FRIDAY, Jan. 2, 2015 • VOL. 17, NO. 38 • FREE

2014Year in Review

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

Quick Finder
Opinion............................ 5A


local, 8A

Cleavon Parker, Tiffanii Wyatt, Cassandra Parks, James B. Kynes Jr. and Tiffanie Williams were some of the alumni of the Southwest DeKalb High School Class of 1993 who participated in
a recent holiday benevolence project. Photos by Travis Hudgons

SwD alumni give back

by Andrew Cauthen
“This is our community,” said James B. Kynes
Jr., president of the Southwest DeKalb class of
When members of the Southwest DeKalb
High School class of 1993 got together Dec. 22,
it wasn’t for a class anniversary or other celebration. It was to give back to the community surrounding their alma mater.
“Some of us don’t live on this side of town
but we went to Southwest DeKalb,” Kynes said.
“Our class definitely wants to do the best we can
as far as making sure we give back to the community.”
Kynes said, “We got a call that we had some
families that might have been in need for the
Christmas season. We had classmates that
stepped up and wanted to contribute to the
cause and make sure these families were fed and
had a good Christmas season.”
For two hours in a parking lot on Wesley
Chapel Road near I-20, the alumni sponsored
a Holiday Give Back Initiative service project.
They distributed turkey meals, brown bag meals,
clothes, shoes and provided free haircuts.
The haircuts were provided by Ernesto “Nesto” Williams of Nesto’s Buckhead, and barbers
from Kings of Atlanta and Edgetown Barber
“[We’re] helping the homeless and the people
who are a little down on their luck,” Williams
The haircuts were provided in a mobile bar-

See SWD on page 15A


The Southwest DeKalb High School Class of 1993 helped needy south DeKalb residents by giving out turkey dinner items,
bag lunches, free haircuts and clothing. They even offered prayers to some residents.





Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

News briefs
Ethics board clears Commissioner Larry
The DeKalb County Board of Ethics dismissed charges against DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson which involved
several payments to the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center.
“The arts support the education of our children and provide wholesome entertainment
for families of all ages,” said Johnson, in a statement. “All of my expenditures have been for a
public purpose and this is no different. I will
continue to support this type of programming
in District 3 to the extent I am able.”
The complaint, filed in May by resident
Rhea Johnson, claimed misuse of the commissioner’s purchasing card.
Johnson’s attorney, Mawuli Mel Davis, said
the ethics complaint was frivolous and should
never have taken so long to resolve.
“It’s those kinds of wild allegations that will
cause people to lose faith in their public servants,” Davis said.

GBI ends investigation of 2013 death of jail
academy recruit
Following DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey
Mann’s request in November for an independent review, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) has released its report on the circumstances surrounding the death of recruit
George Ward.

The GBI does not plan to take any further
action on the case, according to the Sheriff ’s
Ward was a detention officer recruit who
died unexpectedly in May 2013 during the second day of the jail academy training program.
“We understand that Mr. Ward’s family
continues to grieve his loss, and they have our
sympathies,” Mann said. “After reviewing the
report, however, I remain confident that this
agency acted responsibly with regard to his
tragic death and to our training program during
retired Sheriff Thomas Brown’s administration.
We continue to do so today. When Mr. Ward
became ill while training, we responded swiftly,
professionally and appropriately.”
According to initial reports by the DeKalb
Medical Examiner, Ward was a victim of serious pre-existing medical conditions. This was
reconfirmed by the GBI Medical Examiner as
part of its review.
Mann referred to the DeKalb Sheriff ’s Office training program as a “textbook” for law
enforcement agencies and he said it is managed
by experienced officers who share recruits’ desires to succeed.
“Given the nature of the detention officers’
job, it is critical that all our officers are welltrained physically, emotionally and mentally,”
Mann said. “They must be able to function
effectively in the life-or-death situations that
occur inside the jail. While hundreds of officers have successfully graduated from our jail
academy, those few who found it to be too chal-

lenging were either released or left the program

DeKalb Police awarded $68,300 grant
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety
has announced that the DeKalb County Police
Department is one of 17 law enforcement agencies in Georgia to receive a Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic grant for the 2015
grant season. Referred to as a H.E.A.T. grant,
the DeKalb County Police Department’s award
totals $68,300.
The goal of the H.E.A.T. program is to combat crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired driving and speeding, while also increasing seatbelt use and educating the public about
traffic safety and the dangers of DUI.
The DeKalb County Police Department
H.E.A.T Unit will use the grant from GOHS to
develop and implement strategies to reduce local traffic crashes due to aggressive and dangerous driving behaviors.
“Agencies like the DeKalb County Police
Department receive this H.E.A.T. grants because they have showed a particular dedication
to protecting their citizens from impaired drivers,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood.
“This dedication is crucial because alcoholrelated crash deaths still account for 25 percent
of traffic fatalities in Georgia. We are grateful
to Chief [James] Conroy and his staff for their
continued hard work.”
Totaling $3.2 million for 2015, H.E.A.T.

See Briefs on page 20A

Charity flows from Decatur to Haiti
by Kathy Mitchell
Decatur lawyer Ed
Buckley said he’s astonished
at how what he started 11
years ago as a small project
to provide fresh water to
a village in Haiti has ballooned into a series of water
systems that now serve between 350,000 and 450,000
residents of the small island
Buckley and those who
volunteer with him have
now built more than 300
wells and other water systems worth more than $1
“I sort of fell backwards
into this,” Buckley explained.
“I was reading about people
building small fresh water
systems in Africa that were
making a big difference in
the quality of life for people
in the areas where the systems were built. I started
looking into how I could get
involved in something like
Buckley researched

nonprofits involved in such
work and selected Food For
The Poor as the one that
best met his needs. Earlier this year, Food For The
Poor’s Executive Director
Angel Aloma named Buckley and two other Atlantaarea residents Ambassadors
For The Poor at the charity’s
seventh annual Dreams
Across The Sea event.
Buckley, managing
partner at The Buckley
Law Firm, was recognized
along with the Rev. William
Thomas Deneke, an Episcopal priest from Decatur; and
Amanda Farahany, a partner at Barrett & Farahany in
“The great thing about
this organization is that it
has people in Haiti who
understand how things are
done there and cut through
the red tape so projects can
be completed quickly and
cost effectively,” Buckley
He takes a small group,
usually four five people, ap-

proximately twice a year to
Haiti, where they look at
areas that need water. The
groups work with engineers
to help determine the feasibility of building a system.
“Most of the systems we
build are in rural areas, so
we have to look at whether
it can be done and what it
will take to do it. From there
we can figure out how much
money the project will take
so we have a fundraising
goal when we go back to the
United States,” Buckley explained.
Some of the proceeds
from the Dreams Across the
Sea event will further the
mission that got Buckley
involved with the charity.
They will be used to bring
clean, safe drinking water to
Dalon, Haiti, through the installation of a 10,000-gallon
concrete cistern and water
kiosks. Currently, residents
walk more than a mile to
reach the local spring, and
because of the heavy reliance on this resource, resi-

dents usually have to wait
45 minutes to collect water,
according to Food For The
Proceeds from the event
also will help fund components for a water project at the Baptist Hospital
in Quartier Morin, Haiti.
“There is no piped water
in Quartier Morin,” a statement from the charity notes.
“The several shallow, handdug wells at the Baptist Hospital are inefficient because
they are susceptible to the
region’s dry spells, as they
are replenished by rainfall.
When necessary, water is
pumped by hand and delivered in wheelbarrows to
the hospital from the nearby
children’s home. That well
was generously installed
in 2012 by Ed Buckley and
members of Leadership Atlanta.”
Buckley called the need
for clean drinking water
“the most fundamental of
human rights.” He added,
“Without clean drinking wa-

ter we cannot fully exercise
our other God-given rights.
For example, a child can’t
enjoy her right to education
with parasites roiling in her
belly because she does not
have clean drinking water. A
woman can’t engage in commerce if she has to spend
five hours a day hunting for
clean water and bringing a
five-gallon bucket back to
her home, only to repeat the
same thing the next day.”
He said his appreciation
of the need to serve others increased during what
he termed “a recent health
scare,” which he credits
Decatur nurse Susan Parry
with helping him through.
“She brought me back to
the land of the living. I feel
a huge debt of gratitude to
her,” Buckley said. Earlier
this year, during a trip to
Haiti Buckley and his group
honored Parry through the
inauguration of a new water
well and cistern at Bernard
Mevs Hospital in Port-auPrince.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015


Page 3A

Red Cross releases new safety app

Global cancer data reveals
challenges and opportunities
The American Cancer
Society’s newly published
The Cancer Atlas, Second Edition— issued for the first time
in book and interactive website formats—was released on
Dec. 4 at the World Cancer
Congress in partnership with
the International Agency for
Research on Cancer (IARC)
within the World Health Organization and the Union for
International Cancer Control.
The data featured in the
book and on the website
highlight strategies that governments can use to reduce
their cancer burden.
The annual number of
new cancer cases worldwide
is predicted to increase from
14 million in 2012 to almost
22 million in 2030 due to
population growth and aging.
Each country has different
challenges according to its
level of development, demographics, risk factors and
lifestyle patterns, according to
the American Cancer Society
According to the Dec. 4
media release, researchers
from all over the world culled
through numerous data

sources to create The Cancer
Atlas to help global health
experts determine what actions they must take to better
control cancer.
“We know more about
the burden of cancer and how
to reduce it–than we do about
the any other noncommunicable disease,” John R. Seffrin, CEO of the ACS said.
He added, “Information is
a powerful tool in the hands
of passionate, dedicated individuals. However, making
sense of the mountains of
available data can be a challenge.”
The Cancer Atlas is said
to alleviate this problem, consolidating research from 184
countries and other sources
into a comprehensive guide
to the global cancer landscape. The website features
an interactive map and tables
and pages that organize the
The media report said the
digital interactive promotes
cancer prevention and control
worldwide by arming those
who need it with the most
complete information available on the global realities of

See Cancer on page 6A

A new American Red
Cross app has been created
to help children between the
ages of 7 and 11 learn emergency preparedness while
playing a game as monster
A recent news release
reported the free app,
“Monster Guard: Prepare
for Emergencies,” is a game
to teach children how to
prevent emergencies such as
home fires and how to help
them to stay safe if severe
weather or natural
disasters occur.
Set in the monster guard academy,
the app user is a
recruit who trains
to prepare for disasters and practice
what to do if one
happens. Users can
role play as various
monster characters,
go through the initiation and engage in interactive training episodes for
hazards such as tornados,
floods and hurricanes. If a
player completes all the episodes, he or she will graduate and become a member
of the monster guard.
“The Monster Guard
app game is emergency preparedness disguised as fun,”
said Russ Paulsen, executive
director of Community Preparedness and Resilience.
“As children direct the
monsters to identify fire
hazards, locate a safe room
in a house and select items

needed for their emergency
supplies kit, they are learning how to prepare for
emergencies,” he said.
Monster Guard runs on
iOS 7 and 8 and Android
OS 4x and up.
The Monster Guard app
game is a complement to
The Pillowcase Project, a
free Red Cross youth preparedness initiative, for 8- to
11-year-olds, designed to increase children’s awareness
and understanding of natural hazards and reduce their
fears. Participants learn
safety and emotional coping

skills, along with personal
emergency preparedness
The app and The Pillowcase Project are both sponsored by Disney.
The Red Cross offers
a series of apps that give
people instant access to expert guidance on what to
do before, during and after
emergencies and disasters.
People have used these
award-winning apps to save
lives and help protect pets
and property. Localized
weather alerts and warnings
from the apps have allowed
people to get themselves and
others to a safe place before
severe storms came through
their area.
The app can be downloaded by searching for Red
Cross in their mobile app
store or by going to redcross.

Happy New Year

The Champion Free Press, Friday Jan. 2, 2015

For years I have wanted to
go to Cuba. The rebel in me
naturally makes me want to
visit a nation where Americans are not supposed to go,
but there’s also the appeal of a
land that time has somewhat
forgotten for more than half a
Once a top vacation destination for jet-setting world
travelers, it all changed on
Jan. 3, 1961, when President
John F. Kennedy terminated
diplomatic relations with the
island nation after Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959
following the Cuban Revolution. Since that time, Americans have not been allowed to
legally travel directly from the
U.S. to Cuba without specific
government approval.
As a result of the severing
of diplomatic relations, Cuba,
whose geographically closest
neighbor and source of most
of their consumer products is
the United States, became ef-


Cuba beckons
John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

fectively cut off from the free
world and has been frozen in
Part of the allure of the
island to me is to see vintage
’50s automobiles zipping
along streets lined with architecturally beautiful historic
buildings, and along relatively
undeveloped coastal roads.
Of course there is Latin influenced music, art, food and

lifestyle that also are huge
draws for me.
Atlanta-based radio and
television personality Clark
Howard, who has traveled to
Cuba, described it as a nation
stuck in 1959.
Just in the last week,
many people on social media
platforms expressed similar
interests in the possibility of
Americans again being allowed to travel to what is described by many as an island
paradise but it appears that
travel is not an area where
restrictions will be lifted as
quickly as commercial trade
and commerce.
Putting political arguments aside, the normalizing
of relations with Cuba is a
good move economically
for the United States and for
Cuba. With Georgia being
widely known as the poultry capital of the world, this
means that with fewer trade
restrictions the poultry in-

dustry will be allowed to ship
even more eggs and chicken
to Cuba.
According to Stone Mountain-based USA Poultry and
Egg Export Council, which
represents 98 percent of the
poultry and egg industries in
the U.S., we already export
an estimated $150 million
in poultry products to Cuba
annually and the potential is
much greater.
Another potential economic boom is the automotive industry. It’s not likely
that the average Cuban citizen
can afford a new car but think
of the potential of shipping
the hundreds of thousands
of used automobiles that
Americans no longer desire
to a market wanting those
Many are critical of President Obama’s decision to
loosen restrictions but I can’t
see a downside in this equation. American corporations

Page 4A

have opportunities to market
their goods and services to a
new market, which may boost
employment rates and improve our economy. The Cuban people will have access to
better quality food, clothing,
automobiles and other consumables; and, as a result may
quickly realize that an open
and diplomatic society is far
more desirable than how they
have been forced to live under
the Castro regime.
This could be the first step
in another Cuban revolution that would result in one
less dictatorship in the world
and bring all a better sense of
community among the nations of our part of the globe.
I see no negatives in this
move, but as usual, there are
always those who find something to complain about in
almost any situation.
I’m ready to go to Cuba
and hope to be on one of the
first flights out, legal or not!

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

The ABC’s of QBE
“Our ability to provide
needed improvements in
educational spending will not
hinge on extracting a larger
tax bite from our hard-working citizens. We can and will
do what is necessary by living
within our means.” –Georgia
Gov. Joe Frank Harris, during remarks to the Governor’s
Education Review Commission, Nov. 12, 1984.
First, let’s get one important fact out of the way.
Since being signed into law
in 1985 by then Georgia
Gov. Joe Frank Harris, the
Quality Basic Education
Act (QBE) has never been
fully funded by any Georgia
governor. Public education
by far comprises the largest
segment of the Georgia state
budget, as well as accounts
for its largest group of employees. Education funding,
education consumes nearly
seven out of every 10 state
tax dollars.
Public education advocates will almost always say
we are not putting enough
resources directly into the
classroom. I am one who
agrees and believe that entirely too many dollars are
wasted on administrative
expenses, many required by

incentives for excellence
and even additional dollars
brought into the schools by
PTAs, booster clubs and corporate/nonprofit sponsors
and partners.
And some of our state’s
continually highest performing systems are in the smallest of communities, like the
tiny city of Trion and Trion
Bill Crane
City Schools. Trion schools
were rebuilt after a disastrous flood destroyed the
elementary, middle and high
in 1990. The three
the federal government. Our schools
DeKalb County School Dis- are the center oftoday
comtrict seems to have as many
munity. Leadership in the
deputy and/or assistant
business and public sectors
superintendents as we do
compete to serve on the loschool principals. We need
school board for practistrong performers and lead- cal
no pay. The combined
ers in the latter category;
enrollment is less
I’m not entirely sold that we than 1,300
students, and yet
need the former much at all.  the PTA and
booster clubs
Gov. Nathan Deal is say- are a perennial
top fundraising that all options will be
mill town
on the table to improve the
on the
fairness and distribution
Georor equity of state education
gia’s northwest corner. Test
funding to all points of our
scores, achievement and
great state. State funding,
graduation rates are among
per pupil, with the dolthe highest in the state, year
lars following scholars, is
in and year out.
reasonably simply equalPublic education funding
ized. Less control and caps
hodgepodge, with the
exist, as they should, for the largest
piece coming from
local contribution, federal

the state. State revenue is
derived roughly 40 percent
from the personal income
tax, slightly more than 25
percent sales tax and both
of these sources are tapped
for education spending,
supplanted locally by local sales taxes,  ad valorem
property taxes on real estate,
and the ad valorem taxes on
real property (autos, trucks,
boats, etc.). A few years and
one state House speaker ago,
a major legislative goal was
to eliminate the “birthday
tax” of annual ad valorem
tag taxes on automobiles.
Our new tag tax system takes those taxes and
revenue at the time of sale,
but those waters got muddied quickly with used car
sales. There are few county
tax commissioners or
county commissioners who
don’t believe they got the
short end of that revenue
stick when the system was
As Gov. Deal—the son
of two educators and whose
wife is a retired school
teacher—wants to be known
in Georgia history as an
“education governor,” the
appointed membership,
leadership and formation of

his Education Review Commission is critical. He has a
full second term and four
years without facing Georgia
voters again to get this right. 
We don’t have to invent
the successful model; imitation is also more than just
the sincerest form of flattery,
especially if it works. 
Let’s consider shifting
our focus from not only
delivering a Quality Basic
Education to aspiring for
excellence, graduation rates
exceeding 80 percent and a
higher percentage of graduates being ready for college
or the workforce when they
graduate high school. Seems
as simple as ABC.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment
on a column at bill.csicrane@ 

F ree P ress

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not
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Publisher: John Hewitt
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Managing Editor: Andrew Cauthen
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Staff Reporters: Carla Parker, Ashley Oglesby
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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and
any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was
founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse
for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have
no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions
to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move
our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for
discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing
information submitted to us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.


Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Jeri Lloyd
Walking across the stage
at Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) was a special
moment for Jeri Lloyd.
The Georgia Perimeter
College student received her
nursing pin. It was a walk
that took almost 10 years to
“When I graduated as
a licensed practical nurse
from DeKalb Tech, I
planned on coming to
nursing school. But life has
a way of slowing things
down,” the mother of three
Lloyd was awarded the
Outstanding Nursing Student Award for her high
GPA and clinical excellence,
during the college’s 2014

Nurse Pinning Ceremony
held at GPC’s Clarkston
The traditional ceremony celebrates nursing
program graduates with a
ceremonial class nursing

pin. Lloyd was one of 31
nurses who graduated in
Lloyd worked as an
LPN in the infusion unit of
Emory’s Winship Cancer
Center when she had twins.
The boy and girl were both
born with a rare blood
disease that does not allow
them to process protein; the
condition requires several
surgeries. (She already had
a 2-year old when the twins
were born).
Over the years, she
stopped and started nursing school, several times she
said. A year ago, she was
accepted to Georgia Perimeter’s LPN-to-RN accelerated bridge program, which

allows licensed practical
nurses to take an accelerated course load and complete the requirements to
become registered nurses in
three semesters.
Lloyd said she had just
started the program last December, when her maternal
grandmother died. “I felt I
started the program already
behind,” she said. Then, her
stepfather died, followed
by the death of her paternal
grandmother. The deaths
hit her hard, but she continued her studies.
Also during the program, her daughter became severely ill, requiring
Lloyd to take time out to
go to Cincinnati where her

daughter received specialized treatment and surgeries. It helped tremendously,
she said, that her husband
took care of the children
while she was in class and in
her clinical rotations.
“It has been really hard,
but I had my family’s support. And I knew, I just can’t
fail—I needed to do this
and get it done for my family. Becoming a registered
nurse is a huge accomplishment for my entire family—
we completed this together.
Despite the long road to
become an RN, Lloyd said
her next steps will be to obtain her BSN and master’s
degree in nursing.

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

Governor announces
career initiative

Cancer Continued from page 3A
the digital interactive tools promote cancer.
It highlights country-by-country strengths
and weaknesses worldwide, allowing policymakers, researchers and academics to
fully assess differences in risk, burden and
prevention, and emphasizes the potential
for improvement by closing those gaps.
“As nations industrialize and develop,
the number of risk factors such as tobacco
use, diet, and physical inactivity increase,
and life expectancy increases, allowing for
people to live long enough to get cancer,”
Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, Ph.D., lead author
of the Cancer Atlas, Second Edition and vice
president of surveillance research at the
American Cancer Society, said.
While developed countries tend to be
associated with higher cancer risk, Jemal
said these countries have also seen declines
in cancer mortality due to advances in early detection and treatment. He added, “In
the U.S., for example, more than 1.3 million cancer deaths have been averted over
the past 20 years.”
Economically developing countries
such as India, China, and other east and
central Asian countries account for nearly
half of the world’s new cancer cases and
deaths. Recognizing and identifying the
growing risks will help leaders create a
well-structured plan to combat cancer.
“Perhaps the most striking message
from The Cancer Atlas is the inequality in
access to the very interventions that can either prevent or effectively treat and manage
the disease,” said Christopher Wild, director, IARC. “In relation to cancer, where
you live affects your risk of developing the
disease, how you live with the disease and
ultimately whether you survive the disease.
One of the great cancer control challenges
of the 21st century is to bring the benefits
of effective interventions to as many people

as possible, including in low- and middleincome countries,” Wild said.
Cary Adams, CEO of the UICC,
added: “What we need is the engagement
of governments and national cancer leaders around the world to put that knowledge
into practice. These steps do not need
breakthrough science to be effective. They
demand the application of known interventions which are effective in all situations,
as well as the transfer of knowledge so the
challenge of cancer becomes manageable in
the minds of the many.”
Other findings from The Cancer Atlas
• Smoking causes more than 16 different
types of cancer and accounts for 20 percent of all global cancer deaths.
• Indoor air pollution caused by solid fuel
use is estimated to cause about 2.5 million deaths each year in developing countries, or about 4.5 percent of global deaths
each year.
• 137 countries have a national cancer plan.
• 129 countries have not yet introduced the
HPV vaccine, which may prevent infections and certain types of cancers, nearly
triple the number of countries (45) that
have introduced the vaccine.
• There were more than 32 million cancer
survivors globally in 2012.
• By 2025, 19 million new cancer cases will
be diagnosed based solely on projected
demographic changes.
• The Cancer Atlas, Second Edition is authored by more than 60 medical and subject matter experts from six continents.
Together, the contributors have published
more than a thousand papers, articles and
books. Translated editions of the book,
available in Spanish, French, Chinese,
Arabic and Russian, will be launched in

by Ashley Oglesby
Gov. Nathan Deal recently
released the findings from the
High Demand Career Initiative, launched in January 2014
by Deal and led by the Georgia
Department of Economic Development, University System
of Georgia (USG) and the
Technical College System of
Georgia (TCSG) to address
Georgia’s workforce needs.
The report highlights overall trends, high-demand careers
and skills, challenges, recommendations and what Georgia
businesses anticipate they will
need in five to 10 years.
“Throughout my administration, I’ve made it a top priority to promote Georgia’s highquality, highly skilled workforce
infrastructure,” Deal said.
He added, “This report represents a long-term collaborative commitment to ensure that
all Georgia companies have the
support they need to be competitive in the global marketplace. I am confident that the
expertise provided by education
and private-sector industry
leaders will boost our state’s
economy and maintain Georgia’s status as the No. 1 place in
the nation to do business.”
The High Demand Career
Initiative focused on the future
needs of strategic industries in
More than 80 leaders and

businesses of these privatesector industries participated in
the 13 listening sessions across
the state.
A key trend and topic
expressed by many of the participants included the value of
internships and co-op programs
as a method of gaining access to
and training future employees,
as some companies anticipate
the retirement of a large percentage of their current staff in
the coming years. Many participants also emphasized the
importance of cultivating soft
skills in younger employees and
expressed a desire to hire more
Employers reported that
STEM (science, technology,
engineering and mathematics)
career fields need to be introduced to students at a younger
age as a key part of their school
curriculum and noted that partnerships with local boards of
education, TCSG and USG have
been very productive.
“One of Georgia’s greatest
economic development assets
is our reliable workforce,” said
state economic development
Commissioner Chris Carr.
“The High Demand Career Initiative gives us a unique opportunity to anticipate the needs of
our existing industries in order
to prepare Georgia students for
the high demand jobs that will
be available in five to 10 years,”
he said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015




Both programs will be at the Community
Achievement Center, 4522 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Decatur.

Fernbank hosting Winter Wonderland
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is hosting “Winter Wonderland: Celebrations and Traditions Around the World” through Jan. 11. The
holiday exhibition includes martinis and IMAX,
holly jolly activities and shopping in the museum
store. Fernbank is located at 767 Clifton Road
N.E. in Atlanta. For more information, call (404)
929-6300, or visit

Avon Garden Club to host meeting
Avon Garden Club will have a meeting Jan.
8 at 10:30 a.m. Kate Chura, executive director
of the Southeastern Horticultural Society, will
discuss the concept of “Learning Gardens and
Farms,” which serve as locations to teach current
sustainable techniques. The meeting will be held
at the Avondale Community Club, 59 Lakeshore
Drive. For more information, contact Jean Brice
at (404) 299-1947 or Bruce Johnston at (404)

City to recycle Christmas trees
Avondale Estates will pick up Christmas trees
from homes Dec. 29 through Jan. 2. Trees will be
chipped Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents
must place their trees on the curb the week after
Christmas. On Jan. 3, the day of the chipping,
trees should be brought to the old compost area
by the Lake, near Wiltshire Drive and Berkeley
Road, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Signs posted by
the lake will mark the drop-off location. Those
who leave their Christmas trees up past Jan. 3 can
place it on the curb and City Public Works associates will pick it up. For more information, call
City Hall at (404) 294-5400.

Sorority to hold fitness, interview preparation
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the Decatur Alumnae Chapter (dstDAC) will host the
second installment of their D. E. L. T. A (Deltas
Encouraging Life Transforming Activities) Fit series on Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also on Jan.
10 the dstDAC Scholarship Committee will host
an interview prep session from 10 a.m. to noon.
This session will teach students how to dress professionally, speak clearly and conduct themselves
in professional one-on-one and panel interviews.
All high school students are welcome to attend.

Page 7A

Library hosts poetry collaboration

DeKalb Medical announces application
submission dates for summer volunteers

Award-winning south DeKalb County poet
and essayist Gwen Russell Green will host a “Creative Collaboration in the Southeast,” an event
DeKalb Medical will begin accepting applica- showcasing poetic works reflecting on the theme
tions for its summer Voluteen program on Jan. 2, “There is no future without forgiveness, no adwith a closing registration date of Feb. 27. Regis- venture without suffering.”
tration is open to all teens ages 14-18 with at least
The event, held at the Stonecrest Library Jan.
one year of high school course work completed.   4 from 2:30-4:30 p.m., includes an open mic porThe DeKalb Medical Volunteen program altion for audience members to share their work.
lows students to assist hospital staff in various
Funding for the event is provided by the Friends
departments in the facilities. The students also
of the Stonecrest Library.
participate in Lunch and Learn events with mediFor more information call (770) 482-3828 or
cal professionals to learn about various jobs in the visit
healthcare field. 
For more information on the summer Volunteen program, application guidelines or to begin
your application, visit

Business association announces renewal

The Decatur Business Association announced
that its membership renewal deadline is Jan. 15,
2014. The organization states that more than 98
percent of its members renewed their membership online in 2013. On-time renewal assures
inclusion in the DBA Membership Directory. Renewals can be completed at www.DecaturDBA.
  Membership meetings are held on the fourth
Tuesday of each month except for November and
December; a meeting is held on the first Tuesday
of December.  

Yoga program designed for those with limited
Mariam Gilmer, certified Hatha yoga instructor, is offering an eight-week introduction to
the practice of yoga while seated in a chair. The
program is at the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library, 3772 Lavista Road, Tucker. Participants will
work on gentle Hatha yoga poses while focusing
on breathing. “This style of yoga is ideal for seniors and those with mobility issues,” according to
an announcement from the library. The sessions
are each Tuesday, 3-4 p.m., starting Jan. 7. The
sessions are open to the first 15 people to register.
Participants may register by calling or visiting the
branch. The program is sponsored by Friends of
the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library For more information, call (404) 679-4408.


Library to host health insurance registration
Dr. Kathleen Connors of Georgia Refugee
Health and Mental Health and certified insurance
navigators will provide Health Insurance Marketplace registration assistance. The programs will be
held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the month of January. Thursday programs
will be held Jan. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 3-5 p.m.;
Tuesday programs will be held Jan. 7 and 28 from
5-8 p.m.; and Saturday programs will be held Jan.
4 and 18 from 10 a.m.-noon.
To schedule an appointment during these
times or at another time, call (678) 545-8641. If
an interpretation is needed let library officials
know your language preference.

DeKalb to offer Christmas tree pickup
DeKalb County will have free curbside
Christmas tree pickup service for county residents through Jan. 16.
The service, sponsored by Keep DeKalb Beautiful (KDB) and the DeKalb County Department
of Sanitation, offers county residents an opportunity to dispose of holiday Christmas trees sustainably and free of charge. All trees are converted
into mulch.
To participate, residents must remove all
decorations from trees and place them curbside
on their regularly-scheduled recycling day. Trees
larger than 7 feet tall cannot be collected. For
more information about free curbside Christmas
tree pickup or how to plan a beautification project with KDB, contact KDB at (404) 371-2654
or, or visit

Page 8A 


The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Year in Review

From the trial of the county’s suspended CEO to the cityhood
movement to winter storms paralyzing Atlanta and Ebola coming
to DeKalb–here is a summary of some the most memorable news
stories of 2014.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015


Page 9A

DeKalb residents
fail to take state
executive positions

Year in review: cityhood
This year was the year of the cityhood movement.
Residents in many communities in DeKalb County tried to create their own cities or
annex into an established city. Cityhood supporters in LaVista Hills (formerly Briarcliff
and Lakeside), South DeKalb, Stonecrest and Tucker spent this year trying to form cities. Each group has submitted maps to the Georgia State House Governmental Affairs
committee, with Tucker and LaVista Hills having to have a subcommittee work out the
boundaries for those maps.
The proposed cities could be on the ballot in November 2015. Avondale Estates,
Brookhaven, Clarkston and Doraville had areas annexed into its city lines, while Decatur
and Atlanta possibly will look to annex in 2015.

Five DeKalb County residents
running for state executive offices
did not fare well in the Nov. 4, 2014,
general election.
Sen. Jason Carter of Decatur, a
Democrat running against incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal
lost the race 56 percent to 41 percent.
In the lieutenant governor race,
former DeKalb County commissioner and state representative Connie Stokes failed in her bid to upset
Casey Cagle, the Republican incumbent. The votes were 61.5 percent to
38.47 percent in favor of Cagle.
Brian Kemp, the incumbent Republican secretary of state, successfully won re-election over Lithonia
businesswoman Doreen Carter,
president of the Greater Lithonia
Chamber of Commerce and a former Lithonia City Council member.
Kemp returns to his office with 61
percent of the vote over Doreen
Carter’s 39 percent.
Former City Schools of Decatur school board member Valarie
Wilson was unable to win the state
school superintendent’s position.
Wilson received 44.9 percent of the
vote while Richard Woods, a Republican, received 55.1 percent.

See Year in Review on Page 10A


Page 10A 

Year in Review

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Continued From Page 9A

Ebola patients treated at Emory hospital
Two Americans infected in the worst-ever
outbreak of Ebola successfully received treatment at DeKalb County’s Emory University
Hospital in August 2014.
Nancy Writebol was serving at Serving In Mission’s (SIM)Eternal Love Winning
Africa (ELWA) mission campus in Monrovia, Liberia, when she and Dr. Kent Brantly
contracted Ebola. Brantly was serving at the
ELWA Hospital as part of a cooperative work
between SIM and Samaritan’s Purse.
After treatment in Liberia, Brantly and
Writebol were flown to Atlanta and were ad-

mitted to Emory University Hospital, where
they were treated in isolation from other hospital patients at a special unit set up in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention to care for patients exposed to
certain serious infectious diseases.
The two Americans were infected during
an outbreak of the virus, which is “transmitted through direct contact with the blood or
bodily fluids of an infected person or through
exposure to objects, such as needles, that have
been contaminated with infected fluids,” according to a statement by Emory University

Two Ebola patients, who received a dose
of an experimental serum while still in Liberia, were tested clear of the deadly virus and
discharged from the hospital.
“After a rigorous course of treatment and
testing, the Emory Healthcare team has determined that both patients have recovered
from the Ebola virus and can return to their
families and community without concern for
spreading this infection to others,” said Dr.
Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Infectious
Disease Unit.

Ex-commissioner faces prison time

DeKalb school district off probation
Accrediting agency AdvancED announced Jan. 21, 2014, that the DeKalb
County School District is no longer on
accreditation probation, which it was
placed on last year after a visit from the
AdvancED, the parent corporation
of the Southern Association of Colleges
and Schools, announced the district
has made significant improvements
and has been placed on “accredited
warned” status.
There were three significant areas
that led to those determinations, Mark
Elgart, president of AdvancedED, said.
The district had a governing body that
was failing to successfully govern the
system; the system was in financial
mismanagement and didn’t have an

accurate assessment of its financial
resources; and third it had an unfortunate track record of failing to improving student achievement.
Elgart said over the past year AdvancED has worked closely with the
leadership in the system to identify
the actions that need to be taken to
improve the system but also begin “the
process of continuous improvement.”
When the district was first placed
on probation, AdvancED provided the
district with 11 issues the district was
required to address before being granted full accreditation again. These issues
included governance and financial issues, as well as policies and procedures
involving the board of education.

Former DeKalb County
Commissioner Elaine Boyer
pleaded guilty Sept. 3, 2014, and
struck a plea deal with federal
In the plea deal, Boyer faces
a maximum prison term of 40
years, but prosecutors agreed
to “recommend that [Boyer] be
sentenced at the low end of the
adjusted guideline range”–18-24
Boyer’s charges of mail and
wire fraud also carry a maximum
fine of $500,000.
Boyer is accused of conspiring between September
2009 and November 2011 to “defraud DeKalb County”
by authorizing 35 payments for false invoices “for consulting services that were never performed.” She is accused of authorizing more than $78,000 to an unidentified financial advisor, who then “funneled approximately 75 percent of the money…into Boyer’s personal bank
“Boyer used the money…to pay personal expenses,
including purchases at hotels and high-end department
stores,” the charges state.
In the plea agreement, Boyer also agrees to pay full
restitution for…the offenses to which she is pleading
Boyer’s Aug. 25, 2014, resignation from her commission seat was also a condition of the plea agreement.
The ex-commissioner also faced an ethics complaint
alleging that she had a pattern of abusing her county
credit card for personal purchases and “bridge loans.”
Boyer faces sentencing in early 2015.

See Year in Review on Page 11A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Year in Review

Week in pictures

Page 11A

Continued From Page 10A

Suspended county CEO’s
trial ends in hung jury

County leaders face ethics complaints
The DeKalb County Board of Ethics was
unusually busy in 2014 as it dealt with several complaints against government officials
and even a complaint against the board’s own
An ethics complaint was filed against
suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis after
his indictment on charges of strong-arm
contractors to donate to his re-election campaign. Two of his aides also were the subjects
of ethics complaints.
Former Commissioner Elaine Boyer,
faced an ethics complaint, which eventually
led to her pleading guilty to mail and wire
fraud and resigning from office. The ethics
board voted to reprimand Boyer.
Commissioner Jeff Rader was accused in
an ethics complaint of defrauding residents
and using his position two enrich himself.

One of two ethics similar ethics complaints
against Rader was dismissed.
Commissioner Kathie Gannon was accused in a complaint of “illegally” purchasing gift cards with county funds for personal
use and to “pay off her cronies.”
Ethics complaints against Commissioners Larry Johnson and Sharon Barnes
Sutton alleged they “systematically and consistently” used their county credit cards for
their “own personal benefit and contrary to
the intended purpose.”
Commissioner Stan Watson was accused
of using his county purchasing card for personal purchases and being tied to a corruption case in South Carolina involving bribes.
The complaints against Johnson and
Watson were dismissed.

After six weeks of listening to witnesses and secret recordings and considering a mountain of evidence, the
12 DeKalb County residents tasked
with determining whether their leader
violated the law could not come to an
On Oct. 21, 2014 a judge declared a
mistrial in proceedings against DeKalb
County CEO Burrell Ellis, who was accused of strong-arming vendors to donate to his re-election campaign.
Ellis faced four counts of criminal
attempt to commit theft by extortion;
three counts of theft by taking; two
counts of criminal attempt to commit
false statements and writings; three
counts of coercion of other employees
to give anything of value for political
purposes; and a count each of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition, and of conspiracy to defraud a
political subdivision.
Ellis has maintained his innocence
since his indictment.
“I never asked anything in exchange
for a campaign contribution,” he said
during the trial. “I never promised anything.”
During the trial DeKalb County DA
Robert James said, “This case is not
about [Ellis’] public service. This case is
about his public corruption.”
Jurors admittedly fought and disagreed and cried, and in the end were
After his indictment in 2013, Ellis was suspended by the governor. He
remains suspended and is scheduled to
face a jury again in June 2015 for a retrial.

See Year in Review on Page 12A
Photos brought to you by DCTV

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

Stories of our missing residents offer profound
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For a programming guide, visit

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Year in Review

local news

Page 12A

Continued From Page 11A

Still no commissioner for District 5
Mann sworn in as DeKalb sheriff
Jeff Mann took the oath of office as DeKalb’s sheriff on Feb. 28,
2014, at the Stone Mountain Judicial Courthouse in Decatur.
Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams administered the oath
as outgoing Sheriff Thomas Brown held the Bible for Mann.
Mann, Brown’s chief deputy and a former county attorney, succeeded Brown who stepped down to run unsuccessfully for Congress
after nearly 14 years in office.
Surrounded by staff members, family and friends, Mann said
he helped improve morale and credibility and is proud to continue
working for the DeKalb community.
“I will do the work that citizens expect me to do. I prepared myself for this job by working hard, by listening, by being a person of
integrity and by following in the footsteps of people who are trusted
and respected,” Mann said.
A resident of Stone Mountain Mann attends Berean Christian
Church, served as president of the DeKalb Lawyer’s Association,
mentored for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program of Atlanta and
maintains his membership with the State Bar of Georgia as well as the
DeKalb Bar Association.

DeKalb County commissioners finished the year at an impasse over the appointment of an interim District 5 commissioner.
The seat became vacant in July 2013, when Lee May, the
elected District 5 commissioner, was appointed interim DeKalb
County CEO by Gov. Nathan Deal following the indictment and
suspension of DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.
Super District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson said he was representing the area all by himself.
May appointed a three-member panel to make two recommendations from 20 applicants for a temporary commissioner.
In August, May nominated Lithonia resident George Turner
Jr., president of the District 5 Community Council and former
legislative aide in District 43 of the Georgia State Senate, for the
District 5 seat.
Commissioners Watson, Larry Johnson and Sharon Barnes
Sutton supported the nomination of Turner while Commissioners Jeff Rader, Kathie Gannon and Nancy Jester opposed it.
Rader and Jester said the resignation of May from his District
5 seat is one way the voters of that district could decide for themselves who will be their representative.
Lithonia residents showed up at meeting after meeting in
2014 to beg the commissioners to give them a representative.

Two cops shot in south DeKalb
The shooting of two
DeKalb County Police officers triggered a manhunt
for several hours on Dec.
12, 2014 in unincorporated
The officers were responding to a report of an
early morning home invasion and armed robbery at
the Colony Ridge Apartments on Glenwood Road.
When they arrived at the
scene, they were fired upon
by two suspects, with automatic assault rifles.
DeKalb Police Officer
Tony Luong, 26, was shot in the
thigh, while Officer Devon Perry, 29,
received a gunshot wound to the calf.
The injuries were not life-threatening.
One suspect was struck in the
exchange of gunfire and was transported to an area hospital in critical
After the shooting, law enforcement officers swarmed the south

DeKalb area near Glenwood
Road and I-285 to search for
one of two suspects shot during the early morning incident.
After an extensive ground
search, using K-9s, air surveillance and support from the
Sheriff ’s Office, Marshal’s Office, Georgia State Police, Fulton County Police, ATF, FBI
and Doraville and Atlanta, the
second suspect was caught.
That suspect was taken
into custody after being located in a nearby cemetery by
a Doraville Police K-9. The
suspect had been shot by police and
bitten by a K-9 dog.
No one in the residence was hurt,
he said.
“Anytime a police officer is shot
and injured in the line of duty, it’s not
just an attack on that police officer. It’s
an attack upon all of us,” said Cedric
Alexander, the county’s top public
safety official.

See Year in Review on Page 13A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Year in Review


Page 13A

Continued From Page 12A

Unexpected snow paralyzes Atlanta
Thousands of metro Atlantans were
caught off guard on Jan. 28, 2014 when 2.6
inches of snow and ice fell, paralyzing the
region for several days. Snow Jam 2014, as
the storm is being called by many, resulted in
hundreds of accidents and thousands of Georgians being stranded overnight in their cars,
hotels or in the homes of benevolent strangers.
Although the National Weather Service
issued several watches and warnings before

the first snowflake fell, Gov. Nathan Deal
said two days after the storm, “As you know,
we have been confronted with an unexpected
storm that has hit the metropolitan areas.”
In DeKalb County, interim county CEO
Lee May issued a state of emergency declaration Jan. 28, 2014.
“DeKalb County has endured heavy sleet,
freezing rain and snow,” May said in a statement. “Many of our county roads are impassable due to ice, traffic gridlock or both, caused

by the sudden and severe winter weather. If
at all possible, I am urging everyone to stay
off the roads until conditions improve.”
By Jan. 29, 2014, the county police department had responded to more than 700 weather-related incidents, including 289 traffic accidents, 25 hazards in road, 42 motorist assists,
91 traffic accidents with injured/ trapped passengers, 270 motorist assist/hazards, according to a DeKalb County statement.

Buck Godfrey inducted into the hall of fame

Vacant building reduced to rubble
Hundreds gathered early Nov. 8, 2014, for a rare opportunity to watch a building implode.
Located at the corner of I-85 and North Druid Hills
Road, the 19-story Executive Park Hotel was owned by
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. It was reduced to rubble
shortly after 7 a.m.
Onlookers counted down from 10 to 1 and after a
brief silence, several explosions were heard in the building. A large piece of the building shot out the side near
the 10th floor. The building quickly went straight down to
the ground, causing a large dust cloud to rise into the air.
The crowd cheered, screamed, laughed and snapped
dozens of photos as the building came down.
Atlanta Demolition had the $3.2 million contract for
asbestos abatement and demolition of four buildings on
the property totaling 350,000 square feet. It will take a
couple of months to clear the debris.
An advertisement in the 1970s described the building as “Atlanta’s Prestige Suburban Hotel.” The ad boasted
convention facilities for 800, a grand ballroom, restaurant
and 474 “comfort-conditioned” rooms.
According to a news release, Children’s Healthcare of
Atlanta determined that “renovation was not a viable option for this building” because of its “outdated construction and design.”

Former Southwest DeKalb High
School football coach William
“Buck” Godfrey was inducted in
the 2014 class of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA)
Hall of Fame, May 31, 2014, in Dalton.
Godfrey was one of five people
in the 2014 class. The minimum requirements to be inducted include
having coached high school sports
for at least 25 years, with 20 of them
in Georgia. During his 30-year
tenure at Southwest DeKalb High,
Godfrey has a record of 273-89, a
state championship, a state runnerup title and 13 regional titles.

Marvin Pruitt gets 500th win
Redan High School baseball coach Marvin
Pruitt reached a historic milestone April 1, 2014
as the veteran skipper won his 500th game.
Pruitt became the first DeKalb County baseball coach to achive the feat after Redan beat Banneker 14-0. Pruitt joined former Columbia High
School basketball coach Phil McCrary as the only
coaches in DeKalb with 500 victories.
Along with the 500 victories, Pruitt won a
state championship in 2013, led Redan to two
other state Final Four berths in 2003 and 2010
and led Lakeside to its only state semifinal appearance in school history in his inaugural season
as a head coach in 1983.

See Year in Review on Page 14A


Page 14A 

Year in Review

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Continued From Page 13A

Four DeKalb basketball teams brought home state titles
DeKalb County was dominate again this
year in basketball as four teams won state
Miller Grove boys, Redan girls, St. Pius
girls and Tucker girls hoisted trophies in
their respective classifications March 6-8,
Miller Grove won the Class AAAAA title, its sixth consecutive state title—the first
boy’s program to do so in state history. The
championship run was an emotional time
for the Miller Grove Wolverines as they

played in honor of fallen teammate Terrell
Coleman, who died before the beginning of
the season.
The Redan Lady Raiders made history
of their own, becoming the third DeKalb
County girls’ basketball team to finish undefeated as state champions. Redan finished
the season with a 33-0 record and Class
AAAA champions. Redan is still undefeated
in 2014.
The St. Pius Lady Golden Lions team
won its second consecutive Class AAA state

Clarkston cross country
wins first state title

Redan boys’ basketball
coach dies

Clarkston boys’ cross country team
won its first state title Nov. 8, 2014,
with a 71-93 win over Flowery Branch
to claim the Class AAAAA championship.
The state title was the fifth state
title of any kind for the school.
Dunwoody girls (Class AAAAA),
Marist girls (Class AAAA) and St. Pius
boys (Class AAAA) also won cross
county state titles.

Redan suffered a tragic loss Nov.
18, 2014, when boys head basketball
Coach Dannie Love passed away suddenly at the age of 40.
Love, who was in his first year as
head coach at Redan, died in his sleep.
Love served as junior varsity coach at
Stone Mountain for several years before he was hired at Redan. Love was
describe by loved ones as a dedicated
coach, jokester, loving husband and
supportive father.

title on some crucial free throws down the
stretch. St. Pius was held to one field goal in
the fourth quarter against Buford, but Asia
Durr was 10-for-10 from the free throw
line. Jasmine Carter free throw gave St.
Pius a three-point lead in the final seconds
and eventually the win.
Tucker dominated then region rival
Southwest DeKalb in the Class AAAAA title
game to win its first state title in program
history. It was the program’s first appearance in a championship game.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

local news

Page 15A

“This is our community,” said James B. Kynes Jr., president of the Southwest DeKalb High School Class of 1993. “We give back to the community.” Photos by Travis Hudgons

SwD alumni give back

by Andrew Cauthen

When members of the Southwest
DeKalb High School class of 1993 got together Dec. 22, it wasn’t for a class anniversary or other celebration. It was to give back
to the community surrounding their alma
“This is our community,” said James
B. Kynes Jr., president of the class of 1993.
“Some of us don’t live on this side of town,
but we went to Southwest DeKalb. Our class
definitely wants to do the best we can as far
as making sure we give back to the community.”
Kynes said, “We got a call that we had
some families that might have been in
need for the Christmas season. We had
classmates that stepped up and wanted to
contribute to the cause and make sure these
families were fed and had a good Christmas
For two hours in a parking lot on Wesley
Chapel Road near I-20, the alumni sponsored a Holiday Give Back Initiative service
project. They distributed turkey meals,
brown bag meals, clothes, shoes and provided free haircuts.
The haircuts were provided by Ernesto
“Nesto” Williams of Nesto’s Buckhead,
and barbers from Kings of Atlanta and Edgetown Barber Shop.
“[We’re] helping the homeless and the
people who are a little down on their luck,”
Williams said.
The haircuts were provided in a mobile
barbershop located in a converted tractor
trailer truck temporarily parked in a lot.
“We use this for the community,” Williams said. “We don’t charge anything.”
One recipient of the Southwest DeKalb
alumni’s benevolence was Calvin Summeroul.
“Right now, I just got a room down
there,” Sommeroul said, referring to a nearby extended stay hotel, when asked where
he lives.
He received a prayer, a couple of sweaters and lunch.
“I’m hungry right now. I think that’s
great because they’re giving back,” Sommer-

oul said of the alumni’s work. “I think this
is great. That’s all I can say. It’s great what
they’re doing.”
Cassandra Parks, a class of 1993 alumna and Rex resident, said, “I feel it’s very important to come and give back to our community because Southwest DeKalb gave me
so much, as a high school student and I felt I
needed to give back.”
Parks said the event lets the community
“know we’re still here, we love our community [and] we want to help it in any way
Rashan Ali, a local TV and radio personality and author, said she is a “proud
member of the class of ‘93 of Southwest
“We’re here today to give where we
can and what we have left over we’ll take
downtown,” said Ali, one of approximately
15 alumni helping with the event. “We just
want to be able to give. We’ve been able to
be so blessed in this community of DeKalb
County. All of us are products of this great
county, and we want to be able to give back.”
Ali said the charity projects were developed collectively by the former students
who “have always been a very close class.”
“We did something for Thanksgiving…
and we wanted to make it more of an impact
by doing it in our community less than a
mile away from our school,” Ali said.
“I think it’s fantastic that we are able
to have an impact in our own community
and be able to help those who are in need,”
she said. “We heard there was a need in our
area. When people think about homelessness and they think about people in need,
they always think about just Atlanta. But
there are people in need all over this country, especially in DeKalb County.”
The Holiday Give Back Initiative
launched during the Thanksgiving holiday
when the Southwest alumni collected donations from fellow classmates and the community to prepare and distribute 200 brown
bag meals to needy people in downtown
Giving is “a lifestyle for us,” said Kynes,
adding that the class 1993 plans to make
the Holiday Give Back Initiative an annual
Free haircuts were provided by Nesto’s of Buckhead in a mobile

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Students participate in the “Kick Back” portion of the show where
students share their opinions on issues that affect them.


Student host Armani Walton with special guest.

Page 16A

DeKalb School Superintendent Michael
Thurmond chats with host Joi Heard on the
student-run program.

DCSD teen entertainment show receives awards
by Ashley Oglesby
DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD)
teen entertainment and variety talk show The
Bridge was recognized as a multiple Gold winner
by the Aurora Awards for season two of its television program.
Based in Salt Lake City, the Aurora Awards is
an international competition designed to recognize excellence in the film and video industries.
Films and videos are judged nationally based on
professional execution, quality content and creativity.
The Bridge received four Aurora Awards for
editing, original score/music, music variety and
educational programming.

Judging panels included working film and
video professionals from all 50 states. DCSD is
the only school system to win these awards for
fall 2014.
The show launched last May and increasingly
has gained leverage in youth entertainment.
The student programming is targeted toward
students and young adults ages 13-25 with tips on
video gaming, how to stay fit, budgeting finances,
fashion and more.
“Congratulations to the more than 40 DeKalb
students who created, produced and performed
in The Bridge,” said DeKalb Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond.
“These talented, dedicated students have
shared their talents with all of us, and we are enriched with the experience,” he said.

Georgia charter schools
receive donation of property
by Ashley Oglesby
The Sheth Family Foundation donated
property in Snellville to the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) to increase
access for thousands of students to the
public charter schools.
According to a recent media release,
the donation will support the GCSA, a
nonprofit organization that works to improve student achievement through the
creation of high quality public charter
schools in Georgia.
The gift was given by Dr. Jagdish
Sheth, Charles Kellstadt professor of marketing at the Goizueta Business School of
Emory University, an author and consultant, and his wife Madhu Sheth. The Sheth
Family is involved in the local Atlanta and
Indian communities in Atlanta.
President and CEO of GCSA, Dr. Tony
Roberts, expressed his appreciation for the
“The Sheth Family Foundation’s remarkable generosity reflects their understanding of how education can transform
lives. From humble beginnings in Gujarat,
India, Dr. Sheth and his children have
pursued every opportunity to deepen their
Roberts said, “Today the family takes
pride in Dr. Sheth’s 51-year career in higher

education that has made him a recognized
thought leader in marketing, business
psychology and sustainability. I know that
the foundation’s gift will open up similar
pathways for students in Georgia who want
access to high quality charter schools.”
Sheth explained the reason for the
foundation’s donation. “I believe that ordinary people can become extraordinary
citizens when given the foundation of a
quality education,” he said.
“The more I have learned about the
charter school experiment nationally, the
more impressed I’ve become about the success of charter schools to harness market
forces and improve student performance.”
Sheth said, “this donation is my way
of giving back to the country that has provided such an outstanding education for
me and my family.”
Madhu Sheth echoed her husband’s
sentiments, “My life is a testament to the
power of a rigorous and demanding education,” she said. “I benefited from every
educational opportunity that came my way,
went to college and eventually became a
school teacher. This gift is our way of giving back.”
The Sheth Family Foundation will be
publicly recognized for its generosity at the
2015 Georgia Charter Schools Leadership
Conference, Jan. 30 at the Busbee Center of
Gwinnett Technical College.

The series features interviews with celebrities
and community leaders, as well as student performers, including singers, rappers, spoken word
artists and dancers.
Thurmond said the students have done “an
amazing job” and he is excited that the district
can provide them with programming that gives
them a voice.
The Bridge airs on PDSTV-24, an access
channel operated by DCSD. The Comcast station
partners with students in the district to produce
programs that highlight topics the students are
concerned about.
The students will be recognized for their
achievement at the Jan. 12 board of education
meeting at 7 p.m.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015


Page 17A

Real estate expert predicts promising year
by Kathy Mitchell
During the past decade,
the real estate market nationally took what many
consumers found to be unexpected twists and turns.
Todd Emerson, 2014 president of the Atlanta Board of
Realtors, which serves the
metropolitan Atlanta area,
said the market is stable now
and should continue to be
so through 2015.
“The Atlanta real estate
market in 2014 continued
to experience nice growth,
making steady gains from
the previous year,” Emerson
said. “Median and average sales prices continue
to rise and are on average
approximately 10 percent
above where they were a
year ago. Currently there is
approximately a 4.2-month
supply of inventory, which
is advantageous for sellers;
however, with interest rates
still hovering around historic lows, and housing [price]
still relatively low, it’s also
still a great time to buy.”
One indication of a
more stable market, he said,
is a steep drop in the foreclosure rate. “At its peak, the
foreclosure market accounted for approximately 30 to
35 percent of the overall
market, currently it accounts
for less than 5 percent. Government backed mortgage
relief programs are still in
place for distressed homeowners,” Emerson added.
“DeKalb’s real estate
market has more or less
mirrored what has happened in the greater metro
Atlanta area as a whole,” he
said. “Similar to Atlanta,
unit sales have been relatively flat when compared
to 2013. However, DeKalb
has also seen median and
average sales price gains in
the upper single digits year
over year very similar to Atlanta. We expect the market
to be robust in DeKalb as
well in 2015.”
Emerson said the outlook for the entire area is
promising. “Housing prices
have steadily risen over the
last several years,” he said.
“Currently we are seeing
year-over-year improve-

ment of approximately 10
For 2015, he said, he expects the availability of new
construction products to
continue rising. “We expect
sales prices to continue rising in the upper single digit
percent year over year and
expect a robust spring market with new listings coming
to market and homeowners
continuing to take advantage of rising median and
average sales prices, which
will ultimately result in an
increase in the total number
of sales anywhere between 5
to 10 percent.”
Emerson said he has
a few words of advice for
homebuyers in the current
market. “First is to get pre-

qualified so you can know
exactly how much home you
can afford and be aware of
any hurdles that you may
need to overcome in order
to qualify. 
“Second is don’t buy
more home than you can
truly afford, don’t put yourself into a position where all
of your disposable income
is going towards your house
payment and other expenses
associated with home ownership, i.e. don’t create a scenario where you are ‘house
“Third is be prepared
to act quickly once you find
your dream home, since
there is only a 4.2 month
supply, homes that are in
good condition and priced

well aren’t staying on the
market long. 
He also advised using
the services of a real estate
professional whether one
is buying or selling. “The
home buying process is
complex; you need professional representation and
advice to assist you with
navigating the complexities
of purchasing a home,” he
“Just as the home buying process is complex, so
is the home selling process,”
Emerson added. “Pricing
is a critical component to
successfully selling a home
for the greatest amount possible in the least amount of
time. The temptation might
be for sellers to want to test

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

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

the upper end of the market
and be overly aggressive in
their list price. While this
theory might seem like a
good idea on paper often
when a home is overpriced
the seller ultimately loses
more money in the end.
“This can easily be
avoided though by pricing
the home correctly from the
beginning.  An agent not
only helps a seller determine
what the current and correct market value of their
home is, they can also assist
with issues like what a seller
needs to do to prepare the
home for sale like staging,
repairs, etc.,” he said.
Emerson’s advice for
professionals in the real estate business is “know the
statistics for the markets that
you serve. An agent should
be able to readily quote
metrics such as median and
average sales prices, month’s
supply, days on market, list
price to sale price ratios,
available inventory and
percent increase/decreases
across these metrics for the
markets that they work in,”
he said. 
He also advises real estate professionals to “continually look for opportunities
to expand what I call their
intellectual property–what’s
between their ears, by attending educational offerings, reading, researching
online, etc.”  He said they
should “look for opportunities to differentiate themselves in the market place by
identifying niches, offering
unique or specialized services to clients/customers,
identifying and becoming
the expert on a hyper local
level, taking advantage of all
the technological advancements and parlaying those
into an exceptional consumer experience. 
“However, beyond all
these things always remember that real estate is a ‘people’ business and therefore
those who are most successful are the ones that make
creating, maintaining and
fostering incredible relationships with those they know
their daily priority,” Emerson said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015



Page 18A
For Prices, Deadlines and Information



Rates: $30.00 for up to 40 words, each additional word $0.60.
All ads are prepaid! All Major credit cards accepted!

Ads Due By Friday - Noon
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The Champion is not responsible for any damages resulting from advertisements. All sales final.

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GUN SHOW Oct. 29-30. Sat. 9-5 & SUN
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Support Our Ebola and AIDS Front-line
workers. Please donate car to Charity. Any
Condition. Get full Tax Deduction. Plus
receive $100 gift card (limited supply).
You can also donate cash or supplies. Call
678-698-5416. Free Pickup.

DISCLAIMER: We do not knowingly accept advertisements that discriminate, or
intend to discriminate, on any illegal basis. Nor do we knowingly accept employment
advertisements that are not bona-fide job offers. All real estate advertisements are
subject to the fair housing act and we do not accept advertising that is in violation of
the law. The law prohibits discrimination based on color, religion, sex, national origin,
handicap or familial status.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015


Stephenson's Pryce Taylor fights for a
Stephenson's Thomas Oglesby, left, makes a
rebound in a game against Jackson-Olin,
lay-up over a Jackson-Olin, Ala., defender.
Ala., during the 2014 Chick-fil-A Basketball
Classic, Dec. 26 in Tucker. Stephenson lost
that game 62-59.

Columbia's Micaiah Henry dunks the ball with On a fast break, Rodriguez Dennis scores
authority over Glenn Hills players. Columbia
for Columbia. Photos by Travis Hudgons
won that game 50-47.

Emory baseball ranked second in
Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season poll
After finishing runnersup in the 2014 NCAA Division III Baseball Championships, the Emory University
baseball team will enter the
2015 campaign as the second-ranked team in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Pre-Season Poll.
It marks the highest preseason ranking in the poll
in the program’s history, and
the Emory Eagles’ best ranking in the poll overall since
the final rankings of the
2007 season.
Emory went 38-13 during the 2014 season and
matched the best finish in
the program’s history by
placing second at the NCAA
Championships. Among
Emory’s returning players
are all-American Brett Lake
and all-region selections
Connor Dillman, Wes Peacock and Hans Hansen.
The Eagles will face
three opponents during the
2015 regular season that are
nationally ranked in the preseason poll—11th-ranked
Webster University (Feb.

22 in Millington, Tenn.),
16th-ranked Case Western
Reserve University (March 9
and 14 in Sanford, Fla.) and
19th-ranked BirminghamSouthern College (March 3
in Atlanta and March 31 in
Birmingham, Ala.).
Emory will play an additional nine games against
teams that received votes
in the preseason poll—Feb.
15 at home and Feb. 21 on
the road against Rhodes
College; March 10 and 15
against Washington Univer-

Page 19A

sity (Mo.) in Sanford; Feb.
16 at home against St. Joseph’s (Maine.); March 20 in
Demorest; April 24 and 25 at
home against Piedmont College; and March 12 against
the University of Rochester
in Sanford, Fla.
The Eagles are slated to
open the 2015 season with
the Emory Tournament at
Chappell Park in Atlanta
Feb. 13–16. Emory’s first
game will be against Lynchburg College Feb. 14 at 10:30

Agnes Scott freshman ranked
among top rebounders
Agnes Scott freshman
Kisha Simpson ranked in
the Top 20 for rebounds per
game, with a current average of 12.6 per game.
She is the second-ranked
freshman in the nation.
“Kisha has been consistent and reliable throughout this season,” said head
coach Trish Roberts. “She
has been a player who has
had an immediate impact
on our program, and that is
very rare for a freshman.”
Simpson leads the team

in rebounding, and in scoring at 11.4 points per game.
Her 12.6 rebounds per game
leads the Great South Athletic Conference.
“Kisha is a great person,
a hard worker, and carries
a positive attitude into every practice,” Roberts said.
“We are very lucky to have
someone of her character.”
Simpson and her teammates will return to play on
Jan. 4 at Millsaps College in
Jackson, Miss.


Stop bullying

stand up
speak out


Page 20A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

Briefs Continued From Page 8A
grants fund specialize traffic
enforcement units in counties throughout the state. The
program was designed to assist Georgia jurisdictions with
the highest rates of traffic
crashes, injuries and fatalities
with grants awarded based on
impaired driving and speeding data.
As law enforcement partners in the Operation Zero
Tolerance DUI and Click It
Or Ticket seatbelt campaigns,
the DeKalb County Police
Department will also conduct
mobilizations throughout
the year in coordination with
GOHS’s year-round waves of
high visibility patrols, multijurisdictional roadchecks and
sobriety checkpoints.

Chamblee tree recycling
The city of Chamblee and
Keep Chamblee Beautiful invite residents to “Bring One
for the Chipper” at Chamblee’s Public Works Facility
Jan. 3, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Chamblee residents dropping off their trees will receive free seedlings for new

tree plantings and information about the revitalization
of Keep Chamblee Beautiful.
There will also be free desserts and hot apple cider.
“After more than 20 years,
“Bring One for the Chipper” remains one of our most
popular programs. The trip
to drop off the tree is a cherished holiday tradition for
many Georgians and one that
starts the new year off right,
focusing on making easy, sustainable choices,” said Sarah
Visser, executive director of
the Keep Georgia Beautiful
Since 1991, “Bring One
for the Chipper,” has collected
more than 6 million trees for
beneficial reuse. Chamblee
has been participating in the
event for more than a decade
now and we are proud to be
part of such a great tradition.
Bring One for the
Chipper is Georgia’s annual Christmas tree recycling
program. Non-Chamblee
residents can visit www. for
a zip Code-based listing of
drop-off centers near them.

Pet of the Week

Shelby (ID#: 23511484)
is a ray of sunshine that
has come to brighten
your day. She is a 100%
lovebug! Shelby enjoys
playing with toys, but
only if you are playing
with her; otherwise it’s
no fun! She seems as
if she likes to play fetch
too! Shelby LOVES belly
rubs; she just plops down
at your feet and rolls over
and relaxes into a pile
of Shelby jello. She has
the most adorable under
bite that seals the deal
on this great girl. Please
come and meet Shelby,
she’s waiting for you; And
during December you can
take advantage of the
“Home for the Pawlidays” special and pay only $30 for her adoption
fee. This includes her spay, vaccines and microchip. Come in and
meet Shelby at the DeKalb shelter. To get more information about
Shelby email or call (404)
294-2165. To view other great pets available for adoption visit www.