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FRIDAY, OCT. 17, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 30 • 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 Choir on page 15A
Jury squabbles delay Ellis verdict
Community choir provides children’s music stage
by Andrew Cauthen
s suspended and indicted DeKalb
County CEO Burrell Ellis awaits his
legal fate, the jury tasked with deciding
that verdict has had its own troubles.
On Oct. 9, the fourth day of the deliberations,
jury members told the judge that they were
having problems getting along.
“It appears we are having some pretty
signifcant confict back there,” Judge Courtney
Johnson said, afer receiving a note from the
jury. “It just seems like it’s probably getting a little
tense in there with the time, how long they’ve
been together in that room.”
Te jury was given a 20-minute break but that
didn’t help ease tensions.
“Judge Johnson, we the jury are having a very
difcult time following the leader,” a jury member
stated in a second note to the judge.
“I think the stress of the situation is just
getting to be too much,” Johnson commented.
Te jury deliberated all week in the corruption
trial of Ellis, who is accused of strong-arming
county vendors to get them to donate to his re-
election campaign.
Before sending the jury home to calm down,
Johnson said, “I know things have become testy
and tensions are high. I understand this is a
stressful situation so I want you to go home and
relax and take a breather. Tensions are continuing
to rise and I know you have been in one room
together for about 12 hours over these last four
days, but when you return I expect you all to act
like adults and come to a resolution,” Johnson
said. “You all have a duty, and I expect you all to
act accordingly.”
Te next day one juror, in a note, apologized
to Johnson “for the disturbance that took place in
the jury room.”
“I honestly felt attacked, slashed, bullied for
having a voice and actually deliberating,” the
juror wrote. “Some are not saying anything
because they are clearly ready to retire. I truly
believe the D.A.’s ofce and the defense team
worked extremely hard on this case. It’s only fair
for me as a juror to take this position seriously.”
In a note to the judge, a juror stated that they
are “very passionate” about their opinions and
“have not been able to go over several counts in
the indictment.”
“Some jurors feel we can’t go forward,” the
juror said.
Te judge gave the jury Monday, Oct. 13, of
for Columbus Day.
When deliberations continued on Tuesday,
Oct. 14, jurors asked the judge whether a guilty
verdict on one accusation makes Ellis guilty of
the whole charge.
In her response to the jury’s written
question, Johnson stated, “Te jury must agree
unanimously to at least one of the alternative
methods alleged in the indictment. If you
unanimously fnd the defendant guilty of one of
the ways, then you would be authorized to fnd
the defendant guilty.”
Deliberations ended Oct. 14 with no verdict.
by Andrew Cauthen
Starting with 27 singers
in the fall of 2009, the
Avondale Children’s Choir
began as a dream.
“In the Avondale
community and the
surrounding community I
noticed that there was not a
community children’s choir,
and we had a lot of young
families in the Decatur,
Avondale and Oakhurst
area that I felt like deserved
to have a community
children’s choir,” said
Mark Green, the minister
of music for First Baptist
Church of Avondale Estates
and the choir’s director.
Mark Green, director of the Avondale Children’s Choir, gets the performers ready for their selections at
Avondale Estates’ AutumnFest. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Indicted DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis awaits a verdict.
Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Education .............. 18-19A
Business ........................17A
Sports ...................... 21-24A
Opinion ........................... 5A
Classifed .......................20A
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Ethics board ponders complaints against two ex-employees
October is National Domestic
Violence Awareness Month
Sherry Boston

Please Join Us for Our 4
Community Resource Fair and Symposium on

8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(free breakfast to begin at 8:00 a.m.)
Manuel Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia
Deputy Chief SVU/Community Outreach
Upcoming Seminars at DeKalb Medical
For a referral to a DeKalb Medical physician or to reserve
your space for these free seminars, please call 404.596.4772.
Light refreshments will be served. Parking is free.
Doc Talks dekalbmedical
Te ABCs of
Breast Cancer Prevention
Tursday, October 23, 2014
6:30–7:30 p.m.
Community Room at DeKalb
Medical – Hillandale campus
While most people are
aware of breast cancer,
many forget to take
steps to detect the
disease in its early
stages. Learn how you
can reduce your risk of
developing breast cancer
from Nurse Navigator Ruby
Guillory, who focuses on how to
be a good steward of your health
by making diet and lifestyle
Call 404.596.4772 or visit
Breast Cancer Survivor
by Andrew Cauthen
he DeKalb County
ethics board is try-
ing to decide what
to do about ethics
complaints filed against two
former employees who have
left the county’s payroll.
After holding a pre-
liminary hearing Oct. 13,
the ethics board decided
it needs more information
before making a decision on
the cases of former county
purchasing director Kelvin
Walton and Nina Hall, a for-
mer assistant to suspended
DeKalb County CEO Burrell
On Oct. 7, the county
announced that Walton had
resigned and Hall had been
Walton and Hall testified
in the corruption trial against
Ellis. Walton was named as
an “unindicted” co-conspira-
tor in the indictment against
Ellis. Walton has admitted
that he solicited and received
a total of $1,800 from three
vendors to assist Hall when
she experienced financial
“At this time our ways of
punishing these employees
for their actions are limited,”
said ethics board chairman
John Ernst.
Reprimand, suspension
or removal from office are
the three actions the board
can take after determining
someone has violated the
county’s code of ethics, he
“We believe we still
have jurisdiction on these
matters, but there are legal
opinions out there [that say
otherwise],” Ernst said. “I
believe…we need to save our
resources and...move these to
inactive status.”
That would mean that
the board would take no ac-
tion now, but if Walton or
Hall were ever hired by the
county again, the ethics com-
plaint cases would be reacti-
vated, Ernst said.
That plan did not sit well
with Viola Davis, the gov-
ernment watchdog who filed
the ethics complaint.
“We as private citizens
have had to endure quite a
bit stepping on that front line
to hold these officials as well
as staff members account-
able,” Davis told the ethics
Davis said the complain-
ants spent personal money
on Open Records requests,
paid for research and attend-
ed ethics board meetings.
“We submitted over 420
pages of documentation try-
ing to get this case moving,”
Davis said.
In two of the three com-
plaints submitted, the per-
sonnel are no longer employ-
ees, Davis said.
“They have without a
doubt admitted to not only
wrongdoing, some have ad-
mitted to criminal wrongdo-
ing,” Davis said. “As private
citizens one thing that we
should be able to get out of
this board is that they vio-
lated the ethics code. If we
submitted over 420 pages
and you still couldn’t make a
decision, what do we need a
board for?”
Commending the com-
plainants for bringing the
allegations forward, Ernst
said, “I believe that in the
end what you’re asking for
got done.”
The ethics board, Ernst
said, is “hamstrung” by the
county’s organizational act
“on what we can do to these
two individuals. Once they
leave county employment,
whatever punishment we can
do is imaginary.”
Ernst said he believes
the board would be sus-
ceptible to a legal challenge
concerning jurisdiction if it
continues with investigations
of people who are no longer
Ethics board member
Susan Neugent said that
while she was previously
convinced that moving the
case to an inactive status was
the right decision, she was
“very moved” by Davis’ plea
for resolution.
Neugent suggested the
board get a legal opinion
from the DeKalb County
Superior Court concerning
the board’s jurisdiction over
former employees.
Viola Davis, who filed ethics complaints against county employees,
said the ethics board should be able to determine that the
employees violated the ethics code. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 3A
Ethics board considers complaints against commissioners
Wealth evangelist pleads guilty to fraud charges
by Andrew Cauthen
While the DeKalb County Board
of Ethics dismissed one ethics com-
plaint against county Commissioner
Jeff Rader on Oct. 13, it decided to
determine whether another one has
According to a complaint filed
by Warren Mosby, Rader allegedly
failed “to acknowledge his inher-
ent conflict of interest at each and
every meeting of the Board of Com-
missioners” when the board made
decisions concerning contracts with
Rader’s then-employer, Jacobs Engi-
Mosby also accuses Rader of
using a county purchasing card (P-
card) to pay more than $3,400 in
bills for his personal cell phone and
to pay $500 annual membership
dues to professional planning orga-
Rader allegedly used his P-card
to purchase employment-related
travel and hotel accommodations to
conventions for planners.
When he was first elected, Rader
has said, he sought and received
from the ethics board an advisory
opinion on how to avoid conflict of
interest regarding his employment.
Although a similar complaint
was dismissed Aug. 14 by the ethics
board, ethics board attorney Gene
Chapman said the more recent
complaint adds details.
Ethics board member Clara
Black DeLay said the ethics com-
plaint “seems like a total fishing ex-
pedition and I abhor those.
“The minute we accept jurisdic-
tion we go immediately into investi-
gation,” DeLay said. “I’m totally not
in favor of that.”
Ethics board chairman John
Ernst said that if the ethics board
does not investigate cases in which it
has jurisdiction, “We open ourselves
up to cries of hiding the ball.”
The board accepted jurisdiction
and will conduct a preliminary in-
vestigation of the allegations.
Another complaint against Rad-
er was dismissed.
The complaint, filed by Timothy
Brantley “alleges that Mr. Rader has
violated the code of ethics…by re-
taliating against Mr. Brantley” with
a civil lawsuit, Chapman said.
Brantley further alleges Rader
used county funds to hire the law-
yer who filed the lawsuit, Chapman
If true, “the retaliation claim…
may be a violation of the law but I
don’t know that it is a violation of
the code of ethics,” Chapman ad-
vised the ethics board.
Using county funds to hire an
attorney for a personal matter “may
be problem,” if the allegation is true,
Chapman said.
In his lawsuit, Rader accuses
Brantley of slander.
“If you are trying to protect your
reputation, is that retaliation?” De-
Lay asked. “Truth is a defense, and I
don’t know Mr. Rader personally but
I don’t think he’s a nut and I don’t
know that he would take that kind
of case to court if [he could prove
DeLay said the ethics complaints
and lawsuit “is a personal battle
back and forth between” Rader and
“This is becoming a very per-
sonal matter. This seems like a
personal fray that I don’t think the
board of ethics has any business in,”
she said.
The board also voted to conduct
a preliminary investigation into a
complaint against DeKalb Commis-
sioner Stan Watson.
The complaint, filed by Rhea
Johnson, alleges that Watson mis-
used his county P-card and used
county funds to develop a campaign
by Carla Parker
A man accused of
scamming New Birth Mis-
sionary Baptist Church
members out of nearly $1
million pleaded guilty to
fraud charges.
Ephren Taylor II,
pleaded guilty to con-
spiracy to commit mail and
wire fraud by defrauding
hundreds of victims of their retirement savings,
the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Oct. 8. Tay-
lor was arrested June 17 on a federal indictment
charging him and another defendant, Wendy
Connor, with defrauding investors across the
In a separate hearing, Connor also pleaded
guilty to interstate transportation of money taken
by fraud.
“Taylor’s guilty plea brings a measure of jus-
tice for the hundreds of his victims, including
those hard-working Georgians who lost their life
savings to his criminal scheme,” said U.S. Attor-
ney Sally Quillian Yates.
According to Yates, from at least April 2009
through October 2010, Taylor, then CEO of City
Capital Corporation, and Connor, the former
COO of City Capital Corporation, participated in
a conspiracy to defraud investors. With the guilty
plea, Taylor admitted that he defrauded hundreds
of investors of more than $7 million nationwide.
As part of the scheme, Taylor traveled around
the country on a “Building Wealth Tour,” in
which he gave wealth management seminars to
church congregations. During this tour, Taylor
claimed to be a socially conscious investor and
falsely claimed that 20 percent of profits were do-
nated to charity, according to Yates.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in
Lithonia was one of the churches on the “Build-
ing Wealth Tour.” In 2009, Bishop Eddie Long
sponsored the investment seminars at the church,
which took place from Oct. 17-23, according a
lawsuit filed against Long by 12 former church
While there, Taylor and Connor met with po-
tential investors to discuss possible investments.
More than 80 individuals from Georgia lost at
least $2 million because of Taylor’s scheme, ac-
cording to Yates.
The investments pushed by Taylor included
promissory notes, for which the funds invested
were to be used to support small businesses, such
as laundries, juice bars and gas stations. Taylor
falsely represented the revenues and returns for
these businesses knowing that they were not
profitable, according to Yates.
Taylor also pushed an investment in sweep-
stakes machines. Sweepstakes machines are com-
puters loaded with games, which allow players
to win cash prizes. Taylor offered materials that
falsely claimed the average sweepstakes machine
would generate 300 percent investor returns. He
also stated that the sweepstakes machine invest-
ments were 100 percent risk free, according to
Taylor knew that the investments he was
advertising were not profitable and that inves-
tors were not receiving actual returns from their
investments. In the church members’ lawsuit,
filed in 2013, Long allegedly was warned before-
hand about a fraudulent investment scheme that
caused investors to lose nearly $1 million.
Taylor, 32, and Connor, 45, are scheduled to
be sentenced Dec. 18.
Ephren Taylor
Members of the DeKalb County ethics board considered complaints against two
commissioners Oct. 13.
The Champion Free Press, Friday Oct. 17, 2014 Page 4A
Learning a few lessons from Detroit?
by Paul Womack, former member
DeKalb Board of Education
It may be hard to believe
now, but Detroit was not only the
epicenter of the U.S. automotive
industry, but once one of the most
industrious cities in the world. The
Detroit of today remains under
the direction/control of federal
bankruptcy court and an appointed
emergency manager, as it attempts
to emerge from bankruptcy,
occupying only a shadow of its
former greatness.
It was a long, loud and hard
fall for one of America’s greatest
centers of industry and innovation,
and the road to recovery is filled
with potholes and challenges which
may be insurmountable, but thanks
in part to the broad powers given to
the emergency manager to end old
obligations, shed onerous contracts
and start fresh. There is at least
hope that Detroit may one day rise
from its own ashes.
For more than three decades
I have been a part of the DeKalb
County business and civic
communities, with two lengthy
stints of service on the DeKalb
County Board of Education. My
tenure the first time ended as board
chairman, and though I was serving
as finance committee and vice
chairman during my second tour of
duty, it was the voters who decided
to send me home.
Not long after my departure
from the board, and following
our DeKalb County School
District (DCSD) being placed on
accreditation probation by SACS
(Southern Association of Colleges
and Schools), a new state law
compelled Gov. Nathan Deal to
review and assess our DCSD board
and its role in governance and
oversight failures related to the
probation. The governor decided,
and a review by the courts later
upheld his authority, to remove the
old board and appoint and replace
it with a new one. While spending
on administration remains too high,
the new board has made significant
improvements, along with the new
superintendent. And SACS has
reduced our accreditation status to
“under advisement.” However, we
are still a long way from fulfilling
the promise of a quality basic
education to all of our 100,000-plus
enrolled students.
I have been around long
enough to remember the creation
of the consolidated DeKalb County
School District. There were once
dozens of smaller community
schools and municipal systems with
a wide array of resources, staffing
and educational outcomes. Smaller
can certainly reduce classroom
sizes, but the results of a system
such as the City of Decatur Schools
are far from guaranteed.
And though there are some
critics who would blame this
downward spiral on dramatic
demographic shifts in population,
Commissioner Elaine Boyer’s
recent admission of guilt to several
federal charges and pending
incarceration bear out a recent
statement by DeKalb school
superintendent Michael Thurmond
of “proof that political greed and
criminal actions are an equal
opportunity offender.”
When the California penal
system fell under a federal
court order to release several
thousand inmates due to illegal
overcrowding, the courts appointed
a receiver to get things back in
order. In Detroit, a court appointed
emergency manager was able to
liquidate assets, negotiate and
reduce burdensome pension and
labor employment contracts and to
return, as soon as possible, normal
levels of city services to Detroit
residents and taxpayers. Closer
to home, it appears a receiver/
emergency manager hybrid in
Birmingham, Ala., will deal with
the bankruptcy of Jefferson County,
caused by Wall Street greed coupled
with many a bad bond deal on the
city’s water system.
I know this will be controversial
and I’m sure I will be accused
of racial bias among many other
motivations, but it is time to
discuss legislation, for DeKalb
County and other governmental
entities when they fail us, to install
a court appointed receiver or
emergency manager. By design,
the process of initiating a recall
is cumbersome and inordinately
difficult in Georgia. Yes, the voters
should exercise their discretion and
judgment at the ballot box, but even
a smart electorate can occasionally
be sold a pig in a poke. When
billions in assets are on the line, as
well as the education of our children
and employment of thousands
more, we simply can’t wait for the
“political and judicial processes”
to take their much less than speedy
The time to consider and discuss
receivership is now, and the time
to take action starts during the next
session of the Georgia General
Assembly. If we wait again, it may
well be too late.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 5A

Let Us Know What You Think!
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Please write to us and express your views. Letters should be brief, type-
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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and
any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was
founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse
for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have
no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions
to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move
our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for
discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing
information submitted to us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.
And you are part of the solution
Answers to some of the more
recent Ebola prevention FAQs
have been inconsistent. Facts are
facts and our public health officials
need to also admit what they don’t
know. I share these thoughts,
not to cause panic or fear, but to
raise awareness and cause us all
sufficient pause that we simply
pay greater attention to detail and
general hygiene practices until
the spread of this illness has been
significantly reduced, in Africa, the
Americas and elsewhere.
1.  Much has been said of
the virus not being “airborne,”
however the truth is that within 3-5
meters (more than 15 feet), if an
Ebola patient coughs, sneezes, spits
or sweats onto another person, and
if those larger droplets carrying
the virus find their way into an
eye, nostril, mouth, cut, scrape or
opening in the skin, then infection
is possible. If such an accident
occurs, what are the immediate
protocols for the potentially
2.  The Ebola virus, in bodily
fluids such as blood, vomit, sweat,
mucous, saliva and semen can
survive outside of the body. After
mattresses, linens and towels
had been left for days in the
apartment where Eric Duncan
was visiting in Dallas, a HazMat
team showed up and took out
20 barrels of potentially infected
materials and quarantined the
family. What needs to be disposed
of immediately? Most households
won’t have a HazMat suit or a
medical waste container, but rubber
gloves, goggles and a face mask can
be stored in an Emergency Medical
kit, and perhaps prevent further
infections. Should linens, clothing,
etc., be burned, or simply washed
in bleach and hot water?
3.  Britain, France and Saudi
Arabia have already limited travels
visas and flights to their shores
from impacted countries and are
reviewing policies for neighboring
nations on the continent. When
will the Federal Aviation
Administration and/or Homeland
Security begin limiting travel and
Visas into the United States on
direct and indirect flights?
4.  Increased border security
and port security? Once, or if,
the airfare gate closes, our porous
borders and even container ships
will likely see an increase in
illegal human smuggling and even
moving humans in trucks at our
clogged border checkpoints. Will
we add infrared spectrometers and
temperature checks at these choke-
points as well? 
5.  Food safety—A large part
of the delivery supply chain of U.S.
agriculture is migrant workers. At
Our DeKalb Farmer’s Market,
dozens of the hundreds of able
and hard-working employees
speak little or no English and are
very guarded and cautious in any
dealing with local, state or federal
government authorities. In the
event of an Ebola infection, in the
early stages of symptoms, how long
will those sneeze droplets, sweat
or bodily fluids accidentally left
on produce last? And in addition
to more thoroughly washing all
purchased produce, what additional
steps should consumers take to
protect their own food supplies?
6. Waste exposure – In Dallas,
the vomit of Duncan, as well as
blood from hemorrhaging, was
washed down an open storm
drain. We assume he also used
indoor plumbing. Are chlorination
and typical municipal water system
treatments sufficient to protect our
water supply?
This list is far from
comprehensive, but as I
witnessed during the bombing
of Centennial Olympic Park
in 1996, which resulted in two
fatalities and dozens of injuries,
panic and misinformation travels
considerably faster than fact. We
spent two years preparing for
Y2K, when billions of dollars were
supposedly on the line. The private
and public sectors all participated
in preparation and the proactive
response during 1999.
Nearly two-thirds of the deaths
from the American Civil War were
caused by illness, and not injuries
of war. Dysentery, typhoid fever
and unheard of degrees of diarrhea,
brought on by consuming unclean
water and unsanitary conditions
in the camps as well as field
hospitals caused the largest number
of fatalities in the history of our
nation. Just after World War I, a flu
epidemic took the lives of 100,000
It can happen again. I imagine
this column will irritate some with
the Centers for Disease Control an
Prevention and other public health
agencies. If our medical profession
does have an Achilles heel, it can
be their egos and occasional God
complex. Hubris has brought
down greater empires than this
one. Forewarned is forearmed. Until
then, Google and read everything
you practically can from medical
and media resources that you know
and trust. God bless you and yours,
as well as our neighbors in Dallas,
Texas and Africa.
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 Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 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.
Dawn Shackett

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014 AT 7:00 P.M.

ADDRESS: 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia 30319

The following Traffic Calming Petition involving streets located within the City of Brookhaven is
scheduled for Public Hearings as stated above.


DeKalb hosts fourth annual international festival
DeKalb County’s fourth annual International
Food and Music Festival will be held Oct. 18,
noon to 6 p.m. at Northlake Mall, 4800 Briarcliff
Road, Atlanta.
Coordinated by DeKalb County Commis-
sioner Stan Watson, the festival will feature
multi-cultural cuisine and entertainment, and
represent cultural groups from more than 32
countries. A preview of the festivities can be
found on YouTube at
“We are excited to bring back the DeKalb
International Food and Music Festival, and I am
confident that the festival will unite the dynamic
blend of cultures and traditions that continue to
exist in our county,” Watson said.
Co-chairmen for the festival include in-
terim DeKalb County CEO Lee May and former
DeKalb CEO and state senator Liane Levetan.
Other organizers include DeKalb Chamber of
Commerce, DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bu-
reau and South DeKalb YMCA. Representatives
from the Asian, European, West Indian, Middle
Eastern, Hispanic and African communities also
will be included.
Festival sponsors include Gas South, Frontier
Management, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Power,
CH2M Hill and Cadillac Fairview Corporation
“As Georgia’s most diverse county, we are
proud to have numerous cultural groups call
DeKalb home, this event is a great look at
DeKalb’s vibrant population, traditions and cul-
tures,” May said.
This event will include cultural, educational
and entertainment activities for all ages, includ-
ing samples of cuisine from across the world, and
retail vendors highlighting their respective coun-
tries’ markets.
There also will be an interactive children’s
village with bouncy houses, puppet shows, face
painting and additional festivities. The children’s
village has a one-time/all-day admission cost of
While festival admission and parking are
free, food vendors will price their products and
In addition, agencies with an objective to
serve the interests of the international commu-
nity also have been invited.
Proceeds from the festival will be donated to
the DeKalb County Police Alliance to use toward
the insurance premium who covers sworn law
enforcement officers that serve within the county
and municipalities of DeKalb.
For more information, call (404)
371-7031 or (404) 371-3681, or visit the
Facebook page at
dekalbinternationalfoodandmusicfestival or the
website at
Diversity will be on display at the county’s annual food and music festival. Photos by Travis Hudgons
When Dawn
Shackett’s daughter
Gabriella saw a flyer
about Girl Scouts,
she was immediately
“I never had
Girl Scouts, but she
loves it,” Shackett
said. “It was her idea
to go through with
it. I think she really
convinced me.”
Girl Scouts are
most known for: camping, cute uniforms with
badged sashes and cookie sales. Shackett got
involved with the cookie aspect.
At area Kroger and Wal-mart, and even a
synagogue and the Emory University Student
Center, Troop 1900 set up booths staffed by
Brownie and Daisy scouts, the two youngest
scouting levels. Shackett’s job was contacting
locations and setting up the booths.
That may have posed a problem, because
Shackett is deaf.
“When people talk and ask questions, I might
have to ask them to repeat what they are saying,”
she said. “It’s difficult sometimes to make calls
— sometimes it’s difficult because there’s a time
delay, and they can’t understand me. I do a lot of
volunteer work, but I don’t let it stop me.”
Shackett said that each girl sets a goal of
cookies to sell. However, some may not be able to
or are uncomfortable selling door-to-door. That’s
where the cookie booths come in. Girls staff
the booth in shifts and the total boxes sold are
apportioned among the girls. Shackett said she
wanted to ensure every girl was able to reach her
goal, so she organized seven total booths.
Shackett not only helps with her daughter’s
troop but also with Habitat for Humanity, Relay
for Life and other causes. She said Girl Scouts has
been a benefit for her daughter.
“My daughter said, ‘I can’t wait to start my
business again,’” Shackett said. “She’s learning
business skills. She goes up to people and talks to
people and promotes herself and comes up with
ideas about how to sell more. She’s having fun,
she’s making money for the troop for camping and
other things. It’s great to see that. It’s great for her
self-confidence. I wish I had that as a kid.”
Shackett said she enjoys volunteering not only
to give back but because it enables her to meet
new people.
“I like getting out there and helping at the
same time you’re giving back to the community
in some way,” Shackett said. “With Girl Scouts
there are so many things to do like cookie
sales, in the fall we do magazine sales. When
I volunteer for Girl Scouts it’s fun. You have a
group and a community feeling and you’re doing
something fun.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 7A

Civil War walking tour of Decatur announced.
LifeLine Halloween contest
for pets
LifeLine Animal Project is having a Howl-O-
Ween contest for pet owners. The grand prize
is a year of free pet food, free microchipping for
up to three pets and a year of free vaccines. To
participate, pet owners must “like” LifeLine on
Facebook or follow it on Instagram or Twitter
and upload their pet’s photos using the hashtag
#LifeLineHalloween. Contest winners will
be selected based on costume originality and
creativity. For more information, visit www.
Avondale Estates
Tree walk details released
The second annual Tree Walk will be held
Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon. Six local arborists
will lead groups of approximately 15 people
who will view the trees’ lines and features
while arborists point out defining and unusual
A new feature of this year’s walk will be the
opportunity for homeowners to ask a panel of
experts questions about trees in their personal
landscapes. The event is free. The walk will
convene in the Avondale Community Club
parking lot, 59 Lakeshore Drive. For more
information, call (404) 373-8165.
Blackburn park to host event
Blackburn Park in Brookhaven will host
“Live in the Park” Oct. 19, 1-7 p.m. The event
will include musical performances by Mr.
Greg’s Musical Madness, Nathan Sheppard,
Housebroken and Journey Resurrection. There
also will be food, a kids zone and the Atlanta
Falcons vs. Baltimore Ravens game will be shown
on the big screen. For more information, visit
Civil War walking tour of
Decatur announced
The DeKalb History Center, located in the
historic DeKalb County courthouse in Decatur,
is now offering Civil War walking tours in
downtown Decatur. The cost is $10 for adults, $6
for children ages 6-18, and free for children 5 and
younger. The tours are scheduled at various times
and begin and end in the lobby of the historic
DeKalb Courthouse.
The tour familiarizes participants with the
early history of the county, the effects of the war
on the civilian population in DeKalb, the Atlanta
campaign and the Battle of Decatur.
The tour highlights civilians who lived in the
Decatur area during the Civil War. Benjamin
Swanton was a successful businessman from
Maine who had come to Georgia during the
Dahlonega gold rush. Swanton operated a grist
mill, tannery, machine shop and brickyard. He
and his wife evacuated Decatur during the war,
but his son became a Confederate soldier and
his house, which now stands on West Trinity in
Decatur, had a cellar that was used as a shelter
when the town was at the center of a battle.
Another story that illustrates the complexities
of the time is that of Roderick Badger, the son
of an enslaved woman and a White plantation
owner. Badger was a dentist who, early in the war,
worked as an assistant to Milton Candler, who
was a captain in the State Guard and whose law
office was on the Decatur Square.
For additional information, call (404) 373-
1088 ext. 20 or visit
Domestic violence
symposium announced
DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston’s
fourth Annual Resource Fair and Symposium on
Domestic Violence will be held on Thursday, Oct.
23, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Manuel Maloof
Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive in downtown
The event is open to the public and a
complimentary breakfast will be served. Attendees
are asked to bring used cell phones to donate
through Verizon Wireless HopeLine to help
survivors of domestic violence. Confirm attendance
by Oct. 20 to (404) 371-2234 or snbrown@
Church to host fall festival
Harvest Tabernacle Church will hold its “Fall
Festival: Fall Into The Fun” event Oct. 25, from 10
a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature games, food,
Christian-based entertainment, health screenings,
car financing, home mortgage representatives on
site and more. For admission, donate a new toy to
help the church provide toys to children for the
holidays. The church is located at 1450 S. Deshon
Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.
Stone Mountain
City to host Dogtoberfest
The first Dogtoberfest will be held Oct. 18
from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the lawn in downtown
Stone Mountain. Events include Best Dressed
Dog, Bobbing for Toys, Ask a Trainer and a silent
auction. The event is sponsored by AARF Pet
Central. For more information, visit the Facebook
page of the Stone Mountain Downtown
Development Authority.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 8A
Ellis ‘yes man’ resigns after testimony
by Andrew Cauthen
Just days after testifying against his indicted
boss, the county’s former purchasing director
Kelvin Walton resigned.
The resignation, which was announced in
an Oct. 7 statement by interim DeKalb County
CEO Lee May, was effective immediately.
“Additionally, Nina Hall has been relieved of
her duties as an employee of this county,” May
said. “These decisions are in the best interest
of our county. I am committed to continuing
to make our government more accessible,
transparent and accountable and these decisions
are a move in that direction.”
In a letter to May, Walton said his decision
to resign was the result of “much thought and
“I will always be appreciative of the elected
officials, staff, business leaders and community
members who have been supportive of me and
my position,” Walton wrote. “I wish you and the
Board of Commissioners the best as you move
into the future.”
Walton and Hall testified in the trial against
suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis,
who is accused of criminal attempt to commit
theft by extortion; criminal attempt to commit
false statements and writings; coercion of other
employees to give anything of value for political
purposes; conspiracy in restraint of free and
open competition; and conspiracy to defraud a
political subdivision.
In the indictment against Ellis, Walton
was named as an “unindicted” co-conspirator.
According to the indictment, Ellis instructed
Walton to prevent Power and Energy from
receiving any additional work from the county.
Ellis also allegedly instructed Walton to place
a fictitious note in Power and Energy’s file that
they do not return phone calls.
During his testimony, Walton described
himself as Ellis’ “yes man” who compiled vendor
lists used by Ellis for campaign solicitations.
That work, Walton testified, was not
legitimate county business.
“I had 18 months before I retired. I was
following [Ellis’] directions,” Walton said during
Walton also testified that he felt that he was
“strong arming” contractors on behalf of Ellis.
“As the procurement director, you don’t want
companies to feel like they have to give because
the procurement director is calling,” Walton said
during one of his four days of testimony. “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 approval. It was like I was
strong-arming them.”
Walton and Hall are the subject of an ethics
complaint that alleges their involvement in a
“public corruption case related to purchasing
and contracts within the watershed department.”
On the witness stand, Walton admitted
that he solicited and received a total of $1,800
from three vendors to assist Hall when she
experienced financial difficulty.
When attorneys asked Hall in court about
money she allegedly took from vendors, she
invoked her Fifth Amendment right 30 times.
MARTA board member resigns
Wendy Butler submitted her resignation from the MARTA Board of Di-
rectors Oct. 1.
“I want to thank Wendy for her many years of service on this board and
wish her Godspeed,” said MARTA board chair Robert L. Ashe III.
In a letter addressed to the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, Butler stat-
ed, “I know that my support for DeKalb County and MARTA will continue
and that my service to those priorities will remain constant as I move into a
different role in the county and the region. I look forward to continuing to
serve MARTA’s vision and leadership with great respect for the organization
and its leadership.”
Butler joined the MARTA board in 2011 and most recently served on
the Operations and Safety committee. She is presently seeking an open seat
on the DeKalb Board of Commissioners.
County to host household
hazardous waste event
DeKalb County will host a household hazardous waste event on Sat-
urday, Oct. 18, 8 a.m. to noon, at the DeKalb County Central Transfer
Station, 3720 Leroy Scott Drive, Decatur.
The event, sponsored by Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the DeKalb
County Sanitation Division, in partnership with Clean Harbors Envi-
ronmental Services Inc., offers county residents an opportunity to dis-
pose of their household hazardous wastes properly free of charge.
Household hazardous waste is classified as products that contain
potentially dangerous chemicals and are no longer used. These products
should not be mixed with regular trash and can be potentially harmful
to the environment if not disposed of properly.
Items that will be accepted at the event include: aerosols, mercury,
batteries, adhesives, flammables, lawn care products, automotive prod-
ucts, fluorescent bulbs, photography chemicals, hobby and artists sup-
plies, paints and paint-related products, cleaners and swimming pool
Items not accepted include biohazardous/biomedical waste, agri-
cultural waste, ammunition, explosives, pharmaceuticals, radioactive
materials and nonhazardous waste.
The event is free for DeKalb residents; IDs are required and early
arrival is recommended. Residents are limited to 10 gallons of paint per
vehicle. No commercial vehicles will be allowed.
For more information about the event or to volunteer, contact Keep
DeKalb Beautiful at (404) 371-2654 or
Kelvin Walton, the county’s former purchasing director,
resigned Oct. 7. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 9A
DeKalb Police testing body cameras
by Andrew Cauthen
DeKalb County police officers
may soon have extra eyes watching
when they go out on calls.
The department is in the process
of testing a few types of body cam-
The wearable video cameras will
“basically show that officers are open
to the public,” said Officer Michael
Freeman, who is leading the testing
phase for the cameras. “We want to
make sure that what the public is see-
ing [is what] we did or they did [and]
we have proof.
“This way we can come back and
say, ‘On this day the officer had his
body cam on and it shows that the
officer did everything right.’” Free-
man said. “t can save the county
money in wrongful lawsuits. Or, it
can show that maybe we need to do
more training. We can actually look
at the video and say, ‘The officer does
it this way. We see some flaws in that
technique, so let’s go back in and
train our officers the correct way of
doing stuff.’”
Freeman said the body cameras
will be a training tool that can be
used to protect the public, police of-
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” he
Additionally, the cameras will
help provide “better evidence as far
as cases—that’s one more piece of
evidence we can put in there,” Free-
man said.
The two main cameras the de-
partment is testing are the Vievu and
TASER’s Axon. The department has
tried a couple of other cameras “but
we’re not even finishing those tests,”
Freeman said.
“They were just way too costly
and did not function as well as [ad-
vertised],” Freeman said.
Approximately a month ago, the
department began talking with ven-
dors and testing the body cameras.
“We’ve actually been testing body
cameras about a year all together,”
Freeman said.
One of the cameras was a head-
piece “worn like glasses,” Freeman
said. “We had some issues with that.”
The police department is plan-
ning eventually to equip all of its 690
uniformed officers, Freeman said.
Some uniformed officers re-
ceived cameras Oct. 10 and the offi-
cers began testing them Oct. 13. The
test is expected to last for a couple of
“We haven’t found any down-
sides,” Freeman said. “If it’s picking
up officers doing the wrong thing,
it’s actually benefiting us so we can
correct it. So there’s no bad side or
“The only issues we’re running
into are legal issues in reference to
how we wear it and when we can
wear it in dealing with the public,”
Freeman said.
The department’s attorneys are
reviewing “legal statutes in reference
to eavesdropping. When we can go
in someone’s house and videotape
is an issue. Some say we are not al-
lowed to. Others say when we are
called to the scene, it’s a police issue
and we are allowed to [record]. That’s
something we have to address. We
don’t want to interfere with anyone’s
civil rights,” Freeman said.
Body cameras are in use in vari-
ous police departments around the
country, Freeman said. Chicago
police officers use body cameras any
time they are on duty. Other depart-
ments use cameras at the officer’s
“We’re trying to keep it a full-
time use where it’s on any time we
have interaction with the public,”
Freeman said. “That way we can say
the video is 100 percent untouchable;
it’s unedited; it’s accurate.”
The costs for the devices vary
from $199 to $2,000. Additional
costs can be incurred if the depart-
ment decides to store the recordings
in a vendor’s virtual cloud, instead of
on police department servers.
In 2012, the DeKalb police de-
partment began using a small, 2 gi-
gabyte, MUVI ultra-compact digital
camcorder that officers can clip onto
the shirt pocket of uniforms. With a
click of a button, officers can record
video or sound or both wherever
they are.
The cameras, which are still in
use today, are used at the discretion
of the officers who have them.
Officers determine on a case-by-
case basis whether video they have
taken needs to be downloaded and
preserved. Officers have the capabil-
ity to download videos to computers
in their squad cars. The videos are
then transferred wirelessly to police
department servers. Video that is
downloaded for evidence must be
burned to a disk and placed in the
department’s evidence room.
Those cameras are not as durable
and weatherproof as the ones now
being tested, Freeman said. And be-
cause the video recordings are stored
on SD memory cards, “those devices
aren’t as useful as far as storage.”
At approximately 10 hours, the
battery life of the cameras currently
being tested is longer than the old
cameras, Freeman said.
After the cameras are field tested,
“we will get the reports in and find
out the flaws and any complaints,”
Freeman said. “We want the input
from the officers. If the input from
the officers isn’t good, then we will
have to take that into account. If the
officers don’t want to use it, we’ve got
to find out why.”
Once a decision is made on the
camera of choice for the department,
police officials will take a budget
request to the county administration
and board of commissioners to fund
the purchase of the cameras.
DeKalb County Police Officer Michael Freeman displays two of the body cameras the department is testing. Photo illustration by
Andrew Cauthen
Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

DeKalb neighborhood summit set for Nov. 1
Congressman announces $928,000 grant to help battle chronic diseases
Congressman Hank Johnson recently
announced more than $928,000 in Department
of Health & Human Services grants will go to the
DeKalb Board of Health to support programs
aimed at preventing chronic diseases such as
heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to a
news release. 
Funded in part by the Afordable Care
Act, the awards will strengthen state and local
programs aimed at fghting these chronic
diseases, which are the leading causes of death
and disability in the United States, and help
lower our nation’s health care costs.
It is part of nearly $212 million program of
grant awards that are going to all 50 states and
the District of Columbia.
“Tese grants represent progress in our
work to change the health care paradigm from
simply treating the sick to one that also helps
keep people well,” Johnson said. “Te Afordable
Care Act is the greatest efort in 60 years to cut
the health care gap, and these HHS grants are an
integral part of that strategy.”  
Te goals of the grant funding are to reduce
rates of death and disability due to tobacco use,
reduce obesity prevalence, and reduce rates
of death and disability due to diabetes, heart
disease, and stroke, according to a news release. 
DeKalb County will hold its sixth annual
neighborhood summit on Saturday, Nov. 1, from
8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Tucker High School, 5036
LaVista Road, Tucker.
Te summit gives county residents an
opportunity to connect with their county
government, community solutions and
innovations and to each other by attending
workshops, exhibits, meeting with community
leaders, exchanging ideas and learning how to
partner with county departments to sustain and
improve the quality of life in neighborhoods.
New this year, the summit will feature
“curbside consulting” from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
in rotating sessions. Each 25-minute session
will be a chance for attendees to sit down with
a consultant and ask questions specifc to their
group. Consultant sessions will be ofered to
small groups of one to three individuals from
the same group or organization. Tese sessions
are free and will cover community organizing/
building, marketing/social media, fundraising/
grant writing, meeting facilitation, volunteer/
board management, program planning and
development and neighborhood nexus/
community needs assessment.
One neighborhood will have the opportunity
to win $1,000 by entering “DeKalb’s Most
Connected Neighborhood Award.” To enter,
neighborhood groups must submit an essay
of 500 words or less, describing how the
neighborhood has connected with its neighbors,
county, faith community, schools, police
precincts and youth and what neighborhood
connection project the group will complete
with the $1,000 award. Nominations should
be submitted to: onedekalb@dekalbcountyga.
gov with the subject line, “We are a connected
To register for the 2013 DeKalb
Neighborhood Summit, visit www.onedekalb.
com or call (404) 371-2881.
Congressman Hank Johnson
Page 11A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

‘Big Read’ focuses on Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
by Kathy Mitchell
readers throughout the area
appear to be engrossed in
the same 74-year-old novel,
it’s no coincidence. The Big Read is
now under way in metro Atlanta.
A study conducted by National
Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
resulted in the 2004 report Reading
at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading
in America. The report indicated
that not only is literary reading in
America declining rapidly among
all groups but that the rate of
decline has accelerated, especially
among the young.
Responding to the findings,
NEA started a program called
The Big Read, designed to expose
people of all ages to great works of
literature and encourage them to
read for pleasure and enrichment.
NEA each year chooses a number
of classic literary works and
encourages communities to
select one to promote locally. An
organization, usually a library
or nonprofit theater, selects a
book and applies for a grant to
distribute copies of the book in
the community and build events
around it.
The Big Read has come to metro
Atlanta, especially East Atlanta
and Decatur, through a grant to 7
Stages theater, which is promoting
the novel The Heart Is a Lonely
Hunter by Georgia native Carson
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
was first published in 1940, has
since been a major motion picture
and has been adapted for the stage.
The novel’s selection by the Oprah
Book Club in 2004 spurred renewed
interest in the story of two deaf-
mute housemates, who along with
a number of other misfits seek to fit
into a 1930s mill town community.
“We chose this book because
loneliness and the heartbreak of
not being accepted by others is
universal,” said 7 Stages Artistic
Director Heidi S. Howard at a
kickoff event Oct. 9 at Charis Books
and More in Little Five Points.
“Part of our mission is to promote
discussion of topics that may not
be easily discussed. When we saw
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter on the
list, we said, ‘Yes! This is perfect
for us.’ Because Charis also seeks
to get people talking on a variety
of subjects, this is a great place to
introduce the program.”
The program includes a series of
discussions at the Decatur Library,
which is distributing free copies
of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
as long as the supply lasts. The
discussion sessions started Oct.
15 and continue through Nov. 12.
There also will be festivals, school
events and other activities for all
ages as part of The Big Read. The
central event is a play, FML: How
Carson McCullers Saved My Life,
which will be performed Feb. 14
through March 1, 2015, at 7 Stages,
with preview performances Feb. 12
and 13.
The play is about Jo, a young
girl attending a Catholic high
school, where she is targeted by
other students for her preference
Charles Swint, Theresa Davis and Heidi S. Howard of 7 Stages theater introduce
events to be presented in the area during the next fve months as part of a Big Read.
See Big Read on page 12A
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 12A
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“She will Make A Difference”
for masculine clothing
and other choices. Her life
changes after an English
teacher assigns The Heart
Is a Lonely Hunter, which
inspires Jo to embrace
her identity and finds
the courage to speak out
for herself and stand up
to her bullies. FML is
a text abbreviation, the
more G-rated meaning
being “forget my life,” an
expression of exasperation at
the general state of one’s life.
“Even though The
Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
was written decades ago
when people didn’t talk
about certain issues in the
same ways we do now,
the feelings were there in
the 1930s and ‘40s and
they are relevant today.
Carson McCullers, who
was just 23 when the
novel was published, was
much like the character
Mick,” Howard said. Mick
in the novel is a teenage
tomboy from a low-income
family who escapes the
world around her through
her music and her inner
“People experience
loneliness for many
reasons, especially people
who are perceived by
those around them as
odd or different. We hope
this book and the other
Big Read events will start
people talking about
loneliness and start people
thinking of ways to reach
out to those who might feel
isolated,” Howard said.
Big Read Continued From Page 11A
Brookhaven officials announced
Oct. 10 that the city has filed for an
injunction to stop the Pink Pony adult
entertainment club from operating in
violation of the city’s sexually oriented
business ordinance.
On Oct. 6, the Georgia Supreme
Court unanimously upheld the DeKalb
County Superior Court’s ruling that
Brookhaven’s sexually oriented business
ordinance applies to the Pink Pony and is
“The Georgia Supreme Court just
held, in a 7-0 decision, that the Pink
Pony’s lawsuit against Brookhaven was
meritless,” said Mayor J. Max Davis. “We
are not asking for the Pink Pony to be
shut down. We are requesting that the
trial court now order the club to comply
with the law.”
The city has previously sought an
injunction to require Stardust adult store
to comply with the sexually oriented
business ordinance.
The request for injunction, filed
in DeKalb County Superior Court,
asks the Buford Highway club to cease
violating the ordinance, which prohibits
total nudity, alcohol consumption and
physical contact between erotic dancers
and patrons. An affidavit included in the
filing documents violations of all of these
rules as recently as Tuesday. The filing
also asks the court to require the club to
pay the city attorneys’ fees incurred in
the effort to secure compliance with the
The Pink Pony filed suit against the
city last year, claiming the ordinance
was a violation of free speech and a
prior agreement it had with DeKalb
County. The Georgia Supreme Court
rejected these arguments, and upheld
the ordinance based on “the established
record regarding the deleterious effects of
alcohol coupled with nude dancing.”
Brookhaven files for injunction to require
Pink Pony to comply with ordinance
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 13A
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
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recognized the county’s code enforcement officers for National Code
Enforcement Month. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
Couples participate in Dance Hall Decatur, a
fundraiser for the DeKalb History Center. Photos by
John Hewitt
On Oct. 7, GFI Management held its first National Night Out at Oak Tree Villas, formerly Kensington Station, in Decatur.
The event focused on crime awareness with support from the National Association of Town Watch and National Night
Out, a nonprofit dedication to the promotion of various crime prevention programs. Photos provided
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 14A
A breakfast for champions
by Ashley Oglesby
he bonds made between
classmates, teachers, players
and coaches are invaluable in
the halls of Southwest DeKalb High
School (SWD). As they continue
to support each other and “bleed
blue and old gold,” the Panthers
are certain to keep their traditions
growing strong.
As a finale to their homecoming
weekend, SWD held its second
annual Breakfast of Champions,
honoring Hall of Fame Coach
William ‘Buck’ Godfrey and
former band director, Don Roberts
on Oct. 11.
Director of Active Living,
Gregory White served as the master
of ceremony.
The fundraiser was the vision
of Head Coach and Athletic
Director, Kathy Richie Walton to
show recognition for students and
athletes of the high school.
Jackie Alexander, parent
volunteer, said, “It’s important for
the younger kids who are still here
and the athletes to just see that these
[alumni and guest speakers] started
This year’s ceremony brought
more than 150 alumni, parents
and students together to reminisce
and share memories in the school’s
Roberts, the first keynote
speaker, was introduced and
awarded for his numerous
accomplishments in the county,
his efforts aided the DeKalb school
system’s rank on the “Top 100
Communities in Music Education
in America” in 2005 and 2008.
He recalled one of his first
games at SWD against Valdosta
High School. “Even in losing it was
victorious because I found out the
Southwest DeKalb tradition was
so strong that it would not accept
“I knew right then that I was in
a special place,” said Roberts.
Roberts also has worked as
an executive band consultant
for the Twentieth Century Fox
movie Drumline, was appointed
associate producer for the ESPNU
television series The Battle and led
the SWD band in the 1997 Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parade in New
York City.
Under the guidance of Roberts
more than 15,000 students
participated in band and orchestra
in DeKalb schools.
Roberts and his fellow chairmen
helped supervise approximately 100
instrumental music directors, 19
high schools, 19 middle schools and
88 elementary schools.
The second keynote speaker
Buck Godfrey is another key player
in the history of SWD.
After 30 seasons as head
football coach at SWD, his record
of 273-89-1—including a state
championship, state runner-up title
and 13 regional titles—makes him
the winningest football coach in
DeKalb County history.
Godfrey is also the winningest
Black coach in the state.
Upon moving to Atlanta from
South Carolina to obtain his
master’s degree in English from
Atlanta University (now Clark
Atlanta), Godfrey began coaching
baseball at Gordon High School.
Under his tenure that team won 25
games and advanced to the playoffs.
In 1976, a time when Georgia
schools began to integrate, Godfrey
moved to Towers High School as the
football team’s offensive coordinator
and the school’s first Black male
However, it was at Southwest
DeKalb High School where Godfrey
found a home.
In 1983 he joined the SWD
panther family and became the
school’s first Black head football
“This school, Southwest Dekalb,
is a big oak tree. It’s root goes deep,
maybe 60 miles down. It’s built
on family. It’s built on teamwork.
It’s built on guts. It’s built on
unselfishness. It’s built on love.
It’s built on character. It’s built on
integrity,” said Godfrey.
He prides himself on being a
leader for his community.
“My daddy loved Joe Lewis.
He loved Sugar Ray Robinson. He
loved Jackie Robinson. Those guys
when they played or when they
fought, they represented the Black
community. It wasn’t about them,”
said Godfrey.
He added, “When I came to
Southwest I represented my family
in South Carolina and I represented
the Black race.”
“I wanted to be the best Black
coach possible and represent my
boys in the most positive way that I
Many of Godfrey’s former
players echoed similar sentiments,
“He was an example of a proud
Black man,” said Steven Davenport,
a junior wide receiver on Godfrey’s
first team in 1983.
“He came in and really gave us a
beacon of what it really meant to be
Black men.”
In addition to being a coach
and mentor, Godfrey is a published
author of three books: Moods of a
Black Man, Songs for My Father, and
The Team Nobody Would Play, a
memoir about playing little league
in the Jim Crow South.
In planning for next year
the Panthers are hoping to bring
more legendary alumni, parents,
volunteers and local supporters to
the school.
As part of its homecoming weekend, Southwest DeKalb held a Breakfast of Cham-
pions, honoring Hall of Fame Coach William 'Buck' Godfrey, above right, and for-
mer band director, Don Roberts, below center. Photos by Ashley Oglesby
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 15A LOCAL NEWS
Choir Continued From Page 1A
Mark Green, the choir’s director, said the choir is a beneft to the community.
“The choir has continued to grow ever since,”
Green said.
Currently there are 120 youth in three choirs:
the apprentice choir for ages 6 to 8; the advanced
choir for ages 9 and older; and Ars Cantabile
(Latin for artistic singing), a choir for students
ages 11 and older who pass an additional
The Avondale Children’s Choir has six to
seven performances a year, including a Christmas
concert which this year will be held at First
Baptist Church of Avondale Estates on Dec. 9.
Other performances include a spring concert and
appearances at the Avondale Estates Autumnfest
and Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Being on the choir has several benefits for the
children, Green said.
“They grow as musicians…learning to read
music and understand what notes and rhythms
are and what the symbols are,” Green said.
“It encourages the child to be a performer,”
Green said. “They gain confidence as they
prepare music and then sing as a performer as
part of a choir. Many children probably would
be too shy to stand on stage and do something
by themselves, but after having sung in the choir
for several semesters or several years, they gain
the confidence to do things by themselves as a
Green said the children also “grow in their
appreciation for really good music.”
The choir performs classical music, spirituals,
pop, Broadway show tunes and language pieces,
Green said.
“We use a large variety of music expressions
for the choir, but we choose our concert pieces
very carefully so that it’s really good music that’s
worthy of the children’s work and endeavors as
a singer and performer, and something that we
think they will remember and benefit from their
whole life,” Green said.
The choir is funded almost exclusively by the
$120 per semester fees paid by choir members.
Because the choir practices at the church and
Green receives no pay for his work with the choir,
the group’s overhead is low.
The children’s choir is an asset to the
community, Green said, because “the community
seems to really enjoy it as an outlet for the young
families…to have a performing arts ensemble for
their children to be a part of.”
The community “seems to embrace the choir,”
Green said.
For more information about the choir, visit
The Avondale Children’s Choir performs several times a year, including Avondale Estates’ AutumnFest. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Decatur Commission supports DDA plan to
purchase Historic Scottish Rite property
by Carla Parker
ecatur City Commission voted Oct. 6 to
support Decatur Downtown Develop-
ment Authority (DDA) in its purchase of
the Historic Scottish Rite Hospital property in
The commission adopted a resolution Oct. 6
that outlines its full support of the DDA’s plans to
purchase the property, which includes five build-
ings on 4.8-acres.
The complex, which was built in 1920, was
the first Scottish Rite Hospital for children and
was listed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1982.
The DDA will purchase the property from
current owner Progressive Redevelopment Inc.
(PRI). The city commission originally approved
an urban redevelopment plan for the property in
Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett said “Adopting the
resolution shows our belief that this property is a
unique local landmark and community resource
that will continue to benefit the Oakhurst neigh-
borhood and all of Decatur for years to come.”
Lorri Mills of PRI said the company could no
longer sustain the debt on the property because
the “devastating effect of the recent economic re-
cession on real estate values.”
“DDA’s plans to purchase are really a best case
scenario for everyone involved,” Mills said. “We
applaud the City Commission’s support of this
“This is exciting news for us,” said Scot Hol-
lonbeck, board president of the Community Cen-
ter of South Decatur. “We believe the purchase of
this property by the DDA will secure this historic
community resource and make it possible for us
to continue to support community programming
and activities at the Solarium.”
The hospital moved to Atlanta in 1976 and
later merged with Egleston Children’s Health
Care System in 1998 to create Children’s Health-
care of Atlanta. The Community Center of South
Decatur was incorporated in 1979 to facilitate
redevelopment of the old Scottish Rite Children’s
The Georgia Driver’s Education
Commission is seeking applicants for
grants for providers of state-approved
driver’s education programs. This
includes but is not limited to colleges,
universities, technical colleges and
public schools. Other nonproft
providers are encouraged to seek
information. To receive additional
information on the application
process, send contact information to
The Decatur City Commission adopted a resolution outlining its full support for the purchase of the Historic Scottish Rite Hospital property in Oakhurst by the Decatur
Downtown Development Authority.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 17A
Venezuela native introduces her cuisine in new restaurant
by Kathy Mitchell
hat is an arepa? That’s a
question Lis Hernandez,
owner of the recently opened
Arepa Mia restaurant in Decatur, hopes
locals will soon know the answer to.
“Everyone knows what you’re talk-
ing about when you mention tacos or
burritos or hamburgers, but not many
people in the United States know what
an arepa is,” Hernandez said. She has
set out to change that. A popular food
in Hernandez’s native Venezuela, an
arepa is a sandwich on cornmeal bread
that is typically made with beef, chick-
en, fish or pork and may feature a wide
variety of toppings and sauces.
Hernandez said her favorite child-
hood memories include helping her
mother at the arepa stand she operated.
“That’s where I learned to cook and to
operate a business,” she recalled. “By
the time I was a teenager, I knew that
cooking was my passion. The recipes I
use today are ones I learned from my
Although she and her mother
made arepas at home and sold them
from a stand, Hernandez explained
that they are not street vendor food.
“This is what people in Venezuela eat
at home. It’s simple comfort food that I
associate with love, home and family,”
she said. Arepa Mia’s logo includes the
phrase “Happy Stomach. Warm Heart.”
Hernandez said that like her moth-
er, she uses only fresh ingredients. “I
remember going to the market with my
mother as she picked out fresh vegeta-
bles and meats. That’s the way I prepare
arepas today. Nothing in my restaurant
is prepackaged. It’s all made right here
in the restaurant. It’s all healthy but de-
licious,” she said, adding that the sand-
wiches are naturally gluten-free.
Although arepas are the signature
offering at Arepa Mia, the menu also
features empanadas and cachapas, a
grilled corn cake, traditionally made
with cheese that the restaurant also
offers with beans, pork or vegetables.
Sides, including fried plantains and
black beans, are also Venezuelan spe-
Hernandez seeks to bring a bit of
the atmosphere of the South American
country to the restaurant with décor
that includes a Venezuelan flag, art-
work, hats, guitars and maracas.
When she moved to the United
States in 2003, Hernandez decided im-
mediately that she wanted to introduce
the traditional cuisine of her home
country to Americans. After brief
stays in New Orleans and Asheville,
N.C., she moved to Atlanta in 2011
and opened her first Arepa Mia at the
Sweet Auburn Food Market. The res-
taurant on Decatur’s East College Av-
enue opened in September.
“I wanted a Decatur location be-
cause so many of my customers come
from this area,” she explained. “De-
catur has a lot of foodies. People here
love good food and are open to trying
new foods. The customers tell me how
much they like the arepas. They said
they have never had anything like it. ”
Hernandez said she believes there are
few restaurants in the Atlanta area that
offer authentic Venezuelan food.
Hernandez now operates both
restaurants, with the Sweet Auburn
Market location open primarily at
lunchtime and the Decatur store open
evenings. “I plan eventually to extend
the Decatur restaurant’s hours to in-
clude lunch, but I have to take this in
baby steps. I don’t want to do too many
things at one time,” she said, adding
that her neighboring businesses as well
as the overall Decatur business com-
munity have been supportive and help-
The restaurant is her first busi-
ness venture, but Hernandez said her
mother operated a business more than
25 years and her father also was in the
restaurant business. “I learned a lot
from both of them. Still, it’s scary go-
ing into business. There are always so
many unknowns,” she said, adding that
her biggest challenge has been getting
people to try food that’s not familiar to
Hernandez said those who are will-
ing to try arepas aren’t disappointed.
“When I call my mom back home in
Venezuela and tell her that people here
love her arepas she just can’t believe it,”
she said.
Arepas for all
The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
Lis Hernandez says she’s confident that those willing to try arepas will like them.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 PAGE 18A
Champion student: Kristyn Jackson
State Sen. Fran Millar read
to preschoolers when he visited
Kingsley Elementary in Dun-
woody on Oct. 8.
Millar’s visit was part of
Georgia’s Pre-K Week, a 22-year-
old statewide celebration dur-
ing which community and state
leaders read in pre-K classrooms
in all 159 Georgia counties.
The event was hosted by Voic-
es for Georgia’s Children (www. and supported
by Georgia Power, Synovus and
Scholastic Corporation.
“Georgia’s nationally recog-
nized pre-K program supports a
critical developmental milestone
each year for 84,000 4-year-olds,”
said Pat Willis, executive direc-
tor of Voices for Georgia’s Chil-
dren, a child advocacy organiza-
tion. “Our state’s outstanding
pre-K program and other health
and early learning programs
work together to help children
read to learn by third grade.”
Kristyn Jackson, an
eighth-grader at Chapel Hill
Middle School, was the student
representative on the DeKalb
County school board Oct. 8.
“I think this is a good
opportunity for me to see how
it is for the board members;
and to be able to sit up here and
represent my school is amazing,”
said Kristyn, a member of the
school’s Beta Club.
Kristyn’s favorite subject is
science, and she wants to study to
become a marine biologist. She is
also a church volunteer.
During the board meeting,
school superintendent Michael
Thurmond asked her for
suggestions on how the school
district could reduce bullying and
hazing in schools.
“With the PowerPoints and
discipline booklets that we did,
I think we should get a more
engaging way for us to learn
about that, because most of the
time we just laugh it off and don’t
really pay attention to it,” Kristyn
said. “We should get something
more interesting.”
School board delays charter district petition vote
by Andrew Cauthen
he DeKalb County school
board delayed a vote Oct. 8 on
whether to seek to become a
charter school district.
According to state law, each
school district in the state must
notify the state board of education by
June 30, 2015, of its intent to request
“increased flexibility…or decide not
to request increased flexibility in
exchange for increased accountability
and defined consequences,”
said Trenton Arnold, assistant
superintendent for District 3.
School board member John
Coleman made the motion to table
the vote, noting that nearly a dozen
residents asked the board during
the public comments period of the
meeting to delay the vote.
One of those residents was John
Evans, president of the DeKalb
County chapter of the NAACP.
“People just don’t know what’s
going on, don’t understand all of it,”
Evans said. “I’m still concerned about
what you heard from the public
hearings. I don’t recall any board
members being at the public hearings
that I attended.
Evans said the school district
must ask, “How can we handle it in a
way that will make it productive and
public for every child in this county?
We need to say once and for all how
can we straighten this mess out
without concocting a system that’s
going to take advantage of those who
have and leave out those who have
The DeKalb school district has
sent the state board of education a
letter of intent to petition to become
a charter school district. After
holding 10 community engagement
sessions, school administration
officials recommended to the school
board that it ask for a one-year
extension to petition to be a charter
district. That would make the new
deadline November 2016 instead of
November 2015.
“There were many parents and
stakeholders who asked us not to
vote on [the petition],” said school
superintendent Michael Thurmond.
“There are just as many who want us
to vote on it. In a democracy what
you really try to seek as much as
possible is some type of compromise.
“What this plan…will do is
allow those individuals who want
additional input to have that input,”
Thurmond said. “That will give
everyone…ample time to raise those
concerns, to advocate, to come
to board meetings [and] come to
community meetings to be heard.”
As part of the petition, the state
department of education asks school
districts to identify “challenges facing
the district as part of the case for
being awarded charter system status,”
Arnold said.
“While the [state] department of
education uses the term ‘challenges’
to address the case, the [DeKalb]
district sees these identified areas
as opportunities—opportunities to
continue in the direction of better
serving all of our students and
communities,” Arnold said.
The areas of “opportunities” for
DeKalb were identified through
the input of parents, community
members, teachers, principals and
district staff, Arnold said.
The areas the proposed charter
school district would target include
improving academic achievement
among low income students
and those with limited English
proficiency; increasing the high
school graduation rate; better
preparing students for college and
career success; better servicing
academically advanced and gifted
students; and attracting and retaining
high quality teachers and principals.
“They represent an opportunity
to move the district further by
better serving our schools in the
community and by better addressing
the needs of all 100,000 students
through charter system status,”
Arnold said.
The petition will be discussed
during a called meeting later this
Senator reads to preschoolers
Sen. Fran Millar read to children at Kingsley Elementary as part of Geor-
gia’s Pre-K Week. Photos provided
Kristyn Jackson
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 PAGE 19A
Increased participation lowers DeKalb SAT scores
n the DeKalb County School
District, officials blamed a de-
cline in test scores on a jump in
the number of students taking
the test.
The school district’s composite
SAT score for mathematics, critical
reading and writing combined was
1228 for 2014, down 113 points from
the 2013 SAT score.
Forty-five percent more students
took the SAT in 2014, DeKalb offi-
cials said. The increase was the result
of an initiative approved in 2012 to
include all juniors in the test. The
next highest rate of increase in test
taking was Gwinnett County which
experienced an increase of 2 percent.
The “extraordinary increase” in
students taking the SAT test was a
direct result of the previous school
board’s approval of the SAT School
Day Program initiative in December
The school board allocated
$195,000 to pay for the SAT exams
for all juniors. The juniors were able
to access the official online SAT
course and participate in the SAT
during the school day in April 2013.
“The expectations of the previous
administration were to increase the
number of students taking the SAT
and allow more students to gain ac-
cess to college, particularly first-gen-
eration, college-eligible students,” the
school district said in a statement.
“It was publicly acknowledged that
increasing the number of students
taking the test would probably result
in the overall decline in the average
test scores for DeKalb County School
District students.”
According to the school district,
this was a one-year initiative and the
current administration is not aware
of any evaluation that determined if
the strategy was successful.
While DeKalb schools saw a drop
in SAT scores, City Schools of Deca-
tur saw a 55-point increase to 1583,
making it the system with the highest
composite in the state.
“We continue to be excited about
the performance of all students
in Decatur,” said Superintendent
Dr. Phyllis Edwards. “Closing the
achievement gap and encouraging all
students to take rigorous coursework
continues to be a strong focus for
City Schools of Decatur.”
With a 3 percent increase over
2013 in participation, Decatur High
School had a 98 percent participation
rate in 2014.
“We are very proud of the hard
work from our students and teachers
at Decatur High School,” said Prin-
cipal Noel Maloof. “This hard work
is reflected in both our scores and
the increased participation rate on
the SAT. We will continue to educate
our students at this level and main-
tain our commitment to closing the
achievement gap through a rigorous
and supportive program.”
Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic
school names top employee
Second-grade teacher Beverly
Moody, a 29-year employee of Im-
maculate Heart of Mary Catholic
School (IHM), has been named the
school’s employee of the year.
In addition to teaching, Moody
serves on the school’s calendar com-
mittee, social events committee, and
chairs the Veterans Day celebration.
“The genuine sense of family
that permeates our school com-
munity” is her favorite thing about
IHM, said Moody, who, when she’s
not teaching, enjoys cooking and
spending time with her family.
“Having come here many years ago as a parent looking
for a school for my own children where they would be chal-
lenged academically, held to high standards of behavior, be
given the opportunity to grow socially, make close friends,
and to be supported in their faith development, my experi-
ence at IHM has been one of the richest blessing of my life,”
Moody said.
“From my earliest experience in this amazing, loving, car-
ing, faith-filled community to my present experience each
day, many years later, as I continue to interact with students,
parents, co-teachers and administrators, I have been so richly
blessed, and I have developed a love for this community
which is difficult to express in words,” said Moody, who has
taught second grade for the past 25 years. “It has been, and
continues to be, a privilege and pleasure to serve in the pro-
fession of teaching, which I love so dearly, feeling each day a
true sense of ministry about my work–an opportunity which
the IHM School community so richly provides me.”
For the fourth year in a row, Georgia
Perimeter College (GPC) has earned the
Military Friendly School designation from
The label reflects the college’s efforts
to provide educational opportunities to
U.S. veterans, active-duty troops and their
families, according to the website. The
2015 Military Friendly Schools list was re-
leased Sept. 23 and can be found at www.
GPC serves more than 1,100 military-
related students each semester, making it
one of Georgia’s top choices for veterans
and their families, said Mark Eister, GPC’s
military outreach director.
“With its five campuses and online
courses, GPC remains a first choice for
military members, veterans and their
families in Georgia,” Eister said. “Our Mili-
tary Outreach Center provides military
and veteran students with comprehensive
academic and transition assistance, coun-
seling services, tutoring and learning labs
and professional resource support services.
Our goal is to honor our military and vet-
erans for their service and fully assist them
in an effective transition into college or
civilian life.”
Among the programs offered through
GPC’s Military Outreach Center is the
Green Zone military awareness training
for GPC staff and faculty. This program
helps faculty and staff better serve veterans
and their dependents.
“If a veteran sees a Green Zone sticker
on an office door, that means that the fac-
ulty or staff member has been trained to
assist veterans or help point them in the
right direction,” Eister said.
Additionally, the college has a veterans’
mentoring program and staff and faculty
military training workshops. Georgia Pe-
rimeter College also is part of Soldiers2S-
cholars, a University System of Georgia
(USG) program that combines the efforts
of numerous USG military outreach pro-
Other services include tuition dis-
counts and scholarships for military stu-
dents and veterans; military scholarships
for dependents; in-state tuition without
residency requirements for active duty
military students; full-time veteran coun-
selors on staff, and a career placement ad-
visor. Veterans and their dependents also
can enjoy special clubs and associations,
both on campus and online.
For information about GPC’s Military
Outreach Program and its services, call
(678) 891-3025 or go to
While DeKalb schools saw a drop in
SAT scores, City Schools of Decatur
saw a 55-point increase to 1583,
making it the system with the highest
composite in the state.
Georgia Perimeter named
a military friendly school
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 20A
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 21A
St. Pius defeats Marist with field goal
It’s good!
by Carla Parker
he Marist ofense has averaged 33.4 points
per game this season.
However, the St. Pius Golden Lions de-
fense held the high‒scoring ofense to just nine
points. And, it took a 30-yard feld goal for St. Pius
to beat its long‒time rival the Marist War Eagles
10-9 at Marist Oct. 10. Te loss was Marist’s (6-
1) frst of the season, while St. Pius improved its
record to 5-2 and moved to frst place in Region
It was the frst time since 2009 the two rivals
battled each other on the football feld for the “Fish
Bowl.” Marist has dominated the series with a 30-
16-3 record, but St. Pius has won the last three
matchups. St. Pius coach Paul Standard said the
rivalry is great, but the biggest outcome of the game
is the Golden Lions are in frst place in the region.
“Hopefully we can move on and hopefully win
the region championship,” Standard said. “But we
have to take it one game at a time, and that’s the
biggest thing.”
Standard said the story of the night was his
defense. Marist averaged 281.6 rushing yards per
game, but the St. Pius defense held them to 173
yards. Te War Eagles also averaged 392.6 yards
per game, but they were held to 260 yards, while St.
Pius ofense garnered 325 yards.
“Our defense played their tails of against a
team that’s been scoring a million points a game,”
Standard said. “[Marist] has a great team and our
little fellas just played their butts of. Ofensively,
we did enough to at least run some clock and keep
them from having the ball too much and then we
put together a drive and we somehow passed our
way down the feld.”
Down 9-7 with 1:53 lef to play, the St. Pius of-
fense, a run-heavy ofense, threw the ball on a cou-
ple of plays to set up the game winning feld goal.
With 20 seconds lef and the ball on the 15-yard
line, St. Pius kicker Michael Matthews kicked a
30-yarder to give his team a 10-9 lead and the win.
Marist’s nine points were of three feld goals.
Te War Eagles took a 3-0 lead early in the second
quarter afer a 47-yard feld goal by Joey Gogol. St.
Pius had a chance to tie the game before halfime,
but Marist defensive lineman Kenneth Brinson
plowed his way up the middle and blocked the
Golden Lions feld goal attempt.
Neither team scored again until the fourth
quarter, afer Gogol kicked a 26-yard feld goal to
give Marist a 6-0 lead with 11:05 lef to play. St. Pius
took a 7-6 lead with 5:47 lef to play afer quarter-
back Reed Egan connected with Ransom Klinger
in the end zone on an 18-yard pass.
Marist, still unable to fnd the end zone, took a
9-7 lead with 1:53 lef on a Gogol 33-yard feld goal.
St. Pius responded with an eight play, 69-yard drive
to set up the winning feld goal.
St. Pius will try to keep its lead in the region
when it faces another region opponent, Chamblee
(1-5), Oct. 17 at home. Marist will try to get back
on the winning track against regional opponent
Grady Oct. 17.
St. Pius kicker Michael Mathews kicks the game-winning field goal. Photos by Rob Buechner
Marist coach Alan Chadwick (right) congratulates St.
Pius coach Paul Standard at the end of the game.
St. Pius quarterback Reed Egan throws a pass down
Marist quarterback Sam Phelts (16) hands the ball off to fullback Griffin King.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 22A
Clarkston, Dunwoody win consecutive cross country titles
Atlanta Hawks practices at Miller Grove High
by Carla Parker
Clarkston boys and Dunwoody girls are
champions again after winning the 2014 DeKalb
County Cross Country Championship titles at
Druid Hills Middle School Oct. 7.
Clarkston, which won its first title in school
history last year, won its second consecutive
county championship 23-63 over Lakeside.
Clarkston coach Wesley Etienne said it is “very
fulfilling” to win another title.
“We were able to defend something that we
haven’t been able to in a long time and the first
chance that we had to, we did defend it and main-
tain it at Clarkston High School,” he said.
Druid Hills sophomore Ermais Tewolde won
the individual gold medal after finishing first
with a time of 17:12.58. After Tewolde, five of the
next seven runners to cross the line were from
Clarkston, which clinched their second title.
Senior Gidey Sahlu finished second at
17:27.57, winning the silver medal. He was fol-
lowed by freshman Awet Fitwi (17:37.22) and
sophomore Suheib Mohamed (17:39.79). Sopho-
more Bineyam Tumbo (17:47.34) was sixth and
junior Abbas Abbkar (17:55.70) was eighth.
Lakeside senior Tyler Breeden (17:47.53) was
seventh and junior Andrew Kent (17:57.40) fin-
ished 10th to lead Lakeside to a second consecu-
tive second-place finish at the county champion-
Stephenson junior Brandon Hines finished
fifth overall in 17:43.73 for his fastest time of
the season. Druid Hills senior Max Atkinson
(17:57.15) was ninth overall and along with Te-
wolde’s first-place finish helped Druid Hills to
take third overall in the team standings.
The Dunwoody Lady Wildcats had four run-
ners finishing in the top 10, leading Dunwoody
to a 29-41 victory over Lakeside for their third
consecutive county title and fifth in the past six
Before the five titles in six seasons, Dun-
woody had won only one title (1984) since the
start of the girls’ championship in 1976.
Freshman Kelly May Sheehan led Dun-
woody, winning the individual title with a time of
20:39.87. Junior Ansley Heavern (21:03.62) was
third, freshman Samantha Cameron (21:13:21)
was fifth and sophomore Ally Womble (22:19.28)
was ninth to round up the Top 10 finishers for
Dunwoody. Senior Ellie Conoley (22:31.59)
sealed the win by finishing 11th overall.
Lakeside sophomore Corrie Smith (20:54.22)
finished second overall, followed by sophomore
Morgan Mihalis (21:08.64) in fourth and fresh-
man Rachel Grimes (22:14.83) in eighth. Junior
Sarah Breeden (22:58.99) and freshman Eliana
Blam (23:13.02) finished 13th and 14th respec-
Druid Hills senior Paulette Juieng finished
sixth with a time of 21:14.12, which led Druid
Hills to a third-place finish overall with 93 points.
Southwest DeKalb senior Kayla Willis
(22:00.37) was seventh, and Redan junior Tanza-
nie Brown (22:30.62) was 10th to round out the
Top 10.
by Carla Parker
Miller Grove High School stu-
dents got a big surprise when At-
lanta Hawks players ran onto their
gym floor for practice.
The Hawks held a surprise open
practice at Miller Grove Oct. 9 to
help tip-off the 2014-15 season. The
1,600 students thought they were
there for a Spirit Week rally but
were surprised by the team’s appear-
The players ran drills, held a
scrimmage and played games with
some students. Also in attendance
were mascot Harry the Hawk, At-
lanta Hawks legend and Hall-of-
Famer Dominique Wilkins and
radio personality Ryan Cameron,
who is the PA announcer at Hawks
The team was there in part to
honor boys basketball coach Shar-
man White, who has led the Miller
Grove boys’ basketball team to
six consecutive state champion-
ships and was recently named the
USA Today Coach of the Year. The
Hawks presented him with an auto-
graphed ball as well as a check to the
White said he knew a few weeks
before that Miller Grove was one of
the sites that the Hawks were con-
sidering to hold the event.
“We didn’t know until a short
time ago that it was going to be fi-
nalized,” he said. “Once it was final-
ized we got excited. We felt like it
was great for the community, great
for our school, great for the kids in
general and great for the Hawks to
come to the home of the six-time
state champions Miller Grove Wol-
“It means a lot for our kids to be
exposed to something at this level,”
said school principal Matthew
Priester. “Some of the kids don’t
get to go to basketball games but to
have this have this type of exposure
and have the Hawks come out for
this community event we are hon-
ored to have them here.”
The Dunwoody Lady Wildcats won their third con-
secutive county title and fifth in the past six seasons.
The Clarkston Angoras won their second consecutive county
championship. Photos by Mark Brock
The Atlanta Hawks presented Miller Grove boys’ basketball coach Sharman White with an autographed ball as well
as a check to the school. Photos by Carla Parker
Hawks center Al Horford exhales before his free
throw attempt during a surprised scrimmage at Miller
Grove High School.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 23A
Ledbetter receives Under Armour all-American jersey
by Carla Parker
Tucker senior defensive line-
man Jonathan Ledbetter will play
in the 2015 Under Armour All-
America Game in January.
Ledbetter, No. 6
ranked player in Georgia, was
presented with an honorary game
jersey Oct. 8 during the American
Family Insurance Selection Tour
for the game at the Tucker High
School gym in front of his family
and the Tucker student body. Led-
better said it is a great honor to be
selected to play in the game.
“I’m just glad to have the op-
portunity,” he said. “God has
blessed me with the talent and the
ability to be here at this point in
time in my life. I just look to go
forward from here and continue
to excel on the field and also in
the classroom to become a student
athlete on the next level.”
Playing in the Under Armour
game was a dream of Ledbetter’s.
He found out three days before the
presentation that he was getting a
Ledbetter is one of 90 play-
ers selected to compete in the
eighth-annual Under Armour All-
America Game, a nationally tele-
vised competition spotlighting the
country’s top high school seniors.
The game is slated for Jan. 2 at
Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg,
Fla., and will be televised live on
“I’m very proud of him,” said
Tucker coach Bryan Lamar. “He’s
an outstanding player but more
importantly he’s a good young
man and you like to see good stuff
happen to good people.”
Since his junior year, Ledbetter
has been recognized as one of the
top high school defensive players
in the country. Through six games
this season, he has 14 total tackles,
three tackles for a loss, one sack
and one forced fumble. Despite all
the attention he has been receiv-
ing, Ledbetter said he tries to stay
“I try not to let that get to me,”
he said. “I just enjoy playing the
game of football. A high prospect
recruit is just a kid, and you always
have to remember that. You can’t
take the fun out of it, but you do
feel like it’s a big responsibility.
You have a lot on your shoulders
and on your plate, and you feel
you have to prove a lot of things,
but I try to focus on playing the
game of football and enjoying it
and to not let that slip away.”
Ledbetter once committed
to playing college football at Ala-
bama, however he switched his
commitment to Georgia in Au-
gust. He said “a lot of things” went
into his decision.
“I was thinking about it for a
while,” he said. “At one point, I was
ready to flip, but I went back and
wanted to take my time. I wanted
to make sure the time was right. I
talked with my mom, my brother
goes there now and you never
want to turn down an opportunity
to play with your brother in col-
lege. It’s a great school, it’s going to
be a crazy 2015 class, the D-line is
about to be monstrous, and I feel
like we’re going to win a national
championship when we get there.”
At the jersey presentation, his
mother, Teresa Belcher-Ledbet-
ter, received the American Fam-
ily Insurance Dream Champion
“I didn’t expect this today,” she
said. “I’m overwhelmed actually.
Jonathan is a hard worker, he’s a
good student and he is an awe-
some son. So this is the icing on
the cake for him, and I’m really
excited for him.”
Discover your passion.
Attend a GPC Open House.
GPC Open Houses, October 11–28
ChampionAd 9-25.indd 1 9/23/14 2:30 PM
From left, Tucker head football coach Bryan Lamar, school principal James Jackson,
Teresa Belcher-Ledbetter and her son Jonathan.
Tucker defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter was presented with an honorary jersey for
the 2015 Under Armour All-American Game. Photos by Travis Hudgons
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Page 24A
Weekly ad in hand. Coupons in pocket.
BOGO-vision on. It’s time to save.
Pet of the Week
Blake (ID#:
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year old Labrador
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with a happy per-
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cutie! Blake enjoys
being scratched
behind his ears and
going for walks out-
side; he would be a
wonderful walking/running buddy for anyone.
Blake is eager to learn and would love for you
to teach him a few games! This 3 year old boy
is patiently waiting for you at the DeKalb Shel-
ter. He gets along great with other dogs and
might even like to have a canine companion! If
you adopt him during October under the “Fall
in Love” promotion; he is FREE! He will be
neutered, have all vaccines and microchip – a
$200 value – for FREE!
Please call (404) 294-2165 or email
for additional information. To view other
pets available for adoption please visit
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.

Oral Varcciann, Lithonia
(football): The senior athlete
scored two first quarter
touchdowns and kicked a field
goal in the third quarter to lead
Lithonia to a 29-14 win over
Chamblee Oct. 10.

Kelly May, Dunwoody (cross
country): The freshman
won the individual title and
finished first with a time of
20:39.87 to lead Dunwoody
to its fifth consecutive DeKalb
County Cross Country girls’
championship Oct. 7.
Next Level
Each week The Champion spotlights former
high school players from the county who are
succeeding in athletics on the college level.
Dominick Sanders, Georgia (football):
The freshmen defensive back from Tucker
recorded his frst college career interception
in the 34-0 win over Missouri Oct. 11. He
also had one tackle in the game.
Demarco Robinson, Kentucky (football):
The senior wide receiver from Martin Luther
King led the team in receptions with four,
and had 37 yards in the 48-14 win over UL
Monroe Oct. 11.
Ayauna Ellis, Fort Valley State (volleyball):
The freshman middle blocker from
Southwest DeKalb had fve kills, 22 total
attacks, four blocks and fve assisted blocks
in the 3-1 win over Wesleyan College Oct. 8.
Sanders Robinson Ellis