FRIDAY, Dec. 5, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 35 • FREE

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

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Troubled DeKalb County boys have found their way at the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia. The home addresses the spiritual, emotional, mental, social and physical needs of the
participants. Photos provided

Vidalia youth home rebuilds DeKalb boys
by Andrew Cauthen

Former Stone Mountain resident Brooks
Sullards, 42, had a rough childhood in DeKalb
“I had made several bad decisions in my life,”
said Sullards, who lived in DeKalb for a dozen
years. “I had multiple run-ins with the law. I did

have some charges that got dropped and some
of them that didn’t. My daddy was a lawyer and
helped out a little bit.”
Sullards faced marijuana, grand auto theft and
runaway charges, he said.
“I was a very depressed kid and didn’t really
care a whole lot if I lived or died. I wanted to live
for the moment,” Sullards said. “I had overdosed
once or twice and that got me involved with the

law again.
“The final icebreaker was I had gotten involved with several burglaries with a couple of
other guys. I went to court and I had been sentenced to 12-18 months down in Milledgeville at
the juvenile state prison down there.”
But Sullards, who now lives in Habersham
County with his wife and eight children, never

See Home on page 15A

Suspect in MARTA bus stop killing charged with rape
by Andrew Cauthen

“Today we’re announcing an arrest in the senseA Lithonia man
less killing of Marhas been arrested for
caysia Dawkins,”
the “senseless killing”
said interim
of a MARTA patron.
DeKalb County
Police Chief James
Christopher Merritt,
Conroy during a
of Par Three Way in
news conference
Lithonia, was taken
Dec. 1.
into custody Nov. 28
“Our detectives
by members of the
have been workDeKalb Sheriff ’s Fuing hard on this
gitive Squad.
case,” Conroy said.
Merritt has been
“Through further
charged with three
investigations our
counts of rape, three Christopher Merritt
detectives have
counts of armed roblinked Mr. Merbery, and one count
ritt to a number of
each of aggravated sodomy, aggra- additional crimes. Given all of the
vated assault and aggravated sexual circumstances we can’t go into the

See Suspect on page 15A



DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann and interim Police Chief James Conroy announce the arrest
of a murder and rape suspect. Photo by Andrew Cauthen




Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014




The perfect gift is perfectly easy.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 3A

New county office focuses on youth
by Andrew Cauthen
Kiarranna Turner’s job is
all about the youth.
She is the manager of
the DeKalb County Office
of Youth Services. Originally from Las Vegas, Turner
moved to the metro Atlanta
area to attend Morris Brown
College, where she earned a
degree in political science.
She attended seminary at
Candler School of Theology
at Emory University.
Turner, whose first job
was as a program coordinator with the Fulton County
Office of Youth Services, was
hired earlier this year to set
up the county’s new youth
services office.
“Part of what I’m responsible for doing—and I always
say I have the best job or the
most fun…in the DeKalb’s—
is really to execute the vision
of the interim CEO and of
course the Board of Commissioners,” Turner said.
“First we have to remember this office had never been
in existence,” said Turner,
whose career has always been
in youth services and youth
“There was never anything like this created inside
of the county, so what I was
brought on to do was to take
a vision of being able to create a centralized office for
youth services whereby the
community, folks within the
county [and] all over the
county would be able to come
and access youth services and
know exactly what youth programs are happening in the
county,” Turner said.
The Office of Youth
Services is performing “an

Kiarrianna Turner is the manager of the county’s new Office of Youth Services. Photo provided

analysis” across the county
to see what’s happening with
youth services everywhere
in the county,” Turner said.
“We’re taking an internal and
external look that will both
be able to provide us with the
data and the information that
we need to feed into our strategic plan to know what this
office should look like going
forward in the next five to 10
“We wanted to be able
to take a look inside of the
county to find out exactly
what youth programming
we’re already providing, who’s
doing it, who’s targeting it,
who are we serving …[and]
understand what we’re already doing,” Turner said.
One of the “signature
programs” of the office is the
DeKalb Alliance on Youth,
launched earlier this year.
The alliance meets

bimonthly and is “an opportunity for agencies, organizations, businesses and
churches all throughout the
community that have a vested
interest in young people in
the county to come together,”
Turner said.
“We wanted to engage
the community to have conversations with this office…
[on] how we can collaborate
with them to make sure that
if there are any gaps that are
within the county as it relates
to youth services, how we can
fill them together,” she said.
“There is no way one office
can do all of the work.”
The alliance gives the
county “an opportunity to
empower people who are already doing great work with
young people,” Turner said.
According to interim
DeKalb County CEO Lee

May, “The genesis really goes
back to eight years ago when
I got elected to the Board of
Commissioners. It’s really to
help better determine life outcomes for our youth.”
May said, “I’ll go out to
the community and people
will say one of two things.
They’ll either ask the question, ‘What are y’all doing for
our youth?’ or they’ll make
a statement and say, ‘Y’all
aren’t doing anything for our
With approximately $26
million being spent on youth
annually, May said, “We’re
doing a whole lot, but we’re
doing them in individual silos.”
Through various programs in the county’s parks
and recreation department,
libraries, Workforce Development, Cooperative Extension, Fire Explorers and

Police Athletic League, “We’re
spending a lot of money, but
what we’re realizing is that
they weren’t strategically
working together to help determine…outcomes for our
youth,” May said.
In the past the county’s
human development department had 18 employees
focused on senior citizen services, May said.
“There was an intentional
decision years back to focus
on our seniors,” he said. “I
think those were appropriate
decisions at the time. [Seniors] are our crown jewels.
They’ve worked hard. They
deserve to have the kind of
services that we can deliver.
“But human development is from the cradle to the
grave,” May said. “I think we
have the second half of life…
taken care of, but I think it’s
really now incumbent upon
us to focus on the totality of
human development. That’s
where this office of youth services is concerned.”
Calling the Office of
Youth Services with its
$431,000 budget “an umbrella
or a convener of resources,”
May said, “The goal is to
operate more efficiently, get
people to operate more collaboratively where they can
share resources.”
The office is basically
about prevention, May said.
“You hear our plans for
hiring more police officers
and making our county safer,
but the reality is you can’t hire
enough police officers to address the needs of our county,” May said. “You have to be
proactive to address some of
the social needs of our community and this is our proactive approach.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday Dec. 5, 2014


Page 4A

Reach out and correct someone
We hear it every day, yet it
means nothing—“reach out.”
The Four Tops released
an album through Motown
Records called Reach Out in
July, 1967. That should be
how this phrase is remembered and the use of the
phrase should have stopped
shortly thereafter; but it
Apparently the use of the
phrase experienced resurgence in the late ‘80s and
early ‘90s. So much so that
it prompted journalist Mike
Royko to do an investigative piece on the use of the
phrase. His findings were
published in The Baltimore
Sun in 1991, and according to
that article, based on statistics gathered by a 12-month
search for the “reach out”
phrase in three newspapers—
the Chicago Tribune, the New
York Times and the Washington Post, President Bill Clinton held the title of being the
public figure who most overused the phrase during that

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

time period.
Royko began his investigative piece with “Today’s
politicians and other public
figures need arms so long
that their hands drag on the
pavement. They need these
long limbs in order to ‘reach
out.’ You’ve probably noticed
that ‘reaching out’ is what
most politicians do these
The use of the phrase
again should have stopped
then, but it didn’t.

It has since become even
more mainstream and apparently acceptable in most
circles as good communication. Royko’s explanation can
be applied to the populationat-large today, and when
the general public begins to
emulate politicians, we are
indeed in a dire situation as a
I cringe when I hear
“reach out” used in a speech
when the meaning is clearly
that some sort of an effort
has been made to communicate with another person
or organization. The usual
meaning is that the person
has phoned, emailed, left a
message for, written a letter
to, requested information
from, etc. So why not say
specifically what action was
taken or is intended to be
It seems that “reach out”
is an ambiguous substitute
for being specific about an
Hardly a day passes that I

don’t hear or read this phrase
in professional communication or during newscasts.
People who likely have
college degrees and who
have been in the professional
arena for decades use it often,
as if it were acceptable.
The phrase is used often
by journalists who should
have been taught in news
writing 101 the importance
of communicating clearly
and concisely; yet they use it
Just this morning I had
a voice message from a representative of a prominent
organization in DeKalb
County; the message began
with “Hello, John. This is
*****, I’m just reaching out to
you to say hello….” Really?
In my world, she was calling
or phoning me. One has to
wonder just how long one’s
appendages are if they are
able to reach across a county
as large as DeKalb.
I’d love to know what
prompted educated persons

to begin using a phrase that
clearly is grammatically incorrect and why associates
did not correct them at the
first utterance of the phrase.
Why do news editors allow news writers to use the
phrase? Why do news anchors not refuse to use the
I’m afraid this phrase is
yet another example of the
dumbing down of America.
I can promise that as long
as I am around, readers will
never see this phrase on the
pages of The Champion, unless it is a direct quote.
The last grammatically
incorrect word or phrase
I recall being misused and
abused at this level was “conversate.” Thankfully, that one
didn’t stay around very long.
Do your friends, family
and associates a favor. “Reach
out” and correct them when
they use incorrect words and
phrases; they’ll eventually appreciate it.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Hit the Road Tax
“Heroes aren’t born....
they’re cornered,” actor, singer
and dancer –Mickey Rooney
(September 1920-April 2014).
There are times in politics,
when even against their best
judgment, our elected leaders
simply need to stand up and
take the lead. Such is the case
with Georgia ever finding
the political will or funding
mechanism to deal with our
ever-increasing transportation and transit demands.
The days of the federal government picking up most of
the tab may well be history—
particularly under the incoming and newly elected GOP
dual-majority Congress.
When Georgia voters were
surveyed exiting the polls
in November, traffic congestion and transportation
challenges continued to top
their list of concerns. Cobb
County voters passed a local
transportation special local
option sales tax (T-SPLOST),
as Gwinnett voters had done
in a prior cycle. And while
Georgia’s GOP dominated
the statewide elections, their
nominees largely lost nearly
every metro population center—Atlanta, Albany, Athens,
Augusta, Columbus, Macon
and Savannah all favored
State Sen. Jason Carter and
U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, as did the metro

Bill Crane


Atlanta suburban counties
of DeKalb, Fulton, Clayton,
Douglas, Henry, Newton and
Rockdale, among others. The
largest transportation corridor challenges are located
in areas where the GOP is
already not dominant. Gov.
Nathan Deal has already
appointed a joint study committee to make transportation
funding recommendations, a
path he has taken previously
with other major legislative
Technology innovations,
primarily in fracking, have
caused domestic oil production to soar, while the
combination of more energy
efficient vehicles and the lingering recession has caused
both demand and consumption to decline. Energy analysts and economists forecast
this combination to deliver
petroleum at less than $3 a

gallon for the immediately
foreseeable future. Georgia’s
state motor fuel taxes remain
among the nation’s lowest, at
19.3 cents for every gallon to
the state, including a 7.5 cent
excise tax, with the rest coming from the state’s 4 percent
sales tax on every gallon sold.
The revenue from that latter
number floats, along with the
price of the product. Only
14 of the 50 states currently
have a lower state motor
fuel tax, including three of
our neighbors, Alabama (18
cents), Florida (17.1 cents)
and South Carolina (16.75
cents). North Carolina and
Tennessee motor fuel taxes
are markedly higher.
The largest transportation
project already on the books
and scheduled for a 2016
start is the planned $1 billion rebuild of the congested
I-285/Georgia 400 interchange, currently handling
400,000-500,000 commuters
on the average weekday. The
new interchange will include
nearly 30 ramps, bridges and
entry/exit points, extending
4.3 miles from Roswell Road
on 285 in Fulton County to
Ashford Dunwoody Road
in DeKalb and 6 miles along
Georgia 400 from the Glenridge Connector to Spalding
Drive. The cost and scope
of this project will dwarf the
Spaghetti Junction inter-

change of I-85 and 285.
But the start of this project
came from a nontraditional
model worthy of consideration as an exemplar. The
Perimeter Center Community Improvement Districts
(PCIDs), two self-taxing
commercial property tax districts straddling two counties,
three cities and the very same
interchange, raised and expended the first $10 million
in research, transit planning,
community impact hearings,
environmental assessments
and design.
“The I-285 at 400 Interchange Improvements,
and GA 400 Lane CD Lane
System projects, have been
proclaimed by Gov. Deal as
the largest surface transportation infrastructure projects
in Georgia’s history, with
this project regarded with
statewide significance on a
scale of the Ports of Savannah
improvements,” said Yvonne
Williams, president of the
The governor and General
Assembly should assemble
an expanded transportation
funding package which bring
gasoline prices per gallon
back closer to $3 per gallon,
with at least a half cent of new
sales tax, and a commensurate adjustment in the excise
tax. Perhaps choosing whose
projects get funded first could

follow the PCIDs’ model of
helping those who first help
themselves. Area chambers of
commerce, CIDs and other
economic development entities could fund and conduct
the early assessments, and
absorb a portion of the design
and environmental impact assessments, bringing forward
projects which will create the
most ripple and impact, like
the deepening of the shipping
channel leading into the Ports
of Savannah.
Absent a major multibillion dollar refunding of the
Federal Highway Trust Fund,
states and regions going forward will be expected to do
more with less and to carry
more of the ball and the cost,
at least in part on their own.
Absent a ground swell for toll
roads, the model put forth
by the PCIDs is one to watch
and possibly to mimic in the
near future.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment
on a column at bill.csicrane@ 

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
Chief Financial Officer: Dr. Earl D. Glenn
Managing Editor: Andrew Cauthen
Production Manager: Kemesha Hunt
Photographer: Travis Hudgons
Staff Reporters: Carla Parker, Ashley Oglesby
Advertising Sales: Louise Dyrenforth Acker
The Champion Free Press is published each Friday by ACE III
Communications, Inc., • 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA.
30030 • Phone (404) 373-7779.
DISPLAY ADVERTISING (404) 373-7779 x 110

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, Dec. 5, 2014

Thomas Cowan
“I went through 12 years of scouting and why
wouldn’t I finish it up?”
That’s what 18-year-old Thomas Cowan said
about recently becoming one of nearly 3 million
young men who have become an Eagle Scout since
“It interested me,” Cowan said about scouting.
“I started as a first-grader. I thought, ‘I want to
join Cub Scouts.’ So I joined Cub Scouts because
it looked fun. The advertising worked. So I joined
and stayed through the sixth grade and I crossed
over to Boy Scout and went through the Trail of
To be eligible for Eagle Scout, the highest rank
in the Boy Scout program, candidates must earn
the first six ranks of scouting and 21 merit badges.
He must serve in senior leadership positions, complete a community service project and appear before a review board. Less than 2 percent of Scouts
achieve Eagle Scout rank.
Cowan has participated in many service projects as a scout. He assisted another Eagle Scout
candidate’s project of building a bridge for Hawthorne Elementary School.
“It was wonderful to just go out and help clean

up,” Cowan said.
His Eagle project was the construction of trash
can/water cooler containment units, which were “a
box with a shelf attached to it so that you can put
a trash can inside the unit and a five-gallon water
cooler on the side,” Cowan said.
The units were constructed for Camp Westminster, a Christian youth camp in Conyers.
Cowan chose to benefit the camp because the
Eagle project has to be for a nonprofit.
“Most of the Eagle projects get done around
the church and the school and I thought it would
be nice to find another place to do an Eagle project,” Cowan said.
A senior at the DeKalb School of the Arts,
Cowan is a member of the Georgia Thespians and
the Highleit musical theater. He is a member of
Grace Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain
where he runs the audiovisual equipment and performs general maintenance in the church.
Cowan’s advice for anyone considering scouting is “do it.”
“It’s completely and utterly worth it,” Cowan

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.

Dunwoody appoints
city manager
by Ashley Oglesby
Dunwoody Mayor Mike
Davis has selected Eric Linton to serve as the city’s manager. The appointment follows
a seven-month nationwide
search. A vote on his appointment is expected at the City
Council’s Dec. 8 meeting.
“We conducted a thorough search and ultimately
selected Eric from a large list
of experienced and extremely
talented candidates,” Davis
He added, “Eric is a highly
skilled public administrator and government services
manager with experience at
the city and county level. Specifically, we were impressed
with his veteran skills in planning, zoning and development
as well as his experience with
comprehensive planning. I am
confident he will be a tremendous asset to our city and the
right leader for our exception-

Eric Linton

al team of employees.”
According to a press release, “Linton is a credentialed
manager with the International City/County Management Association, a member
of the American Institute of
Certified Planners and is active in the American Planning
Association, Georgia Plan-

ning Association, the Georgia
City-County Management
Association and the Association County Commissioners
of Georgia.”
Linton said, “I am excited
about the opportunity to serve
the citizens of Dunwoody and
help implement development
and infrastructure improvements in line with community-driven plans and goals.
“I grew up just outside the
Dunwoody city border and attended Chamblee High School
so I am very familiar with the
area’s character, history and
tradition. It’s a homecoming for me in a way and I’m
looking forward to providing
strategic and effective ideas to
help the city succeed.”
Linton holds a masters in
planning and also a bachelor
of science in management,
operations management, both
from the Georgia Institute of

County receives
rebate for
electric vehicle
charging stations
DeKalb County recently announced the receipt of a rebate from the Georgia Environmental
Finance Authority’s (GEFA) “Charge Georgia” program.
The program allows for a 50 percent reimbursement of costs to support installation of electric car
charging stations around the county.
Charging stations have already been approved
for installation, including parking areas at the following DeKalb County locations: DeKalb County
Government Administration Building, 1300 Commerce Dr., Decatur; DeKalb County Fleet Maintenance Building, 5350 Memorial Dr., Stone Mountain; and DeKalb County Central Transfer Station,
3720 Leroy Scott Dr., Decatur.
“Transportation has a huge impact on sustainability, and we’re proud that Atlanta ranks second
in the United States for electric car ownership,” said
interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May. “This rebate
will help provide the infrastructure people need to
see so they are encouraged to use or make the move
to own electric cars and have a first-hand positive
impact on our environment.”
The GEFA “Charge Georgia” rebate is another
step forward in DeKalb County’s long history to
pursue and promote sustainable efforts. For its
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fleet vehicles, the
county’s fleet management department uses natural gas produced by the Seminole Road Landfill.
DeKalb uses 58 CNG, 100 propane and four hybrid
bucket trucks in the county fleet, as well as four hybrid SUVs.

See Stations on page 9A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014



Page 7A


struction activities in the Fair Oaks community. 
Resource Center, 4404 N. Shallowford Road, DunResidents are encouraged to attend to find out woody.
how these improvements will affect the commuThe event features special guest appearance by
Santa Claus.
Light refreshments will be served.
“Spend time visiting with Santa Claus, enjoy
games and activities all while assisting families in
the community,” states an announcement about the
New Year’s Eve dance event
City to conduct road demonstration announced
The suggested donation per family is one unwrapped
toy, one can food item and $10.
Avondale Estates will conduct a demonstration
for the event, which is event is open
project on U.S. Route 278 on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.
the PMA office at (678) 947to 4 p.m. The city received a grant from the Atlanta
Regional Commission to further study the redesign
of U.S. Route 278 (East College Avenue, North Avon- the 1970s to the present. Reservations are availdale Road, North Avondale Plaza, Covington Road) able at the History Center office or online through
from Ashton Place to Sams Crossing.
Admission fee includes appetizers, festive
As part of the grant, the proposed roadway
favors and two drink tickets. Additional
changes–including a road diet and intersection imdrink
tickets available at the event. Festive dress is
provements–will be set up on the street Dec. 6 so
Dress to represent a favorite musical Church to host Christmas Cantata
drives and residents can visualize the impact. The
style or decade or just show up prepared to dance!
demonstration will be temporary using cones, flags
Saint Paul A.M.E. Worship Center will present
Admission is $25 for History Center memand chalk, among other materials.
annual Christmas Cantata Dec. 5 at 7
For more information, visit www.avondaleestates. bers, $35 for non-members and $15 for guests un- p.m. The event will include the Lou Walker Senior
der 21. The event will be Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m.–12:30
Center Performance Arts Group.
a.m. at DeKalb History Center, Historic DeKalb
Admission is $15 and the doors will open at
Courthouse, 101 E. Court Square in downtown
p.m. Saint Paul A.M.E. Worship Center is
at 1704 Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road in
Catering for the event is courtesy of by Badda
Bing and event design provided by Soiree South
& Co.
The History Center has a block of rooms
Porter Sanford Center to host 2014
available at the Courtyard Marriott – less than
tree lighting
a block away. Reservations must be made by
December 12. Check the events page at www.
Board of Health receives safe for detailed information.
The Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and
Community Center will host its annual Holiday
communities grant
Village on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5:30-8 p.m., at
3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur.
The DeKalb County Board of Health has reThe annual event brings together DeKalb
a $72,400 Safe Communities grant from
County residents, community organizations and
Office of Highway Safety. It will
businesses to kick off the holiday season.
DeKalb to make roads
The Holiday Village will be held in conjuncsafer
pedestrians of all
tion with Commissioner Larry Johnson’s seventh
annual community tree lighting, which will take
Information Open House set
The program will install and check child
place at 7:15 p.m. at the Porter Sanford III Persafety
seats, hold child passenger safety classes
forming Arts and Community Center. The event
low cost or free safety and booster
inis free and open to the public.
families. The funds will also help
Musical guest performances, artist appearancto
to school, including checking
es and activities during the event and tree lighting
include: Lou Walker Senior Center Choir, Atlanta
plans to offer
Young Singers, A Soulful Christmas Chocolettes,
Driver Error
Love Divine Music Conservatory, Dwayne Boyd
It will
Photography, Mike Bend the ELF, DeKalb County
Fire Rescue Explorers Holiday Mocktails, Hank
Decisions groups to educate teens on the responStewart’s Hot Chocolate Affair, and a sneak presibilities of driving. In addition, the program will
view performance by McClendon Performing
Plumbers’ group to benefit open
engage stakeholders along Buford Highway in
Arts Institute.
promoting pedestrian safety education and traffic
For more information on the Porter Sanford
calming measures.
III Performing Arts and Community Center, visit
In DeKalb County, between 2006 and 2010,
motor vehicle crashes were responsible for 30,214
Mechanical Associaemergency room visits, 2,317 hospitalizations and
(PMA) of Georgia
Community to discuss water main tion
369 deaths, according to the Georgia Department
is hosting a community
of Public Health.
replacement and repaving project Open House Benefiting
For more information about Safe Communities
Marine Toys for Tots, AtDeKalb, call (404) 508-7847.
lanta Community Food
Upcoming water main replacement and reBank’s Food and Funds,
paving will be the topic of a meeting Dec. 4 at
and United Craftsmen
6:30 p.m. at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, Children’s Shoe Drive.
1722 Oak Grove Road, Decatur.
The open house will
The DeKalb County of Watershed Managebe Sunday, Dec. 7, from
ment’s Capital Improvement Projects Division
1-4 p.m. at the Georwill host the meeting to update residents on con- gia Power Customer






Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

Helping those who help homeless
by Carla Parker
HomeAid Atlanta in Tucker has helped many
organizations with their missions to end homelessness.
HomeAid Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that builds and renovates multi-unit
transitional housing facilities used by agencies
serving homeless families and individuals in nine
counties in the metro Atlanta area. The organization is the designated charity of the Greater Atlanta
Home Builders Association and is a local chapter of
HomeAid America, a leading national provider of
transitional housing for the temporarily homeless.
Jean Hilyard, executive director of HomeAid
Atlanta, said some builders who at the time wanted
to assist a transitionally homeless facility formed
HomeAid America in California.
“They were going to their friends and asking
them to donate cash,” she said.
However, their friends would not give them
money, but they were able to find people in the
building business who would donate their time and
“So they just asked people to do what they do
and help groups like this,” she said. “And that’s how
HomeAid was formed.”
After that, more chapters were formed, including the Atlanta chapter, which was founded in
The organization has done 18 shelter projects.
For the shelter projects, HomeAid builds or remodels facilities for organizations so that they are able
to provide beds for the homeless. Some of the organizations the group has worked with include Decatur Cooperative Ministry and the United Methodist Children’s Home.
“We’ve also renovated a major kitchen,” she
said. “So those are the larger projects. We’re in the
middle of one now, but we’ve also done a lot of
what we call ‘Care Days.’
“Care Days” are single-day events when a group
of volunteers go to facilities where HomeAid has
done projects and help with the maintenance. Since
Hilyard came on board in 2012, she has communicated with new groups to see if they need assistance.
“I try to reach out to new groups and help other
groups that might not necessarily qualify for a shelter from us, but I think they are good groups that
we want to help anyway,” she said. “So, we’ve done
about 30 HomeAid Care Days.”
Hilyard came from Druid Hills United Methodist Church in Atlanta where members serve
homeless people. After seeing how great the need
is, she got involved with HomeAid.
The organization also does outreach activities.
Each year it conducts a drive to collect baby items
and donates them to facilities that serve homeless
mothers and their babies.
“We help rebuild lives through housing and
outreach,” she said.
HomeAid has also started “HomeAid care kits,”
which are hygiene kits with shampoo, conditioner,
combs, soap, granola bar and razor, and are donated to food pantries.
HomeAid is currently working on a project in
Duluth and broke ground on another project in
Roswell. The shelters that HomeAid builds for organizations have programs that help people get on
their feet.
“The people who live there don’t just live there
to get a free place to stay and that’s it. They have to
go through financial education classes, parenting
classes and counseling,” she said. “They’re getting
a hand up, not a handout, so they are able to find

Volunteers from the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s Professional Women in Building Chapter participate in
the HomeAid’s “HomeAid Care Day” at United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur in September.

HomeAid renovated The Drake House in Roswell, a short-term transitional housing program for single mothers with
children; participants may live in the apartment for up to 90 days while rebuilding their lives.

Decatur Cooperative Ministry home, located in Decatur, is for homeless families that can live in the home for up to two


The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

Page 9A

CHRIS Kids serves youth
who fall into society’s gaps
by Kathy Mitchell
Troy Fleet has been in
and out of temporary housing situations since he was 7
years old. Now 20, Fleet said
CHRIS Kids—a nonprofit
organization that serves
homeless youth—“is like a
dream come true.”
“For the first time in my
life I feel safe and protected.
I feel that I’m surrounded by
family,” he said of the agency
that has arranged shelter,
counseling, an opportunity
to complete his schooling
and other services. “I want
to become an entertainer,
and they’re even helping me
with that,” he said.
Fleet grew up in Virginia
where he was physically,
sexually and psychologically
abused by a family member.
Rolling up his shirt sleeve,
he said, “Here are the scars
where he burned my arm on
the stove. He once threw me
off a balcony. Fortunately,
my jacket caught on something and stopped the fall.
Someone had to climb up
and get me.”
Eventually, a neighbor
intervened and Fleet and
his brother were placed in
foster care. When he became
too old for foster care, Fleet
moved to the Atlanta area
with a friend, who was coming to Georgia to be with
family. “I lived with them for
a short time, but that didn’t
work because they were
taking advantage of me,”
he said, explaining that the
family had been taking his
government benefits. “Finally, I just left.”
“CHRIS Kids was cre-

ated to help young people
like Troy,” explained Kathy
Colbenson, chief executive officer at CHRIS Kids.
“Homeless kids need more
than a place to sleep. The
circumstances that left them
homeless usually leave them
with emotional issues and
other matters to deal with.”
Founded in 1981 by
Junior League of Atlanta,
CHRIS KIDS is headquartered in DeKalb County,
but serves the entire metropolitan area. “We can’t serve
kids based on where they
live. They don’t live anywhere—they’re homeless,”
Colbenson said.
She continued, “CHRIS
KIDS was created to fill the
gaps—to serve young people
whose needs weren’t being
met at existing organizations. Some have emotional
needs that aren’t being met
in the foster system.” Others
found it difficult to find a
suitable home within agencies that serve homeless
Fleet describes himself
as “openly gay” and said that
has made it harder for him
to be placed.
“We realized that this
segment of the population
was having a harder time
getting the services they
need. At the time we first
opened, many agencies had
a policy of not accepting gay
kids. They have always been
welcome here,” Colbenson
She estimates that the
agency has served approximately 30,000 young people
since its founding. CHRIS
Kids receives 75 percent of

Kathy Colbenson, right, and Troy Fleet stand in front of artwork that depicts one of CHRIS Kids’ core values—
respect. Photo by Kathy Mitchell

its funding from county,
state and federal grants.
The rest comes from private
“Those private donations are so important,” Colbenson said. “Government
grants come with restrictions, but there are needs
that can’t be met within
those restrictions. We don’t
just serve youngsters in our
program, we serve the whole
community. We try to get
them food, hygiene products
and other things for homeless people who aren’t our
CHRIS Kids raises
money through its annual CHRIStal Ball, but still
needs individual donations,
Colbenson said. She urged
those who would like to help


The agency’s name is
an acronym formed from
its core values: creativity,
honor, respect, integrity and
safety. “We become the family that many young people
never had. Like parents,
we do for them things they
can’t do for themselves,
coach them and encourage
them in things they can do
for themselves and care for
them even when they make
mistakes,” Colbenson said.
She added, “There are
definite consequences for
those who don’t follow the
rules. Some may even be
asked to leave, but we’re here
to help when they need us


Magistrate Court of DeKalb County 
Public Notice 

Continued From Page 6A

By the end of the year, half of DeKalb County’s tractor
and front loader fleet will be fueled by CNG. Additionally,
the police department –which uses more than $3 million
in fuel annually to power its fleet–has piloted four propane
units, with plans to expand that number to 50 units over the
next eight months. This will cut yearly fuel costs by more
than half.
Construction to install the charging stations is estimated
to begin by early 2015.

to visit the website: www.
Fleet lives alone in a
one-bedroom apartment in
an independent living apartment complex that CHRIS
Kids operates for youth who
have aged out of the foster
care system. Colbenson said
there’s always a waiting list
of people wanting to move
into the complex, where tenants sign a lease, agree to
agency rules and pay 30 percent of their income.
“It’s wonderful. It’s clean
and safe,” Fleet said of the
east Atlanta housing complex. “Other agencies do the
best they can and I’m not
criticizing them, but some
put homeless young people
in with older adults and
that’s not always a safe situ-

Effective December 8, 2014, the Criminal Division of the Magistrate Court of DeKalb 
County will be temporarily relocating from its current location on Camp Circle in Decatur, to 
the DeKalb County Courthouse, 4th floor, Judicial Tower, 556 North McDonough Street, 
Decatur, 30030.  The Camp Circle location will be closed during renovations that are expected 
to last six (6) months. While the Criminal Division of the Magistrate Court will continue to 
operate seven (7) days per week, the hours of operations will change slightly. Specifically, the 
Court will close at 11pm every day instead of midnight.  For further information, please call 
Berryl Anderson, Chief Magistrate Judge, DeKalb County  


Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

Body cams pending
in Pine Lake
by Ashley Oglesby
Wearable video cameras,
or body cams, might soon become standard equipment for
police on the beat – a possibility that has led to both praise
and concern from civil liberties
Pine Lake Police Department discussed at the Nov. 25
city council meeting, adding
miniaturized video cameras
and microphones to capture, in
full detail, officers’ interactions
with civilians.
In a proposal submitted to
the council, the department
stated, “We believe the implementation of on-body recording systems will significantly
assist our agency in obtaining
an ever increasingly, higher
degree of enhanced accountability to the communities we
serve and protect.”
Police Chief Sarai
Y’Hudah-Green said the department is looking to adopt
the policy in 2015. An official
date has not been decided on.
“Right now we’re in the
process of doing research –
finding a device that is tailormade for an agency such as
ours,” Green said.
Even though such cameras
may produce the benefit of
ending police abuse, they could
be a serious threat to constitutional rights. In particular,
the cameras could violate the
Fourth Amendment’s ban on
warrantless surveillance and
Council member George
Chidi said, “It’s important to
warn someone that they are
being taped and it’s more than
just having a light on. When we
finally adopt a formal policy,
part of that should be a change
in the uniform to have a button
or badge that is physically near
where the body cam is that says
body cam is in use.”
He said it should be a part
of the departments’ standard
practice to notify civilians that
they are being recorded.
Officers issued a wearable camera will be required
to make sure that the device is
working properly by conducting a brief recording of himself
or herself which will include
the officer’s name, badge number, unit of assignment, date
and time. After recording, the
officer also will be responsible
for reviewing the video to
verify the audio and video test
recorded properly. If there are

any problems detected from
the camera, officers are to notify a supervisor immediately.
The department has not yet
decided on the placement of
the body camera but is debating having the officers wear it
as a part of their uniform.
According to the proposal,
the body camera equipment
may be manually deactivated
during non-enforcement activities such protecting an
accident scene from other vehicular traffic or when an officer may need to use restroom
facilities. Nothing in the procedure shall prohibit an officer
from activating their camera
whenever the officer deems the
use of it is appropriate.
“The Pine Lake Police
Department is committed to
protecting the constitutional
right of all people,” said stated
the department’s proposal. “We
recognize the need to continuously improve our knowledge
and application of the law as
it pertains to our members in
their individual capacity as
law enforcement officers, and
collectively, as a law enforcement agency. In pursuit of our
mission, we further recognize
the benefit of employing equipment and technology that will
assist us in our ethical, legal
and moral obligation to identify, collect and preserve the
very best evidence of every
encounter between our officers
and the public. This is especially true where the possibility
exists that our officers may determine it necessary to exercise
their legal discretion, power
and authority in concert with a
police intervention, under the
color of law. As such, we have
chosen to implement the use of
on-body recording systems as
the primary means of attaining
this goal,” according to the departments proposal.
Access to camera units will
be restricted to supervisors for
assignment as deemed necessary, the proposal stated.
All original recordings will
be downloaded onto department approved storage devices
at the end of an officer’s duty
and stored for 90 days.
Any request for an A/V file
would have to be submitted
before the end of the 90-day
retention period. All requests
will be honored according to
the department approved protocol for the release of information and in compliance with
the Georgia Open Records Act.

From left Project Give co-chairwomen Kim Urbach, Susie Sommer and Ellen Chalef. Photo courtesy
of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta

Jewish book festival
supports reading
by Ashley Oglesby
Through Project GIVE, a community action project coordinated at the
Marcus Jewish Community Center’s
annual book festival, more than 1,000
gently used books were provided to
metro-area students, according to a recent press release.
Project Give co-chairwoman Ellen
Chalef said, “We are so appreciative to
the members of the community who
have participated in this special community action project.”
“The books that are donated by the
community are taken to schools where
volunteer tutors and books are most
needed,” Chalef said.
The Jewish Center, which collected
book donations from festival guests
and center visitors, made a bulk donation to the Atlanta Jewish Coalition to
Literacy. The books were distributed to
area schools where extra resources were
needed the most.
The coalition also brings volunteer
reading tutors into classrooms to help
students struggling with reading comprehension.
“Tutors choose the books to read
with their children, and once the child
has mastered a book, the book is gifted
to the student,” said Project GIVE cochairwoman Kim Urbach.

“These tutors, as well as the books,
are making such a difference in the lives
of these students,” added co-chairwoman Susie Sommer.
“Not only are they receiving the
present of a book, but they are gaining
the gift of being able to read it, independently,” Sommer said.
The community-centered annual
book festival celebrated 23 years this
fall; it is the second largest Jewish book
festival in the country.
The festival was initially started as
an offering to the community and in
honor of Jewish Book Month in November–which is when the festival takes
This year, the lineup included 40
authors including Bob Saget, Dr. Eben
Alexander, Mark Bittman, Andy Cohen, Tracey Davis, Ezekiel Emmanuel,
Daniel Gordin, Dan Harris, Walter
Isaacson, Anna Quindlen, Ron Suskind and Rabbi Joseph Teluskin.
Each year, the book festival highlights a charity to support through its
Project Give program. This year it is the
Atlanta Jewish Coalition for Literacy,
which tutors children in kindergarten
through second grade who are struggling with reading.
For more information about Project
GIVE, send an email to projectgive@ or call (678) 812-3978.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

Page 11A

Residents relieved from
obsessive handbills
by Ashley Oglesby
After many unsuccessful
attempts to assist residents
in opt-out delivery, the city
of Chamblee has adopted a
new ordinance regarding the
distribution of handbills.
The new ordinance applies to any printed or written material, leaflets, papers
or flyers.
Chamblee Police Chief
Donny Williams said, “The
primary purpose of the ordinance is to assist residents
who want to reduce the
number of unwanted handbills and opt out of deliveries
with those companies.”
Williams said the ordinance was put in place to
provide a service for those
wishing to stop receiving
them and perhaps reduce
the accumulation of handbills at locations where they
are not being picked up.

The ordinance states
that no person shall throw,
deposit, leave, place or cause
the throwing, depositing,
leaving or placing of any
handbills, upon any private,
public or vacant properties,
unless exempted by the article.
Williams said, “Residents approached council
who directed staff to find a
solution. The ordinance was
borrowed from one in use
by Gwinnett County. Residents complained they have
been unable to stop unwanted handbills after repeatedly
attempting to deal with the
The ordinance also applies to vehicles, utility
poles, trees and other structures.
Decals are to be placed
on the bottom right hand
corner of the mailbox lid of
residents who do not want
to receive handbills.

Williams said, “The
cost savings truly are with
the manufactures of the
handbills by getting them to
those who want them and
not in the garbage can.”
City police department
officials communicated with
several local organizations
to advise them of the ordinance and description of the
The green mailbox decals can be picked up at the
Chamblee Police Department Records Section on
Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The city announced if
unwanted deliveries continue to decaled locations,
residents should email with the address
of the complaint and name
of the unwanted handbill.

Residents’ decal opposes unwanted handbill deliveries.



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

Dekalb Watershed

Where does FOG come from?
Baking goods

Food scraps

Dairy products

Butter and margarine


Meat fat


Cooking oil


Vivid Boutique
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.

Razz Dazz Girls

Butter & Cream
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.

Worthmore Jewelers

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!

   The City of Brookhaven will hold a public hearing on the proposed FY2015 Budget during the 
regular scheduled City Council meeting on December 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.  Following the 
public hearing on December 16, 2014, the City Council will vote to adopt the FY2015 Budget.  
The FY 2015 Budget is available for public inspection at City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, and on 
the website  

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-dec4-2014.indd 1

R oa st fre e m arsh
du rin g ou r bo nf irem allow s
on th e squa re – D ec
. 18 !

12/2/14 12:31 PM

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

local news

Eagle Scout Ceremony
Thomas Cowan of Stone Mountain was recognized Nov. 30 for attaining the rank of Eagle
Scout, the highest rank of the Boy Scouts of America. Above, Scoutmaster Ronald Vaughn prepares to present Cowan with Eagle awards. Bottom left, several Boy Scouts participate in Cowan’s
Eagle Scout Court of Honor. See story on page 6A. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Page 12A


The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Week in pictures

Page 13A


Decatur Active Living receives marketing awards
at annual conference

Stone Mountain Park is aglow with more than 2 million lights. Photo by Travis Hudgons.

Decatur Active Living Division recently received
two awards at the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association annual conference held in Jekyll Island.
The Team Decatur 2014 poster won a marketing
and visibility award for a single event and the new
athletics brochure won for multiple events in the marketing and visibility category. Both the poster and the
brochure were designed by Decatur graphic design
firm Lampe Farley Communications.
Decatur Active Living staff members were on hand
to receive the awards. The Georgia Recreation and
Parks Association is the professional organization for
recreation professionals. Active Living director Gregory White is on the board of directors of the organization and several staff members are active committee

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, Dec. 5, 2014

Stone Mountain
Christmas Parade

The city of Stone Mountain held its annual Christmas parade and
fireworks show Nov. 28. The parade included organizations and businesses
from Stone Mountain and featured Santa Claus. Photos by Carla Parker

local news

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 15A

Continued From Page 1A

details of those crimes.”
On Nov. 23, at approximately 10
a.m., Dawkins was robbed and shot to
death while she waited for the bus at a
MARTA stop on Fairington Road, according to police.
“The thing that strikes me the most
is that we’re talking about 10:00 in the
morning at a crowded street and bus
stop and the brazen way that he came
across and assaulted this lady,” said
Assistant Police Chief Michael Yarborough.
Yarborough said the suspect had
“intent to rob. And there is the potential for sexual assault, but we don’t
know what was on his mind at that
“To have him off the streets today
brings security to my mind and, I hope,
to the DeKalb County citizens,” Yarborough said.
Detectives investigating the case
canvassed the area, speaking to potential witnesses. They also obtained
a video of the incident from a nearby
business. Arrest warrants were obtained for Merritt and turned over to
the DeKalb Sheriff ’s fugitive squad on
Nov. 26.
Merritt was located by deputies Nov.
28 in an abandoned apartment building in Lithonia.
“I would like to commend the
DeKalb County Police Department for
quickly identifying the suspect,” said
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann.
“When they turned the warrants over
to the DeKalb County Sheriff ’s Office on Nov. 26, our fugitives detectives,…quickly responded into action
and within 48 hours…apprehended
Mr. Merritt in a vacant apartment in
Conroy said Merritt’s capture “probably prevented additional crimes.”
Additionally, Merritt has been
charged with three counts of false imprisonment in three other cases.
“We do have physical evidence and
other evidence that leads us to believe
that Mr. Merritt is involved in these incidents and other crimes as well,” Yarborough said. All of the sexual assault
victims are from DeKalb County and
the crimes date back to 2013.
Some of the evidence connects Merritt to a June sexual assault, according
to police.
Police said additional charges for
other crimes may be pending.
“We’re still investigating a number
of other cases to try to determine how
many Mr. Merritt may have been involved in them,” Conroy said.
Including Dawkins, police are
“looking at a minimum of four victims
and upwards of five to seven victims
over the last couple of years,” Yarborough said. “We have quite a few people
to talk to, including some that might be
witnesses and other victims, in order to
identify other items that will help us in
this case.”

Many of the residents of the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia come from the metro Atlanta area. Photos provided


Continued From Page 1A

made it to the Milledgeville facility. He served “a month or so” of
his sentence in the DeKalb youth
detention center.
While there, “My court service
worker told me about this Paul
Anderson Youth Home. Little did
I know that my mother had been
talking with the court service
worker,” Sullards said.
Located in Vidalia, the Paul
Anderson Youth Home is the only
non-government-funded youth
home in Georgia that provides an
alternative to jail for boys. 
Drew Read, COO of the Paul
Anderson Youth Home, said the
home is a ministry that works
with families who have boys “who
have made some poor choices.”
“We give them an opportunity
to rebuild their homes and their
lives and family,” Read said.
During the organization’s 53year history, many of the boys
have come from DeKalb County.
“I know in the early years of the
home, DeKalb County was where
Paul Anderson, our founder,
would often go to get young men,”
Read said about the youth home,
which addresses the spiritual,
emotional, mental, social and
physical needs of the participants.
Sullards said his mother and
the court service worker “worked
it out where I could go down to
the Paul Anderson Youth Home as
an alternative sentence.”
“That was Paul Anderson’s
philosophy—to take the boys who
were in trouble, who didn’t have
anywhere else to turn,” Sullards
“It’s a hard program. You work
very hard,” said Sullards, who cur-

rently works with the Hall County
Fire Department and is in paramedics’ school. “Paul Anderson’s
philosophy was you’re no longer
going to be a liability to society;
you’re going to be an asset. And
you learn to work. You work all
day long, through the summer
[and] on the weekends.”
Sullards said he “bucked
against the system down there for
a couple of months but then…I
was really on board with it and I
learned a lot about working hard. I
learned how to respect authority.”
After being in the youth home
for a couple months, Sullards said,
he became a Christian.
“It really changed my complete
outlook,” Sullards said. “For me it
was a real 180-degree turn with
my life and the way I looked at
While in the youth home, Sullards attempted to join the army.
“But I could not do it because
of my charges, so they helped me
to take my GED and got me into
college,” said Sullards, who graduated from the University of Georgia with a resource management
“I had quit school after the
ninth grade, and I was a terrible
student,” he said. “I quit school
and never had any intentions of
going back. They helped me get
back on track with all that.”
The youth home is “a miracle
in the lives of the boys who go
through that program,” said Sullards, who worked at Paul Anderson for five years as a fulltime
counselor. “It’s unbelievable that
you can actually go there instead
of jail.”

Sullards said, “The Paul Anderson Youth Home not only had an
impact on me, it had an impact on
my entire family. It really implants
a legacy mindset that just goes on
for generations.”
Read, the youth home’s COO,
said many of the boys who enroll
in the program are on drugs.
“We try to rebuild them physically,” he said. “It’s the easiest thing
to do. We get them feeling better
about themselves. They begin to
eat better and to feel better in general and there begins to be sense
of confidence. That gives us a context to work with them and deal
with some of the issues in their
“The magic of the program is
basically we hold up a mirror and
say, ‘This is what you look like. Is
this who you want to be? If you
don’t like your circumstances then
you’re going to have to change
your choices,’” Read said.
Brooks’ mother, Sandra Sullards, said that in addition to helping her son “in so many ways,” the
home had a positive effect on the
whole family.
“We felt like we were total
failures—that we failed as parents,” Sullards said. “Knowing
that [Brooks was] on the road to
mending, that [he was] were going to get better, that [he was]
succeeding in putting all this past
stuff behind [him]—that brought
peace to everybody.”
The youth center “was a real
blessing,” Sandra Sullards said.
“They took everything that was in
such disarray and put it in order.
“I am very thankful for the Paul
Anderson Youth Home,” she said.

Stop bullying now
stand up • speak out


Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Helping those with physical
disabilities through sports
by Carla Parker
BlazeSports America,
located in downtown Decatur near city hall, is often
confused for a sports or athletic gear store.
However, it is a 501(c)
(3) nonprofit organization
that provides children and
adults with physical disabilities the chance to play
sports and live healthy, active lives. BlazeSports has
been in Decatur since the
summer of 2010.
Mara Galic, director of
operation and evaluation for
BlazeSports, said the organization was originally established in 1993, and started
doing its programing for
the Legacy Organization of
the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic
“Usually after a Paralympic Games or an Olympic Games, there is a legacy
organization created in the
host city to carry on the efforts to creating more sport
opportunities,” Galic said.
“One of the main reasons
BlazeSports was formed was
because there are very few
programs for individuals
with physical disabilities,
compared to the opportunities available for young
people without a disability.”
BlazeSports had a range
of programs for youth and
veterans from canoeing to
wheelchair basketball. One
of the programs for youth
includes the Atlanta Wheelchair Hawks basketball
“We have a junior division and a prep division,”
Galic said. “It’s year-round.
We believe that sports help
those with disabilities reintegrate into the community
much faster and easier.”
People with disabilities
are less physically active and
have a higher risk of developing obesity than those
without a disability because
there are few opportunities
to be active, according to
“We were formed to fill
that gap as much as we can

in Georgia,” she said. “And
we have a national effort,
where we actually train and
certify service providers
across Georgia and across
the country to develop
adaptive sports programs.
Another reason BlazeSports
formed was because of the
link between being active,
health, doing well in school
and gaining employment.”
The organization also
has an equipment loan program to lend sports chairs
to communities that want to
start an adapted sports program. BlazeSports has done
activities at a few DeKalb
schools, including “Blaze
“During ‘Blaze Day’
we teach disability awareness, teach physical education and expose elementary students to Paralympic
sports and the fact that
their friends that are in a
wheelchair or have official
impairment can play and be
active in sports too,” Galic
Galic also said the organization is working on a
new program at the Coralwood Center School called
“Blaze Tots” for preschool
toddlers, ages 2 to 5 years
old who have a physical disability.
“It’s more active play to
get them comfortable with
movement and playing, because that’s the age where
they are really forming their
behaviors,” Galic said. “We
want to start early with that
age group along with their
parents and caregivers.”
BlazeSports also works
with DeKalb Parks and Recreation Department, using
the facilities for games and
BlazeSports also has
an international program,
where it has been delivering Paralympic and inclusive sports opportunities
worldwide since the 1996
Paralympic Games in Atlanta. The organization has
brought the programs to
Egypt, Iran and South Africa, and is currently working

See Blaze on page 17A

BlazeSports is a nonprofit organization that provides children and adults with physical disabilities the chance
to play sports and live healthy, active lives.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 17A


Continued From Page 18A

with Brazil and Haiti.
Galic said staff members
train people in those countries
so that the skills and the leadership stay there to build more
sustainable programs.
“We’ve been doing work
in Haiti since the earthquake
because many children and
adults became disabled because of the earthquake,” she
said. “We’ve done many trainings and camps with young
people and now we have three
physical activity programs
being implemented in three
communities as a result of the
training we did in the country.”
Any sports program, club,
parks and recreation department or other organization
that is providing opportunities
for children and adults with
physical disabilities to take
part in sports, physical activity or fitness can join the Blaze
network, by visiting its website:

BlazeSports has a range of programs for youth and veterans from swimming to wheelchair basketball.

Great American Smokeout
by Ashley Oglesby
Nationwide, 159,260 men and women
are expected to die of lung cancer in 2014,
with 4,690 lung cancer deaths in Georgia.
The American Cancer Society (ACS)
held its 39th Great American Smokeout, an
event held every third Thursday of November to encourage smokers to quit.
Senior Director of Media Relations
Elissa McCrary said, “Smoking cigarettes
causes more than 127,000 deaths from lung
cancer each year in U.S. men and women,
accounting for more than 80 percent of all
lung cancer deaths in the United States.”
According to ACS, smoking is the No. 1
cause of lung cancer. An estimated 224,210
new cases of lung cancer are expected in
2014, accounting for about 13 percent of all
cancer diagnoses.
Leading up to the Great American
Smokeout, smokers were given information
on how to make a comprehensive plan and
given tips on planning in advance for quitting on that day.
“Thanks in part to the society’s work,
cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has decreased from more than 42 percent in 1965
to around 19 percent today,” said Richard
C. Wender, M.D., chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society. “Yet
tobacco use still accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 80 percent of

lung cancer deaths.”
Wender said, “For every person who
dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 others suffer at least one serious illness from
Analyzed data by the society’s Epidemiology Research program from Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS-II), which began in
1982, on the association between smoking
and cancer said that women who smoke today have a much greater risk of death from
lung cancer than female smokers 20 or 40
years ago, likely reflecting changes in smoking behavior.
“We hope the Great American Smokeout continues to have an impact, helping
smokers realize they can add up to a decade onto their life by quitting now,” said
Consider these five quitting tips from
the ACS.
1. Set a date. Picking a “quit day” is a critical first step.
2. Make a plan.
3. Don’t smoke on your quit day.
4. Avoid rationalizations.
5. Bounce back from slips.
Explore free resources and tools at or call 1-800-227-2345.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 18A

Tri-Cities High School principal and 2014 award recipient Dan Sims.

Atlanta Families’ accepts nominations
for outstanding educators
by Ashley Oglesby
While doing a job in a timely
and organized fashion will typically
go a long way toward being wellregarded at work, a few extra steps
could ensure that the work is recognized and appreciated.
Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE) is a
nonprofit program that awards educators in the metro Atlanta school
Amber Stewart, executive director of AFAEE, said, “Our mission
is to recognize school leaders and
teachers for the excellence that they
demonstrate in their schools and in
their communities.”
Each teacher and school leader
winner is awarded $7,500.
The award includes $3,500 for
the funding of a school project,
$1,500 for the funding of a professional development opportunity to
increase the winner’s effectiveness
in the school or classroom and a
personal stipend of $2,500.
Educators receive the award by

demonstrating excellence in three
areas: growth in student achievement, enhancing students’ selfesteem and collaboration with multiple stakeholders for the benefit of
Stewart said, “We do this because we want to improve education
by retaining excellent educators and
we know that if we spend time recognizing those that are doing a great
job, it’s more likely that they will
continue to do what they’re doing.”
Nominations for the award are
open through Jan. 9. Nominees
must agree to remain in the district
for the 2016-2017 school year, must
have worked at least two years at a
current traditional or charter school
and must be a pre-K-12 grade
teacher, principal or vice principal.
Applications will be available
beginning Dec. 12.
This is the first year the award
is open and available to the DeKalb,
Cobb and Gwinnett school districts.
Previous award recipients have
come from Atlanta Public Schools
and Fulton County.
The program is funded through

See Educators on page 19A

Feldwood Elementary School Nicole Ford receives 2014 award.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014



Page 19A

Continued From Page 18A

family donors. Stewart said,
“These are families that are
committed to making sure
that education in the City
of Atlanta improves because
it impacts everyone and if
there is great public education out there we know that
it will have a positive impact on our communities.”
AFAEE has reached
more than 100 families
who personally sponsor the
Stewart said, “The program is always looking for
donors and corporate sponsors.”
AFAEE started the program in 2005 and gave its
first awards in 2006.
Over a span of 10 years,
the program has recognized
127 educators and given
more than $2 million.
Award winner for 2014
and Tri-Cities High School
Principal Dan Sims was
recognized for his work
as an educator for 19-plus
Sims said, “I’m amazed
at the depth of support that
comes from Atlanta Families’. He said, “To be a part
of this now, on top of having the opportunity to pursue some elements of my
dream, has been an invaluable experience.”
Sims was nominated
by his colleague and former graduate school friend
Christina Rogers.
He said he plans to use
the school project funds for
a project he calls Go Now.
“It is a project that will
engage up to 50 AfricanAmerican males on various
learning levels in experiencing high school for a whole
semester before they actually attend, “Sims said.
He said while working
on his doctorate degree he
discovered that the transition for Black males is
sometimes insufficient.
The project is set to
start in January.
Sims said he plans to
use the professional development dollars to “deepen
my understanding of being
an educator in an urban
school setting.
“I consider this a pilot
of a bigger dream,” Sims
This year AFAEE surprised recipients by having
parties for the winners.
There are 10 winners
awarded annually.
“Our board and selection committee were blown

Atlanta Families’ surprises Springdale Park Elementary School teacher Elizabeth Emerson.

Award ceremony for the Atlanta Families’ Award

away by the commitment,
talent, creativity and passion of these 10 educators,”
said Katie McDowell, former executive director of
AFAEE. “We look forward
to watching how these grant
dollars will be used by the
winners to make a longterm positive impact on the
lives of their students while
strengthening Atlanta Public Schools from the inside
AFAEE worked quietly
with school administrators and support staff for
the winners across metro
Atlanta from Milton to College Park. Some were surprised by a knock at their
door in the middle of a lesson while others were called

to “mandatory meetings.”
Winners were celebrated with balloons, over-sized
checks, gifts for their stu-

dents, and special mascots
and guests.
The 2014 winners were
formally celebrated on Nov.

6 with an awards ceremony
at The Carter Center.

A copy of the proposed 2015 Operating Budget for the City
of Chamblee will be available for review at Chamblee City Hall,
5468 Peachtree Road, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held on
Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm at the Civic Center,
3540 Broad Street. Any person wishing to be heard on the budget may appear and be heard.
The City Council will adopt the budget on Thursday, December 18, 2014. The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm and will be
held at Chamblee City Hall.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014



Page 20A
For Prices, Deadlines and Information



Rates: $30.00 for up to 40 words, each additional word $0.60.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 21A

Corporate and government officials cut the ribbon officially opening Mansfield Clean Energy Partners in Doraville. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Compressed natural gas facility
to serve bulk fuel hauling market

by Kathy Mitchell
An unassuming industrial facility in Doraville is
showcasing what may be the
future of America’s trucking industry, according to
officials of Mansfield Clean
Energy Partners (MCEP),
which recently opened its
first card-lock compressed
natural gas station, designed
to support heavy duty
natural gas tractor-trailers.
MCEP is a joint venture of
Clean Energy Fuels Corp.
and Mansfield Energy Corp.
“Opening the first of
many MCEP stations and
seeing trucks fueling today
brings into focus the potential of this venture,” said
Michael Mansfield, CEO
of Mansfield Energy Corp,
who was among the speakers at the Nov. 19 grand
Mansfield’s familyowned company has been
in the bulk fuel hauling
business, a segment of the

transportation industry that
consumes more than 500
million gallons of fuel annually, for more than 50 years.
He said he appreciates the
irony of trucks fueled by
natural gas hauling petroleum products as America’s
trucking industry transitions
to petroleum alternatives,
but the choice makes sense.
“Keeping our costs low
allows us to be more competitive and deliver better value to our customers
while profitably growing
our company,” Mansfield
said. “We analyzed the
business case for our fleet
and realized that we had
the potential to save more
than $19,000 per year, per
tractor.” Mansfield Energy
currently has 12 natural gas
tractors in service and more
are planned.
While natural gas tractors
cost approximately $30,000
a unit more than dieselpowered trucks the same
size and—because of the

storage tanks—weigh a few
hundred pounds more than
their diesel counterparts, the
cost is offset by a fuel savings of more than $15,000
a year, according to MCEP.
The payback on the extra
costs, according to company
provided materials, is typically less than two years.
Mansfield said the best
candidates for transition to
natural gas are vehicles that
use more than 8,000 gallons of fuel a year and have
routes of 350 miles or less
before returning to base.
Compressed natural gas is
becoming an increasingly
popular choice for garbage
trucks, he noted. DeKalb
County is in the process of
converting its garbage truck
fleet to natural gas.
“We started with an
environmental plan that
turned out to make sense
from a business standpoint,”
said Andrew Littlefair,”
president and CEO of Clean
Energy. Littlefair acknowl-

edged that the first natural
gas trucks had not operated
as well as the designers had
hoped but said current models are efficient and reliable.
“This is the kind of growth
that can happen when the
right technology and the
right leadership come together.”
Littlefair said, “As the
anchor tenant of the first
MCEP station, [the Mansfield Energy] fleet will be a
rolling case study for other
bulk fuel haulers contemplating the transition to
cleaner-burning and lessexpensive natural gas fuel.”
Ira Pearl, president and
CEO of Mansfield Clean
Energy Partners, praised the
company’s “industry leadership with the deployment of
its first natural gas trucks.”
He said of natural gas as a
truck fuel, “It’s economical,
it’s environmentally friendly
and it’s American. Virtually
all natural gas consumed in
North America is produced

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

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

domestically. The more we
use America’s abundant natural gas, the less we have to
depend for energy on countries that don’t have our best
interests at heart. In addition, it boosts the American
economy and provides jobs
here at home.”
The location at Woodwin Road in Doraville is
ideal, Doraville Mayor
Donna Pittman said. “Look
around you. Where we are
now is within eyeshot of
several terminals. If there’s
one thing truck drivers hate,
it’s having to go off route to
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey
Cagle said recently passed
state legislation has made
Georgia one of the nation’s
best states in which to do
business and he expects to
see more businesses like
Mansfield Clean Energy
Partners choosing to establish operations in the state.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014


Page 22A

St. Pius running back Ransom Klinger leaps over the pile of lineman into the end zone against West Laurens. Photos by J. David DiCristina

St. Pius X advances to semifinals,
Marist and Tucker fall in quarterfinals
by Carla Parker


ew classification, but same results as
the St. Pius X Golden Lions advance
to the semifinals of the Class AAAA
No. 6-ranked St. Pius X defeated West
Laurens 31-13 at home Nov. 28. This is the
second time in three seasons St. Pius X has
advanced to the semifinals. In 2012, the Golden
Lions defeated North Hall in the Class AAA
semifinals and moved on to face Buford in the
championship game, where they lost 10-3.
St. Pius X got on top of West Laurens early in
the first quarter after Joey Connors ran 45 yards
to the end zone, giving the Golden Lions a 7-0
lead. West Laurens tied the game late in the first
quarter, before a 37-yard field goal by Michael
Matthews extended St. Pius X’s lead to 10-7.
The Golden Lions extended the lead before
halftime on a 33-yard touchdown pass from
Reed Egan to Cameron Fannon, giving St. Pius
X a 17-7 lead. West Laurens cut the score to 1713 after an 80-yard touchdown run in the third
St. Pius began to pull away in the fourth
quarter on a 13-play, 44-yard drive that ended

See Football on page 23A

Klinger catches a pass as a West Laurens player defends him.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014



Page 23A

Continued From Page 22A

with Ransom Klinger leaping over a
pile to score a touchdown, extending
the Golden Lions lead to 24-13.
Dalton Wilson brought the final
score to 31-13 on a 5-yard touchdown
St. Pius will host No. 5-ranked
Woodward Academy Dec. 5 in the
semifinals. This will be a rematch of
the Week 2 matchup between the two
teams, which Woodward won 42-21.
Marist’s season came to a close at
Buford after the War Eagles lost to the
Wolves 30-6 in the quarterfinals of the
Class AAAA playoffs Nov. 28.
No. 3-ranked Marist only had the
lead once; midway through the first
quarter after Joey Gogol kicked a 25yard field goal to give the War Eagles
a 3-0 lead.
No. 1 ranked Buford went onto
score 21 unanswered points in the
second quarter before Gogol kicked a
30-yard field goal to bring the score to
21-6 at halftime. In the third quarter,
the snap on a Marist punt went over
the head of the kicker and out of
the end zone for a safety, extending
Buford’s lead to 23-6.
A 22-yard touchdown pass by
McEachern wide receiver TJ Rahming (No. 21) runs away from Tucker defenders. Photos by J. David DiCristina
Buford in the fourth quarter brought
the final score to 30-6. Marist finished
the season with an 11-2 record.
In Class AAAAAA, No. 10-ranked
Tucker was dominated by McEachern
62-36 at Hallford Stadium Nov. 28.
Tucker was down 21-0 in the first
quarter, before Delvin Weems cut the
score to 21-7 on a 15-yard run late in
the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Weems
fumbled, McEachern recovered and
scored on a 35-yard pass on the
following play, extending the score to
Tucker responded by forcing
a fumble, which Akeem Peterson
returned for a touchdown, cutting
the score to 28-14. McEachern scored
two more times before Weems got
his second touchdown of the game,
bringing the score to 42-21 before
The second half started rough
for Tucker after the team did not
field the kick on the opening kickoff,
giving McEachern the opportunity
to recover the ball. That led to a field
goal, giving McEachern a 45-21 lead.
Special Teams continued to hurt
the Tigers in the third quarter after
a blocked punt by McEachern was
returned for a touchdown, extending
the score to 52-21. Weems got his
third touchdown of the game on a 40yard run, cutting the score to 52-28.
A field goal and a 92-yard
touchdown pass had McEachern
leading 62-28 in the fourth quarter.
A 2-yard touchdown run and 2-point
conversion by Tucker brought the
final score to 62-39.
Tucker finished the season with a
10-3 record.
McEachern quarterback Bailey Hockman (No. 10) looks for a receiver down field while avoiding the pass rush.
Correction: The pictures for the St. Pius vs. Eastside game published in the Nov. 27, 2014 issue were taken by J. David DiCristina.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

local news

Page 24A

Security concerns prompt expansion of jail, court video use

Earlier this year, face-to-face inmate visits were changed to a video phone system. Now, a
video system will end off-site first appearances for felonies and misdemeanors. Photo by
Andrew Cauthen

Concerns for maintaining safer
environments for judges, inmates
and the public has led county court
and Sheriff ’s Office officials to
expand use of video hearings for
felony and misdemeanor first appearance hearings.
In a Nov. 14 memorandum of
understanding between DeKalb
Sheriff Jeffrey Mann and DeKalb
Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl Anderson, both felony first and misdemeanor first appearance hearings
will take place inside the DeKalb
County Jail using a courtroom that
can access judges through secure
video systems.
The agreement also expanded
the courtroom’s hours of operation
from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a
“The [agreement] means all
DeKalb County law enforcement
agencies bringing suspects to court
for first appearance hearings will
have access to the video court
system, and they will not have to
remove inmates from inside the jail
to go to court,” according to a news
“The DeKalb County Jail courtroom and its video system greatly
decrease the risks associated with
transporting inmates,” Mann said.

Weekly ad in hand. Coupons in pocket.
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“With expanded scheduling and
some revisions to procedures for
using this venue, jail officers can
focus strictly on security as we
manage getting inmates to their day
in court.”
As of Nov. 24, felony first appearance hearings are conducted
exclusively by video inside the
DeKalb Jail courtroom, which is a
secure location not accessible by
the public. Inmates will be escorted
directly from housing units to the
courtroom without leaving the jail.
The judge, public and media will
be in the Magistrate Court courtrooms offsite either in the criminal
division or the main courthouse.
On Jan. 5, 2015, all misdemeanor first appearance hearings
will also be conducted via video
“A safe environment for our
judges, staff, law enforcement, inmates and the public is an issue of
critical importance for Magistrate
Court,” Anderson said. “We are
excited about this collaboration
with [the Sheriff ’s Office] that uses
available technology to meet that
critical goal. Sheriff Mann and his
predecessor, Thomas Brown, have
been great partners in this process.”