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FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2015 • VOL. 17, NO. 42 • FREE

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• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Sheriff’s operation
nets hundreds of
arrests

Proposed South
DeKalb city named
Greenhaven

Marist wins county
wrestling title

local, 9A

local, 14A

Sports, 18A

Decatur McDonald’s employee
named crew person of the year
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
“Ms. Southern Hospitality.”
That is what Carolyn Elaine Hayes is known as at McDonald’s
in downtown Decatur. For seven years, her dedication to customer service has made her a staple not just at the restaurant
but also in the community.
Her unwaivering service to her customers paid off as she
was named McDonald’s Crew Person of the Year for the
Atlanta region. The award honors one employee from an
independent owner/operator restaurant from each region
across the United States.
Carrie Salone, owner and operator of the Decatur location, said she nominated Hayes because for seven years she
has been consistently providing phenomenal service to our
customers.”
“She’s a prominent fixture at 830 Commerce Drive,” Salone said. “Without Elaine I don’t think this [restaurant] could
breathe, without Elaine this [restaurant] wouldn’t have the life,
without Elaine this [restaurant] wouldn’t have that consistent smile
because that’s what she brings.”
The award acknowledges and rewards crew members who
make “outstanding” contributions in their restaurants and
deliver the brand promise to customers. Hayes is one
of 21 employees selected in the country among
600,000. The Atlanta region consists of six states.
Hayes described winning the award as “exciting.”
“I was surprised and shocked.”
Hayes received a $500 cash reward, a red
jacket and a plaque from McDonald’s Corporation and Ronald McDonald. She also received
gifts from family, friends, coworkers and DeKalb
County Commissioner Larry Johnson.
Johnson said Hayes means “so much” to the
community and county.
“She represents the ability of people who have
disabilities,” he said. “She leaves this job to help
somebody else, makes no excuses. You can’t beat
that.”
Outside of serving McDonald’s customers, Hayes serves others in the community. She
works with the deaf and hearing impaired, and
has volunteered with the Mike Glenn Basketball
Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 20
years.
She has attended Frazer Center since 2012,
where she represented the center in numerous
competitive activities and sports for the disabled.
She participated in the Georgia Special Winter
Olympics 2014 Bowling Masters at Warner Robins Air Force Base and won a gold medal with a
Carolyn Elaine Hayes

See Employee on page 13A

Photo by Travis Hudgons

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local

Page 2A 

Kids playing on the jungle gym in Brook Run park.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

The Brook Run dog park is located within the Liane Levetan Park.

Brook Run Park gets makeover

by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
The Dunwoody City
Council awarded a $72,000
contract to Complete Demolition Services, the lowest bidder for a contract to demolish
a more than 50-year-old dormitory in Brook Run park.
City staff recommended
the contract not exceed
$100,000, which included possible cost for cleanup.
Brent Walker, parks and
recreation director, said the
demolition “will improve the
safety and aesthetics in that
area of the park.”
Walker said the dormitory

is in poor condition and has
not been used in approximately 10 years.
“We’re just about to build
an outdoor play area for
younger children, including
a zipline course that’s going
to be running through that
whole area where the dormitory is. Our fear was that
we’re going to have a zillion
preteens playing there every
day for probably eight or nine
months out of the year and the
last thing that we need is an
attractive hazard for little boys
to get in trouble in,” Mayor
Michael Davis said.
He added, “We decided
[with] this thing opening in

March, we’ve got this building that is decrepit. All the
windows have been broken
out, we’re constantly boarding
it up, people are creeping in
there and sleeping in there on
occasions and it’s not the kind
of thing you want next to a
play area that we’re building.”
Councilman John
Heneghan raised concerns
about potential rodent problems that could affect the
park after the demolition but
Walker said plans have already
been made to “place bait boxes
in the building prior to demolition.”
In 2010 when the city
purchased Brook Run Park

Commissioners support
selection committee
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
On Jan. 27, the DeKalb
County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved
a resolution to ask the DeKalb
Board of Education (BOE) to
adopt a superintendent search
protocol that includes a selection committee of parents, educators and community members to manage, guide and
recommend candidates for the
superintendent position.
“We’re not binding the
BOE to anything we’re simply asking that they vote to
have some sort of selection
committee,” Commissioner
Nancy Jester said.
She added, “I think we’re
at a really crucial point here.
I think it’s about ensuring the
process has credibility in all
corners and that it’s open and
transparent because across the
different levels of government
in DeKalb, we’ve had issues
with disclosure, transparency
and credibility.
Jester said, “This will go

a long way in helping folks
feel that the process operated
as it should and that we got
the best quality candidate that
was vetted by a host of civic
leaders, parent leaders and
education leaders.”
At the board’s Jan. 12
community input meeting,
Interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May urged the board to
consider public input during
its search for a new superintendent.
DeKalb’s Parent Council
United has also called for the
board to use a process similar
to the process used by Atlanta
Public Schools’ superintendent search committee, where
the committee managed the
search firm and process.
Commissioner Jeff Rader
said “time is of the essence.”
On Feb. 2 the DeKalb
school board met with the
search firm PROACT to discuss the role that the committee would play in the superintendent search process.
The board voted 5-1 on the
approval of a community liai-

son committee that will assist
in reducing the number of
applicants for the boards final
approval.
Board member Joyce
Morley did not approve of the
committee.
“When the board takes on
this responsibility and hires a
firm and that firm comes back
and doesn’t seem to be able to
handle it by itself–they have to
have a liaison group out there
with them in order to groom
down 30 or 9 [candidates].”
Morley said PROACT being added to the plans is in
complete opposition to what
was first discussed in December.
As discussed in this superintendent search update,
the PROACT search firm and
the board have been working
together to meet with community leaders in public engagement sessions.
The first round of meetings will take place Feb. 3 Feb. 12.

from DeKalb County several
Brook Run hospital buildings
remained.
Over the past few years
the city has demolished some
of the buildings to improve
the park property.
It is undetermined what
will take the place of the dormitory after it has been demolished, but Davis is hoping
for new restrooms.
“Interestingly we’ve been
looking for a place to put a
service restrooms in that area.
This is going to be perfect because it already has water and
sewer [service],” said Davis.
In addition to the demolition, council members have

also approved renovations
of the Brook Run dog park,
which began on Feb. 2, and
decided to rename the park’s
outdoor classroom the Bobbi
Sedam Environmental Classroom as a dedication to the
founding member of Friends
of Brook Run Park.
“She was the perfect person for the perfect opportunity for the perfect project.
Outdoors was her passion,”
Davis said.
Davis said renaming the
classroom after Bobbi Sedam
will “celebrate Bobbi and
maintain her legacy in the
park.”

Pet of the Week
Gwyneth (ID#:
24482258) - If you
are looking for a
dog that will stick
with you like glue,
Gwyneth is your girl!
This 11 month old
sweetheart loves
people and would
rather be with you
than anywhere else.
Her cute face, loving
personality and
eagerness to learn are only a hint of what this great
girl has to offer. Gwyneth already knows how to sit
and fetch perfectly; she brings it back every time.
She gets along with other dogs and may not mind
having some doggie housemates in her forever
home. Gwyneth hopes you will come and meet
her at the DeKalb Shelter. During February, under
the “My Furry Valentine” special, pet adoptions are
only $14 for dogs and cats age 6 months and up!
Adoption fee includes spay or neuter, vaccinations,
microchip and more. Please come meet
Gwyneth and let her be your “Furry Valentine”.
To learn more about Gywneth email adoption@
dekalbanimalservices.com or call (404) 294-2165.
To view other great pets available for adoption visit
www.dekalbanimalservices.com.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local

Page 3A

Buford Highway businesses
want out of Doraville
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Doraville may lose some industrial
properties it recently annexed.
On Jan. 27 the DeKalb County Board
of Commissioners passed a resolution
that supports the de-annexation of some
of the commercial parcels annexed by
Doraville last year.
The annexation of 77 commercial
parcels and 125 industrial parcels was approved when Gov. Nathan Deal signed
HB 1138 to amend Doraville’s corporate
limits. The properties, which became a
part of Doraville on Dec. 31, 2014, are
located primarily along the west side of
I-85 in a narrow band stretching from the
Winters Chapel Road area to ChambleeTucker Road. 
According to the city of Doraville’s
website, the total appraised value of the
commercial and industrial portion of the
annexation is $234 million.
The de-annexation resolution comes
after 44 businesses, which said they did
not receive actual notice of the annexation into Doraville until late November
2014, signed de-annexation consents
which were presented to the DeKalb
County government.
Georgia law requires county approval
as a precondition to the voluntary de-annexation of land by a municipal governing authority, according the commissioners’ resolution.
Young Lee, owner of Red and Green
Steakhouse, on Buford Highway, learned
of the annexation plans in November
2014 from a real estate listing broker.
None of the business owners around
him knew about the plans, Lee said.
“I felt like the sky [was coming] down.
I felt like dying,” Lee said. “This is America. How come this happens to everybody?
This is America.”
“I have [had] businesses [here] a long
time. Twenty years,” Lee said. “Now people are scared about coming to Doraville.
Some people ask, ‘where’s your location?’
I say, ‘Atlanta, Ga.’”
Lee said his problem with the annexation is the financial viability of his

banquet hall under the more restrictive
Doraville zoning laws. In DeKalb, he
could keep his hall open later than he can
in Doraville.
Doraville city government leaders did
not listen to the concerns of the business
owners about being annexed into the city,
Lee said.
In November, a referendum vote
failed on House Bill 1139, which would
have allowed the annexation of residential
property in the middle of the legislatively
annexed property. This created “unincorporated islands with associated service
delivery challenges for the county.
Lee said he is cautiously pleased with
the commissioners’ vote.
“I feel much comfort, but that’s not
finished yet,” Lee said. “[It’s] the first
step.”
The de-annexation has to be approved
the Georgia General Assembly.
Linda Dunlavy, an attorney representing the business owners, said they
“did not have an opportunity to vote or
express their voice with respect to whether they wanted to be in Doraville.
“The annexation became effective
without notice to any of the business
owners along Buford Highway,” Dunlavy
said. “No effort was made to reach out to
these property owners.”
Dunlavy said, “The business owners
simply do not want to be in Doraville.
They do not trust the city to provide the
services needed by businesses. The business owners feel that they will not be able
to operate effectively in Doraville because
of…regulations.
“DeKalb County has done a good job
by these businesses,” Dunlavy said.
Another attorney, Edward Gilgor,
compared the business owners’ desire to
be back in DeKalb County to the municipalization movement in DeKalb.
“The cityhood movement is about
self-determination,” Gilgor said. “People
want to be able to determine what type
government they have. I hope DeKalb
County will support its once, and hopefully future, businesses…by bringing
them back in.”

Young Lee, owner of restaurant recently annexed into the city of Doraville,
wants to be deannexed. Forty-four businesses are seeking to be back
under the county’s less restrictive zoning laws. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

The Champion Free Press, Friday Feb. 6, 2015

opinion

Page 4A

Lessons learned from historic climb
I have no desire to scale
the sheer cliffs of a mountain, but I was riveted by
the monumental feat of two
American climbers who successfully ascended the largest granite monolith in the
world.
On Jan. 14 Tommy
Caldwell, 36, and Kevin
Jorgeson, 30, became the
first to free climb the Dawn
Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in
California. The wall has the
reputation as the toughest
rock climb in the world.
The duo used only their
hands and feet to grip the
barest of edges on the wall
completing the climb in 19
days—sleeping in tents at
night on the rock and caring for their shredded hands

Gale Horton Gay
gale@dekalbchamp.com

Lifestyle Editor

and fingers along the way.
However this feat was
years in the making. They
have analyzed, planned and
trained for five years.
Whether one is a climber/outdoor adventurer or
not, there‘s so much we can

learn from Caldwell’s and
Jorgeson’s success.
1. Belief in oneself. No
doubt along the way
there were many who
doubted that they could
accomplish the feat. I’m
sure there were countless
naysayers suggesting that
the endeavor was foolish, but they envisioned
something that few others
could and they had the
guts to go after it.
2. Preparation and planning
are key. It’s the unglamorous part of any effort but
can make the difference
in the outcome. Too often
people rush to get to the
end result and don’t put
in the proper preparation,
training, planning and incremental steps necessary.

3. Sacrifice goes hand in
hand with success. All the
time training and preparing for the feat—over
months and years—was
time away from family,
friends and other activities and events. It appears
that the family and friends
closest to both men
bought into their dream
and were with them along
the way encouraging
them and at the summit
celebrating.
4. On the road to success,
know there will be pitfalls.
Caldwell and Jorgeson
used ropes to secure
themselves to the wall to
protect themselves from
falls, and fall they did. On
one section alone, it is
reported that Jorgeson fell

11 times over seven days
before conquering it. The
pair also had to endure
intense wind and cold.
5. There really is a limitless
nature to what can be
dreamed and achieved. It
requires bold imagination,
a dogged spirit, unwavering commitment and
a willingness to endure
mental, emotional, physical and often financial
highs and lows.
While not many of us
have what it takes to accomplish what these climbers
did, we all can dream and be
inspired to push ourselves
further to reach goals for the
betterment of ourselves, our
families, our communities.
I’m certainly inspired;
how about you?

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

opinion

Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Just go sit under the free money tree
“First – middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure
in a world of constant change.
That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health
care, a home, retirement –
and my budget will address
each of these issues, lowering
the taxes of working families
and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets
each year,” President Barack
Obama, State of the Union
address to Congress, Jan. 20,
2015.
From a very young age,
I can remember leaving my
bedroom, bathroom, or
coming up from downstairs,
where my brother and I had
bedrooms located, and hearing dad say, “Turn off the
lights; money doesn’t grow
on trees.” 
The home of my
childhood had no air
conditioning, and dad was a
late convert to even allowing
a microwave oven, as it was
unclear about how much
juice was required to “radar
range” a meal.
And even when better
circumstances and more
discretionary income
arrived, with mom and dad
both working, the attic fan
was the preferred method
of cooling, even in summer
months, in our later and

college GPA, and gaining
college course credit hours
at a substantially reduced
tuition over what we would
later pay for the same at
UGA. And though the then
Clarkston campus was and
is a commuter school, visits
to the campus also gave me
my first tastes of the college
social scene and the greater
Bill Crane
freedom which was just
bill.csicrane@gmail.com
around the corner. But even
back in 1979, there were
Columnist
modest tuition and student
activity fees to be paid.
larger home with A/C. 
And though we did often
This deep and finally
hear about “a penny saved
ebbing recession has caused
being a penny earned,” as
America to in aggregate look well as the elusive and rare
at its profligate spending, and money tree, mostly we also
begin saving again. College
learned to better appreciate
debt for the first time has
vacations, the occasional
surpassed credit card debt
extravagance or large family
and though interest rates
purchase when we had
are hardly worth discussing
all been involved in the
for savings, tax deferred
scrimping, saving and often
vehicles, such as 401-Ks,
earning involved to make
IRAs, Coverdell Savings
the long-desired purchase. I
Accounts and 529 College
remember discussions about
Savings Plans have almost
our first family trip to Disney
never made more sense.
World in 1974 being a nearly
My own higher education two-year period of planning.
began, while still in high
Given that our nation’s
school in DeKalb County,
State of the Union address
with Advanced Placement
has been slowly moving away
courses in English, history,
from being a fiscal report
calculus and Spanish at
card to Congress, as well as
DeKalb College.  I was
a detailed summary of the
fortunate to ace these elective president’s budget priorities
classes, pre-boosting my
for the coming year and

devolving into more of the
theater, pomp, circumstance
and traditions of a national
political convention or major
campaign event, I have taken
to lowering my expectations
almost as significantly as the
viewer ratings for this once
“stop the presses” event have
become.
But this year’s address,
and this president simply
advocated that free is the
way to be. Free community
college, free child care, free
health care, and government
support/assistance, granted
more freely through the
tax code and an even more
convoluted system of tax
credits, redistributing
income again from the top
and upper levels back to the
middle.
And though the address
was extremely light on
cost estimates or funding
particulars, free community
college was initially to be
funded by taxing the 529
Savings Plans of families
who had already exercised
the wisdom and thrift to
put money away for the
future education of their
children.  Mr. President, I
fully understand that your
background is in activism
and authorship, and not
math and finance, but if
the middle class remains

the largest demographic
in our nation, and they
are being subsidized...just
exactly where is that money
supposed to come from? 
In that fantasy land where
you can always leave the
lights on, the refrigerator
door open and the A/C
cranked...it doesn’t really
matter, because there will
always be some ‘rich guy’ we
can tap or over-tax to pay the
bill. 
Where I come from,
we still know and fully
appreciate that our creator
and the U.S. Constitution
only promise us life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. No outcomes are guaranteed. Perhaps that lesson
should be restored in our
Common Core, as well as
next year’s State of the Union
message.
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, Feb. 6, 2015

Elma Miller
Elma Miller is a senior citizen who helps other seniors.
Miller, a resident of Stone
Mountain, volunteers at the
Lou Walker Senior Center in
Lithonia.
In that capacity, she works
to “keep the library tidy [and]
make sure it’s clean. I give
tours and anything else they
ask me to volunteer to do.”
Additionally, Miller volunteers at Golden Living Center
Briarwood nursing home in
Tucker.
“When they do activities—

playing Bingo or whatever
games—I assist the seniors
there...to play the games,” she
said.
Miller also attends and
volunteers at Bread of Life
International Ministries on
Snapfinger Woods Drive in
Decatur.
Before she began giving
her time to help seniors, Miller
helped young people.
“I was a foster mother,”
said Miller, who is the only
survivor among nine siblings.
“I fostered over 30 kids in New

York and I adopted three of
them.
“I am Minister Miller,
Mother Miller and Elder Miller,” she said. “Those are the
titles I have.”
For Miller, volunteering
isn’t just something to do with
her free time.
“It’s just giving my services
away for free,” said Miller, who
moved to metro Atlanta from
New York in 1993. “I serve
people…wherever I can. I love
doing it. Volunteer work is
good.”

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.

The MTV original series Finding Carter was filmed in Avondale Estates Jan. 28. Filming took place at three locations, including American Legion on Covington Road. Photos by Carla Parker

TV series filmed in Avondale Estates
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Avondale Estates had a few MTV stars in
town Jan. 28.
The city issued a film permit to Who’s Who
LLC for season two of the TV series Finding
Carter. The MTV original series is a family drama that centers on the character Carter, a teenage
girl who thinks she has the perfect life until she
is told that the woman she believes to be her bio-

logical mother actually abducted her as a toddler.
The series was created by Emily Silver, and
stars Kathryn Prescott as Carter.
Filming took place at Lake Avondale, American Legion on Covington Road and at a private
home on Lakeshore Drive.
Georgia has become a film destination in
recent years. In August 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal
announced that feature films and television productions generated an economic impact of $5.1
billion in Georgia during 2014. The 158 feature

film and television productions that were shot in
Georgia spent $1.4 billion during that time.
Avondale Estates City Manager Clai Brown
said the city recognizes that the film and television industries are a “vital” part of the economy.
“The permit fees are minimal compared to
the producing companies patronizing at our local
businesses and rentals of properties for equipment and the shoot,” Brown said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local

AroundDeKalb

Avondale
Estates

Organization to host
Valentine’s Day crafts party
The Avondale Estates Parents’ Co-op will host its annual
Valentine’s Day crafts party Feb.
8, from 1-3 p.m., at the Avondale
Community Club, 59 Lakeshore
Drive. Adults can bring their children and grandchildren for an afternoon of Valentine’s Day crafts.
For more information, email
rfiskgreen@gmail.com.

Brookhaven
City to host daddy daughter
dance
A “Daddy Daughter Dance”
will be held Feb. 13, 6:30‒8:30
p.m. at the Lynwood Park Community Center. Daddies and
daughters can have a night of
dancing, music, snacks and
prizes. The community center is
located at 3360 Osborne Road,
Brookhaven. For more information, contact Philip Mitchell at
philip.mitchell@brookhavenga.
gov or (404) 637-0542.

Decatur
Church to celebrate Black
History Month
“We’ve Come This Far By
Faith” is the title of a Black History Month program to be held at
First Comfort Missionary Baptist
Church on Sunday, Feb. 15.
The program will be from 3
to 5 p.m. The community is welcome to this celebration and dinner will be served.
The church, where Rev. Noel
Battle is the pastor, is located at
1955 Columbia Drive, Decatur.

Recreation center to host
senior fitness program
DeKalb County recently announced that every Tuesday and
Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. the
N.H. Scott Recreation Center will
offer a Senior Fitness Program.
The Senior Fitness Program,
hosted at 2230 Tilson Road,

Decatur, is free for adults ages
50 and older. The program is
designed to motivate senior
adults to get fit, stay active and
eat healthy, and residents of all
fitness levels are encouraged to
participate.
To access online registration, visit www.dekalbcountyga.
gov/parks and click the “Register
Now” button on the department’s
homepage. Residents may also
register in person at the recreation center. For more information, call the N.H. Scott Recreation Center at (404) 687-4071.

Community to hold meeting on
proposed south DeKalb city
Partners in Action for Healthy
Living Inc., a nonprofit organization working to improve the
quality of life in South DeKalb
County, is hosting a community meeting titled “Cityhood in
South DeKalb 101” on Tuesday,
Feb. 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at
Midway Recreation Center, 3181
Midway Road, Decatur.
The free public meeting will
be held to provide information
to south DeKalb residents on the
process and possible impacts of
cityhood in south DeKalb County. State Rep. Karla Drenner will
present information on the cityhood process, what it means to
be a city and how south DeKalb
residents may be affected by current cityhood proposals and annexations.
The meeting will include a
question-and-answer session.

Black women’s group to hold
open house
The Decatur-DeKalb chapter
of the National Coalition of 100
Black Women is looking for people with a passion for community
service, leadership and public
advocacy.
Since its inception more
than 20 years ago, this chapter
has hosted activities focused on
political, health and economic
awareness, and leadership development, with a specific emphasis
on enhancing the quality of life
and lifestyles of Black women.
An open house for membership will be held Thursday, Feb.
26, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Holiday Inn
Express & Suites, 7846 Stonecrest
Square, Lithonia.
RSVP at www.eventbrite.
com/e/membership-open-house-

national-coalition-of-100-blackwomen-tickets-15570303196.
For more information, contact Donna Payne, vice president
of membership, via phone at
(706) 250-0353, or email at donnajpayneatl@gmail.com.

Dunwoody
Annual red dress party
celebrate heart health
Heart disease is the number
one killer of women, causing one
in three deaths each year. That’s
approximately one woman every
minute. The red dress party attracts Atlanta’s most exclusive to
celebrate women’s heart health
and enjoy an evening of entertainment, dancing and cheer to
raise funds for and awareness of
heart disease. All of the proceeds
of the red dress party go directly
to the American Heart Association to fund research, education,
and awareness in an effort to prevent heart disease.
The event will take place on
Feb. 13 from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m
at 4355 Ashford Dunwoody
Road Atlanta. Visit 33events.com
for additional information.

Friends of local business host
charity fundraiser
In November 2012 Michael
Bryan, founder of Vino Venue
and Atlanta Wine School, was
diagnosed with stage three pleomorphic sarcoma cancer. The
news came three weeks before the
opening of Vino Venue.
On Feb. 8, 3 – 6 p.m., friends
of Bryan will honor his fight with
cancer with a benefit to raise
money that will assist Bryan with
his medical expenses. The event
will feature wines and beers, a
Brazilian chef grilling meats “low
‘n slow” over charcoal, sides, and
desserts. There will be a silent
auction and raffle at the end of
the event. The cost of the event
is $75. The event will be held
at 4478 Chamblee Dunwoody
Road, Chamblee.

Lithonia
City’s crime down in 2014
Lithonia saw a 38.08 percent
decrease in crime in 2014. Police

Page 7A

Chief Roosevelt Smith thanked
the Lithonia residents and police
officers for job well done. “It’s
because of your commitment to
your community and having a
watchful eye as well as bravery to
get involved,” Smith said. “Crime
in this city is down, which proves
that working together with the
police department makes for a
strong community policing partnership.”

Stone
Mountain
Stone Mountain creates winter
adventure benefits
On Feb. 8 Snow Mountain at
Stone Mountain Park will host an
event for the Children’s Program
of Visiting Nurse Health System.
The event is free for kids
shorter than 36 inches and $60
for children and adults. Proceeds
from the event will help pediatric patients and their families at
home or at the Hospice Atlanta
Center. Tickets include two hours
of snow tubing, snowmen and
igloo building, access to the Snow
Zone, warm snacks, s’mores, hot
chocolate and more.

Countywide
LifeLine offering Valentine
promotion
During the month of February, LifeLine Animal Project, the
nonprofit that manages DeKalb
County Animal Services, is offering a “My Furry Valentine” promotion in which all dogs and cats
ages 6 months and older may be
adopted for $14. Standard adoption screening criteria still applies. Adopted pets will be spayed
or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, heartworm or combo
tested and dewormed–services
with a retail value of more than
$200. For more information, visit
www.dekalbanimalservices.com.

local

Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Decatur’s mayor:

‘Our future is secure’
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com

an owner-occupied house assessed at
$200,000 or less,” Baskett said.
“We’re committed to ensuring that
Decatur’s mayor told residents Jan.
our older residents can continue to af27 that the city is in great shape.
ford to live in Decatur,” Baskett said.
“Despite some short-term chalThe city continues to pursue the anlenges, I assure you that our future is
nexation of some new areas into its borvery secure. Even our biggest issues are
ders, Baskett said.
the result of our successes,” said Decatur
“We have a map. It was adopted by
Mayor Jim Baskett, during his state of
both the school board and city commisthe city address during a meeting of the
sion,” Baskett said. “We have a plan that
Decatur Business Association.
includes reasonable and rational borders
“We’re in great shape financially.
so that both the city and city schools can
We’ve weathered the recession without
provide excellent, high quality local govmaking any drastic cuts to services, and ernment services.”
we still maintain a healthy fund balance,”
Decatur officials are meeting with
Baskett said.
state representatives to get “advice and
Baskett cited some the city’s achieve- counsel on moving the plan through the
ments in 2014, which include the comlegislature,” the mayor said.
pletion of the Unified Development Or“It appears that our prospects are
dinance, which became effective Feb. 2.
closely linked to the success or failure
“This effort took about a year and
of the new cities of Tucker and LaVista
now all of our development and zoning
Hills,” Baskett said.
ordinances are updated, cross-referenced
“One of the most pressing challenges
and easy to find,” Baskett said.
that we have faced in a while is the ever- “Our biggest issues are the result of our successes,” Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett
said during his state of the city address. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Another accomplishment was the
increasing enrollment in our schools.
passing of the tree canopy conservation
“We have studied this closely for a
ordinance, which went into effect in July long time now, working with the school
2014.
system and with outside paid consul“This was the realization of an effort tants,” he said. “Every scenario for the
that began a number of years ago and
future shows an inescapable need for adwill help ensure that our city will mainditional classrooms, and that’s whether
tain a healthy tree canopy for our future we do any annexations or not.”
generations,” Baskett said.
Garrett Goebel, chairman of the
Decatur also completed its first
City Schools of Decatur school board,
shared facility with the city’s school sys- agreed with Baskett.
tem: the Eloise T. Leveritt Building.
“The City Schools of Decatur is
“In addition to housing our one-stop one of the fastest growing and highest
shop for permitting, it serves the mainperforming school systems in the state
tenance needs of both the city and the
of Georgia. The state of our schools is
city schools,” Baskett said.
strong,” Goebel said.
The city is putting the “finishing
“Great successes present great chaltouches” on the Beacon Municipal Com- lenges. And those…are the good ones
plex, Baskett said. Once complete, “the
to face,” he said. “One of the challenges
Beacon center marks the end of a capital we will face this year is the need to add
improvement program that started a de- capacity. After so many years of historicade ago with the renovation of city hall. cally unprecedented growth, our enrollWe’ve now built, renovated or upgraded ment has risen by over 80 percent.”
Several Decatur employees were recognized for their service to the city in 2014.
every city facility.
Goebel said school officials expect
“Completing these quality, energysimilar growth to continue for years to
efficient projects reaffirms our commit- come.
ment to care for our community and
“As of this year…every school buildmaintain our facilities for future genera- ing in the district is in service and opertions to enjoy,” he said.
ating at or above capacity,” he said.
Currently, Harmony Park and
To address the need for more classOakhurst sidewalk and street construcrooms, Goebel said the school system
tion projects are under way, Baskett said. has, since 2011, “engaged publicly in an
“After years of planning, the
master planning process to develop and
Oakhurst streetscape project is in full
refine plans to add capacity at the high
swing,” he said. “Wider sidewalks, new
and middle schools. The need for adstreetlamps, street trees and expanded
ditional capacity and the primary grade
green space will improve the pedestrian levels must also now be addressed.”
safety as that commercial district beGoebel said the Decatur school
comes more inviting and functional.”
board “intends to ask that the city comAdditionally, Phases 4 and 5 of a
mission allow a general obligation bond
downtown streetscape project will kick
referendum be placed on the ballot for
off in February, extending the city’s
November so that Decatur’s voters may
streetscape network, Baskett said.
determine whether our plans to meet
One goal Decatur officials are purcapacity needs have merit.”
suing, Baskett said, is legislation that
Mayor Baskett said, “Despite some
would give the city “additional homeshort-term challenges, I assure you
stead exemptions.”
that our future is very secure. Even our
“If we are successful in the state
biggest issues are the result of our suchouse and the voters approve, we will
cesses.”
effectively eliminate taxes for city operations for any taxpayer over age 65 in

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local

Page 9A

House fire

A house on the corner of Pin Oak and Oakcliff roads in Doraville was
destroyed by a late-morning fire Jan. 28. DeKalb County Fire Rescue
Battalion Chief Doug Brown said no one was injured in the blaze. Photos
by Andrew Cauthen

local

Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

“This has been a massive and highly-effective law enforcement push for
improved public safety in DeKalb County,” Mann said.

154

1. SOUTH DEKALB
PRIMARY CARE

1290 COLUMBIA DRIVE
DECATUR, GA 30032

1

404.289.1952

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann announces Operation Safe DeKalb, a multi-agency effort that netted more
than 200 arrests. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

2. STONECREST
PRIMARY CARE

Sheriff’s operation nets
hundreds of arrests
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Six murder suspects are
off the streets of DeKalb
County after a multi-agency
effort to make a dent in the
number of outstanding warrants in the county.
By 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, Operation Safe DeKalb 2015, a
two-week, “massive, highly
successful countywide effort,” had netted 225 arrests,
including 74 felony and 64
misdemeanors arrests, said
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff
Mann.
Twenty metro area law
enforcement agencies participated in the operation
designed to “purge and to
review…approximately 5,000
criminal arrest warrants…
with a special concentration on the seven deadly
sins: burglary warrants, gang
members and gang-related
activities, deadbeat parents,
probation violators and the
most recent misdemeanor
warrants,” according to
Mann.
“We are united behind
achieving a very important
objective related to community safety and that is to find,
arrest those individuals who
are accused of committing

crimes against the people of
DeKalb County,” Mann said.
For the operation, the
sheriff ’s office selected 3,500
warrants with “good intelligence” about the whereabouts of the suspects, Mann
said.
Brookhaven Police Chief
Gary Yandura said, “Ninety
percent of our crimes are
committed by 10 percent of
the people. Hopefully, this
will eliminate a lot of the
crime that we’re having out
on the streets.”
Those arrested on murder
charges during the operation
include:
• Aishadia Armstrong, arrested Jan. 20. Armstrong
was charged with the
shooting deaths of Verdell
Bee and Princess Stanford.
Two other suspects, Martavis Mathis and Devon
Brown, also were arrested
Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, respectively, for the two deaths.
• Isaish Leegrand was arrested Jan. 18 for malice
murder, felony murder,
aggravated assault and violation of the Street Gang
Terrorism and Prevention
Act. Leegrand is accused of
the death of Rico Stewart
by shooting him in the face

in May 2014.
• Derrick Hepson, charged
in the shooting deaths of
Nathaniel Dumas and
Marquita Smith, was arrested Jan. 6.
• Michael Bargainer was
arrested Dec. 14, 2014, for
the Dec. 12, 2014, shooting
murder of D’Monte Antwan Brown.
In an average month the
DeKalb County Sheriff ’s Office receives from the various
courts approximately 1,000
warrants,” Mann said. “This
process of endeavoring warrants is continuous. We have
an entire division devoted to
this effort.”
Mann said his office has
a team of investigators who
work around the clock “to
seek out and bring individuals wanted by the courts to
justice.”
During Operation Safe
DeKalb 2015, participating
law enforcement agencies
also used “this opportunity
to evaluate strategies, equipment and operational methods in an effort to continuously improve our working
relationships.”
Mann said the operation
was expected to continue
through Jan. 30.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

WEEK

local news

Page 11A

Pictures

Principal Antoine Rhodes, Assistant Principal Shundreia Neely and
administrator Alethea Mack distributed awards at The Champion
School’s honors day.

Water flows into the waterwheel of the century-old grist mill making for a picturesque scene at Stone Mountain
Park. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Special guest speaker Rev. Kamau Welcher is awarded with a certificate of appreciation from student government president Darion
Nelson.

Principal Antoine Rhodes tells students and parents the meaning
behind the honors pin that was awarded to scholars at The Champion School.

Students stand for the singing of the national anthem at The Champion School.

23

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local news

Page 12A

Dunwoody widow seeks new trial
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Andrea Sneiderman wants to be
exonerated.
That’s what her attorneys said Feb. 3
during a hearing for a new trial.
Sneiderman was sentenced in August 2013 to five years in prison after
being convicted of lying under oath in
the trial of her husband’s killer. She was
accused of conspiring with her boss,
Hemy Neuman, to murder her husband, Rusty Sneiderman.
Rusty Sneiderman was shot multiple times outside of a Dunwoody day
care center in November 2010.
After confessing to the killing, Neuman pleaded guilty and was sentenced
to life in prison without the possibility
of parole.
Andrea Sneiderman was indicted
in August 2012 on charges of malice
murder, criminal attempt to commit
murder, insurance fraud, two counts
of making a false statement and two
counts of perjury and racketeering.
Before her trial began, DeKalb County
prosecutors dropped the most serious
charges of murder and aggravated assault.
During her trial, prosecutors alleged
that Sneiderman and Neuman were
having an affair at the time her husband

was shot. Sneiderman denied that such
a relationship existed.
Andrea Sneiderman was released
from prison June 16 after serving 22
months of a 60-month sentence.
Brian Steel, Sneiderman’s attorney,
said “the big issue that we have is” that
the indictment against Sneiderman
omits the phrase “knowingly and willingly.”
“By doing that there is a fatal defect
in every count” in the indictment, Steel
said. “Unless every essential element of
the crime is stated and actually pled…
it is impossible to ensure that the grand
jury found probable cause to indict”
Steel said.
“What happens in a perjury case is
a person has to knowingly and willingly
swear falsely...under oath…in a judicial
proceeding” for it to be perjury, Steel
said.
DeKalb prosecutor Anna Green
Cross told Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams, who heard the original
trial, that there was no need for a new
trial.
“There is no confusion to be had,”
Cross said. “The defendant was put on
notice as she was to all the elements
of all the offenses that were charged.
There is no basis for reversal.”
Judge Adams did not say when he
would reach a decision.

Tucker foundation to host centennial celebration
by Ashley Oglesby
In 1915 the Tucker community opened its
first high school. According to Ron Broadway, a former English teacher at Tucker High
School, the public school began as a two-story,
six-room, antebellum structure with no restrooms or running water.
This year Tucker High will celebrate its
100th anniversary. The school started with
ninth graders and graduated its first senior
class in 1918 and has since expanded into a
three-wing building where every classroom has
a smart board, a computer projector, a DVD/
VHS player, a telephone and at least four computer stations for students.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary,
the Tucker High School Foundation and the
Tucker community will sponsor a variety of
events for students, alumni and school supporters.

On March 23 the foundation has planned
a golf tournament at Summit Chase Country
Club.
On April 18 the foundation will host a
parade, a family-friendly 5k and tot trot, a reunion dance with live band AirrTight and other events designed to involve Tucker students
and alumni.
“We are excited about this and we hope
many alumni and community members attend,” Barbara Broadway, president of the
Tucker High School Foundation, said.
Broadway worked as an educator at Tucker
High for 32 years.
She said, “I feel like I’ve come home. It’s a
welcoming environment. I miss teaching the
students and witnessing that moment when a
student sees and understands the concepts.”
For additional information about the celebrations planned, join the Tucker High School
Tucker High School, home of the maroon and gold tigers.
centennial celebration group on Facebook.

County roads to be closed temporarily
Allgood Road, between Coleman Drive and Nelby Drive,
will be closed to through traffic through 9 p.m. on Wednesday,
Feb. 11, to replace a 36-inch drain pipe.
Road closure signs will be posted in the area, advising motorists of construction work and traffic restrictions. For more
information, contact Scott LaGoutte, A&S Paving Inc., at (770)
482-1597.
Greenwillow Drive, between Chesterfield Drive and Greenbrook Way, will be closed to through traffic beginning on
Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 9 a.m., through 9 p.m. on Feb. 11, for
large tree removal using a crane.
Road closure signs will be posted in the area, advising motorists of construction work and traffic restrictions. For more
information, contact Tierson Boutte, Boutte Tree Inc., at (404)
234-0837.

340‐368512 2/5,2/12 
Public Sale 
Druid Hills Storage  will  hold a public sale to enforce  a lien imposed on said  property, as described 
below, pursuant to the Georgia Self Storage Facility  Act, Georgia  Code 10‐4‐210  to 10‐4‐215, at 02:00 
PM on Tuesday,  February 24, 2015, at Druid Hills Storage,  3391  N Druid Hills  RD, Decatur,  GA  30033. 
Management  reserves  the right to withdraw  any  unit from sale. Registered  or motor vehicles  are sold 
"As Is I Parts Only,"  no titles or registration. 
Tenant Name                                             Unit#         Stored Items 
Julia M Vaughn                                         2036            HG Boxes 
Trumaine  D Gaines        
        E091A       HG Boxes  
Luis Wolf                                                       E097        HG Boxes 
 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local news

Page 13A

McDonald’s employee Carolyn Elaine Hayes (left) was honored Jan. 28 for being named Crew Person of the Year. Carrie Salone (right), owner and operator of the Decatur McDonald’s,
threw a party in her honor which was attended by McDonald’s employees and Ronald McDonald.

Decatur Active Living Director Greg White (left) and Decatur Public
Information Officer Casie Yoder celebrated Hayes’ accomplishment.

Employee Continued From Page 1A

score of 250.
She also participated in
the Georgia Special Summer
Olympics 2014 where she
won two gold medals, one in
rhythmic gymnastics hoops
and rhythmic gymnastics
ball.
In 2013 and 2014, she
participated in the Georgia
Artist with Disabilities exhibition where she sold two
purses that she made. She
received a certificate and an
award.
Salone said when she
hired Hayes she knew Hayes
would a model employee.
“She came in with that

strive in spite of her shortcomings,” Salone said. “She
came in with that dedication. She has mastered what
we are trying to accomplish—genuine love, genuine
hospitality, genuine service.
She got it. So from day one I
knew she would be a staple.
She has encouraged me as
an owner/operator, and she
has become a role model for
all of my staff.”
Hayes said she loves
working at McDonald’s.
“I like the customers and
the managers, they are nice,”
she said. “I keep [the customers] happy, I’m friendly.”

Ronald McDonald signs a poster in honor of Hayes. Photos by Travis Hudgons

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local news

Page 14A

Proposed South DeKalb city named Greenhaven
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Residents of unincorporated south
DeKalb could soon be residents of Greenhaven, Ga.
Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of
South DeKalb announced Jan. 30 its new
name for the proposed city. The group said
they chose “green” because it is associated
with sustainable life, and “haven” because it
suggests a place where all life is valued, safe
and protected.
Edward Gates-Bey, a member of the
Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South
DeKalb board, said he thinks the meaning
behind the name is great.
“We know that it’s going to take a moment for people to get comfortable saying
Greenhaven, Georgia, but that’s like with anything else—people get used to it,” Gates-Bey
said. “I think once they get used to it they’ll
love it. It they don’t love it for the name itself
they should definitely love it for the reason
for that name was selected.”
L. Dean Heard, who lives in unincorporated Lithonia, thought the name is great as
well.
“The name typifies where we need to
be at this point in times in terms of being
able to look at how we maximize use of our
resources in Greenhaven,” Heard said. “The
name represents where we’re trying to go as a
whole country.”
Greenhaven, which would have approximately 295,000 residents, would surround
Clarkston, Pine Lake and Stone Mountain. Its
borders would touch Lithonia and the proposed city of Stonecrest.
Dr. Kathryn Rice, chairwoman of
Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South
DeKalb, said proponents are seeking cityhood for two reasons—protection from being the only area to pay the county’s pension
plan, and economic development, which is
the most important reason.
“We’ve been in a county and in that county’s structure we now have the northern part
of the county, which is very developed, versus

the southern part of the county, which is underdeveloped,” she said. “We need to change
that scenario, and we believe we need to focus
on ourselves. By forming a city, we position
ourselves so that we apply for funds as a city
that is not assessable to us as unincorporated
DeKalb.”
The county has an annual pension plan of
nearly $50 million, and Rice said everyone in
the county should pay into the pension plan.
However, according to the some laws, when a
city is formed residents in that city no longer
have to pay for the pension plan. If LaVista
Hills and Tucker incorporate, residents left in
unincorporated DeKalb are responsible for
paying the pension plan.
“We do not believe that is fair,” Rice said.
“We do not want to be in that position. When
we calculated it, it means that we’ll experience a 50 percent increase if we’re the only
ones that remain incorporated.”
Rice said the group is proposing that everyone in the county should pay into the pension plan.
The cityhood group has a lawyer working to draft a charter, and they are working
with the Atlanta Regional Commission on
finalizing the internal boundaries for the five
Community Area Planning Units. The group
is also continuing to meet with corporations
who have contracted with other cities for
startup services.
The group is doing a feasibility study
which is expected to be finished in February.
There has been criticism about the proposed
city—fear of higher taxes, but the group said
taxes will not increase. Heard said becoming
a city is important for the existence of the
residents in the south DeKalb area.
“If we don’t take care and be proactive
[rather] than reactive, the city could potentially be annexed away if we don’t do something,” Heard said. “If we sit idle...then we’ll
be getting the leftovers. So I’m glad that the
individuals on the committee and the other
individuals that served on the planning board
took their time and their resources to come
together and put this together for us.”

Citizens for Cityhood of South DeKalb announced Jan. 30 its new name
for the proposed city.

Dr. Kathryn Rice, chairwoman of Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of
South DeKalb, discuss the benefits of a new city.

Supporters of the proposed city listen to the details of the proposed city.
Photos by Carla Parker

Brookhaven seeking funds to fix lake
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Brookhaven has been having
trouble with Murphey Candler Lake
and its lack of ability hold additional
rainwater.
To help fix this problem,
Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis
met with representatives from the
Georgia Congressional delegation
Jan. 22 at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors to discuss the needs
of the city. Davis and City Manager
Marie Garrett met with U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and
David Perdue (R-Ga.), as well as
U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.).
Davis said they briefed them
about some of the issues in
Brookhaven and the assistance the

city needs from the federal level.
“All of the meetings were
extremely productive and our
congressmen were very receptive to what we are working on in
Brookhaven,” Davis said. “It was
such an honor for me to represent
Brookhaven to our federal leaders.”
The mayor requested the congressmen to research federal Environmental Protection Agency
funds to assist with improvements
to 21-acre lake. Because the lake has
no capacity to hold additional rainwater, it causes storm water runoff
into Nancy Creek and other bodies
of water in the city. The city is seeking funds to dredge and deepen the
lake, as well as restore the banks.
“This impacts the entire basin
area, which includes Brookhaven,

Chamblee, Dunwoody and parts of
DeKalb County,” Davis said. “It’s essential that we make these improvements soon to prevent any further
damage.”
The city previously some funded a study to look at the improvements to lake.
Davis and Garrett also briefed
the congressmen on Brookhaven’s
ongoing improvements to the Buford Highway corridor. In October
2014, the city council adopted a
five-year redevelopment plan for the
area. The Buford Highway Improvement Plan and Economic Development Strategy was established to
govern redevelopment of a threemile corridor from the intersection
of Buford Highway and Clairmont
Road to the Atlanta city limits.

The plan focus is to promote
economic viability and physical improvements, such as the addition of
bicycle and pedestrian trails, gateway enhancements and streetscape
beautification. The city is also looking to enhance public transportation
and greenspace in the area.
“Our goal is to bring more ways
to connect the residential areas with
the places of employment,” Garrett
said. “We want Buford Highway to
be developed as a live-work-play
community.”
In addition to possible transportation grants, Brookhaven is seeking
federal funds to develop trails along
Peachtree Creek.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

TheChampion

local news

Page 15A
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Education

Page 16A

Decatur mom gets second
chance at college degree
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com

Principal Jeffrey Jenkins stands next to the entrance of DeKalb County’s
Fairington Elementary School.

Donations from schools, businesses and community members were
piled into the school’s media center.

Staff members unloaded cars and a truck filled with donations of school
supplies given by donors.

Fairington Elementary
recovers from fire
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Fairington Elementary
School is still recovering
from a fire in Margaret
Veira-Allens’ kindergarten
class on Jan. 17.
A team of nearly 150
county employees worked
to repair the damages while
students attended Miller
Grove High School until the
school reopened on Jan. 20.
Fairington has received
numerous donations from
the parent teacher organization of Dunwoody Elementary School, faculty of the
Centennial Arts Academy
in Gainesville along with
the DeKalb County Office
of the Georgia Department
of Juvenile Justice to help
replace lost school supplies.
On Jan. 30 Fairington
hosted a donors day and
received additional supplies from the Law Firm
of Kanner and Pintagula,
The School Box Education

in Marietta, MasTec Network Solutions and DeKalb
County Council of Parent
Teacher Associations.
“We were grateful for all
the people that donated to
our school. We’re going to
take all of those items and
each teacher will have the
opportunity to replace the
items that were damaged in
the fire,” Principal Jeffery
Jenkins said.
“We’re in a better position than we were, “he
added. “We’re still going
through items and finding out what is missing and
what we need to replace
but then we’ll come up with
a list of items that each
teacher needs to replace and
replace them.”
Investigators said they
are searching for a suspect
seen on surveillance footage
and are offering a reward of
up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and
conviction.

Arizona Cardinals player
Larry Fitzgerald has had
more things on his mind
than a Super Bowl ring; the
wide receiver announced
earlier this year that he
wants to complete his college education.
Fitzgerald partnered
with the University of Phoenix to create the Focus to the
Finish scholarship program,
which allows nontraditional
students another shot at a
college degree.
“I know earning a degree
isn’t easy, especially later in
life when you have other
obligations to your job and
to your family,” Fitzgerald
said. “That’s why I’m excited
to be a part of this scholarship program that helps
those who have realized, just
like I did, the importance
of finishing what you start
by completing their college
degree.”
Decatur resident Jocquin Gude is one of 51 individuals awarded with the
full-tuition scholarship.
Gude started her college
education at Shorter University before transferring to
the University of Phoenix.
She said she was three classes away from obtaining her
degree and even marched in
graduation when financial
dilemmas forced her to drop
out.
As a single mother of
two boys, Christopher and
Jamahl Campbell, Gude
said, “This opportunity
came at the perfect time.”
Gude’s older son is
heading off to college with
academic and football scholarships and her younger
son was accepted to Gordon
College and will start classes
this summer.
“I am so fortunate to
have received this scholarship from University of
Phoenix and am thrilled to
be able to finish my degree
and learn the skills I need to

Jocquin Gude stands beside her sons Christopher and Jamahl Campbell.
The family will all be enrolled in college courses this year.

turn my dreams into reality,”
Gude said.
She said she had to push
her education and entrepreneurial goals aside more
than six years ago to raise
her boys but hopes that with
her degree in hand she will
be able to open a natural
hair salon and start an online magazine focused on
hair, education, lifestyle,
fitness and more to support
her family.
Gude said she kept her
entrepreneurial spirit alive
by starting the nonprofit
Project Belief Foundation,
an organization with a mission to increase access to
medical treatment.
Last year on Super Bowl
Sunday, Gude’s brother died
from cancer.
She said seeing her
brother struggle and how he
was treated led to the proj-

ect.

“He was a retired marine and received military
benefits but because of his
military benefits he was not
able to take advantage of
Cancer Treatment Centers
of America, which would
have made him more comfortable,” Gude said.
She added, “My cousin
who does receive additional
assistance from the center
struggles to pay $800 out-ofpocket for her cancer medication.
“I feel like there is something that could be done.
Project Belief Foundation
will raise money that will go
directly to patients to assist
them with their medications,” said Gude.
Gude will work toward
a bachelor of Science degree
in business to further support her career goals.

CITY OF AVONDALE ESTATES 
2015 GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION QUALIFYING FEES 

   Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 21‐2‐131(a)(1)(A) of the Georgia Election Code, The City of 
Avondale Estates on January 26, 2015, set the qualifying fee at $3.00 for all offices in 
the upcoming November 3, 2015 General Municipal Election. Qualifying will take place 
from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Monday, August 
31, 2015 through Friday, September 4, 2015 at City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, 
Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002.   
 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local news

Page 17A

A farmers market, commercial district and library branch provide a sense of community that attracts homebuyers to East Atlanta. Area residents raised money to keep a dragon sculpture, top right, in East Atlanta when it had to be removed from Brownwood Park.

DeKalb neighborhood listed among ‘hottest’ in nation
by Kathy Mitchell
A neighborhood that 20
years ago might have been
described as depressed has
recently been described as
“hot” by nationwide technology-driven real estate
company Redfin.
Redfin on Jan. 27 released its predictions as to
which neighborhoods in
the United States would be
among the top 10 of those
most eagerly sought by
homebuyers in 2015. The
list includes East Atlanta,
defined as the area east of
Moreland Avenue, south of
I-20 stretching approximately to Flat Shoals Road.
“It is a relatively small
area, but there is a lot of interest in real estate there. We
expect that interest to continue to grow,” noted Redfin
agent Will Fassinger, who
lives in the nearby Gresham
Park area.
Redfin defines a home
as “hot” based on its “hot
homes algorithm,” a mathematical formula that predicts when there is an 80
percent chance of that home
having an accepted offer
within two weeks of its going on the market. When
there are many such homes
in a neighborhood, the
neighborhood itself is identified as hot.
“Our data scientists
developed a mathematical formula, or algorithm,
that analyzes hundreds of
attributes about the homes

themselves, including square
footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, lot size, views and
location. The algorithm also
layers in buyers’ preferences
for those attributes,” according to Redfin’s website.
Fassinger said Redfin’s
formula has been reliable.
“Of the neighborhoods
we predicted in past years
would be hot, eight out of 10
have outperformed others in
the same area.
Redfin was founded in
2006 with a business model
that applies science and
technology to the real estate
industry. The name is a contraction of the phrase “real
estate redefined.”
East Atlanta started an
upswing in 2011 and 2012
and “really took off,” in
2013 and 2014, according to
Fassinger. What makes the
neighborhood so popular,
he said, is that homes there
have many features that appeal to members of the millennial generation, defined
by Pew Research as people
born after 1980.
“These are the people
buying first homes right
now,” Fassinger said. “They
may have grown up in
homes that were cookiecutter models of other
homes around them. So they
find homes with character
and individuality attractive.
Most of the homes in East
Atlanta were built in the
1950s or earlier. They may
remind today’s buyers of the
home their grandparents

lived in.”
Like many areas near
metropolitan downtown
areas, East Atlanta started to
decline in the mid-1960s as
more buyers sought homes
in the suburbs, Fassinger explained, but in recent years
the trend has turned around.
“We’ve definitely seen
the end of the urban sprawl
that was happening in the
1970s and ‘80s. Young buyers like homes with shops,
restaurants and entertainment nearby. They may still
occasionally shop or eat at
chain stores or restaurants,
but they also like neighborhood shops and restaurants
where they can get to know
the owners,” Fassinger continued. “They like farmers
markets and night clubs
where they can hear local
musicians perform live.”
East Atlanta is one of
several neighborhoods to
make a comeback in recent
years, said Fassinger, who
noted that nearby Candler
Park and Kirkwood experienced similar revitalizations.
“These are well-defined
neighborhoods that have a
central business district. Entrepreneurs see the potential
in these neighborhoods and
build restaurants and shops.
They see many young adults
who work in downtown
Atlanta but don’t want a
lengthy daily commute and
are looking for places closer
in,” he explained.
East Atlanta, Fassinger
said, is well positioned for

such people. “It’s easy to get
to downtown without even
getting on the interstate.
It’s a straight shot down
Moreland Avenue. The interstate is convenient to the
neighborhood, however.
Many young working people
travel a lot so being a short
distance from HartsfieldJackson Airport is important
to them, too.”
Affordability is a major
consideration for young
adults buying their first
homes, he noted, and East
Atlanta features many affordable homes. “On this
year’s 10 hottest neighborhoods list, East Atlanta
ranked No. 2 for affordability,” Fassinger said. “As the
neighborhood has become
more popular, home values—and thus prices—have
gone up, but it’s still a highly
affordable area.”
The homes in East Atlanta, according to Fassinger, are primarily the original
bungalows and craftsman
style houses from the first
half of the 20th century, but
most have been renovated

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to meet the needs of today’s
families. “There aren’t a lot
of new homes being built in
the area, but people are—in
addition to modernizing the
plumbing and heating and
air conditioning systems—
making them more suitable
to the way they live,” he said.
“Most people today like
a master suite with its own
bathroom. That was rare
before World War II when
most homes had only one
bathroom. That’s an upgrade
that’s been made to most
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“Also, in the ‘50s and
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house. Today, people like
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adding that buyers are careful with their renovations
to retain the house’s historic
charm.

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Sports

Page 18A

Marist wins county wrestling title
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A dominating performance by the
Marist wrestling team led to a DeKalb
County wrestling title.
Marist outscored runner-up McNair
220.00 to 187.50 to win its fifth overall
county title Jan. 24 at Dunwoody High
School. Lakeside came in third with
164.50 points, followed by Southwest
DeKalb with a 138.00 score. Lithonia, last
year’s county champions, finished fifth
with 128.50 points.
Marist’s victory came on the heels
of four gold medalists: Julian Grady
(170-weight class), Jack Kratzenberg
(195-weight class), two-time state champion Kenneth Brinson (220-weight class),
and Jack Trainor (285-weight class).
Marist also had two silver and two
bronze medalists. Marist coach Riddick
Beebe said his team was honored to win
the title.
“It’s also good prep for the tough
competition that we’re going to have in
our area [tournament] and [state] sectionals and then moving into state,” he said.
“It’s good prep work all around.”
McNair had one gold medalist, Jamaal Deny, who won the 152-weight
class. The Mustangs also had two silver
medalists and four bronze medalists to
lead McNair to a second-place finish.
Lakeside was led by gold medalists
Spencer Wilson (126-weight class) and
Josh Powell (145-weight class), along
with two silver medalists.
Southwest DeKalb’s Abdur-Rahman
Yasin won his third consecutive county
title, winning gold in the 160-weight class.
He also received his second consecutive
William S. Venable Most Valuable Wrestler Award for the tournament.
Yasin is undefeated, dating back to
his sophomore year. The two-time state
champion is on an 85-match winning
streak.
He said it felt good to win another
title.
“All the hard work is paying off,” he
said.
Yasin is heading to Presbyterian College next year on a football scholarship.
He does not plan to wrestle in college,
making this season his final season of
competitive wrestling. As his wrestling
career comes to an end at Southwest
DeKalb, Yasin is focused on continuing
his winning streak and securing another
state title.
Winning the county title gave him the
momentum he needs to achieve his goals.
“It’s really the beginning of the end,”
he said. “You come in and wrestle [at
county] good, and you just build on it every week to get better and better.”
The Jerun Tillery Best Finals Match
award went to Lithonia’s Kirkglen Hudson and Stephenson’s Said Banks for their
championship match in the 120 division.
Hudson won the match, giving him
a 3-0 record in the tournament. Hudson,
along with Chris Morgan (132-weight
class) and Allen Morgan were the three
gold medalists for Lithonia.

The 2015 DeKalb County Wrestling Tournament was held at Dunwoody High School Jan. 24. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Marist won its fifth overall county title. Photo by Carla Parker

Photo by Travis Hudgons

Stephenson’s Said Banks and Lithonia’s Kirkglen Hudson won the Jerun
Tillery Best Finals Match award. Photo by Carla Parker

Southwest DeKalb’s Abdur-Rahman Yasin won his
third consecutive county title, winning gold in the
160-weight class, and was named the tournament MVP.
Photo by Carla Parker

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Sports

Page 19A

Columbia baseball coach Steve Dennis talks to his players during DeKalb County Baseball Media Day Jan. 15. Dennis was inducted into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame Jan. 17.
Photo by Ashley Oglesby

Steve Dennis inducted into Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
For 27 years, Columbia
High School baseball coach
Steve Dennis has been a
consistent winner.
His consistency was acknowledged Jan. 17 when he
was inducted in the Georgia
Dugout Club Hall of Fame.
He was inducted alongside
Bart Shuman (Valdosta
High), Mark Clark (Bremen), Tim Osborne (MLB
Scouting Bureau) and Clyde
Miller (South Georgia College).
Dennis joined four other
legendary DeKalb County
baseball coaches in the hall
of fame—Marvin Pruitt,
John Devore, Ron Elgin
and Greg Goodwin. Dennis
said being inducted was a
great accomplishment.
“It took ‘til the day that
we actually had the induction ceremony for it to sink
in,” he said. “It’s a life-long

dream I would say, but as
some might expect I just go
out and try to do the best
job I can do with the young
men. It’s just nice to see
that even without any state
championships or anything
of that nature, that people
recognize the job that we’ve
done over here at Columbia
over the years.”
Dennis sits at No. 4 on
the DeKalb County coaching wins list with a 340-299
record. He is beginning his
27th season as the head
coach of the Columbia
Dennis
Eagles’ baseball program.
Dennis completed his 12
His best winning perwinning and 15th noncentage season came in 1996
losing season overall in 2014 with a 21-5-1 record. Denwith an appearance in the
nis attributes his success at
Class AAAA state playoffs
Columbia to the work he
while his team finished with and his coaching staff put
a 22-7 record.
in with the players each seaThe 22-7 record is the
son.
most wins in Columbia
“Our main goal is to try
school history and also put
to take the young men that
the team’s consecutive winwe’re blessed with, do whatning seasons record at four.
ever we can to make them

the best ball players and
young men as possible and
go out and compete every
day,” Dennis said. “That’s
the philosophy that I’ve had
since I came here.”
Dennis, a star catcher
at Briarcliff High School,
began his career as a head
coach in 1989. Columbia
had 10 coaches from 1969
to 1988 who combined for
10 winning seasons. He
has also been active in the
DeKalb County Dugout
Club for several years serving in various capacities.
Despite having multiple
winning seasons at Columbia, none of those seasons
ended in a state title. Moving up on the DeKalb County coaching wins list would
be a great feat for Dennis,
but winning a state title is
the ultimate goal for Dennis.
“I would give up every
one of [the wins] if it results
in an opportunity to take a
team to compete for a state

title,” he said. “As far as
moving up [on the list]—if
I’m blessed with that opportunity, then great. The
gentlemen that are ahead
of me they’re all great longtime coaches. They’ve had
outstanding careers and it’s
just great to be in their company.”
Pruitt (Lakeside, SW
DeKalb, Stephenson, Redan) is No. 1 on the list with
a 445-252 record. Dennis
knows that if he wants to get
to the top of the list he will
have to hold off retirement
for a couple of years.
“If it was up to me I
would love just to coach
until I got tired of coaching,”
he said. “I love it; I love the
coaching aspect. As for retirement, teaching-wise my
wife and I have talked about
it and looking at possibly
three to four years from
now and go head and hang
it up. If I’m physically able I
would still like to coach.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

local news

Page 20A

H IS T O RY
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Founders of Black Girls RUN!
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