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FRIDAY, OCT. 3, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 28 • 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 Fire Chiefs on page 13A
See Ellis on page 13A
‘Yes man’ testifies against Ellis
by Andrew Cauthen
ourtroom spectators in the corruption
trial against suspended CEO Burrell Ellis
gasped when the state’s key witness re-
ferred to Ellis as “like a murderer.”
Te comment occurred Sept. 24 as former
procurement director Kelvin Walton was being
questioned by Lawanda Hodges, deputy chief
assistant district attorney at DeKalb County Dis-
trict Attorney’s Ofce, about a secret recording
played in court.
In his testimony, Walton said he was told by
Ellis to dry up the work of Power and Energy, a
company that serviced generators for the county.
Te company had declined to make a donation to
Ellis’ campaign.
“We stopped giving them work,” Walton said.
“Tat’s just like a murderer, you know.”
Te jury was rushed out afer the comment and
an Ellis attorney asked for a mistrial, saying Wal-
ton “has rung a bell that can’t be unrung.”
Judge Courtney Johnson warned spectators
against “audible gasps” like the one heard afer
Walton’s “like a murderer” statement. She also
denied the motion for a mistrial.
Ellis is facing four counts of criminal attempt
to commit 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 employees to give
anything of value for political purposes; one
count of conspiracy in restraint of free and open
competition; and one count of conspiracy to de-
by Carla Parker
n Sept. 1, the Decatur
Fire Department
promoted Stephanie
Burton to deputy fire
chief, making her the first woman
to hold this position.
Burton, 40, was promoted
by Decatur Fire Chief Toni
Washington, who is the
department’s first woman fire
chief. Washington said she was
excited to promote Burton, and she
is excited about what is to come.
“The best part about all of this
was I was able to promote within
the department and not open the
process up to external candidates,”
Washington said. “We have hit
the ground running. There is a
strategic plan, we have a vision and
we’re working hard to make some
changes that we feel will benefit
our department.”
Along with her duties as
deputy chief, Burton will continue
to provide fire prevention and
education as the city’s fire marshal.
The previous Deputy Fire Chief
Tim Hatcher retired at the end of
Burton has nearly 15 years of
experience in fire services. Before
she became a firefighter, she was a
police officer in Valdosta.
“I got into that because I
wanted to teach the Drug Abuse
Resistance Education program
to kids,” Burton said. “However,
coming into the doors of the police
department, it takes you a while
to transition to different careers
within the department. So, I made
the switch to the fire department
because once you walk in the
door you’re teaching from the
beginning. I enjoy the teaching
aspects, prevention and education
of the fire department.”
She transferred to the Decatur
Fire Department in 2004 and
worked her way up to her new
position. Burton said she had a
goal to have a chief position within
10 years of starting her career.
“I made it within 10 years here
in Decatur,” Burton said. “I’ve
been in fire services longer, and I
had to start over, but I still think I
acquired my goal.”
For Washington, who has 22
years of experience in fire services,
becoming a firefighter was not
something she always wanted to
do. When she graduated from
college, she got a job at the state’s
Fire Marshal Office as an “at-will”
“As the commissioners changed
I needed a job, and because I
had been working with the fire
departments all over the state
[and] being heavily recruited,” the
46-year-old said. “They needed
women at the time, so that was
Decatur Fire makes history with women in top leadership positions
Decatur Fire Chief Toni Washington, left, and Deputy Fire Chief Stephanie Burton
are the frst women to hold the top positions in the Decatur Fire Department.

From left, former county procurement director Kelvin Walton testifed against his former boss, suspended
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Education .....................15A
Business ........................16A
Sports ...................... 18-20A
Opinion ........................... 5A
Classifed .......................17A
Page 2A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014

Second annual Heart of South DeKalb festival
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The second annual Heart of South DeKalb Festival was held Sept. 27 in the parking lot of the Gallery at South DeKalb Mall. Organized by Paula Tate and sponsored by
DeKalb District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, the free, family-friendly event included a parade, bands, vendors, food, a kids’ zone, car show, stage entertainment, perfor-
mances and more. Tate said the event highlights all that is good about South DeKalb. Photos by Travis Hudgons
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 3A
DeKalb police academy graduates 100th class
by Carla Parker
he DeKalb County Police De-
partment increased its force by
15 after celebrating the 100th
Police Academy graduation class.
The new 15 officers, including
former DeKalb Police Chief William
O’Brien’s son Bradley, receive their
badges and took the oath of office
during their graduation ceremony
Sept. 26 at Porter Sanford III Per-
forming Arts Center.
“The decision to take the oath of
office to become a police officer is
not one entered into lightly,” interim
Chief James Conroy said. “I applaud
these dedicated men and women
who are committed to serving this
Department and community with
honor and courage.”
The new officers went through
26 weeks of intensive training at the
police academy. They now will com-
plete an additional eight‒12 weeks of
training in the field. Interim DeKalb
CEO Lee May, who was unable to
attend the ceremony, told the offi-
cers in a prerecorded video that the
county needs the new officers to be
“I believe my job as the interim
CEO is to give you the resources that
you need to be successful,” May said.
“Because when you’re successful,
DeKalb County is a safer place.”
The new officers will join 123 of-
ficers that has been hired so far this
year, which is an increase compared
to last year. The department plans
to have 160 more sworn officers and
100 more patrol cars on the street by
the end of the year.
East Lake Farmers Market closes
by Carla Parker
The East Lake Farmers Market
is no longer in business.
The market, which opened
April 2009, was held every Satur-
day from April through October at
the corner of Second Avenue and
Hosea Williams Drive near the At-
lanta communities of East Lake and
Kirkwood, and the Decatur com-
munity of Oakhurst. Doug Wil-
liams, board president of the farm-
ers market, announced Sept. 23 on
the market’s Facebook page that the
market closed for the season Aug. 1
“due to changes in personnel.”
“The early closure was a tough
decision,” Williams said. “An even
tougher one has been to accept that
we do not have the resources to
keep this enterprise going. We apol-
ogize for any inconveniences this
closure has caused, and we thank
you for your community support.”
Williams said there was some
turnover on the board, and the
board is struggling to replace mem-
bers to run the market.
“In order for our market to run
well, there needs to be at least 40
hours a week of behind-the-scenes
work to support the market man-
ager,” Williams said. “Marketing,
fundraising, social media, account-
ing and other needs have to be met
to be our best.”
Williams explained how the
market suffered in seasons five and
six due to low volunteer hours.
Vendor participation and atten-
dance dropped as well.
“At this point, the market does
not have the volunteer or staffing
resources needed to properly sup-
port it,” he said.
The board plans to keeps its
books opened for “a few months”
for any outstanding vendor checks
to clear.
“We will close the books and
fold the organization by the holi-
days,” Williams said. “Any remain-
ing funds, assets and resources
will be given over to the East Lake
Community Garden.”
The East Lake Farmers Market is shutting down after fve years in business. Photo
Fifteen DeKalb County Police offcers were a part of the 100th Police Academy
graduation class. Photo by Carla Parker
The Champion FreePress, Friday Oct. 3, 2014 Page 4A
Letter to the Editor
Civility in the community
On Sept. 19, 2014, The
Champion Newspaper featured a
letter to the editor titled, “Dismay
over Zoning Vote.” The letter was
written by Donald Broussard
supposedly in response to a decision
by the DeKalb Zoning Board of
Appeals (ZBA).
The appeal referred to by
Donald Broussard that was
presented to the ZBA on Sept. 10,
2014, was an administrative appeal
and this matter was voted on by the
I believe that this letter to the
editor was written to smear my
name and other members of the
The fact is, as chairman of the
ZBA, I pride myself in ensuring that
all individuals appearing before the
board on a monthly basis receive a
fair and impartial hearing no matter
what their station in life might be
and regardless of what organization
or business interest they may
Any suggestions that the ZBA
is influenced by considerations
other than the law are totally false
and without any foundation. As
chairman of the ZBA, I make sure
everyone who appears before the
board, is measured by the same
yardstick. The attorneys who
represent the applicants will tell you
this for free. But Donald Broussard
is not interested in the truth. In fact,
based on his record, he has a serious
problem associating himself with
the truth.
Decisions made by the ZBA
are based on our interpretation of
well-defined county ordinances.
We consult with our board attorney
on concerns should a gray area
appear. The ZBA decisions may not
be favorable on each application;
however, the applicant is afforded
an opportunity to seek an appeal.
The applicant may appeal a ZBA
decision by petitioning the Superior
Court of DeKalb County within 30
days after the ZBA’s decision has
been rendered.
For the record, during my eight
years of service on the ZBA, few
ZBA decisions have been appealed
to the Superior Court of DeKalb
County. Since I became chairman of
the ZBA, even fewer ZBA decisions
have been appealed to the Superior
Court of DeKalb County.
There is too much ugliness and
hatred, too much mean-spirited
discord and zero-sum politics being
spread and it is destroying the
fabric of our county. I have chosen
to promote civility in difficult
dialogues on a number of critical
social issues. My character and
integrity are well known throughout
DeKalb County. Therefore, I really
do not need to defend myself, but
I do want people who lie on me to
know, as Rhett Butler said, “Frankly,
my dear, I don’t give a damn” what
you think. I will continue to serve
as chairman of the ZBA for DeKalb
County to the best of my ability. I
will continue to stand up for what is
right and just and for the quality of
life of all citizens in DeKalb County,
– Darryl Jennings Sr.
Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals
DeKalb County
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 5A

Let Us Know What You Think!
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions from its readers.
Please write to us and express your views. Letters should be brief, type-
written and contain the writer’s name, address and telephone number
for verifcation. All letters will be considered for publication.
Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-
1347; Send email to • FAX To: (404) 370-3903 Phone:
(404) 373-7779 . Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior
to publication date.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not
necessarily refect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the
right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible
for unsolicited manuscripts.
Publisher: John Hewitt
Chief Financial Ofcer: Dr. Earl D. Glenn
Managing Editor: Andrew Cauthen
Production Manager: Kemesha Hunt
Photographer: Travis Hudgons
Staf Reporters: Carla Parker, Lauren Ramsdell
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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.
Come walk a mile in a smile at the Buddy Walk
“Don’t walk behind me; I may
not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I
may not follow. Just walk beside me
and be my friend.” –Albert Camus,
(1913-1960) a French-Algerian
Nobel Prize winning author,
journalist and philosopher.
Albert Camus may never have
attended a Buddy Walk, but he
certainly captured the essence of
the day. Across America this year,
dozens of Buddy Walks will raise
funds, friends and awareness for
our nation’s Down syndrome com-
munity. Down syndrome, the most
common genetic chromosomal
birth disorder, still occurring in
roughly one out of every 1,000
births, was first documented and
discovered by Dr. John Langdon
Down (1828-1896) in the United
Kingdom as a specific mental dis-
ability in 1862.
Our younger daughter Olivia
has Down syndrome, and you of-
ten hear, particularly among Down
children growing up, that they wish
the good doctor had been named
“Up” and that their syndrome
would thus be called “Up” syn-
drome. More often than not, it has
certainly been that way in our un-
conventional family since Olivia’s
arrival on July 1, 2007.
As a nation, we have largely
ended the massive institutional-
ization of Down syndrome adults
and children, though there are still
less enlightened parts of the world
where that is not the case.  Per-
haps more than any single request
most Down syndrome children
and adults share is simply to be
accepted, welcomed and treated
just like anyone else. Cognition,
speech skills and ability to live and
function independently can vary
considerably, but the similarity of
many physical markers and features
still cause some to lump together
and occasionally treat our beloved
family members as village idiots.
But not at the Buddy Walk.
Thousands of adults and kids with
Down syndrome, their families and
friends gather and spend the day in
a love cloud that feels like a mile-
long hug. Collectively, the Buddy
Walks raise nearly $3 million per
year with the bulk of funds staying
in the local community where the
walks are held, funding Down syn-
drome family support and therapy
services, service and therapy cen-
ters such as Gigi’s Playhouse At-
lanta, and ongoing research to im-
prove the health and independence
of those living with Trisomy 21 (the
genetic marker and cause of Down
We would love to have you
consider joining us for the At-
lanta Buddy Walk, this upcoming
Sunday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m., in Cen-
tennial Olympic Park, or if your
calendar or health does not permit,
then we would be honored to have
you support this worthwhile cause
and uplifting day with a small
donation. You can easily Google
and find the Atlanta Buddy Walk
online, or support our Olivia’s ef-
forts and team directly here: www.
The Atlanta Down syndrome
community is often joined by
several hundred facing their own
mobility or other developmental
challenges, including folks with
cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy,
muscular sclerosis, Amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis and autism, among
others. Whether walking, rolling or
strolling, they all seem to enjoy the
cool fall afernoon, as well as sim-
ply enjoying each other’s company.
Teams seek sponsors and sup-
port for their short walk, and the
contributions are received by the
Down Syndrome Association of
Atlanta. Our team has been blessed
with many friends and supporters
over the years, and is usually a pe-
rennial top fve fundraising fnisher
among the several hundred teams. 
It is hard to fully put into words
the celebratory and loving mood of
this day. Our loved ones are so of-
ten told or informed by a world for-
ever reminding them of what they
“cannot do.” And yet there is so
very much that they can do and do
well. Te Buddy Walk focuses many
more spotlights on those abilities,
and forgives, at least for one day,
the challenges of their disabilities. 
Some make the walk with a
struggling gait, others in wheel-
chairs, and many of the younger
children run ahead of their par-
ents, family and friends, eager to
claim the gold medal that awaits
them when crossing the fnish
line. Yes, everyone is a winner on
this day. You can be, too, in per-
son, or in spirit; just walk along-
side a few thousand of our closest
friends. You’ll be glad you did. Be-
sides relearning an appreciation for
several of life’s simplest pleasures,
you will also be reminded of your
own good fortune and the good
health and wellness of the vast
majority of your friends and fam-
ily. And you may even make a few
dozen new friends, especially some
of those kids with “Up syndrome.” 
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 Crane
Page 6A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 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.
Maureen and
Roy Vandiver were
honored recently
at a special event
at DeKalb Medical
for their 40 years of
leadership, vision
and philanthropy
that has been criti-
cal to the success
and growth of The
DeKalb Medical
Foundation and DeKalb Medical.  
The reception area of DeKalb Medical’s
Comprehensive Breast Center was named at the
event, in their honor, as a tribute to the inspira-
tion and example of hope their life’s journey has
given so many.
 “We are so blessed to have the Vandivers as
part of our Foundation family and as pillars of
the community and proponents of quality care
for everyone,” said Leigh Minter, executive di-
rector of the DeKalb Medical Foundation. “They
have been integral to the growth of the DeKalb
Medical Foundation and their caring spirit is
evident throughout every inch of DeKalb Medi-
cal and in each patient interaction.”
 A trained social worker and breast cancer
survivor, Maureen Vandiver has devoted her life
to championing breast cancer, AIDS, seat belt
laws and the perils of smoking while serving as
the president of the DeKalb Medical Association
Alliance, member of the Medical Association of
Georgia Alliance, program coordinator of the
DeKalb Medical Cancer Center and chairwom-
an of the DeKalb Medical Foundation.
 “We want to be good citizens of the hospital
and of our county,” said Maureen, who was born
in Decatur and has lived there all of her life.
“DeKalb County and DeKalb Medical have
given us a very rich and rewarding life, and it’s
time to pay it back,” added Roy Vandiver. “We
are enthusiastic about the growth of DeKalb
Medical and proud to do our part in helping our
community have the best care and diagnostic
tests modern medicine can provide.”
 A well-respected neurosurgeon, Roy Van-
diver has applied his medical moxy and leader-
ship to better understanding brain disease and
bringing the latest innovations to DeKalb Medi-
cal. He was elected chief of staff of DeKalb Med-
ical in 1988, served as president of the DeKalb
Medical Society, the Georgia Neurological Soci-
ety and the Medical Association of Georgia. He
served as chairman of the political action com-
mittee of the American Medical Association. In
1999, Roy Vandiver left DeKalb Medical to be-
come CEO and board chairman of the MagMu-
tual Insurance Company, a professional liability
company, insuring some 17,000 physicians in
the southeast.  He served in this capacity until
he retired in 2011.
 The couple has also been named Mr. and
Mrs. DeKalb by the American Heart Associa-
Maureen and Roy Vandiver
by Carla Parker
A Brookhaven Police officer is re-
covering at home after he was attacked
by multiple yellow jackets Sept. 24.
While trying to catch a suspect, Of-
ficer John Ritch stepped on a yellow
jacket nest. He and his K-9 Grizz were
stung multiple times. Ritch was stung
more than 50 times.
Brookhaven spokesman Maj. Bran-
don Gurley said Brookhaven Police re-
ceived a call from DeKalb County Police
Sept. 24 around 6:30 p.m. for assistance
on catching a suspect.
“[DeKalb] had a patrol car on I-85
in the area of North Druid Hills Road
that was struck by a vehicle,” Gurley
said. “The driver wrecked, got out and
ran on foot and entered the woods off
North Druid and I-85 behind the Salva-
tion Army building in Brookhaven. So
we were called for assistance.”
Gurley said Brookhaven officers re-
sponded to the area and set up a perim-
eter around the woods. Ritch responded
and entered the woods with Grizz to
search for the suspect. They located the
suspect hiding in the woods.
“He was down in a hole area where
he was saying that he had fallen and was
hurt,” Gurley said. The officers “were
trying to move to get in a better position
to be able to see him and make sure he
didn’t have any weapons.”
Brookhaven officers had learned
from DeKalb police that the man may
have been a burglary suspect and pos-
sibly armed, according to Gurley. While
trying to move into position to see the
suspect, Ritch stepped on a yellow jacket
“He was swarmed by hundreds, if
not, thousands of yellow jackets,” Gurley
said. “They were going in his clothes, his
pants leg, in his mouth, anywhere that
they could go.”
Ritch had an immediate negative
reaction to the stings, despite not being
“The medical staff at the hospital
indicated that anyone would’ve had a
reaction to this number of stings,” Gur-
ley said.
Ritch experienced tightening in his
chest and had an increased heart rate.
He was transported to Grady Memorial
Hospital by Brookhaven Officer Russell
Chatham, who was also stung by yellow
jackets while transporting Ritch. Cha-
tham was treated and released from the
hospital that night.
The dog was taken to an emergency
veterinarian hospital where he was treat-
ed and released.
Officer hospitalized for multiple stings
Brookhaven offcer and dog: Brookhaven Police Offcer John Ritch and
his K-9 dog Grizz were stung multiple times after Ritch stepped on a
yellow jacket nest while chasing a suspect.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 7A

Referendum committee to host
community chats
The Brookhaven Redevelopment Referendum
Community will host a series of Community Chat
events to inform voters about the possibility of “more
powerful and unaccountable government” coming to
Brookhaven this fall, according to an announcement
about the event.
The Redevelopment Powers Law referendum on the
Nov. 4 ballot will be discussed. The Community Chat
will feature guest speakers who will explain why they
thinkthe proposed law is not in the best interest of the
residents and taxpayers of Brookhaven. Attendees also
will have an opportunity to ask questions.
The chats will be held Oct. 6, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at
3616 Sunderland Circle; Oct. 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at
THERE, pub, 305 Brookhaven Ave.; and Oct. 22, 7 to 9
p.m. at 2709 Redding Road NE.
For more information, visit www.brookhavenrefer-
School to host food tasting
Arabia Mountain High School will host its
fourth Annual Taste of Arabia on Saturday, Nov.
1, at the school, located at 6610 Browns Mills
Road, Lithonia.
Doors will open at 3 p.m. and tastings will
take place in the commons area from 3 to 7 p.m.
Guests can visit with others in the commu-
nity, tasting culinary treats, listen to music and
cheer for their favorite competitor in the cooking
competitions. Tasters will vote on the top three
culinary businesses at the end of the event.
Tickets are $1 for a “taste” and discount
packages start at $10. A tasting will consist of
a sampling of the restaurant’s cuisine. Tickets
can be purchased from the school’s PTSA at the
school’s front office.
There is no fee to participate for anyone in-
terested in showcasing his or her culinary busi-
ness. For more information, send an email to
NAACP to hold annual awards dinner
The DeKalb County Branch of the NAACP will
host its annual Freedom Fund Dinner on Oct. 18 at
Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road S.E., At-
The event will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening
at 6:30 p.m.
The keynote speaker will be Xernona Clayton,
founder, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards
Foundation. Emcees for the program will be Alexis
Scott and Bishop Quincy Carswell.
Honorees will include: Benjamin L. Hooks
Award—Adrienne Ware; David C. Albert Award—
Al Chatman; Thurgood Marshall Award—Sen.
Steve Henson; Patricia C. Jones Community Service
Award—Nadine Ali; Narvie J. Harris Award—Lance
Hammonds; Thomas C. Wilson Youth Services
Award—The Enchanted Closet; Faith Based Award—
Rev. Darryl Roberts, pastor of Mt. Welcome Bap-
tist Church; Medgar Wiley Evers Freedom Legacy
Award—DeKalb County Commissioner Larry John-
son; John H. Evans Lifetime Achievement Award—
Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Jasper Williams and Sen.
Vincent Fort.
Church collecting shoes for Liberia
Clarkston First Baptist Church has partnered with The
Soul Project Inc. to collect 5,000 shoes (no heels) to send
to Liberia.
“So far, we have collected about 200 pairs of shoes,
and we really want to reach our goal,” states an announce-
ment from the church.
The shoes will be donated to women, children and
men in Liberia who do not have shoes.
Shoes can be dropped off at the Clarkston First Baptist
Church Family Life Center, 4007 Church Street, Clarkston,
from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4 and Saturday,
Oct. 11.
For more information, call (404) 292-5686, ext. 239.
Church to hold annual barbecue
The 53rd annual Oak Grove United Method-
ist Men’s Barbecue will be held Saturday, Oct.
18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fundraiser event
also will include United Methodist Women’s
bake sale, arts and crafts, live bluegrass and gos-
pel music and a used book sale.
Barbecue plates are available for takeout and
eat-in. The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for chil-
dren. Proceeds benefit 29 church and community
Oak Grove United Methodist Church is
located at 1722 Oak Grove Road, Decatur, be-
tween LaVista and Briarcliff roads.
Call (404) 636-7558 or visit
for more information.
Church to hold pet blessing
Rev. Tom Hagood of Columbia Presbyte-
rian Church, 711 Columbia Drive, Decatur, in-
vites residents to bring their pets for a blessing
The service will be held on the front lawn
of the church Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.
“All God’s creatures are welcome, no mat-
ter if great or small, furry, feathery or scaly,”
states an announcement from the church.
For more information, visit www.cpcdeca-, email columbiapresbyterian@gmail.
com or call (404) 284-2441.
National leadership speaker
series kicks off
The National Society of Leadership and Suc-
cess, has announced that on Oct. 4, Stephen
Bardo, sports analyst, author and former NBA
player, will kick off its Broadcast Speaker Series
at Georgia Perimeter College in partnership with
DeVry University’s Alpharetta and Decatur cam-
puses, and Mercer University for the 2014-2015
academic year.
Georgia Perimeter College’s Dunwoody
campus is located at 2101 Womack Road, Dun-
woody. Each event will begin at 7 p.m. Interac-
tive broadcasts streaming live from the host cam-
puses will be available for over 400 society chap-
ters, enabling all members to participate through
the society’s social media channels.
For more information or to attend a Broad-
cast Speaker Series event, visit www.societylead-

Decatur Dunwoody
Clarkston Photo by Travis Hudgons
Wilderness Act celebration at
Arabia Mountain
The Wilderness Act Performance Series,
scheduled for Oct. 5, 4 to 7 p.m., at Davidson-
Arabia Mountain Nature Center, 3787 Klondike
Rd., Lithonia, will feature Myles Brown–
composer; Connor Way–composer; Abi
Konnig–poet; Simon Salt–photographer and
Janna Dudley–visual artist. There is no charge to
The Wilderness Act Performance Series is
a musical and artistic celebration of the 50th
Anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964.
Through the commissioning of new music
and art, this performance series builds public
appreciation of the Wilderness Act’s impact on
natural and cultural preservation.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 8A
CDC official: Tackling Ebola could take ‘a long time’
by Andrew Cauthen
“CDC: End Ebola Now” was the
chant of more than a dozen people
Sept. 26 across the street from the
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC).
The event was scheduled “to
continue to raise the awareness of
what’s happening in West Africa,”
said Alpha Jabbie, the event’s
organizer. “What’s happening in
West Africa is unacceptable. The
recent prediction that’s coming
from the CDC is unacceptable—1.4
million people at risk of getting
infected and possibly 70 percent of
those people will die if the world
community doesn’t step up and do
One thing the CDC can do is
to work with the pharmaceutical
industry to fast-track a drug to
combat the disease, said Jabbie, a
native of Sierra Leone, where more
than 1 million people have been
quarantined because of the disease.
“We know the drug is available
because the two doctors that
have been treated at Emory
got something, and we know
it available,” Jabbie said. “Is it
available for thousands, possibly
millions of people? We don’t know?
We know the United States…can
do whatever it can to fast-track that
Dazia Fumbah, a Liberian
native and founder of the nonprofit
Our Seeds Tomorrow, said the
CDC has done a great job but only
can do so much.
“We want the Chinese on
board,” Fumbah said. “We want the
Germans on board. We want the
Europeans on board because the
issue is …people are dying by the
minute. They are dying. One of the
biggest issues we are facing…is that
it’s a timing issue. It’s identifying
who has Ebola to be able to control
“We appreciate what [the CDC]
is doing, but we just want a little
more effort,” Fumbah said.
John O’Connor, the associate
director for communication
science in CDC’s National Center
for Emerging and Zoonotic
Infectious Diseases, met with the
advocates during the event.
He reminded the participants
of the recent visit to the CDC by
President Barack Obama who
announced a “strategy to step up
the response and part of that is to
have [3,000] U.S. military troops
go over who are going to construct
these Ebola treatment units so we
can get more beds on the ground
so that people who are sick and
need the care will get it.”
Jabbie said he appreciated
the president coming to Atlanta
“raising the bar, so to speak, for
how the response should look.
“That was a first, good step,”
Jabbie said. “We need more action.
We need more robust action. We
need CDC to keep us informed…
as to what they’re doing and what’s
the progress or lack thereof.”
Currently the CDC is
developing a plan to address
the outbreak while the special
Ebola care facilities are being
constructed, O’Connor said.
“We have to find a way that we
can take care of people right now,”
O’Connor said. “We are putting a
plan in place that will [use] existing
buildings…[as] Ebola community
care centers that will be able to be
[opened] faster.”
This interim measure,
O’Connor said, is a collaborative
effort between CDC, World
Health Organization, United
States Agency for International
Development and UNICEF.
O’Connor said there is no
way he could predict when the
international effort to combat the
Ebola virus will turn around the
spread of the disease.
“We’re all hopeful that it will
happen soon, but the way that the
numbers have been escalating,
we are concerned that we’re going
to be [there] for a long time,”
O’Connor said.
Addressing the CDC prediction
that the 1.4 million people could
become infected by the disease,
O’Connor said, “That’s the far
end of the prediction and that’s if
nothing more is done.
“One of the reasons for trying
to go public with that, get that
information out there is to stress
the urgency to the rest of the
world that this is going to be a
catastrophe if we don’t do more,”
O’Connor said.
A group gathered in front of the CDC on Sept. 26 to raise the awareness of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Dazia Fumbah and Alpha Jabbie organized the event to support the CDC’s efforts
and ask for more help.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 9A
Groups bring island culture to DeKalb
by Kathy Mitchell
ore than
2.5 million
Americans trace
their ancestry to
a Caribbean nation, according
to recent census figures. While
the largest concentrations of
this population are in Florida
and New York, Georgia
is among the other states
with significant Caribbean-
American populations.
Charles Baker, who
heads the Atlanta Carnival
Bandleaders Council, one
of many local organizations
devoted to the perpetuation
of Caribbean culture in the
Atlanta area, said he has no
official figures but estimates
that approximately 70 percent
of people with Caribbean
ancestry living in the Atlanta
area live in DeKalb County.
Decatur, in fact, is home
to The Karibbean Konnections
Cultural Center, which
regularly hosts events focused
on Caribbean culture.
Caribbean Americans
actually hail from more than
20 countries of origin and
represent a variety of cultural
traditions, still, locally they
often come together to enjoy
the varied aspects of island
Groups such as the
Decatur-based Trinidad
and Tobago Association of
Georgia regularly sponsor
social and charitable events.
Almost weekly, there are
gatherings from picnics to
sports tournaments to musical
presentations sponsored by
Caribbean organizations
in DeKalb. However, the
event that brings the entire
Caribbean population together
is the annual carnival. In fact,
many of the smaller events
are designed to raise funds to
support the carnival.
Caribbean carnivals are
a tradition dating back to the
18th century and inspired,
according to various sources,
by a blend of European, North
American and African cultural
traditions. The Mardi Gras-
like carnivals were once always
scheduled for the Lenten
season that precedes Easter.
In fact, the word “carnival,”
according to some dictionaries,
may have derived from “taking
away meat,” reflecting the once
common practice of abstaining
from meat consumption
during Lent. Carnivals in the
United States and other sites
outside the Caribbean are now
held throughout the year.
The Atlanta Caribbean
Carnival, a 27-year-old
tradition, is often held in late
May, leading up to Caribbean
Heritage Month in June.
Trinidad native Ashaki
Sharpe, who now lives in
DeKalb, said for many years
Caribbean-born Americans
would travel to New York or
Miami for carnival season.
“Then we started to think,
why not host our own?” she
recalled. Georgia now has one
of the largest and oldest in the
nation, she said.
Each year, the Atlanta
Caribbean Carnival is months
in the making. Kim Peterson,
a native of Trinidad who
designs costumes for the
carnival, said she has already
started work on the 2015
celebration, scheduled for May
23 at Morris Brown College’s
Herndon Stadium.
Peterson said that while
the designs are hers, she hires a
seamstress to put together the
colorful, elaborate costumes,
each of which may have
dozens of feathers, jewels and
other details. Designers, she
said, each year work to create
new spectacular eye-popping
designs. “It’s fun seeing
the crowd’s reaction as the
costumes come into view.”
A leader in the Atlanta
Caribbean Bandleaders
Association, Peterson said
many who come to carnival
are attracted by the traditional
island music—calypso, reggae
and other types.
Sharpe, who heads the
DeKalb County International
Caribbean-American Fest,
noted that the music isn’t
just for carnivals. Caribbean
influenced bands perform at
venues across Georgia from
Stone Mountain Park to school
celebrations to Macon’s Cherry
Blossom Festival. The Atlanta
Caribbean festival, however, is
where many bands put forward
their best efforts. “At the
carnival, bands may choose to
compete and be judges based
on quality, originality and
other factors,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful event. We
just come together and have
fun,” Sharpe said. “It’s a chance
not only for those of us who
share a heritage to celebrate,
but it’s an opportunity to invite
the larger community to come
and get to know us—to share
the music, the food and the
customs of the Caribbean.”
Baker, who also designs
costumes, said he also look
forward to carnival time.
“Many who live in the area are
second and third generation,”
he said. “The carnival gives our
children and grandchildren the
opportunity to experience their
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
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 10A
Shred on!
Skaters raise money
for charities
his was the 10th and final year
of SkaterAid, which has raised
more than $168,000 for its various
SkaterAid was started in 2005 to
celebrate the life of Ian Wochatz, a
Decatur teen and avid skateboarder,
who was diagnosed with an especially
virulent type of brain cancer. He died on
July 4, 2005 at age 15.
The event, held in the parking
lot of East Decatur Station, featured
a skateboard deck silent auction, live
music performances, food, raffles and,
of course, skateboarding. Photos by Travis Hudgons
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 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
Surrounded by DeKalb fremen and commissioners, Louis Cushnie, the Georgia Goodwill Ambassador for the
Muscular Dystrophy Association, is recognized during a recent DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meeting.
October was named Muscular Dystrophy Association Firefghter Appreciation Month in recognition of the fundraising
efforts of the county’s fre department. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Others among the nearly 100 attendees, including
Booker Donnell (right), took a moment to meet
the county’s top elected law enforcement offcial.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann visited the Lou
Walker Senior Center Sept. 18 for National Senior
Center Month. From left, Bettye LeBrane took a
selfe with the sheriff.
A $5,000 grant recently awarded by Delta Community Credit Union’s Decatur branch to the Pediatric Brain Tumor
Foundation will beneft the organization’s Butterfy Fund, which provides fnancial assistance to families when a child
is in treatment for brain cancer. From left, David Sosa, Decatur branch manager; Pam Ellis, president of the Georgia
chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation; Mary Moore, the foundation’s executive director; and Hank Halter,
Delta Community Credit Union CEO.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 12A
Nineteen indicted for cashing stolen U.S.
Treasury checks and credit card fraud
DeKalb County business was raided by
FBI agents Sept. 24 afer a federal grand
jury indicted 19 people for stealing
government money, credit card fraud and
aggravated identity thef.
Family Reunion T-shirts, at 3446 Midway
Road, Decatur, was the site of the federal activity
as agents removed computers, hard drives and
several boxes from the business.
Te T-shirt business was on of several
locations involved in the “extensive scheme to
steal and cash U.S. Treasury checks and use
fraudulently obtained credit cards,” according to
a news release from the U. S. Attorney’s Ofce.    
“Fraud and identity thef crimes are now
perceived as lucrative alternatives for criminal
organizations,” said U. S. Attorney Sally
Quillian Yates. “People who commit these
crimes prey upon unsuspecting victims, stealing
the victims’ money and compromising their
livelihoods, sometimes causing lifelong fnancial
J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge
of the FBI Atlanta Field Ofce, stated, “Tese
indictments and arrests are a direct result of an
extensive 16-month multi-agency investigation
focusing on a network of individuals who
facilitated their criminal enterprise through
various fraudulent schemes and other criminal
activities. Te elaborate networking of this group
allowed them to expand their criminal activities
throughout multiple states as they increased their
victim base.”
According to the charges and other
information presented in court, the defendants
worked together to steal and then cash U.S.
Treasury checks from various sources, including
the U.S. mail service, from approximately June
2012 until September 2014.
Te checks were originally issued to those
entitled to the federal funds, including taxpayers
receiving refunds, retired federal employees
receiving pension benefts, military families,
and Social Security benefciaries receiving social
security and disability payments, according to the
news release.
Te indictment alleges that some of
the defendants acted as check suppliers,
obtaining and selling the stolen checks to other
defendants. Others, check purchasers, were
frequent customers of the check suppliers and
purchased checks by either paying 25 percent of
the check’s face value or splitting the proceeds
from the check in half with the supplier,
according to the news release.
Afer purchasing the stolen checks,
the defendants would pay identifcation
manufacturers to make fake Georgia driver’s
licenses matching the names and addresses of
the victims but containing photos of “check
runners,” the release stated. In exchange for a fee,
the runners would use the fake driver’s licenses
to cash the stolen checks at retail locations
throughout the Atlanta area such as Walmart,
Kroger and Publix.
Te indictment charges several defendants
with a separate credit card fraud scheme
against Walmart and Sam’s Club. Between April
2011 and November 2011, these defendants
allegedly obtained and used counterfeit
identifcation documents to pose as real Sam’s
Club members. Afer presenting the fraudulent
documents at various Sam’s Club locations in
Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, the defendants
requested replacement store credit cards in the
names of the victims, which the defendants
then used to buy gif cards, gas, groceries and
other items at various Sam’s Club and Walmart
locations, authorities said.
Across the two schemes, the defendants
defrauded the federal government and Walmart/
Sam’s Club of approximately $350,000, according
to the news release.
Te 19 defendants have been indicted on
multiple charges of thef of government funds,
credit card fraud, related conspiracy ofenses,
and aggravated identity thef.  Te indictment
also contains other charges against individual
defendants, ranging from passport fraud to
illegally obtaining a frearm.
Te defendants were indicted by a federal
grand jury on Sept. 11, and some have already
made their initial appearances before a U.S.
magistrate judge.
Tis case is being investigated by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, with assistance by several
local agencies including the Atlanta, Brookhaven,
Chamblee, Dunwoody and DeKalb County police
Family Reunion T-shirts was raided recently by the FBI. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 13A LOCAL NEWS
Fire Chiefs Continued From Page 1A
Ellis Continued From Page 1A
fraud a political subdivision.
Walton, who endured four days
of questioning, said he did not feel
comfortable calling vendors to ask
them to return Ellis’ campaign so-
licitation calls.
“As the procurement director,
you don’t want companies to feel
like they have to give because the
procurement director is calling,”
Walton said. “I’m the person that’s
going to evaluate their contract. I’m
the person that’s got to take it to the
board of commissioners for approv-
al. It was like I was strong-arming
Walton said that during one
conversation, complaining about a
vendor who refused to donate funds
to his campaign, Ellis said, “Kelvin,
I want you to call them, and I want
you to tell them that I told you to
call them. I want you to tell them
who you are and your position.”
“He was upset,” Walton said, and
wanted the vendor to know “that
he had clout with the procurement
When asked why he complied
with Ellis’ directions about the calls
and the compilation of vendor lists,
Walton said, “I was his ‘yes’ man.
I had 18 months before I retired. I
was following his directions.”
Referring to a particular vendor
described as “unresponsive” by Ellis,
Walton said, “I was kind of pushy with
her because I wanted to get results.”
In a recorded conversation with
Walton, Ellis described company
owners who “weren’t interested in
my services” as “some odd people.”
“He won’t return my calls,” Ellis
said. “I don’t understand why we
would continue to do business with
Upset about a man who wouldn’t
return his phone calls, Ellis said,
“I’m the CEO.”
About another vendor, Ellis on a
recording said, “Tey have this pol-
icy that they don’t feel comfortable
giving to political campaigns. I have
a real problem with them getting…
business again.”
Under questioning, Walton said
contractors “are not obligated to call
the CEO back if [the call] was per-
When Hodges asked Walton if he
was doing “legitimate county busi-
ness” when he helped Ellis with the
vendor lists for campaign solicitations,
Walton answered in the negative.
“Not when I’m working on ven-
dor lists, no,” said Walton, adding
that he was the procurement direc-
tor and not a campaign manager.
“Te director of procurement
is responsible for procuring goods
and services for the county and a
campaign manager…is responsible
for working with that candidate and
raising funds,” Walton said.
Te Ellis trial is expected to last
several weeks.
kind of my introduction into the
fire department.”
Washington went to fire recruit
school and began her career as
a firefighter at another metro
Atlanta department. She moved
up through the ranks with that
department and was hired as
Decatur’s fire chief in 2009.
Washington said Decatur
welcomed her and Burton with
open arms.
“The city of Decatur has
embraced us as women and as
leaders,” Washington said. “I
have not been challenged by our
external stakeholders at all. They
welcome us, they love us and they
support us.”
Washington said she did face
some challenges internally, but
not because of her race or sex, but
because she was considered an
“I didn’t start in the city of
Decatur,” she said. “I came from
another department, and I came in
the ranks.”
Becoming a fire chief was
something Washington aspired to
be when she began her firefighter
career. She admitted that it was not
an easy journey.
“There were a few bumps
along the way, and I kind of
questioned if I really wanted to do
it,” she said. “But as you can see, I
continued on my journey and was
Washington said there have
been challenges within operations,
with personnel and with some
“We are in a male-dominated
field,” Washington said. “There
are over 300,000 firefighters in
the country. Out of that 300,000,
there are 7,000 women. That alone
kind of speaks to the challenges
I’ve had because in the fire service
most of the firefighters are used to
answering to males.
“Having to answer to a female
is challenging for some people,
not only at the management level
but also outside on the operations
level,” she added. “I’ve been to
calls where I’ve been over-looked
and they’ve said, ‘where is the man
in charge?’ And at that time I was
the officer in charge. There were
times where people did not want
to talk to me, even as the officer in
charge they did not want to talk to
me. Their preference was to speak
to a male.”
Burton said her experiences
have not been as blatant as
Washington’s experiences.
“She has been in here longer
than I have,” Burton said. “I
think I was still in that whole
transition where they began sexual
harassment training, and I think
that educated a lot of people.”
Since they are women in a
male-dominate field, they said they
had to work 10 times as hard as
their counterparts.
“I knew when I came in the
door that I was going to have to
do more than just the minimum,
which actually drove and pushed
me to do more, to be more,
to make sure that when the
opportunity arises I was already
waiting for it instead of it waiting
for me,” Burton said.”
“As females in fire service
the spotlight is always on us,”
Washington said. “So we have
to do a lot more than our male
counterparts to be successful.
Just not as African Americans,
but as women, we have to do a
lot more to show that we actually
are capable or show that we can
perform the job.”
Both women hope their
journeys can be an inspiration to
young people.
“I would hope that it would
empower young women and young
men to know that they can do
anything in this world that they
want to do,” Washington said.” It
doesn’t matter your age, size, race
or gender. If you set your goals
and strive high, then you can do it
because we did it.”
Decatur Fire Chief Toni Washington, left, was hired as the city’s fre chief in 2009. Washington promoted Stephanie Burton to
deputy fre chief Sept. 1.
Page 14A The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014

Electric car owners can now recharge in Chamblee.
Chamblee offers electric
vehicle drivers place to fill up
PATH cycle track under construction
by Lauren Ramsdell
n December 2013, Chamblee
made national news, and not
in a good way.
A Chamblee resident was
arrested and charged with stealing
$10-15 worth of electricity from a
local school. He had plugged in his
all-electric Nissan Leaf to an outlet
at Chamblee Middle School.
It turns out that after charging
the car for only about 20 minutes,
the owner, Decatur resident Kaveh
Kamooneh, had only used about
a nickel’s worth of electricity. He
spent a total of 15 hours in jail
for the theft, though charges were
eventually dropped.
The incident got Chamblee
Mayor Eric Clarkson thinking. He
saw the negative publicity about
his city and realized there were no
easily accessible charging stations
in the area.
“I know the owner of Capitol
City Nissan, located in Chamblee,”
Clarkson said. “I asked him, ‘Tell
me about Leafs; tell me about
electric cars.’ It’s pretty new. I don’t
drive an electric car. I wouldn’t
know where to go to charge it. I
don’t know how much it costs.”
Dealership owner Pat Hoban
said there was a charging station
at Capitol City Nissan, as well as a
few other places nearby. Clarkson
learned that Capitol City Nissan is
one of the top Nissan Leaf sellers
in the country.
Hoban contacted Nissan’s
headquarters, where company
representatives knew about the
incident with Kamooneh. The Leaf
is the best-selling highway-capable
electric car in production.
“They agreed to donate three
charging stations to be set up
around the city,” Clarkson said.
“Right about that point we had a
relatively newly formed downtown
development authority. I said,
‘Here’s a project I’d like you to get
started on,’ and gave it to them.”
Only one has been set up so
far, in the parking lot of the new
Southbound restaurant. Another is
scheduled to be installed near the
playground at DeKalb-Peachtree
According to Van Pappas,
chairman of the Chamblee
downtown development authority,
several airport employees drive
electric vehicles and would benefit
from the station.
“I drive a Yukon XL that gets
about 10 miles to the gallon, but
I am thinking, ‘Man it would be
nice to go in and have lunch and
recharge,’” Clarkson said. “As
much as I drive around I would
need to.”
Clarkson said he is a
proponent of public-private
partnership, of which this is an
“We didn’t know, he had his
car plugged in to a public school,”
Clarkson said of the initial
arrest that sparked his interest.
“I was shocked to find out how
inexpensive it is to charge your
car. Especially if you have a
corporate sponsor like Nissan.”
by Carla Parker
Bicyclists will soon be able
to ride from the Stone Mountain
Trail to Centennial Olympic Park
without mixing with traffic.
PATH started construction on
the John C. Portman Cycle Track
project in mid-August, which will
connect the Stone Mountain Trail
with Centennial Olympic Park.
Construction began downtown,
long Williams Street and John
Portman Boulevard in Atlanta.
The year-long project will be
one of many trail connections
that PATH is working on that will
enable trail users a direct trail link
into Centennial Olympic Park.
The 18-mile bikers-only route will
include a bridge over I-285 by the
end of next year.
PATH Executive Director Ed
McBrayer said PATH does not
have a bike trail that travels to
downtown Atlanta.
“This will go all the way in to
Centennial Olympic Park,” he said.
“This connects the Freedom Park
Trail to Centennial Park. There
won’t be any gaps from Candler
Park to downtown.
“The cycle track is to
encourage people that don’t
normally bicycle because they have
to get in traffic,” McBrayer said.
“They will be biking in the street
but they will have separation from
traffic so they won’t be mixing
with traffic.”
Last year, PATH Foundation
presented a proposal to the
DeKalb County Board of
Commissioners to build a trail
between Church Street and the
CSX railroad to complete the trail
from downtown Atlanta to Stone
Mountain Park. One segment of
the trail starts in Atlanta and ends
at Glendale Road in Clarkston
then picks up at Erskine Road.
McBrayer said last year that
the trail was constructed that way
because the Foundation “did not
have the right-of-way for the trail”
when it was originally built in 1995.
Te route is one of the busiest of
the entire PATH trail and bicyclists
usually travel across the Church
Street access bridge to get to the
other side of the PATH trail.
PATH wants to peel off about
10 feet from the edge of the CSX
right-of-way along the edge of
Church Street to make the trail
continuous and also to get across
I-285. McBrayer said PATH is still
working with the county and CSX
on that section.
“There is movement going on,”
he said. “Everybody is working
together to make it work.”
The John C. Portman Cycle
Track project also includes
improving sidewalks, repaving
streets, putting in new lighting,
new trees and more.
“It’s a streetscape project as
well as a cycle project,” McBrayer
Construction has begun along Williams Street and John Portman Boulevard in
downtown Atlanta for the John C. Portman Cycle Track project, which connects the
Stone Mountain Trail with Centennial Olympic Park.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 PAGE 15A
Movement conveys message
by Lauren Ramsdell
peaking American Sign
Language, or ASL, isn’t like
speaking American English.
For one, you’re not speaking
with your mouth and vocal chords,
but rather your hands, face and
body all at once. And, while the
languages are related, they’re not
the same.
That’s where sign language
interpreting takes over.
Interpreters bridge the gap
between spoken English language
and signed language. DeKalb’s
Georgia Perimeter College (GPC)
offers an associate’s of arts degree
in American Sign Language.
The degree program was
established in 1978 at when GPC
was DeKalb College.
“During that time there was
a proliferation of programs and
interest in American Sign Lan-
guage following legislation that
made sign language more visible
and possible in local schools,” said
Damita Boyd, department chair
for the sign language interpreting
program. “A number of interpret-
ing programs established all over
the US. It looked very different
than it looks now. I don’t have data
on this, but I have heard that the
early programs were six week pro-
grams. It is not really possible to
learn a new language in that time.”
Many English speakers don’t
realize that ASL is a distinct
language with its own syntax
and grammar. The language was
developed from French Sign
Language, or LSQ, in the late 1700s
and early 1800s.
“Just like spoken language,
every time you go to a different
geographical region, those regional
separations are really important,”
Boyd said. “The sign language in
Britain is unintelligible to ASL
signers in America. Australian
Sign Language is different. ASL
is used in America, Canada and
Puerto Rico. A coded offshoot of
ASL has been taken to pockets of
Africa and a few other developing
countries where there was no
deaf education and where deaf
education has been started by
Boyd also said that creoles
or pidgins can arise just like in
spoken languages. ASL speakers
sometimes use “English” signs
for words or concepts not already
included in ASL.
Anne Zimmerman is a 2001
graduate of the interpreting
program at GPC. She said she
was interested in ASL from a
time when, as a teenager, she
volunteered with a population of
deaf children at her church.
“As a young child, I read about
Hellen Keller and Anne Sullivan,”
Zimmerman said. “My life went
in a different direction for many
years, and I was a 40 when I went
back to school to reconnect with
ASL. When you learn about ASL
you appreciate how beautiful it is.”
Zimmerman now owns an
interpreting business and is
available for freelance interpreting
around the metro Atlanta area.
She did interpreting during GPC’s
recent convocation assembly.
“It’s very challenging,” Zim-
merman said. “You have to take
whatever the source language is,
it could be ASL or English, and
you mentally determine what the
concepts are. You change it into
the other language, ASL or Eng-
lish. You pick the best sign choice
or the best English choice, while
watching the client’s face to make
sure they understand. You never
let your mind wander. You get
tired. We switch off every 20-30
minutes because the message tends
to deteriorate over that length.”
Zimmerman said that after
she graduated from the three-year
program at GPC, she had to get
certified to interpret.
“It was a lot harder to go from
ground zero to credentialed than
I thought,” she said. “It was a five-
year process, but it has been 14
years since, and it’s the best job
Anne Zimmerman, shown here interpreting at the GPC convocation, said studying
sign language at the college led her to “the best job ever.” Photo by Lauren
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 16A
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
by Kathy Mitchell
or years, Ramone Ward
ran a successful sanitation
company, but he knew
what he really wanted to
do and where he wanted to do it.
With a degree in physical therapy,
Ward wanted to build a business
around sports training, and he
wanted to do it in the east Atlanta
neighborhood where he grew up.
In October 2013, Ward and
partner Jacque Morgan opened
Atlanta Sports Complex on
Gresham Road. “It had been our
vision for more than a decade,”
Morgan explained. “Ramone has
a passion for helping kids who are
interested in sports—not just the
ones who are exceptionally talented
athletes but also the youngsters
who want a wholesome pastime
or who just want to try something
new. He spent so much time as a
volunteer coach at the high schools
many parents thought he was on
the staff.”
Atlanta Sports Complex offers
training in a wide range of sports,
including football, basketball,
tennis, baseball and soccer. There
also is a boxing ring and boxing
equipment along with rows of
cardiovascular machines inside the
10,000-square-foot complex. Ward
and Morgan are in the process of
developing a two-acre area outside
the building for training in track
and other outdoor sports.
While their original vision
involved young athletes, Ward
and Morgan have found that other
segments of the community also
are interested in their facility.
“We’re finding that in addition to
students from elementary school
through college many adults who
want to get fit or stay fit are coming
here to work out. In the mornings,
we get many senior citizens who
are working to stay active,” Morgan
“We’re here for serious athletes
and those who are athletes at heart.
Whether your goal is to become
a stronger, more skilled football
player or just stay able to walk
around the block, we can work with
you,” she added. The facility also
includes a physical therapy clinic
where injured athletes can come for
Atlanta Sports Complex
periodically offers special events
such as weight loss boot camps.
Morgan said while she’s not
a trainer, she feels especially
positioned to help women who
want to lose weight. “I’ve lost about
80 pounds, so I’ve been there. I
know how hard it is and what it
takes,” she said.
Clients at Atlanta Sports
Complex can work out on their
own, get one-on-one training,
train as part of a small group or
part of a class. The staff includes
professional trainers and former
professional athletes who in
addition to guiding physical
training can help clients develop a
plan for fitness and overall healthy
living, Morgan said.
She said she’s often asked
whether Atlanta Sports Complex
is part of a franchise. “It’s not, but
we see that as a possibility for the
future. I think we’ve definitely
created a business model that can
be duplicated in communities
throughout America. Over the
years, Ramone and I have belonged
to dozens of fitness centers. We
know what works for people and
what people don’t like. We know
that people want personal service
and access to many types of
equipment without a long wait.
“We offer a flexible, moderately
priced program without long-
term contracts. People can sign
up for a month or for a one-time
visit. I think we could put gyms
in neighborhoods such as this
one that wouldn’t interest the big
national chains,” she said.
The neighborhood Ward
and Morgan chose to open their
complex has been welcoming and
supportive, according to Morgan.
“We have people come here from
schools and churches, as well as
firefighters and police officers.
Personal trainers who don’t want to
own their own facilities come here.
We’ve even had a few celebrities—
professional athletes and actors
preparing for movie roles. They all
say they’re glad we’re here.
“Even though it’s an area in
need of development, we haven’t
had any problems. We’re hoping
that our success here will prompt
other businesses to invest in this
area,” she said.
Ramone Ward and, right, Jacque Morgan say opening Atlanta Sports Complex in east Atlanta fulflls a dream they had for more
than a decade.
Sports complex owners
help others live dreams
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 17A
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October 2, 2014 at 9:00 am, there is an invitation
to Bid/Contract with a Food Service for catering
on a menu for one meal per day that is Lunch.
Servicing is approximately 60-70 adults daily, 5
days per week. The lunch must meet the five (5)
components required by Bright from the Start
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which consists of a serving of fluid milk, two (2) or
more vegetable and/or fruit, meat or meat alternate,
and bread or bread alternate. The Bid/Contract
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send the Bid to the address listed below: B. Ojo
Rem-Kiks Adult Day Care 3448 Mountain Drive,
Decatur, GA 30032
Art Teacher: Teach art on a regular basis. Develop
the art curriculum with the leadership group. Order
and catalog supplies. Develop and submit a budget
for all the art classes. Evaluate other art instructors.
Develop community outreach programs-student art
shows. Assist students with building their portfolios
for college applications. Be an integral part of the
faculty and ensure a smooth operation of the arts
department. Must have a Bachelor’s degree in
Fine Arts. Must be familiar with the philosophy of
Anthroposophy either through Waldorf Certifcation
or as a student or through any other demonstrated
means. Must have completed coursework in
Drawing, Color Theory, Intro. to Illustration and
Throwing Clay. Must be able to basket weave and
bind books. Job Location: Decatur, GA. 40.0 hrs./wk
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM Applicants please contact:Tara
Wyman,, 404 405-
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The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 18A
Andre Brown: quarterback of offense and defense
McKnight hits milestone in Dunwoody win over Marist
by Carla Parker
ootball teams that have
good quarterbacks usually
have them playing just the
quarterback position.
However, that is not the case for
Columbia’s Andre Brown. Brown
plays quarterback and safety for the
Columbia Eagles.
“He’s our quarterback on
offense, quarterback on defense, and
quarterback in the locker room,” said
Columbia coach David Edwards.
Brown has been playing
quarterback since he was 6 years old
and started playing defense when he
transferred to Columbia from Grady
High School two years ago. He and
the coaches realized he was good as
a defensive back and decided to let
Brown play both positions.
Playing both sides of the ball
does not affect Brown’s play as a
quarterback or safety. Brown leads
all DeKalb County quarterbacks
in completion percentage with 65
After five weeks, he threw for
620 yards, had seven touchdowns
and two interceptions. He is second
on the team in rushing yards with
185 and leads the team in rushing
touchdowns with five. Last season,
Brown finished fourth in the county
with a 60.4 completion percentage,
threw for 1,673 yards and had 11
touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Coming into this season, Brown
said he wanted to be the No. 1
quarterback in the county.
“That was one of my goals for
this year,” he said. “Last year I believe
I was in the top five. Thanks to my
team, my offensive linemen, my
receivers—I’m able to achieve these
On defense, Brown is fourth on
the team with 21 total tackles, one
interception and a forced fumble.
In the Sept. 26 win against Lithonia,
Brown had a passing touchdown, a
rushing touchdown and intercepted
a Lithonia pass.
Brown said playing both sides of
the ball is not difficult for him.
“It’s kind of better,” he said.
“When I’m at safety I know what the
quarterback does because I play the
position. So I know where he’s going
to throw the ball most of the time.”
Last season, Brown finished
second on the team in defense with
48 tackles, two tackles for a loss,
one interception and two fumble
recoveries. His skills on and off
the field caught the attention of
college recruits from some of the top
schools in the country.
Brown, who has a 3.5 GPA,
has received offers from Harvard,
Yale, Indiana, Duke, Wake Forest,
Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Georgia
State, Georgia Southern and others,
according to ESPN’s Recruiting
Nation. Brown committed to
Indiana Aug. 13 as a defensive back.
He said he chose Indiana because the
university felt like home to him.
“When I went up there, I just
loved the facilities. I loved the
coaches, it felt like home and I just
loved it,” he said.
Edwards said Brown is a player
who does not talk much, but leads
by example.
“They’re [players] that I have
that need somebody that can show
by example,” Edwards said. “That’s
what he brings to the table, not
only with his athletic ability, but in
terms of his character and leadership
by Mark Brock
enior setter/outside hitter Paige McKnight hit
a career milestone of 1,000 kills in Dunwoody’s
come-from-behind, three-set victory over
Class AAAA No. 5 ranked Marist Sept. 25.
McKnight has had 55 kills in her last eight
matches to reach the milestone of 1,000 for her
career. She also has more than 60 assists in those
last eight matches to improve her career assists total
over 1,300.
She was awarded a Golden Spike by the
Dunwoody Volleyball Booster Club for her
achievement, and Wesleyan School presented the
game ball to her in honor of the event.
McKnight and her teammates all had a big
night as the Class AAAAA No. 2-ranked Lady
Wildcats swept Class AA No. 2 ranked Wesleyan
and Marist in a tri-match at Wesleyan. It was
Dunwoody’s second victory over Wesleyan this
Dunwoody opened the night with a 25-22
victory over Wesleyan and followed it up with a
comeback against Marist.
Marist won the frst set 25-7 to take the early
lead, but behind McKnight and her 1,000th career
kill, Dunwoody rallied for wins of 25-23 and 26-24
in the fnal two sets to win for the second time in
three tries against Marist this season. Dunwoody
won a fve-set match against Marist early in
the season and dropped a three-set match in
tournament play for one of its only three losses.
It was Dunwoody’s 10th victory over a ranked
opponent this season including Classes AAAAAA,
AAAAA, AAAA, and AA ranked opponents. Te
team is now 33-3 on the year with the three losses
coming to Class AAAAA No. 1-ranked Sequoyah,
Class AAAAAA No. 8 John’s Creek and Marist.
Dunwoody has moved into second place on
the all-time wins list for DeKalb County with a
370-255 record behind Chamblee’s 404-277. Te
33 wins this season is also just three fewer than the
Dunwoody school record of 36 (36-9 in 2005 under
Angela Nash) and is sixth overall in county history
behind Chamblee’s 56-8 record under Brooke
Kline in 2005. Dunwoody needs nine wins to
move into second place ahead of the 41-7 record by
Kevin Dove’s 2003 Druid Hills’ squad.
Columbia quarterback Andre Brown, who also plays safety, leads the county in quarterback statistics. Photo by Travis Hudgons
Paige McKnight (right) is shown with her sister,
Madison McKnight, after being presented with
the Golden Spike Award and game ball following
her 1,000th career kill.
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 19A
Columbia rolls past Lithonia in 41-7 win
Miller Grove’s Sharman White named
to USA basketball coaching staff
More football
Thursday, Sept. 25
Towers (1-4) 38,
South Atlanta (1-4) 28
Friday, Sept. 26
Cedar Grove (4-1) 46,
Maynard Jackson (2-3) 20
Chamblee (1-3) 58,
Stone Mountain (0-5) 19
Tucker (3-2) 62, Clarkston (0-6) 0
Tri-Cities (3-1) 10, Druid Hills (2-2) 7
North Clayton (1-4) 7,
McNair (1-4) 6
Marist (5-0) 60, Redan (0-5) 0
Open: Arabia Mountain (1-3), Cross
Keys (0-3), Dunwoody (3-1), Lakeside
(2-3), M.L. King (0-4), Miller Grove (3-1),
SW DeKalb (2-3), Stephenson (2-2)
Miller Grove High School boys’ basketball coach
Sharman White. Photo by Travis Hudgons
by Carla Parker
Miller Grove High School boys’ basketball
coach Sharman White was named one of the
assistant coaches for the 2014 USA Basketball
Men’s Junior National Team.
White will assist in coaching 53 of the
nation’s top high school basketball players at the
sixth annual mini-camp Oct. 4-5, the United
States Olympic Training Center in Colorado
Springs, Colo.
White said he received a call from B.J.
Johnson, the assistant men’s national team
director, in August and was asked if he was
interested in coaching at the mini-camp.
“It was something that I’ve always dreamed
of doing—representing our country,” White said.
“When the opportunity came I was defnitely
gratifed and thankful for that.”
White will coach under Don Showalter
of Iowa City High School in Iowa City, Iowa.
Showalter has directed USA teams to six gold
medal fnishes as head coach of the USA
Basketball Developmental National Team since
Other assistant coaches include Cory
Alexander of the Boo Williams AAU team in
Virginia, Eric Flannery from St. Edward High
School in Ohio, L.J. Goolsby from the KC Run
GMC program in Kansas and Mike Jones of
DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland.
Te training camp handles player evaluations
and to start preparations for upcoming
international competitions, including in 2015 the
Nike Hoop Summit, 2015 FIBA Americas U16
Championship, as well as for the 2016 FIBA U17
World Championship and 2016 FIBA Americas
U18 Championship.
White said the new role will not afect his
coaching duties at Miller Grove. Te team will
have various training camps before traveling
abroad next summer to play other nations.
White has already worked with some of the
players at LeBron James’ Skills Academy this
past summer. White said he was excited about
competing against teams from other countries.
“I get a chance to play against other
countries, which would be a frst for me,” he said.
Since the inception of the FIBA Americas
U16 Championship in 2009 and the FIBA U17
World Championship in 2010, USA Basketball
men’s teams have dominated the competitions
and won six consecutive gold medals and
compiled a perfect 38-0 record at the U16 and
U17 championships. Additionally, the United
States has won three consecutive FIBA Americas
U18 Championships.
by Carla Parker
t was a blowout win for the Columbia Eagles,
but it was not pretty.
Te Eagles were able to put away the Li-
thonia Bulldogs 41-7 in the 6-AAAA regional
matchup Sept. 26, despite a high number of pen-
alties and a couple of turnovers. Te game was
scoreless halfway through the frst two quarters
until Columbia scored midway in the second quar-
ter to take a 7-0 lead to halfime.
Lithonia kept the game close late into the third
quarter trailing only 14-7, but the Eagles were able
to pull away, scoring 34 unanswered points. Co-
lumbia coach David Edwards said his team did
not show a lot of discipline in the game.
“Even though the score was 41-7, that was very
sloppy,” Edwards said. “Tere was a lot of unchar-
acteristic play.”
Quarterback/defensive back Andre Brown
also was not pleased with his performance, despite
having a passing and rushing touchdown, and
picking of Lithonia’s Oral Varcciann from his
safety position.
“I think my play was well,” Brown said. “I
could have done better. I didn’t have my best game.
Te team did their job, the [ofensive] line made
their blocks and I was able to do my thing. It was a
team efort.”
Brown threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to
receiver William Tomlin to give the Eagles a 7-0
lead with 7:26 lef in the second quarter. Brown
extended Columbia’s lead to 14-0 on a 3-yard
touchdown run early in the third quarter.
Lithonia cut the lead to 14-7 on a 39-yard
run by Varcciann, but Columbia responded when
Mike Scott ran 64 yards to the end zone to extend
the Eagles’ lead to 21-7. Scott got his second score
of the game in the fourth quarter on an 85-yard in-
terception return, which extended the lead to 28-7.
Touchdown runs by Joshua Jenkins (35 yards)
and Keishaun Clark (1 yard) brought the fnal
score to 41-7.
Columbia (4-1) will play at St. Pius (2-2) Oct. 3
and Lithonia (2-3) will face Marist (5-0).
Columbia running back Antonio Manson (with ball) runs for extra yardage. Photo by Travis Hudgons
The Champion FreePress, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 Page 20A
Weekly ad in hand. Coupons in pocket.
BOGO-vision on. It’s time to save.
Pet of the Week
Seth (ID#:
22411957) is
an affectionate
and extremely
cute two year
old American
Pit Bull Terrier.
When Seth
first sees you
he wiggles
around on the
ground from
excitement and
then sticks to
you like a magnet. He is the most adorable
little guy and only weighs around 35 pounds.
He has been at the shelter for a few months
and would seriously love to go home with
you. Please come and visit sweet Seth at the
DeKalb Shelter and ask about our monthly pet
adoption special.
Please call (404) 294-2165 or email
for additional information.
Athlete of
the Week
The Champion chooses a male and
female high school Athlete of the
Week each week throughout the
school year. The choices are based
on performance and nominations by
coaches. Please e-mail nominations
to by
Monday at noon.

Labron Morris, Cedar Grove
(football): The senior running
back ran for 268 yards and
scored three touchdowns in
the 46-20 win over Maynard
Jackson Sept. 26.

Paige McKnight, Dunwoody
(volleyball): The senior setter/
outside hitter reached a
career milestone of 1,000 kills
in Dunwoody’s 2-1 win over
Marist Sept. 25.
Next Level
Each week The Champion spotlights former
high school players from the county who are
succeeding in athletics on the college level.
Josh Dawson, Georgia (football): The junior
defensive end from Tucker had a fumble
recovery for a touchdown in Georgia’s 35-
32 win over Tennessee Sept. 27. He had
another fumble recovery in the game.
James Vaughters, Stanford (football):
The senior linebacker from Tucker led the
team on defense with nine total tackles, two
tackles for a loss and a sack assist in the 20-
13 win over Washington Sept. 27.
Taylor Smith, Belmont (soccer): The senior
midfelder from Chamblee had one shot
attempted and one shot on goal in Belmont’s
2-2 tie with Morehead State Sept. 26. Smith
has scored one goal and an assist with a
.500 shot on goal percentage this season.
Dawson Vaughters Smith