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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2014 • VOL. 16, NO. 46 • FREE




Left, A minivan was left in a ditch along Peachcrest Road where it slid during the recent snowstorm. Right, a block away, another vehicle was left overnight in the middle of the road. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

‘Unexpected’ snow paralyzes metro Atlanta
by Andrew Cauthen Thousands of metro Atlantans were caught off guard Jan. 28 when 2.6 inches of snow and ice fell, paralyzing the region for several days. Snow Jam 2014, as the storm is being called by many, resulted in hundreds of accidents and thousands of Georgians being stranded overnight in their cars, hotels or in the homes of benevolent strangers. Although the National Weather Service issued several watches and warnings before the first snowflake fell, Gov. Nathan Deal said two days after the storm, “As you know, we have been confronted with an unexpected storm that has hit the metropolitan area.”

DeKalb’s response

In DeKalb County, interim county CEO Lee May issued a state of emergency declaration Jan. 28. “DeKalb County has endured heavy sleet, freeing rain and snow,” May said in a statement. “Many of

See Snow on page 13A

Weaving new lives one strip of fabric at a time
by Gale Horton Gay Inc., said re:loom was started in 2009 as a means of creating employment Fred Brown was in desperate opportunities for homeless and lowneed of a job, and when opportunity income persons who can’t find work. came his way he jumped at it. Then he A $750,000 federal grant has kept the learned the work involved weaving. program running, funding the salaries “I didn’t know if I was going to last,” and benefits of nine weavers and one Brown said. supervisor. Not only has Brown held the posiThe first loom came from Agnes tion for almost two years, now he loves Scott College and had sat unused in it. a basement for 30 years. Once the “You get to pick your own stuff out, project got under way, other looms create something,” he said. were donated by people who wanted What Brown and eight others do to give the instruments a second life. is weave cloth and plastic into rugs, Now the project has 15 looms. And the placemats, bags, clutches, wine carriChattahoochee Hand Weavers Guild ers, IPad sleeves, bracelets, hammocks provided a weaving instructor to train and more. The merchandise is made the workers in how to use them. from discarded materials such as bolts Brown, 30, of Decatur, said it didn’t of fabric, used plastic bags and donated take him long to learn how to weave worn clothing. and that he most enjoys finishing a This transformation from recyclapiece, laying it out for inspection by his bles into handcrafted goods takes place co-workers and hearing their compliat the Weavers Warehouse, 1434 Scott ments. He said he also enjoys the inBoulevard in Decatur. But while the dependence and creativity of choosing goods may be impressive, the transfor- the materials and color combinations. mation of lives is the goal of re:loom. Donna Scott, 42, of Atlanta, has Lisa Wise, executive director of been working at the warehouse weavthe Initiative for Affordable Housing ing for a year. Although she had no

See re:loom on page 13A

re:loom was started five years ago to create jobs for homeless and low-income persons.






County moves forward with capital improvement projects
hopefully we’ll resolve those issues soon,” Saunders said. “We’ve been detailing the steps for this project all the way up to groundbreaking and beyond and I really feel good about how things have progressed on this project.” Other ongoing construction projects include the building of pump stations on North Shallowford and Tilly Mill roads, which Saunders said are almost complete, and the demolition and rebuilding of a water intake structure adjacent to the Chattahoochee River. All of these projects are in District 1 of the county. Saunders said he is also working with the county’s workforce development department to ensure that DeKalb County residents have an opportunity to participate on CIP projects. Additionally, Saunders said once the office of the CIP manager is established the county expects it to house a staff of approximately 70. The Snapfinger facility is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.



Commissioners fill last seat on ethics board
by Daniel Beauregard After debating nominees for several months, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners appointed Clara Black Delay as the last member to make up the six-member ethics board. Commissioner Elaine Boyer, chair of the Employee Relations and Community Services Committee, recommended Delay. “I will say that this has been a very interesting process and we have received very good nominees,” Boyer said. “However, I think there was one clear nominee that stood out. [Delay] gave a very impressive resume and she’s actually done [ethics] training and I think she would be a very good fit for the board of ethics.” Five commissioners voted in favor of Delay, with only Commissioner Kathie Gannon voting “no.” Since last year, appointments and funding for the ethics board has been a contentious issue after a special purpose grand jury recommended increased ethics oversight at the county level. At a recent local delegation meeting of the General Assembly, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver said she plans to propose a bill that may help deal with some of the difficulty of appointing members. Currently,

by Daniel Beauregard

working on county CIP projects, 23 percent of whom are DeKalb County residents. DeKalb County officials said At a Jan. 21 PWI meetits capital improvement plan ing, Saunders said the county (CIP) is progressing and expen- will begin the second phase of ditures show that the county is construction at the Snapfinger within the budget for the fiveWastewater Treatment Facility year program. in June, if everything goes as According to DeKalb County planned. Currently, he said, the Commissioner Stan Watson, county is finalizing up the scope chair of the Public Works and of each CIP project and will Infrastructure Committee place an request for proposal (PWI), the county has spent for CIP project managers in the approximately 6 percent of the next 45 days. $1.3 billion slated for the list of The construction of the projects. Snapfinger plant will cost ap“It seems that we’re comfort- proximately $250 million. It is ably within the budget that we the largest project of the 83 on assumed for the five-year prothe CIP list and possibly, Saungram,” said Ken Saunders, CIP ders said, the largest construcdirector. tion contract in the county’s Saunders said the 83 conhistory. struction projects listed in the The first phase of construcoriginal program, introduced in tion was halted when the county 2010, have remained the same ordered all work to stop on the with a few slight variations in project after allegation surfaced price estimates. about shoddy construction and Additionally, Saunders water contamination at the site. said the CIP program has creSaunders said much of the work ated 388 jobs/projects where in Phase I has been added to the contractors are working 100 Phase II construction list. percent of their time on a spe“We know that the work has cific county project. Saunders stopped there and that’s still in estimated there are 863 people [the] legal [department] and

See Board on page 8A



Commissioners elect presiding officer, deputy
by Daniel Beauregard

DeKalb school district honors snowstorm heroes
by Andrew Cauthen Several of the DeKalb County heroes of Snow Jam 2014 were recognized during the February 2014 DeKalb County school board meeting. “They represent the tens of thousands…of stakeholders, parents, community leaders…who came together in a very unique way to support, help and assist one another during this challenging time,” said DeKalb County School Superintendent Mike Thurmond. The school board recognized several Peachtree Charter Middle School personnel for their roles in staying with students who did not make it home Jan. 28 when nearly three inches of snow crippled metro Atlanta. Those honored from Peachtree Charter Middle School included Scott Heptinstall, principal; Joe Harris, campus supervisor; and teachers Scott Shrader, Anne Dirden, Nancy Bustamante, Lisa Magness, and Terry Shores. Also honored were bus drivers Lin-Sheng Lee and Mignon Cobb. Lee, a DeKalb school bus driver since 1994, became stuck with seven students in gridlocked traffic on I-285. Lee and the students were rescued by police near midnight and taken to the school district police precinct on Memorial Drive where they spent the night. Lee helped police take the students home the next morning. Cobb had two students on her bus and was waiting at the intersection of Clairmont Road and I-85 to transfer them to an Atlanta Public Schools bus that never arrived. Cobb stayed with the students until they were rescued by police. Thurmond said more buses were not stuck during the storm because the school district made an early morning decision to keep bus drivers near schools in case of inclement weather. Despite reports to the contrary, Thurmond said, “Every bus driver that waited will be compensated for their time.” Thurmond also recognized Dr. Cedric Alexander, the county’s deputy chief operating officer for public safety, for going “above and beyond the call of duty.” At approximately 10:30 p.m. Jan. 28, “we became aware that we had seven students marooned on [Interstate 285] and we had the students [stuck] at Peachtree Middle,” Thurmond said. Alexander “immediately directed two four-wheelers




The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners elected Commissioner Larry Johnson to serve as presiding officer of the board and Commissioner Stan Watson to serve as deputy presiding officer Jan. 28. Johnson said he looks forward to serving the residents of DeKalb County and continuing to move the board of commissioners in the right direction. “This county and the things that we face are bigger than these seven individuals. We’ve got bigger issues we need to talk about,” Johnson said. “We’ve got cityhood; we’ve got the budget in front of us and we’ve got the economic development plan we’re working on.” Commissioner Elaine Boyer said she supports anyone who was willing to step into the role of presiding officer. “It’s really a thankless job—there’s no extra money or prestige. If you’re willing to go to all the trouble to do it then I’m happy to support that. You’ve served in the past and I think you served with honor,” Boyer said of Johnson. Some commissioners were vocal in their opposition of Johnson however.

Commissioner Jeff Rader said he couldn’t support Johnson because of the lack of commitment to reestablish an independent audit committee. Rader said his decision wasn’t personal. “Ultimately, elections are about people’s platforms and what they say they’re going to do and you have to vote for someone who is going to fulfill your aspirations,” Rader said. “This is really about the platform and the agenda of the presiding officer and not particularly about the person who fills that role.” For reasons similar to Rader’s, Commissioner Kathie Gannon also stated she wouldn’t be voting in favor of Johnson. “I’m looking for opportunities in leadership that will reach out to all of DeKalb County, leading with openness and inclusivity so that our county can see opportunities for us to come together,” Gannon said. Johnson served as presiding officer in 2009 and was reelected to consecutive terms through 2012. He has been the District 3 commissioner since 2002. Commission Stan Watson was elected to District 7 in 2009, after 12 years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, where he chaired the local delegation.


See School on page 9A




Let it snow!
of life was extremely minimal, as were serious injuries, and the property damage from this storm is primarily banged up cars and trucks. However, given the gridlock on interstates, exit ramps and overpasses and thousands stranded in their cars, on school gymnasium floors or miles from home with their cars being abandoned, we in many ways truly dodged a bullet. And true to Southern form, the “kindness of strangers” and random acts of charity, assistance and support were truly inspirational, and for many restored their faith in humanity. Like you, I look forward to the recommendations of Gov. Deal’s 30-member task force, composed of government and business leaders as well as weather forecasters, to better prepare and plan for the next time. During the winter of 2000, Hartsfield Airport experienced a horrific winter storm. Flights were late being cancelled, and dozens of planes pulled away from their gates fully loaded, only to sit on the tarmac for as many as 12 hours. Restrooms filled with waste, food and water supplies were exhausted— It was in many cases the next day when the planes returned to the jet way and unloaded weary, thirsty and uncomfortable passengers. The anger was palpable. Within a month, urged by Delta Airlines and then Aviation Commissioner Ben DeCosta the airport began a process to develop a standard operating procedures manual for dealing with inclement weather and particularly winter storms, and the inconvenienced passengers received refunds. And you haven’t seen overlapping jurisdictions until you begin to review the roles and sometimes conflicting authorities and responsibilities that exist among the FAA, TSA, Immigration, air carriers, the airport, gate agents and even the National Weather Service. And since that year, and that storm of 2000, there have been multiple blasts of winter, including the Snow Jam of 2011 and Snowmageddon, which grounded and/or cancelled hundreds of flights—but no more planes stranded on the tarmac filled with passengers and overflowing waste. There is a manual and a process, and somebody wrote down an action plan, which now gets followed. Gov. Deal was just being inaugurated during Snow Jam 2011, so he gets a pass for that storm—of sorts. Snowmageddon is the “fool me once, shame on you.” Another mishandled winter storm becomes “fool me twice, shame on me.” When you admit mistakes, apologize, and seek a defined and corrective path, Georgia voters have demonstrated, time and again, that they can be forgiving. But three strikes is out, and suddenly those re-election chances start to look a bit more like that melting snowball in hell. Plan well and execute, sir, plan well and execute. Let it snow.   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 

“Sorry for the delay, dealing with this winter weather ‘thing’ …. schools closed in Savannah due to freezing rain?? a rare occurrence. Will be all better by Thursday.”—from an 11 a.m. email on Tuesday, Jan. 28, from GEMA Executive Director Charley English to local officials in west Georgia. I’m a native Atlantan. I still smile when I see snow, as it is such a relative rarity. I spent the week prior to Snowmageddon 2014 in New York City while Manhattan suffered a sizable winter storm and an overnight accumulation of 1014 inches, depending on where you were in the city, outer boroughs or over in New Jersey. New NYC Mayor Michael De Blasio had the first real test of his administration, and passed it with flying colors. But for New York, Chicago, Boston and dozens of other cities across the Northeast, Midwest and Rust Belt, their snow response teams are a cost of doing business in those high-cost, low-temperature states. There is no question that mistakes were made here in the preparation, communication, logistics and response to the rapidly unfolding winter storm which swept in mid-morning on Tuesday, Jan. 28, but there is an adage as it relates to weather in metro Atlanta—just call Anniston and Birmingham, and pretty much whatever they’ve got, we will have in about two hours. Clearly, it was in many ways a perfect storm, with an imperfect and interconnected logistical cluster on the response side. My personal favorite nickname for this storm is “Cluster Flake.” And just as clearly, after being made a national laughing stock on the news and late night TV, and being beaten, bloodied and challenged repeatedly by the local media, our Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Gov. Nathan Deal and many a local area school superintendent all “get” that they are not receiving a “passing grade” for this test. Loss




Slavery story changes when told from slave’s point of view
Kathy Mitchell

I started Black History Month this year by watching the movie 12 Years A Slave. If you haven’t seen it and plan to, be warned—it’s intense. I actually heard a woman in the theater sobbing out loud as the film was shown. Coincidentally, the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind was on television that same weekend. The contrast between depictions of slavery is marked. The loyal, content, happygo-lucky—sometimes even sassy— slaves of Gone With the Wind and other movies of its timeframe were

nowhere to be found in 12 Years A Slave. The difference, in addition to the fact that in the 75 years between the two movies the overall culture has become more sensitive to depictions of minority group members, is point of view. Gone With the Wind is told from the Southern plantation owners’ point of view while 12 Years A Slave is told from a slave’s point of view. With the shift in point of view, movie audiences see slaves who sometimes pretend as a survival technique to be loyal and happy but in fact are fearfully scheming to change their situations. One depiction of slavery in an old (pre-1960s) movie that stands out in my mind as a departure from the usual is the 1947 movie The Foxes of Harrow. I read the book before I saw the movie on television. There was an incident in the book

that I was frankly surprised movie makers kept in their rendition. A slave woman gives birth to a boy she vows will never be a slave; she decides to drown him instead, screaming, “My baby’s not a slave. My son is a prince. My son is a warrior. He’s not a slave!” In the movie as in the book the master and the baby’s slave father rescue the infant, but the mother drowns. The Foxes of Harrow, while told from a slave owner’s point of view, was based on a novel by Black author Frank Yerby, which perhaps explains why slaves in that movie aren’t the two-dimensional stereotypes found in so many pre-1960s movies. What I love about 12 Years A Slave is that it shows slavery as a complex institution—populated with complex people, slaves and masters. The movie doesn’t show

mean slave owners and kind ones. It shows slave owners who could at a point show some kindness then, because of a change in circumstances or mood, commit acts that—certainly from the slave’s perspective— are harsh and terrifying. Slaves in 12 Years A Slave make a variety of choices—from becoming the master’s lover to pretending to be far less intelligent than they are—to stay alive and receive as little pain as possible. Every choice a slave makes is a risky choice as his or her life is always in the hands of people to whom he or she is ultimately an economic asset. History is probably never dramatized with 100 percent accuracy. Perspective always plays a part, but when all perspectives are allowed to be part of the conversation, perhaps we get closer to the truth.

Letter to the Editor

DeKalb School Accreditation: The Right Thing, the Wrong Way
Does the end justify the means? When the living is easy, the answer is always “yes.” When things are going south, however, we ponder how we didn’t see the warning signs. This is not one of those times. These days, we celebrate the accomplishments of the DeKalb County School System. Believe me, there is nothing better for our children and the greater community than to have the SACS school accreditation threat lifted from our shoulders, at least for now. The school superintendent has done a yeoman’s job, with the appointed school board members, good and competent people all, finishing the job properly. Indeed, it was a job well done. The trouble is how it was done. SACS made an arbitrary decision which had the cascading effect of usurping the will of the electorate, one of the most revered privileges in our constitution and sacrosanct principles of the Civil Rights Movement that many of our forefathers died for. Without the standards of due process, reasonable doubt or even the Open Records Act to constrain them, SACS’ allegations and subsequent retribution of probation went unchallenged. This led Gov. Deal, no stranger to hijacking the will of the democratic voters, to bend another law. Not that it was constitutional to begin with, but he removed myself and five other board members. Circumstances notwithstanding, his choice under the law was all or none. The State Constitution, Article 8, section 5 reads, “Each school system shall be under the management and control of a board of education, the members of which shall be elected as provided by law.” As it pertains to appointed members of the school board, it says, “Members of such appointed board until Dec. 31, 1993, on which date the terms of office of all appointed members shall end.” As we know, the state supreme court ignored this. Meanwhile, the governor had to break the law which he used to remove a partial board, and in doing so he scored the winning goal: SACS backed away nicely, praising School Superintendent Michael Thurmond all the way. The appointed school board didn’t have anything to do with that choice; Thurmond was the guy the elected board hired. The people rejoiced and the governor shored up his re-election bid in the process. With the chorus of accolades still in the air, has anyone noticed that the promises of transparency with SACS complying with the Open Records Act are still unkept? One of the things we teach our children is that it is not whether we win or lose, but it is how we play the game. We should do the right thing the right way. While there is victory in the air for the DeKalb school district and all of its top managers, the community and even Gov. Nathan Deal, I submit to you that the rulebook has been tossed aside. This becomes a problem the next time our state constitution is circumvented, or the next time the folks under the gold dome want to expand their reach into local government. –Gene Walker

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Champion of the Week

County to rebuild fire station, mayor chides commissioners
by Daniel Beauregard Avondale Estates Mayor Ed Rieker said he thinks the reason it has taken so long to replace a fire station in disrepair which is located in unincorporated DeKalb County may have been political. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recently voted to approve the use of approximately $1.9 million in federal funds it has received to demolish Fire Station #3 and build a new one. The fire station, located off North Clarendon Avenue, provides service to residents of the county and Avondale Estates. Rieker said the station has needed repairs for years. “It’s a rotted out building with asbestos in it and the roof caving in,” Rieker said. “The females there don’t have their own restroom and the [firefighters] live and work there.” According to county officials, the station serves approximately 80 percent unincorporated DeKalb County residents and 20 percent Avondale Estates residents. Rieker said the city pays an estimated $1.3 million a year in taxes to DeKalb County. Rieker said he believes the repeated deferrals have been political because the county wants Avondale Estates to buy the property but Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said that isn’t true. “The question that I asked is whether we could have an intergovernmental agreement so if the law changes and allows the present cities to acquire county property at a deep discount, we could require them to pay market value,” Sutton said. “I don’t understand—if the opportunity ever came up—why [Avondale Estates] wouldn’t agree to pay fair-market value for the property. You’d have to question the integrity of the leadership if they chose to do that,” Sutton said. “There was never any need to start the nasty rhetoric. You’d think at some point in this county we’d stop doing that. You can blog it all you want.” However, Rieker said the answer is simple: the city doesn’t want to enter into any agreement with the county because it already pays county taxes. “We’re all in the county and I think this city versus county thing is being pushed too far; we all are county taxpayers and are represented by our commissioners,” Rieker said. Sutton is the district commissioner who serves Avondale Estates. “They’ve approved it but I’m not sure that is making anything happen,” Rieker said. Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who voted in favor of the station, said the new station has been under discussion since she became a commissioner.

DeKalb County commissioners recently voted in favor of demolishing and rebuilding an old fire station located in unincorporated DeKalb County. The fire station borders the city of Avondale Estates and approximately 20 percent of those serviced by the station live in Avondale Estates. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

For 18 years, Betty Johnston volunteered at Rockdale Hospital in Conyers. When her daughter and son-in-law decided that her Conyers home was too much for her to maintain alone, they moved her into their Decatur home. Then Johnston began volunteering in DeKalb Medical’s cancer center where she greets people as they come in, answers phones and makes packets for the breast cancer center. A volunteer there since 2006, she also puts together the newsletter for the DeKalb Medical Auxiliary and is on the organization’s board of directors. “Betty is a joy to be around and her enthusiasm and positive attitude is contagious to those around her,” said Leigh Minter, executive director of the DeKalb Medical Foundation and Volunteer Services. “When you’ve been there for quite a while like I have, you kind of bond with the patients,” Johnston said. “You’d be surprised at DeKalb Medical when these people come in and they’re sad looking and you greet them with a smile—you’d be surprised how it brightens them up.” Johnston also volunteers in the VA Hospital’s Eagles’ Nest, a nursing home for veterans, where she goes to “visit, listen, play cards—just be there.” “Some of them want you just to be there,” Johnston said. “They just like to have people come in and say ‘hello.’ A lot

of them in the nursing home part don’t have any close relatives. We have a lot of fun. We have a lot of laughs.” Before retiring, Johnston worked for 34 years in a drug wholesale house in Louisville, Ky. When she retired she had been the manager of the data processing department for 25 years. “All of those years that I was working, I always made a promise to myself that when the time came and I retired, I was going to give back,” said Johnston, a member of Clairmont Presbyterian Church where she is secretary for the seniors’ Sunday School class. “I spend all my time doing things,” Johnston said. “Like here in the neighborhood, I’ve got a neighbor…next door. She loves to have me come over and visit her. She can’t get around as [well] as I can. “Life has been good to me,” Johnston said.

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







Morris Brown women to hold scholarship luncheon The Women for Morris Brown College Inc. will hold the organization’s 33rd annual scholarship luncheon, honoring founder Helen Kilpatrick Threatt. The event will be Saturday, March 8, at St. Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road, SE, Atlanta, beginning at noon. This year’s luncheon will be hosted by Miranda Mack McKenzie of the Morris Brown class of ‘77 and current UNCF Southeast regional recruitment director. Tickets are $65; a table of 10 guests is $650. Contributions are tax deductible. For more information on tickets, in-kind donations and sponsorships, visit www. or call Willene White-Smith at (404) 243-8081. Author, sports lawyer to speak on the marketing of Super Bowl Sports law specialist Kenneth Shropshire will give a lecture on the marketing of the Super Bowl on Friday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. in the Robert W. Woodruff Library’s Jones Room on the Emory University campus. The event, which follows Super Bowl weekend, is free and open to the public. Shropshire’s lecture, “The Great Sports Spectacle: Marketing the Super Bowl,” is part of Emory’s “Race and Sports in American Culture Series.” The annual series explores race and sports in American culture through the lens of history, sociology, politics, medicine, business, marketing and other fields, and seeks to foster interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration.  It also encourages research on the topic of race and sports through the African Americans in Sports collection held by Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. The 2013-14 series focuses on professional football. Shropshire will discuss the Super Bowl, the sports business in general, and the role of race in the sports business in particular. A sports law attorney, Shropshire is a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and the author of the 1996 book In Black and White: Race and Sports in America. The Robert W. Woodruff Library is located at 540 Asbury Circle in Atlanta. Parking is available in the Fishburne deck.

Library to host cupcake decoration session Sari McIntyre of Sari’s Flair will host a Valentine cupcake decorating class for teens ages 13 ‒ 17 Feb. 10 at the Brookhaven Library, 4:30‒6 p.m. The class is to open to the first 15 participants. To register, call (404) 848-7140. Funding is provided by the Friends of the Brookhaven Library. The library is located at 1242 N. Druid Hills Road.

New date announced for South DeKalb business breakfast The 2014 Annual South DeKalb Business Association (SDBA) Scholarship/Appreciation Breakfast, originally scheduled for Jan. 30, was rescheduled because of inclement weather. The new date is Friday, Feb. 7. The event will be 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Conference Center, 495 North Indian Creek Road, Clarkston. “The scholarships are an awesome aspect of this breakfast because we are making a difference in the lives of young students who are moving in the right direction,” said LoyLeneJefferson-Shaw, president of the SDBA. “These students will also get an opportunity to meet large/small business owners, DeKalb commissioners, and other government entities.” The keynote speaker is Alisha Morgan Thomas and television and radio host Reggie Gay will be the master of ceremonies. For tickets or more information, email Clarkston Festival receives $9,000

The Clarkston Festival Committee received a six-month grant for $9,000 from the Community FoundaPorter Sanford center to host section of Greater Atlanta’s Neighborond annual Race for the Arts hood Fund. The Clarkston Festival, which will Runners, walkers and those who be held April 26, is focused on eduwant to support the arts can particicating, celebrating and appreciating pate in the second annual Race for the diversity of Clarkston. The grant the Arts 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, includes $5,000 to support the festival March 29, 8-10 a.m. The race will and $4,000 in community coachbegin at the Porter Sanford III Pering for the committee.                                                          forming & Community Center, 3181 The Clarkston Festival Committee Rainbow Drive, Decatur. was formed in 2012 in response to Registration is under way until an expressed interest throughout the March 27 and the fee to participate community for residents, neighbors, is $25 per person or $20 per person and stakeholders to come together for for a group of five or more. Event-day a common festival. registrations will be accepted along “The first thought of a festival with cash or a money order payable came through a community conto the Porter Sanford III Performing versation with the youth,” said Kim Arts & Community Center. Ault, a lead committee member. “The

This month, Decatur Active Living and Decatur Visitors Center teamed up again with local restaurants for the Eat Well Indie-catur Campaign. Restaurant goers can visit a participating restaurant any day during February, choose one of their featured healthy entrees and get their “Eat Well Indie-catur” card signed. Cards will be available at participating locations and at the Decatur Visitors Center. Those who participate three times will earn a recipe book featuring Author to discuss book on longtime some of Decatur restaurants’ healthiest recipes. Recipes will be available women pals at the Decatur Visitor’s Center, 113 Clairemont Avenue. Participating resAuthor Edward Kelsey Moore taurants includes Victory, 246, Chai will be at the Decatur Library Monday, Feb. 10, 7:15-9 p.m. to discuss his Pani, Twain’s, Parkers on Ponce, Corner Pub, Colbeh, Cakes and Ale and book The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat. The library describes Moore Sapori di Napoli. For more informaas “an admitted eavesdropper from a tion, visit www.VisitDecaturGeorgia. com or call (678) 553-6541. young age” and notes that he also is an accomplished cellist who resides Commissioners to hold county budin Chicago. get town hall session “Earl’s All You Can Eat Diner is home away from home for the inResidents will have an opportunity separable trio of Odette, Clarice and to discuss the 2014 DeKalb County Barbara Jean. Dubbed ‘the Supremes’ budget with county Commissioners by high school pals in the tumultuKathie Gannon and Jeff Rader durous 1960s, they weather life’s storms ing an upcoming town hall session. together for the next four decades. The event will be Monday, Feb. Through marriage, children, hap10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Avis G Williams piness and the blues, these strong, Library, 1282 McConnell Drive, Defunny women gather each Sunday at catur. the same table at Earl’s Diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears and uproarious banter,” states an announcement from the library. The Decatur Library is located at Sorority to present Heart Month 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more event information, call (404) 370-3070.

youth were from all over the community. They talked about the festival as a way to create a positive alternative to gang violence and fight bullying. They wanted to highlight their cultures and increase understanding.” Angela Moore, another committee member, said, “The grant will help the committee to produce an effective and successful festival. Festival plans include a variety of activities for all ages, live culturally diverse entertainment, storytelling, a children’s corner with pony rides, henna demonstrations, a dunking booth, food, arts and crafts, a soccer exhibition and so much more.”    The festival will be April 26 at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf and will include a 5K race.

In addition to the race, the event will include free food, beverages, health screenings, music and gifts for each registered participant. For more information, call David Manuel, executive director, at (404) 687-2737. City’s Eat Well Indie-catur campaign returns



The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Chi Tau Omega chapter, will present Pink Goes Red on the Runway—the Heart Is A Serious Matter on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2-3:30 p.m. at the Mall at Stonecrest. The event will include free blood pressure screenings, door prizes, and a fashion show featuring items from Macy’s, Phoebe’s Boutique and Caché. Donations of canned goods will be accepted. Lisa Rayam of Fox 5 News will be the guest commentator. The Mall at Stonecrest is located at 2929 Turner Hill Road, Lithonia. For more information, visit


Labor commissioner talks about wages, unemployment
by Daniel Beauregard and his decision advocated for seasonal employees. “The whole reason for doing this—one Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark of the things I ran on three years ago—was Butler faced tough questions about the state to go after fraud and abuse…this all came of the workforce in DeKalb County and about because we found out there were busithroughout Georgia at a Feb. 1 community nesses that were abusing the unemployment meeting hosted by Commissioner Stan Wat- system,” Butler said. son. Butler said some companies, such as the Butler, who said the economy in the ones that hire seasonal workers in school state and DeKalb County is on an uptick, cafeterias, were knowingly defrauding the was questioned by residents as to whether state’s unemployment system. The compahe supports increasing the state’s minimum nies, Butler said, would encourage employwage. ees to seek unemployment benefits during “I think you need to pay workers what the off-season so other companies would they’re worth,” Butler said. “Minimum wage have to pick up their bill. Eventually, bejobs are not meant to support families; cause of laying off so many employees each they’re not.” year, Butler said, the companies would reach Raising the minimum wage, Butler said, the highest tax rate. would be a “one-size-fits-all” solution to ar“Then what happens is they know what eas of the state that were facing completely their bottom line is going to be,” Butler said. different problems. “One company was paying $300,000 in taxes “I do not support raising minimum and we were paying out every year $1.2 milwage…raising the minimum wage will still lion in benefits because they were using this result in having some winners, and some practice; and you know who has to [cover losers,” Butler said. “Atlanta is not the same that]? The other companies who are not layas Moultrie; it’s not the same as Tifton.” ing people off all the time.” Additionally, Butler was chided on his The decision to not reinstate unemploydecision to not reinstate jobless benefits ment benefits for seasonal workers, Butler for seasonally unemployed workers such as said, was one to stop fraud and abuse and some teachers, school bus drivers and cafencourage other businesses to pay their emeteria workers. Butler argued that his posiployees a reasonable salary year-round. tion had been misrepresented in the media



Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler spoke to DeKalb County officials and residents at Commissioner Stan Watson’s Community Cabinet Breakfast Feb. 1. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

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only the board of commissioners and the CEO are allowed to present nominations. “This proposal suggests that the other constitutional officers of DeKalb County—the tax commissioner, probate court chair and others, would also have appointments and you all would share those appointments with other elected officials,” Oliver said. Oliver said the bill is just a draft but will be published within the next few weeks. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, deputy chief presiding officer of the board of commissioners, agreed with Oliver that the bill might be a good idea. “We have appointed six members already and we’re trying to make sure that we limit that problem to make sure that we don’t have political operatives on the ethics board,” Sutton said. Commissioner Jeff Rader, an outspoken proponent of the ethics board and the county’s hiring of an internal auditor, said the board “suffered under a great lack of resources and attention.” Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May has designated $118,000 to fund the ethics board in the county’s 2014 budget. Previously, the budget was $15,000. Additionally, May said he is transferring three positions to the board of commissioners to begin the process of developing an internal audit department. “The county’s recent ethics controversies, while painful and embarrassing, give us the opportunity to build more transparency into our county government and to create meaningful changes in our ethics policies,” May said. During his ‘State of the County’ speech, May said trust in government is dependent upon officials placing the public’s interests ahead of their own. May said he is also appointing a “blue-ribbon” commission to do a comprehensive review of the county’s ethics policies. However, the budget is far from being finalized and what May has proposed might not be what ends up in the budget, as commissioners have input in the process. The grand jury report that called for stronger county ethics policies also detailed years of alleged corruption spanning several administrations.

Imani Davis and her mother Dacia Davis.

Champion student: Imani Davis
“She serves as the captain of the cheerleading squad and in this leadership role she motivates her squad … she encourages them to be leaders and role models in the school.” That’s how DeKalb County school Superintendent Mike Thurmond described 13-year-old student Imani Davis. Imani is an eighth-grader at Lithonia Middle School where she is a straight A student and a member of the math team. She served as a student representative on the school board on the evening of Feb. 3. “It helped me understand a lot about DeKalb County School District,” she said, “and the things that are going to improve the quality of education.” Imani’s dream job is to become a dean of a major university or college. –Caleb Wade


Decatur police working to curb robberies in 2014
by Carla Parker If one goes by news reports online, it may seem that Decatur did not have a good 2013 in regards to public safety. However, Decatur Police Chief Mike Booker said that is not the case. “I think we had a successful year,” Booker said. “I think a lot of times in law enforcement, people measure you by [Uniform Crime Reporting] clearances sometimes and that’s what the FBI monitors. But there are a lot of other things that go into law enforcement besides that.” According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting numbers, Decatur just had three more robberies (28) in 2013 than it had in 2012. However, there were 35 more burglaries in 2013 (127) than in 2012. Overall, the city had 38 more overall crimes (818) in 2013 than in 2012. That number is still smaller than the 1,181 crimes that took place in 2000. “For us, the size of the city and the numbers that we have–sometimes we can have three more of one thing and it makes it looks like we had a gigantic increase when really the numbers are very small in comparison to some other places,” Booker said. Booker said the department attributes some of robberies to the snatching of iPhones. There were a number of cases where criminals, specifically teenagers, were stealing iPhones from people around the business district of the city during summer. “We had a rash of that last year and it kind of came “If any positive came out of the perfect storm this summer is that we have people that want more information and know that what they see and how they call things helps us,” Ross added. The department put a number of measures in place last year to get the community involved to help put a stop to crime. Some of those measures include appointing Citizens Assisting Public Safety volunteers, hosting a “street smart” seminar and a self-protection workshop for residents. The department also got license plate readers through a grant. “It’s an automatic camera that is mounted into the patrol cars and it scans the tag,” Ross said. “We’ve recovered stolen cars with the scanner.” Ross said the department is in the planning stages of putting together a workshop for residents on what they can do to make it harder for homes to be broken into. Booker said he wants Decatur residents to know that the police department has an interest in their safety and is doing all it can to combat crime. “We have their best interest at heart,” he said. “We do a lot of things internally as far as policing to build their trust so that they understand what kind of police department they have. We are truly service-oriented.”



The Decatur Police Department is working with other agencies and Decatur residents to minimize the number of robberies and burglaries in the city.

in spurts and that caused an increase in some of our crime,” Booker said. After the rash in robbery and burglary crimes, Decatur officials noticed that similar crimes were happening elsewhere in DeKalb County and Atlanta. The three agencies began working together and sharing information to put a stop to the crimes. “Zone 6 Atlanta and South precinct DeKalb began having a burst in burglaries and robberies and we’re getting the spill overs,” said Sgt. Jennifer Ross, the department’s community information and education officer. “It’s rare when we catch a burglar that they’re from Decatur. What we find is that they are from DeKalb or somewhere else and find their way to our city.” Booker said he believes Decatur has been specifically targeted by criminal that was the case. “Some of the folks that

we’ve interviewed that we had in custody would tell us that ‘you all have nice things to steal,’ or ‘it’s easy for us to come in here and do it,’” Booker said. The police department also noticed that the juveniles that were committing the crimes were not being held long in juvenile detention. “Some of the folks are getting right back out there to what they were doing and would come back in the area,” Booker said. “The juvenile justice system is geared toward not incarcerating kids because they don’t want them to become prisoners of the system but it’s not clicking for some of these kids,” Ross added. To help spread the word to residents about what was happening and how to better protect themselves, the department hired Ross. “We’re trying to get information out there so that

the community understands what we’re dealing with and that they can help keep an eye out for us on some of those things and secure their phones,” Booker said. Booker said the department’s call volume began increasing after the department started sharing crimerelated information to the public. “When calls go up, the arrests goes up,” Booker said. “So we understand the value of getting information out to the people and trying to get the community to understand we need assistance.”

Old House Fair

School Continued From Page 3A
out to [Interstate 285] in the snow to rescue” students on a school bus,” Thurmond said. “Then he volunteered to go himself to Peachtree Middle School and ultimately transported four students home personally and walked them to the door to the safe and loving arms of their parents.” “On that particular night, what I did was minimal in comparison to what these men and women in uniform across this county did,” Alexander said, referring to the county’s first responders. School board member Marshal Orson thanked school district “employees, parents and students for working together to make the most of a trying situation.” “The past week posed a challenge to every sector of our community,” Orson said. The storm “ground our education system to a halt, stopped our economy in its tracks and caused inconvenience and real hardship for thousands. “In DeKalb, we fared better than most neighboring school systems and for that we are thankful,” Orson said.




Commissioner celebrates long-running community breakfast
by Daniel Beauregard delegation of the General Assembly, Watson said he started the community cabinet because when he was first elected to the General Assembly in For nearly two decades, residents and county 1997. officials have been coming together once a month Former Attorney General Baker was elected to talk about the community at DeKalb County the same year Watson was and he said they both Commissioner Stan Watson’s Community Cabi- wanted to have a forum to address the concerns net Breakfast. of the community. At the first meeting, Watson Watson, who has hosted the event for 17 years, said he served coffee and donuts to about 30 resisaid Feb. 1 that the breakfasts have served as an dents. important event over the years. Now, the forums have grown to include hun“Stories have been written, [and] we’ve made dreds of attendees and a full breakfast of grits, legislation based on what goes on in here,” Wateggs, sausage and toast. Officials such as DeKalb son said. “One thing that’s important is it’s always County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry been informational—you can always take the in- help scoop eggs onto the plates of the hundreds formation back to your respective communities.” that line up for a hot meal and to learn what’s Throughout the past 17 years the community happening in the county. cabinet has been held, Watson said he has also “You can come to the meeting and see your learned a lot. judges, police department, representatives, comAttendees such as former Gov. Zell Miller, missioners—it has provided many in the commuformer Attorney General Thurbert Baker and nity a forum to see and speak with officials they other notable officials have made it a point to might not have been able to otherwise,” Watson come to the breakfast and talk about the issues of said. DeKalb County, Watson said. Each year Watson hosts 10 community cabiFormerly chair of the DeKalb County local nets—he takes the months of January off for

Once a month, residents and public officials come together for Commissioner Stan Watson’s Community Cabinet Breakfast. Watson said it’s a way for residents to learn about the issues the county faces and interact with their elected officials. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

New Year’s and July for Independence Day. Eight of the meetings are held at Chapel Hill Middle School, located in Decatur. The other two meetings are held at different locations throughout the county because Watson represents one of two super districts. “I try not to bill it as a partisan breakfast because I think it’s about relationships,” Watson said. During this cabinet, Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler spoke about the state of the economy. Additionally, county officials discussed the details of a new sanitation pilot program aimed at streamlining the county’s trash pickup. Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May said Watson has supported him since “day one” when he was elected as District 5 commissioner in 2006. At the time, May was the youngest commissioner ever elected in DeKalb County, and he said Watson helped him become more involved in the community. “He brought me alongside to partner with him with this community cabinet,” May said.


Once-a-week trash pick-up coming WEEK





A DeKalb County Public Works salt truck was out monitoring the roads Jan. 30 looking for trouble spots after the snow storm. Photo By Travis Hudgons

Jaden Robinson, a student at DeKalb School of the Arts, was recognized for his role as Tiny Tim in The Christmas Carol, a production at the Alliance Theatre. Photo by Caleb Wade

Southwest DeKalb’s Tynice Martin (23) dribbles past a Stephenson defender. Martin scored 21 points and had 14 rebounds in Southwest DeKalb’s 81-67 victory over Stephenson. Photo by Travis Hudgons

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Congressman named ranking member of judiciary subcommittee
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) was recently named the ranking member of the House Judiciary subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law.  “As the former chairman of the subcommittee on courts and competition policy, I have long supported competition, consumer welfare and workers’ rights,” Johnson said. “I look forward to continuing my work on these issues as ranking member of the regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law subcommittee.” In addition to the subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law, Johnson serves on the subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice. The subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law addresses bankruptcy and commercial law, bankruptcy judgeships, administrative law, independent counsel, state taxation affecting interstate commerce, interstate compacts and antitrust matters. The subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice has jurisdiction over constitutional amendments, constitutional rights, federal civil rights, ethics in government, tort liability, including medical malpractice and product liability and legal reform. insurance plans and completed employer coverage tools, which are available at  Enrollment sessions will be held: • Saturday, Feb. 8, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Midway Recreation Center, 3181 Midway Road, Decatur. • Saturday, Feb. 8, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Wesley Chapel Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. • Thursday, Feb. 13, noon–3 p.m., Gresham Library, 2418 Gresham Road, Atlanta. • Saturday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Scott Candler Library, 1917 Candler Road, Decatur. DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon will hold an Affordable Care Act Enrollment event on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6-8:30 p.m., Northlake-Barbara Loar Library, 3772 Lavista Road Tucker. Licensed navigators from Oakhurst Medical Center will be available at this event to help residents enroll and answer questions about the insurance exchange system. The event is cosponsored by state Rep. Michele Henson.

Three DeKalb officials sponsoring food drive
The plight of local food banks has caught the attention of three DeKalb County officials who are sponsoring a food drive to help replenish the shelves at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Commissioner Kathie Gannon, Solicitor General Sherry Boston and Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry are teaming up to sponsor a food drive through Valentine’s Day. “In this day and age, no one in DeKalb County should go hungry,” DeBerry said. According to a news release from the officials, “hunger remains a persistent problem in metro Atlanta. Roughly 17 percent of the households and 28 percent of children in the area served by the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which includes DeKalb, do not always know where their next meal is coming from.” Food collection barrels will be placed in the following county buildings: Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive; DeKalb County Courthouse, 556 McDonough Street, in the solicitor general’s and clerk’s offices; Clark Harrison Building, 330 West Ponce de Leon; and Tax Commissioner’s Office, 4380 Memorial Drive. Among the most needed items are canned tuna, peanut butter, fruit juices, canned vegetables and paper products. “No one should have to choose between paying the rent, paying for their prescriptions or paying for food,” DeBerry said.

Newly expanded Brookhaven Kroger reopens
by Carla Parker Before the snowstorm hit metro Atlanta Jan. 29, Kroger officials and staff along with Brookhaven city officials and residents were scheduled to celebrate the grand reopening of the Kroger store on Peachtree Road. Instead of a celebration party, the newly expanded store was used as a safe haven for those who were stranded on roads during the snowstorm. Store manager Bobby Smith said he wants the Brookhaven to be the type of store that is there for the community. “We are in the perfect position to be that cornerstone for this community,” Smith said during the grand reopening celebration Feb. 2. “To be there when anybody needs us to help, to serve the public like you guys did the other night–we can be that store for this community.” The Brookhaven Kroger, which originally opened in 1999, was expanded from 30,000 square feet to more than 89,000 square feet. The $11 million project began 16 months ago, around the time Brookhaven officially became a city. “In my 36 years of service to Kroger, the excitement expressed from the Brookhaven community and Kroger associates as we celebrate the re-grand opening of this store surpasses anything I’ve experienced before,” Smith said. The expanded Kroger features a variety of new amenities, including an expanded natural foods department, a bistro with chef-prepared meals, Murray’s Cheese Shoppe, a walk-up pharmacy window, fresh sushi, an expanded beer and wine department, an expanded meat and seafood department and soft-serve frozen yogurt. “We are proud to offer new and expanded services to our loyal customers and provide a more convenient shopping experience,” said Glynn Jenkins, director of communications and public relations for Kroger’s Atlanta Division. During the celebration, Kroger donated $3,000 to the Friends of Brookhaven Foundation to assist with the purchase of defibulators. Brookhaven City Councilman Bates Mattison said the city is “extremely proud” of everything Kroger is doing in Brookhaven. “I must commend Kroger staff for being willing to sit down with the residents to hear their concerns,” Mattison said. “We hope the city of Brookhaven will continue working together to improve some of the concerns of some of the neighborhoods.” The Brookhaven Kroger employs more than 191 associates with almost 1,000 years of combined experience.

Kroger officials and Brookhaven elected officials cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Kroger located on Peachtree Road in Brookhaven.

County recreation department to hold adult softball registration
Registration for the adult coed and men’s softball leagues will be open through Feb. 21, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the athletics office located at 4898 LaVista Road, Tucker. The season begins in March and will include 10 regular games. The registration fee is $420 per team and a $20 fee will be included per person for nonDeKalb residents. All checks and money orders should be made payable to DeKalb County Parks and Recreation & Cultural Affairs. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, call the Athletics Office at (770) 414-2111.

Commissioners sponsors Affordable Care Act enrollment sessions
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson is sponsoring a series of enrollment events around District 3 for residents who are uninsured/underinsured or have questions about the Affordable Care Act. Trained navigators will be on site at each event to assist with enrollment and to answer questions.  Health insurance enrollees should bring their Social Security numbers, employer and income information, policy numbers for any current health


locAl NEWS
the snow started falling. Schools remained closed for the rest of the week.


Snow Continued From Page 1A
our county roads are impassable due to ice, traffic gridlock or both, caused by the sudden and severe winter weather. If at all possible, I am urging everyone to stay off the roads until conditions improve.” By Jan. 29, the county police department had responded to more than 700 weather-related incidents, including 289 traffic accidents, 25 hazards in road, 42 motorist assists, 91 traffic accidents with injured/ trapped passengers, 270 motorist assist/hazards, according to a DeKalb County statement. The fire rescue department responded to nearly 400 calls from noon Jan. 28 to 8 a.m. Jan. 29, including five calls for downed power lines; seven accidents involving fire rescue vehicles; three fire rescue vehicles that got stuck in the ice; and two working fires. According to the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency, the agency normally receives 90 calls per hour, but at the peak at 1 a.m. Jan. 28, it averaged 535 calls per hour. “Our emergency plans are working, our government is operating, and in a spirit of partnership we are getting the job done for our DeKalb County residents,” according to a statement released by the county Jan. 28. The county opened all fire stations and police stations as warming stations during the event. Local Home Depot, Target and Publix stores also allowed their locations to be used as warming stations. Sheriff Thomas Brown opened the county jail’s kitchen for hot meals for all employees working the weather event. The DeKalb County School District and City Schools of Decatur closed schools Jan. 28 after Briarcliff Road. Her vehicle was stuck in a group of cars on a bridge at the bottom of a hill. “I had been there all night helping people out,” Palazzolo said. “I had originally stopped to help one guy out and people just started crashing left and right. I ended up winching one car out of a ditch and we pushed a bunch of cars up the hill.” All of a sudden, the fire department showed up, he said. The firefighters, seeing the traffic pileup, stopped and got out of their fire engine and began walking down the hill. “They said, ‘We have a medical at the bottom of the hill,’” said Palazzolo, who offered his assistance. Because of all the cars stuck in the ice and snow, the ambulance and fire truck could not reach the woman. “The only other option would have been if they just carried her up [the hill] when it was all icy,” Palazzolo said. “My truck is not stock,” Palazzolo said of his four-wheel drive Toyota Tacoma. “My truck is good for this kind of thing. “So we drove down to the bottom of the hill,” Palazzolo said. “And this lady was having contractions and lots of pain. She was not happy to be stuck in the snow. She was super pregnant.” Palazzolo’s wife Paula, who was in the cab with him, gave up her seat for the woman. “Her husband got in the back of the truck with the fire captain,” Palazzolo said. “I was in fourwheel drive and I drove up the hill. In all, Palazzolo spent three hours helping approximately 20 motorists. He “called it a night after helping the pregnant lady.” “It was pretty interesting, really,” he said.

Palazzolo and his truck.

A Good Samaritan

Daniel Palazzolo of Decatur became one of many Good Samaritans when he helped to rescue a pregnant woman during the winter event. “I don’t know if she was full-blown there yet, but she was having contractions when we picked her up,” said the 33-year-old mechanic. Palazzolo came in contact with the woman on

re:loom Continued From Page 1A
previous sewing experience, she, too, gets satisfaction from working with her hands and seeing a tangible result. “I enjoy having people want to buy things that you create,” Scott said. The job gives her the flexibility she needs to work on a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Phoenix. Her goal, she said, is to be a counselor and work with women and children affected by domestic violence. Decatur resident Robin Upshur, 54, said her Weavers Warehouse income allows her to take care of her two children on her own. Before the weavers can begin their work, volunteers assist in sorting through the goods, cutting plastic bags and fabric into strips. Plastic strips are piled into bins, and cloth strips are wrapped into colorful balls. Even buttons, clasps and decorative accents are cut from clothing and re-purposed. “We are trying to not throw anything away,” Wise said. “We try to upcycle as much as we can.” Wise, who is also a weaver, said she appreciates that the project is a bonus for the environment, diverting some waste from going into the landfill. Re:loom goods are sold at the Weavers Warehouse as well as the Initiative for Affordable Housing’s office in Scottdale, Wild Oats and Billy Goats in Decatur and at Atlanta Made in west Atlanta. Rugs range from $99 to $675, placemat sets $43-$86, clutches and bags $35-$125. They also produce commission work for individuals who bring in sentimental items they want turned into something new or organizations for special projects. Delta Air Lines commissioned re:loom to turn bright orange and green safety vests into passport holders, wine carriers, clutches and more. Wise said the items were a hit with Delta workers. Profit from sales helps funds the Initiative’s homeless programs. Wise hopes to see expansion in 2014. “Our goal this year is to have more retail space and do more commission work,” she said. For more information on the project, visit www.reloom. org.

Tammy Carden, re:loom’s operations manager, cuts fabric into strips, the first step in the weaving process. Fred Brown says he finds satisfaction in finishing a piece, showing it to colleagues and getting positive feedback on his work. Photos by Gale Horton Gay

One room at Weavers Warehouse is filled with donated bolts of fabric and clothing.




PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE FOR PHASING OUT OF INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITIES Revisions for Clifton Elementary Facility and Gresham Park Elementary Facility
Note: This notice is an update to the previously published notice in the Champion Newspaper from February 14, 2013 to February 27, 2013, with changes (noted in bold, underline) to reflect the change in status for the Clifton Elementary Facility and the Gresham Park Elementary Facility.

Public Hearings, 7:00 PM at:

February 11, 2014 at Clifton ES 3132 Clifton Church Rd Atlanta, GA 30316

February 18, 2014 at Meadowview ES 1879 Wee Kirk Rd Atlanta, GA 30316

In accordance with SPLOST IV and the 2011, ten-year master facility plan*, the DeKalb County School District proposes to phase-out twelve (12) instructional facilities over the next five years: 1) Austin Elementary Facility, 2) Avondale High Facility, 3) Clifton Elementary Facility, 4) DESA/Terry Mill Facility 5) Fernbank Elementary Facility, 6) Meadowview Elementary Facility, 7) Midway Elementary Facility, 8) Ronald McNair Middle Facility, 9) Pleasantdale Elementary Facility, 10) Rockbridge Elementary Facility, 11) Smoke Rise Elementary Facility and 12) Wadsworth Elementary Facility. Students from these schools will return back to their schools after construction as listed in Table 1 and Table 2. The date of phase-out, date of last instruction, and proposed use for each affected building is also listed below in Table 1. In Table 2, please note that Peachcrest ES and Gresham Park ES are two, new, 900-seat schools. It is envisioned that students from Clifton ES and Meadowview ES schools will move into the new Gresham Park ES at the current Clifton site. Students from Knollwood ES and Midway ES will move into the new Peachcrest ES. Any attendance lines adjustments for any receiving schools and their adjacent schools in order to accommodate the relocated students within each school’s capacity limits will be discussed the year prior to phase out. Fernbank ES is presently scheduled to occupy Avondale MS during the construction period. * Ten-year Facility Master Plan (

Table 1. Instructional Facilities to be Phased-out
Instructional Facility Austin Elementary Facility Avondale High Facility Clifton Elementary Facility DESA/Terry Mill Elementary Facility Fernbank Elementary Facility Meadowview Elementary Facility Midway Elementary Facility Ronald McNair Middle Facility Pleasantdale Elementary Facility Rockbridge Elementary Facility Smoke Rise Elementary Facility Wadsworth Elementary Facility Facility Address 5435 Roberts Drive Dunwoody, GA 30338 1192 Clarendon Ave Avondale Estates, GA 30002 3132 Clifton Church Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 797 Fayetteville Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 157 Heaton Park Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 1879 Wee Kirk Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 3318 Midway Rd Decatur, GA 30032 2190 Wallingford Dr. Decatur, GA 30032 3695 Northlake Drive Doraville, GA 30340 445 Halwick Way Stone Mountain, GA 30083 1991 Silver Hill Road Stone Mountain, GA 30087 2084 Green Forrest Dr. Decatur, GA 30032

Date of Last Instruction at Facility and Date of Phase Out June, 2018 June, 2016 June, 2016 June, 2016 June, 2013 June, 2015 June, 2015 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2015

Resident Students Transferred and Where All students to attend replacement Austin ES facility All students to attend new Comprehensive Arts Magnet School at Avondale MS facility All students to attend new Gresham Park ES facility at current Clifton site All students to attend new Comprehensive Arts Magnet School at Avondale MS facility All students to attend Avondale MS during construction and then return to replacement Fernbank ES facility in Fall 2015 All students to attend new Gresham Park ES facility at current Clifton site All students to attend new Peachcrest ES facility All students to attend replacement McNair MS facility All students to attend replacement Pleasantdale ES facility All students to attend replacement Rockbridge ES replacement All students to attend replacement Smoke Rise ES facility All students to be housed at Knollwood ES facility

Future Use of Facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal

Table 2. Receiving Instructional Facility, Proposed Size, Grade Configuration, and Cost
Receiving Instructional Facility Arts School at Avondale Middle Facility Austin Elementary Facility McNair Middle Facility Fernbank Elementary Facility Gresham Park Elementary Facility at Clifton site Knollwood Elementary Facility Peachcrest Elementary Facility Pleasantdale Elementary Facility Rockbridge Elementary Facility Smoke Rise Elementary Facility Address 3131 Old Rockbridge Rd 30002 5435 Roberts Dr 2190 Wallingford Dr. Avondale Estates, GA Dunwoody, GA 30338 Decatur, GA 30032

Prop. Facility Capacity (Students) 1,100 900 1,200 900 900 650 900 900 900 600

Grade K-12 PK-5 6-8 PK-5 PK-5 4-6 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5

Expansion, Cost, and Funding Source Add auditorium, $4.0 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 1200 seat school, $34.6 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV No expansion necessary Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 600 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV** **Cost for 600-seat school pending review.

157 Heaton Park Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 3132 Clifton Church Rd 3039 Santa Monica Dr. 1530 Joy Ln 3695 Northlake Drive 445 Halwick Way 30083 1991 Silver Hill Road 30087 Atlanta, GA 30316 Decatur, GA 30032 Decatur, GA 30032 Doraville, GA 30340 Stone Mountain, GA Stone Mountain, GA

Note: This notice is an update to the previously published notice in the Champion Newspaper from February 14, 2013 to February 27, 2013, with changes (noted in bold, underline) to reflect the change in status for the Clifton Elementary Facility and the Gresham Park Elementary Facility.




Chapel Hill Middle School students participate in the YWCA’s Teen Girls in Technology. The program has more than 500 metro Atlanta students. Photos provided

Program draws teen girls into technology fields
by Andrew Cauthen “Not all ‘IT guys’ have to be guys.” That’s what a technology program for metro Atlanta girls teaches its participants. Since 2006, the Teen Girls in Technology (TGIT) program has focused on helping girls become more interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Participants are recruited in middle school and can stay in the program through college. The program started with three schools and 50 girls, said Judy BrownFears, the TGIT program manager. Seven of the girls left the program. “Out of [those remaining] 43 girls, 42 of those girls graduated from high school and majored in a STEM area,” Brown-Fears said. “My very first set of girls is in college now in their second year.” Some participants have gone onto colleges such as Agnes Scott, UGA, University of Tennessee, Spelman and Georgia State. Now the program has 555 students in the metro Atlanta area, with participants in many DeKalb County schools including Chapel Hill, Bethune, Columbia and Druid Hills middle schools. The program helps students cultivate an interest and competence in STEM subjects through various handson activities and field trips, BrownFears said. “Instead of just teaching them about math, science and technology, we apply something to it,” she said. The participants learn “a lot of things they don’t think about that apply to one of the stem areas. “They don’t know that when you work behind the scenes at a TV station or a radio station, that’s an engineering job,” Brown-Fears said. “Anything that deals with STEM in the real world, we teach them.” In addition to the STEM exposure, the program teaches the participants leadership and interview skills, etiquette and how to dress for success, Brown-Fears said. “We try to make it real holistic,” she said. “When they leave us and they get ready to go out to the real world they’ve touched a little bit of everything.” The participants have gone on field trips to the Kennedy Space Center, Disney World and to Delta for a training flight. “Some of these girls haven’t even gone out of the city,” Brown-Fears said. “They get exposure; that’s the bottom line. “They’ve been able to become better leaders, [make] better choices in their activities, [and become] decision makers,” Brown-Fears said. “It’s kind of taken them out of their shell and they’ve got to do things that they haven’t been able to do before.” Free for students, the program relies on grants from various benefactors. TGIT recently received a $10,000 grant from Delta Community Credit Union. The organization was one of 15 to receive part of the $70,000 the credit union donated from its Philanthropic Fund. Brown-Fears said the $10,000 grant is “almost like adopting a school,” providing curriculum, supplies and field trips. “It helps to serve 20 girls as well as pay for somebody to facilitate at a site,” Brown-Fears said. “This allows for… more girls to go through the program and become leaders in STEM.”

Students participate in the Teen Girls in Technology program’s annual kickoff event at Georgia Power.

A Delta training flight is one of the activities for the Teen Girls in Technology.




Designed just for children from toddlers through age 12, Kidz@play features a wide variety of play equipment, including slides, top left; a train that moves around the 35,000-square-foot facility, bottom left; an inflatable teddy bear whirl-around, center; and a house of numbers, bottom right. Vice President James Lee, top right, sits on the throne that is available for honorees in some of the birthday party rooms. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Romper room goes supersize
Largest indoor playground in Georgia opens in Lithonia
may be the largest in the Southeast,” she noted, “But we’re pretty sure it’s the largest in Georgia.” Carbajal said Kidz@Play is designed so that even the youngest guests can have a good time. “We have areas that are just for toddlers. They can play all they want without being bothered by older children.” The more than 35,000-squarefoot facility was converted from what was once a grocery store and offers a wide variety of entertainment for children. James Lee pointed out that some children’s recreation centers have just inflatables and some have only climbing equipment. “We have a train, boats, bumper cars, jungle gyms, a dance area, inflatables, slides and much more,” he said, adding that a 5-D theater is in the works. “We have a technician coming from China to set it up,” James Lee said. “It should be up and running in a few weeks.” Parents who are concerned that their children don’t get enough exercise will be pleased to know that the climbing facilities are designed to build young muscles, Carbajal said. “The children are having a good time while they’re doing things that are good for their health.” She said that cleanliness and safety are top priorities. Everyone in the play are must wear socks, but not shoes, Carbajal explained. “We sanitize throughout the day as well,” she noted. “We planned the place with the parents as well as the children in mind,” James Lee explained. “We don’t want the parents to stay away because they’re bored.” He noted that the café area—which has a fivestar chef—has free Wi-Fi along with foods that adults like. “We have the hotdogs and chicken fingers that the children like, but we have pizza, sandwiches, hot wings and other foods that adults like,” said James Lee, adding that the facility also has big screen televisions where parents can watch sports while their children play. He said the area has been just perfect for the new venture. “There are so many families in this area with young children. There has really been a need for a place like this. It’s actually worked out better than we expected,” said James Lee, who added that the community has been supportive with schools, churches and other institution arranging groups outings to Kidz@play. Parties are a specialty at Kidz@ play. “It’s easy for the parents because everything from set-up to clean-up is taken care of. The group gets a private room for refreshments and activities, but the children get to play on the equipment as well,” according to Carbajal. “I love the fact that Cathy [Lee] is willing to work with mothers who are struggling financially, but still want to have a birthday party for their children,” Carbajal said. “She helps them figure out how to have their party and stay within the budget; that’s one reason I like working here.”

by Kathy Mitchell When Cathy Lee was looking for a safe, fun indoor playground for her 2-year-old she was frustrated that so many such places had been taken over by teenagers and had few areas where preschoolers and elementary school age youngsters could romp freely without interference from older youth. Finally she decided that the solution was to create such a place herself. With assistance from her father, a banker who helped arrange the financing, and her brother, James Lee, who became the enterprise’s vice president, she opened Kidz@ play, an indoor recreation area exclusively for children from toddlers through age 12. Lee Carbajal, Kidz@play’s general manager, said that the play area, which opened in December on Rockbridge Road in Lithonia, is the largest such facility in Georgia. “It

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three batters were hit by pitches as the Jags batted around the order. Phillips closed it out, setting down the last four Tigers and tossing two strikeouts. Marlow earned the win, fanning four, issuing only one walk and coughing up seven hits in 5 2/3 innings on the mound. In the second game, the Jaguars belted 12 hits, with Lindley, Bunting and Milton Miranda getting two apiece. The first three-and-a-half innings featured a pitchers’ duel between Alvey and the Tigers’ Andy Clay. Alvey entertained a no-hitter through four innings, striking out four, but he walked four and hit a batter. GPC lit up the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth with hits by Derrick Nelson and Lindley and RBI singles by Phillips and Ressmeyer. Chattanooga State’s Alec Meadow ruined Alvey’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the fifth. Michael Peel came on in relief, got a line out and a strikeout and then loaded the bases with two walks. Gray came out of the bullpen and walked in Chattanooga’s only run. However, he finished the game with no more damage. Alvey was credited with the win. A two-run base hit by Charles Sheffield and an RBI single by Bunting sealed the outcome for GPC in the sixth inning.


Georgia Perimeter baseball sweeps Chattanooga State
The Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) Jaguars baseball team opened its 2014 home schedule with a hit–24 of them to be exact. London Lindley, Morgan Bunting and Pierce Ressmeyer rapped four hits each as Georgia Perimeter College swept a doubleheader 11-5 and 5-1 over Chattanooga State Community College Tigers Feb. 1 at the GPC Newton Campus. The Jaguars collected 24 hits in the series, including a 10-0 win Jan. 31 at Chattanooga. They’ve rung up 26 runs in their last three games. Multi-run rallies proved the difference Feb. 1. “We swing the bat well,” said head coach Brett Campbell. “We have the ability to score four or five runs any inning. That’s how you win games.” Pitchers Joe Marlow and Ty Alvey also had great games, including a no-hit bid by Alvey. “The two starters threw the ball really well,” Campbell said. “And J.T. Phillips and Matt Gray came in and threw the ball really well, too.” In the opener, Ressmeyer had three singles and two RBIs in three appearances at the plate. Lindley, Matt Taylor and Morgan Bunting added two hits apiece as the Jaguars collected 12 hits. LaDonis Bryant had three RBI’s on a hit, sacrifice and a hit by pitch. Georgia Perimeter (3-1) tied it 2-2 in the first inning after Chattanooga jumped off with two runs on a triple, double and single off Marlow. After 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 by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Muhammad Hamilton, W.D. Mohammed (basketball): The senior guard scored 24 points in the 5148 win over Paideia Jan. 31. Hamilton is averaging 18.1 points per game. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Tynice Martin, Southwest DeKalb (basketball): The junior forward had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds in the 81-67 win over Stephenson Feb. 1. Martin is averaging 13.9 points per game.

Sophomore catcher Pierce Ressmeyer had four hits in the weekend series against Chattanooga State.

GPC tied it 2-2 on Ressmeyer’s two RBIs, Marlow settled down in the middle innings. Bryant drove home a run in the second inning, and the Jaguars racked up three runs in the fourth when Jerad Curry led off with a double and Bunting, Tyler Schwartz and Bryant followed with RBIs. Chattanooga State (1-3) tagged Marlow for three runs in the sixth, closing the gap to 6-5, but the Jaguars exploded for four runs in their half of the inning. Taylor started it off with a double and

Weekend Basketball Scores
Jan. 31 Boys W.D. Mohammed 51, Paideia 48 Girls Paideia 75, W.D. Mohammed 21 Feb. 1 Boys Blessed Trinity 57, Cedar Grove 39 Greenforest 90, Eagles Landing 49 Marist 62, Etowah 54 Morrow 72, Druid Hills 45 Mount Pisgah 58, Paideia 39 Stephenson 67, Southwest DeKalb 40 Tucker 74, Dunwoody 24 Woodward Academy 49, St. Pius 42 Girls Druid Hills 56, Morrow 51 Eagles Landings 64, Greenforest 51 Etowah 46, Marist 40 Paideia 43, Mount Pisgah 25 Southwest DeKalb 81, Stephenson 67 St. Pius 57, Woodward Academy 51 Tucker 79, Dunwoody 26

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Justin Colvin, Alabama A&M (basketball): The sophomore guard from Miller Grove was perfect from the field (4-4) and behind the arc (3-3) as he scored 11 points in the 63-62 win over Texas Southern Feb. 1. Colvin is averaging 3.7 points per game. Javon McKay, Tennessee Tech (basketball): The sophomore guard from Dunwoody scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in the 81-76 win over Belmont Feb. 1. McKay is averaging 4.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Chancie Dunn, Clemson (basketball): The senior guard from Southwest DeKalb scored 12 points and had seven assists and six rebounds in the 80-79 overtime win over Georgia Tech Jan. 30. Dunn is averaging 7.6 points per game.

The Lithonia wrestling team won first place in the Region 6AAAA Area Tournament Feb. 1.

Lithonia wins wrestling region title
by Carla Parker The Lithonia High School Bulldogs wrestling team is on an impressive winning streak. The Bulldogs won its first Region 6AAAA title Feb. 1 at Marist. Lithonia took first place with a score of 210.5. Marist finished second with 205.5 points followed by Banneker with 67 points and Chamblee with 58.5 points. After placing fifth in the wrestling

See Wrestling on page 19A




Chamblee, Lakeside win DeKalb swim and dive championships
by Carla Parker The Chamblee boys’ swim and dive team along with the Lakeside girls’ team repeat as DeKalb County champions at the 2014 DeKalb County Swim and Dive Championships. The Lakeside Lady Vikings won first place with 276 points, edging out the Dunwoody Lady Wildcats who placed second with 250 points. Chamblee’s girls swim team finished third with 158 points. On the boys’ side, Chamblee won first place by a landslide of 274 points. Lakeside placed second with 220 points and Dunwoody finished third with 156 points. Chamblee head coach Wesley Graham said it felt great to win the county title for a second consecutive season. “I’m proud of my swim team, especially Patrick Lindstrom, who qualified for state,” Graham said. “It was his third year trying and he got in.” Lindstrom finished fourth in the men 50yard freestyle with a time of 23.40, which was 0.10 seconds better than the state qualifying time. Chamblee relay teams had first place finishes in the 200-yard medley relay, the 200yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Chamblee junior swimmer Nicholas Oh finished first in the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. He qualified for state in each race. Chamblee also had first place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle (Jacob Jordan) and the 1-meter dive (Caleb Wikle). County swim records were also broken during the meet as Tucker junior swimmer Cash DeLoache broke two records that were set by him at last year’s county swim meet. 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. Lakeside girls’ swim team also had recordbreaking finishes that helped lead it to its 25th county title. Freshman Raleigh Bentz broke a 19-year county record of 59.92 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 59.81 seconds. The 400-yard freestyle relay team broke a 36-year county record of 3:47.71. The relay team finished first with a time of 3:46.22. Junior Julianna Cartwright had first place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle and the 200yard freestyle, and Bentz also finished first in the 200-yard individual medley. Lakeside also had first place finished in the 100-yard butterfly (Nicole Hollahan) and the 200-yard medley relay.
The Chamblee Boys’ swim team won its second consecutive DeKalb County title while the Lakeside girls’ won its 25th county title.

Wrestling Continued From Page 20A
state tournament, Lithonia has won three tournaments in a row. The Bulldogs won the DeKalb County wrestling championship Jan. 18 then the Last Man Standing championship. Lithonia coach Patrick Ryan said he is proud of his team for “setting high goals this season and working hard to attain them.” “This team has been so coachable and is working hard to get better every practice,” he said. “It feels amazing to beat Marist three times in a row. We respect the Marist wrestling program as competitors and always enjoy the opportunity to compete with them.” Lithonia had 13 wrestlers reach the finals during the tournament. Five of them were champions and eight wrestlers were runner-ups. Lithonia also had three wrestlers to win back-to-back area championships: Kirkglen Hudson (36-0) in the 106-pound division; Shamel Findley (40-4) in the 113-pound division; and Davion Findley (11-6) in the 195-pound division. Chris Morgan (126-pound division) and Allen Morgan (132-pound division) are first time area champions.



Reading books to learn about all of the historic contributions made by African Americans isn’t the only way to celebrate Black History Month. Enjoying delicious, secret recipes passed down from family members during Sunday Dinner can also be satisfying for the soul. Publix joins you in celebrating African American history at the dinner table and beyond. Visit the Publix Sunday Dinners Tab on Facebook for traditional recipes, family dinner table topic discussions, and activities for each Sunday during Black History Month.