassmen being good leaders. “We have players that were young last year that are stepping up and being leaders,” he said. “If someone strikes out we tell them ‘don’t worry about it and keep your head up.’”
Cain added that he believes the team has a shot at winning the 6-AAAAA region this year. The region includes Clarkston, Dunwoody, Mays, Miller Grove, North Atlanta, Southwest DeKalb, Stephenson, Tucker and playoff teams Arabia Mountain and Lakeside. “I feel like we have a strong team and we can do a lot this year and go far in the state playoffs,” Cain said.
“We just have to take it one game at a time,” Martin said. “But at the end of the day we have one goal and that’s a state championship.” The Lions began their region schedule against Mays on March 19 and will conclude region play at Lakeside on April 18. They will compete for the region title at the tournament on April 24-25.
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.
The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please e-mail nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Jacques Knolton, Stone Mountain (baseball): The senior third baseman had two RBIs and one home run in the 15-2 win over Clarkston on March 13. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Elisa Miller, Arabia Mountain (soccer): The forward scored two goals in the 5-3 win over Southwest DeKalb on March 14. She has scored nine goals on the season.
Trumon Jefferson, GPC (baseball): The sophomore outfielder from Decatur had a total of four hits, three RBIs and three runs scored in the double header sweep over Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on March 16. Jefferson has a .333 batting average and has 18 runs scored, 13 stolen bases and nine RBIs on the season. Blake Stevens, Birmingham-Southern (baseball): The sophomore pitcher from Marist pitched nine strikeouts and had a 2.92 earned run average in the 11-4 win over Oglethorpe on March 15. He is 3-0 on the season with 32 total strikeouts and a 2.81 earned run average. Saadia Doyle, Howard (basketball): The senior guard from Columbia scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the 55-42 win over North Carolina A&T in the MEAC Women’s tournament semifinals on March 15. She finished the season with 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
The Champion, Thursday, March 21 - 27, 2013
more than 200 take transit back and forth each day, Spotts said. “We love this area,” said Clearwave Corporation CEO Gerard White. He and other panelists cited the availability of well educated talent as a result of universities such as Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Georgia and the ability to get anywhere in the country from HartsfieldJackson International Airport as advantages for Atlanta in attracting technology companies. Elementary. Segovis began his educational career 27 years ago, and in that time, has worked as a janitor, bus driver, paraprofessional, teacher, assistant principal and area assistant superintendent prior to serving as principal for two schools. Jackson has spent 17 of his 19 years of experience with DCSD. He started teaching at Jones County High prior to joining Tucker High. During his tenure, the Tucker High football team won the first state championship in school history. In addition, the school underwent a complete 2.5-year rebuild on the same site. Goodwin began his career as a teacher at Miller Grove Middle 27 years ago. In addition to his experiences as a teacher and assistant principal, Goodwin also served as Redan’s head baseball coach and in 2000, was the first Black and youngest coach to be inducted into the Georgia Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2012, he received the “Horace Tate Leadership Award” by the Emory University Educational Studies Department. Under Goodwin’s
Georgia’s technology industry flourishing in Perimeter market
The technology industry has an annual $113.1 billion economic impact on Georgia and The Perimeter area of metro Atlanta is one areas where the industry is flourishing, a technology expert said recently. Technology now represents 17 percent of Georgia’s gross domestic product and by offering double the average salary, ramps up the economic impact on an area, noted Tino Mantella, president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). His comments were at a March 15 Perimeter Business Alliance “Centers of Excellence” luncheon at the Ravinia Club in Dunwoody. Mantella said Georgia will see a lot more growth in the industry in the future. Other panelist at the event said the Perimeter area provides an especially attractive location for technology companies. “MARTA is a secret weapon” for Perimeter, said David Dabbiere, chief operating officer of AirWatch, a leading
provider of mobile device security and management software whose revenues are growing 40 percent quarter to quarter, according to Dabbiere. Of the company’s 1,200 employees worldwide, 800 are located in Perimeter and Dabbiere said MARTA is especially desirable for retaining the company’s young workforce. “This is a great corridor for young people to move into,” he said, also citing the many restaurants and Perimeter Mall near his company’s location on Perimeter Center West. “Perimeter is a very holistic community that will draw employees and more businesses,” said David Spotts, director of facilities and corporate services for AutoTrader.com. “Our employees want to live, work and play in an area and they can do that in Perimeter.” Spotts said that AutoTrader. com, which has 1,600 employees in 450,000-square-feet of space on Summit Boulevard in Brookhaven just south of I-285, ran out of space last year–the second year of its building lease. MARTa also is popular with his company’s employees;
DeKalb schools announce regional principals of the year
With more than 100 years of experience among them, five principals were named DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Regional Principals of the Year. The winners are Terry Segovis, DeKalb International Student Center and DeKalb Online Academy; James Jackson, Tucker High; Greg Goodwin, Redan High; Stephanie Amey, Columbia High; and Dr. Yolanda Turner, Murphey Candler
leadership, Redan High has been recognized three times out of the last six years by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public high schools in the nation. Like Goodwin, Amey also brings athletics into her leadership approach at Columbia High. Amey was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her outstanding contributions on the court as an All-American basketball player at Chamblee High. For 31 years, she’s served as a teacher and administrator in DCSD. Under Turner’s direction at Murphey Candler Elementary, student performance on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests has grown each year, and the Mustangs have placed in the Academic Bowl, Science Olympiad, Social Studies Fair, Black History Bowl and Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. The DCSD Regional Principals of the Year will be recognized at an employee appreciation event on May 17 at Lakeside High. In addition to naming the DCSD Principal of the Year, the DCSD Teacher of the Year also will be named.
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