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DEKALB SCHOOLS HOLD TECH FAIR
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014 • VOL. 16, NO. 47 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
LAKESIDE CITY BILL STILL ALIVE
VALENTINE’S DAY BIG FOR SCOTTDALE FLORIST
Thurmond’s first year: ‘We are progressing’
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Mike Thurmond says the district has made “signiﬁcant progress” with him at the helm. Photos by Caleb Wade
On Feb. 8, 2013, Mike Thurmond became the superintendent of the DeKalb County School District. In the past year, Thurmond, a former Georgia labor commissioner, has dealt with accreditation probation, a school shooting, a contentious lawsuit and even a snow storm. The following is the first of a twopart interview by Andrew Cauthen, news editor for The Champion Newspaper.
You started with the school board situation. You had the school shooting. You had AdvancED and you had the snowstorm. How would you describe your year in light of all of these pretty significant events? Let’s not forget the budget deficit. Let’s not forget we had a $15 million budget deficit. The first challenge was…the hearing at the state board, then the removal of the board. There was a period of time…when we didn’t
have a quorum. And, of course, the deficit and then, of course, SACS and the potential of losing accreditation and the shooting at McNair and most recently, the ice storm. It’s been an eventful year. We’ve made, I think, significant progress, although there are many challenges ahead. But I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a wonderful experience for me and probably the most rewarding experience of my professional career,
particularly my public career. Why do you think this has been the most rewarding? Why would you say that? I now understand why men and women…are called to be educators. I understand now why they answer the call. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by 100,000 young people every day. You know that you have potential to impact
See Thurmond on page 15A
DeKalb History Center honors five local trailblazers
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com or the seventh year as part of its Black History Month celebration, the DeKalb History Center recognized county trailblazers. This year’s program—held Feb. 6 at the Historic DeKalb Courthouse, which houses the History Center—honored women in media. Carolyn Jernigan Glenn, publisher of The Champion Newspaper— the program’s presenting sponsor—presented awards to five colleagues in the news industry. “I have a personal connection with each of these recipients. It feels like reunion time,” said Glenn, a past recipient of the History Center award. Award recipient Rashan Ali wasn’t on hand to receive her award personally, but noted in remarks read by her mother, Joyce Godfrey, “I’m probably right at this very moment doing the very thing you are giving me an award
See Honors on page 15A
From left Karyn Greer, Jennifer Ffrench-Parker, Steen Miles, Valerie J. Morgan, Joyce Godfrey and Carolyn Jernigan Glenn. Photo by Travis Hudgons
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Chamblee approves 2014 budget
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org The Chamblee City Council approved the $20.7 million 2014 fiscal year budget Feb. 3. According to the budget outline, all funds total $20,679,326, with a general fund of approximately $15.7 million, using 2013’s millage rate of 6.4 mils. General fund expenditures exceed revenues by $159,462 and require that amount in fund balance to be appropriated. Chamblee city councilman Thomas Hogan said the city is positioned “very well” for 2014. “On the heels of some good priority-setting meetings, I feel that the budget includes funds necessary to grow our staff and to maintain our services according to the standards that we set,” Hogan said. “We’re happy to make [services] available to those in the Chamblee annex area.” The budget includes the costs associated with Chamblee taking over the sanitation service for the 2011 annexation area–Huntley Hills and Chamblee Motor Mile. The Solid Waste Enterprise Fund will require a transfer from the general fund of $302,240 to supplement its revenues and achieve a balanced budget, according to city officials. On Dec. 30, Chamblee’s size and demographics increased due to the passing of the annexation vote. City officials said the population grew by roughly 75 percent from 15,600 to 27,300. The city’s size grew by 63 percent from
See Budget on page 16A
Step up the pace. Be Fearless.
Online student Lindsay Little enrolled in an accounting class while studying abroad.
Are you juggling work and family and just need one class to graduate? Maybe you want to start college by taking just an art or history class? In any case, GPC offers eight-week spring courses on campus and online to ﬁt your busy schedule. Secondhalf registration is now open for classes starting March 19. Registration must be completed by February 21.
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Commissioner working to get south DeKalb improvements
by Carla Parker email@example.com The Wesley Chapel corridor was at one point a lively area with shops, restaurants and department stores. However, with changing economic conditions, the corridor also underwent changes with businesses such as Ingles, Walmart and K-Mart leaving the strip. DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson noticed what was happening and organized a tour in 2005 of the area for developers, members of the banking community as well as real estate and retail professionals. “We were looking at things to try and revitalize the area and try to make it more prudent for business opportunity and growth, not knowing that the economy was going to turn the way it did,” Johnson said. “I saw what was happening in the Dunwoody area with their community improvement districts (CID) and I said, ‘Why can’t we do the same thing for our area?’” A task force was formed and in 2008, the Wesley Chapel Overlay Shopping centers on Wesley Chapel Road would be revitalized as part of the South DeKalb community improvement district. The Wesley District was formed, and funding Chapel corridor will soon welcome new businesses such as a RaceTrac gas station, Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts. Photos by Carla Parker was approved for a CID study. tion.” year, according to Johnson. A Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) areas—areas that were suitable for development and redevelopment. Johnson said organizers are now Johnson also said Scores Sports was also formed for Wesley Chapel. Phases 1 and 2—the feasibility at the phase where the county can Bar and Grill on Wesley Chapel Funding was secured from the Atstudy and identification of property ask businesses whether they want to Road will be torn down and the lanta Regional Commission (ARC) owners—were completed in 2009. be a part of a CID. Phase 3 has to be owners of the shopping center will and the area was included in ARC’s Before Phase 3 was complete— completed by the commercial propremodel the inside of the store. Community Choices program. which sets the boundaries, creates erty owners who then decide the “The owner of that strip where “This is a visioning process the CID board, sets the millage rate boundaries of the CID. the Kroger is located is going to do where community members, the and determines how the funds will “We’re now going to talk to busithe façade and the parking lot over business community and governbe used—business owners in the nesses to see if they would like to again, ” Johnson said. “We’re also tryment come together to identify Stonecrest area began considering join and show them the benefits of ing to get a major tenant in the old those things in the community that forming a CID as well. being a part of a CID, ” Johnson said. K-Mart space and do the other half are great and good, those things that “We decided to do a combination “We need 60 to 70 percent [particias a Dave and Busters project.” are needed and develop methods by on all of the south DeKalb areas, ” pation]. ” Johnson is also encouraging resiwhich those things that are needed Johnson said. “So the money that With the economy turning dents to become entrepreneurs and can be secured,” Johnson said. we’re shooting for Phase 3 will be around, development and redevelstart businesses in their community. As a result of those community used to look at how we get the busiopment is already taking place in “Don’t wait for these name brand meetings, the I-20 Overlay District nesses who want to be a part of it to the Wesley Chapel corridor. A Racebusinesses to come in,” he said. “Get was formed. This includes not only sign in and help because all of the Trac gas station will be constructed your money together, be entreprethe Wesley Chapel area, but the funding will stay in that area for exsoon. A Krispy Kreme and a Dunkin neurs and do great things. ” Candler, Flat Shoals and Gresham tra police protection and beautifica- Donuts will be constructed later this
THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
ONE MAN’S OPINIoN
There’s no business like...
with Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig of Emory University and the Goizueta School of Business. But business “how to” books can often be a dry read, whether ghost-written or dictated, even by the likes of Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca. Not a bad read mind you, just a bit difficult to slag through from one cover to the other. Lessons learned, yes, but not unlike that high school teacher or college professor who “taught you a thing or two”—you still occasionally nodded off in their class. Liu’s book, which is written very much in the inviting and accessible manner in which she conducts an interview, is much more like attending a cocktail party in Manhattan with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Each is in a good mood, willing to share some of the tricks of their particular trade, as well as the life lessons which they most credit with helping them climb to what might appear to others to be unreachable heights. Liu’s new book, available on Amazon.com as well as better booksellers from Wiley Press, offers her narrative in a series of quick chapters and interview excerpts with the likes of Warren Buffet, Jamie Dimon, Bill Gates, Rachel Ray, Sam Zell and Sir Martin Sorrell, the CEO of WPP, the world’s largest marketing and communications holding company. But like Liu’s morning news program In the Loop on Bloomberg, the book never dwells or stays too long on any one topic. It adroitly hops to a related quote, or subject, keeping the narrative moving and dropping another life lesson right in front of the reader, like a series of never-ending bread crumbs taking you towards that sought after knowledge pot of gold. Advice books walk a tight rope of offering guidance and “how to” without reading as preachy, or a step-by-step procedural. This book is neither, and at just under 200 pages, it’s easily digested on a plane ride, afternoon at the pool or beach or on a rainy day, instead of staying slimly bookmarked on the bed stand gathering dust over a period of months. But you don’t need to take my word for it. Suzy Welch, author, wife of Jack, and former editor of the Harvard Business Review, says this about Liu’s book, having written or co-authored a dozen or so of her own “how to succeed in business” tomes: “Betty has written a powerful, insightful book for anyone who has ever felt they needed an extra push in their careers. Packed with sharp advice, candid revelations, and funny personal stories, Work Smarts is an essential book to have if you want to succeed.” I can’t recommend it as a Valentine’s gift, but Graduation Day this spring will be here in a blink, and any friend going through a career lull or transition will benefit—and I certainly got more than a few pointers on my own. Cheers to Ms. Liu, keep ‘em coming. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSBAM 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“So, if you still think a successful career is much about luck, stop reading. If not, read ahead so you can be prepared.”— Bloomberg TV anchor, reporter and author Betty Liu, in her new book Work Smarts. I have led in many ways a fortunate life, and I often say that I would rather be lucky than good. In addition to intentionally self-deprecating humor, I learned a long time ago that we can plan, prepare and try to be ready as best we can. And then if God and fortune are still smiling on us, incredible opportunity will often present itself. We then need to make the right/best choices, move forward and execute. A longtime friend and fellow journalist, Betty Liu, already well-known to regular viewers of Bloomberg TV, CNBC or readers of The Financial Times (FT), or Dow Jones Newswire, is wise beyond her years in the ways of big business. Determined to cut a unique niche in business news reporting at a young age, Betty, a first generation American after her parents legally immigrated to the United States. from China, wanted to become a “business journalist” since her high school days in Philadelphia. She quickly succeeded on that front, with early stints as acting Taiwan bureau chief for Dow Jones and later the FT Atlanta bureau, breaking significant stories and winning global recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in 2000, 2001 and 2002 as a Top Business Journalist Under 30. Other awards and recognition followed, while Betty also became a young mother of twin boys, and co-authored her first book on aging and living well titled, Age Smart,
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
name of the deceased at the sites of fatal accidents for $100 fee. In Segal’s application for a roadside memorial, she said, “Although a relative of the deceased is usually required to fulfill requests for roadside memorials, I hope you will allow a concerned citizen such as me to suffice in this case. “These chickens, who spent their entire short lives … on a factory farm before their agonizing deaths, have no known living relatives,” she said. I can only imagine what those dozens of chickens experienced while being tossed about in their chicken cages as the truck crashed. What went through their tiny poul-
Poultry victims of fatal accident should be remembered
Andrew Cauthen lucky.
same day. Many chickens were not so Earlier this month, Atlanta resident Sarah Segal, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, applied to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to place a 10-foot-tall memorial tombstone at the site of the crash. The memorial would read, “In memory of the dozens of terrified chickens as a result of a truck crash, January 27, 2014. Go Vegan.” Three years ago, GDOT got into the roadside memorial business when it decided that makeshift memorials are a distraction to drivers and a safety hazard. Now, GDOT will place a white sign with the
It was a sad day in January when a truck carrying live chickens overturned in Athens, killing dozens— dozens of chickens, that is. According to the Gainesville Times, the early morning Jan. 27 crash injured a Hall County sheriff ’s deputy driving a pickup and the truck driver. The men were treated and released from the hospital the
try minds? In addition to the terror cited by the text of the proposed memorial, I believe they felt regret. Their destinies were cut short a few days too soon. They would never be plucked or marinated or nuggetized. They would never be fried and stuffed into a fast-food chicken bucket. They would never see a grill or roaster or hot oven. They would never adorn a plate or go on a picnic. They would never be a part of a sandwich or a taco or a dip. Their deaths were so meaningless. So I support the monument. No uneaten chicken should ever die unremembered.
F REE P RESS
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Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send E-Mail to Kathy@dekalbchamp.com FAX To: (404) 370-3903 Phone: (404) 373-7779 Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior to publication date. EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Brookhaven residents asking city to settle with Pink Pony
by Carla Parker email@example.com A Brookhaven resident has started a petition asking city officials to settle with the Pink Pony adult entertainment club. On Jan. 19, Brookhaven resident Kathy Forbes posted the petition on the Brookhaven alerts website asking other Brookhaven residents to sign the petition. “Brookhaven residents are being called upon to sign a petition requesting that Brookhaven’s elected officials represent their constituents,” Forbes wrote. “The petition specifically requests that the city of Brookhaven reach a settlement agreement with the Pink Pony that allows them to continue to operate as they have for the past 22 years.” On Dec. 23, Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson issued an order granting Brookhaven’s motion to dismiss Pink Pony’s lawsuit against the city, ruling it has no legal merit. The Pink Pony adult entertainment club off Buford Highway filed a lawsuit in May after the city adopted an ordinance that would prohibit nudity and force stricter alcohol pouring and sales times for liquor license holder businesses in the city. Pink Pony’s lawyer planned to appeal the ruling. In June, Brookhaven temporarily halted enforcing the ordinance against Pink Pony until a ruling was made in the lawsuit. The city’s ordinances mirror those in DeKalb County, Fulton County, Doraville, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and other nearby jurisdictions. In the petition, Forbes listed nine supporting arguments on why the city should settle. The arguments include lack of evidence “that the Pink Pony has had a negative effect on surrounding property values;” the $460,000 the Pink Pony will provide
Champion of the Week
Brookhaven resident Kathy Forbes posted a petition on the Brookhaven Alerts website that asks city officials to settle with the Pink Pony adult entertainment club.
the city in annual revenues; and the lack of evidence “that supports the city’s claim that the Pink Pony negatively affects the wellbeing and safety of Brookhaven residents.” “If we continue the battle, we not only lose out on the revenue, we continue to incur costly litigation expenses, potentially for years to come,” Forbes stated. “Under DeKalb’s existing ordinance, no new strip clubs have opened in DeKalb County for 20 years. In fact, two clubs closed and went out of business during that period. The settlement agreement with DeKalb County worked for everyone. “We expect our elected officials to treat businesses fairly,” Forbes added. “Deliberately including a long-time business within city limits, then immediately acting to shut it down upon incorporation, is not fair treatment. It is not right.”
Suspect in murder case shot at New Birth Church
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org A man wanted in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s baby was shot by a DeKalb County deputy Feb. 5 in the parking lot of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. Nicholas Clarence Wade, 27, of Lithonia is accused of killing an 18-month-old boy Feb. 3. According to the police report, Wade’s girlfriend, Jillian Belk, told police she left her son, Keon Belk, with Wade around 5:20 a.m. Belk said she received a phone call from Wade informing her that he was at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with the toddler, according to the police report. Wade told Belk the child was having difficulty breathing, so he called 911. The boy was in cardiac arrest when emergency responders arrived to the scene, the police report states. The toddler had an cracked liver and fractured skull, according to the police report. The child later died. DeKalb Sheriff ’s Office spokesman Lt. Kyle Jones said deputies received information Feb. 5 that Wade was in an apartment complex in the area of Panola and Fairington roads in Lithonia. “When deputies responded to that location they observed [Wade] getting in a black BMW with two females,” Jones said. The deputies, who were in an unmarked car, followed the suspect into the parking lot of New Birth. “At that time, the deputies felt like that was the safest place, away from the public, to conduct a felony traffic stop on his vehicle,” Jones said. “They were able to pull alongside the car and box him in.” Jones said Wade exited the vehicle armed with a sawed-off shotgun, pointed the gun at himself then at the deputy, prompting another deputy to shoot him. Jones said Wade was able to get off one shot. Wade was taken into custody and transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. Wade is currently in the DeKalb County jail has been charged with murder and cruelty to children. A bond has not been set.
When Doreen Carter learned that AARP was planning a job fair for job seekers 50 years old and older she decided she’d be perfect as a volunteer. “I have a lot of experience organizing job fairs so I have expertise I believe will be valuable,” she said. “This is a group I feel strongly about helping.” With an accounting degree and a master’s degree in business administration, Carter said she’s pleased to be able to apply her business education and experience in ways that strengthen the community. A Leadership DeKalb graduate, she commented, “I always want to improve where I am.” For the past 14 years, Lithonia has been Carter’s home and where she has placed most of her volunteer energies. Carter, who is president of the Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce, said she’s heavily involved in the community and almost all the community work she does is as a volunteer. “I’m a widow with three boys, so people are often surprised at how much I do on a volunteer basis, but that’s just who I am. I feel that serving the community is just part of being a good citizen.” An Atlanta native, Carter recalled that when she was growing up her mother “was very engaged in community and church work. For me,” she
said, “it has always just been part of life—part of what you do.” Carter has served on a task force to find ways to spur economic growth in the Stonecrest area and in 2006 and 2007 served on the Blue Ribbon Committee for Future Funding of DeKalb. Although the Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce is supporting the AARP event, scheduled for March 20 at the Lou Walker Senior Center, Carter said the bulk of the work she’s doing in preparation for the fair is outside her duties with the chamber. “There’s a lot more work than most people realize involved in setting up a job fair,” she said. “Large numbers of prospective employers need to be lined up. I help with that and with marketing and publicizing the fair. And, of course, I’ll be there working on the day of the job fair.”
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, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Feb 14. Valentine’s Parent’s Night Out to beneﬁt heart foundation. Valentine’s Parent’s Night Out, an event benefiting The Children’s Heart Foundation, Georgia Chapter, will be held at Leapin’ Lizards Play and Party Center, 185 Sams St., Decatur, 7-11 p.m. Children ages 4 and older can have supervised playtime and snacks while parents go out for Valentine’s Day. A donation of $25 is requested for the first child and $20 for each additional child. Raffle tickets to win a Leapin’ Lizards birthday party valued at $250 are available for $5 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/ParentsNightOut. Feb. 15. Great Bird Count. The Dunwoody Nature Center will be offering classes for adults and children to participate in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count. It will feature information about species identification, the importance of the bird count, how to do basic bird observation, and how to correctly enter the tally into the Great Backyard Bird Count website. Several computers will be available at the Nature Center so that participants will be able to enter their data correctly. Participants are encouraged to use the 22 acres of Dunwoody Park to do their bird count. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. The event is held from 9:30-11 a.m. at the nature center, 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Call (770) 394-3322 for more information. Feb. 16. Rushdie to Speak at Two Public Events at Emory. Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie returns to Emory University for two public events during his February visit. Tickets are now available for Rushdie’s first public appearance, “Wonder Tales,” presented by the Emory College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. in Glenn Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are free, and can be ordered online. For more information, visit www.emory.edu/events/ rushdie. For this event, Rushdie returns to the roots of his love of literature with a lecture about the so-called “wonder tales” of the East — the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Panchatantra, Katha-Sarit-Sagar, and Arabian Nights stories. Rushdie also will discuss current and emerging writers in India during the 5th Annual India Summit, Monday, Feb. 17 from 4 to 5 p.m. in Goizueta Business School’s Boynton Auditorium (room E130). During a conversation on “Contemporary Literature in India” Rushdie will be joined by moderator Paul Courtright, professor of religion and Asian studies at Emory, to explore the cultural, political, and global influences of contemporary Indian literature. A two-day pass for the summit, which runs Feb. 17 and 18, is $25; a one-day pass is $15. Tickets include entry into all keynotes and sessions, along with catered lunch and refreshments. To register, or for more information, visit www. halleinstitute.emory.edu/india-summit/. Feb. 21. Emory Hospital to host heart health event. The presentation “How to Prevent, Detect and Treat Heart Disease in Women” will be delivered by Emory Women’s Heart Center physician Alexis Cutchins at Emory University Hospital, 12:30-1 p.m. in the hospital’s atrium. Emory University Hospital is located at 1364 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta. To learn more or to register for a women’s heart health event, call Emory HealthConnections at (404) 778-7777. The event is free and parking will be available in the hospital’s main parking lot. jcc.org/homeschool. Offered on a semester basis, Homeschool Extras is designed for age groups: 4-6, 7-9 and 10-13. MJCCA membership is not required, and Homeschool Extras is open to the community. Ongoing. Registration for Second Annual Race for the Art. Registration is open for this 5K run/walk starting at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts and Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Cost for an individual is $20 and $25 for teams with five or more participants. The race takes place March 29. To register go to www. active.com/decatur-ga/running/distance-runningFeb. 22. DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau’s races/second-annual-porter-sanford-race-for-theReunion Planning Workshop. Those planning a arts-5k-walk-run-2014. family reunion may want to attend this workshop to Ongoing. Free tax assistance and preparation. gain advice and tips on making the most of this special family event. The workshop takes place from This service, available for low- and moderate9 a.m. to noon at Marriott Evergreen Conference income taxpayers, is available from AARP FoundaResort, 4021 Lakeview Drive, Stone Mountain. It tion Tax-Aide from Feb. 3 through April 15. You is free but pre-registration is required. Call (770) do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide 429-5016 to register. volunteers, trained in cooperation with the InterMarch 29-30. Village hosts annual bluegrass nal Revenue Service, will offer help with personal festival. Stone Mountain Village is hosting its an- income tax returns at various locations around nual bluegrass and arts and crafts festival, located Georgia. Last year, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers in the United States helped more than on Main Street in Stone Mountain. The Fifth Annual Bluegrass Roots Music and 2 million people file their federal, state and local Arts Festival will also be celebration the 175th an- tax returns. The program is offered at many sites in Georgia, including senior centers, libraries and niversary of the founding of Stone Mountain. Entertainment includes bluegrass music, arts other convenient location. Call the toll-free number, and crafts, folk dancing and other genres of re- 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669) or visit the website at www.aarp.org/taxaide during this tax seagional music. The festival will also feature glassblowing, a son, to locate an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site. blacksmith, food, trains rides and inflatables for children. Parking, admission and all musical per- Ongoing in February. Eat Well Indie-catur. In February, Decatur Active Living and Decatur Visiformances are free and open to the public. The festival runs Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and tors Center team up again with local restaurants for Sunday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information con- the Eat Well Indie-catur Campaign. Visit a participating restaurant any day during February, choose tact Chris Strawbridge at (770) 413-0607. one of their featured healthy entrees and get a Eat Ongoing. Tours of Callanwolde Mansion. Well Indie-catur card signed. Cards will be available Area residents can experience Callanwolde’s at participating locations and at the Decatur Visitors 27,000-square-foot Gothic-Tudor mansion located Center. Participate three times during February and on 12.5 acres in the Druid Hills neighborhood of earn a recipe book featuring some of Decatur resAtlanta. Those on the tour see how the Candler fam- taurants’ healthiest recipes. Recipes will be available ily of Coca-Cola fame lived as they stroll through at the Decatur Visitor’s Center, 113 Clairemont Ave. the formal and native gardens, view artists at work in Decatur. Participating restaurants are Victory, and learn more about Atlanta history. Callanwolde, 246, Chai Pani, Twain’s, Parkers on Ponce, Corner located at 960 Briarcliff Road NE in Atlanta, is Pub, Colbeh, Cakes and Ale and Sapori di Napoli. listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Tickets are $8-$12. For more information, go to www.callanwolde.org.
Ongoing. Homeschool Extras. The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) recently introduced Homeschool Extras. Metro Atlanta homeschool families are welcome to MJCCA’s’s 52-acre, state-of-the-art Dunwoody campus to participate in hands-on group activities. Participants in Homeschool Extras can get active with sports such as tennis, gymnastics, and swimming; or explore their artistic side with drama and dance. Registration is open now. Classes start in January. Programs are offered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Ashley Cohen at (678) 812-3867 or via firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.atlanta-
West African dance classes. Classes are taught by master West African dance instructor Assane Kouyate. Open to participants of all ages and levels who are ready for a fun-filled, energy packed class. Traditional and modern dances are taught. In addition, participants can develop an awareness of how song traditions work hand in hand with dance movement as a means of expression and communication of daily life in West African cultures. Thursdays; Beacon Hill Centre Theatre (corner Electric and W. Trinity Place–inside Ebster Rec Center at the back), 404 West Trinity Place, Decatur, 7 - 8:15 p.m., Cost: $12. For more information, Email: email@example.com or visit www.sekhousenegal.com/westafricandance.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Restaurant Health Inspections
Establishment Name: Rice Thai Address: 8075 Mall Parkway, Suite 110 Current Score/Grade: 88/B Inspection Date: 01/31/2014 Observations and Corrective Actions Upon inspector arrival, raw beef was being thawed at room temperature. Corrected to thaw under running water. Corrected OnSite. New Violation. Sliced pineapples were not kept in a dispenser designed to prevent contamination. Corrected to store the pineapples in an approved container. Corrected On-Site. New Violation. Employee beverages were being stored in direct contact with ice stored in the ice machine. Corrected to remove the beverages, drain and clean the ice machine. Corrected On-Site. New Violation. Upon inspector arrrival, the cooks were not wearing hair restraints. Corrected to wear hair nets. Corrected On-Site. New Violation. Soiled dirty wiping cloths were being stored on counter tops between uses. Corrected to store cloths in the sanitizer bucket. Corrected On-Site. New Violation. Hot water was not available inside the men’s restroom. Restore the hot water immediately. New Violation. Live roach activity was observed crawling inside the kitchen. The owner was advised to seek pest control. Several dead roaches were observed in the kitchen on walls and flooring. Corrected to clean up the dead roaches. Repeat Violation Establishment Name: Classic Wings And Dogs Address: 4270 Covington Highway Current Score/Grade: 92/A Inspection Date: 02/03/2014 Observations and Corrective Actions No certified food safety manager employed at facility. PIC advised to register for CFSM course. New Violation. Tank near fryer unclean with excessive grease build-up. PIC advised to clean at a frequency which prevents accumulation. New Violation. Faucet at hand sink in disrepair- hole in faucet causing water to spray upwards. PIC advised to have repaired. New Violation. Light near fryer unshielded. PIC advised to replace shield. New Violation. Establishment Name: Somali Youth Cafe Address: 5047 Memorial Drive, Suite B Current Score/Grade: 74/C Inspection Date: 02/03/2014 Establishment Name: Hong Kong City Address: 4819 Rockbridge Road, Suite 9 Current Score/Grade: 82/B Inspection Date: 02/03/2014 Observations and Corrective Actions Cold-held potentially hazardous foods not maintained below 41F; no time controls/documentation in place. Observed cooked/pre-cooked chicken, prok, shrimp, tofu, pasta and mixed vegetables (carrots & peas) not maintained at 41F or below. Advised to discard and to maintain at 41F or below. PIC discarded food items except for pasta which he put time controls in place. Corrected On-Site. Repeat Violation. Observed gravy at steam table however steam table was not turned on. PIC discarded gravy. Corrected On-Site. In-use, wet wiping cloths not stored in an approved sanitizing solution. Advised to store wet wiping cloths in sanitizer. PIC stored wet wiping cloths in sanitizer. Corrected On-Site. Facilities for storage of employee belongings not used appropriately. Advised to store personal food on bottom shelf below customer food and equipment. PIC removed personal food and stored on bottom shelf. Corrected On-Site. Perimeter walls/roofs not effectively protecting the establishment from weather or the entry of pests. Observed daylight at rear door. Advised to re-do the weather strips on bottom and sides of door. Establishment Name: Pizza Hut # 4765 Address: 3255 Buford Highway Current Score/Grade: 92/A Inspection Date: 02/06/2014 Establishment Name: Harbour Bar & Fish House Address: 129 Church Street Current Score/Grade: 98/A Inspection Date: 02/06/2014 Establishment Name: American Deli Address: 1881 Chamblee Tucker Road, Suite 3-2 Current Score/Grade: 83/B Inspection Date: 02/06/2014
Dunwoody recognizes top cops
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Dunwoody Police Officer Kerry Stallings said the best part of his job is he gets to play “real cops-androbbers.” “You get to do the fun stuff,” Stallings said. “You get to look for bad guys and chase people in cars. Every kid in the world dreams at some point about being able to chase a bad guy. “You play cops-androbbers as a child and that dream never really goes away,” Stallings said. Stalling has been named Dunwoody Police Department’s 2013 Officer of the Year for responding to a call about a woman preparing to commit suicide. In May 2013, Stallings responded to a call at the Manhattan Condominiums where he saw a woman preparing to jump off the fifth floor of a parking deck. When Stallings made his way to the fifth floor, he found the woman crying and standing with her feet halfway off the nine-inch ledge. Stallings talked with the woman and after several minutes was able to work his way close enough to grab the woman’s hand, pull her to him, and wrap her in a bear hug. He then lifted her over a barrier and onto the parking deck. “I responded and did the best that I could,” said Stallings, a Georgia native. For the incident, Stallings also was awarded the governor’s public safety award and Dunwoody’s meritous award. Other 2013 achievement awards given out by the Dunwoody Police Department include employee of the year, Brian Bolden; marksman of the year, Sergeant Aaron Belt; top cop award, Sergeant Patrick Krieg; rising star award, Officer Terell Styles; officer of the first quarter, Officer Harold “Trey” Nelson; officer of the third quarter and meritorious service medal, Officer Christopher Irwin; Officer of the Fourth Quarter and Chief ’s Award, Officer Tim Fecht; meritorious service medal, Officer Danny Tedesco; physical fitness challenge awards: Officer Trey Nelson and Officer Ian Fein.
Dunwoody Police Officer Kerry Stallings has been named the department’s officer of the year. Photo by Caleb Wade
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO INTRODUCE LOCAL LEGISLATION Notice is given that there will be introduced at the regular 2014 session of the General Assembly of Georgia a bill to amend an Act to reincorporate the City of Clarkston in the County of DeKalb, approved April 21, 1967 (Ga. L. 1967, p. 3391), as amended, so as to change the corporate limits of the city by annexing certain territory; to provide for related matters; to provide for a referendum; to provide an effective date; and for other purposes. Tracy Ashby, City Clerk City of Clarkston
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
ing the county’s roadways and stormwater drainage systems. Associate Director Peggy Allen said last year the division spent approximately $12 million on stormwater funding and $8 million for roads and drainage. Since 2009, there have been significant reductions to the division’s budget. In May’s proposed 2014 budget, there is approximately $9 million designated for roads and drainage, a 9.4 percent increase from last year. This years stormwater budget, which includes reserves, is approximately $24 million. Allen said her department will also be undertaking more stormwater projects in 2014 than it did last year and will make paving roads a priority. “This is an area that we have to put more attention to, so we’re going to do a lot more of that this year because our roads are failing and we need to patch them before they get worse,” Allen said. The DeKalb County Public Library system, which is responsible for operating the 22 library branches in the county, is slated to receive approximately $12.7 million for its budget. Additionally, the library system receives approximately $1 million in grants each year from the Georgia Public Library Service. This funding is divided between all of the 63 library systems in the state. Alison Weissinger, director of the library system, said the main issue the system struggles with each year is its materials budget. Weissinger said since 2008 the system has experienced a cumulative loss of more
Commissioners, county staff discuss budget priorities
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com 2014 budget. Edwards said this is due primarily to several inspectors retiring and In anticipation of finalengineers retiring. izing a 2014 budget, mem“Since 2008, the number bers of the DeKalb County of positions in the departBoard of Commissioners ment has steadily declined (BOC) met with department from a maximum of 46,” heads Feb. 6 to discuss their Edwards said. budget priorities and chalMorris Williams, chief lenges. of staff for the BOC, said it At a finance, audit and will take approximately six budget committee meetweeks to fill the positions. ing, staff from the DeKalb “Something is falling County Transportation Divi- behind,” Commissioner sion, Roads and Drainage Larry Johnson said. “I just Division and the DeKalb don’t want to lose the things County Public Library diswe’re working on based on cussed their budgetary reexpertise not being here.” quests. Edwards offered comInterim Transportation missioners a list of highDirector Doug Edwards lights from 2013, which said the transportation divi- included the completion sion responsibilities include of the Moreland Avenue maintenance of traffic sigstreetscape project, beginnals, management of roadning construction on the way construction projects Candler Road streetscape and street light maintenance. project and opening the LiThis year’s proposed thonia Industrial Boulevard budget from interim DeKalb extension to traffic. County CEO Lee May has Additionally, Edwards outlined $3.4 million for the said the division faces chaldivision, an increase of aplenges this year. He said proximately 70 percent from they will need to address 2013. However, Edwards the loss of staff and limited said that there has been a Homestead Optional Sales high turnover rate in the de- Tax (HOST) will restrict partment in past years. the implementation of new According to officials, projects. out of 29 authorized posiThe county’s Roads tions there are 24 funded and Drainage Division is positions in the proposed responsible for maintainthan $10 million, which has affected the system’s ability to purchase titles and maintain resources for patrons. The materials budget for the library system covers ordering books, CDs, DVDs, databases, periodicals and more. Weissinger said the lack of funding for such materials has hampered its ability to expand into new formats patrons are asking for such as downloadable eBooks, music and movies. “DeKalb lags behind every other large metro county and even some counties in the most poor and rural areas of Georgia when you look at per capita spending on materials,” Weissinger said. The final budget must be approved by the BOC and adopted no later than March 1.
CLAUDIA G. LAWSON
Tax Commissioner DeKalb County, GA
The 2014 Property Tax Exemption Deadline is Fast Approaching!
If you owned and resided in a home in DeKalb County on January 1st, you may apply for a Basic Homestead Exemption and Property Assessment Freeze with the County by April 1st of this year. The home must be your primary domicile and legal residence for all purposes, including the registration of your vehicles and the filing of your Federal and State income taxes. Applications received after April 1st will be processed for 2015. In addition to the basic homestead exemption available to all homeowners, there are special exemptions available for residents 62 and older, disabled veterans or their un-remarried spouses, and other disabled residents. Eligibility for special exemptions is based upon age or disability, total household income, and must be applied for in person. When applying, please bring your State and Federal income tax forms, Social Security 1099, and any other forms of income you may receive, to one of our three offices across the County.
1358 Dresden Dr., NE Atlanta, GA 30319
ATTENTION ALL DEKALB COUNTY HOMEOWNERS
Volunteers remove 1,000 tires from Arabia Mountain
More than 1,000 tires have been removed from roadsides, woods and wetlands in and around the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. On Saturday, Feb. 8, volunteers from the Georgia Conservancy and the Arabia Mountain Heritage Alliance, which includes the City of Lithonia, Panola Mountain State Park, Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Flat Rock Archives and the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, fanned out across parts of DeKalb and Rockdale to clean up scrap tire dumps. For more than four hours, trucks deposited tires at drop-off points at the Nature Preserve and Panola Mountain State Park. Local residents brought in tires that littered their properties or placed them along designated roadside pick-up areas. Liberty Tire Recycling retrieved the tires free-ofcharge and will transform them into rubber mulch used in landscaping and activity trails.
4380 Memorial Dr. Suite 100 Decatur, GA 30032
2801 Candler Rd. #66 South DeKalb Mall Decatur, GA 30034
Remember, the deadline for applying for all homesteads is April 1st!
Apply for the Basic Homestead Exemption, the Property Assessment Freeze, or renew your tag registration online at: www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner Questions? Call (404) 298-4000 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 100, Decatur, Georgia 30032 (404-298-4000)
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Lakeside city bill passes senate committee
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com Voters in the Lakeside community came a step closer to forming a new city Feb. 5. Georgia Senate Bill 270 made it through the Senate’s state and local governmental operations committee. The bill, which still has to make it to the floor of the House and Senate, would give Lakeside voters the chance to vote to incorporate. “What we’re asking for is not only local control, but what we refer to as walking distance representation,” said Kevin Levitas, an Lakeside City Alliance board member. “In our county, for every one commissioner there are 140,000 residents,” Levitas said. “For each at large commissioner, there are 340,000 residents. Under the proposed [Lakeside] map, there would be roughly 15,000 residents to each one city council person. “The idea is that if you have a pothole, if you have a zoning issue… and you go to the dairy section of the Kroger, you can spin the mayor around and say, ‘What are you guys thinking?’” Levitas said. Levitas said the proposed incorporation is “not about pulling away from the county, it’s about taking control of your rights and your destiny in your area and being responsible for those things. If you’re about local control, this is as local as it gets.” Mary Kay Woodworth, chairwoman of the Lakeside City Alliance, said the nonprofit citizens’ group has been working for 13 months to create a city that would “do the same as the other new cities in DeKalb.” Lakeside would “help boost the [county’s] tax revenue to help make [DeKalb] a stronger county,” Woodworth said. “If you have a strong city with a great sense of community and great place to do business, people will want to locate there. “I think that we can do great things within the city and with the county,” she said. There was opposition to the Lakeside bill going forward. Deborah Keefe, who lives near the proposed city, said, “I don’t think we have to go into all these cities. “I don’t want to gut the county and I don’t think we really need all these cities,” Keefe said. “Maybe we should be working on the county level to straighten all these things out and put that energy there.” Sen. Gloria Butler, a member of the Senate’s state and local governmental operations committee, objected to the legislation going directly to the Senate instead of going through the local delegation. “In most cases…we’ve always handled local legislation in the local delegation,” Butler said. “We’re not following the process that we should follow. All of the senators in this state will have the ability to vote on something that should just concern the certain people that live in that area.” Sen. Fran Millar, a Republican, said he presented the bill as a general bill instead of a local delegation because the Republican Party is in control of the Senate. In the past, he said, “everybody voted on a local bill, it’s a question of when they vote on it.” Lakeside is one of three proposed cities, along with Briarcliff and Tucker, with overlapping maps; each area is vying for the Northlake business district. After a Jan. 9 DeKalb legislative delegation meeting, lawmakers urged proponents of all three proposed cities to resolve their overlapping maps within 10 days. No such mediation has taken place to date. Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May said the incorporation issue is “a conversation that we…are having in the public that we really should be having in DeKalb County.” “You all have been put in a very uncomfortable position, for those of you who don’t live or represent any parts of DeKalb County,” May told senators. May said DeKalb County leaders are changing their stance on cityhood. “It’s not one of saying ‘no, no, no,’” May said. “Historically, that’s what it’s been. It’s been ‘no’ to Dunwoody, ‘no’ to Brookhaven, ‘no’ to new cities, period. “My position is this: New cities are not a bad thing, but I am critically concerned about the process,” May said. “The process…has a very punitive effect on the county.” Each incorporation takes funding
Residents get a look at a revised map of the proposed city of Lakeside during a state Senate committee hearing Feb 5. Top right, Sen. Fran Millar tells fellow senators that he believes voters will approve the city, while interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, center, unsuccessfully urges lawmakers to delay approving the bill giving voters the chance to form the new city. Photos by Caleb Wade
from the county and increases the financial burden on the remaining unincorporated areas, he said. In addition to the proposed cities with overlapping maps, there are existing cities with “master annexation plans [that]…encroach into these proposed cities, he said. “Any vote that you take is going to irritate a whole lot of people,” May said. “We believe as a county that we can work out this issue together, sitting down at the table. “What we’re asking for is a cooling off period,” May said. “Let us get through this session with nothing done—no winners, no losers—but with the county and all the key stakeholders sitting down at the table to discuss rules of engagement, the process, those issues in state law that makes it so punitive and unfair to the county.” May said the DeKalb legislative delegation is working on a joint resolution calling for the “cooling off period” and a task force “to work this out internally.” In a statement after the Senate committee’s 4-3 vote in favor of the bill, the City of Briarcliff Initiative said it “remains confident the Briarcliff cityhood bill will move forward in this Georgia legislative session.” “The group has recently finalized a charter that provides a strong framework for cityhood and is awaiting presentation in the Georgia House within this legislative session,” according to the statement.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
ment, Kelly worked as a seasonal employee for MFPA beginning in 2002. At some point before 2006, Kelly allegedly devised a scheme to steal money from the company and opened a fraudulent bank account. She would then deposit checks in the account. Tujuana Ross, a full-time MFPA employee, joined the scheme in 2006. Ross would steal checks and deliver them to Kelly, who in return would write Ross a check from the fraudulent account. Kelly also wrote checks to Smith, Avant, Rory Ross and Kelly. According to prosecutors, more than 200 checks were written over the five-year period. The indictment states that in addition to drafting checks from the fraudulent account, the defendants also used the account to purchase trips to Las Vegas, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Los Angeles.
Defendants accused of stealing from disabled agree to plea
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org for profit association that helps disabled artists meet their financial needs. MemSeveral defendants have bers paint with brushes held agreed to plead guilty to in their mouths or feet. Most stealing approximately $1.69 of the artists’ disabilities were million in donations from sustained at birth or through the Mouth Foot Painting an accident or illness that Artists Association (MFPA), left them unable to use their which is owned and run by hands. The organization credisabled artists. ates cards, calendars, books Defendants Christina and other gifts using their Kelly, Tujuana Ross, Kiante artwork, which are then sent Smith, Tyleshia Avant, Rory to donors. Ross and Glen Kelly were According to the indictindicted May 2013 and are charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The defendants allegedly stole donations by creating a fraudulent checking account in the name of MFPA and stealing $1.68 million over a five-year period. The defendants’ debit cards were linked to the account, the indictment states. MFPA is an international, The defendants also used the account to make timeshare mortgage and cell phone payments. Their racketeering activity includes money laundering, theft by taking, theft by receiving and identity theft, the indictment states. A representative from District Attorney Robert James’ office said the details of the plea agreement are not immediately available.
THE CELEBRATION LASTS 28 DAYS; THE CONTRIBUTION, A LIFETIME.
No amount of time would be sufficient to recognize all of the trailblazers who saw what no one else could, did what no one else dared and gave us all what we needed most. Georgia Power is proud to honor the achievements of African-Americans throughout Black History Month and more importantly beyond.
My name is Emily,
and in seven years I’ll be an alcoholic.
Kids who drink before age 15 are 5 times more likely to have alcohol problems when they’re adults.
START TALKING BEFORE THEY START DRINKING
To learn more, go to www.stopalcoholabuse.gov or call 1.800.729.6686
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
New look and feel for DeKalb rec center
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson held an open house Feb. 8 to celebrate the completion of the second phase of renovations at N.H. Scott Recreational Center. Approximately $572,000 went to creating a new reception area, a multi-use room, larger game room, office space, computer lab, kitchen area and playground. “N.H. Scott is a family resource center where we focus on the assets of our youth—it’s a resource center and talent builder,” Johnson said. With the new space the center is able to hold more classes and activities for the community such as Zumba and new sports such as volleyball and soccer. “With the updates comes more programming. It allows us to do more activities simultaneously,” Donnie Stallings, director N.H. Scott Recreational Center, said. “People need to visit all of our rec centers and see what they have to offer to the community. There’s a lot going on—and it’s still free.” Johnson said. –Photos by Travis Hudgons
Upcoming Seminars at DeKalb Medical Heart Healthy Living
Thursday, February 18, 2014 6:00–7:00 p.m. Community Room at DeKalb Medical – Hillandale campus
In recognition of American Heart Month, Tenecia Allen, M.D., a DeKalb Medical cardiologist, will share tips for improving your heart health and safeguarding against many heart issues, including cholesterol build-up, stroke and cardiac arrest.
Call 404.596.4772 or visit www.dekalbmedical.org.
Ricardo Coronary Angioplasty patient
For a referral to a DeKalb Medical physician or to reserve your space for these free seminars, please call 404.596.4772. Light refreshments will be served. Parking is free.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Once-a-week trash pick-up coming WEEK
Feb. 7. American Idol contestant Bria Johnson, a student at DeKalb School of the Arts, talks to fellow students about her experiences on the TV show. Photo by Caleb Wade.
Feb. 6. Jennifer Ffrench-Parker, Steen Miles, Valerie J. Morgan and Karyn Greer were recognized as trailblazing women in media by the DeKalb History Center. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Feb. 8. Parents, students and a teacher from Allgood Elementary record a DCTV spot for the DeKalb Technology fair. Photo by Caleb Wade.
Feb. 7. Jamal Dudley and Tariq Sewell, students at DeKalb Academy of Technology and Environment, work on a recycling robot, their project for the DeKalb County School District’s technology fair. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Feb. 7. The steeple for Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church’s new sanctuary sits in sections in the parking lot prior to being lifted atop the building with a crane. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
Photos brought to you by DCTV
Searching for Our Sons and Daughters:
Stories of our missing residents offer profound insights and hope for a positive reunion.
For a programming guide, visit www.yourdekalb.com/dctv
Finding DeKalb County’s Missing
Now showing on DCTV!
DCTV – Your Emmy® Award-winning news source of DeKalb County news. Available on Comcast Cable Channel 23.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Although Elisha Shaw didn’t play his senior season, he was an honorary captain when Tucker faced Creekside for the AAAAA state championship at the Georgia Dome. Photos by Travis Hudgons
The Tucker lineman is determined to play again after career-ending neck injury
by Carla Parker email@example.com National Signing Day is a special occasion for high school football seniors, but it was more special for Tucker High School defensive tackle Elisha Shaw. As Shaw walked up on the stage in his school auditorium, everyone could see him holding a hat with the University of Georgia symbol on it. But as he was about to put on the hat, he pulled an Alabama hat from underneath the Georgia hat and placed the Alabama hat on his head. Shaw committed to Alabama and the football program offered to put him on medical scholarship as a student coach or trainer so he can still get a college education. He will be able to train with the team but will not play. Shaw said he will work toward becoming a coach. He got a lot of practice at coaching this past season as he coached his Tucker teammates during their run to the state championship game It was a dream come true for Shaw to be able to experience that moment, but his dream of playing football for Alabama may never come to fruition.
Elisha Shaw: ‘I haven’t lost hope’
Shaw has strained ligaments in his neck that may never heal.
During his junior year, Shaw burst onto the scene as one of the top defensive players in the state. He finished his junior season with 22 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and two sacks. With his size, speed and skill set, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound junior earned a 4-star grade and was ranked the No. 2 defensive tackle in the 2014 class, according to 247Sports.com.
When college football recruiters began taking notice of him, Shaw found his dreams of becoming a college football star were starting to become true. However, everything changed last summer before the start of his senior season. During the second day of summer practice, Shaw was making a tackle during a passing drill when he injured his neck.
“When it happened I went numb for a little bit, but I hopped right back up,” he said. Shaw saw a doctor the following day, but the doctor could not tell how significant the injury was and put a brace on his neck. “They really couldn’t tell anything,” Shaw said. “My neck was in pain but he thought I had a concussion. I didn’t know the seriousness of it.” Despite not knowing how serious the injury was, Shaw still had every intention to get back on the football field. However, on his third visit to the doctor he received the devastating news that he would never be able to play football again. “I was stunned,” he said. “It felt like a dream because I never thought something like this would happen to me.” Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar said it was tough to see Shaw deal with this situation. “It’s hard when you have to come to grips with not being able to play with all the hard work you’ve put in from your freshman year to your senior year,” Lamar said. “Elisha has been playing since he was a kid and to grow into a big time recruit and
See Shaw on page 16A
THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Thurmond Continued From Page 1A
them in a positive way. How would you describe the state of the school district now that a year has gone by? We are progressing. Obviously moving in the right direction. And people throughout the district– north and south, east and west–are rallying to the flag, so to speak. Our “near death experience” helped to refocus the district on trying to improve educational opportunities for all the children in our county. What would you say has been your biggest challenge over the year? Helping and encouraging others to believe again in this district, rebuilding a sense of trust and hope and developing a positive outlook for all the internal and external stakeholders—that’s been the greatest challenge because people have been damaged in very significant ways psychologically and otherwise by recent events. Rebuilding that has been and continues to be an ongoing challenge. Everybody is not a believer yet. A case in point is the Druid Hills cluster. How do you reach those who are still nonbelievers? You have to continue to be successful. There are those who are “nonbelievers” but it’s not without rational evaluation. There’s reason for people not to believe yet, not to fully trust in the district or in me, for that matter. I clearly understand that and that’s part of the motivation to try to continue improvement. We’re not there yet by any stretch of the imagination. Thank God, we’re not where we were, but I also recognize that we’re not where we need to be if we’re going to earn the right to be considered one of the elite public school districts in the state or even in the nation. What’s been your biggest disappointment? I came in with my eyes wide open. To be honest with you, there was low expectation for me as a superintendent not having any experience in leading a public education institution prior this. So my eyes were wide open.
You mean the expectations that other people had for you? Yes. That created a great opportunity for me to be successful. So you think you’re successful? So far I think we’ve been successful. I’m judged by the success of the district. We’re no longer in deficit. We have a balanced budget. We’re building a fund balance. I think that people can’t argue that that’s not successful, from a financial stability point of view. We’ve elevated our accreditation status from being on probation to being off probation—you can’t really argue with that and say that’s not progress. On just those two items alone there’s irrefutable evidence that we’re moving in the right direction. What have you gotten wrong? I underestimated the emotional and psychological trauma that employees have suffered throughout the district, and the pain that still remains, to be honest with you—the fear that just dominated the psychology of an organization…. there was a tremendous amount of fear among the employees and it kind of manifested itself in hopelessness and haplessness. Having to eradicate that and rebuild and restore and refresh—I underestimated how much time and energy I would have to invest to address those issues. You go into schools a lot, of course. What do you see when you walk into schools? I see myself. I see myself in the eyes of the children. I just see unlimited potential of the students and I see dedicated employees who really want what’s best. I see parents who are investing all of their time and resources available to support their children. That’s what inspires me. There are a lot of people who say, and probably with good reason, that the school district has not been very concerned about schools, has not been focused on students in the past. Do you think that’s true and have we turned the page on that? I think it’s true that people believe that’s true and
not without some evidence that might have led to those opinions. Once you resolve these extraneous issues—the adult issues—that has given us more time and space to refocus and reinvest our time and energy on our children and on teaching and learning. When you have ongoing controversies on all levels, not just in the county but at the state level in the courts, it’s very difficult to focus on teaching and learning. For example, if you settle a Heery lawsuit that frees up bandwidth—emotional and psychological–that now can be refocused and redirected on teaching and learning…. Where do you see the school district in five years? Immediately after the announcement from SACS that we were no longer on probation, I met with our senior team within 48 hours and this is what I told them: That’s yesterday’s news. Ultimately the DeKalb County School District will be judged on whether or not we can improve academic achievement and increase our graduation rate. Now we must focus like a laser beam…on increasing academic performance [and] improving our graduation rates. Those two things will ultimately shape the reputation of this school district and any other school district. I’m convinced that we’ve been working on that throughout the year away from the media—the spotlight of the media—and I’m expecting, even this year, to see some incremental improvements in both of those two categories. There are some people who think our kids aren’t capable of doing any better. Absolutely. We’re going to prove them wrong. The devil is a liar. Always has been, always will be. And what we have to do is put our young people in a position where they can be more successful. When we are not focused on teaching and learning, when we aren’t good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, when we allow other agendas to subordinate the agenda around children, then that impacts on their ability to achieve.
Honors Continued From Page 1A
for.” Godfrey and her husband Buck, a record-setting DeKalb County coach, accepted the award on Ali’s behalf. Ali is described in the program as “a formidable multimedia personality within the sports and entertainment industries.” Her career has included cohosting The Ryan Cameron Show on V-103 FM and hosting Streetz 94.5’s The Streetz Morning Grind. She has acted in the motion pictures 3 Can Play That Game, The Gospel, and Trois 3. Ali is the author of the children’s book Piper Sky’s Pink Popsicle Shoes. Glenn described award recipient Jennifer Ffrench-Parker as her “sister-girlfriend in print journalism.” Ffrench-Parker has been editor and publisher of award winning CrossRoadsNews for 19 years. Before cofounding the newspaper with her husband Curtis in 1995, Ffrench-Parker was a reporter and assistant metro editor with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a business writer with the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina and the Times Herald Record and Wall Street Transcript in New York. She also worked for the Jamaica Daily News in her native Jamaica. Ffrench-Parker thanked the center for putting her “in the company of illustrious women.” She said that as a journalist her goal is always to provide the public with information in time for them to act on it. “I let them know when something’s coming.” Glenn said of 11Alive Morning News anchor Karyn Greer, another award recipient, “Most people have no idea how much she volunteers in the community. She is constantly giving her time and talent in community service.” A native of Chicago, Greer started her broadcast career at a station in Champlain, Ill., where she quickly became an on-air reporter. After time at a station in Charleston, S.C., Greer came to Atlanta in 1989, where she anchored and reported for the newly formed WGNX news team. In 1999, she joined WXIA-TV 11 Alive News, the Atlanta NBC affiliate. In talking about her busy life and careers, Greer lightheartedly quoted Mother Theresa, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle; I just sometimes wish he didn’t trust me so much.” Glenn called another award recipient, her longtime friend and media associate, Steen Miles “a rare gift to the community.” “Whenever I’ve needed something, she’s always been there,” Glenn said of Miles, who until recently wrote an award-winning weekly column for The Champion Newspaper. During her days as a broadcast journalist, Miles was a three-time Emmy Award-winning reporter-anchor for WXIA-TV 11Alive. She capped her 30-year broadcast career, which started at a station in her native South Bend, Ind., with a position as managing editor at 11Alive. She was elected to the Georgia Senate, where she represented the 43rd District 2005-2007 and chose to run for lieutenant governor rather than seek re-election to the Senate. “I could go around this room and have a story about my associations with nearly everyone here. DeKalb is my family,” Miles said. “We’ve always been able to come together on issues that affected our industry,” Glenn said of fellow newspaper publisher Valerie J. Morgan, another 2014 History Center award recipient. Morgan is editor-in-chief of On Common Ground News Inc., which provides print and online coverage in DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties. She and her husband Glenn Morgan founded the newspaper in 1995 “as a way to enlighten, enrich, and educate the community,” according to the award luncheon’s printed program. In 1993 Morgan was recruited by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, where she helped launch the CityLife news section of the paper and served as edition-chief for specialty magazines published by the AJC during the 1996 Olympics. Morgan said she has always been driven to gather and report news. “Last week when everybody else was trying to get out of the snow storm,” she said, “I was trying to get in it.”
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Continued from page 1A than just football. He could have walked on campus and get injured his first day.” Shaw said he felt fortunate and hopeful as he celebrated National Signing Day alongside his teammates, but added that he would have felt differently if he knew he was going to college to continue his football career. “But it’s cool. It’s about getting an education and being around successful people,” he said. “I’m going to work on being a coach, getting a great education and be around positive people.” His current coach believes he could be a successful coach if he stays focused and gives it his all. “I’m just proud of him and how he has handled this,” Lamar said. “It’s just a start. He still has a lot of work to do in order to get there.”
have that taken from him, that’s tough.” Shaw said his injury is similar to the neck injury that took the life of Creekside High School football player Deantre Turman. Turman died after injuring his neck during a scrimmage game in August. Shaw said that he feels blessed that his injury did not have the same results. “The only thing that made me feel better was that I was still alive and I could move and I still had all my strengths,” Shaw said. Although he could not play, he was still able to train with his teammates. At his last appointment, the doctor told Shaw that he is looking a lot better. Before the injury occurred, Shaw had college recruiters calling him every day expressing their interest in him to play football at their school. Shaw had developed close relationships
Tucker defensive lineman Elisha Shaw, who suffered a career-ending neck injury before his senior season, signed with Alabama on National Day. Alabama offered to put him on medical scholarship as a student coach or trainer so he can still get a college education. Photo by Carla Parker
with the coaches at Alabama, Auburn and Georgia, and those schools became his top three choices. When Shaw informed the recruiters at Alabama, Auburn and Georgia about his diagnoses, they expressed nothing but encouragement and positive expectations.
“They were telling me to stay positive and just gave me hope,” Shaw said. “But I’ve always had hope. I never lost hope and I still haven’t lost hope.” While he was getting words of encouragement from those three schools, recruiters from other schools
slowly began backing away from Shaw. Lamar commended Alabama, Auburn and Georgia for sticking by Shaw. “[They are] just first class organizations,” Lamar said. “If you recruit a kid and put effort and energy into that kid as a person, it’s more
Decatur revamping unified development ordinance
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org The city of Decatur is moving forward with overhauling certain sections of its development code and fine-tuning it to make it more beneficial for residents and business owners. Caleb Racicot from TSW and Associates, the firm managing the overhaul, presented an update based on stakeholder input that identifies several areas that need improvement. These improvement areas include addressing certain code language to make it more user-friendly; additionally, it lists key issues including developing new zoning districts, historic preservation, and improvements in stormwater and sustainability. The new and amended zoning is intended to create new districts that reflect the character of existing residential and commercial areas. These changes include allowing 50-foot lots for single-family homes, creating districts for middle-sized homes and allowing more mixed-use development. Additionally, the plan also recommends amending local commercial properties to allow for more urban design and mixed-use development. The plan also proposes updating the city’s stormwater systems to align it with zoning and tree conservation regulations and incorporate “green” best management practices. To address the construction of new homes in the city, the unified development ordinance (UDO) will introduce regulations to preserve the integrity of neighborhoods facing development pressures. However, these regulations will not be as strict as the regulations for historic districts. This will include delaying some demolitions by establishing a period of review for permits, including the notification of neighbors and a public hearing. Other areas proposed in the plan are updating outdoor lighting regulations, addressing historic districts, enhancing sustainability and animal regulations. The Decatur City Commission approved the table of contents of the UDO Feb. 3 and a timetable detailing the scope of work the city will have to do over the next several months. City of Decatur Planning Director Amanda Thompson said the creation of the final UDO will include significant public involvement. “There are going to be four indepth public workshops around community character, stormwater, sustainability and some proposed new zoning districts,” Thompson said. Thompson said the public workshops will be held in March and April and the city will release the first draft of the plan in the summer. She said a final plan will come before the city commission for a vote in September. At the meeting, Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett let stakeholders know that the city is not adopting any new measures. “We’re only setting a scope so that we can actually know what kind of project this is going to be,” Baskett said. “Right now, we’re just approving the scope of the work and a timetable of that work.”
Continued from page 2A 4.81 to 7.85 square miles and the total sumptions involved with this budget number of residential parcels grew by until such time as we develop a proven 80 percent from 2,560 to 4,610. history with the annexed area. According to city manager Marc “At the same time, the mayor and Johnson, the financial effects of this city council have made it clear that recent annexation are based on asChamblee will not lower the high sumptions and estimations. quality of its services due to an an“As has long been our practice, we nexation, and newly annexed areas continue to be conservative in our will receive the same level of service estimates, particularly for revenue,” as their predecessors,” Johnson added. Johnson stated in the budget presenta- “Therefore, among other things, the tion. “Given the size and magnitude annexation requires a significant inof this annexation, staff has been even crease in personnel.” more conservative in the financial asAccording to the budget, the city
added 37 new full-time equivalent positions, including 27 at the police department, a new economic development manager and a communications manager/executive assistant to the city manager. The city awarded a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and budgeted $185,000 for merit raises where warranted. The average merit raise is expected to be 3.5 percent. The capital equipment required to serve the two annexed areas was paid for by a five-year lease, at 1.73 percent,
providing a shared burden for old and new citizens. The defined benefit retirement contribution for 2014 will decrease from 12.56 percent to 10.93 percent for employees who remain in that plan, according to the budget. The city’s contribution remains at 10 percent for employees in the new defined contribution plan. Peachtree Benefits, the city’s insurance broker, was able to negotiate the city’s health insurance costs to an average increase of 8 percent.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Red roses, though more expensive on Valentine’s Day, are still popular.
Maud Baker Flowers, now in Scottdale, has been in the Decatur-Scottdale area since 1947.
Scott Wieler holds the type of mixed arrangement he says many customers now request for Valentine’s Day. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
Love in bloom—Valentine’s Day big for Scottdale florist
by Kathy Mitchell email@example.com For florists such as Maud Baker Flowers in Scottdale, Valentine’s Day is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it focuses a good deal of work into a single day, explained Scott Wieler, a member of the family that owns and operates Maud Baker Flowers. On the other hand, sales for Feb. 14 typically equal to those for two other months. “People want flowers delivered on Feb. 14—not the day before or the day after,” Wieler said. Even though Valentine’s Day this year is on a Friday, providing a weekend over which the holiday could be stretched, that’s not what people tend to do, added Wieler, whose career in the floral industry started as a buyer for a chain in North Carolina. “Actually, the fact that it’s Friday causes a bit more of a crunch for businesses such as ours. People like to have flowers delivered to an office and sometimes people leave early on Friday, especially when it’s the start of a holiday weekend. This year, the Monday following Valentine’s Day is Presidents’ Day. Some people have the day off and may be planning to leave early for a long weekend out of town. That means we need to deliver by mid-afternoon.” Winter storms in the delivery area made Valentine’s Day 2014 more of a challenge for Maud Baker Flowers. Second only to candy, flowers are a favorite among Valentine’s Day gift-givers, according to this year’s survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Among those who said they are planning to give Valentine’s gifts, nearly half (48.7 percent) said they will buy candy; more than a third (37.3 percent) will give flowers. “Valentine’s Day will continue to be a popular gift-giving event, even when consumers are frugal with their budgets. This is the one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. Of the nine retail spending events tracked by the NRF, Valentine’s Day is the fourth largest, coming in only slightly behind Mother’s Day. Nationwide, the average person plans to spend $133.91 on candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more, up slightly from $130.97 last year, the current NRF survey indicates. Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion. The NRF survey indicates that men will on average spend $108.38 on gifts for their significant others this Valentine’s Day—twice as much as women who will spend an average of $49.41 on their special someone. But Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples; people will show their appreciation for family members (59.4 percent) friends (21.7 percent) teachers (20.4 percent) and colleagues (12.1 percent). Red roses are traditional, and, according to Wieler, still popular, but he added, that’s starting to change. “Roses are losing their rank just because the price goes up so much around Valentine’s Day. Our suppliers raise their prices, so we have no choice but to raise our prices. It’s a matter of supply and demand—like oil.” More people are choosing tulips and mixed arrangements, Wieler said. “They can be just as beautiful and people feel they get a better value.” Maud Baker Flowers has been in the area since 1947, first in Decatur and more recently in Scottdale. Originally owned by the Baker family, the business had only one other owner before the family that currently owns it bought the flower shop in 2005.
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030 404.378.8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
DeKalb Tech fair attracts 186 projects
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Thirteen-year-olds Jamal Dudley and Tariq Sewell said they like technology. “The part that excites me the most is you can use your imagination,” Jamal said about why the pair built a recycling robot—a robot that picks up recyclable materials and deposits them into appropriate bins. “In our classrooms, people don’t use the recycling bins correctly,” Jamal said. “There would be…food in all of them and paper in the plastics [bin] and plastics in the paper bin. We can correct that.” It took the two DeKalb Academy of Technology and Environment students two days to build and program the robot, made of pieces from the Lego NXT Mindstorm setup box, Tariq said. “We’re not lying; it took us two days,” Tariq said. “We use our time wisely.” The recycling robot was one of 186 projects in the 2014 DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Technology Fair held Feb. 8 at Elizabeth Andrews High School in Stone Mountain. “The technology fair is an opportunity for all members of the DCSD community to learn more about technology,” said Monika T. Davis, manager of DCSD’s instructional technology department. “As digital natives, our students are immersed in technology as an organic part of their lives,” Davis said. “The technology fair provides them with an opportunity to infuse their natural ability and skills with academic content and create amazingly innovative projects. “During the process, students are able to collaborate with peers, educators, parents and judges, which makes for an even richer experience,” she said. “The competition is the icing on the cake in that it provides incentive for our students to continue their quest for knowledge and innovation and be recognized for it.” DeKalb students had the opportunity to submit projects in several categories, including 3-D modeling, animated graphic design, case modification, digital photography, digital video production, new game design, hardware, new mobile apps, multimedia applications, non-animated graphic design, non-multimedia applications, project programming, robotics, and Web 2.0 internet applications. The first place winners in each category and grade level will qualify to compete in Georgia Technology Fair held in March. “DCSD has success every year with students placing and even winning in their respective categories,” Davis said. DCSD has sponsored a districtwide Technology Fair since February 2002. Eric Smart, a judge who reviewed Jamal’s and Tariq’s recycling robot, said, “We might have big winners here. They have been the most knowledgeable because they understand the full concept of the software involved and what it’s linked to,” Smart said. “They understand the full use of the robotics— what it’s intent is. They understand the full dynamics of what their working with.” Participants in the technology fair are doing “more than turn on a computer to surf the web,” Smart said. “They’re programming a robot to go down, turn around, pick something up and do whatever you would like for it to do,” he said. “Most of these kids built these robots in two days. One gentleman programmed his robot while sitting in the waiting room.”
Joshua Jones presents his quad copter drone to a judge during the DeKalb County School District’s Technology Fair. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Jonathan Expose, a fourth-grader at DeKalb Academy of Technology and Environment, demonstrates a robot.
Students work on their laptops before showing their projects to judges.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Two DeKalb students surprised with scholarships
Two students at DeKalb School of the Arts were surprised with scholarships to Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., during a Feb. 7 school assembly. Sydney Cash was awarded the college’s Presidential Scholarship, valued at more than $100,000 over four years. The scholarship is awarded for superior academic and leadership achievement. “We really enjoyed having Sydney Cash on campus two weeks ago and hope that she left with the feeling that Queens is the place where she can thrive,” said Ashley S. Willumitis, an admissions counselor at Queens University, in an email to school officials. Willumitis cited Sydney’s “great
DeKalb School of the Arts students Bailey Hunt, left center, and Sydney Cash, right, received scholarships to attend the Queens University of Charlotte, N.C. Photos by Caleb Wade
TAKE A GENIUS TO KNOW THAT WHEN YOU PLAY,
GEORGIA’S KIDS WIN.
success over the past four years” and her performance at the college’s Scholarship Day as reasons she received the scholarship. “Sydney is someone we really want at Queens,” Willumitis said. “We hope she finds us to be her perfect match in a school.” Queens University also presented Bailey Hunt with a $56,000 Byrum scholarship, the university’s second-highest honor. Bailey was one of 20 students to receive the scholarship. “This scholarship recognizes a student’s achievement and overall signifies the type of student who really thrives at Queens,” Willumitis said.
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Miller Grover triple jumper Tiffany Flynn signed with Mississippi State University. Flynn is the No. 1 ranked triple jumper in Georgia in indoor track and field. Photo by Carla Parker
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 Gunnar Bentz, St. Pius (swimming): The senior swimmer broke his state record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 47:26 and set a state record in the 200 individual medley with a time 1:45.55 to lead his team to the 1A-5A state swim and dive title Feb. 8. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Davion Wingate, Southwest DeKalb (basketball): The junior guard led the team in scoring with 22 points in the 59-9 win over M.L. King Feb. 7. Wingate is averaging 15.3 points per game.
Miller Grove’s Tiffany Flynn signs track scholarship with Mississippi State
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Miller Grove High School had another signee on National Signing Day as triple jump state champion Tiffany Flynn signed a scholarship to compete in track and field at Mississippi State University. Flynn, the No. 1 ranked triple jumper in Georgia in indoor track and field, said she chose to sign with Mississippi State because of the family atmosphere. “I like the campus, and the coaching staff is nice and they’ll work with me,” she said. “If I need them I can go to them just like I’ve been able to go to my teachers here at Miller Grove and all of the schools I’ve been to. They’ll be my next family.” Flynn began running track her ninth‒grade year. Since then, she has won the Class AAAAA triple jump state championship in 2013 with a leap of 40 feet ‒ 9.75 inches, a Miller Grove school record. She placed second in the state in the long jump (19 feet‒ 4.0 inches) and second in the 100 meter hurdles (14.45) in 2013. She earned the Al Woodham Best Performance Award at the 2013 GHSA State Championships and was named to the All-Metro Track and Field Team by the Atlanta Track Club. She also holds the school long jump record of 19 feet ‒ 1.75 inches and was part of a school record time of 47.66 as part of the 4x100 relay team. She is ranked No. 3 nationally in the triple jump and No. 5 in hurdles. Miller Grove girls track coach Eric Keddo said Flynn has gotten better each year since her freshman year. “She’s a huge part of the team,” Keddo said. “She does whatever she can for the team. A lot of the girls look up to her and one thing I know about Tiffany is that she is going to go far.” Flynn holds a 3.5 GPA, was on the honor roll for three consecutive years and has compiled a 4.0 GPA during the first semester of her senior year. An active student, Flynn is co-editor of the Miller Grove yearbook, a cheerleader for four years and co-caption this season, a manager for the boys’ basketball team for two years and was voted by her classmates as the 2014 Best All Around and Most Athletic Senior.
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. William ‘Shaq’ Goodwin, Memphis (basketball): The sophomore forward scored 10 points and added eight rebounds in the 60-54 win over Gonzaga Feb. 8. Goodwin is averaging 12.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Brandon Morris, Georgia (basketball): The sophomore forward from Miller Grove scored 10 points in the 62-50 win over Texas A&M Feb. 8. Morris is averaging 9.5 points per game. Queen Alford, Jacksonville (basketball): The sophomore guard from Decatur scored 18 points in the 6651 win over North Florida Feb. 8. Alford is averaging 13.2 points per game.
Tiffany Flynn signs her letter of intent to Mississippi State.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
The Southwest DeKalb wrestling team won the region Area 6-AAAAA traditional wrestling title Feb. 1 during the area tournament.
Southwest DeKalb wins wrestling region title Arabia Mountain makes school
Southwest DeKalb repeated as Area 6-AAAAA traditional wrestling champions Feb. 1 during the area tournament at North Atlanta. The Panthers defeated past Area Duals champions Lakeside 244.5 to 216. The Panthers picked up wins in five weight classes led by 2013 state champion Abdur-Rahman Yasin, who won the 152 class to remain undefeated on the season. Other wins were by Jordan Johnson (126), Cameron Strickland (138), Treylyn Meadors (170) and Justin Hussein (195). Muadh As-Siddiq (120) and Damion Barham (132) picked silver medals. Lakeside captured three weight classes led by Alex LaRotta (182), Imani Heslop (22) and Alec Conyers (285). The Vikings advanced a total of nine wrestlers to Sectionals including silver medalists Spencer Wilson (126), Josh Powell (145), Anthony Osley (170) and Devon White (195). Dunwoody’s Sunny Sharma won gold in the 120-weight class and Greg Wesolowski won silver in the 182-weight class. The Wildcats bronze medalists included Nester Foley (106), Diego Bautista (126), Tyrone Carter (132), Korey Lowrey (138), Mike Greenstein (170) and Tyler Barrett (195). Other weight class victors in Region 6-AAAAA included Arabia Mountain’s Alema Favors (132), Stephenson’s Malik Sterling (106) and Eric Baldwin (145) and Tucker’s Jamil Singleton (160). In the Area 3-AAA tournament, McNair’s Raheem Shelton captured gold in the 170-weight class and James Wallace took silver in the 220 division. Terrance Perdue (126) and Jamaal Deng (152) also medaled for McNair with third place finishes. Towers’ Stevenson Derival won gold in the 195 class and Marquez Horton won silver in the 145 class. Druid Hills’ Jordan Page (120), Noah Floyd (132) and Hakeem Enis (285) picked up silver medals for the Red Devils in the Area 2-AAAAAA tournament. by Carla Parker email@example.com After making school history with its first winning record, the Arabia Mountain Rams football program made history again on National Signing Day with its largest signing class. Arabia Mountain had nine senior football players to sign letters of intent Feb. 5 and expects 10 more players to sign in the coming week, which would bring the program’s total to 19 signees. Head coach Stanley Pritchett, who is in his first year as head coach of the Rams, said this senior class set the bar for the program. “When I first got here last summer we wanted to set a standard for the program, to build the program to be the premier program in the county,” Pritchett said. “I think the senior class bought into that and this is the fruition of what’s going on.” In Pritchett’s first year as head coach, the Rams picked up their first winning season with a 7-3 record. In its fifth season of existence, the Rams team had one of the top five offenses in the county and finished second in the county in defense this past season. Because the program was not as wellknown with college recruits as some of the other programs in DeKalb, Pritchett said, he did a few things to get his players’ names out there. “We went to recruiting fairs and I used my network,” he said. “My reputation as a coach is pretty good and people want to know where I’m at and see what kind of kids we have.” With his connections and the success of the players on the field, college recruits saw what kind of talent the program has. Arabia Mountain had four players sign with Division I schools, which included a pair of military academy signees in defensive back Nasiir Edwards (Air Force) and Demetro Stephens (Army). Wide Receiver
The Arabia Mountain High School football program had nine players sign on National Signing Day and expects 10 more player to sign, bringing the total to 19, the most in program history. Photo by Carla Parker
history with largest signing class
Gregory Phillips signed with Big 10’s Purdue University and defensive tackle Kayton Samuels signed with Syracuse out of the ACC. Samuels, who finished the 2013 season with 94 total tackles and eight sacks, is proud of how far he and his teammates have come. “I was a freshman when the school first opened in 2009 and we were nothing,” Samuels said. “We built this football program and now most of our guys are going to Division I schools. That’s a huge accomplishment.” Phillips, who led the team with 10 touchdown receptions, said it means a lot to him to be a part of the program’s largest signing class. “We’re setting the [standard] for the younger players behind us,” Phillips said. “We’re making history so they can have something to follow and have something to look up to so they can top us and keep the history of the Arabia Mountain Rams going.” Pritchett said the large number of signees from the program sends a “huge” message to the younger players. “We were in the weight room this morning at 6 a.m. and we had at least 40 guys in there working out, so we know the standard has been set,” he said. “A 7-3 record was good but we want to be better than that next year. The young guys are working hard and they’re thinking next year is their time and they’re working to get better.” To stay competitive in a region that includes other successful programs such as M.L. King, Stephenson and Tucker, Pritchett said, his coaching staff has to reach out to middle school players and inform them what Arabia Mountain is all about. “Arabia Mountain is an academic school. We want to be like the Stanfords and Vanderbilts that have good academics and good athletics,” he said. “We’re trying to build the program up.”
St. Pius boys win first state swim title
The St. Pius X Golden Lions swim and dive team made history Feb. 8 when the team won its first A-AAAAA state title at the at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. St. Pius edged past Marist 199-191.0 points to claim the state title. St. Pius beat Marist in the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, to clinch its state championship. Senior Gunnar Bentz, who was the anchor of the relay team, touched the wall on the final lap at 3.12.24 to give the Golden Lions their state championship. Bentz swam a state record time of 1:45.55 in the 200-yard medley. He finished first and set a state record in the 100-yard butterfly with a 48.60 time.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Miller Grove Wolverines
Cedar Grove Saints
Taco Mac Sports Grill hosted the first-ever National Signing Day Frenzy on Feb. 5 at five different locations. Taco Mac partnered with 92.9 The Game radio station and the National Guard to recognize and celebrate the players and their accomplishments. The 2013 DeKalb County signing class totalled 125 signatures and surpassed the century mark for the fifth consecutive year. The previous three years’ totals were 100 (2009), 126 (2010), 127 (2011) and 152 (2012). These numbers include four-year and two-year colleges as well as prep schools to aid the athletes in furthering their educations and playing careers. Photos by Travis Hudgons
National Football Signing Day
Arabia Mountain Rams
ML King Lions
Druid Hills Devils
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
From left, Pine Lake Mayor Pro Tem Megan Pulsts, Mayor Kathie deNobriga and council member George Chidi.
Pine Lake breaks ground on Family Dollar store
On Feb. 7, Pine Lake’s mayor, city officials, police chief and community members met at the future site of a Family Dollar for a ceremonial groundbreaking. Construction has already begun on the more than 8,000-square-foot Rockbridge Road location. Mayor Kathie deNobriga said that this particular Family Dollar will look a little different than others in the area and will have special features such as bike racks and benches out front to give the location a community feel. McMichael’s Construction Company and the Boos Development Group are overseeing the building of the Family Dollar store, which is scheduled to open in April. Photos by Travis Hudgons
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