FRIDAY, nov. 21, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 34 • FREE

Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.

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Education............... 18-19A
Sports....................... 22-23A
Opinion............................ 5A

South DeKalb
residents celebrate
traffic light

Complaint filed
against ethics board

Tucker Middle
now STEM

Local, 3A

Local, 9A

Education, 18A


New families created
during adoption event
by Andrew Cauthen
The Hillesheim family of
Lilburn added a new member to
its family Nov. 14.
“We love her so much. She
has us wrapped around her little
finger,” said Summer Hillesheim
about Mya, the baby she and her
husband Brett officially made
a member of their family on
National Adoption Day.
Mya came to the Hillesheims,
who are foster parents, at
midnight one day in November
“It was the fastest placement
we had ever had,” said Summer
Hillesheim. “They weren’t even
sure if she was a boy or a girl.”
“We took her inside. She
was sound asleep. We just put
her in the room and the next
morning when she woke up,
it was instant love,” Summer
Hillesheim said. “[Mya] was the
most precious sweetest thing
ever. She just cuddled on us and
loved on us and we’ve have been
in the process for the past year of
making her ours.
“It’s been amazing,” Summer
Hillesheim said.
For DeKalb County Clerk of
Superior Court Debra DeBerry,
who organized the National
Adoption Day event in DeKalb,
adoptions are “the best thing we do.
“It’s a big contrast to see
happy, laughing children and
families, and balloons, rather
than inmates in orange suits,”
DeBerry said.
“Look the kids. Look at the
families—the happiness and the
joy,” DeBerry said. “You can’t
find that in a lot of places right
now, so who wouldn’t want to do
National Adoption Day?”
The Hillesheims decided
to adopt because “we loved us
preciously and we wanted her
forever,” Summer Hillesheim
said. “She was available for

From left, Barbara Moore looks on as four-month-old Karla is being held by her soon-to-be mother Jennifer Thomas.

From left front, newly-adopted Karla, mother Jennifer, sister Jayla. From
left back, Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams, Karla’s father Brett and
grandparents Barbara and James Moore.

From left, DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry organized the National Adoption Day event which Judge Gregory Adams said
is a “bright spot” of his job. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Larry Hillesheim holds his soon-to-be granddaughter Mya shortly
before she was adopted by her new parents.

See Adoption on page 15A



Amanda Styles and Megan Swett pose with their daughter Addie
Styles. About Addie’s adoption, her biological mother Amanda said, “We
wanted to officially make my wife her other mother.” Photos by Andrew




Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Ex-commissioner seeks end to ethics complaint
by Andrew Cauthen
Former DeKalb County commissioner Elaine
Boyer wants to avoid an ethics board hearing.
Her attorney, Anne Lewis, said Boyer wants
to enter into a consent decree with the DeKalb
County Board of Ethics, admitting that she violated the county’s ethics code.
The consent decree would “removes the
necessity to proceed any further on this” ethics
hearing, Lewis said.
As directed by the ethics board, Boyer submitted a response to the ethics board through her
“Mrs. Boyer admitted her guilt to a charge
of both mail and wire fraud,” Lewis said. “She
admits that conduct violates two of the three sections of the code of ethics. She has cooperated
with government authorities. She has admitted
and continues to admit her guilt.”
Boyer pleaded guilty Sept. 3 in federal court
and struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
In the plea deal, Boyer faces a maximum
prison term of 40 years, but prosecutors agreed
to “recommend that [Boyer] be sentenced at the
low end of the adjusted guideline range”—18-24
Boyer’s charges of mail and wire fraud also
carry a maximum fine of $500,000.
Boyer was accused of conspiring between
September 2009 and November 2011 to defraud
DeKalb County by authorizing 35 payments for

that charge dropped because there aren’t any facts
that exist that would support that complaint.
Lewis said she maintains that the board of
ethics does not have jurisdiction over Boyer since
she resigned.
“But I lost that argument before you last
time,” Lewis said.
Gene Chapman, the ethics board’s attorney,
said that without a consent decree, the ethics
board would have evidence presented it by an investigator.

Attorney Anne Lewis said her client, former county
commissioner Elaine Boyer, wants to avoid an ethics
hearing. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

false invoices “for consulting services that
were never performed,” according to the
charges. She is accused of authorizing more
than $78,000 to an unidentified financial
advisor, who then “funneled approximately
75 percent of the money…into Boyer’s personal bank account.”
Because Boyer resigned in August, the only
recourse the ethics board has is a reprimand,
Lewis said.
One ethics complaint against Boyer accuses
her of bribery. Lewis said her client would like

Elaine Boyer’s ‘admission does away with the
need for the board to
hear evidence.’
-Gene Chapman
“Her admission does away with the need for
the board to hear evidence,” Chapman said.
The ethics board voted unanimously to enter
into a consent decree with Boyer. The former
commissioner must now sign the documents
agreeing to the decree.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Page 3A

South DeKalb residents celebrate traffic light
by Andrew Cauthen
There was a ribbon-cutting
ceremony Nov. 13 in south
DeKalb, but not for a building.
It was for a traffic light.
Interim DeKalb County
CEO Lee May said the ceremony was “a day of celebration
for the small things we do as
county government and state
government working together.”
The traffic light is at an
intersection near 4920 Flat
Shoals Parkway, Decatur, adjacent to the Bank of America.
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson said the
effort to install the traffic light
began a year ago.
“We had a tremendous
amount of concern and calls
to our office about the traffic
being bad here at Flat Shoals,”
Watson said.
“After I saw the fatality report of two people being killed
and the number of accidents,
we had a responsibility to
make sure that our citizens are
safe,” Watsons said.
The equipment for the
traffic light was donated by
the state and installed by the
DeKalb County Police Major E. L. Jones said, “This was
an area where we had a lot of
accidents. This light should be
a great positive for us.”
The signal is the first in
this part of DeKalb County
to have flashing yellow left
turn arrows, which is a new
standard and adds additional
safety for left turning traffic.
The signal was placed in flash
mode a week ago, alerting
drivers and became completely
operational Nov. 13.
Eleanor Richardson, a 20year resident of the commu-

nity, said, “We really did need
this light.
“I’ve been a few compromised situations…trying to
maneuver in and out of here,”
she said. “I am really glad to
see this here. It needed to be
Rep. Pam Stephenson had
an accident at the intersection,
injuring her head and back.
Someone thought they
were in a left turn lane…and
hit me. I went over the median
[and] got hit again.
Stephenson received a concussion from the accident.
“I’m here two years later
still having some of the [effects],” Stephenson said.
“Our community needs
safe crossings,” Stephenson
said. “It’s about anybody who
crosses this street, anybody
who comes down this street.”
Rep. Rahn Mayo called the
traffic light “an important accomplishment that was a collaboration of so many leaders
here—local and state.”
“Our people insisted that
County officials and community leaders gathered Nov. 13 to unveil a new traffic signal on Flat Shoals
we create safer environment
Parkway. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
out here where there’s been so
many accidents,” Mayo said.
May said he remembers
when Kroger, Bank of America
and the plaza were built at the
“We got all excited about
there being new business, but
it also brought a traffic situation. If you’ve ever pulled out
on either side of Flat Shoals,
it’s been a bit dangerous and
you’re putting your life in danger each and every time,” May
“I’ve seen it and experienced it and I’ve seen accidents
here as well,” May said.
“Today marks a safer day
in DeKalb County,” interim
State Rep. Pam Stephenson said she was a
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson led the
CEO May said.
victim of a car accident at the intersection.
effort to install a signal at the intersection.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Page 4A

Fleecing the Pony
After years of litigation
and untold thousands of dollars in legal and court fees,
the city of Brookhaven and
the fairly famous Pink Pony
adult entertainment club
have finally reached a settlement that will allow Pink
Pony to remain open for six
The Pink Pony has been
in the same location for
more than 20 years and is
considered by many to be an
Atlanta institution.
Long before Brookhaven
was incorporated the Pink
Pony was bringing crowds
to Buford Highway and contributing heavily to the financial well-being of the area.
When proposed city

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

limits were drawn for what
would eventually become
the city of Brookhaven,
surely it was known by all involved that those geographic
boundaries included what is

likely one of the largest taxpayers in the area. According
to reports published in The
Champion, is it estimated
that Pink Pony pays in excess
of $400,000 annually in taxes
and permits.
The agreed-upon settlement requires Pink Pony to
pay $225,000 annually to the
city to help fund the public
safety department. This payout will be used to help pay
for training, uniforms, vehicles, salary and benefits of
public safety employees.
The payout in and of itself is simply not a fair and
equitable manner in which
to treat a corporate citizen.
However, to have public
safety employees driving ve-

hicles and wearing uniforms
funded by any individual
business opens the door for
the possibility of preferential
treatment or at the very least
an appearance of impropriety.
Another part of the agreement has the club paying the
city’s legal fees which total
more than $280,000.
All told over a period of
six years, Pink Pony will be
paying in excess of $1.5 million, giving up land and paying an estimated $100,000 for
the maintenance of that land.
This appears to me as a
carefully crafted method of
bilking a corporate citizen
and reeks of discrimination.
A municipality would

rarely craft ordinances
against existing businesses
that contribute so much
revenue and provide jobs to
It shouldn’t matter what
the nature of the business is,
particularly when the business existed harmoniously
with the community for
years before the city or its ordinances existed.
It seems to me that based
on the terms of agreement,
this is a most unconventional
partnership and someone
is being compensated for it.
There’s a less-than-admirable
term for this sort of arrangement.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Why I don’t tweet
“Whoever said that things
have to be useful? Evan Williams, Twitter cofounder and
Here is why I do not
tweet. During my senior
year in college, my then
roommate, who seemingly
could not stand the sound of
silence, showed up one afternoon with a parakeet and
cage to add to the tight space
in this two-man room with
lofts on each side. Graham
was the slightly hyper-active
manager for UGA’s basketball team, and he could not
occupy his thoughts or the
time of day without background noise—the stereo,
TV, idle conversation—and
now, this budgy bird. 
 But that bird and its cage
landed under my loft and
my side of the room, next to
the window and sunshine
during the daylight. However, at night, even with the
full cage shroud, that bird
would never shut up. I now
live across the street from a
freight train line, and that
can be quite loud as well,
but at least the train and its
cargo have a purpose. Noise
without result, such as the
huge boom after some
fireworks, or people who

Bill Crane


scream when they argue as if
that makes their point more
effectively, have never been
of much use to me.
Our old fraternity house
was solid wood and nearing a century old. We had
no central heat or air. I had
located a used window unit,
air conditioner and during
the spring quarter, as we
were on the ‘sunny’ side of
the house, the lofts in rooms
with a 12-foot ceiling could
become hot as an oven. So
I typically left that window
unit on when leaving for
class mid-morning.
After one particularly
hot night, before leaving,
I cranked up the A/C one
more notch, and did not
returning until nearly nightfall that day. When I did, I

almost immediately noticed
the silence, other than the
window unit whirring as I
entered the room. The parakeet was upside down, head
first in its water dish, with
tiny talons frozen in a curled
form and essentially frozen
to death by frost bite from
that window unit.
When my roommate
returned later and surveyed
the crime scene he blurted
out, “You murdered my
bird!”  It would have made
the perfect tweet today.
No proof, fact or substance. Just pure supposition
and emotion and even an
exclamation point. He repeated this for years, before
one day finally admitting
years later that he had in fact
also turned up the A/C just
a bit, after a hot night tossing and turning over in his
loft. Neither of us noticed
the other cranking up the
small unit. Action, without
regard for reaction—again,
perfect for Twitter.
Knowing that I will be
fully bombarded by the millions of twitterphiles, I will
acknowledge that I can see
the benefits for celebrities
daily updating their fans on
their latest movie or new
hairdo. The breaking news

capacity, particularly in
countries where access to
information and media are
tightly controlled, is also
But when Twitter moved
into the world of politics, it
was time for me to draw a
line in the sand. 
When tweets and endorsements by Gov. Sarah
Palin receive more debate
and attention than the ongoing economic impact of
the North American Free
Trade Agreement, which
almost takes the full 140
characters just to spell out,
I became increasingly concerned about the continuing
diminutization of our political discourse.
Some will surely think
that middle-aged resistance
to change is at the root of
my Twitter aversion and
boycott. It’s not. I’m otherwise pretty social media
saavy. I’ve been on Facebook
since 2006, and I occasionally use Instagram and Pinterest. In both of those cases, a
picture is often worth more
than 1,000 words, and certainly 1,000 characters. 
And yes, in this fast food
nation of ours when the
longest a political candidate
is given in a debate to solve

problems plaguing our nation or state might be a twominute reply, Twitter would
seem to fit right in. But
at least in this case, when
words are so very important,
and language, tone and even
the correct use of humor
often so critical, I’m pretty
much entirely convinced
that shorter isn’t better and
less really isn’t more. It’s a
I didn’t kill the bird, but
I wasn’t unhappy to see him
cross over. Graham moved
on to an 80s version of earbuds called the Walkman
with headphones. The room
got some quiet back. And
with all the noise pollution
that this planet daily produces, I could still do with a
bit less tweeting as well.
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 

F ree P ress

Let Us Know What You Think!

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions from its readers.
Please write to us and express your views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain the writer’s name, address and telephone number
for verification. All letters will be considered for publication.
Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 300311347; Send email to • FAX To: (404) 370-3903 Phone:
(404) 373-7779 . Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior
to publication date.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the
right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible
for unsolicited manuscripts.

Publisher: John Hewitt
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Managing Editor: Andrew Cauthen
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Statement from the publisher
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.


Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Sir Dalvin Holloman
Since elementary school
Sir Dalvin Holloman has
repeated the same morning
mantra with his dad.
His dad would ask,
“What do you go to school
for?” He responds, “To get
an education. What do you
want to be when you grow
up? I want to be a leader
not a follower. What do you
have to do? Put it in action.”
“It’s just a way to keep me
focused and keep my goals
in line with my actions,”
Holloman said.
Holloman was born and
raised in Atlanta, approximately two blocks from The
George Washington Carver
Boys & Girls Club.
He attended Whitefoord
Elementary School and
was introduced to the Boys
and Girls Club by a friend
who bought him to Bring A
Friend Day–Holloman said

they had a basketball tournament and “it was my first
time being around so many
young individuals at one
time outside of school.”
Holloman’s parents enrolled him at George Washington Carver Boys & Girls
Club when he was 7. Holloman said he was nervous on

his first day but found safety
and acceptance.
“The genuine kindhearted nature of the staff,
they always had a smile on
their faces and they were so
open to helping you with
anything that you needed
help with. They were very
encouraging [as I was]
growing up.”
Now 17, Holloman is a
senior at Carver Early College High School with a dual
enrollment at Atlanta Metropolitan College, where he
takes college level courses.
He is an honor roll student,
a member of the ROTC, Red
Cross Club and an Ambassador of Goodwill.
“My middle school
didn’t provide me the proper
study skills and I didn’t really have to work hard in
middle school, I was just
able to perform off natural

talent and I got good grades.
But coming into high school
I figured out, I no longer can
perform solely off my talent,
I had to learn how to work
hard, I had to learn how to
study and how to seek help
from those that were willing
to help me,” Holloman said.
Holloman is on track to
graduate from high school
this year. He hopes to attend
Georgia College and State
University and become the
first member of his family
to finish college. With plans
to major in outdoor recreation and computer science,
Holloman wants to help
advance technology, while
also connecting people with
So far this year, Holloman has completed more
than 150 hours of community service. He gives back
at his Club as a mentor to

younger kids. He has been
a driving force in teen-led
initiatives including an
anti-bullying campaign
and MAD IRL (Mobilizing
a Difference in Real Life)
which aims to educate and
provide students with information to make a difference
in their lives and the lives
of others. Holloman also
volunteers as a caregiver to
the elderly at Bethlehem Senior Citizens Center and has
been a youth staff leader at
Camp Kiwanis for the past
two years mentoring younger Children and teaching
them about the outdoors.
Holloman said, “The
club has helped me find
my true identity, accept my
individuality, and set high
standards to achieve success.”

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Andrew Cauthen
at or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 117.

Verizon’s HopeLine contributes $800,000
to combat domestic violence
by Ashley Oglesby

Judge Peggy H. Walker receives HopeLine Hero Award.

Atlanta Mission receives $10,000 donation.

Clark Atlanta University executive director of university relations
receives recognition prevent domestic and dating violence on

In a ceremony held on
Nov. 14 at Verizon Wireless
South headquarters, Verizon
expressed its gratitude to
more than 50 organizations
they’ve partnered with to
promote domestic violence
awareness and prevention efforts.
Verizon announced that it
donated more than $800,000
to domestic violence advocacy organizations across
Georgia this year.
HopeLine, Verizon
Wireless’ phone recycling
program, and the Verizon
Foundation, which invests in
domestic violence agencies
and organizations, provide
education, prevention, care
for victims and empowerment resources.
“Verizon has a longstanding commitment to supporting the many organizations
that help domestic violence
victims across the state. We
are honored to recognize
all of the organizations and
individuals we work with
throughout the year to bring
the issue to light and help
victims live free of violence,”
said Jonathan LeCompte,
president of Verizon Wireless

Georgia/Alabama Region.
Additionally, in honor of
Veteran’s Day, the company
recognized Georgia’s military
organizations that work in
domestic violence prevention.
The event honored Judge
Peggy H. Walker, president
of the National Council of
Juvenile and Family Court
Judges, with the 2014 HopeLine Hero Award for her
work against domestic violence and her support of victim assistance.
To cap the event, Verizon presented a donation of
$10,000 from its HopeLine
fund to the Atlanta Mission
to support the organization’s
Thanksgiving holiday meal.
Atlanta Mission plans to
serve more 17,000 of Atlanta’s
homeless the week of Nov. 24.
Since the launch of the
HopeLine phone-recycling
program in 2001, Verizon has
collected more than 10.8 million phones, given more than
$21.4 million in cash grants
and distributed more than
180,000 phones for use by domestic violence survivors.
In conjunction with the
event, the DeKalb County
Solicitor General’s Office collected more than 200 used
cell phones for HopeLine.
“We collect used cell

phones for HopeLine because
we want to help domestic
violence survivors in any way
that we can. Domestic violence is far too common, and
we want to stop it at the misdemeanor level before it gets
even worse,” said SolicitorGeneral Sherry Boston.
“The Georgia Domestic
Violence Fatality Review
found that in 86 percent
of the homicides involving
women, the perpetrator had a
history of domestic violence
against the woman. That
means these murders could
have been prevented if the
victims had been able to get
help,” Boston said.
Boston oversees the prosecution of approximately
13,000 misdemeanor cases
in DeKalb County each year
including more than 3,500
cases of domestic violence.
She created a Special Victims
Unit (SVU) to investigate and
prosecute sensitive crimes
including domestic violence
and stalking.
In October, the solicitorgeneral received the DeBorah
McDorman Flame Award for
her work in fighting against
For additional information visit Verizonwireless.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014




EarthCraft Community of the Year
Allen Wilson Community, the Decatur Housing
Authority’s $28.3 million redevelopment of the former Allen Wilson Terrace Public Housing project
in Decatur, has been named 2014 EarthCraft Community of the Year by Southface and the Greater
Atlanta Home Builders Association (GAHBA).
The award was presented to Doug Faust, executive director of the Decatur Housing Authority
(DHA), by David Ellis, executive vice president
of GAHBA, and Scott Lee, director of residential
green building services at Southface, at the recent
EarthCraft Celebration of Excellence.
The three-phase redevelopment at 1450 Commerce Drive in the heart of Decatur, includes 191
units of high-quality, environmentally friendly
housing for low-income families and seniors, along
with onsite amenities such as an equipped playground, a community garden, laundry facility and
half-mile landscaped walking trail.
“The Decatur Housing Authority and our
Board of Commissioners are honored to receive
this recognition for our efforts to develop quality affordable housing along with our partners,
especially the City of Decatur,” Faust said. “We
developed this community to meet the current and
future needs of our residents while responding positively to the surrounding neighborhood. The community’s energy efficiency achieved through DHA’s
commitment to meet or exceed the EarthCraft
Multifamily and Communities standards will improve the quality of lives of our residents for years
to come through energy cost savings and reduced
environmental impact.”

Dearborn Park supporters to meet
Midway Woods Neighborhood Association and
Friends of Dearborn Park will meet to discuss how
to improve the park.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec.
3, 7:30 to 9 p.m., at Columbia Presbyterian Church,
711 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur.
For more information, contact Rick Baggentoss, the group’s environmental chairman, at To
see some of the ideas that will be discussed, visit the
Midway Woods Neighborhood Association’s website at

Page 7A

“To some, a $1,000 grant may seem small, but we
know each of these great groups will be able to
make a huge difference with this. And collectively
this will have a major impact in our community.”
With the program in its sixth year, giving across
Georgia will exceed $1.5 million this fall. All the
groups were selected by frontline team members in
bank offices in the Atlanta area for the work they
Village to host Christmas parade are doing locally.
“We are doing our best to be a great local bank,
this is a cornerstone of our local giving and volStone Mountain Village will hold its annual
” said Robert Dobbs, business banking
Christmas parade and fireworks event Nov. 28 from
4‒8 p.m. The event will include children activities,
The following DeKalb groups received $1,000
marshmallow roasting, hot chocolate and fireworks.
Be the Match Foundation, Busineighbor
All restaurants, shops and art galleries will be open
for Pan Asian Community Services
for shopping. For more information, visit City of
Healthcare of Atlanta, Chris Kids,
Stone Mountain Downtown Development AuthorCommunity
Charities, DDD Foundation,
ity’s Facebook page.
Decatur Arts Alliance, DeKalb Initiative for Children & Families, Friends of Refugees, George West
Woman’s Club to host Christmas Mental Health Foundation/Skyland Trail, International Rescue Committee, Jerusalem House, KIDDS
Home Tour
Dance Project, Our House, Poverty is Real, Society
of St. Vincent de Paul, Speak Life Worldwide, The
Homes for the Holidays, the annual Christmas
Empty Stocking Fund, Women’s Resource Center,
Home Tour of the GFWC Stone Mountain Woman’s Young People Matter, and Youth V.I.B.E.
Club, will be held Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets for the event includes lunch from 11 a.m. to
2 p.m. at the Stone Mountain First United Methodist Church Family Life Center, located at 5312 West
Mountain Street. The church sanctuary will also
be open the day of the tour for anyone who wishes
to visit. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from Acuity Brands expands in DeKalb
any member of the Stone Mountain Woman’s Club
or at ART Station or the Old Post Office Emporium
in Stone Mountain. The day of the tour, tickets will
Acuity Brands Inc. and DeKalb County, one
also be available in the church’s Family Life Center
of Georgia’s Innovation Crescent’s 15-member
or any home on the Tour. For more information,
counties, announced a corporate relocation which
contact Elizabeth Wells at dandewells@bellsouth.
will represent a more than $16 million investment
net, (770) 822-9947 or (404) 630-9925.
and 700 new jobs for DeKalb and Rockdale counties. Acuity Brands is one of the world’s leading
providers of lighting solutions, and its expansion is
further evidence of the region’s appeal as a global
destination for industry.
“Acuity Brands’ decision to establish their engineering
and technology center in south DeKalb afGroup in need of donations
firms our efforts to target innovative, high-growth
companies and speaks to our attractive economic
Blessings On Wheels will help the Chapter
development ecosystem that includes a desirable
of Women in NAACP (WIN) in raising funds to
quality of place, highly-skilled workers and a busipurchase turkeys for needy families in the South
ness-friendly environment,” said Ernest Gilchrist,
DeKalb area. The goal is to purchase 500 turkeys.
director of business development and recruitment
Turkeys are $15 each and will be distributed at
for the Development Authority of DeKalb County,
South DeKalb Mall on Nov. 22. To make a donaand Innovation Crescent board member and secretion, visit, or
contact Keischa Robinson at keischa4383@gmail.
DeKalb will receive 250 engineers at Acuity’s
com or (404) 820-6341 to make arrangements.
Decatur location. 
“Acuity Brands wants to create a ‘Google-esque’
Twenty-two DeKalb groups
state-of-the-art research and technology center in
an area where ideas and creativity flourish, and
honored with $1,000 grants
that’s exactly what happens here in DeKalb County
and Georgia’s Innovation Crescent,” Gilchrist said.
Twenty-two DeKalb County nonprofits were
Acuity Brands will expand into the Panola Inhonored in October by Wells Fargo team members dustrial Park area. The company employs approxiwith $1,000 Days of Giving donations.
mately 7,000 associates worldwide with fiscal 2014
Wells Fargo also announced that its Atlantasales of $2.4 billion. The DeKalb County location,
area employees gave or pledged $1.8 million this
a former production facility for Acuity Brands’ Lifall in the United Way and Community Support
thonia Lighting emergency lighting products, will
campaign–24 percent more than last year.
function primarily as a research and product develIn all, 240 groups are receiving $1,000 checks at opment facility.
a series of community breakfasts across Atlanta.
Wells Fargo Area President Scott Asher said,





Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

SWD Class of 1993 alumni
launches Holiday Give
Back Initiative

Lithonia Police Chief Roosevelt Smith is sworn in by Judge Curtis Miller.

Lithonia promotes new city
administrator and police chief
by Carla Parker
Lithonia has appointed former police
chief Eddie J. Moody, to serve as city administrator and Captain Roosevelt Smith
will serve as its new chief of police.
The city administration position was
left vacant after Phil Howland accepted the
newly created permitting concierge coordinator position in Avondale Estates. Lithonia
mayor and city council decided to make the
appointments from within staff in “recognition of the commitment that had been demonstrated over the past two years to improve
the quality of services within the city.”
Moody served as police chief since December 2012. He came out of retirement
from the DeKalb County Police Department
to return to Lithonia, his hometown. After
spending more than 30 years in law enforcement, Moody said he is excited about the
challenge of being the city administrator.
“The transition has been pretty good,
other than the fact that I’m faced with a
number of things immediately, but that’s a
good challenge,” Moody said. “This is home
and my heart is here. It’s a good opportunity
for a young man like myself that as a kid,
who ran up and down these streets, to be
able to try to make some difference. I’m excited about it and I think it’s going to work
out fine.”
Moody said there are many similarities
between the police chief and city administrator positions.
“It’s the head of an agency, you are faced
with a situation on a daily basis, and it’s really just a matter of problem solving,” he said.
“They kind of go hand‒and‒hand. On the
law enforcement side, you want a good, safe
and peaceful community. On this side of the
fence, you want to create that community, so

those that I manage—the police department
and others—can keep us safe.”
Moody said his focus now is to close out
the year and try to put the city on a good
projection for 2015.
“I’m looking at the city’s structure internally to see how to maximize our strengths
and weaknesses so that we can capture
those talents and abilities so that we can get
off to a good start next year,” he said. “I’m
also looking at the visions and goals of the
mayor and the council to help raise the level
[of awareness] so people can see that there is
some action.”
Moody recommended that Smith take
over as police chief. Smith has 27 years of
experience in law enforcement. He graduated from the Clayton County Regional Police
Academy in 1987, and rose from a patrol
officer to become a deputy chief at Morris
Brown College in 2010. Smith joined the Lithonia Police Department in 2013.
Smith said transitioning to police chief
has been a challenge.
“But we’re going to be up for it,” he said.
“For the remainder of this year we’re just
going to steady the ship. There is really no
need to make many changes. Everything is
going in the right direction and we’re just
going to continue to try to stay the course.”
Smith said he has new ideas and plans
he would like to put in place, but will not
focus on that until 2015.
“But it will still be more of the same, just
a little twist on it as far as community policing and making sure we’re all engaged in the
process of public safety,” Smith said.
Mayor Deborah A. Jackson said she and
the city council are confident that Moody
and Smith will work well together.
“We will continue to see a new and improved Lithonia develop under this administration,” she said.

What began as an opportunity to fellowship
as a graduating class after 20 years has developed
into something more meaningful for the Southwest
DeKalb High School Class of 1993. The alumni group
is launching an ongoing community service project
that will become an annual tradition: The Holiday
Give Back Initiative.
The class held its 20-year high school reunion
in the summer of 2013, which included a number of
social activities. However, the highlight of the celebration was the group’s collective effort to award a
deserving SWD senior with a $500 scholarship. The
alumni vowed to continue this wave of generosity by
giving back on a regular basis.
This holiday season, the Class of 1993 alumni will
come together for the purpose of feeding the hungry
within the Southwest DeKalb High School community and the greater Atlanta area. The group has set
a goal of distributing 200 brown bag meals on Nov.
24 beginning at 6:30 p.m. A mobile grooming shop
will be provided by Nesto’s Grooming Parlor to offer
free grooming services and will feature barbers from
Kings of Atlanta and Edgetown Barber Shop. Products from the Basic Hair Care System will be featured.
To ensure that the service project is a success,
the group is soliciting community support by way of
monetary donations, goods and services. All donations are welcome and are tax deductible.
Donations will be accepted until Nov. 21 at 9 p.m.
and can be left at Create A Canvas, 8200 Mall Parkway B-150, Lithonia near The Mall at Stonecrest.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Complaint filed
against ethics
board chairman
by Andrew Cauthen
The chairman of
DeKalb County’s ethics
board is now himself the
subject of an ethics complaint.
Robert Lundsten, exaide of former county commissioner Elaine Boyer, has
filed the complaint against
ethics board member John
The complaint arises
from interviews Ernst gave
with a TV news reporter.
In an Oct. 14 interview,
Ernst said that a person
leaving a government position during an ethics investigation is “as good as our
removing him.”
“Sometimes when
there’s termites in the building, the homeowner doesn’t
care how they get out. If
they leave, they leave,” Ernst
It’s those comments that
Lundsten is at odds with.
The interview “clearly
crossed the line of impartiality in my case and questions his ability to chair or
participate in any ongoing
or future ethics hearing,”
Lundsten said at the Nov.
13 ethics board meeting.
“The basis for fairness
and justice in our society is
a legal system that reviews
and hears cases with impartiality,” Lundsten said. “The
same standard must apply
to the board of ethics in
DeKalb County.”
Lundsten faces an ethics
complaint that he and Boyer had a pattern of abusing
their county purchasing
cards, called P-cards, for
personal purchases. The
case has not been heard by
the ethics board.
Ernst violated the code
of ethics and the ethics
board rules and procedures
and “should be removed
from that position and the
board before he hears any
other case,” Lunsten said.
“If he were a judge in
a criminal case he would
have no choice but to step
down after granting such an
interview,” Lundsten said.
Lundsten is asking for a
full investigation of Ernst’s
comments and discussions

with any media outlet regarding any ethics cases.
“I would seek not his
recusal, but his removal,”
Lundsten said.
“Not only is it a violation not to be impartial,
it’s a violation to give the
impression of not being impartial,” Lundsten said.
Lundsten quoted the
county’s ethics codes, which
states, “No member of the
governing authority shall
by his conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can
improperly influence him
or unduly enjoy his favor in
the performance of his official acts or actions or that
he is affected unduly by the
rank or position of or kinship or association with any
Ernst comments were
“a prejudging of the case
by any standard,” Lundsten
After the interview,
Lundsten said he received
phone calls from city councilmembers in Doraville,
Brookhaven and Dunwoody who all said “the
behavior of Mr. Ernst had
crossed the line by giving
that interview before a case
had even been heard by this
Ernst’s comments and
interviews “defame my
character or slander me”
and put into question the
actions of the entire ethics
board, Lundsten said.
The board’s decisions on ethics cases are
“lifechanging decisions that
this board has the unique
ability to make that will affect people’s lives. This is
not a game,” Lundsten said.
Ethics board member
Bobbie Sanford said, “I was
deeply concerned myself.
I saw the…newscast and I
was quite stunned.
“I think we’ve got to
be very careful when we’re
dealing with people lives,”
Sanford said. “I see our role
is to preserve ethics, to restore ethics, not necessarily
to take somebody out.”
The ethics board voted
to accept jurisdiction of
the case and investigate the


Page 9A

Notice of Public Hearings: December 1, 2, & 4, 2014
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
will hold public hearings for the purpose of considering

Proposed Bus Service Modifications for March 21, 2015
Proposed routing and/or adjustments for the following bus routes:
Route 1 - Centennial Olympic Park/Coronet Way: This
route is proposed to terminate at North Avenue Station. The segments along Luckie Street (between Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. and Pine
Street), Centennial Olympic Park Drive (between North Avenue &
Pine Street and Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. & Marietta Street), Ivan Allen Jr.
Blvd. (between Centennial Olympic Park Drive & Spring Street), Spring
Street, Marietta Street, Forsyth Street, Alabama Street, Peachtree
Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive will be discontinued. The route
will be renamed Route 1 – North Avenue/Coronet Way.

Route 74 – Flat Shoals: This route is proposed to be extended
to terminate on Rainbow Way and Candler Road via Ember Drive. The
route will operate alternating service (every other trip) via Flat Shoals
Road and Whites Mill Road to the new terminus location. Additionally,
this route is proposed to terminate at King Memorial Station. The segments along Lloyd Road, Cavalier Drive, Jamestown Way, Williamsburg
Drive, Williamsburg Way, Memorial Drive, Capitol Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Broad Street, Alabama Street, Peachtree Street, and
Mitchell Street will be discontinued.

Route 15 – South DeKalb/Candler Road: The trips that
currently terminate at GA Perimeter College will be extended along
Panthersville Road past River Road to Left - Bouldercrest Road, Right
- Forest Parkway, Right - Grant Road, Right - Anvil Block Road which
will be the new terminus. The Route 15 extension will be renamed
Route 15 - Candler Road/South DeKalb/Forest Parkway. Service along River Road, Linecrest Road, and Clevemont Road
remains unchanged.

Route 84 – East Point/Camp Creek: This route will operate a
short turn alignment between East Point Station and Camp Creek Market Place on weekdays until approximately 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays
until approximately 9:00 p.m. The short turn alignment will provide
service to the Social Security Administration Office on weekdays instead
of Route 82 - Camp Creek/Welcome. The service frequency will be
reduced to the Camp Creek Parkway (between Princeton Lakes Pkwy.
& Old Fairburn Rd.), Old Fairburn Road, Fairburn Road, N. Camp Creek
Pkwy, and Hogan Road segments during this time. Sunday service remains unchanged with all trips operating from East Point Station to N.
Camp Creek Parkway.

Route 16 – Noble: This route is proposed to terminate at Civic
Center Station. The segments along Courtland Street, Peachtree Center
Avenue, Auburn Avenue, Peachtree Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive,
Broad Street, and Alabama Street will be discontinued.
Route 55 – Jonesboro Road/Hutchens Road: This route
will be extended from Conley Road and Jonesboro Road south along
Jonesboro Road to Forest Parkway turnaround in Clayton County. The
segment along Jonesboro Road between Hutchens Road and Conley
Road will be discontinued. The segment along Hutchens Road, Forrest
Park Road, and Conley Road will be provided bi-directional service. This
route will be renamed Route 55 – Jonesboro Road/Hutchens
Road/Forest Parkway.

Monday Dec. 1

Route 196 – College Park/Church/Upper Riverdale/
Mt. Zion: This new route will originate from College Park Station
South Bus Bay, Interstate 85 South to Interstate 285 East, Riverdale
Road Exit, then Riverdale Road, Garden Walk Blvd., Highway 85 (SR
85), Main Street (S.R. 139), Church Street, Highway 85 (S.R. 85),
Lamar Hutcheson Pkwy. to GRTA Park/Ride, continue Lamar Hutcheson
Pkwy., Upper Riverdale Rd, Tara Blvd., Mt. Zion Rd. to Southlake Mall
Mobility: Implement complementary ADA service for the above new
and extended routes to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990.

Tuesday Dec. 2

Thursday Dec. 4

3717 College Street,
College Park, 30337

1300 Commerce Drive
Decatur, 30030

112 Smith Street
Jonesboro, 30236

College Park
Public Safety Complex

Maloof Auditorium

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

Staff available to discuss MARTA initiatives.

Clayton County
Board Room

7:00 p.m.

Staff available to discuss MARTA initiatives.
Riding MARTA: Bus Routes 72 & 78
from College Park Station.

68 Mitchell Street, Suite 3100

City of Atlanta
Old Council Chambers Auditorium

7:00 p.m.

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Walk one block west
of Decatur Station.

2424 Piedmont Road NE
Atlanta, 30324

MARTA Headquarters

7:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

Staff available to discuss MARTA initiatives.

Staff available to discuss MARTA initiatives.

Riding MARTA: Bus Routes 32, 49, 55,
and 74 from Five Points Station.

Riding MARTA: Across the street from north end
of the Lindbergh Center Rail Station.

Copies of the proposed bus service modifications will also be available at MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, Mon-Fri 8:30
a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For formats (FREE of charge) in accordance with the ADA and
Limited English Proficiency regulations contact (404) 848-4037. For
those patrons requiring further accommodations, information can be
obtained by calling the Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 404
In addition, a sign language interpreter will be available at all hearings. If you cannot attend the hearings and
want to provide comments you may: (1) leave a message at
(404) 848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30324-3330;
(3) complete an online Comment Card at;

7:00 p.m.

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.
Staff available to discuss
MARTA initiatives.

for Clayton County
public hearing only,
please contact MARTA
External Affairs at

(4) or fax your comments no later than December 12, 2014 to (404)
All citizens of the City of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton,
DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are affected by the
subjects to be considered at these hearings are hereby notified and
invited to appear at said times and places and present such evidence,
comment or objection as their interests require.
Keith T. Parker, AICP General Manager/CEO


Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

DeKalb Early College Academy and Elizabeth Andrews High School received a $1,000 for winning second place in the recycling competition.

Schools collect 104,000 pounds of recyclables
by Andrew Cauthen
A student recycling
competition sponsored by
a new partnership among
the DeKalb County government, the school district
and Keep DeKalb Beautiful
has kept 104,000 pounds of
trash out of the landfill.
“We created this competition to encourage everyone, young and old, to recycle [by] educating you on
the importance of recycling
and how you can benefit our
environment here in DeKalb
Count,” said interim DeKalb
County CEO Lee May.
The countywide initiative was celebrated during a
Nov. 12 ceremony.
Of the 17 DeKalb County School District schools
that competed, the top five
schools were recognized
with “some large checks…
to some very engaged
young people,” said Gordon
Burkette, director of Keep
DeKalb Beautiful.
The top school was
Livsey Elementary School,
which collected 22 pounds.
of trash per student. The
school received a $2,000
award. Other top schools
and their awards included
DeKalb Early College Academy and Elizabeth Andrews
High School, second place,
$1,000; Arabia Mountain
High School, third place,
$800; Clarkston High
School, fourth place, $700;
and Cedar Grove High
School, fifth place, $600.
“We really want to encourage all of DeKalb County to participate in having
a sustainable county,” May

“One of the things we
really don’t pay a lot attention to is how we dispose of
our garbage,” May said. “Our
first desire is for everyone to
at least put their garbage…
in the trash can.
“I hope you understand
the importance of not littering, of not throwing your
waste out on the street and
on the ground,” May said.
“A close second priority is making sure that we…
promote recycling,” he said.
“Recycling is important because here in DeKalb County we have what is called
a landfill. Y’all call it the
dump. As you collect your
trash,…it goes to the dump;
you don’t think much of it.”
May told the students
that the “landfill has a life
expiration date just like all
of us. At some point we
won’t be here. At some point
our landfill won’t be able to
accept any more garbage.”
Then, May said, the
county will have to find another location for a landfill.
“Those landfills have
heavy impacts on our communities,” May said. “They
emit methane gas that is
harmful to our health and
we want to make sure we
can breathe adequately.”
Starting in January, the
program will be rolled out
to all schools in the district,
Burkette said. “That’s 10,000
Michelle Wiseman a
procurement representative
for Pratt Industries, said,
“Recycling is something everybody can do—from the
smallest child to the oldest

Clarkston High School was a fourth-place winner in the recycling competition award.

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May announces a
winner of school recycling award.

DeKalb school superintendent Michael Thurmond
announces a school winner.

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May and DeKalb school superintendent Michael Thurmond cut a cake
commemorating the recycling competition. Photos by Andrew Cauthen


The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Page 11A

Stakeholders re-imagine Decatur schools
by Ashley Oglesby
Enrollment at Decatur
High School (DHS) drives
the need for a new school.
The annexation drives
where the existing foundation can be expanded.
“City Schools of Decatur will be one of the top 10
community school districts
in the nation.”
Plans devised by Winter
Construction and Cooper
Carry design firm call for
eventually adding 124 instructional units (to the
existing 53). The school will
be able to serve 2,409 students.
City Schools of Decatur
(CSD) is in the process of
developing a master plan to
accommodate its growing
student population within
the confines of its existing
The first phase of planning began in the 20112012 school year with the
formation of an enrollment
committee made up of parents, subject matter experts
and staff members.
At the beginning of
the 2012-2013 school year,
principals and instructional
personnel began developing instructional program
and space needs, taking into
consideration requirements
from the Georgia Depart-

ment of Education.
On Nov. 3, DHS held
a community forum along
with representatives from
Winter Construction and
Cooper Carry to present
master plan construction
Winter Construction
and Cooper Carry previously held meetings for
students and staff to gather
feedback for renovation
Principal Noel Maloof
said, “The students have
actually given some of the
best feedback to the project and to the plans and it’s
very congruent to what our
thinking is as a staff here
in the building. The teachers and the kids are the end
users and we want to make
sure that’s something that
they’re positive about.”
School Leadership Team
and Parent Teacher Association were presented with
four options for the DHS
campus with all four keeping the “spaceship” front
that dates back to 1964.
Attendees reviewed
plans for a collegiate courtyard, quad, collegiate campus and corner campus.
Projected costs range
from $55.1 million to $61
Maloof said, “In all of
the options that have been
presented to us I think

there have been some great
conversations that have
been very parallel from
parents, students and our
teachers. Everybody wants
something that’s going to
provide us with good learning spaces, make sure we
have the adequate room and
also provides us something
economical, we all have
some responsibility in bearing that economic piece as
community members.”
According to Maloof,
the collegiate campus and
quad plan are the most
He said, “Safety and security concerns are always
at the forefront of those
conversations but I think
that each of the plans addresses it very well.”
According an option
comparison chart created
between Winter Construction and Cooper Carry, the
collegiate campus plan is
the lowest cost option for
the expansion of the campus. The $55.1 million plan
would make the media center and cafeteria central to
the campus, install windows
in all the classrooms and
align all academic building to be contiguous with
existing academic building,
creating continuous interior
Phase 1 for this option
may require other existing

elements of the building
to meet current codes and
DOE requirements.
The quad option is the
most expensive of the plans.
The $61 million renovation
would create new green
space between academic
buildings and field, as well
as maximizing the schools’
parking capacity.
According to the enrollment report and annexation
feasibility study, designed
by the Superintendent Dr.
Phyllis Edwards, Chair
Bernadette Seals, Vice
Chair C. Garrett Goebel,
and board members Julie Rhame, Annie Caiola
and Lewis Jones, the CSD

enrollment for 2018 is expected to be 5,508. Board
member said, Current enrollment for the K-12 system is 4,336.
These projections did
not include any new developments with the city or
possible annexation.
The city has studied
the enrollment projections
since 2003. The first study
was a 10-year projection,
taking into account the loss
of students that took place
prior to 2003.
The projected enrollment for 2013 was expected
to be 2,038. Actual enrollment for CSD was more
than 3,000.



Souper Jenny
Boogaloos Boutique

DeKalb County’s Department of Watershed
Management Reminds You of the Best
Practices for Proper Disposal of FOG

Farm Burger
Razz Dazz Girls

What are Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)?
FOG is composed of the animal and vegetable fats and oils that are used to cook and prepare food.

Where does FOG come from?
Baking goods

Food scraps

Dairy products

Butter and margarine


Meat fat


Cooking oil


What happens when FOG is not properly disposed of?
FOG should be properly disposed of or recycled. It enters the plumbing system through home
garbage disposals, kitchen sinks and toilets, coats the interior of pipes, and empties into the
County’s sewer system. Excessive accumulation of FOG in the sewer system will result in sanitary
for the County and its citizens, and can result in increased costs for water and sewer services.

Here are three simple practices to help keep FOG out of our pipes and sewers:

POUR cooled fats, oils or grease into a sealable container and throw it in the trash. Do not pour
down the sink or toilet.


SCRAPE plates and cookware before washing. Do not throw scraps of any kind down the sink.
Instead, place them in waste containers or garbage bags.


WIPE excess grease from all plates, pots, pans, utensils and surfaces with a paper towel before
washing. Throw the greasy paper towels away.

Remember, you can make a difference!
Visit the DeKalb County
Department of Watershed
Management’s FOG
Program Online! 
Stone Mountain, GA 30083 (770) 621-7200

get gifty!
Do your holiday shopping
and dining here. Find special
deals on Terrific Thursdays
– Dec. 4, 11, and 18 – with
festivities and local cheer all
through the season.

Decatur-champion-nov20-2014.indd 1

Sh op Small Bus in es
s Sa
an d Su nd ay, N ov. 29 tu rd ay
and 30 !

11/17/14 3:56 PM

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Southwest DeKalb High School’s drumline entertained attendees Nov.
12 at “DeKalb Makes Recycling Simple,” an event celebrating DeKalb
County School District’s recycling competition. In addition to the school
district the event was sponsored by the DeKalb County government
and Keep DeKalb Beautiful. See story on page 10A. Photos by Andrew

local news

Page 12A

The City of Brookhaven will hold a public hearing on the proposed FY2015 Budget during the 
regular scheduled City Council meeting on December 2, 2014.  Another public hearing will be 
held during the regular scheduled City Council meeting on December 16, 2014.  All meetings 
will begin at 7:00 p.m.  Following the public hearing on December 16, 2014, the City Council 
will vote to adopt the FY2015 Budget.   


Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace,
the celebration of work and the simple life...
a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of
the turn of the seasons,
the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe
product of the year
—and the deep, deep connection of all
these things with God.
~Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)

Happy Thanksgiving from our staff to
you and yours.


The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Week in pictures

Page 13A


Lithonia launched its farmers’ market and recycling program Nov. 15 in celebration of National Recycling Day.
The event included local farmers and specialty vendors. The farmers’ market will return in March. Photos by
Carla Parker

Photos brought to you by DCTV

Searching for Our Sons and Daughters:
Finding DeKalb County’s Missing

Stories of our missing residents offer profound
insights and hope for a positive reunion.
Now showing on DCTV!

For a programming guide, visit

DCTV – Your Emmy® Award-winning news source of DeKalb County news. Available on Comcast Cable Channel 23.


Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Director Mary Root to continue DeKalb
Choral Guild’s storied journey
by Kathy Mitchell
William Baker was 19
years old when he founded
the DeKalb Choral Guild in
1978, but as director he was
able to attract talented and
dedicated performers, who
over the years have participated in many community
festivals and events.
The guild, which rehearses at First Baptist
Church of Avondale Estates, has performed at the
DeKalb International Choral Festival and the Emory
Festival of Choirs. For several years, it has sponsored
a biennial festival of faith
and the guild’s Chamber
Singers have performed
at the Egleston Festival of
Trees and Christmas at Callanwolde dressed in Renaissance period costume.
Mary Root, the current
director, began her relationship with the guild when
Baker hired her as a professional soloist. When Baker
resigned, she applied for the
position of music director
and conductor, a position
she held from 1992 until
Root left for a full-time
music directorship at an
Atlanta church then left the
Atlanta area for a while.
Soon after she returned
earlier this year, Director
Donald Milton III resigned
to accept another position
and the guild invited Root
to come back.
“They are a wonderful,
dedicated community of
singers, and it was an honor
to be asked back,” Root
said. “The seven years away
were not just away from
Atlanta, I also was almost
entirely away from music
for those seven years, and
so this has been a return to
a profession I love with a
chorus that I love.”  
Root said the “ineffable
nature of music” appeals to
her soul, adding that she is
drawn especially to choral
music because it “is an extraordinary microcosm of
our best selves—unique,
diverse human voices that
join together toward a
unified and singular creation.  And when beautiful
music is wed to extraordinary texts, I find myself
The DeKalb Choral Guild is made up of
amateur musicians, but
Root said that should not

suggest that their work is
less than top notch. “The
word amateur can take on
negative connotations, but
the real meaning of ‘amateur’ comes from the word
‘love.’ Rehearsals and performances with this group
are suffused with a true love
of the music and the choral
art form.  Artistically, I love
the wide range of repertoire
that is possible with this
Membership in the
DeKalb Choral Guild is by
audition, but, Root said, “I
have changed my attitude
toward auditions over the
years, and I like to call the
audition process the kinder,
gentler audition that is
much like a first date. Leanne Herrmann, our accompanist, and I work hard
to set folks at ease so that
we can get a real sense of
the voice and how it might
contribute to our chorus.”  
Her vision for the organization, Root said, is for
“each singer to find a challenging and satisfying outlet
in the group. I want them
to experience the amazingly
intimate relationships that
come to us when we offer
up our talents to the community of singers and listeners. I want DeKalb Choral Guild to continue this
admirable 37-year tenure
of fine choral music, and I
want very much for them to
continue to boldly explore
what it means to be a community of musicians who
want to present relevant
music to our greater community.”
The biggest challenge,
Root said, is budget. “I
hate having our creativity subjugated to money,
but that’s the way it is, so
I look at the challenges of
programming on a limited
budget as just that—a challenge. Some very worthy
repertoire is off the table
because of the cost of presenting it—mostly the
costs related to hiring professional instrumentalists to
Root said one of her
fondest memories from
the 1990s is of conducting
performances of Avodath
Hakkodesh by Ernst Bloch,
a work for the Jewish Sacred
Service that had not been
performed in the Atlanta
area in many years. “While
we could not hire the orchestra for the piece, we

were able to use some wellchosen instrumental forces
to create a remarkable performance of this extraordinary work.
“I have had the privilege to work with some
wonderful composers here
in Atlanta to present their
works—notably, N. Grant
Pfeifer, John Noel Wheeler
and Mark Gresham. Pfeifer
and Wheeler are both singing with the DeKalb Choral
Guild this season.  

Mary Root prepares to lead the DeKalb Choral Guild in a rehearsal at
First Baptist Church of Avondale Estates.

Be Part of a Growing Dynamic Community

The Clarkston Police Department
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and DD Form 214 (if applicable).
Must have the minimum qualifications to
apply: H. S. Diploma or GED Equivalent
21 years of age
Valid Driver’s License
Preference will be given for POST
Certified Applicants

$33,000–Entry/POST Academy
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$2,000 Pay incentive for Georgia
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$1,000 Pay incentive for
Non-Certified Applicants
You may download the application at
For more information please contact
CPT T.D. Brown at 404-292-9465 or

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

Adoption Continued From Page 1A
adoption and we knew without a doubt that she
belonged with our family. We love her so much.”
As foster parents for two years with the United
Methodist Childrens Home, the Hillesheims have
had 16 children come through their Lilburn home.
In addition to their new adopted daughter, the
Hillesheims have two biological children and two
foster children.
Fostering “was something we had always thought
about. We knew that we could do it. We had a lot
of love and we know we could share it,” Summer
Hillesheim said.
“It’s been amazing and it been a real blessing,” she
said. “It is hard and it is tough. It is without a doubt
worth everything. The kids are amazing.”
For DeKalb County, this was the fourth year
National Adoption Day has been observed.
“It doesn’t get old; it gets better every year,”
DeBerry said.
DeBerry recalled a family that really wanted its
adoption finalized in time for the celebration.
“We had to work really hard and do lots of
things to make sure they were ready because they
were insistent on being part of National Adoption
Day,” DeBerry said. “They were so grateful that
their attorney and the judge worked with them. All
the things we did—it’s all worth it because they’re
getting adopted today.”
DeBerry said many families choose to wait and
have their adoptions finalized “in a celebratory
“And it should be celebrated because we’re
creating new families,” she said.
DeBerry said the adoption process “can be
complex and sometimes it is, especially when there
are extended family members [or] when there are
some other custody issues.
“And so it takes a lot of passionate, bright people
to work through those complexities,” she said.
“We’re fortunate in DeKalb,” she said. “We have
some incredible adoption attorneys, agencies and
even…[Division of Family and Children Services]
representatives that handle adoptions. And then we
have passionate judges and their staff that care as
much as anyone else. They take care of business.”
Jennifer and Brett Thomas of Ellenwood
finalized the adoption of 4-month-old Karla.
The Thomases used Bethany Christian Services
““to expand our family. We have one nine-year-old
and wasn’t able to have any more so we adopted,”
Jennifer Thomas said. Karla was born in Tennessee
on July 6. “We went to Memphis on Aug. 1 and…
picked her up and brought her home five days later.”
Brett Thomas said that while adoptions are “a
great option,” families looking to expand should
“make sure it’s a right fit for their family.”
“Make sure it’s the right fit for their family…
financially and make sure they can provide for the
kids,” Brett Thomas said. “If that works out they
should do it.”
Nine-year-old Jayla Thomas said, “It is good
having a little baby sister. I have someone to play
with at home.
Judge Gregory Adams, “This is one of the bright
spots in being a Superior Court judge—bringing
families together.”
“It’s a new beginning. It’s bringing a family
together,” Adams said. “I’m a firm believer that if
you have family support, you can do anything. I
would not be here in this position as a Superior
Court judge without the support of my family. I was
not adopted but my mother and father loved me and
brought me to this point.
An adoption, Adams said, “is a great thing to
do to share your resources, your love and it helps
someone else become a complete person.”

local news

Page 15A

Tucker, LaVista Hills at
odds on boundaries
by Carla Parker

deadline, we appreciate the
opportunity given to us by
the state legislature to deterTwo cityhood groups could mine city boundaries at the
not come to an agreement on
local level and want to thank
boundary lines by the deadline former Decatur Mayor Bill
date set by a state legislative
Floyd for the time he invested
in these discussions,” said
Tucker and LaVista Hills— Michelle Penkava of Tucker
formerly Lakeside and Bri2015 cityhood initiative in a
arcliff—had until Nov. 15 to
released statement.
come to a mutual agreement
“The Tucker community reon city boundary lines and
mains committed to cityhood
submit the agreed upon map
for Tucker, and trusts that
bearing three signatures from
the process as determined by
the authorized signatories to
House Governmental Affairs
the House Governmental AfCommittee Chair Rep. Amy
fairs Committee, which overCarter will bring about a solusees legislation in the Georgia
tion that is fair and respectful
House of Representatives inof our long-standing and recvolving the creation of new cit- ognized community while alies. The maps of the three pro- lowing our neighbors in other
posed cities had overlapping
areas to achieve their own viareas, including the Northlake sion of local control,” Penkava
area. The Lakeside map also
included part of Tucker’s
Lakeside and Briarcliff
30084 ZIP code.
cityhood groups also released
The committee announced
a statement announcing its
in August that it would draw
full merger and name: LaVista
borders if Tucker, Lakeside
Hills. The proposed city would
and Briarcliff could not reach
be the largest in DeKalb Couna map compromise by Nov. 15. ty with approximately 72,000
Committee Chairwoman Amy residents.
Carter (R-Valdosta) said at the
“Cityhood is about giving
time she would appoint a panel communities and citizens a
of five state House members to choice,” said Mary Kay Woodcarry out the task of drawing
worth, formerly of Lakeside
boundaries for the proposed
YES. “We have spoken at well
over a hundred community
The panel will produce a
meetings in the last two years,
boundary map no later than
and we continue to listen and
Dec. 31 by majority vote. Eirespond to what residents and
ther the agreed upon map by
businesses tell us and to the
cityhood proponents or the
community’s desires. We are
map drawn by the legislative
thankful to our volunteers
panel will be the only acceptand appreciate the continued
able versions that the House
community support and input
Governmental Affairs Comshaping the new city’s vision.”
mittee will consider.
Allen Venet, formerly of
“Although it is unfortunate
the City of Briarcliff Initiative,
that all parties did not come
said Briarcliff and Lakeside
to a mutually beneficial agree- groups made “multiple offers
ment by the Nov. 15 legislative to Tucker.”

“We’re still hopeful we can
reach an agreement on the
boundaries,” Venet said. “After
merging the vision of Lakeside
and Briarcliff, and presenting
neighborhood survey and petition preference input to Tucker, we are disappointed that the
groups were unable to reach
an agreement by the Nov. 15
The statement said more
than 1,000 people in neighborhoods outside the Perimeter
has signed petitions asking to
be included in LaVista Hills.
“Make no mistake, the
Nov. 15 deadline was handled
with the utmost respect and
urgency,” Woodworth said.
“Conversations started early
and continued until the deadline, and we are disappointed
that we were not able to reach
agreement with Tucker, despite our best efforts. Tucker’s
claim that they are remaining
‘consistent with our borders’
reflects an unwillingness on
their part to compromise, and
more importantly, a refusal
to acknowledge the desires of
both residents and the business community.”
Tucker and LaVista Hills
are fighting for the Northlake
commercial and industrial
businesses. Venet said the two
cities would not thrive if the
Northlake area is included in
“We believe that the larger
community—both inside and
outside I-285—has benefited
from the Northlake business
area for over 50 years, and that
both LaVista Hills and Tucker
should enjoy the benefit and
the responsibility that comes
with healthy business-community relations for the next 50
years,” he said.


A perfect moment to talk about alcohol.
An alarming number of pre-teens are drinking alcohol —
which makes it urgent to find every opportunity to talk to
your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. For tips
on how — and when — to begin the conversation, visit:

Chores_8.625x5_News_ADV.indd 1

4/23/13 3:18 PM


Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

Doraville City Council holds special called meeting for occupational tax contract.

Doraville discusses amending budget for new software
by Ashley Oglesby
Doraville City Council
decided to move forward
with its occupational tax contract agenda item and make
amendments to the budget
to catch up on processing
paperwork for the 20 businesses awaiting their business
license applications to be
processed from almost a year
City Manager Shawn
Gillen said, “The new annexed businesses will present
a greater workload than a
simple new business application because each application needs to be reviewed for
zoning to ensure that they
have been in compliance with
DeKalb’s regulations.”
He said, “If the new businesses have a DeKalb County
occupational tax certificate,
they will be treated as renewals by the city staff. If they are
not in compliance, or not up
to date with their taxes, they
will be treated as new applications.”
Doraville City Council
met on Nov. 10 to discuss a
budget amendment to provide funding for additional
resources to accommodate
the increase in occupational
tax activity due to the annexation scheduled to take place
in December.
The city received its annual insurance premium tax
transfer on Oct. 15 which was
almost $128,000 higher than
Gillen recommended using BS&A, a software company currently responsible for
the city’s financial software to
custom write software to effi-

ciently collect the data under
the current ordnance.
He said the city will use
the Energov software for research.
“In some instances, applications will have to be
researched to make sure that
businesses that are ‘grandfathered’ are treated appropriately and correctly zone and/
or permitted,” he said.
The requested budget
amendment proposed to
increase insurance premium
tax revenue from $430,000
to $558,000, add funding in
general administration for
one staff member at an annual rate of $36,000.
The proposal also adds
funding in general administration of $25,000 to purchase
the business licensing module from BS&A and have it
customized to accommodate
the rate calculation and add
funding of $70,000 in code
compliance to allow Clark
Patterson Lee to provide
assistance with the zoning
research needed to correctly
process the new applications,
as well as provide additional
code compliances sweeps in
the annexation area to help
identify all the businesses located there.
Upon approval for BS&A
services, BS&A said it will
offer a one-year, risk-reversal
pledge on the city’s software.
According to the proposal if
up to a year after installation
the city is not satisfied with
the software, a full refund
will be provided.
The Champion recently
reported that the council
declined to outsource the
occupational tax contract to
Revenue Discovery Systems

(RDS), a tax administration
and auditing company.
The motioned was denied
for a lack of votes. Council
members Robert Patrick and
Maria Alexander were the
only supporters of outsourcing.
Patrick said, “To advocate for the RDS method,
what a city needs is good
data and if we have RDS my
understanding is that they
will be able to put everything into the North Ameri-

can Industry Classification
System (NAICS).”
He said, “When we have
that kind of data we can
then go down and look at
codes and determine with
greater specificity what we’re
looking for in our business
code. What we want from
businesses to be here. It is
something that would save
time for staff and would
get it processed efficiently
and since we are annexing
in an unknown number

of businesses at this point
it is critical that we have a
good reputation and build a
standard with the new businesses. We do that by having
an efficient and timely business license system.”
Amendments to the
budget are not finalized; the
council will meet next with
further amendments and
recommendations to their

Euramex Management purchases
Fenner Dunlop property
by Carla Parker
Euramex Management
the purchased the 13-acre
Fenner Dunlop property in
Avondale Estates.
“Euramex Management
Group closed on the purchase of the Fenner Dunlop
property in Avondale Estates,” the announcement
said. “The property sits
on 13 acres, just west of
Laredo Drive and north of
Parry Street. The city will
share additional details as
they become available.”
Nine acres of the 13acre property were annexed
into the city in 2010. The
city had planned to turn it
into a mixed-use development on the north side of
the property, with three to
five stories of multifamily
housing and retail around a

parking deck.
The city later annexed
the entire property, and
now has control over all
13 acres. Along with the
annexation, the city developed a new zoning district,
the Mill District, which applies to the site.

The Fenner Dunlop site
was once a mill, which was
later decommissioned. It
was recently the site of a
conveyor belt plant, which
closed in 2009.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Page 17A

News briefs
Perimeter Community
Improvement Districts
Receives PEDS Golden Shoe
The Perimeter Community Improvement
Districts (PCIDs) ongoing efforts toward transportation improvements as well as enhancing the
walkability of the north Atlanta perimeter area
has again been recognized by the PEDS Golden
Shoe Award. 
The PCIDs current award-winning project is
a pedestrian-friendly streetscape along Perimeter
Summit Parkway, Lake Hearn Drive and Parkside
The Perimeter Summit development is now
connected by pedestrian paths to both AshfordDunwoody and Peachtree-Dunwoody roads, as
well as improving connectivity to hospital district
and the Medical Center MARTA station.

“Our mission is to work continuously to develop efficient transportation services, with an
emphasis on access, mobility, diversification and
modernization,” said Yvonne Williams, PCIDs’
executive director. “Being recognized by PEDS
three years in a row demonstrates our support for
pedestrian, as well as commuter and transit enhancements and improvements.”
Composed of parts of straddle north central
DeKalb and Fulton counties, the PCIDs encompasses parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and
Sandy Springs, and includes the headquarters of

several of Georgia’s leading Fortune 500 companies.
The PCIDs’ streetscape improvements include installing wide pedestrian sidewalks, landscaping medians illuminated with pedestrian
lighting, and improved traffic signaling to allow
safer crossing. 
The award also recognizes new in-street bike
lanes along Perimeter Summit Parkway.
Over the past 15 years, the PCIDs have leveraged $31.2 million in the PCIDs self-taxing district funds in combination with $114.8 million in
grants, and state and federal transportation monies to fund $146 million in area transportation,
commuting, transit and alternative transportation

DeKalb Police partners
with private social network
for virtual neighborhood
The DeKalb County Police Department announced Nov. 18 a partnership with Nextdoor
(, the private social network
for neighborhoods.
Nextdoor is free for the residents and the police department. Each neighborhood can create
its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website,
accessible only to residents of that neighborhood.
Residents can use their website to share informa-

tion about neighborhood watch and safety issues
as well as local events, school activities, lost pets
and more.
“This integration with Nextdoor will enable
the DeKalb County Police [Department] to communicate online directly with the communities.
Residents and police will be able to work together
to improve safety and strengthen neighborhood
watch efforts,” said Cedric Alexander, deputy
chief operating officer of public safety.
Neighborhoods establish and self-manage
their own Nextdoor website. Information shared
on Nextdoor is only visible to verified members.
DeKalb Police will be able to post important information, such as crime updates directly to affected communities, but will not be able to access
residents’ contact information, or content.
“Nextdoor makes it easy for neighbors to
establish virtual neighborhood watch and help
combat crime.” said Interim Police Chief James
All members must verify that they live within
the neighborhood. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and not found on
search engines.
Those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit www.nextdoor.
com and enter their address. If Nextdoor is available in their area, they can immediately sign up.
If a Nextdoor website has not yet been established
for their area, neighbors are invited to apply to
bring Nextdoor to their neighborhood.

Crime briefs
Sheriff asks GBI
to investigate
recruit’s death
(AP) DeKalb County
Sheriff Jeff Mann has requested a probe by the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation into the death of a
county sheriff ’s recruit.
The move comes after WSB-TV reported the
death of 29-year-old George
Ward on May 22, 2013, was
never investigated, despite
surveillance videos showing
the man—who was ordered
to wear a pink shirt and
baseball cap—struggling
through training exercises
and vomiting.
The county medical
examiner’s office initially
linked Ward’s death to a
pre-existing heart condition.
Ward’s mother disputed
that, saying her son had annual physicals and was never
diagnosed with a heart condition.
Medical examiners reviewed Ward’s autopsy and
said physical exertion and
overheating contributed to
Ward’s death.

In a Nov. 13 statement, Mann said, “In the
spirit of transparency and
in a further effort to clarify
concerns by Mr. Ward’s
family, as well as to assure
the public that the DeKalb
County Sheriff ’s Office has
acted appropriately, I have
today conferred with Vernon Keenan, director of the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who upon my request
has agreed to conduct a formal investigation into this
unfortunate incident.
“I remain confident that
the DeKalb County Sheriff ’s
Office’s response to the incident was appropriate and
met with our high standards
of professionalism,” Mann

Reward offered
in homicide case
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information
in the August homicide of a
Decatur woman.
On Aug. 7, Tiffany Stephens was found shot to
death inside her residence

at 1930 Flat Shoals Road in
Decatur. Police said 23-yearold Stephens had multiple
gunshot wounds.
DeKalb Police Detectives and Crime Stoppers
Greater Atlanta are asking
the public for information
on a homicide. A reward of
up to $5,000 is being offered
for information leading to
the arrest and indictment
of the person or persons responsible. The family of the
victim has donated money
in this case and wants to increase the reward for all potential information leading
to the capture of Tiffany’s
Any information on
the case can be submitted
anonymously to the Crime
Stoppers Atlanta tip line at
404-577-TIPS (8477), online
org or by texting CSA and
the tip to CRIMES (274637).
Persons do not have to give
their name or any identifying information to be eligible for the reward of up to

DA seeks death
penalty for baby’s murderer
Devin Thomas, accused
of the murder of 9-monthold KenDarious Edwards
Jr., will now face the death
penalty. The DeKalb County
District Attorney’s Office
filed a notice of intent to
seek the death penalty Nov.
“Because of the egregious nature of this senseless crime, my office had
no choice but to seek the
death penalty regarding the
death of an innocent baby,”
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.
According to a news
release by the DA’s office,
two members of the Bloods
street gang were recently
indicted on eight felony
counts after being charged
with Edwards’ death. Thomas and Marco Watson face
malice murder and felony
aggravated assault charges
for opening fire on three
unarmed women and the
now deceased infant in their
DeKalb County home on

May 10.
According to the indictment, the gunfire initiated
by Thomas and Watson
struck the women multiple
times and ultimately killed
“The crimes were acts of
intra-gang retaliation,” according to the news release.
“Watson and Thomas targeted the family members of
fellow Blood gang member
Oslushla Smith just days
after Smith murdered defendant Thomas’ associate
Alexis Malone. The murdered child was the infant
nephew of Oslushla Smith.”
“This meaningless act
ended the life of an innocent child,” James added.
“My office will continue our
pursuit of justice for little
KenDarious Edwards Jr.”
The two gang members
face additional felony charges including malice murder,
felony murder, aggravated
assault, possession of a firearm during commission of
a felony, and violation of the
street gang terrorism and
prevention act.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Page 18A

Department of education recognizes STEM students.

Tucker Middle now STEM certified
by Ashley Oglesby
Tucker Middle School achieved statewide recognition when the middle school’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
program was certified by the Georgia Department of Education, making it the first middle
school in Georgia to achieve STEM certification.
With the certification, Tucker Middle School
became the fourth school in DeKalb County–and
11th overall statewide for all school levels–to earn
the STEM designation.
“On behalf of the Board of Education and
all our stakeholders, I applaud and congratulate
Tucker Middle School on this milestone achievement,” said Michael Thurmond, superintendent
of the DeKalb County School District (DCSD).
Thurmond commented “This major accomplishment shows that we can achieve through
dedication, hard work and perseverance.”
Tucker has 162 middle school students who
are benefiting from the STEM curriculum. The
program involves 150 minutes a day of specialized instruction, an interdisciplinary approach to
learning–and real-world opportunities to apply
with the program’s corporate and public-sector
“We’re proud and excited to have achieved
this milestone after three years of hard work,”
said Dr. Kathy Cunningham, principal of Tucker
Middle School.

Dr. Cunningham spearheaded the program
along with Tucker Middle’s STEM coordinator,
Dr. Stephen Csukas.

‘We’re proud and
excited to have
achieved this milestone after three
years of hard work.’
-Dr. Kathy Cunningham

“Females, African-Americans, Hispanics and
others are underrepresented in highly technical
fields,” said Cunningham. “Our goal is to increase
their numbers and give them the educational

foundation and the confidence to know that they
can succeed.”
The certification recognizes schools that
teach science, technology, engineering and math
in a rigorous and integrated manner. STEM
schools use student-driven projects to facilitate
problem solving and discovery. They also must
have teacher collaboration and partnerships with
business and industry, according to stemgeorgia.
The Georgia Department of Education also
awarded STEM certification to Dunwoody Elementary School this month. Dunwoody is the
fifth elementary school in the state to be awarded
the designation.
State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge
awarded the certification in a ceremony at the
school on Nov. 7. “Strong STEM programs like
Dunwoody Elementary are exactly what Georgia’s students need, and what Georgia’s economy
needs,” Barge said. “Encouraging students’ passions for science, technology, engineering and
math prepares them for the workforce of the future.”
To earn STEM certification, the school had to
submit an application showing that it meets rigorous criteria the program’s.
A team from the Georgia Department of
Education visited the school to observe the program.

Clarkston High benefits from a multiyear grant and job placement
The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

by Ashley Oglesby
For many high school
students, there is a lot of
pressure to get a job and
save for college.
United Way of Greater
Atlanta teamed up with
Clarkston High School
youth in DeKalb County,
as well as students at high
schools in four other counties–Clayton, Cobb, Fulton
and Gwinnett–to provide the
students with professional
development, career counseling and access to job opportunities.
In addition to United
Way, the college partner for
the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF) project
for Clarkston High is Georgia State University.
United Way of Greater
Atlanta announced on Nov.
11 that it recently received
a multi-year grant totaling
$1.5 million from the OYIF.
United Way said the
grant money will support
the Greater Atlanta region’s
goal to prepare youth for the
workforce and place them in
jobs and internships so that
they are self-sufficient.
“For more than 100
years, United Way has
played a critical role in
education initiatives. However, our work has focused
primarily on young children

and we have made significant impact in making sure
that they enter school ready
to learn and prepared for
academic success,” said UW
CEO Milton J. Little Jr.
According to the announcement, United Way
was the sole award winner
in Georgia and one of only
three within the Southeastern United States.
“Now, with the support
of Aspen Institute Forum
for Community Solutions,
we are also paving the way
for continued academic success as well as success in
life for a group that’s too
often overlooked – those
youth that desperately need
tutoring, mentoring and
programming to show them
how to make it in life. Career opportunities will definitely improve conditions
for them and strengthen our
region,” Little explained.
For the 2014-2015
academic year, United Way,
along with its partners, will
expand programming in
DeKalb and Fulton counties.
Opportunity Youth is
composed of 6.7 million
Americans – between the
ages of 16 to 24 – who are
not enrolled in school or
United Way works with
several other key partners
to develop and implement
education and employment

strategies for young people.
Partners include Accenture;
Atlanta Metropolitan State
College; Carrie Steele-Pitts
Home; Future Foundation,
Inc.; Georgia State University; Goodwill Industries,
Inc.; Goshen Valley Foundation; InRoads, Inc.; University System of Georgia’s
African American Male Initiative; and Year Up Atlanta.
In Atlanta, employees
are needed to fill health care
and technology positions.
According to Louis
Negron, United Way of
Greater Atlanta’s senior director of education, United
Way and its partners hope to
fill the gap with youth who
are prepared to enter the job
In addition to funding
the collaborative effort and
planning process for the
first year, the Aspen Institute grant award also allows
United Way to expand staffing and create a Youth Advisory Council with youth
representatives from each
“Over the past three
years, we have honed in
on the specific strategies
that will keep the students
on track throughout their
middle, high school and college years–many of which
fall into the Opportunity
Youth category,” Negron

Page 19A

GPC records spike
in enrollment
by Ashley Oglesby
While most institutions throughout the United
States are experiencing declining enrollment, Georgia
Perimeter College (GPC)
announced that its numbers
continue to climb.
This fall GPC enrolled
10,955 freshmen, the largest
number of freshmen within
the University System of
Georgia (USG).
“While our fall 2014 enrollment is encouraging, we
still have much work ahead,”
said USG’s Chancellor Hank
Huckaby. “We must stay focused on our Complete College Georgia initiative, continue to recruit and retain
students and fully support
them through their completion of college.”
Student enrollment this
year showed a 1.2 percent
increase over fall 2013, with
21,371 students signing up
for classes. The increase reverses a two-year trend that
also has been experienced
by other institutions of higher education.
“To help make college
more accessible, we have
expanded the ways to earn a
degree, such as online cours-

es and dual enrollment for
high school students,” said
Huckaby. “We are seeing
initial signs of progress with
these initiatives in the 2014
fall semester enrollment.”
GPC’s dual enrollment
program continues to lead
the state, with 1,306 students. Overall, the program,
which allows students to
earn college credit while in
high school, increased statewide from 5,303 students
in 2013, to 6,700 students,
a more than 26 percent increase.
smallest and newest campus—saw the biggest rate of
enrollment increase of any
GPC campus, jumping 13.6
percent to 2,107 students.
GPC’s online enrollment
grew 3.6 percent to 8,438
Dual enrollment was a
focus of the statewide report.
The USG enrollment
numbers were released Nov.
7 in the USG’s “Fall 2014 Semester Enrollment Report,”
which breaks down enrollment by institution, class,
race and ethnicity, in-state,
out-of-state and international students, as well as gender
and age.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014



Page 20A
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The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Page 21A

Owner Kamini Patel says she seeks to keep her Red Roof Inn a place where families, vacationers and Many in the community came to celebrate the re-opening of the newly renovated
business travelers feel safe and comfortable.
Red Roof Inn Lithonia.

Lithonia motel gets a facelift
by Kathy Mitchell
Hotel owner Kamini Patel invited the Lithonia community to help
celebrate Nov. 12 with music, giveaways and food of the type served
in her native India, as she hosted an
open house at the newly renovated
Red Roof Inn Lithonia.
When Patel was growing up
in India, her father was a business
owner. Then she married a man
who owned several businesses.
When they moved from Africa,
where they had lived for more than
four years, to the United States they
were comfortable with starting businesses in their new home.
“We had owned businesses such
as small retail stores and dry cleaners, but the hotel industry was a big
step,” Patel recalled. “My husband
asked if I was sure I wanted to own
a hotel. He said, ‘That’s a lot of
money to invest. If it doesn’t work,
that money is just gone.’ But I said
we should think positively and work
hard. I was confident that I could be
successful in the hotel business.”
In 2007, Patel’s dream started to
take shape.
When a motel in Lithonia near
I-20 became available, she took an
interest, but again her family was reluctant. “It was in an area that quite
frankly has a history of being a high
crime area. I was determined when I
opened this inn that there would be
no criminal activity.

“I want families, vacationers and
business travelers to feel safe and
comfortable here. I wanted people
to come here for meetings, family reunions and celebrations such
as birthdays and anniversaries. I
started working right away with the
DeKalb County Police. They have
been just wonderful. They told me
that any time people came here who
I had concerns about I should call
them and let them handle it.”
Although the building, constructed in 1996, has been owned by
several chains, Patel was determined
to be the owner of a Red Roof Inn.
“This is the brand I wanted to work
with. I love Red Roof Inn. They
treat you like a member of the family. They are friendly and they are
always there when you need help.
From the top corporate executives
to other franchisees, everyone will
help you any way they can,” she said.
Patel had no previous experience in the hotel industry, but she
felt with training from the corporate office she could be a success.
“I knew the main thing was to give
good customer service. If you treat
your customers right, other things
fall into place,” she said.
The Red Roof corporate office
was so pleased with the way Patel
operated her motel she was invited
after a year to join its advisory
board. As a member of the advisory
board she has served as a mentor
to new franchisees in the Red Roof

chain. “I tell them how important it
is to keep the facility clean, modern,
inviting and in good repair. That’s
one reason I decided to renovate my
inn. I want to be a good example to
the others. I can’t tell other people to
do a good job of maintaining their
hotel unless I do the same thing,”
she noted.
The upgraded 63-room property
features NextGen design with “Rest
Suite beds by Serta, plush high-end
bedding, new modern design flooring, comfortable new seating and
large, flat-screen TVs,” according to
information provided by Red Roof
Among those attending the
grand re-opening of the Red Roof
Inn Lithonia were DeKalb County
Commissioners Larry Johnson and
Stan Watson and representatives
of the DeKalb County Chamber of
Terrific Thursdays offer
festive holiday shopping
Decatur, through its “Keep It
Indie-Catur” program, encourages
shoppers to do business with local
merchants. For six weeks leading up
to Christmas, the city and its retailers are adding an incentive by offering shoppers not only an opportunity to keep their holiday dollars
in the community, but to do so in a
festive holiday atmosphere.
Through its annual Terrific

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030

Thursdays shopping event, Decatur
businesses offer shoppers the opportunity for one evening a week to
take advantage of late store hours
and special offers in what are often
locally owned stores. With music,
decorations and special in-store
events, the evenings are designed to
make shopping and dining in Decatur easy, fun and economic boost for
the city.
The tradition city officials call
the “mallternative,” is now more
than a dozen years old and continues to have the enthusiastic support
of business owners and shoppers.
Downtown Decatur restaurants
also are offering specials for those
who want to pause for dinner during their shopping. Those who don’t
want a full meal can stop periodically to sample refreshments offered
even at shops that don’t normally
offer food and drink. For example,
Cook’s Warehouse and Sherlocks
Wine Merchants is serving wine and
hors d’oeuvres as well as offering
product demonstrations.
Terrific Thursdays started Nov. 6
and continues each Thursday except
Thanksgiving Day through Dec. 18.
This year 27 Decatur businesses are
participating, including not only
retail stores and restaurants, but hair
salons, spas and other services.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Tucker’s Tabarius Peterson (15) brings down a Tift Co. running back.

Page 22A

Joshua Vann’s, left, 44-yard touchdown reception for Tucker. Photos
by Travis Hudgons

Five teams advance to second round
by Carla Parker


ive teams from DeKalb
County are onestep closer to a state
championship after
advancing to the second

Cedar Grove, Marist, St.
Pius X, Stephenson and Tucker
advanced to the second round
after first round victories Nov. 1415, while Columbia and Lithonia
lost their first round matchups.
The Cedar Grove Saints defeated
Westside-Augusta 45-7 in the
opening round of the Class AAA
playoffs and travel to Calhoun for
the second round Nov. 21.
The Saints got off to the
rocky start, fumbling the ball on
the second play of their opening
drive. The defense forced a fumble
on the next play, but the offense
was unable to capitalize off the
turnover. Alexander went up 7-0
midway through the first quarter.
“My kids, for some reason,
started off slow,” said head coach
Jermaine Smith. “But, we’ve
done a good job fighting against
adversity all year. So, they came
back and played real well in the
second quarter, but we have to do
a better job than that if we want to
proceed in the playoffs.”
Cedar Grove went on to score
45 unanswered points. Running
back LaBron Morris had three
touchdowns from 10, 2 and 6 yards
out. Quarterback Jelani Woods
found wide receiver Benjy Parrish
twice on two touchdown passes
of 27 and 14 yards. Woods also
connected with James Hartsfield
on an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Hartsfield got his second
score of the game in the fourth
quarter on a 5-yard run from

‘...we’ve done a good job fighting
against adversity all year.... but we
have to do a better job than that if
we want to proceed in the playoffs.’
– Jermaine Smith
Cedar Grove Head Football Coach

shotgun. The game ended with
1:34 left to play after a fight broke
out among players. A Westside
player was ejected as was Cedar
Grove freshman defensive lineman
DeAdrian Troupe who could be
suspended for the next game.
“They said he grabbed the
man’s facemask,” Smith said. “It
got a little out of hand. We have to
look at the film and I’ll punish him
Smith said playing Calhoun
will be the biggest test of the year.
“It’s the most important game,
of course,” he said. “It’s the next
game, but [Calhoun] is a great
team and they’re where we’re
trying to get to. “We’re going to go
down there and try our best to get
a victory.”
Stephenson will travel to
Stockbridge Nov. 21 in the second
round of the Class AAAAA
playoffs after beating Alexander
41-27 in the first round. The
Jaguars jumped out to a 27-0 lead
through three quarters.
Running back Ivonte Patterson
had touchdown runs of 20 and
19 yards, and DeWann Ford
connected with Dexter Neal on 48
and 52 yard touchdown passes to

give Stephenson a 27-0 lead.
Stephenson began losing
control of the game in the third
quarter when Alexander picked up
a first down on a fake punt. That
play led to an Alexander score on
a 12-yard touchdown pass, which
cut the score to 27-7.
Stephenson responded on the
following drive when Isaiah Zuber
scored on a 10-yard end-around
run to extend the score to 34-7.
Alexander responded with a 17yard touchdown pass, which cut
the score to 34-14.
Stephenson fumbled on
the ensuing kickoff, Alexander
recovered and scored on a 8-yard
touchdown pass to cut Stephenson’s
lead to 34-20. On the ensuing
kickoff, Alexander was successful
on its onside kick, which led to
another touchdown for Alexander.
Stephenson saw its 20-point lead
shred to a 7-point lead.
Head coach Ron Gartrell said
he told his team at halftime the
game was not over.
“We had a chance to put them
away early but [Alexander] didn’t
quit,” Gartrell said. “You have to
give them credit, they kept coming

Stephenson’s offense was able
to put together a long drive, which
resulted in a 1-yard touch run by
Patterson to extend the score to
41-27. The defense also stepped up
on the following drive and stopped
Alexander on a fourth down play
to end the game.
“Our defense had a couple of
big stands,” Gartrell said. “They
really held on in the first half. Our
offense had a couple of drives to
close it out and we’re really happy
about that.”
In Class AAAAAA, Tucker
pulled out a tough 31-29 win
against Tift County to advance to
the second round. Tucker will host
Grayson at Hallford Stadium Nov.
In Class AAAA, St. Pius X
defeated Fayette County 24-0
in the first round and will host
Eastside at home Nov. 21. Marist
defeated Whitewater 30-14 in
the first round and will travel to
Griffin Nov. 21 for the second
round matchup.
Lithonia lost to Woodward
Academy 55-0, and Columbia lost
to Sandy Creek 23-14 in their Class
AAAA first round matchup.

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014


Page 23A

Above, St. Pius guard Asia Durr (center) signs here letter of intent to Louisville as her parents look on.
Left, Asia Durr celebrated her signing with family and teammates. Photos by Carla Parker

Asia Durr signs with Louisville

by Carla Parker

St. Pius X guard Asia Durr
signed her letter of intent to
Louisville Nov. 12 in front of family,
teammates, coaches and friends.
Durr, the No. 2 prospect in the
espnW HoopGurlz Super 60 for
the 2015 class, said it was a dream
come true to be surrounded by her
support system as she signed her
“It’s such a blessing to see all
of your hard work pay off,” she
said. “I have great fans out here,
my wonderful family, my great
teammates and my great coaches.
I’m thankful for this day.”
A number of women’s
basketball programs recruited Durr,
including Baylor, Connecticut,
Duke, Georgia, Maryland, Notre

Dame and Tennessee. She said she
chose Louisville because the school
felt like home.
“The family environment, the
coaches, the players, the campus; it
just felt so right there,” she said.
“In Asia, Louisville is getting a
tireless worker both on the court
and in the classroom,” said. St. Pius
coach Kyle Snipes. “She’s a studentathlete with an acute attention
to detail relative to her approach
to practice and games and as
humble a person as I have had the
opportunity to coach”
Durr said her recruiting process
was great and she will miss it “a
little bit.”
“But, it does feel good to have
all of that done and to know where
you’re going,” She said.
Durr led her team to a 30-3
record and a second consecutive

Class AAA state championship last
season. She averaged 24.4 points,
7.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.7
assists per game.
Along with her state titles, Durr
has won two gold medals with the
2013 USA Women’s U16 National
Team and the 2014 USA Basketball
Women’s U17 World Championship
Team. Durr scored 17 points and
had four assists in the 2014 FIBA
U17 World Championship July 6
in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Durr
finished the FIBA tournament
second on the team in scoring with
an average of 13.4 points per game.
She was named Georgia’s 2014
Miss Basketball by the Atlanta
Tipoff Club and was named the
2013-14 Gatorade Georgia Girls
Basketball Player of the Year.
Durr said she is looking
forward to playing Louisville.

“Hopefully I can bring some
positive stuff to the team,” she said.
“Whatever coach needs me to do,
I’ll do. I’m just excited to be out
there and play.”
Jeff Walz, Louisville head
coach, said Durr has a “passion and
work ethic that is unsurpassed in
her generation.”
“Her combination of scoring
from the perimeter and ability to
take her defender off the bounce
has positioned her to be the top
guard in the country,” Walz said.
“She has an uncanny ability to play
with power and finesse, which
ultimately showcases her versatility.
Having been a part of gold medal
USA basketball teams and state
championships will no doubt bring
with it an expectation of finishing
on top.”

Paideia’s John Michael Boswell signs with Furman
by Carla Parker
Paideia rarely have student athletes
that receive scholarships from Division I
So, it was no surprise to see the student
body pack the auditorium to watch senior
John Micheal Boswell sign his letter of
intent to the Furman University baseball
program. Boswell, a senior catcher for the
Paideia Pythons, was surrounded by family and his coach as he signed his letter of
Boswell said he chose to play his collegiate years at Furman because he felt a great
connection with the coaching staff.
“They’re very great people,” he said.
“They reached out to me, they showed a
generous faith in me by [reaching] out to
me my junior year, as oppose to later in the
process and I really appreciated that, as far
as the recruiting was concerned.”
Last season for the Pythons, Boswell

had a batting average of .289 and a slugging percentage of .524. He had 17 RBIs, six
doubles and three homeruns. Boswell said
he hopes to hit well once he joins Furman.
“I’m still working on my defense, but
I feel that my best asset will be to come in
and hit well my freshman year for the Furman team, and jump in the line as soon as
possible,” he said.
Furman has a couple of upper classmen
in the catch position, but said he would step
up to the plate if he were called to start.
“I hope I can get in there when I can,
but if not I’ll find someplace else besides
catcher,” he said.
Boswell has a 3.1 GPA and is thinking
about majoring in business administration.
Before he starts college, Boswell hopes to
lead his team on a run to a state championship.
“Whatever happens, happens,” he said.
“But we’re going to put in the effort to make
sure that we’re prepared to make sure that

John Michael Boswell

The Champion Free Press, Friday Nov. 21, 2014

local news

Page 24A