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FRIDAY, SEPT. 19, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 26 • 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 Garden on page 13A
See Ellis on page 13A
Students at City Schools of Decatur’s College Heights Early Childhood Learning Academy plant vegetables
for fall harvest at the school garden. Photo provided
How does your garden grow
Education .....................15A
Business ........................16A
Sports ...................... 18-20A
Opinion ........................... 5A
Classifed .......................17A
Healthy eating starts
young at Decatur
early childhood center
Lauren Ramsdell
ids from age 2 to pre-kindergarten get
a taste for vegetables at City Schools
of Decatur’s College Heights Early
Childhood Learning Center. The
school has a 16-bed garden located
near its playground, in easy access for children to
wander, play, grow and explore.
Principal Suzanne Kennedy said the school’s
PTA approached her nine years ago with a desire
to provide healthy snacks.
“The meals being served were not the
healthiest,” she said. “They were things like cereal
and chocolate chip muffins. Because of the age
group of our kids, parents were very in-tune with
what their children were being served.”
by Andrew Cauthen
he corruption trial of sus-
pended DeKalb County
CEO Burrell Ellis is about
power, punishment and
Tat’s what Lawanda Hodges, a
deputy chief assistant district attor-
ney, told the jury Sept. 16, during
her opening argument.
“Power: the evidence will show
you that [Ellis] used his power to
get people, be it an employee or
vendor, to do exactly what he want-
ed them to do,” Hodges said.
“Punishment: the evidence will
show that there were consequences
to not giving the defendant cam-
paign contributions,” Hodges said.
“You may lose your work and you
will not get your work back unless
and until you gave campaign con-
“Perjury: the evidence will show
that when the defendant was con-
fronted, he denied involvement
about the very thing the evidence
will show you that he did,” she told
In June 2013 Ellis was indicted
on 15 counts, including 14 felonies.
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.
A count of conspiracy in re-
straint of open competition was re-
cently dropped by the DA’s ofce.
In her opening argument,
Hodges played an audio clip she
said was of Ellis telling a staf
member to not do business with a
contractor because the contractor
did not fnancially support his cam-
“We dry their business up,” the
voice on the recording said. “We let
the contract expire.”
In a second clip, the voice said,
“We dry them up. We don’t give
them any more money.”
Before opening arguments be-
gan Tuesday, Ellis attorney Craig
Gillen tried to convince the judge
that the DA’s ofce had given wit-
ness Nina Hall, a former assistant
to Ellis, a script for her testimony
for the trial and for the grand jury.
If true, that would go “to the
very basis as to whether we have a
valid indictiment,” Gillen said.
Ellis trial underway
Attorneys for suspended DeKalb County
CEO Burrell Ellis will try to convince a
jury that Ellis did not steal “one dime from
DeKalb County taxpayers.” Photo by Andrew
Page 2A The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014

See Dirt on page 8A
See Ethics on page 3A
A pile of dirt
Residents lose appeal in subdivision fight
by Andrew Cauthen
It boils down to a lot of dirt—piled 12 feet
On Sept. 10, residents of the Diamond Head
Overlay District along Pangborn Road in unin-
corporated Decatur made an unsuccessful appeal
to the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals
(ZBA). The residents were trying to stop develop-
ers of a six-acre subdivision under construction
from raising the grade of the property by 12 feet.
The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-2 to
deny an appeal.
The home of Michelle Register, who filed the
appeal, is beside the new subdivision.
Register said the property currently looks like
a “moonscape.”
“It’s just red clay,” she said. Workers “have
mounded up already about four and a half feet of
clay in the lot that will be behind my backyard,”
she said. “They leveled every single tree in the
six acres—some of them 150-year-old oaks, very
large trees—because they took the canopy down
to the earth, and now they’re raising up each lot
in height and then putting a 28-foot house on top
of it.
“When you come into our old established
neighborhood with this huge beautiful canopy of
trees, you’re going to come into the chopped out,
decimated [subdivision with] big houses, no vege-
tation coverage, and then back into a beautiful old
neighborhood. It’s not going to fit,” Register said.
At question is whether the county planning
department should have issued a permit to con-
tractors allowing them to raise the grade of the
subdivision by 12 feet. Residents say the county
should have abided by the intent of the Diamond
Head Overlay district, where the neighborhood is
located, which requires a 28-foot limit for homes.
That height, residents contended, should be mea-
sured from the existing average natural grade in
the community. Representatives for the county
and developer said the height of the new houses
can be measured from the post-construction, fin-
ished grade.
Jenny Culler, Register’s attorney, told the
Zoning Board of Appeals that “DeKalb County’s
approval of the building permits and land distur-
bance permit for the Oak Grove Manor subdivi-
sion was illegal.
“These permits allow the homes in Oak Grove
Manor to be built up to 12 feet taller than the oth-
er homes in the neighborhood,” Culler said.
In March, the planning commission addressed
“how to measure this 28-foot limit and unani-
mously decided that the 28-foot limit should be
measured from the preexisting ground…and not
from an artificially built-up, post-development
finished grade, which could be anything,” Culler
told the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The planning staff approved a permit “which
allows the homes to sit artificially high, looming
over the existing homes and destroying the priva-
cy, aesthetics and property values of these existing
homes,” she said. “Nothing in the DeKalb County
zoning ordinance eliminates the requirements of
the Diamond Head Overlay District.”
On the day following the Zoning Board of
Appeals’ decision, Don Broussard, a professional
city planner and former DeKalb County planning
commissioner, said, “The result of this decision
yesterday by the ZBA siding with planning and
development staff…puts the ZBA squarely in
Construction is underway on a subdivision that residents of an existing, adjacent neighborhood say will tower
over their “old, established neighborhood.” Photos by Andrew Cauthen
aide still face
ethics complaints
by Andrew Cauthen
he ethics com-
plaints against
former DeKalb
County Com-
missioner Elaine Boyer
and her chief of staff
Robert Lundsten will
proceed over the objec-
tions of their attorneys.
The county’s ethics
board voted Sept. 15 to
deny motions to dismiss
the complaints filed by
attorneys for Boyer and
Filed on April 2, the
complaint states that
Boyer and Lundsten had
a pattern of abusing their
county purchasing cards,
called P-cards, for per-
sonal purchases.
Boyer pleaded guilty
Sept. 3 to federal charges
of wire and mail fraud after being accused
of conspiring between September 2009 and
November 2011 to “defraud DeKalb County”
by authorizing 35 payments for false invoices
“for consulting services that were never per-
formed.” She also was accused of authoriz-
ing more than $78,000 to an unidentified
financial advisor, who then funneled approxi-
mately 75 percent of the money into Boyer’s
personal bank account.
She faces sentencing in December.
Joe Newton, one of the filers of the ethics
complaints against Boyer and Lundsten, said
the ethics board made “the right decision.”
“There are almost 300 of these P-cards
floating around,” Newton said. “What the
board determines here is going to affect
what’s going to happen presumably with sev-
eral other employees and commissioners.”
Newton said he wants the ethics board to
complete the ethics hearings because it has
not been decided, he said, whether Boyer is
still eligible for a government pension.
“There are still issues about her retire-
ment,” Newton said. “The board should re-
tain jurisdiction and finish its job. I want the
board to finish its job.”
Newton countered the argument by
Boyer’s attorney that Boyer is no longer un-
der the ethics board’s jurisdiction because she
resigned from her position.
“If that were true, then anytime some-
body were charged with an ethics complaint,
they could resign from the board and then…
run for office again and then you’ve got the
same problem again. That never was the in-
tent of the statute,” Newton said.
Anne Lewis, Boyer’s attorney, said, “The
statute that created the [ethics board] limited
its jurisdiction to elected officials, appointed
officials and employees,” Lewis said.
The ethics board, Lewis said, has “at-
tempted to expand its jurisdiction to also in-
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 3A
Ethics Continued From Page 2A
Habitat for Humanity: ‘A Godsend’
Carol Hill, a Clarkston resident, had her home repaired
by Habitat for Humanity. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell
by Lauren Ramsdell
Carol Hill lives in a sky-blue bungalow in one
of Clarkston’s central neighborhoods, just a few
steps away from the Clarkston Community Center.
She has lived in the same home since 1976.
Her late husband, Joe, was a veteran of the U.S.
Army and the DeKalb County Police. So when
Officer Nathaniel Lucas came by to follow up on
a report she made of things being stolen, they be-
came friends.
“She told me about her husband, who was a
retired DeKalb police officer who passed away a
few years ago,” Lucas said. “And with that being in
common, with her husband being in law enforce-
ment and me being in law enforcement, I guess
there was a bond there.”
Lucas noticed that Hill, who is 70, was having
trouble getting around in the yard. When he came
back to get additional information about the rob-
bery, he saw a plastic bag catching leaks from her
porch overhang.
“Our code enforcement officer stopped by,
talking about Habitat for Humanity coming by and
asking if I knew anyone in the city that needed any
help with their house getting fixed up,” Lucas said.
“He mentioned they were helping veterans. A lot
of people’s sense of veteran–they mean military,
but it can also mean police.”
Lucas dropped off an application for Habitat
for Humanity with Hill, who filled it out and was
accepted to have her home worked on.
Habitat for Humanity is best known for help-
ing to build houses that get homeless families a
place of their own. Representatives speak of the
donations as a hand up, not a hand out, as families
usually put in time working on their own homes
that they will go on to own.
Bob Boyd is the executive director of Habitat
for Humanity – Dekalb, which has been serving
the community for 26 years. He said their orga-
nization recently launched an initiative to serve
veterans and veterans’ families in the community.
Habitat for Humanity connected with veterans
groups around the county and found two homes
that needed repair: Hill’s and other Clarkston resi-
dents Ralph and Patricia Gibson.
“Like our other programs, this is not a hand-
out,” he said. “Veterans have a heart to serve, that’s
why they served our nation. We want to assist
them but also help us with the work around their
house if they are not able to do so.
A few years ago, Hill broke both of her hips,
lying unconscious in her home for days until a
neighbor discovered her. She walks with a walker
and her daughter lives miles away and isn’t always
able to help.
In 2011 Hill hired a general contractor to fix
things she was unable to do, such as the porch
overhang and painting some rooms in her home.
Instead of fixing the house, the contractor just
made it more unsafe.
“He took every dime I had, just about,” Hill
said. “We tried to locate him, but he took every-
On the porch, the overhang was completed
with just plywood boards and a swipe of ceiling
paint. The interior was painted orange by a differ-
ent contractor, who demanded $400. Hill also said
the contractor insisted she pay for supplies.
“They did so much, and then they walked out
and here I am,” Hill said. “That was about three
years ago, and I haven’t had the energy or the
strength to fix it myself.”
On Sept. 11, starting at 9 a.m. with breakfast
and working until about 4 p.m., a crew of volun-
teers replaced a rotting back porch, tore down an
unsafe sunroom and trimmed trees. More crews
will be back in the following weeks to fix the over-
hang, the botched sunroom and paint the interior.
“These folks are a Godsend,” Hill said. “I cried
and cried and cried when they called. I have never
really had anything this good happen to me.”
clude former elected officials, appointed
officials and employees and my argument
was they don’t have the authority under
law to expand that jurisdiction.”
“They should have dismissed it to-
night, and they disagreed with me,” Lewis
said. Boyer “is no longer a commissioner
subject to their jurisdiction.”
In a statement to news media, Thom-
as Mitchell Owens, one of the filers of the
complaints against Boyer and Lundsten,
said there are still issues with the county’s
P-card system.
“Todays’ meeting with the DeKalb
County ethics commission is the start
of the investigation of numerous Р-card
violations,” said Owens, who is one of five
people running for Boyer’s empty seat.
“There are almost 300 P-cards used by
county officials and employees. I don’t
expect this and other investigations by the
FBI to end quickly.”
Owens said interim DeKalb County
CEO Lee May is “also under suspicion”
and should resign his position.
“He admits to spending in the first
three months of this year over $1,200 on
meals and over $8,600 in travel,” Owens
said. “This abuse of the P-card system is
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 4A
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor
I taught a graduate level
class called Public Service and
Democracy as an adjunct professor
for the Andrew Young School of
Policy Studies at Georgia State
University. One of text books that
I taught from was The Responsible
Administrator by Terry L. Cooper
which presented various ethical
scenarios that my students had
to wrestle with. It was always
fascinating for me to listen to my
students discuss these issues in
that it provided a very compelling
insight as to what was considered
to be ethical behavior and what was
My major take away was the
following: people don’t learn to
be ethical in public office. People
bring their ethics (or lack thereof)
to office with them. There are
multiple opportunities for improper
or even illegal behavior with so
much money at stake. Consequently,
someone with a propensity for
unethical behavior or an entitlement
mentality is far more likely to act
upon such temptations.
As someone who has spent
many years in the private sector
I have completed and submitted
countless expense reports. Whether
I was issued a corporate credit
card or used my own the construct
was pretty simple. Any legitimate
business expenses were accurately
documented and the receipts for
said expenses were attached to
an expense report that I signed
vouching for the legitimacy of those
expenses. The report was then
submitted to my boss for approval.
The bottom line is simple: you don’t
mess around with expense reports
because it’s morally wrong and it’s
just not worth it legally.
In DeKalb County our
commissioners manage significant
office budgets and millions of
dollars of taxpayer’s money. If any
commissioner claims ignorance
of the simple construct previously
highlighted and therefore needs
remedial training on how to
document and manage expenditures
they have absolutely no business
being in such a responsible position.
Even my former students know that.
Moreover, DeKalb County
Commissioner is a part time job and
it is paid as such. But, my sense is
that we have certain commissioners
who are trying to parlay a part
time job into a full time livelihood.
Simply stated, the numbers don’t
add up. If someone is retired or
independently wealthy, so be it. But
if someone is in the midst of their
prime income earning years then
serious consideration should be
given to taking on such a challenge
and potential income sacrifice.
If at some point we as citizens
want to change the County
Commissioner’s role to a full time
job (which I seriously doubt) and
pay them $100,000 per year, then
so be it. But maybe until such time,
we as citizens should be a little
more discerning about the actual
motivations of the people who seek
those positions.
Of course there are the
apologists who will argue that the
DeKalb County structure is flawed
and therefore lends itself to such
bad behavior. The structure may
in fact be flawed. However, my
response to that line of argument is
two-fold: 1) No operating structure
is perfect. If someone is dishonest
or has an entitlement mentality that
will become self-evident sooner or
later no matter what the structure
may be. 2) I simply refer you to the
words of my maternal grandmother
who used to tell me “son, do not
cover up wrong doing.” Those words
still resonate with me.
Whatever happened to the
concept of our elected leaders
serving as responsible stewards of
our money? When will our elected
leaders stop making headlines for
misdeeds? Isn’t anyone else sick and
tired of it, like I am?
Irrespective of the structure
or any other faulty reasoning the
apologists need to stop making
excuses for bad behavior. My former
students intuitively know that too.
– Stephen R. “Steve” Bradshaw
A new subdivision, Oak Grove
Manor, is now being graded off
Pangborn Road in the middle of
Diamond Head, a subdivision that
has been around since the 1960’s.
In dispute is whether the height of
new houses yet to be built should
be measured from the “average
existing grade” of each planned lot
(as required by the Diamond Head
Overlay District adopted in 2006) or
whether from the “finished grade”
of each lot shown on the proposed
grading plan — a standard made up
by the planning staff and not in any
ordinance they cited. Using finished
grade makes nine lots illegal; three
would be 10 feet higher. All join
a half-dozen existing homes in
Diamond Head.
What did the Zoning Board
of Appeals decide? It upheld the
planning staff thereby putting itself
in direct conflict with the DeKalb
Planning Commission. Last January
when the planning commission
approved the plat for Oak Grove
Manor, they struck out language
improperly inserted by planning
staff that would have allowed
measurement from finished grade.
The 4-2 majority that voted
down our appeal repeats a pattern
where south DeKalb African-
American appointees follow the
White Republican appointee
to override the votes of the two
(Democratic) appointees who
represent the districts where the
developments are located.
This is the “third strike” both for
appeals board member Margot Teed
and for chairman Daryl Jennings.
Jennings has now voted down
three separate appeals to enforce
infill overlay zones in Echo Lake,
Sagamore Hills, and now, Diamond
Head. These overlay districts are
now essentially meaningless and are
enforceable only if county Planning
Director Andrew Baker feels like it.
Teed, the appointee of a
confessed felon, Commissioner
Elaine Boyer, also voted against
citizens and homeowners in at least
three high profile cases. At her first
meeting on the ZBA (February
2013), Teed voted against citizens’
appealing permits for the Selig
Wal-Mart. Minutes later, she voted
down Druid Hills citizens seeking
to invalidate illegal permits given
by DeKalb staff to the Clifton Ridge
subdivision. Druid Hills has now
been in court at great cost for over
a year and a half – but has prevailed
with the Georgia Court of Appeals
who recently ordered the case
Ms. Teed, who seconded the
motion to deny the Diamond
Head appeal, keeps delivering for
the developers. She has merely
continued the work of Boyer who
earlier fought infill restrictions. If
Ms. Teed had any real integrity, she
would have resigned the day Boyer
was charged.
I am dismayed why south
DeKalb Democrats continue to vote
down appeals supported by our
neighborhoods and representatives.
My only theory: Jennings and the
others have drunk the development
“Kool-Aid” and are determined
to approve growth, good or bad,
wherever developers want it — for
now, central DeKalb. If our fellow
citizens in south DeKalb want to
understand why there is strong
support for a city in north central
DeKalb, there is your answer. This
has been going on for two decades.
People are sick of being run over
this way.
– Donald J. Broussard,
city planner
A few thoughts on ethics
Dismay over zoning vote
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 Page 5A

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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.
Bill Crane

“I struggled to get through high
school. I didn’t get to go to college.
But it made me realize you can
do anything if you want to bad
enough,” Chick-fil-A founder,
Truett Cathy, from a 2008
interview with the Atlanta Journal
He died a billionaire, several
times over and Chick-fil-A, the
company he built from scratch,
with more than 75,000 employees
and 1,800 restaurant locations, in
2012 surpassed Kentucky Fried
Chicken as America’s largest
chicken restaurant chain. Cathy’s
sons, Dan and Don (Bubba) and
daughter Trudy, will carry the
torch forward and perhaps one day
hold a similar ranking worldwide. 
The company co-owns its
stores with their operators, the
bulk of whom started on the
counter or mopping the floors in
the restroom, but later with $5,000
down, Chick-fil-A paid training
and often support through their
college education, they end up
co-owning the store where they
once worked the counter or the fry
bin. The company has no debt and
is fully self-insured.
And the vast majority
of Chick-fil-A’s cheery and
pleasant employees happen to
be compensated at, or slightly
above, minimum wage. Solid work
performance and team play will
win recognition, bonuses and
pay raises, and for high school
students who excel, a partial college
scholarship. More than 16,000 of
those scholarships, made possible
by the WinShape Foundation (a
nonprofit with assets controlled
and directed by the Cathy family),
had been awarded by the end of
Mr. Cathy, his brother and
wife Jeanette opened their first
restaurant, the Dwarf Grill in
Hapeville, in 1946. There were only
10 stools on that first restaurant
counter. Despite their access to
regular customers at the nearby
Ford plant, the small restaurant
initially struggled. He didn’t open
the first Chick-fil-A store until
more than two decades later in
1967 at Greenbriar Mall in south
Fulton County. The company
stayed loyal to its southside Atlanta
roots, and the global headquarters
remains off Buffington Road in
south Fulton below Hartsfield
Jackson Airport.
Cathy, his wife, sons and
now grandchildren and great-
grandchildren put their faith first,
family second, followed by their
business enterprise and wide array
of charitable good works. Cathy has
served as foster parent to literally
hundreds of young men and
women from struggling families all
across Georgia.
One of those, Woody Faulk,
Chick-fil-A’s vice president of
innovation and design, met Cathy
as an orphaned 13-year-old in
his Sunday School class. Cathy
mentored and taught the class for
40 years.
“You taught me to choose
wisely. Parts of you will remain
alive with all of us,” Faulk eulogized
his mentor in front of thousands at
the celebration of Cathy’s life at the
First Baptist Church of Jonesboro.
 His legacy will last for
generations, and he may become
best known for keeping the
legion of CFA stores closed on
Sundays. This is both a testament
to his faith and his belief that in
addition to honoring God, he is
allowing his employees the time
to spend with their own family,
friends as well as practicing their
own faith. 
Faulk lived on my dorm hall
at UGA as a college freshman and
sophomore, and through him I
had the opportunity to meet Mr.
Cathy just over 30 years ago. It was
already clear, even at that time,
that the kindness and life examples
of Truett Cathy had already made
an irreplaceable impact on his
life. And thankfully, there are a
few thousand other young men
and women, who worked at one of
many Chick-fil-A restaurants over
the past generation who can say the
same thing. It’s been our pleasure
Mr. Cathy. Thanks for all that
you have done and the model you
created. I know your family and the
company you built will carry on
your legacy of courtesy, customer
service and good food to sustain
the soul. Godspeed home.
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 bill. 
Minimum wage, maximum effort?
Page 6A The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 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.
Dr. Jada Bussey-Jones,
an associate professor in
the division of general
medicine at Emory
University School of
Medicine, is the recipient
of the 2014 Society of
General Internal Medicine
National Mentorship in
Education Award. The
national award recognizes
the mentoring activities
of general medicine
educators who are actively
engaged in education research and mentorship of
junior clinician educators. 
“Training our next generation of clinicians
is a critical part of academic medicine,” said
Bussey-Jones, a fellow of the American College of
Physicians. “It is wonderful to be acknowledged
for supporting faculty as they develop medical
curricula, pursue careers as clinician educators,
and positively impact future health professionals.”
Bussey-Jones is the chief of general medicine
and geriatrics at Grady Memorial Hospital.
She received her M.D. from Emory University
and after completing clinical training at the
University of Maryland and a fellowship in
general internal medicine at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill she joined the
Emory University School of Medicine faculty in
Since joining Grady, Bussey-Jones has been
engaged in educating medical residents and
students in caring for minority and economically
underserved populations. She founded and leads
the Social Medicine Working Group, a group
of faculty members in the division of general
internal medicine dedicated to educational
projects, research and community service. 
Bussey-Jones has been chairwoman of the
National Disparities Education Task Force where
she led work on an award-winning national
curriculum and pre-course on disparities
“My research and educational work centers
around interventions to instruct learners in the
care for diverse populations, teaching clinicians
how to communicate effectively with individual
patients from varied backgrounds and facilitating
physician activism in local communities,” Bussey-
Jones said.
“The goal is to engage future doctors
to consider their role in understanding and
impacting broader determinants of health
beyond clinical medicine including income,
education, housing, and transportation to find
ways to promote broader social changes that can
affect health,” she said.
by Andrew Cauthen
ast year 23-year-old Macy Davis of Decatur
performed 401 hours of volunteer work.
Much of her work was for First Baptist
Church Decatur’s 60-year-old clothing store that
provides clothes for people in need.
“I sort out everything, and I hang up every-
thing,” said Davis, who was one of 35 people recog-
nized during the WOW In-Sync awards program.
“I like to volunteer…and help people,” said Da-
vis, adding that she’s helping people improve their
“I feel great,” Davis said about being recognized
for her volunteer work. “I feel good.”
WOW In-Sync, a nonprofit organization help-
ing marginalized young adults develop life and
career skills, held a luncheon and awards ceremony
at Lucky Shoals Park Community Center in Nor-
cross on Aug. 21 to recognize the winners. Georgia
Rep. Michele Henson (D-Stone Mountain) gave the
keynote speech and helped give out the medals and
Another award winner was Kymber Baxley of
Stone Mountain. The 24-year-old volunteers at East
Lake YMCA where she monitors youth on the play-
“[I] make sure they don’t get hurt,” Baxley said.
Baxley also washes dishes, prepares beds for
naps, helps with arts and crafts and sings songs to
the children.
“They call me Miss Kymber. If they need help,
then I help them,” said Baxley, in her third year in
the WOW In-Sync program, which she said helps
her learn how to be independent.
Additionally, Baxley volunteers at Second Life
thrift store, Friends of Disabled Adults and Chil-
dren and the Hope Store, among others.
“It makes me feel good,” Baxley said about vol-
unteering, “because I like helping people.”
Thirty-six-year-old Nadia Smith, of Stone
Mountain, volunteers at a beauty salon in A.G.
Rhodes Health & Rehab Wesley Woods.
“A lot of residents don’t have family to come and
visit them,” Smith said. “So I just go visit them.”
Eighteen WOW In-Sync program participants
received the President’s Volunteer Service award,
signifying they had worked 100 or more hours of
volunteer service in their communities over the past
Eight recipients received the Gold Medal of Ser-
vice for volunteering 250 hours or more of service
for young adult participants in the program, and
500 or more for adult participants.
During the awards program, WOW In-Sync
founder and executive director Karen Lynn also
recognized 10 individuals who had completed the
Wow In-Sync, Inc.- Simply Biz employment train-
ing program and were currently working in the
Raquel Smith of WOW In-Sync said the vol-
unteers are “awesome because they dedicate a lot of
the time in the community. They do it willingly and
cheerfully, and they really show the professionalism
that we teach in…this program.”
Volunteers WOW community with service
Key to Success winners. Back row, from left: Karen
Lynn, Sabrina Blocker, Andrew Dixon, Jamar Thomas
and Oman Hakeem. Front row, from left: Rep. Michele
Henson and Jeremie Lewis.
President’s Volunteer Service award winners. Back row, from left: WOW In-Sync founder and executive director Karen Lynn, John Turman, Jasmine Matthews, Lakiysha
Franklin, Everett Smith, Antonio Williams, Larry Hill and Nadia Smith. Front row, from left, Kristalyn Blythers, Sungkook Kimura, Danielle Warner, Georgia Rep. Michele
Henson, Bhavin Patel, Macy Davis, Kymber Baxley, Onikeh Tia, Lakeita Williams and Rachel Gavins.
Gold level winners. Back row, from left: Karen Lynn,
John Turman, Nadia Smith and Jasmine Matthews.
Front row, from left: Rep. Michele Henson, Bhavin Patel,
Macy Davis, Kymber Baxley and Rachel Gavins.
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 7A

Commissioner to host annual
Deacon’s In Devotion event
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson
will present his fourth annual Deacons in Devotion
event on Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Porter Sanford III
Performing Arts and Community Center, 3181
Rainbow Drive, Decatur.
Dr. Bobby Jones, of the Bobby Jones Gospel
Hour, will be the master of ceremonies for the event.
A dessert reception begins at 4 p.m. and the
program begins at 5 p.m.
The event will highlight the tradition and im-
pact of the deacon’s ministries in Black churches.
Participating churches this year include Clarkston
First Baptist Church, Fairfield Baptist Church, First
Baptist Church of Gresham, Greater Piney Grove
Baptist Church, Greater Travelers Rest Missionary
Baptist Church, New Piney Gove Missionary Bap-
tist Church, Popular Springs Baptist Church and
Salem Bible Church.
Legendary “African American Men in Gospel
Music” also will be honored, including Ace Alex-
ander, K.D. Bowe, Kevin Buchanon, Donald Co-
chran, Reggie Gay, Bob Grissom, Rhodell Lewis,
Eli Smith and Larry Tinsley. There will be a special
time to remember the late gospel legends Esmond
Patterson and Bobby Hurd.
The event is free and no registration is required.
For additional information, call (404) 371-3681.
Nature center event features
“Join the Celtic gardener, Anne-Marie An-
derson, for the Wylde Center’s popular chicken
‘crash course,’” states an announcement from the
Wylde Center.
The center will present “Chickens are Easy!
Intro to Keeping Chickens” on Saturday, Sept. 20,
from 10 a.m. to noon at the Oakhurst Garden, 435
Oakview Road, Decatur. The event will cost $20 for
Wylde Center members and $30 for non-members.
The class will cover the basics of coop design,
relevant community ordinances, breed selection,
care and feeding and outside resources. Anderson
is a local keeper of an urban flock, and past chair-
woman of the Wylde Center’s annual Urban Coop
For more information, visit www.wyldecenter.
Fernbank Science Center holds
fall plant sale
A wide variety of native plants, shrubs
and trees will be available for purchase when the
Fernbank Science Center holds its fall plant sale
Saturday, Sept. 20, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fernbank horticulture staf and master
gardeners will be on hand to answer questions.
All proceeds support DeKalb schools’ science
Te center’s newly expanded teaching gardens
will be on display.
Fernbank Science Center is located at
156 Heaton Park Drive, Atlanta. For more
information, visit
Missing and exploited teen victim recovered in joint operation
Mother sentenced to life for suffocating 3-year-old daughter
The DeKalb County Police De-
partment’s Internet Crimes Against
Children unit has recovered a miss-
ing and exploited teen from Texas. 
The female victim was found in
DeKalb County following a joint op-
eration between the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI), Georgia Bu-
reau of Investigation (GBI), U.S. Se-
cret Service, DeKalb County, Atlanta
and Brookhaven police departments.  
The victim was located at the Ex-
tended Stay America, 3967 Peachtree
Road, on Sept. 9. A second 17-year-
old trafficking victim was also dis-
covered and identified.
Detectives arrested two suspects:
Eric Gibbons, 25, and Monica
Daughtery, 30. Both face two charg-
es each of trafficking of a person for
sexual servitude. 
“The recovery of these exploited
victims is a demonstration of con-
tinual collaborative efforts by federal,
state and local authorities to protect
our children and to arrest those who
prey on them,” said DeKalb County
Police Chief James Conroy.
“While this case serves as a re-
minder that there are individuals out
there willing to exploit and victimize
our nation’s youth, there are also hard
working law enforcement officers
and agents working together to iden-
tify, investigate and prosecute those
individuals and recover and assist
those being exploited, ” stated J. Britt
Johnson, special agent in charge, FBI
Atlanta Field Office.
GBI Director Vernon Keenan
said, “One of the GBI’s highest priori-
ties is protecting children from being
exploited. The recovery of these two
juvenile victims is an excellent ex-
ample of local, state, and federal law
enforcement agencies working to-
gether to identify and rescue victims
of exploitation.”
“This investigation fully illus-
trates how the timely collaboration
between federal, state, and local law
enforcement partners will result in
the apprehension of individuals who
participate in human trafficking and
also will result in the rescue of the
victims from an insidious existence,”
said Reginald Moore, special agent
in charge, U. S. Secret Service, At-
lanta Field Office.
The GBI is handling the follow-
up investigation into this case. 
Gibbons Daughtery
Lela Bemis Meriel Bemis
A DeKalb County mother plead-
ed guilty Sept. 11 to murdering her
3-year-old daughter after breaking
up with her boyfriend. Meriel Be-
mis accepted a life sentence before
DeKalb County Superior Court
Judge Gregory A. Adams for suf-
focating daughter Lela Bemis on
Feb. 23.
“As a mother, I could not be-
gin to understand how and why
[Meriel Bemis] would take the life
of her innocent child in such a vi-
cious way,” said Assistant District
Attorney Elizabeth Dalia Racine,
who served as lead prosecutor in
the case. “As the prosecutor in this
case, I fought for the child who no
longer has a voice and for the child
whose future was snatched from
her by the acts of her very own
Bemis, who lived at Landmark
at Mountain View Apartments in
Stone Mountain, was involved in an
argument with her boyfriend Troy
Walker. After Walker departed the
residence, he received a communi-
cation from Bemis who confessed
to murdering her daughter. Walker
returned to the residence where
he found Lela’s lifeless body. He
called 911 and attempted to admin-
ister CPR. Walker is not the father
of Bemis’ daughter.
Lela was pronounced dead at
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at
Egleston. An autopsy later revealed
Lela died from suffocation.
“This sentence will never bring
Lela back, however, there is justice
in the fact that Meriel has assumed
some level of responsibility and
will serve a life sentence for her
malicious acts,” Racine added.
Photo by Travis Hudgons
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 8A
Voices in the wilderness
50th anniversary of Wilderness Act celebrated locally
by Kathy Mitchell
ome 48 years ago, physician
Chester Morse promised his
bride, Eugenia (Gene), that
something would always be bloom-
ing for her on the Decatur property
that was their new home.
A little more than 50 years
ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson
signed into law the Wilderness Act,
establishing the National Wilderness
Preservation System.
Those bits of local and national
history come together this month at
Woodlands Garden—the property
that was the Morse home. It is one
of five Atlanta venues hosting the
Wilderness Act Performance Series,
marking the 50th anniversary of the
Wilderness Act.
“It was really visionary legisla-
tion,” Claire Hayes, the current
executive director of Woodlands
Garden, said of the act that set aside
an initial 9.1 million acres of wild
lands for the use and benefit of the
American people. “The preservation
of special areas to be left unchanged
by human interference recognizes
a fundamental part of our society’s
search for natural beauty, personal
growth, national pride and spiritual
truth. It is an honor for Woodlands
Garden to help commemorate this
act that forever safeguards America’s
natural wonders.”
Of 757 areas designated as host
venues within 40 states, 14 are in
Georgia. The only other DeKalb
County site is Davidson-Arabia
Mountain in Lithonia. Others are
located across the state from Brass-
town Bald and Blood Mountain to
the natural seashores of Cumber-
land and Blackbeard islands.
The area around Decatur’s Scott
Boulevard and Clairemont Avenue
was largely wooded and undevel-
oped in the late 1940s when the
Morses purchased their property,
but as the couple reached their re-
tirement years Decatur had become
the most densely developed city in
Georgia, according to Woodlands
Garden’s website, which notes that
developers were offering large sums
for the Morse home. The family said
Instead, in 2002 the Morse fam-
ily gave the property, which with
additional land purchases increased
to more than seven acres, to the De-
catur Preservation Alliance (DPA)
to become a permanently protected
green space. DPA shepherded
Woodlands until 2011, when it be-
came an independent nonprofit.
“While Gene Morse was living,
she was allowed to remain in her
home. Access to the property was
limited because her children wanted
to protect her safety and privacy,”
explained Hayes. After her death
in 2010 at age 90, (Chester Morse
died in 2005 at age 89) the garden
was made more accessible. “Those
who want to come to Woodlands for
quiet exploration may do so at no
charge—that’s something the Morse
family felt very strongly about.”
Hayes described Woodlands as
a unique showcase of plants native
to the upper Georgia Piedmont eco-
system. “We have volunteers come
in regularly to remove invasive
plants so that these can thrive. For
example, we have more than 50 va-
rieties of camellias, including, I un-
derstand, some not found anyplace
else,” she said.
The Wilderness Act Perfor-
mance Series seeks to build public
appreciation of the Wilderness Act’s
impact on natural and cultural pres-
ervation through the commission-
ing of new music and art. The sec-
ond Georgia site to host a musical
and artistic celebration of the federal
legislation, Woodlands Garden will
on hold its event Sunday, Sept. 21, 2
- 5 p.m. Two local composers, a poet
and a visual artist are participating.
Like participating artists nationwide,
they were asked to draw inspiration
from their venue in creating art that
addresses these questions: “How
has the perception of wilderness
changed with the growing discon-
nection from nature?” and “How do
we appreciate and connect to Earth
in our current urban technological
The event will feature musicians
from the Chamber Cartel perform-
ing original compositions by Eric
Fontaine and Stewart Engart; a
reading by Stephen Wing, poet
in residence; and the unveiling of
visual artist Edie Morton’s Float-
ing Gardens, which will remain at
Woodlands for a month. All the art-
ists will be present to discuss their
work. Stephen Wood, the composer
and naturalist who brought this
project to life across the city.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, Davidson-
Arabian Mountain will host com-
posers Myles Brown and Connor
Way, poet Abi Konnig, photogra-
pher Simon Salt and visual artist
Janna Dudley.
Woodlands Garden Executive Director Claire Hayes, right, assists at a
community garden near Decatur High School with Woodlands volunteers and
master gardeners Dolly Moy, left, and Janice Whitener.
conflict with the DeKalb planning commission
which clearly struck down…this language about
using finished grade.
“To me, it’s the ZBA saying, ‘we don’t care
what the law says, we don’t care what the plan-
ning commission says,’” Broussard said.
“The use of finished grade as a standard in
these overlay ordinances,” Broussard said, “basi-
cally renders all of them meaningless. That is be-
cause manipulation of finished grade was one of
the two underlying reasons that precipitated the
infill housing crisis.”
The Diamond Head Overlay District was
formed under the county’s residential infill over-
lay district ordinance.
That ordinance,” said Andrew Baker, DeKalb
County’s planning director, was formulated to
address the infilling of individual lots, not large
parcels of land.
“We were having individual lots where houses
were being torn down,” Baker said. “New homes
were being constructed right next to ranch-style
houses or small houses. The intent [of the ordi-
nance] was to keep the new construction from
overshadowing the existing homes that may be
on either side.
“When you’re making a determination about
elevation, the elevation of new construction ver-
sus that of existing construction on the existing
roadway should be considered,” Baker said.
Because the Oak Grove Manor subdivision is
the first one in the county to be constructed in a
residential infill overlay district, Baker said, the
county had to balance the requirements for infill-
ing and for land development.
Michele Battle, attorney for the developers,
said the zoning debate is “simply a misinterpreta-
tion—an unfortunate one—by the community
with regards to the residential infill overlay dis-
trict ordinance and its application to a brand-new
“In reality it’s simply not practical for us to…
suggest that you are going to apply an existing av-
erage grade [requirement] to a brand-new subdi-
vision with new roads [and] 16 new lots based on
a lot that doesn’t even exist anymore,” Battle said.
“The lot to which they are trying to measure
from simply doesn’t exist. It is now being con-
verted into 16 new lots,” she said. “You can’t de-
termine how to measure height in a subdivision
until the subdivision is actually created.”
The debate is not over, according to Culler.
“The appellant’s going to appeal this denial to
Superior Court,” she said.
Dirt Continued from page 2A
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 9A
The Pine Lake flash mob choreography is intended to be accessible for dancers of all ages and abili-
ties. Photos by Lauren Ramsdell
Perimeter Center in Dunwoody may get new zoning regulations
Flash mob brings Pine Lake community together
by Lauren Ramsdell
erimeter Center in Dunwoody,
including the areas dominated
by Perimeter Mall and sur-
rounding shopping centers, is
the new focus for a proposed special
zoning district or overlay.
The city of Dunwoody hosted its
first public input session on Sept. 4,
hoping to draw from residents how
they would like the area to look in the
“We need real design standards
that focus on what this area truly is
and what it could become,” said Kirk
Bishop, director of regulatory services
with Duncan Associates. “It is obvi-
ously continuing to change. It is, and
will be, for the foreseeable future, an
area that attracts a significant amount
of investment.”
Duncan Associates was awarded a
contract to help develop zoning recom-
mendations for the Perimeter Center
area. The firm previously developed
the overall zoning guidelines for Dun-
“When we worked on that project,
which concluded last year, the mayor
and council decided that the zoning as
applied to the community as a whole
didn’t make a whole lot of sense to
be applied for the Perimeter Center,”
Bishop said.
The character of Perimeter Center
is different than the rest of overwhelm-
ingly residential Dunwoody. Perimeter
Mall, Ravinia, the State Farm complex
and outlying shopping centers are all
overwhelmingly commercial, but fea-
ture many different styles of buildings
and streetscapes.
“It needs to work in tandem with
our other land-related tools but be
uniquely tailored to Perimeter,” Bishop
said. “It needs to be ever-mindful of the
fact that the vast majority of the land
beyond the Perimeter Center is very
different in character, and they have
very strong values about their stable
and attractive residential neighbor-
hoods. We need to be really mindful of
the effect that development has in the
surrounding area. “
As part of the city’s livable center
initiatives, Dunwoody has decided to
focus on more walkable, non-car trans-
portation options in Perimeter Center.
The new zoning may take the form of
voluntary rezoning by businesses, an
overlay district, a combination of the
two or another option yet to be seen.
City staff and Bishop maintained that
the meeting was preliminary and noth-
ing has been confirmed.
“It’s not entirely decided yet,” said
Rebecca Keefer, director of sustain-
ability for the city of Dunwoody. “There
are a couple of different ways this could
be addressed: individual property own-
ers could opt in, or an overlay district
could be added to existing zoning. We
are going to have to find a balance be-
tween what will promote the area and
what won’t stagnate development.”
At the meeting, pictures of differ-
ent areas around Perimeter Center were
displayed with pens to make notes and
dots to indicate preferences. A hand-
ful of residents and stakeholders wrote
down what they did and did not like
about existing structures.
Caleb Racicot attended the meet-
ing as a representative from the Pe-
rimeter CID. That group is looking at
the Dunwoody rezoning as a potential
model for how other communities–
Sandy Springs and Brookhaven, for
example – zone their sections of the
“The ones I liked are on a more
human scale,” Racicot said. “They can
have very tall buildings, but if they have
something at street level, they become
more consistent with the idea of walk-
ability at Perimeter, which I think is go-
ing to be important.”
Additional input meetings, a time-
line and an initial zoning report will be
presented to Dunwoody’s city council
in the future.
At left, Caleb Racicot writes down
ideas on how to develop zoning guide-
lines for Dunwoody’s Perimeter Center
area. Kirk Bishop, right, and the frm
he works for, Duncan Associates, are
helping draft the zoning recommenda-
tions. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell
by Lauren Ramsdell
“First you put your arms up in an angle, like
this,” 6-year-old Blais Liam demonstrated, holding
her arms stick straight in a Y shape.
“Ten, make an M in front of your face. Not on
top of your head like a monkey!” she continued.
“Ten make a C — to the lef! — and look lef.”
“Next make the A, a triangle over your head.
Don’t put your arms too close to your head and
squish your face!”
Blais patiently explained the dance moves
to Te Village People’s 1978 disco hit “Y.M.C.A”
to a handful of Pine Lake residents and visitors
practicing for a fash mob.
Practicing for a fash mob sounds
counterintuitive. Flash mobs seem like groups of
people who spontaneously gather in public spaces,
but in actuality, the mobs are carefully coordinated
for maximum entertainment value.
Blais’s mom, Debbie Liam, led around
10 people, kids and adults, in the rest of the
choreography. She started the fash mob tradition
at Pine Lake’s Lakefest in 2013 and is continuing
it this year. She frst participated in a fash mob
during One Billion Rising, a campaign to end
violence against women.
“What I found, because I have had some dance
experience, that I could call out the choreography a
few moments ahead. People who learn fash mobs
have a variety of experiences, in terms of dancing. I
was calling it out and before you know it I had this
little crew around me and I was calling out all the
moves. So I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”
During Lakefest last year, Liam and other Pine
Lakers danced to Michael Jackson’s “Triller”
Tis year’s Lakefest will take place on Oct. 4
and 5 along the shores of Pine Lake’s signature
community water feature. At some time during
the festival the mob will descend and start their
routine, both to “Y.M.C.A.” and “Macho Man.”
Liam also incorporated some elements of “Triller”
into this year’s dance.
Liam previously has taken dance classes and
taught dance-based aerobics for many years.
However, she emphasizes that the fash mob is for
everyone, not just those with dance experience.
“Dance is really intimidating for a lot of people,
especially performances,” she said. “But a fash
mob, and especially the way I’m advertising it, is
that it’s for people of all ages, no dance experience
needed. I’m really trying to make it friendly.”
Notices for the fash mob are put out on Pine
Lake’s listserv and spread through Liam’s network
of friends. She gets Blais to invite school friends
along, too.
“Tere are some people in Pine Lake who
would never come out and dance, but they did with
encouragement. We don’t need a stage – you do
your own costumes. It’s a way for people to come
outside, and to try something and perform if they
have never had that experience.”
Dancers interested in participating in
the fash mob can contact Liam at Debbie@
Debbie Liam, a Pine Lake resident, teaches the choreog-
raphy for this year’s Pine Lake Lakefest flash mob.
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 10A
Fall Convocation
DeKalb Area Vocational School (1961 - 1963)
DeKalb Area Technical School (1963 - 1972)
DeKalb Community College-Technical Division (1972 - 1986)
DeKalb Technical Institute (1986 - 2000)
DeKalb Technical College (2000 - 2011)
Georgia Piedmont Technical College (2011 - 2014)
Please join President Jabari Simama for
Fall Convocation
Bridging from Our Past, Building for Our Future
Tursday, October 23, 2014
11:00 a.m.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Conference Center, DeKalb Campus
495 N. Indian Creek Drive
Clarkston, GA 30021
RSVP by October 16, 2014, to
Seddrick Hill at
or (404) 297-9522 ext. 1828
Celebratory lunch to follow
he DeKalb County
Board of Registration &
Elections has approved
early voting locations in DeKalb
County for the upcoming general
and special elections. Sunday voting
will be an option at the central
election ofce, Gallery at South
DeKalb Mall and Chamblee Civic
In-person early voting for the
Nov. 4 election will be as follows:

Central DeKalb: Voter
Registration & Elections Ofce
(includes an area exclusively for senior
and disabled voters)
4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur
Monday through Friday, Oct. 13-31,
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26, noon to 5 p.m.

Tucker Recreation Center
4898 LaVista Road, Tucker
Monday through Friday, Oct. 13-31,
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Te Gallery at South DeKalb Mall
2801 Candler Road, Decatur
Monday through Friday, Oct. 13-31,
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26, noon to 5 P.M.

Chamblee Civic Center
3540 Broad Street, Chamblee,
Sunday, Oct. 26, noon to 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday, Oct. 27-31,
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Brookhaven City Hall
4362 Peachtree Road, NE, Brookhaven
Monday through Friday, Oct. 27-31,
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Clark Harrison Building
330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue,
Monday through Friday, Oct. 27-31,
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Berean Community Center
2440 Young Road, Stone Mountain
Monday through Friday, Oct. 27-31,
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters who do not take
advantage of early voting must go
to their polling places on Tuesday,
Nov. 4 to cast their ballots. All early
and absentee voting will end on
Friday, Oct. 31.
Te deadline to register to vote
is Monday, Oct. 6.
To fnd a polling place and
see a sample ballot, go to the “My
Voter Page” at
Applications and other information
may be obtained at the website or by calling
the Voter Registration & Elections
ofce at (404) 298-4020.
Sunday voting approved for three locations
Appointments are required. Call 404.501.WELL for an appointment.
Free and Reduced-Cost Screenings*
Annual Cancer Screening Day
• north decatur • hillandale
404.501.WELL |
www.dekal bmedi cal .org
Early detection can save lives and improve quality of life.
*($25 includes a mammogram, clinical breast exam and radiology fee)
Appointments are required. Call 404.501.WELL for an appointment.
Join DeKalb Medical for a free comprehensive cancer
screening and information day with:
• Free prostate screenings
• Free skin cancer screenings
• Reduced-cost mammograms
• Free clinical breast exams
• Other free screenings and health information
Mark your calendars for the frst Saturday in October – each year.
DeKalb Medical at North Decatur
2701 North Decatur Rd, Decatur
DeKalb Medical at Hillandale
2801 DeKalb Medical Pkwy, Lithonia
Two convenient locations:
A leader in cancer diagnosis, treatment
and care for more than 15 years.
Public Hearing
Date Change
The DeKalb County
Human and
Has changed the date
of the
September 18, 2014
Public Hearing for
HUD Programs
New Date/Time
Thursday, October 30,
2014 at 6:30 PM
Budget/Annual Action
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive,
Decatur, GA
We will present the
proposed 2014-2018
Consolidated Plan
including the 2015 Annual
Action Plan, proposed
budget and solicit
public questions and/or
Photo by Travis Hudgons
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 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
From left, fourth-graders Francesa Jepson and Sophie Li, and
ffth-graders Olivia Li and Melina Nickerson. The Montgomery
Elementary School Garden Club won awards in the horticulture
competition at the Yellow Daisy Festival held at Stone Mountain
Park on Sept. 4-7.
Tucker Middle School football players pose for a “rise up” photo after a 64-0 win over Chamblee
Middle School. Photo provided
Wade Kelly, a participant in the DeKalb Chamber’s annual golf tournament waits to pick up his shirt
while chamber staff member Rachea Brooks coordinates last minute details. Photo by John Hewitt
Second-graders Taylor Williams, Lydia Halloran and Jane Halloran.
Photos provided
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 12A
Quilts of love
senior is
about quilting
by Andrew Cauthen
or Marilyn Franklin of Ellen-
wood, quilting is a passion.
“I started over 31 years
ago out of necessity,” Franklin
said. “I had friends who were having
babies. I got a McCall’s pattern and
started making quilts.”
She made quilts for friends and
coworkers. When her sister un-
derwent chemotherapy for cancer,
Franklin made her a quilt. Art quilts,
Dresden plate quilts, baby quilts,
quilted purses and aprons—she
makes it all.
Franklin, a first-generation quil-
ter, even teaches quilting at the Lou
Walker Senior Center and in a studio
in her home.
“When I retired I decided I was
going to quilt full time, so I had these
two rooms knocked out and had my
studio made, because this is a seri-
ous hobby, as you can see,” she said,
laughing as she showed her studio. It
is pink and organized with shelving
and bins containing thread, cloth,
batting and other quilting supplies.
Various quilting projects adorn the
walls and several sewing machines sit
ready for use.
“This is my sweat and my retire-
ment out of my 401K,” said Franklin,
a 35-year Georgia resident and Phila-
delphia native who retired as a man-
ager at Comcast.
“This is when I was teaching [se-
niors] basics on how to put squares
and things together,” Franklin said,
showing a quilt. “This is a basic quilt.
This is small—31 and a half inches—
but you can enlarge it by putting
more borders on it.
“See this. Isn’t that gorgeous?”
she said, pointing out another quilt.
“I teach quilting to young and
old,” she said, “because I like teach-
ing. I have a passion for it.”
Lisa Powell, of Ellenwood is a
new quilting student; she started
learning in April.
“I really wasn’t interested in quilts
until now,” Powell said. “She makes it
very interesting for me. The passion
that goes into it comes out in every
quilt she does—a lot of love and a lot
of attention.”
Rebecca Smith, of Stone Moun-
tain, has been sewing for approxi-
mately 50 years. Twenty years ago,
she added quilting to her skillset.
“I was always into dresses,” Smith
said. “When my daughters were com-
ing up I was making them clothing.
“When you sew for women, they
can gain five pounds over a week-
end,” Smith said. “And then when
you come back for the fitting, it
doesn’t fit. That’s why I changed.”
Franklin and her fellow seniors
give away many of the quilts they
“Last year we gave quite a few
baby quilts to hospitals. We make
quilts for people in [chemotherapy],”
Franklin said. “In the quilting guild
we do quilts of valor. I give away
more quilts than I ever sell. All of us
seniors do.
“We spend our money on these
quilts. This quilt would sell for $600-
700,” Franklin said, holding up an-
other quilt.
Quilting is “really a very interest-
ing art. Look at this face here,” Frank-
lin said, pointing to an unfinished
project hanging on a wall. It is the
face of a boy. “That’s an art. Every-
body can’t do that.”
“Quilting is art, but it’s an expen-
sive hobby,” Franklin added.
That’s why Franklin is trying to
raise $15,000 to purchase a long arm
quilting machine; it would save time
and money.
“This is a queen-size quilt I
made,” Franklin said, holding up a
quilt. “See this design stitching? This
is done with the long arm quilter. If
we did this ourselves, do you know
how many weeks it would take to
do this design? With the machine, it
would take hours.”
Franklin paid someone $200 to
do the special stitching on the quilt.
“We seniors don’t work any-
more,” Franklin said. “We can’t afford
that. That’s why I want people to do-
nate so we can get this…machine.
“This is not about me. This is
about the seniors,” Franklin said.
To donate to the online Kickstarter
fundraiser, go to
and search for “purchase a long arm
quilting machine.”

One of the many quilted creations of Franklin.
Quilter Marilyn Franklin is raising money for a $15,000 long arm quilting machine so that she and other seniors can donate even more quilts. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 Page 13A LOCAL NEWS
Garden Continued From Page 1A
Ellis Continued From Page 1A
Through the PTA’s nutrition committee,
Decatur Farm to School was started and
incorporated as part of the Wylde Center. It was
determined that a garden could help the young
students at College Heights learn about healthy
food while learning early childhood education
“Our whole goal and purpose is that the
children understand where the food in the
grocery store comes from,” Kennedy said. “It’s
evolved into making healthy choices. We are
doing inquiry based learning in the garden. Our
children are exploring and asking questions and
gaining knowledge through those questions.”
Students help plant, water, tend and harvest
crops each growing season. On Sept. 8 and 9,
pre-kindergarten students planted fall and winter
vegetables such as radishes, carrots, broccoli,
spinach and beets.
“We want to pick things they might not try
at home,” Kennedy said. “The pre-K students do
get to vote on the vegetables to be planted. We
expose them to the different vegetables, then the
children get to decide what they want to plant.”
Twice a month, Nichole Lupo from the
Wylde Center comes to the school to help with
garden programming. She teaches lessons in the
garden that both explore how to grow plants but
also fit in with the students’ learning standards.
“With preschoolers and pre-K kids,
everything is experiential,” Lupo said. “Earlier
this week, we planted our fall garden and set up
stations. Kids rotated through planting seeds and
sorting seeds. One of the standards that teachers
teach is sorting by color, size and type, so they get
familiar with the seeds, they are developing fine
motor skills and covering a standard. They also
looked through seed catalogues and looked for
how the baby plant looks and the mature plant
looks to identify them.”
Teachers at College Heights also incorporate
the garden into their scheduled lessons. Ellen
Carpenter teaches pre-kindergarten and serves
as the coordinator for garden activities.
“Teachers do a variety of activities in the
garden,” she said. “A lot of it is tied into food and
nutrition. We also use it for science lessons about
how things grow, what part of the vegetable we
eat, watching it grow and measuring it.”
“What I see is kids love to eat things right out
of the garden, they have a lot more ownership
over it. Things always taste better right out of the
Many schools in City Schools of Decatur have
gardens attached, but it is particularly important
to start young, Kennedy said.
“They are learning that whole caring aspect,
empathy, tending to their needs,” Kennedy said.
“At this age, kids can be a little self-centered.
In the garden, they have to care for something
outside of themselves.”
Children as young as 2 can choose to play in
the garden during their normal physical activity
time. A teacher will accompany any students to
the garden and answer questions, and all learning
is child-directed.
“They are so enthusiastic because everything
is really new and exciting to them,” Lupo said.
“The experience of planting is very new and
the experience of harvesting is pretty exciting.
Digging up sweet potatoes, which we did last
year, they grow under the soil so the kids were so
excited to pull them out of the ground. It was like
opening presents on their birthday.”
Parents of students at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Academy help weed the garden before each
planting season. Pre-kindergarten teacher Ellen Carpenter said the parents are essential to keeping the garden
active each year. Photo provided
Tis “could go to the very heart of
…what the defense feared was going
on,” Gillen said. “It is not just im-
portant as it relates to Ms. Hall. [It]
“afects the validity of the indictment
and whether there has been witness
DeKalb County District Attorney
Robert James told the judge, “Tere
are no scripts and there are no deals.
We told Ms. Hall to tell the truth.”
While on the witness stand
herself, Hodges testifed that she
had sent preparatory questions to
Hall per her request. Additionally,
Hodges gave Hall the answers Hall
had given in previous testimony and
Superior Court Judge Courtney
Johnson denied to motion to quash
Hall’s testimony, telling the defense
team that it had not “proven witness
Ellis attorney Dwight Tomas
said that during the trial “there will
be no evidence of any mafa shake-
down. Tis case isn’t that sexy.
“Tere will not one single piece
of evidence that CEO Ellis took part
in any kickback scheme with any-
body,” Tomas said. Tere will be no
evidence in this case that Mr. Ellis
personally profted from any com-
pany, any person, any corporation or
any business that did business with
DeKalb County.
“Te district attorney will not
present any [evidence] that CEO
Ellis stole one dime from DeKalb
County taxpayers,” Tomas said,
adding that the DA will not play
“one single phone call” with Ellis
threatening a vendor.
Tomas said the trial is “not a ref-
erendum on the form of government
of DeKalb County. Tat’s for the bal-
lot box, not for the jury box.”
Tomas said that Ellis never in-
sisted that people donate money to
his campaign; he always asked.
Te jury will hear Ellis say, “I’m
doing one of the least favorable parts
of my job: fundraising,” Tomas said.
Tomas asked the jury to
“breathe life back into truth and jus-
tice” and “resurrect truth and justice
just like Lazarus.”
Te Ellis trial is expected to last
four to six weeks.
Lawanda Hodges, a deputy chief assistant district attorney, said Ellis “used his
power to get people, be it an employee or vendor, to do exactly what he wanted them
to do.”
Ellis attorney Dwight Thomas said that during the trial “there will be no evidence
of any mafa shakedown. This case isn’t that sexy.” Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Page 14A The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014

by Carla Parker
Michael Brandon Hill, who ter-
rorized Ronald E. McNair Discovery
Learning Academy last year, pleaded
guilty to multiple charges and was
sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Hill, 21, entered a plea deal Sept.
16 during a pre-trial hearing and was
sentenced to 40 years by Superior
Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott.
Hill will have to serve 20 years in
prison and the other 20 years on pro-
bation. Hill was charged with aggra-
vated assault and terroristic threats,
among other charges.
Assistant District Attorney Rod-
erick Wilkerson said Hill entered
the school last August with multiple
guns, including an AK-47, and fired
one round of ammunition into the
floor. He also fired at officers when
they arrived at the scene, but no one
was hurt. The rifle was not regis-
tered to Hill and had more than 500
rounds of ammunition.
School bookkeeper Antoi-
nette Tuff was able to talk the then
20-year-old Hill into surrendering.
“He apologized to [Tuff] for his
actions,” Wilkerson said. “Fortunate-
ly, we did not lose any lives that day.”
Hill’s attorney Annie Deets asked
the judge to sentence Hill to 30 years
with 10 to serve with a court-ordered
psychiatric assistance after release.
Deets said Hill has attempted to
commit suicide estimated nine times
since he was 11 years old and the
school shooting incident was another
suicide attempt.
“His intentions that day were
to harm himself,” she said. “He has
shown remorse, and he has apolo-
Deets also said Hill has had
mental illnesses since he was 7 years
old and pointed to a pile of hospital
records on the defense table, showing
at least 20 hospital visits.
Scott acknowledged Hill’s men-
tal issues but said the matter is “left
more appropriately to the Georgia
General Assembly and to the U.S.
Congress on how we address mental
illness issues in this country.”
McNair school shooter to serve 20 years in prison
Air quality smarts for smog season
by Lauren Ramsdell
he Georgia Clean Air
Force, established in 1996,
is familiar to anyone in
DeKalb who drives a car.
As one of the counties that has to
undergo emissions inspections
for all cars produced since then,
once a year metro Atlantans make
sure their cars aren’t spewing toxic
chemicals into the air.
But how well are these
programs working?
They are going well, apparently.
In 2012, more than 124,000
vehicles were fixed to reduce
pollution escape, according to
Thomas Smith of the Georgia
State Department of Natural
Every three years, the EPA
collects information about five
common pollutants: carbon
dioxide (CO), ammonia (NH3),
nitrous oxides (NOx), particulate
matter (PM25-PRI), sulfur
dioxide (SO2) and volatile organic
compounds (VOCs). From 2008 to
2011, levels of all five dropped. The
next survey is to be completed in
Even the school system is in
on the action. Of 395 diesel school
busses, 33 have diesel particulate
filters and 339 have diesel
oxidation catalysts to prevent
pollutants escaping. The district
also recently replaced 23 older
school busses with top-of-the line
models that are less polluting.
According to the Clean Air
Campaign, air quality in the region
has actually improved over the last
20 years, despite rapid population
growth. But not all problems are
Air pollution is a problem
because many particulates in the
air can bind to hemoglobin in the
blood, making it hard for people
to get enough oxygen. Ozone
aggravates the lungs, making them
inflamed and unable to inflate
properly. A healthy individual will
have trouble breathing when there
are particulates in the air, but those
with heart or lung disease can be
especially susceptible to injury or
even death. Most who have gone
outside during a code orange or
code red smog alert know the
feeling of chest tightness, wheezing
and breathlessness that can come
with air pollution.
Some studies have shown that
air pollution can impact sleep,
fertility in women and even brain
development in children, according
to the Clean Air Campaign.
Those most at risk include
children and adults with asthma,
chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, cardiovascular disease,
diabetes, children younger than
18 and adults older than 65. Out
of a 707,089 population, DeKalb
has more than half, 426,586, of
its residents at risk, according to
DeKalb has an ozone rating
of F and a particulate rating of B,
according to But,
according to the site, there have
been 31 fewer poor air quality
days in 2014 than there were in
1996. This year, DeKalb has had
19 “orange” ozone days and two
“red” days. Orange means the air is
unhealthy for sensitive populations
like those mentioned above, and
red means the air is unsafe for
So what can DeKalb residents
do to help protect the gains made in
regional air quality? Buying energy
efficient appliances and low-VOC
paint can help keep some of the
pollutants out of the air. The Clean
Air Campaign also recommends
living as close to public transit or
work as possible, both eliminating
commute time and time cars would
be idling and putting pollutants
back in the air.
Visit these websites to learn more about
DeKalb’s air quality and how to help
Hill fred a rife at a DeKalb school last
year. Photo by Carla Parker
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 PAGE 15A
McNair school shooter to serve 20 years in prison
Local woman strives to reveal truth, not chaos
by Lauren Ramsdell
Keilah Johnson noticed there was
something very wrong during her stay in
New York City for an internship. Between
her sophomore and junior years at Georgia
College and State University, Johnson in-
terned at WNYC and stayed with a family
in Brooklyn. All around her, she saw people
downtrodden, who didn’t recognize their
“My eyes were really opened to see how
youth that were the same age as me were
created with a purpose and needed a plat-
form to speak their truth and connect with
people,” she said.
Back at school, Johnson started a high
school mentoring program to help local
kids discover their talents. She was so pas-
sionate about the project that she based her
2012 senior thesis on it—and did not score
well on it.
“My thesis my senior year was about
how girls were affected by images that they
see around them,” she said. “I just talked
about the research from the program,
so that’s when I realized that I had to do
something directly targeting youth.”
In January 2013, Johnson abruptly quit
her job as a public relations representative.
She couldn’t stop thinking about what she
had heard in her workshops and studied in
school: the ways that media impact people’s
“God put a burden on my heart,” she
said. “I knew I had to do something about
In May 2013, Truth in Chaos was
formed. Johnson, a DeKalb County native
who graduated from Chamblee Charter
High School in 2008, founded the nonprof-
it Truth in Chaos to counteract mainstream
pop culture’s messaging to teens.
According to research Truth in Chaos
has compiled, people in the Millennial gen-
eration — young adults between the ages
of 18 and 31— spend between eight and
13 hours per day interacting with media.
More than half of all youth-directed shows
feature sexual behavior or conversations,
and only 14 percent mention any risks or
side effects. Only four percent of advertise-
ments shown during children and youths’
television shows feature healthy food.
Johnson knows a lot of these facts be-
cause, at 24, she is a Millennial, too.
“We want to create change agents that
realize they have a voice, and they don’t
have to emulate the voice they see in the
media,” Johnson said. “Our message and
our mission is that you were created to be
awesome human beings.”
Truth in Chaos sponsors a six-week
afterschool program called the Millennial
Media Makeover, where Johnson and vol-
unteers mentor students about body image,
sexuality, healthy eating and business sense.
During the program, students launch their
own small business and learn how to make
and edit short films.
“They tackle issues dealing with things
they face in real life,” Johnson said. “These
aren’t your typical short films, they star
someone they can look at and relate to just
like Beyoncé or Lil Wayne. We are expos-
ing them to positive role models. We talk
to so many youth that say they can’t even
list a positive song or positive TV show,
but if there were positive media they would
watch it.”
Truth in Chaos has offered program-
ming at B.E.S.T. Academy, Coretta Scott
King Young Women’s Leadership Academy,
Martin Luther King Middle School and
Greenforest Christian Academy, among
other schools.
“Our intentionality is something
[school faculty] really note,” Johnson said.
“We are not a typical after-school program
where we do collages or bring in speakers.
We are very intentional, so depending on
the school or city we bring in mentors that
look like those students. [Our mentors] are
not more than 29 years old. That, I think,
has been a really good thing for the kids.”
She finds mentors through personal
contacts, churches, schools and cold-
calling. When asked why she started a
nonprofit before she was 25, she answered,
“Why not?”
“It has been a tough journey but know-
ing the audience that I want to target right
now, I don’t know if that is going to exist in
10 years,” Johnson said. “I have to act right
now. Something that is unique for [Millen-
nials] is that we are very impulsive. It’s OK
if we’re not working for someone else. We’ll
make it work; the older generations may
not let it work. I couldn’t let this go.”
For additional information, visit
Truth in Chaos shows short, relatable films as a part of its afterschool programs. Here,
mentees learn how to shoot their own short films. Photo by Keilah Johnson
Keilah Johnson, center, is the founder of a nonprofit that mentors youth on
how to resist media messaging, like these sophomores at B.E.S.T. Academy.
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 16A
Household pests
A growing problem fuels a growing industry
by Kathy Mitchell
idding households of pests
is a centuries-old business
and even was the theme of
the Pied Piper story set in
13th century Europe. As a corporate
enterprise, pest control in the Unit-
ed States is now an approximately $7
billion industry that employs more
than 65,400 workers, according to
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Furthermore, it’s growing every year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites
a current growth rate of 20 percent
over a 10-year period, making it
above average among the nation’s
growing industries.
Chuck Gates of Skyline Pest
Solutions, with offices in Doraville
and four other metro locations, said
the growth may be attributable to
the increase in households in which
all adults are working. “Two-income
families rarely have time to take
care of pest control needed at home.
Also, many live in rural areas where
people have moved into insect and
wildlife habitats that now require
professional pest control services,”
he said.
Gates, who has been in the pest
removal industry for 49 years, ex-
plained that while many think of
roaches, termites and mice when
they think of home pest control, a
large percentage of the business in-
volves other pests. “We have a wild-
life department that handles bats,
squirrels, rats and similar animals.
All these animals have the potential
to carry vectors and diseases,” he
Skyline’s website notes that
many common wild animals “have
long been making themselves at
home in our suburbs and cities.
They discover food in abundance
in our gardens, trash cans and pets’
food dishes,” it states. The web-
site advises homeowners to avoid
“confronting a trespassing pest….A
wild animal is unpredictable and
dangerous no matter how small or
innocuous looking,” it states, not-
ing that professions are trained to
deal safely with such animals. Also
the company says it has “ethical and
cruelty-free methods of wildlife pest
Skyline, which has operated in
the metro Atlanta area since 2004,
lists on its website a “pest library”
of 15 types of “unwanted visitors”
that they remove. The list includes
fleas, which Gates said are a par-
ticular problem this time of year.
“Health issues resulting from pests
are becoming more and more ap-
parent,” Gates said. “Mosquitoes,
ticks, roaches, rodents, birds and
bats all either carry parasitic pests or
diseases that can become issues for
“Cat fleas can be particularly
troublesome during the summer
months, as warmer weather brings
an increased population of strays—
and their fleas—to yards,” he said,
adding that for homeowners in
Atlanta, where warm weather often
lasts well into the fall, the problem
can continue even when it’s no lon-
ger officially summer.
It can be a pesky problem, he
said, even for those who don’t own
cats. “Cats are not always responsi-
ble for bringing these fleas indoors;
they often enter the home on a hu-
man host. As fleas make their way
indoors and begin to breed and feed
on anything they can get a hold of—
cats, dogs and humans included.”
Gates said professional pest con-
trol services often are the most ef-
fective way to address the problem.
“We use products that treat fleas in
all stages of life,” he explained. “In
addition, a follow-up treatment is
typically conducted two weeks after
the initial treatment to ensure that
those fleas that were not killed the
first time are terminated.” He said
that professionals also know how to
protect the health and safety of hu-
mans and pets in the home as they
rid it of unwanted creatures.
“No one should put up with
pests or wildlife issues because of
the obvious potential health issues
related to infestation,” Gates said.
“Professional pest control service is
the most effective and cost efficient
option to prevent such issues, while
protecting your health from asso-
ciated disease and filth associated
with infestation.”
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
Skyline Pest Solutions has been operating in the metro Atlanta area since 2004.
“No one should put up with pests or wildlife issues,” said Chuck Gates of Skyline Pest Solutions, which has offces in Doraville and four other metro locations.
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 17A
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The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 18A
Doraville poised to get new soccer pitches
Vikings rally past Campbell 42-38 with big fourth quarter
by Lauren Ramsdell
hanks to an offer from Georgia Soccer,
the state’s soccer advocacy group, the
city of Doraville may soon get soccer
“mini pitches” in some of its parks.
Working with the Atlanta Silver-
backs and the Arthur Blank Foundation, Georgia
Soccer will design and install the pitches in unde-
rused areas around Doraville. Once installation is
complete, the city will provide ongoing mainte-
nance. Although the deal has not been finalized
yet, Doraville City Council recommended the
parks and recreation department pursue the deal
with Georgia Soccer.
“Soccer, of course, is the fastest-growing sport
in America, so it just makes sense,” said Rip Rob-
ertson, Doraville parks and recreation director.
“We have a couple of different tennis courts and
an area in our athletic field that we felt like was a
good fit for their project.”
Robertson said there are no dedicated soccer
fields in the city. For spring league soccer, the city
uses its multi-use field. That field is used year-
round for things like baseball, softball and free
play games.
“There has never been any soccer field in
Doraville, and right now we don’t have any space
for it,” Robertson said. “All of our fields are used
year round. I am hoping with the GM plant re-
development there may be some green space and
opportunity there to put in some sort of athletic
Georgia Soccer primarily will be revamping
and revitalizing existing spaces. For example,
one neighborhood park in Doraville had a tennis
court, but no nets.
“Every time I went out there it was being
used to play soccer,” said Greg Griffith, director
of Georgia Soccer. “If we could refurbish that,
we could make it into something the community
would appreciate.”
Griffith began his tenure at Georgia Soccer in
January. Since then, he has been developing the
partnership with the Arthur Blank Foundation to
set up the mini pitches.
“The demographics of a lot of communi-
ties in Atlanta have changed, where there is a
greater immigrant community,” Griffith said. “All
of those immigrant communities are looking at
soccer as their No. 1 sport. Maybe 20 years ago
tennis or basketball was the No.1 sport, but our
communities just haven’t kept up.
“My belief is much like there are basketball
courts and tennis courts available to the public,
people should be building soccer pitches in plac-
es that are about the same size,” he said.
Doraville will be joining neighbors Sandy
Springs, which received a mini pitch from the
U.S. Soccer Foundation a few years ago, and Nor-
cross, where Georgia Soccer is also looking at
putting in a mini pitch.
If the deal is finalized, the transition from
tennis courts to soccer pitches could occur as
early as this fall. The pitches will not be used for
city recreation soccer, but rather for free play,
much like other park amenities.
“Soccer is a huge sport, and any opportunity
to put in something that can be played on every
day regardless of what kind of field is a good
thing,” Robertson said. “It will be huge for the
community. It’s made of Astroturf, so that mini-
mizes maintenance costs. The turf has a 10-year
warranty. We will have new turf incorporated
into our capital improvement program every
eight to 10 years. We are always looking for ways
to get kids out and playing. Soccer is a popular
sport, and it doesn’t take a lot of equipment. It
takes a ball. All they have to do isthrow the ball
down, and they’ve got a game.”
An example of a soccer mini pitch can be found in Sandy Springs’ Allen Park. The pitch was created by Atlanta-based Soccer in the Streets through a grant from the U.S.
Soccer Foundation.
by Mark Brock
The Lakeside Vikings scored 14 points in the
final 4:27 against Campbell to rally from a 38-28
deficit to win 42-38 Sept. 12.
Kelleyan Walker, who had three touch-
downs in the game, scored the game winner on a
25-yard run with 2:41 to play to give the Vikings
their second victory on the season.
Lakeside trailed by 14 points twice in the
first half (14-0 and 21-7) but came back in the
third quarter to briefly take the lead at 28-24.
Walker scored on a 65-yard run with 5:19 left in
the third to close the gap to 24-21.
Linebacker Daryl Patterson set up another
Walker score with an interception in third quar-
ter. Walker took a screen pass 63 yards to the
house following the interception to give the Vi-
kings the short-lived 28-21 lead with 2:23 left in
the quarter.
Campbell scored twice to go up 38-28 and
appeared to have the game until Patterson re-
turned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown to cut
the lead to 38-35 with 3:43 to play.

Columbia 55, Stone Mountain 0
Quarterback Andre Brown threw two touch-
down passes to lead the Columbia Eagles (2-1)
to a 55-0 Region 6-AAAA victory over Stone
Mountain Sept. 12.
Running back Antonio Manson had 12 car-
ries for 160 yards as Columbia led 35-0 at the
half over the Pirates (0-3).

Tucker 51, M.L. King 0
Quarterback Garrett Rigby and wide re-
ceiver Courtland Rogers teamed up for a pair
of touchdown passes as the Tucker Tigers (2-2)
rolled to a 51-0 win over the Martin Luther King
Lions (0-3) at Hallford Stadium Sept. 12.
An interception and field goal had the Tigers
up 10-0 before a big fourth down play broke
the game open. Facing a fourth and seven in Li-
ons territory, Rigby found Rogers for their first
touchdown play on a 35-yard play to extend the
lead 17-0 to end the first quarter.
The pair teamed up to make it 24-0 as Rog-
ers took the pass 40 yards for the score. The lead
extended to 38-0 at the half as running back Del-
vin Weems scored on a 40-yard run and defen-
sive end Tabarius Patterson returned a fumble
45 yards for a touchdown.
Football Results
Friday, Sept. 12
Marist (3-0) 30, Arabia Mountain (0-3) 0
Meadowcreek (1-2) 14, Clarkston (0-4) 0
Columbia (2-1) 55, Stone Mountain (0-3) 0
Creekside (3-1) 41, Druid Hills (2-1) 0
Carver-Atl (3-1) 35, Dunwoody (2-1) 13
Lakeside (2-2) 42, Campbell (2-1) 38
St. Pius (1-2) 38, Lithonia (2-1) 7
Douglass (2-1) 3, McNair (1-2) 0
Grady (2-1) 29, Redan (0-3) 20
Stephenson (2-1) 47, Banneker (0-3) 6
Saturday, Sept. 13
Cedar Grove (2-1) 23, Miller Grove (2-1) 18
Decatur (2-1) 20, Towers (0-3) 16
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 19A
Marist volleyball ranked No. 22 nationally by MaxPrep
Vikings rally past Campbell 42-38 with big fourth quarter
Clarkston cross country hopes to establish a winning culture
by Carla Parker
Marist volleyball coach Kendall Crum said
she was pleasantly surprised when a parent told
her that ranked the team in the
top 25 teams in the nation.
“I don’t put a lot of stock in rankings, but
considering the way the girls have been playing
the beginning of the season it’s nice for them to
have that recognition,” Crum said., a high school sports website,
released the rankings Aug. 27 and said Marist is
the 22nd best team in the nation after a 9-0 start
after Aug. 21. Marist lost in the state champion-
ship last season and Crum said the team worked
hard during the offseason to get better.
“I think that coming back this year they were
hungry and wanted to perform equally as well, if
not, a little bit better,” Crum said. “We had some
good wins early on, which is probably why we
got ranked as high as we did in the first place.
But I think the girls have been happy with the
results, but also know that they still have a lot of
work to do.”
The team consists of mostly juniors (seven)
three sophomores, one freshman and one se-
nior—team captain Sydney Leimbach. Crum
said Leimbach is one of the best middle players
in the state.
“When she’s on and playing there’s not much
that can stop her. She’s the biggest impact player
that we have. She knows and the girls know that
we are a middle driven team.”
Marist lost some key players from last year’s
team, including some a few leaders. However, a
couple of the younger players stepped up to fill
that leadership role. One of those players include
Hannah Weiland, another team captain.
“Hannah is kind of a quiet leader,” Crum
said. “She’s not going to be the loudest player
on the court but she is consistent. She sets a re-
ally good ball, puts the ball where it needs to be
and she’s a good blocker. I think having her play
all the way around—the offensive weapon, the
blocking and the setting—comes though and
puts a lot of the pieces together for us.”
Junior Megan Prater is another young player
that stepped up and has been a big contributor to
the team. Crum said Prater was on the JV team
at the beginning of last season and was brought
up varsity after a couple of players were injured.
“She came up to varsity and had to immedi-
ately play and she’s been in the nest since then,”
Crum said. “Megan is not a power player, but she
knows how to score and make plays.”
Crum said one of the keys to the team’s early
success is the bond between the players.
“The girls on the team really like each other
and they all respect each other,” she said. “A lot
of the girls have been playing together for a long
time, so when we jumped into the season this
year we didn’t have to spend a lot of time on
team bonding. We jumped right into our system
and it seems nice because we’ve only focused
on volleyball and didn’t have to worry about the
other stuff. I think that’s why the girls were able
to pull it together early.”
With the talent on the team, Crum believes
this team can make another championship run,
but said it is something that they do not focus
“We don’t talk about going back to state,” she
said. “It’s one game at a time, and that’s how we
chase the season. This is my 10th year at Marist
and I’ve never ever focused on getting in the state
tournament and we don’t do that.
“We focus no one thing at a time and we have
to go through each game,” she added. “We don’t
look too far ahead because if you that your liable
to miss something along the way. Are they tal-
ented enough and capable to do that? Absolutely.
There is no question about that. They have the
skill, they have the pieces, but the reality of it is
when it comes to volleyball is that it all comes
together at the right time on the right day.”
by Carla Parker
It has been awhile since an athletic team from
Clarkston High School has won a state champi-
The school has four team championships—
two in boys’ basketball (1940, 1964) and two in
girls’ track (1989, 1990). The school also has in-
dividual state champions in wrestling, including
recent champion Terrance Gaddy (2008, 2009).
However, the school has not been one of DeKalb
County’s premiere schools in sports.
The boys’ cross country team is hoping to
change that perception as they continue to win
this season. The cross country team has won four
meets so far, including three consecutive county
The team is coming off a productive 2013
season that included its first county champion-
ship, ending Lakeside’s 18-year winning streak.
Clarkston coach Wesley Etienne said winning
that title and ending Lakeside’s streak gave the
team “positive momentum.”
“Lakeside has been holding that title for 18
years, and they’ve been doing a great job,” Eti-
enne said. “I know many teams have tried to
dethrone them, and we were successful in doing
that. That just gave us a good platform to stand
The Clarkston Angoras cross country team
has continued to improve since the 2012 season.
The team finished in the top 19 in state in 2012,
and finished runner up last year.
“That put us on the map saying that we are
competitive, and we have good athletes,” Etienne
said. “We just have to continue to believe that.”
Etienne believes Clarkston has good student
athletes as well. He said the team is working to
bring a winning attitude to the school with its
recent success.
“We got some good student athletes at this
school, and we’re trying to make sure that we
do our part,” he said. “In DeKalb County we
have athletes spread out all over place that are
academically successful and also athletically. We
try to instill in our kids that if you do a great job
in the classroom it will overflow into your work
ethic for competing also.”
Clarkston is led by a group of young runners
and one senior. Last year’s team had a number of
seniors who were captains, and “made the tran-
sition very smooth for us to compete on a high
level last year,” Etienne said. Although the team
is trying to find new leadership, Etienne said the
school has a freshmen class that is hungry and
ready to win.
“We’re blessed to have a good freshman
class all around throughout the school,” he said.
“It’s affecting our volleyball [team], our softball
[team] and our cross country team, and also
building a good program for our football team.
The freshmen class has done a great job com-
ing in, and they are ready to work. They want to
make a name for themselves. They got fire, and
they keep motivating our juniors and sopho-
mores on how to excel.
“It’s good to have [junior] Abbas [Abbkr]
and Bineyam [Tumbo]—a sophomore, and also
having Gidey [Sahlu], a senior, and [sophomore]
Suheib [Mohamed],” Etienne added. “These
four came back from last year’s team, and they’re
working with these younger guys and getting
them going. They’re my new leaders, but they’re
still young. They’re trying to lead us in the right
Clarkston had seven runners that placed in
state last season, and Etienne is hoping to have
more runners qualify this season.
“Our plan is to have our whole team qualify
for state,” he said. “We know that as long as we
keep on working the possibility is very much
there for us. All we need to do is keep working
and believing in ourselves, and take it one week
at a time.”
Clarkston’s Abbas Abbkar. Photo by Mark Brock
The Champion FreePress, Friday Sept. 19, 2014 Page 20A
Pet of the Week
Pier (ID#: 23591111) is an outgoing two-year-old
shepherd/retriever mix who loves to play. She adores
people and prefers to stay by her human’s side. She
also gets along great with other dogs and she loves
kids. Pier’s dream is to have a person or family to
love and a backyard of her own where she can run
and play. Under the shelter’s ‘Fall in Love’ special,
Pier may be adopted for FREE! This includes Pier
and $200 worth of services, including spay, vaccine,
microchip and more, for no charge!
Please call (404) 294-2165 or email
for additional information.
Athlete of
the Week
Te Champion chooses a male and
female high school Athlete of the
Week each week throughout the
school year. Te choices are based
on performance and nominations by
coaches. Please e-mail nominations
to by
Monday at noon.
Kelleyan Walker, Lakeside
(football): Walker scored three
touchdowns, including a game
winning 25-yard touchdown,
in Lakeside’s 42-38 win over
Campbell Sept. 12.
Paulette Jueing, Druid Hills (cross
country): Jueing (22:27.74) ran the
fastest girls’ time of the season and
captured her second race title of
the season as she led Druid Hills
to a frst place fnish in the county
meet Sept. 9.
Next Level
Each week The Champion spotlights former
high school players from the county who are
succeeding in athletics on the college level.
Mike Davis, South Carolina (football): The
junior running back from Stephenson rushed
for 66 yards in South Carolina’s 38-35 win
over Georgia Sept. 14. He also had two
receptions for 16 yards.
Jonathan Wynn, Vanderbilt (football):
The red shirt freshman linebacker from
Stephenson had six tackles and one sack in
Vanderbilt’s 34-31 win over Massachusetts
Sept. 13.
Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee State
(football): The junior safety from M.L. King
had nine tackles and one pass defection
in Middle Tennessee State’s 50-47 over
Western Kentucky Sept. 13.
Davis Wynn Byard