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FRIDAY, SEPT. 12, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 25 • 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.
See Jamaica on page 13A
See Ellis on page 13A
Jamaica mission trip is eye-opening experience for GPC student
by Justin Beaudrot
hose were my favorite days—
the days when our Jamaica
Study Abroad trip took us to
Watford Hill Primary School.
In collaboration with DeKalb-based
nonproft Unconditional Love for
Children (ULC), Georgia Perimeter
College (GPC) was able to give 12
college students and many Watford Hill
students one of the most unforgettable
experiences of their lives. Te two-
week summer camp program at the
school supplemented student’s literacy
and math skills and for four of those
days we, the GPC students, were able to
assist in the activities.
Te school’s L-shaped building
is painted in an earthen color with
images created by students and
teachers depicting diferent aspects
of Jamaica and Jamaican culture. It
features the faces of Sam Sharpe,
leader of a slave rebellion, and Nanny
of the Maroons, who resisted slavery,
along with other Jamaican national
heroes, a depiction of the national
anthem and a map of the island.
Afer a few quick photographs, I
was introduced to the students and
teachers. Elizabeth Hernandez and
I were paired with Quinta Russell
and Nadine Valle for grades 5 and
6. Our classes began with showing
them all into the computer room
and getting everyone signed up with
an email address. It’s laughable how
much we underestimated some of
these children’s computer literacy. By
the time it took us college students
to fgure how their computer system
worked, most of the children were
Carolyn Glenn, one of the founders of the nonproft
group Unconditional Love for Children, observes a
chess lesson.
Georgia Perimeter College student Will Tyler helps students with an art project. Photos by Justin Beaudrot
Student Rodrick England works on a writing assignment.
Ellis seeks ‘full vindication’
by Andrew Cauthen
rom the beginning of his legal woes
that led to his suspension from the
DeKalb County CEO’s position,
Burrell Ellis has maintained his in-
Tat’s the message Ellis and his legal team
will have for jurors during his corruption
trial, which began Sept. 8 in the courtroom of
Superior Court Judge Courtney L. Johnson.
Troughout his ordeal, Ellis has repeated
this statement: “I have done nothing wrong.”
On Jan. 7, 2013, just two business days
afer being sworn in to his second term in
ofce, Ellis was appearing before a special
grand jury looking into watershed manage-
ment contracts.
It was Ellis’ second appearance before the
grand jury, impaneled in January 2012.
While he was testifying, his home and
ofce were being searched by investigators
from the DeKalb County District Attorney’s
Ofce. Te investigators were
looking for information
that would prove a range
of crimes, including rack-
eteering, wire fraud, thef
and bid-rigging.
During a news conference
while investigators were still
Suspended DeKalb County CEO
Burrell Ellis appears in court. Photo
by Andrew Cauthen
Education ............. 14 -15A
Business ........................16A
Sports .............................19A
Opinion ........................... 5A
Classifed .......................17A
Page 2A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014

Connie Stokes: ‘I’m going to have to do something’
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 Andrew Cauthen
Connie Stokes is no stranger to politics.
Stokes represented the 43rd District
as a member of the Georgia Senate from
1994–2004 and from 2004–2010 she was a
DeKalb County commissioner.
And she’s hoping that experience will
help her land the lieutenant governor’s
position in November because Stokes wants
to “make sure that the people of Georgia
have opportunities to do something with
their lives,” she said in an Aug. 20 interview.
“Children have opportunities — and
grandchildren — because that’s what sets
our future, to have opportunities,” Stokes
said. “People want to work hard if they
have opportunities. Tey don’t want social
It was her observation that “the
economy was dropping and the
unemployment rate rising” that infuenced
her decision to for run the position.
“Georgia is just of track,” Stokes said.
“We should be much further ahead; we
should have jobs for people. When I looked
around, and I thought about it, I said, ‘I’m
going to have to do something; I just can’t
be sitting around.’”
Stokes said she wants Georgians to
be able to overcome difculties and have
access to opportunities just as she did.
“I know what it is to struggle,” Stokes
said. “My mom was an alcoholic; I never
knew my father. It was really, really hard.
My grandmother only had a sixth-grade
education, and she didn’t talk to me about
And Stokes was a teen mother. Because
of that fact, according to her online
biography, she was not expected to graduate
from high school. But she did and went
on to earn an associate’s degree from the
Art Institute of Atlanta, an undergraduate
degree in business from Georgia State
University, and a master’s degree in public
administration from California State
She also worked as a real estate broker
before entering public service.
“I want to protect the future of Georgia
for all people to have the opportunity to do
something with their lives,” she said.
Stokes, one of fve Black females
running for state executive ofces, said she
believes 2014 is going to be “another year of
the woman” at the polls.”
“I think people want change, and they
recognize…[that] if you want to change
the game, you change the players,” she
said. “Women…are known for working
hard. Tey put their families frst, and I’ve
worked on so much legislation for women
and their families, so I believe we’re going
to have a record number of women voting.
I also believe that men understand that
women will put their families frst.”
Stokes also is one of four DeKalb
residents running for state ofces, including
former Lithonia City Councilwoman
Doreen Carter, for secretary of state;
state Sen. Jason Carter, for governor; and
former City Schools of Decatur board
member Valarie Wilson, for state school
board superintendent.
“Having four people
running from DeKalb
County statewide means
a lot to the county,”
Stokes said. “It means
that we know what
we’re doing.”
DeKalb residents
in state executive
positions are “going
to be good for DeKalb
County, but we’re
not just running for
DeKalb County; we
running for the state,”
she said.
you have people
elected—it’s just like
the president being
from Chicago—it
just inspires the
people in that area
more,” Stokes said.
“Tat’s what I hope
to do—is inspire the
people of DeKalb
County to be more
involved in politics
Connie Stokes is a candidate for lieutenant
governor. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 3A
GBI investigating missing Lithonia police military weapon
by Carla Parker
The Georgia Bureau of Investiga-
tion is looking into how an AR-15
weapon is missing from the Lithonia
Police Department’s inventory.
Lithonia Police Chief Eddie
Moody, who took over as chief in
December 2012, said in an exclusive
interview that when he and his staff
did their auditing and accounting,
one of the two AR-15 weapons that
the department received in 2000
came up missing. The department
turned the information over to the
GBI, and it is currently investigating
the matter.
“We don’t know when, where, by
whom, etc., but we want to get to the
bottom of it to make sure we do our
due diligence in trying to locate that
weapon,” Moody said. “We want to
make sure we do it the proper way
since it was something that we inher-
ited, and we want to make sure we
have a good accounting system.”
The Lithonia Police Department
is one of 145 law enforcement agen-
cies banned by the Pentagon from
receiving surplus military weapons
and supplies, part of a program un-
der scrutiny after police in military
gear responded to recent protests in
Ferguson, Mo.
According to reports, in each
case examined by the Cox Washing-
ton bureau, the departments were
suspended from the program after
losing high-powered weapons. Litho-
nia was suspended Feb. 6, and is one
of six agencies from Georgia that was
suspended, according to Cox Wash-
Departments can petition the
Pentagon to be reinstated to the pro-
Moody said the department still
has possession of the other AR-15
weapon and looked into what hap-
pened to the missing weapon.
“After looking into it ourselves,
we then called the GBI and asked
them to look into this matter so that
we can take our hands off of it so that
we can get an impartial outside body
to investigate this matter,” Moody
said. “The best people to turn it over
to were the GBI.”
Moody said they are waiting on
the findings of the GBI’s investiga-
The militarization of police de-
partments have been criticized in the
past month after police in Ferguson,
Mo., began using military-grade
equipment to control crowds follow-
ing the shooting death of 18-year-old
Michael Brown by a Ferguson police
officer on Aug. 9.
Their tactics have been criticized
by people across the country, includ-
ing civil rights activists and some
military veterans, who have said on
Twitter and other social media sites
that they were not as equipped while
deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moody said that there is a lot of
“unfair” criticism toward police be-
cause of the incident in Ferguson.
“I don’t agree with the tactics
used in those situations, but you
don’t want us to be ill-equipped to
handle those situations,” he said. “I
started in this business in 1974 and
law enforcement has changed tre-
mendously. We’re no longer dealing
with people walking around with a
.38 in their pockets.
“I don’t think it would be a fair
statement for people to think that
we should walk around [protecting]
the citizens and not be equipped to
handle the job,” Moody added.
MARTA, Brookhaven partner on transit-oriented development
MARTA, along with support from Brookhaven,
has released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to
convert the surface parking lots at the Brookhaven/
Oglethorpe MARTA station into a mixed-use,
transit-oriented development (TOD).
“The Brookhaven project is another example of
MARTA’s goal of launching five TODs within two
years,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO
Keith T. Parker. “We’re listening to what metro
Atlantans want when it comes to transportation and
quality of life.”
Brookhaven will provide technical assistance and
advice on the process. The mixed-use development
and structured parking facilities will be implemented
by a private developer that MARTA will select
through a competitive solicitation process.
“The future development of the Brookhaven
MARTA Station will serve as a gateway into our city,”
Brookhaven city manager Marie Garrett said. “We
are excited to partner with MARTA on this transit-
oriented development initiative.”
The closing date for the RFQ is Sept. 18.
Specifics about the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe RFQ
can be found at
Registration on the website is required to access the
RFQ details.
The RFQ seeks solicitations from qualified firms
capable of developing this property in a manner
consistent with these goals and the TOD guidelines.
Only firms that have been pre-qualified will be
invited to the Request for Proposals, which will
include a detailed development plan and a financial
model that illustrates the potential economic return
The TOD guidelines and policies reflect the
following three, over-arching strategic goals:
• To generate greater transit ridership, which
is a natural consequence of clustering mixed-
use development around stations and along
• To promote a sustainable, affordable and
growing future for the people of metro Atlanta;
• To generate a return on MARTA’s transit
investment – through enhanced passenger
revenues, greater federal support and, where
applicable, development on MARTA property.
For more information about the Brookhaven
RFQ, contact contract specialist Reginald Bryant at, or (404) 848-4158.
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 12, 2014 Page 4A
Bill Crane
“Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce,
special orders don’t upset us, all we
ask is that you let us serve it your
way!” – Burger King Whopper ad
campaign jingle circa 1970s.
In case you haven’t heard the
news, Burger King recently served
Uncle Sam notice of the relocation
of its corporate headquarters to
north of the border into Canada,
where the corporate income tax
rate is 15 percent. The Obama
Administration and others are
criticizing the King for this
“unpatriotic move” and discussing
“corporate inversion” as it relates
to acquiring a smaller company
outside the United States, followed
by moving the global HQ to the
lower tax country.
When Burger King’s 33-year-
old CEO Michael Schwarz took
over the reins of America’s second-
largest burger chain a few years
ago, he was praised for tightening
the ship and improving the bottom
line. He cut the fat menu and moved
the company’s executives office in
Miami from an area referred to by
company employees as Mahogany
Row into an open floor plan of
cubicles. In 2010, Schwarz led
a private equity buyout of BK,
and then in 2012 took the leaner
enterprise public again, nearly
doubling the company’s value in two
Not all of his decisions have been
correct, but in the main Schwarz
has been increasing profitability for
the corporation as well as thousands
of store franchisees. Schwarz noted
higher margins and faster growth,
at a lower cost for franchisees in the
breakfast and beverage segment—
Starbuck’s, Dunkin Donuts and
Caribou Coffee to name just a
few. So, BK acquired Canada’s
largest coffee and breakfast chain,
Tim Hortons, for $11.4 billion. The
combined enterprise will have
18,000 locations in 100 countries,
and annual sales of $23 billion,
and create the world’s third-largest
fast food operation. As a bonus,
Schwarz is moving his HQ from
pricey Miami to the cooler and less
expensive climate of Canada as well
as reducing his corporate income
tax rate by nearly half.
Burger King is not the first U.S.
company to make this move, as the
United States now has the highest
corporate tax rates in the western
world for stock-owned companies,
and even higher rates for Sub-S
structured corporate entities,
primarily small businesses and the
self-employed. And a “foreign” HQ
is also not new to the big BK, as it
was earlier acquired by Pillsbury
in 1967, which also grew by
acquisition into Grand Metropolitan
and later merged with Guinness to
create Diageo PLC, both of which
were headquartered in the United
Kingdom, though at the time, the
U.S. and U.K. had similarly high and
convoluted corporate income tax
But this industry segment will
bear two assaults this election
season, one crying for a hike
in the minimum wage to either
$10.15 or $15 an hour, and both of
which would be disastrous for the
workers, their customers and store
franchisees (we will return to this
topic in a later column), but on the
subject of “fairness” we will hear
Burger King, its CEO and board
of directors labeled charlatans, tax
cheats and nonpatriots.
We should not and cannot expect
smart business people to not take
steps to minimize their tax liability. I
don’t even see Bill Gates or Warren
Buffet lining up to hand the feds
and extra billion or two every year. 
If you want more corporate
income tax revenue, here is the
simple solution. Eliminate the
write-offs, credits and tax breaks,
substantially reduce tax rates (to
10-15 percent) and then stand
back and watch the revenue flood
in. Reagan did it. JFK did it, and in
both instances rates went down and
revenues went up. As it relates to BK
and Canada, it is also much easier
for them to bring overseas profits
back home in Toronto. Returning
same to Miami would have required
a second tax on foreign corporate
profits, which in the billions. As a
result they stay parked off-shore.
Burger King has already
moved. More U.S. corporations are
likely to follow its lead. Corporate
HQs mean more than just a few
jobs and community pride. Imagine
Atlanta without Coca-Cola, or
Delta Airlines, or in the old days,
Rich’s Department Stores. Fairness
is not just about equalizing income,
fairness is also about understanding
in a global economy we have to
be competitive and we have to be
smart, or the dollars will follow the
scholars and the tax advisers who
say, “Come have it your way over
here, sir.” That certainly worked for
Burger King for a while.
Bill Crane also serves as a political
analyst and commentator for Channel
2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/
Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion,
Champion Free Press and Georgia
Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and
business owner, living in Scottdale.
You can reach him or comment on a
column at 
Have it your way!
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 5A

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, type-
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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.
Letter to the Editor
The past few years have
been tough ones for DeKalb
County. It is outrageous
that anyone would violate
the public’s trust, and it is
frustrating to realize that our
county has refused in years
past to identify and correct bad
behaviors. It is maddening that the people of
DeKalb have had to endure a shaming of DeKalb
County government over the actions of a few.
The truth, as they say, hurts.
For years, DeKalb CEO’s have looked
the other way when it came to board of
commissioners (BOC) spending. The BOC, of
which I have been a member since 2006, talked
a good game of auditing and oversight, but
when the rubber met the road, could not reach
a consensus on pulling the trigger on hiring
someone to do the job.
Part of the issue that caused these problems
is inherent in DeKalb’s structure of government,
which before now has produced a laissez-faire
style of oversight. Elected officials simply cannot
control other elected officials in the same way
an employer can control an employee. This is
one reason I have been an advocate for changing
DeKalb’s form of government, and why I created
the Government Operations Task Force: to deal
with this issue and several others DeKalb is
facing. It remains my expectation that this task
force will make substantial recommendations to
our government which will provide a framework
on which we all become accountable.
However, the larger issue has been a
wholesale lack of leadership to work together to
become the open, transparent and responsive
government that we all say that we want.
I share the collective frustration of our residents.
The practice of government in DeKalb County has
allowed much of what has been exposed recently by
the media to go unchecked. To address the issues,
this Administration implemented several safeguards
and oversight to find incidences of wrongdoings
and address them quickly.
The direct actions we have taken to address
the malaise we find ourselves in at the present
moment are as follows:
1. Facilitated appointments of a full complement
of Board of Ethics members to ensure
consistent quorums.
2. Increased Ethics Board funding from $15,000
to over $200,000.
3. Created full-time positions: Chief Integrity
Officer, Investigator, and staff for the Board of
4. Increased funding for District Attorney’s office
by $197,000 to expand its Public Integrity Unit.
5. Revised P-Card policies to cover all
cardholders, including elected officials which
requires annual training and annual audits of
all cardholders.
6. Revised purchasing policies to make the
process for purchasing goods and services
more efficient and transparent and created a list
to ban vendors who violate our policies or fail
to complete work.
7. Restructured the Purchasing & Contracting
and Finance departments to provide greater
oversight and transparency.
8. Implemented a new ethics policy for the
Administration to cover meals, travel and
tickets for all employees under the CEOs
power, including myself.
Admittedly, these changes have only occurred
under my Administration and only affect
conduct moving forward. Much of the spending
irregularities discovered by the press date back
several years and cover multiple administrations.
Those cases are now being investigated by
federal prosecutors, the local district attorney
and the DeKalb Board of Ethics. In due time,
these agencies will take appropriate actions as
needed. Furthermore, we will be taking additional
measures as circumstances warrant.
Make no mistake: I am, and I remain very
concerned about improper and illegal spending
in DeKalb County. The repercussions go far
beyond the acts themselves. It impacts everything
from job creation and business recruitment to
federal funding allocations. It is imperative that
all elected officials, myself included, continue to
do everything possible to correct the underlying
problems and restore the public’s trust in DeKalb
County Government. It takes years to build trust,
but only a day to destroy it. Our job moving
forward is to restore that trust, day by day, in
DeKalb County.
– Lee May, Interim Chief Executive Officer
DeKalb County
Lee May: ‘I share the collective
frustration of our residents’
Page 6A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014

If you would like to nominate someone to be
considered as a future Champion of the Week,
please contact Andrew Cauthen at andrew@ or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 117.
Laura Northrup
moved often as a child.
Her dad was a college
professor and relocated
frequently, so she found
solace in nature and the
“It’s just part of who I
am,” Northrup said. “Mov-
ing around a lot, being
in different schools – be-
ing in nature is a special connection you always
She said that Girl Scouts was probably an
early influence, but her troop never seemed to do
community service, and she always had to find
her own activities. Although volunteering was
not particularly emphasized in her childhood,
Northrup became an active volunteer when she
moved to Atlanta 25 years ago.
She is a certified master birder through the
Atlanta Audubon Society, as well as a master nat-
uralist. She helps with Audubon events, such as
the upcoming Backyard Wildlife and Sanctuary
Tour throughout northern DeKalb and Fulton
counties on Sept. 13.
She mostly volunteers for environmental
groups, helping with cleanups, landscaping and
anything else she can lend a hand with. Northrup
was formerly the desert plants curator at the At-
lanta Botanical Garden, so she knows her stuff.
“I was approached by Oldcastle here in
Dunwoody; they’re building a nature trail at the
Marcus Autism Center,” Northrup said. “I have
been helping inventory all the plants there. That
has been a lot of fun, but the property has been
untouched for over 20 years, and so we have been
tackling all of the invasive plants there. Just last
week we had 25 people from Turner Broadcast-
ing out there helping us to remove some wisteria.
That was really tough work.”
She said after the volunteers pulled most of
the wisteria — some with vines several inches in
diameter — two trees fell.
“They had their first family day, so some of the
kids with autism came out, and we had a butterfly
release and that was just awesome,” she said.
Now, she works as a mom to two teenage
daughters, and is instilling a love of nature and
volunteering with them.
“I started my kids young volunteering,” she
said. “It’s just so important to give back to the
Northrup and her family participate in river
cleanups, run the radio communications for the
Halloween hikes at the Chattahoochee Nature
Center, and maintain a section of the Appala-
chian Trail with Georgia’s Appalachian Trail
Club. Northrup was just named conservation di-
rector for the club. Her family was even selected
to meet primatologist Jane Goodall when she
came through the area a few years ago.
Northrup and her daughter once participated
in a Chattahoochee River cleanup through Rivers
“She wanted to win the prize for most pounds
of trash that year,” Northrup said. “I said, ‘We’re
up against these whole high schools, they prob-
ably have 100 people on their team.’ So we took
our kayaks, went to the river the day before and
scouted it out. We found this whole dump of old
metal barrels. We also found an abandoned trash
heap, a huge water heater. So we knew what we
wanted to tackle, so we packed the car full of
pruners, whatever tool you could think of, a pry
bar, and we hauled a bunch of the barrels, the
water heater, and we got the prize for the most
unusual because of the water heater. She was so
proud of that day.”
Northrup says taking care of the environment
is important because we are all a part of it. No
one is independent or untouched.
“Especially when you see all of the invasive
plants taking over, there is so little greenspace left
for wildlife,” Northrup said. “We really need to
roll up our sleeves and make a difference. It’s not
going to go away on its own.”
by Lauren Ramsdell
he Signal, Chamblee’s city newsletter, is
turning 15. That’s a tough age for peo-
ple, much less newsletters.
“The mainstream media also has to
sell ads and so, as it gets to the bigger papers the
adage of, ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ is more prevalent,”
said Chamblee city manager Marc Johnson. “We
are trying to put a more concerted effort into
telling our story. We haven’t done as good a job
in recent years as we could, so this is one way we
completely control it and it gets out to all of our
taxpayers, residents and businesses.”
The Signal is going strong. For its 15th birth-
day, the newsletter’s production will be done us-
ing a new commercial printer with all full-color
pages and a design revamp. The newsletter will
now accept advertising from local businesses as
Teresa Taylor is Chamblee’s new assistant to
the city manager. She said within a month of her
new job she was tasked with producing the Sig-
nal. Previously, it was handled by a contractor.
“I think they wanted to hire somebody to
work on communications overall but part of
it was that because I am in the city, I go to the
meetings, I know what’s going on and that would
affect the quality of the newsletter.”
Taylor said the newsletter had a prior incar-
nation as the Tracker from 1991 to 1995. Then,
from 1995 to 1999 there was silence as far as city
newsletters went. The Signal printed for the first
time in September 1999.
Although the city does have a website that
is updated often and a Facebook account where
articles get 200-500 estimated views, Taylor said
people still want the physical copy of the newslet-
“It’s a good communication tool because you
can hit that demographic that doesn’t necessar-
ily have computer access or doesn’t check their
email or the city’s website as often,” Taylor said.
“I didn’t realize how much the demand was for
the newsletter. Every time this newsletter is late,
even by a day, someone comes in and asks for a
printed copy.”
The Signal is mailed each month to every
home and business in Chamblee. It features lo-
cal news, events and profiles. Every other month
the Signal is a full newsletter, and on alternate
months just an event calendar is sent.
“It couldn’t be more fitting that the 15th an-
niversary coincided with the whole redesign,
going to color and the new format,” Johnson said.
“It’s over twice the size and will actually be larger
next year. We have tried on a couple of occasions
to go green with it and encourage people to look
at it digitally, and that has met with significant
At a recent fourth Friday concert in down-
town Chamblee, Taylor overheard people dis-
cussing the newsletter.
“There were some young people having a
conversation, and they were saying that at the
end of the day they like to get the printed paper
they can sit down and just look through,” Taylor
said. “I was surprised. I am a millennial, I like
paper, but I thought I was an outlier.”
Chamblee Signal turns 15
City newsletters still important in information age
Assistant to the city manager Teresa Taylor goes over a proof
copy of Chamblee’s newsletter, the Signal, with the printer
representative, Jennifer Campbell of Sauers Group.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 7A

DeKalb animal services offer
free pet adoptions
During September, LifeLine Animal Project
will offer a free pet adoption promotion called
“Fall in Love.” LifeLine invites the public to
celebrate the onset of fall by adopting any dog,
puppy, cat or kitten for free at the DeKalb County
Animal Services.
Adoption counselors will be on hand to en-
sure the animals are being placed in good homes.
Adopters will receive a dog or cat that has been
spayed or neutered, has had all vaccines and is
microchipped — a $200 value — for free.
To view animals available for adoption, or
for the shelter’s address and phone number, visit
DeKalb delegation to host series
of town hall meetings
The DeKalb County House Delegation will
host a series of town hall meetings on the follow-
ing dates:
• Monday, Oct. 13, 7 – 9 p.m. at Brookhaven
City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road
• Tuesday, Oct. 21, 7 – 9 p.m. at Maloof Audi-
torium, 1300 Commerce Drive
• Tuesday, Oct. 28, 7 – 9 p.m. at Porter San-
ford Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive
These meetings are open to the public. For
more information, contact State Rep. Dar’shun
Kendrick’s Capitol office at (404) 656-0109.
Fall dramatic arts classes for
youth scheduled
Kids from age 3 to those in the 8th grade will
have the opportunity to study theater arts at the
Keswick Community Center. Through Forefront
Arts, a regional children’s theater company, kids
will explore age-appropriate plays and acting
Classes will meet every Tuesday starting Sept.
2 through Nov. 25. From 3:45-4:30 p.m., kids age
3-5 will learn the basics of acting and explore the
golden age of Broadway through songs, crafts and
games. From 4:30-5:30 p.m., children in elemen-
tary school (K-five) will learn about the Golden
Age of Broadway and experience acting, vocal
and dance training. Older students in grades two
through eight will work on stage presence, char-
acter development and enunciation while per-
forming scenes from American classics.
For more information, go to ForefrontArts.
Sports academy offers free food
Sportz Center Academy located at 5330
Snapfnger Woods Drive, Decatur, is now
participating in the federally funded Child and
Adult Care Food Program.
Each Monday through Friday, Sportz Center
Academy serves free snacks and dinner to all
registered participants.
For more information about this USDA
program, call (770) 593-3149.
Activist group to hold public
Restore DeKalb presents People’s Forum I & II.
“Learn what the politicians don’t want you
to know” during events to be held at the San-
ford Realty Company Conference Center, 4183
Snapfinger Woods Drive, Decatur.
Restore DeKalb is a consortium of parents,
organizations, and homeowners with a mission to
unite and protect the children of DeKalb. 
Forum I is set for Sept. 13, while Forum II
will be held Oct. 11. Both start at 9:30 a. m.
 “Help restore $100 million to DeKalb County
School District (DCSD),” states the event’s an-
nouncement. “Help stop the removal of over $100
million dollars from DCSD since 2006 to tax
poor/receiver counties such as Gwinnett.”
For more information, visit www.restore-
City adopts new architectural
On Aug. 25, the city of Doraville adopted new
architectural standards to promote a new visual
identity for the community.
“Now we have a comprehensive ‘rule book’
for business owners to follow,” said Doraville City
Manager Shawn Gillen in a statement. “We’ve
gotten many comments from citizens asking to
make commercial areas such as Buford Highway
more appealing and that is our goal: to alter the
look of the area.”
The guidelines were modeled after Orange
County, Florida’s guidelines. Any business in
Doraville’s commercial areas or in the Livable
Community Code zones will be required to ad-
here to the guidelines if renovations or expan-
sions surpass 40 percent of the existing building
area. The new standards will be distributed to
business owners in the near future.
School band to host jazz event
The Martin Luther King Jr. High School band
program will host “Jazz on the Green” Sept. 13 at
the M.L. King courtyard at 7:30 p.m. The event
will introduce the “Back To Basics” band featuring
Travis Kimber, director of bands at M.L. King.
The concession will offer fried fish and hot-
dogs for starters. Alcoholic beverages are not al-
lowed. Admission to the event is $10 in advance
and $15 at the door. M.L. King Jr. High School is
located at 3991 Snapfinger Road in Lithonia. For
more information, email Rico Sanford at rico-
Organizations to host candidate

Tucker Civic Association, Main Street Tucker
Alliance and Smoke Rise Community Association
will host a candidate forum in the St. Andrews
Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 4882 Lavista
Road, Sept. 18. A “Meet and Greet” will be held
at 6:30 p.m. for candidates running in contested
as well as uncontested races. At 7 p.m., candidates
in contested races for federal, state and local of-
fices representing Tucker and Smoke Rise will be
participating in the forum, moderated by DeKalb
Superior Court Judge C. J. Becker. For more in-
formation, visit or email Jane
Tanner at
Stone Mountain
Commissioner to partner with
schools for community cleanup
Super District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson
will partner with DeKalb County, Keep DeKalb
Beautiful, Pine Ridge Elementary, Stephenson
Middle and High schools and Team Watson for a
cleanup along Stephenson and Rockbridge roads.
This cleanup effort will be Saturday, Sept. 13,
and will begin at 9 a.m. The starting point is Ste-
phenson Middle School, 922 Stephenson Road,
Stone Mountain.
Plant group celebrates two decades
The Georgia Native Plant Society is planning
two events for the public in September.
The organization will celebrate its 20th an-
niversary at the Chattahoochee Nature Center
on Sunday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The fall plant sale will be held at Stone Moun-
tain Park on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. The event will be held at the organization
propagation project site near Stone Mountain
Park’s walking trail parking lot.
For more information, visit
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 8A
Rethinking weight loss
Pastor uses holistic
approach to help
with weight loss
by Carla Parker
rowing up, Dr. Joseph Williams,
author and pastor of Salem Bible
Church in Atlanta and Lithonia,
considered himself as a husky, but
active child.
Williams was athletic, playing defensive
tackle for his high school football team. He was
set to play football at Morehouse College, but
he suffered a herniated disc injury the summer
before his freshman season. The injury ended
his football career and because he was not as
active, Williams began to gain weight.
Williams went from his playing-weight of
270 pounds to 330 pounds.
“I was eating a lot of food when I was
playing football, but I was extremely active,”
he said. “I had the same eating habits and
when you become stationary, not moving, the
pounds add up.”
Williams started having health issues due to
his weight. He had acute acid reflux and high
cholesterol, he was prehypertensive, “on the
verge” of being prediabetic and he had various
forms of arthritis. With all of these health
issues, Williams knew that he had to not only
lose weight, but change his lifestyle.
“I knew I was too young to have those
types of issues, and I knew that if I didn’t
do something then it would potentially
compromise my life,” he said.
Williams, 36, went on a holistic journey to
transform his mind, body and spirit, and in
the process, he lost 120 pounds. His success
led him to create “The Journey” in 2011.
“The Journey” is a 40-day process designed to
transform the mind, body and spirit.
Williams said “The Journey” is not a
weight loss program, but weight loss is the
“byproduct” of holistic living.
“One of the main principles we teach is how
to have a healthy relationship with food — not
just what you eat but how much you eat,” he
said. “When you’re teaching people the proper
foods to eat and the proper portion to eat along
with the spiritual and emotional [aspects], if
a person is doing what they’re supposed to do
the weight loss will become a byproduct of it.”
“The Journey” has 1,392 graduates who
have invested 6,624 hours and touched 5,896
lives during their transformation. Participants
of “The Journey” are weighed three times —
before the process begins, in the middle of the
process and when it ends.
Participants also have weekly small group
meetings, and they fill out an assessment when
they enter and exit the program.
“We take all that information and log it to
track all of our classes,” he said.
The spiritual aspect of the program is just
as important as the physical aspect, Williams
“We try to let people know that no one
facade is any more or less important than the
other,” he said. “Spirituality is key.”
Williams added that spirituality and
religion are not the same and “The Journey” is
free and opened to all.
“We’ve had individuals who are Christians,
Muslims, spiritual — and that’s important,” he
said. “Meditation is clinically and scientifically
been proven to calm the mind, increase focus,
lower heart disease and more. It’s a very
important part in everyone’s life.”
Although thousands have successfully
completed the program, Williams said there
were some who did not finish for various
“We never tell that it works for everyone,
but it works for those who are willing to do
what it takes,” he said.
Williams added the program is all about
encouraging lifestyle.
“Diet is always temporary,” he said. “The
diet that we formulate for them is a lifestyle-
type of plan: something that a person can stick
to for the rest of his or her life.”
Registration is now open for the next class,
which begins Sept. 6.
Stone Mountain recognized for outstanding achievement
by Carla Parker
he City of Stone Mountain Downtown
Development Authority and ART Sta-
tion Contemporary Arts Center were
awarded a Silver Award in Economic
The award recognized the organizations’
partnership to create, promote and develop an
arts incubator program with a mission of re-
furbishing vacant and at-risk properties in the
downtown area. The program not only refur-
bished these spaces but also provided an arts stu-
dio and gallery in each space.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced this week that
Stone Mountain was one of 13 Georgia cities rec-
ognized for outstanding achievement in urban
design, economic development, organizational
projects and downtown promotions at the an-
nual Georgia Downtown Conference Awards of
Excellence ceremony. The ceremony, which was
held Aug. 21 in Decatur, was the conclusion of
a weeklong conference for the state’s downtown
“Our downtowns are the heart of our com-
munities, and these award-winning cities set the
standard for downtowns across the state and na-
tion,” Deal said. “A vibrant, economically robust
downtown is a sign of an actively engaged com-
munity committed to enhancing its economic
competitiveness and its quality of life.”
ART Station selected artists for the program
from a competitive adjudication process. Art-
ists selected are required to attend 24 workshops
designed for new business owners and to keep
regular business hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Artists contribute 30 percent of the sales of
their work back into the program. Stone Moun-
tain and ART Station pay the rent and utilities
for the spaces. To date, five buildings have been
renovated in the downtown historic district and
because of the program, there are five new suc-
cessful art businesses operating in these facilities.
The program has received a “Trend Setter”
award from Georgia Trend Magazine, the “Best
Economic Development Award from the Atlanta
Regional Commission, the SMART Award from
the Georgia Arts Network, and the Most Creative
Economic Development Award from the Georgia
Municipal Association.
See Achievement on page 10A
Dr. Joseph Williams went on a holistic journey to
transform his mind, body and spirit, and in the
process, he lost 120 pounds. Photo by Carla Parker
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 9A
Rethinking weight loss
Clarkston plans participatory budgeting initiative
by Lauren Ramsdell
The city of Clarkston has passed
a resolution to encourage civic en-
gagement through a participatory
budgeting pilot program in fiscal
year 2015.
The resolution states that the
city intends to include a line item on
next year’s budget to provide fund-
ing for four community committees.
A total of $20,000 will be set aside.
“Participatory budgeting has
been around for almost two de-
cades,” said Clarkston Mayor Ted
Terry. “Larger cities do it, like New
York and Chicago. The general
idea is that it’s your tax dollars, you
should decide how some of it should
be spent.”
According to, a nonprofit
that promotes participatory
budgeting, the process was first
enacted in Brazil in 1989. It works
best for small communities and
municipalities but has been used for
other entities such as school systems
and counties.
Clarkston will be the first com-
munity in Georgia to have a codified
participatory budget process initia-
tive. Terry said the initiative will use
four already existing committees
in Clarkston: committees on public
safety, public art, education and ref-
ugee resettlement and welcoming.
“A lot of times people see gov-
ernment as scary or distant,” he said.
“We want to engage the people that
don’t always come to the city council
meetings to be more hands-on.”
Each council will be appropriat-
ed $5,000. The committee will come
up with public service ideas on how
to use that money. The ideas will be
brought to the council, which will
approve or deny the suggestions.
How the money is appropriated,
what kinds of projects will be al-
lowed and what, if any, account-
ability measures will be in place will
be decided on before the budget is
passed in November, Terry said.
There is a potential snag. The
$20,000 is contingent upon increased
tax revenue if the Nov. 4 annexation
re-vote passes. The annexation area
was voted on in May but ended in a
tie and must be voted on again. If the
annexation fails, Terry said the initia-
tive will likely move forward but have
to find an alternate source of funding
somewhere in the budget.
“We have not worked out all
the details yet, but the general idea
is that the committees that have
already been working, we want to
involve them,” Terry said. “Probably
by May or June of next year we will
have a list of projects to bring be-
fore the council. They don’t have to
spend all of the $5,000. The general
idea is we don’t want it to be city
government driven, we want it to be
very grassroots.”
Terry said the initiative gives
more power to Clarkston residents
and makes them feel included in
their city’s operations.
“I have been impressed; folks
I have never seen come to meet-
ings before come out to these. The
idea hopefully is when we put a
little more ownership in people can
say those are my tax dollars, and I
would like to be heard in how they
are spent. Five thousand dollars
is not a lot for a larger city, but in
Clarkston you can do a lot with that
Dunwoody officials ‘thrilled’ with
new water pump stations
by Andrew Cauthen
eKalb County and
Dunwoody officials
gathered Sept. 4 for a
ribbon-cutting ceremony for two
booster pump stations recently
completed in the county’s
$1.35 billion watershed capital
improvement project (CIP).
“Today is a good day here in
DeKalb County because we are
acknowledging some good work
that is going on,” said interim
DeKalb County CEO Lee May.
“The work that we do as county
government is not really the sexy
work all the time, especially when
you’re dealing with infrastructure
that’s on the ground or below the
“This work that we’re doing
is really going to meet the water
needs of the residents of Dunwoody
for years to come—I would say
decades to come,” May said. “It
will meet the needs of not only the
developments that are currently
here but future developments as
The completed $3.9 million
North Shallowford booster pump
station and $1.5 million Tilly Mill
booster station were unveiled
during the ceremony.
“People don’t really think
about the work that we do unless
something goes wrong—unless
there’s a pothole in the road, unless
there’s not police service when people
are looking forward to it, unless their
water goes out or, God forbid, their
water turns brown,” May said.
Dr. James Chancellor, the
county’s watershed director, said
the county so far has spent $70
million in the CIP, with $200
million in projects under way
currently. Additionally, 1,200 jobs
have been created and retained;
200 DeKalb residents have been
employed in the CIP.
“This is an outstanding project,”
Chancellor said of the Dunwoody
stations. “It will improve water
pressure. It replaces old equipment
with new equipment that we can
rely on for a long time.”
Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis
said city officials are “thrilled” with
the style of the stations’ buildings.
“This could have easily been an
ugly government-type building,” he
said. “The county really took into
consideration that we’re right here
in the middle of a neighborhood.”
The pump stations were
“finished in nine months,
on time and on budget,” said
Wendell Brown, the county’s CIP
construction manager.
The stations, which are the
“heart of the Dunwoody water
system…should take care of the
needs of all of the expansion…in
Dunwoody for the next 30 years,”
Brown said.
The new pump stations show
“the progress we’re making here
in DeKalb County and how well
we spend your tax dollars,” said
Commissioner Sharon Barnes
Sutton. “We’re very pleased with
the progress of this program,
and we’re looking forward to
many, many more successful
Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May (center) is fanked by Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton as a group of county and
Dunwoody offcials participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a booster pump station. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 10A
Looking for
a comeback
by Andrew Cauthen
fter an unsuccessful bid for the
state school superintendent job,
former DeKalb County school
board member Nancy Jester is now
running for the DeKalb County Board of
“We have got to restore credibility
and integrity to DeKalb County
and particularly to the District 1
commission seat and I’m here to do
that,” Jester said when she announced
her campaign Sept. 4.
Jester is seeking to fill the position
vacated by former commissioner Elaine
Boyer, who resigned Aug. 25 and has
pleaded guilty to charges of mail and wire
fraud after an instigation showed that she
used county funds for personal expenses.
A Republican and Dunwoody
resident, Jester was elected to the DeKalb
County Board of Education in 2010. In
2013, she was one of six board members
suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal after the
school district was placed on accreditation
probation by AdvancED, the parent
company of the Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools (SACS). She chose
not to fight the suspension.
“I’m really proud of my record
in DeKalb,” said Jester at the time. “I
uncovered the financial malfeasance in
Jester said she will be a “fiscal hawk” if
elected as the District 1 commissioner.
“I will be looking at bloat and waste
in DeKalb,” Jester said. “I think the only
way you restore ethics and integrity is
by electing people that have ethics and
Speaking of her parents, who were
present during her announcement, Jester
said, “I will do nothing to embarrass
them, which means I will do nothing to
embarrass you.”
Jester said disclosure will be a major
policy for her if elected.
“Disclosure to me means more
than transparency because it’s active
transparency,” Jester said. “Transparency
is sort of passive, in my book. Disclosure
means I’m going to put it out there up
front for you to see. You will see that
from day one with how I operate the
commissioner’s office. I will put my check
register up, so every time a paperclip
gets purchased or a check goes out of my
office, you’ll know about it in real time.”
Jester said these types of safeguards
are typical in other states’ municipalities
around the nation.
“We need to bring that to Georgia,”
she said. “We desperately need it in
DeKalb. Had we had that you probably
wouldn’t have seen the types of abuses
we’ve seen in DeKalb over the years.”
Sen. Fran Millar told supporters,
“We’re all happy to see that Nancy is
throwing her hat in the ring for this
commission seat.
“The biggest thing that someone could
do down there for the commission…
is, first of all, have a brain. And No. 2,
be able to be fiscally responsible,” Millar
said. “That’s really what Nancy has
demonstrated over the years.”
Ex-school board member seeks county commission seat
Transportation and Infrastructure
Jobs right now
Open and Honest Government
Preserving the Environment
Raising the minimum wage
Lt. Governor
November 4, 2014
Former State Senator
Toll and Fleming Fellow
Former DeKalb County
Japanese Exchange Program
Foreign Policy Institute
BBA - Mar ke t i ng
Georgia State University
California State University
MPA - Public Management
Leadershi p Col l ege
UNC Chapel Hill
Contribute at or
Connie Stokes for Lt. Governor
P.O. BOX 360382 Decatur, Ga 30036
Paid for by Connie Stokes for Lt. Governor, Inc
Medicaid Expansion
“She will Make A Difference”
Nancy Jester wants to “restore credibility and integrity” to the commission seat she is seeking.
Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Achievement Continued from page 8A
The National Endowment for the Arts gave the pro-
gram the “Best Place Making for Arts and Economic De-
velopment Award in 2012. The program features artists
demonstrating and showcasing works in glass, iron, metal,
collage, quilting, painting, jewelry and cast glass.
“We know that great downtowns are huge economic
assets to their communities,” said Georgia Department
of Community Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Corbin.
“These awards recognize the effort and dedication of many
people – elected officials, staff, volunteers and citizens –
and encourage other communities to explore ways to en-
hance their downtowns.”
More than 50 communities across Georgia were nomi-
nated this year, with 13 selected for gold, silver or bronze
awards in each of the four categories. Cartersville won the
Downtown Development Program of the Year award for
its work in all four categories.
“The number and quality of the awards for these out-
standing projects reminds us that the hard work of each
individual community, no matter how large or small,
contributes to making Georgia a great state in which to
live, work and play,” said Georgia Downtown Association
President Tommy Lowmon.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 11A
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
Jaggy the Jaguar, Georgia Perimeter College’s mascot, leads a parade
of recently retired college faculty and staff during the 2014 Convocation.
Photo by Lauren Ramsdell
Workers place fags in Avondale Estates in recognition of 9/11. Photo by Gale Horton Gay
Members of the Allgood Road United Methodist Church held a dedication ceremony for their
peace garden. Photo by Travis Hudgons
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 12A
Angel Flight Soars Executive Director Jeanine Chambers and volunteer pilot John Alston stand with a Cirrus SR22, the
type of plane Alston fies on missions. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell
Angel Flight Soars across the region
by Lauren Ramsdell
errible accidents and illnesses don’t
always take place around major
hospitals. Around the country, children
and adults with serious medical
conditions may not be able to reach top-notch
hospitals to receive care.
That’s where groups such as Angel Flight
Soars come in.
Angel Flight is a nonprofit medical flight
service based out of DeKalb County’s DeKalb-
Peachtree Airport (PDK). Across Georgia,
Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina
and South Carolina, Angel Flight volunteers
fly patients from their home cities to the place
they’ll receive treatment, or, partner with other
agencies to go as far as Minnesota.
Founded in 1983, Angel Flight started small.
By 2000, services had increased 550 percent.
“If it’s something that can be treated locally,
we don’t help with that,” said Jeanine Chambers,
executive director. “We generally take patients
for more specialized centers or for repeat visits. It
depends on their conditions.”
Local recreational pilots donate their time,
aircraft and fuel to transport patients. The office
headquarters are donated by PDK.
Patients and their families send in requests
for transport, usually well in advance of regular
treatment. The main office in DeKalb handles
all requests, inputs the requests into an online
system and coordinates pilots who can take on
the mission. A large whiteboard in the office lists
case numbers, names, departing airports, pilot
names, any transfer information and departure
airports. The board is updated several times per
day by Bernadette Darnell, director of mission
A large map behind Darnell’s desk goes north
to Minnesota and west to the Rocky Mountains.
A pin with a length of string with 100-mile
marks helps Darnell see how many legs of a
journey lie between point A and point B.
“We have pilots throughout the whole South,
our sister organizations have pilots throughout
their general area,” Darnell said. “Wherever
you’re headed, that’s who you contact.”
In cases such as organ transplant approvals,
patients are notified they may get the organ
but will never know exactly when. In that case,
several pilots sign up to be on-call and patients
call them directly for a pick-up.
Sometimes, Angel Flight has responded to
disasters. Immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, all air
traffic was grounded. However, the Red Cross
and other medical organizations rely heavily
on blood being flown in at regular intervals.
Angel Flight was given the OK from the Federal
Aviation Administration to start flying Sept. 12.
For the first days after the attack, Angel Flight
pilots were the only ones crossing American
Similarly, after Hurricane Katrina tore
through the Gulf Coast, Angel Flight pilots
descended with food, first aid and supplies.
Hangars at PDK were repurposed to store
supplies. Because of the small size of many of
the Angel Flight planes, they were able to reach
badly affected and remote areas across the
region. For five weeks, some communities on the
gulf were wholly supplied by Angel Flight.
But mainly, the organization arranges travel
for people who can’t afford or can’t make the trip
to a medical facility. Sometimes it’s as simple as
getting a patient from Folkson, Ga. to Atlanta,
but other times it can involve repeated trips to St.
Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. or
other long-term specialty treatment facilities.
“A lot of people come from south Georgia
and that’s a four and a half hour drive,”
Chambers said. “You come up here for, quite
frankly, an hour and a half appointment – most
of them don’t have just one child, so now they
have issues with childcare, or bringing all three
of their children to get treatment for the one.
Oftentimes, with married couples, one of them
has given up a job to devote the time that it takes
to get to all the appointments.”
Angel Flight services are always free and
serves a significant population that is at poverty
level, Chambers said. But, medical expenses can
impact families across the income spectrum and
a free flight is one way to alleviate some of those
“If your child has to be somewhere every
two weeks four or five states away, that will
put a healthy bite into those people’s budgets,”
Chambers said.
Occasionally, Angel Flight will also fly family
or friends to visit sick or injured relatives if they
can’t make the flight or drive on their own.
Atlanta native and volunteer pilot John
Alston started flying when he was between
jobs and interested in recreational aviation. He
heard about Angel Flight and was on board soon
after he got his pilot’s license. He is now vice-
chairman of the organization’s board and flies
several missions each year.
“It was a terrific excuse to get out in a plane,
log some hours, take my son with me and help
somebody out,” Alston said. “Since then, I do a
lot of business throughout the Southeast so it’s
great if I can combine one of my business trips
with, ‘Hey, someone needs to get from Fairhope,
Ala., to Atlanta’ or wherever I happen to be.”
Alston has flown everyone from a group of
soldiers visiting a friend to children receiving
cancer treatments. He sometimes lets kids come
up front and, with supervision, use some of the
“A lot of time the mom or dad that’s never
gotten any rest, they’re always immersed in the
problem, and they’ve gone to sleep in the back
of my plane,” Alston said. “You’ve given them a
moment’s peace of mind.”
Angel Flight flies more than 2,000 missions
per year. In 2012, it completed 2,361 missions
and connected patients with hundreds more.
“We like to say we’re giving them a lift
physically but also spiritually,” Chambers said.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 13A LOCAL NEWS
Jamaica Continued From Page 1A
Ellis Continued From Page 1A
already logged into their emails and were on
Te second class moved us from the
computer lab to a large room with ULC
volunteer Marian Johnson and her Math 24
card game. Everyone acclimated themselves
to the game right away and were soon moving
through the cards faster than I could pass them
out. Te smiles witnessed and the joy felt are
nearly indescribable. It was amazing being part
of something so beautiful as the education of
children in the hill country of Jamaica. It put into
perspective the perseverance and dedication of a
small group of people fostered by the resources of
Unconditional Love For Children.
We also explored various literacy exercises
during the third class period. While the students
worked on their assignments, we worked closely
with those who needed help and it felt like
a genuine teaching experience. I spent time
working with student Rodrick England on his
paragraph about his love of football (soccer in the
U.S.). We began to see the challenges of teaching
as it requires judgment calls on how much
time to spend with children who need more
help and how much time to spend on lesson
plans. Sometimes, most of the time, we had to
Te frst afernoon was meant to be split into
two separate events: arts and recess. However,
with the threat of rain looming, we retreated
indoors for arts and crafs hosted by Tabitha
Dacres and Joshua Durant. Te children drew
and adorned paper masks which they wore with
pride and joy. On others days students decorated
Jamaican fags or crafed bracelets and necklaces
from decorative pipe cleaner straws.
I remember July 16 being especially difcult
as it was our last day with Watford Hill Primary
School. Many heart-felt hugs and goodbyes and
kind words were shared as we made ready to
leave. Te bus could be heard pulling around the
corner, almost as if it was the sound of reality
coming to carry us home. Although, I had not
felt more at home in Jamaica than I had at that
We all shared incredible experiences thanks
to Earl and Carolyn Glenn and Betty Palmer
from Unconditional Love for Children, Nicolette
Rose and Terry Bozeman from GPC, and the
staf and faculty at Watford Hill Primary School.
Trough their eforts, I came to realize how
important it is to foster education.
Education is not an expensive
accommodation meant only for the wealthy and
privileged. Education is a human right meant to
move people through their time on this planet.
Education is how we learn to communicate, how
we learn to build and how we learn to grow.
At Watford Hill Primary School, students
of Hopewell in Hanover, Jamaica, by are given
the gif of education. We all should realize how
valuable that is and understand we can each do
something to help foster education together.
in his home, Ellis said he was given
a copy of the search warrant when
he fnished his testimony.
Te search warrant was “extraor-
dinarily broad in scope, so I don’t
know what they’re looking for,” said
Ellis, adding that he did not know
whether he was a target in the inves-
“I haven’t done anything that I’m
aware of and nor has my staf done
anything that I’m aware of that is
inappropriate,” Ellis said.
Although he said he was per-
plexed by the search warrant, Ellis
said, “I’m not concerned given the
fact that nothing’s wrong that I have
done, nothing improper that I have
done, nothing that I have to hide.
We will be as forthcoming as we
possibly can.”
In addition to Ellis’ home and
ofce, searches were conducted at
the ofce of former Ellis campaign
manager Kevin Ross, the county’s
information technology, purchasing
and contracting, fnance and elec-
tions ofces.
Ten days later, Ellis had retained
a defense team, including former
DeKalb DA J. Tom Morgan; Craig
Gillen, a defense attorney who spe-
cializes in trials involving racketeer-
ing and fnancial crimes; Anthony
Lake; and former assistant DeKalb
DA John Peachtree.
“I want to say emphatically that I
have done nothing wrong,” Ellis told
reporters as he introduced his legal
“Since this investigation began
about a year ago, I have cooper-
ated 100 percent in good faith with
the District Attorney’s Ofce,” Ellis
said. “Recent events, however, have
caused me to question whether I am
being dealt with in good faith.”
On June 18, 2013, nearly six
months afer Ellis’ home and of-
fce were searched by investigators
from the DA’s Ofce, the CEO was
indicted on 15 counts, including 14
Te indictment contained four
counts of criminal attempt to com-
mit thef by extortion; three counts
of thef by taking; two counts of
criminal attempt to commit false
statements and writings; three
counts of coercion of other employ-
ees to give anything of value for
political purposes; two counts of
conspiracy in restraint of free and
open competition; and conspiracy
to defraud a political subdivision.
According to the indictment, El-
lis instructed county staf to compile
contact lists of vendors with the
county and then used that list to
demand campaign contributions. If
the vendor refused, Ellis allegedly
threatened to end their contract
with the county.
“As I’ve said from the very begin-
ning, [I’ve] done nothing wrong
and I would never, ever, ever do
anything to violate the public trust,”
said Ellis, afer he turned himself in
at the DeKalb County Jail, posted a
$25,000 bond, was booked and re-
Nearly a week later, on June 24,
2013, Ellis addressed county workers
and again denied any wrongdoing.
“I know the events of the last
week caught everybody by sur-
prise,” Ellis said, “but I want to say
to you…what I’ve been saying all
along: ‘First and foremost I have
done nothing wrong.’
“Anybody who knows me or has
objectively examined my record
knows my character. I stand on that
character, and I want you to know
that and remain focused and be en-
couraged,” Ellis said.
“You have chosen a very difcult
journey, you have chosen public ser-
vice,” Ellis said. “We do it because
it’s what we are called to do—to
serve other people.”
For Ellis that service was halted
on July 16, 2013, when Gov. Nathan
Deal accepted the recommendation
of a panel he formed and suspend-
ed Ellis from ofce.
“I agree with the bipartisan panel
of elected ofcials that the allega-
tions against Burrell Ellis directly
relate to and adversely afect his
ability to carry out his duties as
DeKalb CEO,” Deal said.
In response Ellis said, “I will
devote myself 100 percent toward
defending myself against these un-
substantiated and unprecedented…
charges” and added that he will
“look forward to returning to ofce
afer the suspension period.”
Lee May, who was the presiding
ofcer of the DeKalb County Board
of Commissioners, was sworn in as
interim CEO hours afer Ellis’ sus-
Ellis has rarely spoken publicly
since his suspension, but in a De-
cember 2013 radio interview with
former DeKalb County CEO Ver-
non Jones on radio station WAOK,
Ellis spoke of “full vindication.”
“I look forward to the day of
returning to the ofce that they
elected me to serve. I want to fnish
the job…that God called me to and
that the people entrusted in me,”
Ellis said. “Tere’s a dark cloud that
remains over DeKalb County until
that day when I return to ofce.”
It is unknown how long the Ellis
trial will last.
Watford Hill Primary School students with representatives from Unconditional Love for Children and Georgia Perim-
eter College. Photo by Justin Beaudrot
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 PAGE 14A
Lead by example
‘After 20 years, you see so
many young people get
in to trouble and you ask
yourself what you can do.’
– Donald Smith
by Lauren Ramsdell
the latter part of his career in law
enforcement, Donald Smith began to
wonder how he could help youth that
end up in the criminal justice system. He
retired from a 20-year career with the Atlanta Police
Department in 2001 and became a school resource
officer with DeKalb County School District soon
“I probably retired on Dec. 4 and was working in the
schools on Dec. 5,” Smith said.
Since then, with the exception of a brief stint as
deputy chief for Atlanta Public Schools, Smith has served
DeKalb’s schools. He was promoted to chief and director
of public safety for DeKalb County schools in May 2014.
“The most important thing is, clearly you have to
understand the mission and goals of education,” Smith
said. “It’s my belief that when we talk about educating
our kids, the environment has to be clean and the
environment has to be safe. It’s incumbent upon us that
we are taking all the precautions to ensure they are safe.”
Smith is an Atlanta and DeKalb County native,
having graduated from Murphy High School (now
Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School). He
attended Andrew College in Cuthbert and Mercer
University in Macon, intending to continue on to law
school. But financial constraints being what they were,
he decided to seek employment and was hired by Atlanta
“After 20 years, you see so many young people get in
to trouble and you ask yourself what you can do,” Smith
said. “We need to address this in the front end, so I was
motivated by that. As a result of that I was assigned to
Henderson Middle School and Clarkson High School for
a while.”
For years, school resource officers were only
patrolling the halls of middle and high schools. But
from day one of his directorship Smith said he has been
petitioning the board of education to provide for officers
at elementary schools. Last year’s shooting at McNair
Discovery Learning Academy served as a wake-up call
for many. The county board of education found money
to place resource officers in elementary school “clusters,”
making the 2014-2015 school year the first time any
school district in Georgia has had armed resource
officers in elementary schools.
“When we think about the possibility of terrorists,
what they want is the media coverage,” Smith said.
“What are our most vulnerable commodities? Our
elementary schools. We didn’t have it at the elementary
school level, so as a result of that, even though we’re
working in clusters we are able to respond to whatever
the schools need.”
Smith is a realist. He calls school safety threats
the “window of jeopardy” and says that while the
window cannot ever fully be closed, he and his
officers work to make the crack as small as possible.
“We train our personnel when it comes to fire
drills, intruder alert drills,” he said. “We make sure
our buildings are safe in terms of doors. Are [the
officers] being vigilant and visible? All these things
shrink our window. All these things play an integral
part in school safety.”
Smith said the most work in school policing comes
from being there for students: being a counselor, a
mentor and a friend for kids to trust. The majority
of successful officers, he said, have children
and families of their own and have a gift
for interacting with children.
So far this year, he said, fights
and altercations are down from
previous years. The district uses
data to track where resources
are needed. He attributes
the decrease in violence to
officers having a handle on
potential problems before
they get out of hand.
“That’s one thing that I
noticed right away that the
volume of calls is down
and fights are way down,”
Smith said. “That tells
you that we’re getting
ahead of it. Fights don’t just happen,
there’s something that precipitates it.
When you get a word that there may be
some rancor, some problems, by getting
ahead of it you reduce the number of
Smith said that in his five-month
stint as the schools’ chief safety officer,
he has received a lot of positive
“I like to think I am a servant-
leader,” he said. “Knowing that the job
is being done, and you’re doing it well
is fantastic. And who validates that?
The people that I serve.
Service to schools is safety chief ’s motto
Donald Smith, director of public safety for DeKalb County
schools, says safety has increased and altercations are down
across district schools so far this year. Photo provided
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 PAGE 15A
Back in black
DeKalb school system has $30.9 million surplus
The Good News is:
More than half of young adults in DeKalb County about 55% did not have an
alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days.
One-third of young adults avoid alcohol when they are around it.
Every young adult does not drink alcohol! Over 30% in Lithonia, Decatur and Stone Mountain
admitted they do not drink alcohol.
The Sad News is:
Youth who drink alcohol are 7.5 times more likely to use other illegal drugs and 50 times more
likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink.
Alcohol use among youth is closely related to dropouts, truancy, low literacy, and poor grades.
Alcohol use among teens is associated with the three most common
causes of teenage deaths: accidental deaths such as car crashes,
homicides and suicides.
For more information- Call (770) 285-6037 or
Did you know?
Not a
by Lauren Ramsdell
year and a half ago, the
DeKalb County Board of
Education took their seats in
the boardroom on Mountain Indus-
trial Boulevard and stared down the
barrel of a $21.4 million defcit.
At the Sept. 8 board meeting,
however, Chief Financial Ofcer
Michael Bell announced the district
now has a $30.9 million surplus, up
$10.9 million, or 35 percent, from
the original estimated surplus of $20
“We’ve made signifcant progress
in a short period of time,” said Su-
perintendent Michael Turmond,
“and we have every expectation of
attaining full fnancial health for the
DeKalb County School District.”
Turmond has said his goal is
to increase the fund balance surplus
to $66 million. Since February 2013,
when he and appointed board mem-
bers took ofce, the fund has grown
by $52.3 million.
“We’ve maximized existing rev-
enue streams, reduced legal expenses
and have gained better control over
personnel costs,” said Melvin John-
son, chairman of the DeKalb County
Board of Education. “We now have
more accurate projections of our
costs, and we’re avoiding the over-
spending that occurred in the past.
Tere has been a tremendous turn-
around in legal expenses alone, al-
lowing us to shif those dollars from
courtrooms to classrooms.”
Te fscal year 2014’s initial esti-
mated surplus of $20 million led to
elimination of all teacher furlough
days, provided for school resource
ofcers at elementary schools and
enabled raises for teachers and staf.
Te school district recently came of
probation in May following board-
led improvements in transparency,
openness and fscal responsibility.

Charter district discussed
Also at the meeting, parents and
teachers discussed the district’s plan
to become a charter school district.
“I want to thank all of your for
your hard work since you were ap-
pointed,” said Randy Fagin David,
a DeKalb schools parent during the
open comment session. “Te gov-
ernor appointed most of you out of
488 people that ofered to serve our
schools, he thought you were the in-
dividuals most able to think critically
and turn our system around.”
But, David said, much of the
work is being undermined by lack of
trust in the board, particularly about
the charter district.
“I am particularly concerned
about the decision to become a char-
ter district while at the same time
denying the Druid Hills Charter peti-
tion. Te district’s move to a charter
system seems rushed. Last winter,
parents and stakeholders spent valu-
able time on feedback [sessions] as
requested, then a committee spent a
lot of time reviewing the comments.
Ten, in May, Superintendent Tur-
mond answered questions about
what the charter district would in-
clude and what it would look like,
and your answer was that it would
depend on what was in the petition.”
Tree other parents and teachers
spoke during the public comment
session along the same lines. How-
ever, because of legal technicalities,
no one signed up for the “public
hearing” portion of the public com-
ment session. Tat means that the
comments were heard and will be
public record as part of the normal
board meeting, but will not be public
record as part of a “public hearing”
on the petition.
Tere was no hard copy of any
draf petition available at the meet-
ing. In previous engagement sessions,
District 3 Superintendent Trenton
Arnold said that a copy may have
been available by the Sept. 8 meeting,
but acknowledged that the timeline
was “aggressive.”
“It was a high level overview and
we will narrow the focus as ideas
come in and present themselves,”
Arnold said. “It’s a work in progress.
We plan on having a draf available at
least 10 days prior to the board meet-
ing [on Oct. 8].”
Te board could vote to ap-
prove the petition as early as Oct. 8,
but could also request changes from
district staf. Arnold said that the
district staf is still taking comments
from teachers, principals and parents
while it is drafing the petition.
Superintendent Michael Thurmond and the DeKalb County School District Board of Education announced an increased budget surplus of $30.9 million at the Sept. 8 board
meeting. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 16A
Partners Chean Chea and Miguel Moreno have built a business that draws customers from neighboring states
and other countries. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
by Kathy Mitchell
Miguel Moreno was introduced to the
furniture and upholstery business through a
technical training program while he was in high
school in El Paso, Texas. “I loved it from day one,”
he said.
Moreno was so excited about becoming an
upholsterer that with help from his family as a
teen he bought a $1,000 sewing machine on an
installment plan. “Tat was a lot of money back
in the 1980s, and I was just a 15-year-old kid.
Each month I would earn the money and mail it
in with a payment coupon,” he recalled.
Today, he and partner Chean Chea are
owners of Custom Slipcover & Upholstery in
Decatur. Te company has a staf of nine to
15 employees at any given time. Still, visitors
are likely to fnd both owners busy at sewing
machines, cutting tables and other work stations.
Both like to remain hands-on.
“I’ve never met anyone who works harder
than she does,” Moreno said of his partner.
“She’s a great partner. In addition to being a hard
worker, she’s highly organized and trustworthy.
She takes care of bills, taxes and other things
while I bring in new work, supervise the work
and train employees.”
Te two met approximately 35 years ago
when Chea accepted a job at an upholstery
business where Moreno was manager. When
Chea suddenly announced that she was quitting,
Moreno was alarmed. “She was the best worker I
ever had. I wanted to know why she was leaving.
Did she want more money? Had someone
ofended her?”
Chea wanted to start her own business and
have a more fexible schedule that allowed her
time with her family. Moreno agreed to let her
work on a freelance basis for the company he was
managing. Soon the two decided to form their
own company.
Chea learned to sew in a refugee program
afer she fed war-torn Cambodia in the early
1980s. Since establishing her business, she has
sponsored family members to come to the United
States, where she and Moreno have trained them
to work in the upholstery business.
Moreno said 95 percent of their employees
knew nothing about upholstery work when they
came to Custom Slipcover & Upholstery. “It’s
hard to fnd people who have been trained in this
business, so I train them myself,” He explained.
“When I train someone, I know he or she will do
the work the way I like it done. I like to get young
people who want to learn. I don’t mind showing
someone fve, 10, 15 times how to do something
if that’s what it takes—as long as the person wants
to learn.”
Te partners say that providing job skills for
those who need them is one way they serve the
community. Tey also donate work and materials
for such nonprofts as MedShare, which recovers
and redistributes surplus medical supplies and
As Custom Slipcover & Upholstery outgrew
facilities over the years it moved to larger
ones. “We moved here 10 years ago from a
10,000-square-foot building in Scottdale. Our
current space is more than 22,000 square feet
and at times it’s not big enough,” Moreno said of
the Decatur facility on East Ponce de Leon, the
former headquarters of a restaurant chain.
No project, Moreno said, is too small or too
large. “We will do two chairs or chairs for an
entire hotel,” he noted adding that about half
the company’s work is for individual residences
and about half is for such commercial facilities
as restaurants and hotels. Work sometimes takes
the partners to neighboring states as well as to
Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Te company does woodworking and
builds furniture as well as refurbishing existing
furniture. “Every job is a custom job,” Moreno
said. “Sometimes clients know exactly what they
want and give us pictures or sketches and at other
times we help them fgure it out. Tere’s not a lot
we can’t do.”
Upholstery company furnishes homes,
businesses—and jobs
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 17A
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Page 18A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014

Shall we dance?
Dance company season to include international collaborations
by Kathy Mitchell
Sue Schroeder, founder and
artistic director of Decatur-based
CORE Performance Company,
said since the company’s inception
she has sought to bring audiences
innovative and engaging
performances of a type rarely seen in
the area.
“We bring performing arts
together with visual and other types
of art to introduce experiences
audiences don’t expect outside New
York,” Schroeder said.
The company’s upcoming world
premiere performance of a home is
a home is a home is an example of
such work. Created by Schroeder
in collaboration with the artists of
CORE Performance Company, a
home is a home is a home is a site-
specific dance work created for the
High Museum of Art’s Mi Casa, Your
Casa installation. The interactive
outdoor art piece is the creation of
Mexican designers-in-residence
Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena.
In an announcement of
the event, which is scheduled
to premiere Sept. 26, CORE
Performance Company states, “a
home is a home is a home explores
the concept of ‘home,’ places of
origin, and the social units formed
among people when living together.”
It was commissioned by the
High Museum of Art to complement
Esrawe and Cadena’s 36 three-
dimensional structures that “form
a community of open frames in
the shape of a house” on the High
Museum’s Sifly Piazza. “The houses
are a blank canvas for community
engagement and activity in a basic
form recognizable and relatable to
all—the home,” according to the
High Museum.
Schroeder said she’s excited to
open CORE’s 29th season in Decatur
with “this dynamic project.” The
performances, Sept. 26 at 7 and 8
p.m., are free and open to the public
with no ticket reservations required.
They will be accompanied by live
music from Bent Frequency, Georgia
State University’s ensemble-in-
“CORE Performance Company
has a rich history of creating dance
in both museum environments and
other site-specific contexts,” she
said, adding that a home is a home
is a home “allows us to align these
traditions in a significant way.”
Schroeder founded CORE
Performance Company 34 years ago
in Houston, Texas, “to fill a void.”
“There just wasn’t a lot of new
and original professional dance
being performed outside New York,”
she recalled. “I wanted to change
that. I believe genius should be
shared. I wanted to create a place
where professional artists could
create, collaborate with other artists
and be paid for their work.”
After the 1970s oil crisis
damaged the Texas economy,
support for the arts there was hard
to secure. With a friend’s help,
Schroeder found a space in Decatur.
The dance company still has a
presence in Houston even though its
founder now lives in Tucker.
The High performance will be
followed in October by another
event Schroeder said “offers a unique
international perspective to the
Atlanta community.”
Toulouse: A Creative Dialogue
is to be presented in partnership
with Consulate Général de France
à Atlanta. The event series is
the performance culmination of
CORE Performance Company’s
international exchange project with
Toulouse-based dance company,
Association Manifeste.
Calling the two years of
reciprocal visits “a true cultural
exchange with the talented artists of
Association Manifeste,” Schroeder
commented that CORE is enriched
by the opportunity to work with the
French dance company.
Lithonia High School bookkeeper arrested for theft
by Andrew Cauthen
A former Lithonia High School
bookkeeper has been charged with
stealing from the school.
Stephine Barkley, 38, of
McDonough, was arrested on Aug.
27 by DeKalb County Sheriff ’s
deputies and charged with theft
by taking. A $2,500 bond for her
release was posted on Aug. 28.
In a statement to The Champion,
Donald Smith, the school district’s
public safety director, said, “A recent
internal investigation by the school
district discovered missing funds
from accounts at Lithonia High
“Based on our investigation,
the bookkeeper responsible for
the accounts was terminated
and arrested,” Smith stated. “The
DeKalb District Attorney’s Office
was notified and the results of our
investigation were turned over to
Robert James, the DeKalb County
district attorney, for prosecution.”
The missing funds came to
light when school club sponsors
complained to the principal
that their account balances were
Additionally, Varsity Spirit
Fashions, a vendor for cheerleader
uniforms, emailed school officials
about a $9,700 past due balance
from the 2013-14 school year. The
cheerleader account only had $354
in it, according to a statement
obtained by The Champion.
Because of the outstanding
balance, cheerleaders could not
order new uniforms for the current
school year, according to a letter
from the vendor, which threatened
to take the matter to the school
district level.
Barkley confessed in a written
statement to a school district
In the statement, obtained by
The Champion in response to an
Open Records Request, Barkley’s
listed duties included payroll,
purchasing, school auditing and
deposits. She also worked as the
cheerleading sponsor for the 2013-
14 academic year.
In the Aug. 21 affidavit, Barkley
stated that she began having “some
financial difficulties at home.”
She took school deposits to pay
her rent and children’s daycare bills,
she stated.
“I think I may have taken
approximately $15,000, more or less;
however, I really don’t know how
much I took over time,” Barkley
The former bookkeeper said
she tried to “put some of the money
back around December or January,”
but “could not put enough money
back…to cover all the money I had
Barkley stated that she “recently
secured a second job to help make
ends meet and to help me pay back
some of the funds.”
“I am willing to pay back all of
the monies that I took…and I am
sorry for [any] harm I have [caused]
anyone at the school district,”
Barkley stated.
Barkley had been with the
school district since November
2007, working first at Lakeside High
and then moving to Lithonia High
‘I think I may have taken
approximately $15,000, more or
less; however, I really don’t know
how much I took over time.’
– Stephine Barkley
See Dance on page 20A
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 Page 19A
Kicking is important in football, too
Carla Parker
Sports Reporter
Stephenson lost to Central
Miami 21-20 in the Georgia-
Florida Battle of the Borders
showdown Aug. 30.
However, the game could have
been tied at the end of regulation
and gone into an overtime period,
but that did not happen because
Stephenson does not have an
accurate kicker who can kick an
extra point or a field goal. But that
is not just a Stephenson problem.
Lack of a kicking game is
a problem for many teams in
DeKalb County.
In the Aug. 22 matchup
between Southwest DeKalb and
Columbia, Columbia had a 12-7
lead heading into the fourth
quarter, but Southwest DeKalb
rallied to score the winning
touchdown to win the game 13-12.
If Columbia had a kicking game,
it could have won the game 14-13,
or the game could have been tied
at 14 if both teams and kicked the
extra point successfully.
Having a good kicker is not
just important for regular season
game, but it is critical in the
playoffs, especially if all a team
needs is another point or two
to win. In 2012 in the second
round of the playoffs, M.L. King
had fallen behind 6-0 in the first
half after two Allatoona field
goals. M.L. King rallied to take
a 12-6 lead after scoring two
touchdowns but missed the extra
The team scored another
touchdown in the third quarter
and actually made the extra point
to take a 19-6 lead. However,
Allatoona rallied and scored two
touchdowns, making both extra
points, and went on to win the
game 20-19. If M.L. King had
made the extra point after its first
two scores, it would have won the
game 21-20.
There has been misconception
in football that kickers and
punters are not as important as
the other players on the team
because all they do is kick a ball.
Kickers and punters are not in the
trenches with offensive linemen
and defensive linemen pushing,
pulling and blocking one another.
Kickers are not usually as
fast as running backs and do not
take the beatings that running
backs receive when running
through tacklers. Kickers and
punters do not run routes or make
spectacular catches as do wide
receivers. Most times–because
some punters do–kickers do not
sacrifice their bodies the way
linebackers and defensive backs to
make a tackle.
Kickers and punters often
cannot throw an accurate pass, a
deep ball, a swing pass or spin a
football like quarterbacks do.
All of that stuff is great and
makes football the exciting game
that it is today. However, can those
quarterbacks, running backs,
wide receivers, offensive linemen,
defensive linemen, linebackers
and defensive backs kick a 48-
yard field goal on a final play
with seconds left to play to lead
his team to a Super Bowl win, the
way Adam Vinatieri did for the
Patriots in the 2001 season?
Kickers and punters are
football players too–real football
players. If a team is in a semifinals
playoff game, down by 1 point
with 2 seconds left to play on the
opponents’ 20-yard line, that team
will need a kicker who can kick a
37-yard field goal to win the game.
Football is also about field
position. If my team goes three
and out on our own 45-yard line, I
would want a punter that can punt
the ball inside the 10-yard line to
force the opponent’s offense to try
to drive down the field 90-plus
yards to score.
Kickers and punters may not
typically be as strong as the other
players on the team, but they are a
critical aspect of the game.
DeKalb has had good kickers
over the years from Redan’s Kevin
Butler and Chris Gardocki, to
Lakeside’s Dale Donatelli, to
Eric Weber of Tucker, and to
Wisdom Nzidee, who kicked for
Stephenson from 2011-2013 and
had a season record for points
scored (61) in 2012.
However, since Nzidee
graduated in 2014, Stephenson
has not found a kicker who can
provide the same production that
Nzidee did. That is where the
problem lies with most football
programs in DeKalb. A team will
have a good kicker for three or
four years, but after that player
graduates, no one is in line to take
over that position and provide
good production.
Some people say, “Just go get
a kid from the soccer team to kick
for you,” and sometimes that works
for a few teams. However, if the
school is in an urban community
where youth soccer is nonexistent,
then the majority of the times the
guy who is playing soccer for that
school is learning how to play
soccer for the first time and can’t
kick a soccer ball in the goal, let
alone between a goal post.
Kickers should be developed in
the youth football leagues, just as
passers, runners and receivers are
developed, especially in the urban
communities. If they are taught at
a young age and become talented
kickers, they will be beneficial to
a high school football team later
on and could go on to be the next
Adam Vinatieri.
by Carla Parker
even total tackles
and two quarterback
That is the stat
line of Marist defensive end
Kenneth Brinson against
Godby of Tallahassee, Fla., in
the Chick-fil-A Battle of the
Borders on Aug. 30. The night
before the game, Brinson had
just arrived back in Atlanta
from Nanjing, China.
Brinson was in China
Aug. 14-27 competing in
the 2014 Youth Olympic
Games. He participated in the
hammer throw competition,
where he finished 14th with a
final throw of 59.51. He threw
a 63.20 in the qualifying
He also participated in the
8x100m Mixed Team relay,
an event that features teams
composed of eight randomly
selected male and female
athletes from all National
Olympic Committees and
from every track and field
After returning from
China, Brinson showed no
signs of jet lag or tiredness.
Five of his seven total tackles
were solo. Brinson and the
defense held Godby to 40
yards of passing in Marist’s
17-14 win over Godby.
Godby’s quarterback was
also sacked twice by Kevin
Coughlin and Charlie Utsch.
Brinson qualified for
the Youth Olympic Games
after winning gold in the
U.S. Area Youth Olympic
Selection Trials in Miramar,
Fla., in April. He threw a
Brinson is a two-time
track and field state champion
in the discus throw, winning
the Class AAAA title in 2013
and 2014.
Brinson plays well after China trip
Marist defensive end Kenneth Brinson got seven total tackles and two quarterback hurries against
Godby of Tallahassee, Fla., in the Chick-fl-A Battle of the Borders on Aug. 30. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Page 20A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014

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Dance Continued From Page 18A
Dancers perform on Mi Casa, Your Casa art installation on the High Museum of Art’s
Sify Piazza. Photo provided by Sue Schroeder
She said the series invites
audience members into the
exchange project’s creative
process at SALON: The Art
of Conversation on Thursday,
Oct. 9, and world premiere
performances of Je Suis/I
am and Point of View on
the Corner: The American
Corner on Saturday, Oct. 18,
and Sunday, Oct. 19. These
events also are free and open
to the public. For details on
times and venues, visit www.
“Everything we do is
collaboration, Schroeder
said. “Partnerships are
everywhere. There are others
out there who have other
gifts; when we combine their
talents with ours we can
do things that are exciting
and so enlivening for the
She said of CORE
Performance Company,
“It’s taken a long time to get
where we are, and we’re still
evolving. We’re confident
that as people see the work
we’re putting out there, we
will attract kindred spirits.”