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School board rejects Druid Hills Charter Cluster
by Andrew Cauthen



East Atlanta’s

Village Garage keeps it classic

See Story on Page 15A

Photos by Travis Hudgons

Supporters of the proposed Druid Hills Charter Cluster (DHCC) will determine their next steps after the charter petition was rejected Nov. 11 by the DeKalb County Board of Education. “In one vote, the DeKalb board has disenfranchised the very parental leadership it claims to champion, and committed the education and success of nearly 5,000 students and 400 school personnel to the ash heap of the status quo,” Matt Lewis said, a parent who led the petition effort. DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Superintendent Mike Thurmond said the school board made the correct, but difficult, decision. “The board acted in the public interest for all of DeKalb,” Thurmond said. “I was impressed by the petitioners—their advocacy, their commitment to improving the quality of education in DeKalb County.” In its statement, DHCC said the petition’s denial “will generate enormous and additional ill will toward the district.” The denial “is likely to fuel and give momentum to various alternatives, all of which may well remove students and resources from the district,” according to the statement. “It will demonstrate plainly a continued challenge with basic governance at the DeKalb board level that is counter to the accrediting guidelines from SACS. “And it will silence the voices of the hundreds of parents, teachers and community members who committed themselves in good faith to the process of improving public education for students within the cluster and beyond–the same kind of parent involvement and leadership that is necessary to have successful schools. “The cluster’s parent and teacher coalition will weigh all of its options to move forward on a path in the best interest of kids and communities,” according to the statement. The DHCC would have included

See Cluster on Page 15A





The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis testified against architect Tony Pope and his ex-wife Pat Reid, who used to be the construction chief for the DeKalb County School District. Photos by Kent Johnson, AJC

Former superintendent testifies in corruption trial
managing a construction project at Columbia High School. The project, funded by a special local option A former DeKalb County schools sales tax (SPLOST), was already superintendent took the stand Nov. 6 under way and Reid allegedly had a as a key witness for the prosecution second meeting with school officials and said she understood she was in a corruption trial nearly three not to hire Pope for any subsequent years in the making. projects. Crawford Lewis accepted an “The evidence will show that Mr. agreement several days before the and Mrs. Pope’s marriage created a start of the trial and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of obstructing a conflict,” Hill said. Hill said, even after this meeting, police officer. Pope overbilled the district by Lewis testified he was surprised approximately $100,000 for work to learn that soon after being hired done on the Columbia High School as superintendent that the district’s construction program was a “mess.” project and was authorized by Reid to perform approximately $600,000 He said he thought hiring Patricia of new work for the district. Reid would help address these Lewis described a phone call issues. he received from Reid about a According to Lewis, in the first interview the district had with Reid construction contract that was she didn’t reveal she was a principal changed by the district’s contract compliance officer Cindy Hill. He in her then husband’s architectural firm A. Vincent Pope & Associates. said Reid was upset and demanded that the employee be terminated Reid and Pope are accused of immediately. conspiring to defraud the school “Her voice was certainly loud system of approximately $2.4 million through illegal construction and she seemed to be very… concerned,” Lewis said. “She was contracts. adamant that Hill be terminated on According to Chief Assistant the spot. I shared with Ms. [Reid] District Attorney Kellie Hill, that she didn’t have the authority Reid used her role as the school to terminate anybody and that district’s chief operating officer there was a process that had to take to award contracts to Pope. Both place.” are charged with violating the Early November 2008, Lewis Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt said he received a phone call from Organizations Act and three counts then school board chairwoman of theft by taking. Lynn Cherry Grant who told Prior to Reid being hired by the him there was a rumor that Pope DeKalb County School District was working as an architect on (DCSD), Pope was responsible for by Daniel Beauregard the McNair Cluster Elementary construction project. This was after Reid was hired and had agreed to not contract any work to Pope. “I received a phone call early one morning from Lynn Cherry Grant. She said, ‘Crawford, I’m calling you this morning because I heard a bad rumor over the weekend and I want you to look into it,’” Lewis said. Lewis testified that the rumor was that Pope was providing services for the contractors for the McNair project. He said he confronted Vernell Barnes, the architect of record for the project, who confirmed the rumor. “His response was, ‘Dr. Lewis, I’m going to tell you the truth but I’m going to ask you to please not tell Ms. [Reid] where you got this information from,’” Lewis said. A few days after speaking with Barnes, Lewis said he asked Reid about Pope’s involvement on the project and told her that it was in direct violation of her agreement when she was hired by the district. Additionally, Lewis testified about the Columbia High School construction project, on which Pope had been contracted to work only on the first phase. He said that instead of bidding the second phase of the project out as is customary, Pope was hired to perform the additional work for approximately $600,000. Lewis’ signature is on the document authorizing the additional work but he said he was unaware at the time it was for Pope. When he learned of the issue, Lewis said he again confronted Reid. “She basically said she was saving the school district money by not rebidding the work. Her response was that her husband was not benefiting for the work that wasn’t rebid,” Lewis said. During this time, the district also became involved in a civil suit with construction firm Heery International, which had managed DCSD’s SPLOST projects. Reid reportedly fired the firm, citing questionable billing practices. The firm then sued the district, claiming it was owed money for work it had done. The district then countersued Heery for $100 million. According to prosecutors, Reid was kept on at the district because of her involvement in the civil case even after Lewis told district officials she tried to blackmail him. Reid’s attorney Tony Axam refutes the charges and said his client isn’t guilty of a any wrong doing. Additionally, Axam said there was no conspiracy between Reid and Pope to share the money obtained through the questionable contracts. Pope’s defense attorney John Petrey said his client admitted to accidentally overbilling the district but that he didn’t realize it until he was indicted. Petrey claimed that it was a “mistake.” Petrey called it nothing more than a billing error.

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One Man’s Opinion

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

Old names and fresh faces
“Americans claim not to love political dynasties, yet we keep doing them somehow. And while it is certainly premature to start using that word with the Cuomos, the symmetry of Mario and Andrew — and the notion that yet another son might seek to finish what his father started — makes for a captivating story, to say the least.” –journalist Joanna Malloy in Esquire magazine. A year can be a lifetime in politics. In November 1980, I was able to vote in my first general election. President Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Sam Nunn was Georgia’s junior U.S. senator from Perry.  And now, 34 years later, it appears there may be another Carter/ Nunn pairing coming to the top of Georgia ballots next fall.  As a lifelong student of Georgia politics, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic. Nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn, is off to a strong fundraising start ($1.7 million in first report filed), and has been traveling the state in a red mini-van, visiting, learning and re-learning some lessons that Georgia can teach Washington, D.C.  Her message is that if we work together there are solutions to be found, and those solutions don’t always revolve around bigger government.  A bit later out of the gate, State Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) is planning to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and make a run for governor. It should be noted that the elder Carter took a similar path and short tenure in the State Senate, as well as two elections cycles (1966 and 1970) to get to the governor’s mansion. And though you can hear a slight lilt of the south in Michelle Nunn’s even tones and thoughtful comments, little of that accent can be found in the much more urbane and younger Carter. I am in fact reminded less of the former president and Georgia’s longtime defense expert in the U.S. Senate and more reminded of another successful pair from that era—and I’ll give you a hint. She’s a little bit country, and he’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. I’m not trying to be smug, but there is a clean, wholesome genuineness to this pair, not unlike Donny and Marie Osmond who successfully brought country crossover and pop music and a prime time TV hit to America for three years (during the Carter presidency). The Osmonds were only 18 and 16 respectively when their program debuted, and the show’s popularity only dimmed when the “secret” leaked that bachelor Donny was actually engaged.  I mention this because if you were to ever describe the Osmonds as they began—a clean cut band of brothers from Utah, who initially sang back up and barbershop quartet behind Andy Williams for several years, you might have never guessed that two of the younger siblings in this family would eventually top world music charts. But their timing was right, and the country was looking for something a bit more wholesome at the time—and there they were. I attended the opening of the original Peaches Records and Tapes in midtown Atlanta in those days. The Osmonds were the opening VIP guests, and came to leave their handprints in the sidewalk out front. The store was mobbed by fans; Peachtree Street was closed for several blocks. Teenage and young adult women threw themselves at Donny, grabbing kisses, body parts and pulling out locks of his hair. The Osmonds were escorted out the back door, through a man-to-man line of arm locked cops; young women clung to the limousine bumper as it started to pull out of the parking lot, dragging themselves behind the car. A few of the fans were hospitalized. I’ve seen a lot over the years, but nothing quite like the fan hysteria of that day. Gov. Roy Barnes found in 2010, despite a healthy war chest, near universal name I.D. and a strong metro Atlanta voting base with heavy Democratic turnouts in Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton Counties, that he still lost his statewide race by more than 10 points. Gov. Nathan Deal won by a more than 10 point spread and in excess of a quarter million votes. The state’s politics may be trending a bit more purple, but it will take a large voter shift to change this currently red heavy tilt. Just ask Gov. Barnes sometime, who first won office in a near landslide in 1998 just how quickly that ground can move out from under you. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@ 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Heartless for the holidays
Why do rich and powerful people engage in callous behavior?
by Sam Pizzigati Scrooge has come early this year. He’s already kicking our Tiny Tims. This holiday season, kids in America’s poorest families will have less to eat. Nov. 1 brought $5 billion in new cuts to the nation’s food stamp program, now officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Poor families are losing on average 7 percent of their food aid, calculates the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A mother with two kids will lose $319 over the rest of the current federal fiscal year. The cuts could cost some families a week’s worth of meals a month, says the chief of America’s largest food bank. More cuts are looming. A House of Representatives majority is demanding an additional $39 billion in “savings.” Ohio and other states, in the meantime, are moving to limit food stamp eligibility. Today’s heartlessness toward America’s most vulnerable actually goes far deeper than food stamp cuts, as a new Economic Policy Institute report documents in rather chilling detail. Four states, the report notes, have “lifted restrictions on child labor.” In Wisconsin, state law used to limit school-age kids to five hours of work a day on school days. The new law erases these limits. Other states are cutting back on protections for low-wage workers of all ages. Earlier this year, Mississippi adopted a law that bans cities and counties in the state from giving local workers even unpaid sick leave rights. America’s current surge of meanspiritedness, observes Gordon Lafer, the University of Oregon author of the EPI study, essentially erupted right after the 2010 elections. In 11 states, those elections gave right-wingers “new monopoly control” over the governor’s mansion and both legislative chambers. Lafer links this right-wing electoral triumph directly to growing inequality. A widening income gap, he explains, “has produced a critical mass of extremely wealthy businesspeople, many of whom are politically conservative,” and various recent court cases have given these wealthy a green light to spend virtually unlimited sums on their favored candidates. But America’s new heartlessness reflects much more than this turbocharged political power of America’s rich. The wider a society’s economic divide, as Demos think tank analyst Sean McElwee observes, the less empathy on the part of the rich toward the poor. In a starkly unequal society, people of affluence “rarely brush shoulders” with people of little advantage. These rich don’t see the poor. They stereotype them instead as lazy and unworthy. CNN columnist John Sutter has just brought us face-to-face with this phenomenon, via a moving and insightful portrait of America’s most unequal locale, East Carroll Parish in Louisiana. In East Carroll, the rich live north of Lake Providence, the poor south. The two groups seldom interact. East Carroll’s most affluent 5 percent average $611,000 a year, 90 times the $6,800 incomes the poorest fifth of the parish average. “Looking across Lake Providence from the north,” writes Sutter, “can warp a person’s vision.” One example of this warped vision: East Carroll’s rich see food stamps as an “entitlement” that rots poor people’s incentive to work. Yet these same rich annually pocket enormously generous farm subsidies. In 2010, East Carroll’s most highly subsidized farm owner grabbed $655,000 from one federal subsidy alone. The average food stamp payout in the parish: $1,492 per person per year. What should we do about the rampant inequality in East Carroll Parish — and far beyond? For starters, we could end federal farm subsidies for wealthy farmers — and restore food stamps to full strength. The longer-term task? That would include everything from raising taxes on the nation’s most privileged to raising minimum wages for the nation’s lowest-paid workers. In 2013 America, sums up CNN’s Sutter, we’ve come to see stark gaps between rich and poor as “inevitable.” His simple reminder for us all: “They don’t have to be.” OtherWords columnist Sam Pizzigati, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow, edits the inequality weekly Too Much. His latest book is The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class.

Let Us Know What You Think!
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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing information submitted to us that is known to be false and/or assumptions penned as fact.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Sen. Jason Carter running for governor’s office
by Andrew Cauthen “I’m in. Let’s do this together.” That’s what Sen. Jason Carter tweeted on the morning of Nov. 17 announcing his campaign for the Georgia governor’s position. On Facebook, he said, “This morning, I was joined by my beautiful wife and boys as I filed to run for governor. Keep the well wishes coming and join us—volunteer, contribute, tell your friends and family. We can do this, but only if we work together. Carter “I am running for Governor because I believe in Geor- We need leaders who are fogia at its best—our kids learn- cused on hard-working Georgians. We need leaders who ing in the very best schools, want to get people back to an economy that boosts work and train for good paymiddle class families and an honest government that works ing jobs.” In a statement, Jimmy for everyone,” he wrote. Carter said, “Jason has done “In my years in the state great things for Georgians senate, I have fought to supthrough his service in the state port public schools and make senate and volunteer work higher education affordable, throughout the state. Georgia to grow the middle class and faces serious challenges ahead help small businesses and to reform our ethics laws,” Cart- and would greatly benefit er said. “That is what I will do from a smart and fresh leader focused on improving our as your governor.” Carter, an Atlanta attorney schools, creating opportunities and grandson of former Presi- for a more prosperous middle class, and restoring a sense dent Jimmy Carter, repreof trust and transparency sents District 42. back to state government. We Former state senator and are proud that he’s running former DeKalb County comand look forward to what’s missioner Connie Stokes, who in September announced ahead.” Carter hopes to unseat her bid for the governor’s ofGov. Nathan Deal who also fice, announced that she is faces challenges from fellow now seeking to be the next Republicans John Barge, lieutenant governor. state school superintendent, In a news release, Stokes and Dalton Mayor David said, “We need state leaders Pennington. who have the right priorities.

Champion of the Week
Ryan Hoyt
If it weren’t for volunteerism, Ryan Hoyt might not have met his wife Kadee. Now the couple have a 15-month-old daughter Hailey. The couple met volunteering at the Shepherd Center where he has served for a decade. Hoyt is on the center’s advisory board and is a co-chairman of the Shepherd Center Society. “I’ve always enjoyed giving back,” he said. “It’s a good way for me to connect with the community and do something good at the same time.” Hoyt is the newest member of the board of directors of the Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID). He was recently appointed to the Stone Mountain CID board of director’s position by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. “There are many exciting opportunities on the horizon due in large part to the CID’s activities,” Hoyt said. “I am glad to have the opportunity to further the mission of attracting new employers. I will also work to advance the already successful efforts of raising our curb appeal while deterring crime.” Stone Mountain CID President Emory Morsberger said Hoyt’s detailed knowledge of area property trends will be a strong asset moving forward. His participation will boost the CID’s ability to highlight available resources and benefits to outside business interests, Morsberger said. “He has a solid reputation and years of experience in working with the commercial real estate professionals that we need to reach,” Morsberger said. “Having him aboard is a welcomed addition to expand on the CID’s initiatives to fill all of our available commercial, office and industrial spaces with those companies that are ready to hire from the surrounding community.” Hoyt said, “I am all about the revitalization within the Stone Mountain CID. The continued revitalization of the area is very important to me. I want to see more jobs over there. The crime has been dropping and I want to see it continue to drop.” He is also a member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors and serves as the organization’s chairman of the Young Council of Realtors. Hoyt is a leasing manager with Prologis in Atlanta. His commercial real estate leasing and asset management experience has accounted for more than 15 million square feet of industrial and office space occupancy throughout the metro area. Prior to joining Prologis, Hoyt was vice president of leasing for Atlantabased Jackson Oats Shaw Corporate Real Estate. He was also a senior leasing associate with Technology Park/ Atlanta and a tenant representative with Grubb & Ellis Company in the metro area. “Volunteering is a lot of fun,” Hoyt said. “It helps me focus on things other than my day to day,” Hoyt said. “At the same time, it’s productive in that I’m usually volunteering with people that are shoveling the same dirt I am every day.”

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


PNC Bank. “We are extremely honored to welcome our new board members and look forward to the leadership they will bring to St. Vincent de Paul’s board of directors,” said SVdP CEO John Berry. “[They] are all held in high esteem in their respective fields and regarded as outstanding contributors to the improvement of the community through their participation in various community activities. They will add a great deal of experience and knowledge to our Board, which will strengthen our mission to provide the programs and services to the people we serve,” he added. Library offers quilting workshop Embry Hills Library will offer its Make a Quilt, Make a Friend workshop Monday, Nov. 25, 6-8 p.m. Participants will be taught to cut, piece and assemble a quilt—skills needed to complete a project. Supplies participants must bring to class are straight pins, neutral color thread, small scissors and seam ripper. They can also bring (only a limited number are available to share in class) a sewing machine with needles and bobbins to fit the machine, rotary cutter and mat and rotary cutting ruler. Participants must register in person. Funding for the event is provided by the Friends of the Embry Hills Library. Embry Hills Library is located at 3733 Chamblee-Tucker Road, Chamblee. For more information, call (770) 270-8230.


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Emory award winners announced Global health scholar Peter Brown, Korean educator YoungIhl Chang and international education advocate Kenya Casey have been selected as the 2013 recipients of the annual international awards presented by Emory University’s Office of International Affairs. Brown, Chang and Casey will be honored at the 2013 International Awards Night on Nov. 18 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel. “Building programs and institutions at Emory and abroad help us better understand problems and questions of global importance,” said Philip Wainwright, vice provost for international affairs. “Each of this year’s award recipients has made Emory and the world a better place.”

sages and attachments. Mouse, typing skills and some internet experience are required. The class is open to the first five participants. Call or visit the branch to register. Flat Shoals Library is located at 4022 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 244-4370. Church to celebrate 50th anniversary Gresham Park Christian Church will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special worship service and dinner Sunday, Nov. 17, at 10:45 a.m. The speaker will be Tommy Jackson, son of the late Raymond Jackson, former pastor. All friends and former members are invited. The church is located at 2819 Flat Shoals Road, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 241-4511.

High school to hold tasting and silent auction fundraiser Arabia Mountain High School (AMHS) will hold its third annual Taste of Arabia and Silent Auction on Saturday, Nov. 16, 3-6 p.m. at the school. This event is hosted by the PTSA. Highlights of the event include tastings of food selections from local restaurants and chefs and a silent auction, featuring gifts, products and services. Each prepaid $10 admission ticket entitles a guest to five to 10 tastings—small samples of the restaurant’s cuisine. Tickets can be purchased from participating AMHS Booster Club and sports teams members, or from the AMHS PTSA at the school’s front office. Arabia Mountain High School is located at 6610 Browns Mill Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (678) 8753602 (AMHS), (770) 875-0213 (PTSA direct line), or email ptsa@ or amhs.taste.



City invites community to treelighting celebration Dunwoody will be holding its annual tree-lighting celebration Nov. 24, 3-6 p.m. The Light up Dunwoody Christmas Village opens at 3 p.m. and the event concludes with the lighting of the tree at 5:45 p.m. The Cheek-Spruill Farm House, located at 5455 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, is the and will feature Santa and elves to welcome children on the front porch and reindeer with a Santa sleigh for photo opportunities. The event is free and open to the public. For volunteer opportunities or more information contact Pam Tallmadge at (770) 3939647 or


Oglethorpe University to host art lecture Renée Maurer, assistant curator of The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. will give a lecture on Georges Braque’s paintings and prints Nov. 20 at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art at 7 p.m. Braque was a major 20th-century French painter and sculptor who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed the art style known as Cubism. General admission is $5 and free for Oglethorpe University Museum of Art members or with a petrel pass. The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is located at 4484 Peachtree Road NE in Atlanta.

Commissioner to partner for community cleanup DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson will partner with students at Tucker High School and the Tucker community in a cleanup along Lawrenceville Highway and LaVista Road. This effort will be Saturday, Nov. 16, beginning at 9 a.m. The starting point for the cleanup is in the parking lot of Tucker High School, 5036 LaVista Road. “The Tucker community is one of my favorite parts of my district because of the pride that they take in the beautification of their community,” Watson said. “I am grateful for the support that I can count on with my efforts to improve the quality of life for those who call DeKalb County home.” Historian to speak on Kennedy assassination Local author and historian Jennifer Richardson will be at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library Monday, Nov. 18, 7-8 p.m. to discuss the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nov. 22, 1963, event. Before the discussion, Richardson will display her collection of assassination-related memorabilia. TuckerReid H. Cofer Library is located at 5234 LaVista Road, Tucker. For more information, call (770) 2708234.


Georgia Piedmont to host international food festival Food lovers can taste foods from around the world at the International Taste of Georgia Piedmont Nov. 18 beginning at noon. The event will be held in the student center. Georgia Piedmont is located at 495 North Indian Creek Drive in Clarkston. For more information, visit



Library to host video game tournament In celebration of International Gaming Day, the Stonecrest Library is hosting a Mario Kart Wii tournament Nov. 16, from noon-2 p.m. The event is for those aged 10-17 and is open to the first 15 participants. Attendees will compete with others around the world for the best time. There is no registration required. For more information call the branch for more details at (770) 482-3828.

Nonprofit appoints three board members The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia (SVdP), an authority on poverty and hunger in Georgia, announced the appointment of three new members to its board of directors, effective Oct. 1. The new members include Freddy Cardozo, vice president of supply and risk management for Gas South; Charles R. Edwards, community transformation partner for Blue Earth Network, Inc.; and Allison Johnston, a treasury management officer for


Library to offer email basics class Flat Shoals Library will offer a class in email basics on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2-3:30 p.m. Participants will be taught how to set up a web-based account, send mes-

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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by Andrew Cauthen

Suburban Plaza Walmart receives judge’s go-ahead

Developers of the proposed Suburban Plaza Walmart have received a judge’s nod to proceed with the development. “We think the judge made the correct ruling,” said Scott Selig, vice president of Selig Enterprises Inc. “We think the facts have been on our side the entire time. Now, it’s another step forward in clearing the way to removing some of the untrue claims and lawsuits I believe are really more about time delays than the actual facts of the case.” To revitalize the 60-yearold Suburban Plaza, Selig Enterprises plans to bring a 150,000-square-foot Walmart store which would have groceries, deli, a pharmacy and an optical center. The Walmart would be part of an improved shopping center, which will increase by 30,000 square feet, would add 600-800 jobs to the community and spur redevelopment in the corridor, according to Selig representatives. In March 2013, Good Growth DeKalb, a group of residents concerned about sustainable growth in the area, filed suit in DeKalb County Superior Court contending that their internal, DeKalb County administrative appeal of the Walmart building permit was improperly heard. The appeal was heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals instead of by the Technical Board of Appeals, which does not exist.  “A DeKalb County Superior Court judge ruled that Good Growth DeKalb does not have standing to appeal DeKalb County’s decision to issue Selig a building permit to construct a Walmart at Suburban Plaza,” wrote Selig in a letter posted on the website of the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association. “Good Growth DeKalb had claimed that it had standing to appeal DeKalb County’s issuance of Walmart’s building permit. The court disagreed. As a result, the building permit is valid and the project is now cleared to move forward.” Louise Runyon, a spokeswoman for Good Growth DeKalb, said the group is consulting with its attorney about future steps. With construction expected to begin by year’s end, Selig said his company is ready to

“move it forward, build the development and make it be an asset in the area.” “I think it’s going to provide a lot of needed retail,” Selig said. “I think it is, without a doubt, and already has been a catalyst for additional redevelopment of current underutilized and current vacant property.” Opponents of the proposed development have said the shopping center will bring more traffic to an already congested six-way intersection. But Selig said, “I think a lot of it is fear of the unknown. “One development doesn’t spur all of the traffic problems, especially when you’re only…altering tenants, not changing the nature of the shopping center,” he said. “It’s not going from a selfstorage [building] to a retail [center]. It’s going from a retail to a retail. It’s had grocery stores in it before, and it will have grocery components in it again. It’s had larger box retail in it before and it will have that again.” Addressing traffic problems is the role of municipal and state governments, Selig said. “We’ve contributed a lot for an engineering study for that big six-way intersection, we’ve put in medians,” Selig said. “We’ve done a lot of traffic work ourselves in connection with the neighborhoods. We can only do so much because we don’t control it.” In a year, Selig said, he hopes Suburban Plaza “will be fully leased up, fully operating with new retail stores that will provide the necessities that the people in the area need without having to drive way outside of town to find them.” Selig said developers are excited about the continued tenant interest in the project. New tenants expected include LA Fitness, HomeGoods, JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores, and Ross Dress for Less.   “It will have a whole new look that I think people are going to love—a lot more greenspace, a lot more landscaping around it,” Selig said. “I think the whole corner is going to have a way different feel than what it had before. “People will be very pleased and it will greatly exceed their expectations,” he said.

Some DeKalb residents got an opportunity to view maps of transportation projects for DeKalb County. Photo by Carla Parker

DeKalb residents to help select transportation projects
by Carla Parker DeKalb County held its third public meeting Nov. 7 to get input from residents on the county’s 2014 transportation plan. The meeting, which was held at the Interactive College of Technology in Chamblee, gave residents an update on the process of the selecting the projects from the plan. According to the DeKalb County 2014 Transportation Plan website, the multimodal plan will identify transportation needs for transit, motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, trucks, trains and airplanes. The plan will also touch on policies, funding and development patterns affecting transportation in the study area. “Because the focus of the plan is county-wide, not every intersection or crosswalk will be included, but rather, the plan will focus on roadways that are classified as collectors and above, all transit in the county, an overview of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure across the County, freight routes and the DeKalb County Airport,” according to the website. When the process began in November 2012 the transportation plan had more than 3,000 projects to consider. “We’ve gone from 3,000 projects to 200,” said Cristina Pastore, the transportation plan project manager. “We’re asking the public to help narrow down from the 200 projects to find out what they like.” The list includes bicycle and pedestrian, roadway corridor and roadway intersection projects. The county is also considering the Clifton Corridor and I-20 East MARTA rail projects. The Clifton Corridor would provide 8.79 miles of new light rail service from Lindbergh Center MARTA Station to the Avondale Station, which will include the operations adjacent to the CSX right of way, according to MARTA. The project also includes changes to the medians of Clifton Road – through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory area, Scott Boulevard, North Decatur Road, DeKalb Industrial Way and North Arcadia Avenue. In the I-20 East project, the existing MARTA eastwest heavy rail transit line would be extended from the Indian Creek Station, south parallel to I-285, then east parallel to I-20 to the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia, according to MARTA. The project would also include bus service on I-20 and service streets between downtown Atlanta and Wesley Chapel. The final projects will be selected based on cost, according to Pastore. Among the funding options the county could use is HOST (Homestead Optional Sales Tax). The HOST funding would be used through 2040 with $185 million slated for unincorporated DeKalb. “That’s $6 million-7 million per year with no new cities,” Pastore said. “If a new city is incorporated HOST revenues for unincorporated DeKalb would be severely depleted. New city incorporation would result in far fewer HOST dollars than DeKalb’s current resurfacing budget, not including a $120 million backlog.” Other funding options include a transportation sales tax, a transportation utility fee or a 1 mil millage rate. Once the final projects are selected they will be presented to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in February or March. Laurel Bowen of Tucker said she is happy to see a variety of projects to choose from. “I’m glad to see options that will improve intersections and traffic lights,” she said. “We need improvements that would improve traffic flow.” For more information and to see a map of the project study area, visit

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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New Clarkston mayor says he’s young, but not inexperienced
with neighbors and going door-to-door in the community. He said his neighbors encouraged him to run for Clarkston’s new Mayor mayor and he ran a grassTed Terry said he may be roots campaign. one of the youngest mayors “If you want to be a pubin the United States, but that doesn’t translate into inexpe- lic servant that is truly representative of people, you’ve rience. got to know what they think. “I’ve worked for elected All of the issues I ran on are officials, city councilmen, things I learned from my mayors, Congress members neighbors, community memand more over the past 10 by Daniel Beauregard other cities and counties are taking a look at. Terry said a small portion of the annual budget will be given to community members and taxpayers to allow them to decide how the money should be spent. People will then come together over the span of several months and brainstorm how to use the money. “That’s one way I think we can get all of the people in the community involved in the process,” Terry said. Other issues Terry said he heard while on the campaign trail are crime in the city and improving education. He said the city has a great police force but there still needs to be more community involvement in catching criminals, which is why the city is starting a new neighborhood watch program. Although Clarkston can’t do much about the curriculum implemented in the DeKalb County public schools that serve the community, Terry said developing ways for students to continue learning after school in their communities is key. “We need to make sure that they have a place to learn when they come back into the city like a worldclass after school system,” Terry said.

‘I’ve worked for elected officials, city councilman, mayors, Congress members and more over the past 10 years.’
–Ted Terry
years. I’ve been fortunate to work for all levels of government and have been able to really get a good feel of how they work,” Terry said. Terry beat incumbent Mayor Emmanuel Ransom and challenger Ibrahim Awow Sufi Nov. 5. He begins his term in January. Although he has only lived in the city for two years, Terry said he has gotten to know the issues the city faces by speaking bers and new residents of Clarkston,” Terry said. Terry said his time spent going to more than 1,000 homes and introducing himself to residents made him realize that Clarkston is a bigger city than people think. One apartment complex on one side of the town may have completely different problems than another one. “The issues are totally different but there’s a unify-

Ted Terry, the new mayor of Clarkston, said he has lots of experience working in every level of government. Photo provided.

ing theme and people really want to be more involved in working with the government,” Terry said. One of the ways Terry

plans to bring more community involvement into the city’s government is through the use of participatory budgeting, something he said

New signage in Doraville’s historic Northwoods formally dedicated
Approximately 60 residents of Doraville’s historic Northwoods neighborhood, along with city leaders, celebrated the completion of a new neighborhood signage project with a ribbon cutting Nov. 9. The ceremony took place near one of the new signs installed at the intersection of Raymond Drive and Brook Park Way. Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman was on hand to help cut the ribbon on the new sign and officially proclaimed the event as “Northwoods Day.” The five new mid-century inspired signs were designed by Northwoods resident Michael Halbert, constructed by Signworks Unlimited and installed with the help of nearby Gordon Hills resident John Maloney. They have been placed at all primary entrances into the neighborhood. Costing more than $5,000, the project was funded entirely by Northwoods residents through a variety of fundraising activities, including yard sales and individual donations. Replacement of the neighborhood’s weathered, signage was prompted in part by the bedroom community’s nomination to be placed 1950s—featured homes designed by Mastin & Summer, two parks, churches, the first shopping center in Doraville, schools designed by Atlanta master architect John Portman, and an office building. When completed, it was virtually a village within a city. Located just inside the perimeter, the neighborhood has grown over the years to nearly 1,000 homes. Eightynine percent of the homes were originally built in the mid-century architectural style in the 1950s, a style whose popularity is resurfacing today as many new homeowners crave the “retro” look for their homes and interior designs. The new signage is but one example of the mid-century inspired renaissance occurring in Northwoods. Homeowners are actively renovating, bringing their homes back to their original look, and even installing new mailboxes with the clean lines inherent to the mid-century style. A couple of these mailboxes were featured in a recent issue of Atomic Ranch magazine.

From left, Bonnie Grey Flynt, president of the Northwoods Area Neighbor Association; sign designer Michael Halbert; and Cindy Bradford, sign project coordinator, admire one of the new signs. Photo by Bob Kelley

on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Register. Northwoods was placed on the Georgia Register of Historic Places earlier this year and is currently awaiting the national designation. Once this is done, the subdivision will share the honor with other Atlanta-area Na-

tional Register communities such as Inman Park and Avondale Estates. For more than half a century, Northwoods has been credited with being one of the first “Californiastyle” tract communities of ranch homes in Georgia. The planned community—a novel concept in the

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Jury deliberates fate of taekwondo teacher charged sexual assault
by Daniel Beauregard Deliberations continued Nov. 11 in the trial of a Lithonia martial arts instructor accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old student. This is the second time taekwondo instructor Adrian Spellen has been tried for charges of child molestation. The first time resulted in a hung jury. Spellen, at one time an Olympic hopeful who owns Powerkick Martial Arts, is accused of assaulting the child twice during a 2011 summer camp session. He denies those charges and defense attorney John Turner accused the alleged victim of having an “overactive” imagination and of being brainwashed by prosecutors and her parents. Turner said the case involving Spellen is a “classic he said, she said,” and accused the former student of changing the story she told to investigators three times. “There are no witnesses that back up what [the victim] says; there was no immediate outcry,” Turner said. According to prosecutors and the alleged victims’ testimony, Spellen assaulted the girl while they were in the front office of the martial arts studio. Turner argued that the layout of the building would make it impossible for Spellen to commit such an act without being caught. for his martial arts studio. However, Turner said the insurance was more than just “pervert” insurance and offered complete coverage. Much of the previous trial hinged on testimony from the alleged victim and her mother, who told jurors that after the alleged incident her daughter repeatedly woke up in the middle of the night crying because of nightmares she had. “One dream I remember in particular her talking to me about…she dreamed that Spellen Mr. Spellen was going to take all her taekwondo belts Prosecutors allege that away because she told,” the the only thing that stopped victim’s mother testified. Spellen from continuing with According to Spellen’s his assault was that the car of company website, he has a co-worker pulled in front of been competing and trainthe building, which has glass ing in taekwondo for nearly windows in the front. 20 years. He is a certified “What I expect the eviinstructor, has a black belt, dence to show is that during and has coached 38 state the first week of summer and regional champions and camp, the unthinkable hapfive national champions. He pened,” Assistant District is also a five-time national Attorney Dalia Racine told champion and won a silver jurors during opening statemedal at the 2010 South ments. American Games in MedelRacine described the delin, Colombia. tails of the alleged incident In 2011, Spellen was reand said it was only several leased on $100,000 bond and weeks later, when the girl’s ordered not to have any conmother gave her “the talk” tact with minors except for about the birds and the bees family members but Judge that the girl said, “That’s Clarence Seeliger revoked what Mr. Spellen does to his bond in March when me.” prosecutors accused him of Before Spellen learned violating those conditions. of the charges against him, Spellen faces life in Racine said, he bought “child prison if found guilty of the molestation” insurance charges.

Oliver House at Allen Wilson named a Development of Excellence
by Carla Parker Oliver House at Allen Wilson, an affordable senior housing complex developed by the Decatur Housing Authority (DHA), was named as a 2013 Development of Excellence by the Atlanta Regional Commission Nov. 1. The housing complex was one of four metro Atlanta developments or places that received an award. The Developments of Excellence awards recognize projects in the 10-county Atlanta region that demonstrates innovative, livable designs that are helping to set a new standard for future development, according to ARC. DHA Executive Director Douglas Faust said in a released statement that the housing authority is proud that Oliver House was honored as the 2013 Development of Excellence. “It was designed and built as an EarthCraft Multifamily-certified building, which was not only the right thing to do, but it is already paying dividends in reduced costs for both the Decatur Housing Authority and the building’s residents,” he said. “In fact, the building exceeds the requirements for EarthCraft Communities and EarthCraft House Multifamily. We believe Oliver House is a showcase for other communities for what is possible in green design and quality construction of affordable senior housing.” This was the 15th year ARC has presented the Developments of Excellence awards. “We are pleased to recognize developments and places that offer new options for living or add to our general quality of life,” ARC Chairman Tad Leithead said. Allen Wilson Terrace, which is located in Downtown Decatur, was originally built in 1941 as public housing. Phase I of the redevelopment project opened in 2011, consisting of two row-house style apartment buildings. Phase II is Oliver House, a $12.6 million four-story Williamsburg-style building with 72 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom highefficiency HVAC apartments created for independent senior living. The 82,419-square foot building is designed in a traditional style of brick, cast stone and stucco. There is almost one acre of green space and walking trails that give residents easy access to nearby amenities and public transportation. Ground was broken earlier this year on Phase III, the final phase of the former Allen Wilson Terrace. It will include two 20-unit rowstyle apartment buildings and five smaller structures in a cluster home setting.

Woman indicted for alleged shooting death of mother of four
by Daniel Beauregard DeKalb County prosecutors have indicted a 34-yearold Ellenwood resident in connection with the shooting death of a mother of four Oct. 8 in East Atlanta. Terri Chimon Williams is charged with malice murder, two counts of felony murder and three counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Williams is accused of shooting Charlese Brooks, 35, on the sidewalk near the 800 block of Bouldercrest Road. According to police, Brooks intervened in an argument between Williams and one of her friends. Two of the aggravated assault charges Williams faces are for firing in the direction of those two friends. Brooks’ family members have reportedly stated that the argument involving the two women stemmed from a text message. Police said Williams turned herself in the morning after the shooting and remains in the DeKalb County Jail without bond. Although police say Williams fired at three women, Brooks was the only one hit. Brooks also recently adopted six foster children.

CITY OF LITHONIA GEORGIA FISCAL YEAR 2014 (FY14) BUDGET REVIEW AND ADOPTION (JANUARY 1, 2014 – DECEMBER 31, 2014) PUBLIC HEARING ON FY14 BUDGET: A Public Hearing on the FY14 Budget is scheduled for Monday, December 2 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers located at 6980 Main Street, Lithonia, GA 30058. At this meeting, the Mayor and Council will receive both written and oral comments about the Annual Operating and Capital Budget for the City of Lithonia, Georgia. The Public Hearing on the Budget will be followed by the Regular Council Meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber. MAYORS RECOMMENDED BUDGET AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW: The FY14 Mayor’s Recommended Budget will be available for public inspection during normal office hours starting on November 18, 2013 at the following locations: Lithonia City Hall, 6980 Main Street, Lithonia GA 30058 Lithonia-Davidson Library, 6821 Church Street, Lithonia GA 30058 BUDGET REVIEW: The Mayor and Council of the City of Lithonia are scheduled to review the FY14 Mayor’s Recommended Budget on the following dates: Monday, November 18, 2013, (6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6980 Main Street) Monday, December 9, 2013, (7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 6980 Main Street) Monday, December 16, 2013, (6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6980 Main Street) BUDGET ADOPTION: The Mayor and Council of the City of Lithonia are scheduled to adopt the FY14 Budget at their regular monthly meeting on Monday, December 16, 2013. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers located at 6980 Main Street.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

by Carla Parker A feasibility study is being conducted by the city of Stone Mountain on a potential annexation of the Smoke Rise area into Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain city manager Gary Peet said this stems from some property owners in Mountain Industrial Park who at first considered cityhood. “Then we met with some folks and started working on a study area,” he said. “Then they wanted to look at the alternative of annexing into an existing city.” Smoke Rise, which is east of Tucker and north of Stone Mountain, is already a part of the proposed city of Tucker. The feasibility study for the proposed city of Tucker is underway with the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. The study is expected to be completed in December and will be up for consideration when state legislators go into session in January. Smoke Rise would only be able to be annexed into Stone Mountain if the city of Tucker bill does not pass in the state legislature. Honey Van Der Kreke, a member of the Tucker Business Association and a resident of Smoke Rise, said most Smoke Rise residents are in favor of joining Tucker rather than Stone Mountain. “We’ve done polls that showed that people in Smoke Rise more closely adhere to Tucker than they do Stone Mountain,” she said. “It’s nothing against Stone Mountain. I

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Stone Mountain studying possible Smoke Rise annexation
just think everyone has been more closely associated with Tucker.” But one Smoke Rise resident does not feel that way. Jack Sartain said he would have no problem being a resident of Stone Mountain. “They already have an ongoing city that’ll be 175 years old next year,” he said. “They have an award winning police department that can be easily expanded; they already have a financially conservative city council and mayor, including the newly elected; and they already have an idea to solve some of the county problems such as our roads, which are an abomination in this county.” Stone Mountain has a population of more than 5,900 residents while the proposed city of Tucker will have a population of more than 55,000 residents. Sartain said being in a smaller city would give Smoke Rise residents better opportunities to address their issues with local government. “Once they see the validly and positive nature of being in Stone Mountain I don’t believe they’ll have a negative thought about it,” he said. And it does not mean the taxes will go up.” Bill Rosenfeld, president of the Tucker Business Association and a resident of Smoke Rise, said he supports Stone Mountain but feels Tucker is the best move for Smoke Rise residents. “Tucker has a strong sense of community,” he said. “People in Smoke Rise had children that went to school in Tucker.”

Dunwoody leaders commemorate fifth mile of sidewalk paving
Program. Work continues on several critical sidewalk projects as part of the proFor 21 years, Douglas gram, implemented prioriThompson battled with tize the city’s sidewalk projDeKalb County and Dunects, according to Bob Mulwoody officials to have a len, Dunwoody’s marking sidewalk built along Happy and public relations manHollow Road in Dunwoody ager. The city has identified for walkers and runners. more than 21 miles of future Thompson, who is now a sidewalk improvements and Dunwoody councilman, was 87 future ADA-compliant all smiles Nov. 8 as city ofsidewalk ramps. ficials cut the ribbon to celFollowing the compleebrate the completion of the tion of this year’s sidewalk city’s fifth mile of sidewalk construction, the city will paving along Happy Hollow have invested nearly $1 milRoad. lion and completed roughly “It’s been a 21-year proj- 5.4 miles of new sidewalk ect for me through DeKalb infrastructure since 2009. County and then through “This has been accomthe city of Dunwoody and plished in a relatively short I’m glad it’s finally gotten time frame with no tax inbuilt,” Thomson said. “It’s creases and no need to borgoing to be a great amenity row money,” Mullen said. for our citizens. They’re six “The city continues its comdifferent neighborhoods that mitment to maintain and imflow out onto Happy Hollow prove its roads by investing and they’ll be able to utilize more than $2 million in pavthat sidewalk.” ing this year which is more The Happy Hollow side- than 40 percent of the city’s walk is a part of the city’s entire 2013 capital budget.” Sidewalk Improvement by Carla Parker

Dunwoody city officials and residents cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the city’s fifth mile of sidewalk paving along Happy Hollow Road. Photos by Carla Parker

Reduce • Reuse • Recycle • Reduce • Reuse

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

time elected council chair and a county manager. “So, if there is a movement to change, we need to make sure that the organizational act reflects something that we believe is better than what we have, and that takes a lot of substantive work as well,” May said. Recently, former CEO Burrell Ellis was suspended and replaced by May after being accused of strong-arming county vendors to contribute funds to his re-election campaign. Ellis and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners have long butted heads on key county issues including budgeting and how to run county departments. May said although this didn’t play a role in his decision to begin discussing changing the government, people are “hungry for change.” “We tout ourselves as having a checks-and-balances form of government where the board can check the CEO. That’s a farce—this is a very, very strong CEO form of government and there needs to be more in terms of a checks and balances scenario,” May said. “I think this form of government just causes too many delays.” May is hosting several town hall meetings over the next few months to solicit public input about changing the form of government or rewriting parts of the current county code. Ultimately, May said he would like to be able to present two plans to the DeKalb County’s local delegation of state legislators: one to describe how to update the code and one proposing changing the form of government. Each meeting will be moderated by Kimberly Nelson, an associate professor of public administration and government at the University of North Carolina. May said she was referred to him by the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. “We wanted somebody who could come in unbiased and didn’t have any particular leaning one way or the other,” May said.

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Interim CEO discusses changing form of government
by Daniel Beauregard During his time as District 5 Commissioner, Lee May made it no secret that he is interested in changing DeKalb County’s form of government. Now, as interim CEO, May said it’s time to have a more serious conversation about the future of the county. “I want to really talk about the whole governance question out there in the community,” May said. May said his position on the subject won’t change but he wants to have an open dialogue with officials and stakeholders about governance in the county, whether that means changing its structure or updating existing county codes. “Clearly there are some issues in this current government structure with the CEO form. There are a lot of ambiguities in our code—a lot of gray areas. You even saw that with the transition with me into this role,” May said. The current county code

Additionally, May said there is an attorney reviewing the current county organizational code to begin highlighting some of the areas of ambiguity that exist. Currently, he said there aren’t enough votes on the board of commissioners to change the form of government but he said there is a willingness to have a public conversation about it. Three public input sessions will be held: Nov. 21, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Dunwoody High School 5035 Vermack Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338 Dec. 2, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur, GA 30034 Dec. 3, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Rehoboth Baptist Church 2997 Lawrenceville Highway, Tucker, GA 30084


and structure, May said, is not explicit enough regarding “who is responsible in particular areas.” “We have an opportunity now, if this government is going to remain with the CEO structure, to have the board and the CEO to deal with those areas that need to have more clarity,” May said. May said, if the residents approve a change of government, there are a variety of forms that may benefit the county. He used Cobb County’s form of government as an example, which has a full-

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013



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Is that snow? Yes! Since early October crews have prepared for the Nov. 25 opening of Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park. They have the ability to produce 360 tons of snow per day. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Miniature American flags were displayed on the lawn of St. Thomas More Catholic School as part of the school’s Veterans Day celebrations. Photo by John Hewitt

Hosea Feed the Hungry (HFTH) hosted its Annual Great Turkey Drop-off on Nov. 7, at the DeKalb County Jail. Through donations from Aaron Rents, Kroger and Publix Supermarkets approximately 1,000 turkeys and hams were loaded in preparation for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Photo by Travis Hudgons

The Tucker High School marching band and fans lined Main Street and in front of the school to cheer the football team as the players walked to their pre-game meal at Matthews Cafeteria. The Tigers went on the beat Mays to become the Region 6-AAAAA champs. Photo By Travis Hudgons

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Students make words walk and talk in V ocabulary Parade
The students at Vanderlyn Elementary School in Dunwoody created costumes that sent a host of words marching across the campus. The Vocabulary Parade is part of Vanderlyn’s ongoing effort to promote literacy and increase vocabulary and word recognition among its students. The parade concept is based on The Principal’s Book of the Month, Miss Alaineus, A Vocabulary Disaster, in which a student confuses the word “miscellaneous” for the person, Miss Alaineus. The entire school participated in the School’s First Vocabulary Parade. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Vanderlyn Elementary School principal Tracey Crenshaw is dressed as fictional character Miss Alaineus.

Dozens of parents wave and watch the students in the parade.

Discovery teacher Brooke Card leads third grade students to the parade.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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East Atlanta’s Village Garage keeps it classic
by Daniel Beauregard After moving to Atlanta, Owen began working at a highend body shop on Covington On the corner of Glenwood Highway that had been open for and Brownwood avenues in East 40 years. Work at the garage beAtlanta Village sits an auto body gan to slow down and Owen said shop built in 1948. It’s one of the eventually the owner didn’t need oldest buildings still standing in him anymore. the village. Back in 1948, the gaOwen was driving through rage was a Sinclair Gas Station. the village and decided to stop at Now, the old gas station hous- the old garage and speak with the es Village Garage and judging by mechanic he had seen hanging an old black-and-white picture, around there. He found out that it hasn’t changed much. Owner the mechanic working there had Travis Owen and partner Mike recently opened the garage after Bland said it was taken in 1958. it had sat vacant for six years. Owen, who has been at the “He had two other people garage for six years, grew up on working with him but he was a tobacco farm in Virginia and the only tech so I came in and said both his father and brother started working with him on a used to drag race cars. commission basis. Then, eventu“There was always stuff to ally, by the time Mike came in, mess with, stuff to tear up,” we parted ways,” Owen said. Owen said. Since starting at the shop, The garage performs a range Owen has amassed a large colof services, Owen said, but it lection of cars—half run and specializes in repairing and rehalf don’t. At first glance, the storing classic and vintage cars. cars parked all over the front and Usually, the newer models Owen back of the garage can someand his crew work on are pretty times make it look like a bit of a quick and easy—the older ones junkyard. However, Owen said are the cars that hang out in the that doesn’t mean those half-finshop for a while. ished cars aren’t worth a bundle. Owen said the garage is at an Currently, Owen is restoring advantage because most of the a 1955 Chevy that he found on newer garages won’t work on Craigslist. He called it his “fivecars that were built before 1996. year” project and plans to build it However, Village Garage does into a nostalgic drag racer called both old and new and Owen said a “gasser.” there’s not much competition “Seeing this might make you with newer places. wonder,” Owen said, pointing “Usually they’ll send them to at the shell of the car, “but it’s a us and we’re at the advantage too 1955 Chevy and you don’t find where a lot of the garages don’t them, or you find them with trees mind so much because we’re growing up through them for not really taking business from $5,000.” them,” Owen said. Owen, who now also plays In 1995, Owen moved to Atdrums in the band Weedeater, lanta. He said he had visited the said the garage gets a bit busier city while playing in bands and during tour season and lots of he likes it because it isn’t too hot bands that play shows in East Ator too cold. lanta Village also stop by for the “I had been through here occasional oil change or tune up. a couple of times visiting and “You never know who you’re it just seemed the only logical going to bump into here,” Owen choice really,” Owen said. said.
Before the 5-4 school board vote against the Druid Hills Charter Cluster, DeKalb NAACP President John Evans was escorted from the meeting when he tried to speak without permission. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

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Avondale, Briar Vista, Fernbank, Laurel Ridge and McLendon elementary schools as well as Druid Hills Middle and Druid Hills High schools. Proponents argued that student achievement would increase because the charter cluster would offer individualized learning pathways and flexibility for principals and teachers to address curriculum and school operations that are more responsive to students’ needs. The learning pathways, beginning at the elementary school level and continuing through high school, would have included International Baccalaureate (IB); a science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) program; Advanced Placement (AP); and Montessori. “It’s a cutting edge issue as it relates to reforming public education with multiple components to it,” Thurmond said. “At the end of the day we did what was in the public interest and what was in the interest of the DeKalb school district.” Thurmond said the most important reason the petition is not in the best interest of the school district is its potential fiscal impact. “In a time of fiscal instability, I just think it creates too many unknowns and unanswered questions and it raised serious concerns about the overall fiscal stability of the district,” Thurmond said. Thurmond said the schools are being operated at a cost of $29 million per year. The petitioners asked for $40 million for the schools. The $40 million cost would have been appropriate for startup charters, not for schools that already exist, Thurmond said. “Therefore I had to recommend, in order to protect the district, that it be rejected,” Thurmond said. During the four-hour long meeting, school district staff maintained that DHCC would not offer anything innovative that is not already being offered by the school district.

“Beyond the current strategies utilized in DeKalb, the petitioner does not identify unique innovations or practices to address low-performing and/or economically disadvantaged students,” said Morcease Beasley, executive director of DCSD’s office of federal programs. “As it pertains to instructional innovation and uniqueness, the petitioner referenced the term ‘continue’ approximately 28 times when proposing services” already offered in DeKalb, Beasley said. “It is DeKalb’s position that the petition does not offer significantly different educational opportunities beyond what is currently offered … in the DCSD.” Board members Joyce Morley, Karen Carter, Melvin Johnson, Michael Erwin and David Campbell supported Thurmond’s measure to deny the DHCC petition. Jim McMahan, Marshall Orson, John Coleman and Thad Mayfield voted against the measure and in favor of the DHCC. Orson, who maintained his support of DHCC throughout the process, said the school district is at “a tipping point.” “We’re operating in a very new world,” Orson said. “We need strategies that are different in different places.” What he found appealing about the petition, Orson said, is that “it looks at parent involvement as the key factor in student success. It talks about principal empowerment It talks about teacher empowerment.” Orson said the DHCC petitioners are were willing to enter into a covenant “to accept the success of every school in that cluster.” “We have a unique opportunity here to empower teachers,” Orson said before the board’s vote. “It would be a shame for us to forgo that opportunity.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

the presentation confirmed establishing the office will make the county more efficient. “Not only does it help us to perform at a higher level but they were able to show evidence that it will substantially save money for the county by being able to identify inefficient or expensive ways of operation,” Rader said. Rader said he thinks the presentation made a “pretty good case” for having a staff member that is also an internal auditing expert to “run the show.” “I think it’s important to come to the conclusion at least that we’re going to have one person from the commission staff to potentially supervise outside resources,” Rader said. “The need is great and I’m hoping that we can come to some resolution quickly on this because then we have to interview and recommend someone to fill the position.” Hiring an auditor is one of the recommendations that a DeKalb County special purpose grand jury made after a yearlong investigation into the county’s department of watershed management. The grand jury called for an internal auditor with no personal or professional ties to any area being audited. The grand jury’s investigation was closely linked to a criminal indictment that resulted in then CEO Burrell Ellis being suspended and Gov. Nathan Deal appointing Commissioner Lee May as interim CEO.

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Commissioners move closer to hiring internal auditor
by Daniel Beauregard DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson said during a Nov. 12 meeting that he wants to hire an internal auditor for the county by the end of the year but there are still some unanswered questions about the details. Commissioners voted to defer an item that would have expedited the hiring of an auditor because they want the county administration to determine whether it is best to hire someone from inside the county to establish the office, or hire staff from an outside company. Johnson said the county needs to determine who it will hire for the position, from where and how expensive it will be, before the board of commissioners can make a decision. Commissioners must decide how “we go through these nuances and get these things done because we do have to have an external auditor, we need that so we have extra eyes to look at where we are,” Johnson said. “It’s not just to focus on what is going wrong but also how we can improve best practices. I really want to make a decision about this before the end of the year.” At a recent board meeting, members of the Association of Internal Auditors gave a presentation that broke down the details of establishing a county internal auditor office. Commissioner Jeff Rader said In 2010 the board of commissioners passed an ordinance changing the county’s organizational structure to establish an internal auditor office but the county has yet to hire someone. According to the ordinance, the internal auditor will act independently of the commissioners and CEO and shall have the power to audit various county departments, officers and agencies on a continuing basis. In the county’s description of the job, key responsibilities include coordinating investigations of complaints of waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct and establishing procedures to manage investigations.

Solicitor General Sherry Boston is the 2013 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award presented Nov. 2 by the DeKalb Branch of the NAACP. Boston received the award at the branch’s 57th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner. The Thurgood Marshall Award pays tribute to those who have dedicated their time and energy in education, government, business and community service to the ideals, vision and mission of the NAACP. “Ms. Boston is a good person who’s serious about her work, and she’s established programs that get results,” said DeKalb NAACP President John Evans. “We need more people like that in office… who know what the problems are and who take corrective action to solve them. Too many people in office just talk about the problems but don’t take ac-

Solicitor General honored by DeKalb NAACP

tion, while she’s serious about taking action.” After being appointed by then Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2011, Boston was elected to the position in November 2012. Boston established DeKalb’s first special victims unit to help protect the rights of crime victims; the county’s first centralized pretrial diversion program to save taxpayers money while giving low-level offenders a second chance; and hired DeKalb’s first full-time community prosecutor. “I am so incredibly honored and humbled to be selected for this award, especially because it remembers someone who meant so much to the Civil Rights Movement,” Boston said. “As I strive to make DeKalb County a better place to live, I am thankful every day for the hard work and dedication of the NAACP in making this a better community.”

From left, former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell was the emcee at the awards presentation during which DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston was honored. Boston is also joined by DeKalb NAACP President John Evans and Fox 5 Reporter Aungelique Proctor, who also emceed. Photo by Glenn Acham

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Waldorf School Holiday Fair returns
Community members of all ages roamed the campus of The Waldorf School of Atlanta as a longtime tradition continued Nov. 9 with the school’s annual Holiday Fair. The school, at Kirk Street and Columbia Drive in Decatur, each year invites the community for a day of food, music and entertainment as unusual items—many handcrafted and one-of-akind—are offered for sale. The event is one of the school’s major fundraisers. This year’s fair included games, face painting, candle dipping, a puppet show, a petting zoo, books and more. A feature of each year’s fair is the Enchantment Shop, where children shop without their parents.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

Nature’s Garden Delivered
College friends see ‘ripe opportunity’ and go with it
by Kathy Mitchell Michael Kirk and Scott Frishman, who met as students at Auburn University in the 1990s, stayed in contact after Frishman went to work for an engineering firm in Alabama and Kirk took a position with a Colorado company that sells organic produce. Reorganization and management changes left Kirk without a job, but he walked away with more than a severance package. “I really knew the organic produce business when I left there. I had talked with customers on a daily basis. I knew there is a lot of enthusiasm for these products,” he said. Kirk wanted to start his own organic produce company “but I knew I didn’t want to do it alone, so I gave Scott a call.” The two decided that there were few, if any, such businesses in the Southeast and decided the area provided a ripe opportunity. They chose the Atlanta area as a major market place that “as far as I know, didn’t already have any business like this,” Kirk said. Nature’s Garden Delivered moved earlier this year from a 5,000-square-foot facility in Norcross to its present 40,000-square-foot location in Tucker. The building, which the partners purchased, includes offices, storage and packing areas, a walk-in freezer, large refrigerated rooms and loading docks. A good deal of the produce is raised locally—and “local only” is a customer option. “Choosing local only means getting lots of vegetables,” Kirk explained. “Some items just aren’t grown in this area—tropical fruits, for example.” Describing the business as “an online farmers market,” Kirk said Nature’s Garden Delivered now offers more than fresh produce. “We now offer local artisan foods, including breads and organic cheeses. We have other dairy products, eggs, grass-fed beef, nitrate-free bacon, organic coffee and tea and other items.” Frishman added, “We constantly expand our offerings. Next week, we’re adding shrimp, for example. The menu changes as we add items and depending on what’s harvesting at a particular time.” As the name suggests, Nature’s Garden Delivered delivers, using its own fleet of trucks. A customized box of fruits and vegetables can be delivered free to the customer’s home and office every week or every other week. “With many food co-ops, customers have to accept what’s being offered that week and they must pick up their boxes at a central location. We tell you what’s on the menu that week, but you’re free to change out anything you don’t want and to add items to your order,” Kirk said. “Also,” Frishman said, “you can put in a standing preference. For example, I don’t like broccoli. I could put ‘never include broccoli’ in my profile and something else would always be substituted. Also, we have flexibility that co-ops don’t always have. There’s no contract requiring you to buy every week. If you’re going to be out of town or won’t be cooking that week, you can cancel until you’re ready to start receiving deliveries again. We’re consumers, too, and we always try to see things from the consumer’s prospective.” Packers are instructed not to include produce with even minor bruises or discolorations. “These are perfectly good, but we don’t send our customers anything that they wouldn’t select in the store,” Kirk noted. Rejected produce is donated to a charitable food bank. Also, a project is in the works to produce fresh juice and some of the fruit not shipped to customers may be used to make juice. The current free delivery service area is “approximately 50 miles in any direction,” said Kirk, who added that the company is working with a delivery service to serve customers outside that radius. Kirk acknowledges that organic food is not the least expensive option, but, he said, “People care about what they eat. More people are starting to realize that what they put in their bodies is really important and are choosing organic, sustainably raised and locally grown foods. It’s a lifestyle choice. It’s not just something people from ritzy neighborhoods do. Most of our customers are regular middle-class families.”


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Packers are instructed to select only produce with no bruises or discoloration to be shipped to customers. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Produce from organic farms in Georgia and elsewhere are shipped in to fill orders that range from a box suitable for an individual to Michael Kirk checks a box that’s ready to go a large family box. on the truck.

A packer weighs and re-packages grapes for customized boxes.

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Champion student: Naeemah Ali
Naeemah Ali, a senior at DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA), said she was surprised when the DeKalb County Board of Education wanted to hear from her Nov. 4. “Honestly, I didn’t even think I would have a voice to actually speak and ask a question,” said Naeemah, who served as a student representative on the school board during the meeting. “I thought I was going to sit and observe, but I like the fact that they actually allowed me to ask my question. And I got an answer. They treated me like an equal and not as a student.” At DSA, Naeemah majors in digital multimedia and minors in chorus. “In digital multimedia, I digitalize animations and web designs and in chorus, of course, we sing,” she said. She is also the treasurer of the school’s Beta Club. “That’s one [organization] that I really treasure,” Naeemah said. “We help with the community. We do fundraisers and coat drives and food drives for the needy.” Naeemah is vice president of the Student Government Association, and a member of the National Honor Society and yearbook staff. She is also a part of the youth usher ministry at her church and teaches piano. Naeemah plans to attend Spelman College and wants to one day work as a pediatrician. “I love children,” said Naeemah, who spent the summer shadowing a pediatrician. “From an early age I’ve always loved children. I like to nurture them and care for them. Since I have a younger brother, that really opened my eyes to see that this is something that I really want to do.” Naeemah said her advice to younger students is “just to go for your goals.” “Don’t ever think that any goal you have or any dream you have is really too big to achieve,” she said. “When asked why she would like to serve as a student representative on the DeKalb Board of Education, she said she is a self-motivated student with a desire to bring about positive changes, beneficial to her school, environment, and to the community at large,” said DeKalb School Superintendent Mike Thurmond.

Naeemah Ali, center, poses with her mother and brother, after a school board meeting. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Military veterans were honored stars at DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts on Veterans Day. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Veterans honored at DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts
by Andrew Cauthen On Veterans Day students at DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts lined the school’s halls, waved American flags and chanted “Go USA!” as approximately a dozen military veterans walked throughout the school greeting the students. That was DESA’s way of saying “thank you’ for their service and acknowledge their contributions to our national security,” said Rozalyn M. Todd, DESA’s discovery/gifted liaison. “The mission of inviting a veteran to DESA is to show appreciation and express gratitude for members of the U.S. military both past and present.” After the processional, some veterans visited classrooms to talk to students. “I love wearing this uniform,” U. S. Army Reserves Specialist Demarcus Brownlee, 29, told sixthgraders. “I can do a lot with that.” Brownlee, who will soon be promoted to sergeant, will be deployed for the first time in six months. “I need some pen pals when I’m gone, so all of y’all can write me a letter,” Brownlee told the students. One student asked Brownlee whether the military is scary. “You’re supposed to be scared,” he said. “It makes you focus. When I get deployed, I’m scared. But that’s going to bring me back home.” During the question-and-answer session, Brownlee told the students about various aspects of military life including nutrition, compensation, promotions, career opportunities and overseas travel. “When I joined the military it taught me everything: money management, discipline, respect,” Brownlee said. “The Army—it’s a good thing,” Brownlee said. “I actually love it.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

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DeKalb County School Board is selling the Hooper Alexander property as-is through a competitive sealed bid process. The property is located at 3414 Memorial Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30032 and contains a 68,900 square feet school facility on approximately 8.1 acres. Sealed Bids, from Bidders, will be received by the DeKalb County Board of Education (the “Owner”) at the Sam A. Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084, until 12:00 Noon local time on Monday, November 25, 2013 for all labor, materials and services necessary for both projects. Bidding Documents may be obtained by Bidders at: All questions about this Advertisement for Bids must be directed in writing to Stephen Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer not later than Friday, November 8th, 2013 at 12:00 Noon. Contact Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Sam Moss Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084.; email:; Fax 678.676.1350. Except as expressly provided in, or permitted by, the Bidding Documents, from the date of issuance of the Advertisement for Bids until final Owner action of approval of contract award, the Bidder shall not initiate any communication or discussion concerning the Project or the Bidder’s Bid or any part thereof with any employee, agent, or representative of the Owner. Any violation of this restriction may result in the rejection of the Bidder’s Bid. The Owner reserves the right to reject any or all Bids, and to waive technicalities and informalities. Site visits are scheduled for Tuesday October 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am and Tuesday November 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am. 
DISCLAIMER: We do not knowingly accept advertisements that discriminate, or intend to discriminate, on any illegal basis. Nor do we knowingly accept employment advertisements that are not bona-fide job offers. All real estate advertisements are subject to the fair housing act and we do not accept advertising that is in violation of the law. The law prohibits discrimination based on color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status.

School Property Sales

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

ing between Stephenson and Flowery Branch. Martin Luther King Jr. (7-3) rounds out the Class AAAAA entries from DeKalb as the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AAAAA and will face defending state champions Gainesville Elephants (9-1) at 7:30 p.m. at Gainesville. The Lions are 14-10 overall in a run of 11 consecutive playoff appearances (20032013), including a 2004 Class AAA semifinal appearance. It will be the first meeting between the Lions and Elephants. Marist (8-2) claimed the Region 6-AAAA title and No. 1 seed with a 34-14 win over Carver Nov. 8. Marist will host Stephens County (5-5), the No. 4 seed from Region 8-AAAA, at 7:30 p.m. St. Pius (7-3), who lost in the Class AAA state championship game last season, will try to make it back to the Georgia Dome in December. St. Pius, the No. 3 seed out of Region 6-AAA, will open the playoffs at Hart County (9-1), the No. 2 seed from Region 8, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

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Four DeKalb schools, two private schools heading into state playoffs
DeKalb County will be well-represented in the GHSA high school football state playoffs again with six schools, including two private schools playing in first round games Nov. 15. The No. 1 ranked Tucker Tigers (10-0) will host Region 8-AAAAA No. 4 seed Heritage-Conyers (6-4) at Adams Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers are making their seventh consecutive state playoff appearance (2007-2013), including state titles in 2008 and 2011. Tucker is 33-21 overall in the state playoffs and 19-4 in their seven-year run of state playoff appearances. It will be the first playoff meeting between the Tigers and Heritage. The Stephenson Jaguars (8-2) enter the Class AAAAA state playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of Region 6-AAAAA and will travel to Flowery Branch (7-3), the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAAA, for a 7:30 p.m. matchup. Stephenson is 15-13 overall and making its 14th consecutive state playoff appearance (2000-2013). It will be the first playoff meetThe Cedar Grove Saints (6-4) are making their fourth consecutive playoff appearance (2010-2013) after having last made the playoffs in 1999 before the 2010 berth. The Saints are 2-3 overall in the four playoff appearances. The Saints, the Region 6-AAA No. 4 seed, will travel to Region 8-AAA champion Elbert County (8-2) in a Class AAA first round contest set for 7:30 p.m. It is the first playoff meeting between the two playoff teams.

The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please email nominations to carla@dekalbchamp. com by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Dominick Sanders, Tucker (football): Sanders had two interceptions in the fourth quarter to seal the 16-11 victory over Mays Nov. 8. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Morgan Ilse, Marist (cross country): Ilse led Marist to its sixth consecutive state title after winning the Class AAAA cross county individual championship in a time of 18:53.

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Seantavius Jones, Valdosta State (football): The senior wide receiver from Tucker set a new Gulf South Conference (GSC) record with six touchdown catches in the 63-55 loss to Delta State Nov. 2. He also set a new GSC record for most points scored in a game with 36. He finished with nine receptions for 143 yards in the game. Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt (football): The senior safety from Stephenson had five tackles and one interception in the 34-17 win over Florida Nov. 9. Ladler has 73 total tackles, four forced fumbles and three interceptions in nine games this season. Kayla Lewis, Florida (basketball): The junior guard from Southwest DeKalb scored 16 points and had nine rebounds and five steals in the 88-77 win over Northern Florida on Nov. 10. She is averaging 11 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season.

Marist sweeps cross country state title for second consecutive year
by Carla Parker Marist cross country teams continues to be the top dogs in Georgia high school cross country as both boys’ and girls’ teams claim state titles for a second consecutive year. Marist boys and girls swept the Class AAAA state tile Nov. 9 at the 2013 Cross Country State Meets at Carrollton High School. For Marist, this is the boys’ ninth state title in 14 years and for the girls, the sixth consecutive title and 11th title in 13 years. St. Pius boys also won a consecutive Class AAA state title. This is the fourth consecutive state title for St. Pius. Marist boys were led by individual champion senior Daniel Navarro and senior Michael Thurston, who placed third. The girls had all five scoring runners placed in the top 10, led by individual champion junior Morgan Ilse, freshman Anna Renou (second), freshman Kendall Nelson (fourth), senior Anne Marie Ilse (seventh) and junior Caitie Faust (eighth). Senior Austin Sprague led St. Pius by winning the individual championship in a time of 16:08. St. Pius also got strong performances from juniors Nik Calia and Stephen Martinez, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and seniors Joseph Ferrugia and Andrew Anastasiades, who placed seventh and ninth, respectively. Dunwoody and Lakeside girls’ finished third and fourth respectively in the Class AAAAA state meet. Senior Alex Cameron led Dunwoody with a second place individual finish with a time of 19:29. Freshman Morgan Mihalis led Lakeside with a sixth-place individual finish with a time of 20:06. Clarkston boys finished second overall in the Class AAAAA state meet and Lakeside also finished in the top 10 with an eighth-place finish. Sophomore Davis Stockwell led Lakeside with a second-place individual finish with a time of 16:26. Clarkston was led by junior Gidey Sahlu, who finished 15th with a time of 17:12.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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Huntley Hills students spent an hour in the school gym by running drills with some of the Falcons wide receivers, defensive backs, offensive linemen and special team players as part of the Falcons First Down for Fitness program.

Huntley Hills students get fit with Falcons
by Carla Parker Huntley Hills Elementary School students got an opportunity to do drills, play catch and dance with some of the Atlanta Falcons players Nov. 5 as a part of the Falcons’ First Down for Fitness program. The three-month program, which began Sept. 3 and ends Nov. 29, is designed to challenge third through seventh grade students throughout Georgia to participate in fitness activities, eat healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle, according the Falcons’ website. The program incorporates components of the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, the American Heart Association, and Fuel Up to Play 60 nutrition program available through the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. The students spent an hour in the school gym running drills with some of the Falcons wide receivers, defensive backs, offensive linemen and special team players, and doing dance routines with Chris Millman, the Falcons community relations and youth programs manager. Kendyl Moss, Falcons community relations vice president, said the First Down for Fitness program has been around for seven years and an estimated 67,000 students across the state participate in the program. “Today we’re doing what we love to do,” she said. “Come out and encourage the children that are a part of the program that they need to stay active 60 minutes, five days a week.” Huntley Hills is one of 38 public and private elementary and middle schools in DeKalb County that are a part of the program. Huntley Hills physical education teacher Elisabeth Spaulding said this is the third year the school has participated in the program and the students and faculty are “excited” about it. “We preach to the children all the time to get in 60 minutes of exercise,” she said. “Whether it’s during our morning program, PE class, recess or after school. It doesn’t matter.” Spaulding said sometimes they have to trick the students into exercising. “You got to do it anyway you can,” she said. “This [program] is a great incentive for them to keep exercising. It’s exciting.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013


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St. Pius heads to playoffs with big win over Decatur
by Carla Parker After suffering two losses in a row, the St. Pius Golden Lions gained momentum heading into the playoffs with a 41-14 over Region 6-AAA foe Decatur on Nov. 8. Decatur came into the game on a threegame winning streak, including a 31-28 win over Region 6-AAA Champion Blessed Trinity, a team St. Pius lost 21-20 to the previous week. Decatur’s offense scored more than 30 points in those three wins, but St. Pius’ defense was able to hold them to 14 points. St. Pius was also the first team to score 40 points on Decatur’s defense. Head coach Paul Standard said he was proud of how his team bounced back after the two tough losses and beat a good team. “I’m proud of our offense. I thought we did a good job of controlling the football,” he said. “But our defense kept a team that’s been scoring some points out of the end zone.” The Golden Lions went up 7-0 late in the first quarter on an explosive play by sophomore quarterback Reed Egan, who connected with wide receiver Fred Dorsey on a 75-yard touchdown pass. After a Decatur fumble, St. Pius kicker Thomas O’leary boomed a 46-yard field goal to extend the lead 10-0 early in the second quarter. Decatur cut St. Pius’ lead to 10-7 after a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Devontae Carter to Dennis Bell. St. Pius responded with a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joey Connors to Ransom Klinger to extend the lead 17-7. Connors got his second touchdown of the game in the third quarter on a 19-yard run. A 50-yard touchdown run by Dalton Wilson gave the Golden Lions a 31-7 lead late in the third quarter. Another field goal by O’leary, this one from 21 yards, extended St. Pius’ lead 34-7 in the fourth quarter. Decatur was able to get in the end zone again behind a 1-yard touchdown run by Nick Bentley and cut the lead to 34-14.

St. Pius running back Jack Pelt (left) outruns Decatur linebacker Nick Bentley.

Decatur quarterback Devontae Carter throws a pass in the fourth quarter.

St. Pius linebacker Garrett Gooden rounded out the scoring with a 20-yard interception return with 1:09 left in the game to bring the final score to 41-14. The Golden Lions finished third in the region with a 4-2 record and finished the season with a 7-3 overall record. They will open the playoffs at Hart County (9-1) Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tigers hold off Mays for Region 6-AAAAA title Dominick Sanders intercepted two passes in the fourth quarter to stall a Mays comeback and seal a 16-11 win and the Region 6-AAAAA title for the No. 1 ranked Tucker Tigers Oct. 8. The Tigers (10-0) had retaken the lead at 16-11 on a 16-yard run by Elijah Sullivan late in the third quarter. Sanders stopped the first of two Mays drives in the fourth quarter with an interception return for an apparent game sealing touchdown only to have it called back on a penalty. Tucker had led 7-0 early on a Raquan Rush 1-yard touchdown run before Mays took an 8-7 lead midway through the second period by taking advantage of one of four Tucker second quarter fumbles. Tucker kicker Eric Webber kicked a 34yard field goal to send the Tigers into the half up 10-8. A 20-yard field goal gave Mays an 11-10 lead in the third quarter. Mays (7-3) defense was able to stop the Tigers and force a punt to get the ball back with just under two minutes to play. Sanders struck again with less than a minute to play with his second interception to allow the Tigers to run out the clock for the win. Tucker finished the regular season 10-0 for the fifth time in seven seasons. Blessed Trinity 21, Cedar Grove 14 Wide receiver Brandon Norwood caught eight passes for 118 yards, including a 57yard touchdown pass in the first half, but it was not enough for Cedar Grove, which
See Playoffs on Page 24A

St. Pius running back Ransom Klinger catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter.

St. Pius running back Dalton Wilson knocks off tacklers as he runs to the end zone. Photos by David DiCristina

Page 24A 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, November 15, 2013

Playoffs Continued From Page 23A
suffered a second consecutive loss in Region 6-AAA play. Cedar Grove fell to the fourth seed heading into the state playoffs. Running back Deion Sellers had a 100-yard game rushing to surpass the 1,000 yard rushing mark. Stone Mountain 27, Therrell 0 Freshman quarterback D’Vonn Gibbons, making his first start of the season, threw two touchdown passes in leading the Pirates to a 27-0 win over Therrell in Stone Mountain’s season finale. Jahvez Mitchell, Robert Sims and Gaston Kangni all scored touchdowns to help Stone Mountain finish 4-6 on the season. Clarkston 40, North Cobb Christian 7 Rooshambi Pacquette scored four touchdowns to lead the Clarkston Angoras to a 40-7 win at North Cobb Christian. The Angoras came up short of its second consecutive non-losing season by finishing 4-5-1 on the year. M.L. King 40, Miller Gove 22 Quarterback Roland Rivers threw three touchdown passes to lead the Martin Luther King Jr. Lions to a 40-22 win over Region 6-AAAAA rival Miller Grove. The Lions (7-3) sealed the No. 4 seed for the Class AAAAA state playoffs with the win as Devin Williams and Jamel Smith both scored on touchdown runs in the win. Miller Grove finishes the year 4-6.
Decatur wide receiver Dennis Bell catches a deep pass while St. Pius defensive back Brian Lentini tackles him in the second quarter. Photo by David DiCristina

halftime deficit to knock off the Lakeside Vikings 38-20 to set a school record of seven wins in a season. The Rams came up just one win short of the state playoffs at 7-3. Lakeside finishes the season at 2-8. Redan 49, South Atlanta 13 The Redan Raiders wrapped up their season at 1-9 by beating South Atlanta 49-13 at Avondale Nov. 9. The win ended a 0-9 run on the season and prevented the first winless season since 1996 for the Raiders.
Week 12 Schedule Thursday, Nov. 7 Stephenson (8-2) 64, North Atlanta (0-10) 6 Friday, Nov. 8 Blessed Trinity (7-3) 21, Cedar Grove (6-4) 14 Towers (5-5) 34, McNair (1-9) 7 Stone Mountain (4-6) 27, Therrell (1-9) 0 Chamblee (6-4) 41, Washington (6-4) 39 Clarkston (4-5-1) 40, North Cobb Christian (1-9) 7 Banneker (5-4-1) 49, Columbia (6-4) 27 Rockdale Co. (6-4) 35, Druid Hills (4-6) 24 Dunwoody (3-7) 31, SW DeKalb (2-8) 14 Grady (8-2) 25, Lithonia (4-6) 22 M.L. King (7-3) 40, Miller Grove (4-6) 22 Tucker (10-0) 16, Mays (7-3) 11 Marist (8-2) 34, Carver (7-3) 14 Saturday, Nov. 9 Arabia Mountain (7-3) 38, Lakeside (2-8) 20 Redan (1-9) 49, South Atlanta (0-10) 13 Open: Cross Keys (1-9)

Arabia Mountain 38, Lakeside 20 The Arabia Mountain Rams rallied from a 14-8

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