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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013 • VOL. 16, NO. 37 • FREE


Business................. 17A Classifed................ 20A Education.......... 18-19A Sports................ 21-23A



Sights, sounds and scents holiday season come together at Christmas at Callanwolde
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com


or the 30th time, the Christmas season will be celebrated with sparkle and splendor at a DeKalb landmark as thousands of lights, hundreds of ornaments and yards of greenery turn the Callanwolde mansion into a holiday wonderland. “This isn’t a 30th anniversary, but it is the 30th Christmas at Callanwolde,” explained Amy McNett, Callanwolde’s publicity and marketing director. The event debuted in 1977; however, it was suspended in 2003 while the now 93-yearold house underwent restorations and renovations—including the installation of an elevator to make the upstairs

See Adoption on Page 13A

See Callanwolde on Page 15A

Christmas at Callanwolde for 2013 marks the 30th time the Callanwolde mansion has been decorated to receive visitors for the holiday season.

Heery to pay school district $7.5 million in settlement
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com After six years and tens of millions of dollars in legal fees, the DeKalb County School District and construction firm Heery International have agreed settle their legal dispute. The school board voted unanimously Dec. 2 to settle with Heery for $7.5 million. “Under the settlement agreement, the Heery International Foundation Inc. will contribute $7.5 million to the DeKalb County School District to support the educational needs of the county’s school children,” according to a statement from Heery International. “In return, the board of education will convert its original termination decision to ‘termination for convenience,’” according to the statement. Both parties agreed to drop their claims against the other and neither party will admit liability in the case, according to the statement. “It’s time to move on,” district,” Thurmond said. “It’s time to turn the page and move on. I think, based on the facts as I understood them, that this is a good settlement where we can recoup some of the money that settlement ends litigation that would have taken an estimated two to three more years to conclude, considering only the appeals that are currently in play.” “There comes a time in every case when you’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them,” Thurmond said. “It’s time to fold, to move on, to reinvest the $7 million back into this school district and to hopefully use it in a way to continue to support academic achievement.” Former school board member Paul Womack said he disagreed with the settlement. “I departed this board December last year and I said I would never criticize it publicly or privately,” he said during the board’s community input meeting. “I’m going to do that tonight. “Say what you may about the board that I served on— that board was unanimous in its support of the lawsuit against Heery Mitchell,” Womack said. “We saw the evidence and we believed what we saw.” Womack said the current school board is leaving “between $20 million and $30 million on the table.” The school district “has spent in legal fees and forensic investigations upward of $20 million,” he said. “And to settle for what you are, I think it borders on malfeasance in office.” “The evidence is overwhelming against Heery,” Womack said before board voted. “You need reassess if you’re going to settle. At least get what this board spent. The evidence is there.” School board member Marshall Orson said the money spent on the litiga-

“There comes a time in every case when you’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.”
–Mike Thurmond
said school Superintendent Mike Thurmond. “I do not think it’s in the best interest of our school district to continue to speculate with public dollars. “It’s a great day for the has already been invested.” In a statement, Heery President Rich Driggs said, “Today’s settlement of $7.5 million is significantly less than the cost of bringing this suit to trial. Moreover, the

See Callanwolde on Page 15A





The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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County adopts vacant property registry ordinance
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com maintenance, security and ensuring code compliance. Commissioner Larry In an effort to reduce blight, Johnson said the registry the DeKalb County Board of works hand-in-hand with the Commissioners adopted an or- county’s foreclosure registry. dinance Nov. 19 that requires Johnson said, as more investhe owners of vacant propertors are purchasing foreclosed ties to register their properties properties, it can sometimes be or face fines up to $1,000. difficult to identify the person According to county ofresponsible for maintaining the ficials, improperly maintained vacant properties. and unsecure vacant properties “This will enable us to can become a safety hazard track ownership and also hold and adversely affect the aesthose accountable for vacant thetic and economic attributes properties, moving us a little of the community. further down the road in estabThe registry requires the lishing our neighborhoods,” owners of vacant properties to Johnson said. provide contact information so Although the ordinance to the county can locate those re- create the registry has been sponsible for the maintenance established, officials said it of the properties. Property will take an estimated 60-90 owners are required by law days to finish the planning and to register their property with development stage of creating DeKalb County within 90 days the registry. Commissioners of vacancy and pay a fee of and officials will also hold $100. several town hall meetings to The ordinance also states educate residents and neighthat owners of vacant propborhood associations about the erties can designate a local registry. The ordinance goes property agent responsible for into effect March 2014.

The county recently created a foreclosure registry in an effort to combat blight. Owners of houses like this one, in unincorporated DeKalb County, will be required to register their properties with the county or risk facing fines. File photo

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013

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CEO hits the streets and picks up trash
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com DeKalb County interim CEO Lee May spent the morning riding along on the back of a garbage truck Nov. 22 to get a feel for what an average day is like for a DeKalb County sanitation worker. May rode on the back of the garbage truck as he and another worker stopped at each house to collect trash in the Danbury Parc neighborhood in Brookhaven. “Our sanitation workers are front line people in keeping our county clean and I wanted to have the opportunity to walk in their shoes and experience what they go through each and every day,” May said. After several hours of picking up trash, May stopped by the sanitation department headquarters to speak with approximately 25 employees for an hour. “We really opened it up and it was a safe place to talk and ask me any questions, no matter how tough,” May said. May said he heard concerns from sanitation workers about safety issues, staffing issues and “of course” pay. “It’s a dangerous job and they want many of their safety concerns to be addressed…. It’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the country,” May said. Recently, Forbes listed “refuse and recyclable material collectors” as the sixth deadliest job in the United States, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recently approved an ordinance allowing sanitation workers to unionize. May said he believes that sanitation workers felt they didn’t have anyone to speak with in the county to address their concerns, which is why they want to organize. “In terms of the union, they really got their foothold in DeKalb because the employees really felt like they didn’t have anyone to talk to, so I think going in really meant a lot,” May said of his ride along and visit with workers. May said although he wasn’t exhausted, his time on the truck picking up trash made him sore the next day. “Here’s the deal, their work is not about how strong you are because you’re literally using muscles that you never ever use,” May said.

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May rode along with sanitation workers Nov. 22 and picked up trash for several hours.

Photos by Daniel Beauregard

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One Man’s Opinion

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013

Senate, anyone?
out this announced field of Democrats are a former Army ranger Todd Robinson and psychiatrist Branko Radulovacki. The action, at least so far, is watching the GOP field trying to “out-right” each other. Former secretary of state and gubernatorial primary winner Karen Handel enjoys a slight advantage in name identification. A trio of congressmen are attempting to at least mirror the Chambliss path from the House to a Senate Majority seat.  Dean of the delegation, the still boyish looking Congressman Jack Kingston (District 1, Savannah) has a legislative pedigree, committee seniority and low name I. D. outside of the low country. The Tea Party’s favorite, at least in terms of endorsements by their leadership, is Congressman Paul Broun (District 10, Athens). But the good Dr. Broun has a tendency to sound more like a clown, particularly when pushed for details or answers beyond his wellpracticed sound bites. Congressman Phil Gingrey (District 7, Marietta) is the second M.D. to give up a safe seat seeking the more comfortable one, but Gingrey’s largest challenge so far appears to be his own off-thecuff statements, later recanted or explained by staff, and at 71, he is the oldest candidate in the field. The wild cards continue to make for an interesting poker game in this GOP Primary freshly scheduled for Tuesday, May 20.  Entrepreneur David Perdue, cousin of the former governor, Georgia Port Authority Board member and former CEO of Dollar General, presents well and gives a good interview, but Georgia voters have yet to warm to the businessman crossover Senate candidate without prior public service experience.  Perhaps the more compelling speaker and story is in candidate Eugene Yu, a businessman, former deputy sheriff and president of the Federation of Korean Associations. More in the mold of Herman Cain’s earlier U.S. Senate candidacy, Yu gets a great reaction from party activists and if the GOP civil war continues and the three Congressman split the field and wound each other— “Yu who?” might become the question on voters’ minds this fall. But the GOP field still hasn’t settled, as rumors fly almost weekly about who next will enter the race as no front runner has yet emerged.  So with 10 in and several more in the wings, qualifying could easily bring a baker’s dozen once the pauper and kook candidates file for ballot access. To receive activist, voter and media attention, expect the rhetoric and vitriol on both sides to heat up early. And while Congressional approval ratings post government shutdown, debt ceiling debacle number 4, probably approach single digits it just goes to show you that membership in the world’s most exclusive club, the U.S. Senate 100, still has privileges worth fighting for. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@ earthlink.net. 

“There are so many similarities between a start-up venture and a political campaign—the rhythm, the tempo, the hours and the intensity.”—Mike McCurry, former press secretary, administration of President Bill Clinton. Midterm congressional elections are notoriously bad news for the incumbent party in the White House. President Bill Clinton got the Republican Revolution in 1994. President George W. Bush watched that same red tide wash out to sea in 2006, and then the favor was returned on Barack Obama in his 2010 mid-terms, fueled in large measure by the Tea Party and voter angst over the freshly passed Affordable Health Care Act. But President Obama will not top a ballot again to energize his base nor to galvanize his opponents. The Georgia General Election ballot in 2014 will be topped by a race for governor, which still looks like a very comfortable re-election for Gov. Nathan Deal (though not a lead pipe cinch), and a U.S. Senate race to select a successor to retiring senior Sen. Saxby Chambliss.  First on the Democratic side, the National Democratic Senatorial Committee and other party apparatchik have all but nominated Michelle Nunn, until recently the CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, founder of Hands on Atlanta and daughter of the well-regarded former Sen. Sam Nunn.  Former State Senator Steen Miles of DeKalb County, and a longtime columnist and former colleague here at The Champion, had a previous statewide run and respectable third place showing for lieutenant governor, despite a very small campaign war chest. Miles may well benefit from the strong African-American Democratic voting base in Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties, but it becomes a bit harder to envision, with limited resources, how she can build out a statewide network. But Nunn cannot win in the fall General Election without solid Black voter support. Rounding

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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The retirement deficit
Many of America’s CEOs don’t think we’re “entitled” to a secure retirement.
by Sam Pizzigati Deck the halls, this holiday season, with scenes of hunger. Struggling families all across America now have less food on their tables. Budget cuts that kicked into effect Nov. 1 have lowered the nation’s average federal food stamp benefit to less than $1.40 per person per meal. Austerity American-style is squeezing elsewhere as well, from Head Start for kids to Meals on Wheels for seniors, and more cuts are looming, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill near still another budget deliberation deadline, this one midway through December. The next federal program in the crosshairs? Maybe the biggest of them all: Social Security. Average Americans, of course, don’t want Social Security cut. If anything, average Americans stand more committed than ever to keeping Social Security whole — and for good reason. Social Security currently stands as America’s only retirement bedrock. Not too long ago, pensions also routinely delivered retirement security. But our corporations have cut back on traditional pensions. In 1980, 89 percent of Fortune 100 companies guaranteed workers a “defined benefit” at retirement. The rate last year: only 12 percent. Companies have replaced traditional pensions with 401(k)s, and many firms don’t even match employee 401(k) contributions. The predictable result? The nation’s “retirement deficit” — the difference between what Americans have saved up for retirement and what they need to maintain their standard of living once retired — now totals $6.6 trillion, says Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. So, amid all this retirement insecurity, who actually thinks that cutting Social Security would be a good idea? The big push for cutting Social Security is coming from America’s “corporate statesmen.” These corporate leaders — the nearly 200 CEOs who run the influential Business Roundtable and the over 135 chief execs who bankroll the lobby group known as “Fix the Debt” — seldom ever mention “Social Security benefits” and “cuts” in the same sentence. They speak instead in euphemisms. The nation, they intone, cannot afford the current level of “entitlement” spending. In the name of “saving” Social Security for future generations, these CEOs are urging Congress to enact “reforms” that range from lowering the annual Social Security inflation adjustment to raising the Social Security retirement age to 70. These two changes, point out Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies and Scott Klinger of the Center for Effective Government, would slice the average Social Security beneficiary’s lifetime benefits by about 20 percent. America’s CEOs, Anderson and Klinger note in a new report, don’t need Social Security. They already have ample retirement security without it. In fact, these CEOs are sitting on the biggest retirement bonanza in modern human history. The retirement accounts of Business Roundtable CEOs currently average $14.6 million, enough to pay out a $86,043 monthly benefit once they retire. The typical American worker within 10 years of retirement, by contrast, now has only enough in saved-up personal retirement assets to generate a monthly retirement payout of just $71. Why are so many CEOs driving so hard to cut Social Security? One reason: The corporations these

CEOs run don’t pay much in the way of corporate taxes today. They want to pay even less — and the less the federal government spends on Social Security and other “entitlements” like Medicare, the less pressure on lawmakers to seriously tax corporate income. CEOs also have a personal reason to want to see Social Security cut. Americans this year pay Social Security tax on only the first $113,700 of paycheck income. This tax ceiling rises each year with inflation. But if we eliminated the ceiling entirely — and taxed the paychecks of CEOs and other high-income taxpayers at the same rate as the paychecks of average workers — 95 percent of the expected Social Security budget shortfall over the next 75 years would disappear. America’s CEOs don’t particularly care for this sensible approach to fixing Social Security’s fiscal future. They’d much rather just ruin Social Security for the rest of us. 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. OtherWords.org.

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

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

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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse 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, December 6, 2013


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State Supreme Court overturns murder conviction of DeKalb man
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com the case for further proceed- with his two children in the ings,” Hunstein said. car. During the trial, AllaAfter leaving his children The Georgia Supreme ben admitted to killing his in Virginia, Allaben returned Court unanimously reversed wife but said it was an acthe next morning to Georthe conviction of cident and he only gia. He went to the home of a DeKalb County wanted to “put her a friend in Clayton County man found guilty of to sleep, tie her up, and told him his wife’s strangling his wife in and then confront body was in the back of his 2010. her about what he truck. The man called his In 2011, a jury believed was her neighbor, who was a police found Dennis Allaadulteration of his officer, and authorities arben guilty of malice food.” rested Allaben after finding murder, felony murAllaben’s wife his wife’s frozen body in the der, aggravated asdied Jan. 3, 2010, back of his truck. sault with the intent after her put her in At the time of his appeal, to murder and other Allaben a chokehold. He Allaben’s attorney said the charges. The jury told his sister-incase hinged directly on the also found Allaben guilty law that he had put a cloth question of whether Allaben of reckless conduct for the soaked with ether over his meant to kill his wife. same crime, which is why wife’s throat but that the “The jury did not even his conviction was reversed cloth went too far down her resolve the critical issue of Nov. 25. throat and she choked to intent in this case,” argued In the court’s opinion, death. Allaben’s attorney. Justice Carol Although the Hunstein said Supreme Court’s that the verdicts opinion said are “mutually exthe “evidence clusive” because was sufficient reckless conduct to authorize a requires the jury rational jury to to find that a defind beyond a fendant acted with reasonable doubt criminal neglithat Allaben gence and did not was guilty of intend to injure or the crimes,” it kill a victim, while agreed the verthe other charges dicts on malice require the jury murder, felony – Allaben’s attorney to find that he did murder, aggraintend to kill the vated assault victim. and simple bat“Because we conclude According to police, aftery were mutually excluthat the guilty verdict on ter Allaben killed his wife sive because of the verdict reckless conduct was mutu- he rolled her up in blankets on reckless conduct. ally exclusive of the remain- bound with duct tape and The case will now go ing verdicts, we reverse Al- put her body in the bed of back to the DeKalb County laben’s conviction for malhis pickup truck. Allaben Superior Court. ice murder, set aside all the then drove to his brother’s guilty verdicts, and remand house in Chesterfield, Va.,

Champion of
After a childhood tragedy, Keischa Robinson made a promise to herself that when she got older she would do whatever she could to help those who experienced the same sort of pain that she experienced. “I wanted to be a positive role model for teens to let them know that it’s all right to tell when they’ve been molested or touched in the wrong way by a family member or somebody they trusted,” she said. The 44-year-old woman from Decatur has kept that promise and has been active in not only helping young people but also helping anyone who is going through tough circumstances. “Every time there was an opportunity for me to be a part of something I took it and ran with it,” she said. To share her message with young people, Robinson got involved with H.E.A.T. (Holistic Education for the Advancement of Teens), an organization that was started by one of her mentors, Ivy White. Robinson said she volunteers at the organization’s teen summits. “I go volunteer my time and spend time with the youth, instilling positive things into them,” she said. Robinson also gives a lot of her time to the outreach ministry at New Life Community Church in Decatur, where she is a member and one of the special event leaders. Robinson is out every Saturday and Sunday with the “His Love Ex-

the Keischa Robinson


‘The jury did not even resolve the critical issue of intent in this case.’

Special needs teacher accused of abusing elementary student
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com A DeKalb County school teacher accused of beating a special needs student has been charged with cruelty to children in the first degree. According to an incident report released by the DeKalb County School District, Toria Ross, 36, assaulted a male student at Stone Mountain Elementary School Nov. 21. Principal Angela Hairston is listed as the complainant on the incident report. Ross reportedly verbally and physically abused three of the special needs students she taught by screaming at them and beating them with a stick. The school district issued a statement Nov. 25 saying that the health and safety of its students is “the highest priority” and it is taking the allegations seriously. It also stated that Ross is no longer employed at the school. Additionally, school officials have contacted the state Division of Family and Children Services and have begun a full investigation into the matter. An arrest warrant has been issued for Ross; she is expected to turn herself in to DeKalb County Police.

tended” Outreach Ministry feeding meals to the homeless before and after church services. She volunteers her cosmetology skills to the church’s Total Praise Beauty Salon. “I go up to donate my time doing hair for some of the homeless women and women from the shelters,” she said. Robinson is also the director and project manager for Blessings on Wheels, a nonprofit organization that provides hot meals to the homeless and gives back to those in need. She organizes the events, prepare the menus, sign up sponsors and collect donations. Even with everything she currently does in the community, Robinson said she wants to start a group for women who will help those that have been sexually abused. “I want to get a group of women together that’s not ashamed to stand up because somebody somewhere is crying out and they need to know that someone will be there for them,” she said.

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013





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Science center to hold seasonal events For the second year, Atlanta-based space music composer Jonn Serrie will perform a live concert at Fernbank Science Center to mark the holiday season. The concert, titled “Upon a Midnight Clear,” features Serrie’s ethereal settings of holiday classics, accompanied by a star show on the Science Center’s Zeiss star projector. “We were so tickled when Jonn agreed to come again this year!” Fernbank Science Center Astronomer April Whitt said, adding that Serrie is one of today’s preeminent composers of music for planetaria as well as space-themed special events. Serrie’s show headlines a series of special December programs at Fernbank Science Center. On Dec. 13, the center will host a special set of planetarium showings to culminate its donation drives for both Atlanta Community Food Bank and Toys for Tots. That evening, a donation for either cause will serve as a planetarium ticket. On Dec. 20, to mark the end of the semester and winter solstice, the center presents “Stories Under the Stars of Winter; Celebrating the Winter Solstice.” The program explores winter constellations, and includes storytelling by Whitt. Admission to the program is one new teddy bear or other new stuffed animal, $5 value or greater, per person, which will be donated to children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Fernbank Science Center is located at 156 Heaton Park Drive, Atlanta. Tickets for the concert, and information on the other programs, are available at fsc.fernbank.edu.

25. “We at New Life Church have a duty to serve the most vulnerable in our community,” said New Life Church Pastor Marlin Harris. “Our Thanksgiving fellowship dinner allows the members of our community who are most in need to fellowship and enjoy a meal in a safe, warm and welcoming environment. But this is not something that we do once or twice a year, this is an ongoing mission for us. We serve our community every day of the week through our church, community center and programs.” The New Life Community Center, housed in the old South DeKalb High School in Decatur, was established by New Life Church to serve as a place to empower, uplift and impact the community through programs, services and educational initiatives. Group to perform holiday music The community chamber chorus Just Voices will perform at the Decatur Library Tuesday, Dec. 10, 7-8 p.m. According to the library, “Just Voices is composed of gifted amateur musicians who love to sing without accompaniment.” Concerts include works from a wide variety of a cappella traditions, medieval to contemporary. Just Voices sing madrigals, motets, chorales, spirituals, classical art songs, shape-note hymns and vocal jazz. The Dec. 10 concert will feature holiday music. Funding for the concert is provided by the Friends of the Decatur Library. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070. Biographer to speak on Georgia songwriter Johnny Mercer As part of the library’s December Festival of Writers, author Glenn T. Eskew will be at the Decatur Library Auditorium Monday, Dec. 9, at 7:15 p.m. to talk about his new book on Johnny Mercer. “Eskew’s biography Johnny Mercer: Southern Songwriter for the World improves upon earlier popular treatments of the Georgiaborn songwriter to produce a sophisticated, insightful, even-handed examination of one of America’s most popular and successful charttoppers,” according to an announcement from the library. Eskew is a professor of history at Georgia State University. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-8450.

spacious home with jewel-like burgundy and deep green tones includes a whimsical Harley tree along with the lovely family tree,” states a description of tour homes from the Stone Mountain Woman’s Club. Proceeds from the annual Christmas Home Tour benefit programs and charities of the GFWC Stone Mountain Woman’s Club. Tickets are available at the Old Post Office Emporium and ARTStation in Stone Mountain, as well as from members of the Stone Mountain Woman’s Club. The day of the tour, tickets will be available at the Stone Mountain Woman’s Club Clubhouse as well as at homes on the tour. Church to hold ‘A Christmas Carol Concert’ The Stephenson High School Gospel Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Vada Coleman, will be the special guest at “A Christmas Carol Concert” at Grace Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain. The program will have a multicultural flavor featuring a variety of artists including an oboist from the DeKalb Youth Symphony; Terri Evans, choral director at The Galloway School; guitarists, pianists and vocalists. Contemporary gospel, blue grass, spirituals, traditional Christmas carols and classical music will be in the program scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served after the free event. Grace Presbyterian Church, a 40-year-old multicultural congregation, is located at 650 Rowland Road, Stone Mountain. For more information, call the church at (404) 292-5514. FODAC to sponsor Breakfast with Santa Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) will hold its annual Breakfast with Santa at the Marriott Evergreen Conference Resort in Stone Mountain Park on Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-noon. Those attending are advised to arrive early for best seating. The proceeds will benefit the children and senior medical equipment programs at FODAC. WSB’s Captain Herb Emory will be back as emcee and Aimee Copeland, a young woman who has undergone multiple amputations, will be a special guest. The ballroom festivities will include what organizers describe as a gourmet breakfast buffet, free park admission, an all attractions pass for Stone Mountain Park for each person ($25 value), a toy for each child, and an opportunity to meet and take pictures with Santa. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children 5-11 (children younger than 5 are free with adult admission). Call (770) 491-9014 for ticket information or order online at fodac.org/ breakfast.




Writers to meet at library The Clarkston Writer’s Group will meet Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Clarkston Library. Those interested in writing can meet with other writers to discuss writing and to network. Participants can call or visit the branch to register, or just drop in. Clarkston Library is located at 951 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. For more information, call (404) 508-7175.



Church feeds 900 for Thanksgiving On Nov. 23, New Life Church hosted its 10th annual Thanksgiving fellowship dinner for the homeless and those who are at-risk of homelessness at its community center in Decatur. New Life fed more than 900 homeless and needy men, women and children while providing a program filled with testimonials and music.  Every Thanksgiving holiday since 2003, the church has provided a Thanksgiving dinner prepared and served by its member volunteers. Through a food donation drive, contributions from its members and church funds, New Life provided the meal. Participants are identified by shelters throughout metro Atlanta, In addition, individuals who have been identified as “at risk for homelessness” through New Life’s social services programs are also invited for the meal. New Life Church also provided more than 400 fully stocked Thanksgiving food boxes on Nov.



Christmas tour of homes scheduled The GFWC Stone Mountain Woman’s Club will sponsor its annual Christmas Home Tour in Stone Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 14. A donation of $25 will include the self-guided tour of homes and lunch at the Stone Mountain Woman’s Club Clubhouse at 5513 E. Mountain Street. Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Homes on the tour include a cheerful bungalow built in 1920, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes, and has been authentically restored. A loft which overlooks Main Street and has a perfect view of Stone Mountain from the rear deck includes original flooring and distressed walls. A multi-generational home will be an inspiration to crafters with charming themes throughout the house. The stately Georgian columns welcome you to a home that was once the location of an old schoolhouse. Another

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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Jennifer Richardson holds her copy of The Atlanta Journal that reported President John F. Kennedy’s death. Also in her collections are the memorial issue of the Saturday Evening Post and the second-day reports in The Atlanta Journal. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

DeKalb historian says much is still unknown about President Kennedy’s death
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com Was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy a conspiracy—as, according to some polls, as many as 75 percent of Americans believe—or did a hodge-podge of mistakes and incompetent acts make it impossible to piece together a consistent, cohesive, credible account of what happened on Nov. 22, 1963? In her Nov. 19 talk at the DeKalb History Center, historian Jennifer Richardson said her extensive study of the Kennedy assassination has led her to believe that the official conclusion—that Kennedy was killed by a lone, crazed gunman—is almost certainly wrong. Who did kill Kennedy? “I don’t know,” Richardson said. “I hope I live long enough to find out.” Richardson was a seventh-grade student at DeKalb’s Fernbank Elementary when a school administrator announced that the president had been shot. He soon updated the report to say that the president was dead. In the days that followed, things happened that America had never seen before. The first days-long news coverage uninterrupted by commercials was broadcast on television. The first live murder—the slaying of accused gunman Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby— occurred on national television. Although the official investigative body, the Warren Commission, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, concluded that Oswald killed Kennedy and that he acted alone in doing so, hundreds of books and scores of theories— “some reasonable and some ludicrous,” Richardson said—have come out in the past 50 years. A New Orleans man at the initiation of then-District Attorney Jim Garrison was tried unsuccessfully for killing Kennedy. E. Howard Hunt, a prominent figure in the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal, on his deathbed told his son that he killed Kennedy. There are several problems with the official conclusion, according to Richardson, who has lived in the Druid Hills/Decatur area for nearly 59 years. “The Warren Commission had some prominent members, including Gerald Ford and Georgia’s own Sen. Richard Russell, but none of them were investigators,” she said, adding that commission members weren’t allowed access to all available evidence. She said she is also bothered by the so-called “magic bullet” that would have had to have taken some incredible turns to have struck Kennedy as the Warren Commission said it did. “I’ve read the Warren Report—not the condensed report that was sold to the public—but the full, multivolume report,” Richardson said. “I’m still not satisfied with the lone gunman theory.” For one thing, she said, there is no evidence that Oswald was insane. And “several people, including a police officer, saw him in the lunchroom of the building from which the shots were supposedly fired buying a Coke 70 to 90 seconds after the last shot was fired. He wasn’t even out of breath.” Among the things Richardson said went astray surrounding the assassination were: Many of the Secret Service agents present to guard the president had— against regulations—been drinking heavily the evening before. The route had been changed to include a hairpin turn at which the motorcade was forced to come almost to a full stop. The driver of Kennedy’s limousine didn’t know where the nearest hospital was. Those treating Kennedy at the hospital didn’t know his blood type and had no information on his other health issues. The body was shipped to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where doctors who weren’t familiar with gunshot wounds made critical errors during the autopsy, according to Richardson, who said they actually misplaced Kennedy’s brain and it was never found. Kennedy’s blood-soaked clothes were disposed of and clothes worn by Gov. John Connally, who was in the car with Kennedy, were cleaned. As Kennedy lay dying in the hospital, Secret Service agents washed the limousine in which he was shot, destroying important evidence. Richardson said there also was no control of the flow of people at both the hospital and the police station. That, she said, was why Ruby could walk into the police station with a gun and shoot Oswald at pointblank range. Kennedy had no shortage of enemies, according to Richardson. Cubans hated him because they felt he had betrayed them. The CIA blamed him for botching the Bay of Pigs invasion. The mafia hated him because they had supported his campaign and felt betrayed when Attorney General Robert Kennedy made a concentrated effort to stop organized crime. Many conservatives felt he was soft on Communism. Segregationists hated him because he was backing a civil rights bill. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover hated him because Kennedy wanted Hoover to retire. To those who question that a cover-up could remain secret after 50 years, Richardson said, “We still don’t know where [labor organizer] Jimmy Hoffa’s body is, but somebody knows.” The research files on which the Warren Report was based were initially to remain sealed until 2039; however, under the Freedom of Information Act, they will be released in 2017. Will new light be shed? Richardson said she’s among those eager to find out.

Page 9A LOCAL NEWS Avondale Estates, Chamblee selected for Georgia’s Main Street Start-up Program The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013
by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com Avondale Estates and Chamblee residents will soon see upgrades in the downtown area of their cities. The two cities are among 19 Georgia cities selected to join the Georgia Main Street Start-up Program. The program provides technical assistance to cities looking to improve their downtowns. Chamblee city manager Marc Johnson and Keri Stevens, Avondale Estates city planner and community development officer, both said the program is a opportunity to bring people and business to their respective downtowns. “It’s an honor to be selected for this prestigious national program, which will allow us to leverage our many existing downtown assets,” Stevens said. “We are looking forward to working with [the Georgia Department of Community Affairs] toward full certification.” Avondale Estates, founded in 1924 by George Willis, was planned by experts in engineering, planning and landscape architecture, according to city officials. The city intends to build off this foundation and foster quality redevelopment in downtown. Twenty-five cities across the state applied to the 20142015 program, the largest single group of applicants in the history of the Main Street Program. Collectively, these cities represent 284,503 residents, $1.8 million in available local downtown program funding, and 10 service delivery regions of the state. Gretchen Corbin, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, said Georgia has seen renewed interest in downtown revitalization. “We’re committed to helping our communities become great places to live, work and play, and our Main Street Program is one of our best examples of our technical assistance to Georgia’s local governments,” Corbin said. The Main Street program has helped cities across Georgia and in the nation since 1980. The program focuses on four core areas: design –what downtown looks like and how it functions; organization–the people and organizations that will do the work; economic restructuring–the types of businesses that will work in a particular downtown; and promotion–helping others understand how and why downtown is great. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs will provide technical assistance to the city, including help with board and leadership development, the creation of two- and five-year work plans, development of program budgets and preparation of each to meet the 10 standards set by the National Main Street Center, which is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Georgia Main Street Program,” Billy Peppers, director of the Office of Downtown Development, said. “Georgia was one of the first states in the country to be a part of the national Main Street program, and because of this, Georgia’s downtowns have seen more than $3 billion in impact since 1980, along with the creation of more than 58,000 net new jobs. Georgia’s downtowns are truly open for business.”

North Avondale Road in Avondale Estates is considered the main street of the city. Avondale Estates and Chamblee were selected for Georgia’s Main Street Start-up Program. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Thurmond: District ready for accreditation review
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com The DeKalb County School District will get a visit next week that has been a year in the making. On Dec. 9-11, a team from AdvancED, the parent company of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), will visit the school district to review the steps the district has taken to get off accreditation probation. “We’re very confident and we’re primed and ready and looking forward to the opportunity to share with SACS the progress we’ve made since last December,” said DeKalb school Superintendent Mike Thurmond on Dec. 2. In December 2012, the school district was placed on accreditation probation by SACS. Since then, the district has been working to address the areas of concern raised by SACS. “Our staff has worked extremely well,” Thurmond said. “Ramona Tyson has done an excellent job in leading the response team.” Thurmond said he anticipates that the district’s accreditation will be fully restored. “That’s my expectation, that’s my belief but more importantly, that’s my prayer,” he said. “We feel good about it only because we’ve worked so hard. “We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the monitoring team next week,” Thurmond said. “We are prepared and ready. It’s all go.” Tyson, Thurmond’s chief of staff, said the AdvancED team will conduct interviews Dec. 9-10 with the superintendent, board members, principals, parents and central office staff. During the Dec. 2 school board meeting, school district officials gave “a final presentation of the work completed—and I underline and bold ‘completed’—to address the 11 required actions,” Tyson said. “Tonight we have a team that has been assembled since last February to begin the work with subteams and subsubteams from the classroom to the boardroom to complete the due diligence work to address the deficiencies found by AdvancED and the district’s responsibilities to meet the standards…of accreditation,” she said. The 11 required actions include: implementing a plan for unifying the school board; ensuring that all school board actions reflect the whole board and are consistent with approved policies, procedures, laws regulations and standards; implementing policies and procedures that ensure segregation of duties of the school board and the administration; adhering to fiscally responsible policies and practices; ensuring a robust district diagnostic assessment program; establishing a formal change management process for new initiatives; conducting an internal audit on available technology; communicating to stakeholders the difference between programs and financial resources available to schools; enrolling all students in the parent portal; and reestablishing the district’s strategic planning team. Tyson reiterated that all of the required actions have been completed. “We are excited to finally arrive at this point,” Tyson said. “We are ready.”

Public Input Meetings:

Proposed Title VI Policies
PLEASE JOIN US! MARTA is holding public meetings to receive feedback about its proposed Title VI policies. These policies are designed to ensure fair and equal treatment for minority and low-income groups when service or fare changes occur. MARTA wants public input in the decision-making process for all proposed policies, and coments will be shared with the MARTA Board.

IItems to be discussed::
• What is Title VI? • How does this affect MARTA riders? MARTA needs and wants your input! Please come to one of our public meetings to share your thoughts on the proposed policies. MEETINGS ARE SCHEDULED FOR:

Mon., Dec. 9 1:00 - 3:00 P.M.
2424 Piedmont Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30324 Riding MARTA:
Lindbergh Center Station bus routes 5, 6, 27, 30, 39

Tues., Dec. 10 6:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Decatur Recreation Cntr.
231 Sycamore Street Decatur, GA 30030 Riding MARTA:
Walk two blocks east of Decatur Station

Thurs., Dec. 12 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
2424 Piedmont Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30324 Riding MARTA:
Lindbergh Center Station bus routes 5, 6, 27, 30, 39

If you cannot attend a public meeting and want to provide comments, you may leave a message at (404) 848-5299; write to MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324-3330; complete an online Comment Card at www.itsmarta.com; or fax your comments no later than December 20, 2013 to (404) 848-4179.

The meeting space is accessible to people with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation (such as American Sign Language Interpreters, handouts in alternate formats, etc.) and/or language assistance to fully participate, please contact David Scarbor at 404-848-4037 or dscarbor@itsmarta.com before December 5th. Such accommodations will be provided free of charge.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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Sacred and secular come together in spirited Christmas program
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com and we allow the best parts of our childhood traditions to merge with the better The jolly pair comparts of our faith to give us ing from the north to a joyful experience,” Cring bring Christmas cheer this said.     weekend aren’t Santa and The program, which Mrs. Claus. In fact they’re brings together secular and not coming from that far sacred aspects of Christnorth—just Nashville, Tenn. mas, is often performed at Performing duo Jonachurches, where no admisthan Richard Cring and sion fee is charged, but freeJanet Clazzy recently com- will donations are accepted pleted a tour of 30 states, to cover expenses. 175 cities, with 210 presen “I will be reading tations across America. As from my book Mr. Krinthey did last year and the gle’s Tales—26 Stories ’til year before they decided in Christmas, an advent-calCring’s words, “We need a endar of essays that mingle good Christmas this year.” the best of my upbringing So instead of taking of Santa and Jingle Bells December off as they used with the more heartfelt parts to do, Cring and Clazzy of my faith of Jesus and decided to spend a couple the angels. I just happen to of weeks traveling around believe that if you put Jesus to bring Christmas cheer and Santa Claus in the same with “a program of humor, room, they’d get along a lot music, singing and enlight- better than Congress does.” enment—with a Yuletide “The stories range from twist,” an announcement inspirational to funny from the performers states. to mind-boggling,” said Among the stops for the Clazzy, who does much program called “Spirited— of musical portion of the a visitation from Jonathan presentation. “There’s, for and Janet” will be Living example, a story called ‘The Grace Evangelical Lutheran Stable Thief,’ about a thief Church in Tucker. who hides out in a stable “There should be one that turns out to be the one month of the year when in which Jesus is born.” politics and arguing stop Clazzy said the music Clazzy plays both the oboe and the WX-5 Wind Machine, which produces sounds of 250 different instruments. “It’s like you’ve got a whole orchestra cooking up some great seasonal tunes. Children, especially, are fascinated by the WX-5 wind machine,” she said, noting the program is suitable for all ages. “We understand that people have a lot to do, getting ready for all the fun around the tree,” Cring said. “But it wouldn’t hurt to take one hour to come out and give yourself a good one this year—because I surely believe we could use one.” What Cring and Clazzy describe as “an evening of inspiration, deliciously pepperminted with entertainment,” comes to Tucker Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. Living Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 1812 Cooledge Road. For more information, call the church at (678) 406-9229.    

Jonathan Cring and Janet Clazzy bring Christmas cheer with music, stories and humor. Photo provided

includes both original compositions and fresh arrangements of old standards. One number, called “Jangled,” is a medley of three bell songs—“Silver Bells,” “Jin-

gle Bells” and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” She described the one-hour program as “explosive creativity” that has been “wildly successful.”

DeKalb Community Service Board awarded accreditation
CARF International announced that DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) has been accredited for a period of three years for its public mental health, addictive diseases and developmental disability programs. CARF, the international accrediting body, has awarded accreditation to DeKalb CSB since 2007. According to CSB, “This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a three-year accreditation has undergone a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an onsite visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.” The CARF survey stated that “the staff is motivated, responsive, enthusiastic and passionate” and “the persons served expressed great satisfaction with the staff, programs and services.” Some of the DeKalb CSB’s strengths praised in the CARF survey that directly benefit DeKalb citizens include: • The agency’s partnership with DeKalb police to provide a mobile crisis unit to respond to citizens with mental health and substance abuse related crises in the community. • The agency employing specially qualified and experienced staff to meet the unique needs of special populations such as refugees and individuals with hearing impairment. • The agency’s partnership
See DCSB on Page 24A

CITY OF BROOKHAVEN FY 2014 PROPOSED BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING  The proposed FY 2014 budget for the City of Brookhaven is available for review online  (www.brookhavenga.gov) and at City Hall, 200 Ashford Center North, Dunwoody, during  normal business hours.   The City of Brookhaven will hold the third and final public hearing on the proposed FY 2014  budget during the regular scheduled City Council meeting on December 10, 2013. Following the  public hearing the City Council will vote to adopt the FY2014 Budget. The meeting will begin at  7:00 at Brookhaven Municipal Court located at 2 Corporate Blvd., Suite 125, Brookhaven,  Georgia.  


of the

Adult Female

dors Blessing is active and would love to go on long walks with you. She gets along well with other dogs; if you have a pet who needs a companion bring them with you to meet Blessing. Blessing has been fully vetted so she is ready to go home with you!

Blessing (21254190) is a 1-2 year old female Labrador Retriever. She is friendly and loves to be petted. Like most Labra-

The adoptions number: 404-294-2165 For adoption inquiries: adoption@dekalbanimalservices.com For rescue inquiries: rescue@dekalbanimalservices.com For volunteer and foster inquiries: volunteer@dekalbanimalservices.com

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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Work under way on senior centers being built in DeKalb County
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com Work is continuing on three new senior centers in DeKalb County which are all scheduled to open in 2014. Each center will cost approximately $5 million and will be a 15,000-square-foot facility with amenities including community meeting rooms, a computer lab, a fitness area and more. Additionally, each center will include classrooms to accommodate the various activities requested by the community and a dining hall seating approximately 120. According to DeKalb County officials, the first to open will be the South DeKalb Senior Community Center, located at 1931 Candler Road. The center is scheduled to be complete at the end of this year and open in March 2014. The Central Senior Center, located at 1340 McConnell Drive in unincorporated Decatur, was torn down in August and is being rebuilt. It is slated to be completed by April 2014 and open in July 2014. According to an update provided by county officials, all demolition work has been done and contractors are now erecting the structure of the building. The North DeKalb Senior Community Center, located at 3393 Malone Drive, is scheduled to be open in July or August 2014 but has experienced some delays. DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said that much of the delay was due to unforeseen soil conditions, unseasonably heavy rainfall, groundwater issues and “multiple sub-contractor issues.” According to Brennan, the project is not 50 percent complete and the heating and air system, stormwater detention system and electrical work are not complete. “Now that the underground geo-pier system, concrete slab and roof deck are in place, the rain and adverse soil conditions should not significantly impede the project from progressing,” Brennan said. The senior centers are being paid for using U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds.

Christine Dixon helps young people learn American history through her portrayal of Harriet Tubman.

Actress finds her niche as historical character
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com As an actress, Christine Dixon has taken roles from Titania of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to a singing reindeer. Then by accident she stumbled into the role she now feels she was born to play. Since 2008 she has adopted as her signature portrayal the role of abolitionist and freedom worker Harriet Tubman. Dixon, who now lives in Stone Mountain, said she is frequently asked how she came to embrace the Harriet Tubman role. The answer she gives is, “I didn’t choose Harriet; she really chose me.” Dixon recalls a period during which she was having a tough time making a living at her chosen profession. Even her family members were questioning whether she had made “a serious career choice.” But performing was a path she didn’t want to abandon. “I love the feeling of being on stage,” she said. “I feel complete when I’m performing. I love the freedom to be able to let go, to behave [in a way that] would get me arrested off stage. It’s such a natural high. There’s no other feeling like it.” “So, I went on a 30-day fast,” she recalled, and during that period “I didn’t read anything on show business. I didn’t audition. I didn’t do anything.” At the end of the 30 days, the answer she was looking for hadn’t come. On the 33rd day, she received an email from a company owned by Morna and Ralph Martell inviting her to audition for a production they had in the works. She didn’t get the part she tried for, but months later a representative of the company called. “They offered me the role of Dasher, the lead singing reindeer, in their original interactive children’s musical Santa Claus Is Missing. Morna loved me in it and cast me for [the 2006-2007 season],” Dixon said. “In January 2008, Morna called me, saying because of me, she was able to finish her play about Harriet Tubman and she wanted me to portray Harriet. She wasn’t holding auditions; she only wanted me to portray her.” Dixon said at first she felt unworthy to portray such an iconic historical character. “I didn’t think I had what it takes to justly tell her story. Morna saw something in me that I never knew I had.” The New York-born entertainer said she started performing before she had any formal training. “I was in my first musical at 6 years old. I was a singing dinosaur. I knew from that point, that this is what I wanted to do forever,” she said, adding that she later learned her mother had been involved in the Paris stage at age 13 and her grandfather played the

See Actress on Page 14A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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Festival of Trees
The Festival of Trees at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center on Nov. 20 brought together community organizations, businesses and individuals to showcase creatively decorated Christmas trees to start the holiday season. The trees will be on display for public viewing during normal business hours and during public events through Dec. 22. Although the trees will not be available for sale, some will be given to low income families through the Foster Parent Association of DeKalb. Several musical guests and performing artists appeared at the event. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Terrific Thursdays December 5 • 12 • 19

World AIDS Day

Photo by Travis Hudgons

It’s time to get gifty! Enjoy holiday deals during Terrific Thursdays at Blue Moon Designs, Natural Body Spa, Big Tex Cantina, and Collage Boutique, just a few of the 40 participating shops and restaurants all around the city of Decatur. Get the inside scoop on local favorites
at our friendly Visitors Center at 113 Clairemont Ave.

Quilt on the Quad commemorates World AIDS Day
In honor of World AIDS Day, Emory University on Dec. 2 presented “Quilt on the Quad,” a display of panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, each telling the story of lives cut short by HIV/AIDS. Now in its ninth year, Quilt on the Quad focuses on solidarity and awareness, and encourages progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. This year, panels were displayed in the shape of a ribbon. The event, sponsored by Emory Hillel in conjunction with the NAMES Project Foundation, featured a brief unfolding ceremony of the quilt panels, a reading of the names of each individual memorialized in the display, and performances by Emory a cappella groups. James Curran, dean of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and codirector and principal investigator of the Emory Center for AIDS Research, delivered the keynote speech for the event.


the way




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The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013



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Stephanie Place decorates the Christmas tree at the Clarkston City Hall Annex. Photo by Travis Hudgons

ConunDrums is an all-women drumming group, which plays West African rhythms. From left, Jewel Hopson, Amy Jackson, Safiyah Pankey, Cherri Villines and Cindy Stark Reid performed Nov. 29 at the gazebo in downtown Stone Mountain during its Christmas parade festivities. Photo by Travis Hudgons An “I DeKalb” sign is displayed in a yard on South Rays Road. The signs were given out during the fifth annual DeKalb Neighborhood Summit and are part of a clean-up/ beautification effort interim DeKalb CEO Lee May called Operation Fresh Start. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Large ornaments hang from the makeshift Christmas tree in downtown Avondale Estates. Photo by Carla Parker

A menorah in downtown Avondale Estates commemorates Hanukkah, an eight-day celebration that began the evening of Nov. 28. Photo by Kathy Mitchell

A worker loads trailers containing lay-aways at a local Walmart. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

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

This week in photos brought to you by DCTV
Finding DeKalb County’s Missing
Now showing on DCTV!

DCTV – Your Emmy® Award-winning news source of DeKalb County news. Available on Comcast Cable Channel 23.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013

Establishment Name: Eden Health Foods Restaurant 4469 Glenwood Road, Suite 9 Score/Grade: 67/U

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Restaurant Health Inspections

Christine Dixon says as she studied about Harriet Tubman she felt Tubman come alive inside her.

Actress Continued From Page 11A
conga drum at The Cotton Club.  “It came so naturally for me,” she said. “Experience is the best teacher. I’ve always performed with the local theater, church functions and community events. You can teach acting techniques, but I agree with Marlon Brando, [who said,] ‘You can’t teach someone how to act.’ A lot of actors have natural talent that just needs to be nurtured.” Still, feeling the need for formal training, Dixon earned a degree in performing arts. “Everything I learned was pulled out of me by Morna Murphy Martell, the writer of Harriet Tubman Herself, and her husband Ralph Martell,” Dixon said. A Broadway actress herself, Morna Martell “would tell me about her experiences and I made mental notes— that was a form of training for me.”  Dixon said she initially was nervous portraying an actual person whom no one living had met and of whom that are no electronic recordings. “So I sat down and read everything that I found and that was given to me. I hadn’t seen anyone else’s work on Harriet so I didn’t have a foundation to play around with. As I read and prayed, I felt Harriet comerrand. (Tubman had fainting spells from brain damage brought on by a childhood beating.) I loved it! I still sometimes dress like Harriet when I’m not performing.”  Dixon said her connection to Tubman didn’t end there. “I met Harriet’s living relatives and I had the honor of performing for them on Harriet’s property and checking out Harriet’s home. [Tubman family members] cried as I performed for them. One of them told me that I was her favorite portrayal.”  Her 148th performance, Dixon’s first in Georgia, was given in October in Lithonia. She said she especially likes having young people in the audience because she feels there’s a lot they can learn from Tubman’s life. “If Harriet could make such an impact on the lives of those in her generation without today’s technology and education, how much more could they do? Harriet was born and raised in slavery, uneducated, yet her mindset was that of an already freed woman. She was not a victim; she was victorious. Her faith in God was tremendous. Harriet made it with everything against her. The youth of today have no excuse.” 

Dixon’s first Georgia performance was given in Lithonia.

ing alive off the pages and inside me. “Two years ago, when I went to visit my sister in North Carolina, I had to go outside and get wood to put in her wood-burning stove. As I carried the wood, I started to feel like Harriet. I just went with the feeling and stayed in character for 30 days. My family was entertained and annoyed at the same time.” Dixon said she would occasionally break into a Negro spiritual or pace around the house worrying about her freedom. “I wouldn’t watch TV, answer my cell phone, or dress in modern attire. I would just fall and pass out as I was running an

Observations and Corrective Actions Failure to post food safety certification in public view. Repeat Violation; Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. PIC advised that EXCEPT when washing fruits and vegetables there shall be no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods; utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment may be used. No gloves were available at the facility. Advised PIC to purchase gloves immediately. COS- raw vegetables that were cooked with bare hands were cooked to 165 degrees F and above. Corrected OnSite. (New Violation); No written health policy that distinguishes the 5 illness and 5 symptoms nor is PIC able to state. Advised PIC on illness and symptoms. COS- PIC was given an health policy. Corrected OnSite. No papertowels available at the handsink in the restroom. Advised PIC to placed papertowels in the restroom; Hand antiseptics used as a replacement, not as a supplement, to hand washing. Advised PIC to use soap. COS- hand antiseptic was removed. Corrected On-Site. (Repeat Violation); No soap available at the handsink in kitchen or restroom. Advised PIC to provide handsoap. COS- PIC used diswhashing soap to wash hands. Corrected On-Site. (New Violation); No sanitizer chlorine bleach or Quat A at the facility. Advised PIC to get sanitizer immediately. COS- PIC purchased chlorine bleach to use in the facility. Corrected OnSite. (New Violation); The most current inspection report not posted. Current inspection report was not observed in the facility. (New Violation); Signs notifying staff to wash hands not provided in restroom. Advised PIC to place a handwashing sign in the restroom. (New Violation); Testing device not available to measure the concentration of sanitizing solutions used on-site. Advised PIC to purchase test strips. (Repeat Violation); Interior of freezer and cooler are observed with frozen and dried food debris. Freezer and cooler need to be thoroughly cleaned. (Repeat Violation); Leak at the cold water handle at the vegetable sink. Leak needs to be repaired. Handsink was not initially properly draining due to stopper. COS- stopper was removed for water to drain. Corrected On-Site. (Repeat Violation); Toilet tissue not available at each toilet. Toilet room doors open when toilet room is not being used during hours of operation. Door also needs a self closure device. COS- door to restroom was closed. Corrected On-Site. (New Violation); Waste receptacle not available for each handwashing sink or group of handwashing sinks. Advised PIC to put a waste receptacle by the kitchen handsink. (New Violation) Establishment Name: J. Christopher’s 250 E. Ponce De Leon Avenue, Ste 150 Score/Grade: 94/A Inspection: 11/25/2013 Establishment Name: Spice Island Jamaican & American Restaurant 4842 Redan Road Score/Grade: 99/A Inspection: 11/25/2013 Establishment Name: McDonald’s 4021 Lawrenceville Highway Score/Grade: 70/C Inspection: 11/25/2013

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wheelchair accessible. Christmas at Callanwolde returned for the 2010 Christmas season. Once home to Charles Howard Candler, eldest son of Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Candler, the opulent Callanwolde mansion was willed to Emory University and eventually sold first to a church, then to DeKalb County, which maintains it as a fine arts center. Proceeds from Christmas at Callanwolde support the center’s arts programs. Designed by architect Henry Hornbostel, who also designed Emory University, Callanwolde is perfect for showcasing holiday decorations. The design is an open plan in which most of the Tudor-Gothic mansion’s rooms adjoin the great halls on each floor. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Callanwolde is considered an architectural landmark. A year-round destination for performances, events and exploration, Callanwolde is perhaps at its most magnificent during the winter holiday season. Christmas at Callanwolde is a highlight of the season for many in the area, who find touring the lavishly decorated mansion the perfect way to bring on a holiday mood. Dec. 6 through 17 visitors of all ages can tour the 27,000-squarefoot historic mansion that has been dressed for the holidays by some of Atlanta’s top interior and floral designers. “Every room inspires and captures the spirit of the season,” McNett said. Staff and volunteers work together to create the elaborate annual holiday event. As visitors move from room to room, they find sparkling lights, magnificent floral displays, garlands of greenery, trees decorated in themes to match to rooms and elegant holiday art pieces. Volunteer Judy Aleman, Christmas at Callanwolde chairman and a member of the board of directors of the Callanwolde Foundation, leads 12 interior design groups that donate their services as they deck the halls and rooms of the mansion with seasonal charm. The mood is further enhanced by the scent of Christmas evergreens and the sounds of holiday music and entertainment, including the music of Callanwolde’s famed Aeolian Organ. Again, holiday shopping oppor-

tunities will be available throughout Christmas at Callanwolde. ARTifacts Studio provides unique handmade gifts crafted by Callanwolde artists. Additionally, Nature’s Design, Rosemary Knoll, Home Appetite, and Anne’s will have a combination of elegant decor and edible holiday gifts available for purchase. On Saturday, Dec. 7, “Holidays Handmade,” a market featuring Etsy Sellers from Atlanta and surrounding areas, will be open 1-4 p.m., offering purses, pillows, children’s toys and more—all handmade by local artisans. Throughout the 12-day Christmas at Callanwolde, there will be special events, including Musical Winter Nights, during which visitors, after touring the mansion, can attend a live performance in the indoor courtyard, Fridays 6 to 9 p.m. The Ted Howe Trio and vocalist Francine Reed will perform on Dec. 6 and contemporary jazz trumpeter Joey Sommerville will perform on Dec. 13. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be provided, and wine and beer will be available for purchase. Advance reservations are required. Those interested in plants may want to come for Garden Club Day on Thursday, Dec. 12, which will feature flower demonstrations and speakers from Atlanta Botanical Garden, Faith Flowers, and Gardens to Love. There will be two children’s events in conjunction with Christmas at Callanwolde—Breakfast With Santa at 9 a.m. on each of the first two Saturdays in December and Teddy Bear Tea at 3 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 15. “We’re expecting this year’s Breakfast With Santa to be even bigger than last year’s,” McNett said. New this year is Cocoa & Caroling on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 5:30-7 p.m. Callanwolde visitors can join members of the Atlanta Master Chorale and the students of Springdale Park’s Advanced Chorus as they lead festive holiday songs. Hot cocoa will be for sale during caroling on the Callanwolde front lawn. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road, NE, Atlanta. There is free parking and free shuttle bus service available one-half mile north at Emory University. For more information, call (404)-872-5338 or visit www.christmasatcallanwolde.org.

Christmas at Callanwolde includes such special events as storytelling, music and a Teddy Bear Tea.


Continued From Page 1A

“We have sunk a lot of money into this case,” Orson said. “It is time to move on. The first step was unwinding the agreement that previous boards had agreed to that really inhibited us from getting to a settlement. “Now we have a chance really to move on so that we can redirect our energies and refocus our attention on what we…are in the business of doing,” Orson said.

tion “may have been as much as $30 million.” That money “could have gone directly to the education of our children—to reducing furlough days, which puts more instructional time, [and] to contributions to retirement accounts—all sorts of uses that would have benefited the students of DeKalb County and the professional staff,” he said.

In the Nov. 21-27 issue of The Champion and the Nov. 22 issue of The Champion Free Press, a story about the Snapfinger Wastewater Treatment Plant needs clarification. Construction firm Desmear Systems was ordered by DeKalb County to stop all work on the facility. Its contract is currently under litigation.

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Emory boasts collection of some of world’s rarest books, manuscripts
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com On the top three floors of Emory University’s Woodruff Library sits rows and rows of some of the world’s most valuable books and rare collections of manuscripts. Over the years, the Emory Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) has collected thousands of historical manuscripts, ephemera and rare works by some of the world’s most famous authors. Christeene Alcosiba, MARBL’s senior administrative services and program coordinator, said the library is constantly acquiring new works and much of its collection has come from donations. Alcosiba said the library also sets aside funds to acquire specific collections that fit MARBL’s collecting areas. Currently, the library is holding it’s first-ever exhibit featuring LGBT pulp novels. Until this year, much of the archival work—sorting through manuscripts, labeling, organizing—was done on the same floor as MARBL’s reading room. However, much of that work has been moved to another floor, allowing the library to hold exhibitions of its collections. “The top floor is our exhibition space—our public space and teaching space—the bottom floor is more behind the scenes,” Alcosiba said. Unlike many rare book/archives libraries, Alcosiba said Emory has a very open access policy. Many institutions require those interested in doing research in such a library to apply in advance and provide letters of support stating you’re a “legitimate scholar,” she said. “We allow anybody to come in and use it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student or a world-renown scholar, they all sit together in the reading room and we’re really proud of that,” Alcosiba said. Alcosiba said MARBL has four distinct collecting areas: modern poetry and literature, Black history, politics and culture, modern and political collections and rare books. Much in the library is donated including the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, considered one of the largest private poetry collections in the world. Danowski, a successful entrepreneur, aspired to collect everything in poetry that had been printed in English in the last 100 years. In the early 2000s Danowski donated his collection to Emory and it continues to grow because the library’s curator is also tasked with building the collection. This collection includes a firstedition copy of American poet Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and the first known selfpublished book of Williams Carlos Williams poetry, published in 1909. On the floor below the circulation desk, where much of the Danowski collection is stored, approximately 400,000 books are housed on moving shelves, along with other uncatalogued works. This is also where library staff performs the tedious and often physical task of cataloguing everything that comes into the library— from punk rock magazines from the 1980s to Victorian Age dime-store novels and everything in between—each collection is exhaustively organized and catalogued. Alcosiba said some of the collections donated to the library are in relatively good condition and well organized. However, a lot of them stuff is sometimes just thrown into a box when it’s sent to MARBL. “Sometimes we go and pack collections and other times they just send us a box and we have no idea what you’re going to find inside– bugs, chicken bones, full-sized live scorpions,” Alcosiba said. Another one of MARBL’s more famous collections are its “Yellow back” novels, which were popular during the Victorian era. Alcosiba said much of the collection is also digitized. “The funny thing about these is the titles—you can imagine what is racy for the 19th century—they also have beautiful artwork on the front. Capturing the everyday people’s literary experience is really cool I think not just high-brow stuff but what the average people are reading as well,” Alcosiba said. The library is also home to the entire collection of book published by Black Sparrow Press as well as its archives. John Martin sold his collection of rare books to start the press in 1966. Other notable collections include a large amount of Irish poetry, the manuscripts of author Salmon Rushdie and the letters of Irish poet William Butler Yeats.

Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Library boasts one of the world’s largest collections of “yellow back” novels, Victorian-era dime-store novels.

Christeene Alcosiba, MARBL’s senior administrative services and program coordinator, holds up an old Victorian broadside. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

An example of one of the artist books MARBL has in its archives.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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Bill Huckaby, manager of the Chamblee Walmart store, shows items that are proving to be popular this holiday shopping season. Photo by Kathy Mitchell

Retailers creatively approach shortened shopping season
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com An oddity in the calendar this year that put Thanksgiving Day on the latest possible date caused some concern among retailers since it shortened the holiday shopping season—officially the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. A number of stores nationally and locally are compensating by giving consumers extra shopping hours. The Walmart on Chamblee-Tucker Road, for example, normally closes at midnight. This year it stayed open all day and all night on Thanksgiving Day. Northlake Mall, this year for the first time opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stayed open until 10 p.m. the next day. The Mall at Stonecrest, where an illustration of Santa in shorts reminds shoppers of the shortened shopping season, opened at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and while most of Perimeter Mall was closed Thanksgiving Day, Macy’s opened at 8 p.m. Walmart also created special events and promotions to help assure that those looking for particular items weren’t disappointed. “Instead of having customers stand in line to get some of this year’s most sought after items, we issue wristbands to customers so they can do their other shopping while they wait for the item to be released. When it’s available, those with wristbands can go right over and purchase the item,” said Bill Huckaby, manager of the Chamblee store. Even with the abbreviated shopping season, officials at the National Retail Federation (NRF) said they expect seasonal sales to marginally increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5 percent holiday season sales growth. The forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales growth of 3.3 percent. “Our forecast is a realistic look at where we are right now in this economy—balancing continued uncertainty in Washington and an economy that has been teetering on incremental growth for years,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Overall, retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season, hoping political debates over government spending and the debt ceiling do not erase any economic progress we’ve already made.” Preparing for the Thanksgiving Day crowds on Nov. 26, Huckaby said, holiday sales had already been brisk. “We had a couple of special toy events even before Thanksgiving,” he noted. “The economy continues to expand, albeit at an unspectacular pace,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “In order for consumers to turn out this holiday season, we need to see steady improvements in income and job growth, as well as an agreement from Washington that puts the economic recovery first. Our forecast leaves room for improvement, while at the same time provides a very realistic look at the state of the American consumer and their confidence in our economy.” More shoppers are expected to make their holiday selections online this year. Shop.org recently released its 2013 online holiday sales forecast, which estimates that online holiday shopping will grow between 13-15 percent over last holiday season to as much as $82 billion. Walmart is in line with that trend, too. In addition to Walmart’s “shop while the turkey cooks” online offers, the retailer’s “one-hour” guarantee promotions provided that if certain Black Friday items sold out in the first hour, Walmart offered a guarantee card for the item, ensuring that the product will be shipped to their store before Christmas. “The customer pays for the item here and uses the guarantee card like a gift card to order the item online,” Huckaby said.

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030 404.378.8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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The Young Men of Distinction and Young Ladies of Distinction are two clubs that provide role models for other students to emulate, said Lithonia Middle teacher Daniel Shack. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Club teaches students to be young men, ladies of distinction
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Lithonia Middle School teacher Daniel Shack believes middle school students need peers to emulate. “So our clubs are the peers they look up to,” said Shack, a reading specialist at the school. In 2007, Shack began two clubs at the school: Young Men of Distinction (YMOD) and Young Ladies of Distinction (YLOD). “It’s basically a club for young men to teach them about honor and respect and dignity and how to be true to yourself,” said sixthgrader Lebga Fofung, president of YMOD. The clubs, which have approximately 50 members, teach students “how to grow and become respectful young leaders,” Lebga said. “Everybody is watching you, so if you’re in YMOD or YLOD you have to be a role model for others,” he said. Club members learn leadership by taking on various responsibilities at the school such as raising and lowering the flag, helping out with student pickup and drop-off each day, and raising funds for various charities. They also earn or lose points for various behaviors they exhibit. Club members earn points for paying dues, participating in fundraisers, dressing properly and when they receive a teacher recommendation. “Anytime they are caught doing something good, they get points,” dards keep the students focused. “They’re already focused or they wouldn’t be recommended,” he said. “They must be recommended by at least one teacher. We let them in the club and then they have to time—while they are going through puberty, while their bodies are going through changes, while they have lots of options of things they could possibly do with their social time—this is a great chance for them to [show leadership] in a positive way.” Griffith said without the clubs, the members would be “hanging out and picking up habits and learning things from other children. “Since they’ve decided to take it upon themselves to join this club and be leaders among their peers instead of being the regular peer and doing what everyone else is doing, they’re taking the time to do things that [distinguish] themselves from their peers,” she said. “I’m very proud of them for taking the time to be leaders among their peers and distinguishing themselves and wanting to do more for their community and their school,” Griffith said. Club member Anari Dixon, 12, said YMOD and YLOD teach students “how to be a leader because you’re mostly doing things for charity, you’re helping, you’re being a high achiever, you’re doing something important—raising shoes, clothes, canned goods and money for leukemia. “You’re mostly just being the bigger person,” Anari said.

‘It’s basically a club for young men to teach them about honor and respect and dignity and how to be true to yourself,’
Shack said. “They also lose points for any kind of bad thing or bad reputation breaker that they do, for example, running in the hall, not having their shirt tucked in, not doing their work in class,” Shack said. “If we catch them running in the hall, that’s not setting a good example, so they lose points. “The biggest one is if they are sent to in-school suspension, they lose a whole bunch of points and then they go on probation,” he said. “When any one of our members does anything wrong, they go on probation and have to do some kind of extra thing to make up for it.” Shack said the club’s strict stan-

–Lebga Fofung

live up to the standards to stay in the club.” Christyn Hunt, 11, president YLOD, said, “I think it’s a good organization to help people become mature and [learn] how to help other people. It teaches me how to be respectful to other people.” Coach Sherry Griffith, a physical education and health teacher and club sponsor, said YMOD and YLOD allow students to exhibit leadership in the school. “It’s very helpful for them to show these types of leadership skills at a young age so they can be the best they can be and expect this out of themselves as they are growing up,” Griffith said. “Now is a great

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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Arfan “Sunny” Siddique, a Chamblee Charter High graduate and Princeton University freshman, has started a nonprofit to address safe drinking water in his native Bangladesh. Photo provided

Teen immigrant gives back to his native Bangladesh
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Four years ago Arfan “Sunny” Siddique was a new immigrant to America who didn’t understand a word of English. Now the 18-year-old Chamblee Charter High School graduate and Princeton University student is the founder of a nonprofit that aims to educate residents in his native Bangladesh about safe drinking water. Siddique emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in 2008 with his mother Maksuda Khanam to take advantage of “the availability of opportunity in the U. S.,” he said. There were also “other personal problems that my mother and I were facing,” Siddique said. “The best decision was to start over. “Getting an opportunity to come here is a huge decision to make—to leave everything behind that you have and start from scratch,” Siddique said. Siddique said pursuing the American dream has not been easy. “We’ve sort of been struggling ever since we junior year of high school. During high school, they receive a cash stipend, a computer, social skills training, academic support, leadership training and community service activities. Scholars are also provided with college-preparatory assistance through ACT and SAT courses, college tours and assistance in the application process from college coaches. Following the completion of high school, Simon Scholars receive a $16,000 college scholarship. With most scholarship programs, Siddique said, “you apply your senior year, you get your funding when you go to college and that’s sort of it.” “The Simon Scholars Program was more of a family,” said Siddique, in molecular biology major. The program “provides students who don’t have resources with a group of advisors,” he said. “It’s really different from other scholarships.” Siddique’s involvement with the Simon Scholar Program is what encouraged him to want to give back. In 2012, he founded the Project Carry-On Foundation in Bangladesh. The goal of the nonprofit is to teach communities how to prevent arsenic poisoning in their drinking water. According to Siddique, in its elemental form, arsenic is found naturally in the ground in south Asia. “There are regions where you have really high concentrations of arsenic,” he said. Because South Asia has traditionally had chronic problems with water-borne diseases, in the 1990s, the World Health Organization began a campaign to build hand pumps to bring groundwater to the surface, Siddique said. “The groundwater was much better and cleaner compared to the pond next door,” Siddique said. Unfortunately, “there is no water quality data being collected to see if the water you’re getting is actually clean or not. “In a first-world setting, if you create a source of water, you would first look at if the water is safe enough,” Siddique said. “But this aspect was absent in a lot of places in Bangladesh. Siddique said the effects of arsenic poisoning are usually not evident until approximately five years of exposure. “Over the course of about four to five years, if you are exposed to elevated levels of arsenic, you develop skin cancer and kidney failure and so many other problems,” Siddique said. Many people try to purify the water by boiling it, he said. “But arsenic is an element,” Siddique said. “You cannot get rid of arsenic by just boiling your water or simply filtering it, because it’s present in trace amounts.” Siddique’s nonprofit, in collaboration with another agency in Bangladesh, teaches high school students the complicated and “sort of dangerous” process of filtering arsenic by using iron oxide and other chemicals. Currently the Project Carry-On Foundation has approximately 1,500 members that are focused on the education aspect of arsenic poisoning and water quality testing, Siddique said.


came here because my mom speaks no English and it was really difficult to start from scratch, find a new job and all that,” he said. Siddique, too, had trouble adjusting to life in DeKalb County. “When I first came here it was pretty difficult to fit in terms of trying to bridge the cultural gap and trying to learn English, but I some really good mentors in the last four years who have really helped me overcome the language barrier,” he said. Siddique is one of 16 students recognized earlier this year for their participation in the Simon Scholar Program. Simon Scholars must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA by the end of their

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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GPC men’s soccer dominates GCAA awards
Sophomore forward Brayan Rodriguez earned co-MVP and the Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars men’s soccer team placed seven players, more than any other team, on the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) all-conference team. Four of the seven Jaguars were named to the GCAA’s all-tournament team, also more than any team in the tournament. The league’s coaches select the players to the All-GCAA team, and participating coaches select the all-tournament team. Not only did Rodriguez make both teams, all-tournament and first team all-conference, but he also was named GCAA co-Most Valuable Player. He shared the award with Darwin Espinal of Darton State College. Jordan Dunstan, Kyle Johnston and Oumar Mbodj joined Rodriguez on the 11-man All-GCAA first team, while Diego Fagundez, Kioki Hutchings and T.J. Carter were selected to the second team. Named to the all-tournament team along with Rodriguez were Hutchings, Dunstan and Mbodj. Rodriguez finished this season with 46 points on 15 goals and 16 assists. He led the GCAA in assists and was second in points and third in goals. “Brayan was hurt his entire freshman season and still did a great job,” said GPC head coach Marc Zagara. “This past season he was big time. He scored big goals in big games at big times. At the beginning of the year, I said we didn’t have any stars on the team. I was wrong. He was a star.” Dunstan handed out two assists, produced impressive headers and his throw-ins and powerful free kicks often provided scoring opportunities for the offense. Johnston, a freshman from Toledo, Ohio, led the GCAA in goals against average (0.87). He allowed nine goals in 14 appearances, 932 minutes, notched two shutouts, shared two shutouts, had 62 saves and led the conference with a .873 saves percentage. Although Mbodj, a red-shirt freshman, finished with no goals and only two assists, his utter dominance of the midfield was key to the Jaguars’ success. Fagundez scored two goals, one on a penalty kick that defeated Georgia Military 1-0. Carter had 20 points on six goals and eight assists. Hutchings scored seven goals and dished off one key assist for 15 points. GPC produced a nine-game winning streak during the season and a 7-1 record in the GCAA, which serves as Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Jaguars finished with a 14-2-3 record and only a couple of missed shots and penalty kicks shy of winning the GCAA and returning to nationals.

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@dekalchamp.com by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Joseph Farrar, Tucker (football): The senior quarterback scored two rushing touchdowns in the 29-0 win over Ware County in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAA playoffs Nov. 29. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Lyndsey Whilby, Greenforest (basketball): The freshman guard led the team in scoring with 20 points in the 58-24 win over Lithonia Nov. 27. Whilby also had four steals and four rebounds.

basketball scores
Nov. 26
Boys Decatur 52, South Gwinnett 39 Greenforest 46, Sequoyah 44 M.L. King 58, Duluth 50 Miller Grove 69, Peachtree Ridge 58 Redan 84, Washington 73 S.W. DeKalb 61, Walnut Grove 57 Stone Mountain 66, Druid Hills 30 Girls Decatur 65, Arabia Mountain 53 Druid Hills 53, Stone Mountain 43 Redan 65, Grady 55 Tucker 59, St. Pius 54 Southwest DeKalb 69, Jonesboro 44 Stephenson 73, Luella 53

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Breshad Perriman, Central Florida (football): The sophomore wide receiver from Arabia Mountain had a 52-yard touchdown reception with 4:50 left in the game to help Central Florida edge past South Florida 23-20 Nov. 30. He had two receptions for 69 yards in the game. Jonathon Mincy, Auburn (football): The junior defensive back from Southwest DeKalb had four tackles and a pass deflection in the last 34-28 win over Alabama Nov. 29. Mincy has 49 tackles, 29 pass deflections and an interception on the season. Lucy Mason, UNC Greensboro (basketball): The sophomore guard from Chamblee led the team in scoring with 17 points in the 81-76 win over High Point Dec. 1. She is averaging 13.1 points per game this season.

Nov. 29
Girls Eastside 68, Greenforest 60 Morrow 69, Lithonia 19 Southwest DeKalb 70, Southwest Atlanta Christian 64 Stephenson 60, Bradwell Institute 17

Nov. 30
Boys Fayette County 60, M.L. King 56 Heritage, Conyers 75, Clarkston 62 Miller Grove 66, Luella 55 St. Pius 58, Jefferson 44 Girls Morgan County 65, Druid Hills 40 Southwest DeKalb 54, Fayette County 44 Sprayberry 59, Greenforest 46 Southwest Atlanta Christian 79, Stephenson 66

Nov. 27
Boys M.L. King 55, Luella 50 Girls Druid Hills 61, McNair 22 Eastside 66, Clarkston 10 Greenforest 58, Lithonia 24

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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The Tucker Tigers run on to the field before the game.

Tucker defensive back Kirk Tucker tackles Ware County wide receiver John Ivey.

Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar yells out instructions to his players from the sideline.

Tucker quarterback Joseph Farrar eludes a Ware County defender as he runs towards the end zone. Photos by Travis Hudgons

by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com

Tucker and Marist advance to state semifinals
fore halftime but a high snap on a 34-yard field goal attempt ended in a miss. It was kicker Eric Webber’s first miss of the season. Webber was able to redeem himself during Tucker’s opening drive in the second half. Tucker’s offense got down to the Ware 19-yard line before the drive stalled. Webber kicked a 36-yard field goal to give Tucker a 17-0 lead in the third quarter. Tucker’s defense got points on the score board late in the third quarter on a safety. Ware County was backed up at its own 6-yard line on a third and 8 when the Tiger defense forced an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone to collect a safety, bringing the score to 19-0. Webber extended the score to 22-0 in the fourth quarter after a 42-yard field goal, a record for Webber.

The Marist War Eagles and Tucker Tigers are heading to the state playoff semifinals after dominating performances in the quarterfinals Nov. 29. The Tucker defense shut out Ware County and held its offense to three first downs in the 29-0 win in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals at Hallford Stadium. After Ware County opened the game with a three and out, Tucker advanced 50 yards and took a 7-0 lead after a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Joseph Farrar. Farrar scored on Tucker’s following offensive drive on a 2-yard run to extend the score to 14-0 late in the first quarter. The Tigers had another opportunity to score be-

Defensive back Yaquis Shelley intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown midway in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 29-0. It was Shelley’s third interception return for a touchdown this season. Tucker will face defending Class AAAAA state champion Gainesville (12-1) Dec. 6 at Hallford Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Marist 42, Burke County 20 Marist quarterback Chase Martenson had another multiple touchdown game to lead the War Eagles to a 42-20 road win over Burke County in the
See Semifinals on Page 23A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013


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A number of members from the Oglethorpe men’s soccer team won SAA postseason awards.

Oglethorpe men’s soccer claim SAA postseason awards
Tucker quarterback Joseph Farrar scrambles for yards.

Semifinals Continued From Page 22A
Class AAAA quarterfinals. Martenson got things going early in the first quarter with a 22-yard touchdown run to give Marist a 7-0 lead. Burke County responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Donquell Green to Untorrey Thomas, but a missed extra point had Marist leading 7-6. Martenson got his second rushing touchdown of the game late in the first quarter on a 15yard run to extend the score 14-6. Marist running back Marcus Miller extended the score to 21-6 in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run. But a 17-yard touchdown run by Green cut the score to 21-13 before halftime. Marist was able to pull away from Burke County in the third quarter behind two Martenson’s rushing touchdowns from 55 yards and 4 yards out to bring the score to 35-13. Burke County’s Antonio Harold cut the lead to 35-20 after a 4-yard touchdown run. But Burke County’s defense could not find an answer to Marist rushing attack and Miller sealed the victory with a 1-yard touchdown run to bring the final score to 42-20. Marist (11-2) will face Carrollton (12-1) at home for the Class AAAA semifinals matchup. Callaway 35, St. Pius 21 St. Pius will not make a second consecutive trip to the Class AAA championship game after a 35-21 loss to Callaway in the Class AAA quarterfinals. Callaway was able to beat St. Pius at its own game by running the ball. Callaway had 321 rushing yard in the game. St. Pius had a hard time getting in the end zone in the first half, but two Michael O’Leary field goals kept St. Pius in the game going into halftime down 14-6. But St. Pius could not find an answer for Callaway’s rushing attack as two big runs from 47 yards and 59 yards out ended in touchdowns for Callaway. St. Pius finished the season with a 9-4 record.

The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) champion Oglethorpe men’s soccer team took three of the four SAA postseason awards Nov. 19 and placed five players on the All-SAA First Team, with two additional players earning All-SAA Honorable Mention. Senior forward Nick Williamson took home SAA Offensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-SAA First Team. Williamson, a native of Pensacola, Fla., finished atop the league leaderboard in goals, netting 11 on the season. Williamson tied for second in the league in points with 23, and scored four game-winning goals over the course of the season, including in the SAA Championship semifinals and final. He was named the SAA Tournament MVP. This is his first career all-conference accolade. Williamson also earned a spot on the Capital One Academic AllDistrict team, as voted by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award honors studentathletes equally for their athletic and academic prowess. Senior defender Nikos Papanikolopoulos garnered SAA Defensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-SAA First Team. Papanikolopoulos, a native of Atlanta, served as

captain of the defense that ranked second in the league in goals allowed with 19. He finished third in the SAA with a .368 shot percentage and tallied five goals in conference games. The latter mark placed him third in the league among all positions. This marks his third career allconference accolade, as he was named to the All-SAA Second Team last year and to the All-SCAC Second Team in 2011. He was named the SAA Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 7. Head coach Jon Akin was named the SAA Coach of the Year for his efforts on the season. In an 11-year career as Oglethorpe head coach, Akin has become the winningest coach in the history of the Oglethorpe men’s soccer program. The 2013 team went 11-3-3 and won the program’s first SAA title, its second conference title in the last three years. This marks Akin’s third conference coach of the year award and his first in the SAA. He earned the SCAC Coach of the Year award twice. Senior midfielder Sean King, freshman goalkeeper Vaughn Moore and freshman midfielder Gustavo Martinez all earned spots on the All-SAA First Team. King, a native of Roswell, scored three goals this season and finished tied

for eighth in the league with four assists. This marks his third career all-conference team, as he earned All-SAA Honorable Mention last season and was named to the 2011 All-SCAC Third Team. He was also named SAA Offensive Player of the Week Oct. 14. Moore, a native of Atlanta, finished third in the league with a 1.04 goalsagainst average, fourth in goals against with 17, fifth in both saves and save percentage (64 and .790, respectively), and second in wins with 11. He also recorded three shutouts on the season. Martinez, a native of Atlanta, recorded two goals and three assists on the year. Freshman defender Micah Akin and sophomore midfielder Nick Muntean earned All-SAA Honorable Mention. The Oglethorpe defense finished second in the league in goals allowed with 19 and in goals-against average with 1.06 under Akin’s leadership as a center back. Muntean, a native of Duluth, earned this honor despite missing seven games with a knee injury. He finished tied for fourth in the league with five assists. He also scored four goals and accrued 13 points on the season. This is his first career All-SAA designation.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, December 6, 2013
Continued From Page 10A

Commissioners still divided on hiring an auditor DCSB
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader chided his colleagues Dec. 3 for again tabling a vote on the expedited hiring of an internal auditor. “The code is the code, the law is the law and you’re simply not following it,” Rader told commissioners. “That level of deferral almost makes a mockery of the expedited employment of an internal auditor.” Since being introduced in August, Rader said the agenda item has come before the board several times only to be deferred. “We don’t have any means at our disposal to be able to evaluate and oversee the administration and our policies for this board of commissioners,” Rader said. 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 CEO Burrell Ellis being suspended and Gov. Nathan Deal appointing Commissioner Lee May as interim CEO. “In the beginning of this year, the now-indicted CEO [Ellis] vetoed a proposal to move the staff of the finance department’s internal audit department to the board of commissioners. Some might argue that that in itself might be the biggest recommendation for moving forward with implementing the existing code in DeKalb County and filling this office,” Rader said. Commissioner Elaine Boyer said she doesn’t agree with Rader that the hiring of an internal auditor is being intentionally delayed. Boyer said the fact that they approved a vote earlier this year that was vetoed by Ellis is evidence that commissioners have been working to hire one. “It’s a policy decision. I prefer to have an outside firm come in and do this rather than an internal employee,” Boyer said. “We are going to work on that through the committee process—that’s our process—and while you might be unhappy about it that’s the process. You can call it a delay or you can call it making wise decisions and that’s what I choose to call it.” However, Rader said that the county’s organizational act doesn’t allow for the hiring of an outside auditor and clearly outlines the establishment of an office at the county level. “Our code specifically provides for an internal auditor that is recommended by the audit committee, is approved by the board of commissioners, has operational independence and the ability to develop a comprehensive program of internal audit. That’s the policy that the board of commissioners has adopted through code,” Rader said. “The proposal for an outsourced internal auditor is inconsistent and contrary to the code of DeKalb County and so that option is not provided for in our code.” Sharon Barnes Sutton, presiding officer of the board, said that it is only proper to explore more than one option and the board shouldn’t take a “speedy reaction based on one or two commissioners’ opinion.” “I don’t see that there is any particular delay. I see us working through the process to make sure that we do the right and proper thing in establishing this,” Sutton said.

with Oakhurst Medical Centers to provide clients with onsite primary health care services. Gary Richey, CEO of DeKalb CSB, said, “I am extremely proud of the work that our staff does to support DeKalb citizens with mental health, addiction and developmental disabilities. We are grateful for the unwavering support of our funders, contributors and community partners. Together, we are working hard to ensure that access to these essential services is readily available within our community.” DeKalb CSB is a communitybased behavioral health and developmental disabilities services organization that serves more than 10,000 adults and youth annually. A public not-for-profit organization, the DeKalb CSB operates more than 20 locations in DeKalb County and employs a diverse workforce of more than 500 clinical, medical and support staff.  CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served.

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