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STUDENT SHOW BECOMING A HIT
FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014 • VOL. 16, NO. 41 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
Year in Review
THEFTS AFFECT CLARKSTON YOUTH
Volunteers representing DeKalbbased Unconditional Love for Children Inc. worked with staff, students and parents of Chatsworth Primary School in Maroon Town, Jamaica. Photos by Chris Glenn and John Hewitt
From left, front row: Delphyne Lomax, Blanche Nichols, Phyliss Cook, Carolyn Glenn, Jean Edwards, Barbara Boyd, Anna Ogletree, Catherine Turk, Betty Palmer, Mary Ann Thompson and Morris Hester. From left, back row: John Hewitt, Geraldine Sherard, William Cook, Patricia Walker, Burrell Ellis, Boykin Edwards, Don Roman, Barry Gray, Philippa Ellis, Earl Glenn and Marian Johnson. Photo by Christopher Brown.
by John Hewitt JohnH@dekalbchamp.com
Locals pay it forward in Jamaica
ca, as part of an annual mission trip coordinated by DeKalb-based nonprofit Unconditional Love for Children (ULC). The fourth annual event was spearheaded by Champion Newspaper publisher Carolyn Glenn and Dr. Earl Glenn. ULC’s mission is to provide opportunities for disadvantaged children through educational enrichment programs, life skills training, athletics and health services.
A group of DeKalb residents recently returned from a four-day excursion to Montego Bay, Jamai-
See Jamaica on page 15A
Ellis: ‘There’s a dark cloud that remains over DeKalb County’
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is looking forward to “full vindication.” I want to finish the job…that God called me to and that the people entrusted in me,” Ellis said during an interview with former CEO Vernon Jones Dec. 20 on radio station WAOK. Jones was a guest host for what he called a “historic” meeting of “one CEO to the other.” “I look forward to the day of returning to the office that they elected me to serve,” said Ellis, who was suspended from office in June 2013 by Gov. Nathan Deal after being indicted on corruption charges. “But there’s a dark cloud that remains over DeKalb County until that day when I return to office,” Ellis said during the live radio show. “We need to go ahead and remove
Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones interviewed suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis during a recent radio show on WAOK. File Photo
See Ellis on page 15A
THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014
Volunteers representing DeKalb-based Unconditional Love for Children Inc. worked with staff, students and parents of Chatsworth Primary School in Maroon Town, Jamaica. Photos by Christopher Brown and John Hewitt
Jamaica Continued From Page 1A
In addition to the Glenns, other DeKalb residents and ULC board members participating included Patricia Walker, Mary Ann Thompson, Anna Ogletree, Delphyne Lomax, Dr. Betty Palmer, Dr. Catherine Turk, Jean and Boykin Edwards, Barbara and Bennie Boyd, Burrell and Philippa Ellis, Chris Brown, Don Roman, Phyliss and William Cook, Barry Gray, Blanche Nichols, John Hewitt and Morris Hester. Participating from other areas were Marian Johnson and Geraldine Sherard. Each year volunteers begin working months in advance collecting new and gently used clothing and toiletries to be sent to the island nation. Sorting and packing the donated items for shipment took dozens of volunteers an estimated nine hours to complete. This year more than 1,900 pounds were collected and shipped in 15, 100-gallon barrels. The 2013 efforts focused on the community around Chatsworth Primary School in Maroon Town, St. James, Jamaica. It is located some 16 miles from the center of the bustling port town of Montego Bay, but is almost as if it is a different nation. The area was originally settled in the 1600s by slaves who had rebelled against Spanish plantation owners and fled to the mountainous regions following the rebellions. Many of the residents of the area are direct descendants of former slaves. Traveling to Maroon Town is difficult at best. The steep, narrow two-lane road eventually becomes a single-lane dirt road traversing hairpin curves that border steep cliffs with no guardrails. Due to difficulty in accessing the community, many residents are not gainfully employed and their children often are not exposed to life outside of their community. Residential dwellings are typically shanties constructed of salvaged building materials; walkways are dusty dirt pathways; some homes have electricity and some do not. Access to clean drinking water is limited and for some, a long trek along the trails to a freshwater spring is required to gather jugs of water. Day-to-day existence can be difficult. However, some 22 volunteers made a huge difference in this community during the first week of December by giving their time, knowledge, support, resources and love. As they entered the somewhat primitive but functional school building, there were smiling students dressed in neatly laundered and pressed yellow and black uniforms. Students had assembled along opposing walls of the long open space. Old fashioned wooden school desks and folding chairs served as seating for students, staff and volunteers. A full day of workshops and classroom instruction was scheduled for students, faculty and parents of the community that emphasized self-esteem, as well as math, reading and computer skills. Additionally, a mock flea market was held that allowed parents to select clothing for themselves and other family members. Following the workshops and flea market, each student was presented with a gift bag of clothing, toys and school supplies. As the students’ names were called, they came up to receive their gift bags. Most had huge smiles—much like the smile on a child’s face on Christmas morning. In previous years ULC has worked with SOS Children’s Village and Mt. Zion Primary School, both located in the general vicinity of Montego Bay. Paying it forward during this special time of year has become an annual tradition for many of those who participate, donate and volunteer. For additional information on the efforts of Unconditional Love for Children Inc. or to donate, visit www.ecglennfoundation.org.
Ellis Continued From Page 1A
that cloud and I’m looking forward to that.” Ellis said holding public office is a trust with constituents. “I would never violate their trust,” he said. “It’s a sacred trust. It’s something I was taught by my parents. It’s something that my wife and I believe in and are passing on to our children. “People who know me know that I would never do anything wrong,” Ellis said. “And I haven’t done anything wrong in this instance.” In addition to about Ellis’ legal woes, Jones and Ellis discussed various county issues, including cityhood and the proposal to change the county’s form of government. Ellis said he is not opposes to the creation of new cities but is “against what amounts to a resegregation and a separation of a community that was known for its diversity.” “We’re not against people having an extra layer of government if they want to have a layer of government and services brought closer to them,” Ellis said. “But this is about the syphoning of resources away from county government. “Why is that important?” he asked. “Because county government still has to run the court system. County government still has to run the libraries. County government still has to run the elections and make sure that those are fair. County government still has to [monitor] public health and the public hospitals and to run the sheriff ’s office and deliver community services and, quite frankly, deliver the bulk of the infrastructure—sidewalks, and our water and sewer systems—that we depend on. Jones said the cityhood movement is becoming divisive. “There are good people in this county who are being separated by those who are playing in their fears and they are dividing us,” Jones said. “[With] the creation of these new cities, you’re literally seeing government being bleached. They’re literally creating White cities, putting White communities against south DeKalb. “They’re syphoning off resources,” he said. “It’s now gotten to the point where you want to do independent school systems for each of these cities. It’s like it’s resegregation all over again.” Ellis said he is concerned about some of the talk about changing the form of government. “My vision for DeKalb County was that the people’s priority would be the priority of their local government,” he said. “The people’s priority is not to change the government. “DeKalb County has separation of powers,” Ellis said. “One should ask him or herself if separation of powers and checks and balances are good enough for our federal government, the greatest democracy known to humankind, if it’s good enough for our state government, if it’s good enough for cities all across America and one out of four–most metropolitan counties—in the United States of America, why would separation of powers not be good for DeKalb County? “Where would be checks and balances be if we got rid of the executive branch of government?” he asked.