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FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2014 • VOL. 17, NO. 35 • FREE

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• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Ex-GPC
president
wants job back

Cityhood groups
give arguments for
boundary lines

Doraville
approves $68,000
parks plan

local, 3A

Local, 11A

local, 16A

Clarkston lights
Christmas tree
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
The city of Clarkston
kicked-off the holiday season with its annual Christmas Tree Lighting event on
Dec. 4.
The tree lighting
brought an estimated
crowd of 300 to the
Clarkston Woman’s Club
and featured dancers and
singers from Clarkston
First Baptist Church, as
well as musical selections
from the Proskuneo School
of the Arts and Indian
Creek Elementary School.
Clarkston City Manager
Keith Barker said, “Unlike big events like the tree
lighting at Lenox Mall, this
event had a real sense of
community. You felt that
you were there with your
neighbors, this was about
bringing the community
together.”
As onlookers gathered
around the tree, Clarkston’s
public works department

put on a fireworks show before the arrival of Santa.
After the show
Clarkston’s fire department
arrived with an employee
dressed as Santa Claus. Parents and children formed a
line at the Woman’s Club to
take pictures with Santa.
Barker said many agreed
this year’s event was the
biggest turnout.
The spike in attendance
could be the result of the
newly annexed properties
acquired by Clarkston.
He added, “It’s amazing
how even with different
cultures and different religions, the Clarkston community can come together
and celebrate what is truly
an American tradition.”
City staff provided
punch and cookies and
gave out 150 gifts bags to
kids.
“We were very pleased
with the success and everybody was impressed with
how smoothly things operated,” Barker said.

See more pictures on page 15A

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local

Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

More Chargers added to the Clarkston fleet
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
The city of Clarkson is getting
nearly 6,000 new residents after a
newly passed annexation referendum and is hiring eight additional
public safety employees: six officers,
one sergeant and one detective.
To serve the added population
and geographic area, City Manager
Keith Barker proposed at the Dec. 2
council meeting the purchase of five
Dodge Chargers for the Clarkston
Police Department.
The police department currently
has two 2012 Dodge Chargers and
four Crown Victorias. Barker said,
“The four Crown Victorias in the
department’s fleet have exceeded the
mileage (80,000) at which we normally replace units. Additionally,
they have had numerous mechanical problems causing them to be out
of service.”
According to the budget for
vehicle repairs, the city has $30,000
for vehicle repairs and maintenance
but has spent almost $40,000.
Barker proposed that the department continue to maintain the
two Crown Victorias that are in the
best conditions to use as spares and
to transport officers to training.

Clarkston to add new cars and officers to the police department.

Barker said four of the new vehicles will be assigned to the patrol
division to replace the four Crown
Victorias currently in the fleet. The
fifth Dodge Charger will replace
chief of police Christine Hudson’s
2012 Charger, which will be assigned to Captain T.D. Brown.
Captain Brown’s vehicle will then be
assigned to the criminal investigation division for the added position
of detective.
Barker said the city will take
advantage of the Georgia Municipal
Association’s equipment and real estate financing program to purchase
the vehicles.
The vehicles will be leased over
a five-year period at an interest rate
of 2.82 percent.
Payments for the vehicles with

equipment and installation are estimated to total $186,474. The city
would pay $9,000 per quarter or a
little more than $39,000 per year.
The city plans to use funds allocated from its federal asset forfeiture fund to finance the vehicles.
The funds are adjudicated through
the courts to the Clarkston Police
Department for officers in the Drug
Enforcement Administration task
force. The agency deploys officers to
get drugs off the street. If an officer
is involved in a drug bust the city
receives funds from seized assets of
the drug dealer.
Barker said, “We have sufficient
funds in that account, currently, to
cover that expense. Our current balance in that account is a little more
than $142,000.”

He added, “We have about
$300,000 in the pipeline that we anticipate we will receive over the next
18 months. It has to be adjudicated
through the courts before it is received by us.”
Barker said the city typically receives more than $100,000 per year
from the courts.
“We are confident that we will
be able to fund this particular expenditure in a manner that will not
create a big capital expense,” Barker
said.
Clarkston will be responsible for
the annexed area beginning Jan. 1
and is actively recruiting for eight
officers to join its department.
Hudson said, “It is going to be
a challenge, but it’s nothing that the
Clarkston Police Department can’t
handle. We’ll be proactive. We intend to have officers down there to
include myself.”
Hudson is hosting job fairs and
recruiting from regional police
academies, but admits law enforcement is competitive right now.
“We’re fighting against MARTA.
They have a big recruitment going
on and bigger agency requirements,”
said Hudson.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FROM ATLANTA GAS LIGHT
Every day, underground pipelines safely transport natural
gas to homes and businesses throughout the area.
Atlanta Gas Light is responsible for the security and
maintenance of pipelines in our service territory.

WATER HEATER SAFETY
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges
all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees
Fahrenheit.

Natural gas is colorless and odorless so we add an
odorant with a distinctive, rotten-egg type scent for easy
detection. It is non-toxic, lighter than air and displaces
oxygen. In severe cases, if not used properly, it may lead
to asphyxiation and has a risk of ignition near a spark.

CARBON MONOXIDE
Incomplete combustion of any fuel – produces carbon
monoxide. Carbon monoxide is poisonous and has no
odor, taste or color. Carbon monoxide detectors are
helpful, but they are no substitute for using equipment
safely. This includes having it inspected once a year by a
certified contractor.

CALL BEFORE YOU DIG
Before digging around your
property, state law requires you
call 811 to have your utility lines
professionally marked – for
free! You must wait the required
amount of time before you begin
your project.
Pipeline markers indicate the presence of pipe and
right-of-way. While they’re not present in all areas,
it’s always best to call 811. If right-of-way is adjacent
to your property, it is your responsibility to ensure no
new landscaping or physical structure interferes with
access to the pipeline, and with our ability to keep it
safe through routine monitoring and maintenance.
Information about transmission pipelines operating
in your community is available through the National
Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) and is available
online at npms.phmsa.dot.gov.

© 2014 AGL Resources Inc. All rights reserved. AGL-12580

APPLIANCE SAFETY
According to the Federal Emergency Management
Agency:
• It’s important that you have your furnace inspected by
a qualified specialist.
• Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs
are in proper working condition.
• Keep trash and other combustible material away from
your air heating and water heating systems.
Visit atlantagaslight.com/integritymanagementplan
to learn about our emergency response plan which
recognizes and mitigates threats and also sustains
the integrity of the pipelines.

IF YOU SMELL GAS, ACT FAST.
Although natural gas pipeline incidents are
uncommon, these tips will help you identify a possible
leak and know what to do.
LOOK for blowing dirt or continued bubbling of
standing water.
LISTEN for a hissing or roaring sound near a natural
gas appliance or line.
SMELL for the distinctive rotten-egg scent of natural
gas. Take action if you detect even a small amount of
this odor.
LEAVE the area IMMEDIATELY if you detect a natural
gas leak through. Don’t try to identify the source or
stop the leak.
CALL Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321 or 911
once you are safely away from the possible leak site.
Stay away from the area until an Atlanta Gas Light
representative or emergency personnel indicate it is
safe to return.
REMEMBER while near a possible natural gas leak,
do not touch or use anything that may cause a spark.
This includes lighters, matches, cigarettes, flashlights,
light switches and telephones. Wait until you have left
the area to use a cell phone.
For more information, visit
atlantagaslight.com/safety or call 800.427.5463.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

local

Page 3A

Ex-Georgia Perimeter
president wants job back
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
The man who was ousted as the
president of Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) in 2012 still wants his
job back.
Through an attorney, former
GPC President Anthony Tricoli has
filed a motion in DeKalb County
Superior Court seeking to be restored to his position pending the
outcome of his lawsuit against the
University System of Georgia’s
Board of Regents.
Tricoli’s motion states that prior
pleadings and evidence submitted
in his case “have demonstrated a
strong likelihood of success on the
merits, a balance of equities decidedly in his favor [and] irreparable
harm to Tricoli in the total destruction of his academic career.”
After Tricoli was “falsely and
very publicly blamed in the media
for the GPC deficit crisis,” he was
ousted “under unsavory circumstances and has been unable to obtain another job in his profession,”
the motion states.
Tricoli, who lost his home in Atlanta, “has applied for over 200 university positions across the country,
but has been unable to secure a
job—after being the USG’s ‘rising
star,’” the motion states.
According to the motion, defendants in Tricoli’s lawsuit contacted
schools interested in giving Tricoli
a second interview to inform the
schools of the negative media attention surrounding Tricoli’s dismissal.
The motion comes after a lawsuit Tricoli filed against the University System of Georgia (USG) and
some GPC employees for allegedly
conspiring to cover up a budget
shortfall in 2012.
According to the lawsuit, which

the GPC budget that Watts had
hired” while he served as the interim GPC president before Tricoli.
“Over time and with experience, Tricoli’s confidence in Carruth

According to the motion, a special internal audit by the university
system “found that Carruth had
been spending GPC reserves without informing Tricoli.”
“The special
report also confirmed that two sets
of [financial] books
had been kept at
GPC, one informing
Tricoli of the rosy
budget numbers
and another reporting deficit spend-Anthony Tricoli ing to the USG and
state auditors over
a period of years,”
the motion stated,
adding that “Cardiminished, but Watts would not
ruth and other budget officers had
allow Tricoli to replace Carruth,
been emailing back and forth about
insisting Carruth was ‘the best bud- a looming deficit crisis, without inget officer in Georgia,’” the motion
forming Tricoli.
states.
The motion states that the
In 2006, Georgia Perimeter Col- “termination of, by all accounts, a
lege boasted 20,000 students, 389
dynamic and successful GPC presifaculty and six campuses. Because
dent was conducted with extreme
the university system faced a budprejudice.”
get crisis, Watts “ordered Tricoli
Referring to Tricoli as a scapeto work with Carruth to eliminate
goat, the motion states that his
almost 300 jobs at GPC as a budget “career was destroyed by the USG’s
cutting measure,” according to the
near diabolical portrayal of him in
motion.
the press, after sandwiching him
Instead, Tricoli worked to inbetween the deceptions of Carruth
crease the college’s enrollment and
and Watts in order to sandbag him
revenues. When the 33-year veteran out of his position as GPC presiof higher education was dismissed
dent.
in May, the state’s largest two-year
“While he may be awarded
college had a roster of 27,000 studamages or other relief in this acdents, more than 500 faculty mem- tion, none of that will restore his
bers and five campuses.
ability to work in his chosen field,
In May 2012, Huckaby anhelping young people who started at
nounced that Tricoli had resigned
the same disadvantage he did. The
following the discovery of a $16
only way to erase that irreparable
million budget shortfall. Less than
harm is to reverse [the] defendants
an hour after that announcement,
illegal actions and place him back in
Tricoli emailed the chancellor stathis position as GPC president,” the
ing, “I never agreed to ‘step down.’” motion state.

‘I never agreed to
‘step down.’

accuses officials from the college and the USG of violating the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act, the defendants
tampered with evidence, made false
statements to state agencies and influenced witnesses.
Tricoli has said that USG officials fraudulently breached his
contract, forced him to resign from
his position as president at GPC
and falsified reports relating to the
budget shortfall.
A list of the defendants includes
GPC interim president Rob Watts;
former GPC Chief Budget Officer
Ron Carruth; GPC Human Resources Director Jim Rasmus; USG
Chancellor Henry Huckaby and
each member of the Board of Regents at the time the budget shortfall occurred.
According to Tricoli’s motion,
when he was hired in 2006, it was
Watts who, as the chief operating
officer of the University System of
Georgia, “insisted that Tricoli keep

The Champion Free Press, Friday Dec. 11, 2014

opinion

Page 4A

Time to answer the ‘What now?’ question
For those of us disappointed by the grand jury’s
decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson on any charge in
the August shooting death
of unarmed teen Michael
Brown, the question is
“What now?”
It appears that this is yet
another case that will leave
us without satisfaction from
the American institutions
that we turn to in times of
crisis. Justice from our point
of view was not served, and
it doesn’t seem to be blind.
So, “What now?”
Each of us who has
prayed for a sliver of justice—at least some acknowledgement that something
that played out in the street

Gale Horton Gay
gale@dekalbchamp.com

Lifestyle Editor

in Ferguson that night between the kid and the cop
wasn’t totally the fault of
the kid—must decide how
we’re going to respond over
the long term to what I consider a pervasive problem

in America—fear of Black
youth and the devaluing of
the life of Black men.
By now, more than a
week after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision, some of the pent-up
anger and hostility has died
down but certainly not all of
it. And that’s a good thing.
Now is the time to turn
our tempered rage, shock,
disappointment and disillusionment into action.
There is no one thing
to do. There are, however,
a myriad of ways to fight
against the inequities and
inadequacies involving our
communities.
What it will take to effect
change is the involvement
of many, not of the few, be-

ing more engaged in and
committed to our communities—caring about who
represents us in public office
and voting the right people
in and the wrong people
out; holding authorities responsible when issues arise
and not allowing situations
to slide so these authority
figures have the impression
that we don’t care; insisting that law enforcement
officials train and sensitize
officers to better deal with
conflicts with Black and
minority youth; being more
vocal as a community in expressing ourselves in peaceful, nonviolent ways; and
keeping the dialogue going
that discrimination is still
very much alive in America.

It also means teaching
our children to understand
how to conduct themselves
in public and in private at all
times, especially if and when
they have encounters with
law enforcement. And we
must find ways to share this
guidance with youth in our
community whose families
and those around them may
not be delivering these messages.
If we do nothing, each
of us has squandered an
opportunity to find some
way to be part of effecting
a change in our country, of
not just shaking our heads
and ranting on social media.
Now what are you going
to do?

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

opinion

Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

God bless us, every one!
“No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted,”
–Aesop (620-564 B.C.), Greek
philosopher and author of Aesop’s Fables.
As we count our blessings
and gather with family and
friends in the coming weeks to
celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,
Christmas and this holiday
season, it is important to remember that not every hearth
or belly is full and that Santa
may still have trouble finding
a few thousand households
thanks to a malfunctioning
GPS and the lingering effects
of this recession, where job
growth has been the last key
economic indicator to turn
around.
I’m asking that you take
a moment to select in your
heart and your mind those
organizations most worthy of
your support this year. Here
are few charities and nonprofits of good reputation
and long standing, with low
administrative costs, a record
of service and thrift and a
demonstrated ability to stretch
most every donated dollar to
do the most good. 
The Empty Stocking Fund
(www.emptystockingfund.
org)
Since its founding by The

Bill Crane
bill.csicrane@gmail.com

Columnist

Atlanta Journal in 1927, the
Empty Stocking Fund has
been helping Santa find the
homes of Atlanta’s families
most in need. Medicaid-recipient children, from birth to
age 13 are eligible; their parents can shop at a Santa Village on Memorial Drive. The
thinly staffed nonprofit will
distribute nearly $4 million
worth of gifts to nearly 60,000
children this year, an increase
of nearly 20 percent over last
year.
The Empty Stocking
Fund buys close-outs and last
year’s toys directly from the
manufacturers, often right
after each holiday season,
stretching each donor dollar further. A gift of $20 will
sponsor an age- and genderappropriate gift packet for a
child containing four toys, an
educational gift and a pair of

socks or stockings 
 
FODAC (www.fodac.org)
Friends of Disabled Adults
and Children (FODAC),
based in Stone Mountain has
been improving and changing
the lives of mobility impaired
disabled adults and children for decades. Its annual
Santa Breakfast its primary
fundraiser is Dec. 13 at the
Marriott Evergreen in Stone
Mountain Park. Children
under 5 are free, and adult
tickets are $30, for an ample
breakfast buffet, professional
photo with Santa Claus, free
gift for each child and a Stone
Mountain Adventure Pass,
covering every attraction
except The Ducks and Snow
Mountain. FODAC charges
only a one-time membership
fee of $25 to provide recycled
and gently used mobility and
durable medical equipment to
veterans, the disabled or anyone temporarily sidelined by
serious injury. 
 
Monastery of the Holy Spirit
(www.trappist.net)
Particularly for my Catholic readers, though all are welcome, the Monastery of the
Holy Spirit, just off Georgia
Highway 212 and now on the
PATH Trail in Conyers, is a
place for peaceful reflection,
prayer and just pausing to

remember what this holiday
season is really all about. 
Since the dawn of civilization, where you have found
Trappist Monks, you have
found society, productive
farmlands and a place for
thoughtful prayer. This monastery is no different, nestled
on a couple of thousand acres,
including a self-sustaining
farm, retreat house, green and
natural burial grounds, exquisite handcrafted stained glass
and a wide array of Abbey
trades and goods available for
purchase in the gift shop. 
The PATH Trail now winds
past Arabia Mountain and
along the South River giving
another scenic way to travel to
and from the monastery. The
monastery’s mission and operations all are locally funded
and self-sustaining.
The Salvation Army (salvationarmyatlanta.org)
“Doing the Most Good”
wherever the need is greatest,
all across the globe is the Salvation Army, and the Metro
Atlanta Salvation Army has a
vast mission and annual budget exceeding $2 million. Volunteers are needed to ring the
Red Kettle Bells at more than
150 locations. Money from the
drive fund programs ranging
from the Angel Tree, to Boys
& Girls Clubs to food pantries,

family shelters and emergency
displacement relief. 
If an apartment building
burns, Hurricane Katrina
devastates the Gulf coast or an
earthquake all but obliterates
civilization in Haiti, the Salvation Army is on the ground
first, providing care, relief and
the basic human necessities
of life. Salvation Army thrift
stores support its mission of
helping those suffering addiction find their path to recovery and salvation, with clients
most often serving as store
employees. 
You may instead want to
support the mission of your
own church, local school or
community. What is most
important is that if you can
give that you do so and that
you encourage others to do
the same. We are, after all, our
brother’s and sister’s keepers. God bless us, every one.
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@
gmail.com. 

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 Andrew@dekalbchamp.com • 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
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.

www.championnewspaper.com
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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.

local

Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Harold Morrow
Community involvement has
always been important to Harold
Morrow, who volunteers at Cross
Keys High School and McNair
Middle School.
“I was looking for opportunities
to help, particularly with education
and I’ve always been fairly good
with math so it was a logical progression into working with students
and providing assistance.”
Morrow volunteers with Cross
Keys High School on Tuesdays, assisting freshmen with mathematics
and has worked with sixth graders
at McNair Middle School for almost a year with reading, English
and mathematics. As the students
complete assignments in class Morrow assists teachers in answering
questions and helping students solve
problems.
“I’m pretty big on education; I
think it’s very valuable thing to do,”
Morrow said.

Morrow graduated college with a
degree in business management and
spent 35 years working various jobs
with the Department of Defense,
mainly in the Washington, D.C.,
area.
Upon retiring Morrow said he
searched for opportunities to get
involved and volunteer in schools
and stumbled upon Communities in
Schools, an independent nonprofit
corporation focused on school success and dropout prevention.
He said after discussions with
CIS he was invited to an orientation
and began volunteering.
“It’s a place where they needed
assistance. I was pretty much willing to go anywhere but this was one
of a couple of schools where they
said they needed help,” Morrow
said.
He added, “It’s very rewarding
to work with students and see when
the light comes on, when students

say, ‘ok, now I understand.’”
Additionally, Morrow volunteers
two hours every Monday at St. Vincent de Paul in Chamblee sorting
donations and helping customers.
He helps distribute food at the Community Action Center and provides
gifts and food at Christmas for lowincome and homeless families in
partnership with St. Jude’s adopt-afamily program.
Morrow was born and raised in
St. Louis, served as a Boy Scout and
attended a high school that instilled
in him the need to get involved.
He said when he attended at the
University of Dayton he also was
encouraged him to serve in his community. “Their motto is to learn,
lead and serve. You go to college,
you learn. You get out into the real
world, in my case business, and you
lead and now I’m just fulfilling the
loop and providing a service since I
am retired and I have the time.”

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

MARTA holds Clifton Corridor meetings
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
MARTA is collecting public feedback on two designs of
the Clifton Corridor Transit
Initiative.
The Clifton Corridor
would provide a direct link
between the Lindbergh Center
Station in the Atlanta and the
Avondale Station in DeKalb
County. MARTA held two
meetings Dec. 4 and 9 to share
information and receive feedback on both plans.
The Federal Transit Administration requires these
meetings be held to update
stakeholders on the status of
the project, including the environmental analysis that began
in 2013. The Clifton Corridor
is the region’s only major employment center without access
to an interstate or high-capacity transit option.
“As we enter into the environmental analysis, we want
to know people’s input on the
alignment, on the station locations and even on the mode
choice,” said Tameka Wimberly, MARTA senior regional
planner.
The Clifton Corridor is

home to several neighborhoods, Emory University,
Emory Healthcare, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, the Veterans Administration Medical Center and
Regional Offices and DeKalb
Medical. The project features
two alternatives. Wimberly
said the project that includes a
second alternative is similar to
the project that was adopted by
the MARTA board in 2012.
“Alternative 2 is an at-grade
alignment,” she said. “It’s very
similar to Alternative 1 except
that it’s at-grade, it runs along
the street level with the cars.
What we’re doing in this proPeople look at designs of the proposed Clifton Corridor.
cess is to see what do people
want. You learn from the public. This is their community,
this is our community and we
need to do this together.”
A public input from last
year on the different alternatives indicated a preference for
the at-grade alternative because
they realize the cost difference,
according to Wimberly.
“These are just preliminary
costs because we have so much
work to do,” she said. “But
just high-level cost just off the
back is a big difference and
people prefer that. They are

See MARTA on page 13A

MARTA has two alternatives of the Clifton Corridor for the public to choose from. Photos by Carla Parker

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

community

AroundDeKalb

Avondale
Estates

Page 7A

Decatur

headquarters in Stone Mountain by AIB board
chairman John B. McIntyre.
“The AIB Spirit Award is given to a person or
organization that exemplifies the spirit of caring,
Community center to host Brunch sharing and lifting up others,” McIntyre stated.
“Over the past 20-plus years, FODAC has prowith Santa
vided help to thousands of persons with mobility
impairments, many of whom had no other reCity to hold holiday decoration
The Community Achievement Center Inc.
source for the equipment they needed to maintain
presents its inaugural Brunch with Santa on Satcontest
a quality of life.”
urday, Dec. 20, from 10 a.m. to noon.
“We are always grateful to be recognized for
“This event is a wonderful opportunity for
the
work
we do to support the disabled comAvondale Estates residents and business own- families to have a safe and fun place to enjoy
munity,

said
Brand. “The AIB Spirit Award is
ers are invited to decorate their homes or busiholiday festivities in DeKalb County, such as writparticularly
meaningful
to us because it also recnesses for the city’s Christmas and Holiday Spirit ing letters to Santa, games, arts/crafts, a live perognizes
the
spiritual
benefit
of helping these folks
Awards decorating contest. Judging will take
formance and brunch,” states an announcement
regain
independence
and
a
quality
of life. We are
place Dec.15, and winners will be announced
about the event.
honored
to
accept
this
award.

Dec. 16. Winners will receive a Christmas/HoliBrunch with Santa is for students in pre-K
day Spirit Award. Judges will view decorations
through fifth grade. Admission is $5 per person.
on residences, storefronts, building exteriors and Children must be accompanied by an adult. Picdisplay windows from a vehicle passing slowly or tures with Santa may be purchased for an addistopping in front. Judges will not leave the vehicle tional fee.
for close viewing of decorations. Participants
The Community Achievement Center Inc.,
must have their lights on by dusk; businesses and is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary focus
house numbers must be clearly marked for judges is to provide opportunities for people to improve DeKalb animal shelter offering
to see; and all decisions of the judges are final. For the quality of their lives through tutoring, counholiday adoption promotion
more information, visit www.avondaleestates.org/ seling and support programs that develop a desire
events.html.
for lifelong pursuit of worthy personal goals.
LifeLine Animal Project has begun its “Home
The center is located at 4522 Flat Shoals Parkfor
the
Pawlidays” promotion. Between now and
way, Decatur. For more information, contact cenDec.
31,
people can adopt any dog or puppy at
ter director Clarence Wells at (404) 214-7400 or
DeKalb
County
Animal Services for $30 and any
clarence.wells@cacdekalb.org.
cat or kitten at the shelter for $10. All adopted
pets will be spayed or neutered, microchipped,
vaccinated and more–services with a retail value
of more than $200. Potential adoptees will be
Breakfast with Santa announced
screened to ensure the animals go to good homes.
For adoption hours, location and pictures of availParents can bring their children to visit Santa,
able animals, visit www.dekalbanimalservices.
see live reindeer, create some art, listen to a stocom.
ryteller, and much more on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Chamblee will host its Breakfast with Santa with
DeKalb Workforce Development
breakfast provided by the McDonald’s of Chamblee. Reservations are required and there is a $5
offers work readiness workshops
fee per child for a photo with Santa. Reservations
will be held from 8 a.m. until noon. Chamblee
The December 2014 schedule for DeKalb
Civic Center, 3540 Broad St.
Workforce Development’s (DWD) Work Readiness Workshops has been released.
The workshops are held at the DWD building
City to hold Compost and Recycle
located at 774 Jordan Lane, Building #4, Decatur,
Day
and are offered free of charge.
The workshops are designed to empower job
seekers with essential work readiness skills needOn the third Saturday of each month, the
ed to secure employment. Workshop training topChamblee Public Works Department hosts Comics include “resume writing,” “interviewing techpost and Recycle Day from 8 a.m. until noon. On
niques,” “personal branding and marketing,” “netDec. 20, in an effort to reduce landfill use and
working” and “basic computer and introduction
promote responsible reuse, the city also will acto Microsoft Office Suite.” Since the program’s
cept electronic waste. For a complete list of the
inception, more than 2,000 individuals attended
accepted items, visit chambleega.com. Free comDWD’s Work Readiness Workshops.
post is available. Attendees are welcome to bring
The schedule for the workshops is resume
their trucks and self-load. If you are a Chamblee
writing—Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-noon;
residents who wants the compost delivered, the
Nonprofit receives Spirit Award
personal branding—Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-noon;
charge is $50. The location is 3210 Cumberland
marketing—Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-noon; networkDr. For more details, call (770) 986-5019.
Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FO- ing—Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.; interDAC), a nonprofit organization providing over
viewing techniques—Mondays and Wednesdays,
$10 million annually in durable medical equip1-3 p.m.; basic computer—Mondays and Tuesment (DME) and supplies to the disabled comdays, 10 a.m.-noon; and introduction to Micromunity, was selected by Atlanta Interfaith Broad- soft Office Suite—Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10
casters (AIB) to receive an AIB Spirit Award,
a.m.-noon.
recognizing the organization for its support of the
mobility-impaired community.
The award was presented to FODAC president
and CEO Chris Brand in October at FODAC

Countywide

Chamblee

Stone
Mountain

local

Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Former school
custodian
arrested
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A former Lithonia
Middle School custodian is
behind bars on child molestation charges.
Rodney Winston, 49,
was arrested Dec. 2 for allegedly molesting two Lithonia
Middle School girls. According to Lithonia Police Capt.
Xavier Todd, the alleged incidents happened in July at
the home of one of the girls.
“Mr. Winston frequents
that area and is well known
in that area,” Todd said. “He
actually grew up in Lithonia.
So people allow him to come
and go pretty much when he
wants to.”
Todd said one of the
girls, who is 11 years old,
said that she was at a location in Lithonia on Smokey
Road when she saw Winston
in the neighborhood, where
he approached her.
“He said, ‘I have something to give you,’” Todd
said. “She went to this residence—she doesn’t actually
lives there, her friend, the
other victim does. They
were in the house playing,
and everyone went outside
or in the back of the room
while she was in the living
room.”
Todd said Winston came
into the house and sat on
the sofa with her. When
she stood up Winston approached her and attempted
to put his hand in front
of her pants, according to
Todd.
“She grabbed his hand
and left out of the residence,” Todd said. “He also
tried to give her $20 prior to
her leaving the residence.”
The other victim, who is
13 years old, said she knew
Winston not only from
school, but also from the
neighborhood. Todd said
Winston was able to come in
and out of the home where
the 13 years old was because
he knows her grandfather,
who sells “off the market
alcohol.”
“We’re going to follow
back up on that later,” Todd
said.
Todd said the 13 years
old was sleeping on the sofa
and was awaken by Winston.

Girl Scout sales go digital
Winston

“He was trying to put
some money in her bra and
also touching her on her
butt,” Todd said. “At that
point, he left.”
Although the incidents
happened in July, the girls
did not report it until October after they realized the
same incident happened to
them both.
“They said ‘we need to
tell somebody,’ and that’s
what prompted them to go
talk to the school and their
parents,” Todd said. “It’s not
unusual for kids to do ‘outcries’ after so long. They feel
embarrassed.”
One of the students
notified her parents as well
as the school and a report
was filed with the Lithonia
Police. During the investigation, Todd said he went
to the school, requested an
open record of his personnel file and discovered that
Winston had prior incidents
of inappropriate behavior
within the school.
“The school said he
touched a girl on her arm,
and another girl complained
that he was staring at her
really hard and she felt uncomfortable,” Todd said. “He
was reprimanded on both of
those occasions, but he was
not terminated at that time
until this case came about.”
According to arrest records, Winston was also arrested in 2003 on burglary,
sexual battery and sexual
battery charges from an incident in 2001.
Winston resigned in lieu
of termination Oct. 21. He
was charged with one count
of child molestation and one
count of sexual battery.

by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
For the first time since sales began
nearly 100 years ago, Girl Scouts of the USA
will allow its local troops to sell cookies
online using a mobile app or personalized
websites.
The Girl Scouts’ new Digital Cookie
Platform will enable customers to order
cookies and have them shipped directly to
them.
“Girls have been telling us that they
want to go into this space,” said Sarah
Angel-Johnson, chief digital cookie executive for the organization covering about two
million girls.
“Online is where entrepreneurship is
going,” Johnson said.
According to a recent press release,
Digital Cookie will introduce 21st century
lessons about online marketing, application
use and e-commerce to more than 1 million
Girl Scouts, from kindergarten-age Daisies
to teens.
Each scout will have her own web page
–customers can choose whom they want
to buy from, no matter what state they’re
i–which is ideal for long-distance family
members. Customers must receive an invitation via email to access a specific scout’s
page.
The scouts are expected to opt in as the
cookie-selling season begins this month
and the scouting organization gets digital
sales underway.
The digital option is intended to enhance, not replace, the paper spreadsheets
used to generate an estimated $800 million in cookie sales a year–at anywhere
from $3.50 to $5 a box, depending on scout
council.
Nekeidra Taylor, communications
manager of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta,
said, “The Digital Cookie follows Girl
Scouts’ classic hands-on approach to teach-

ing girls new skills.”
She added, “Through the platform, local
Girl Scouts will maintain their own protected, personalized websites to market their
cookie business to local consumers, accept
orders via credit cards and activate cookie
shipments directly to customers.”
Consumers who decide to place orders
with Girl Scouts participating in Digital
Cookie will receive e-marketing materials
from the scout along with an invitation to
visit her cookie website and make additional purchases.
The platform places an emphasis on the
safety of girls and customers alike and offers an online experience that allows girls
to learn about digital money management
using dashboards to track their sales and
goals.
Girl Scouts Service Unit Director and
southeast DeKalb troop leader Shawanda
Reynolds-Cobb said, “It expands the base
for the girls. “We have family members
from all over and so having that access online to place the orders and have the cookies shipped to the family members makes it
much easier on the girls as well as customers, volunteers and parents involved in the
cookie sales.”
Girl Scouts of metro Atlanta are currently recruiting for additional volunteers
through an invite-a-friend campaign. The
organization has 2,212 adult members and
474 troop leaders in DeKalb County.
Cobb said, “Each school year we work
with the schools and churches and hold recruitment events. We send out information
to the parents with the students or we go to
the churches and make sure that the information appears on church bulletin boards.
“At those events the parents are able to
complete the application process for their
daughters to join Girl Scouts. Also that is
an opportunity for us to recruit volunteers
to serve as troop leaders and assistant troop
leaders,” she said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

local

Page 9A

Holiday events set mood in Avondale Estates
by Kathy Mitchell
Avondale Estates has
an interesting mix of home
types that reflect the city’s
changes since it was founded
in 1926, according to Margaret Lunsford, chairman of
the annual Avondale Estates
Christmas Tour of Homes.
Now in its 22nd year,
the tour showcases six architecturally noteworthy
private homes decorated
for the holidays. “Many are
homes that have been sensitively restored or renovated
to preserve the character
of our historic city. People
drive past these homes every day and may wonder
what they’re like inside. The
tour gives them an opportunity to come in and look
around,” Lunsford said. The
event will be Sunday, Dec.
14, 3-8 p.m.
“One of the greatest
things about Avondale Estates is the mix of old and
new—homes built in every decade since the 1920s
when Avondale began as
one of the country’s earliest
planned communities and
the mix of long-time residents and people who have
just moved to town.”
Sponsored as a preservation fundraiser by the Avondale Community Club, the
tour continues to be a popular event, attracting between
400 and 500 visitors each
year, according to Lunsford.
“The city of Decatur
isn’t doing a tour of homes
this year, so that means ours

Marta

Continued From Page 6A

concerned about property
impact, they are concerned
about construction and how
that might affect them, their
neighborhoods and their
homes. So they support it,
they realize that this area is
congested. It’s not going to
get any better and they want
to see something done.”

Craftsman-style houses of the type popular in the 20th century will be among those featured on the tour. Those who choose to may take a trolley
from house to house.

will be the main event of its
type in this area this season.
It may mean that we’ll have
even more visitors than
usual,” Lunsford said.
Participants have a
choice of visiting the homes
on their own at their own
pace or boarding the trolley
at First Baptist Church of
Avondale for stops at each
featured home. The trolley
tour takes approximately
two to two and a half hours.
Among the homes on
this year’s tour are two
owned by sisters; both
homes have appeared on
television programs. One is
a 1926 “Avondale original,” a
1953 bungalow that was recently renovated by HGTV’s
Elbow Room. The other
has been featured twice on
the television show Finding
Carter.
A house built in the

1940s is on display for its recently renovated back porch,
described by Lunsford as
“a charming outdoor space
with unique architectural
details.” Not every home on
the tour is decades old. One
is a 2013 home inspired by
Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style.
Two of Avondale’s
Craftsman-style homes built
last year by Lockman Homebuilders also will be showcased on the tour. “These
homes were built as part of
Lockman’s ‘buy one, build
one’ program,” Lunsford
explained. “For every home
Lockman sells, the company
builds one for a needy family in a Third World country.
In this case, two families in
Guatemala were provided
with homes.”
While some holiday
home tours offer refresh-

ments to visitors, Lunsford
said Avondale Estates
Christmas Tour of Homes
encourages the homeowners to focus on showing the
home. Visitors, however,
will be treated to live music
at nearly every stop. “This
is new this year,” said Lunsford, who explained that
DeKalb School of the Arts
and other local institutions
are providing musicians to
add to the holiday ambiance.
Those wanting a snack
can find homemade soups
and desserts and more at
the Holiday Market, held in
conjunction with the tour,
she said.
The Holiday Market,
which will be open noon-6
p.m., also offers a selection of unusual gifts and
an Authors' Corner, where
shoppers can to meet authors and buy autographed

copies of their works. Authors scheduled to appear
this year include Mary Kay
Andrews, Casey Kallenberg
Dunn, Vicki Schecter, Carmen Deedy, John Grady
Burns, Lynn Cullen and
Martha Tate.
Rounding out the event
will be “Christmas in Avondale: A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols,” a program
at the Avondale Estates First
Baptist Church at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the tour may
be purchased for $12 in advance at Avondale City Hall,
Finders Keepers Furniture,
REAL Salon and Seventeen
Steps or for $15 on the tour
day at the Avondale Community Club. Reservations
for the trolley can be made
by signing up in advance at
Finders Keepers Furnishings
or contacting Lunsford at
mplcvl@aol.com.

According to a presentation by MARTA on June 20,
2013, the at-grade alignment
would cost $744 million and
the alternative with the tunnel would cost $1.1 billion.
Michael Sullivan, who
lives in the area, said he prefers Alternative 2.
“We don’t have anything
that’s near my house as it
would be with Alternative
1,” he said. “Part of Alternative 1 is from Emory to

Emory-Clairmont and goes
along the CSX right away.
The CSX lines are reasonably close to where I live.”
MARTA will receive
public comments until Jan.
23, 2015.
“We will continue to
receive public comments
throughout this process,”
Wimberly said. “We won’t
ever stop. Hopefully the end
result of this is to create a
final environmental impact

statement by early 2017.”
Comments can be sent
to Clifton Corridor Project

Management Team at Clifton@itsmarta.com.

CITY OF BROOKHAVEN FY 2015 PROPOSED BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING
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.
The FY 2015 Budget will be available for public inspection at City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, and on the
website www.brookhavenga.gov December 1, 2014.

Public Notification:
Our client is proposing to construct four 60-foot positive
train control towers (total height 63-feet) within DeKalb
County, GA. The towers will be located in the following locations along the railroad right-of-way: #41405
– approximately ¼ mile northeast of the intersection
of Ashford Dunwoody Road and Peachtree Blvd in
Brookhaven, #40484 – approximately 200 feet west
of the intersection of Pierce Dr and Peachtree Rd in
Chamblee, #36723 – approximately 700 feet northeast
of the intersection of the railroad and Longmire Way
in Doraville, #41409- approximately 350 feet northnorthwest of the intersection of Buford Hwy NE and New
Peachtree Rd in Doraville. Golder Associates on behalf
of our client invites comments from any interested party
regarding the potential effects of the project on historic
properties. Comments may be sent to Angela Kappen,
Golder Associates Inc., N27 W23960 Paul Road, Suite
210, Pewaukee, WI 53072. Comments must be received
by January 10th, 2015.

local

Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Businessman, political partner dies
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
A south DeKalb entrepreneur
who helped launch the careers of several local politicians died Nov. 28 at
the age of 57.
For more than 20 years, David
Larry Mullino was the owner of various businesses in DeKalb County.
He was CEO of Onillum Inc. which
owned and operated Mingles Jazz
Restaurant and Lounge on Snapfinger Woods Drive in Decatur. Mullino
was also a partner in Cams Package
Store, also on Snapfinger Woods

Woman
found dead
in Decatur
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Decatur police are investigating the murder a woman who was found dead near
a parking area Dec. 6.
Decatur police spokesperson Sgt. Jennifer Ross
said police responded to a
deceased person call around
10:55 p.m. in the 100 block
of East Ponce de Leon Avenue.
“Witnesses reported
noticing the victim lying
on the ground as they were
exiting a parking area,” Ross
said.
The victim has been
identified as 44-year-old
Karen Pearce of Smyrna.
Police said Pearce left a local
restaurant and was walking
in an area adjacent to where
her vehicle was parked. Witnesses told police that they
heard gunshots in the area
prior to finding Pearce’s
body.
Ross said the cause of
death has not been determined, but investigators are
working to identify a suspect and a motive.
Anyone who has any
information on the case is
asked to contact the Decatur
Police Department at (404)
373-6551, or Crimestoppers
at (404) 577-TIPS or online
at www.crimestoppersatlanta.org/index.

Drive in Decatur, and Mo’s Vacuum
Plus, located on Rockbridge Road in
Stone Mountain.
“He was a jewel of a person,” said
Emmitt Austin, who knew him for
35 years and was a partner in a couple of businesses with Mullino. “He
was just a genuine person.”
When Mullino owned Mingles
Jazz Restaurant and Lounge, he
hosted several campaign functions
for DeKalb County Commissioner
Stan Watson, former county CEO
Vernon Jones, former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney and former Sheriff
Thomas Brown, among others.

“He helped us launch the careers
of a lot of politicians,” Austin said.
In a resolution, Watson recognized Mullino’s “legacy as a savvy entrepreneur and local business tycoon
whose vision and drive impacted the
economic development of DeKalb
County through a multitude of business establishments, ventures and opportunities.”
“David Mullino will forever be
cherished as a devoted husband,
father, grandfather, and a person
who ‘never met a stranger,’” Watson
wrote. He “will be forever honored
as a friend and campaign partner to

many of DeKalb County’s political
leaders because of his many contributions to support efforts for a ‘Better DeKalb.’”
A U. S. Army veteran, Mullino
earned a degree from DeVry University and attended Gospel Tabernacle
Cathedral for many years before
joining Shekinah Glory Ministries in
Fayetteville.
Mullino is survived by his wife
Alicia Ann Davis Mullino; a son,
David Mullino; a daughter, Venitra
Roberson; three brothers, two sisters
and eight grandchildren. Mullino’s
funeral was Dec. 6.

Brookhaven approves CHOA and
Executive Park annexation petitions
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Brookhaven City Council
approved the annexation petitions
from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
(CHOA) and Executive Park.
The vote came during the Dec. 8
special called meeting after the council
deferred voting on the matter at least
three times to have further conversations with city officials and CHOA and
Executive Park to address concerns
with service delivery to the areas.
The city council also voted to approve a cost defrayment agreement
between the city and CHOA effective
immediately and not to exceed seven
years. The agreement will allow the city
to generate revenue to offset the cost of

city services such as public safety and
code enforcement.
In the agreement, CHOA will pay
$342,500 in 2014. CHOA has agreed
to take the 21 acres that is tax-exempt,
divide that by the total acreage of
166.0244 and pay an amount equal to
12.65 percent of the total costs to serve
the area for police protection only.
That 12.65 percent amount will
total $74,000 the first year and $57,000
the next four years, according to the
agreement. The total amount paid in
next four years would be $450,000.
CHOA will have been paid back its initial amount in year 2020 and begin to
pay its 12.65 percent share of costs.
CHOA and Executive Park filed annexation applications into Brookhaven
in October.

“I think it’s an honor for Children’s
Healthcare of Atlanta to have requested
annexation into the City of Brookhaven,” said Mayor J. Max Davis. “This
opportunity allow us to play an integral
role in expanding their mission of giving care and comfort to sick children
and saving their lives, as a parent this
means so much.”
Councilmember Joe Gebbia said
the benefits to the city will “far exceed”
what comes from the annexed areas.
“We knew what we knew and we
knew what we didn’t know, but what
scared us what not knowing what we
didn’t know,” Gebbia said. “That is the
reason we deferred action numerous
times and extensively vetted each petition.”

Decatur releases annexation master plan report
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Decatur has included four areas in
the proposed maps of its annexation
master plan report.
In the report, released Dec. 8, the
annexation master plan proposes adding areas mostly north of the city. The
proposed map also includes areas south
of the city limits.
Decatur put together a draft of
its 2014 annexation master planning
process in October and received input
from residents and petitions from areas
that wanted to be annexed into the city.
Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss
said in October that the city has been
interested in annexing these areas since
the 1950s.
“We want to also control the gateways into the city so we would have
some control over the development that
is going on in the key gateway areas,”
Merriss said. “And, to also diversify our
tax base in terms of adding commercial
real estate.”
In the report, Merriss said Deca-

tur’s consideration of annexation is
based on six objectives: expansion and
stabilization of the property tax base;
“municipalization” of north DeKalb;
potential for location of addition school
facilities; influence and control of development at key gateways; response
to interest from nearby residents and
property owner; and consolidation of
partial parcel.
“Area A” of the proposed map is
west and northwest of the city. The area
includes properties of the CSX rail line,
and north of the city limit along Clairemont Avenue to North Decatur Road
and along North Decatur Road east to
the city limits.
“Area B” of the map includes properties north of the city limits extending
east along North Decatur Road to Scott
Boulevard, and then south at Jordan
Lane from DeKalb industrial Way to
East Ponce DeLeon Avenue.
“Area C” includes properties along
Derrydown Way and the United Methodist Children’s Home, and “Area D” is
southeast of the city limits, including
Midway Road east to Conway Road and

then north on Conway to Columbia
Drive.
The report also includes the City
Schools of Decatur’s analysis on how
annexation will effect student population growth. According to the school
district, even without annexation the
school population will increase by 4,300
students to somewhere between 6,500
to 7,400 students.
The district did a financial impact
analysis as well, and it showed that
without annexation for the period
from 2016 to 2020, the district’s revenues would be less than expenses by
$7,669,000 even with a millage rate
increase. With annexation during that
same period, revenues will surpass expenses by $6,926,000 without a millage
rate increase.
Merriss concluded the report recommending that the Decatur City
Commission “consider adopting a resolution asking the General Assembly to
pass legislation in 2015 annexing the
areas included in the [annexation master plan].”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

local

Page 11A

State Rep. Mark Hamilton (center) questions cityhood proponents during the House DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee meeting. Photos by Carla Parker

Cityhood groups give
arguments for boundary lines
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Despite the tension and discord
between two DeKalb County cityhood groups, both LaVista Hills and
Tucker representatives believe the
two groups can come to a compromise on boundary lines before a legislative committee decides for them.
More than 100 people attended
the House DeKalb County Cityhood
Subcommittee meeting Dec. 3 that
was held to hear testimony from
representatives from the Tucker and
LaVista Hills cityhood groups on
boundary lines. The proposed maps
for both cities include the Northlake
commercial district and residential
areas on both sides of I-285 and in
the corner of I-85, I-285 and the
Gwinnett County line.
The two groups had until Nov.
15 to reach agreement on city
boundary lines, but could not,
which led to the formation of the
subcommittee. House Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman
Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) appointed
a panel of five state House members
to carry out the task of drawing city
boundaries for the proposed cities.
Subcommittee members are
representatives Howard Mosby
(D-Atlanta) and Mary Margaret
Oliver (D-Decatur) of DeKalb, and
representatives Buzz Brockway
(R-Lawrenceville), Barry Fleming
(R-Harlem) and Mark Hamilton
(R-Cumming). The panel’s sole duty
will be to produce a boundary map
no later than Dec. 31 by majority
vote of the panel.

Hamilton said he was disappointed the two groups could not
come to an agreement.
“I’m not happy to be here. This
goes outside our very specific rules,”
he said. “I’m happy to be here as
part of the process, but I’m not going to vote for any map that doesn’t
meet the right criteria. I’m very disappointed that the two sides could
not come together and I think it
should’ve been over at that time, but
it’s not. So we will go ahead and do
our due diligence.”
Some residents in the overlapping northern parts of both maps,
said they prefer to be in LaVista
Hills because of the services the
proposed city will provide, specifically public safety. Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman, who lives in the
Northcrest neighborhood, was one
of many who said public safety is a
primary concern.
“[LaVista Hills’] commitment to
a city police force is the key reason
for my support,” she said.
LaVista Hills representatives
said once the city is formed it will

start a police force as soon
as possible. For Tucker, the primary
services that it plans to focus on
once cityhood is established is zoning, parks and recreation, and code
enforcement.
Frank Auman of Tucker said
the Tucker community is mostly satisfied with the services provided by
DeKalb County Police and will look
into starting a police force later.
“We’re going to begin with our
plan now…DeKalb County Police
serving us exactly as they have been.
But as a city, for example, we can
contract with the county to add
more officers,” Auman said. “We
can do that as a city; we can’t do
that as we are now. The citizens in
a newly incorporated city of Tucker
on day one can call for a referendum
to institute our own police force.
We’re not opposed to that; we would
welcome that. When it happens
that way, it is the citizens who’ve
said that, ‘we know what it costs, we
know what we’ll get it return, and
yes, we’re ready to pay the price.’ So,
it’s not nearly as simple as, ‘[they’re]

going to have a city police department and we’re not, therefore one
is better than the other.’ It requires
more thought than that.”
Auman said that the two groups
must get through the boundary discussion before discussing services.
“Anybody who ends up in one
map that prefers the other because
of something like public safety issues, there will be time to talk about
that and iron those things out,” he
said. “Our proposal for public safety,
police and otherwise is bigger than a
sound bite and it’s hard to get across.
We need to have some meetings, we
need to help the folks that are concerned about it and think they are
not going to get it to understand it.”
Tucker’s main argument to the
subcommittee was keeping the
established community together
and preventing LaVista Hills from
“splitting neighborhoods.” The
two groups are also fighting for
the Northlake commercial area—
Northlake Mall and surrounding
business.
There is a Tucker-Northlake
Community Improvement District
made up of more than 166 commercial property owners, including
more than 67 Northlake commercial
properties. Auman mentioned the
district and pointed out how businesses in Northlake connects with
Tucker more.
Charles DeWitt, CEO of Resurgens Bank, said the Northlake Business Association, association understands the importance that both
communities have on the future of
the commercial district and under

See Cityhood on page 16A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

local news

Page 12A

Photos by Travis Hudgons

oDECATUR

TERRIFIC
THURSDAYS

Squash Blossom Boutique
Natural Body Spa

Raging Burrito

Glazed goodness comes
to Wesley Chapel Road
by Travis Hudgons
travish@dekalbchamp.com
The red glow of the famous “Hot Now” sign indicating fresh, hot doughnuts
now resides at 2533 Wesley
Chapel Road.
Many patrons welcomed
the opening of Krispy Kreme
doughnut store, which
marks the 11th metro-area
location for the North Carolina-based corporation.
Hundreds of customers
braved early morning tem-

peratures in anticipations
of the store’s Dec. 9 grand
opening. The first person in
line, Keyana Vance, received
one free dozen doughnuts
per week for one year, and
the remaining customers
among the first 100 received
one free dozen each month
for a year.
“Everybody knew that
we were coming,” Amanda
Clark, regional marketing coordinator for Krispy
Kreme Corporate, said.
“This has been of the most

welcoming communities
we’ve ever been one in; I’ve
never had so many people
come up to me and say,
‘Thank you for being here,
we’re so happy to have you.’”
More than just another
place to get a sugar fix, the
2,400-square-foot store will
be open 6 a.m. – 11 a.m.
with a 24-hour drive thru.
According to Clark, the
business employs approximately 50 people, many of
whom are employed for the
first time.

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12/8/14 3:38 PM

In

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

WEEK

A St. Pius X fan, dressed in a hotdog costumes,
cheers on the St. Pius X Golden Lions during the
Class AAAA semifinals game against Woodward
Academy. Photo by Carla Parker

Week in pictures

Page 13A

Pictures

Rebecka Kaltenbach and her 2-year-old Hazel with Santa at Perimeter Mall. Photo by Ashley Oglesby

Principal Cornellia Crum shares the story of becoming a Blue
Ribbon school. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Dr. Cornellia Crum, principal of Wadsworth
Magnet, celebrates Blue Ribbon Award.

Photos brought to you by DCTV

Blue Bell Territory Manager Drew Fraser attends Wadsworth
Magnet Blue Ribbon award ceremony.

local

Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Commissioners nixed the contract of a controversial gasification plant. Photos by Travis Hudgons

County cuts gas contract

by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
DeKalb County has cancelled its contract with the
proposed Lithonia gasification plant that has been the
subject of protests for more
than four years.
Following a recommendation by interim DeKalb
County CEO Lee May, the
county’s Board of Commissioners voted Dec. 9 to
cancel a contract with Green
Energy Partners-DeKalb
LLC. Green Energy had two
years to build its plant; four
years have passed.
“They’re in default,” May
said.
After receiving a contract
from the county in 2010,
Green Energy Partners filed
a permit with the Georgia
Environmental Protection
Division in 2012 to construct
a 10-12 megawatt “biomass
fuel electric generating facility” on 21 acres at 1770 Rogers Lake Road in unincorporated Lithonia.
“The agreement in 2010
stipulated that a facility had
to be built in two years and
that was more than four
years ago.  There is no gasification plant,” May said.

“This cancellation allows us
to formally terminate this
relationship.”
The contract would have
remained in effect through
2030. 
According to its application, the plant would have
processed approximately
165,000 tons per year of
clean, untreated wood and
yard waste. The wood waste,
called biomass, would have
been fed into a “combustion
system which is a closecoupled gasification process,”
according to the permit application.
May said the contract
would have allowed Green
Energy “to purchase wood
trimmings that are at our
landfill. They just sit there.

These are the wood trimmings from people’s lawns
that are collected by our
sanitation workers. They sit
there and then they degrade.
“That company would
then take that and, through
this renewal energy plant,
convert those wood trimmings through this gasification process to…energy,”
said May, who supported the
plant as the District 5 commissioner.
To allow the gasification
plant, “there was a zoning
change that was made in
District 5,” May told commissioners. “I approved it as
a district commissioner and
many of you all…followed
me.”
That decision was un-

popular among many of his
constituents at the time.
“I think I got two opponents in my election because
of that decision,” May said.
May said it was coincidental that residents from
the Lithonia area spoke
against the contract at the
beginning of the commissioners’ meeting.
One resident, Sandra
Samuels, a member of Citizens for a Healthy and Safe
Environment, said, “How
long will it take for you as
the voice of…south DeKalb
County to make up your
minds about the blight that is
going to come into our community?
“I hear you talking about
beautification,” Samuels said.

“I want to know what kind
of beautification is a gasification plant?”
“The community has
spoken, and we have taken
action,” May said. “Hopefully
this gives the residents some
closure, as the cancellation
of this contract removes
the source of the fuel for a
gasification plant, no matter
where it would be built.”
Commissioner Sharon
Barnes Sutton asked May
about the effect of the contract’s cancellation.
“Since they are in default
and they haven’t been collecting the debris, what will
be the consequences of that
for us?” Sutton asked. “Do
we have any plans for another company...to somehow
dispose of it in another manner or are we just going to
leave it sitting there?”
May said the county
wasn’t “doing anything with
the debris anyway.”
“It doesn’t just sit there,”
he continued. “It actually
degrades. This was just a
unique…way for us to generate some revenue. That was
an unsolicited bid that we
got.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

local news

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry welcomes local residents.

Clarkston lights
Christmas tree

Santa poises with kids after tree lighting. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Santa Claus arrives on top of a fire trunk.

City Manager Keith Barker introduces performers.

Clarkston’s public works department display of fireworks.

Praise dancer from Clarkston’s First Baptist Church performs routine.

Page 15A

local

Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

City workers prep Halpern Park before a weekend event. Photos
by Ashley Oglesby

Bernard Halpern Park receives finishing touches.

Fencing around the newly installed soccer mini-pitches
receives final paint.

Doraville approves $68,000 parks plan
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
The Doraville Parks and Recreation Department will create its first comprehensive master
plan after receiving seven bids in response to the
recreation and parks master plan request proposed on Aug. 25.
Rip Robertson, parks and recreation director said he asked several professionals to assist
in evaluating the proposals, including director
of Hapeville recreation department and former
recreation coordinator of Doraville Todd Nichols
and assistant director of Brookhaven parks and
recreation department, Gary Schussler.
Robertson said, both directors “were extremely satisfied with the product that Lose &
Associates produced for their community.”
The city council approved Lose & Associates
to provide the city with a master plan at its Dec.
1 meeting. The company is expected to provide
the city with a final work plan including timeline
within 10 business days.
Doraville will pay the company for services
rendered on a monthly basis up to 50 percent of
the total estimated, $68,620.00 contract. The final 50 percent of the contract will be paid as one
payment upon completion of and approval by the
city.

Cityhood

Continued From Page 11A

stand its importance to both
groups.
“It’s imperative that any
division of the Northlake
commercial district be carefully considered and done
in a way that promotes
economic viability for both
groups for many years to
come,” DeWitt said. “Without a strong business district
the cities will struggle to
survive.”
DeWitt said the association supports the creation
of two cities who boundaries do not negatively affect
the district. The association
suggested that I-285 be the
natural border.
“We think it will make a
lot of sense for that area,” he
said.
That suggestion was met
with some groans and giggles from the crowd, which

“Based on our evaluation and discussions we
feel Lose & Associates would bring a vast amount
of experience in developing new parks and recreation master plans to the city of Doraville,” Robertson said.
He said, Lose & Associates “have completed
the plans in new cities, Johns Creek and Dunwoody over the last several years and just recently, Brookhaven. The latter two are our neighbors
in DeKalb County, and we could benefit from the
Lose’s experience in those two related communities. They are very familiar with DeKalb County
and the surrounding communities and have a
great reputation for data and information development. This experience also will benefit our
community as they develop a plan that would be
inclusive of our diverse population.”
According to the scope of services draft, Lose
& Associates will be responsible for providing an
analysis of existing funding practices, establishing
a criteria for park land acquisition policy, recommending a 10-year parks development capital
improvement plan and compiling findings from
their study of the city into documents that assist officials to identify community priorities for
2015-2025.
Public meetings will be held to obtain citizen input into the plan at key points within the
process: at the beginning of the project, once a

were heard throughout most
of the public comment portion of the meeting. When
Tucker supporters spoke,
there were a few mild outburst of giggles and negative
comments from the LaVista
Hills crowd, and from Tucker proponents when LaVista
Hills supporters voiced their
opinions.
“It’s an emotional issue,”
said Mary Kay Woodworth
of LaVista Hills. “I think you
often hear laughter when
people are nervous. There is
a lot of tension in the room,
no doubt. I certainly hope
the Tucker representatives
will want to sit down and try
to work something out with
us.”
Allen Venet of LaVista
Hills added that a compromise is possible.
“We all failed to find that
compromise, but it’s still out
there, and we’re always still
available to talk,” Venet said.
Auman agreed that a
compromise could happen

before the subcommittee decides on a map.
“I think this committee,
judging by some of their remarks, is interested in helping that happen,” he said.
“There’s still a lot of room
for hope.”

framework has been established, to present preliminary findings to the master plan committee
and for the presentation of the plan to city council.
Robertson said the city is in the process of finalizing the agreement.
“The purpose for this plan is to guide us over
the next three, five and 10 years not just with
what should and can be done in our existing
parks but also how to get from one park to another, how to get through the city through trails
and sidewalks and what sort of programming we
need to be looking at,” Robertson said.
He added, “We’re excited about actually getting a professional consultant to help guide us as
we move forward. There is some work to be done,
and we’re excited about where we’re headed”
The parks and recreation department recently
installed two soccer mini-pitches due to a program proposed by Georgia Soccer and its partners.
The pitches replaced the former neglected
tennis courts in Halpern Park.
Robertson said they are “working on completing the renovation in Halpern Park and plan
to have it completed by late spring.”
Now that the soccer mini-pitches are installed
the department is working on renewing the lot
for basketball use.

However, State Rep.
Scott Holcomb, who represents parts of north and
central DeKalb, told the subcommittee that he does not
think the two groups will
come to a compromise.
“They have acted in

good faith and they just have
very different views,” Holcomb said. “While I hope
that they will continue to
work together I’m not in any
way confident that will happen. So I think the decision
will be yours.”

Notice of Availability
DeKalb County 2015 Executive Budget Recommendation
The Interim Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County will present the 2015
Executive Budget Recommendation to the DeKalb County Board of
Commissioners on or before December 15, 2014 for their consideration.
A copy of the entire Executive Budget Recommendation will be available for
public inspection in the office of the Director of Finance, 6th Floor, Maloof Center
during normal business hours, beginning December 16, 2014. The Executive
Budget Recommendation will also be available electronically at
www.dekalbcountyga.gov and at DeKalb County Library locations.
The DeKalb County Interim Chief Executive Officer and Board of Commissioners
will hold Public Hearings on the 2015 Executive Budget Recommendation at
times and places to be announced later.

local

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Page 17A

News briefs

Packer

Irons

Street

Fox

Callahan

Shelton

Taylor

Scholarship ball to raise funds to aid students
Interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May and the “We Need 2 Read
Foundation” will host the Black Tie
Holiday Scholarship Ball on Dec. 14.
This event is a fundraiser to
provide scholarships to deserving
DeKalb County high school seniors
and will be held Sunday, Dec. 14,
from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Thalia N.
Carlos Hellenic Community Center,
2500 Clairmont Road NE, Atlanta.

A “Gatsby Affair” is the theme
for the ball, and the evening begins
with a VIP reception followed by
dinner and the CEO’s Vanguard
Award ceremony.
Professionals from a crosssection of industries will be honored
for excellence in their respective
fields, and their positive impact on
strengthening DeKalb’s communities and improving the quality of life

Brookhaven officers save life
A Brookhaven police officer is credited with
saving a life Dec. 2 by using his city-issued automated external defibrillator (AED) on a person
having a heart attack.
According to a news release, Brookhaven
police were dispatched to a business office on
Corporate Boulevard around noon on a cardiac
arrest call. Corporal Matthew Murray along with
two other Brookhaven police officers rushed to
the business complex after receiving the medical
call. They arrived a minute later to find that CPR
was already in progress on a 54-year-old female.
Officer Olen Boughner took over CPR while
Officer Patrick DiCicco and Murray prepared
the AED for use. The officers were able to revive
the woman by administering two shocks from
the AED to the heart before paramedics arrived
on scene, according to the news release.
The woman was awake and talking to officers
and paramedics as she was being loaded on to
the elevator of the business. She was transported
by ambulance to an Atlanta area hospital. Murray
was able to talk to her again at the hospital, according to the news release.
The Friends of Brookhaven Foundation
raised funds last year to purchase enough AEDs
for all Brookhaven police cars.

County recreation department to
hold blanket drive
The county’s Department of Recreation,
Parks & Cultural Affairs is accepting new or gently used blankets for its blanket drive through
Wednesday, Dec. 31.
“As the temperature starts dropping and we
focus on families and friends during the holidays, the Department of Recreation Parks & Cultural Affairs is working to provide some comfort
to those who are resistant to living in a shelter
or those forced to live in the overflow shelters,”

for local residents.
The 2014 DeKalb County CEO
Vanguard Award honorees are Emory University Hospital, Larry Callahan of Pattillo Construction, John
Shelton of DeKalb Medical, Vaughn
Irons of APD Solutions, Greg Street
of V-103, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce President Katerina Taylor,
and Will Packer of Will Packer Productions.

states a county news release.
Residents are encouraged to donate by dropping off blankets at one of the county’s recreational facilities during normal operating hours.
Once items are gathered, they will be distributed
to people in need.
To donate drop off blankets at any of the following locations:
Main Office/Maloof Building, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur; Browns Mill Recreation
Center, 5101 Browns Mill Road, Lithonia; Exchange Recreation Center, 2771 Columbia Drive,
Decatur; Gresham Recreation Center, 3113
Gresham Road, Atlanta; Hamilton Recreation
Center, 3263 Chapel Street, Scottdale; Lucious
Sanders Recreation Center, 2484 Bruce Street,
Lithonia; Mason Mill Recreation Center, 1340-B
McConnell Drive, Decatur; Midway Recreation
Center, 3181 Midway Road, Decatur; N.H. Scott
Recreation Center, 2230 Tilson Road, Decatur;
Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur; Redan
Recreation Center, 1839 Phillips Road, Lithonia;
Tobie Grant Recreation Center, 644 Parkdale
Drive, Scottdale; and Tucker Recreation Center,
4898 LaVista Road, Tucker.
The main office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5
p.m. Recreation centers and the Porter Sanford
III Performing Arts & Community Center are
open from 1-5 p.m.
For more information, call LaShanda Davis,
public education specialist, at (404) 371-3643.

County’s magistrate court
relocating temporarily
Effective Dec. 8, the criminal division of the
DeKalb County Magistrate Court is temporarily relocated from Camp Circle in Decatur to the
DeKalb County Courthouse, 4th floor, Judicial
Tower, 556 North McDonough St., Decatur.
The Camp Circle location will be closed

Grammy award-winning singer
Fantasia headlines the entertainment with Ryan Cameron of V-103
and Cynné Simpson of Fox 5 serving as emcees.
For information about tickets
and sponsorships, contact Nichole
Simms at (404) 371-2552 or jnsimms@dekalbcountyga.gov.

during renovations that are expected to last six
months. While the Magistrate Court’s criminal
division will continue to operate seven days per
week, the hours of operations will change slightly. The court will close at 11 p.m. daily.
For more information, call (404) 294-2150.

County accepts White House youth
challenge
DeKalb County has accepted the White
House’s “My Brother’s Keeper (MBK)” Challenge.
On Dec. 11, interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May will host a “Local Action Summit” at
Lou Walker Senior Center, 2538 Panola Road,
Lithonia, to discuss the challenge to eliminate
opportunity gaps for youth. Starting at 6:30 p.m.,
the summit will bring the community together to
outline MBK priorities specific to DeKalb County and begin to build a plan of action around
them.
“Twenty-four percent of DeKalb’s population
is under the age of 18,” May said. “It has been
DeKalb County’s priority to ensure collaboration of resources, tools, services and programs to
create a sustained and strong foundation for our
youth, and the MBK challenge fits right in to our
overall plan. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together.”
The six goals of the challenge include: ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally ready; ensuring all
children read at grade level by third grade; ensuring all youth graduate from high school; ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education
or training; ensuring all youth out of school are
employed; and ensuring all youth remain safe
from violent crime.
For more information, contact Jashawn Williams at the DeKalb County Office of Youth
Services at (404) 687-7108 or jrwilliams@dekalbcountyga.gov.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Education

Page 18A

Druid Hills charter cluster petition renewed
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
In coming months, residents of Druid Hills will decide whether to remain part
of unincorporated DeKalb
County or join the city of
Atlanta.
The initiative to join the
city of Atlanta could shift
thousands of DeKalb County students to the Atlanta
Public School System.
Approximately 4,500
Druid Hills households will
be mailed informational materials about their options in
the next two or three weeks.
Later this fall, they’ll be
asked to complete surveys
about their preference, said
Anne Wallace, chairwoman
of the Druid Hills Civic Association 2014 Citizens Survey Committee. Some Druid
Hills residents want more of
a voice in their local government representation, said
Wallace.
As the nearby communities of Briarcliff, Lakeside
and Tucker push to become
cities, Druid Hills residents
fear they’d be separated from
the rest of the county and
see a decline in the quality
of government services, said
Wallace.
“It comes down to Druid
Hills having a say in what
our future local governance
will be,” she said. “The more
cities that form, the less resources there will be to support county services. Those
of us left are going to have to
foot a bigger bill.”
Public education likely
would be a key concern.
Druid Hills residents voted
last August to form a “charter cluster”–the petition
would have granted governance of seven school
communities–five feeder
elementary schools, one
middle school, and one high
school–to a nonprofit board
sourced from individuals
vested in the cluster and its
surrounding businesses and
organizations.
The seven schools are
Avondale Elementary, Briar
Vista Elementary, Fernbank
Elementary, Laurel Ridge
Elementary, McLendon Elementary, Druid Hills Middle
and Druid Hills High.

If annexed into Atlanta and Atlanta Public School, Druid Hills High School would lose some of the communities that now call the school their own.

By a 5-4 vote the county
school board rejected the
proposal.
Matt Lewis, a parent
who led the petition effort,
expressed disappointment
about the decision. “The
board’s decision is a chilling
demonstration of the tyrannical insistence on mediocrity that plagues the DeKalb
County public education
system, leading to underperforming schools that block
progress in the vulnerable
parts of our communities. In
one vote, the DeKalb board
has disenfranchised the very
parental leadership it claims
to champion, and committed the education and success of nearly 5,000 students
and 400 school personnel
to the ash heap of the status
quo.”
The cluster petition, developed through an organic
grassroots effort largely
in response to “lagging
achievement and the ac-

creditation woes of the district, reflected widespread
community dissatisfaction
with under-performing,
under-resourced, and poorly-managed DeKalb County
schools.”
After seven months of
weekly cluster planning
meetings–all open to the
public and inclusive of any
volunteer who showed up–
and research and discussion
documents posted online,
more than 1,000 cluster
stakeholders noted to support this new approach to
public education by a margin of 92 percent to 8 percent.
At a Nov. 11, 2013,
called board meeting,
DeKalb County Superintendent Mike Thurmond and
his staff stated that the petition met all legal requirements for a charter, concurring with the conclusion of
the Georgia Department of
Education, but advocated

that approximately onethird of the per student state
required funding for charter
cluster students remain with
the school district rather
than go to cluster classrooms.
According to Lewis,
Thurmond’s charter office
seemed confused regarding
petition approval criteria
and reversed its position on
key petition issues. Lewis
said Thurmond’s charter office and counsel also refused
to provide petition organizers with information on the
district’s recommendation
on the petition and tried to
withhold documents provided to board members in
the public Board meeting,
attended by hundreds of petition supporters.
Ultimately, the petition
denial and superintendent’s
refusal to meet with the petition organizers or provide
information generated ill
will toward the district from

many of the 5,000 students
and more than 400 employees in the cluster.
Theresa Bennett, a
parent of an Avondale Elementary student and future
cluster governing board
member, who helped with
the development of the petition reflected on what the
denial means to her school
community.
“The denial of this petition is very disappointing; I
can’t believe the board has
told our kids no to success
and smaller classes,” Bennett
said. “Do they really want
our kids to succeed?” she
asked.
A renewed charter cluster petition is pending with
the DeKalb school district.
Atlanta school board Chairman Courtney English said
it was premature to discuss
whether the city school
system would be amenable
to charter schools in Druid
Hills.

www.thechampionnewspaper.com

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Education

Superintendent joins
education advisory board
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal
appointed DeKalb County School
Superintendent Michael Thurmond and Dr. Phyllis Edwards
Superintendent of City Schools of
Decatur to join 12 other school superintendents and education leaders including principals, teachers
and school board members from
around Georgia to the Education
Advisory Board.
In a Dec. 1 press release the
governor announced the board
members will meet with him and
his staff over the next year to provide input on education policy issues facing the state.
“Throughout my term, the
members of these advisory boards
have provided invaluable feedback
on policy issues including improving the percentage of Georgia’s
students reading on grade level by
the third grade and encouraging innovation in STEM education,” said
Deal.
“By listening to those on the

frontlines, we can make better
policy decisions for our educators
and students, he said. “I’m grateful
to these highly regarded professionals who are giving of their time and
talents. Our children are our greatest resource, and I look forward to
discussing how we can continue to
improve educational outcomes for
all.”
The board’s first meeting is
scheduled for Jan. 7 at the State
Capitol.
“I am honored to serve on the
Governor’s Education Advisory
Board and take seriously the Governor’s mandate to ‘help our state
continue to strive for educational
excellence,’” Thurmond said.
He added, “The DeKalb County
School District has made significant progress in addressing critical
issues facing Georgia public education from fiscal management,
academic growth and achievement,
school safety, diversity, and poverty.”
Thurmond pointed out the district’s achievements since Feb. 2013
when he was appointed as DeKalb’

schools as superintendent by the
Board of Education:
• Eliminated $14 million deficit and
created a $40 million reserve fund
with no tax increase
• Improved school safety with the
dedicated resource officers assigned to elementary schools
• Established three of the district’s
four STEM certified schools including the first STEM middle
school in the state
• Placed three elementary schools
in the top 25 of the state’s more
than 2,000 elementary schools for
academic achievement
• Improved graduation rates by
more than 5 percentage points
over two years
“I applaud Gov. Deal for including our superintendent in a
broad cross-section of education
leaders from around the state to
offer first-hand knowledge of the
challenges and opportunities facing Georgia’s public school system,”
said Melvin Johnson, Chair of the
DeKalb County Board of Education.

Page 19A

DeKalb
school
leaders
attend CFO
Executive
summit
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@deklabchamp.com
“The next generation of successful business leaders will need
to discover passion and purpose
in their professional lives and
reimagine the future of business,”
said John Coleman, district 1
representative.
Coleman, District Chief Financial Officer Michael Bell
and Superintendent Michael
Thurmond provided keynote presentations to the CFO Executive
Summit on Dec. 2, at the Westin
Peachtree Plaza hotel in downtown Atlanta.
The CFO Executive Summit
brought together financial executives representing businesses including Coca-Cola Bottling, Delta
Air Lines, Turner Broadcasting
System, CNN, Rollins, Southern
Company, Equifax, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft Corporation, Bank of America, Federal
Reserve Bank, Cox Communications and INVESCO.
“We have placed better controls on spending and adopted the
goal of spending below projections and receiving more revenue
than we anticipated,” Bell said.
“Fiscal integrity has been restored.”
According to a Dec. 1 press
release, Coleman discussed the
next generation of business leaders based on research from his
book, “Passion and Purpose.”
Bell and Thurmond discussed
the financial turnaround the district has experienced in the past
18 months since their involvement.
“The district could do nothing
to improve academic growth and
achievement, attract and retain
high-quality teachers and provide
a safe and productive learning environment without the necessary
funds,” Thurmond said.
He added, “With support of
the Board, Bell has done an outstanding job of getting control of
our financial processes and placing accountability and discipline
in the budget process.”
The summit was closed to the
public.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

business

Page 21A

Jumpin’ Kritters offers indoor
playground options
by Kathy Mitchell
When Lisa Suneus and Wanda
Shumake became friends, they
found themselves talking about
something parents often talk about—
what they’d like to see available to
their children.
While the Atlanta area has many
types of indoor play facilities for
children, the women felt none fit
their needs exactly. So Shumake,
who had worked 30 years as a microbiologist, and Suneus, who had been
in the same field 20 years, decided to
create such a facility based on their
own vision. In 2011, they opened
Jumpin’ Kritters in the Mall of Georgia.
“We liked the place, but there
was one big problem—it didn’t have
a bathroom. Of course, there were
public restrooms in the mall, but
when you are dealing with small
children, you need your own bathroom. We approached Simon Malls
(the owners of Mall of Georgia and
other malls) and asked if they had
another space with a bathroom.
They told us that a clothing store
in Northlake Mall had closed. They
could lease it to us, but we would
have to do our own renovations,”
Suneus recalled.
The process started in October
of 2013 and the Northlake facility
opened on Halloween 2014. The
most time-consuming part, Suneus
said, was satisfying DeKalb County’s
requirements. “It was tough, because
we had closed the original place and
for a year, we had money coming in.”
At Northlake, the partners again
created their vision. “Most places
turn the children loose to play on
their own, but the children quickly
become bored and say ‘Mommy,
come play with me.’ Mommy might
need to finish some work she
brought with her or just be tired. We
have a staff of young people, high
school and college students, who
play with the children as though
they were an older sibling or cousin,”
Suneus said.
Also, she said, many such facilities offer little variety, featuring
all inflatables or electronic games.
While Jumpin’ Kritters has inflatables, most of its equipment is what
Suneus calls “retro.”
“We go back to basics for most
of what we do—jump ropes, balls,
coloring books, swings and slides.
Simple toys require children to use

their imaginations and problemsolving skills. They get to use their
creativity because everything hasn’t
been worked out in advance by the
designers of the games,” Suneus said.
“We even have a corner where we
read to the young children; they like
that.”
Parents can play with the children, sit in a lounge area—possibly
working at a computer—while their
children play or they can leave for up
to four hours for shopping and other
errands.
“We’re not licensed as a daycare
facility, so parents can leave the children only for short periods. Also, we
don’t serve meals—just light snacks.
We require that the parents give us
a phone number and an alternate
Co-owner Lisa Suneus says Jumpin’ Kritters is designed to encourage creative, thoughtcontact and we check both before
provoking play. The facility also hosts birthday parties and has a “drop and shop” option
they leave. They also must leave a
for parents. Photos by Kathy Mitchell
password that the person picking the
child up must know. We haven’t had
any problems,” Suneus said.
As at most commercial play facilities, birthday parties are a mainstay at Jumpin’ Kritters. There are
private rooms that can be used for
parties and parents can bring food
or arrange for Jumpin’ Kritters’ staff
to pick up such items as pizzas and
cakes. “Many places don’t allow
people to bring in their own food,
but we don’t sell food and any food
brought in is served only to that person’s party guests, so there’s no problem,” according to Suneus.
“We want children to have the
experience their parents want them
to have. We try to address any special
concerns parents have. Some don’t
like anyone touching their children.
We tell them that we don’t do hugs
and kisses, but we do pick children
up if they fall,” she said.
The facility takes children walking age and older and the child must
be potty trained. “We don’t have an
upper age limit—and occasionally
some teens will come in and want to
throw a ball around of play on the
swings, but most are young children.”
Suneus said that she and Shumake want the students who work
at Jumpin’ Kritters to get more than
a paycheck. “We choose our staff
carefully. We want the kind of young
people who enjoy children, who
would like to do this even if they
weren’t getting paid. It’s an opportunity for them to build business skills
and parenting skills that they can use
in the future,” she said.

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
404.378.8000
www.DeKalbChamber.org

Page 22A
Sports
St. Pius girls’ basketball ball team continues winning streak
The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The St. Pius X girls’ basketball
team picked up its 62nd consecutive
regular season region win Dec. 6 after beating Columbia 48-42.
The streak dates back to Jan. 29,
2010, when St. Pius defeated region

opponent Therrell 44-25. The streak
has led to three region championships and two state titles.
“It’s really hard in the standpoint
of trying to get the kids attention
every night,” said head coach Kyle
Snipes. “When you’re having success like that sometimes you have to
use different measures [and] use dif-

ferent goals during the course of the
game, especially when you might
be playing teams that are not as
competitive so that you can still get
something out of the game. That’s
one of the challenges but I would
say that’s a nice challenge with the
kids. It’s just keeping them engaged
night in and night out when you’ve

had success like that.”
Snipes has been with the team
for six seasons. He said coaching
each team during this streak has
been fun.
“It just means that the girls are
really paying attention to what you
are trying to do and bought in to
what we as a staff are trying to do,”

See Basketball on page 24A

St.Pius X head coach Paul Standard is embraced by his family after the Golden Lions knocked off Woodward Academy to advance to the state championship. Photo by Carla Parker

St. Pius heading back to the Dome
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
It took a fourth quarter effort for the St. Pius
Golden Lions to knock off Woodward Academy and punch their ticket to their second state
championship game in three years.
No. 6-ranked St. Pius defeated No. 5-ranked
Woodward Academy 28-21 Dec. 5 in the semifinals of the Class AAAA playoffs. The Golden
Lions were down 21-7 early in the third quarter
and went on to score 21 unanswered points in the
fourth quarter to win the game.
Head coach Paul Standard said the team did
not come out in the second half with any secrets;
it just played fundamental football.
“We did a better job of pass rush and pass
coverage,” Standard said. “Offensively, we got
the ball and had a couple of drives there and that
helped, too.”
After a scoreless first quarter, St. Pius got on
the scoreboard first in the second quarter after

a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Reed
Egan, giving the Golden Lions a 7-0 lead. The
lead did not last long, as Woodward scored on its
first play on the following drive.
Running back Elijah Holyfield ran 80 yards
to the end zone to tie the game at 7. Holyfield
rushed for 152 yards on 12 carries in the first
half.
After stopping St. Pius on offense, Woodward
put together a long drive that ended in a 34-yard
touchdown pass from quarterback Jes Sutherland to Josh Johnson. The score gave Woodward
a 14-7 lead at halftime.
St. Pius’ offense opened the second half, going three and out. Woodward took the ball and
drove down the field, scoring on a 10-yard pass
from Sutherland to Jeffrey Hubbard, giving
Woodward a 21-7 lead.
The Golden Lions were able to put a drive together, but it stalled and St. Pius attempted a 47yard field goal, but the field goal went wide left.
It looked bleak for St. Pius after the missed goal,

but things turned around for the Golden Lions
after Brian O’Reily picked off Sutherland on the
following play.
“[That was] a big interception by Brian
O’Reily,” Standard said.
St. Pius had the ball on Woodward’s 19-yard
line and got down to the 1-yard line, but facing a
4th and goal. Running back Dalton Wilson was
able to punch it in for the score to cut the lead to
21-14 with 11:09 left in the game.
St. Pius defense stepped up on the following
play, forcing Woodland to punt. On the following
drive, Julian Holliman took the ball on a reverse
play and ran 51 yards to Woodward’s 5-yard line.
On second and goal, Ransom Klinger ran it
in from two yards out to cut the lead to 21-20. St.
Pius could have tied the game at 21, but the snap
went over the holder’s head on the extra point.
The Golden Lions defense stopped Holyfield
and the Woodward offense again, forcing a punt.
St. Pius had the ball at its own 15 with 5:25 left to
play. A conversion on 4th and 7 and a defensive

See Football on page 24A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

Sports

Redan’s Xavier Guzman (right) goes up for a layup. Photos by Mark Brock

Page 23A

Redan’s Taylor Tucker (left) scored 25 points in the win over Chamblee.

Redan sweeps Chamblee in region play
by Mark Brock
Chamblee never quit on its
home court, but Redan used big second halves to pull away to a sweep
in Region 6-AAAA high school basketball action Dec. 5.
Taylor Tucker came up big for
the Redan Lady Raiders (4-0) when
they needed her as Chamblee (1-3)
battled to a 31-29 lead at the end of
the third quarter.
Chamblee was trailing 27-22 following a Kia Smith steal and basket
for Redan with 4:15 left in the third
quarter. Ariana Henderson then
took over for the Lady Bulldogs
driving to the basket three times and
pulling up for a short jumper on another trip to score eight consecutive
points to flip the lead to 30-27 with
1:36 left in the period.
Tucker then took control to
open the fourth quarter by hitting a
three-pointer to give Redan a 32-31
lead and the Lady Raiders would
never trail again. The three was

part of a 13-2 run by Tucker alone
that included three from the threepoint arc and a pair of drives to the
basket for a 42-33 advantage for the
defending Class AAAA state champions.
Liyah Terrell had seven points
in the first half, and Ozichi Uqwumadu (10 points, 15 rebounds) had
six as the Lady Bulldogs overcame
21 first-half turnovers to trail by just
one point (19-18) at the half.
Tucker finished with 25 points
to lead Redan on the night, while
teammate Jaylen Black grabbed 10
rebounds.
Uqwumadu had the doubledouble of 10 points and 15 rebounds
to lead Chamblee, while Ariana
Henderson finished with 10 points
and eight rebounds.

Boys

Redan 67, Chamblee 51
The Redan Raiders had big runs
in the second and third quarters to
put distance between them and the

Chamblee Bulldogs, but could never
relax as the home team kept climbing back into the game in a 67-51
Redan victory at Chamblee.
Tyrone Stuckey and Raqui
Owens got the Raiders rolling after falling behind 5-0 early to the
Bulldogs. The duo each had a pair
of three-pointers, the first coming
from Stuckey to put Redan on the
board and a second to give Redan
the lead at 8-7 with 4:59 left in the
first quarter.
Owens hit his two in the final
three minutes of the quarter as Redan (2-2) took a 22-13 lead into the
second period.
Four different Raiders scored in
the first four minutes of the second
quarter as the lead ballooned to 17
(30-13).
Glenn Robinson came off the
bench to spark the Bulldogs (16) with two baskets as Chamblee
trimmed the lead to nine (32-23)
with four seconds left in the half.
Stuckey struck again at the buzzer

with a drive to the basket to give
Redan a 34-23 lead heading to the
dressing room.
Redan put together a 10-2 run in
the final 3:55 of the third quarter led
by four points from Tyron Turner
to take a 49-29 lead into the fourth
quarter.
The Bulldogs answered to start
the fourth quarter as Odell Ferrell and Robinson hit back-to-back
three-pointers in a 12-5 run to trim
the lead to 13 (54-41) with 5:02 to
play.
Six free throws and an Ashaki
Powell basket with six seconds left
put the game away for the Raiders in
the final four minutes.
Owens finished with 15 points
to lead Redan while Stuckey had 11
and Turner added 10.
Jeremy Salley finished with
15 points and 10 rebounds for a
double-double for Chamblee while
teammates Ferrell (11 points) and
Robinson (10 points, 8 rebounds)
both finished in double figures.

Correction: The pictures for the Marist vs. Tucker game published in the Dec. 4, 2014 issue were taken by Travis Hudgons.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Dec. 11, 2014

local news

Football

Basketball

holding call on Woodward had
St. Pius with a first down at the
30-yard line with 53 seconds
left.
On the following play, running back Joey Connors ran
down the right sideline for a 30yard touchdown. A pass from
Reed to Brennan Garrison on
the 2-point conversion gave St.
Pius the 28-21 lead with 47 seconds left.
St. Pius defense forced a
fumble and recovered to seal the
win and the trip to the Georgia Dome to play for the Class
AAAA championship.
“It’s great for our school
and our community,” Standard
said. “I’m so proud for them. It
shows that you can get a group
of young men together and [if]
they have a goal in mind, one
heartbeat, one mindset they can
reach those goals.”
St. Pius will face Buford in
the title game Dec. 13, at 4:30
p.m. St. Pius is 1-3 against Buford, the last loss coming in
2012, when the Golden Lions
lost to Buford in the Class AAA
championship game.

he said. “Every game is important, regardless
of who we are playing and that’s the biggest
thing–the ability to play to the standard of
your level of performance, as opposed to get
caught up in who you are playing regardless
of if it’s a Columbia or someone that’s not
traditionally had as much success.”
During the streak, each team has been
successful. In 2011, St. Pius finished 25-6,
winning a region championship and an Elite
Eight playoff appearance. In 2012, the team
went 24-5 with a playoff appearance, and the
2013 and 2014 team had similar success with
a 30-3 record and a state title.
Snipes said a lot of the success is due to
the team leadership in the seniors.
“They instill in our younger kids that,
‘this is how we do things, we’ve had success
with it and we really don’t want you guys
coming in here messing with our success,’”
Snipes said. “That’s pretty much how we are
as a staff and the kids have done a great job
of keeping that mindset.”
With most of the 2014 team returning
this season, St. Pius has an opportunity to
win a third consecutive state title. However,
that is something St. Pius is not focused on.
“We’re just focused on trying to get better every day,” he said. “There are some
things we have to improve at and just try to
be better each day and try to build on that. If
we’re fortunate enough to make the playoffs
we’ll take it from there.”

Continued From Page 22A

Continued From Page 22A

Page 24A

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