by Daniel Beauregard
Imagine having to walk a round-
trip of six miles a day just to gather
enough water to drink and maybe
wash your clothes occasionally. For
Majok Marier, this was just another
part of life in South Sudan.
Marier now lives in DeKalb
County and works for Decatur-
based plumbing company M. Cary
and Daughters and recently finished
a book about his experiences as one
of South Sudan’s “Lost Boys.” The
Seed of South Sudan: Memoir of a
“Lost Boy” Refugee, co-written with
Estelle Ford-Williamson, details
Marier’s years as a refugee fleeing
from civil war in Sudan.
A member of the Agar Dinka
tribe, Marier was 7 years old when
war came to his village, causing
him and thousands of others South
Sudanese to flee South Sudan. For
years, Marier traveled thousands of
miles, trying to avoid the civil war.
In 2001, Majok and 3,800 others like
him emigrated to the United States.
Hundreds settled in Texas, Georgia,
California, Virginia and other states.
“It was the time of the war when
I left that village,” Marier said.
“When we went into the camp, it
was really a bad time for us because
there was no food, there [were]
a lot of diseases and it was really
dangerous for us—an attack could
happen at any time.”
Marier said he began writing the
book in 2005 because he thought
it was important that people knew
about his story and others like him
by Lauren Ramsdell
A 9-month-old boy is dead and three
women critically injured after a May 10
home invasion that may have been an act
of possible retaliatory violence, according
to Cedric Alexander, the county’s deputy
chief operating officer for public safety.
After two to three men broke through
the back door of a home on To Lani Farm
Road in Stone Mountain around 11 p.m.
May 10, three women in the home fled to
an upstairs bathroom with the baby, where
they tried to lock themselves in. The men
allegedly kicked through the door and fired
several shots, Alexander said.
The 9-month-old died of multiple
gunshot wounds after being rushed to a
local hospital. The women, ages 36, 23 and
21, are in critical, but not life-threatening
condition, Alexander said.
The 21-year-old woman is believed to be
the child’s mother.
The shootings may be related to another
incident in the same area, one week prior,
according to police. On May 3, 29-year-old
Business ........................17A
Classifed .......................20A
Education .............. 18-19A
Sports ...................... 21-23A
Left, a woman in Majok Marier’s village prepare water pitchers to carry. Center, Marier stands with Estelle Ford-Williamson, who helped him tell his story of fleeing South Sudan. Right,
Villagers surround one of the wells in the village. Photos provided
championnewspaper championnewspaper champnewspaper championnews
We’re Social
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 8 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS • Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
‘Lost Boy’ refugee writes memoir to beneft South Sudan
Baby killed, three women shot in home invasion
See Refugees on page 15A
See Killings on page 15A
A makeshift memorial has been started on the steps of a house where a 9-month-old boy was shot to death. Photo by Andrew
Students compete in local chess tournaments
Sheriff Mann is endorsed by
Former DeKalb Sheriff Tom Brown, Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May,
DeKalb Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry, DeKalb District
Attorney Robert James, DeKalb Tax Commissioner Claudia Lawson,
DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston, DeKalb Commissioners
Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader, Avondale Estates Mayor Jim Rieger,
Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson,
Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett, Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman,
Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis, Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson, Stone
Mountain Mayor Pat Wheeler, Clarkston Vice-Mayor Ahmed Hassan,
and Brookhaven District 1 Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams.
• DeKalb County Chief Deputy Sheriff, 10 years
• Graduate, University of Michigan Law School,
Ann Arbor

• Veteran, U.S. Air Force
Jeff Mann
Uniquely Qualifed
To Be Our Sheriff
by Lauren Ramsdell
At Nick’s Barbershop in Stone
Mountain, you’ll see something unex-
pected on Saturdays.
Amid the buzzing clippers and
chatting customers, you’ll see focus,
dedication, learning and fun.
Since 2012, certified chess instruc-
tor Beau Hardeman has been teach-
ing a group of first grade through 12th
grade young men, for two hours each
Saturday as part of a joint partner-
ship between Nick’s Barbershop and
the Unconditional Love for Children
Foundation. Hardeman has been
coaching chess for more than 20 years.
Vance Harper, owner of Nick’s
Barbershop, has a long history of pro-
viding safe spaces for young men and
women in the community to work
and learn responsibility. Now, they are
learning chess, too.
The students recently competed in
both 2014 National Junior High (K-9)
Championship April 24 in Atlanta and
their instructor’s own 19th Annual
Beau Hardeman Invitational Chess
Tournament on May 3 in Gresham
Park. Hardeman said he always en-
courages his students to compete.
“My approach is that if children are
studying chess, they should be playing
in tournaments,” he said. “My tourna-
ment is rated. If you play once, you get
a rating. Even if they never perform
elsewhere, they get an opportunity to
perform in mine.”
Seven boys from the barbershop
group participated in the tourna-
ments. One was Leon “T.J.” Guthrie,
a Champion Middle School student.
“It has always fascinated me,”
Guthrie said. “I love playing against
other people. It thrills me.”
Guthrie joined the chess club at his
elementary school in third grade. Now
14, he meets with the other students at
the barbershop to improve his game.
“I’ve come a long way in my strat-
egy learning from Mr. Beau,” he said.
Guthrie competed in both the
National Junior High and Beau Har-
deman tournaments. His record was
See Chess on page 9A
Leon “T.J.” Guthrie concentrates as he competes against an
opponent. Photos provided
Pictured some of the students who competed in the National Junior High
Championship and the Beau Hardeman Invitational Chess Tournament. From left
back row, Essig Kemp, Barry Gray; middle row, Collin Laster, Leon “T.J.” Guthrie,
Treveon Cheeley, Richard Slaton, Jr.; front row, Jacari Ford, Bryce Cowins.
Jacari Ford smiles and shows off
his medal.
Crime Briefs
Lifeline touts improvements
at county animal shelter
by Daniel Beauregard
In the nine months since
LifeLine Animal Project has
taken over DeKalb County’s
animal shelter operations,
Executive Director Rebecca
Guinn said there have been
many changes, including a
39 percent drop in euthana-
sia rates.
“What that translates to,
and why we’re getting ap-
plause from everyone here,
is because it’s saving lives,”
Guinn told DeKalb County
commissioners at a recent
After numerous calls
from residents and animal
advocates for years, DeKalb
County commissioners
agreed last year to outsource
the shelter’s operations to
LifeLine in hopes of improv-
ing conditions. A new shel-
ter, located adjacent to the
DeKalb Peachtree Airport,
is slated to be completed in
LifeLine took over the
shelter in July 2013, and
since then Guinn said it has
improved services across the
board by improving adop-
tion rates and decreasing
euthanasia rates through
outreach and spay/neuter
Improvements also have
been made to the shelter in-
cluding a newly remodeled
animal intake area that al-
lows staff to take pictures of
animals upon their arrival,
improved housing areas
for dogs, a newly updated
pet inventory system and
animal licensing improve-
Additionally, Guinn said
LifeLine also has increased
the shelter’s reclaim rate by
37 percent.
“That is something that’s
really hard to do so we’re
proud of getting the reclaim
rate up for people who have
lost their pets in DeKalb
County and are able to actu-
ally come to the shelter and
reclaim their pets,” Guinn
Each year DeKalb Coun-
ty Animal Services provides
sheltering for approximately
7,000 animals. Guinn said
it partners with the county’s
animal control officers and
outreach groups to ensure
as many animals as possible
leave the shelter alive.
“Once they’re in we feel
like we’re taking better care
of them, but our goal is to
get them out alive,” Guinn
said. “We’ve done a number
of things to increase adop-
tions, and we do have offsite
events and monthly promo-
In the past nine months
DeKalb County Animal
Services has been able to
provide free spay/neuter
initiatives to more than
1,165 DeKalb County pets
through various partner-
ships and grants. Addition-
ally, Guinn said it has pro-
vided 1,067 low-cost spay/
neuters to pets.
DeKalb County is also a
no-kill community for cats,
Guinn said, which means
that every feral cat picked
up by DeKalb County Ani-
mal Control is brought into
the shelter, spayed or neu-
tered, and then released as
part of the county’s Feral
Freedom program.
“Ninety percent of the
cats that enter the sheltering
program leave the shelter
alive and that is a remark-
able achievement,” Guinn
Several times a year Life-
Line and DeKalb County
Animal Services host educa-
tional outreach events and
offer free vaccinations, spay
and neuter vouchers and
leashes and dog food. These
events, Guinn said, are
held at places such as Wade
Walker or Flat Shoals parks.
Guinn said data collected
by LifeLine has shown that
when they hold such events,
75 percent of attendees don’t
have their pets altered but
said they would if they had
the resources to spay/neuter
“One of our goals is to
get as many animals as we
can out of the shelter alive,
but we also have to prevent
them from coming into the
shelter,” Guinn said. “We’re
going into communities
that traditionally don’t have
much access to veterinarian
The shelter also received updated, stainless steel dog kennels.
The intake area at the DeKalb County animal shelter recently received a
facelift and a paint job. Photos provided
The Denson Dynasty?
A school where parents’ voices can be heard
“Though the sex to which I belong is
considered weak, you will nevertheless
find me a rock that bends to no wind,”
Queen Elizabeth I, (1533-1603).
Whether considering U.S. Senate
candidate Michele Nunn, or former
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clin-
ton and her daughter Chelsea as the
shape of things to come, or simply
noting that what was once an almost
exclusively male domain, the multi-
generation political has
gender lines regularly being crossed. 
And one of the more visible examples
of a female political dynasty in the
making is right here in Georgia, and
named Denson.
When you hear the phrase ‘politi-
cal dynasty’ in Georgia, one conjures
images of the Talmadge, Russell,
Ray, or Kidd families (with pre-domi-
nantly male elected heirs). Nationally,
names like Kennedy, Bush, Dailey,
Long and Roosevelt are but a few
of the better known political power
houses, with the women in these
families generally playing a less visible
and supporting role.
Not so with the dynamic Den-
son clan of Athens, Georgia. Athens
Mayor Nancy Denson, a dynamic
74-year old, has been a public ser-
vant and leader in Athens/Clarke
County, for more than 34 years. Born
in Memphis, Tenn., the third of seven
children, Nancy later relocated with
her husband Bob Denson to Athens,
Georgia in 1966 to begin raising her
own family. 
Among Denson’s proudest accom-
plishments during a quarter century
of service as tax commissioner, is
that she never put a family out in the
street, due to foreclosure or auction
for failure to pay property tax. Den-
son worked with hundreds of individ-
uals and struggling families, through
payment plans to keep them in their
homes, and whenever possible to
keep those properties on the tax rolls. 
And while a full-time public ser-
vant, Denson was also raising her
family of four, one son and three
daughters. Son Bobby Denson fol-
lowed his military service into busi-
ness, and is now an executive with
Siemens, middle twin Kathleen is a
self-employed artist working in Geor-
gia’s fast growing film industry and
daughters Diane and Margaret fol-
lowed their mother’s path into public
life and service.
When Nancy Denson found many
of those families she encountered as
tax commissioner struggling to put
food on their tables...she did what she
thought was the most sensible thing
she could do.  She started the first of
Athens two community food banks
in her garage. That was twenty years
ago...and to this day she chairs the fi-
nance committee of the Athens Emer-
gency Food Bank, and as a board
member of the Northeast Georgia
Food Bank.
And, at a time when most seniors
are retiring, relaxing or perhaps
spending their hours with their eight
grandchildren, Nancy Denson keeps
a schedule and pace that would tire a
young UGA college student. Her days
begin just after dawn, and typically
end with a return home closer to 9 or
10 p.m.
Oldest daughter Diane Schlecher,
is now city manager of Tybee Island,
on Georgia’s coast and just a few miles
from Savannah. Diane has played a
significant role in Tybee’s renaissance
and repositioning as both a retire-
ment community and a vacation des-
tination for families as well as special
events including its annual Beach
Bum Parade. 
The other half of the Denson
twins, Margaret Kaiser, serves as
state representative for District 59,
comprising East Atlanta, Grant
Park, Inman Park, Little Five Points,
Poncey-Highlands, Reynoldstown,
East Point, South Atlanta and the
old Greenbriar Mall area. Kaiser has
served for more than seven years,
winning the seat in a minority-major-
ity district, by ousting a well-known
incumbent. Kaiser and her husband
are entrepreneurs, managing three
successful restaurants in the area and
raising their two sons. Kaiser, like her
mother a lifelong Democrat, is well-
regarded on both sides of the aisle,
and frequently rumored as a future
candidate for mayor of the city of At-
Meanwhile, back in Athens, Nancy
Denson has helped lead Athens/
Clarke to having the lowest unem-
ployment level in the state, a handful
of Georgia’s largest economic devel-
opment wins in more than a decade
and the ongoing re-development of
the West Broad Street corridor lead-
ing into downtown Athens.
Though it does appear, at least
at this point, that the bulk of female
political dynasties are forming on
the D-side of the aisle, even that
trend shouldn’t last too long. What
are those twin Bush girls up to these
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, Cham-
pion 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 
Bill Crane

It’s National Charter Schools Week
(May 5-9), and I can’t help but revisit
the last three years that my children
have attended a charter public school.
When I first signed them up at Ivy
Preparatory Academy school three
years ago, I had no idea exactly what
that journey would involve. Three
years ago, I was just looking for a
better option than my neighborhood
 Specifically, I was unhappy with
the bureaucracy of a giant school
system. Great schools have good
discipline policies, empowered
teachers and involved parents. I
wanted a school that would listen to
what my child needed and one that
was empowered to make changes
when necessary. 
 While I’ve met many great
teachers in my county school system,
most weren’t able to do their jobs
properly due to problems with
administrative bloat, a volatile school
board and the dysfunction of a school
system that is just too big.
 Three years ago, I made the
choice to enroll my son and daughter
into single gender charter schools.
Sure, there have been challenges.
Transportation, for example. Our
school has no bus service. Our
choices are parent drop-off and pick-
up, private transportation services or
MARTA. I was able to meet some of
the parents from the school that live
in my area. Another parent with three
students at our school lives about one
mile away from me. We teamed up,
and one of us drops off all five kids
and the other picks up. We made it
 Another challenge has been
funding. As a state charter school we
receive substantially less funding per
student than the typical public school.
We also pay over $700,000 in rent
for our building, which is not a line
item for district schools. That means
our school does not have textbooks or
a large library like most schools. It’s
also made it harder to pay teachers a
competitive salary.
 Although we’ve had challenges,
our school community has met
them head on and the rewards
have been great. We’ve solicited
and received public and private
sector donations of computers,
books and even a playground and
outdoor classroom. Our charter gives
us the flexibility and the initiative
to form creative alliances with art
centers, local colleges and volunteer
 Unlike the parent resource
center in our old school, our charter
school’s parent resource center is
a thriving central hub where parents
volunteer their services. Teachers can
request help from the parents, and
parents receive volunteer credit for
almost any activity that brings them
through the doors. This keeps them
involved and invested in their child’s
 Our school atmosphere is friendly
and the dress code and single gender
classes eliminate much of the peer
pressure middle school children
often deal with. Children feel safe in
their school and fights are unheard
of. A group of parents, teachers and
administrators worked together to
formulate a school bullying protocol
that is fair to children but also allows
them to resolve minor conflicts on
their own.
 Finally, one of the best things
about our school is the amount of
local control. The school’s governing
board is made up of professionals
who are united in the desire to
provide our children with an excellent
education that prepares them to
enter the college of their choice. Our
board meets at school in the evening
when parents are able to attend.
School administrators have offices in
different areas of the school where
they can interact with students and
offer support to teachers. Teachers are
given flexibility to teach “their way”
but are held accountable for results. 
Yes, my charter school gave me
the choice to move from a system
where one superintendent and nine
board members make decisions for
about 100,000 children in 137 schools
and centers, to a system where one
executive director and nine board
members make decisions for about
1,000 children in 3 schools. Our
system is one in which the voice of a
parent can still be heard.
Rae Harkness
Make your political voice count: Vote!
Gene Walkerk

Let Us Know What You Think!
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions
from its readers. Please write to us and express your
views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain
the writer’s name, address and telephone number for
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Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send email to
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Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week
prior to publication date.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contribut-
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publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any
advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible for
unsolicited manuscripts.
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We sincerely appreciate the discussion
surrounding this and any issue of interest to
DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in
1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse
for all community residents on all sides of an
issue. We have no desire to make the news
only to report news and opinions to effect a
more educated citizenry that will ultimately
move our community forward. We are happy
to present ideas for discussion; however, we
make every effort to avoid printing information
submitted to us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.
Georgia is one of the 11 states
that hold open primaries, which al-
low any registered voter to vote in
the primary regardless of political
affiliation. This means that a Demo-
crat could vote in the Republican
primary or vice versa and an unaffil-
iated voter can choose either major
party primary. Proponents of this
system appreciate being able to cross
party lines, while opponents argue
the open primary dilutes a party’s
ability to nominate its own candi-
date without interference from non-
members. No matter one’s position,
the importance of primary elections
cannot be overstated.
DeKalb County voters will head
to the polls in the May primary to
determine who will be competing, if
there’s no runoff, in the general elec-
tion and to finalize choices in the
special election for sheriff and the
nonpartisan election of school board
According to the DeKalb County
Voter Registration and Elections Di-
rector Maxine Daniel, since this is
a non-presidential year, she expects
only 30 to 35 percent of the 450,000
registered voters to turn out. In any
election with low turnouts, the odds
of a single vote deciding the out-
come will significantly increase. The
more votes—the more powerful the
message; every vote counts!
The important point here is that
voting is the essential way to take
part in the democratic process. It
is the key vehicle most democracies
have of allowing citizens to have
their say and express their power—
be you Democrat, Republican or
Independent—and whether you are
pro-government or anti-govern-
I am a proud, liberal Democrat
who supports fair-minded politi-
cians and good government.
Contrary to what many conser-
vative Republicans believe, my solid
Democratic partisan identification
is not based on some sentimental
gratitude but on sound pragmatic
political considerations.
On issues affecting what is best
for the nation and social concerns,
the Democratic party has consis-
tently been more liberal and com-
passionate than the Republican
party. Specifically, the Democrats
advocate for the middle class, the
poor, the weak, and liberty and jus-
tice for all. Indeed, these are noble
and compassionate values which I
support as is evidenced by my fi-
nancial contributions to democratic
candidates in the primary. Whether
my candidates win or lose, I shall
continue supporting the Democratic
ticket in the general election.
I’m pro-government based on the
conviction that our contributions to
government, in the form of taxes, go
to fund a wide variety of programs
and services to help address numer-
ous social and economic ills and
protect the health and safety of the
In contrast, the Republican party
is waging the most intense anti-gov-
ernment campaign since the Civil
War. The aim of this well-organized
political campaign at the national,
state and local levels is to slash taxes,
secure more profits for the greedy
“one-percenters,” radically reduce
social spending and undermine
regulatory programs. Amazingly,
these policies are advanced under
the guise of working for the middle
In his book, What’s the Matter
With Kansas?, Thomas Frank offers
the clearest, most compelling ac-
count of how the Republicans per-
verted their fundamental interests
and initiated a vigorously intense
anti-government movement he
labeled as the “species of derange-
He describes the Republican
movement thusly, the leaders “may
talk Christ, but they walk corporate.
Values may ‘matter most’ to vot-
ers, but they always take a backseat
to the needs of money once the
elections are won. This is a basic
earmark of the phenomenon, abso-
lutely consistent across its decades-
long history.”
One of the most illuminating
pieces in the book is what he quoted
Christopher Lasch as saying about
Ronald Reagan—the greatest cul-
tural warrior of the movement. He
writes, “Reagan made himself the
champion of ‘traditional values’, but
there is no evidence he regarded
their restoration as a high priority.
What he really cared about was the
revival of the unregulated capital-
ism of the twenties: the repeal of the
New Deal.” Clearly, the hypocrisy,
contradictions and factual informa-
tion are not recognized or appreci-
ated by many Republicans.
The choices in the May primary
are clear, either support the work of
President Obama’s administration
in trying to make government work
for the people by supporting the cre-
ation of jobs, affordable healthcare,
better public education, infrastruc-
ture improvements, equal pay for
women, and challenging voter sup-
On the other hand, you could
choose to support the anti-govern-
ment Republican group who claim
to be champions for the middle
class, while opposing the minimum
wage, reducing social spending, pro-
moting voter suppression, fighting
against affordable healthcare, and
undermining regulatory programs.
Without a doubt, if you choose not
to vote at all, you are supporting the

by Lauren Ramsdell
A partnership between Panola Moun-
tain State Park and a teacher at DeKalb
Elementary School of the Arts will result
in more than 100 acres of park land being
used for the preservation and keeping of
Rozalyn Todd, a gifted/discovery teach-
er at DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts
(DESA), has been keeping bees for the last
10 years. Almost that whole time, she has
been working on a proposal to use land at a
state park for apical education.
“People really don’t know about bees
and their role as pollinators,” she said.
“Even 10 years ago, I noticed how bees were
Honeybee numbers are dropping at an
alarming rate of up to 30 percent of colo-
nies each year, through a combination of
parasitic mites, pesticides and habitat loss,
according to a 2013 report by NPR. It is es-
timated that up to 35 percent of worldwide
crops depend on pollinators to produce
Todd decided to do something about the
declining bees and threw herself into hobby
beekeeping. Over the years she has gone
through certification classes at the Young
Harris College - University of Georgia Bee-
keeping Institute and started the Beekeep-
ing Club at DESA. She is also the first Black
woman certified as a honey judge in the
state of Georgia.
She approached Shawn Baltzell, park
manager of Panola Mountain State Park
with a proposal to set up a beehive on a few
acres of land. He agreed and offered use of
an area that has more than 100 acres, in-
cluding a small lake near Panola Mountain.
Honeybees can cover more than 2,500 acres
in their search for forage, their pollen and
nectar food source.
“Near that area are some abandoned
buildings, wildflowers, that sort of thing,
that are perfect for bees,” Baltzell said. “It
was an easy partnership.”
The 100 acres are located near where
guided hikes up the mountain start. And,
with no pesticides used near the park, any
honey produced will be organic.
“Nobody is allowed back there except
with a guided hike,” Baltzell said. “It’s gated
off, so the bees will be undisturbed.”
This summer, Todd said she would
continue to work on hive boxes as well as
surveying the Panola Mountain area for
strategic areas to situate the hives. She said
she also planned to contact other schools in
the county encouraging them to start bee-
keeping clubs and participate in the Panola
Mountain partnership. She also has set her
sights beyond the mountain, even as she
currently focuses her efforts there.
“My mission and goal is to have bee-
hives in all the state parks in Georgia,”
Todd said.
If you would like to nominate someone
to be considered as a future Champion
of the Week, please contact Andrew
Cauthen at
or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 117.
A celebration
of the
honey bee
is planned
at Panola
State Park on
Sept. 25.
Teacher partners with Panola Mountain
State Park for honey bee preservation
David Shipp, a local beekeeper for DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts’ Beekeeping Club, demonstrates a
bee box at Panola Mountain State Park. Photo provided
Volunteering with the
DeKalb Rape Crisis Center,
now the Day League, has
enriched the life of Tanya
The 42-year-old from
Stone Mountain began vol-
unteering with the center
three years ago as a crisis
hotline volunteer.
“I have a personal at-
tachment to this cause, and
I want to be a part of a sup-
port system for survivors,”
she said. “Day League is
an active resource offering
support services, education
and prevention work to the
Mayfield would not
elaborate on her personal
attachment to the cause
of helping those who have
been sexually assaulted,
but she acknowledged that
volunteering with the cen-
ter has given her more “re-
spect for the strength those
surviving and living with
the remnants of sexual as-
sault possess.
“There is nothing to
prepare you for a call to
the hospital to meet with a
survivor after a sexual as-
sault. You are never quite
sure what you will see,”
she said. “However, it is
encouraging to know that
with the resources pro-
vided through Day League
[that] there is light out of
The hotline is a 24-hour
crisis operation. Accord-
ing to the center’s website,
there are various of call
types that come into the
crisis line, including vic-
tims calling immediately
post-rape, family or friends
of the victim needing
support and information
or community members
wanting general informa-
Along with being a cri-
sis hotline volunteer, May-
field said she plans to do
additional volunteer duties
for the center’s events this
year. She also volunteers
with the Boys and Girls
Clubs of Metro Atlanta,
where she has volunteered
for more than five years.
“I love working with
young people in any capac-
ity,” she said.
Although Mayfield has
been a longtime believer in
helping and serving oth-
ers, her battle with breast
cancer strengthened her
beliefs further.
“Coming from a strong
family belief in service to
others, the breast cancer
journey only increased
my desire to do more with
gratefulness,” said May-
field, who has been in re-
mission for 18 months.
Mayfield said volunteer-
ing is important because
she believes people are not
on Earth for themselves.
“It is our love and ser-
vice to our fellow man that
contributes to an enriched
life and everlasting hope
that transcends time,” she

Local farm to hold indigo scarf-
dying event
The Oakleaf Mennonite Farm,
located at 1088 Bouldercrest Drive
in Atlanta, will host a seminar on
natural indigo dyeing May 24, 10
a.m.-1 p.m.
The seminar will teach attendees
how a leafy, green plant can become
a dye that, through oxidation, trans-
forms from green to blue. Attendees
will be able to dye two scarfs during
the class to keep.
Additionally, those who attend
the seminar will learn about the
history of indigo and dyeing tech-
For more information visit www.
City accepting applications for
fall arts and music festival
The Avondale Arts Alliance is
now accepting applications for the
2014 AutumnFest Arts and Music
AutumnFest is a celebration of
the arts for all ages that attracts art
mavens to historic Avondale Estates
every fall. The Oct. 4-5 festival fea-
tures artists and craftsmen selling
original paintings, folk art, metal
sculptures, ceramics, photography,
glass jewelry, textiles and more. 
This year, AutumnFest is using
Zapplication for the artist market
and vendors. Go to www.avondale- to find the application link.
For food vendor information, email
City to host 5k race
The 2014 Brookhaven Bolt 5K
will take place May 17. All proceeds
will be donated to Ashford Park El-
ementary School. Race packets can
be picked up May 16 from 4-8 p.m.
at Big Peach Running Company at
Town Brookhaven, 705 Town Blvd,
Ste. 340. The race starts at 8 a.m. for
runners and 8:05 a.m. for stroller
and walkers. For more information,
DeKalb animal shelter ofers May
adoption special
DeKalb County Animal Services
is offering special adoption rates on
adult dogs and cats until the end of
May. Dogs can be adopted for $20
and cats for $10. All animals will be
spayed or neutered, vaccinated and
microchipped for this special rate.
There will be regular screening cri-
teria to ensure the animals are going
to good homes. To view the animals
up for adoption, visit www.dekalb-
East Decatur Station to hold third
annual party
The Decatur Arts Alliance and
East Decatur Station are partner-
ing to host the third annual “Big
Pop Up” event, taking place June 12,
from 6-9 p.m. at East Decatur Sta-
tion off New Street.
The event will feature local arts
and crafts, music, food and craft
beer. Attendees also will be able to
receive a discounted price to tour
Three Taverns brewery.
For more information contact or
call (404) 377-5188.  
Sports centers to ofer summer
breakfast, lunch
Sport Center Academy, located
at 5330 Snapfinger Woods Dr.,
Decatur, and CheerTyme Allstars
of GA., located at 2575 Park Cen-
tral Blvd., Decatur, will be offering
free breakfast and lunch to DeKalb
County children ages 5-18 through
the U.S.D.A. summer food service
Breakfast will be served from 8
a.m. to 9 a.m., lunch will be from
noon to 1:30 p.m. June 2 through
Aug. 8.
For more information call (770)
Police department to host free
cyber safety class
The Dunwoody Police Depart-
ment will host a free cyber safety
class May 20 at 6 p.m. The class will
educate parents on the potential
dangers of the cyber world and how
to protect children from inappropri-
ate content. The class will be held
at Dunwoody Court, 41 Perimeter
Center East, suite 103 in Dunwoody.
To register, visit www.cybersafety1.
New Birth church to host
bilingual conference
“The Kingdom and The Power of
One Conference,” organized jointly
by Bishop Eddie L. Long and Apos-
tle Raul Avila, will open with a call
for unity between Latin America
and North America.
The four-day unity event will be
held May 15-18 at New Birth Mis-
sionary Baptist Church, 6400 Wood-
row Road, Lithonia. The conference
is expected to draw approximately
2,500 attendees from as far away as
Venezuela, Chile, other Latin na-
tions and throughout the United
Conference organizers hope the
event “will bond Christians in Latin
America with Christians in Ameri-
ca, to mobilize and effect the culture
of the world,” according to an an-
In addition to Long and Avila,
keynote speakers include Bishop
Renny Mclean, Pastor Paula White,
Apostle Marcelino Sojo, Prophet
Rony Chavez, and Pastor Raul Da-
vid Avila.
The conference will include
Spanish translators who will trans-
late live during each service.
More details can be found at
Stone Mountain
Library to host “Read to Rover”
Children ages 5 to 8 can practice
their reading skills with trained
therapy dogs during “Read to Rov-
er.” The event will be held May 24 at
Stone Mountain-Sue Kellogg library.
The 12‒1 p.m. event is open to the
first 10 participants. The library
is located at 952 Leon St. in Stone
Mountain. For more information,
call (770) 413-2020.
Citywide yard sale scheduled
The city of Stone Mountain will
hold its citywide yard sale on Sat-
urday, May 24, from 8:30 a.m. to
3 p.m. on the First Baptist Church
lawn in the center of town.
Set up begins at 7:30 a.m. on
the day of the sale; tables will not
be provided. A limited number of
10 feet-by-10 feet spaces under the
pavilion are available at $20 each on
a first come, first served basis. Also,
10 feet-by-10 feet lawn spaces can
be rented for $10 each.
For more information, contact
Susan Coletti at (404) 444-5607
or city hall at (770) 498-8984. The
event will have no food vendors.
There will be no refunds and no rain
Stonecrest Library celebrates
Frederick Douglass
The Stonecrest Library, located
at 3123 Klondike Road in Lithonia,
will hold a celebration of the life of
Frederick Douglass on May 22,
from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The event, called “The Liberated
Life and Turbulent Times of Fred-
erick Douglass,” will celebrate his
contributions to America’s triumph
over slavery and inhumanity, a press
release states.
Former Atlanta Hawks basketball
player Mike “Stinger” Glenn will
share exhibit items from his private
collection including rare books,
newspapers and other documents.
The program also will include a
special performance about Doug-
lass’ life.
Additionally, the event will fea-
ture Nettie Washington Douglass,
the great, great granddaughter of
Frederick Douglass, as speaker. She
is also the chairwoman of the Fred-
erick Douglass Family Foundation.
For more information call the
Stonecrest Library at (770) 482-
Library to kick of vacation read-
ing program
Big Thinkers Science will kick
off the summer with a science and
reading program for students at
Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library. The
kick-off for 2014 Vacation Read-
ing Program will be held May 29,
3-4:30 p.m. Students will also take
pictures with DeKalb County Public
Library’s mascot, Dog in the Woods.
To sign up for the program, call the
library at (770) 270-8234.
Restaurant Health Inspections
Establishment Name: Popeye’s #10354
Address: 2578 Candler Road
Current Score/Grade: 97/A
Inspecton Date: 05/07/2014
Observatons and Correctve Actons
Establishment Name: Food King Restaurant
Address: 832 Hambrick Road, Suite C
Current Score/Grade: 86/B
Inspecton Date: 05/07/2014
Observatons and Correctve Actons
Observed cakes for sale on front counter prepared at home.
Informed PIC all foods for sale must be prepared in facility or come
from an approved source. COS- PIC removed cakes. Corrected on-
Site. New Violaton.
Observed curry chicken cooling on counter in main kitchen area.
Chicken temperature failed to decrease to 70F within 2-hour tme
frame. (81-84F) Advised PIC to place chicken in freezer for rapid
chilling. COS- PIC placed chicken in freezer. Corrected on-Site.
Repeat Violaton.
Thermometer in drink cooler (main kitchen area) reading
inaccurately at 18F. Advised PIC to replace thermometer. New
Inspecton report from 10/3/13 posted in facility. Informed PIC
most current inspecton report must be posted for consumers to
see. New Violaton.
Establishment Name: Atlanta North Indian Catering
Address: 1369 Clairmont Road
Current Score/Grade: 90/A
Inspecton Date: 05/08/2014
Observatons and Correctve Actons
Cold-held potentally hazardous foods not maintained below 41F;
no tme controls/documentaton in place.
Buter and yogurt in reach in cooler not maintained at 41F or
PIC advised that proper cold hold temperature shall not exceed
COS-PIC discarded yogurt. PIC placed buter in walk in cooler to
rapidly cool to 41F or below. PIC stated yogurt had not been used
at all that day and was inside of cooler the entre day. Buter had
been used that day and thus stll had tme to cool. Corrected on-
Site. New Violaton.
Floor in kitchen is missing tles in several locatons. Cove base
missing on wall under dishmachine and near oven.
PIC advised to make necessary repairs as soon as possible. New
Establishment Name: O’ Charley’s #227
Address: 2039 Crescent Centre Boulevard
Current Score/Grade: 77/C
Inspecton Date: 05/08/2014
Observatons and Correctve Actons
Hand sink used for actvity other than hand washing. Upon arrival,
observed handsink not easily accessible with spray botle stored
inside handsink. Spray botle removed. Corrected on-Site. New
Equipment food-contact surfaces not clean to sight and touch.
Observed meat slicer unclean with food debris encrusted on food
contact porton. Instructed PIC to have employee break down meat
slicer and to clean thoroughly. Corrected on-Site. New Violaton.
Cold-held potentally hazardous foods not maintained below 41F;
no tme controls/documentaton in place. Items brought from walk
in cooler to prep top cooler with no additonal food prep process
not maintained at 41F and below. PIC advised that proper cold
hold temperature shall not exceed 41F. Corrected on-Site. Repeat
Potentally hazardous foods not properly cooled by efectve
methods. Observed several tghtly enclosed bulk packages of
cooked pasta noodles; cooked chicken pot pie cooling at room
temperature. Informed PIC that items can be cooled by approved
methods such as shallow pans, ice water bath, adding ice as an
ingredient, etc. Corrected on-Site. New Violaton.
Employee personal items stored with facility items for customers.
PIC removed employee belongings. Corrected on-Site. New
Establishment Name: Mojo Pizza
Address: 657 East Lake Drive
Current Score/Grade: 82/B
Inspecton Date: 05/08/2014
Local parent recognized for
extraordinary motherhood
by Lauren Ramsdell
All mothers are extraor-
dinary. But one local mom
has made motherhood her
LaTasha Clark is the
mother of 15 children–four
biological, seven adopted
and four fostered.
While she is new to the
area, having recently moved
here from Alabama, she was
recognized May 22 with the
Extraordinary Mom Award
at the Medtech College At-
lanta-DeKalb campus, where
she attends school.
“We have a lot of students
who are moms, and we want-
ed to recognize that,” said
Ben Simms, campus presi-
dent. “Each mom will be get-
ting an orange rose, but we
wanted to find someone who
went above and beyond.”
A committee includ-
ing Simms and the heads
of departments formed to
honor all mothers and to
determine who would be get-
ting the Extraordinary Mom
Award. Over two weeks,
students nominated peers
and according to Simms, an
overwhelming number of
students selected Clark.
Her seven adopted chil-
dren came from the Alabama
foster care system, where
they were sent after drug
abuse and alcohol problems
came to light in their biologi-
cal families.
Living with Clark in her
home are her youngest son,
and his girlfriend. The three
attend Medtech College
together, while Clark also
works full-time as a home
health aide.
The award was presented
in the middle of class to a
surprised Clark, who held
back tears until after the
short ceremony.
“I am just grateful for the
kids that are in my family
and in my life,” Clark said.
“Coming back to school,
I was like ‘If this will help
them get back to school to
better themselves, then I just
have to start all over again.’”
A retired registered nurse,
Clark is now in the billing
and coding track at Medtech.
She said her children needed
that extra push to go back
to school, so she did it with
Her first calling for her
large family came when she
recognized a friend of her
children’s at the courthouse
where she formerly worked.
“My kids’ friends always
had to come to my house
and play,” Clark said, “They
never went to anyone else’s
house because of the condi-
tions. I let all the kids come
to my house.”
The routine was to come
home from school, do home-
work, then play. If you did
your work, there were re-
wards, like the annual family
trip to Disney World, she
One of the friends who
hung around the house was
in and out of foster care,
though Clark didn’t know his
situation. While working as
a fill-in for the local judge’s
secretary, Clark saw the child
come in to court.
“The judge said, ‘You
know him?’ and I said ‘Yeah
I know him, he’s at my house
every day,’” Clark said. “The
judge said, ‘I’m going to take
a short recess,’ and he came
back and talked to me and
said, ‘If I get you settled, will
you please take him, because
we have nowhere else to put
Clark said neighbors
claimed the child was go-
ing to be the one who didn’t
make it. But he thrived with
his new family, serving with
the army for four years and
earning an E-4 rank. He is
now married with two chil-
dren and returned from Af-
ghanistan in January.
“The one that everyone
thought would fail came
back and got his siblings
motivated,” Clark said. “We
even got his mom in a drug
treatment program, and she’s
back in school herself.”
Clark has also seen her
share of struggles. One son
died in a car accident, and
this past Thanksgiving, her
oldest son was found mur-
dered. But she said she was at
peace with the loss, and that
his time had come.
“Their memories are still
here, and the other children
are still growing from those
memories,” she said. “God
gives us all purpose and
times to be here and time to
In 2013, Clark was resus-
citated by paramedics when
her heart stopped due to
diabetic complications. She
didn’t find out who saved her
life until she went to pay the
medical bill.
“I thank God for him,
because I know God has a
purpose that I’m still here,”
Clark said.
“All kids need a mother
figure in their life,” Clark
said. Our kids are the future,
we have to teach them and
steer them up so they can be
better parents to their chil-
LaTasha Clark, a mother of 15 children, was awarded the Extraordinary Mom award at the Medtech Atlanta-
DeKalb campus. Campus President Ben Simms, left, presented the award in front of her class. Photo by
Lauren Ramsdell
Stone Mountain business owners hold frst association meeting
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2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Real & Personal 25,085,229,475 24,175,241,772 21,399,133,588 19,654,747,022 19,774,183,012 20,886,898,092
Motor Vehicle 1,485,616,310 1,582,186,152 1,317,170,660 1,362,176,640 1,468,928,740 1,231,387,800
Mobile Homes 739,929 656,584 510,171 440,056 396,572 355,333
Timber - 100% 91,018 0 0 0 0 0
Heavy Duty Equipment 165,651 65,347 82,712 77,829 34,308 57,864
Gross Digest 26,571,842,383 25,758,149,855 22,716,897,131 21,017,441,547 21,243,542,632 22,118,699,089
Less M&O Exemptions 2,081,757,110 2,030,793,744 1,919,082,084 2,090,546,482 1,976,001,226 2,431,813,199
Net M&O Digest 24,490,085,273 23,727,356,111 20,797,815,047 18,926,895,065 19,267,541,406 19,686,885,890
Gross M&O Millage (1) 8.96 8.96 10.31 11.37 11.51 10.86
Net Tax Levy (2) 219,431,164 212,597,111 214,425,473 215,198,797 221,769,402 213,799,581
Net Tax Increase ($) (3,064,303) (6,834,053) 1,828,362 773,324 6,570,605 (7,969,821)
Net Tax Increase (%) -1.38% -3.11% 0.86% 0.36% 3.05% -3.59%
(1) Countywide taxes only; no Special Services, Fire and Police Services or bonds in accordance with OCGA 48-5-32/32.1.
(2) Net tax levies for 2009-2014 are prior to the Homestead Option Sales Tax Exemption and the GA Homeowners Tax Relief Grant.
by Carla Parker
Ideas on how to make
the Stone Mountain busi-
ness community better were
floating around May 8 during
the inaugural meeting of the
Stone Mountain Business As-
More than 20 business
owners from the Stone
Mountain business district
met with Downtown Devel-
opment Authority Executive
Director Mechel McKinley
to discuss how businesses in
Stone Mountain can thrive
and have more people stop
and shop. McKinley said she
was thrilled with the turnout.
“I think we have a lot of
businesses that are really in-
terested in bettering our com-
munity,” McKinley said. “I’m
thrilled to see the commit-
ment from them, and I hope
that we can make some great
things happen here in Stone
McKinley, who is in her
first year with the Stone
Mountain Downtown De-
velopment Authority, said
there have been variations of
a business organization but
never an official business as-
“I feel like it’s an impor-
tant communication tool with
our business and property
owners,” she said. “I think it’s
important for them to know
what the Downtown Devel-
opment Authority is doing,
how we’re going to support
them and again, it’s a two-way
Some of the topics dis-
cussed were building a bet-
ter relationship with Stone
Mountain Park and Georgia
Military College. Some of the
business owners said students
from the school usually go
outside the city to eat and
shop instead of spending
money at the local businesses.
McKinley suggested that
the business owners give dis-
count cards to students.
“We have to teach students
how to shop and eat locally,”
McKinley said during the
meeting. “Teach them about
being a part of the commu-
The business owners also
discussed what they could
do to communities outside
the city. Residents in unin-
corporated Stone Mountain
are unaware of what is going
on in the city. Some business
owners, including Sharon
Whitehead, property man-
ager of Southern Oaks apart-
ment homes, suggested the
city should do more market-
ing through social media, and blogging.
“Getting that information
out to the public is very im-
portant,” Whitehead said.
Consistent business hours
was also brought up in the
meeting. One person com-
plained that some of the
businesses are not open dur-
ing their scheduled business
hours, leaving customers
Some days, only one busi-
ness on Main Street may be
open, according to one par-
ticipant at the meeting.
“I think businesses should
have consistent business
hours because people come
in this community not just
to shop at one location but to
shop at multiple locations,”
Whitehead said. “If they’re
coming in finding that only
one location is open then
they’re going to go some-
where else.”
McKinley said she hopes
the meeting will lead to a
brighter future for the Stone
Mountain business commu-
“I like the sense of com-
munity I was feeling with
business owners recommend-
ing to visitors other busi-
nesses to eat and shop at,”
McKinley said. “I think that’s
important. We have to be our
own best supporters.”
three wins, four losses at the
National, and three wins, two
losses at the Beau Hardeman
tournament. He also placed
second in the unrated division
with Hardeman.
Tanisha Saunders, the
mother of student Collin
Laster, said that chess has
already given him tangible
“Collin is starting to do a
lot more critical thinking and
planning ahead,” she said.
“I think it’s a great program
especially to teach the kids
those skills.”
Laster also competed at
both events, winning one
round at the National tourna-
“At the national, you had
to really focus and concen-
trate,” he said, “But at the
other one, you just have to try
hard and do your best.”
Hardeman said he doesn’t
know what draws children to
chess, specifically, but that the
competitive nature and the
fact that, for these kids, there
is a group helping them to
succeed that they don’t want
to disappoint, may be a part
of it.
“There’s this whole idea of
having this competition with
the opposing party that pulls
children,” he said. “It’s not
ugly and bloody and you have
rules and honor–these are
life-building skills.
“Plus, in a team sport they
don’t have to blame them-
selves, you have none of that
in chess. It’s mano-a-mano
and you see the tears. They
learn to deal with disappoint-
ment and they learn early.”
Continued From Page 2A
The Stone Mountain Business Association held its inaugural meeting at Stone Mountain Bakery May 8. Photo
by Carla Parker
Accused wife killer gets new trial
DeKalb native arrested in
Paine College shooting


Condado de DeKalb 2014-2018 Plan Consolidado para HUD
Programas para incluir en Plan de Acción Anual 2015

El Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano de los Estados Unidos
(HUD) 2015 FUNDS

El 5 de Junio de 2014, el Departamento de Desarrollo Humano y Comunitario del Condado de DeKalb
comenzará a aceptar solicitudes de organizaciones religiosas, organizaciones comunitarias, municipios,
agencias sin fines de lucro u otras entidades interesadas en aplicar para Community Development Block
Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), y los fondos de HOME para el año 2015. Todas las
solicitudes o peticiones seran objeto de financiamiento HUD en el futuro, para estos programas.

Las aplicaciones CDBG y ESG y la información general se pueden obtener a partir 5 de Junio 2014 en el sitio
web del Condado de DeKalb, Para obtener más información, por favor, únase a
nuestras reuniones o llame al (404)286-3308.

Aplicación/Información/Taller de Asistencia Técnica
Fecha/Hora Localidad
Jueves, 5 de Junio, 2014
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Wesley Chapel Library
2861 Wesley Chapel Road
Decatur, Georgia 30034

Esta reunión es muy importante teniendo en cuenta las reducciones de fondos en los diferentes programas!
Audiencias Públicas
El Departamento de Desarrollo Humano y Comunitario del Condado de DeKalb está llevando a cabo
dos audiencias públicas.

Fecha/Hora Fecha/Hora
Jueves, 12 de Junio, 2014 a las 6:30 PM

Community Needs
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
El propósito de esta audiencia pública es obtener
la opinión del publico sobre las necesidades y
prioridades de la comunidad. Vamos a discutir la
información general sobre el Plan Consolidado
2014-2018 incluido el Plan de Acción Anual 2015,
el proceso de presentación de solicitudes, y las
actualizaciones del programa.
Jueves, 18 de Septiembre, 2014 a las 6:30 PM

Proposed Budget/Annual Action Plan
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
Vamos a presentar el proyecto de Plan Consolidado
2014-2018 incluyendo la 2015 Anual Plan de acción,
presupuesto y solicitaremos preguntas y comentarios del


DeKalb County 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan for HUD
Programs to include the 2015 Annual Action Plan

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
2015 FUNDS

On June 5, 2014 the DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department
will begin accepting applications from faith-based organizations, community
organizations, municipalities, non-profit agencies and other entities interested in
applying for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions
Grant (ESG), and HOME funds for the Year 2015. All applications or requests are
subject to future HUD funding for these programs. CDBG and ESG applications and
general information may be obtained beginning June 5, 2014 at the DeKalb County
website; For more information, please join us at the meetings or
call (404) 286-3308.

Application/Information/Technical Assistance Workshop
Date/Time Location
Thursday, June 5, 2014
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Wesley Chapel Library
2861 Wesley Chapel Road
Decatur, Georgia 30034

This meeting is very important given the funding reductions in the various programs!

Public Hearings
The DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department
is conducting two Public Hearings.
Date/Time Date/Time
Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Community Needs
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
The purpose of this public hearing is to solicit
input from the public regarding community
needs and priorities. We will discuss general
information concerning the 2014-2018
Consolidated Plan including the 2015 Annual
Action Plan, application submission process,
and program updates.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Proposed Budget/Annual Action Plan
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
We will present the proposed 2014-2018
Consolidated Plan including the 2015 Annual
Action Plan, proposed budget and solicit
public questions and/or comments.

by Daniel Beauregard
Jury selection began May 12 for
the new trial of a man previously
convicted of murdering his wife in
Dennis Allaben was found
guilty and convicted of killing his
wife, Maureen, in their Doraville
home in 2010. He is charged with
malice murder and felony murder.
After strangling his wife, Alla-
ben drove his two young children
to Virginia with his wife’s body in
the bed of his truck. After dropping
off his children with relatives, Alla-
ben drove back to Georgia with his
wife’s body, which was rolled up in
carpet and covered in duct tape.
Allaben later turned himself into
police. His wife was the set decora-
tor for BET’s The Mo’Nique Show.
The Georgia Supreme Court
unanimously reversed Allaben’s
conviction because of a technical-
ity. The jury that convicted him of
malice murder, felony murder and
aggravated assault with the intent
to murder also found him guilty
of reckless conduct for the same
According to the court’s opin-
ion, the verdicts are “mutually ex-
clusive” because reckless conduct
requires the jury to find that a
defendant acted with criminal neg-
ligence and did not intend to injure
or kill a victim, while the other
charges require the jury to find that
he did intend to kill the victim.
“Because we conclude that the
guilty verdict on reckless conduct
was mutually exclusive of the re-
maining verdicts, we reverse Alla-
ben’s conviction for malice murder,
set aside all the guilty verdicts, and
remand the case for further pro-
ceedings,” said Supreme Court Jus-
tice Carol W. Hunstein.
During the trial, Allaben admit-
ted to killing his wife but said it was
an accident and he only wanted to
“put her to sleep, tie her up, and
then confront her about what he
believed was her adulteration of his
Although the Supreme Court’s
opinion said the “evidence was
sufficient to authorize a rational
jury to find beyond a reasonable
doubt that Allaben was guilty of the
crimes,” it agreed the verdicts on
malice murder, felony murder, ag-
gravated assault and simple battery
were mutually exclusive because of
the verdict on reckless conduct.
by Carla Parker
A Cedar Grove
High School gradu-
ate has been arrested
in connection with a
shooting at Paine Col-
lege in Augusta.
Xavier Deanthony
Cooper, 20, is ac-
cused of shooting
21-year-old JaJuan
Baker in the head at a
dormitory May 5, ac-
cording to Richmond
County police. At a
May 7 press conference, Rich-
mond County Sheriff Richard
Roundtree said the shooting was
the result of a drug deal gone
Roundtree said Baker had sold
drugs to Cooper a couple of days
prior and something about the
transaction went wrong and an-
gered Cooper.
“That transaction was a bad
transaction … there is bad blood
between he and the victim,”
Roundtree said.
Cooper confronted Baker in
Haygood-Holsey Hall and shot
him in the left side of the head,
according to authorities. Baker is
expected to survive.
Both the victim
and the suspect have
criminal records, ac-
cording to authorities.
Baker was charged in
2012 with a firearms
violation, and Cooper
has been charged with
various crimes includ-
ing simple battery and
criminal damage to
Cooper was charged
in the May 5 shooting with aggra-
vated assault, possession of a fire-
arm during the commission of a
crime and possession of a firearm
in a school building, according to
the sheriff ’s office.
The day before the shoot-
ing, another student was injured
by reported gunfire on Paine’s
campus. According to police, the
investigation is ongoing for both
shootings and a $4,000 reward
is being offered for information
leading to arrests and convictions
in connection with the shootings.
2,000 security cameras
You’re never alone when you’re on
MARTA. Every station is under our
watchful eye. We could use your eyes,
too. If you see something that’s not right,
call us. We’ll take it from there.
If you
Use MARTA’s See & Say App.
Txt MPD: (404) 334-5355
Call (404) 848-4911 if you see something out of the ordinary.
by Lauren Ramsdell
It has been a year of fifths for
Dunwoody, one of DeKalb’s newest
cities. The fifth annual Dunwoody
Art Festival ran May 10-11 during a
weekend of intermittent drizzle and
low-level clouds.
The festival, always hosted on
Mother’s Day weekend, was nonethe-
less a celebration of all things quirky
and colorful.
“I personally think the Mother’s
Day thing makes it great and gives
the family something to do,” said
Frances Schube, president and
founder of Splash Festivals, the
event’s producer. “Instead of going
out to brunch or lunch and looking
at each other afterward like, ‘What
do we do?’ This gives families an op-
portunity to shop and eat and hang
out with each other.”
Schube started the festival in
Dunwoody after the first city manag-
er, Warren Hutmacher, transferred
his leadership from Norcoss. Schube
had been hosting the Norcross Art
Fest since 2003 and was asked to
start a new festival in Dunwoody.
“What makes us different is we
are invite-only,” Schube said. “We
look for very whimsical, very fun art.
Someone once gave me the best in-
sult: they said that our shows are ‘too
Artists are selected from all over
the country, including many local
artisans. One artist, Shari Grenzow
Mauer, made the 13-hour, 870-mile
drive from Kiel, Wisc. Mauer has
been doing art and craft fairs for
more than 20 years.
Schube found and invited Mauer
first in 2012, and although she was
unable to return last year, this year
she made the trip.
“I think this is one of the coolest
shows on my schedule,” Mauer said.
“It’s unusual because it’s all whimsy.”
Despite the gray skies, the festival
attracted hundreds, according to
“In 2012, we had a beautiful Sat-
urday and awesome sales,” Mauer
said. “In order for me to drive nearly
1,000 miles it has to be financially
Mauer said this year sales had
also been good.
“[On] Saturday, the husbands and
fathers are shopping for the wives
and mothers, and [on] Sunday, the
wives and mothers are shopping for
themselves,” Schube said.
The next Splash Festivals event is
the 11th Annual Norcross Art Fest
the weekend of Oct. 10 and 11.
Dunwoody Arts Festival celebrates fve years of whimsy
A wooden dinosaur ter-
rorizes the good people of
downtown Dunwoody.
Crowds brave the shifting
weather to attend the art festival.
Photos by Lauren Ramsdell
Nate Cline makes tiny,
handmade clay sculptures
and terrariums as a part of his
business, Gypsy Raku.
Left, Shari Grenzow Mauer travelled from Kiel, Wisc., to display her whimsical wares at the
festival. “I think this is one of the coolest shows on my schedule,” she said.
Tucker Day
First held in 1956, Tucker Day is an annual event during which Tucker celebrates the history of the community. The family-friendly
event was host to a day of food, arts and crafts, while a variety of musical acts performed for the crowd. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Searching for Our Sons and Daughters:

For a programming guide, visit
Now showing on DCTV!
Finding DeKalb County’s Missing
Stories of our missing residents offer profound
insights and hope for a positive reunion.
DCTV – Your Emmy® Award-winning news source of DeKalb County news. Available on Comcast Cable Channel 23.
Photos brought to you by DCTV
Meko, a dachshund schnauzer, was one of the dogs from Angels Among
Us Pet Rescue that was up for adoption at a recent Brookhaven event.
Photo by Carla Parker
Hand-crafted butterflies decorate the front lawn of St. Timothy United
Methodist Church in Stone Mountain. Photo by Travis Hudgons
According to signage, the former Publix on Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain will be the new home of a Nam
Dae Mun Farmers Market. Photo by Travis Hudgons
A number of elderly residents attended the May 13 Board of Commissioners meeting to celebrate Elderly
Awareness month and voice their support or concerns over a new partnership between the county and South
DeKalb YMCA. Photo by Daniel Beauregard
Former GPC president fles suit against University System of Georgia
Georgia State’s Indian Creek Lodge receives LEED certifcation
by Carla Parker
Georgia State University,
owner of the Indian Creek
Lodge in Stone Mountain,
was awarded a Leadership in
Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) certification
for the lodge last month.
The lodge–a student, fac-
ulty and staff building used
for group meetings and re-
treats–is the university’s first
project to receive a LEED
“We are thrilled to be the
first LEED certified facility
on campus and appreciate
the university administra-
tion’s commitment to a
more sustainable campus,”
Scott Levin, director of rec-
reational services, said in a
The lodge is located at
900 Indian Creek Drive
within the 15.5-acre Indian
Creek recreational area. The
university purchased the
land in 1938. The original
lodge was demolished Feb.
11, 2013, for the construc-
tion of a new $1 million
The new building is
complemented with a team-
building ropes course with
high and low elements, pic-
nic facilities, a large open
event lawn, swimming pool,
sand volleyball court and a
children’s playground.
The university added
high efficiency water fix-
tures to the building, which
reduce water use by 35
percent. Over 77 percent of
the LEED project bound-
ary was preserved for open
space and the university
purchased renewable energy
certificates, which offset
100 percent of the building’s
electricity usage for two
Other features of the
building include environ-
mentally friendly paints and
coatings, parking for low-
emitting and fuel-efficient
vehicles, and bicycle storage
and changing facilities for
bicycle commuters.
“The university’s com-
mitment to use renewable
resources and make con-
scious decisions in building
designs will contribute to
the positive impact Georgia
State makes in the city of At-
lanta,” said Allen Wilbanks,
assistant director in charge
of facilities for recreational
Developed by the U.S.
Green Building Council,
LEED certification includes
several categories for high
performance facilities in-
cluding sustainable sites,
water efficiency, energy
and atmosphere, materials
and resources, and indoor
environmental quality. A
project can receive multiple
levels of certification de-
pending on the number of
points achieved.
by Daniel Beauregard
Anthony Tricoli, the
former president of Georgia
Perimeter College (GPC),
has filed a lawsuit against
the school and the Universi-
ty System of Georgia (USG)
for allegedly conspiring to
cover up a budget shortfall
in 2012.
According to the law-
suit, which accuses officials
from the college and the
USG of violating the Rack-
eteer Influenced and Cor-
rupt Organizations Act, the
defendants tampered with
evidence, made false state-
ments to state agencies and
influenced witnesses.
Tricoli said that USG of-
ficials fraudulently breached
his contract, forced him to
resign from his position as
president at GPC and falsi-
fied reports relating to the
budget shortfall.
A list of the defendants
includes GPC interim presi-
dent Rob Watts; former
GPC Chief Budget Officer
Ron Carruth; GPC Human
Resources Director Jim
Rasmus; USG Chancellor
Henry Huckaby and each
member of the Board of Re-
gents at the time the budget
shortfall occurred.
In an exclusive interview
with The Champion, Tricoli
said he did everything in his
power to resolve the issue
without litigation.
“I did everything I could
to remedy my losses by at-
tempting to get another job
in my profession,” Tricoli
said. “I [contacted] Chancel-
lor Huckaby several times
to see if we could meet
and come to an agreement.
However, the last time I
reached out, I was told
not to communicate with
the chancellor any further
because he would not be
responding to any of my
requests or invitations to
discuss this matter.”
Tricoli said he has been
unable to secure another job
in higher education because
of being falsely accused and
intentionally smeared when
he left GPC. He also said
several of the defendants in
the lawsuit have interfered
with his search for a new
“I have applied for ap-
proximately 120 positions in
the higher education arena,
and I have not been able to
secure a position in any of
those searches. The fallout
has been tremendous and
devastating both profession-
ally and personally,” Tricoli
Additionally, Tricoli said
that the actual amount of
the budget deficit has only
been proven to amount to
$16 million, not $25 million.
An internal audit re-
leased by the USG in 2012
states that: “it cannot be de-
termined where the budget
was overspent because it was
not allocated correctly and
contained errors and omis-
sions.” Officials for the USG
still contend the budget
shortfall was $25 million.
Stephen Humphreys, an
attorney representing Tri-
coli, said that three budget
presentations provided by
then-GPC budget director
Mark Gerspacher for 2010,
2011 and 2012, contain
information that was not
representative of GPC’s fi-
nancial condition.
“We also noted the exis-
tence of email discussions
among staff within GPC’s
Office of Financial and Ad-
ministrative Affairs starting
in January 2012 that refer-
ence declines in auxiliary
fund balances and the use of
auxiliary reserves for non-
auxiliary expenditures over
the past several fiscal years,”
Humphreys said. “There
was no evidence that these
emails were shared outside
of the Office of Financial
and Administrative Affairs
until several months after-
Tricoli’s suit contends
that a pattern of misleading
information and false re-
ports set him up to take the
fall for the loss of millions,
much of which went unac-
counted for. He said that
while he was president and
Watts acted as his supervi-
sor, he requested to replace
then budget officer Carruth
several times but was told by
Watts “Carruth was the best
man for the job.”
The suit also alleges
a series of secret budget
meetings—Tricoli was not
invited—that were held at
an off-campus location so as
not to attract suspicion.
According to the suit,
$6.8 million of the deficit
was caused by GPC Human
Resources Director Rasmus,
who allegedly misallocated
employee fringe benefits.
Officials from the Board
of Regents and USG were
contacted for this article but
stated they could not com-
ment on pending litigation.
A trial date has not yet been
who were forced to leave their
villages during the war. The civil
war raged for more than two
decades and millions of people
died, leaving approximately 80
percent of South Sudanese people
“He had information and
reflections on his experiences
during the flight and the
internment…and he had the
experiences in the camp,” Ford-
Williamson said. “It was a bit
jumbled as to what took place
when and I didn’t have any
background so we had to go back
to square one.”
Ford-Williamson said they
pieced together a timetable
of places and events, through
“Even though they’re [in
their 30s], they identify as ‘lost
boys,’” Ford-Williamson said.
“Videographers actually saw
them on their journey and they
thought they were like the lost
boys in Peter Pan.”
Marier and thousands of
others were sent out of South
Sudan, in hopes that they could
make it safely to somewhere and
have opportunities they wouldn’t
otherwise have had, Ford-
Williamson said, hence the title
of the book, The Seed of South
“We have to do something
because when the war ends, we
are the people who can pick
up the legacy of our people
who were not able to get the
freedom,” Marier said. “So if
you have the education you can
help the county right now. They
don’t have the infrastructure
or medical treatment, and they
really need a lot of help.”
Although Marier works a
full-time job as a plumber’s
apprentice, his employers allow
him to travel home whenever he
needs to visit his family. Marier
can leave for three months to
return to South Sudan and return
without worrying his job will be
“At least when I come back
here I have a job that is secure
so I can go back to work and
support my family,” Marier said.
Marier and Ford-Williamson
said the majority of the proceeds
of the book will go toward
building wells in South Sudan.
They are also starting a nonprofit
corporation to further aid the
South Sudanese people.
Michael Phillips was killed by multiple
gunshot wounds during a party at the
Mountain Lake Apartment Homes, 1401 N.
Hairston Rd., Stone Mountain, according to
One person, Kemontae Cullins, 18, has
been arrested in connection with the May
3 crime. Brothers Oslushla Smith, 19, and
Cutrez Johnson, 16, are also suspects in
that killing.
Smith and Johnson either lived at or had
connections to the home on To Lani Farm
Road, police said.
“We believe these men [Smith, Johnson,
and Cullins] are also responsible for the
death of Alexis Malone,” Alexander said.
Alexander said police were looking to
interview Malone, 19, as a potential witness
to the May 3 shooting, but Malone was
found dead on Agape Way around 6 p.m.
on May 10.
After a few days at large, U.S. marshals
attempted to arrest Smith and Johnson at
the Travel Inn Lodge off Forrest Hills Drive.
The men then barricaded themselves, one
of their girlfriends, and a 5-year-old child in
a hotel room for several hours the evening
of May 12, said Mekka Parish, DeKalb
County Police public information officer.
Just before midnight, officers stormed
the room and arrested the men, Parish said.
The child was released to family members
unharmed. One of the suspects was injured
and transported to the hospital, where he is
in stable condition.
Alexander said an arrest warrant
was also issued for Kayla Dixon, 20, in
connection with the death of Malone.
Dixon, formerly a person of interest in the
death of Phillips, turned herself in May 13.
Though the suspects of the home
invasion are currently unknown, police
believe it was in retaliation for the death of
Malone, Alexander said.
“[Smith and Johnson] are not the men
responsible for the home invasion,” Parish
said. Mekka Parish, DeKalb County public
information officer, “But, we believe [those
involved with the home invasion] were
looking for them at the house.”
May 3, around 8 p.m.: 29-year-old Michael
Phillips is killed at a party at the Mountain
Lake Apartment Homes in Stone Mountain.
May 10, approximately 6 p.m.: Police
receive anonymous call reporting the body
of Alexis Malone, 19, found on Agape Way
in DeKalb. Malone may have been a witness
to the May 3 incident.
May 10, approximately 11 p.m.: Armed
men enter a home on To Lani Farm Road
in Stone Mountain. Three women inside
the home fled to an upstairs bathroom
with a 9-month-old boy. The men pursued
the women, shooting them as they tried to
barricade themselves. The child was killed.
May 11, early morning: Kemontae Cullins,
18, was arrested in connection to the May 3
May 12, evening: After a standoff at a south
Atlanta hotel, suspects Oslushla Smith, 19,
and Cutrez Johnson, 16, are arrested in
connection with the killings of Phillips and
May 13: Kayla Dixon turns herself in and is
Smith Johnson Dixon
Armed men allegedly broke into this DeKalb County home and killed a baby and
injured three women. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Continued From Page 1A
Killings Continued From Page 1A
Printed on 100%
recycled paper
by Lauren Ramsdell
Through road medi-
ans and embankments,
around 22 volunteers picked
through trash, weeds, dirt
and mud on May 10 to keep
a tiny rivulet outside the city
of Dunwoody’s offices free of
debris. The stream, so small
it is barely a trickle in places,
nonetheless is a tributary of
the Chattahoochee River, the
water supply for Atlanta and
its suburbs.
The city of Dunwoody
attempts to do at least one
stream cleanup per year–last
year it was North Fork Nan-
cy Creek. But this one was
even closer to home.
“It’s a lot different than
other stream cleanups we’ve
done in the past, because
those are usually in a more
natural area away from de-
velopment,” said Drew Cu-
tright, development director
for the city of Dunwoody.
“But this stream runs right
through Perimeter Center
Students from Arla
Bernstein’s honors public
speaking class at Georgia
Perimeter College contacted
Cutright and City Planner/
Director of Sustainability
Rebecca Keefer about doing
a service project to benefit
the city.
“Their mission was to
come up with the volun-
teers for the cleanup,” Ber-
nstein said. “The students
researched water quality
issues, conducted a 100-per-
son survey on volunteerism
and organized marketing
and outreach for the event.”
Bernstein stressed that
this experience was much
like an internship and en-
couraged students to put the
work in their portfolios or
on resumes.
“I had my concerns in
the very beginning, that it
was distracting us from the
speech process that we were
going through and some of
the other work we were do-
ing in the class,” said Karen
Davis, one of Bernstein’s
students. “But, it turns out,
it was a good lesson learned
for working within teams
and … delegation, as well as
learning how to work with a
partner like the city of Dun-
Donning orange gloves
and toting huge black trash
bags, students and other
volunteers circumnavigated
Perimeter Center East bag-
ging bottles, chip bags and
even a garden hose. A group
working in a sunken copse
managed to find three shop-
ping carts, pry them out and
return them to their owners.
“I think we had a really
good turnout,” said Cutright.
“I saw some people I haven’t
seen at events before, and we
were able to reach these new
faces with the help of the
Georgia Perimeter
College students clean
Dunwoody stream
Jane Jones, a student at Georgia Perimeter College who helped plan and market the cleanup, hauls a garden
hose out of the median at Perimeter Center East.
Tony Young stands in the stream to recover litter.
Karen Davis, one of the students who spearheaded the
stream cleanup, collects trash from an embankment.
Arla Bernstein,
professor of
communications at
Georgia Perimeter
College, uses service
learning to get her
students out of the
classroom and doing
real world work.
Susan Bloom, one of Bernstein’s students, walks
through the stream to collect garbage. Photos by
Lauren Ramsdell
From left, Jane Jones, Wayne Bernstein, Tony Torbert, Karen Davis, Arla Bernstein and Deepti Krishnan were a
handful of volunteers who came to assist the city of Dunwoody in the cleanup.
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
Couple fnds sweet success selling cake-decorating supplies
by Kathy Mitchell

A cake can be made to look like a
cartoon character, a dress, a carnival
carousel—nearly anything—with
some skill, a little imagination and
the right equipment. That’s where
Cake Art in Tucker comes in.
With aisles of pans, tools, tints,
toppings, flavorings, cookie cutters
and more, Cake Art has, according
to owner John Parker, possibly
the most extensive product line
of any store in the Southeast. The
7,200-square-foot store has “con-
servatively 10,000 items—possibly
as many as 15,000,” according to
Parker. “And, we’re constantly add-
ing more. You would probably have
to go to New York to find a selection
this large.”
When John Parker and his wife
Teresa bought the store in 2002, it
already had been a fixture in DeKalb
County for approximately 25 years.
In 2007, they moved it from Me-
morial Drive in Stone Mountain to
its current Lawrenceville Highway
location, nearly doubling the floor
“It’s great to have a successful
business doing something you really
enjoy,” said Teresa, adding that she
has always liked baking and decorat-
ing and once worked in a grocery
store’s bakery department. “When
customers come in with an idea of
what they’d like to do but aren’t sure
how to proceed, I can usually point
them in the right direction.”
Teresa said in their early days
as retailers, the couple had small
children so she spent less time in
the store, but now she enjoys work-
ing directly with customers. “There
are about 25 or 30 customers that
I know by name. I even recognize
their voices on the phone before they
identify themselves.”
Celebrating such occasions as
birthdays, weddings and holidays
with decorated cakes has been a pop-
ular practice since the 19th century,
but in recent years professionals and
hobbyists have let their imaginations
soar, Teresa said. “Even wedding
cakes, which used to have a tradi-
tional look with tiers and white frost-
ing, are being custom designed to
whatever strikes the couple’s fancy.
Some couples now serve tiers of
cupcakes instead of a cake.”
Cake Art offers classes in cake
decorating as well as candy making
and decorating cupcakes and petit
fours. Teresa, who’s certified by
Wilton, a cake equipment company
that has operated a decorating school
since 1946, teaches many of the
Classes fill quickly with students
booking them weeks, even months,
in advance, according to John. He
said the candy-making classes are
popular, adding they are shorter and
less expensive. In a single session,
students can learn from watching
a demonstration to make some fun
candy designs, he said. The store
stocks candy molds for a wide vari-
ety of holidays and occasions.
“People like candy making be-
cause it’s easy, they get great results
and they know the candy is fresh,”
John commented.
Customers include professional
bakers as well as those who decorate
for fun, according to the Parkers.
Many come from local restaurants
and from nearby Cordon Bleu Culi-
nary School. Teresa estimates that 25
to 30 percent of Cake Art’s custom-
ers are professional bakers.
Cake Art is busy year-round, ac-
cording to John. “There’s always a
holiday coming up, and people enjoy
making cakes not just for major holi-
days like Christmas and Easter but
also for St. Patrick’s Day, the Super
Bowl, Memorial Day—any occa-
sion. Halloween is really big. Wed-
ding season starts in April and goes
into the summer, and, of course,
there are birthdays throughout the
Business has boomed in recent
years with Cake Art’s updated web-
site that allows customers to order
online, according to John. “Over the
years, we have had customers drive
from cities outside the metropolitan
Atlanta area and from other states.
Now they can order online and have
the products shipped to them,” he
by Andrew Cauthen
Without the $5,000 scholarship
he received May 6 from Emory Uni-
versity, 17-year-old Tony Chang of
Clarkston High School may have
had to take out loans or dip into
savings to continues his education.
“With education being so com-
petitive and so difficult and with
financing so hard to maintain and
achieve, the scholarship really
means a lot to me since I’m from
an area where we’re pretty humble,”
said Tony, who is planning to major
in pre-med at Emory University.
“There’s not a lot of upper middle
class around here. Scholarships are
very hard to find and very appreci-
“It’s really great to see that the
community is reaching out to chil-
dren,” Tony said.
Tony was one of 24 students who
received $65,000 in scholarships
during the second annual DeKalb
County Education Scholarship
Fund Awards Ceremony at the Por-
ter Sanford III Performing Arts &
Community Center. The students,
who have been accepted to postsec-
ondary institutions, received up to
$5,000 in scholarships.
The event was sponsored by
DeKalb County, in partnership with
the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce,
the DeKalb County School District
and City Schools of Decatur.
Scholarship sponsors included
Wells Fargo, Gas South, Georgia
Power, Mercer University, Selig En-
terprises, Kroger, Georgia Pacific
Foundation, Silverman Construc-
tion Program Management, Kaiser
Permanente, Piper Jaffray, Emory
University, Oglethorpe Power Cor-
poration and Publix Supermarket
“This award is a great example
of public-private partnerships that
benefit DeKalb’s youth,” said interim
DeKalb County CEO Lee May.
“Students will have the opportunity
to advance their education and fu-
ture goals.
“Today is just one of the cul-
minations of your hard work and
dedication,” May told the seniors.
“You are making decisions that will
lead you to greatness or even to fail-
ure sometimes. You recipients have
made some very, very difficult deci-
sions in your life. You have decided
to work hard, do the right thing.
You made the decision to apply for
this scholarship.”
A selection committee formed
by the DeKalb Chamber reviewed
more than 90 applications. In addi-
tion to Tony, scholarship recipients
included: Abhijith Bathini, Cham-
blee Charter High; Alexis Davis,
Decatur High; Ashley Lauterbach,
DeKalb School of the Arts; Azziza
Robinson, DeKalb Early College
Academy; Brianna Thompson,
Arabia Mountain High; Brittanny
Thomas-Pearson, Stone Mountain
High; Brittany Sears, Arabia Moun-
tain High; Elahn Little, Clarkston
High; Isabella Stork, DeKalb
School of the Arts; Jade Zachery,
Arabia Mountain High; Jazlyn Gri-
er, Miller Grove High; Jorge San-
doval, Clarkston High; Kim An Ta,
Clarkston High; Krista Williams,
Arabia Mountain High; Monique
Boyd, Arabia Mountain High;
Naud Bahdurai, DeKalb Early Col-
lege Academy; Nicholas Collins,
Stone Mountain High; Nicholas
Rawls, McNair High; Saundra Lat-
imer, Southwest DeKalb High; Thi
Thong, Stone Mountain High; Tung
Son Do, Druid Hills High; Victoria
Bailey, Arabia Mountain High; and
Vy Huynh, Stone Mountain High.
DeKalb County School District
Superintendent Michael Thurmond
said, “We are so very proud of you
and just delighted with your accom-
plishment. I know only great things
await you.”
County, Chamber of Commerce dole out $65,000 in scholarships
Thurmond, Ross, Stone Mountain High senior Vy Huynh, John Gehring of Publix, and May. From left, DeKalb County School Superintendent Michael Thurmond, 2014 Education
Scholarship Fund Chairwoman JaKathryn Ross, Chamblee Charter High senior Abhijith
Bathini and interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May.
More than 20 students from DeKalb County School District and City Schools of Decatur received scholarships made possible by a collaboration by DeKalb County and the Chamber of
Commerce. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Stop bullying now
stand up • speak out
School board approves $450,000 summer reading program
by Andrew Cauthen
Clifford the Big Red Dog showed up at the
May 5 DeKalb school board meeting to sup-
port a $450,000 summer reading program.
Clifford attended the school board meeting
“to put a little pressure on all you, to approve
this item,” said Morcease J. Beasley, executive
director of curriculum, instruction, profes-
sional learning and the district’s office of fed-
eral programs, to school board members.
The Big Red Dog was joined by dozens
of elementary school students from several
DeKalb schools.
In an effort to eliminate summer learn-
ing loss, the DeKalb County School District
is planning a Title I K-5 Summer Reading
Program. The program, which will include
reading, math, science, and social studies in-
structional opportunities, will be available for
approximately 2,500 students at eight sites:
Midway, Fairington, Smokerise, Cedar Grove,
Dresden, Toney, Stoneview and Dunaire el-
ementary schools.
The program is scheduled for Tuesdays,
Wednesdays and Thursdays in June, from 8
a.m. to 3 p.m.
“They will get a good dose of reading from
certified teachers—math, science and social
studies—and they will have a lot of fun doing
it,” Beasley said.
“This is the right kind of program we
should be doing,” said school board member
Marshall Orson.
The cost of the program will be up to
$450,000 and the funds will “support the
summer reading program, but not only the
summer reading program, it also provides ac-
cess to all of our K-5 students and all of our
Title I students to online resources…for the
entire year,” Beasley said.
School Superintendent Michael Thur-
mond is authorized to spend another
$100,000 or more to expand the program to
more students.
School board member Joyce Morley said
she is impressed that the program will include
professional learning opportunities for teach-
“So it’s a holistic approach, not just having
a reading program over the summer,” Morley
said. “I’m very pleased that this is taking place.
We don’t have enough things going on so that
there can be a continuation of learning from
the time school ends to the time school starts
back up again.”
Morley said the program is a crucial addi-
tion to each of the selected schools.
“These schools are in need of programs for
the summer,” Morley said. “They’re in need of
enhancement. They’re in need of continuity
and continuation over the summer. I’m very,
very pleased to see that this is taking place.”
The reading program is in addition to vari-
ous other summer programs being offered this
year, Beasley said.
“Our kids are going to be very busy this
summer,” he said.
“The lives that can be touched are not to
be taken lightly,” said school board member
Karen Carter.
Students and DeKalb County school board members gather for a photo before school board members approve a summer
reading program. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
From left, students read new books and, right, school board Chairman Melvin Johnson and Superintendent Michael
Thurmond meet Clifford, the Big Red Dog.
Students receive bags of books from school board member Jim McMahan, left, and Thurmond.
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by Carla Parker
The Marist and St. Pius boys’ track teams defended
their state titles May 10 at the 2014 Georgia High School
Association Boys State Track Meet in Jefferson.
Marist won the Class AAAA state title with a slim 67-
66 victory over Carrollton High School. Redan finished
third with 45 points.
Three gold medals led to Marist’s victory. Junior Ken-
neth Brinson won gold in the discus throw with a throw
of 179-04. Senior David Gilstrap finished first in the
110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.04 and senior Daniel
Navarro won gold in the 3,200-meter run with a time of
9:23.08. Navarro also won silver in the 1,600-meter run.
Junior Chris McBride led Redan with a gold medal in
the long jump (24-01.00), a silver in the triple jump (48-
00.75) and a fourth-place finish in the 300 meter hurdles
Senior Donald Daley contributed to Redan’s total with
a silver in the discus (165-10.00) and a bronze in the shot
put (54-06.25).
Chamblee tied for 20th behind a silver medal by Will
West in the pole vault (12-06.00).
Class AAA
The St. Pius Golden Lions blew away the competition,
outscoring Cedar Grove 97-58 to win its second consecu-
tive Class AAA state title.
The Golden Lions were led by Daniel Haugh, who
won gold medals in the discus throw (194-07) and shot
put (59-10.00). Austin Sprague also won two gold
medals; one in the 1,600-meter run (4:18.24) and the
3,200-meter run (9:17.30). Andrew Anastasiades won
silver in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:21.58.
Fred Dorsey also won a gold medal in the long jump
with a jump of 23-08.50.
Cedar Grove’s 4x400 meter relay team gold medal led
the Saints to a second place finish in the state meet. It was
the team’s third gold medal in the event in four years.
Chance Baines (high jump) and Darius Freeman
(200-meter dash) won silver medals for Cedar Grove and
the 4x100 meter relay won a bronze medal with a time of
Cross Keys’ Samuel McDade won bronze in the long
jump (22-10.00) and the 400-meter dash (49.29) to lead
the Indians to a 13th-place finish with 16 points.
The Stephenson Jaguars fell short of winning the Class
AAAAA state title with 46 points, 12 points shy of Mt.
Zion, which won the title with 58 points.
The Jaguars were led by sophomore Denzel Harper,
who won gold in the long jump (23-00.00) and silver in
the 300-meter hurdles (38.80). Senior Cameron Glenn
won bronze in the 300-meter hurdle with a time of 38.85.
The Lakeside Vikings finished in the Top 10 with 27
points to take sixth overall in the team standings. Senior
William Johnson led the Vikings with a second-place
finish in the 100-meter dash (10.50).
Arabia Mountain tied for 14th overall with 14 points.
Senior Jonathan Jones led the Rams with a gold medal
run in the 400-meter dash (48.11).
Marist, St. Pius repeat as
track and feld champions
Senior Jonathan Jones led Arabia Mountain
with a gold medal run in the 400-meter dash.
Cedar Grove’s Darius Freeman, left, finished second in the
200-meter dash.
Stephenson sophomore Denzel Harper, right, finished second in the 300-meter hurdles. He won a gold medal in
the long jump.
Marist won its second consecutive Class AAAA state title with a one-point victory over runner-up Carrollton
High School.
Newly formed Decatur Nighthawks
baseball club of to successful start
by Carla Parker
Just nine months after
forming, the Decatur Night-
hawks youth baseball travel
team has a couple of tourna-
ment wins under their belts
and is getting better as the
season goes.
The Decatur Nighthawks
are a youth baseball team
affiliated with United States
Specialty Sports Association
and currently play at the 9
and under AA level. The
team formed in August 2013
out of the Medlock Park rec-
reation league. Nighthawks
manager Mike Reid said he
and other coaches created the
travel baseball team to take
baseball to the next level for
the players.
“We wanted the boys to
have a richer baseball experi-
ence,” Reid said.
The Nighthawks won
their first tournament Sept.
22, 2013, at the Battle Royal
Tournament, defeating the
Sandy Plains Wildcats 9-7
to claim the tournament
championship trophy. Their
second tournament win came
on April 27 in the Tough
Out NIT tournament in
Gainesville. The Nighthawks
defeated the Mountain View
Bears 15-8 in the champion-
ship game.
Reid said it felt “very satis-
fying” to win the Tough Out
“We put in a lot of work
and to win the tournament
validates that work,” he said.
The Nighthawks recently
won the consolation bracket
in the Champs Wear Rings
NIT tournament, beating the
Georgia Xtreme 16-9 in the
final game.
Reid said the team had a
successful fall season and is
doing well during the spring
season. The team currently
has a 9-4 record, according to
“We started out well and
we’re continuing to do well,”
Reid said. “We’re getting
The season ends for the
Nighthawks at the end of
June, and they take July off
before preparing for the fall
season. Reid said the team
has high expectations for
next season, including mov-
ing up to the 10 and under
level and continuing to get
better as a team.
“I think teams at this
point, when they see they’re
playing the Decatur Night-
hawks I think teams recog-
nize that we’re a successful
team,” he said.”

M.L. King hires
new football coach
by Carla Parker
Nicolas Kashama has been hired as the new head
coach for the Martin Luther King Jr. High football
Kashama will replace Cor-
tez Allen, who resigned last
month after one season with
the Lions. Allen left for Wood-
land High School in Henry
County to be the defensive
coordinator for head coach
Steve Davenport. Allen said
his move to Woodland was a
family decision.
“It’s a good opportunity for
me and my family to be closer
to my home [in Stockbridge],”
Allen said. “It’s just a better fit
for me.”
Kashama returns to M.L. King after spending a
year at Georgia Prep Sports Academy with former
M.L. King head coach Michael Carson. Kashama was
the defensive coordinator from 2010 to 2012 under
Carson and Rober Freeman.
Kashama, 36, will be M.L. King’s fourth head coach
in four seasons. Kashama said he felt like he needed to
come back to the program to help rebuild it.
“When I was there, I felt we accomplished a lot,”
Kashama said. “It’s a lot of unfinished business as far
as the coaching staff that was there with me.”
Kashama, a native of Congo and one of seven
children, played high school football in Toronto. He
played college football at the University of Connecti-
cut, then signed as a free agent with the Cleveland
Browns. He later played four seasons in the Canadian
Football League.
After suffering an injury, he got into coaching. He
began his coaching career at Avondale High School
in 2007 under Carson and moved to M.L. King with
Carson in 2010. Kashama said he met with the players
May 6 and told them the primary goal of the coaching
staff is to get to the Georgia Dome to play for a state
“We’re aiming high and getting the kids to be-
lieve it because we have all the tools available for us,”
Kashama said. “That one ingredient we’re missing is
discipline. [Discipline] needs to be implemented con-
sistently and that’s something that I bring to the table.”
Kashama said he could see that the players were
eager to see what changes will be made within the
“They’re excited that the [old] staff is coming back
to MLK because they understand what we did and the
experience that we bring,” he said. “They’re excited.”
Kashama said the team will play a similar style of-
fense and defense as they did under Carson, but will
be more up-tempo.
“We’ll have more of a spread offense where we’ll
utilize all of our receivers,” he said. “It’s going to be
more balance with passing and running the ball. We’ll
have a high attack defense as well.”
M.L. King, which was region champion in 2012,
finished fourth in the region last season with a 6-3
record. With the Lions having a tradition of winning
region championship, Kashama said it is important
for the program to get back to the top of the region
and go all the way to a state championship.
“We have enough talent to perform and dominate
any team, but we have to take it game by game,” he
The Decatur Nighthawks travel baseball team was champion of the Tough Out National Invitational Tournament.
Decatur Bulldogs
Baseball, tennis, volleyball athletes sign scholarships
by Carla Parker
Southwest DeKalb High School’s
athletic department celebrated four
of its athletes May 7 as they signed
athletic scholarships to their respec-
tive schools.
Ayauna Ellis signed a volleyball
scholarship to Fort Valley State Uni-
versity; Kaylin Roman signed a ten-
nis scholarship to Johnson C. Smith
and Jason Davis signed a base-
ball scholarship to Morehouse Col-
lege while his teammate Kelvin
Wimbish signed with Albany State.
Ellis, who received a scholar-
ship worth $7,000 per year, said she
would not have gotten this far with-
out God and her parents.
“I’m very grateful, and I would
like to thank everyone for their sup-
port,” Ellis said.
The 5-foot-9 middle blocker
finished last season with 49 blocks,
averaging 2.0 blocks per game. El-
lis said Fort Valley will be getting a
hard worker and dedicated player.
“I’m looking forward to making
a new record at Fort Valley State
University,” she said.
Roman received a $12,000 per
year athletic scholarship and an
academic scholarship worth $8,000.
She chose Johnson C. Smith over
Savannah State University, Stillman
College and Benedict College.
Roman finished her senior sea-
son as the No. 7 ranked singles
player in DeKalb with a 6-1 record
in No. 1 singles and a 1-0 record in
No. 2 singles.
Wimbish, who selected Albany
State over Tuskegee University
and Vorhees College, is heading to
Albany State on a $3,000 per year
scholarship. The pitcher, who also
plays shortstop and second base,
was selected for the All-DeKalb first
team this season. He finished his
senior year with a .365 batting aver-
age and 31 RBIs.
Davis, who has a 3.88 GPA, re-
ceived an Oprah Winfrey Scholar-
ship worth $36,000 per year.
“It feels great to sign with More-
house,” he said. “I don’t have the
burden of my parents having to pay
for college.”
Davis chose Morehouse over
Savannah State, Paine College and
Brevard College.
Davis, a pitcher and outfielder,
was selected for the All-County
Defensive Team this season. He fin-
ished his senior season with a .456
batting average, 10 RBIs and 1 home
Davis said he looking forward
to helping Morehouse succeed in
“I get to start something great at
Morehouse,” Davis said. “I have sev-
eral friends going there as well, and
we have a chance to do something
great and start something at More-
house and put them on the map for
Kelvin Wimbish signs his letter of intent to play baseball at Albany State while his teammate Jason Davis (left) signs his letter of intent to Morehouse.
From left to right, baseball player Kelvin Wimbish signed with Albany State, Ayauna Ellis received a volleyball scholarship to Fort Valley State, Kaylin Roman received a tennis scholarship
to Johnson C. Smith and Jason Davis is heading to Morehouse to play baseball.