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SOUTHWEST DEKALB SOCCER TEAM COPES AFTER COACH’S DEATH
FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2014 • VOL. 16, NO. 50 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
DEKALB HAS INTERIM SHERIFF
SUNDAY, MARCH 9
Clarkston residents gather together for a community improvement project. Photo provided
Children sit at the Clarkston pool during adult swim. File photo
Clarkston residents tell stories through photo voices project
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com The city of Clarkston is known for its diversity—there are more than 55 languages spoken within the city’s 1.1 square-mile boundary and it is a home to refugees from all over the world. It was this diversity that first drew Kennesaw University doctoral student Birthe Reimers to Clarkston. Reimers said more than a year into her Ph.D. program she was still unsure exactly what she wanted to do her dissertation on until she spoke with her department head one day. “He randomly told me about a conversation he had with a pastor and the pastor’s son from Clarkston,” Reimers said. “They were saying, ‘There are all these challenges and things that people
See Clarkston on page 15A
Commissioners pass preliminary budget
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners passed a preliminary budget Feb. 27 that called for across the board cuts and no tax increase. Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May said the budget will leave the county with approximately $42 million in what he called “historic” reserves, nearly double from that of 2013. The $584 million budget also contains many of the initiatives May proposed when he was appointed interim CEO including a three percent pay raise for all county employees, as well as the hiring of new public safety personnel and code enforcement officers. DeKalb County Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams said the administration was able to fund those initiatives with a two percent cut to all departments, which saved $10.8 million. “We’re proud to present a budget that not only funds new initiatives but also constrains certain spending,” Williams said. The budget allocates funding for the hiring of
See Budget on page 15A
DeKalb County commissioners answer questions after passing the 2014 preliminary budget. Photo provided
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Mann sworn in as interim DeKalb sheriff
by Marta Garcia email@example.com Jeff Mann took the oath of office as DeKalb’s interim sheriff on Feb. 28 at the Stone Mountain Judicial Courthouse in Decatur. Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams administered the oath as outgoing Sheriff Thomas Brown held the Bible for Mann. Mann, Brown’s chief deputy and a former county attorney, succeeds Brown who stepped down to run for Congress after nearly 14 years in office. Mann will serve until May 20 when a special election for sheriff will be held with the Democratic and Republican primaries. “He is going to be a sheriff of integrity, of honesty, of decency– someone who knows how to watch the dollars, someone who knows Chief Deputy Jeffrey Mann (center) is sworn in as interim sheriff Feb. 28 by DeKalb Superior how to treat people with respect Court Judge Gregory Adams in Decatur. Outgoing Sheriff Thomas Brown (right) is holding the Bible during the ceremony. Photo by Marta Garcia and someone who demands high standards of their personnel,” Brown working for the DeKalb community. steps of people who are trusted and said. “I will do the work that citizens respected,” Mann said. Surrounded by staff members, expect me to do. I prepared myself A resident of Stone Mountain family and friends, Mann, who has for this job by working hard, by who attends Berean Christian been in the office nearly 14 years, listening, by being a person of inChurch, Mann has served as presisaid he helped improve morale and tegrity and by following in the footdent of the DeKalb Lawyer’s Associcredibility and is proud to continue ation. He has been a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program of Atlanta and maintains his membership with the State Bar of Georgia as well as the DeKalb Bar Association. “ I am active in the community through my professional and personal life,” he said. As deputy chief, he has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the jail, field, court and administrative divisions and managed a $78 million dollar budget. “We are one of the lowest paid sheriff ’s offices in the metro area with respect to our detention officers and that’s my top priority to make sure that we attract, maintain and fairly compensate our corrections officers,” he said. Mann faces six other candidates in the May 20 special election: retired DeKalb sheriff ’s Deputy Bernard Collins; DeKalb Police Sgt. Romaldo Tony Hughes; former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones; former Georgia Piedmont Technical College Assistant Chief Melody Maddox; Atlanta Police Sgt. Melvin Mitchell; and former Pine Lake Police Chief LaSalle Smith.
An Open Letter to DeKalb County Citizens
My career in public service began in DeKalb County in 1985 and it has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Fire Chief, Public Safety Director and for the last 13 years as your elected Sheriﬀ. During this time, I have met thousands of you at various community and school events. We have worshiped together. Yet, fulﬁllment comes in so many ways and at this juncture in my life I am seeking to serve you at a higher level. On Friday, Feb 28, 2014, I will change gears as your public servant. It is my desire to transition from your Sheriﬀ to your Congressman, serving many of you at the federal level. There are many whom I want to thank for the support during my local government career and I have begun the process of reaching out to those whom I am grateful to have crossed paths with over the years. As I travel across this great County, I am asked who can continue the excellent work we have done. Who will ensure that there is professionalism and integrity of the Sheriﬀ ’s Oﬃce; ensuring that DeKalb County has one of the safest courthouses in the nation; that the jail will continue to be operated in an eﬃcient manner, and that persons entrusted to its care are treated with respect and dignity. The DeKalb County Jail currently holds all three major national accreditations. We are one of only 38 Sheriﬀs Oﬃces out of 3,900 to hold such an honor; so the concern in maintaining this achievement is a valid one. Who CAN continue the great work and In 2004 he was elevated to Chief Deputy the number two position on my staﬀ, managing the day to day operations of the entire Sheriﬀ ’s Oﬃce. During my tenure as Sheriﬀ, Chief Deputy Jeﬀ Mann has guided our agency through all three national accreditation processes and there has never been a hint of scandal in how we handle our 78 million dollar budget or the hundreds of thousands of dollars we manage through inmate welfare funds or cash bond accounts. I am proud to say to the people of DeKalb County that in my opinion the only person who is day one ready to be the next Sheriﬀ of DeKalb County and the person I will be voting for is Jeﬀ Mann. Rest assured Jeﬀ will continue the methodologies we have in place- those measurable and proven to be eﬀective. Jeﬀ will ensure that taxpayer dollars are properly spent and that contracting opportunities are fairly awarded. Jeﬀ will make certain those persons wanted for criminal and domestic violence oﬀenses are aggressively pursued, and that registered sex oﬀenders are appropriately monitored. I enjoy a sense of real comfort, knowing that I leave this agency in better shape than in January of 2001. I am also at ease with the person who has been my Chief Deputy for the last ten years and who will hold the position of Sheriﬀ beginning March 1, 2014. I have complete conﬁdence in Chief Mann’s ability to not only continue on but to move the County forward. Please join me in supporting Jeﬀ Mann in the special election on May 20th.
Ad is paid for by Friends of Thomas Brown
accomplishments of the DeKalb County Sheriﬀ ’s Oﬃce? Jeﬀ Mann! A man who has contributed abundantly to all of our accomplishments for the last 10 years. Jeﬀ Mann is my Chief Deputy and on Friday, February 28th at noon at the DeKalb County Courthouse, Chief Mann will be sworn in as DeKalb County’s 49th Sheriﬀ. Jeﬀ Mann has a history of his own in DeKalb County. I met him in the 1990’s where as a young attorney in the County’s Law Department; he was assigned to the Public Safety Department to handle all legal matters. In 2001, I was elected as your Sheriﬀ for the ﬁrst term and Jeﬀ Mann joined me in the Sheriﬀ ’s Oﬃce as my Director of Labor Relations and Legal Aﬀairs.
Yours for a safer DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
The 911 service in DeKalb County answers more than 1.2 million calls a year.
Smart911 program launches in DeKalb
by Marta Garcia firstname.lastname@example.org Imagine your house is on fire. You call 911 in such a panic that are unable to provide vital details. It would be great if fire, police and emergency medical personnel could get to your home already knowing all important information they need–how many people live in house, whether anyone has specific allergies or medical conditions and even the location of bedrooms. According to DeKalb officials, that is possible now thanks to the implementation of the emergency response service called Smart911, now available in most of the county areas. “It’s a new public safety initiative, a service that can enhance our emergency response by providing first responders access to critical and potentially life-saving information about a caller prior to the arrival of the scene,” said Cedrick Alexander, deputy chief operating officer of public safety in DeKalb County. “When anyone in the household dials 911 from a phone associated with the safety profile, the profile is immediately displayed on the operator’s computer screen at the 911 center,” Alexander added. During the announcement at the DeKalb County Police Headquarters on Feb. 27 officials made a live demonstration about how to create a free safety profile of a household. Smart911.com is the website where one creates a profile that includes any personal information including pictures of home and family. “You only have to list as many information as you are comfortable giving,” said Lt. Marshall G. Mooneyham. “I can say this information is totally secure. Smart911 is holding the data base.” According to Mooneyham, 70 percent of the callers in DeKalb County dial 911 from a cellphone and it’s difficult to locate them, especially in apartment complexes. “If you link your cellphone to your address that will help us to get close to the location and will help us in responding faster and in a more efficient way,” Mooneyham said. Smart911 is a national growing service, meaning that once a person creates a safety profile, and dials 911 anywhere in the country where Smart911 service has been activated, the profile will be available to 911 dispatchers. In Georgia, Smart911 is already available in several municipalities. In DeKalb County, Chamblee and Decatur are the only cities where this new service is not yet available.
Cedrick Alexander, deputy chief operating officer of public safety in DeKalb, announced the county’s implementation of Smart911. Photos by Marta Garcia
430-355108 3/6,3/13,3/20,3/27 GEORGIA, DEKALB COUNTY By virtue of a Power of Sale referenced in the Deed to Secure Debt and Security Agreement (the “Security Deed”) from JOHN WILLIS CUSTOM HOMES, LLC to GEORGIA COMMERCE BANK dated June 24, 2010, recorded in Deed Book 22025, Page 440, DeKalb County, Georgia Records, given to secure a Promissory Note dated June 24, 2010, in favor of GEORGIA COMMERCE BANK for an indebtedness in the original principal amount of TWO MILION ONE HUNDRED FORTY THOUSAND AND NO/100THS DOLLARS ($2,140,000.00) (the “Note”), with interest from said date as provided in the Note on the unpaid balance until paid, there will be sold at public outcry to the highest and best bidder for cash before the Courthouse door at DeKalb County, Georgia, within the hours of sale on the first Tuesday in April, 2014, the following described property (the “Real Property”): ALL THAT TRACT or parcel of land lying and being in Land Lot 346 of the 18th District of DeKalb County, Georgia, being Lot 51, Section 1 of Georgetown Subdivision, as shown on final plat of survey of same by GaddyCorder & Associates, dated July 28, 1961, recorded in Plat Book 33, Page 122, DeKalb County records and being more particularly described as follows: Beginning at an iron pin located on the Northerly side of Old Spring House Lane, 545.2 feet westerly from the northwest corner formed by the intersection of Old Spring House Lane and Bishop Hollow Run, said point of beginning also being at the line dividing Lots 51 and 52, said section and subdivision; thence northeasterly along the line dividing Lots 51 and 52, said section and subdivision, 167.1 feet; thence northwesterly 103.1 feet to the northeast corner of Lot 50, said section and subdivision; thence southwesterly along the line dividing Lots 50 and 51, said section and subdivision 192.1 feet to the northerly side of Old Spring House Lane; thence southeasterly along the northerly side of Old Spring House Lane 100 feet to the point of beginning. Being improved property known as No. 1560 Old Spring House Lane, Chamblee, Georgia and being the same property as shown on individual survey prepared by A.S. Giometti & Associates, Inc. dated March 26, 1963. Together with all rights, members and appurtenances thereto, also all the estate, right, title, interest, claim or demand of Party of the First Part, or said Party’s representatives, heirs, successors and assigns, legal, equitable of otherwise whatsoever, in and to the same. The debt secured by the Security Deed first set out above has been and is hereby declared due because of, among other possible events of default, non-payment of the above-referenced indebtedness. The debt remaining in default, this sale will be made for the purpose of paying same and all expenses of this sale, including attorney’s fees. The Real Property will be sold as the property of JOHN WILLIS CUSTOM HOMES, LLC, subject to any outstanding ad valorem taxes, any assessments and any liens superior to the Security Deed set out above; to the best knowledge and belief of the undersigned, JOHN WILLIS CUSTOM HOMES, LLC, is in possession of said property. GEORGIA COMMERCE BANK As Attorney-In-Fact for JOHN WILLIS CUSTOM HOMES, LLC Robert T. Morgan, Esq. Robert T. Morgan, P.C. 750 Hammond Drive, Building 12, Suite 100 Atlanta, Georgia 30328 (770) 804-8000 Contact at Georgia Commerce Bank: Mr. Cap Putt at 678-631-3647
THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, mARcH 7, 2014
And they’re off
ONE MAN’S OPINIoN
“I think we’ve got a ticket that’s stronger than anyone has ever imagined.”—Georgia Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter while sizing up the coming 2014 election season. Thanks to a strong nudge by the federal courts, and the first act and new law of the current legislative session, Georgia’s General Primary Election (Democratic and Republican), as well as multiple special elections and non-partisan primary will all be held on Tuesday, May 20. Run-off elections, as necessary, will follow on Tuesday, July 22. This advanced calendar moves up most every election year benchmark, excluding the fall General Election itself, including the cut-off for new voter registration and the start of advance/early voting, April 21 and April 28, respectively. Georgia is an “open” primary state, meaning that registered voters may select a ballot and vote in either party primary, and all ballots will carry the non-partisan races in that county, district or jurisdic-
tion. Voters missing the primary may also vote in either run-off. The only prohibition is that once you select a particular party ballot in the primary election, you cannot then “cross over” and vote in the other party run-off. And though Georgia is a twoparty state, the current political status is likely to deliver a ballot decidedly longer for the GOP. Though Georgia Democrats have recruited and fielded several solid candidates for the U.S. Senate and governor, as voters move down the ticket they may find many offices with only token opposition or in many cases no Democrat choosing to qualify. DeKalb County continues to play an inordinately significant role in Georgia Democratic ranks, with former state senator and DeKalb Commissioner Connie Stokes the party’s likely standard bearer for the lieutenant governor’s office. And after some deliberation, DeKalb School Superintendent Michael Thurmond declined advances from Democratic leaders to seek the position of state school superintendent. Georgia Democrats are optimistic about the two ticket-topping races for governor and U.S. Senate, where party leaders and lead funders are circling their wagons around two old names with fresh faces, boyish state Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur), will attempt to follow his grandfather into the governor’s office, and nonprofit executive Mi-
chelle Nunn, with an already formidable campaign war chest, hopes to pick up the Nunn legacy in the U.S. Senate, where her father Sam Nunn left off. And in DeKalb County, voters will be selecting the field for an entirely new school board, filling all seven district seats, after the DeKalb Legislative Delegation finally and laggardly lopped off the two superdistrict county wide seats, reducing the board from nine to seven members, as required by an earlier change in state law. Due to the departure of Sheriff Thomas Brown from his long held position to seek the 4th Congressional District seat currently held by Congressman Hank Johnson (DDecatur), a field of as many as eight to 10 will be vying for the office of sheriff in this non-partisan special election and run-off (sheriff candidates will appear on Democratic and Republican ballots, as will all school board races). The term “qualifying” is something of a misnomer, as candidates and incumbents file with their respective party for state office at the Capitol, and at the local level with their superintendent of elections for county and municipal offices. Legal qualifications to hold most any office are minimal—legal residency in the district being sought for one year or more, and for some positions a minimum age requirement. Candidates for president of the
United States need only be native citizens older than the age of 35. Candidates for sheriff require no law enforcement experience, and candidates for school board are not even required to have graduated from high school. As a practical matter, qualifications do matter, and are often discussed during the election season, but the law does not require much beyond showing up, being a non-felon and legal resident, plunking down the qualifying fee, which typically constitutes 3 percent of the position’s annual salary. These fees are paid to the political parties, excluding the nonpartisan races. The state and local municipal election officials then prepare ballots and administer the actual elections, as well as handle the tabulation of election results. Expect the voter barrage to begin a bit after Easter this year—or if you choose to ignore this whole mess, you can find some really great rates for a long weekend at the beach that weekend prior to the Memorial Day holiday. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at email@example.com.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2014
Not appreciating what’s in our backyard
Gale Horton Gay
What a sight. Dogs pulling people, folks unloading bikes off the roofs of cars, 20-something buddies hiking and nodding to a stranger, a couple of girls engaged in an animated conversation while passing mile markers on the trail and an elder running after a toddler who goes exploring. On a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon following days of rain and frigid temperatures, all this and more played out at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve in Lithonia. One could say the place was bustling. Still, as I got my walk on, I couldn’t help thinking that this wonderful natural treasure
should have been even more crowded. There should have been no place to park and the trails should have been practically overflowing. Now that would have ruined my peaceful, perfect experience of being one with nature but spending a warm afternoon among the tall trees, rock outcrops and the quiet of the outdoors made me want more people to enjoy it as well. The preserve is an incredible public space. It’s actually a 2,550-acre DeKalb County park that includes Arabia Mountain. It’s been described as an “ecological wonder.” Consider that it includes large formations of exposed granite, wetlands, pine and oak forests, multiple streams and two lakes. Rare, native plant species, such as the signature red diamorpha in the winter and fall’s yellow daisies, make their home there. All that in our own backyard. However as spectacular as it is—and it really is spectacular in every season—I suspect there are countless DeKalb residents who’ve never set foot on it. And that’s a shame. How many of us are guilty of slamming this
county where we reside for its failings while not fully appreciating and taking advantage of the unique and special things about it. I’m just as guilty as many of us. After three years living in Columbia, Md., I planned my return to DeKalb County last fall with a sadness that I wouldn’t be able to take regular escapes to the multitude of parks and interconnecting walk trails that is one of the signature features of Howard County in Maryland where I lived. I completely forgot about places like Arabia Mountain as well as the county’s more than 100 other parks where one can freely (and at no cost) enjoy the outdoors and engage in a number of physical activities such as tennis, baseball, golf, etc. Winter’s days are marked. Trust me that spring is coming and as one season slips into another it’s a perfect time to start exploring the wonders around us. Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is one great place to start.
F REE P RESS
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, MARCH 7 , 2014
Champion of the Week
DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District Board Chair Dell Fleming MacGregor with Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Regional Representative Robert Amos. Dell was recently named District Supervisor of the Year. Photo provided
DeKalb environmental activist honored
by Marta Garcia firstname.lastname@example.org The Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors honored DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District Chair Dell Fleming MacGregor as its 2014 District Supervisor of the Year. This award recognizes MacGregor’s efforts as a steward of the natural resources in DeKalb County and honors the years she spent doing volunteer work related to environmental protection. “My job is trying to promote, educate and help citizens know more about their environment and how to protect the natural resources,” MacGregor said. The Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of Georgia’s natural resources. MacGregor said her efforts in this education process are focused on improving the county’s soil and water resources as well as bringing new people on board. “The main struggle is political will and the need to constantly try to reach people in terms of helping them to understand the value of water, land protection and air quality.” Georgia’s 40 soil and water conservation districts cover all 159 counties in the state, but this honor is unusual because it went to a supervisor in an urban district rather than a rural one. “For the longest time all the efforts were focused on the farm and rural aspect. But Georgia is becoming more urban even in smaller populated areas,” MacGregor said. “Now there is a blending of the two organizations.... We both need to learn more about the other and I think [this award] it’s a symbolic recognition that means that we are becoming more aware of each other.” According to MacGregor, district members and city environmentalists become the voice of natural resources and their goal is to make Georgia a better place for its residents through the wise use and protection of basic soil and water resources. “The next step is trying to involve more people who care about natural resources to continue working along these lines,” MacGregor said.
Clerk’s office debuts property fraud registry
by Carla Parker email@example.com DeKalb homeowners can now receive alerts through the new online Property Fraud Registry Alert System if any changes are made on their property deeds. The system, which debuted Feb. 24, is designed to provide property owners with the ability to register properties and receive notice any time something is recorded on their property, according to the DeKalb Clerk of Superior Court office. DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry said there is a lot of property fraud occurring on and her office has seen a number of people who have been affected by it. “The fraud happens because the state of Georgia does not require an identification or any proof that someone can change the title of your house,” she said. If anything is recorded on the property, a notification will be sent out immediately or within 24 hours. “Part of the problem is the timing,” DeBerry said. “People don’t even typically know that something has happened until they are either trying to get a second mortgage or sell their home. It’s like you don’t own a home.” To receive alerts, property owners can register their properties at www.web. co.dekalb.ga.us/clerk/. The clerk’s office will continue to assist senior citizens–who are regular targets of fraudulent recordings–via phone, if there is no electronic contact.
Gloria Webb, a member of the nonprofit group Circle of Joy, loves to “give by design.” That’s the motto of the Community Investment Network, of which Circle of Joy is a part. Serving the metro Atlanta area, Circle of Joy is a philanthropic group in which members pool their contributions and strategically invest in improving the quality of life for metro Atlanta youth, according to the group’s website. “All of your life, you give,” said Webb, a retired educator. “When I was working they say you’ve got to give this much money to whomever and they take it out of your check. You don’t really know who it’s going to. “With ‘giving by design,’ as an organization, we decide who we’re going to give our money to. We are community philanthropy,” Webb said. “We learned about philanthropy, which is the love of humanity and the love of giving of yourself and of your time and of your treasures. We know exactly where our money is going.” Members of Circle of Joy each give $250 per year for the organization’s philanthropic endeavors. “That’s our treasure,” Webb said. “Then we have other fundraising to increase that treasure.” In the process of vetting organizations, Circle of Joy members meet a lot of philanthropists, Webb said.
“We meet a lot of people who are working for the community,” Webb said. “It’s just a rewarding experience. We’ve talked to fatherless generations, we’ve talked to people who are doing things with education and music; we’ve talked to girls’ homes. We’ve talked to a lot of people and you get to see what is going on in the community and how people of color are helping the community. “We kind of always think that philanthropy is the big guy—the Rockefellers, the Fords, the whomever—but we get to see how we are ourselves helping our own community,” Webb said. Webb also volunteers at Hillcrest Church of Christ in Decatur, where she has attended for 35 years. She has worked with the church’s Sunday School program, women’s organization, women’s Bible class and she helps her husband Jesse with photographing various church functions. “Whatever the church needs me to do, I do that,” she said.
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 104.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, MARCH 7 , 2014
DeKalb Cooperative Extension announces annual plant sale DeKalb Cooperative Extension is holding its second annual plant sale and will accept orders until March 10. The one-day pick up is Saturday, March 22, at the DeKalb Cooperative Extension office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 200, Decatur. Residents can choose from several varieties of azaleas, blueberries, hydrangeas, and gardenias. For more information about ordering plants or to learn more about other programs and services, contact the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension office at (404) 298-4080 or visit www. ugaextension.com/dekalb. Library to host book discussion Sabbath Creek by Judson Mitcham will be discussed March 10 at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library from 7-8 p.m. Sabbath Creek is the story of Lewis Pope, a 14-year-old boy “thrust into an adult world of heartache and brokenness,” according to the book’s description. Copies of the book will be available on a first-come, firstserved basis at the Tucker Library’s front desk. The library is located at 5234 LaVista Road. For more information, call (770) 270-8234. Library to host discussion with DeGruy The Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library will host a discussion March 10 on African-American MultiGenerational Trauma: “Creating a Blueprint For Healing” with Dr. Joy A. DeGruy. DeGruy is an international scholar, professor, social scientist, clinician, and author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. The 6-8 p.m. event is co-sponsored by the Baha’is of North DeKalb. The library is located at 5234 LaVista Road. For more information, call (770) 270-8234. Leadership DeKalb seeks applicants for class of 2015 DeKalb County community leaders are invited to apply for Leadership DeKalb’s Class of 2015. Interested applicants may attend one of two open house events to learn more about the program and network with distinguished alumni. The 10-month leadership development program engages a group of 55 leaders in monthly meetings on history, government, justice, diversity and inclusion, education, economic development and health. Class members will participate in various activities including community service projects, police ride-alongs and more. Leadership DeKalb will host open houses on Monday, March 10, in the atrium of St. Martin’s Episcopal School, 3110-A Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, from 6-7:30 p.m.; and, on Tuesday, March 11, in the community room of Cornerstone Bank, 125 Clairemont Avenue, Decatur, 6-7:30 p.m. Parking and attendance is free. Reservations are requested and can be made by online at www. leadershipdekalb.org/openhouse. For more information about Leadership DeKalb and to download an application, visit www.leadershipdekalb.org. All applications must be submitted to the Leadership DeKalb office by Monday, April 7 at 5 p.m. DeKalb History Center hosts Champion lunch and learn The DeKalb History Center, located in Decatur square at the old courthouse, will host a “Lunch and Learn” March 18 with Carolyn Glenn, co-owner and publisher of The Champion Newspaper. The free event begins at noon and attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch. Glenn will tell the story behind the newspaper she publishes with her husband Earl Glenn, which over the past 20 years has grown from a publication created to spotlight the achievements of south DeKalb’s Black community to the county’s newspaper of record. For more information contact the DeKalb History Center at (404) 373-1088. Clarkston hosts monthly movie night On the first Friday of each month, Clarkston’s K.D. Moore Community Development Center, located at 4007 Church Street, will host a movie night. All movies will be family-friendly and popcorn and drinks will be sold. The schedule is as follows: April 4, The Blind Side; May 2, The Smurfs; and June 6, Monsters University. For more information contact Christin Taylor at (404) 292-5686 ext. 248 or email ctaylor@ clarkstonfbc.org. Dunwoody United Methodist Church hosts Burt Bacharach concerts The performing arts group of Dunwoody United Methodist Church, located at 1548 Mt. Vernon Road, will perform the music of Burt Bacharach March 21-22 at 7 p.m. and March 23 at 3 p.m. Bacharach penned such songs as “What the World Needs Now is Love,” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “Close to You.” For more information visit www.dunwoodyumc.org or call (770) 394-0675. Village to host annual bluegrass festival Stone Mountain Village is hosting its annual bluegrass and arts and crafts festival, located on Main Street in Stone Mountain. The ﬁfth annual Bluegrass Roots Music and Arts Festival will also commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of Stone Mountain. Entertainment includes bluegrass music, arts and crafts, folk dancing and other genres of regional music. The festival will also feature glassblowing, a blacksmith, food, train rides and inﬂatables for children. Parking, admission and all musical performances are free and open to the public. The festival will be Saturday, March 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, March 30, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information contact Chris Strawbridge at (770) 413-0607. Callanwolde Mansion open for tours Area residents can experience Callanwolde’s 27,000-square-foot Gothic-Tudor mansion located on 12.5 acres in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. Those on the tour see how the Candler family of Coca-Cola fame lived as they stroll through the formal and native gardens, view artists at work and learn more 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 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Tickets are $8-$12. For more information, go to www.callanwolde.org. Registration open for second annual Race for the Arts Registration is open for this 5K run/walk starting at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts and Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Cost for an individual is $20 and $25 for teams with five or more participants. The race takes place March 29. To register go to www.active.com/decatur-ga/running/distance-runningraces/second-annual-porter-sanford-race-forthe-arts-5k-walk-run-2014. Free tax assistance and preparation available This service, available for low- and moderateincome taxpayers, is available from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide from through April 15. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, will offer help with personal income tax returns at various locations around Georgia. Last year, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers in the United States helped more than 2 million people file their federal, state and local tax returns. The program is offered at many sites in Georgia, including senior centers, libraries and other convenient location. Call the toll-free number, 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669) or visit www.aarp.org/taxaide during this tax season, to locate an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site.
West African dance classes. Classes are taught by master West African dance instructor Assane Kouyate. Open to participants of all ages and levels who are ready for a fun-filled, energy packed class. Traditional and modern dances are taught. In addition, participants can develop an awareness of how song traditions work hand in hand with dance movement as a means of expression and communication of daily life in West African cultures. Thursdays; Beacon Hill Centre Theatre (corner Electric and W. Trinity Place–inside Ebster Rec Center at the back), 404 West Trinity Place, Decatur, 7-8:15 p.m., Cost: $12. For more information, Email: email@example.com or visit www.sekhousenegal.com/westafricandance.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Establishment Name: LAS COLINAS Address: 6120 Covington Highway, Suite A Current Score/Grade: 71/C Inspection Date: 02/25/2014 Establishment Name: Chai Peking Chinese Restaurant Address: 2205 Lavista Road, NE Current Score/Grade: 95/A Inspection Date: 02/25/2014 Establishment Name: Sobban Address: 1788 Clairmont Road Current Score/Grade: 75/C Inspection Date: 02/27/2014
Restaurant Health Inspections
The proposed map of the city of Lakeside is displayed before the city of Tucker hearing. Photo by Carla Parker
Tucker city supporters go before legislators
Establishment Name: Subway Sandwiches Address: 3416 Buford Highway Current Score/Grade: 93/A Inspection Date: 02/27/2014 Observations and Corrective Actions Observed employee manually washing sanitizing dishes with a final sanitizing rinse of 0ppm, quat. PIC advised that final rinse must be between 200-400ppm, quat. COS- Employee corrected to drain and replenish sanitizer water and to re-sanitize just washed dishes. Corrected On-Site. New Violation. no test strips for testing concentration on quat solutions. PIC advised to purchase test strips. New Violation. Observed leak at right back wall of Norlake Cooler; also leak at hot water handle of three compartment sink faucet. PIC advised to repair leaks immediately. New Violation. Establishment Name: McDonald’s Address: 2881 Clairmont Road Current Score/Grade: 76/C Inspection Date: 02/27/2014 Observations and Corrective Actions Upon arrival, observed hand sink near grill with no hand soap and blocked by meat freezer and trash can; also observed spatula in other hand sink near fryer. PIC advised that hand sinks must be accessible at all times and supplied with hot and cold water, soap, paper towels, and hand washing sign. COS-PIC re-positioned Meat Freezer and relocated trash can and spatula. Corrected OnSite. New Violation. Final rinse at ware washing machine at 0ppm, Chlorine due to empty sanitizing container. PIC advised that final rinse on ware washing machine must be between 50-100ppm, Cl-. COS- PIC and employees added new sanitizer; final rinse at 50ppm, ClCorrected On-Site. New Violation. Observed employee sanitizing utensils with a final rinse of 0ppm, quat. PIC advised that quat sanitizer must be between 200-400ppm. COS- Employee added more sanitizer; final rinse at >200ppm, quat. Corrected On-Site. Upon arrival, no time control indicators set for meats. PIC advised when using Time as a Public Health Control time indicators/ documentation must be provided. COS- PIC and employee added time indicators. If out of compliance at next inspection, repeat points will be marked and foods discarded. Corrected On-Site. Observed numerous employees handling food with improper hair restraint or no hair restraint. PIC advised that employee(s) must wear hair restraints that restrain loose hair longer than 1/2 inch; these restraints include hair nets, caps, pony tails with buns, etc. COS- Employees restrained hair. Corrected On-Site. Observed two employees with watches and one employee with bracelet prepping food. PIC informed all jewelry must be removed while preparing food, food employees may not wear jewelry including medical information jewelry on their arms and hands, except for a plain wedding band. COS- Employees removed watches. Corrected On-Site. Observed in use wet wiping cloths stored on countertops. PIC reminded that in-use, wet wiping cloths must be stored in an approved sanitizing solution. COS- Cloths removed from countertop. The top one-third of a copy of the current inspection report is not visible through the drive-thru window of the facility. PIC reminded that top one-third of inspection report must be posted at drive thru window. New Violation. Observed gnats in main kitchen near dish machine and meat freezer. PIC advised to contact pest control immediately.
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org A day after the Georgia Senate adopted legislation to allow a referendum on incorporation of the proposed city of Lakeside, supporters of the proposed city of Tucker went before state legislators to ask for similar endorsement. At the Feb. 27 public hearing, supporters of House Bill 677 spoke to the House Governmental Affairs Committee about why Tucker is the more favorable choice for cityhood than Lakeside. On Feb. 26, Senate Bill 270 passed 32-18 to create the city of Lakeside. If the bill passes the house and is signed by the governor, Lakeside can move forward with a referendum on incorporation on May 20. Sonja Szubski, president of Tucker 2014, said the organization was not surprised that the Lakeside bill passed the Senate. “We were pleased that the vote was so close and we felt that our voices as a community were heard by the senators,” Szubski said. The proposed cities of Tucker, Lakeside and Briarcliff are in a battle to have its city approved over the others because the maps have overlapping areas. Lakeside’s proposed map includes Northlake and north to Chamblee-Tucker Road. It also includes part of Tucker’s 30084 ZIP code. Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-88) along with Tucker residents pointed out to the committee what he said are positive aspects of Tucker, such as the overlay districts, the Tucker Livable Centers Initiative, the
schools and the numerous community organizations and volunteers Tucker also received support from people from the city of Briarcliff initiative. Keith Hanks, a member of the executive board of the Briarcliff initiative, said Briarcliff has gone on the record that “a city of Tucker will enrich the community and will revitalize the reform that is needed in DeKalb.” “While Briarcliff has a small disputed border with Tucker in regards to the Northlake area, Briarcliff believes that the two can coexist as good neighbors,” Hanks said. “And we think a border resolution can be achieved this session.” Although there were many Tucker supporters at the hearing, there were a couple of opponents of the Tucker city bill. Robert Stamper lives in unincorporated Stone Mountain and his neighborhood is included in the proposed Tucker map. Stamper said the proposed city of Tucker is morally wrong. “It’s not right to do this to me and my neighbors who don’t want to have a new address,” Stamper said. “What I want to see is a united DeKalb in which we actually stick together to fix our problems.” Before the hearing, Rep. Howard Mosby (D-83) presented Resolution 1330, which would create a joint House and Senate Study committee to look at DeKalb and all of its “issues,” including the incorporation of cities and DeKalb’s form of government. “All the issues relating to ensuring that there is an efficient delivery of services to the citizens of DeKalb County,” Mosby said. The proposed study committee would be
See Tucker on page 16A
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Lakeside bill passes Senate, now on to House
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com ing. “Residents tell us they want a chance to vote on a The Georgia Senate city so they can get these passed a bill Feb. 26 makservices that are currently ing the incorporation of being neglected in our comLakeside one step closer to munity,” Woodworth said. a reality. The bill, sponsored According to the results by Sen. Fran Millar, now of a feasibility study by the goes to the house for a vote Carl Vinson Institute at the sometime in the next several University of Georgia, the weeks. proposed city of Lakeside The proposed boundaries would consist of approxiof Lakeside will be run from mately 63,000 residents and I-85 through DeKalb County generate approximately $35.8 to the border of Gwinnett million in yearly revenue. The study also stated that providing city services, including police, parks, public works, zoning and code enforcement, and other basic services, will cost approximately $29.9 million annually. “[Lakeside] is not only feasible but will actually run a surplus and all without raising property taxes one dime,” Woodworth said. Lakeside, if it incorporates, will employ –Mary Kay Woodworth approximately 81 police officers and include 190 acres of parkland and County to the east, I-285 green space. and Chamblee-Tucker Road The proposed city would to the west, the Gwinnett not have the resources to County line to the north and have a jail or courthouse North Druid Hills Road to and would continue to rely the south. on DeKalb County for those “This is a tremendous services. step forward for the [resiThe assessed property dents] of our community, value located within Lakewho for the past year have side’s proposed boundaries is expressed their desire to approximately $2.5 billion. form a more responsive Some legislators and government closer to the DeKalb County officials have people,” said Mary Kay been more critical of LakeWoodworth, chairwoman of side’s incorporation efforts, the Lakeside City Alliance. even calling for a yearlong Additionally, the boundmoratorium from incorporaaries include Mercer Univer- tions. sity, Northlake Mall, Embry “I think that it is unfortuHills and the Toco Hill shop- nate that they are critical of ping center. it and not open to allowing If the bill passes the the decision to the will of the house, residents will then be people,” Woodworth said. able to vote on incorpora“I think there is a concerted tion in the May 20 primary effort of DeKalb County’s elections. Lakeside would elected officials and adminbecome the third new city istration to stop these efforts in DeKalb County in recent and I really think it’s a politiyears, following the incorcal ploy. porations of Dunwoody and “There’s a point you reach Brookhaven. where you’ve got to make a Woodworth said, in more move. We want to make this than 75 public meetings county strong, and more and held by the Lakeside City more people are recognizAlliance, she heard “over ing that the way to make and over again” a call for the county strong is to creincreased public safety serate strong municipalities,” vices, road repairs and more Woodworth said. that the county isn’t deliver-
Little Shop of Stories, located in the Decatur square, recently received a grant from best-selling author James Patterson, who is donating $1 million to local and independent bookstores.
Bookstore buys bookmobile with author’s grant
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Best-selling author James Patterson recently pledged $1 million to donate to local and independent booksellers as a way to increase awareness of their importance in communities. Patterson reportedly said local and independent bookstores “as we’ve known them” are at risk and so is the effort to get children reading. “The real beauty of what he’s doing is he’s trying to raise awareness of the importance of independent bookstores,” said Diane Capriola, owner of children’s bookstore Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. Little Shop of Stories is one of the independent bookstores to receive a grant of up to $15,000 as part of Patterson’s giveaway. Patterson reportedly placed no requirements on how to spend the money. Some bookstores are spending the funds to give their employees raises, others to increase their presence at book fairs. Little Shop of Stories is using the money to buy a bus and turn it into a bookmobile. “For about a year-and-ahalf we’ve had this idea in our heads of creating some kind of bookmobile—taking an old school bus and just kind of revamping it and turning it into something really fun. We didn’t have the cash to do it until now,” Capriola said. Capriola and Dave Shallenberger opened Little Shop of Stories nine years ago. After several years, Capriola said, she and Shal-
“Residents tell us they want a chance to vote on a city so they can get these services that are currently being neglected in our community.”
lenberger soon learned that to stay in business, Little Shop of Stories had to become much more than just a bookstore. “The thing that we learned is that to survive we can’t just sell books,” Capriola said. “We’ve got to create events and really get out there, [sharing] books with people.” The bookstore focuses primarily on children and young adult books and Capriola said its mission is to turn children into “lifelong readers.” “We’re always looking for ways we can extend our reach,” Capriola said. “A lot of it is about reaching out to families and not just the individual child but getting parents on board about why reading is so important.” Capriola and Shallenberger say they hope to further this aim by using the
bookmobile for a variety of activities including bringing book fairs to local schools, transporting authors to speak to children and bringing books to those less fortunate. “I’m sure there will be a charitable component where we’ll be going to needy schools and giving out books,” Capriola said. So far, Patterson has given approximately $267,000 to 55 bookstores around the country. Shallenberger said he hopes to have a bus purchased and decorated in time for the Decatur Book Festival, which takes place over Labor Day weekend. Capriola said the possibilities for the bookmobile are endless. “We’re just now realizing that there is so much we can do with the bus,” Capriola said.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Neuman petitions judge for new trial
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Lawyers for convicted killer Hemy Neuman appeared in court March 4 before DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams to request a new trial, stating that Neuman’s conviction was based on perjured testimony. Neuman was found guilty of gunning down Rusty Sneiderman outside of a Dunwoody daycare in 2010. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Throughout the trial, prosecutors contended that Neuman and Andrea Sneiderman, Rusty’s wife, where having an affair. Andrea was later tried for lying under oath during Neuman’s trial and has been sentenced to five years in prison. It is the testimony given by Sneiderman, in which she denied the affair, that defense attorney Scott Key said makes Neuman eligible for a new trial. “This was not merely the denial of an affair but it was a set of material misstatements that went to the nature of the relationship itself, that went to the very nature of the emotional issues involved as Mr. Neuman was increasingly drawn into this relationship,” Key said. Key said Sneiderman’s mischaracterization of her relationship with Neuman led the jury to believe he was making it all up rather than being manipulated by Sneiderman. “The defense was that Hemy Neuman was a mentally ill, sick man, who was being manipulated, lied to, and ultimately taken advantage of by Andrea Sneiderman,” Key said. “Her lying mischaracterized the nature of that relationship…it went to the very heart of the where the insanity defense was.” Additionally, Key argued that even DeKalb District Attorney Robert James admitted to believing Sneiderman lied on the stand. Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Anna Cross argued that, although Neuman may have been convicted in part on perjured testimony, he should not be granted a new trial. “The standard is whether the jury verdict is strongly against the weight of the evidence,” Cross said. A ruling on the motion is expected within the next two weeks.
The DeKalb school board voted March 3 to add three days to the current academic year to make up for snow days. Photo by Travis Hudgons
School inclement weather plan not just about making up snow days
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org A DeKalb County School District inclement weather plan is not simply about making up snow days, School Superintendent Mike Thurmond told school board members March 3. Thurmond said he is more concerned about the growth and achievement of DeKalb students. “My question was not how we can add back six days, because I don’t think that gets you anywhere but where you were,” Thurmond said. “The question is what, if anything, can be done in the time that we have that can help our students achieve at a higher level.” The DeKalb County Board of Education voted to add three days— May 21-23—to the end of the current school year. The school district lost eight instructional days due to winter storms in January and February. Schools across metro Atlanta were forced by winter storms in January and February to shut down for several days. The Georgia Board of Education has allowed local school systems to decide whether to waive up to seven days lost to inclement weather. Acting on Thurmond’s recommendation, the DeKalb school board voted to add five instruction days prior to the Criterion Reference Competency Tests (CRCT) for students in grades three through eight by moving the testing dates from April 15-24 to April 22-May 1. The board also approved a plan to move the CRCT re-test window to May 20-22 to recoup remediation days prior to the CRCT re-assessment. The original schedule for the End of Course Tests testing is unchanged for May 5-12 for students in grades nine through 12. Graduation dates for seniors will not change. “Our primary responsibility is to help students improve, achieve and grow,” Thurmond said. “The revisions proposed to the DeKalb Board of Education will maximize instruction time for our students prior to the administration of the (CRCT) and the (EOCT).” Instructional time for students will be maximized through the use of a universal screener, a computeradaptive student diagnostic assessment. The universal screener “allows us to have a very prescriptive plan for every student,” said Morcease J. Beasley, executive director of the district’s curriculum department. “Most students will pass the CRCT the first time,” Beasley said. “We still have…an instructional plan for those students that should be used to provide instruction until the very last hour of the very last day.” For students who do not pass the CRCT, the school district will offer remediation plans that will identify “very specific skills that they need to work on…until the very last hour of the very last day,” he said. “We have an instructional plan for every student,” Beasley said. “That instructional plan will be used to ensure that every student is working on very specific content and knowledge that he or she needs, based upon our ongoing assessment…throughout the year, until the very last day of school.” Thurmond said school officials have been concerned about how the loss of instructional time would affect CRCT and EOCT scores. “This was a unique weather event–once in a century,” Thurmond said. “But according to SACS and most other observers and even the people on this board, we have been failing academically for more than a decade. The concern you have is not just for this year. It is not a result of the weather. This is a concern that has existed for a decade.” Thurmond said the universal screener is a new tool for the school district. In the past, teachers “have been basically throwing things against the wall to see if it will stick, because they haven’t had the resources that target instruction. We couldn’t see our students individually the way we can see them now,” Thurmond said. In addition to the universal screener, students will have opportunities for additional tutorial before and after school and on Saturdays. “I believe that we have a strategy in place that once the results are in, you will see growth and you will see achievement,” Thurmond said. “We didn’t focus on restoring days. We focused on helping children be more successful. “I think you’re going to get a better outcome and we’re not going to cheat to do it,” Thurmond said.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, MARCH 7 , 2014
LaSalle Smith joins race for DeKalb sheriff
by Marta Garcia email@example.com LaSalle Smith formally announced his candidacy for sheriff of DeKalb County on March 1 at the Willie Watkins Event Center in Lithonia. Family, friends and supporters of Smith attended the pastors and leaders breakfast that was the kickoff of his campaign. During the ceremony Smith, who has 40 years in law enforcement with the Atlanta Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said he can further develop the sheriff ’s office into the best in the nation and added he wants to staff the office with “the most committed, dedicated, educated, highly skilled, qualified and trained personnel.” “Somebody needs to take the DeKalb sheriff ’s office to the next level. In the last few years our county has been involve in corruption and controversy. Many people have lost confidence in the government and the law enforcement and I want to restore that confidence back.” Smith said that his decades of experience as a successful law enforcement trainer and security specialist will help him to reduce crime in the county and significantly improve the honesty, integrity and professionalism that Brown brought to the office. “Some candidates say they going to be tough on crime. How can you be tough on crime if you don’t know how to investigate crime? So I have a wealth of experience and knowledge in that area and I am so blessed to have all the attributes necessary to become a sheriff.” A resident of DeKalb County for 65 years, talked to The Champion about how he will address issues like gangs in schools, drugs and unemployment. “People are worried about their homes, their safety and their children so I am going to be out there personally to protect the residents of this county, “Smith said. “I want to establish an immediate program for juvenile delinquency. I am putting together a program as we talk to deal with kinds of issues to get young people adequate training so they can articulate what they need to do and get them prepared and out of trouble,” he added. Smith also worked for Fulton County and was Pine Lake’s police chief. He is the former pastor of Bountiful Blessing Christian Ministry, which he closed in 2008. “I am a community person. I love people. We are all God’s children and we have to be working in the same playing field.”
LaSalle Smith has 40 years in law enforcement with the Atlanta Police Department, the FBI and the GBI. Photos by Marta Garcia
LaSalle Smith with wife, Evelyn Smith, family and supporters during the formal announcement of his candidacy on March 1.
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Maynard Jackson High School
New Manchester High School
Arabia Mountain High School
New Schools of Carver Early College
Hiram High School
Henry W. Grady High School
Arabia Mountain High School
Rockdale County High School
Southwest Dekalb High School
Benjamin E. Mays High School
Cedar Grove High School
Stone Mountain High School
Douglas County High School
Tucker High School
Southwest Dekalb High School
Stockbridge High School
Benjamin E. Mays High School
Druid Hills High School
Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy High School
Brookwood High School
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, MARCH 7 , 2014
Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis, flipped pancakes for customers at the IHOP on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard March 4 to help the restaurant chain raise money for charity during National Pancake Day. IHOP restaurants nationwide offered a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to customers on March 4, while inviting them to make a small donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Mathis, center, along with Miss Atlanta Shelby Rice and Miss Rockdale County, Meredith Crawley. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Public safety officials sit in attendance at a Feb. 27 budget meeting. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
Students from several DeKalb County schools are recognized March 3 for being winners of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
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County staff and commissioners discuss details of the budget before a vote.
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THE CHAmPIoN FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, mARcH 7 , 2014
Clarkston Continued From Page 1A
are really struggling with.’” Reimers said once she found out the area was predominantly African-American and a refugee resettlement area she said, “Ta da, there it is.” Her undergraduate degree, Reimers said, is in AfricanAmerican studies and she is also a community mediator, so getting involved in Clarkston’s community seemed right up her alley. “It’s been a year now since I’ve embedded myself in the community and [have been] working with different organizations as a volunteer and learning about the community so I could tailor a project that makes sense for the people here,” Reimers said. The Photovoice Project, which Reimers has developed, documents community dynamics in Clarkston by having a group of residents take on the roles of photographers and researchers who document life and relationships in the city. Additionally, group meet periodically to discuss their impressions and experiences. There are 12 residents participating in the program, the demographics of which are equally divided among member white Americans, Black Americans and refugees. Reimers said she has asked the participants to help her learn about Clarkston, the city’s strengths and weaknesses, and some of the challenges its residents face on a daily basis. It’s a community-engaged project, Reimers said, where the residents involved are the experts. “They are my eyes. They see things where, if I walk around, I probably don’t know the significance of them but they do,” Reimers said. “What I do is I give people prompts each session and this week I asked them to capture challenges that make it difficult for people to live in harmony.” The participants each take pictures, which they then load onto a website and add captions to. The next time the group meets, Reimers said, they discuss each of the photos, what they have in common, and what makes them different. “I always say to them, ‘We may look at the same things but we see different things and it’s not until somebody tells us what they see that we can start seeing what they see,’” Reimers said. Reimers said another issue many of the participants have pointed out, and one she’s seen herself is that Clarkston’s AfricanAmerican community—roughly 50 percent of the population—is
Budget Continued From Page 1A
160 police officers, 100 firefighters and seven code enforcement personnel. It also funds the takehome car and tuition reimbursement initiatives May announced late last year. DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer was vocal in her support of the budget, stating that in her 22 years as commissioner she had never seen a CEO take the time to listen to the board’s concerns and implement their suggestions. “When you came forward with the [original budget] I absolutely was not happy with it and you came to the Finance, Audit and Budget Committee and you took back those suggestions and you and your staff worked to get this compromise,” Boyer said. Commissioners Larry Johnson, Sharon Barnes Sutton and Stan Watson also commended May for addressing their concerns. Others, however, were not so pleased with the budget. “The two percent cut kind of took me off guard. I’m not a fan of across the board cuts,” Commissioner Kathie Gannon said. “This to me was squirrely budgeting and a lot of very last minute stuff. This was really not the appropriate way to handle a budget.” Gannon also complained that commissioners didn’t receive the amended budget from May until 7 p.m. the previous day. May agreed with Boyer that the process wasn’t “the best way” to handle the budget but said he’d seen worse in his time as a commissioner. Additionally, May added that he had never seen a budget with as much line-by-line detail as the one he and his staff produced. “We were told to scrap what we had just a few days before and we’re responding to the commissioners,” May said. Commissioner Jeff Rader also chided May for not presenting the budget beforehand to the county’s constitutional officers, which include Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry, Sheriff Thomas Brown and District Attorney Robert James. “I know the time crunches we’ve been laboring under, but this is inherently inconsistent with the expectations of the public and the people that we work with. I think we all know that there are going to be unintended consequences as the result of this budget,” Rader said. Rader told May and the rest of the commissioners to be prepared to make amendments to the budget throughout the first two quarters of the year to address the two percent cut to departments. The county is required to finalize the budget in June.
A woman sells Bhutanese food during the Clarkston Farmer’s Market. Photo by Travis Hudgons
underrepresented in civic engagement. Additionally, Reimers said, Clarkston’s White population, which is approximately 14 percent, is overrepresented. “It was important to make sure that I included this sort of marginalized group in the dialogue because I know they have a voice and I think that their voice needs to be heard. That’s something that I found out about Clarkston that makes it unique,” Reimers said. In past decades, Clarkston has gone through numerous demographic shifts. When the town was first established in the mid1800s it was a primarily White town built on the early success of the railroad. In the 1980s, many African-American families began moving into the area because of the affordable housing and developments and many Whites began moving out. Reimers said in the 1990s the city was designated as a refugee resettlement area because of its easy access to public transportation and Georgia’s warm climate. Now, Reimers said, many White families are moving back into the
area because of its diversity. “This is another interesting thing,” Reimers said. “When I talk to these younger people they say, ‘I’ve moved here because this place is consistent with my values. I moved here because I wanted to raise my children in this type of environment because of the diversity.’” Originally from Germany, Reimers said she became passionate about war and conflict at a young age, spending countless hours with her aunt talking about the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler. “I wanted to know how the German people could allow what happened to happen and why they didn’t fight back harder and stop it,” Reimers said. “I think that was really the beginning of me struggling with questions of peace and conflict and people treating each other right and wrong.” There will be several exhibitions of the Clarkston Photovoice Project at the Clarkston Community Center and the Kennesaw State University Museum. For more information visit www.photovoiceclarkston.com.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Chamblee resolution seeks power over pipeline installations Tucker Continued from page 8A by Carla Parker
firstname.lastname@example.org The Chamblee City Council passed a resolution that calls on state legislators to give local jurisdictions the authority to regulate the siting of above-ground gas pipeline installations. The resolution, which was presented by Chamblee Councilman Thomas Hogan, was drafted in response to the Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) natural gas pipeline upgrade and regulator station constructed near the intersection of Clairmont Road and Tanglewood Circle. The residential area near the pipeline and station was annexed into Chamblee in December. The station is in the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport’s flight path. The project includes installing new steel transmission lines along a 28-mile stretch of pipeline from Riverdale in Clayton County to a connection point near the intersection of Buford Highway and Clairmont Road. For more than a year, residents have expressed concerns about the project. Hogan said while annexation discussions were being held, he learned of residents’ concerns about the project when he was copied on emails to AGL from residents. “I was very surprised to read the various responses or lack thereof from AGL, the [Georgia Public Service Commission] and other composed of 15 members, including four members each from the House and Senate, according to Mosby. The lieutenant governor and speaker of the house would be able to appoint someone to the committee as well as the DeKalb CEO, the board of commissioners, the school board and chamber of commerce. “We believe that gives not only the authority to the General Assembly to look at the issues but we believe we have all of the individual stakeholders at the table to look at all of the specific issues to make sure DeKalb County is function effectively,” Mosby said. Mosby added that the resolution does not put a stop to the proposed cities. “It’s just that if none of the cities pass we need to have a process to look at this,” he said. “If one or two of the cities pass we still need to have a process to look at how the county is going to efficiently deliver the services to the citizens.” Phyllis Mitchell, who spoke on behalf of DeKalb, said the county is in support of Mosby’s resolution. “We have no opposition to the creation of cities, but what we do have opposition to is the current process that does not allow the county to participate in how cities are developed,” Mitchell said. “Things that we are concerned with as it relates to the creation of the new cities is the way our [position] is currently structured. If there is a creation of any new city the county will owe money because we just don’t have enough money to pay a new city based upon the current formula.” After the hearing, Szubski said she believes the committee got an “inkling” of what Tucker has to offer and why it is in a better position to incorporate. “I think they can see how strong our community is and how motivated we are,” she said.
An Atlanta Gas Light regulator station, which is being constructed near two residential neighborhoods in Chamblee off Clairmont Road, has concerned residents for more than a year. Photo by Carla Parker
elected and government officials,” Hogan said. “There seemed to me to be a significant lack of oversight regarding the communication about the project, and it seemed that the needs of the community were not being addressed. “I feel the lack of communication and lack of oversight have created a potential hazard to the citizens of Chamblee and I feel that we are obligated to bring this matter to the attention of our state legislators so that they can research the issue and take the necessary action to improve the safety of the citizens of Georgia,” Hogan added. AGL installed a 24-inch diameter 1080-psi steel pipeline reportedly tested at 720 psi to replace an existing 16-inch diameter 300 psi
pipeline, and the addition of a new large gas regulator station/pigging station with a blast radius of up to 500 feet, according to the resolution. The resolution also states that both the new regulator station and the larger pipeline are less than 50 feet from two residences and less than 250 feet from a residential condominium property. According to the resolution, residents, local public safety officials and local elected officials were not notified in advance of the significant activity at the project site, which has resulted in certain “undesirable” outcomes. One of those outcomes includes a “significant increase in risk of explosion to area residents due to the increase in pipeline size and pressure in a right-of-way intended for a smaller line,”
the resolution stated. The resolution calls on state legislatures to consider five solutions, including providing local jurisdictions with the authority to regulate the siting of above-ground gas installations as they would other above-ground industrial installations. The resolution also asks legislators to establish accountability, transparency, public input and safety measures. “Review existing state laws and regulations regarding environmental and watershed assessments, the use of existing right-of-ways for expansion of pipelines, and the proximity of the siting of intrastate pipelines to residential areas, and make this information readily available to the public,” the resolution stated.
DeKalb County moves forward with Medlock LCI
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com A study aimed at increasing commercial redevelopment and infrastructure in DeKalb County’s Medlock area will be implemented this summer. The study focuses on the area around DeKalb Medical, which totals approximately 520 acres. The area is framed by four major intersecting corridors: Church Street, Scott Boulevard/ Lawrenceville Highway, North Decatur Road and DeKalb Industrial Way. In 2013, DeKalb County received a $120,000 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to implement a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), which is called the Medline LCI. The study area is comprised of a mix of residential, commercial, institutional and industrial areas. Additionally, the Medline LCI will focus on the redevelopment of underutilized and vacant properties in the area which, according to the study, consists of more than 30 acres. Community members and county officials held the first of three community workshops Feb. 27 to solicit public input for the plan. DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader said the community was well represented. “I think that the people got a good view and understanding of some of the existing conditions that were evident in the area,” Rader said. “One thing that really leapt out is the current status of the area of as a job center and the opportunity for that to grow.” The primary job creator in the area is DeKalb Medical but Rader said there are opportunities to expand job growth by building on what the area already has. “It’s not really organized in a way that an area ought to be organized that would lead more towards walkability,” Rader said. “The way some of the apartments are laid out you can’t even get to the grocery store without getting into your car.” Rader said there is an opportunity to make the area more like an integrated urban district. DeKalb Medical is a key component in developing a strategic plan for the area, Rader said. It also presents an opportunity to create a more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly area for increased access to the center. “What’s really more important than finishing the plan is implementing the plan and how we use that to shape a zoning overlay or implement our transportation improvement program as it relates the area,” Rader said.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Stone Mountain resident wins open house drawing
Gail Whisnant of Stone Mountain was the winner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) Metro Brokers most recent According to the U.S. ing around this place,” munity support has been Super Sunday $1,000 giveSmall Business Administrasaid Charles Curtis as he key to reaching the 30-year away. She attended an open tion, more than 50 percent of thumbed the anniversary milestone. “We have a base house hosted and donated small businesses fail in the scrapbook at the original of consigners who bring us by Jody Steinberg of the first year and 95 percent fail Avondale store. Curtis owns items to sell. They love fash- Northlake office on Jan. 12. within the first five years. a window-washing busiion and being trendsetters, Whisnant is was helping In light of those statistics, ness and Finders Keepers is whether in their homes or her daughter, a teacher, look a 30-year anniversary is a among his clients, but he said their wardrobes,” she said for in a a home good school noteworthy landmark for a he also enjoys going there as Consigners are only half district, which brought them small business. a customer. the equation, according to to Decatur. They sold their Consignment store FindThirty years in business is Kallenberg. “Then there’s home in December and ers Keepers recently celan important milestone for the community of shoppers. came across Steinberg’s listebrated its 30-year anniverany company, but it is espeThey can look great or make ing. sary with balloons, extended cially meaningful for small their houses look great on a “Jody was very nice and hours, refreshments, special businesses,” noted owner shoestring, and not necessar- we enjoyed her company,” offers, giveaways and more. Bonnie Kallenberg. “To stay ily because they have to. It’s Whisnant said. “While my During the Feb. 24 anin business for 30 years is because they want to. They daughter didn’t end up buyniversary celebrations—held quite a benchmark, and I am know how to do more with ing that home, they are curat all Finders Keepers locagrateful that consignment has less and are quite savvy and rently under contract with tions—shoppers sipped become a vibrant member smart,” she said. another home in the area.” punch and sampled snacks of the recycling community,” “Both of these communiWhisnant plans to put as they looked over winter she said. ties have graciously given clearance merchandise racks Kallenberg, who is also Finders Keepers their busiin addition to other goods. the president of the National ness for all these years, and The store got its start in Association of Resale and I am truly grateful,” KallenAvondale Estates in 1984 and Thrift Shops, bought Findberg said, adding that she’s DeKalb-based has expanded to include a ers Keepers from its original optimistic for the company’s Hotel Equities refurniture location in Avonowner in 1990. When she future. “Thirty more years? A cently named Bert dale and a boutique and first purchased the store, Kal- few more stores?” she specuHaifley to the pomenswear location in Decalenberg said, her plan was lated, “Anything is likely.” sition of task force tur. “Don’t mess it up!” manager for the “I always like lookKallenberg said comfirm’s portfolio. As task force manager, Haifley Chiropractor recognized for care of those in entertainment industry Haifley assists in transitions and acquisitions for Atlanta chiropractor Jared Simon, whose don’t have the resources or time to take care the firm. His responsibilities office is in the Century Center area, was reof themselves, especially those who live a cently featured in the winter issue of Georgia transient lifestyle. They need care from some- cover the overall operation of the hotel, including hirChiropractor for his work helping Atlantaone who understands these challenges and ing, training and other acbased actors and entertainers. can provide treatment that is customized to tivities. Simon, who founded Atlanta Actors their needs,” Simon said. “Bert has served in a Healthnet, the official doctors to the Atlanta Simon said he understands the unique variety of posts across sevScreen Actors Association, is an advocate for health challenges faced by individuals in entertainment health and wellness. He found- show business because he once worked as an eral key brands and brings a wealth of experience to our ed the Atlanta Screen Actors Association to actor. Simon, a licensed chiropractor in the firm,” said Brad Rahinsky, reduce the risk of on-the-set injuries and pro- Atlanta community since 1992, got his start chief operating officer of vide drug-free pain management. as a chiropractor following an acting injury Hotel Equities. “We can “Acting is a wonderful way to be creative, that occurred while he was performing in a count on him as an effective but it is also a stressful lifestyle. Many actors play.
Finders Keepers celebrates 30 years
her winnings toward her grandchildren’s college fund. Steinberg said she had a great turnout with more than 40 visitors attending her two open houses in the area. “More and more buyers are coming out of the woodwork, and there is still a lack of inventory,” Steinberg said. “That day, one of the visitors put that home under contract, and I’m helping another with putting an offer on a different home.” Through the Super Sunday program, which began in 2007 as a method of combining all of BHGRE Metro Brokers’ open house efforts on one day a month, a random drawing for $1,000 is held among those attending each event.
Hotel Equities names task force manager
leader who will help us onboard talent, ramp up acquisitions or fill a key management position at one of our hotels. His expertise in food and beverage is a real win for the organization as we continue to grow in the full service hotel arena.” Haifley came to Hotel Equities from the Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Buckhead where he was general manager for Interstate Hotels. He began his hospitality career with John Q. Hammons Hotels at the Holiday Inn North in Springfield, Mo.
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030 404.378.8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Other STAR students and teachers recognized include: Decatur High School Student: Adam W. Garlow Teacher: David Schaar Arabia Mountain High School Student: Fabian Dwight Flowers Teacher: Ella Davis Ben Franklin Academy Student: Elijah Jacob Harrison Teacher: Debby Keenan Chamblee Charter High School Student: Mollie Rose Simon Teacher: Christopher Smith Clarkston High School Student: Phat Chang Teacher: Teresa Brooks
Marist School STAR student Richard Paris, STAR teacher Sergio Stadler and DeKalb Chamber President Leonardo McClarty.
DeKalb Chamber Board Member JaKathryn Ross, DeKalb School Superintendent Mike Thurmond, Druid Hills High School STAR teacher Paul Johnson and STAR student Adriano Iqbal
Columbia High School Student: Nydrel Jack Teacher: Kisa Orlowski Cross Keys High School Student: Kui Sit Teacher: Monique Whorton DeKalb Early College Academy Student: Naud Ghebre Teacher: Jason Butler DeKalb School of the Arts Student: Eliza Branwen Guinn Teacher: Sandra Beth Williams Dunwoody High School Students: Madison Dill, Mallory Jessica Harris Teachers: Erik Vincent, Raymond Wise Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy Student: Donald Ray Lockhart Jr. Teacher: Steven Lang Lakeside High School Student: Holly Elara Brooks Teacher: Michael Washington Lithonia High School Student: Onneka Venessa McQuennie Teacher: Ahmariah Jackson Marist School Students: Erin Connolly, Brendan Phillips, Richard J. Paris Teachers: Matt Romano, Anne Washington Saunders, Sergio Stadler Martin Luther King Jr. High School Student: Indigo Gill Teacher: Calvin Leaks Miller Grove High School Student: Amirah Garland Teacher: Lissy Philip Redan High School Student: Kiandra A. Smith Teacher: Akilah Hill Southwest DeKalb High School Student: Chelsea A. Jackson Teacher: James Bailey St. Pius Catholic High School Student: Christina Delurgio Teacher: James Bailey Stephenson High School Student: Zoe-Ann V. Robertson Teacher: Mario Miner Stone Mountain High School Student: Vy Huynh Teacher: Keatra Wright Tucker High School Student: Mary Elizabeth Kho Teacher: Teresa Milam Yeshiva Atlanta High School Student: Joshua S. Weissmann Teacher: David Byron
Ross, Thurmond, Arabia Mountain High School Star student Fabian Flowers and STAR teacher Ella Davis
STAR students, teachers recognized
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Seniors and teachers in public and private schools in DeKalb County were recognized Feb. 27 by the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program. Seventeen-year-old Adriano Iqbal, a senior at Druid Hills High School, was one of 27 students honored at the program sponsored by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tucker. “I think it’s a great honor that I have been given,” Adriano said. “It’s very rewarding having the highest score. I worked hard and it’s nice to be acknowledged for it.” Adriano, who likes to bike, run and read, is a member of Druid Hills High’s student newspaper stuff, math team, Spanish club, National Honor Society, Beta Club and science club. To be nominated as a STAR student, high school seniors must have the highest score on one test date on the SAT taken through November of their senior year and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. Each STAR student names a STAR teacher. Adriano, who plans to major in biochemistry and perhaps attend medical school, named seven-year veteran math teacher Paul Johnson as his STAR teacher. “He has this sort of natural curiosity,” Adriano said about Johnson, who has selected as a STAR teacher three other times. “He really wants to get to the bottom of why things work. He’s not just content to let us memorize a formula or just spit out an answer. He really wants it all to fit together. “A lot of our education system focuses on the particular to the detriment of the big picture,” Adriano said. “He’s really good at keeping it in context.”
Thurmond, Miller Grove High School STAR student Amirah Garland and McClarty. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Johnson said the recognition is “about the highest honor I can get.” “The highest honor for me is if a parent or a student believes that I am doing a really good job,” Johnson said. “That’s who I am serving, so I value their feedback more than anyone.” His favorite part of teaching, Johnson said, is “seeing someone get an idea that was elusive—the frustration and the struggle—and then all of the sudden the moment of ‘now I get it.’ It’s a really, really pleasurable feeling.” Johnson said he believes has been chosen as a STAR teacher four times “because I always assume that there’s a lot more. “I’m willing to say, ‘I don’t know; let’s find out together,’” Johnson said. “A lot of my students have always told me that’s what’s exciting about the classroom. I don’t ever come at them saying, ‘I have all the answers,’ because I recognize that I don’t. That’s what makes learning fun.”
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Even during his four years as a bus driver, Bernando Brown, now a DeKalb County School District dispatch supervisor, said he always dressed up for the job. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Bus dispatch supervisor would do job free
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com Bernando Brown wants to be known as a transportation professional. That’s why the 45-year-old worked to earn pupil transportation supervisor certification by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, a nonprofit organization which represents school transportation professionals. Brown is only the 49th person in the country to receive the certification since it was introduced in 1989. “I wanted to be known as a transportation [professional],” Brown said. “I don’t want to be known as just a bus driver. Brown said the value of the certification is the knowledge he has received. “Getting this certification only helps the transportation department because I bring knowledge as far as budgeting, strategic planning [and leadership training]. …it makes me an overall transportation professional,” Brown said. “I’m not just only someone who can speak one spectrum.” Brown served in the U.S. Army and retired as a sergeant first class in 2007.. In 2002, while in the military, Brown participated in a Veterans’ Day event at Columbia Middle School. “As I looked around, …I didn’t see a lot of men,” said Brown, who attended Bob Mathis Elementary School and graduated from Lakeside High School. “I told the teacher that was assigned as my escort [that] when I retire, I’m coming back to the school district in some capacity. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I was going to come back because I am someone from the community that wanted to make a difference, that wanted to be here for the children.” Brown joined the school district as a bus driver in October 2009 and became a dispatch supervisor four years later. Brown described his job as the “voice of the transportation department.” “All communications come through us,” he said. “I take calls from parents…addressing all kinds of concerns they might have.” Additionally, the department communicates with schools and bus drivers. “When emergencies happen, we’re the ones they call so we can reach out to 911,” Brown said. During the January winter storm, Brown and several managers stayed in the dispatch department all night. “One thing I told a couple of drivers is that as long as they were out there I was going to be in here talking to them,” Brown said. “I started as a driver and I know that one of the things they wanted to hear is that they weren’t out there by themselves.” Brown said he enjoys “knowing that we’re here to help the parents and the students of DeKalb County.” “When I get that call from a parent that’s upset because their child was either placed on the wrong bus or they haven’t gotten home yet…and we’re able to locate that child and just comfort the parent and know that parent is happy–that’s what’s rewarding to me,” he said. “It’s not about all the riches in the world, but knowing that the things that I’m doing every day are helping someone. “I can deal with being yelled at,” Brown said. “I was in combat; they’re not shooting bullets at me. I’m a parent and a grandparent so I can put myself in [parents’] shoes.” “This is one of those jobs I would do for free,” Brown said. “The reward is that I actually get a paycheck for it. I like doing this. “Becoming a certified supervisor of pupil transportation is like icing on the cake,” he said. “It’s a milestone that very few have achieved and I know I’m doing my part in getting better. All it’s going to do is improve the school district one person at a time.”
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
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The Southwest DeKalb High School girls’ soccer team is in its first season without longtime head coach George Smith Jr., who died last summer. The team is slowly adjusting to new head coach Joes Venture. Photo by Carla Parker
Southwest DeKalb girls’ soccer team adjusting after the death of longtime coach
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org On Feb. 13, the Southwest DeKalb High School girls’ soccer team opened the 2014 season with a new head coach for the first time in 15 seasons. The Lady Panthers previous coach, George Smith Jr., passed away July 20, 2013, from complications of a heart attack. He was 45. Senior Kieanna Stallcup, who played under Smith since the eighth grade, said she and the team had a hard time dealing with his death. “When the season started I broke down because this is my first season without him, the first bus ride without him,” Stallcup said. Tammy Hagan, whose daughter has played under Smith for two years, said Smith’s death was hard to believe. “We knew he had some health issues, but because it happened so suddenly it hit the girls a little harder because they weren’t expecting it,” Hagan said. Smith, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, graduated from Emory University in 1989 with a degree in psychology, according to his obituary. After graduating from Georgia State in 1994 with a master’s degree in special education, he worked as a mental health assistant at the New Anneewakee Hospital, a Douglas County ready for the 2014 season. The girls began practicing under the leadership of the senior players because they did not know when they would get a new coach. Therefore, it came as a surprise when new head coach Jose Ventura showed up on the practice field Jan. 20. Ventura, who is a Spanish teacher at the school, said he was unaware of the situation and many of the players were not receptive of him. “I went to the field and I met one player for the first time and at that time I learned there was some resentment and there was an empty hole there,” Ventura said. Hagan said her daughter, sophomore Jayda Fareed, was familiar with Ventura from Spanish class but she did not know he was the new soccer coach. “She told the girls to try to give him a chance because he is a nice guy,” Hagan said. “But she’s one of the new players on the team so there was still some resistance.” Stallcup said it was hard getting used to Ventura. “We had to make sure that he understood that this isn’t easy for us,” she said. “This is my first season without [Smith] and I feel like we have to get used to having a new coach and work together as a team.” Ventura, who began coaching soccer in 1992, was teaching in Washington, D.C. before he moved to Georgia in 2008. He took five years off from teaching to focus on his son’s education. He was hired to teach at Southwest DeKalb and was later informed by Principal Carolyn Williams that the school was in need of a soccer coach. “I thought then, as I do now, that I can do this,” Ventura said. Ventura said that the team is still saddened over the death of Smith and the past month has been hard for him and the girls, but the team is adjusting better to him. “We are moving forward and things are getting better by the day,” he said. Stallcup said the relationship between Ventura and the team is getting better. “We’re starting to listen to him,” she said. “When he makes a suggestion, instead of backlashing we’re starting to listen and make the adjustments.” The team has not decided how it will honor Smith this season, but Stallcup said the players will always remember everything Smith taught them and will hold on to all the good memories. “Instead of grieving we think of all the things he said and did during practice and games,” she said. “I know that we’re making him proud.”
facility for troubled youths. Smith left that job to become an educator in the DeKalb County School District, where he worked for 20 years, according to the obituary. He taught at Sexton Woods Center and then at Southwest DeKalb. He was named coach of the girls’ soccer team in 1998 and accumulated a 13794-10 record. His players have been recognized by participating in county All Star games and he helped them earned college soccer scholarships. Smith also served as a soccer coach at the South DeKalb YMCA and the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association. Smith is survived by his wife Angela and three children. Although the team was grieving, the team knew they still had to get
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
What Michael Sam’s announcement means for young gay athletes
As I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline the night of Feb. 9, I saw a tweet from ESPN’s SportsCenter that read, “BREAKING: Missouri DE Michael Sam, SEC co-Defensive Player of Carla Parker the Year, says email@example.com he is gay; could become first Sports Reporter openly gay NFL player.” After reading that tweet, the first thing that came to my mind was, “good for him.” My second thought was, “I wonder what Sam’s announcement will do for gay athletes, specifically high school athletes, who are afraid to come out to their teammates?” In an interview with ESPN, Sam said he told his Missouri teammates in August that he is gay. To the surprise to some, his announcement was not a distraction for the team and he was not ridiculed publicly or shunned by teammates. One of the arguments about an athlete coming out is that it will be a distraction and could have an effect on how well they play together. However, the Missouri Tigers football team finished the 2013 season with a 12-2 record and played in the SEC title game. With the success of Missouri’s season, it did not appear that Sam’s announcement was a distraction. If Sam’s sexuality was not a distraction to his college team then it should not–and I believe it will not–be a distraction to whichever NFL team drafts him in May. It should not be a distraction because grown men, who claim that football is their job, should be mature enough to work together in a professional environment without worrying about who a person spends his time with outside the work place. However, the same probably cannot be said for high school athletes. High school can be a rough place for students who are different from the majority, and those who are different from the crowd are usually subjects of bullying. However, a person–including a high school athlete– should be able to live his life or love whom they want to without being ridiculed or ostracized. I know that there are religions that do not accept homosexuality and Americans have the right to their religious beliefs, according to the First Amendment. However, the Declaration of Independence also gives Americans the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and if loving a person of the same sex makes you happy, then go for it. A person’s decision on whom to love or be in a relationship with should have no effect on someone else’s life anyway. Let me be clear, I am not pressuring anyone to come out as gay if they are not ready to do so. However, if you are ready to take that step you should do so without fear of what people will think of you. If a high school athlete comes out to his or her teammates those teammates should not treat that person any differently than before. One of the aspects of team sports is the brotherhood and sisterhood mentality among the athletes. That same brotherhood and sisterhood should not be affected by someone’s sexual orientation, religion or race. Just like the Missouri locker room, it is going to take a strong locker room with strong leaderships to deal with such situations with maturity. I do not know when that will happen on the high school level, but I believe Michael Sam’s courage made it a little bit easier for at least one gay athlete (high school, college or professional) to consider being who they are out in the open.
Dunwoody football players sign athletic scholarships
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org National Signing Day may have come and gone, but that did not mean the recruiting period was over for Dunwoody head football coach Jim Showfety. Showfety continued to look for the right colleges for two of his senior players and was successful as Aaron Alexander and Michael Adjekuko signed with the colleges of their choice Feb. 28. Alexander, a running back and defensive back, signed with Bemidji State in Bemidji, Minn., and Adjekuko, a quarterback, signed with New Mexico Military Institute. Showfety said he is “incredibly” proud to know that Alexander and Adjekuko will continue their athletic and academic careers and happy to see them experience the signing day moment. “We had the same situation a couple of years ago where players didn’t sign on National Signing Day but they learned that
Aaron Alexander (left) and Michael Adjekuko signed their letters of intent to the schools of their choice Feb. 28. Photos by Carla Parker
See Football on page 23A
Southwest DeKalb head baseball coach got his 100th win as a head coach Feb. 24 with Southwest DeKalb’s 4-3 victory over Grady. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Southwest DeKalb’s Tyrus Taylor reaches 100 wins
by Carla Parker email@example.com Southwest DeKalb baseball coach Tyrus Taylor reached a milestone Feb. 24 after winning his 100th game as a head coach. The 100th win came with Southwest DeKalb’s 4-3 victory over Grady at Southwest DeKalb. In his nine years at Southwest DeKalb, Taylor has recorded a 100-94-3 overall record. During baseball media day Jan. 23m Taylor said it would be a blessing to reach 100 wins. “I would feel blessed just to have the opportunity to be coaching this long knowing coaching is not easy,” he said. “There is always a coaching carousel. Not many coaches stay at the same place for a long
time. So to have 100 wins at the same place is very special.” Senior catcher Malik White and sophomore first baseman and pitcher Tyler Sylvester led the Southwest DeKalb Panthers in that game with two hits each. Senior pitcher and infielder Kevin Wimbish and junior infielder Davian Manley had two stolen bases each. Senior Malik Atkins struck out three players and allowed three hits over 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Sylvester struck out three while giving up three hits and three earned runs over 2 2/3 innings. Taylor has had four winning seasons during his time with the Panthers, including a 16-9 record in 2006, a 14-8-1 record in 2008, a 15-10 record in 2011 and an 11-10 record in 2013.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
The Tucker Tigers defeated the Chamblee Bulldogs 6-3 on March 1. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Tucker and Chamblee baseball
Six DeKalb teams to play for state title
by Carla Parker firstname.lastname@example.org DeKalb County will once again be well-represented in the GHSA basketball state finals as six DeKalb public and private schools will play for a state title. St. Pius girls’ basketball team will face Buford in the Class AAA final March 8 at 3 p.m., Redan girls will play Columbus for the Class AAAA title March 6 at 7 p.m., and Columbia will play Jonesboro for the boys’ Class AAAA title March 6 at 8:45 p.m. The girls’ Class AAAAA title game will be an allDeKalb County final, as the Tucker Lady Tigers take on defending champions Southwest DeKalb March 7 at 7 p.m. The Miller Grove Wolverines will try to go for history again as they take on Warner Robins March 7 at 8:45 p.m. for a record sixth consecutive title. All games will be held at the Macon Centreplex in Macon. Miller Grove (27-5) defeated Jenkins 69-52 (28-3) in the Class AAAAA semifinals March 1 to advance to the finals. Sophomore guard Alterique Gilbert led the team with 25 points. Senior forward James Walker finished with 15 points and seven rebounds for Miller Grove while senior Deven Dorsett finished with 12
Tucker pitcher Jake Lovvorn
Tucker’s Joe Farrar at bat
Chamblee pitcher Drew Henry
Chamblee’s Chad O’Melia takes a swing.
Julian Sewell was Tucker’s closing pitcher.
Chamblee first baseman Chad O’Melia makes a play.
Shortstop Joshua Dunson snags a ball for Chamblee’s Somto Egbuna attempts to outrun Tucker head coach Vincent Byams Jr. talks to the team Tucker. after the win. the ball.
See Basketball on page 24A
we’re going to keep recruiting as hard as we can,” Showfety said. “It might not happen that first Wednesday in February but if a kid has a chance to play we want to give him that opportunity.” In his first year playing the quarterback position, Adjekuko finished the 2013 season with 614 passing yards, threw three touchdowns and had a 55.0 percent completion rate. He also rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. Adjekuko, who played wide receiver and cornerback his first three years at Dunwoody, made the switch to quarterback in week three of the
Football Continued From Page 22A
season. “[The transition] was a little difficult but I got used to it after a couple of games,” Adjekuko said. “He had to go through some growing pains for a game or two but over the long haul he really turned our offense around and did a great job,” Showfety said of Adjekuko. Adjekuko said he was very happy and excited to sign with New Mexico Military Institute, which offered him a full scholarship. “It’s what I’ve been working for all my life,” he said. Alexander, had originally committed to Reinhardt University, but
the morning he was scheduled to sign, Bemidji State made a better offer and he decided to sign with Bemidji. “I chose Bemidji because I like the campus and I think it’s a better fit for me than Reinhardt,” Alexander said. Showfety said Alexander was “Mr. Everything” for the football team. Alexander played running back, defensive back and he was the kick returner. “He did a great job and personally I think he was worthy of AllState consideration this year,” Showfety said. “He had a great season.
Without him I don’t know where we would’ve been.” Alexander led the team in rushing with 632 yards and eight touchdowns. He also has 246 reception yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he finished second on the team in total tackles with 64 and he led the team in interceptions with four. Alexander said he is happy to be continuing his football career. “I have another opportunity to play the game that I love,” he said.
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS, fRIDAY, MARcH 7 , 2014
Basketball Continued From Page 23A
points. Tucker advanced to its first title game in program history with a 54-38 win over Drew (26-3) in the semifinals March 1. Senior Erykah Davenport led the team with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore Mariya Trimble finished with 12 points and six rebounds, senior Nuba Jackson added 11 points and senior Tori Robinson with 10 points. Tucker (27-4) will face region rival Southwest DeKalb (30-2), who defeated Forest Park (24-9) 59-37 March 1. Tucker and Southwest DeKalb split their two previous meetings this season. Junior Davion Wingate led Southwest DeKalb in the semifinals game with 19 points. Junior Tynice Martin added 14 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Jada Walton had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. It will be the third consecutive title game for the Lady Panthers and sixth state title game appearance in seven seasons. The Redan Lady Raiders (32-0) move their winning streak up to 32 after defeating South Effingham (27-5) 6040 March 1 to advance to the Class AAAA girls’ title game. Redan won 31 games in a row in 2010 on the way to the Class AAAAA championship game where it lost to Norcross to break the 58 game win streak it compiled over two seasons. The Columbia Eagles (26-5) pulled out a tight 57-55 win over Westover (23-5) to make the Class AAAA finals. Columbia is making its fifth consecutive trip to the state finals. Columbia won three in a row (2010-2012) before falling to Eagles’ Landing in the 2013 finals. St. Pius (29-3) advanced to its second consecutive title game with a 67-53 win over Beach in the semifinals March 1. St. Pius is making its fifth state title game appearance in 10 seasons.
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