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FREEPRESS
COUNTY HOLDS VARSITY BASKETBALL TOURNEY
SPORTS, 23A

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014 VOL. 16, NO. 48 FREE

A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS

DEKALB SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT WANTS TO FINISH STRONG


LOCAL, 9A

STATE CELEBRATES NEW AMERICANS


LOCAL, 14A

FOR MORE SNOW STORM PICTURES ... See pages 12-13A

Above, Gemma DiCristina and Amanda Burns sled down Wiltshire Drive in Avondale Estates after a snow storm, the second of the season, hit metro Atlanta Feb. 12. Because state and county ofcials declared states of emergency before the February storm hit, most residents were in their homes when the ice and snow began. Below left, Will Laughter sledding in Avondale Estates. Photos by David DiCristina. See story on page 15A.

Snow Storm 2014

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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

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Step up the pace. Be Fearless.


All of DeKalbs students could one day be in schools governed like Drew Charter. File photo

County school district ponders flexibility options


by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com waive various education requirements as long as they receive permission from the The DeKalb County state government. School District has to decide What that basically what kind of district it wants means in a nutshell is that to be. districts have the flexibility School districts can to remove any regulations, choose from three major op- policies or laws associated tions, including a Investing with educationno all in Educational Excellence of them but almost all of (IEE) system, charter system themin the state of Georand the status quo option, gia if they select the flexibilaccording to Trenton Arity options that are available nold, Region III superinten- or they can choose not to dent for DeKalb schools. take any waivers whatsoever All school districts in the and after June 30, 2015, state is being required by the not waivers will be given state legislature to notify whatsoever except in cases the Department of Educaof natural disaster, Arnold tion no later than June 30, said. 2015, of their intention to The status quo option seek waivers from state laws is basically a district sayand department of educaing were no longer going to tion regulations or to not seek any waivers after June seek any waivers, Arnold 30, 2015, Arnold said. said. Many Georgia school Schools are allowed to districts, including the

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 t your busy schedule. Secondhalf registration is now open for classes starting March 19. Registration must be completed by February 21.

gpc.edu/secondhalf

TheChampion 2nd Half Ad.indd 1

See School on page 3A

REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE REDUCE

2/3/14 5:18 PM

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

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School Continued From Page 2A


DeKalb County School District, request many waivers for many reasons such as for class size, Arnold said. Those class size waivers would no longer be allowed and any class sizes above whatever the state requirement is would no longer be funded as they are now, he said. Currently there are three IEE districts in Georgia: Gwinnett, Forsyth and Rabun counties. Whats unique about IEE is that the districts must select their waiversexactly which laws and policies theyre going to request waivers from, Arnold said. Charter districts are granted much more flexibility. If a district requests to be a charter district, the Department of Education already understands that the district is going to be requesting flexibility from any of the laws that are available to be waived, Arnold said. You cant waive everything, he said. You cant waive the U.S. Constitution. You cant waive [the requirement for] a moment of silent reflection. You cant waive the requirement to remove asbestos from buildings. There are certain things that you cannot waive, but the list of things you cannot waive is much shorter than the list of what you can waive. The charter system option does not focus as much on the waivers as it does the requirement that as much autonomy, as much control as possible be passed to the local school level. That is one of the key differences between IEE and charters, Arnold said. IEE districts do not have to hand off any local control. They can have a very strong central governing system, he said. Charter petitions that are granted by districts the petitioners usually focus more on what local school governance is going to look like and how much autonomy is being granted to local schools and how that decision-making authority looks, Arnold said. With charters, its already understood youre getting broad flexibility. The school district formed a flexibility advisory committee to review the flexibility options. The 46-member committee, composed of teachers, parents, community members, a school board member, central office staff and parent council leaders, have been reviewing all this information and preparing an executive summary. The summary is due to school Superintendent Mike Thurmond by Feb. 28. Thurmond will then make a recommendation to the school board by April 14. The school district is required to submit a letter of intent to the state school board by May 1. All documents related to the districts choice due by Nov. 1 to the state school board. The school district is aiming to be operating under its school flexibility choice by the 2015-16 academic year. The district is very excited about this opportunity, Arnold said.

NoticeofPublicHearing
TheMayorandCityCounciloftheCityofChamblee,Georgiawillholdapublichearingat6:00p.m.on
Thursday,March13,2014attheChambleeCivicCenter,3540BroadStreet,Chamblee,GA30341to receivepubliccommentsregardingthefollowingmatters: 1) TextamendmenttothefollowingportionsofAppendixA,ZoningOrdinance: Section301.Definitions; Section601.AccessoryUses;and ArticleVI.GeneralUseProvisionstoaddanewSection623.SolarEnergySystems, PrincipalUse;and Section1002.PermittedUses. ThepurposesoftheseamendmentsaretoprovidefordefinitionsofSolarEnergySystemsand relatedterms;topermittheuseSolarEnergySystems,PrincipalUseintheIndustrialTransitional (IT)andLightIndustrial(I)ZoningDistricts;topermittheuseSolarEnergySystems,AccessoryUse inallzoningdistricts;toprovidegeneralusestandardsforSolarEnergySystems;andforother relatedpurposes. 2) MikeVanWie,ExecutiveDirectoroftheDeKalbPeachtreeAirportAuthorityrequestsarezoningof propertieswiththefollowingaddressescomprisingatotalofapproximately14acresfromVillage Commercial(VC)toIndustrialTransitional(IT)forthepurposeofusingthesubjectpropertyfora SolarEnergySystemandrequestsavariancefromAppendixC,AirportRelatedProvisions,Section 100.025.1toallowforpermanentstructurestobeerectedintheRunwayProtectionZone: 3374BEVERLYDRIVE,3382BEVERLYDRIVE,3386BEVERLYDRIVE,3392BEVERLYDRIVE,3398 BEVERLYDRIVE,3404BEVERLYDRIVE,3410BEVERLYDRIVE,3416BEVERLYDRIVE,3422BEVERLY DRIVE,3428BEVERLYDRIVE(SeeNote1),3373BEVERLYDRIVE,3381BEVERLYDRIVE,3385BEVERLY DRIVE,3391BEVERLYDRIVE,3403BEVERLYDRIVE,3409BEVERLYDRIVE,3415BEVERLYDRIVE,3421 BEVERLYDRIVE,3427BEVERLYDRIVE(SeeNote1),3374REEVESSTREET,3382REEVESSTREET,3386 REEVESSTREET,3392REEVESSTREET,3402REEVESSTREET,3408REEVESSTREET,3414REEVES STREET,3420REEVESSTREET(SeeNote1),3428REEVESSTREET(SeeNote1),3373REEVESSTREET, 3381REEVESSTREET,3385REEVESSTREET,3391REEVESSTREET,3413REEVESSTREET(SeeNote1), 3419REEVESSTREET(SeeNote1),2354LUJANDRIVE,2360LUJANDRIVE,2366LUJANDRIVE, 3374CUMBERLANDDRIVE,3380CUMBERLANDDRIVE,3386CUMBERLANDDRIVE,3392 CUMBERLANDDRIVE, Note(1)fortheseaddresses,therezoningincludesonlythatportionoftheparcelcontainedin theRunwayProtectionZoneasdefinedontheOfficialZoningMapoftheCityofChamblee.

THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

oPINIoN
ONE MANS OPINIoN

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A cautionary cablegram
No. 3 is Charter Cable.The two dish networks combined have 35 million households, with DirecTV as the long dominant player (20.2 million households).Fast moving up the ranks at the rear are AT&T and Verizon with their U-Verse and similar offerings, bundled with other existing communication services.AT&T is perhaps playing most aggressively, offering new two-year subscribers a rate of $19.95 per month for internet and some limited entertainment options. Due to owning several pieces of property, and having need for high speed internet and television at my office locations, I am a current subscriber at one or more locations to AT&T U-verse, Charter Cable, Comcast Cable and DirecTV.But regardless of which provider, there is one area of performance that they all seemed to uniquely share and that only seems to get worse by the year. Their back office operations, and remotely treating existing customers half as well as new customers appears to be the only standard and accepted marketing platform and business practice in the industry.Any longtime business owner will tell youjust askthe easiest customer to sell is an existing customer.The simplest business relationship to grow is with a happy existing customer. There will always be a percentage of consumers who buy solely on price, and who will go through the headaches of jumping and switching whenever the opportunity is presented for a free $100 rebate, or temporarily reduced price bundled services package. But there are also literally millions of Americans, willing and able to pay a reasonable price, for a solid product, well-serviced with a responsive call center.Just ask customers of the old BellSouth or any of many companies no longer in existence who understood and appreciated the need for a trained workforce to support customers after the sale. When any industry consolidates to a handful of major players, typically consumers are among the first to suffer.Less competition is usually followed by higher prices. A $45-billion acquisition will require a lot of new customers and earnings to pay down and absorb. Interestingly, just as the telephone replaced the telegraph, email replaced the fax and the Internet has a new platform almost every day, the fastest growing home entertainment providers are not actually hardwired to your home. Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Roku, Crackle, YouTube and others presenting lower and/or no monthly fee programming, with and without advertisers embedded in the content.The champagne corks may be popping at Comcast HQ this week, but if cable prices head higher as a result, the sound you may soon hear is the snip of consumers clipping their cable landline, and increasingly seeking free Wi-Fi networks nearby for their internet and home entertainment options. Ted, where are you when we need you buddy? Any chance we can bring you back? Which reminds me of another of my favorite quotes by Ted Turner, Lead, follow or get out of the way. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@earthlink.net.

I was in cable before cable was cool.entrepreneur, innovator and cable television magnate and CNNfounder Ted Turner. If you havent heard the story, cable television actually got its start as a neighborly gesture by the owner of a farm in Maple Dale, Penn. The farmer, who had good television reception, placed a large television antenna atop a high hillside, and then ran co-axial cable, first down to his own home and farm in the valley and as the word spread, he started splitting that cable signal to other neighbors in the valley, carrying programming from Philadelphia. This idea and cable use spread rapidly, and a few decades later, a division of Hughes Corporation (as in Howard), tried skipping the cable by beaming the program up to a satellite in space, and bouncing that back to smaller northeastern elevation facing satellite dishesand DirectTV and later Dish Network were born. And while the Internet moved out of the halls and walls of academia and into the mainstream, Turner and several hundred cable content providers were fighting to be your preferred viewing channels, while initially hundreds of cable system providers delivered that last mile of connectivity. During the decades that followed, the industry heavily consolidated, and though regional players remain, the cable/home entertainment space is largely divided among seven key playersthree in cable, two on satellite and two expanding out of the landline and mobile phone arenas. And as of last week, No. 2 in cable households, Time Warner Cable (11.4 million subscribers), announced its $45 billion acquisition by Comcast, the industry leader with 21.7 customers.Jilted and still

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

OPINION
Dr. Kings children may indeed have a legal right to sell his Bible and his Nobel Peace Prize, but King himself repeatedly made the point that what is legal and what is right often are far from the same thing. Being related to a great person is an accident of birth, but it often positions people to make decisions about items that the greater society values more than the heirs apparently do. I was dismayed when the King children repeatedly refused to allow footage of their father to be used in projects that would document the great events of the 20th century, but sold the right to use footage from his March on Washington speech to be used in an ordinary television commercialsimply because there was money to be made. There have been a distressing number of battles among the children of one of the most recognized winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, but in this latest dispute, Im in-

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Dispute among King children raises ironic content of their character questions
Kathy Mitchell
kathy@dekalbchamp.com

Editor
During his iconic I Have A Dream speech, Martin Luther King Jr. evoked hope for a day when my four little children will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Now as Dr. Kings surviving offspring battle over whether his Bible and his Nobel Peace Prize should be sold to the highest bidder, many are left to wonder about the content of their character. Bernice King, Kings surviving daughter, is embroiled in a legal battle with her brothers Dexter King and Martin Luther King III, who want to sell the Bible and the peace

prize. Bernice King has possession of both. I am appalled. I cannot imagine that any of Dr. Kings children would think so little of items that speak so directly to who Dr. King was as to be eager to convert them to cash. And its not as if any of them are strapped for cash. In 2006the year of their mothers deaththe King children arranged for Sothebys to auction off 10,000 documents related to Dr. Kings life and his work for $32 million, with the siblings receiving equal shares of the money. Under the circumstances its difficult to imagine how the King sons could be motivated by anything but greed. The ironies here are almost too glaring to point out. The man who advocated peace and helped teach the world that even deep seated animosities could be overcome with love fathered children who cant seem to make peace among themselves.

clined to side with daughter Bernice, who in a news conference said she believes that if her father were alive he would say, My Bible and my medals are not to be sold. The person whose opinion on all this most closely mirrors my own is historian David J. Garrow, whose book Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize. He said Kings Bible should go to a museum or some other place where it can be on public display. Calling Martin Luther King Jr. the most unselfish, ungreedy person who ever lived, Garrow said, The fundamental bottom line here is that the King children have no clue what their fathers legacy really means.

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

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

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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing information submitted to us that is known to be false and/or assumptions penned as fact.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

State school superintendent candidate addresses south DeKalb business leaders


by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com One reason Rep. Alisha T. Morgan is running for state school superintendent, she said, is the low high school graduation rate. The numbers of the students who graduate from high school in DeKalb County is about 57 per- Morgan cent, Morgan told members of the South DeKalb Business Association Feb. 7 I want that to sink in for just a second. Fiftyseven percent of students in DeKalb County are graduating from high school. So you can imagine what that number is for those who go off to college and graduate or those who go off into successful careers. If that doesnt make you angry, I dont know what will, Morgan said. Today kids are sitting in a classroom and some of them are not going to walk across the stage. Are they going to come into your county, into your company, and are they going to be preparedto do a good job for you? she asked. Are they going to be a threat to society and to our communities because they will resort

COMMUNITY
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to violence because they have no other skills to use? Morgan said the reality of the statistics is made clear when you go to the DeKalb County Jail because thats where theyre going when theyre not graduating from high school and not prepared as we want them to be. I have not come to say the sky is falling but I have come to say that we have a lot of work to do, Morgan said. Elected to her sixth term in July 2012, Morgan made history at age 23 by becoming the first Black to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives for Cobb County. Most business leaders do not think about education daily, she said.

Champion of the Week


KIMBERLY ESTEP

See Morgan on page 18A

Kimberly Estep, public outreach and volunteer coordinator for the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, said her whole life has been based on working with nonprofits and environmental organizations. Ive worked all over the country with different nonprofits to see what I can do to engage the public to work to better the environment, Estep said. Since Estep works for the Arabia Mountain Alliance she is responsible for coordinating the volunteer events that take place in the approximately 40,000-acre heritage area. Im able to get volunteers to a lot of different sites, Estep said. Additionally, Estep said she and her husband volunteer with Furkids, a nonprofit organization that provides a cage-free, no-kill shelter for rescued animals. Estep said she has also helped the organization foster animals. I even ended up with one of the dogs, Estep said. Estep said the thing she enjoys most about organizing volunteer events is when she can bring hundreds of volunteers together to work on projects all over the heritage area. Estep recently coordinated an event with the

Georgia Conservancy to collect used tires that had been dumped. Within only four hours, Estep said, volunteers collected more than 1,000 tires. That would not have happened if we had not all worked together, Estep said. Previously, Estep has worked with AmeriCorps, served as a waste reduction educator and was an outreach coordinator for the Perimeter Transportation and Sustainability Coalition. Ranger Robby Astrove, who works at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, said Estep has been responsible for many volunteer projects in the community and is an inspiration. Shes always doing something, whether its here at the nature preserve or working with the city of Lithonia, Astrove said.

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

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

COMMUNITY

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AROUNDDEKALB
SPECIAL EVENTS
Emory Hospital to host heart health event The presentation How to Prevent, Detect and Treat Heart Disease in Women will be delivered by Emory Womens Heart Center physician Alexis Cutchins at Emory University Hospital, 12:30-1 p.m. Feb. 21 in the hospitals atrium. Emory University Hospital is located at 1364 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta. To learn more or to register for a womens heart health event, call Emory HealthConnections at (404) 7787777. The event is free and parking will be available in the hospitals main parking lot. DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau to hold reunion planning workshop Those planning a family reunion may want to attend this workshop to gain advice and tips on making the most of this special family event. The workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, Feb. 22 at Marriott Evergreen Conference Resort, 4021 Lakeview Drive, Stone Mountain. It is free but pre-registration is required. Call (770) 429-5016 to register. School Choice Enrollment Fair scheduled Parents searching for educational options can learn more about metro Atlantas public charter schools at the 2014 School Choice Enrollment Fair on Saturday, Feb. 22. Parents can learn about the curriculum, school culture and extracurricular activities offered at several Atlanta charter schools: Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, Fulton Leadership Academy, Intown Academy, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood, Latin Academy Charter School, Provost Academy, Utopian Academy of the Arts and Wesley International Academy. The schools serve students in the City of Atlanta, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. The inaugural School Choice Enrollment Fair will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Ivy Prep Academy at Kirkwood, 1807 Memorial Drive. For more information, visit choosecharters.org. Library to celebrate Black History Month Tattle Tales, the youth group of the Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia, will be at the Clarkston Library Feb. 22 for the librarys Black History Month celebration. The 2-3 p.m. event is funded by the Friends of the Clarkston Library. The library is located at 951 N. Indian Creek Drive. For more information, call (404) 508-7175. County sets jobs bus schedule for February The DeKalb County Mobile Career Center, also known as the countys jobs bus, will be stationed at various locations throughout DeKalb County during February. The mobile unit provides residents with various services, including job search assistance, adult workshops and training, resume writing pointers and interviewing tips. Businesses are also able to use the mobile unit for recruiting, pre-employment screenings, interviewing and training. The mobile career centers upcoming scheduled stops are: Monday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Clarkston Library, 951 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston; Tuesday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Redan-Trotti Library, 1569 Wellborn Road, Lithonia; Wednesday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., DeKalb Access and Resource Center, 949 North 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Tickets are $8-$12. For Hairston Road, Stone Mountain; and Thursday, Feb. more information, go to www.callanwolde.org. 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Stonecrest Library, 3123 Klondike Jewish community center to offer activities for Road, Lithonia. homeschool families Author to speak about civil rights attorney The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta Maurice Daniels, author of Saving the Soul of (MJCCA) recently introduced Homeschool Extras. Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Metro Atlanta homeschool families are welcome to Rights, will be giving a reading and authors talk at the MJCCAss 52-acre, state-of-the-art Dunwoody campus to participate in hands-on group activities. ParticiDecatur Library Feb. 24, 7:15-9 p.m. Daniels book tells the story of Donald L. Hol- pants in Homeschool Extras can get active with sports lowell, Georgias chief civil rights attorney during the such as tennis, gymnastics, and swimming; or explore 1950s and 60s. Hollowell defended Black men accused their artistic side with drama and dance. Registration or convicted of capital crimes and represented civil is open now. Classes start in January. Programs are offered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday-Friday. rights activists. In his book, Daniels tells the story of this behind- For more information, contact Ashley Cohen at the-scenes, yet highly influential civil rights lawyer. (678) 812-3867 or via homeschool@atlantajcc.org; The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore or visit www.atlantajcc.org/homeschool. Offered on a semester basis, Homeschool Extras is designed for Street. For more information call (404) 370-3070. age groups: 4-6, 7-9 and 10-13. MJCCA membership is not required, and Homeschool Extras is open to State representative to host town hall meeting the community. Rep. Darshun Kendrick (D-Lithonia, Snellville) will host a town hall meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25, from Registration open for Second Annual Race for the 6-8 p.m. at the Hope and Life Church in Snellville. Art During this meeting, Kendrick will give a legislative Registration is open for this 5K run/walk starting at update on events that have occurred during the first the Porter Sanford Performing Arts and Community weeks of the Georgia General Assembly session. Hope and Life Church is located at 3594 Centerville Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Cost for an individual is $20 and $25 for teams with five or more Highway, Snellville. participants. The race takes place March 29. To register go to www.active.com/decatur-ga/running/distanceDunwoody library to host event for toddlers running-races/second-annual-porter-sanford-raceStories, fingerplays, rhymes, songs and more will for-the-arts-5k-walk-run-2014. be on hand for 2-year-olds at the Dunwoody library Feb. 25, 10:30-11 a.m. The activities will be targeted Free tax assistance and preparation available for the developmental needs of 2-year-olds. Parents This service, available for low- and moderatecan register in the library childrens department 15 minutes before the program begins. The event is open income taxpayers, is available from AARP Foundato the first 25 pairs. The library is located at 5339 tion Tax-Aide from Feb. 3 through April 15. You do Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. For more information, not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers, call (770) 512-4640. trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, will offer help with personal income tax returns Village to host annual bluegrass festival at various locations around Georgia. Last year, AARP Stone Mountain Village is hosting its annual blue- Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers in the United States grass and arts and crafts festival, located on Main helped more than 2 million people file their federal, state and local tax returns. The program is offered at Street in Stone Mountain. The fth annual Bluegrass Roots Music and Arts many sites in Georgia, including senior centers, librarFestival will also be celebrating the 175th anniver- ies and other convenient location. Call the toll-free number, 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669) or visit sary of the founding of Stone Mountain. Entertainment includes bluegrass music, arts and the website at www.aarp.org/taxaide during this tax crafts, folk dancing and other genres of regional mu- season, to locate an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site. sic. The festival will also feature glassblowing, a Eat Well Indie-catur campaign planned blacksmith, food, train rides and inatables for children. Parking, admission and all musical perfor- In February, Decatur Active Living and Decatur Visitors Center team up again with local restaurants for mances are free and open to the public. The festival runs March 29-30, Saturday 10 a.m.- the Eat Well Indie-catur Campaign. Visit a participat6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more informa- ing restaurant any day during February, choose one tion contact Chris Strawbridge at (770) 413-0607. of their featured healthy entrees and get a Eat Well Indie-catur card signed. Cards will be available at participating locations and at the Decatur Visitors Callanwolde Mansion open for tours Center. Participate three times during February and Area residents can experience Callanwoldes earn a recipe book featuring some of Decatur restau27,000-square-foot Gothic-Tudor mansion located on rants healthiest recipes. Recipes will be available at 12.5 acres in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. the Decatur Visitors Center, 113 Clairemont Ave. in Those on the tour see how the Candler family of Coca- Decatur. Participating restaurants are Victory, 246, Cola fame lived as they stroll through the formal and Chai Pani, Twains, Parkers on Ponce, Corner Pub, native gardens, view artists at work and learn more Colbeh, Cakes and Ale and Sapori di Napoli. about Atlanta history. Callanwolde, located at 960 Briarcliff Road NE in Atlanta, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available from

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

LOcAL NEwS

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PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE FOR PHASING OUT OF INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITIES

Revisions for Clifton Elementary Facility and Gresham Park Elementary Facility
Note: This notice is an update to the previously published notice in the Champion Newspaper from February 14, 2013 to February 27, 2013, with changes (noted in bold, underline) to reflect the change in status for the Clifton Elementary Facility and the Gresham Park Elementary Facility. The hearings will focus ONLY on the changes that will affect Clifton ES, Meadowview ES, and Gresham Park ES. Previous decisions related to other facilities listed will remain the same. Public Hearings, 7:00 PM at: February 18, 2014 at Meadowview ES 1879 Wee Kirk Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 February 25, 2014 at Clifton ES 3132 Clifton Church Rd Atlanta, GA 30316

In accordance with SPLOST IV and the 2011, ten-year master facility plan*, the DeKalb County School District proposes to phase-out twelve (12) instructional facilities over the next five years: 1) Austin Elementary Facility, 2) Avondale High Facility, 3) Clifton Elementary Facility, 4) DESA/Terry Mill Facility 5) Fernbank Elementary Facility, 6) Meadowview Elementary Facility, 7) Midway Elementary Facility, 8) Ronald McNair Middle Facility, 9) Pleasantdale Elementary Facility, 10) Rockbridge Elementary Facility, 11) Smoke Rise Elementary Facility and 12) Wadsworth Elementary Facility. Students from these schools will return back to their schools after construction as listed in Table 1 and Table 2. The date of phase-out, date of last instruction, and proposed use for each affected building is also listed below in Table 1. In Table 2, please note that Peachcrest ES and Gresham Park ES are two, new, 900-seat schools. It is envisioned that students from Clifton ES and Meadowview ES schools will move into the new Gresham Park ES at the current Clifton site. Students from Knollwood ES and Midway ES will move into the new Peachcrest ES. Any attendance lines adjustments for any receiving schools and their adjacent schools in order to acc ommodate the relocated students within each schools capacity limits will be discussed the year prior to phase out. Fernbank ES is presently scheduled to occupy Avondale MS during the construction period. * Ten-year Facility Master Plan (http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/vision-2020/master-plan.pdf) Table 1. Instructional Facilities to be Phased-out Instructional Facility Austin Elementary Facility Avondale High Facility Clifton Elementary Facility DESA/Terry Mill Elementary Facility Fernbank Elementary Facility Meadowview Elementary Facility Midway Elementary Facility Ronald McNair Middle Facility Pleasantdale Elementary Facility Rockbridge Elementary Facility Smoke Rise Elementary Facility Wadsworth Elementary Facility Facility Address 5435 Roberts Drive Dunwoody, GA 30338 1192 Clarendon Ave Avondale Estates, GA 30002 3132 Clifton Church Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 797 Fayetteville Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 157 Heaton Park Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 1879 Wee Kirk Rd Atlanta, GA 30316 3318 Midway Rd Decatur, GA 30032 2190 Wallingford Dr. Decatur, GA 30032 3695 Northlake Drive Doraville, GA 30340 445 Halwick Way Stone Mountain, GA 30083 1991 Silver Hill Road Stone Mountain, GA 30087 2084 Green Forrest Dr. Decatur, GA 30032 Date of Last Instruction at Facility and Date of Phase Out June, 2018 June, 2016 June, 2016 June, 2016 June, 2013 Resident Students Transferred and Where All students to attend replacement Austin ES facility All students to attend new Comprehensive Arts Magnet School at Avondale MS facility All students to attend new Gresham Park ES facility at current Clifton site All students to attend new Comprehensive Arts Magnet School at Avondale MS facility All students to attend Avondale MS during construction and then return to replacement Fernbank ES facility in Fall 2015 All students to attend new Gresham Park ES facility at current Clifton site All students to attend new Peachcrest ES facility Future Use of Facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Rebuild 900 seat school, $20.2 million, SPLOST IV Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Torn down and replaced by new facility

June, 2015 June, 2015

Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal

June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2018 June, 2015

All students to attend replacement McNair MS facility All students to attend replacement Pleasantdale ES facility All students to attend replacement Rockbridge ES replacement All students to attend replacement Smoke Rise ES facility All students to be housed at Knollwood ES facility

Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Torn down and replaced by new facility Declared surplus and possible reuse or disposal

Table 2. Receiving Instructional Facility, Proposed Size, Grade Configuration, and Cost Receiving Instructional Facility Arts School at Avondale Middle Facility Austin Elementary Facility McNair Middle Facility Fernbank Elementary Facility Gresham Park Elementary Facility at Clifton site Knollwood Elementary Facility Peachcrest Elementary Facility Pleasantdale Elementary Facility Rockbridge Elementary Facility Smoke Rise Elementary Facility Address 3131 Old Rockbridge Rd 5435 Roberts Dr 2190 Wallingford Dr. 157 Heaton Park Drive NE 3132 Clifton Church Rd 3039 Santa Monica Dr. 1530 Joy Ln 3695 Northlake Drive 445 Halwick Way 1991 Silver Hill Road Avondale Estates, GA 30002 Dunwoody, GA 30338 Decatur, GA 30032 Atlanta, GA 30307 Atlanta, GA 30316 Decatur, GA 30032 Decatur, GA 30032 Doraville, GA 30340 Stone Mountain, GA 30083 Stone Mountain, GA 30087

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

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

Expansion, Cost, and Funding Source Add auditorium, $4.0 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 1200 seat school, $34.6 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $20.2 million, SPLOST IV No expansion necessary Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV Rebuild 900 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV

Rebuild 600 seat school, $18.4 million, SPLOST IV** **Cost for 600-seat school pending review.

Note: This notice is an update to the previously published notice in the Champion Newspaper from February 14, 2013 to February 27, 2013, with changes (noted in bold, underline) to reflect the change in status for the Clifton Elementary Facility and the Gresham Park Elementary Facility. The hearings will focus ONLY on the changes that will affect Clifton ES, Meadowview ES, and Gresham Park ES. Previous decisions related to other facilities listed will remain the same.
1

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

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Thurmond: People are beginning to believe again


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 second of a two-part interview by Andrew Cauthen, news editor for The Champion Newspaper. Whats your motivation for serving DeKalb this past year and in the future? I dont even know how I got here. This was not part of my career trajectory. I was not expecting it. I was not considering it as a career choice. The Good Lord created this. You know, he orders all your steps and so, while Im here, Im going to do the very best that I can. One other thing we must address is the salary structure here in DeKalb. Weve got to eliminate the remaining furlough days. Our teachers and other employees have actually experienced pay cuts over the last five or six years. We have to begin to address that. Our bus drivers, custodians and others are underpaid. Our lowest paid deserve a more reasonable salary. So thats what Im going to be working on towards the end. You shouldnt have to impoverish yourself to help to educate our children. I dont think those two things correlate. Would you do it again? Oh, yeah. I would do it again. Hopefully, I will be judged by our accomplishments as opposed to the length of time I was here. But this has been good for me. I feel better about myself as a public servant. When I look in the mirror I see something different now. In electoral politics, its a mean game. It just is, by design. If youre going to be successful you have to play the game. The motives here, as it relates to educating children, are pure. They are not as connected to the acquisition and the retention of power for powers sake. Thats been refreshing to mesomeone whos spent the last 35 years immersed in power politics. What are you personal future goals? I want to finish strong. I want to run through the finish line. When I ran track in high school, my coach used to always tell us, Run through the finish line. Run through the tape. Dont look back. And hopefully when I come to the end of this contract period that the stakeholders, the parents, the

DeKalb County School Superintendent Mike Thurmond meets students at Chamblee Charter High School in January. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

taxpayers, will be able to say that I left it better than I found it. Thats all you can really ask. What else do you want to talk about? To have been raised by a father who couldnt read or write, and for me to be the superintendent of the third largest school district in the state of Georgia, thats the greatness of God that all of that can transpire in one generation. The sacrifices [my parents] made for myself and my eight brothers and sisters and how much [my father] and my mother valued education, I just think they would be very proud if they were still here. Its a lesson for every child in this district. It doesnt matter where you come from, it doesnt really matter what your station is, or what your socioeconomic condition is when youre brought into this world. Its not where you come from, its where youre going. Its a journey and if you work hard and have faith, its available to all children anywhere in this county, anywhere in this state, anywhere in this nation. What do you say to the teachers and stakeholders who are still frustrated with the school district for whatever reason? I get that. I dont want to criticizeas a matter of fact, Im very understanding of it. You were called for this purpose and if its not here in DeKalb then somewhere else I want you to continue and continue to love the children and continue to believe in

them. The thing about education is you are literally shaping the future. I meet the little kids in kindergarten and I walk away thinking this kid could be a governor or senator or doctoryou just dont know. Thats just the power of this whole thing called public education. Were getting better. We didnt get here overnight. We wont solve these problems overnight. Its going to be a process in order for us to rebuild the trust and the respect for the district, but I think were doing it. I just know we are. People are beginning to believe again in the DeKalb County School District. What do you say to parents and stakeholders who think they need to pull out of the school system whether its a charter school system, whether its a separate school district or whether its putting their kids in a non-public school? I leave that up to parents to make those decisions for their children. Every parent has the right and responsibility to do what they think is best for their child. I get that. But as the superintendent of the DeKalb County School District, Im responsible for 100,000 children. That includes the children of parents who are trying to create new independent school districts. So even with them, were going to do the very best we can every day that they are enrolled in this district to provide them with all of the opportunities that they need and deserve. What do you hope to continue in

your remaining time? Continue to strengthen the financial outlook, improve upon our academic and performance and graduation rates, and begin the restoration of a competitive salary structure for our employees. What do you do when you are not in the schools? When you are not the superintendent what are you doing? Im an introvert. That always shocks people. Im very introverted. I enjoy reading. Im working on my personal librarysetting up a system, organizing my books. I love books. Im going to publish the second edition of my last book and Im working on a documentary. So is that how you unwind? No. Im from near Athens. I grew up in Sandy Creek, which is near Athens. So I still go back there. Its been converted into a nature centerwhere I grew up. It was very rural; we didnt have any neighbors. We raised cotton and all that stuff. Thats where I go when I really seek peace. My tree is still there. So I go back and sit under my oak tree. Thats where I goeven in the process of deciding to take this jobI always go back to the wisdom tree. Thats what I call it. All things are possible when youre sitting there in a sharecroppers shack under a tree dreaming the dreams. Dreams do come true. Youve got to work hard though. Youve got to have faith but they come true.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

LOcAL NEwS
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com

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House bills written to Commissioner involved in domestic dispute clarify boundaries of Brookhaven and Chamblee
by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com The legal battle between Chamblee and the property owners of Century Center has led to the creation of two Georgia house bills that will clarify the legal boundaries of Chamblee and Brookhaven. State Representatives Scott Holcomb (D-81), Mary Margaret Oliver (D-82), Mike Jacobs (R-80) and Tom Taylor (R-79) are the presenters of House Bills 905 and 906. Holcomb said the bills were formed to resolve the legal battle between the city and Century Center property owners. Chamblee and Brookhaven cant wait two or three years for this to go through the court system, Holcomb said. We need an answer now. The bills have passed the House and are currently in the Senate. I dont expect any difficulty with passage in the Senate, Holcomb said. The legal battle centers on the Chamblee annexation referendum, which was passed by Chamblee voters in November. Century Center was scheduled to be annexed into Chamblee Dec. 30 along with 11,000 residents who reside in the newly expanded city boundaries. However, Highwoods Properties, owners of Century Center, filed an emergency motion for expedited review, supersedeas and injunction pending appeal Dec. 17 to stop Century Center from annexing into the city. On Dec. 19, the Court of Appeals granted in part and denied in part the emergency motion. The court granted Highwoods request for a stay to prevent Chamblee from proceeding with the annexation. However, the court denied Highwoods request to expedite the briefing schedule and consideration of its appeal before Chamblees annexation took effect Dec. 30. The appeal will be heard in April 2014 and a decision is expected to come in the summer or fall. Holcomb said he does not think Highwoods Properties has a strong case because of the passing of the referendum. But the legislation clears it up so that there is no question whatsoever, he said. [If the bills pass the Senate] there will be no legal basis whatsoever for the lawsuit to continue because the General Assembly has the authority to define boundaries. Highwoods Properties continues to fight to be a part of Brookhaven despite residents of the Dresden East and Clairmont Road areas, which includes the Century Center property, voting to be annexed into Chamblee. Highwoods also lost the support of Brookhaven, which passed a resolution Nov. 12 to withdraw support of an appeal. On Oct. 28, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie ruled to stop Brookhaven from annexing Century Center and Brookhaven filed an appeal the next day. Brookhaven City Council approved a resolution to stop any further funding of the appeal of Chamblees litigation. Highwoods originally appealed the Oct. 28 order to the Georgia Supreme Court, where it filed an emergency motion to block Chamblees annexation from taking place. However, the Supreme Court ruled Dec. 16 that it did not have jurisdiction and transferred the case to the Court of Appeals. Highwoods Properties filed an application June 21, 2013 with Brookhaven for Century Center to be annexed into the newly created city. Barrie issued an injunction in August to prevent the Brookhaven City Council from voting on the annexation. Police responded to a dispute between DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton at her long-term boyfriend Warren Mosbys Decatur home Feb. 11. Each side tells a different account of what happened. According to a police report, Sutton arrived at Mosbys house to find a car in the driveway, owned by a female acquaintance of Sutton both Sutton and Mosby. Sutton told police that as Police said upon their she tried to enter Mosbys arrival at the scene, Suthome, he pushed her onto tons left side and back the driveway. were covered in dirt and She advised that Mr. she was visually upset, Mosby continued to argue crying and rubbing her with her about being at the chest. Her keys were location. She stated she got found in the front yard. back to her feet and Mr. Mosbys account is quite Mosby pushed her back different, stating that Sutdown onto the driveway, ton instigated the incident. the police report states. According to police, According to Suttons Mosby said Sutton arrived account, Mosby then took at his home and was upset her keys, threw her beabout his female visitor. tween two vehicles and He then said Sutton tried put his knee on her chest to enter his home and he beneath her throat. blocked her entrance by

standing in the doorway. He stated [Sutton] continued to be aggressive and began to hit him in the chest with her first, the police report states. Mr. Mosby stated [Sutton] grabbed his glasses off his face and threw them into the front yard. Mosby admitted to police he threw Suttons keys and tried to restrain her. Neither party agreed to press charges and Mosby told police he didnt want Sutton back on his property. Police gave Sutton a warning and told her if she ever returned to the location she could be arrested. Im never coming back heretrust me, Sutton reportedly said. According to the police report, Sutton told police she and Mosby have been in a relationship for the past seven years. Mosby was Suttons former campaign manager and is the brother of Howard Mosby, the chairman of the DeKalb County Delegation of the General Assembly.

Local nonprofit plants trees for orchard project


by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com Since 2010, the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) has planted 13 orchards to provide direct access to local food and improve the quality of metro Atlantas landscape. Robby Astrove, a ranger at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, is in charge of ALFIs orchard program. This is the fourth year Astrove has coordinated the program. Its a really great coalition to be involved with, Astrove said. The tree sale for me became something really tangible to be a part of. Astrove, who developed the idea for the orchard project, said working with ALFI is a good way to beautify the metro Atlanta area and also educate people about the importance of sustainability. All these projects are very much community driven and led. We really look at this as an opportunity to engage people in the food movement, Astrove said. In past years, ALFI has planted orchards at DeKalb County locations, including Alonso Crim High School, Atlanta Charter Middle School, Drew Charter School and Burgess Peterson Academy. This year, ALFI will plant more than 60 trees at the Northlake Mall Community Garden, several fire stations located in Atlanta and DeKalb County and two schools. Each orchard, Astrove said, serves as an important tool to educate communities about sustainability. Its really an opportunity for people to learn a life skill, Astrove said. I use myself as a model saying you can make a career out of being a steward for the planet. Astrove said they will be planting everything from small raspberry bushes to large fruit trees in the orchards, making a point to plant a diverse group of trees to make sure there is something always blooming. We want people to have food all throughout the year, Astrove said. The orchards will be maintained by teachers, community groups and urban agriculture organizations. To date, Astrove said there have been more than 300 trees planted at orchards throughout the city. To be eligible for tree planting from ALFI, sites must have an existing garden that is being used, caretakers who have attended or enrolled in farm-to-school training, community supportand if its a school, Title I designation. For more information about the orchard program visit www.atlantalocalfood.org.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

WEEK

In

LOCAL NEWS

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PICTURES

A Decatur church sign displays a weekly religious message. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Miller Grove girls basketball Coach Renee Breedlove shows her emotions during a playoff game. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Man rides horse along Covington Highway. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Photos brought to you by DCTV

Erin Webb of Celestial Sounds plays the harp at a South DeKalb Business Association breakfast. Photo by Caleb Wade

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 Countys 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 21, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

PAGE 12A

Snow at night. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Our Winter Wonderland

A walker on Peachcrest Road. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Runner in East Atlanta. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

A tree in south DeKalb. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Car tracks on Wesley Chapel Road. Photo by Travis Hudgons.

Tracks in the sleet. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

LOcAL NEwS

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Icy grill. Photo by Travis Hudgons

A DeKalb Schools resource officer drives on Peachcrest Road. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Driving on the snow-covered road. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Magnolia leaves. Photo by Travis Hudgons

(Above, below) A line at Kroger. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Sleet covered road. Photo by Travis Hudgons

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

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Polly McKinney of Voices for Georgias Children speaks to Fugees Academy students and staff.

From left, Basmat Ahmed, Refugee Family Services (RFS) and Darfur Communities Network; Roberta Malavenda, CDF; Mariam Adam, community member; Beena Dahal, RFS; Jeremy Lewis, CDF; Rachel Steinhardt, Welcoming America; and Angel Chin, Rutha Say, Prisca Uwigabye and Leann Malone, RFS.

New Americans Celebration


Clarkston High School Cooking Angoras.

Community member Cing Ngaih Lain and Refugee Women's Networks Doua Kue-Morris.

More than 100 community members joined refugees at the State Capitol to celebrate the richness and contributions refugees make to the state of Georgia. The New Americans Celebration brought together 10 organizations along with elected officials. Photos provided by CDF

Community member Cing Ngaih Lain; Awet Woldegebriel, representing Knowledge Aid Foundation and Coca-Cola; Jerome Baziruwiha, community member; and Kate Walker, Catholic Charities Atlanta.

Fugees Academy students and staff with Polly McKinney, Voices for Georgias Children.

Community member Cing Ngaih Lain; Kate Walker, Catholic Charities Atlanta; and a Georgia legislator.

Angel Chin and Rutha Say, RFS; community member Cing Ngaih Lain with son; and Kate Walker, Catholic Charities Atlanta.

Aaron Sampson, RFS; Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry; and Clarkston Councilman Dean Moore.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

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Scenes like these along Peachcrest Road in south DeKalb were seen all over metro Atlanta last week after the seasons second winter storm hit. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

DeKalb, metro Atlanta survives Snowmageddon, Part Two


by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com The snow and ice storm that hit metro Atlanta was as severe as meteorologists predicted, but the response to it was completely different to the response to the winter storm that hit the area two weeks earlier. The second go-round of snowmageddon or snowpocalypse brought nearly a quarter inch of ice Feb. 12 and followed up with an inch to two inches of snow Feb. 13. Because state, city and county officials were more prepared for this storm, most residents were safely tucked away in their homes instead of trapped in their cars on Georgia highways or at schools or offices. This snow and ice storm could have been more damaging than the one two weeks ago, but it wasnt, said interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May. This is due primarily to building upon the lessons we learned from the last time, as well as the engagement of the residents who heard and heeded the warnings and stayed at home or in place most of the time. As a result, even though we had more snow and ice this time around, we had fewer accidents and damage as a result of accidents. The severity of first winter storm, which hit Jan. 28 around 10 a.m., caught many people in the metro Atlanta area and state off guard and caused chaos. The main interstates and roads in the metro area were not treated in time before the storm hit. State, county and private sector employers released their employees when the storm hit while schools districts, including DeKalb, dismissed classes early. The combination of the early dismissals along with the bad weather caused traffic gridlock on most metro roads and interstate. Some people were trapped in their cars for more than 30 hours and some students were trapped either on school buses or at school. At a Feb. 14 press conference, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said lessons were learned from the first storm and several implementations were put in place to better prepare for the second storm. Some of those implementations included weather alerts which were sent to cell phones. The state also communicated with school district superintendents. Deal said state officials made the most of the second chance to better prepare for the storm and he was pleased with the response of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, which came under fire for the lack of response to the first storm. If you do things right, it does restore confidence, Deal said. And I think we did things right this time.

Although there were no traffic issues this time around, the storm did cause power outages for many residents across the state. Ice caused trees to topple over onto power lines. According to Georgia Power, which has two service stations in DeKalb, there were an estimated 1,900 power outages in DeKalb during the two-day storm. As of Feb. 14, all power was restored in the county. There was other damage across the state, specifically in Augusta, caused by fallen trees. Deal said he briefed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Feb. 14 and said he is hopeful Georgia can secure federal funds to help pay for the cleanup. There are times when people dont want us to cooperate with the federal government, Deal said. This is not one of those times.

DeKalb Police Alliance helps officers wait out storm


by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com As the state was being pounded by a second round of snow and ice, DeKalb County Police officers remained in the county in case their services were needed. DeKalb Police Alliance President Brian Shadix said to help those officers, the alliance housed more than 40 of them at the Hampton Inn at Northlake. This effort allowed the officers to remain safe and in the DeKalb area to continue their important work in the community without interruption, Shadix said. Additionally, Shadix said Kroger and Brian Mock, the general manager of the Hampton Inn, donated funds to help house officers. On Wednesday, Feb. 12, while DeKalb County was getting hit with snow, ice and freezing rain, Shadix said, he spoke with Assistant Police Chief Dale Holmes about the departments preparations for the storm. They were making arrangements to make sure they were prepared for the weather, Shadix said. Their strategy was to make sure they had police officers in the area. Shadix said the alliance typically helps the families of officers cover expenses in the case of an officer dying in the line of duty. However, in the next year, Shadix said, the alliance plans on taking a more proactive outreach with the department. In the past its not something that weve normally done but this is one of those things where we want the officers to know that were here to help, Shadix said. Were looking for more ways we can try to help them. Originally, 10 rooms were secured for the officers to stay in at the Hampton Inn but eventually, the number rose. Kroger caught wind of what we were doing and they ended up donating money to help cover the cost of the additional rooms, Shadix said. A lot of the times its the police helping us and it was nice for us to help them for once, Shadix said.

PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Fire & Rescue Services Non - Departmental TOTAL - FIRE FUND

$48,326,657 9,946,054 $58,272,711

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014


NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

EDUcAtION

Due to weather uncertainties, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will hold Public Hearings on the 2014 Proposed Budget at the times and places listed below: Public Works - Transportation $3,374,388 Thursday February 20, 2014 10:00AM Maloof Center Auditorium 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur
Thursday February 27, 2014 10:00AM Maloof Center Auditorium Thursday February 20, 2014 10:00AM Maloof Center Auditorium
Public Works - Roads & Drainage Parks & Recreation Non - Departmental TOTAL - S T D - DESIGNATED SERVICES FUND 9,330,944 9,791,338 8,490,165 $30,986,835

Due to weather uncertainties, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will hold Public Hearings on the 2014 PROPOSED Proposed Budget at the times and places listed below:

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - DESIGNATED SERVICES ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Charges for Services Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - S T D - DESIGNATED SERVICES FUND EXPENDITURES:

$11,835,607 891,068 259,737 16,730,491 1,269,932 $30,986,835

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SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - UNINCORPORATED 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur Thursday February 27, 2014 10:00AM Maloof Center Auditorium ANTICIPATED REVENUES: 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur All interested citizens are invited to attend these hearings and have the right to present comments pertaining to theTaxes

All interested citizens are invited to attend these hearings and have the right to present comments pertaining to the proposed budget.
The recommended budget is available for public inspection in the office of the Director of Finance, 6th Floor,

proposed budget.

Maloof Center, at all DeKalb County Librariesfor during normal business hours, electronically at The recommended budget is available public inspection in theand office of the Director of Finance, 6th Floor, Maloof Center, at all DeKalb County Libraries during normal business www.dekalbcountyga.gov. hours, and electronically at www.dekalbcountyga.gov.
PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: C E O Office - Cable TV Support Finance - Business License Recorder's Court Planning & Development- Zoning Analysis Non - Departmental TOTAL - S T D - UNINCORPORATED FUND HOSPITAL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - HOSPITAL FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: POLICE SERVICES FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Licenses and Permits Charges for Services Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - POLICE SERVICES FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: DEBT SERVICE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - DEBT SERVICE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - DEBT SERVICE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - STD - DEBT SERVICE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: TOTAL RECOMMENDED 2014 TAX FUNDS BUDGET SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS $379,680 776,780 3,957,262 3,208,864 3,740,558 $12,063,144

Licenses and Permits Fines and Forfeitures Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - S T D - UNINCORPORATED FUND

$30,805,314 20,862,265 21,749,811 (101,998) (53,518,190) (7,734,058) $12,063,144

BUDGET RESOLUTION 2014 CEO Recommended TAX FUNDS GENERAL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Licenses and Permits Intergovernmental Charges for Services Fines and Forfeitures Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - GENERAL FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Chief Executive Officer Board of Commissioners Ethics Board Law Department Geographic Info Systems Facilities Management Purchasing Human Resources & Merit System Information Systems Finance Property Appraisal Tax Commissioner Registrar Sheriff Juvenile Court Superior Court Clerk of Superior Court State Court Solicitor - General District Attorney Child Advocate's Office Probate Court Medical Examiner Public Defender Police Magistrate Court Fire & Rescue Services Planning & Development Public Works - Director Economic Development Library Cooperative Extension Public Health Community Service Board DFACS Human Services Contributions to Capital Projects Non - Departmental TOTAL - GENERAL FUND FIRE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Property Taxes Licenses & Permits Charges for Services

$206,413,531 93,013 2,428,680 34,180,817 12,291,029 4,209,144 2,444,789 24,810,618 $286,871,621

$17,354,121 (5,605,232) $11,748,889 $11,748,889

$2,342,504 2,638,518 118,000 3,195,025 1,975,175 14,038,503 2,854,759 2,866,741 17,204,763 5,745,956 4,348,270 7,028,612 3,800,080 75,818,336 9,146,290 8,426,869 6,438,212 13,230,468 6,002,207 12,173,303 1,926,259 1,550,176 2,411,858 6,900,703 3,833,867 2,582,868 8,096,259 1,194,952 281,392 750,000 12,701,400 515,543 3,955,634 1,497,257 1,179,220 3,945,795 6,000,000 28,155,847 $286,871,621

$57,857,226 1,027,952 477,817 165,342 39,037,812 17,572,163 $116,138,312 $116,138,312

$1,442,010 6,608,662 $8,050,672 $8,050,672

$26,470,313 10,903,349 $37,373,662 $37,373,662 $561,505,846

BUDGET RESOLUTION 2014 CEO Recommended DEVELOPMENT FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Licenses and Permits Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - DEVELOPMENT FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Planning & Sustainability TOTAL - DEVELOPMENT FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION & GOVERNMENT ACCESS FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - P E G FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: COUNTY JAIL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Fines and Forfeitures Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - COUNTY JAIL FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: FORECLOSURE REGISTRY FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - FORECLOSURE REGISTRY FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: HOTEL / MOTEL TAX FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - HOTEL / MOTEL TAX FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: RENTAL MOTOR VEHICLE EXCISE TAX FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Fines and Forfeitures Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUND $1,435,737

$5,061,400 26,000 1,500 (7,200) 667,871 $5,749,571

BUDGET RESOLUTION

$53,056,834 670,296 21,302


2014 CEO Recommended 4,524,279 $58,272,711

$5,749,571 $5,749,571

Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - FIRE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Fire & Rescue Services Non - Departmental TOTAL - FIRE FUND SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - DESIGNATED SERVICES ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Charges for Services Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - S T D - DESIGNATED SERVICES FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Transportation Public Works - Roads & Drainage Parks & Recreation Non - Departmental TOTAL - S T D - DESIGNATED SERVICES FUND SPECIAL TAX DISTRICT - UNINCORPORATED ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Licenses and Permits Fines and Forfeitures Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - S T D - UNINCORPORATED FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: C E O Office - Cable TV Support Finance - Business License Recorder's Court Planning & Development- Zoning Analysis Non - Departmental TOTAL - S T D - UNINCORPORATED FUND HOSPITAL FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES:

$10,000 145,000 1,830,066 $1,985,066 $1,985,066

$48,326,657 9,946,054 $58,272,711

$11,835,607 891,068 259,737 16,730,491 1,269,932 $30,986,835

$110,000 807,288 200,210 $1,117,498 $1,117,498

$3,374,388 9,330,944 9,791,338 8,490,165 $30,986,835

$240,000 940,620 $1,180,620 $1,180,620

$30,805,314 20,862,265 21,749,811 (101,998) (53,518,190) (7,734,058) $12,063,144

$4,000,000 1,074,462 $5,074,462 $5,074,462

$379,680 776,780 3,957,262 3,208,864 3,740,558 $12,063,144

$380,000 1,000,000 100,000 $1,480,000

See Budget on Page 17A

HOTEL / MOTEL TAX FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Taxes Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - HOTEL / MOTEL TAX FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

$4,000,000 1,074,462 $5,074,462 $5,074,462

Budget Continued From Page 16A

RENTAL MOTOR VEHICLE EXCISE TAX FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Fines and Forfeitures Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: RECREATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - RECREATION FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: LAW ENFORCEMENT CONFISCATED MONIES FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - L.E.C.M. FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Sheriff District Attorney State Court Marshal Public Safety - Police BUDGET RESOLUTION 2014 CEO Recommended $6,946,410 $1,435,737

cLASSIfIEDS
PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:

BUDGET RESOLUTION 2014 CEO Recommended 45,784,058 21,461,052 $67,828,224 $67,828,224

PAGE 17A

Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE SINKING FUND

$380,000 1,000,000 100,000 $1,480,000 $1,480,000

SANITATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - SANITATION FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Sanitation Finance - Revenue Collections TOTAL - SANITATION FUND

$62,576,776 4,000 46,500 147,143 3,599,140 $66,373,559

$962,168 (354,235) $607,933 $607,933

$66,123,925 249,634 $66,373,559

$6,946,410 $6,946,410

DEKALB - PEACHTREE AIRPORT ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - DEKALB - PEACHTREE AIRPORT PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Airport Operations Transfer to Capital Projects TOTAL - DEKALB - PEACHTREE AIRPORT STORMWATER UTILITY OPERATING FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - STORMWATER UTILITY FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Stormwater Operations Reserve for Appropriations TOTAL - STORMWATER UTILITY FUND INTERNAL SERVICE FUNDS FLEET MAINTENANCE ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Intergovernmental Charges for Services Miscellaneous TOTAL - FLEET MAINTENANCE PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Fleet Maintenance TOTAL - FLEET MAINTENANCE

$5,071,400 8,088,755 $13,160,155

$814,562 110,486 9,212 6,012,150

$11,160,155 2,000,000 $13,160,155

TOTAL - L.E.C.M. FUND JUVENILE SERVICES FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - JUVENILE SERVICES FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT & EDUCATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Fines and Forfeitures Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - D.A.T.E. FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: STREET LIGHT FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - STREET LIGHT FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: SPEED HUMPS MAINTENANCE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - SPEED HUMPS MAINTENANCE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: GRANT - IN - AID FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Revenue TOTAL - GRANT - IN - AID FUND GRANT - IN - AID FUND (continued) PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Community Development Workforce Development Other Justice Assistance Grants TOTAL - GRANT - IN - AID FUND

$14,750,000 12,000 9,345,087 $24,107,087

$30,000 225 219,122 $249,347 $249,347

$22,017,246 2,089,841 $24,107,087

$130,000 125 133,329 $263,454 $263,454

$200,000 33,100,000 600,000 $33,900,000

$33,900,000 $33,900,000

$4,500,000 900 2,123,666 $6,624,566 $6,624,566

VEHICLE FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - VEHICLE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Vehicle Acquisitions Interdepartmental Services Reserves and Other Miscellaneous TOTAL - VEHICLE FUND RISK MANAGEMENT ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Payroll Deductions and Matches Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - RISK MANAGEMENT PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:

$14,339,570 7,500 5,562,484 500,000 6,608,667 $27,018,221

$5,000 9,700,000 4,420,021 $14,125,021 $14,125,021

$25,145,484 19,634 1,853,103 $27,018,221

$312,000 3,000 1,897,157 $2,212,157 $2,212,157

$9,549,743 99,295,898 12,358,275 $121,203,916

BUDGET RESOLUTION 2014 CEO Recommended $500,000 99,845,898 1,326,500 51,000 2,000,000 4,452,655 6,588 150,000 35,000 478,000 12,358,275 $121,203,916

$34,877,510 $34,877,510

$17,007,973 5,500,840 840,801 11,527,896 $34,877,510

Unemployment Compensation Group Health & Life Buildings & Contents Boiler & Machinery Non- Immunity Expenses Vehicle Airport Liability Helicopter Money & Securities Loss Control Other TOTAL - RISK MANAGEMENT WORKERS' COMPENSATION ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION FUND

ENTERPRISE FUNDS WATER & SEWERAGE OPERATING FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE OPERATING FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: Public Works - Water & Sewer Finance - Revenue Collections TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE OPERATING FUND WATER & SEWERAGE SINKING FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous BUDGET RESOLUTION 2014 CEO Recommended 45,784,058 21,461,052 $67,828,224 $67,828,224

$1,628,318 5,005,998 $6,634,316 $6,634,316

$257,655,000 160,000 1,500,000 24,242,377 $283,557,377

PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: REVENUE BONDS LEASE PAYMENT FUNDS BUILDING AUTHORITY LEASE PAYMENTS ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - BUILDING AUTHORITY PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUDICIAL FACILITIES AUTHORITY LEASE PAYMENTS ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - PS&J FACILITIES AUTHORITY PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY BONDS DEBT SERVICE ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Miscellaneous Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - URA DEBT SERVICE FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES:

$276,146,587 7,410,790 $283,557,377

$3,712,324 140,049 $3,852,373 $3,852,373

$583,114

$4,012,880 (906,279) $3,106,601 $3,106,601

Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward TOTAL - WATER & SEWERAGE SINKING FUND PROPOSED EXPENDITURES: SANITATION FUND ANTICIPATED REVENUES: Charges for Services Investment Income Miscellaneous Other Financing Sources Fund Balance Carried Forward

$950,165 211,367 $1,161,532 $1,161,532

$62,576,776 4,000 46,500 147,143 3,599,140

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

Georgia Piedmont Technical College looking for south DeKalb site


by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com This college has not served south DeKalb to the extent that it should and to the extent that it is going to. Thats what Jabari Simama, president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College, told south DeKalb business owners during a Feb. 7 breakfast. What were looking for right now is space where we can expand our campus into south DeKalb, he said. I know many of you have your businesses in south DeKalb, Simama said. Im asking you this morning that if you know of space that would make for good educational utilization, please contact me. Simama said Georgia Piedmont is searching for space to expand our adult education and some of our technical education programs. Our college is $85 a credit hourthe cheapest higher education in the state of Georgia, Simama said. You cant get anywhere cheaper. But more importantly, with community college education at $85 a credit, where you start on your GED and then enter college upon completion of your GED, there is no reason why any of our young people or any of our adults should not at least have an associates degree. Work with me and other colleges in making sure that all of our young people and all of our adults who are unemployed or underemployed get an education, he said.

EDUcAtION

PAGE 18A

American Idol contestant Bria Johnson talks to fellow students at DeKalb School of the Arts. Photo by Caleb Wade

Youth Commission begins sixth year


by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com The DeKalb County Youth Commission, created in 2008 by interim CEO Lee May, is designed to provide youth from varied socioeconomic backgrounds and multicultural neighborhoods with opportunities to have a voice in their communities. The program, which is in its sixth year, teaches the roles of county government and the importance participation in civic and community activities to high school students. The commission is open to all students, grades 10-11, enrolled in any of the countys high schools. Since its inception, the program has sought involvement of DeKalb Countys youth in the planning, development and implementation of community activities and services. We believe that early involvement of our youth, in the spectrum of governmental mandates and processes will increase their awareness and enable them to become more effective leaders, May said. Selection for the DeKalb County Youth Commission is based on a completed application with an essay, and a referral from a county commissioner, school administrator, teacher, counselor or civic leader, a press release states. Additionally, other factors determining a students acceptance to the program includes GPA, past community involvement and a presentation during the interview process. Once they are accepted, students remain in the program until high school graduation. This years application listed several goals, including conducting peer and community focus groups, host a community forum on DCTV, creating a youth ballot and agenda and giving presentations to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. The youth commission is administrated by Dale Phillips, director of the Human Services Division of the DeKalb County Community and Human Development Department. Carolyn Frisby is the youth commission coordinator. Registration for the DeKalb County Youth Commission closes March 21, at 5 p.m. For more information visit www.co.dekalb.ga.us.

DeKalb student on American Idol


by Caleb Wade Bria Anai Johnson has a lot to be proud of. Called the the girl with the sparkling lips by her fans, she entertained American Idol judges and audience with her powerful voice during the Atlanta auditions, pushing her forward through the competition. Bria, a student at the DeKalb School of the Arts, shared her experiences Feb. 7 with her fellow students. When you go to Hollywood, its really intense, Bria said. Its just like they show on TV, but much, much worse. Once in Hollywood, Bria said, she was placed with others to do a group performance for the judges. That was her hardest performance, she said, because she had chosen a song that was very close to her. Her voice cracked with emotion during the song, she said. I thought I was going to get sent home, she said. After her group performed the song for their vocal coach, the singers soon discovered that they would need much more practice, she said. We decided to strip it down and make it an intimate performance, [where] we just sat there and performed for the judges, Bria said. Bria said that during that performance she cried; her voice coach told her that she had taken a risk by choosing the song. Bria said she has signed a contract with American Idol and hopes to continue her success on the show.

Morgan

Continued from page 6A Youre thinking about bottom lines and how you can make sure people are paid and can provide for their families, Morgan said. But if we do not have a workforce who is prepared and ready to go into careers or go into college we are in trouble. Morgan said there are incredible opportunities for business leaders to become partners in schools. Giving money to support a school event or project is good, cute and nice, Morgan said. Its time out for schools to just

see businesses as a paycheck, she said. Whats more important is giving your expertise to young people who need to see what it means to be an entrepreneur [and] what it means to be able to employ other people [and] sign somebody elses check to make sure they can pay their mortgage. Business owners can help students have the skills that they need to grow and do good things in the community [and] to build the economy to ensure that they a successful future. Morgan said, We have an opportunity to create some incredible

change. What it is going to take is for us to believe that it is possible. What is it going to take for us to take the politics out and decide that were going to stand in the gap for our kids when other people wont? Morgan said she supports the Common Core State Standards, an initiative to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them, according to the initiatives website. I dont care where a child comes from, what they look like, which neighborhood in DeKalb they live,

every child has to have access to a high quality education, Morgan said. Common Core gives us that opportunity. The challenge I have for youis to block out what some of the haters are sayingthe people who want to make this political. When we allow politics to get involved with education, our kids lose. And at the end of the day, if were going to have kids who are prepared to go into your businesses and be good employees and if theyre going to start their own businesses, they have to have a high quality education, Morgan said.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

BUSINESS

PAGE 19A

Businessman Hassan Bijani and his wife, educator Sabina Bijani, combined their professional backgrounds to open ALOHA, a business centered on education. Photo by Kathy Mitchell

Couple combine skills to pursue the business of education


by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com What would make todays students sharp at mathematics? How about a device that dates back to more than 2,300 years before the birth of Jesus? The abacus, the ancient tool for making calculations using rods and beads on a frame, is the starting point for the ALOHA Mind Math system created to train childrens brains so that they eventually perform calculations in their minds without the aid of a calculator, abacus or pen and paper with speed and accuracy, according to materials published by ALOHA. Sabina Bijani, a teacher by training and experience, and her husband businessman Hassan Bijani decided to combine their backgrounds and open a business centered on education. We looked at a lot of programs and decided ALOHA had what we were looking for, so we bought a franchise and opened here in Decatur. The couple are finding that her education skills and his business skills complement each other as they operate the learning center. ALOHA of Decatur opened in Patel Plaza in early 2013 and is doing wellbetter than we expected, actually, Hassan said. Started in Malaysia in 1993 and introduced in the United States in 2006, ALOHAAbacus Learning of Higher Arithmeticnow has learning centers in 14 countries with a total student enrollment of more than 3 million. The system, Hassan said, uses both sides of the brainlogical and creativeso along with math skills youngsters develop reasoning, listening, attention, problem solving, memory and other skills that enhance their ability to learn. Besides that, he added, students find it fun. They become more confident and excited about learning. What the Bijanis, natives of Pakistan, say they like about ALOHA is that it doesnt just teach math skills, it instills a passion for math. Most of the young people enrolled at ALOHA come looking for enrichment, they said. Typically what were teaching is a grade level above what theyre being taught in the classroom, so they excel at their classes, Hassan said. He added that while many parents enroll children who are gifted learners who want new challenges, the program is also beneficial to average and struggling students. In addition to ALOHA Mind Math, the center also offer ALOHA Reading/Writing. Both programs are open to students in first through fifth grades. The programs are divided into 20 units and students progress at their own rates. Once students complete a unit, they are assessed to determine whether they are ready to move on to the next unit. Students may start at any point during the year. Hassan noted that the benefits of an academic enrichment program are both long-term and short-term. What the child learns now will make him or her more competitive for college admission and scholarships, but right now it simply makes school more interesting and engaging, he said. We have a student-teacher ratio of one to five, Hassan said, so students get a lot of individual attention. He said he and his wife, who recently gave birth to their first child, find operating a learning center is an exciting business to be in. We get to see children reaching their full potential. Located where we are, we get children from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities. Its wonderful to see them all here learning together.

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

PAGE 20A 

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

Classifieds
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(subject to credit approval). Lots of room for the price, 3 Br 2 Ba. No renters. 706-459-3030. VMFhomes.com REAL ESTATE Spectacular Blue Ridge Mtn. View. 1+ acre only $14,900! Gorgeous corner parcel in prime No Georgia locationw/spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain view. Next to U.S. National Forest. Paved roads, municipal water & underground power. Mild restrictions. RV friendlu: Call & ask about our FREE overnight stay with tour Excellent low rate financing. Call now 1-866-9525303, Ext. 170. SERVICES AIRLINES Careers begin here Get FAA approved Aviation Maintenance Technichan training. Financial aid for qualified students Housing available. Job placement assistance. CALL Aviation Institute of Maintenance (866)564-9634 www.fixjets.com SPORTING GOODS GUN SHOW. Feb. 22-23. SAT 9-5 & SUN 10-5. Columbus, Ironworks Convention & Trade Center. (801 Front Ave) BUY-SELL-TRADE. INFO: (563) 927-8176. VACATION RENTALS ADVERTISE YOUR VACATION PROPERTY, to more than 1 million Georgia newspaper readers. Your 25-word classified ad will appear in over 100 Georgia newspapers for only $350. Call Jennifer Labon at the Georgia Newspaper Service at 770-454-6776 or online at Www.gapress.org/georgianewspaperservice.html

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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

SPORTS

PAGE 21A

The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please email nominations to carla@dekalbchamp.com by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Ryan Burgess, Chamblee (basketball): The senior point guard scored 29 points in the 77-67 win over Banneker Feb. 15 in the first round of the Region 6-AAAA basketball tournament.
The Lithonia wrestling team will have 11 wrestlers competing in the state tournament Feb. 21-22. A total of 37 wrestlers from DeKalb will be competing in the state tournament.

Lithonia leads DeKalb with 11 wrestlers qualifying for state


by Mark Brock The Lithonia Bulldogs continue working toward their goal of a Class AAAA wrestling state title by qualifying 11 of their 14 wrestlers for the GHSA State Tournament. The state tournament was set to begin Feb. 13, because of to weather concerns and possible bad travel conditions it was moved to the weekend of Feb. 21-22. The 4A-5A-6A classifications kick off the wrestling Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. while 1A-2A-3A hit the mats at 4:30 p.m. Semifinals for all classes begin at 9:30 Feb. 22. The Bulldogs have been on quite a run over the past few weeks with a fifth place finish in the state duals, the 2014 DeKalb County Championship, The Last Man Standing title and the Area 6-AAAA title as they prepared for the state sectionals. This has been an historical season for our wrestling program, Lithonia coach Patrick Ryan said. Im so proud of all the wrestlers, mangers, coaches and family members for all their hard work in helping this program reach its goals. The Bulldogs were led by Chris Nelson (48-3), who won the 160 weight class by going 4-0 in the West Sectional at Fayette County Feb. 8. Nelson is a No. 1 seed in the state championships. Kirkglen Hudson suffered his first loss of the season in the West Sectional semifinals, but battled back to finish 4-1, including three pins, to take third in the 106class on the way to qualifying for state. Chris Morgan also dropped a semifinal match before going on to a 4-1 record and a third place finish in the 126division. Morgan exacted revenge for his semifinal loss with a win over the same opponent on the way to the third place finish. Other Lithonia qualifiers include Shamel Findley (113weight class), Victor Piedra (120weight class), Allen Morgan (132weight class), Christian Sanders (145weight class), TeAndrew Newell (152weight class), Davion Findley (195weight class), Devon Wallace (220weight class) and Starling Johnson (285weight class). Chamblees Yalwaiker Eshete finished fifth to advance in the 120 weight class and Redans Dwight Brown was fifth at 152 to qualify for state to round out the Class AAAA qualifiers. Class AAAAA Nineteen of the 37 DeKalb County wrestlers to qualify for the State Championships came in Class AAAAA from the West Sectional at Allatoona. Southwest DeKalbs Abdur Rahman-Yasir led the way as he remained undefeated in the 152weight class with a 4-0 run to the sectional championship. Rahman Yasir, the Class AAAAA 145division state champion in 2013, won three by pins and the title match with a technical fall 17-1 victory. Southwest DeKalb had four others to qualifyMatthew Wray (113weight class), Muad As-Siddiq (120weight class), Jordan Johnson (126weight class) and Cameron Strickland (138 weight class). Lakeside put six into the state tournament led by Imani Heslop (220 weight class) and Josh Powell (145 weight class). Others joining Heslop and Powell include Spencer Wilson (126weight class), Alex LaRotta (182weight class), Devon White (195weight class) and Alex Conyers (285weight class). Dunwoodys four state qualifiers were led by Sunny Sharma, who dropped a tough 8-5 decision in the 120weight class finals. Joining Sharma at state are Diego Bautista (126 weight class), Korey Lowrey (138 weight class) and Greg Wesolowski (182weight class). Tucker had three seventh place finishers to qualify for state in Flynn Hamilton (106weight class), JaCorey Patterson (113weight class) and Jamil Singleton (160weight class). Arabia Mountains Alema Favors battled his way to a third place finish after dropping a tough quarterfinal match. Favors won four straight matches to finish 5-1 at the sectionals. Class AAA Three DeKalb wrestlers advanced to the Class AAA State Tournament from the West Sectional at Sonoraville led by Towers Derival Stevens. Stevens won a major decision of 12-0 to open his march to the finals followed by a pin fall and then a 7-2 decision over Brandon Johnson of Woodward to take the sectional title in the 195weight class. McNair put two into the state tournament in Jamaal Deng (152weight class) and Justin Corley (182weight class). Class AAAAA Druid Hills put two of its four wrestlers competing at the East Sectional at Lowndes County over the weekend into the Class AAAAAA State Tournament. Hakeem Enis (285weight class) and Jordan Page (120weight class) also qualified for the state tournament.

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Miah Allen, St. Pius (basketball): The junior guard scored 18 points in the 5612 win over Cross Keys Feb. 15 in the first round of the Region 6-AAA basketball tournament.

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Tahj Shamsid-Deen, Auburn (basketball): The freshman guard from Columbia scored 10 points and had two assists in the 9282 win over Mississippi State Feb. 15. Shamsid-Deen is averaging 9.4 points and 2.9 assists per game. Sheldon Strickland, Charleston Southern (basketball): The senior guard from Lakeside scored 14 points and had two steals and two assists in the 84-64 win over Winthrop Feb. 15. Strickland is averaging 10.4 points and 2.3 points per game.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

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Stephenson girls, Miller Grove boys win county junior varsity championships
by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.com It took a comeback effort for both the Stephenson Lady Jaguars and Miller Grove Wolverines to claim the DeKalb County Junior Varsity Basketball Championship titles Feb. 15. Both teams played in the semifinals and finals to capture county titles at the Arabia Mountain High School gym. The Lady Jaguars opened with a hard fought 36-34 semifinal win over the Columbia Lady Eagles (8-2) to advance to the finals against Redan, a 45-21 winner over Southwest DeKalb in the other semifinal. Both teams entered the championship game undefeated on the season, Stephenson (11-0) and Redan (12-0). Stephenson, which won the county title last season, was on a mission to be back-to-back champions and to keep its 42-game winning streak going. The Lady Jaguars did that with a 55-46 win over the Lady Raiders and completed a perfect 12-0 season. The girls are now 28-0 in their high school career and moved the junior varsity programs winning streak to 43 games. Stephenson head coach Reginald Harris said the matchup against Redan was personal for him. The last time I lost a game was three and a half years ago against Redan in double overtime, Harris said. We had the winning streak going and they kept it alive. The Lady Jaguars saw themselves down at halftime and made a late run toward the end of the third quarter to take the lead. Harris said his players knew they played a bad first half. They told me at halftime that they were nervous but they overcame it, he said. Stephensons Carolyn Hoard, who scored 10 points, was named finals MVP. Miller Grove was also down at halftime, but only by four points. Miller Grove head coach Rasul Chester said his team knows that the game is four quarters and they could not give up after two quarters. We talked about finishing the drill and thats what we did, Chester said. The Wolverines came back to beat Cedar Grove (8-2) 50-44 and finished the season 11-2. It is the first junior varsity championship title for the Wolverines. Last year we made it to the final four but we came up short, Chester said. It feels really good that we completed the job this year. Josh Jackmon was named MVP. Miller Grove advanced to the finals earlier in the day with a 54-31 win over Arabia Mountain (7-4). Cedar Grove earned the finals berth with a 38-36 win over Lithonia (8-3).

The Stephenson Lady Jaguars junior varsity basketball team became back-to-back DeKalb County champions after beating Redan 55-46.

The Miller Grove boys junior varsity basketball team won its first DeKalb County Junior Varsity championship after beating Cedar Grove 50-44.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

COUNtY HOLDS VARSItY BASkEtBALL tOURNEY


Four DeKalb County boys teams earned state tournament berths while moving into the region semifinals at Tucker with the Martin Luther King Jr. Lions (18-8) being the first with a 75-48 win over Dunwoody.

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Kevon Harris (22) and Paul Jackson (2) both take shots over Dunwoody defenders. Photos by Travis Hudgons

M.L. Kings Greg King easily dunks the ball on a fast break. The first team of the day to punch a playoff ticket was No. 6 ranked Stephenson (18-7) with a 46-37 win over Miller Grove which spent the last two playoffs winning a state title (2012) and finishing as a runner-up (2013).

Stephensons Sierra Turner pulls up for a shot.

Tereanna Cave and Chrystal Ezechukwu fight for a rebound.

Weekend region tournament basketball scores


Feb. 15
Region 6-AAA Boys Blessed Trinity 84, McNair 55 (season over) Cedar Grove 94, Cross Keys 12 (season over) St. Pius 61, Decatur 50 (season over) Woodward 60, Towers 57 (season over) Girls St. Pius 56, Cross Keys 12 (season over) Woodward 77, Towers 16 (season over) Decatur 64, Cedar Grove 14 (season over) Blessed Trinity 72, McNair 30 (season over) Region 6-AAAA Boys Chamblee 77, Banneker 67 Washington defeated Stone Mountain (no score reported; Stn. Mtn. season over) Therrell 72, Redan 44 (season over) Lithonia 53, Carver 50 Miller Groves Catika Brown (21) pushes past a Stephenson defenders. Girls Carver 68, Lithonia 28 (season over) Chamblee 57, Banneker 26 Marist 60, Washington 36 Stone Mountain 45, Therrell 44 Region 6-AAAAA Boys Lakeside 67, Clarkston 61 (season over) Lakeside 41, Southwest DeKalb 39 (season over) Girls Lakeside 53, Clarkston 29 (season over) North Atlanta 42, M.L. King 27 (season over) Arabia Mountain defeated Lakeside (no score reported; Lakeside season is over) Region 6-AAAAAA Boys Lovejoy 77, Druid Hills 38 (season over) Girls Luella 44, Druid Hills 31 Decatur Bulldogs

Dragon sculpture travels to new East Atlanta home


by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com Sang Bu, the large, fire-breathing dragon sculpture that has sat in East Atlantas Brownwood Park for the past two years, has moved to a new home. Residents joined in to help disassemble the dragon Feb. 15 and reassemble it in front of Midway Pub for a procession down Flat Shoals Road to its new home, the Argosy restaurant. At dusk, the dragon and groups of residents with homemade lanterns, some dressed in costumes, paraded down the street. The event, a fundraiser to keep the dragon in East Atlanta Village, lasted until 11 p.m. and featured music, fire performances and more. The sculpture was created by artist Ryan Mathern, who has allowed the dragon to remain in the park for the past two years. However, Brownwood Park is owned by the city and it wont let the dragon stay there any longer. Argosy has donated the green lot adjacent to the restaurant to house the dragon temporarily as community members try to raise the funds to pay for the dragon. We are in the process of applying for grants to keep her in the neighborhood, but most of those grants require matching funds or in-kind donations, said Lori Van Voorhis, the chair of the arts and culture committee for the East Atlanta Community Association.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

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Sang Bu, a fire-breathing dragon sculpture that has sat in an East Atlanta park for two years, has been moved to another location in East Atlanta Village.

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