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and Stone Mountain.
DeKalb County School District employee Antoinette Tuff was commended by members of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners Aug. 27 for her efforts in diffusing a potentially deadly school shooting situation. Photo by Daniel Beauregard
WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 , 2013 • VOL. 16, NO. 23 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
School bookkeeper called national hero
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org A DeKalb County school bookkeeper is being called a national hero after she convinced a gunman to lay down his AK-47 assault rifle and surrender to police gathered outside McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur. Antoinette Tuff even received a surprise call Aug. 22 from President Barack Obama who thanked her “for the courage she displayed while talking to a gunman who entered the school where she works earlier this week,” according to a White House statement. Interim DeKalb school Superintendent Mike Thurmond described Tuff as “the courageous, the heroic lady who has really transfixed America, who saved lives, who redefined the word “love and compassion.” “We are so proud of you,” he said Aug. 24 at the DeKalb County School District’s employee awards banquet where Tuff received two standing ovations and a school humanitarian award. “On behalf of the DeKalb County School District, heck, on behalf of the United States of America, we would to give to you this very special token for really transforming this nation and helping us understand the power of compassion and love,” Thurmond said. “It’s all about him,” said Tuff, referring to God. “That’s what I want all of us to remember as we go to school every day; it’s all about him.” In a statement, Congressman Hank Johnson said, “It is truly re-
‘MIRACLE ON SECOND AVENUE.’ –BRIAN BOLDEN
markable that the cool, calm and fastthinking of Ms. Tuff may very well have saved our community and the nation from yet another unspeakable national tragedy involving innocent
See Hero on page 15A
The point system
Driving record points affect insurance and license status
by Travis Hudgons email@example.com Being a zero—and proud of it— doesn’t mean one has self-esteem issues. When the number refers to the points on a driving record it’s something to be pleased about. Many drivers are unaware of the number of points on their license, and how many points it takes to lose my license. “People are not familiar with the points system,” said Pam Slaughter Weeks who owns and operates DeKalb DUI School in Scottdale. She teaches an interactive PowerPoint-driven defensive driving class. “Most of the time people don’t find out about our classes until they get in trouble.” The state of Georgia assesses points for each conviction—aggressive driving, six points; reckless driving, four points; operating a vehicle while text messaging and various other moving violations, one point. A driver with more than 15 points in a 24-month period will have his or her license suspended. The points required for license suspension for drivers younger than 21 is four. Weeks wants to create a safe driver certificate program, “I’m a Zero,” that recognizes those who have no points on their license. She said knowledge of the point system will lead to safer driving habits. Some violators are new to the country and are unfamiliar with the driving laws, Weeks said. “My heart breaks when I see people and they do not understand what’s happening to them…and it’s scary coming
Pamela Slaughter Weeks owns the DeKalb DUI School in Scottdale, where a driver can take a defensive driving class to have points reduced from his or her driving record. Photos by Travis Hudgons
SEE RELATED STORIES:
• SCHOOL WORKER DESCRIBES ENCOUNTER WITH GUNMAN, 2A • DISTRICT TO REVIEW SAFETY AFTER SCHOOL SHOOTING, 2A • OPINION: MAN ARMED WITH A GUN MEETS WOMAN ARMED WITH GOD, 5A • POLICE: GUNMAN WAS PLANNING ‘HARM,’ 15A • U. S. EDUCATION SECRETARY PRAISES MCNAIR STAFF, 18A
Weeks shows one of the visual aides used in her classes.
from another country and not knowing what the laws are. And people need a car here.” Georgia residents may request that Department of Driver Ser-
vices (DDS) reduce the number of points assessed against their driver’s license up to seven points once every five years. To qualify for point reduction, drivers must successfully complete a certified driver improvement course, also known as defensive driving, and present the original certificate of completion to the DDS. Drivers can take a defensive driving class not only to reduce points, but for insurance discounts and job requirements. Weeks will host a state training session on Oct. 21 and 22, for those interested in becoming certified defensive driving class instructors. To check your points and for more information, visit www.dds. ga.gov. Donna Turner contributed to this article.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
loCAl news ‘Miracle on Second avenue.’ –Brian Bolden
School district to review safety after school shooting
Malcolm Quillen, center, a DeKalb County School District nutrition manager, participates in a teleconference with the U.S. education secretary. Quillen came face-to-face with a school gunman Aug. 20. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
by Andrew cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org
School worker describes encounter with gunman
by Gale Horton Gay Staring into the eyes of a gunman isn’t what Malcolm Quillen expected on a day that started normally. But just before 1 p.m. on, Quillen, nutrition manager with the DeKalb county School District, realized that if he survived, this would be a day he would never forget. Quillen walked into the office at Ronald E. McNair Discovery learning Academy in Decatur to check his mailbox and sign out so he could go to the other school he supports and noticed bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff talking to a young man. As he overheard her telling him that someone was on the way, Quillen said he noticed that the man was carrying a gun. later that afternoon, the alleged gunman would be in custody and identified by police as 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill; and children, teachers and staff evacuated from the building and families reunited without anyone hurt or killed. However Quillen didn’t know that then. As he processed what was happening in the school’s main office, he said the gunman—standing three feet in front of him—said “do as i say.” Tuff said, “Mr. Quillen, this is not a joke. He’s very serious.” The gunman fired a shot into the floor near Quillen’s feet and told him to leave the office, he said. His life “flashed before
The gunman fired a shot into the ﬂoor near Quillen’s feet and told him to leave the office.
The DeKalb county School District said district officials will review its school safety protocols after an Aug. 20 shooting at McNair Discovery learning Academy. Although no one was inme. i was thinking about my He told six co-workers jured when a gunman entered wife and daughter.” and one teacher that they the school with an assault The gunman told him a were on lockdown and they rifle and fired shots inside the second time, “i said for you hid in a storeroom with the building and at responding to get out.” door closed. He told everypolice officers, interim SuperQuillen dashed through one to silence their phones— intendent Mike Thurmond the door, running down the he didn’t want a ringtone to said, “We’re looking at how hall telling the few teachers possibly alert the gunman, we can do a better job in the he encountered that there who police later said was future.” was a gunman in the buildcarrying approximately 500 School officials will “look rounds of ammunition. The at every aspect, in terms of room was quiet. He texted how we responded, what his wife, Vanessa, telling her worked, what didn’t work, what was happening and to what, if anything, we can do turn on the news on TV. better,” Thurmond said. “in About five minutes later the future we will be even Tuff’s voice came over the better prepared if, in fact, a intercom announcing that a situation like this occurs.” gunman was in the building, The gunman, identified “This is not a drill. Do not by police as 20-year-old come out of your classroom,” Michael Brandon Hill, reQuillen recalled her saying. portedly entered the school, The next thing Quillen which is usually locked, berecalls her saying was astonhind someone authorized to ishing. be there. “The gunman said to tell The next line of defense you all he doesn’t want to was the people in the front hurt anybody,” she said. offi ce, Thurmond said. The sound of two sets of “The redundancy gunfire rang out. worked,” Thurmond said. “We had no idea what “it was a team effort. They was going on,”Quillen said, were there. They sounded the ing. No students were in adding that he wondered if alarm. They knew exactly the hallway, he recalled. He the gunman was roaming what to do through text mesimmediately headed for the throughout the school. sages and to help get the kids cafeteria where workers were They remained in the out of the building. it was litcleaning up, worried that his storeroom for about 30 minerally a team effort from start staff was “out in the open.” utes until police arrived and to fi nish.” “i had no idea if the gunguided them in exiting the Thurmond said the district man was right behind me,” building. will review all aspects of he said. in the end, the gunman school security. Asked about the man’s would surrender to police, “We have to look at evdemeanor, Quillen replied, “i thanks largely to Tuff’s perwould tell you he was upset, suasive powers. erything,” Thurmond said. not angry.” He said the sus“She is a caring per“We’re going to look at it pect seemed frustrated. son,” said Quillen, who has in a very deliberative way Quillen used his cellphone worked at the school for apand also rely on security to call the school’s principal, proximately five years. “She experts…who can help us dewho was not in the building, interacts well with people. velop or at least improve our and then call 911. it’s unbelievable how she did safety plans for the district.”
See Quillen on Page 16A
one aspect to be considered is the placement of school security officers. The district has more than 60 security officers assigned to middle and high schools as well as some rapid response officers. Currently the school district’s 77 elementary schools do not have security officers on duty, Thurmond said. “We’re going to look at that and see if it’s some way, even in tight budgetary times, to extend the ability of a security to at least patrol the elementary schools as well,” he said. The district will also consider how it can better use technology, Thurmond said. The last ESPloST—a tax approved by voters to benefit the school district—included funding to place metal detectors in all schools. “We’re going to look at speeding up the implementation of that,” Thurmond said. Thurmond warned that technological security measures are not foolproof. “it’s like an alarm in your house,” he said. “it’s a deterrent but no one said, ‘look, this will prevent a burglary.’ it’s just a deterrent. All these things are just deterrents.” That’s why redundant security measures are important, Thurmond said. “if one fails, hopefully, the redundancy will then step in. That’s what happened, quite frankly, over at McNair. The intruder was able to get into the building, but then Ms. Tuff was there in the front office.” School bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff has been credited with convincing the gunman to surrender to police. “Training is important,” Thurmond said. “Being prepared is important and having competent people in key positions is absolutely necessary.”
See Shooting on Page 16A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
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One Man’s Opinion
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Maximizing the minimum?
women, and stop the use of child labor. Since that time, organized labor has often used the minimum wage as a rallying cry, as well as a marketing tool and tactic for membership drives. With each of the last several increases in the minimum wage, the number of “working poor” receiving the wage has actually decreased as the higher minimum caused more employers to wait longer to hire, fill openings or invest in training new help. This lasting recession has also played a factor, but teen employment and particularly unemployment among Black male teens is at record levels—and the minimum wage is part of the reason for that. In New York City, Detroit, Chicago and several other major American cities, fast food industry employees have staged daily “sickins” and not shown up for work, while on those same days picketing, protesting and calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour—more than double the current federal minimum. If we can perhaps agree that among the greatest “gifts” of all is ongoing gainful employment, perhaps we can begin to understand that by continually raising the costs of creating that entry level first time job—you in fact simply cause the creation of fewer of those jobs. A training wage of say, $4-$5 an hour, might reverse that, in a twotier minimum wage system. Restaurants and other stalwarts of the minimum wage labor market could hire more, spend less and obviously keep, incent and reward their higher performing workers. Our current system requires the expenditure of thousands of dollars in training expenses, for employees who often wash out, quit or are fired for cause during the first month. Back in the day, millions of Americans learned their trade of choice as unpaid apprentices, or working as medical interns do in hospitals now, for a year or more at much lower pay grades until developing the expertise and working knowledge required for the various medical licenses, and professional certifications they are seeking. The minimum wage offers no such assurance as it relates to training standards or the abilities of the worker. The employer risks not only the wage and any training expense, but additionally unemployment and worker’s compensation premiums and payroll taxes—and placing his/ her enterprise at least temporarily in fresh and untrained hands. All risk is born by the employer, with most all of the gain being accrued by the employee. Is it any wonder this system creates friction and frustration for all parties involved? A true minimum wage is zero, everything above that can and should be simply negotiated between the worker and the employer much like you currently do with your babysitter, lawn care provider, occasional project handy man, etc. The market place, skill levels and demand on that worker help establish their market price. A higher minimum wage does not raise the bar for minimum performance; it simply creates additional costs and barriers to market entry. In multiple Third World countries, employment is surging, in many places where even that 1938 minimum wage of 25 cents an hour, and $10 a week for 40 hours of work still sounds pretty good. I’m not suggesting that minimum wage or the current $7.25 can or will lift an individual out of poverty, but as we celebrate another Labor Day weekend this year I am suggesting a cause for pause is understanding the difference between doing something that “feels good” and something that causes and actually has a positive effect. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSBAM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at email@example.com.
“It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all wear the union label.”— President Barack Obama. Among the many gifts of the New Deal from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the Fair Labor Standards and Practices Act of 1938, which established the first federal minimum wage at 25 cents an hour, and which since has been raised 22 times. There are 19 states that have further established their own minimum wage, above the existing federal level. President Obama is currently advocating raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $9 an hour, in further effort to reduce poverty. The minimum wage was intended to set a floor, as well as end the practice of sweatshops paying slave wages to primarily uneducated
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 23, 2013
Bad man armed with a gun meets good woman armed with God
Antoinette Tuff was armed only with her unflagging faith in God. She put her faith in action and life on the line, successfully convincing Hill to lay down his weapon and surrender to police. Tuff had the 911 operator on the line the whole time as she calmly shared with Hill her stories of disappointments, setbacks and personal tragedy. She let him know that we all have them, but that we can all work through them. Tuff single-handedly defused a highly volatile situation and kept a seriously deranged individual from spilling the blood of innocents. Instead she pleaded the blood of her Lord Jesus in the situation allowed the Holy Spirit to take full rein. The pundits should not miss the timehonored message in all this. Love does indeed conquer all. The outcomes at McNair could have been vastly and tragically different. But, God’s love was at work through Antoinette Tuff. Through the pain of her previous experiences, she was able to do what no law enforcement negotiator, no psychiatrist, and no one else at that moment and time could do. She shared her heart and averted tragedy. While Michael Brandon Hill’s heart is obviously fractured and in pain, Antoinette provided a temporary balm. The pictures on television were so starkly different than the images we typically see of school invasions. This was a school filled with African-American children. I received a text from a nephew wondering what was going on in the town I live in. He said he thought crazed young White men only attacked schools with White children. He dared to openly opine what many others were thinking. I reminded my nephew that gun violence and crime do not discriminate. Evil knows no race, color, gender or creed. During my days in the news media when some horrific crime occurred, people were often heard to say that they didn’t think the particular type of crime could occur in their “good” neighborhood— meaning their upper income, well maintained environment was somehow immune to crime. Crime and violence was something it was felt were relegated to the poor ghettoes. Thankfully the good news is that the power of love does not discriminate either. God can use all of us however and whenever he sees fit to do his will if we are willing. A bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff packed some divine power at McNair Academy to save the lives of all his children, including the gunman. Michael Brandon Hill is sick. Antoinette Tuff happened to have had just the right medicine, love. The gun lobby’s prescription of “only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns” didn’t work. Violence was no match for love.
Antoinette Tuff is tough enough. She shot holes in the gun lobby’s slogan that bad guys with a gun can only be stopped by good guys with a gun. Antoinette Tuff is a SHERO. By all accounts she saved dozens of lives by literally and figuratively disarming Michael Brandon Hill, the alleged gunman who somehow got past the security system at McNair Academy. Hill was armed with an AK-47 style assault rifle and had almost 500 rounds of ammunition, according to police. By his own statements to police, he was off his meds. Here was another mentally ill, angry man aiming to commit mass murder at an elementary school.
Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Miles at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
Letter to the Editor
MARTA to reopen restrooms
When it comes to MARTA’s restrooms, there’s some good news—and some even better news. First, let’s talk about the good news. As MARTA’s spokesman, I’m pleased that Lee Murphy, one of my colleagues who is a former MARTA police officer (along with Champion columnist Bill Crane), has finally set me straight about the history of MARTA’s rail station restrooms. In a recent story about the restrooms that appeared in The Champion, I mistakenly told news editor Andrew Cauthen that the restrooms, were “never designed as public restrooms with the exception of Five Points.” The truth is that MARTA’s rail station restrooms were always available to customers from the very first day the system opened in 1979 until most were closed three years ago for budgetary reasons. I sincerely apologize for the error and promise to improve my fact-checking, going forward. Now, for the better news. Our transit system has recently launched the MARTA Transformation Initiative, a top-to-bottom overhaul of our operations that over the next several years will make the agency more cost-effective, financially sustainable and customer-focused. As part of this new initiative, MARTA is preparing to re-open some restrooms for public use sooner than expected. Keith T. Parker, MARTA’s general manager/CEO, and his management team are working to accelerate the timeline for re-opening restrooms initially planned for opening next year, as quickly as possible. MARTA currently has nine restrooms available to the public across 38 rail stations. While reopening all the restrooms at once might be ideal, MARTA must first identify the financial and staff resources necessary to ensure these customer amenities are safe, secure and well-maintained at all times. Since that process takes time, we appreciate your continued patience and input. Our action on this issue was prompted by numerous meetings with customers, community groups and other MARTA stakeholders during which the restrooms consistently emerged as a priority. We’ll be sharing more details about which restrooms will be reopened – and when – in the near future. In the meantime, MARTA has even more good news in the works. MARTA’s Transformation Initiative will focus on reducing the wait times at rail stations for all lines and improving bus service. Over the next year, MARTA will also be assessing the relative costs and benefits of additional transit service improvements for customers riding on weekends, weekdays and evenings. MARTA customers will also see a more robust police presence with officers patrolling stations, trains and platforms to help promote a greater sense of security, civility and mutual respect for all who use our transit system. MARTA’s Transformation Initiative is just getting underway and still we have much to do. When we make mistakes (as I did about the restrooms) we’ll fix them as soon as possible. Most important, however, is that we pledge to continue working with the community and our customers to make MARTA the very best that it can be. Lyle V. Harris, Media Relations Press Officer, MARTA
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Champion of the Week
Sneiderman appeals; Neuman will request new trial
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org A day after Andrea Sneiderman was sentenced Aug. 21 to spend five years in prison for lying under oath her attorneys have filed an appeal for a new trial. The mother of two was convicted of lying to police and hindering the investigation into her husband’s 2010 shooting death. Sneiderman’s former boss Hemy Neuman was found guilty of killing Rusty Sneiderman and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Attorney Brian Steel said he has also filed a motion for a bond hearing on behalf of Sneiderman, pending the appeal. DeKalb county Superior court Judge Gregory Adams sentenced Sneiderman to serve five consecutive years on four counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count each of hindering the apprehension of a criminal, and concealing material facts. Attorneys for Neuman reportedly said they plan to file an appeal within the next few weeks as well, citing that his conviction was based, in part, on perjured testimony. Prosecutors have alleged that Sneiderman and Neuman were having an affair at the time her husband was shot. Sneiderman denied that such a relationship existed and said she should have told her husband about Neuman’s “unwanted” advances and quit her job. “Despite my state of mind following the murder, i did nothing to obstruct justice in any way,” Sneiderman said during sentencing.
Bayyinah Shaheed’s career choice was influenced by her interest in helping people with substance abuse problems. But her work with the DeKalb community Service Board and with the juvenile court has not been enough to satisfy her passion for helping young people avoid problems with drugs and alcohol. over the years, the Stone Mountain resident has put in countless volunteer hours working with young people and the adults who supervise them to help them avoid the troubling situations she has seen in her own family. “i am one of eight children,” she said, “and four of the eight of us have had substance abuse problems. My own son was in juvenile court so often i felt like i lived there.” While Shaheed said she has seen family members “improve, but continue to struggle,” she added that she’s determined where possible to spare other families the heartache she has been part of. in 1985, she at-
As the Be Smart! Don’t Start! name implies, the organization focuses on steering young people away from drug and alcohol abuse before they start. The emphasis, she said, is on education and prevention. Shaheed gives seminars and workshops for school-age youth as well as training the adults who work with them. Her philosophy is to do whatever is necessary to help a family in trouble. She has found homeless families places tended her first National to live, driven people to Black Alcoholism and Addictions council con- their medical appointference and has remained ments, secured food active in the organization for those who needed it—even personally prefor nearly 30 years. paring meals. She visits in 1996, Shaheed started her own charitable young people in detention centers to try to reorganization. Be Smart! direct their behavior. “i Don’t Start! Be Smart! want to keep them thinkQuit inc. “it took me until 2006 ing and planning about a brighter future,” Shaheed to get official nonprofit said. status,” she said, “but “i would urge anyone we’re now a recognized who has some expertise nonprofit organization.” in this area or who has Because of her work experienced recovery through the organizathemselves to volunteer tion, Shaheed recently to help those who are received an award from at risk. The need is so the council on Alcohol great,” she said. and Drugs.
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at email@example.com or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 104.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Fernbank fundraiser to combine science, stories of the night sky Fernbank Science center and the Southern order of Storytellers will collaborate Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. on Stories Among the Stars, a fundraising event marking the autumnal equinox. As the star projector depicts the night sky on the planetarium dome, storytellers Mary Apps, Tersi Bendiburg, Sarah Beth Nelson and Nancy Riggs will share tales of the autumn constellations, including the stories of Demeter and Persephone, Andromeda, the Milky Way, and Mars. Bridging the gap between folklore and science, Fernbank Science center astronomer April Whitt will lead a planetarium tour of the season’s brightest stars, and answer questions about the reason for the seasons. DeKalb county School District’s Fernbank Science center is located at 156 Heaton Park Drive NE, Atlanta. Parking is limited. Tickets are available at the Fernbank website. cost is $10 per person. Tickets available for Paul Simon lectures at Emory Tickets for songwriter Paul Simon’s 2013 Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern literature at Emory university Sept. 22-24 will be available to the general public beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9. The lecture series, “The insomniac’s lullaby: Awake and Aware of the Time,” will include two public lectures, a conversation between Simon and former u.S. Poet laureate Billy Collins, and a music performance. Tickets are free, but are limited to two tickets per person, per event. Tickets for the previously scheduled events will not be honored for the new dates. General public complimentary tickets will be available person at the Arts at Emory Box Office in the Schwartz center for Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road., Suite 251, or by phone at (404) 727-5050. Phone orders are subject to a $4 convenience fee. Ticket reservations will not be available online for this event. Tickets ordered by phone will be mailed directly to the ticketholder. All other tickets must be picked up in person at the Arts at Emory Box Office during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.). There will be no will call or standby seating for any Ellmann lectures event.
Avondale Arts Alliance to host third annual ArtsParty The Avondale Arts Alliance will host its third annual ArtsParty on Sept. 5, 6-9 p.m., at little Tree Art Studios located at 2830 Franklin Street. The party marks the official kickoff for the upcoming AutumnFest Arts and Music Festival, which will be held oct. 5-6 across from Avondale city Hall. Attendees can meet artists and get a complimentary signed artwork and hear about the new activities being showcased this year, including the AutumnEats chef demo and much more. This event is free and open to the community.
City searches for ﬁrst parks and recreation director The city of Brookhaven is conducting a nationwide search for the city’s first parks and recreation director. According to a news release, the city has received 49 applications so far. Brookhaven takes control of 11 parks from DeKalb county on Sept. 3 and plans to hire a director shortly after taking over the parks. The director will also be tasked with implementing a comprehensive master plan for the parks, which will outline future growth and policies for the parks. The city’s human resources department is currently screening applications and conducting initial interviews but is still accepting resumes. For information on how to apply, visit http://www.brookhavenga.gov/ jobs.html.
care. Final selection is based upon the doctors’ educational and professional experience. The “top doctors” at DeKalb Medical includes: Wayne L. Ambroze Jr., Stephen M. Cohen and Raoul Mayer, colon and rectal surgery; Todd M. Antin, psychiatry; Bradford S. Bootstaylor and Richard D. Molina; maternal and fetal medicine; Gary R. Botstein, rheumatology; Joseph F. Boveri, Jeffrey F. Hines, Ira R. Horowitz and R. Allen Lawhead, gynecologic oncology; Robin H. Dretler, and Adam M. Bressler, infectious disease; Darwin L. Brown and David H. Jacobson, endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism; Pamela J. Brown and Stuart J. Pancer, obstetrics and gynecology; Robert M. Campbell, pediatric cardiology; William H. Cleveland and Juan Luis Pimentel, nephrology; Thomas P. DeMarini, pulmonary disease; Norman L. Elliott, gastroenterology; Mark W. Feeman, physical medicine and rehabilitation; George R. Gottlieb, allergy and immunology; David A. Holladay, Erich G. Randolph and Gary B. Stillwagon, radiation oncology; Michael S. Jacobson and Scott I. Lampert, ophthalmology; Robert E. Karsch, orthopaedic surgery; Paul A. Kirschbaum, cardiovascular disease; A. Keith Levinson, urology; Jefrey D. Lieberman, rheumatology; Daniel T. McDevitt, vascular surgery; Omar A. Najjar, family medicine; Cyril O. Spann Jr., gynecologic oncology; Mark A. Stern, gastroenterology; Steven O. Stewart, family medicology; Jacqueline R. Sulton, pediatrics; Stephen Szabo, medical oncology; Neill Videlefsky, pediatric cardiology; Joseph M. Woods IV, plastic surgery; and Mark L. Wulkan, pediatric surgery.
church will be the site of a mass celebrating the 51st anniversary of the independence of the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The event will be Saturday, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m. People of all faiths are invited. christ our Hope catholic church is located at 1786 Wellborn Road, lithonia For more information, visit www.christourhopeatl.org. Hospital to hold blood drive DeKalb Medical at Hillandale is holding a blood drive Thursday, Sept. 19, noon-6 p.m. Volunteers who give blood during this event receive free parking and lunch. The drive will be held in the community Room on DeKalb Medical Hillandale’s campus. DeKalb Medical at Hillandale is located at 2801 DeKalb Medical Pkwy., lithonia. Although pre-registration is not required, donors may call (404) 501WEll for more information. Storyteller to bring folk tales to life at library Folk Tales, Fables and Poetry is the title of the presentation storyteller, author and actress Josie Bailey will bring to the Stone crest library Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6:307:30 p.m. Bailey “brings the printed word to life through her animated, fun and interactive stage presentation,” according to an announcement from the library. Funding for the event is provided by the Friends of the Stonecrest library. Stonecrest library is located at 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (770) 482-3828.
Plans for city-wide yard sale announced This city of Stone Mountain event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. on the First Baptist church lawn in the center of town. Set up begins at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the sale. Tables will not be provided. A limited number of 10-by-10 spaces under the pavilion are available at $20 each on a first come, first served basis or 10-by-10 lawn spaces can be rented for $10 each. For more information, contact Susan Coletti at (404) 444-5607 or city hall at (770) 498-8984. No food vendors, no refunds and no rain date.
Senior bingo to be at library Area seniors are invited for afternoon bingo at the Doraville library Thursday, Sept. 12, 2-3 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. The Doraville library is located at 3748 central Ave., Doraville. For more information, call (770) 936-3852.
43 DeKalb Medical physicians make magazine’s top doctor list
Forty-three DeKalb Medical physicians were among 322 people who made Atlanta Magazine’s Top Doctor list for Atlanta doctors. The list is based on research conducted by castle connolly Medical ltd., a health care research and information company. Physicians are nominated by other physicians Church to celebrate twin islands’ in the Atlanta area as doctors who independence not only excel in academic medicine and research, but also in patient christ our Hope catholic
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Tens of thousands of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 24 to commemorate the Aug. 28, 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Photos by Gale Horton Gay
Lewis calls March on Washington ‘one of this nation’s finest hours’
by Kathy Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org The speaker best remembered from the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. King, however, was not the only speaker on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that day; another was John Lewis. At the time Lewis was a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and the national chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He now is a U.S. congressman, representing Georgia’s 5th District, a portion of which is in DeKalb County. When the U.S. Congress held its commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington July 31, Lewis was the keynote speaker. Looking back on that day, he said, “I see it as one of this nation’s finest hours. The American people pushed and pulled, they struggled, suffered, and some even died, to demonstrate their desire to see a fairer, more just society.” He recalled, “In 1963, millions of American citizens could not register to vote simply because of the color of their skin. Lawyers, doctors, college profes“Intimidation and fear surrounded the democratic process. People were afraid of losing their jobs, being run off their land, being beaten or even killed for trying to register to vote. How did a society, committed to liberty and justice, allow the idea to take hold that the differences between us have some bearing on the value of human life? “Those of us in the movement made a decision that we had to do what we could, give our very lives if necessary, to demonstrate that those kinds of ideas are not true. The morning of the march we met with Democratic and Republican leaders right here on Capitol Hill on the House and Senate side,” Lewis said. “The plan was that we would leave the Senate, walk down Constitution Avenue and lead people to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. But when we stepped out into the streets, we saw hundreds and thousands of people pouring out of Union Station,” he continued. “They were Black and White, Latino, Asian and Native American. There were members of every faith, speakers of many different languages. American citizens, especially those living in Europe, came from abroad to participate. CeSee Lewis on Page 16A
Thousands turn out for March on Washington anniversary
by Gale Horton Gay email@example.com WASHINGTON, D.C.– The 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington attracted tens of thousands of visitors from across the country for a rally on the site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The hordes who gathered on Aug. 24 along the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial heard from civil rights icons as well as leaders of religious, civic and a host of other organizations. After that part of the rally, the masses marched to the Martin Luther King National Historic Site. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, King’s son Martin Luther King III and Rep. John Lewis were among the speakers, many who repeated that work remains to be done in the fight for civil rights. The issues represented during the rally and march were as diverse as the mix of those participating. Signs, banners, posters showed the broad range of interests: justice, immigration, voting rights, marriage equality, violence and more. “Keep dreaming,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. “Choose life over death.”
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaks during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial. A month earlier he recalled the original march during a speech before Congress. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
sors, high school principals, maids, butlers, sharecroppers and tenant farmers
stood in unmovable lines all across the South just trying to register to vote.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
of testimony heard and our review of voluminous documents and records, this special purpose grand jury is certain that numerous witnesses lied under oath as to matters related to procurement and contract manipulation, kickbacks and abuse.” The special grand jury specifically accuses Ellis and Jones of lying under oath and providing “false testimony” while testifying about county projects and vendor procurement processes. In June, Ellis was indicted on charges of extortion and is accused of strongarming county vendors into donating to his campaign. The special grand jury report outlines those allegations in detail. Additionally, the report accuses Ellis of canceling county contracts at the behest of his former campaign manager Kevin Ross. Ellis allegedly canceled contracts with two county vendors to allow companies Ross reportedly worked for to bid for the emergency proposals created by the cancellations. Jones is accused of having “something to hide” in the report. Special grand jurors accuse Jones of refus-
Special report alleges years of corruption in DeKalb County
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org A judge released a special grand jury report Aug. 21 that alleges widespread corruption by high-ranking county officials spanning two different administrations and multiple county departments. After a legal battle between DeKalb District Attorney Robert James’ office and suspended DeKalb County CEO Burell Ellis, the report has been made available to the public. The 80-page report is the result of a yearlong investigation into allegations of corruption in the county’s watershed department, stemming back to the beginning of former CEO Vernon Jones’ administration. The special investigative grand jury was impaneled by Judge Mark Anthony Scott in 2012 to investigate allegations of corruption, incompetence and cronyism within the county’s watershed department. “We have seen decisions involving millions of dollars made with little or no information for the most venal reasons,” the report states. “In light of the huge amount ing to provide meaningful testimony and refusing to answer questions related to the appointment of unqualified friends to highranking positions and his relationship with outside vendors, including “business developer” Jeffrey Walker, whose brother was an official in the watershed department and whose sister Joy Walker was appointed by Jones as chief judge of DeKalb County Recorder’s Court. Included in the report are the special purpose grand jury’s recommendations to further investigate alleged
See Corruption on Page 16A
Juana Farfán and Timothy A. Hand perform in Hidden Away, a performance created by Nicole Livieratos and Phillip DePoy. Photos by Jamie Hopper courtesy of The Lucky Penny
DeKalb County lets residents ‘sneak’ into the library at night
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com What goes on behind the doors of your local public library at night— probably nothing right? But what if all the books came down off the shelves, alive, turning the library into another world? That’s exactly what Nicole Livieratos and Phillip DePoy had in mind when creating Hidden Away, the library at night—a new work of movement theater. “Wouldn’t it be so cool being able to sneak into the library at night?” Livieratos said. “You can expect to wander and experience a sense of discovery.” Livieratos founded Gardenhouse Dance and now works as an independent artist. Her work has been presented by The High Museum of Art, Flux Projects, Emory University Dance Program, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and more. The event is presented by artistic directors from The Lucky Penny in partnership with the DeKalb County Public Library in Decatur. Livieratos said the idea for the event began a couple of years ago. She and DePoy were discussing projects they wanted to do and they both thought it would be interesting to reengage people with the libraries. “We just view it as a national treasure. Both of us grew up constantly going to the library,” Livieratos said. The event is free, and upon entering, visitors will be greeted with a variety of different performances and installations. Once inside the library, attendees are encouraged to roam throughout and discover things on their own. Livieratos said this will give each person a unique experience. “There will be multiple things going on at the same time,” Livieratos said. “That’s the library experience— you kind of wander and get caught on the way and see something…we want to encourage people to wander and connect to literacy in that kind of way.” The library will be lit with more than 100 reading lamps and Livieratos said the performances, which include theater, dance, music and more, will reference many different books the library has to offer. Additionally, local poets will be reading their works and the Decatur School of Ballet will perform. “We hope that this creates enough interest that we can expand it outward to other libraries,” Livieratos said. “It’s also our hope that people reinvest and re-engage with the library. It’s an amazing resource and its funding has been cut recently.” The Decatur premiere of Hidden Away serves as a pilot for a broader national program in libraries across the country. DePoy, who first worked with Livieratos on Beowulf at Theatrical Outfit in 1993, said the event makes use of nearly every kind of performance that exists in Western theater: music, words, movement, sound, light, and, more than anything, an element of surprise. In addition to his work with Livieratos, DePoy is the author of 14 novels and 37 produced plays. He has written for many theater companies in Atlanta and currently works as the director of the theatre program at Clayton State University. Blake Beckham, co-artistic director for the Lucky Penny, said they jumped at the chance to be involved in the project because it taps into the performance groups’ fascination with unconventional venues. “We admire these artists—their integrity and imagination. Their work is the kind that leaves you softened by its honesty, grinning from its charm and buzzing with curiosity,” Beckham said. “I think audiences will leave re-engaged with the magic of reading and with the vitality of the library as a site for powerful public intersection.” Performances will take place inside the Decatur Library Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, at 7 and 8:30 p.m., and Sept. 5-7 performances will take place at 7, 8:30 and 9 p.m. For more information visit www. dekalblibrary.org.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org
Decatur book festival offers attractions for all ages
This year’s events include many activities, some of which aren’t centered on books. Below are highlights of some events. Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis will deliver the keynote address for the festival Aug. 30, at 8 p.m. at Emory’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Lewis will kick off the festival and discuss his recently released graphic novel March: Book One, the first in a trilogy aimed to engage the next generation of readers on lessons about the civil rights movement. Aug. 31 at 7 p.m., Lenz and the DBF will host “art/ DBF After Dark,” featuring performances by Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, The Atlanta Opera, Staib Dance, 7 Stages and Serenbe Playhouse. Additionally, the event will feature a light projection installation by Micah and Whitney Stansell, presented by Flux Projects. Those interested in cooking might want to see author Peter Kaminsky at the Cook’s Warehouse Stage Aug. 31, from 1-1:45 p.m. Kaminsky is the author of Bacon Nation, a cookbook that includes 125 recipes involving bacon. For those more interested in pulp fiction, mystery and suspense authors Allison Leotta and Marcia Clark will appear together to discuss their transitions from prosecuting to writing fiction. Leotta was a prosecutor for 12 years in Washington, D.C., and Clark was a prosecutor in Los Angeles district attorney’s office for 14 years, 10 of them in the Special Trials Unit and served as lead prosecutor in the O. J. Simpson murder trial. Author James Dickey, might sound familiar to fans of film and poetry. Dickey, the Georgia-born poet and writer, penned the novel Deliverance, which was later turned into an awardwinning movie starring Burt Reynolds. Dickey was also the poet laureate of the United States in 1966. A panel celebrating the recent release of his complete vol-
Every Labor Day weekend, thousands of book lovers descend on downtown Decatur for the Decatur Book Festival. Photos provided
For three days over Labor Day weekend, downtown Decatur is transformed into a place that is all about books: reading books, buying books, selling books, meeting authors and more. The eighth annual AJC Decatur Book Festival (DBF) will be held Aug. 30Sept. 2, and features hundreds of authors and events. Considered the largest independent book festival in the country and the fourth largest in the world, the festival has a host of events that cater to just about everyone from children to those interested in nearly every genre of books.
ume of poetry will be held at the Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage Sept. 1, 5-5:45 p.m. Other authors tracks include arts and photography, beach reads, business and marketing, civil and human rights, graphic literature and more. For more information on the festival visit www.decaturbookfestival.com.
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DeKalb Community Council defers Fuqua rezoning requests for Decatur Crossing
The DeKalb County District 2 Community Council voted unanimously Aug. 20 to defer two of Fuqua Development’s rezoning requests and its request for a Special Land Use Permit to allow five-story buildings. Fuqua Development, a mixed-use and retail developer, has proposed plans for a mixed-use retail center at the site of Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur. The original proposed project at the intersection of Scott Boulevard and North Decatur Road covers 5.5 acres. In addition to retail, the project would include 200 apartment units housed in a five-story building and would feature a natural food store, which will serve as the anchor. But Fuqua Development representatives presented altered plans at the meeting. Their new plans do not include the five-story apartment building. Good Growth DeKalb Co-Chair Louise Runyon said Fuqua altered its plans at the last moment in response to significant community opposition. “Residents of Blackmon Drive, one of the streets behind the church, expressed concerns about the proposed development which threatSee Rezoning on Page 11A
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 12, 2013, at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following matters: 1) Macauley and Schmit and Jelco Beta Investment Corporation propose to develop a parcel ID# 18‐300‐04‐001 consisting of 5.95 acres located at 5193 Peachtree Boulevard. The parcel is zoned Village Commercial (VC) and the proposal is for a mixed‐use development consisting of 365 apartments and approximately 15,000 sq. ft. of retail commercial. Applicant is requesting a waiver to Development Regulations Section 93.1(b) that requires concrete and steel framing for multifamily residential buildings of 3 stories or more. Applicant also requests variances to the following sections of the City of Chamblee Zoning Ordinance: Section 407(a) requiring mixed use buildings to have 20% of their floor area in commercial uses; Section 905.E. that regulates design of residential uses at the sidewalk level; Section 907.A that limits the ground floor to retail or office uses for buildings facing Peachtree Boulevard, requires a minimum floor‐to‐ceiling height of 18 feet on the ground floor, and requires fenestration for a minimum of 65% of the ground floor facade; Section 908.A that requires a maximum block length of 600 ft. and inter‐parcel vehicular access to adjacent parcels; Section 909.A. that requires upper portion of a building façade to step‐ back ten feet for buildings taller than 50 ft.; Sec. 1006.A. that requires a minimum floor area of 800 sq. ft. for one‐bedroom apartments; Section 1007.D. that requires non‐ residential uses on the ground floor in the VC Zoning District; 1007.E. that requires a minimum of 80% of the residential units in a multifamily development to contain at least 1,000 sq. ft.; and Section 1208.D. that requires landscaping on the upper level of certain parking decks.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
ness and equality it is anything that deters, prevents you or me from having the full rights that are guaranteed by the Creator and in our Constitution,” she said. Miles, known as the “Newslady,” represented for Georgia’s 43rd Senate District, which included east DeKalb and Rockdale counties, from 2005-2007. She is a former Georgia broadcast editor for United Press International in Atlanta and is a threetime Emmy award-winning reporter/anchor for WXIATV 11Alive, from which she retired in 1999 after 15 years. Prior to her election to the Georgia Senate, Miles worked as the chief media relations officer for MARTA for three years. Miles attended Ball State University, is the mother of two adult daughters and has two grandchildren. Miles said the economy, education, environment, affordable healthcare and gun control are major concerns of hers. “I absolutely believe that we can make a difference in this race,” Miles said. “I’m not guided by politics. I’m guided by principle and heart. My lifelong experi-
Former state senator seeking U. S. Senate seat
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Former state senator Steen Miles now has her sights on a U. S. Senate seat. Miles, a columnist for The Champion Newspaper, has announced that she will run as a Democrat for the U. S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Democrat Michelle Nunn has also announced that she is running for the once seat held by her father, Sam Nunn, from 19871995. “In my heart I know that God has uniquely prepared me for this mission and that mission is to be the representative voice of working middle class who are the spine of this country,” Miles said. Miles said she is entering the Senate race despite the “daunting political realities being that the party has already anointed the presumptive candidate.” Miles said she wants “to help heal us as a people in Georgia and in the nation.” “I fervently believe that our inability to get along with each other and respect our unique differences in the country, and corporate greed, are killing us,” she said. Miles said she is not “a member of the privileged 1 percent” and has not benefited from being born into “circumstances of privilege and only knows a silver spoon.” “The majority of us earned that stainless steel spoon and there are far too many that don’t even have a plastic fork,” Miles said. Miles said she is concerned Miles about fairness and equality. She wants to work “toward making certain that we fully restore the Voting Rights Act [and] that we make certain that a woman’s choice is preserved.” “That is between she, her family doctor and her God,” Miles said. Other aspect of Miles’ fairness and equality platform include prison and immigration reform; legalization of same sex civil unions; increased living wages; cessation of racial profiling and improved access to veterans’ benefits. “At no time should our veterans be delayed and denied benefits for physical and psychological treatment after laying their lives on the line for this country,” Miles said. “When it comes to fairence has been one of diversity, of fairness, and most importantly, my faith undergirds. “My passion is people,” she said. “And my mantra in this campaign is ‘Together, Georgia forward.’ “I don’t have the money, the name or the organization of the presumptive candidate,” Miles said. “But what I do have is the experience, the time, the focus and the passion—the heart—to make a difference for all of us, especially being that voice for the voiceless and trying to provide hope for the hopeless. And that’s not just a cliché; that is absolutely from my soul.”
Rezoning Continued From Page 10A
ened to destroy their neighborhood,” she said. DeKalb County Community Council votes are recommendations to the planning commission, which makes recommendations to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, which makes the final decisions. The community council voted on “full-cycle deferment” of Fuqua’s first two requests, Runyon said. Runyon said members of the community council and others in the packed meeting room asked “hard” questions of developers on each agenda item. Other contested items included an application by Green Community Development to build a 100-unit senior housing development at 2964 Briarcliff Road, multiplying the number of cars and driveways twentyfold on this tract of land on a major thoroughfare; a proposal by Peachland Homes to build 27 townhomes on 1.78 acres on N. Druid Hills Road, also a major thoroughfare; and Arrowhead R.E. Partners LLC and Acadia Homes seeking to replace 12 homes with a 65-unit townhouse development on 8.13 acres at North Druid Hills and Merry Lane. None of the rezoning requests made by developers were accepted by the council. “Communities are fighting back,” Runyon said. “All around DeKalb, developers are seeking to build high density projects on small plots of land on streets that are already extremely traffic-challenged. Good Growth DeKalb sees this type of project as poorly conceived growth and calls for our county to have vision, foresight and creative thinking and to listen to the concerns of its citizens.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Inmate found hanged in DeKalb County jail
DeKalb county detention officers are currently investigating the death of inmate Sylvania Ann Brown, who was found Aug. 24 hanged from a sprinkler head in a woman’s restroom on the medical floor of the jail. According to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office, Brown used a pair of socks to hang herself. lieutenant Kyle Jones said detention officers immediately removed Brown from the sprinkler head and began CPR when they found her at approximately 10:40 a.m. Jones said the DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department responded and detected vital signs in Brown. Brown was then transferred to DeKalb Medical, where she later died. According to a news release, Brown was arrested Aug. 24 for family violence/ battery and obstruction of an officer, both misdemeanors. Brown was escorted to the medical floor after she informed the jail staff she was in pain due to a physical altercation prior to her arrest and because she was pregnant. The cause of Brown’s death is currently being investigated by the DeKalb county medical examiner.
Foreclosure numbers down in DeKalb
by carla Parker email@example.com The housing market in DeKalb county has seen a slight improvement in the past year. According to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc., foreclosures in DeKalb county were down 62 percent this July compared to July 2012. lenders repossessed 113 homes in DeKalb last month, down 26 percent from last July, and the number of homes that were auctioned off last month is down 35 percent from last July. The total number of foreclosure notices published in the July 11 issue of The Champion Newspaper, the legal organ for DeKalb county, was 886, down 60 percent from the number of foreclosures published in the July 12, 2012 issue. “The u.S. housing market has clearly shifted to recovery mode over the past 18 months, with home prices consistently rising and foreclosures falling closer to pre-housing bubble levels,” RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said. The number of investors buying homes before they go to auction may have contributed to the reduction, according to Blomquist. Realtors believe the drop in foreclosures is in line sale” is down 16 percent, new listings are down 4 percent and affordability index
‘Homes are going under contract the day that they are listed and sometimes even before they are listed.’
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with a housing market that continues to improve. According to the Georgia REALTORS monthly housing indicators report released in July, the housing market has improved across the state. The report is derived from data from Georgia Multiple listing Services (MlS), MlS in Atlanta and First Multiple listing Service from columbus, Savannah, Macon and Augusta. Median sales price is up 35 percent, average sales price is up 24 percent, “percent of original price received” is up 4 percent, pending sales are up 5 percent, “days on market until
Georgia REALTORS representatives said that although 100 percent of all activity in the state is not accounted for, the housing indicators give an “accurate” representative sample of the housing market activity and trends throughout the state. “intown Atlanta real estate has really exploded over the past six months,” former Georgia REALTORS vice president Sheila -Sheila Brower Brower said. “Homes are going under contract the day that they are listed and sometimes even before they is down 25 percent, accord- are listed. Also, it is not uning to the Georgia REALcommon to receive multiple TORS report. offers on a property.”
Saturday - September 21, 2013
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Week in pictures
Aug. 23. Tucker’s paint crew honored Creekside High School Seminole Football player DeAntre Turman, who died during a scrimmage game, by painting themselves with his jersey number. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Aug. 22, 7 a.m., parent Kesha McDougal assures third grade son Brenden Clayborn that he will be safe returning to McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Photo by John Hewitt
Aug. 22. Joshua Wilson of Decatur sports his “Love On Purpose” wristbands. He created the wristbands to spread the message of peace, unity and love. Photos by Carla Parker
Aug. 26. Hip & Historic! Finishing touches are now being made on DeKalb History Center’s soon to open Mid Century Ranch House exhibit. From left, Dunwoody Elementary first-graders Jacob Brock, Abigail It is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States. Photo by Schermer, Ashley Hill and Shelby Verlander enjoy books in the media John Hewitt center during the first week of school. Photo provided
Aug. 21. The Burundi Women’s Farm, as it’s known, is a community farm site managed collectively by 15 families from East Africa. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Aug. 22, predawn. One thing remains a constant at the DeKalb County government complex in downtown Decatur-The Flame of Freedom. Photo by John Hewitt
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
This week in photos brought to you by DCTV
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Judge grants Chamblee’s injunction request in Century Center lawsuit
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Members of the Brookhaven City Council cannot vote to annex Century Center or any portion of the Chamblee Annexation Area until a further ruling from the court, a DeKalb County judge ordered Aug. 16. Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie entered an order granting Chamblee’s request for an injunction to prevent Brookhaven from annexing Century Center into its city limits. She also set a trial date for Oct. 24 in the suit between Chamblee and Brookhaven and Highwood Properties. The decision came two days after a court hearing about Chamblee’s injunction. On June 21, Highwoods Properties filed an application with Brookhaven for Century Center to be annexed into the newly created city. The city council was scheduled to vote on it in July but DeKalb County Superior Judge Courtney L. Johnson issued a temporary restraining order against Brookhaven. The Citizens for Chamblee Committee and Dresden East Civic Association set up a petition against the annexation stating that Chamblee will be unable to provide some services to more than 11,000 residents if Century Center is annexed into Brookhaven. Chamblee’s lawyer also argued that if Brookhaven is allowed to annex Century Center it will impact the election and the referendum. Barrie gave four reasons for her order: Brookhaven would cause irreparable harm if it went forward with the annexation; the injunction will not harm the city of Brookhaven; there is “substantial likelihood” that Chamblee will “ultimately prevail on the merits;” and “Public interest favors enjoining Brookhaven so that the annexation vote can go forward as contemplated by the General Assembly.” The court schedule for the lawsuit includes a discovery period between Aug. 20 and Sept. 20 and a motion filing period between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 Chamblee residents around the Century Center area are scheduled to vote on the annexation into Chamblee Nov. 5.
From left, interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and commissioners Elaine Boyer and Sharon Barnes Sutton respond to a grand jury investigation alleging government corruption. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Interim CEO, commissioners vow to fix county government
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com In a show of unity, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and interim CEO held a joint news conference Aug. 22 to address the findings of a special grand jury investigation alleging government corruption. Interim DeKalb County Lee May said he is “gravely concerned about some of the accusations in there and its implications on our county.” The 80-page report released Aug. 21 depicts years of widespread corruption by county officials under two different administrations and in several county departments. The report made several recommendations including eliminating the CEO form of government; making county commissioners full-time; reorganizing the purchasing department; hiring an internal auditor; and making ethics reform. “The irony of many of those recommendations is that many of those same suggestions have been brought forward” by commissioners in the past, May said. May said he has directed chief operating officer Zachary Williams to review each of the recommendations by the special grand jury and to report back to May in 30 days. As a commissioner, May was an outspoken proponent of changing the county form of government from being CEO-led to a commissionmanager form. Commissioner Elaine Boyer, who has served with three county CEOs, said, “I personally believe this form of government does not work. “There are flaws in this form of government,” Boyer said. “I’m highly committed to changing it. It doesn’t work. I have been here through three different personalities. It’s the form of government; it’s not the people.” Boyer added, “As a lifelong resident of DeKalb and also the longestserving commissioner, one thing I’d like to say to the public is I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry that this has happened and we’re going to commit to make the government better.” Commissioner Jeff Rader, who called the grand jury report “a great wake-up call,” said the county government needs to formalize its operations. “The county does not have an adequate administrative structure to be able to ensure that policies, whatever they may be, are followed carefully and uniformly across the board,” Rader said. “Our government, regrettably, is a very informally run government. It depends upon discretionary decisions by many appointed officials who don’t have responsibility to the electorate.” Rader said, “Many of the actions that are rising to a level of prosecution under this grand jury report are likely to be prosecuted under other corruption laws and not because they didn’t follow the county’s purchasing policies, because there are no laws. We need to change that immediately.” One way to improve the government, Rader said, is to hire an internal auditor so that commissioners and residents “can have a clear and objective understanding of exactly how the county is functioning, and how it stacks up against its peers.” The position has been authorized and funded—but unfilled—for three years. Rader said once the county’s organizational act has been revamped, “we can look at whether or not the CEO form of government is an efficient one and one that delivers on its merits.” “Commission-manager forms of government have widely varying levels of success, integrity and professionalism,” he said. Changing the form of government is not a “silver bullet or a magic wand to wave over DeKalb County government,” Rader added. Commissioner Kathie Gannon said she is “not necessarily in favor of immediately changing the form of government.” “There are over 700 counties throughout the country that have some type of CEO form of government,” Gannon said. “Some of those are the most successful counties in the country.” Gannon said the form of government is not necessarily the problem. “We have elected people to government at all levels who are more interested in taking care of themselves and taking care of their friends than they are in taking care of the citizens of DeKalb County,” Gannon said. “And we have to do better in that regard. It’s more about people than it is about titles.” Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said she would support a change in the form of government or an overhaul of the present form “so it works properly and we have the proper checks and balances. “I am surprised and encouraged that the special grand jury is also recommending many of the things we have already recommended, including changing the form of government,” Sutton said. May said the No. 1 responsibility of elected government officials is “to fix this government once and for all.” “Our intention is to make residents of our county proud,” he said. “That’s what they’ve elected us to do. We want to make people confident in our government.” May said there is not a “culture of corruption” in DeKalb County. “There have been allegations related to individuals,” he said. “We have well over 6,000 hardworking employees that do the right thing. They show up each and every day to deliver the services to our residents. “We in DeKalb County are a team,” May said. “My colleagues on the Board of Commissioners are… diligent public servants who have vowed to protect the integrity and transparency of our county government.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
LOCAL NEWS ‘MIRACLE ON SECOND AVENUE.’ –BRIAN BOLDEN
Hero Continued From Page 1A
children. For her poise and composure beyond the call of duty, I say thank you to Antoinette—DeKalb County thanks you, Georgia thanks you and a grateful nation thanks you.” Tuff’s coolness can be heard in the released 911 recording during the event. She tells the 911 dispatcher that the gunman wants police office to “back off” or he will begin shooting. “Do not let anybody in the building, including no police. Do not let anybody in the building, including the police,” Tuff said. Moments later, several gunshots can be heard on the recording. At first, Tuff contemplates running from the scene, but when she sees the gunman coming back, she remains in the office. “I’m going to tell you something baby—I’ve never been so scared in all the days in my life,” she later admitted to the dispatcher. Tuff talked with the gunman for approximately an hour, at one point telling him, “Don’t feel bad, baby, my husband just left me after 33 years. I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me. But look at me now, I’m still working and everything is OK.” As she was negotiating with him to put down his gun, she said, “We’re not going to hate you, baby. It’s a good thing that you’re giving up. “It’s going to be alright, sweetie,” Tuff tells the gunman. “I just want you to know that I love you, okay? And I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re giving up and down worry about it. We all go through something in life.” After convincing the gunman to surrender, Tuff tells the dispatcher, “He’s laying on the floor. He’s got everything out of his pockets. There isn’t anything. The only thing he has is his belt. Everything is out of his pockets. Everything is sitting here on the counter, so all we need to do is they can just come in, and I’ll buzz them in.” A Facebook page in Tuff’s honor is pushing for to be awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal “because she as a citizen of the United States of America who performed exemplary deeds or services for her country, fellow citizens, and safety of children.” Inita Nesmith, one of the 2,300 people who have liked the Facebook paged, said, “Thank you for being such an inspiration to the world. I am convinced no one could have done a better job than you did with Michael Hill. He came to take your life and you turned around and saved his. You are an angel.”
DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander holds up a “selﬁe” photo of alleged McNair school shooter Michael Brandon Hill at a Aug. 20 news conference. Hill faces numerous charges, including aggravated assault on a police ofﬁcer, terroristic threats and possession of a ﬁrearm by a felon. Photo by Carla Parker
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org A school shooting at McNair Discovery Learning Academy ended peacefully Aug. 20, but had the potential to be a tragedy, according to police. Michael Brandon Hill had approximately 500 rounds, a “couple” of magazines and an AK-47 type rifle when he entered the elementary school, said DeKalb County Police Detective Ray Davis, at an Aug. 21 news conference. “We have to make a reasonable assumption that he was there to do harm to someone,” DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander said about Hill, 20, who faces numerous charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a felon. Hill was scheduled to have his first court appearance Aug. 21 but he waived his hearing. Davis said the AK-47 was not registered to Hill. “He obtained the weapon, we believe, from an acquaintance,” Davis said. “We’re working to locate that person and then back to the person who purchased it. We believe he obtained it from the house of an acquaintance.” Davis also said there were no explosives found in the car that Hill was driving, which also was not registered to him. Police said Hill has a “slight” criminal history background in DeKalb
School gunman was planning ‘harm’
and Henry counties. “His criminal history consists of threats,” Davis said. “He does have a juvenile history and he’s on current probation.” According to arrest records, Hill was arrested March 13 and charged with terroristic threats and acts. Hill’s older brother, Timothy Hill, told police last New Year’s Eve that threats Michael made a day earlier made him “fear for his life,” according to reports. Timothy Hill told police that he knew his brother had “mental issues” and was under a doctor’s care. In March, Michael Hill turned himself in on the outstanding warrant for making terroristic threats. Davis said he could not confirm whether Hill has a mental disorder. “I don’t know everything in his background on the mental history,” he said. “[Hill] indicated that he was on medication and he had stopped taking it. We’re still looking into that angle.” On the day of the shooting, Hill entered the building behind someone who had proper access to the building, according to police. Davis said police do not know why Hill went to this particular school. “He has possibly been up there before speaking with some people in the administration or some type of interaction,” he said. “But nothing harmful.” Once inside the school he went to the administration office where he encountered school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff. Davis said Hill fired a round in the administration office at the floor. “He did fire the weapon within the school but he did not go back to the classroom area,” he said. “He never left the administration area up front. But he did step out and there was gunfire exchanged outside. One of our officers did return fire.” Tuff was able to convince Hill to drop his weapon and police arrested him on the scene. Alexander said Tuff was a “key piece” in bringing down Hill. “She was in there, she was able to talk him down and put that weapon down,” Alexander said. “If that had not been the case this could have turn very ugly very quickly. She is a real hero in all of this. She just did a stellar job. She was cool; she was calm, very collected in all of this. She put herself in front of him to separate him from those children and the rest of the faculty.” Police released the tape of Tuff’s 911 call and a photograph police found on Hill’s cellphone that he took of himself holding the possible AK-47 he used in the shooting. Davis said the investigation is ongoing and the police department is working with other agencies. “At this point we’re talking to friends, family, acquaintances and things like that to learn more about him ourselves,” he said. “Some people have come forward too, as others. So we’re reaching out to them at this point and everyone involve with this investigation has been corporative.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
soudlou and Haeri. Ellis is accused of numerous instances of strong-arming vendors in the report. However, one instance was of particular interest to the special grand jury—that of the first ONE DeKalb Works sewer contract that was awarded using funds from the county’s $1.35 billion water and sewer overhaul. According to the grand jury presentment, Ellis put the contract on hold until the principal of the
Corruption Continued From Page 9A
criminal activity by Ellis, Jones, Ross, former public safety director William “Wiz” Miller, former chief of staff Jabari Simama and others. Miller is accused of interfering in 2010 with an ongoing investigation into the county’s department of watershed management. According to testimony heard by the special grand jury, Miller instructed DeKalb County Police detectives to “cease the investigation without explanation. In addition, the detectives who worked on the cases were separated.” “It was apparent that his actions were related to stopping an ongoing, active criminal investigation into the Department of Watershed Management when it became obvious that the investigation would involve current county officials,” the report states. The investigation Miller allegedly halted was related to a 2009 investigation centered on contracts involving the Champion Tree Service, particularly allegations of overbilling by owner Paul Champion. At the time, county officials estimated the overbilling exceeded approximately $3 million. Two county officials, Nadine Maghsoudlou and Hadi Haeri, were named in the investigation for allegedly approving fraudulent invoices. According to the special grand jury report, “Multiple Department of Watershed Management inspectors that were tasked with oversight of Mr. Champion’s work complained to Mr. John Walker (named above) about issues with Mr. Champion’s work. Mr. Walker, however, dismissed these complaints.” The complaints consisted of allegations of made-up or exaggerated work. The special grand jury’s report also lists additional companies, either fictitious front companies, or companies that did little or no work that were approved for lucrative county contracts through Walker’s office, at the behest of MaghThe two contracts Ellis is accused of canceling at the behest of Ross were the DeKalb County Recorder’s Court probation services contract with Judicial Correction Services (JCS) and the Care Ambulance contract. In regards to the contract with JCS, Ellis reportedly had no authority to legally cancel the contract and allegedly personally threatened the judge who refused to cancel it with termination. Ross reportedly was a consultant for a competitor of JCS. Ross was also employed as a consultant with Rural Metro Ambulance, which was awarded an “emergency” contract in July 2010 after Ellis terminated the contract with Care Ambulance. According to the special grand jury, the fired department didn’t agree with the cancellation of the contract but Ellis did it anyway without informing its officials. Also named in the report is former watershed management director Roy Barnes and several others who are accused of playing minor roles in the bid-rigging process at the heart of the investigation. The conclusion of the report recommends that the fundamental structure of DeKalb County’s government undergo drastic restructuring, including the removal of Ellis and the elimination of the office of CEO. The report also suggests making county commissioners full-time employees with no ties to any outside interests that could interfere with day-to-day operations of the county. “The current system, with its overreliance on county staff and departments [that] ultimately report to an elected official, provides too many opportunities for fraudulent influences and fosters a culture that is overly politicized and in which inappropriate business relationships are created,” the report concludes.
Ellis is accused of numerous instances of strong-arming vendors in the report.
company donated $2,500 (the maximum amount allowed) to his campaign. The report cites a note it received during its investigation regarding a memorandum penned by Jeffrey Walker, who worked for the company that was awarded the contract. The memorandum is allegedly titled “Things to Know” and indicates Ellis “is involved in a scheme to withhold his signature on contracts until receiving a campaign contribution from the vendor, specifically in regards to Desmear Systems,” which is the company awarded the contract.
Continued From Page 2A
Quillen Continued From Page 2A
what she did.” Quillen said he learned later that Tuff had an opportunity to escape when the gunman left the office and stepped outside the school to fire his weapon at law enforcement authorities. “She had the opportunity to leave; she could have exited. It’s phenomenal she did what she did,” he said. Quillen said he never imagined that such an incident would take place at McNair. He said the school has good safety measures in place, including a system by which visitors are buzzed into the building and can be viewed via a camera system. There’s speculation that the gunman slipped into the school behind someone who was leaving or entering the building. Quillen said the importance of following procedures to keep the school secure needs to be drilled into the heads of parents, students and all visitors. He said in this case Southern hospitality possibly got in the way of safety and security. Asked about his composure throughout the ordeal, Quillen, a 14-year employee with DeKalb schools, replied: “I was horrified. I was very nervous when I was on the phone, not knowing if he was going to start coming through that building.”
Lewis Continued From Page 8A
lebrities were there, but mostly there were countless and nameless thousands of ordinary people with extraordinary vision who came. “They wanted to bear witness to the truth that we are one people, one family, the human family. We are one people, one house, the American house. We were supposed to be leading them, but they were already marching. At that moment, the people were leading us and they literally pushed us down Constitution Avenue up to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.” Before the march, many had feared that it would turn violent, but Lewis describes participants in the march as behaving “like they were on their way to a religious service, like they were going to a camp meeting.” “As Mahalia Jackson sang ‘How We Got Over,’ she drew thousands of us together, and in a strange sense it seemed like the whole place started rocking,” he said. “Somehow and some way, the philosophy of peace, love and nonviolence had been instilled in the very being of all the participants. “We truly believed that in every human being—even those who were violent toward us— there was a spark of the divine, and no person had the right to scar or destroy that spark. We had a right to protest for what was right, Dr. King would say. “We had a right to demand that this nation respect the dignity and the worth of every human being. People were moved and inspired by that vision of justice and equality, and they were willing to put their very lives on the line for a cause greater than themselves.” President John Kennedy, according to many historians, was among those who had been concerned about the direction the march would take. Lewis remembers that after the march Kennedy invited the platform guests to the White House and “he was standing in the door of the Oval Office beaming. He looked like a proud father. He shook each of our hands and said, ‘You did a good job.’”
Thurmond said schools are already equipped with emergency call buttons. At McNair there are buttons in the office and media center. Schools also have security cameras. “We were watching [the gunman] from the district office,” Thurmond said. “We were actually observing him as it unfolded.” Thurmond said the “biggest challenge for schools throughout the country is we’ve been through a very lean economic time. Resources are very limited at the local and/or state level. The good news is the economy is beginning to rebound but we’re still dealing with lag from the economic recession.” Thurmond called the outcome of the McNair shooting “a miracle.” “We did a lot of good things right, but at the end of the day, it was just a blessing from God that changed the outcome,” he said. “It could have been totally different. “The good news is obviously it worked this time, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels and assume we’ve done everything we can and should do,” Thurmond said.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Thomas Jorgensen, president of Decatur-based Green Worldwide Shipping, says his five-year-old company grew and thrived in spite of a worldwide financial crisis. “We’re quite proud of that,” he adds. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
‘Travel agency for freight’ moves anything to any spot on the globe
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com Thomas Jorgensen describes his company as “a travel agency for freight.” President of Decatur-based Green Worldwide Shipping, Jorgensen explained that his company takes freight—no matter how large or heavy—from any spot on the globe to any other spot, door-todoor. “We have a lot of competitors,” Jorgensen acknowledged, “but we believe that what makes us stand out is the level of service. This is a people business. We work closely with each customer to figure out the most cost-effective way to ship the freight that meets the customer’s deadlines. We do a lot of hand holding. “Most of our jobs are international,” he said in a conference room where one wall is a world map mural. “We work with clients to get their merchandise through customs and make sure there are no problems leaving or entering a country. We make the process as seamless as possible for our customers. We connect all the dots.” Jorgensen said his company handles approximately 20,000 shipments a year—many of them large, heavy pieces of equipment weighing several tons. “We recently shipped a 400,000-pound diesel engine to Canada,” he recalled. The company ships a lot of furniture— “probably our single biggest commodity,” he said. “Other than that, it’s anything from machinery to refrigerated cheese to you name it.” The “green” in the company name comes from combining the blue of the ocean— symbolizing travel by water—and the yellow of the sun—symbolizing travel by air, though the company also will ship by rail, truck or whatever is practical. “Also, green is the color of hope, of growth, of new beginnings—the color of money,” he said, adding that as an international company he wanted a name that has meaning all over the globe. It had not escaped his notice that “green” usually suggests environmental responsibility. “That’s also who we are,” he said. “We are committed to sustainability and we practice recycling and other environmental initiatives. Our headquarters is in a building with solar panels on the roof,” he said of the East Decatur Station office. “Of course, we’re the middle man and there are some aspects of the business we
don’t control such as fuel used by the ships and airplanes that carry freight for us.” Jorgensen is originally from Sweden and came to the United States to work with a company that does similar work. He left there to form a shipping company with partners; five years ago he sold his interest in that business to start Green Worldwide, which employs a number of people with whom Jorgensen already had business relationships. He said the combined team knowledge, experience and relationships with carriers are among the company’s strengths. The five-year-old company now has 50 employees and is continuing to grow. In addition to its Decatur headquarters, Green Shipping Worldwide has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston, Miami and Seattle. “We started in 2008, the year the worldwide financial crisis started, and we’ve been able to open seven locations and operate them profitably. We’re quite proud of that,” Jorgensen said. He now lives and works in Decatur and said he and his wife enjoy life in a city with a small town atmosphere, yet the resources of a metropolitan area. “Although our customers are all over the world, this is a good place from which to do business,” he said.
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, August 30, 2013
education ‘Miracle on Second Avenue.’ –Brian Bolden
U.S. education secretary praises McNair staff after shooting
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org The Aug. 20 school shooting at McNair Discovery Learning Academy was the subject of a teleconference Aug. 23 between U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and DeKalb County School District personnel. “We all go into education to transform lives, not to save them, but your team this week saved lots and lots and lots of lives,” Duncan told McNair leaders. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me and to the president and the country.” Duncan said he “could only begin to imagine how traumatic” the incident was. McNair Principal Brian Bolden said the actions of his staff showed “what’s possible when the heart of the people are committed to doing one thing; and that is to deliver effectively the precious cargo of our children to make sure that they stand one day where we’re standing now.” “The nation saw a miracle,” he said. “It was on that day that we named it the ‘miracle on Second Avenue.’” Bolden said the “hours and hours” of safety training was key to keeping the students safe that day. “We were drilled and drilled and drilled and drilled until we got it perfect,” Bolden said. “And when we got it perfect, we wanted to Antoinette Tuff, credited with convincing the gunman to surrender to police. Duncan said he listened to the 911 recording and was “awestruck of her courage and her cool a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School last December and shot 26 people and himself after killing his mother at their home. “No community should ever, ever, ever have to go through what they’ve been through,” Duncan said. “Without your just extraordinary leadership, your courage, we could have very sadly seen a situation that would have been far too eerily similar to that one. You guys are truly heroes to the country.” Duncan said the school “should never ever be put in this position in the first place. I’m so sorry about this…link between weapons and folks that are mentally ill that’s more than apparent in so many of these situations.” President Barack Obama’s administration will do “everything that we can to try to work on that and make sure that you can do your jobs as educators and not have to save lives every single day,” Duncan said. “For better or worse, your lives will never be the same. Going forward, whatever we can do to support the school, to support the community, to support the school district, please call me directly,” Duncan said. “We want to do everything we can to help you.”
Nutrition manager Malcolm Quillen, Assistant Principal LaShandra Hawkins, Principal Brian Bolden and media specialist Harold Grant were recognized during a teleconference with U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
lives, not to save them, but your team this week saved lots and lots and lots of lives. I can’t tell you how much it means to me and to the president and the country.”’
‘We all go into education to transform
make it even better.” Bolden thanked his staff for “putting their lives on the line.” “Everyone played a vital part,” he said. Duncan said the school’s personnel exhibited “absolutely heroic behavior.” He particularly praised
and her ability to negotiate…in an extraordinarily difficult situation.” “The whole country just applauds what you’ve done,” he said. Duncan said he has spent a lot of time in the past several months working with parents and teachers in Sandy Hook, Conn., where
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Georgia Piedmont launches new media academic program
Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) has launched an innovative program that will train students in the growing field of 3-D animation, graphic design, web interface, motion graphics, TV production and digital music production. “With Georgia being among the top five states in the nation for film and television production, graduates from this program will be qualified to work in this growing media industry,” according to a news release from the college. This program emphasizes hands-on production in specialized areas of new and emerging media. Students will be taught how to animate objects using specialized computer software, design graphics for web-based programs, proper techniques for videography, editing, lighting and camera work. “Georgia Piedmont Technical College continues to be on the cutting edge of academic programs that meet the workforce needs of our region,” said GPTC President Dr. Jabari Simama. The college’s board of directors approved offering the Design Media Production Technology (DMPT) program in April. The following month it was approved by the Technical College System of Georgia’s board of directors. The first four specializations of motion graphics, web interface design, computer animation and graphic design and prepress will be offered this fall. TV production and digital music production will be added to the curriculum later. “With numerous production facilities either coming to Georgia, or expanding their current operations, Georgia Piedmont is poised to train qualified workers to fill the jobs being created by this ever-expanding, evolving industry,” said Cory Thompson, director of program development at GPTC. The college is installing a fully functional TV studio and control room, as well as creating a Mac lab for the graphics aspect of this program.
DeKalb school district names employees of the year
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com A Druid Hills High School English teacher was named DeKalb County School District’s teacher of the year during an employee awards banquet Aug. 24. “Thank you so very much everyone who has been involved in my career,” said Alyssa Montooth, when she received the award. “As we know, excellence never arrives in a vacuum. Excellence is the result of an incredible amount of support.” Montooth also thanked Robert Moseley, currently the principal Jolly Elementary School, who “took a chance on a 22-year-old teacher fresh out of the box from UGA and he also took a chance on me my second year and let me try AP lit even though I was only five years older than my students.” Montooth, who joined the school district in 1997, said she enjoys teaching the “treasures” in public school because “what’s so beautiful about public education is it gives everyone a chance to gain facility, numerically and in terms of language, and if you give kids that facility it makes them happier people, more successful people and it just changes the fabric of our entire culture. “And when kids come back to me and say ‘thank you’ it touches me like nothing else,” said Montooth, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature. Stephanie Amey of Columbia High School was named the district’s principal of the year. Amey said she was humbled to receive the honor. “I don’t take it lightly,” she said. “This is not a job for me. It’s a ministry for me. We work for children and it’s most important that we love them and that we nurture them and we show them the way that they are to go.” The district’s auxiliary employee of the year is Carole Rice, a nurse at Brockett Elementary School. As school nurse, “you’re able to see, observe and love children…because they want to share with you and come to you and they tell you things you really wouldn’t like to hear, but you do,” Rice said. “One little boy was walking around the hall and they said, ‘What’s the matter honey?’ He said, ‘I’m trying to find Ms. Rice; I think I’m going to have a headache.’ “And when he found me, I had one,” Rice said. “I love my job. It’s not a job; it’s a calling. Every day is another experience.” School board Chairman Melvin Johnson said, “The role of the board is to adopt policies to improve student achievement and to manage the entire system. “We adopt the policies, but someone has to carry that out,” he said. “It’s rewarding…to see the implementation of the policies as carried out by the superintendent and the teachers, the auxiliary personnel, the principals—all of the leaders throughout the great county.”
From left, Alyssa Montooth of Druid Hills High is DeKalb County School District’s teacher of the year. Stephanie Amey of Columbia High is the top principal and Brockett Elementary school nurse Carole Rice is the auxiliary employee of the year. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
DeKalb Early College Academy named Georgia School of Excellence
The DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA) has been named a Georgia School of Excellence by the State School Superintendent John Barge. DECA joined 13 other schools statewide for demonstrating highest progress by making the greatest gains on the College and Career-Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). DECA will receive a $1,000 check from Georgia Natural Gas to be used however its officials wish. United Healthcare is also a sponsor for the 2012 Schools of Excellence program. “These schools are the epitome of excellence, said Barge, who is expected to visit DECA during the school year and personally offer his congratulations. “These schools really shine.” “We have worked hard for this honor and it is a huge accomplishment for our school and our district,” said Sharon Riley Ordu, principal of DECA. Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond said, “This impressive accomplishment demonstrates the results of hard work, focus and dedication. We are proud of Principal Ordu, her staff and teachers on receiving this most prestigious honor.” The “highest progress” schools represent the school making the greatest gains within each congressional district, on the new CCRPI.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Tucker running back and defensive back Dominick Sanders avoids two Cedar Grove tacklers during the Aug. 23 matchup at Panthersville Stadium. Sanders scored three touchdowns in the 51-12 win. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Dominick Sanders shines in Tucker’s win over Cedar Grove
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org he first five minutes of the Tucker and Cedar Grove game featured good defensive plays, a lack of offensive plays and penalties –mostly caused by Tucker. But Tucker senior running back and defensive back Dominick Sanders turned things around when he ran 76 yards, juking and bypassing tacklers to the end zone on a punt return. Sanders’ touchdown gave the Tucker Tigers’ offense a spark that led to a 51-12 win over the Cedar Grove Saints Aug. 23 at Panthersville Stadium. Despite the big win, Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar saw a lot of flaws with his team. Lamar said the rainy weather kept his team off the practice field for two days before the game and he could see how the lack of practice affected the team. “We were kind of rusty coming out,” he said. “We
made some plays off athleticism. We weren’t as sharp as I wanted us to be but we did some good things. The kids played hard overall, but they need to focus on details.” Tucker had two penalties –holding and a false start–in their first offensive series which cost them an opportunity to score. The defense had an encroachment penalty during Cedar Grove’s first offensive series, but the penalty did not cost them as they forced a three-and-out. The Saints defense was able to contain Tucker’s running game, tackling Sanders in the backfield on one play and forcing Tucker to punt. But the Saints’ momentum was short-lived when Sanders returned the punt for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. Cedar Grove got a little momentum back when senior running back Deion Sellers ran down a bad snap and rushed 85 yards for a touchdown to close the gap to 7-6. But Tucker answered back as junior wide receiver
See Sanders on Page 23A
Cedar Grove defensive backs Adrian Green (No. 27) and Alphaeus Newman try to intercept a pass but drop the ball.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
Clarkston running back Xavier Anderson is tackled by two Arabia Mountain defenders. Photos by Travis Arabia Mountain running back Jeffery Lowe looks for running room in the Aug. 23 game against Clarkston. Hudgons
Arabia Mountain, Lithonia and Towers open season with wins
Tucker was not alone in opening the 2013 season with a big win Aug. 23. The Arabia Mountain Rams and lithonia Bulldogs each had double digit wins. Towers, which went 0-10 last season, also won its opening game with a double digit win. Quarterback Trevous Reynolds threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns in the first quarter while leading Arabia Mountain to a 40-7 victory over the clarkston Angoras (0-1) at Hallford Stadium. Senior wide receiver Greg Phillips was on the receiving end of three touchdown passes for 27, 25 and 50 yards. Phillips had five catches for 152 yards in the first quarter. Junior Jakobi Meyers caught the first touchdown pass of the game and the Rams went into halftime with a 33-0 lead. clarkston had a 62-yard touchdown pass play called back early in the second quarter, but managed to get on the scoreboard in the second half. Lithonia 36, South Atlanta 0 lithonia’s Frank Turner intercepted a South Atlanta pass in the opening minutes and returned it for a touchdown to ignite the lithonia Bulldogs to a 36-0 road victory over the South Atlanta Hornets Aug. 23 at Grady Stadium. Quarterback Rico Burton threw touchdown passes to Micah Stewart (40 yards) and Courtney Lott (30 yards) in the win. Towers 13, Maynard Jackson 0 The Towers Titans’ defense scored two touchdowns and held Jackson scoreless on the way to a 13-0 victory Aug. 23 at Grady Stadium. The Titans recovered a fumble in the end zone and returned an interception for a touchdown to give Towers its only scores of the game. GAC 48, Stone Mountain 26 Greater Atlanta christian got two touchdowns a piece from Micah Abernathy and Raﬁ Chapple in the first half on the way to a 48-26 win over the Stone Mountain Pirates (0-1) Aug. 23 at Hallford Stadium. Holy Innocents 28, Lakeside 14 The lakeside Vikings (0-1) opened their season Aug. 23 with a 28-14 loss to Holy innocents at Riverwood.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
goal. GPc goalkeeper Bryan Sanchez saved six of seven shots on goal, while the Jaguars sent 10 scoring opportunity goals at the Tribunes goal, nine saved by keeper Fernando Meza. Georgia Perimeter (0-0-1) opened its Georgia collegiate Ath-
GPC ties with Monroe Community College in season opener
Sophomore forward Brayan Rodriguez scored in the 80th minute to give the Georgia Perimeter college (GPc) Jaguars a 1-1 tie with the Monroe community college Tribunes in the Jaguars’ 2013 season opener Aug. 23 at GPc’s Dunwoody campus. Monroe, ranked No. 4 in the National Junior college Athletic Association preseason coaches’ poll, broke a nil-nil halftime tie in the 77th minute when Charles Wheaton scored unassisted. But three minutes later, with 10 minutes left in the match, Rodriguez received an assist from Oumar Mbodi and netted the game-tying letic Association schedule Aug. 27 against Andrew college at the Dunwoody campus. The Jaguars’ home soccer games are played at GPc’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.
Continued From Page 21A
SOFTBALL SCORES VOLLEYBALL SCORES
Aug. 20 cedar Grove 0, Therrell 0 (tie) Decatur 13, Druid Hills 7 Dunwoody 28, Arabia Mountain 8 lithonia 0, lovejoy 16 M.l. King 0, North Atlanta 21 Southwest DeKalb 10, Stephenson 4 St. Pius X 2, Westminster 1 Aug. 21 Dunwoody 0, Norcross 5 Marist 0, Buford 9 Southwest DeKalb 9, chamblee 7 Aug. 22 Decatur 7, Berkmar 0 Dunwoody 15, Mays 0 lakeside 19, Arabia Mountain 11 Stephenson 17, M.l. King 1 Tucker 7, North Atlanta 0 Aug. 23 Southwest DeKalb 10, Miller Grove 8 Aug. 24 Decatur 5, Wesleyan 11 Southwest DeKalb 16, lithonia 1 Southwest DeKalb 8, Westlake 5
Aug. 20 Arabia Mountain 2, Towers 0 (26-24, 25-17) Arabia Mountain 2, Redan 0 (25-23, 25-15) Druid Hills 2, cross Keys 0 (25-8, 25-13) Dunwoody 2, chamblee 0 (25-21, 25-17) Tucker 2, Druid Hills 1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-16) Aug. 22 Druid Hills 3, columbia 0 (25-13, 25-12, 25-21) Dunwoody 2, central Gwinnett 0 (25-9, 25-11) Dunwoody 0, Riverwood 2 (17-25, 21-25) Marist 0, chattahoochee 2, (16-25, 17-25) St. Pius X 2, Westminster 0 (29-27, 25-19) St. Pius X 2, Wheeler 0 (25-11, 25-6) Aug. 24 chamblee 0, union Grove 2 (13-25, 16-25) Decatur 0, union Grove 2 (13-25, 20-25) Dunwoody 2, Archer 0 (25-22, 25-23) Dunwoody 2, Dacula 0 (25-18, 25-12) Dunwoody 2, Grayson 0 (25-19, 25-12) Dunwoody 2, Providence christian 0 (25-11, 25-14) St. Pius X 2, lassiter 0 (25-23, 25-20) St. Pius X 2, Northview 0 (25-17, 25-10) St. Pius X 2, Parkview 0 (25-8, 25-16) St. Pius X 2, Peachtree Ridge 0 (25-13, 25-5) St. Pius X 2, Mount Paran christian 0 (25-18, 25-11)
Yaquis Shelley returned the following kickoff 87 yards to give Tucker a 13-6 lead in the first quarter. Sanders appeared to have his second punt return for a touchdown, but a holding penalty nullified the play. Sanders was able to make up for the lost touchdown by scoring a 52-yard rushing touchdown and extending the lead to 20-6. After a Sellers fumble on the Saints’ 22-yard line, senior quarterback Joseph Farrar ran 6 yards to the end zone on a designed quarterback draw to extend Tucker’s lead 27-6 in the second quarter. Sanders got his third touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run to the end zone to extend the lead to 34-6. lamar said Sanders made a lot of his plays on his talent alone. “He’s one of the best players in the state of Georgia and one of the best athletes in the country,” lamar said. “Even when stuff isn’t being done right he has the ability to make something good happen and he did that several times tonight.” Sanders credited his good vision for his three trips to the end zone. “it’s like when i get the ball i just have my eyes open and i make a couple of moves and get going,” he said. The Tigers had a 44-6 lead at halftime after a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Myles Donaldson and a 20-yard field goal by kicker Eric Webber. Junior running back Elijah Sullivan had a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to extend the lead 51-6. Sellers added a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 51-12. Sellers finished with 152 yards rushing in the loss. cedar Grove (0-1) will try to win its first game of the season Aug. 30 when it faces columbia (0-0) at Panthersville. Tucker (1-0) will have two weeks to get ready for its matchup against North Atlanta (0-0) Sept. 6 at Adams Stadium.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 30, 2013
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