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Governor orders Ellis’ suspension
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com After a panel recommended July 15 that DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis be suspended from office, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he will accept that recommendation. The governor appointed Commissioner Lee May, the presiding officer of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, acting CEO. May was sworn in shortly after the July 16 announcement. Ellis has maintained throughout the ordeal that he is innocent. “I’ll say again to the people of DeKalb County: I would never violate the public trust,” Ellis said. “I believe in public service. I believe it is a high and noble calling. I believe in honesty and I believe in good work. I believe in integrity and I wouldn’t violate the trust that the people of DeKalb County have placed in me by electing me twice as CEO. “I’ve done nothing wrong and look forward to making that case with my lawyers…not only against these charges,” Ellis said. Ellis is charged with 14 felonies, including criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion, theft by taking and conspiracy. Ellis said he will abide by the governor’s decision. “I will devote myself 100 percent toward defending myself against these unsubstantiated and unprecedented… charges,” Ellis said. The CEO said he will “look forward to returning to office after the suspension period.” At the request of his attorneys, Ellis would not comment on the charges against him. During the hearing of the governorappointed panel, whose members were Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Rockdale CEO Richard Oden and Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeffrey Turner, DeKalb County Robert James said, “I humbly request that this committee recommend to Gov. Nathan Deal that W. Burrell Ellis be suspended from office.” James began the meeting by reading each of the 15 charges against Ellis in detail and discussing why he thought the indictment will impact his ability to perform his duties as CEO of DeKalb County. All of the crimes Ellis is accused of, James said, were committed while Ellis worked in his capacity as CEO of the county. James argued that none of the crimes could have been committed otherwise. “He would not have been able to accomplish these alleged acts unless he had the power of the CEO and the power of the office of the CEO,” James said. Additionally, James said that the county employees named in the indictment as co-conspirators or contract assistants, will have to testify at trial. “I would say it’s difficult to imagine how, one day, these individuals will be sitting in the courtroom offering testimony against the CEO or the next day,

Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.


See Ellis on page 15A

Community rallies to aid domestic violence victim
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com In her former home in Jamaica, Joan Brown Llewellyn lived through a nightmare few could even imagine. With her 17-year-old daughter Jorgjhan— whom the family called J.J.— she fled her troubled marriage to a local police officer. They went to her parents’ home, but the enraged husband tracked them there and shot everyone in the household—Joan, her daughter, her parents and her brother. Then he shot himself. Only Joan survived. Bullets struck her in the neck, leaving her temporarily blind and initially paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors at the Jamaica hospital where she was taken told her she would never be able to do more than move her eyes. She didn’t believe it. Neither did her sister Evelyn McFarlane, who brought her to live in her home in Decatur. “Those doctors are not God. They don’t know what I’ll be able to do one day,” said Brown Llewellyn, who can now talk and turn her head and has limited use of her arms and hands. She is able to operate her wheelchair unassisted. The murderous rampage that changed Brown Llewellyn’s life forever happened in April 2011. She since has received treatment at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital and continues rehabilitation as an outpatient at the Shepherd Center, where she met two volunteers determined to help restore her life as much as possible. Her immediate problem is that the Decatur house where she, her sister and other family

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis told reporters that he will abide by the governor’s decision. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Friends hope to raise enough money to retrofit the home of Evelyn McFarlane, right, so that her sister Joan Brown Llewellyn, left, can bathe in the downstairs bathroom.

members live is a split level with all the bedrooms on the second level. The living room has been made into a bedroom for Llewellyn. Above her bed hangs a drawing of the daughter she lost, her only child. Although a vertical bind has been installed, she still has almost no privacy. Also, the only downstairs

bathroom is a small one with no tub or shower and a door too narrow for a wheelchair. Volunteers Amir Levin, Harris Haley and other friends have mounted a fundraising campaign, Welcome Home Joan!, to help retrofit the bath to meet her needs.

See Victim on page 15A





The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news
city manager and he has requested an appeal before the council of that decision,” Johnson said. Councilman Dan Zanger wouldn’t reveal details about Ford’s contract being terminated. “I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on any details until after that [July 17] meeting,” Zanger said. “Dr. Ford is a good man for whom I have a great deal of respect. I am very sorry that we [have] to deal with our current situation.” Before becoming city manager, Ford served as the fire chief for the city of Lincoln, Neb., for four years. He was the deputy fire chief of Fulton County from 2003-07.

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Chamblee ends city manager’s contract
son has been named acting city manager, a position he held before Ford was hired in The Chamblee City Coun- 2011. cil announced it has lost According to Johnson, confidence in the leadership Ford is currently suspended abilities of City Manager with pay and has appealed Niles Ford as council memthe council’s decision to end bers voted to end Ford’s con- his contract. Ford’s appeal is tract during a June 18 council scheduled for July 17. meeting. “They did a preliminary Police Chief Marc John- resolution to separate the by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com


GPC leads state colleges in economic impact
Among the University System of Georgia’s state colleges, Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) led in economic impact with $774 million and 7,221 jobs in fiscal year 2012, according to a recent study. The impact of fiscal year 2011 was $713 million and 6,762 jobs. GPC’s increased economic impact on the region can be felt from Newton to Dunwoody to Alpharetta, according to a statement from GPC. “We are proud to continue our mission of providing access to a high quality, affordable college education while also being a powerful force in the region’s economy,” said GPC Interim President Rob Watts. An annual study of the USG’s economic impact on the state records an overall 7.4 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. In cash, that is a jump of $980 million, from $13.2 billion to a new high of $14.1 billion of direct and indirect spending fueling the regions served by the system’s 31 colleges and universities, according to GPC. To calculate the economic impact for 2012, the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business analyzed data collected between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents and the study is conducted by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center. “We have been analyzing
See GPC on Page 8A












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The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 3A

State Supreme Chamblee groups oppose Century Center annexation Carla Parker Court reverses by carla@dekalbchamp.com DeKalb child The Citizens for Chamblee Committee and Dresden East Civic Ashave asked Brookhaven support ruling sociation officials not to annex the Century
The Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a DeKalb County court decision and ruled that the state Department of Human Resources is authorized to seek a court order requiring a father to pay child support even though he and the child’s mother were still married. Johnny and Monica Wright lived at separate addresses but never divorced. Their child resided with the mother who received public assistance for the child. The department, on behalf of the child, filed a complaint against the child’s father, asking the DeKalb County Superior Court to order Johnny Wright to pay child support, and to enforce the order through a deduction of his income, according to court documents. The trial court denied the complaint, however, finding that a parent has no valid claim for child support when the parents are still married and no divorce proceeding has been initiated, and when the parent cannot file for support, neither can the department. The trial court ruled that because no divorce or separation action had been filed, neither parent had been formally designated as the “custodial parent,” and therefore the department had no authority to pursue an award of child support. Georgia Attorney General Samuel Olens, representing the Department of Human Resources, then appealed to the state Supreme Court. In a unanimous opinion July 1, the high court has reversed the lower court’s ruling. The department’s “statutory authority to seek child support recovery is not dependent on a prior court order designating a ‘custodial parent,’” the ruling states. Justice P. Harris Hines writes for the Supreme Court. Under the state’s Child Support Recovery Act, there is no need for a court to first designate the mother a custodial parent before she can file a petition for an award of child support from the father. The statute “contains no such requirement,” the opinion states. “As mother has accepted public assistance on behalf of the child, she has ‘made an assignment to the department of the right to any child support owed for the child, the opinion states.’” Furthermore, the statute authorizes the department to “initiate any support action existing under the laws of this state and to recover any payments ordered by the courts of this or any other state.” Accordingly, the trial court erred, the opinion states, and the judgment is reversed. Center office complex into its city limits. On June 21, Highwoods Properties filed an application with Brookhaven for Century Center to be annexed into the newly created city. According to Jim Bacchetta, vice president of Highwoods Atlanta Division, the annexation request was based on the “quality of the services available.” According to a petition set up by the two citizen groups, if Brookhaven annexes Century Center, Chamblee will be unable to provide some services to more than 11,000 residents. “The entire Dresden East and Clairmont area and surrounding neighborhoods will be left without a commercial tax base to support them,” the petition read. “The negative impacts will be felt in Chamblee, Doraville, Brookhaven and all of the surrounding neighborhoods. This will be bad for all of DeKalb County.” The property is bound by Clairmont Road, Century Boulevard, Century Parkway and Interstate 85 South. Highwoods Properties’ application requested to annex about 120 acres into Brookhaven. Residents that would be affected by the proposed annexation will vote in November whether to be annexed into Chamblee. According to the Dresden East Civic Association website, this could also have an effect on the annexation into Chamblee. “Without the revenue Century Center would provide, the city of Chamblee will have an incredibly hard time taking in this area without putting a larger burden on all of its residents,” according to the civic association website. “This is something they need to consider, and could possibly bring an end to our annexation efforts.”

Two community groups have asked Brookhaven officials not to annex the Century Center office complex into its city limits.

The complex, which includes the Marriot Hotel, is bounded by Clairmont Road, Century Boulevard, Century Parkway and Interstate 85 South. Photos by Carla Parker

Brookhaven officials said last month that its community development department is currently reviewing the application. “We are doing our due diligence to ensure that the application is complete and that the annexation is in the best interest of the City of Brookhaven,” City Manager Marie L. Garrett said.

Brookhaven’s Planning Commission will hold a hearing July 18 to discuss the annexation. The 7 p.m. hearing will be held at the Brookhaven municipal court, 2 Corporate Blvd, Suite 125. The civic groups have started a petition at www.change.org for residents to express their feelings on the issue.

Brookhaven adopts first millage rate
The Brookhaven City Council voted July 9 to adopt a 2.85 millage rate for fiscal year 2013. The city charter authorizes a property tax rate up to 3.35 mills, but the council wanted to set a more conservative rate. “We heard from the public and have been committed to providing quality services while being fiscally conservative,” Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis said. “I am pleased today that we can set a rate far below our cap. The council and staff have done a great job in achieving that goal.” The vote came after the council heard from residents and business owners at four public hearings. Under the new rate, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 will pay an estimated $171 a year in city taxes. Of the 11 cities in DeKalb, Brookhaven’s property tax rate is the second lowest behind Dunwoody. In March, the council approved a $16.465 million annual budget. The budget includes expenses for police, community development, public works, administration and other city services. The budget also includes money to reimburse DeKalb County Police for patrolling the city up until the end of July, as well as start-up costs for the new Brookhaven Police Department. Brookhaven officers are scheduled to begin patrols July 31.

Page 4A

Sick and tired
assaulted or dying is not the answer. Instead, why not consider a “sick day,” which would make a far more dramatic statement. All people of conscience get sick for a day, action that would certainly give new meaning to the words of Mississippi freedom fighter Fannie Lou Hamer. Fannie Lou said she was “sick and tired As of this writing, jury of being sick and tired” of the deliberations had begun in injustices in Mississippi – separate the murder trial of George and unequal, bombings, lynchings Zimmerman, accused of killing and burnings. Despite being arrested unarmed Florida teen Trayvon several times and being severely Martin. Listening to the trial beaten, she continued to fight for testimony, legal experts and justice and equality. So let not good pundits, one might conclude that people be weary in well doing. the prosecution failed at its burden Zimmerman pleaded not to prove Zimmerman guilty beyond guilty to second-degree murder a reasonable shadow of doubt. If in the high profile case. There is a not guilty verdict is reached it is no question but that he shot the my prayer that people of color and unarmed 17-year-old. The question conscience, especially the young, is why. Did he do it out of ill will will comport themselves with the and hatred? The answer has to be a dignity the memory of Trayvon resounding “yes” based on the facts. deserves. The world is watching. Zimmerman saw Martin Peaceful protest is an oxymoron. A protest has the potential of turning walking down the street in the neighborhood where Zimmerman violent with taunting by counter lived and Trayvon was visiting his protestors and the sheer emotion that can go through a crowd like an father and his father’s fiancée. It is an undisputed fact that Zimmerman, electrical charge. Also it is rather a wannabe cop, got out of his car anticipated that people will take and pursued young Martin. A fight to the streets. Getting arrested, ensued and Zimmerman claims Martin was slamming his head into the pavement when he shot him. If we could for a moment, remove the issue of race. An unarmed teenager wearing a hoodie and carrying a soft drink and candy is shot and killed. His pursuer, who defied instructions from authorities not to follow the boy, says he killed Trayvon in self-defense. But race is the huge elephant in the room. Trayvon, because he was Black, was profiled, pursued and eliminated—period, end of story. Zimmerman should pay with a lengthy prison sentence to give him ample time to think about his bigotry and hatred. If he walks, justice will not have been served, just as in our shameful history many a Klansman walked free from the sham of a trial after killing innocent children, brutalizing, bombing and burning. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic, but he has been socialized to think like a bigot. If one thinks this case will drive a wedge between the Black and Hispanic communities, think again. The insidious racism that divides in this country is directed at Blacks and Browns alike and anyone who does not “look” European. Most Blacks and Hispanics are keenly aware of the distinction. Until we value all life and stop the gun violence in this country whether it is in Chicago with its gangland massacres that date back to the days of Al Capone and other mobsters; to babies in Newton, Conn.; or Trayvon Martin in Florida, we are bound to see repeats of these historical scourges. And because of the powerful gun lobby and scared politicians, Congress can’t pass a law for criminal and mental background checks and bans on assault rifle man killers in the hands of civilians. Protests will not change a guilty verdict. But a physical and economic boycott of sick folks in labor, government, transportation, entertainment, sports, media and medicine just might start some healing because what matters most in our country is money. Getting sick and tired worked for freedom fighters like Fannie Lou Hamer. It just might be what the doctor ordered. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Miles at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.

The Newslady


The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013


Page 5A

Put up or shut up
favored aspects of the career path. But, an unfortunate reality of elected life is that often the higher the office, the higher the pressure to make fundraising a regular part of day-to-day life. Burrell and Phillipa Ellis have been solid public servants and leaders in our community, and his solid re-election margin served as a “thank you” from voters and an acknowledgment of their successes in governing during challenging times. That is not to say that I have not had policy disagreements with our CEO, several of which you may have read in this column, and there have been disappointments and warranted criticisms offered by more than a few prior campaign supporters and donors. Making campaign and/or fundraising phone calls to county vendors and even during the business day is completely legal. Most donors aren’t particularly fond of being called at home at night interrupting a family or client dinner or downtime. After vendor bids and credentials are vetted by county purchasing staff in various departments, and a recommendation is made, the CEO and Board of Commissioners eventually select these vendors— and in the case of larger purchases—review and approve contracts. Where the CEO is alleged to have crossed the line is in threatening to pull or halt the awarding of a desired contract or bid to a potential donor, or an action of “quid pro quo,” where work, a contract or bid was awarded or denied directly in exchange for a campaign donation. The charges against our CEO face review by a committee of his elected peers, who will make a recommendation to Gov. Deal on whether to suspend him from office pending the outcome of his trial. Commissioner Lee May would become acting CEO, and Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton would become acting presiding officer for commission meetings. If the trial of former DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis is any indication, it could be two to three years before the case is assigned a judge and makes it to trial. The discovery phase of the legal proceedings will allow the defendant and his legal team to review the evidence the prosecution has against them, as well as to prepare their case and response. In Ellis’s case, it really comes down very simply to whether he directly stated or very clearly implied that there would be a consequence, good or bad, to making or not making a contribution to his campaign. Either there are audiotapes, emails or written correspondence by the CEO on this point or there are not. Mr. Robert James is a solid district attorney. If he has the goods in evidence, then we need to know, and sooner rather than later. Mr. CEO, if they have the tapes making their case, your counsel should advise you to seek an expedient trial, and you should consider self-suspending to expedite this process. If as you have repeatedly stated, you did and said nothing wrong, stick to your guns and expect a pretty healthy gallery of your supporters at trial. Either way, gentleman, it is time to put up or shut up. There is a county to be governed and the entire region’s reputation may be impacted. If you have the goods, make the case, make it public and make it fast. Even in the worst case scenario, we can and will survive all this, but dragging it out for a period of years and through a series of appointed, “acting” officials and special elections does no one any good—except a few lawyers.

One Man’s Opinion

“All we want are the facts, just the facts.”—Sergeant Joe Friday, as portrayed by actor Jack Webb on the popular police procedural program Dragnet. And now, here in DeKalb County, sooner than later we need some facts. I am a strong believer in the rule of law, and that if you do the crime, you’d best be prepared to do the time. But just as Sergeant Joe Friday would tell you, the beat cop and the district attorney have a lot of discretion in which suspects get arrested and how a case is prosecuted, or not prosecuted. A necessary “evil” in politics and elected public life is fundraising, and campaign contributions are both legal and necessary to help fund the messages, mechanisms and organization of political campaigns. Having worked for a governor, two U.S. senators and multiple other elected officials, I can say with some degree of certainty that fundraising and “money calls” are among the least

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 billcrane@earthlink.net.

Let Us Know What You Think!
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions from its readers. Please write to us and express your views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain the writer’s name, address and telephone number for verification. All letters will be considered for publication.
Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send E-Mail to Kathy@dekalbchamp.com FAX To: (404) 370-3903 Phone: (404) 373-7779 Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior to publication date. EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

Publisher: John Hewitt Chief Financial Officer Dr. Earl D. Glenn Managing Editor: Kathy Mitchell News Editor: Andrew Cauthen Production Manager: Kemesha Hunt Graphic Designer: Travis Hudgons The Champion Free Press is published each Friday by ACE III Communications, Inc., 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA. 30030 Phone (404) 373-7779.

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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 forall community residents onall 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, wemake every effort toavoid printing information submitted to usthat is known to be false and/orassumptions penned as fact.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013


Page 6A

Champions of the Week
Jorel “J Fly” Flynn
For Jorel “J Fly” Flynn, it all started with a dream. “As a kid I had a dream that seemed like an imaginary story that I wouldn’t be able to attain,” said the artist, drummer, producer, writer and humanitarian. “How Big Is Your Dream?! Foundation started from that whole idea of dreaming and never thinking your dream can become a reality.” How Big Is Your Dream?! Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was created from Flynn’s two passions: music and youth. Established March 24, 2011, the foundation is devoted to promoting, educating and developing youth to excel in music. “The foundation was formed to help kids and adults to understand that their dreams can become a reality if they’re willing to put in the work and the focus and the belief in what God has given them Train Music Awards held in Atlanta. The foundation takes part in many community events such as career days. It also hosts a music festival and benefit concert at Towers High, one of its partner schools, and hosts a unity concert that brings together schools and the foundation’s partners to showcase youth in music. The foundation also awards scholarships to students and hosts a summer music camp that brings in 200 musicians to give aspiring artists one-on-one instruction. Flynn plans to expand the foundation to reach more students. “We’re going to start after-school programs as it relates to mentoring and teaching life skills and developing more kids in the industry to stay focused so they can become a positive statistic and not a negative statistic,” he said.

Suspended school board member seeks reinstatement
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Suspended DeKalb County school board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham wanted a judge to know that he had a habit of following the chain of command. “Would you say that I followed the chain of command?” he asked witness after witness. They all agreed. Cunningham represented himself July 15 during a hearing in which he asked to be reinstated to his position on the DeKalb County Board of Education. Cunningham was one of six school board members who were suspended earlier this year by Gov. Nathan Deal after 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. Acting on the recommendation of the Georgia Board of Education, Deal suspended six of the nine members of the DeKalb school board in February and later replaced them. In addition to Cunningham, the governor suspended Eugene Walker, Sarah Copelin-Wood, Donna Elder, Nancy Jester and Pamela A. Speaks. “I understand the needs of the whole county, not just one particular district,” Cunningham said when he took the stand. “I have worked hard to make sure we hit every corner of the county. “The present board that we have is doing a good job, but…there’s no one there that has the experience or the
See Cunningham on Page 9A

Jesse “Jay” Cunningham appeared before a judge to ask for his DeKalb County school board back. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

a vision for,” he said. The accomplished musician wanted to share his knowledge and experience of music that he’s garnered over the years. The Waycross native has toured and played with Kelly Price, Cameo, Toni Braxton, Keith Sweat, K-Ci and JoJo, Phil Perry and Jennifer Holliday. He recently toured with New Edition in 2012 and also played at the 2011 Soul

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at kathy@dekalbchamp.com or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 104.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013 northwest corner, to the white whaleback of granite called Stone Mountain, this detailed volume with its engaging prose and 250-plus color photos, maps and statistics takes you beyond the rocks to unearth the billion-year history of the Empire State of the South. Bring the entire family and a rock or two to find out more about,” states an announcement from the library. Rock identifications are at 6:30 p.m. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. The phone number is (404) 370-3070. For information, call (404) 370-8450, ext. 2225 or visit georgiacenterforthebook.org or dekalblibrary.org. Church to hold health and wellness expo Scott Candler Library will conclude its series of summer gardening classes Thursday, July 25, 2-3 p.m. with Container Gardening with Sarah Brodd. “This method is an easy way to grow herbs, veggies, flowers and more in a small space. Learn how to pick a container, build your potting mix, add plants and care for them. This is a great way to add instant color to any location,” the announcement from the library states. All classes are taught by staff of the DeKalb Cooperative Extension Office. Call or visit the branch to register. Scott Candler Library is located at 1917 Candler Road, Decatur. The phone number is (404) 286-6986. Nonprofit raises $14,500 for Decatur Cooperative Poverty is Real (PIR), a Decatur-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty and homelessness, raised $14,500 at its recent Decatur concert series at Eddie’s Attic. The funds will go to Decatur Cooperative Ministry (DCM) to aid in its mission of preventing and alleviating homelessness in Decatur and DeKalb County. PIR has raised $31,000 in three years for DCM. Overall, PIR has raised $62,500 for organizations fighting homelessness and poverty, including $23,500 in 2013 alone. Lenz, a Decatur-based integrated marketing firm, served as the presenting sponsor for the Decatur Poverty is Real concert series for the third year in a row. Lenz President Richard Lenz said it’s an easy choice to champion such amazing organizations. “We are honored to support the work of Poverty is Real and Decatur Cooperative Ministry,” Lenz said. “They embody the character of this community.” Lenz has supported Poverty is Real since its inception with marketing, advertising, public relations and interactive services. The three-day Poverty is Real event was held June 1416 at Eddie’s Attic and featured performances by locally acclaimed singer/songwriter Caroline Herring, Nashville’s Bobby Bare Jr., and former lead singer of Moses Mayfield, Matthew Mayfield, as well as “Shelter from the Storm,” a Bob Dylan Celebration. The event saw ticket sellouts two of the three nights. PIR Executive Director Spencer Smith said the Decatur community always steps up to support PIR’s cause. “Decatur is known for its dedication to important causes, and we’re so thankful for the incredible support the community has shown to Poverty is Real and Decatur Cooperative Ministry,” Smith said. “DCM knows how to stretch a dollar and these funds will help more than most can imagine in helping struggling local families get back on their feet.” Three retina physicians named Top Doctors in Atlanta Drs. Michael S. Jacobson, Jay Stallman and Mark J. Rivellese of the Decatur office of Georgia Retina were recently honored as Top Doctors in metro Atlanta. Jacobson was named to the 2013 list of top doctors in the July issue of Atlanta magazine, while Stallman and Rivellese were included in the prestigious Top Doctor online listing by Castle Connolly, a leading health care research company. The Top Doctors listing is compiled annually by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. Doctors are nominated for consideration through both a nationwide survey and a peer nomination process open to licensed physicians in DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, and Gwinnett counties. Castle Connolly’s physicianled team of researchers then selects the Top Doctors through a screening process that includes an evaluation of educational and professional experience. Georgia Retina CFO Paul Lucas said the practice is honored to have its physicians named to these esteemed Top Doctors lists. “All nine of our retina specialists are deserving of this honor, and we’re incredibly proud that Drs.


Page 7A

Expert to speak on giving gardens a second chance Second Chance Vegetable Garden is the title of a presentation to be given at the Brookhaven Library Tuesday, July 23, 3-3:45 p.m. Sarah Brodd from the UGA Cooperative Extension will teach about vegetables that can be planted in midsummer and provide tips about what gardeners can do if their vegetable garden failed the first time around. The event is open to the first 30 participants. Brookhaven Library is located at 1242 N. Druid Hills Road, NE, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 848-7140. 

Jacobson, Lampert, Stallman and Rivellese made these lists. It’s a wonderful reflection on them and the entire practice for the amazing work they do,” he said.


Class to focus on saving with coupons More money-saving techniques will be taught at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library as it continues the Couponing 101 series Thursday, July 25, 2-3 p.m. The final class for the month, Putting Your Savings to Work, will cover moneysaving methods related to entertainment, vacations and more. Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library is located at 5234 LaVista Road, Tucker. For more information, call (770) 270-8234.

New Life Church and Community Center will hold Clarkston park to host its 15th annual Health and junior tennis session Wellness Expo on Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Milam Park in Clarkston The expo seeks to get the will hold its third summer south DeKalb community junior tennis session on July focused on the health and 22 - Aug. 1, Monday through wellness of the whole Thursday. The session times individual—mentally, are from 9 to 10 a.m. and physically and spiritually— from 10 to 11 a.m. The through the expo and the cost for the session is $10 New Life Community Center per student. Milam Park services. is located at 3867 Norman There will be free health Road. For more information, screenings, dental exams, call Tim Palmer at (678) vision testing and more. 576-3341. Representatives from New Life Community Center will also be on hand to  discuss services available for underserved individuals Author to teach about in the community. By Georgia geology partnering with AARP, Kaiser Permanente and FultonArea residents have the DeKalb Hospital Authority, opportunity to learn about the organizers of the expo are geology of Georgia with auable to offer in addition to thor Bill Witherspoon Tues- health screening: day, July 23, at 7 p.m. at the • Affordable Health Care Decatur Library. Act (ACA) & Medicare “The Roadside Geology of information sessions with Georgia is a fascinating and AARP representatives useful guidebook for all Geor- • On-site healthy cooking gians interested in the Peach demonstrations State’s varied terrain. In 35 • Local fresh produce market detailed and densely-illustrat- • Live Zumba group fitness ed road guides, Witherspoon New Life Church & and co-author Pamela J.W. Community Center Campus Gore examine Georgia’s fas- is located at 3592 Flat Shoals cinating geology and reveal Road, Decatur. the stories that lay beneath the surface. From its shifting Container gardening barrier islands along the coast program to conclude library to the sandstone ridges in its series



Memorial set for Caribbean community leader A memorial service celebrating the life of Jerry Gellineau, who died June 15, will be held Saturday, July 20, at 1 p.m. at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Funeral services were held earlier in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Gellineau was one of the first Trinbagonians to move to Georgia more than 40 years ago, making his home in DeKalb County. He worked in real estate and sold many Caribbean families moving into Georgia their firs t homes. Gellineau was one of the founding members of the Atlanta Peach Carnival as well as the Trinidad and Tobago Society of Georgia. Corpus Christi Catholic Church is located at 600 Mountain View Drive, Stone Mountain. A reception, 2-4 p.m., will follow the memorial service.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 8A

Sustainable landscaping policy adopted

News Briefs

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis recently signed the first 2013 Executive Order for Sustainable Landscaping Management practices that will support the county’s commitment to be the “Greenest Urban County in America.” “Because of the sustainable landscaping policy, DeKalb County will continue to lead the charge in innovative green initiatives,” Ellis said. “I am honored to announce our new sustainable landscaping policy that will allow DeKalb County to be cleaner, greener and more thriving.” The policy endorses environmentally responsible and sustainable landscaping management practices such as integrated pest management, which protects the county’s water supply. In addition, it prevents and manages pests with minimal impact on human health and the environment. Newly constructed and existing county facilities and grounds will use sustainable landscaping practices such as drought tolerant, locally adapted plants. The policy also promotes a healthy landscape that will save water and require applying fewer chemicals. For more information on the Sustainable Landscaping Management policy and county programs that encourage conservation and reduce environmental impact, visit www. dekalbcountyga.gov/greenfocus.

forming Arts, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur; and Nick’s Barber Shop, 4830B Redan Road, Stone Mountain. Donations will continue through July with a culminating event taking place July 25.  The initiative “presents a wonderful opportunity for the community to support our youth as they prepare to embark upon what may be the most important journey of their lives,” Johnson said.  There are still some openings left for students who have graduated from a DeKalb County high school to be placed on the list of recipients. Suggested donations include gift cards, and household items such as dishes, cookware, eating utensils, soap, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, pillows and twin size sheets. To make a donation or for more information, call (404) 964-4936.

Walmart Foundation donates $100,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Georgia
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Georgia has received a $100,000 charitable donation from the Walmart Foundation for its food recovery and distribution program. In addition to covering administrative costs, the grant will allow SVdP to purchase materials and equipment needed to expand its existing program at its regional food distributions centers in Georgia. SVdP recovers more than 20,000 pounds of perishable food each month and distributes it through its 38 food pantries to those in need. Through this donation, SVdP will increase its ability to serve at-risk households. The benefits of the program are twofold: it helps to alleviate the critical and chronic problem of poverty and hunger in Georgia and it prevents unnecessary food waste.            By expanding the number of sites and improving the program’s delivery capacity at its regional food distribution centers in Georgia, SVdP will eliminate some of the barriers of time, distance and accessibility for clients to receive nutritious food. Through Walmart Foundation’s

donation, SVdP gains the ability to continue its work alongside other agency partners in metro Atlanta, expanding the recovery and redistribution of food to more struggling households. “St. Vincent de Paul is dedicated to serving people in our community,” said John Berry, executive director and CEO of SVdP. “We are addressing the issue of hunger in Georgia by creating a unique way to provide perishable and nutritional food to those we serve through our food distribution networks. We continue to seek new ways to expand our services to provide more Georgians with the opportunity to obtain healthier food and Walmart Foundation’s grant will help us accomplish this next step.” SVdP served more than 146,000 individuals last year with more $7.3 million in food, clothing, household items and direct aid.  To learn more about St. Vincent de Paul visit www. svdpgeorgia.org or call (678) 8926160. To make an online donation to help feed Georgia families in need, visit the website and click the “Donate Now” button.

The Youth Leadership Academy is an initiative developed by Sutton to meet the needs of youth through education, leadership development and community service. Students from Redan, Stephenson and a number of DeKalb High Schools participate in this program. Approximately 170 students have participated in the summer program, which has a full day of academics and enrichment. Students participate in workshops, classes and field trips. They are monitored throughout the academic year and participate in enrichment programs quarterly. For more information about the Youth Empowerment Breakfast, contact the office of Commissioner Sutton at (404) 371-4907 or visit online at www.sharonbarnessutton. com.


DeKalb CEO appoints director of watershed management

Olympic gymnast to speak at benefit breakfast
U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas will be the guest speaker at the 2013 Youth Empowerment Breakfast at the Marriott Evergreen Resort, Stone Mountain. The Saturday, Aug. 10, event will be hosted by DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and will benefit the Youth Leadership Academy established by Sutton in 2008. The theme for this year’s event is “Releasing the Power Within… Moving Forward!” During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Douglas won gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions. Douglas is the first woman of color of any nationality and the first Black gymnast in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion. She is also the first American gymnast to win gold in both the gymnastic individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympic Games.

County ‘trunk drive’ to benefit college freshmen
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson and Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry are sponsoring a “trunk drive” to equip 100 college freshmen with much needed survival items. The donations are being collected through July 25. Donation collection stations are at Maloof Administration Building, first floor, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur; 1st Class Barber Shop, 2929 Turner Hill Road, Lithonia; offices of the Clerk of Superior Court, 556 N. McDonough Street, Decatur; Porter Sanford Center for the Per-

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis announced July 10 the appointment of Dr. James M. Chansler, P.E., as director of watershed management. The position will pay $153,360 a year. “DeKalb County is getting a valuable asset in James,” Ellis said. “He has the experience, expertise, and skill set required to lead one of our county’s most important departments. I am confident he will be able to deliver the quality services and responsiveness our most important stakeholders—our residents—deserve.” Chansler has accrued years of experience in city and county government, public works and utilities, utility boards, supply chains and procurement. After earning a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences and mathematics from Berea College, he received a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University, and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Chansler is Six Sigma Green Belt certified and held leadership positions in a host of nonprofit organizations. In addition, he has presented at more than a dozen utility and water related conferences across the country.

GPC Continued From Page 2A
the university system’s economic impact for a number of years and what is clear is the importance of these colleges and universities on local and state economies from just about every variable: direct spending, income, production of goods and services and jobs,” Humphreys said. The first study in the series calculated the USG’s impact at $7.2 billion in 1999. The latest $14.1 billion represents a $7.0 billion increase since 1999–or 98 percent growth in the system’s economic impact on Georgia’s communities. That gain far outstrips inflation, which was only 38 percent over this same time period, Humphreys said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

loCAl news
false statement. DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, who was recently indicted for allegedly attempting to extort campaign money from county vendors, is scheduled to appear for arraignment July 29, at 9 a.m., in Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson’s courtroom. Jury selection will begin July 29 for Andrea Sneiderman’s Ellis trial. She is the widow accused of conspiring with her former boss to murder her husband, Rusty Sneiderman, who was shot to death in front of a Dunwoody day care center in 2010. Sneiderman’s former boss Hemy Neuman confessed and was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence. Prosecutors contend that Sneiderman and Neuman were having an affair.

Page 9A

Court roundup: upcoming cases, hearings and recent indictments
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com Anthony Johnson was recently indicted on two counts of first degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of alcohol, four counts of serious injury by vehicle and three counts of endangering a child while driving under the influence. The June 3, 2012, incident occurred while Johnson was driving on Highway 78 and resulted in the death of one of his children, who was a passenger in the vehicle. According to the indictment, Johnson was driving on Highway 78 while drunk; he ran off the road and struck a tree. His daughter Corliss Johnson was killed and his other daughter, also a passenger in the car, was severely injured. Another indictment involving reckless driving was recently handed down to Jeremiah Warthen. Warthen was indicted on multiple counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, attempting to elude a police officer and trafficking cocaine. The charges stem from a March 20 incident on Snapfinger Woods Drive. According to the indictment, Warthen rammed a police car during a routine traffic stop then led police on a high-speed chase that resulted in the deaths of two passengers in another vehicle. There will be a pretrial hearing in Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams’ courtroom July 18 for a minor accused of stabbing her younger sister to death then lying to police about it. She is charged with malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, cruelty to children and making a




Cunningham Continued From Page 6A
background to work with them, to work with that superintendent, to talk about things we did in the past, things we need to do in the future,” Cunningham said. “What I bring back to the table, being reinstated, is a knowledge of facts and understanding, through governance and leadership and policy, to get the job done. That’s my testimony. I would like to be reinstated,” he said. Under questioning by Cunningham, who represented himself, Reginald Johnson, director of R. Johnson Community Services, said the suspended board member has been an asset to the school district. “We’ve seen a big change in a lot of schools that you were working with,” Johnson said. “I really feel you were a plus for the county,” Johnson said. “I’m not saying that as a friend, I’m saying that as a business owner.” Johnson praised Cunningham for eliminating many of the classroom trailers from his district. “We’re very impressed with what he did with those trailers,” Johnson said. “The loss of Mr. Cunningham would be a setback for the county,” Johnson said. “We can’t afford to lose him right now. We have a lot of respect for that school board that was in place at that time.” Cunningham also asked several witnesses, among them DCSD Chief Operating Officer Stephen Wilkins, whether he had a good working relationship with them. “I found our working relationship always very professional,” Wilkins said Bruce McMillan, who was once a member of the Southwest DeKalb Parent Council, said Cunningham has always been one to focus on the education of students, particularly at “some of the weaker schools,” even if they were not in his school district. When questioned about Cunningham’s job performance if reinstated, McMillan said, based on his six years of knowing the board member, “I think you would do a fantastic job. “I don’t have any bad words to say about any board member,” McMillan said. Attorney Tanya Graham, whose two daughters attend Arabia Mountain High School, said Cunningham was active in the Parent Teacher Student Association. “He actively came over to Arabia Mountain High School,” said Graham, president of the school’s PTSA. “He would work with, not only the schools he was responsible for, but all of DeKalb County.” The hearing for suspended school board member Donna Edler was July 16.

Name: Cinnamon • Female Adult • Spayed

Pet of the Week
Cinnamon is a medium sized Labrador Retriever mix she’s a beautiful light brown with white markings on her chest and the sweetest smile; just look at that adorable face. Cinnamon has been at the shelter far too long. She is so very deserving of a furever home. She is gentle and gets along well with everyone that handles her. She is still a little shy so you have to be a patient when you meet her, but I’m sure her gentle nature will win your heart. Please come to the shelter to meet Cinnamon. She is waiting to meet the person who has a lot of love and a little space in their home that they would like to fill.

Adult store exploring legal options against Brookhaven
by Carla Parker carla@dehalbchamp.com Attorney Cary Wiggins, who represents Stardust adult store in Brookhaven, said the store is “exploring it options” on whether to sue the city. Brookhaven officials say the store located on Buford Highway is violating the city’s sexually oriented business ordinance without a license. City code enforcement officers have written the store 14 citations daily, since June 7. At a July 12 hearing, Wiggins said the store has been citied at least 70 times. The store will be back in court Aug. 6. The city accuses the store of operating a sexual device shop without a license, operating a sexually oriented business within 100 feet of another sexually oriented business, and failing to identify a line of business at the time of business registration. Wiggins said suing the city could be an option but did not reveal when the store will come to a decision. If Stardust sues the city it will be the second adult entertainment to enter a legal battle with the city. Pink Pony, an adult entertainment club located on Buford Highway, filed a lawsuit against the city May 13. The lawsuit is centered on property rights and a breach of contract. In 2001, the club entered into an agreement with DeKalb County, which was amended in 2007 that says the club would continue to function as is and if municipality took over the area then the agreement is binding upon the new city.

If interested in adopting Cinnamon, send an email to both addresses below for a prompt reply Jamie Martinez Jsmartinez@dekalbcountyga.gov Christine Kaczynski Ckaczynski@dekalbcountyga.gov

DeKalb County Animal Shelter

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 10A

Tribunal recommends firing of teacher accused of neglect, incompetence
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com A DeKalb County School District (DCSD) tribunal has recommended not renewing a Cross Keys High School physical education teacher’s contract and found that he was insubordinate and purposefully neglected his duties. During a DeKalb County Board of Education nonrenewal hearing, P.E. teacher William Burks, his lawyers and several witnesses argued that Burks was a respectful teacher who only wanted to help his students succeed. Burks is accused of incompetence, willful neglect of duties, immorality and insubordination. However, his attorney Quinton G. Washington claims that students made up the allegations because they were trying to influence the grades Burks gave them. According to the tribunal decision, a “preponderance of the evidence” found that Burks was insubordinate, willfully neglected his duties, was “immoral” but was not incompetent. The hearing was for charges that stemmed from the past year; however, this is not the first time Burks has come under fire by the district. According to a letter listing the charges against Burks, DCSD also included examples of past behavior by Burk that it said demonstrates a pattern of behavior. In 2004-05, he allegedly told students to bend over and grab their ankles so he could give them “a swift kick to the butt,” and was given a letter of reprimand. In 2005-06, Burks allegedly sent an email to an elementary school teacher, calling her “a miserable, nasty mouthed, cantankerous, old woman,” the charge letter says. Additionally, according to the letter he was recommended for 15 days suspension after allegedly “grabbing and forcing” a girl into her chair. Burks reportedly accepted the one-day suspension in 2004-05 but contested the others and the district didn’t pursue them further. DeKalb Schools spokesman Jeff Dickerson said that the DeKalb County school board will now make a final decision whether to renew Burks contract.

A fallen tree lays in the front yard of a home on Rockbridge Road in Clarkston. Photo by Carla Parker

Rash of storms bring down trees, create sinkholes in DeKalb
by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com Severe thunderstorms and rainy weather have consistently hit DeKalb County seemingly every day since June 1, causing trees and branches to fall and sinkholes to form. According to Georgia Power, which has two service stations in DeKalb, there have of the trees are either dead or the soil got so saturated that the root system was incapable of holding it in place and it just falls over. “When a branch of a tree falls a lot of times it’s because of the wind,” he added. In DeKalb County, there are different procedures for homeowners to follow when it comes to removing a fallen owner must call in a specialist to cut down the tree. “We don’t cut down trees on private property,” Brennan said. Brennan also said the rash of storms has delayed the pickup of trees. “It’s been more time-consuming moving the trees out of the roads,” he said. “We have some special equipment to cut it up and it takes time. But we’re just about caught up.” Homeowners who have removed trees themselves and stacked it at the curve must arrange a special pickup. “If it’s a large pile we have to have a machine with a boom arm come in and pick it up and that’s going to –Burke Brennan require a special pickup and they can call sanitation for that,” Brennan said. “And tree from their property or depending on the volume from the road. In one instance, there may be a charge.” if a tree falls onto a power line In the case of a sinkhole, and lands in the road Georgia if it is a sinkhole that is on Power must come in first and county property and caused clear the power line, Brennan by a county infrastructure desaid. ficiency, the county will take “After the power line is re- care of it. A recent sinkhole in moved we come in and clear Stone Mountain was caused the tree,” Brennan said. “If by the collapse of a county the tree is in the right of way, storm drain. [the homeowner] needs to call “That’s our storm drain,” us and let us know about it so Brennan said. “We put it there we can assess it and take care and we maintain it. Someof it with the appropriate actimes sinkholes are caused by tion.” other things such as a conIf homeowners have contractor 25 years ago buried cerns about a tree on their garbage in the backyard and property that could possibly the garbage deteriorates and fall in the future the homeforms a sink hole.”

‘Most of the trees are either dead or

County announces application period for nonprofit human services grants
The DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department’s Human Services Division is accepting 2014 human services grant applications for the general fund and the victim assistance fund.     Interested groups can find specifics about the program at human.dekalbcountyga.gov. “These grants make it possible for organizations to help those who are in need. We appreciate the agencies whose sole purpose is to make a difference in someone else’s life,” DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said. Only applications from incorporated nonprofit organizations with a taxexempt status will be considered. These organizations must also meet other criteria, which can be found on the county website. Considered applicants must have a prevention or early intervention focus and meet an urgent community need. Services provided must address issues related to economically disadvantaged individuals, families, children, youth, or senior adults including underserved and difficult-to-serve populations. Completed applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, to be considered for 2014 funding. Funds are subject to the availability of 2014 DeKalb County funding for the Human Services Grant program. For more information, call Lisa Thomas at (404) 270-1180 in the office of DeKalb County Human Services. For information on obtaining victim assistance program certification, contact the State of Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council at (404) 6571961.

the soil got so saturated that the root system was incapable of holding it in place and it just falls over.’

been 475 events of trees or limbs that have fallen on power lines in the DeKalb service area since June 1 due to bad weather. The Tucker station reported 231 events and the Minola station, which also covers east Atlanta in Fulton County, reported 244 events. According to DeKalb Public Works public outreach manager Burke Brennan, DeKalb County has had 260 tree pickups since June 1. Brennan said there are many factors that have caused the trees to fall. “Certainly, there may have been a couple that came down by lightning,” he said. “Most

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 11A

The Waits-Gault-Wise family, whose roots in DeKalb predates the county’s founding, will hold its 29th reunion this month. Photos provided

The family that established the historic Flat Rock community is celebrating its 29th reunion July 26-28. Members of this prominent Waits-Gault-Wise family, whose history runs hand-in-hand with the history of DeKalb County, include actor-director Chris Tucker; NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon; NFL star Willie Gault; Georgia State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-60); Houston, Texas, Mayor Lee Brown; gospel singers Charles & Taylor; and Dallas Cowboys’ receiver Dwayne Harris. The family, whose roots in the area predate the establishment of DeKalb County, formed the community of Flat Rock, located in the lower Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area of Lithonia. The Flat Rock community and Waits-Gault-Wise family made its mark on the history of DeKalb, the state and the country. Margaret Mitchell’s

Historic Flat Rock family to hold 29th reunion
grandfather was the first postmaster at the Flat Rock post office. The Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., father of the legendary civil rights leader, preached his first sermon at Bertha Baptist, which existed until 1949 on the current site of the Flat Rock Trail on Evans Mill Road. Sherman’s army came through Flat Rock with 150 wagons headed to Savannah. The slave cemeteries in the Flat Rock Community have the earliest Black residents of DeKalb, with markers as old as 1834. DeKalb’s oldest Black and White churches are in this community. Flat Rock Church, a Black church founded in 1860 on Evans Mill Road; and Macedonia Baptist Church, a White church, founded on Panola Road in 1822. One of the venues for the family reunion is the Flat Rock Archives, a freed slave’s home converted to a museum dedicated to the preservation of the history of Flat Rock, the Black slaves and their descendants who have maintained their community for more than 150 years. On Friday, July 26, the reunion’s welcome party will be held at Georgia Perimeter College, 495 N. Indian Creek Dr., Clarkston, 9 p.m.midnight. The event costs $10 and is open to the public. A genealogy research class will be held Saturday, July 27, facilitated by Angelica Wilkins, who has been researching Waits-Gault-Wise family history since 2004. In the class, participants will be taught how to look up family history on Ancestry.com. Participants must bring a laptop or tablet computer. The event costs $25 and is open to the public. The class will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Flat Rock Archive, 3979 Crossvale Road, Lithonia. At noon on July 27, CFL and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon and his family will visit the Flat Rock Archive for the first time. At 6 p.m., the 65-year-old Wooten Choral Ensemble of Chicago, Ill., will have a concert at Flat Rock Community Building, 4542 Evans Mills Road, Lithonia. On July 28, the family will

worship at Flat Rock Community Building at 11 a.m. with the Wooten Choral Ensemble. A picnic will follow at Stone Mountain Park at 3 p.m. For more information, visit the family’s website at www.family.ning. com. http://0.tqn.com/d/

hea Brookhaven voters, let your voice beon attorneys’ fees. City Council spends your tax money
• The world famous Pink Pony in business 22 years. (City of Brookhaven in business for only 7 months) • Contributes $450,000 to City of Brookhaven in Property and Sales Tax, Licenses and Permits. • 300,000 visitors to the Pink Pony annually, which generates revenue for local Gas Stations, Hotels, Restaurants and Eateries.


You are Invited to DeKalb’s 2013


—Atlanta Journal Constitution 6-14-2013

• Ultimately putting the Pink Pony out of business, in the newly formed City of Brookhaven. • Losing $450,000 tax revenue annually by closing Pink Pony. • Telling 300,000 people the Pink Pony, is not allowed to operate in their original problem-free format. • Putting 300 Pink Pony Employees out of work. • Declining revenue from local businesses.
ncil and express to them, Please contact Brookhaven’s City Cou WAY IT IS! you want to LEAVE THE PINK PONY THE

Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas
Hosted by DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and DeKalb’s Youth Leadership Academy
Marriott Evergreen Resort, Stone Mountain Park, 4021 Lakeview Drive, Stone Mountain, GA For information, please call (404) 371-4907
or to Purchase Tickets or Sponsorship online visit: www.YouthEmpowermentBreakfast.EventBrite.com

featuring Special Guest 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist,

Saturday, August 10, 2013, Nine O'clock in the Morning

bates.mattison@brookhavenga.gov Direct Phone: 678-390-3424

rebecca.williams@brookhavenga.gov Direct Phone: 678-509-5540

joe.gebbia@brookhavenga.gov Direct Phone: 404-728-1125

jim.eyre@brookhavenga.gov Direct Phone: 770-856-3211

let’s SETTLE the Pink Pony case, before they spend your tax money!
Proceeds to benefit DeKalb’s Youth Leadership Academy
PP_ChampionNewspaper_Ad.indd 2

7/9/13 4:27 PM

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 12A

South DeKalb stakeholders met with DeKalb County Marshal Steven Mann, Police Chief Cedric Alexander and Sheriff Thomas Brown to discuss crime in the area. Below, the forum was led by Sheriff’s Sgt. Adrion Bell. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Police, sheriff: south DeKalb crime decreasing
Mears said. “While it’s not a great number, it’s a good number,” Mears said. “We’re getting there. We’re building momentum and it’s getting better and better.” In May, the police department’s south precinct had 10,000 calls and in June that number dropped to 9,000. “Eventually you’re going to see a decrease,” Mears said. “You’re going to see a better Wesley Chapel.” Mears attributed the decrease in crime to DeKalb County law enforcement officers “working hard for you.” DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown showed the crime decrease from a different perspective. He said the average daily population of the county jail “is actually going down.” “It’s been trending down for about the last year and a half,” Brown said. “ Previously, the average jail population was 3,300 people per day. Now it has dropped to 2,700-2,800 per day, Brown said.
See Police on Page 14A

by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Crime is going down in south DeKalb. That’s what law enforcement officials said July 13 during a crime forum in the Wesley Chapel community. “We’ve seen a decrease in south DeKalb,” said DeKalb County Police Capt. A. T. Mears. Violent crime in the area has decreased 2 percent and property crime has dropped 4 percent,

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

loCAl news

Page 13A

DeKalb County now brings recycling bags, boxes to customers
DeKalb County has again begun delivering the blue recycling boxes and bags to customers who have enrolled in the county’s free recycling program or who need replacement bags, according to a statement from DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon. A previous policy required recycling customers to pick up recycling bags and boxes at the Sanitation Department on Memorial Drive. “This was inconvenient to customers and could discourage participation in the program,” Gannon stated. The new policy calls for county sanitation employees to deliver blue recycling bags and boxes directly to customers’ homes. The new policy will begin immediately. “In 2012, I worked with the administration to remove the initial sign-up fees for recycling,” said Gannon, known as the “green commissioner.” “A task force that I chaired devised a marketing campaign to capitalize on the reduced fees. Consequently, between the fee elimination and the marketing campaign, the recycling program has vastly expanded.” Gannon said DeKalb recycled 12,700 tons of recyclables in 2012. Through the first six months of 2013, the County has already recycled 11,000 tons. When county management determined that sanitation staff could no longer deliver the blue boxes and recycling bags, this decision “was particularly inconvenient to residents of Dunwoody where recycling participation rates were among the highest,” Gannon stated. “Commissioner [Elaine] Boyer worked to have a pilot program with the Dunwoody Library to distribute recycling bags, but this pilot program was not satisfying the increased demand,” Gannon stated. “Commissioner Boyer and I worked together to change the delivery policy to one that is more convenient to all customers.” DeKalb County has one of the largest recycling programs in the country and recycles a wide array of materials. DeKalb County sells the recyclables to SP Recycling, and last year DeKalb was paid more than $600,000, Gannon said. “These revenues help to keep DeKalb’s sanitation fees among the lowest in metro Atlanta.,” Gannon stated. “Many DeKalb residents have realized that by recycling, they only need to take their trash to curb once per week.” To sign-up for recycling, or find out more information, go to www.dekalbrecycles. com.
DeKalb Commissioners Kathie Gannon, Larry Johnson and Sharon Barnes Sutton announce the county’s free recycling program last year. File Photo

Searching for Our Sons and Daughters:
Stories of our missing residents offer profound insights and hope for a positive reunion.
For a programming guide, visit www.yourdekalb.com/dctv

Finding DeKalb County’s Missing
Now showing on DCTV!

The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast
Scat'd T-storms High: 89 Low: 71 Scat'd T-storms High: 88 Low: 72 Scat'd T-storms High: 88 Low: 71 Scat'd T-storms High: 85 Low: 71 Scat'd T-storms High: 86 Low: 72 Partly Cloudy High: 90 Low: 75

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July 18, 2013
Weather History

Detailed Local Forecast
Today we will see partly cloudy skies with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, high temperature of 89º, humidity of 62%. Light winds. The record high temperature for today is 100º set in 1993. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Today’s Regional Map
Dunwoody 87/70 Smyrna 88/71 Doraville 88/71 Atlanta 89/71 College Park 90/71 Union City 90/71



Lilburn 88/71

Last Week's Local Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 89 71 89/70 0.00" Wednesday 87 73 89/70 0.00" Thursday 80 71 89/70 0.01" Friday 89 69 89/70 0.08" Saturday 78 68 89/71 0.00" Sunday 84 71 89/71 0.02" Monday 87 71 90/71 0.03" Rainfall. . . . . . . . 0.14" Average temp . . 77.7 Normal rainfall. . 1.21" Average normal 79.8 Departure . . . . . .-1.07" Departure . . . . . -2.1 Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 6:40 a.m. 6:40 a.m. 6:41 a.m. 6:42 a.m. 6:42 a.m. 6:43 a.m. 6:44 a.m.

Decatur Snellville 89/71 89/71 Lithonia 90/71 Morrow 90/71




Hampton 91/72

July 18, 1986 - One of the most photogenic tornadoes touched down in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis during the late afternoon. The very slow-moving tornado actually appeared live on the evening news by way of an aerial video taken by the KARE-TV helicopter crew. July 19, 1974 - A severe thunderstorm with winds to 80 mph and up to two inches of rain washed out four to five foot deep sections of roadway in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Three people in a car died as they were carried 3,000 feet down a wash by a 10foot wall of water.

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Sunset 8:46 p.m. 8:46 p.m. 8:45 p.m. 8:45 p.m. 8:44 p.m. 8:43 p.m. 8:43 p.m. Moonrise 4:43 p.m. 5:48 p.m. 6:49 p.m. 7:44 p.m. 8:34 p.m. 9:19 p.m. 9:59 p.m.


Full 7/22 Last 7/29

Mostly Sunny High: 92 Low: 74

Moonset 2:26 a.m. 3:19 a.m. 4:19 a.m. 5:26 a.m. 6:35 a.m. 7:45 a.m. 8:54 a.m.

Tonight’s Planets
New 8/6 First 8/14 Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 5:55 a.m. 7:40 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 10:26 p.m. 4:54 a.m. 7:18 p.m. 5:04 a.m. 7:22 p.m. 2:31 p.m. 1:40 a.m. 12:25 a.m. 12:52 p.m.

Local UV Index
0 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a few thunderstorms today and Friday, scattered thunderstorms Saturday, with the highest temperature of 99º in Baltimore, Md. The Southeast will experience widespread thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 100º in Shannon, Va. In the Northwest, there will be mostly clear to partly cloudy skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 101º in Boise, Idaho. The Southwest will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms today, scattered thunderstorms Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 112º in Bullhead City, Ariz.

Weather Trivia
What measurements are made by weather satellites?


StarWatch By Gary Becker - One Small Step
I think everybody has a hero or someone they admire or aspire to emulate. One of mine was Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon. Neil unfortunately passed away last August 25 at the age of 82. I just finished James R. Hansen’s authorized biography of Armstrong, First Man, which filled in a number of gaps and some misinformation I had about the reluctant hero, whose first small step onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969 forever changed his life and people’s perspective of the cosmos. “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” This soft spoken and controlled human being, who paused to consider almost everything he said, forgot to say the “a” in that sentence. Without it, the words are redundant and make no sense, and although Armstrong insisted that the “a” was voiced, detailed audio analysis of that communication failed to reveal it. When were those words conceived in Armstrong’s mind? Hansen gives a credible argument that it probably didn’t happen until Armstrong had actually brought the Eagle safely down onto the lunar surface. There was no need to give it any serious consideration, according to Armstrong, until the landing had actually occurred, because Neil thought in his mind that the chances of accomplishing this feat were about 50/50. He gave the mission an overall 90 percent probability of successfully returning to Earth. Neil wasn’t even concerned about whether he or his partner, Buzz Aldrin, would be the first to walk. It was all about successfully landing the Eagle. Buzz, on the other hand, lobbied hard for that first step, but in the end NASA administrators unanimously chose Armstrong as the better person to represent humanity’s first explorer to set foot on another world. For Neil’s sake, kindly remember the “a” in “…one small step…” That was something he really wanted the world to know. www.astronomy.org

Answer: They estimate temperatures, record cloud images, and map the ozone layer.

UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High, 11+: Extreme Exposure


The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 14A

Local residents and politicians react to George Zimmerman’s acquittal
by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com Joshua Wilson of Decatur said he was very “despondent and disappointed” by the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial. A jury of six women found the Sanford, Fla. neighborhood watch volunteer not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter on July 13 in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager. The killing of Martin unleashed furious debate across the United States over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. Zimmerman, 29, said he shot the 17-year-old on Feb. 26, 2012, in self-defense after the teenager knocked him to the ground, punched him and slammed his head repeatedly against the sidewalk. Before the confrontation, Martin was returning to his father’s fiancée’s house in the gated community from a convenient store where he purchased a bag of Skittles and an Arizona ice tea. Prosecutors in the case called Zimmerman a liar and portrayed him was a “wannabe cop” vigilante who had grown frustrated by break-ins in his neighborhood committed primarily by young black men. Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good and took the law into his own hands, prosecutors said. After three weeks of testimony, the jury, which consisted of five White women and one Hispanic woman, rejected the prosecution’s claim that Zimmerman had deliberately pursued Martin because he assumed the hoodie-clad teenager was a criminal and instigated the fight that led to his death. Although race was barely mentioned in the case, many people around the country, including Wilson, felt that racism played a part in the shooting and the case. “I believe wholeheartedly that this case had everything to do with racism and injustice,” the 26-year-old said. “I’m not surprised by the verdict though because if we look in the rear view mirror of our past, we’ll see that this isn’t the first time we’ve experienced unfair, unjust, insensitive and insulting treatment. Trayvon Martin was

Continued From Page 12A

In this image from video, George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, Sunday, July 14, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Black teenager whose killing unleashed debate across the United States over racial profiling, self defense and equal justice. (AP Photo/TV Pool)

tried and found guilty of his own death.” State Rep. John Lewis, who experienced unfair and insulting treatment during the Civil Right Movementin which he worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said he is deeply disappointed by the verdict. “It seems to justify the stalking and killing of innocent Black boys and deny them any avenue of selfdefense,” Lewis said in a released statement. “On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think it demonstrates the distance this nation still must go to fulfill the vision of equal justice Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life to defend. I hope this verdict will serve to open some kind of meaningful dialogue on the issues of race and justice in America.” Dr. Kenneth Samuel, senior pastor of Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, said he doesn’t think one person on the jury understands the racial profiling that criminalizes black men in America on a daily basis. “We will never become a post racial society until we face and fix the race issue,” he said. “Our hearts are heavy for Trayvon Martin’s

family and for every Black man whose life is jeopardized by prejudicial judgments.” The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. also released a statement of its disappointment of the verdict. “Trayvon Martin’s tragic and senseless death was the direct result of Mr. Zimmerman’s false and offensive assumption that Trayvon was a criminal because he was African American,” the statement read. “His unnecessary death exposes the entrenched nature of racial prejudice in our country and reflects the unfinished struggle to fulfill this country’s promise of racial equality and justice for all.” The organization also announced that it will ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to start a comprehensive federal review of Zimmerman’s conduct. Inza Thomas of Covington, a mother of two young boys, said hearing the verdict wasn’t alarming at first because she expected the justice system to fail Martin. But the moment became surreal to her when her 10-year-old son repeated the words “George Zimmerman is not guilty.” “The look on his face was an array of emotions,” she

said. “He did not ask, but the question was all over his face: ‘Why?’ As a mother of two young boys I feel like they will never escape the picture that society has depicted of our African American boys. I can say that yes, in 2013 I fear for my sons’ lives in America.” Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for 44 days after the shooting as police in Sanford claimed that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. The Stand Your Ground law gives people in Florida leeway to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm. Martin’s parents, along with civil rights leaders, argued that Zimmerman–who identifies himself as Hispanic –had racially profiled their son and they accused investigators of dragging their feet because Martin was a black teenager. Before Zimmerman was finally arrested for the shooting, thousands of protesters gathered in Sanford, Atlanta, New York and across the country, many wearing hoodies like the one Martin had on the night he died. They also carried Skittles and cans of iced tea, items Martin had in his pocket.

While there has been a drop in crime, DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander said it is still “a very active county in terms of law enforcement.” “Even though we are challenged by the shortages at times, in terms of personnel and turnover, which is indicative of any agency, quite frankly, we still make every effort to keep up with the challenge that is put in front of us,” Alexander said. Alexander said the challenge of reducing crime further cannot be accomplished by law enforcement alone. “We really need the community in order to do that,” Alexander said. “That challenge is going to be met with the support of everyone in this community.” Brown said one way to reduce crime is through crime watch programs. “In many cases when you don’t have that, it is because things have been going well in the community and now it’s time to get organized because there are some issues that have popped up,” Brown said. Alexander said many of the crimes in DeKalb are committed by young repeat offenders. “We are finding ourselves interfacing over and over and over every day with the same criminals—our young people who are out there committing these crimes,” Alexander said. “Thats where we really need community support,” Alexander said. “Something different is going to have to happen here. “Here’s what doesn’t work: Scaring these kid doesn’t work,” Alexander said. “These kids are scared of very little. Locking them up in all cases does not work.” DeKalb needs some “new creative ways” of dealing with “social issues…of these young people really just out there raising themselves.” Forum attendee Darryl Jennings Sr., president of the Gresham Park Community Association, said his neighborhood promotes “see something, say something.” “We have to continue to be the eyes and ears of DeKalb’s finest, other than that we will be relying on an understaffed department to see and deal with [crime],” Jennings said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013


Page 19A

Victim Continued From Page 1A
“I was assigned to be Joan’s therapy buddy at Shepherd. When I heard her story, I was compelled to do something,” Levin said. He was working with Llewellyn on her therapy, when her sister told him she needed to stop so Brown Llewellyn could get her shower before she left. He said she was doing so well she should keep going and she suggested she shower at home. Her sister explained that was impossible. Even on days when she doesn’t have therapy, McFarlane sometimes drives her sister to the Shepherd Center for a shower. “Currently, Joan and her sister must drive more than an hour each way to the Shepherd Center three times a week just so Joan can take a shower,” Levin said. When they can’t get to the center, McFarland must spread plastic in the bed in the makeshift downstairs bedroom and bathe her sister as best she can. “It would make such a difference in both our lives if I could give her a proper shower here at home,” said McFarland, a nightshift nurse, who said some days she gets no more than three hours sleep. With no money to pay for professional assistance, McFarland attends to her sister’s needs with help from church volunteers. Brown Llewellyn, who worked as a paralegal before the tragedy, dreams of becoming well enough to work again and perhaps starting a new career as a motivational speaker. “God spared me for a reason,” said Brown Llewellyn, who now sings in the choir at her Decatur church. “I was shot in the neck just as my brother was, yet he died and I lived. I think God wants me to take a message to people concerning domestic violence. He wants people to see me and see this is what domestic violence looks like.” Levin noted that “there’s a major shortage of public and private funds for helping disabled individuals and families who can’t afford to retrofit their homes. We hope that this project will create greater awareness about this issue. We have teamed up with Friends of Disabled Adults and Children to make this project happen, and all contributions are tax-deductible.” Levin said the project, which will add

Joan Brown Llewellyn keeps a drawing of her only daughter, gunned down in her stepfather’s murderous rampage, over her bed.

A garden at the McFarlane home is a memorial to slain family members.

wheelchair ramps and other improvements to make the house more accessible, will cost $18,000. Donors can visit www. WelcomeHomeJoan.com to make a taxdeductible contribution. “In Joan’s case, $18,000 will go toward making her home more wheelchair-friendly,” Haley said. “However, we hope to raise more than that to pay ongoing medical bills, rehab charges and the other expenses associated with what she has been and will still need to go through.” “Being able to wash my own face in my own bathroom would be wonderful,” Brown Llewellyn said, “I want to be as independent as I can,” she added with a smile. “I want to walk again someday.” Volunteers and health care professionals who have worked with her describe

Brown Llewellyn’s progress as “incredible” and are impressed by her strength, determination and positive spirit. Brown Llewellyn said that although her husband’s rage damaged her physically and took dear family members, she is determined to go forward in a positive way. Both she and McFarlane say being bitter about the tragedy would not honor those they lost. “Our mother had a beautiful spirit. Everyone in the neighborhood loved her. He didn’t just take her from us; he took her from an entire community,” said McFarlane, who planted a flower garden in memory of her mother and one in memory of Brown Llewellyn’s daughter J.J. Brown Llewellyn added, “I refuse to be angry. If I am angry, my husband wins. He will not win.”

Ellis Continued From Page 1A
or even the same day, sitting in an executive meeting conducting the normal business of the county; and how that will not create dysfunction and not adversely affect the administration of county business. That’s just an unrealistic notion,” James said. James also questioned the timing of Ellis’ reinstatement of his private security detail stationed outside his Stone Mountain home. “It begs the question, ‘What is he protecting himself from?’ It seems awful suspicious and awful interesting that this security detail popped up the day after our search warrant,” James said. Ellis’ attorney Craig Gillen said that James was required by statute to give Ellis 15 days’ notice of the indictment and allow him to appear and speak before the grand jury before the indictment was handed down. “It’s shocking that the district attorney would show up here this morning and have the temerity to argue that all those charges totally relate to the job duties of the CEO,” Gillen said. In January, Ellis’ home and office were searched while he was testifying before another grand jury related to the county’s watershed management department. Gillen also accused James of notifying the media, who were present while investigators searched Ellis’ home. “CEO Ellis has had a long history of committed service to the [residents] of DeKalb County…let us be clear that Mr. Ellis denies any and each other these allegations. Sadly, we perceive this as the latest manifestation of a political animus against the CEO by the district attorney’s office,” Gillen said. James said that the statute allows automatic reinstatement of Ellis if it becomes clear he is not receiving a “speedy trial.” “We’re not talking about something here that’s going to trample over his due process rights,” James said. “If our office cannot ‘put up, or shut up,’ then there is a provision for him to be automatically reinstated.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news
the Stone Mountain CID is a great example of the business community and police partnering with each other to deter criminal activity and provide a safer working environment,” said Major P. H. White, commander of the Tucker Police precinct. “These off-duty officers patrolling the CID add an additional layer of protection in the Stone Mountain CID corridor.” The CID employs off-duty DeKalb County Police officers and private enforcement from Plaza Security LLC to provide continual public safety coverage. According to Plaza Security President Jim Estlund, Officer Churchill is to be commended for his efforts

Page 16A

Stone Mountain CID honors police officers
The Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID) recently honored officers from the DeKalb County Police Department’s Tucker precinct for their service and efforts to reduce crime in the CID area. The CID also provided special recognition July 11 to Officer T.L. Churchill for his efforts leading to significant arrests of suspects facing drugs and weapon charges. In June, Churchill, an offduty officer employed by the Stone Mountain CID, made noteworthy arrests. During his routine security sweep, he ran a check of a vehicle license plate while patrolling the CID and discovered that the car’s female owner was wanted by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. A male passenger was also in the vehicle. During the vehicle stop, a police search uncovered a bag containing five ounces of methamphetamine, two ounces of marijuana, bags of pills and a 9mm handgun. The male passenger was revealed to be a felon convicted of armed robbery in Gwinnett County. The female and male suspects were taken into custody. The male suspect faces weapons and drug trafficking charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. “The collaboration between DeKalb Police and

DeKalb County Police Officer T.L. Churchill, right, receives a presentation by Stone Mountain Community Improvement District representative Emory Morsberger at a July 11 luncheon in recognition of DeKalb County Police based at the Tucker Precinct. Photo by David Tulis/Visual Specialists

leading to the suspects’ arrest. “He employed aggressive steps while on patrol by checking the vehicle’s ownership records and following through with a complete, successful stop,” Estlund said. “These are proactive efforts that help fight crime and let

criminals know that they will not be tolerated in the CID.” Estlund said ongoing patrols are benefiting CID businesses by continually reducing the number of criminal incidents occurring in the area.

Arts and culture showcase to be added to this year’s Decatur book festival
The AJC Decatur Book Festival (AJC DBF) has organized what festival officials call “a robust and diverse group of Atlanta’s arts organizations to engage book lovers’ imaginations” as it seeks to connect Metro Atlantans with the artistic and cultural opportunities that surround them. The art | DBF program will consist of five major components at the 2013 AJC DBF: The Exhibition Pavilion: Decatur’s • entire MARTA plaza — the heart of the city — will be transformed into an exhibition, installation, demonstration, conversation, and performance space. Mainstage: a central venue taken • over by art | DBF each festival day for a performance center; Saturday is The Dance Studio at the newly renovated Decatur Recreation Center; Sunday is Decatur High School. • The Atlanta PlanIt Pavilion: a space where arts and cultural organizations can build audience support and promote upcoming projects, exhibitions and performance seasons. •C  ommunity Bandstand: a casual outdoor performance space to engage festival attendees. •a  rt | DBF After Dark: a Saturday night arts gala starting at 7 p.m. on the festival plaza featuring a Flux Projection Project— Flux produces what festival organizer say is “exceptional and surprising temporary public art” within Atlanta’s public spaces— and several surprise pop-up performances. Julie Delliquanti, head of public programs and community engagement at the High Museum of Art, will oversee art | DBF. “I am honored to assemble this amazing group of some of the most innovative arts and cultural organizations in the country,” Delliquanti said. “Throughout the weekend attendees will be surprised by pop-up performances and happenings on the MARTA plaza that are sure to amaze and delight. My hope is that art | DBF will serve as a catalyst and convener to bring together artists and audiences in unexpected and imaginative ways.” Among the organizations that have committed to be part of the inaugural art | DBF event are Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, Art Papers, Arts at Emory, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, Atlanta Opera, Burnaway, Center for Puppetry Arts, Core Performance, Emory Center for Ethics and the Arts, Eyedrum, FilmLove, Flux, Full Radius Dance, Georgia Museum of Art, gloATL, High Museum of Art, Museum of Design Atlanta, Serenbe Playhouse, Soul Food Cypher, Staibdance, Straw Hat Press, The Lucky Penny, 7 Stages, Theatre du Reve, Theatrical Outfit, Theatre for the Very Young/Alliance Theatre, Vouched Books, Wabi Sabi, WonderRoot, Young Audiences, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art. The event will also showcase the work of three local artists on the plaza: Justin Rabideau and Bethany Collins, who are collaborating on a site-specific piece, and Scott Ingram, who will be bringing an interactive installation. The Atlanta Journal–Constitution Decatur Book Festival presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF), the largest independent book festival in the country, and the fourth largest overall, is scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30–Sept. 1.

Two Decatur GPC students win adult student scholarships
Georgia Perimeter College Decatur Campus students Kenneth Banks and Devora Jerkins hadn’t been in a classroom in decades, but both yearned to better themselves. The Georgia Perimeter College students were recently rewarded for their hard work, passion and commitment to their education. The students won Executive Women International (EWI) Atlanta Chapter’s Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) scholarships. Executive Women International has awarded scholarships to GPC students since 1996. The scholarship awards each student $2,000 and supports non-traditional students who are pursuing higher education. Banks, a computer science major, had flunked out of college courses in the past and focused on serving his country as a combat medic in the United States Army. When he became a father to two daughters, Banks decided it was time to give college another shot. “I took one course during the summer and I did well. That built my confidence, so I decided to take more classes and really set a goal of earning a degree,” said Banks, 35, who plans to transfer to Georgia Institute of Technology and major in computer science. “I was blown away when EWI told me that I had won the scholarship. The money will allow me to focus on school and take some of the pressure off of trying to pay bills, support my girls and pay for school.” Jerkins, a widow, became a wife and mother at 16. Putting her education aside, she focused on raising her children and helping others through her church. But her husband never let her forget her dreams of getting an education and giving back to her community in a larger way. In 2007, Jerkins earned a high school diploma and the couple started a nonprofit to provide a haven for women leaving domestic abuse and those recently released from prison. “The organization, Perfect Heart Home for Women and Children, allows me to help other women be made whole again so that they can have healthy families,” she said. By 2008, Jerkins enrolled at Georgia Perimeter and started taking classes in social work. Unfortunately, her husband died just as her dreams were coming true. “I was devastated, but I knew that I had to keep pushing ahead to get my education so that I could help these families,” Jerkins said. “That is why I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this scholarship. The ASIST scholarship has been a blessing not only to me, but also to the families that I will serve.” Executive Women International brings together key individuals from diverse businesses for the purpose of promoting member firms, enhancing personal and professional development, and encouraging community involvement. The global organization has more than 5,000 members. For more information on the local chapter, visit www.ewiatlanta.org.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

loCAl news

Page 17A

Helping kids
Each year the United Children’s Methodist Home holds two flea markets, run entirely by volunteers. All of the proceeds go to benefit struggling children and their families. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

DeKalb County School Board is selling two of its properties as‐is through a competitive  sealed bid process.  The two properties are located at:  Freeman Admin. Building A/B (office)  3770 North Decatur Rd      Decatur, Georgia  30032      81,000 square feet of office space    9.3 acres          Hooper Alexander (school)  3414 Memorial Drive  Decatur, Georgia 30032  68,900 square feet of school facility  8.1 acres 

Advertisement for School Property Sales 

   Sealed Bids, from Bidders, will be received by the DeKalb County Board of Education (the “Owner”)  at the Sam A. Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084, until 12:00 Noon  local time on Thursday, August 1, 2013 for all labor, materials and services necessary for both  projects.  Bidding Documents may be obtained by Bidders at:  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/solicitations/     All questions about this Advertisement for Bids must be directed in writing to Stephen Wilkins,  Chief Operations Officer not later than Tuesday, July 23th, 2013 at 12:00 Noon.  Contact Mr.  Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Sam Moss Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker,  Georgia 30084.;  email:   dcsd‐ops‐bid‐questions@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us;  Fax 678.676.1350.     Except as expressly provided in, or permitted by, the Bidding Documents, from the date of  issuance of the Advertisement for Bids until final Owner action of approval of contract award, the  Bidder shall not initiate any communication or discussion concerning the Project or the Bidder’s  Bid or any part thereof with any employee, agent, or representative of the Owner.  Any violation  of this restriction may result in the rejection of the Bidder’s Bid.     The Owner reserves the right to reject any or all Bids, and to waive technicalities and informalities.       Site visits Hooper Alexander School are scheduled for July 11th, 2013 and July 18th, 2013 at 9:00  am.  Site visits for Freeman Administrative Buildings A& B are scheduled for July 10th, 2013 and July  17th, 2013 at 9:00 am     

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 18A

Clarkston Mayor Emanual Ransom and Police Chief Christine Hudson stand at the future site of the city’s public works building where the mayor foiled a crime July 16. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Clarkston mayor foils robbery
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Crooks beware. The mayor of Clarkston may be watching. Clarkston Mayor Emanuel Ransom foiled an attempted robbery July 16, when, after a post office run, he drove by the construction site of the city’s new public works building. “I always check on the site,” Ransom said. While there, he noticed a man loading metal channels into a UHaul truck. “I knew from an email that I received earlier…that there shouldn’t be anyone there,” Ransom said. When the man saw Ransom, he said something to the female driver who then drove off, leaving the man, the mayor said. Ransom started to type the truck’s license plate number into his cellphone, but decided to follow the woman. He then saw the woman’s truck coming out of an apartment complex. Ransom flagged down a city worker in another vehicle who blocked her from turning right. This started backing up traffic. A Clarkston Police officer noticed the commotion and turned on the cruiser’s blue lights, Ransom said. The suspect then turned onto a dead end road. When she was stopped, there were no pipes in the vehicle, Ransom said. The mayor told the woman he had seen her and the man taking the channels. “She kept denying it,” Ransom said. The officer soon found the building material dumped in the back of some city property. Clarkston Police Chief Christine Hudson went to the scene of the alleged crime to investigate. She then decided to drive toward Lawrenceville Highway to look for the male suspect, who was on foot. “As I’m driving up Montreal Road across from Emory Hospital I see a gentleman who matches the description. I pulled in front of him and I motioned for him to come over to me and put his hands on the back of the car,” Hudson said. “I said, ‘Do you know why I stopped you?’ and he said, ‘Yes, ma’am,’” Hudson said. Ransom said he and Hudson have a message for Clarkston residents. “The mayor is on the ball. The police chief is on the ball. We’re on the ball and we’re protecting the city from theft,” Ransom said. “We’ve got eyes and ears in Clarkston.” Hudson said the suspects would be charged with theft of government property, a felony.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

STEM camp gives teens college edge
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Most students steer clear of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) once summer arrives. That was not the case for three DeKalb County students: Jalil Stampley of Tucker High School, Marcus Graham of Stephenson High School and Eniyah Willingham of Woodward Academy. They were three of 36 high school students from 18 metro Atlanta high schools who participated in the Westwood Summer Technical Enrichment Program (WE-STEP) program. During the weeklong educational summer learning camp held in June at Westwood College in Atlanta, students were able to choose from one of two learning tracks—health care or technology/design. Coached by college professors who donated their time and industry experts, each group focused on heart health. Health care students dissected hearts and were shown how blood pumps through the body and what constitutes a healthy heart, while technology/design students identified target audiences and created concepts, designs and a game layout while learning how to work with art and design tools. Graham, a 16-year-old rising junior, said the program helps “you to know about health and technology.” “We learned about the heart…and how food affects the heart,” he said. In a program created by the STEM Education Coalition and Westwood College, industry experts presented talks throughout the week on real life applications of STEM skills during the free


Page 19A

Three DeKalb County teens joined more than 30 metro Atlanta students at a Westwood College summer camp focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Photos provided.

camp. The two groups were divided into teams of five to collaborate on the construction of an online game about heart health. At the end of the week, they presented their ideas to demonstrate what

they had learned as a team. Graham who worked in the technology/design track, learned about router configuration, IP addresses, on-off switches and “how the computer analyzes numbers and

letters together,” he said. The group went on a field trip to the High Museum of Art where students received inspiration for their game project, Graham said. While at the museum Graham won a “best presentation” award at High Museum for his presentation about a sculpture. His prize was a water bottle, flashlight and book on art. The teens’ project was to make food for a video game in which a character is supposed to eat healthfully, Graham said. The group used Photoshop to design to food. Students participated in Jeopardy-style competitions, field trips and hands-on learning experiences in the program that encouraged minorities to explore science, technology, engineering and math. The WE-STEP camp was

part of Westwood College’s month-long, nationwide Good Works program to perform 5,000 hours of community service and donate $25,000 to local philanthropies. Graham, who plans to Georgia State University to become a journalist or news anchorman, said STEM programs help students who are interested in attending college. “It gave me a feel for how it would be in college,” Graham said. “They made learning fun.” Graham said the instructor would “make us feel good when we got the answer right.” “I would recommend [the program] to my friends,” Graham said. “I thought it was fun. It was very informative. It gave me a chance to feel independent.”

The DeKalb County School District, Department of Special Education, announces its intention to destroy records that were developed to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in DeKalb County Schools. This notice is in compliance with the federal, state and local policy. Records will be destroyed on October 1, 2013 based on the following criteria:  Students who graduated with a high school diploma in 2012.  Students who became twenty-two (22) years old between June 1, 2011 and June 1, 2012.  Special Ed. Students born during 1988 who graduated with a Transition Diploma, Certificate of Performance or reached maximum age of 22.  Students who became deceased between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. These records will be destroyed as they are no longer needed for educational planning purposes. The parent, legal guardian or the student (18 years old or older) may request records prior to destruction by contacting the Special Education Records Office at 678-676-1802. You will be required to produce identification or provide verification data to acquire these records.

International student registration centralized for 2013
The DeKalb International Welcome Center will open July 29 by appointment with open sessions beginning Aug. 5 to register all new international students for the DeKalb County School District. The welcome center is for students in grades kindergarten through 12 whose primary home language is other than English; first language is other than American English; and/or who were born outside the United States.  The DeKalb International Welcome Center is located at the DCSD Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain. The Welcome Center is at the left end of the building when approaching from Mountain Industrial Boulevard. Registration hours are from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. To register, the parent or legal guardian and the child must be present and must have the following documents: proof of the child’s age (birth certificate, passport or I-94); photo identification for the parent or guardian; proof of residence in DeKalb County in the form of a mortgage contract, signed lease or current utility bill (only water, electric or gas; phone bills are not allowed); immunization certificate (Georgia DHR Form 3231); vision, hearing and dental examination (Georgia DHR Form 3300); and transcripts or report cards, if available. If applying for the free or reduced price lunch program, a Social Security number of adults over 21 years old or Food Stamp case number is required. For more information, call (678) 676-6602.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013


Page 20A

People, planet, profit focus of Stone Mountain textile recyclers
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com The folks at USAgain (pronounced use again), a textile recycling company, like to say their business is a triple win— for people, the planet and profit. “Yes, we’re a business, but we’re proud to be a business that’s good for the environment and that helps people in developing countries and here in the United States,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, USAgain regional sales manager, who works at the company’s Atlanta area office, located in Stone Mountain. “Textiles are the worst things you can put in a landfill. When they decompose they create more pollutants than paper or plastic do,” Fitzgerald continued. He cited EPA figures that American households discard a total of 25.4 billion pounds of textiles annually. “We are a green enterprise seeking to keep clothes out of landfills because all too often, clothes get tossed in the trash. Almost everyone understands and recognizes recycling aluminum, glass, paper and plastic, but unfortunately not enough people recycle their used clothes and shoes. According to the EPA, just 15 percent of clothes are reused or recycled, although all clothing and shoes can be reused or recycled,” Fitzgerald said. “I especially like that we hold events at schools, not just because school children are growing and generate a lot of used clothing,” he said, “but because we are educating the next generation, making them aware of how recycling benefits the planet and all of us who live on it.” “Approximately 70 percent of the world wears second hand clothes,” explained USAgin Division Manager Kim Boedskov. “In many places people don’t have the same standards we have. People are OK with clothing that’s out of fashion, a little worn or even with small stains.” He said that while his business deals in discarded items, passing such items along as giveaways in developing nations does not help their economies—but selling them at a low price does. “Leaders in these countries discourage giving clothes to people there. People have more pride and dignity when they can raise a crop, sell it and have a little money to shop for inexpensive used clothing. The local shopkeepers get to make money as well,” added Boedskov, who said he has worked in developing African and Asian countries and seen firsthand the needs of the people there. In the United States, thrift stores are a growing business, he said, noting that in 2009 there was a 12.7 percent increase in the sale of used clothing, compared with the previous year. During that same period, retail sales overall were down 7.3 percent, he said, citing U.S. Department of Commerce data. Boedskov, who is originally from Sweden, said textile recycling is more common in European countries, but even there only an estimated 30 percent of textiles are recycled. In addition to clothing, towels, bed linens, draperies and other cloth items can be recycled. Many of the items are reused as they are, he said. Others are taken apart for a second use. “In India, they often pull the yarn out of sweaters and reknit it into a new garment. Wool can be used and reused indefinitely. Even clothing that is too worn for reuse can be shredded and used in insulation and furniture stuffing, for example.” Even items people don’t normally think of putting in collection bins, including used underwear, can have a second life, he said. USAgain collects items for recycling in its green and white collection bins, which are placed in commercial areas with permission of the property owners. Right now, Fitzgerald said, there are approximately 1,000 bins in Georgia, 47 of which are in Decatur. The company also has 100 bins in Alabama. “We try to make it as convenient for people as possible. People will recycle if it’s easy for them. So far this year, Decatur and USAgain have recycled more than 93,000 pounds of textiles and prevented the emission of more than 653,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in doing so,” Boedskov said.

Kim Boedskov shows off a truck used to collect clothing and other textile items left in USAgain’s bins.

The company has approximately 1,000 green and white bins in Georgia.

Kevin Fitzgerald holds furniture stuffing made from recycled textiles.

Bales of clothing, such as those Boedskov stands next to, are ready to be moved along for sorting.

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 Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013


Page 22A

Redan alumni selected to MLB National League All-Star team
Former Redan High School Raider baseball stars Brandon Phillips and Dominic Brown participated in the Major League Baseball’s All-Star game at the New York Mets’ Citi Field July 16. Phillips, the Cincinnati Reds second baseman, was elected the National League’s starting second baseman by the fans. This was his third appearance in the All-Star Game in four seasons. He also was on the National League team in 2010 and 2011. The 1999 graduate of Redan High School is hitting .262 with 12 homeruns, 13 doubles and 64 RBIs in 90 games this season. He was a second-round pick of the then-Montreal Expos following a senior season at Redan in which he hit .605 and had 14 homeruns. Phillips played parts of four seasons for the Cleveland Indians before moving to the Reds where he has been the past seven seasons. He won the Silver Slugger Award for second basemen in 2011. Also noted for his defense he has won three Gold Gloves (2008, 2010-11). Brown is a 2006 graduate of Redan and was taken in the 20th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, where he has spent parts of the past four seasons at the major league level. Brown hit .455 with five homeruns and 12 doubles as a senior at Redan while going 7-1 on the mound with a county-leading 1.09 earned run average. The Phillies’ outfielder was a manager’s selection to the AllStar game for having a breakout season for the Philadelphia squad this season. Brown is hitting a career high .281 through 90 games this season including a National Leagueleading 23 homeruns to go with 64 RBIs, 14 doubles and 4 triples, all career highs. Brown has been named the National League Player of the Week twice during the first half of the 2013 season. This year marks the first time two DeKalb County players have made the All-Star game in the same season and the first time for a pair of former Redan players.

Dominic Brown

Brandon Phillips

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013


Page 23A

Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker and USA Football Master Trainer Buddy Curry conducted a Heads Up safety clinic on July 13 at Marist High School. The coaches learned about proper concussion awareness, proper equipment fitting and the correct way to tackle and we’re changing the way we do tackling. Photos by Carla Parker

Georgia football coaches taught safety initiatives by former NFL player
by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com Concussions are becoming more prevalent in football from the professional level to the youth football level. Because football is a violent sport, injuries such as concussions cannot be avoided. But the NFL and USA Football leagues have designed a program to educate coaches, specifically youth coaches, on how to properly handle a player who gets a concussion. Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker and USA Football Master Trainer Buddy Curry conducted a Heads Up safety clinic on July 13 at Marist High School. Heads Up Football is a comprehensive approach to make the game of football safer, encompassing USA Football’s accredited coach certification course; Heads Up tackling techniques; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concussion recognition and response protocols; and instruction on proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting. Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Manager Chris Millman said the clinic is important for the safety of youth football. “We are informing and educating coaches and league presidents from youth football associations all across the State of Georgia,” he said. “We’re talking to them about proper concussion awareness, proper equipment fitting and the correct way to tackle and we’re changing the way we do tackling.” A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth, causing the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull. Symptoms of concussion includes headaches, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, double or blurry vision and confusion. Curry, who coached youth football for 10 years, said there are a number of reasons why concussions have become more rampant in football. “Part of it is the kids are faster,” he said. “Some of the kids are bigger as well but it’s more of the kids being faster and they’re playing more at a younger age.” Curry also said concussions can be due to children playing football year-round. “Therefore they’re subjected to more collisions and things like that that can cause concussions,” he said. The clinic focused on teaching coaches how to properly tackle with a player’s head up. A lot of the concussions come from players leading with the crown of their head to make a tackle. Curry took the 50 coaches in attendance through drills to show them the new technique of tackling. The clinic also focused on the signs of a concussion and what coaches should do if they see a player exhibiting the symptoms of a concussion. Marist eighth grade football assistant coach Jeff Warshaw said he has seen a difference in how concussions are treated on the high school level and the youth football level. “In high school they’re very regimented,” he said. “The moment a symptom appears the kid is pulled out and they are sent to the [team] doctor to take a baseline test. Based on the results of the test, the player will either be allowed to go back in the game or told to sit the rest of the game.” “In youth football we see collisions that take place and the kid gets pulled out and told to take a break and drink some water and then they’re going right back in the game,” Warshaw added. Warshaw said a lot of the youth football coaches are dads who are coaching their son’s team. “It seems that they are not informed about how to handle concussions and they’re going back to their days of football,” he said. “They need to understand what the symptoms are and if the symptoms occur they have to pull the player out.” Politicians have also entered the fight to curb concussions in youth sports. On April 23, Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 284, the “Return to Play Act of 2013.” The bill requires public and private schools that provide youth athletic activities to provide information to parents on the nature and risk of a concussion and head injury and establish concussion management and return to play policies. The bill also requires public recreation leagues to provide information to parents on the nature and risk of concussion and head injury, definitions, endorsements of concussionrecognition education courses and more. The bill will go in effect Jan. 1, 2014. Curry said the bill emphasizes what is really important in the matter, which is the safety of children. “I think the bill will prioritize things for coaches, parents and kids,” he said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, July 19, 2013

local news

Page 24A

Commissioners pass budget, no millage raise
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners passed a budget July 16 that includes no millage rate increase for residents in unincorporated areas and in some cases, a decrease in taxes for residents in certain municipalities. “We’re extremely pleased with what we were able to present today because it represents a kind of light at the end of the tunnel,” Chief Operating Officer Zachary Williams said. Williams said this year’s budget allows the county to hire 25 new police officers and 41 new firefighters. It also leaves the county with an additional $1 million in reserves, which total approximately $30 million. Currently, the millage rate for unincorporated DeKalb County is 21.21 mills, as it has been since 2011. Residents in some areas will also see a slight decrease in taxes due to a 7 percent increase in the Homestead Optional Sales Tax (HOST) credit. “I think the way that this millage rate establishment is structured, some of our incorporated municipalities will actually see a reduction in county taxes,” Commissioner Jeff Rader said. Each year, the county is allowed to take up to 100 percent of all the sales taxes collected in DeKalb County to distribute evenly among homeowners. County Finance Director Joel Gottlieb said the HOST credit is increasing from 59-66 percent. This means that homeowners will only be required to pay a percentage of their overall county taxes. “In effect, the qualified homeowner will only pay 34 percent of the operating component of their county taxes,” Gottlieb said. Rader said the decrease is good news for many of the county’s tax payers, especially in areas that have been hit particularly hard by declining property values. Commissioner Chairman Lee May, the board’s presiding officer, said the county has dealt with high unemployment and foreclosures over the past years and the devaluation of properties but the new budget means the county has “weathered the storm.” “We’ve lost approximately 50 percent of the valuation of our properties,” May said. “To see our reserves going up, to see money being put in place for our employees…we’ve weathered a lot.”

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