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YOUNG AFRICANS SING AND DANCE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014 • VOL. 16, NO. 45 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
MENTORS ARE THE PROVERBIAL VILLAGE
CLARKSTON HAS ITS FIRST SOMALIAN COUNCILMAN
Entertainment from Line Chacha Dance is part of the evening’s festivities at the National Association of Chinese Americans Banquet. Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, center, walks arm-in-arm with supporters before a hearing in his corruption case Jan. 23. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Ellis hopes to have indictment dismissed
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com Accused of “shaking down” county contractors, suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was in court Jan. 23-24 for a motions hearing. Supporters prayed with Ellis before the hearing and crowded into Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson’s courtroom wearing “I support Burrell Ellis” buttons. Ellis must answer to charges of bribery, perjury and theft by extortion in a 14-count re-indictment handed down Jan. 16. He was originally indicted by a special grand jury in June 2013. The indictment containing 14 felonies came six months after Ellis’ home and office were searched by investigators from the DA’s Office as part of a special grand jury investigation attempted to prevent James from testifying in the case. Craig Gillen, one of Ellis’ attorneys, said the evidence would “show that at the time of the special purpose grand jury was… granted by the court, the focus was...on watershed management.” “The focus was not on the administration of CEO Ellis but of the prior CEO, Mr. Vernon Jones,” Gillen said. “I expect the evidence to show that when Mr. James personally took over control and direction of the special purpose grand jury that, without any basis or a reason to be investigating Mr. Ellis for anything,…Mr. James changed the focus [and]…directed that the focus be centered on Mr. Ellis.” James testified that the watershed department investigation did not focus primarily on Jones; several
DeKalb welcomes the Year of the Horse
by Kathy Mitchell Kathy@dekalbchamp.com Many people in DeKalb County are celebrating the New Year for the second time this January. While Jan. 1 marks the start of the year on the Gregorian calendar, this year the Chinese New Year also falls in January—Jan. 31—with celebrations on, before and after the actual date. Chinese months follow the lunar calendar and the New Year is celebrated at the second new moon after the winter solstice, falling between Jan. 21 and Feb. 19 on the Gregorian calendar. New Year festivities, one of the culture’s longest celebrations, traditionally start on the first day of the lunar month— when the moon is dark— and continue until the 15th, when the moon is brightest. In China and around the world, the holiday is marked with colorful parades, music, dancing and feasting. The year just beginning, 4712, is the Year of the Horse—one of 12 animal zodiac designations that repeat cyclically. Those born in the Year of the Horse are said to be energetic, independent and enjoy travel. As the Year of the Horse comes in there have been celebrations large and small around DeKalb County, especially in Chamblee—one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the Southeast. They range from an hourlong celebration for all ages at the library to a two-day festival at the Taipei Economic & Cultural Center. The library event was presented the morning of Jan. 25 in conjunction with the Asian Pacific American Historical Society, and included traditional drumming, dancing, crafts and storytelling. That evening, the National Association of Chinese-Americans-Atlanta held a fundraiser that drew a capacity crowd to the Canton House Restaurant on Buford Highway. With Consul General Xu Erwin as the guest of honor and Lisa Borders, chairwoman of the Coca-Cola Foundation, giving the keynote address, the event featured remarks from
into possible corruption at the county’s watershed department. After the indictment, he was suspended from office by Gov. Nathan Deal and replaced by interim CEO Lee May. In one motion heard Jan. 23, the state unsuccessfully
See Ellis on page 13A
See New Year on page 13A
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Mentors are the proverbial village
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org At first, Brandon Fountain was not in “dire need of extra mentorship.” That was five years ago when his mother Miriam signed him up for the mentorship program sponsored the DeKalb chapter of the 100 Black Men of America. Brandon was in the sixth grade and his mother and stepfather were still together. “My mom saw [the program] as a great opportunity for me to get extra mentorship from businessmen and civil service men,” said Brandon, a junior a Marist High School. Then his mother and stepfather split up. “That’s where that mentorship really starts to help so that you don’t feel that lacking for a male figure, because I have all these male figures backing me up,” Brandon said. “There are certain roles that a father fills naturally, so with the lack of a father in the household, you quickly might start to feel that Brandon Fountain is the 100 Black Men of America’s lack. I don’t feel that lack.” Mentee of the Year. Photo by Andrew Cauthen January is National Mentoring Month, a time ca, meets with his mentors every other Tuesday. set aside in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public “The mentors are always open to being emailed Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to focus national attention on the need and I can call them if I have some problems,” Brandon said. “They will help you out almost whenever for mentors. you have a need. If I need help with homework on Through the 100 Black Men of America, Brana Thursday night, I can call or email. If I have a don has three mentors: Dr. Romeo Stockett, a retired Morehouse College professor; Lamont Hous- personal problem, I can call or email and get a reton, a retired electrical engineer for Georgia Power; sponse back pretty quick. “If I want someone to help teach me to drive and and Mae Jones, executive director of 100 Black my mom is too nervous, that’s one way and a great Men of DeKalb. example of how they have been mentoring me lateBrandon, who was recently named the 2013 Mentee of the Year by the 100 Black Men of Ameri- ly,” Brandon said. “You know the saying, ‘it takes a
National Mentoring Month
village to raise a child,’ and I feel like for me they’re definitely my village.” Without his mentors, Brandon said his life would be completely different. “They’ve provided for me so much inspiration
‘You know the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and I feel like, for me, they’re definitely my village.
and motivation to do a lot of the things that I have done,” Brandon said. “I don’t know where I would be without that source of inspiration.” With his inspiration, the 16-year-old is a member of the Marist broadcasting club, Mosaic Diversity Club and debate team. The Ellenwood resident currently has a 4.0 GPA and has maintained honor roll for 10 consecutive school years. Brandon, a member of New Life Church, plans to attend Stanford University and major in computer science and become a software engineer. The greatest lesson he has learned from his mentors, Brandon said, is, “Be open to advise from my elders. “Always be open to advice and direction from my mentors because even though I may not feel like it, they’ve been where I’ve been before and they’ve gone through what I’ve experienced,” he said.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Lithonia chosen as EcoDistrict
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com lot of talk about developing sustainable communities and this will give us the opportunity to figure out how to do that The south DeKalb County city of Li- and what it looks like,” Jackson said. thonia has been chosen by Sustainable Jackson said the EcoDistrict program Atlanta as one of three metro Atlanta looks at communities holistically and communities to participate in its Ecodirectly involved stakeholders in those District initiative. The Atlanta University communities to participate in redevelopCenter and the Lakewood Heights area ment. were also chosen. The other 10 leaders from the LithoMelonie Tharpe, Sustainable Atlanta nia community, Jackson said, will be EcoDistricts coordinator, said the goal business owners, city council members of the EcoDistrict initiative is to evaluate and other community stakeholders. the assets within a community, comJackson said the group will also form bined with planning processes already committees and task forces to include in place, to develop a long-term plan for more residents in the planning process. success and sustainability. Jackson said Lithonia will build on “It’s about a year of programming the initiatives the city already has in and past that we’re going to get some place such as the result of its 10-year feedback from the community on some Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study of those things might be a bit more long- from the Atlanta Regional Commission term,” Tharpe said. and its five-year plan. The EcoDistrict model, developed “We’ll look at infrastructure needs in Portland, Ore., was implemented in and how to get more community enmidtown Atlanta in 2012 and other areas gagement for the long haul,” Jackson such as Boston and Washington D.C. said. “It’s really a great opportunity to According to a press release, the EcoDis- see how to help develop a model for trict initiative is an economic developsmaller communities that are resource ment strategy based on environmental challenged.” stewardship. Like Jackson, Sustainable Atlanta Tharpe said over the next year, SusCommunications Director Scott Briskey tainable Atlanta will provide guidance said the EcoDistrict model builds on and assistance to participating comother types of sustainability models such munities. During the first year of the as Community Improvement Districts program, all three groups will receive (CID). community-wide training to increase “The idea with the framework is, a lot civic engagement. Additionally, the pro- of the times EcoDistrict is a stakeholder gramming will focus on such issues as driven model. In some instances that land-use planning, local food producmight be a CID or other community tion and energy efficiency. groups that come together,” Briskey said. “We will be doing some community Briskey said the EcoDistrict initiative programming and the communities will is unique because it doesn’t “reinvent the be gathering at the end of February,” wheel.” Tharpe said. It looks at what you have in the comEach of the three districts were told munity from a resource standpoint and that they can bring 10 public officials— those plans would be included as those important representatives from the com- resources as well,” Briskey said. munity, mayors, city council members. Each community has put forth a Mayor Deborah Jackson will be one of small amount of funding for the project the 10 participating from Lithonia. but, Tharpe said, the majority of the pro“We’re very excited about the opgramming will be paid for by private and portunity to participate because there’s a corporate funding, donations and grants.
Dunwoody working to finish construction projects
Dunwoody residents will see a good deal of construction around the city as several projects are currently in different phases of active development and construction. Construction on the Dunwoody Village Main Street project began in December 2013 with work crews removing a portion of the vegetation and trees from the parkway median, according to city officials. According to city officials, the Main Street project addresses the need for pedestrian improvements on Dunwoody Village Parkway, while developing a sense of community and encouraging growth of small businesses. The parkway, expected to be completed early July, will be converted to a twolane street with wide sidewalks, on-street bicycle lanes and landscape buffers. Preparations for construction are under way for Phase II of the Brook Run Park multiuse trail. Phase II is 1.3 miles of the 12-foot-wide and 3.3-mile concrete trail which is behind the playground and skate park inside Brook Run Park. The city anticipates the new segment will be completed by summer of 2014. When future phases are completed, the Brook Run Trail will run from Brook Run Park to Chamblee Dunwoody Road and will cover 3.3 total miles. City officials expect primary sections of the new Georgetown Park to be completed by the end of February. The sections include the central park square, pavilion area, children’s playground and adjacent bathroom facilities. The adjoining concrete path, adjacent to the central park square, is also near completion and will connect to the Dunwoody Trailway multiuse trail to create a 3.3-mile trail way.
THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
ONE MAN’S OPINIoN
A changing of the guard
Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) left his position as majority whip, but retained his state house seat, while seeking the 11th Congressional District GOP nomination. The distinction in paths, however, between the choices made by Sheldon and Lindsey is not a small one. Georgia law prohibits legislators as well as constitutional officers from fundraising during the legislative session. That prohibition does not extend to challengers and candidates not holding office. In addition, in response to direction from the federal courts, one of the first items of business of this year’s General Assembly has been to set a new date for the General Primary Election to Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The General Assembly is thus expected to complete its work in near record time, exiting both chambers prior to St. Patrick’s Day, Monday, March 17, and leaving only nine Tuesdays until Election Day, with early voting beginning as early as April 28. Prior to this year, candidates were typically qualifying that third week of April, following the wrap of the legislative session. While House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) and Majority Leader Rep. Larry O’Neal (R-Bonaire), all remain the same, down the leadership chain all the other players are new to their jobs, excluding Caucus Secretary/ Treasurer Rep. Allen Peake (RMacon). Listing all changes in committee leadership and assignments, which requires 41 pages to print, would consume this entire column. A little change can be a good thing, but back to the smooth flow of legislative bodies, it can also gum up the works. Remember only a few years ago the dysfunctional death march of the former leadership team in the state house, helmed by a deeply flawed speaker, or the “who’s on first” and “who’s in charge” questions that plagued the State Senate following a later coup by some less than happy senior members of that chamber. As the Georgia GOP numerically dominates both chambers, there have been fewer changes on the Democratic side of the aisle, where the bench strength is viewed as a bit on the light side—and yet, State Senator Jason Carter (D-Atlanta) is leaving behind his safe seat and rising star status there for a grab at the brass ring and potentially the governor’s mansion. Don’t kid yourself to think that this shorter and more concentrated session, fundraising prohibitions and candidates being somewhat tied to the legislative calendar, versus campaigning and traveling across their respective districts, will not impact the normal flow of the already convoluted legislative process. There will be a roughly $20 billion budget, and Georgia’s teachers will likely receive a convenient election year pay raise, but don’t expect the 261 House bills signed by the governor, or the 71 Senate bills signed into law of last year. Hmmm—maybe that’s not a bad thing. 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.
“Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.”—Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968), Kennedy administration attorney general, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate at the time of his assassination in 1968. Few institutions place greater value on seniority and tenure than legislative bodies. These customs date back to the days of the Roman Senate. As regular followers of the doings under the Gold Dome remember, last year order was restored in the State Senate, following the restoration of many of the powers, granted by tradition, but not by statute or the Georgia Constitution, to the lieutenant governor. But it was coming changes under a different dome that began the current flow of dominoes here. Georgia’s senior U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss announced early that he will not seek re-election in 2014. Three members of Georgia’s House delegation, including its most senior member, Congressman Jack Kingston (District 1, Savannah), are leaving behind the reasonably safe seats they now hold, to seek membership in what remains perhaps the world’s most exclusive club, the U.S. Senate. And while this congressional trio also has plenty of competition for that honor, their seats, in the 1st, 10th and 11th Districts, are now ripe for the picking by an ambitious state legislator–or two. Two GOP House caucus leaders approached this same challenge in different ways. Former House GOP Caucus Chair Rep. Donna Sheldon (R-Suwanee) resigned her post to allow her to focus on the race for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. Sheldon’s longtime colleague
REDUCE • REUSE • RECYCLE • REDUCE • REUSE • RECYCLE • REDUCE • REUSE
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
cially now when the days are shorter, is an easy way to keep yourself visible,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood, in a news release. “Walking, jogging or riding your bike is a great way to get exercise as well as being a necessity for many people getting to and from work. But we want to make sure people are being safe as pedestrians and cyclists. This is the darkest time of year so it’s essential that you wear bright clothes and reflective gear to stay safe on our roads.” The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety offers several tips to keep drivers, pedestrians and cyclists safe. Pedestrians should walk on a sidewalk whenever available; walk facing traffic if no sidewalk is available; cross at crosswalks or cross roads in a well-lit area if no crosswalk is available; make eye contact with drivers as they approach; and wear reflective materials. Pedestrians should not use cellphones, earphones or other electronic de-
Andrew Cauthen packs to be seen by drivers.
ored and reflective clothing or backNow the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) is reminding walkers and riders to wear reflective gear when it’s dark. According to state statistics, there were 132 pedestrian fatalities in Georgia in 2012. “That accounts for 11 percent of all traffic deaths,” according to a news release from the governor’s office. “While that number is below the national average of 14 percent, it still accounts for far too many deaths, the majority of which are happening at night. In 2011, 70 percent of all nationwide pedestrian fatalities happened at night, with 32 percent happening between 8 p.m. and midnight and 24 percent happening between midnight and 4 a.m.” Georgia has a new rule of thumb for cyclists and pedestrians: “Get glowing.” “Wearing reflective clothes, espe-
The other day I was driving at night along an unlit portion of Redan Road. Suddenly my headlights picked up a pair of moving white sneakers. Just the sneakers—I could not see anything else, at first. As I drove by the walking sneakers, I could just barely detect, in the faint background light, a Black man, dressed in black pants and a black coat. Scenes such as this one happen far too often in DeKalb County and around the state as pedestrians and bicyclists alike ignore common sense rules and do not dress appropriately for dark conditions. I remember as a kid being taught in school to always wear light col-
vices while walking. Cyclists should ride on the road, according to GOHS. Remember, bikes are not people. People walk on sidewalks. Vehicles, including bikes, should be on the road. If sidewalks were meant for bikes, they would be called “siderides.” And when riding on the road, cyclists should obey all traffic laws. Drivers cannot read the minds of cyclists and can only assume cyclists are following the rules. Cyclists should also use front and rear lights if riding in low light or at night; signal your intentions; and, of course, get glowing. Motorists must look for pedestrians and cyclists everywhere; be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk; never pass vehicles at a crosswalk; and refrain from tailgating a cyclist. According to state law, motorists must give cyclists three feet of passing space. Be safe and get glowing, DeKalb.
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Decatur commission delays tree ordinance vote
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org The Decatur City Commission voted Jan. 21 to delay voting on a tree ordinance proposal until March. The commission voted 4-1 to postpone the vote and requested city staff to revise portions of the proposed regulations that affect individual property owners. Mayor Jim Baskett was the only one against delaying the vote. Commissioners also voted unanimously to hire a full-time city arborist. Changes were made to the proposed ordinance due to responses from the public. At the meeting, the commission approved an amendment that would reduce the residential canopy coverage from 55 percent to 50 percent, and reduce the cost for tree removal from $1.50 per square foot to 75 cents per square foot. “We have seen a serious decline in our tree canopy,” Baskett said before the vote. “We haven’t measured it since 2010, so there is a reason to look at it very hard.” Some residents said the added change could jeopardize the overall ordinance. Questions were raised at the meeting from the public about the tree ordinance from proponents and opponents. The reservations from supporters of the ordinance were what led District 1 Commissioner Scott Drake to decide to delay the vote. “We started something fast and we’ve heard tonight that we need more time,” Drake said. “When you hear many comments about it I think we need to listen and take that into consideration.” “If we don’t have good support for this, enforcement will be a nightmare,” District 2 Commissioner Patti Garrett said. “There are parts of it that I really like, but there are other parts that I want to make sure we tweak.” In October, the Decatur City Commission passed a 90-day moratorium on removing healthy trees on private property to study the effects of tree removal. There was also a proposed 90-day moratorium on the demolition of single-family homes that did not pass. Decatur’s first tree ordinance was passed in 1989 and amended in 1999. In 2008, a new tree ordinance was introduced and amended last year. According to the city officials, the reasons for updating the tree ordinance are to study the city’s aging tree population and the urban/human impacts to soil and trees and development of new best practices for tree conservation. There are also concerns that the majority of Decatur’s tree canopy is on private property. Officials have recommended that the city set goals to increase its tree canopy, focus on placing trees where their function is maximized and require compliance with standards for soil quality, planting, pruning, mulching and watering.
Champion of the Week
In 1988, when the Junior League of DeKalb County needed some of its members to study how to set up a rape crisis center, Julie Childs was one of the members appointed to be on the committee. The Rape Crisis Center opened in 1989 and Childs is still an active supporter. Childs, 63, said she has never experienced rape but she feels that society needs to be aware of this “horrific” crime and address it. “Twenty-five years ago, it was so often the victim was treated as the bad person,” said the Decatur resident. “Part of what we want to accomplish is that people understand that nobody ask to be raped. There needs to be someone to speak to the victims.” Childs said one of the reasons she got involved with the committee was because she and other members of the commit tee knew there was a need for services in DeKalb County for sexual assault victims. She said part of the concern was that victims from DeKalb were taken to Grady Hospital. “One of our goals was for the victims to go immediately to DeKalb Medical Center and be treated there, which would be so convenient to everybody,” she said. “Back then, it was just this recognition that there are no services available, certainly not for free in the county.” Since founding the crisis center, Childs said she is starting to see a change
DeKalb History Center to honor women in media
The DeKalb History Center will host its seventh annual Black History Month Celebration by honoring five women for their accomplishments in media and journalism. Awards will be presented to Rashan Ali, Streetz 94.5 FM personality; Jennifer Ffrench-Parker, editor and publisher of CrossRoadsNews; Karyn Greer, 11Alive anchorwoman; Steen Miles, former state senator, 11Alive anchorwoman and columnist for The Champion Newspaper; and Valerie J. Morgan, editor-in-chief of On Common Ground. The presenting sponsor for this event is The Champion Newspaper. Carolyn Glenn, publisher of The Champion Newspaper, will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event and entertainment will be provided by Agnes Scott senior Carlisa N. Johnson. The celebration will take place at the historic DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m. and includes a seated luncheon and entertainment. Tickets are required and seating is limited. The cost is $30 for members and $35 for non-members and sponsorships are still available. Melissa Forgey, executive director of the DeKalb History Center, said, “This is always an exciting event where we recognize just some of our current African-American leaders who are impacting our local history. Please join us in celebrating five women who are leaving an enduring legacy for our county.” For more information, call (404) 3731088, extension 22, or visit www.dekalbhistory.org.
Areas in Decatur, Lithonia nominated for National Register of Historic Places
Three areas of DeKalb County been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. Two of the areas are in the city of Decatur. One proposed district is the Ponce de Leon Terrace-Ponce de Leon Heights-Clairmont Estates Historic District, roughly bounded by Clairmont Avenue, Scott Boulevard, Ponce de Leon Place, and Ponce de Leon Avenue/ Nelson Ferry Road. The other proposed district in Decatur is roughly bounded by Sycamore Street on the south, Decatur Cemetery on the west, Forkner Drive on the north, and Sycamore Drive on the east. A third area is the entire city of Lithonia. The proposed historic districts will be considered by the Georgia National Register Review Board for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places at its meeting on Feb. 28. Listing in the National Register will give areas consideration in planning for Federal, federally licensed, and federally assisted projects; eligibility for Federal tax provisions; eligibility for Federal grants-in-aid.
in the mindset of people about rape and rape victims. “But there is still a lot of [negative thoughts] out there,” she said. “I wish I had a magic potion or something that would change people’s attitude. I think it’s just education.” Childs’ main role at the center now is chairing the annual “Night in Good Taste Silent Auction.” She has chaired the event for the past four years. The event raises funds to support the programs and services of DeKalb Rape Crisis Center, such as individual counseling, teen support groups, and outreach and education programs in schools. Along with her volunteer work at the center, Childs also chairs the board of Breakthru House, a free residential treatment program for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. She is also on the DeKalb Medical Foundation board and does volunteer work with her church, Decatur First United Methodist Church.
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at email@example.com or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 104.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Civil rights icon places papers at Emory University Civil rights leader the Rev. C.T. Vivian, who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), is placing a portion of his and his late wife’s papers with the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) at Emory University. Emory officials made the announcement at a speech Vivian gave on campus Jan. 21 as part of Emory’s King Week celebration. “It’s one of the most significant additions to our African American and civil rights material, and a great opportunity for students and scholars to appreciate a life so fully lived by someone who made such important contributions to the world,” MARBL director Rosemary Magee said. “In addition, it further establishes Emory as a place that recognizes the history of our own era, and helps us understand how we arrived where we are today and projects these values into the future.” The collection includes a number of papers from Octavia Geans Vivian (1928-2011), who supported her husband’s work with the SCLC and was instrumental in the local Civil Rights Movement. She also wrote Coretta, a biography of Coretta Scott King, originally published in 1970 and revised with additional material in 2006 after Mrs. King’s death. The Vivians’ papers contain binders of notes and articles pertaining to civil rights activities and issues, C.T.’s essays and SCLC work, Octavia’s work on Coretta, congressional materials related to the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday, as well as periodicals, programs from King Day celebrations across the country, C.T.’s outlines for speeches, including notes he jotted on napkins and event programs, and other ephemera.
should expect partial lane closures and traffic delays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Construction is expected to take several weeks depending on weather conditions.
Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070. Commissioner to hold budget information meetings DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson will hold two public information meetings on the county’s 2014 budget. A presentation of the budget with an opportunity for residents to ask questions will be a part of the agenda for the public information meeting. The meetings will be Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m., at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts and Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur; and Saturday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m., at the Love Life Christian Fellowship Church, 3980 Panthersville Road, Ellenwood. For more information contact Johnson’s office at (404) 371-2988.
15 participants. Funding provided by the Friends of the Stonecrest Library. To register or for more information, visit the branch or call (770) 482-3828. The Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia.
Atlanta Chinatown Mall holds Chinese New Year celebration In celebration of the Year of the Horse, the Atlanta Chinatown Mall will hold a Chinese New Year event Feb. 1-2. The mall, located at 5379 New Peachtree Road in Chamblee, will host an event Feb. 1, consisting of a lion dance celebration at 2 p.m. The Feb. 2 event, from 1-4 p.m. will include a lion dance and musical and cultural performances. The event will also feature local cuisine and arts and crafts. For more information call (770) 5486660 or visit www.atlantachinatown. com.
Smoke Rise Community group to hold electronics recycling event The Smoke Rise Community Association is providing the community an environmentally sound option to dispose of electronic waste. On Saturday, Feb. 8, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Smoke Rise Community Association will be teaming up with IMS Electronics to accept unwanted home computers and electronics. This event is open to the public—residents and businesses. Most home electronics, including computers, televisions, monitors, printers, fax machines, small household appliances, cell phones, will be accepted free of charge. CRT devices such as televisions and monitors will also be accepted; however, there will be a $5 charge for each CRT monitor, $10 charge for each CRT television and $30 charge for each large projection or wooden console and plasma television because of the cost to recycle these devices. Materials that will not be accepted include items containing biohazards, hazardous waste, Freon, or liquids of any type, smoke detectors or radioactive materials. For the complete list, visit www. imselectronics.com/electronicsrecycling/accepted-materials/. IMS Electronics will have trucks and personnel in the parking lot of the Smoke Rise Community Association, 1991 Silver Hill Road, Stone Mountain. Corporations or businesses that would like to participate in this event should contact IMS Electronics Business Development Representative Teresa Williams at (770) 776-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library to host craft class Crafters can hand craft their own greeting cards at the hand-crafted greeting card class Feb. 1 at the Clarkston Library. Mary P. Rice will teach the 12-2 p.m. class and the class is limited to eight people. Clarkston Library is located at 951 N. Indian Creek Drive. To register, call 404-508-7175.
City appoints new community development director The City of Dunwoody on Jan. 23 announced the appointment of Steve Foote as the city’s new community development director. Foote comes to Dunwoody from the Mt. Juliet, Tenn., where he served as that city’s planning director since 2009. A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Foote has more than 27 years of experience with local government planning and community development. “Steve’s ability to engage with the community and his breadth of experience in the field of community planning will provide the citizens of Dunwoody with a knowledgeable and passionate community development leader,” said City Manager Warren Hutmacher. “Steve has demonstrated success and innovation throughout his career. I’m confident we’ll find Steve to be a tremendous asset to Dunwoody’s future efforts to maintain stable residential neighborhoods and promote quality growth and development in our commercial areas.”
Author to discuss book on Lincoln’s legacy The Decatur Library will host author John Zeitz Feb. 4 at 7:15 p.m. Zeitz will talk about his new book Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay and The War for Lincoln’s Image. Zeitz contends that Abraham Lincoln’s legacy and the narrative that slavery—not states’ rights—was the sole cause of the Civil War come largely from a biography written by John Hay, Lincoln’s private secretary, and John Nicolay, Lincoln’s assistant private secretary. “The image of an humble man with an uncommon intellect who rose from obscurity to become a storied wartime leader and emancipator is very much their creation,” states an announcement from the library. “Drawing on letters, diaries and memoirs, Zeitz gives us a fascinating story of friendship, politics, war and the contest over history and remembrance.” The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore Street,
Sidewalk construction begins on Ashford Dunwoody Road Brookhaven crews began construction of a new sidewalk on Ashford Dunwoody Road. The new 570-foot sidewalk will stretch from Stratfield Drive to Humility Lane and connect to the existing sidewalk along the west side of the street. Crews plan to work during the daytime hours, avoiding peak rush hour traffic. Motorists
Library to host youth science activity The Stonecrest Library is hosting a Mad Scientists Club session for youth ages 10 through 12 Saturday, Feb. 8, 2—3:30 p.m. The session includes hands on activities and demonstrations that explore science in everyday life. It is open to the first
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Establishment Name: Main Moon Chinese Restaurant Address: 4418 Hugh Howell Road, Suite B-2 Current Score/Grade: 70/C Inspection Date: 01/21/2014 Establishment Name: Carnival Grocery Address: 5616 Redan Road, Suite D Current Score/Grade: 92/A Inspection Date: 01/21/2014
Restaurant Health Inspections
DeKalb County legislators met with members of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and Interim CEO Lee May Jan. 27 to discuss the county’s legislative requests for 2014.
Cityhood, annexation on top of county’s 2014 legislative agenda
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May met with local legislators Jan. 27 to discuss the county’s legislative priorities for 2014; among them are cityhood, annexation and restructuring the county’s government. May said each of the agenda items on the list had been passed by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. “Everything that is in our legislative package for this year has been either presented by me or presented by a commissioner and also has been duly voted upon by the board in the affirmative as part of our legislative package,” May said. Additionally, May said, there are several items on the agenda that were carried over from last year. At the top of the agenda items is a call for legislators to enact a one-year pause on the creation of new municipalities, townships and other forms of government, as well as annexation. Originally introduced as a three-year moratorium, May said he and the board of commissioners agreed on lessening the time to one year and changing the language of the resolution. “I really believe that the future of our county lies on the foundation of dialogue,” May said. “I am in support of a community’s right to incorporate if they so choose but I do believe it ought to be a more balanced and fair approach where the county is concerned.” Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said the residents on the fringes of the borders of new cities are being affected by incorporation but don’t have a say in the outcome. “That’s not fair to them,” Sutton said. “I think that’s something we need to keep in mind and something we need to act on.” Rep. Karla Drenner said she understand the county’s positition regarding cityhood and annexation but told May that “it seems like the train has already left the station.” Drenner also asked why current cities wouldn’t be allowed to annex properties. I also want to know, if in fact this moratorium does not hold, why would our existing cities not be allowed to annex in properties, Drenner asked. “Sometimes annexation makes sense, if there are geographical boundaries that round out a city that makes sense,” May said, “but the same issues that we have been having with the proposed cities are reflective of how we’ve dealt with annexation as well.” May listed several ways that newly incorporated cities have had a negative impact on the county including loss of revenue for capital projects, problems with the county’s pension fund and issues with proposed cities fighting for large commercial properties to increase their tax base. “We are holding millions of dollars of pension liability that we have to shoulder ourselves and the newly formed cities don’t,” May said. “Each year we learn of more and more affects that newly-incorporated areas have on the county.” Recently, the board of commissioners voted in favor of a resolution requesting the General Assembly to form a charter commission to study the governance structure of the county. Currently, power is shared between the CEO and the board of commissioners. May has said in the past that he supports a change in government. Since being appointed interim CEO by Gov. Nathan Deal last year after then CEO Burrell Ellis was suspended, May said he has heard from residents that they want better outcomes from their county government. “We want the form that will help us yield a better outcome. I’m in support of a change in the form of government…we need to put a process in place to allow people to discuss our current governance structure,” May said. Other areas on the county’s legislative agenda are amending the county’s purchasing policies to allow for more transparency and implementing a study committee to address issues related to the Homestead Optional Sales Tax used for capital improvement projects.
Establishment Name: Best China Restaurant Address: 5260 Memorial Drive Ste 1205-A Current Score/Grade: 85/B Inspection Date: 01/21/2014 Hot-held potentially hazardous foods (rice-124F) not maintained above 135F; no time controls/documentation in place. Advised to maintain potentially hazardous foods at 135F or above. PIC reheated rice to 166F. Corrected onsite. New Violation. Refrigerated, ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food prepared and held in the establishment for more than 24 hours not clearly marked to indicate the date by which the food must be consumed, sold, or discarded. Observed multiple containers of cooked chicken and pork wiout dates. PIC said they were cooked on the 1/16, 1/18 and 1/19. Advised to date mark within 24 hours. Repeat Violation. Establishment Name: Matthew’s Cafeteria Address: 2299 Main Street Current Score/Grade: 86/B Inspection Date: 01/21/2014 Establishment Name: Old Brick Pit Barbeque Address: 4805 Peachtree Road Current Score/Grade: 88/B Inspection Date: 01/21/2014 Establishment Name: Waffle House #1600 Address: 2255 Panola Road Current Score/Grade: 88/B Inspection Date: 01/22/2014 Establishment Name: Magic Wok Address: 4857 Memorial Drive Current Score/Grade: 80/B Inspection Date: 01/22/2014 Establishment Name: Wendy’s Pilot Travel Center 331 Address: 2605 Bouldercrest Road Current Score/Grade: 87/B Inspection Date: 01/22/2014 Cooked potentially hazardous foods not cooled from 135F to 41F within a total of 6 hours. Observed beef burgers in walk-in cooler, cooling at 46F. PIC said they were placed in cooler last night for cooling and had not been removed from cooler. Advised the beef burgers have to cool down to 41F or below within 6 hours. Advised to discard beef burgers. PIC removed for discarding. Corrected On-Site. New Violation. Employee not using an effective means of restraint for hair, beard, or mustache longer than ½ inch. Observed PIC and cook not using effective means to restrain hair longer than 2 inches. Advised to restrain hair. New Violation. Raw fruits and vegetables being washed in a sink not intended for washing fruits and vegetables. Observed food debris (sliced tomatoes) inside 3 compartment sink. Advised tomatoes cannot be prepared at 3 compartment sink or any other vegetables. Advised to prepare at vegetable sink. New violation. Food service permit not posted prominently at all times in a location approved by the Health Department. Advised to post food permit. New violation. Plumbing system not maintained in good repair. Observed no water available at vegetable sink. PIC said it stopped working when the pipes burst 2 weeks ago. Advised to repair by the end of the week. New violation. Establishment Name: Longhorn Steaks - Tucker Address: 4315 Hugh Howell Road Current Score/Grade: 84/B Inspection Date: 01/22/2014 Observed food handling employee chewing gum while prepping food on serving line. Corrected employee to discard gum. Informed PIC that chewing gum or consuming food while handling/ prepping customer food is not allowed. Employee not using an effective means of restraint for hair, beard, or mustache longer than ½ inch. Informed PIC that regardless of job position, a hair restraint is required for all loose hair when handling food.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Somali-born councilman talks initiatives, annexation in Clarkston
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Ahmed Hassan, the first Somali-born city council member in Clarkston, said he wants to make it a better place to live for everybody— immigrants and residents alike. “Basically, at this stage I’m not a politician; I’m just an accountant,” Hassan said. “I’m here for everybody, immigrants and alike, because we have to answer to everybody.” Hassan moved to Clarkston from New York in 1987 after graduating from New York University. He and his wife wanted to move to a city where the cost of living was cheaper. “I was paying $2,500 for a two bedroom and here it was just like $300,” Hassan said. “I moved here and started working for Wachovia Bank and went to graduate school at Mercer University and one thing led to another and I’ve been here ever since.” When Hassan moved to Clarkston he was one of the first immigrants to live in the area. Later, when the United States government identified Clarkston as a refugee resettlement area, Hassan said he wanted to help newcomers. “To make them feel at home I established the first restaurant, grocery, music store, clothing store and travel agency—you name it—everything they needed so the community never felt out of place when they came here,” Hassan said. Hassan also began volunteering to help newly relocated refugees and immigrants acclimate to the workings of the city’s government. “No matter what ethnic background they are in, they come here,” Hassan said, of his office located off North Indian Creek Drive. “I ended up being a volunteer for everything and then I began to get to know the community.” Hassan said the more he got to know the community of Clarkston, the more he realized there is a missing link—a crisis in the small city which encompasses a little more than one square mile. “Ninety percent of the
Newly elected Clarkston City Councilman Ahmed Hassan is the city’s first Somali-born elected official. Photo by Travis Hudgons
people live outside the city limits but all of their daily lives are affected by the city of Clarkston,” Hassan said. Much like Clarkston City Manager Keith Barker and newly elected Mayor Ted Terry, Hassan said the city needs to annex certain areas to increase the tax base and bring the community closer together. “We need to bring this ethnic community together and show them that this is their city; they live in this city and they have to be involved,” Hassan said. Hassan believes that for the city to be financially viable and sustainable in the long term it must increase its tax base by incorporating many residents who already receive city services. “I’m part of all these different communities and I can explain to them what annexation is going to do for them better than anyone else,” Hassan said. “It’s a big task that I’m taking on but that’s why I want to independently talk to every community, sit down with their leaders and explain to the private sector.” Another issue is Clarkston High School, which is currently outside the city’s boundaries. To
spur economic development and encourage businesses to relocate to Clarkston, Hassan said the school needs improvement. It is a lowperforming DeKalb County school and Hassan said, it poses unique difficulties for administrators and teachers because approximately 50 different languages are spoken by students at the school. “They have to understand the people and the students that they’re dealing with and the immigrants themselves need education; they have to understand that they have a responsibility; they need to participate in the PTA. There has got to be some sort of understanding and mutual learning,” Hassan said. However, until the city can successfully annex the area surrounding the high school, Hassan said, leaders can only petition school district officials to take notice of the issues. According to Hassan, 84 percent of the businesses in the city of Clarkston are owned by immigrants. He also said there needs to be a viable downtown center that will help spur economic development. “The best thing is to at-
tract businesses and educate the current businesses to improve the way they do business–that’s part of development. It’s going to be difficult in a way but we are revising the zoning and code ordinance,” Hassan said. Clarkston officials hope to persuade members of the DeKalb County delegation of the General Assembly to present a bill this session that would allow Clarkston
residents to vote on annexation. Barker said that process is ongoing. The city is also competing with other proposed cities that border Clarkston’s boundaries. “Annexation is the key. You want economic development? Then let the city go beyond its limits….They’re missing revenue; and with annexations, the projected workforce is going to double,” Hassan said.
Old House Fair
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
The Stephenson High School gospel choir joined the Young Africans for one song. Photos by Corinthia Zimmerman
The Young Africans
The Young Africans, a group of singers, musicians and dancers who were once members of the world-renowned African Children’s Choir, delighted a packed house Jan. 24 at Grace Presbyterian Church, located at 650 Rowland Road, Stone Mountain. The performers, all in their early 20s, performed various cultural elements from their countries of Kenya and Uganda with a stomp-inspired dance as well as highlighting unique African instruments. For its finale, the Young Africans were joined on stage by the Stephenson High School gospel choir. The African Children’s Choir tours the world to raise awareness of the need of destitute and orphaned children in Africa and to raise funds for its various projects. In the past 29 years, the choir has raised funds to educate more than 50,000 children and has helped more than 100,000 children through various relief and education projects. Stone Mountain was the only Georgia stop for the Young Africans as the group tours the United States this year.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Once-a-week trash pick-up coming WEEK
Lithonia wrestling coach Patrick Ryan and the Lithonia varsity wrestling team pose with the first place trophy after winning the Last Man Standing Tournament Jan. 25. Photo provided by Patrick Ryan
Volunteers for Community Bucket help out at Medshare in Decatur on Martin Luther King Day. Photo by Anna Akpele
Construction of the Yates Campus facility of the Charles R. Drew Charter School’s Senior Academy is well under way in the East Lake area. Upon completion, it will serve 1,000 junior and senior academy students, bringing Drew’s total student population to almost 2,000 by the 2022-2023 school year. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
Chamblee Charter High School cheerleaders perform in the school’s new gym before the school’s ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 22. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
County establishes Vacant Property Registry
by Carla Parker email@example.com Many neighborhoods in DeKalb County are dealing with vacant homes that are bringing down the quality of the neighborhood. To address that issue DeKalb County has established a Vacant Property Registry Ordinance. The registry is designed to protect neighborhoods from the lack of adequate maintenance and security of vacant properties. In 2010, the county created a foreclosure registry to protect neighborhoods, but residents wanted something that would address vacant homes. “At the time we didn’t have a solution [for vacant homes] because there was no clear definition on what constitutes a vacancy,” said Tonza Clark, DeKalb’s foreclosure registry manager. “Last year the state legislator instituted a foreclosure/ vacancy ordinance and that allowed us to go back and address the vacant and abandoned properties.” County officials said improperly maintained and unsecured vacant properties can become a hazard to the health and safety to the public and negatively affect the aesthetic and economic attributes of communities. Clark said it is often difficult to locate the person responsible for maintenance of vacant properties. “We’re seeing a definite shift in the housing market from that of a homeownership market to a rental environment,” she said. “We’re seeing investors purchase properties in bulk. The issue we’re now facing is the investors are holding the properties. They’re not in DeKalb County; they’re not in Georgia; and some of them are not even in the United States.” Approved by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in November 2013, the Vacant Property Registry will be used to comprehensively address those issues and help identify the owners of the vacant properties. In the ordinance, a property is classified as vacant based on the lack of utility usage. “If the house has no utility usage—water bill, gas bill or electricity within 60 days— that property can be classified as vacant,” Clark said.
The new Vacant Property Registry was designed to protect neighborhoods from the lack of adequate maintenance and security of vacant properties, such as the one pictured above. File photo
Owners of vacant properties will be required to register the property within 90 days of vacancy, designate a local property agent, report changes in contact information and pay a $100 fee. If property owners fail to comply with the ordinance, the case will go to DeKalb County Recorder’s Court and owners may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 per violation. Vacant property owners must designate a local property agent to ensure
security and maintenance of the property. Owners must comply with county code enforcement orders and provide a trespass authorization upon request of an enforcement officer. Owners must also conduct inspections of the property, accept rental payments from tenants if no management company is otherwise employed and serve as an agent authorized to receive code enforcement citations and notices. Clark said the goal of her
department is to address the needs of the community. “When we get phone calls and we go out on cases every day and we see the quality of neighborhoods going down,” she said. “It’s going to take resources that the county may or may not have to really turn the neighborhood around. But the thing we’re trying to do is develop partnerships and work more closely with the residents in the community, provide more resources and be more transparent.”
Dunwoody recognized for sustainable policies and practices
Dunwoody earned gold level certification from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Green Communities Program for the city’s outstanding sustainable efforts and activities. The regional recognition demonstrates Dunwoody’s commitment and resolve to sustainable practices ranging from energy efficiency and green building to transportation and water efficiency, according to ARC’s. A previous recipient of the silver level certification in 2011, Dunwoody earned the gold level green community certification after implementing sustainable policies and practices, which carry a greater reach and overall impact. The ARC’s Green Communities Program, developed as a way to assist local governments in reducing their overall environmental impact, is a voluntary certification program for jurisdictions in the 10-county Atlanta Region to encourage local governments to become more sustainable. ARC’s Green Communities program is the first program in the country that seeks to transform a region by promoting sustainability through a “green” certification program for local governments. “By earning gold level certification, Dunwoody leads the way to creating a more sustainable region by reducing our overall environmental footprint,” said Dunwoody Mayor Michael G. Davis. “This distinguished acknowledgment reiterates the city’s dedication to being a meaningful place to live and conduct business, which also promotes a greater quality of life for all.” The Green Communities certification is based on how well local governments implement and carry out sustainable practices and policies across 10 categories: green building, energy efficiency, green power, water use reduction and efficiency, trees and greenspace, transportation, recycling and waste reduction, and land use: education and innovation. Depending on the level of difficulty and overall impact, local governments can earn points to receive one of three certification levels–bronze, silver or gold. “The ARC is pleased to recognize the city of Dunwoody as one of its leading green communities,” said
ARC Chairman Kerry Armstrong. “Dunwoody is one of many cities in the region focused on sustainability from an economic, social and environmental perspective.”
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THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Supporters of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis pray with him before joining him in a courtroom for a hearing in his case. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Ellis Continued From Page 1A
employees were involved. During the course of the investigation James said he received multiple allegations about possible criminal activity by Ellis. The district attorney said that those allegations, coupled with false statements by Ellis during an appearance before a special purpose grand jury, led him to “take a more serious approach to this Burrell Ellis thing. “So I just did my job,” James said, adding that he had “reason to believe [Ellis] was committing crimes.” Gillen said some of James’ senior staff members “expressed concerns about the potential abuse of using the special purpose grand jury, which was civil in nature, to investigate a criminal matter that was outside the focus of the authorization by the court.” Ellis’ defense attorneys said they could prove that James violated the law by video recording Ellis’ private meetings and phone calls. Ellis attorneys also said Don Geary, a former assistant DA under James, was upset when he believed that James committed two state felonies when recording Ellis without a court order. James said no one ever told him he had committed felonies. “Don Geary was my chief trial assistant. Don never told me I was committing a felony,” James said. “In fact, no one has ever told me in my 14-year career as a prosecutor and as a lawyer that I was committing a felony.” In his testimony, James said he had concerns about Geary’ veracity and took actions against him. James said that leaks to the media about various investigations ended when Geary resigned at the end of 2012. When questioned by Ellis’ defense team about the existence of several videotapes—recorded by county purchasing director Kelvin Walton acting as a confidential informant for the DA’s Office, James said, “To my knowledge, we have one videotape. If there’s more than one videotape, I’d love to know because I would like to use them in my case.” James said there are several audiotapes with the CEO shaking down vendors. When asked by the state whether he had ever targeted an individual out of political animosity, James said, “When you indict somebody, when you charge somebody with a crime, in some ways you ruin their life. You put them out in front of everybody. It affects them, it affects their family, it affects their children, it affects their best friends and I am well aware of that.” His office only charges someone when there is evidence that person committed a crime, James said. On the second day of the hearing, Ellis attorneys tried to get the indictment thrown out by arguing that the county CEO is a peace officer and as such, Ellis should have been given a 15-day notice before being indicted. His attorneys also told the judge that Ellis should have been allowed to speak to the grand jury before being indicted. A judge is expected to hear the next motions in the case in March.
Tenderloin beef and egg to fu is one of 10 courses served family style at a NACA banquet.
Fried rice adds a colorful touch at the NACA banquet.
New Year Continued From Page 1A
local political leaders, including Congressman Hank Johnson and DeKalb County interim CEO Lee May. “This county’s diversity is among its great strengths,” May said. “And we take pleasure in celebrating it this evening.” The evening featured auctions, entertainment and a 10-course meal served family-style at each table. “It’s a wonderful event,” remarked community leader Charlene Fang. “Those who come once always want to come back.” The 2014 Atlanta Chinese New Year Festival Planning Committee has more in store for the community as its annual New Year Festival returns Feb. 1 and 2 at the Culture Center of Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Atlanta, 5377 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee. Scheduled for the two-day event are free entertainment, including a lion dance, a dragon dance, folk songs and dances, arts and crafts exhibitions and authentic Chinese New Year food and gifts available to purchase. The festival will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.
REDUCE • REUSE • RECYCLE • REDUCE• REUSE
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
From left, DeKalb County school board member Karen Carter, DeKalb School Superintendent Mike Thurmond and Chamblee Charter High School Principal Rochelle Lowery cut the ceremonial ribbon for the school’s new building. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Leaders celebrate new Chamblee Charter High building
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com DeKalb school Superintendent Mike Thurmond called the new Chamblee Charter High School building “an educational jewel for DeKalb County.” “It’s a wonderful facility—state of the art,” Thurmond said after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school Jan. 22. Thurmond said the new building is “evidence that we support high academic achievement as a district…and it’s a major step forward in terms of what we’re doing through capital construction throughout the district. “It prepares the students and teachers and administrators who will work here for the 21st century,” he said. “This is one of the highest performing high schools in the state, if not the nation. And now we have a facility equal to the performance that’s already taking place.” Chamblee Charter High has a new academic building, gymnasium and natatorium as part of the first phase of the construction. An auditorium and athletic fields are also planned for Chamblee. The construction is one of the projects funded by the school district’s taxpayer-approved $500 million school building program. “By the time the construction project is finished it will be a completely new building,” said Rochelle Lowery, Chamblee Charter’s principal. Lowery said it is an “awesome feeling” to have the building phase completed. “Everyone is in love with the building,” Lowery said. “It’s just a breath of fresh air. We just love it.” Dr. Karen Carter, a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education, said, “With a capacity to serve more than 1,600 students, this school represents the best of the best in our district. “It provides for us a model of what every child in the DeKalb County should have the opportunity to experience—academic classrooms that are highly equipped and technologically excellent as well as the other learning tools that we need to be whole and well-rounded people,” Carter said. With its “elegant open hallways, topnotch athletic facilities,…spacious classrooms and even a new facility for broadcast media,” Chamblee Charter High is “an impressively crafted complex in which our community can take great pride,” said school board member John Coleman. “But we expect an impressive building here at Chamblee Charter High because what’s happening inside Chamblee Charter is so impressive,” Coleman said. “These students and teachers have a building almost as impressive as the people and accomplishments housed within it.”
The first phase of Chamblee High’s construction is complete. An auditorium and new athletic fields are still to come as the old building is still being demolished.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Torah Day School celebrates School Choice Week
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Students at Torah Day School of Atlanta have been seeing yellow as the school celebrates National School Choice Week, Jan. 27-31. “We’re wearing yellow and doing things yellow because yellow stands for freedom and for the ability to be able to choose, which is what this country was founded on,” said Sydney Rubin-Lewis, the school’s student scholarship organization administrator. During the five-day celebration, students dressed in yellow T-shirts; wore yellow scarves; participated in an art and essay contest in which they were to show why they love their school; flew a yellow flag on the school’s flagpole; ate yellow foods including bananas, popcorn and scrambled eggs; hung yellow ribbons around the school. The school’s newsletter was even printed on yellow paper. National School Choice Week is an independent campaign designed to “raise public awareness of the need to provide parents with access to effective education environments for their children, from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling,” according to a statement from the campaign organizers. Rubin-Lewis said Torah Day has celebrated National School Choice Week since its inception in 2011. “This is not a new thing, but usually we just did the eighth graders going to the state Capitol steps,” she said. “This year we decided to do a whole week of activities and generate excitement, enthusiasm and education for the greater population.” School choice is important, Rubin-Lewis said, because “private schools cost more money in general than to send a kid to public school.” The government had $58 million for 2014 that they were handing out and people go through a student scholarship organization to give the money to the private school of their choice. Currently more than 70 percent of the school’s students receive tuition assistance through the Georgia State Tax Credit Program. Because of the quality of the education it provides, Torah Day School is a Blue Ribbon school, Rubin-Lewis said. “It costs money to educate kids at the top level. This way anybody can come to our school regardless of how much their parents make. “We do not need to worry about how much the children can bring in because the government is helping to subsidize this quality education,” Rubin-Lewis said. The school, located at 1985 Lavista Road Northeast, began in 1985. It currently has 352 students in grades kindergarten through eight. “We believe children have the right to have a religious education,” said Rabbi Joshua Einzig, head of the school. “This country was founded on the idea of freedom of religion. Being Jewish and orthodox, we take our study of religion very seriously. Our parents pay a lot of tuition and many of them wouldn’t be able to afford this school without having this school choice option.” In addition to the government funding, “the school itself gives out a lot of scholarships and financial aid,” Einzig said. “We subsidize ourselves a great number of our students. We don’t want anybody to not come to our school because of finances.”
Students at Torah Day School of Atlanta donned yellow shirts supporting National School Choice Week. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Consumers spend big bucks before the big game
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com The evening of Feb. 2 as football lovers across the nation settle in to watch the big game, fans will see the Broncos’ orange and the Seahawks’ blue, but retailers see green. The National Retail Federation (NRF) lists the Super Bowl among America’s top nine spending events. As an occasion that prompts Americans to spend money, the Super Bowl is ahead of both Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, according to NRF, and is almost neck-and neck with Father’s Day. With the purchase of big screen televisions, seating for the game-watching crowd and mountains of snacks, Americans spend more than $12 billion each year related to the annual event as more than 181 million fans gather in front of televisions in restaurants and bars, at home or at friends’ homes. “As football fans gear up for the most anticipated game of the season, retailers are making sure they have an ample assortment of accessories, décor, athletic apparel items and even new televisions,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. And, according to NRF’s Super Bowl Spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, those viewers will spend an average $68.27 on game day grub, athletic wear, decorations and televisions, which is a slight decrease from last year’s $68.54. “The Super Bowl is one of the most beloved events for sports fans, and those celebrating this year will look to make the most of the big day while also keeping in line with their budgets,” said Prosper’s Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. Results from this year’s NRF’s annual survey, released Jan. 27, indicate there will be no shortage of party-goers as the Broncos and the Seahawks take the field. The survey found this year nearly 39 million viewers plan to throw a party and approximately 62 million viewers plan to attend a party. Restaurants and bars will see their share of fans; the survey found 10 million fans will watch the game at a restaurant or a bar. According to the survey, more than three-quarters (77 percent) will purchase food and beverages, 8.1 percent will purchase team apparel or accessories, and 7.2 percent are planning on buying a new television to watch the game with friends and family. A number of DeKalb County retailers are ready to serve the partiers. For example, Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop in Tucker is offering logoed cupcakes, football cookies and football-shaped brownie pops sweeten up the party. Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, which has two DeKalb locations—the Perimeter Mall area and Emory Point—also has announced that it’s prepared to provide big game party food for any size group, including half pans of cheese, steak, grilled chicken and veggie quesadillas as well as party-size portions of chips and salsa, queso or guacamole. Those looking for snack ideas for their party guests can visit a Whole Foods Market such as the one on Briarcliff Road on Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, for demonstrations of recipes for the big game. From dips, burgers, brats and wings to shrimp, pizza and healthy-eating options, the market covers the spread.
Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop in Tucker is featuring Super Bowl inspired cookies and cupcakes for big game parties. Other local retailers such as Tin Lizzy’s Cantina and Whole Foods are making sure game-time snacks are plentiful. Sweet Dee’s photo by Kathy Mitchell. Other photos provided.
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
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 email@example.com by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Cash DeLoache, Tucker (swimming): The junior swimmer broke two of his own records in the DeKalb County Swim and Dive Championship Jan. 25. He broke his record of 52.52 seconds in the backstroke with a time of 51.48 and he broke his record of 50.90 seconds in the butterfly with a time of 50.35. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Raleigh Bentz, Lakeside (swimming): The freshman swimmer broke a 19-year record of 59.92 seconds in the backstroke with a time of 59.81 seconds.
The Paideia baseball program is entering the 2014 baseball season with a new coach, Millard Dawson, who has brought in unity and a new attitude to the program. Photo by Travis Hudgons
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org The Paideia 2013 baseball season was a season that lacked most of the good aspects that a baseball team should have if they want to win. “There was a lack of effort, lack of commitment in practice and overall team development,” said Paideia junior catcher John Micheal Boswell. “Last season lacked a lot of effort, unity and leadership within our seniors,” added junior pitcher John Mellen. Paideia finished the 2013 season with a 7-15 record and has had six losing seasons in the last nine seasons. To change the culture within the program, Paideia hired Millard Dawson to coach the Pythons. Although the team has not played a game yet, the players have already seen a major change in the program. “He’s done such a great job with putting us together as a team and making us a full unit,” Boswell said. “Now we’re connected, committed and ready to get after it. “We’ve already seen a whole new
New coach brings new attitude
level of work and unity and I think everyone is really ready to get out there and bring home a championship this year,” Mellen said. Dawson comes to Paideia after spending some time playing baseball in the minor league. He has a few years of coaching under his belt, which includes coaching the East Cobb Rockies travel baseball team. Dawson said he decided to come back to the high school level to teach young baseball players some of the intangibles he learned in the minor leagues. “I just want to help them and show them some of the things that will help them get to where I’ve been,” he said. Dawson said this year’s team is very “hungry and competitive” and has what it takes to get back to the state playoffs. “If we just take it one pitch at a time and one inning at a time I think everything will play out in our favor come tournament time,” Dawson said. With Boswell and Mellen as captains along with new senior leadership, the team is hoping that the new leadership, along with the experience, will help them get over that playoff hump. However, Dawson said he wants all the
players on the roster to step up and compete. “I’m looking for every single player across the board to help contribute,” Dawson said. “It’s going to take a full team to get where we want to get at the season.” With most of the players having experienced losing in the past two or three years, Dawson is also teaching the team how to deal with adversity as well maintaining a competitive drive. “I want them to learn to compete and be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation because that’s what it’s going to take to be competitive throughout the season because it’s a long season,” he said. “Baseball is a marathon not a sprint. As long as we can compete every single day and stay together and work together as a team everything will work out for us.” Boswell expressed the same sentiments as his coach. “As a team we’re going to play hard as we ever played before,” Boswell said. “I think the level of effort is new, we’re all committed, hungry and ready to get after it.”
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Tony Parker, UCLA (basketball): The sophomore forward from Miller Grove led the team in scoring with 22 points and added seven rebounds on the 91-74 win over Stanford Jan. 23. Parker is averaging 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Tahj Shamsid-Deen, Auburn (basketball): The freshman guard from Columbia scored 12 points in the 8667 loss to Arkansas Jan. 25. Shamsid-Deen is averaging 8.9 points per game. Tashi Thompson, Palm Beach State (basketball): The freshman forward from Miller Grove scored 33 points and added seven assists and five rebounds in the 83-57 win over Miami Dade Jan. 18.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Baseball players from DeKalb County’s high school and private school pose for pictures during media day at Tucker High School. Photos by Travis Hudgons
DeKalb baseball teams gearing up for 2014 season
by Carla Parker email@example.com The 2013 baseball season ended on a high note for DeKalb County high school baseball as Redan won its first state title. It was the first state baseball title for a DeKalb program since 2007 and Redan is hoping to repeat for second consecutive year. All DeKalb baseball programs, along with Decatur, Paideia and St. Pius, gathered at Tucker High School Jan. 23 for the 2014 media day; there were a lot of excitement and high expectations for the upcoming season. Although the Redan Raiders lost pitcher Brandon Baker, head coach Stephenson coach Marco Jackson (left), Columbia coach Steve Dennis, Dunwoody coach Chan English and Marvin Pruitt is confident Lakeside head coach Bill Newsome talk baseball during media day. in his returning players, advanced to the Class AAA This is a rebuilding year region champions also lost which include pitchers state semifinals last year but for Gilbert and his Golden all of its starting pitchers Corderius Dorsey and Darlost to Cartersville. Lions team and he is looking from last year’s team and ian Osby. Head Coach J. T. Gilbert for his players to step up this head coach Chan English is “We’re looking for a great hopes his team can get back year. expecting his younger playdeal of things from our reto the semifinals and go far“I lost all three of my ers to step up. turning players,” Pruitt said. ther. starting pitchers from last “We do have a great With seven consecu“Like any year, we want year’s team, ” Gilbert said. young class and there are tive appearances in the to get out the region and “We got the arms, they just some guys that played a lot state playoffs, the St. Pius make it to the state playneed to step up and prove of innings last year,” English Golden Lions are hoping offs and try to make a run, ” themselves this year. ” said. “If we had to start tothat this is the year they get Gilbert said. “That’s where Dunwoody is another day we’ll probably be lookover the hump and win the any baseball team wants to team that is in a rebuilding ing to start [junior] Kevin private catholic school its peak. ” year. The 2013 6-AAAAA Smith and [senior] Chanfirst baseball state title. They
dler Dinsmore as starting pitchers. We also have six younger guys that had a little bit of experience on varsity last year.” With Dunwoody in a rebuilding year, other teams in the region believe they have a chance to win the 6-AAAAA region title with more experience players on their roster. Southwest DeKalb has six seniors returning this season. With that many returning players, head coach Tyrus Taylor said his team is looking “very strong” this year. “We have a lot of pitching coming back,” he said. “It was good to have that chance to get to the region playoffs last year but I expect to go further this year. I really expect to finish in the top three of the region.” The M.L. King Lions also expect to compete for the 6-AAAAA region title. Head coach Richard Gaines said his pitching staff should be better this season with the experienced players on the staff. “We have players that played a lot when they were sophomores and now they have a year under their belts,” Gaines said. “So we’re looking to make some noise in the region.”
Pruitt, Taylor looking to reach milestone wins
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org The 2013 season was bittersweet for Redan head baseball coach Marvin Pruitt. His team won the Class AAAA state title; however, he had to watch the championship run from the stands and not his usual spot in the dugout due to health issues. Many thought Pruitt would retire now that he finally has a state championship. However, Pruitt decided to come back for his 35th season for a couple of reasons. “I miss being in the dugout most of the season last year and on a personal note I Redan baseball players show off their championship rings. Redan players, along with Southwest DeKalb am 12 games away from 500 players, will try to help their coaches reach milestone wins this season. Photo by Travis Hudgons career wins,” he said. “That’s a milestone I would like to Pruitt said it would mean a the length of time as well as concern, Pruitt plans to remeet.” “great deal” if he reaches his the great athlete I’ve had.” tire after the 2014 season. Pruitt, DeKalb’s win500th win. Some of those athletes Before he celebrates his ningest coach and a Georgia As far as our county include current MLB playretirement, he hopes to celDugout Hall of Fame memcoaches are concerned, no ers Brandon Phillips, ebrate his 500th win. ber, would become the first one has reached 500 wins,” Chris Nelson and Dominic Another baseball coach coach in any sport in DeKalb he said. “If I reach 500 wins Brown. that hopes to reach a mileCounty to reach 500 wins. you can contribute that to With his health still a stone win this season is
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
Southwest DeKalb head coach Tyrus Taylor, who is two wins away from his 100th win. Taylor has been coaching baseball for 13 years, all at Southwest DeKalb (four years as junior varsity coach and nine years as varsity coach). Taylor said it would be a blessing to reach that 100th win. “I would feel blessed just to have the opportunity to be coaching this long knowing coaching is not easy,” he said. “There is always a coaching carousel. Not many coaches stay at the same place for a long time. So to have 100 wins at the same place is very special.” Southwest DeKalb senior pitcher and outfielder Jason Davis said the team’s first goal is to win the first two games of the season to give their coach his 100th win. “We wanted to get it last year but couldn’t get it done,” he said. “We want to start the season off right. Coach ‘T’ has been there for us so we want to get that win for him.”
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