FRIDAY, March 6, 2015 • VOL. 17, NO. 49 • FREE

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


MArch 8

by Ashley Oglesby

A group of painters poses with their artwork after an abstract painting class.

Agnes Scott students painting their Scottish Terrier mascot. Photos by Ashley Oglesby




Decatur ArtHouse brings guests
together to experience a unique getaway that includes friends, paint and
the option to bring-your-own-bottle
(BYOB) to help the creative juices
Guests paint on bare canvases using paint and brushes provided by
the studio.
Pallets range from landscapes
road abstracts to creative renderings
of animals, all conceptualized and
produced by art instructors from the
The ArtHouse was founded by
attorney Tennielle Bailey and her
husband, graphic designer Ronald.
The Baileys opened the Decatur ArtHouse six months ago. It is located
in the East Decatur Station at 619 E
College Ave. Suite E.
“Our kids love to paint and draw.
They spend hours building Legos or
creating objects from construction
paper. The more we live, the less we
exercise that creativity. But as we
learned, the ability to enjoy making something with our hands never
leaves us. It is in our DNA,” Tennielle
“We hope Decatur ArtHouse is a
place for everyone to find the same
enjoyment–to have fun and maybe
learn something new about themselves,” Tennielle said.
At a young age Tennielle said she
thought that art was not for her. She
said that she would compare her
artwork to others and did not feel
skilled enough to call herself an artist.
After being diagnosed with a heart
condition that resulted in high blood
pressure, Tennielle said she “had to
find some way to de-stress.”
“It took me a while to realize that
chronic everyday stress, things that
we deal with on a daily basis, going

See ArtHouse on page 13A



Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Rita Mathis tells teens to watch for “red flags”—signs that unhealthy elements are creeping into
their dating relationships.

Program focuses on
teen dating violence
by Kathy Mitchell
A young man loses his temper and
hits his girlfriend. The next day he apologizes and sends her flowers. Should
she forgive him?
A teenage girl calls her boyfriend
many times every day and asks where
he is and what he’s doing. Is this a sign
she really loves him?
These are examples of situations Rita
Mathis, grants program manager at
CHRIS Kids, discusses with the groups
of teens she meets with as part of a program aimed at reducing dating violence
among teens. Headquartered in east Atlanta, CHRIS Kids is a non-profit that,
among other missions, raises awareness about domestic abuse and dating
violence and helps alleviate the trauma
brought on by such experiences by providing resources to begin the healing
“The teen years can be confusing
and many young people are trying to
sort out what is good and normal and
what they should move away from,”
Mathis said. “We help teens identify ‘red
flags’—signs that they may be in an unhealthy relationship.”
A 2013 Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) survey found
approximately 10 percent of high school
students reported physical victimization
and 10 percent reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12
months before they were surveyed.
“As teens develop emotionally, they
are heavily influenced by experiences
in their relationships. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development.
Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can have severe consequences and
short- and long-term negative effects on
a developing teen,” according to CDC
comments accompanying the report.
Violence in intimate relationships
isn’t always boys abusing girls, Mathis
said. “Boys are usually physically stronger so the potential to do harm may be
greater, but it’s all over the map. Inti-

mate partner abuse also occurs in samesex relationships, she said. “Societal
attitudes toward such relationships may
provide another opportunity for abuse
and control. The partner may say, ‘Do
what I tell you or I’ll tell your parents
you’re gay.’”
Few relationships start out with
violence, Mathis said. “Many start with
small, seemingly harmless events that
escalate. A person might start by saying,
‘I don’t like the way you dress—wear
this, not that,’ and from there the person may become increasingly controlling, even violent. ”
Mathis described what she calls
the cycle of violence. “There’s the ‘honeymoon’ phase in which the abuser
apologizes for past bad behavior and
may offer gifts and favors. In the tension phase the victim feels intimidated
and there may be emotional abuse even
though there’s no physical abuse. The
violent phase, which can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, may be
followed by a return to the honeymoon
phase,” she said.
Teens may draw their assumptions
about what is normal from a number of
sources, including entertainment media
and their own families, Mathis said.
“Song lyrics don’t always offer good
advice and a movie may show a guy
hanging around all the time and suggest
he’s doing it because he’s really in love
when in real life a guy like that might be
a stalker.”
It’s difficult in some relationships
to decide when attention based on infatuation has crossed the line to something unhealthy, she said, but there are
characteristics that define healthy and
unhealthy relationships. In a healthy relationship there is trust, mutual respect,
honesty, fairness and good communication; in an unhealthy relationship there
may be fear, manipulation, pressure and
control, she said.
Sometimes young people have seen
abuse in their families and think that’s
how people in an intimate relationship
relate to one another, Mathis noted.

See Program on page 24A

Proposed Stonecrest city
would be in the black
by Andrew Cauthen
After proponents reduced
its size, the proposed southeast
DeKalb city of Stonecrest has
passed a major hurdle.
The writers of the report
by the Carl Vinson Institute
of Government state that “our
study reflects a realistic assessment of likely fiscal feasibility.”
“Based on our analysis, we
find that likely currently available revenues exceed likely
expenditures for the services
identified to be provided, and
therefore have concluded that
a city comprised of the Stonecrest study area desiring to
provide planning and zoning,
code enforcement, and parks
facilities is fiscally feasible,” the
report states.
The proposed city of
Stonecrest would have annual
expenses of $7.91 million and
revenues of $9.85 million, leaving a surplus of $1.94 million.
The city’s “southern boundary starts on the eastern side
of Snapfinger Road where it
meets the intersection of the
boundaries of DeKalb, Rockdale, and Henry counties. The
southern boundary continues

east, tracking the Rockdale
County border and stops at Interstate I-20. The area includes
territory between I-20 and
Covington Highway to the west
of the City of Lithonia as well
as other areas directly north of
the City of Lithonia,” according
to the report.
The population of the
proposed 29-square mile city
would be 50,234, of which 95.4
percent would be Black and 4
percent would be White.
In its original proposal, the
proposed area would have been
61 square miles and included
77,000 residents.
The median household
income of the city would be
$39,000 and it would have a
poverty rate of 18.3 percent,
according to the study.
Areas seeking incorporation are required to choose
at least three services they
propose to provide for their
residents. The Stonecrest study
was based on the city providing
code enforcement, planning
and zoning, and parks and recreation only.
Among the parks within
the proposed borders Arabia
Mountain and Brown’s Mills
Aquatic Center.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Page 3A
Transparency, other topics discussed
at Avondale candidates’ forum
by Carla Parker

Mayoral candidate Jim Hutchens cleared up rumors about his feelings on
annexation in his opening remarks.

Mayoral candidate Jonathan Elmore said he wants to be the leader for
positive change.

Avondale Estates residents listen to the five mayoral candidates during a

Transparency has become a concern
for some Avondale Estates residents after
the mishandling of an annexation bill by
former mayor Ed Rieker, and residents are
looking for a mayor who will keep them in
the loop on all city business.
Residents got an opportunity to question the five mayoral candidates about
transparency and other topics at a candidates’ forum Feb. 19. The candidates—Paul
Brown, Jonathan Elmore, Jim Hutchens,
John Pomberg, and Todd Pullen—gave
talked about transparency, annexation,
education and other topics.
Hutchens, a U.S. Navy vet and retired
engineer, mentioned transparency in his
opening remarks to clear up rumors about
his feelings on annexation.
“Jim Hutchens is not opposed to annexation,” he said. “What I am opposed to
is closed, secretive deals where we don’t
have open government that we’re all a part
of. In 2014, we woke up one morning and
there was a bill in the House delegation of
the state that was for annexing property
into Avondale. I didn’t know; I don’t think
very many people in this room knew about
it. I support well-thought-out annexation
that will help Avondale.”
Rieker resigned from his mayoral seat
a day after he apologized to residents at an
Oct. 1, 2014, meeting on how he and the
commission handled an annexation bill. At
a September meeting, residents questioned
the mayor about House Bill 1130, filed by
state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), that included a proposed annexation
map for the city.
Residents were not aware of the bill
when it was filed, and the commission never discussed it in a public forum. Residents
found out about the bill at a Sept. 15 city
planning and zoning board meeting.
Brown, a local architect, said if he becomes mayor, he will “maintain a conserva-

tive fiscal policy in regards to growth, and
create newfound trust, faith and confidence
through a transparent government.”
“The next mayor must set the standard
for transparency and community involvement by making the process of listening to
the citizens the most vital part of government,” Brown said. “If Avondale Estates is
to move forward in a manner that respects
the needs of the residents, it must first inform them of plans and hear their positions
before deciding whether to move forward.”
Elmore, who also is an architect, said he
is running for mayor because he wants to
be the leader for positive change.
“I support responsible growth—growth
that is community-based, pedestrianoriented, and mixed-use with more public
spaces for all of us,” Elmore said. “I do support annexation; I do support the decision
by our board to annex.
“If elected, I will conduct myself in an
ethical, transparent matter,” Elmore added.
“I’m a collaborative, relationship-orientated
person by nature, and I look forward to
serving with our board. As mayor and
chief spokesperson I will always present
our community in a positive manner that
reflects the small, diverse community that
we are.”
Pomberg, who moved to Avondale Estates in 2012 from Iowa, believes his newness to the city makes him the better choice
for mayor.
“As a fairly recent resident, I can approach the current and future issues from a
position of objectivity, free of allegiance to
any group or cause,” Pomberg said.
Pullen said he is running for mayor because of his “vested interest” in the development of the arts and the business district.
“I see this development filled with great
opportunity,” Pullen said. “It’s crucial that
it’s executed with sensitivity that preserves
what already makes Avondale Estates
unique and special to each of us.”
The special election will take place on
March 17.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015


Page 4A

How I feel about Gov. Deal’s failed schools proposal
The DeKalb school system is big
business and it is political. We do
need to improve our schools but
citizens should be aware.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan is to
create a statewide school district.
It would be run under the control
of the governor’s office, and not
[by the] superintendent of the state
department of education. It would
partner with local school districts to
run them or create charter schools.
What is also notable about the plan
[is that] there is no exit plan for the
schools to return to local control.
In order to do this, it would require
a constitutional amendment to expand the number of school districts
in the state of Georgia. The state
currently has 179 school districts.
Before it is all over, the citizens
should watch for the state politicians
to allow for several more school districts to be created.
It has been the goal of some political entities to allow the new cities
being created in the metro Atlanta
area to create their own schools districts. The charter schools’ agenda
and the new opportunity schools
district proposed by Gov. Deal, if
enacted, could change the policy
and organization of the DeKalb
school system. The DeKalb school
system’s budget for 2014-2015

school year is $1.3 billion. In contrast, the DeKalb County government operations budget is $585
million. The DeKalb school system’s
budget is almost three times the
size of the DeKalb County government budget. The DeKalb school
district, the third largest in the state,
has 100,000 students—90 percent
African American, and less than 10
percent White. There are approximately 8,500 teachers.
There are 141 schools that are
failing according to the state of
Georgia. These schools are in various school districts throughout the
state. The DeKalb school district has
the second highest number behind
The failed schools include 27
schools in Atlanta, 26 in DeKalb, 21
in Richmond County, 10 in Muscogee County, 14 schools in Bibb
county, seven in Fulton County,
six in Dougherty, five in Chatham
county, three in Clayton County,
three in Macon County, three in
Randolph County, two in Colquitt
County, two in Dooly County, two
state charter schools, two in Twiggs
County, one in Clarke County, one
in Dublin City, one in Green County, one in Hancock County, one in
Meriwether County, one in Sumter
County, one in Talbot County, and

Letter to Editor:

one in Taliaferro County.
Two of the schools on the list
are charter schools approved by the
state that are failing: the Atlanta
Heights Charter School and the Ivy
Preparatory Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Atlanta. A majority of the schools in DeKalb on the
list are elementary schools in south
DeKalb, and two high schools—Columbia and MLK high schools.
This leads one to ask how the
elementary schools can be failing
and not the middle schools or high
schools. What does this information from the state mean? Can it be
that more middle schools and high
schools will fail in the future?
The citizens should watch out
for what it is about to buy. It will be
hard to return the merchandise once
you buy it.
The citizens of the DeKalb should
be ready for the break-up of the
DeKalb school system. This is what’s
coming down the road. The hidden
agenda is to remove the limitation
of the forming new school districts
which is currently prohibited in the
Georgia constitution. The trend to
privatize and create charter schools
will likely continue as minorities
increase in population. The rules
are being rewritten as minorities
are taking over the governance in

school systems and local governments.
The governor should work on
reducing the size of some of these
schools. Today many of the schools
are too large, both in total enrollment, and class size. However, this
will not be proposed because it will
cost too much money. Remember
the No Child Left Behind Act in
2001? Then President George Bush
promised that no child would be left
behind by 2014. Well, it sounded
good, but nothing changed. This
is what the politicians do every 10
years—they come up with a new
plan, essentially rearranging the
chairs, and nothing seems to change.
The standards and the criteria are
changed to match the outcome expected. This is what has happened
in the New Orleans recovery district
and in Tennessee. Now, the governor wants to emulate them. Déjà vu,
the more things change, the more
they seem to remain the same.
The new opportunity school
district plan, if passed and implemented, will siphon money from
the public schools. There needs to
be changes in how schools perform,
but I believe the governor’s education proposal needs some revision.
Ed Williams

Letter to Editor:

Breast cancer patients need What can DeKalb citizens do today to
support reform in DeKalb County?  
better access to treatment
Dear editor,
When I was diagnosed with
Stage 2 breast cancer, my diagnosis shook me and my family
to the core. Where would I get
treatment? Fortunately, I chose
Cancer Treatment Center of
America (CTCA) in Newnan.
While treating there, I quickly
learned that I was not just
another woman with breast
cancer, but a mother and wife,
who longed for a long productive life.
At CTCA all my treatment
options were explained to me
each step of the way. I learned
about the advantages and potential side-effects of various
treatments, and how nutrition
and other supportive therapies
could help me tolerate my
treatment. I was also asked
what treatments I wanted
to pursue. After consulting
with family, I chose surgery,
chemotherapy and radiation.
Right now, I am still treating

with hope.
But perhaps you are unaware of an existing state law
that limits the number of
patients that can be treated at
CTCA in Newnan? Yes, Georgia law limits the amount of
patients the hospital can see
locally. I truly believe that no
woman facing a breast cancer
diagnosis like I did should be
told that she is unable to [be
treated] at a hospital due to
specific limitations that are in
I am calling on Senator
Emanuel Jones and Rep. Karla Drenner to support reforming our state’s Certificate of
Need (CON) laws for CTCA
and ensure every Georgia
woman has access to all available treatment options.
Rev. Vanessa Brown Mason
Decatur, GA 30035

In recent years, DeKalb County
government and the DeKalb County
School District have weathered multiple
scandals and widespread corruption. Both
the government and the school system
have made steps toward reform—think
CEO Lee May’s Operations Task Force
and Gov. Deal’s removal of DeKalb’s
Board of Education members—but
the bad news keeps coming. At this
point, cityhood movements, annexation
proposals, and potential constitutional
amendments demonstrate DeKalb
citizens’ desire for change. The two
concerns that are repeatedly voiced at
community meetings are the quality of the
school system and the ethical standards of
DeKalb’s leaders.  
What can DeKalb citizens do right
now to support reform in DeKalb?
Demonstrate support for the individuals
that have been charged with helping
our Board of Education choose our next
school superintendent: the community
liaison group (or superintendent selection
Here is the community liaison group:
• William Boone, political science depart-

ment, professor at Clark Atlanta University
• Rick Callihan, CEO and owner of
• Diane McClearen, 2016 president elect
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
• John Evans, president, DeKalb NAACP
• Rhina Fernandes Williams, assistant
professor of multicultural education,
Georgia State University
• Urcel Fields, vice president of network
management, Amerigroup
• Carolyn Finnerty, parent
• Lance Hammonds, NorFalco account
manager – South Atlantic Region
• Gwen Johnson, citizen
• Barbara Lee, retired DCSD educator
• Katherine Kelbaugh, principal, The
Museum School
• Kerwin Lee, pastor, Berean Christian
• Michelle Penkava, representative of
Parent Councils United
• Al Tiede, CEO & owner of Horizon
Windows Atlanta
• Eliezer Velez, managing director of
youth programs, Latin American Association

See Citizens on page 5A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

And thrice as SNICE!
“Of all the events we have
had thus far, this looks to be
a larger one,” Georgia Department of Transportation
spokeswoman, Natalie Dale,
Wednesday, Feb.25.
In memories which are
seared onto the brain and
will last for decades, the
winter of 2014 brought
north Georgia and metro
Atlanta both Snowmaggedon, and its slightly weaker
sibling Snice Storm the following week.  And since, to
the delight of grocers and
gas retailers north of Macon,
the siting of a snow flake or
sleet still triggers massive
runs on the pumps and store
Against this backdrop,
a seasoned governor, big
city mayor, and a few dozen
school superintendents have
repeatedly had to make
some tough weather advisory and state of emergency
calls, weighing erring on the
side of caution, versus another date with disaster.
Granted that there were
thousands of parents and
children at home last week,
some with smoke coming
out of their ears, looking out
at their non-snow covered
lawns, or taking a sick/personal leave day to care for
their children, home from
school and day care closings. But seriously, aren’t
those inconveniences nothing compared to last year’s
impassable roads and school

Bill Crane


buses stranded or children
sleeping overnight on gymnasium floors?
Having just beat the bigger storm out of town a
year ago, heading north on
a business quest to Union
County, I didn’t get stopped
in my tracks until north of
Helen, and I spent the rest
of the evening watching
“Frozen: The Real Story,”
unfold courtesy of Atlanta
TV news. Though my colleagues in that industry outdid themselves, and the meteorologists called that one
right, Georgia’s emergency
management agencies,
planning and logistics were
caught quite flatfooted.
And so rather than repeat those mistakes, Gov.
Nathan Deal took his most
well-trod path to success
in appointing a large and
representative task force to
make recommendations
to avoid a similar prat-

fall in the future. Atlanta
Mayor Kasim Reed joined
the state in making equipment investments in road
clearing trucks and brine
distribution equipment, as
well as rock salt repositories
across the metro region,
and particularly accessible
to the areas major interstate
over-passes.  School systems
revisited their own protocol
and decision-making procedures for school closings,
as well as added expendable
‘snow days’ back into their
annual calendar. Officialdom was ready; the next big
question was would the public listen?
And so, three times in
just over two weeks, the
next cataclysmic snow and
ice event has loomed.  And
twice across the north metro
region, places like Suwanee,
Buford, Gainesville, Jasper
and other points above
I-285, have experienced
more than a dusting, black
ice and sometimes hazardous road conditions, while
the bulk of the metro region,
particularly at the demarcation line of I-20 and points
south, was largely spared.
In most places, this lack
of major impact and damage
would be cause for rejoice.
And yet instead, on social
media and elsewhere, disregarding the big differences
that one to two degrees of
temperature can make in
any forecasting equation,

home-stranded parents are
calling for the heads of area
weather professionals, and
labeling elected-officials of
every stripe as the latest version of Chicken Little.
I’m sorry folks, but we
can’t have it both ways. Planning means making choices,
and tough calls, and when
you pull the trigger to send
a few million people home
early, just like a fire drill at a
high rise hotel, someone is
going to be slightly inconvenienced...but would you
prefer to sleep through and
possibly burn to death for
lack of a way to find your
way out?
I wasn’t trapped in my
car for 12 or more hours as
many friends and neighbors
were a year ago.  I didn’t
have to spend a gut wrenching evening wondering
when I would next see my
children home safely. But I
know many who did.
Scratch that memory
chip. Are you really ready
to flip that coin and land on
the wrong side again? Do
some Plan B-planning yourself. Prepare a “home together” box of favorite family movies, maybe a game or
two. Use the surprise togetherness to tell fun family stories, reminisce and perhaps
prepare a favorite family
meal or two together.
Yes, you can sit, stew and
spew online and elsewhere...
or discuss the incompetence

Citizens Continued From Page 4A
• Betty Willis, senior vice president,
Emory University
What does that support look like?  
• Pay attention to the superintendent
search. The search firm, PROACT,
provides updates on the DeKalb
County Schools website: www.
• Tell your Board of Education members that you are happy with their
decision to appoint a Community Liaison Group.  
• If you see a member of the liaison
group, thank them for their service.
They have a huge responsibility to
help select the next leader of our district. It will take an incredible amount
of volunteer time and energy.  
• Do not ask liaison group members
or Board of Education members for
confidential information.  Respect
that their ability to successfully do
their job is 100 percent contingent on

their ability to maintain confidentiality. Superintendents will not consider
working at a system where names and
contract details are leaked. Our Board
of Education learned this lesson during a previous superintendent search.
Respect the liaison group and Board
of Education members’ need to keep
all candidate information confidential.
• Buy in to the process. PROACT has
taken information from focus groups,
community engagement sessions,
and online surveys to create a position profile. This profile will guide
the search firm, as well as the liaison
group and Board of Education, as
they narrow the field of superintendent candidates. This is the tool that
will facilitate a (hopefully) perfect
match between our school system
and our new leader. If you have input
for the board or liaison group, email
PROACT’s CEO, Gary Solomon,
at He has said
that he will take public input (includ-

ing candidate resumés and recommendations) and include it in the
equitable evaluation process used for
all candidates.
• Expect the best from the liaison
group. No individual is perfect—
every person on the liaison group has
made mistakes. However, as a group,
they are tasked with bringing their
life experiences and good judgment
to the table. Expect that they will
do their job with integrity, then hold
them accountable. Expect them to
find us an outstanding superintendent. 
• Once the liaison group has done
its job and we have an outstanding
superintendent, we will also have
something else that could help
solve DeKalb’s problems: a group
of citizens who have brought
transparency, integrity, and ethics to
their public work. Soon, we will be
asking them to run for office.
Allyson Gevertz

and over-paid “Merlins”
who offer you daily advice
on our weather. Try taking
the warmer and healthier
path. It’s thrice as snice. I’ll
save you some marshmallows over here; we’re probably going to have some
s’mores tonight out back on
the fire pit.
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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John Hewitt
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Travis Hudgons
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The Champion Free Press is published
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Statement from the
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, March 6, 2015

Andre Kennebrew
Andre Kennebrew, a
paramedic for American
Medical Response (AMR)
in Stone Mountain, has been
selected as a 2015 Star of
Life by the American Ambulance Association.
Kennebrew graduated
from Tucker High School,
earned his Emergency Medical Technicians Paramedic
certification and Georgia
license from Georgia Piedmont College and is one of
only 100 recipients nationwide to receive the 2015 Star
of Life award – the highest
honor an emergency medical
services (EMS) worker can
Kennebrew said he developed his passion for EMS
during a youth firefighter
program when he was 14

years old. The program allowed him to get professional training and become
familiar with firefighting
Kennebrew said he used
the opportunity to network
with professionals and get
his foot in the door to become a fireman.
“The people that were involved were very encourag-

ing, they were involved and
wanted to teach us. I think as
a child when I wanted to become a firefighter, the opportunity to ride on a fire truck
was a big thing for me,” he
Kennebrew said through
the 3-week program he had
the opportunity to learn
about EMS which has now
worked in for over four
Last spring, Kennebrew
responded with his partner
and another AMR crew to
a call about a young child
who had suffered a sudden
cardiac arrest while at swim
They were at the end of
their shift but had not received the call to go home.
Upon hearing this call for

help being dispatched to
another ambulance, they
realized they were closer to
the address and hurried to
the location to perform CPR.
During the child’s recovery,
Kennebrew said he and his
partner made several visits to
the hospital. The child was
able to return to school.
“There was something
so special about that call. It
was miraculous. It was truly
something to see the kid
dead and then awake, talking and crying on the way to
hospital. It was just something that you don’t get to
see,” Kennebrew said.
In April Kennebrew will
be recognized at the 2015
Stars of Life event in Washington, D.C., Stars recipients
will also meet with their con-

gressional representatives on
Capitol Hill.
“I am honored to receive
this recognition,” said Kennebrew. “I wish that I wasn’t
the only being awarded,” he
added. “I wish everybody on
that call, everyone on that
team was awarded.”
“I think everyone’s goal
is to save a life and it doesn’t
happen often so it’s important to take advantage of
the moments when people
are able to walk out of the
hospital and continue to
live on. Being able to say
today I made a difference
in somebody’s life whether
it’s through medicine or just
by saying hello and having
a conversation with them
makes a huge impact.”

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.
DeKalb Chamber elects new board
The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
has elected six business leaders to join
its board of directors. The new directors
started their three-year terms Feb. 12. The
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Board is
composed of 47 members and provides
strategic direction and shapes strategy for
the 77-year-old business organization. 
New DeKalb Chamber directors include: Sondra Brooks, community outreach coordinator, Children’s Healthcare
of Atlanta; Vincent Bucci, general manager, Atlanta Hyatt Villa Christina; Tharon
Johnson, managing director, McKenna
Long & Aldridge LLP; Ryand McClendon, assistant general manager external
affairs, MARTA; Trevor Quander, manager of community affairs & economic
development, Atlanta Gas Light; and David Scott, senior vice president, Integral
The incoming directors will fill the
slots vacated by board members whose
terms expired this year and represent a
cross-section of industries and companies
with a local, regional and national presence. Katerina Taylor, DeKalb Chamber
president, stated, “The DeKalb Chamber
board has always consisted of women and
men who are highly distinguished in their
respective fields. The individuals selected
represent major corporations, longtime
partners and small businesses in the region.”

County asks residents to weigh in on
Atlanta’s high-tech future
DeKalb is asking county residents to
participate in a region-wide survey conducted by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to learn more about innovative technologies that will impact metro
Atlanta residents during the next 25 years.
Input from this survey will be used

to help the ARC develop the region’s plan
of investment strategies and performance
metrics that will guide public policies related to issues of transportation, land use,
water quality and conservation, workforce
development, and aging and health resources. Set to be adopted in the spring of
2016, the objective of the plan is to ensure
growth and a high quality of life for all
metro Atlantans.
This survey is the second offered by
the ARC in recent months. The first survey asked regional residents to identify
and prioritize metro Atlanta’s biggest challenges, and results are available at www.
For additional questions, please contact Melissa Roberts, Atlanta Regional
Commission, mroberts@atlantaregional.
com or (404) 463-3272.

DeKalb receives regional recognition
for leadership in sustainability
DeKalb County was recognized as
a “Green Community” by the Atlanta
Regional Commission (ARC) in January
for its leadership in sustainable practices.
In addition to the cities of Alpharetta,
Decatur and Sandy Springs, and the counties of Cherokee, Fulton and Gwinnett,
DeKalb is acknowledged for its programs
and policies that reduce environmental
impact and transform the metro Atlanta
region. DeKalb increased its designation
from “certified bronze” to “certified silver”
for 2014-2018, on a scale that also reaches
gold then platinum.
“DeKalb’s commitment to sustainability is contributing daily to a cleaner
environment, a reduction of waste entering our landfill, and a decrease in energy
use,” said interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May. “We’re proud to be considered a
“Green Community” for a fifth consecutive year, and look forward to the sustainable achievements of 2015.”

Ex-DeKalb commissioner’s husband
admits to stealing county funds
John Boyer, the husband of former DeKalb County commissioner Elaine Boyer, has pleaded guilty to stealing county money that was paid to a third party, who then funneled the funds
into a personal bank account used by the Boyers. The plea stems
from Elaine Boyer’s conviction on similar charges in September
“John Boyer exploited his wife’s position as a DeKalb County
commissioner to steal thousands of dollars in county funds. The
Boyers’ scheme put taxpayer money in their pockets–and left the
citizens of DeKalb County with the tab,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.
J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta
field office, stated, “The use of public office for personal gain is a
serious breach of trust that should not be tolerated. The FBI has
ranked public corruption as its No. 1 criminal program priority
due to its vast harm created along many lines and asks that anyone with information regarding such activity to please contact
their nearest FBI field office.”
According to Horn, the charges, and other information
presented in court, Elaine and John Boyer in 2009 experienced
financial difficulties and as a result, John Boyer devised an unlawful kickback scheme to obtain money from DeKalb County,
according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. In
September 2009, Elaine Boyer, as the District 1 commissioner,
hired a family friend as a political advisor, allegedly to assist her
with government consulting.
From September 2009 to November 2011, false invoices were
submitted to Elaine Boyer’s office for services supposedly rendered by the advisor, the news release stated.
“In fact, [the] advisor performed no services for DeKalb
County,” the news release stated. “Elaine Boyer used the false invoices as the basis to authorize payments to [the] advisor,” totaling more than $80,000.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s investigation, John Boyer
instructed the advisor to deposit the money into a bank account
used by the Boyers. Approximately $60,000 of the funds were
funneled into the Boyers’ account to be used to pay personal living expenses.
In August 2014, Elaine Boyer resigned her elected position
and on Sept. 3, 2014, she pleaded guilty to one count each of
conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20.
John Boyer was charged with conspiring to commit mail
fraud. He pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on
May 6.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015




City launches branding and
website project

City to hold open house

Avondale Estates has launched
a branding and website project,
and wants residents to participate
in a community survey. Residents,
business owners and visitors can
take the online survey by March
13. Survey results will help to guide
the city in deciding whether to take
the existing logo and tagline and
“breathe new life into it,” or start
the process anew. This project also
entails creating a new city website
that aligns with the city brand. To
take the survey, visit

Early voting underway for mayor
Advance voting for the Avondale Estates Mayoral Special Election runs through March 13, only
at the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office, 4380
Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur. Registered residents may vote
in advance there during the regular
office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Monday through Friday. For more
information, call (404) 298-4020.

The city of Chamblee will hold
a public open house on the city’s
Unified Development Ordinance
from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on March 10 at
the Chamblee Civic Center.
The purpose of the open house
is for staff to provide an overview
of the Unified Development Ordinance and why it is important. The
city invites the public to drop in
and make comments or suggestions
before it becomes a public hearing item. Attendees will be able to
ask questions directly and also fill
out comment cards if they want to
make specific comments.

Community center to host
fashion show


On March 7 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Clarkston’s Community Center
will host its inaugural Women of
Clarkston International fashion
show. For additional information
and vendor opportunities contact
event and communications
manager Nefertiti Williams at
org. Adult tickets are $15, children
tickets are $5.

Registration open for adult
basketball league


Registration for the Brookhaven’s 2015 Spring Adult Basketball
League is open now through March
6. The league, for males 17 years
and older, has a 10-game schedule,
with the first game scheduled for
March 30. Registration requires
a commitment form to reserve a
team spot in the league and a fee of
$450 per team.
Teams can sign up at the parks
and recreation office at Lynwood
Park Community Center or via online, mail or fax to (404) 637-0515.
Mailed or faxed registrations forms
should include payment and be received by March 4 at the parks and
recreation office at 3360 Osborne
Road, NE, Brookhaven.
Participants in the city’s Spring
Adult Basketball League must have
turned 17 prior to Jan. 1. For more
information, call the Brookhaven
Parks and Recreation Department
at (404) 637-0542 or visit www.

Decatur to hold ‘Georgia Rides to
the Capitol’
The 10th annual “Georgia
Rides to the Capitol” will be March
24. The event, cosponsored by the
Metro Atlanta Mayors Association,
is designed to raise support for the
development of a regional-scale
bicycle network of both on-road
facilities and multi-use trails, and
cycling connections near major facilities, activity centers and schools.
The bike ride is free, but participants should preregister at
org. Decatur Commissioner Fred
Boykin and other city of Decatur
staff members will participate in
the Decatur leg of the ride. The Decatur ride leaves the north parking
lot of the East Lake MARTA Station, 2260 W. College Ave. at 10:45
a.m. and arrives at the Capitol at
approximately 11:40 a.m. The ride

from Decatur is five miles one way
with some hills and will proceed at
a slow pace. For more information,

Covington Library friends group
to host book sale
The Friends of the Covington
Library group will have a book sale
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 20-21. The
proceeds be used to fund children’s
Covington Library is located at
3500 Covington Highway, Decatur,
at the corner of Memorial Drive
and Covington Highway. For more
information, call (404) 508-7180.

Gallery to display Mary Wallace
Kirk prints
Alumna, author and artist,
Mary Wallace Kirk graduated
from Agnes Scott College in 1911
and served on the school’s board of
trustees for six decades. On March
26 through April 18 from 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. Agnes Scotties and fans of
Kirk’s work will celebrate her life
and legacy, and show a collection
of her etchings, which depict small
and humble cabins in a Southern
landscape. The event will take place
at the Dalton Gallery at 141 E. College Ave., Decatur.

East Metro DeKalb CID to host
public listening sessions
A series of public meetings will
allow commercial property owners,
business owners, community leaders and stakeholders to help guide
the future of DeKalb County’s newest improvement district.
Board members of the East
Metro DeKalb Community Improvement District (CID) will host
community listening sessions every Tuesday in March in key areas
within the CID boundary. Public
gatherings will occur at the following locations:
• Gresham Road/Candler Road/
Flat Shoals Parkway Area: March
10–Community Achievement
Center, 4255 Flat Shoals Parkway,
Decatur, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
• Panola Road Area: March 17–
Salem-Panola Library, 5137 Salem
Road, Lithonia, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• Wesley Chapel Road Area: March
24–Wesley Chapel-William C.
Brown Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• Memorial Drive/Covington Highway Area: March 31–Covington
Library, 3500 Covington Highway
Decatur, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Page 7A

CID Administrator Nicole
McGhee Hall of Nickel Works
Consulting said these meetings will
drive planning initiatives and related budget priorities.
“Our path to success involves
building relationships and strategic partnerships, and this includes
staying closely connected with our
property owners and community
leadership,” Hall said. “We want to
promote a greater understanding of
the CID’s efforts so we can experience greater growth and accomplish significant enhancements in
the district.”
Formed in May 2014, the East
Metro DeKalb CID currently has
205 property owners, representing
405 parcels. The projected revenue
from the 2014 taxes is approximately $175,000.
For more information, visit

Druid Hills
Gone Digital: 100+ years of
Emory yearbooks now online 
Now through March 7, Emory
University will hold an exhibit on
the digitization of Emory University yearbooks from 1893-1999,
which are now online, with more
recent years to be added soon.
The show features digital access to the yearbooks, a narrative
on how the annuals show societal
changes over time and an oversized
yearbook image with face cutouts
so visitors can pose in the fashions
of yesteryear. The digital collection
documents not only the history of
the university but also of changes in
education, popular culture, politics
and economics.
It’s also a way to research family members and friends in their
younger years. Emory University,
540 Asbury Circle Atlanta; (404)
727-6861. For additional information visit


Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

LaVista Hills, Tucker bills introduced
by Carla Parker
The proposed cities of
LaVista Hills and Tucker
will move forward without a
completed feasibility study.
State Representatives
Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody)
and Scott Holcomb (DAtlanta) introduced a bipartisan bill (HB 520) at the
regular session of the Georgia General Assembly to incorporate LaVista Hills.
A bill (HB 515) for Tucker was also introduced by
Holcomb, along with State
Representatives Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) and
Michele Henson (D-Stone
Both cityhood groups
are currently having new
feasibility studies done.
Forming a new city in Georgia is a two-year process that
includes a financial feasibility study. When the House
DeKalb County Cityhood
Subcommittee held a hearing in December, it decided
to waive the rule and not require the two proposed cities
to do a new feasibility study,
despite changes in each map.
The subcommittee released the new proposed city
maps with new boundaries for Tucker and LaVista
Hills Dec. 19, and cut the
Northlake commercial district in half down LaVista
Road for the two cityhood

The maps for LaVista Hills and Tucker will be looked at by Georgia legislators after bills were introduced for both proposed cities.

LaVista Hills is raising
money for the $15,000 study,
which is being done by the
University of Georgia’s Carl
Vinson Institute (CUI). According to the group’s website, while publication of the
updated study for the proposed city is pending, calculations employing the procedures used by Carl Vinson
Institute have been run.
“These calculations do
not account for improvements in the tax digest or
changes in existing cities’
budgets since 2012, but
rather apply the same meth-

Habitat for Humanity
DeKalb’s first homeowner
pays off mortgage
by Carla Parker
Twenty-five years after
buying her first home from
Habitat for Humanity‒
DeKalb, Margaret Sanford
has paid it off.
Sanford of Decatur made
her final mortgage payment
Feb. 11 at the Habitat for
Humanity‒DeKalb office.
She now owns her home,
free and clear.
“It’s wonderful,” Sanford
said about paying off her
mortgage. “I am so happy.”
Before receiving her
home in 1990, Sanford, her
husband Terry and their
four children were living in
downtown Decatur. Sanford

said she always wanted to
have a house. She was going
to school in Atlanta when
she saw Habitat for Humanity building houses in the
Edgewood area.
“I managed to fill out an
application and [qualified
for a house], but it was in
Edgewood and my husband
had a fit.”
Sanford’s husband did
not want to move to the
area, but a Habitat official
told Sanford that the organization would be in DeKalb
County in three to four
years. Four years went by
and she received a call from
the DeKalb branch, asking
her to fill out an application.
“So I filled out another

See Mortgage on Page 14A

odology as the Carl Vinson
Institute’s original studies
of Lakeside and Briarcliff,”
the post read. “The interim
study indicates that a city
of LaVista Hills would be
financially feasible, and
projects an annual budget
surplus of approximately
$4.9 million, as compared to
the $4.2 million projected by
the CVI study for the city of
Tucker’s study is being
by Andrew Young School


of Public Policy at Georgia State University and is
expected to be completed
“We thank the community for their continued support and ask that they join
us in thanking Rep. Mitchell,
Rep. Holcomb, and Rep.
Henson for taking this important step in helping the
Tucker community realize
our dream of cityhood,” said
Michelle Penkava of Tucker.
If the bills pass through

the assembly, it would authorize a referendum in November for residents go vote on
whether to form the cities.
“The city of LaVista Hills will benefit all of
DeKalb County,” said Mary
Kay Woodworth, LaVista
Hills YES co-chairwoman.
“A smarter, well managed
government is good for everyone in LaVista Hills, and
a successful city will help all
of DeKalb County.”


Owners and developers of multi‐family, residential property located in DeKalb County (exclusive 
of Atlanta‐in‐DeKalb) are invited to submit applications for funds from the HOME Investment 
Partnership Program.  The program objective is to increase the availability of standard multi‐
family units that are affordable to low –to‐moderate income families.   
Funds are provided as loans through an application underwriting process.  To receive the loan 
and during the term of the loan, the developer/owner must abide by the regulations established 
by HUD for the HOME Investment Partnership Program. 
Applications may be obtained at: or at the DeKalb County 
Community Development Department, located at the address below. 
DeKalb County Community Development Department 
330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue 
5th Floor 
Decatur, Georgia  30030 
DeKalb County’s housing programs are operated in accordance with the Fair Housing Act. 




The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Page 9A

Commission seat stalemate leads to ethics complaint
by Andrew Cauthen
The DeKalb chapter of
the NAACP has filed an
ethics complaint against
DeKalb County Commissioners Jeff Rader, Kathie
Gannon and Nancy Jester.
John Evans, president
of the DeKalb chapter of
the NAACP, said the ethics
complaint was filed because
these commissioners “are
holding the county hostage,
and it’s a matter of power.”
“There’s a lot of things
that go into that, but when
you boil it down, it’s a matter of power,” Evans said.
The three commissioners “haven’t improved the
quality of life for the stakeholders in DeKalb,” Evans
said. “We filed it so that
at least they would understand…that they have a responsibility for governance.
And governance is supposed
to be beneficial for everybody in the county.”
While the three commissioners “haven’t broken any
legal rules,” Evans said, constituents expect the process
of to be “morally sound and
“All of these maneuvers
that have held up representation of 140,000 people are
not ethically sound and…
good governance,” he said.
Evans said the three
commissioners “have held
up, purposefully, for about
14, 15, 16 months” the filling
of the District 5 commission
seat. “The people have had
no representation.”
The District 5 seat has
been vacant since 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.
May appointed a threemember panel to provide
two recommendations from
20 applicants for a temporary commissioner. In August 2014, 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 Stan
Watson, Larry Johnson and
Sharon Barnes Sutton supported the nomination of
Turner while Rader, Gannon
and Jester opposed it.

Rader has maintained
that he was not in favor of a
process allowing a “powerful
CEO” to appoint a successor.
On Feb. 10, with May’s
support, the board decided
to deny Turner’s appointment to fill May’s seat. May
then nominated Kathryn
Rice, chairwoman of Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South DeKalb
Inc., a group pushing for
the incorporation of south
DeKalb. Rice’s nomination

was rejected by commissioners on Feb. 24.
Evans said the actions
by the three commissioners
named in the complaint are
racially motivated.
“If they can’t get a White
on the board, they’re going to get the closest thing
they can to an Uncle Tom—
somebody who will fall
in line with some of their
votes,” Evans said.
The NAACP is not supporting a specific candidate
for the interim position,

Evans said. “We’re supporting the process. Of course,
nothing is better than voting [in a] special election.
But we’ve said whatever the
process is, let’s get on with it,
and they have not.”
Jester, who has only
been on the board since
December, said in a Feb.
24 Tweet that “John Evans
needs to withdraw this inaccurate complaint, apologize,
and reimburse taxpayers for
this petty attack.”
In a phone interview

Feb. 26, Jester said she wonders if the complaint was
misfiled because “it’s not accurate.”
“He alleged in the complaint that I voted ‘no’ on
something that I voted ‘yes’
on,” she said. “As a matter of
accuracy, it’s simply not accurate.”
The complaint also is “a
frivolous complaint because
it’s not an ethics violations
to make a vote. It’s a matter
of your conscience how you
want to vote as a commis-

See Ethics on page 20A


   YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on Tuesday, the 17th day of  March, 2015, an election  will be held in the City of Atlanta (the "City"),  at which election there 
will be submitted to  the  qualified  voters  of the  City  for  their  determination the  question of  whether  General Obligation  Public Improvement  Bonds in  an 
aggregate  principal  amount  not  to  exceed  $187,945,000  should  be  issued  by  the  City  for  the  purpose  of  providing  funds  to  pay,  or  to  be  applied  or 
contributed  toward,  the  costs  of  the  acquisition,  construction,  reconstruction,  renovation,  repair,  improvement,  critical  capital  maintenance  and 
equipping  of  public  streets, traffic  control infrastructure  and  equipment,  curbing,  storm  water  drainage,  street name  and directional  signage,  bridges, 
viaducts and  related  public improvements  including,  but  not  limited  to,  streetlights,  sidewalks,  bicycle  lanes,  and  transit  stops  so  as  to  improve  the 
pedestrian  and transit environment, the cost of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990  for such  improvements and other costs incident 
   Each of  the  bonds of  such  bond  issue, if approved by the  voters, shall be dated  as  of  the first  day  of  the  month  in  which  the  bonds are  issued, shall  be 
in  such  denomination  or denominations,  shall  bear  interest  from  the  date  thereof  at  such  rate  or  rates,  but  in  no  event exceeding  the  maximum  rate 
of  interest of  five and  one‐half  percent  (5.50%)  per  annum,  shall provide  for  interest to  be payable semi‐annually on  the first day  of  June  and  December 
of  each year, until the  bonds are paid in full, all as shall be determined by the City Council of the  City of Atlanta (the "Council")  in a supplemental ordinance 
with respect  to  the  issuance of said  bonds, and  shall  provide  for  principal  to  be  paid  on  the  first  day  of  December  in  the  years  and  the amounts set 
forth below: 




$  6,600,000 
































   The  bonds may  be made subject to  redemption prior to  maturity, to  the extent  permitted by law, upon terms and conditions to be determined by the 
Council in a supplemental ordinance. 
   Voters  desiring to vote for the issuance of such Public Improvement Bonds shall do so  by voting  "YES" and  voters  desiring  to vote  against  the  issuance 
of  such  Public  Improvement Bonds shall do  so  by voting "NO"  as to  the question written or  printed on the  ballot labels with respect to the bonds.  Such 
question shall be substantially as follows: 

The  ballot  labels for  the  question  propounded above shall  have  printed  thereon  the  word "YES"  and  the  word  "NO"  in  order  that  each  voter  may 
cast  his or  her vote  in either  the affirmative  or the negative as to the question propounded. 
The  several  places  for  holding  the  election  shall  be  the  regular  and  established  polling places  for  holding  elections  in  each  precinct  in  the  City.  
Each polling place shall  be  opened  at 7:00 o’clock  a.m. and closed at 7:00p.m. on March 17, 2015. 
Those  qualified  to  vote  at this  election  shall  be  determined  in all  respects  in accordance and  in  conformity  with  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the 
United States  of  America  and  of  the State of Georgia. 
This  notice  is  given pursuant  to  the  authority of  a  resolution adopted  by the  Council of the City of Atlanta. 
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson 
Municipal Clerk 


Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

DeKalb approves
$1.27 billion
budget for 2015

The Champion and partners
participate in statewide food drive
The Champion, in conjunction with the DeKalb
County Sheriff ’s Office and
Junior League of DeKalb, are
fighting hunger in the community by competing against
other newspapers across the
state in a food drive.
Organized through Georgia Press Association, the
drive is a challenge to community newspapers to raise
as much food and money as
they can from March 9-20.
All donations will benefit the
communities in which they
are raised.
The Champion is participating in the drive by
accepting donations of nonperishable food items or
money at its office located at
114 New St., Suite E, Decatur. Donations may also be
dropped off at the DeKalb
Sheriff ’s Office at 4415 Memorial Drive, Decatur, or at
the Mary Gay House, Junior
League of DeKalb’s headquarters, 716 West Trinity
Place in Decatur and The
Sauers Group, 1585 Roadhaven Dr. in Stone Mountain.
“We are excited to do
something that helps people
with the most basic of needs
here as well as around Georgia,” said publisher Carolyn
Glenn. “Newspapers are
cornerstones of communities. We have a responsibility
to document what happens
here and to try to help improve things when we can.
We think this is an important role we play, and we’re

happy to do it.”
The Champion is competing with other newspapers of
similar circulation size from
around Georgia to see which
can donate the most. Food
will be measured by weight
in pounds. Every dollar contributed will be counted as
four pounds of food.
The publication that is
able to raise and contribute
the most food to its local
community will win the inaugural Georgia Press Association President Challenge
Cup, which will be awarded
at GPA’s annual convention
in June. There are three classifications of newspapers,
divided by circulation size.
The challenge was the
idea of GPA President Eric
Denty, publisher of The
Press-Sentinel in Jesup and
The Telfair Enterprise in
McRae. “I don’t have to tell
you that local newspapers
are the lifeblood of their
communities,” Denty said.
“Just think how amazing it
would it be if each newspaper collected just half

a ton of canned food and
groceries. We could stock
our state’s food banks with
nearly 70 tons of additional
food items.”
Each participating newspaper will be donating
what it raises to local food
banks or pantries in their
areas. “It’s exciting to be
able to help local families in
need,” Glenn said. “Helping
our communities is what
brought so many of us into
the newspaper business, and
this is just one more way
in which we can show we
care about life in DeKalb

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The DeKalb County
Board of Commissioners
(BOC) approved the 2015
budget recommended by interim county CEO Lee May
at a special called meeting.
“This action by the BOC
places us on a firm foundation to serve the stakeholders of DeKalb County in
2015 and beyond,” May
said. “The spending limits
in 2015 are more restrictive
than they were in 2014, but
with the implementation of
technology and operational
process improvements, we
are able to do more with
less, and hold the line on the
millage rate.”
Commissioner Larry
Johnson, presiding officer
of the board of commissioners, said, “Through a
rigorous and collaborative
process between the interim
CEO and the Board of Commissioners, we were able to
negotiate a spending plan
that is responsive to the
needs of the people, yet remains fiscally prudent.”
The budget maintains the
tax rate for unincorporated
DeKalb at 21.21 mills, a
rate that has stayed the same
since 2011. The budget preserves the improvements
made in 2014 in public

safety, community beautification, economic development and accountability in
In the budget, 41 of the
43 new positions are for
improvements to customer
service in the water billing
The budget includes
$1.5 million to improve the
county’s purchasing system
and $827,000 to improve
the permitting process. It
contains $5 million for road
For employees, there is
$5.8 million to annualize
last year’s 3 percent pay
raise, $8.6 million added to
pension contributions and
an additional $1.2 million
for health care obligations.
“We made several adjustments along the way
that benefit the taxpayers of
DeKalb County,” said Commissioner Sharon Barnes
Sutton, chairwoman of the
finance, audit and budget
committee. “We established
a solid, prudent reserve;
we reached a consensus on
bond refinancing and we
were able to allocate an additional $2.5 million for
police services. That’s a

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015


Attorney Mawuli Davis accompanies April Edwards during a news conference. Edwards told
reporters her version of what happened during a police-involved shooting that claimed the
life of her boyfriend, Kevin Davis, in December 2014.

Page 11A

A man holds a poster with photos of Kevin Davis. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Girlfriend of police shooting victim speaks
by Andrew Cauthen
The girlfriend of the
victim of a police-involved
shooting death was back in
DeKalb County Feb. 27 to
tell the Georgia Bureau of
Investigation what happened
inside the Decatur apartment.
April Edwards, who
moved outside of Georgia
shortly after the death of
Kevin Davis, “came back
here courageously to meet
with the GBI…this afternoon,” said Mawuli Davis
of the Davis Bozeman Law
Firm, which is representing the Kevin Davis family.
“She told the GBI what she
observed, what she experienced, what she remembered
about a horrific night in her
During a news conference after her GBI interview,
Edwards said, “I first would
like to say that Kevin was a
good man and that I really
loved him,” at times pausing
to wipe away tears.
According to police, on
Dec. 29, 2014, Officer Joseph Pitts was dispatched
to an apartment on 100 Pine
Tree Circle at approximately
9 p.m.
When Pitts arrived at the
scene, he heard yells inside
the apartment, police said.
He then knocked on the
door and announced himself
as a police officer. When
there was no response, Pitts
pushed open the unlocked
door and allegedly was
charged by a pit bull.
Pitts then retreated into
the hallway and shot the
dog, which retreated into the
apartment, according to police. The officer then walked
back into the apartment and

was approached by Kevin
Davis and Edwards.
Pitts ordered Kevin
Davis, who was carrying a
firearm, to drop his weapon,
police said. When the man
did not follow the command,
Pitts, feeling that his life was
in danger, shot Kevin Davis,
police said.
He was transported
to Grady Hospital, where
DeKalb County Sheriff ’s
deputies eventually took
custody of Kevin Davis, who
was charged with aggravated
assault on a police officer.
Edwards said she and
Kevin Davis “never heard
the police announce themselves.
“Had we known that it
was the police, then Kevin
would not have retrieved his
gun,” Edwards said.
Edwards said she never
heard any knocks or noise at
the door to the apartment.
The events started that
night when Edwards and
Terrance Hilyard—along
with Kevin Davis, the trio
were roommates—got into
an altercation. Edwards was
stabbed in the arm during
the fight.
Edwards then went to get
help from Kevin Davis who
was in the couple’s bedroom.
“He was trying to wrap
my arm up because I was
bleeding and that’s when
I called the police and let
them know that my roommate had stabbed me,” Edwards said.
Hilyard, who also was
trying to help dress the
wound, left the apartment
when she called the police,
Edwards said. Later, Hilyard
was arrested and charged
with one count of aggravated
Approximately four min-

utes after the 911 call, “we
heard the three shots from
the police officer shooting
our dog,” Edwards said.
When asked if she and
Kevin Davis knew prior to
the shooting that a police
officer had opened the door
to the apartment, Edwards
said, “We didn’t know. [We]
had no idea. They never announced themselves.”
Edwards added, “The
police said they announced
themselves and that they
told Kevin three times to
drop the gun. That’s just not
true. I would have heard it.”
Before the shooting, Edwards said, “the dog never
“Kevin and I [saw] the
dog running, limping back
to the bedroom and so I
went after the dog and Kevin
just said to me, ‘Somebody
shot the dog. Somebody shot
my dog,’” Edwards said.
“And so he went to get
his gun and went up to the
front of the apartment, and
I went back to the bedroom
where the dog was,” Edwards
told reporters. “Then I heard
another three shots, and I
went up to where Kevin was.
I [saw] him sitting on the
floor, slumped over.
“And Kevin just looked
up at me and said, ‘They
shot me, April,’” Edwards
said. “I just looked at the
police officer and asked him
why did he do that, what did
he do.”
After that, Edwards
passed out, waking up in an
Attorney Mawuli Davis said that in the police
report “there was an allegation when the officer got to
the door, he heard arguing
inside. Ms. Edwards can attest to the fact that Terrance

Hilyard was not inside the
apartment and that [she]
and Kevin Davis were not
“Me and Kevin weren’t
arguing,” Edwards agreed.
Terrance had already gone
and that was who I was arguing with but he was already
Mawuli Davis said Edwards, who was interviewed
by the GBI for approximately
45 minutes, “has given the
GBI her best recollection of
what happened. This is how
she remembered it. This is
what she told them.
“It was a very traumatic
experience that she is still
recovering from,” he added.
“This is a man who was
simply trying to protect his
woman,” Mawuli Davis said.
“[There’s] no reason for
him to have been a threat
to anyone. It’s a very, very
unfortunate set of circumstances that the family and
the community are trying to
get answers for.”
Mawuli Davis said his
firm has interviewed some
of the neighbors who witnessed the incident.
“One neighbor said they
heard the officer knock on
the door and heard the officer announce himself before the first round of shots,”
Mawuli Davis said. “That
neighbor is outside of the
apartment, not inside the
bedroom where April and
Mr. Davis [were].
“We also interviewed another neighbor who said that
they heard the officer say
‘drop the gun’ and then immediately after saying ‘drop
the gun,’ there are shots fired
almost instantly,” he said.
“There are some very
different perspectives from
the neighbors, from April,

obviously from the officer
and that’s why from the very
beginning we thought it was
most appropriate that the
GBI…get involved,” Mawuli
Davis said. “We’re just trying
to get the most thorough,
unbiased investigation we
possibly can so that the district attorney can make a determination whether charges
should be brought or not.”
During the news conference, Edwards and Kevin
Davis’ family were accompanied by community activists
“from a variety of organizations across political spectrums, across ideological
lines, [who] have stood with
this family, first demanding that the GBI become
involved in the investigation
and that DeKalb not be allowed to investigate themselves.
“It’s this coalition that
has even resulted in Ms.
Edwards being able to meet
with the GBI. It’s these organizers who have continued
to demand that the GBI become involved, that she even
have someone other than
the DeKalb County Police
to speak to,” Mawuli Davis
said. “They’re here expressing their support of her and
ensuring that they will continue to fight for justice for
the man that she loved.”
Mawuli Davis said Edwards’ GBI interview and
news conference were “important because up until
this point we have [only]
received the police narrative, the police perspective of
what happened, but Ms. Edwards was in the apartment
that night.”


Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Clairmont Heights supports
Atlanta annexation referendum
by Carla Parker
The Clairmont Heights
community is joining other
communities in the Druid
Hills area to support a call for a
referendum on annexation into
The board of the Clairmont Heights Civic Association released a statement Feb.
24 announcing its support for
inclusion in a proposal for a
bill that will annex parts of
DeKalb County into Atlanta.
An annexation proposal, promoted by citizens group Together in Atlanta, would annex

the Druid Hills area, including
Emory and the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, into Atlanta.
The Druid Hills Civic Association Board voted Nov. 19
to approve recommending a
referendum on the question of
annexation into Atlanta.
The decision to support an
Atlanta annexation came after
a community survey, which
was done in September 2014.
The board said the survey had
a “very high” participation
rate, and the results indicated
that the “residents favor inclusion in an existing city versus a
new one.”

“Our residents feel strongly
about retaining access to our
elementary school and deserve
a voice and vote on this important matter,” the board stated.
The board said it believes
that the proposed annexation
map preserves “critical” local
control over access points to
Clairmont Heights and decisions regarding future area development.
“Local jurisdiction over entrances to Clairmont Heights is
vital to safety, service delivery,
zoning and land development,
and traffic issues–especially
in long-range planning for
proposed major mass transit

See Annexation on page 24A

The map outlines the area that residents want to be included
in a potential Atlanta annexation plan.

You Can Fight Hunger


The Champion Newspaper is fighting
hunger in our community. We’ve teamed up
with DeKalb County Sheriff, Jeff Mann,
Junior League of DeKalb and The Sauers
Group to host a food drive.
Nonperishable food items will be accepted
at various collection locations March 9-20.
Monetary donations can be dropped off at
114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur.
All donations will benefit
Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless.
Proudly Sponsored by:

Donation Locations:
The Champion:
114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur
DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office:
4415 Memorial Drive, Decatur
The Mary Gay House

(Junior League of DeKalb headquarters):

716 W. Trinity Place, Decatur
The Sauers Group:
1585 Roadhaven Drive, Stone Mountain


The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015




City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed welcomes guests to Atlanta for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Coca-Cola bottle at the High Museum of Art.

Pharell’s protégé, Francesco Yates, who was featured in
the “Happy” video, performed his debut song “Nobody
Like You.”


Attendee takes a photo in front of a Coca-Cola inspired floral arrangement. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Photos brought to you by DCTV
DCTV Channel 23

Get your front row seat to all things DeKalb County
through your EMMY Award-winning station

DeKalb County Gov

E-mail us at

Page 13A


Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Mortgage Continued From Page 8A
application and that time I
qualified again,” she said. “I
was really excited.”
During the late 1980s,
Oakhurst Baptist Church
owned a piece of property
behind their church that
they planned to develop as a
parking lot. The city of Decatur declined this proposal.
Oakhurst later presented
plans to build a shelter/halfway house on the property,
and Decatur officials also
rejected that idea, according to Habitat‒DeKalb. The
church was only permitted to build a single family
home on the piece of land.
In 1988, with the help of
Oakhurst Church member
and founding board member for Habitat for Humanity‒DeKalb Leslie Withers, then DeKalb County
CEO Manuel Maloof, and
DeKalb County Community Development Director
Chris Morris, the Habitat for Humanity‒DeKalb
County affiliate was formed
and the first DeKalb Habitat
home was built on the lot
behind the church.
Sanford said the day she
found out that she qualified
for the first Habitat for Humanity‒DeKalb house the
police raided her apartment
complex because of the drug
activity in the community.
“That really helped me
get in the door because
the day they raided those
apartments the people from
Habitat were in my home,”
she said. “They saw all of
that and they said, ‘oh no.’
And one of my youngest
babies picked up a gun from
outside and brought it in
the house and handed it to
my husband. And they said,
‘We’ve got to get her up out
of here right now.’”
A week later she was
told that her family received
a house and Habitat began
building it.
“It was simply wonderful,” she said. “It seemed like
a forever process, but it was
wonderful because once it
started happening it was
The home was sold to
the Sanfords on May 1, 1990
and was the first mortgage
for newly incorporated Habitat for Humanity-DeKalb.
Terry Sanford passed away
in 2004, however he and his
wife had many years together with their four children
in their own home in a safe
“It’s been wonderful,”
she said. “You’ve got your

ups and you’ve got your
downs, but it’s still wonderful because at the end of the
day you get to come home to
a nice warm house that soon
will be yours, instead of an
apartment. So it’s a big difference.”
Now that her mortgage
is paid off, Sanford can focus
on other payments.
“I can save up for property taxes,” she said with

a laugh. “Now that you’ve
made the house off don’t
mean that you’re through.
You have to save up for
property taxes. I’ve got two
taxes: DeKalb and city of
“And I have homeowners
insurance,” she said. “So the
job is never ending. At least
the mortgage is gone, but
you still have all this other
stuff that you have to do.”

Margaret Sanford was the first person to buy a home Habitat of HumanityDeKalb, and the first to pay of her mortgage. Photo by Carla Parker

YOU  ARE  HEREBY  NOTIFIED  that  on  Tuesday,  the  17th  day  of  March,  2015,  an election  will be held in the City of Atlanta (the "City"),  at 
which election  there will  be submitted  to  the  qualified  voters  of  the  City  for  their  determination  the  question  of  whether  General  Obligation  Public 
Improvement Bonds  in  an aggregate  principal  amount  not to exceed $64,055,000  should  be  issued  by  the  City  for  the  purpose of  providing  funds  to 
pay, or  to  be applied  or  contributed toward, the  costs of  the acquisition, construction,  reconstruction, renovation,  repair,  improvement,  critical  capital 
maintenance and  equipping  of  municipal facilities,  including  buildings, recreation centers  and  other  facilities and  related  public improvements  and  the 
cost  of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990  for such facilities and improvements and other costs incident thereto. 
Each of  the  bonds of such  bond issue, if approved by the  voters, shall be dated as of  the first  day of  the  month in  which  the  bonds are  issued, 
shall  be  in  such  denomination  or  denominations,  shall  bear  interest  from  the  date  thereof  at  such  rate  or  rates,  but  in  no  event  exceeding  the 
maximum rate  of  interest of  five and one‐half  percent (5.50%)  per annum, shall provide  for  interest to  be payable semi‐annually on the  first day of  June 
and  December of  each  year,  until  the  bonds are  paid  in  full,  all  as  shall  be determined  by the  City  Council of  the  City  of  Atlanta  (the  "Council")  in  a 
supplemental ordinance with  respect  to  the  issuance of  said  bonds, and  shall  provide  for  principal  to  be  paid  on  the  first  day  of  December  in  the 
years  and  the amounts set forth below: 






$  2,250,000 




$ 3,530,000 

The  bonds may be  made subject to  redemption prior to  maturity, to  the extent  permitted by law, upon terms and conditions to be determined by the 
Council in a supplemental ordinance. 
Voters  desiring to  vote  for  the  issuance  of such  Public Improvement Bonds shall  do  so  by  voting  "YES"  and  voters  desiring  to  vote  against  the 
issuance  of  such  Public  Improvement Bonds  shall  do  so  by  voting "NO"  as  to  the  question written or  printed on  the  ballot  labels with respect to  the 
bonds.    Such question shall be substantially as follows: 
The  ballot  labels  for  the  question  propounded above  shall  have  printed  thereon  the  word  "YES" and  the  word  "NO"  in  order  that  each  voter 
may  cast  his  or  her  vote  in  either the affirmative or the negative as to the question propounded. 
The  several  places  for  holding the  election shall  be  the  regular  and  established  polling places  for  holding elections  in each  precinct  in the City.  Each 
polling  place shall  be opened  at 7:00 o’clock  a.m. and closed at 7:00 o’clock  p.m. on March 17, 2015. 
Those  qualified  to  vote  at  this  election  shall  be  determined  in  all  respects  in accordance and  in  conformity  with  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the 
United States  of  America and  of  the State of Georgia. 
This  notice is given  pursuant to  the authority of  a  resolution adopted  by the  Council of the City of Atlanta. 
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson 
Municipal Clerk 


The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

ArtHouse Continued From Page 1A
to work, cooking dinner–it
has an impact that you don’t
Tennielle said after attending a BYOB art class she
was “encouraged, uplifted
and filled with the joy that
creativity can bring,” she
“I would encourage
everyone not to compare
themselves to other people
and also to look at all the
different genres of art that
exist, it’s a million things
that require creativity and
can engage that part of yourself and it’s necessary,” she
Tennielle said our society has “defined an artistic
pursuit as non-practical. If
you’re not doing it for a living–it doesn’t pay a bill or
put food on the table so it’s
pushed to the backburner
and that’s not OK because
who we are requires creativity.”
Classes at the Decatur
ArtHouse are led by contributor to the Museum of
Art|Fort Lauderdale Sarah
Nathaniel, Cabbagetown
Clay and Glass Works owner


Page 15A

Portrait artist Ronnie Beets leads a night class of artists through a painting. Photo by Ashley Oglesby

Tania Julian and portrait
artist Ronnie Beets.
The startup is looking
to expand its efforts to the

community by partnering
with at-risk students for
classes. Tennielle said they
are looking for sponsors

that can share the cost of
supplies. For additional information about the Decatur
ArtHouse or to sponsor

charitable events email

Stop bullying now
stand up • speak out


Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Court denies
Center appeal
by Carla Parker
Century Center will remain in Chamblee after the Georgia Supreme Court
has denied a petition filed by Highwoods
Properties appealing the decision made
by the Georgia Court of Appeals.
On March 2, the Supreme Court
announced the ruling, denying Highwoods Properties’ petition to annex
into Brookhaven. For a year, Highwoods
Properties, owner of Century Center, has
fought to be a part of Brookhaven despite
residents of neighborhoods in the Dresden East and Clairmont Road area, which
includes the Century Center property,
voting in 2013 to be annexed into Chamblee.
Highwoods filed an application in
June 2013 with Brookhaven for Century Center to be annexed into the city.
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela
Barrie issued an injunction in August
2013 to prevent the Brookhaven City
Council from voting on the annexation.
In October 2013, Barrie ruled to stop
Brookhaven from annexing Century
Center. Brookhaven filed an appeal the
next day. Brookhaven City Council later
approved a resolution to stop any further
funding of the appeal of Chamblee’s litigation.
Highwoods originally appealed the
order to the Georgia Supreme Court,
where it filed an emergency motion to
block Chamblee’s annexation. However,
the Supreme Court ruled in December
2013 that it did not have jurisdiction and
transferred the case to the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals ruled in October 2014 that the trial court properly
granted Chamblee’s motion for summary
judgment and denied Highwoods’ motion, and the Supreme Court agreed with
that ruling, upholding a DeKalb Superior
Court Order that Brookhaven lacked the
authority to annex that property during
Chamblee’s pending referendum process.
Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson said
the city is pleased with the ruling.
“It is great that we can now put this
legal action behind us and move forward,
knowing that the boundaries of Chamblee will reflect what was intended by the
General Assembly when they passed the
enabling legislation that allowed for the
annexation vote to occur,” Clarkson said.
“I look forward to seeing our very local
form of government continue to bring an
exceptional level of service to all of those
that we serve in this great city.”

DeKalb Board of Education members address attendees of their March 2 board meeting.

District ends early college contract
by Ashley Oglesby

Board member Vickie Turner recognizes 2015 youth art and music appreciation

Director of leadership and charter schools Jose G. Boza Jr. proposes for the board
to terminate the charter contract. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

At the DeKalb County Board of
Education March 2 meeting, officials
terminated the Gateway to College
Academy Charter contract.
The Gateway to College Academy program was implemented in the
school system for students ages 1620 who have not been successful in
traditional high schools and sought
to gain college credits while completing their high school diploma.
Georgia Perimeter College
(GPC) leaders submitted a petition
to renew the contract in the district’s
2015 petition cycle but recently requested that the Georgia Department
of Education terminate the charter
contract at the end of this fiscal year.
The Gateway program has been
in place for 10 years.
José G. Boza Jr., director of
leadership development and charter
schools said, “For the last five years,
the school has failed to meet its academic performance goals and has
not been able to meet and exceed
district and state test scores.”
Boza’s said his department is
developing a monitoring system for
their accountability process after
discovering discrepancies about how
charters have been managed by the
He added that the charter office,
student support department, and
curriculum and instruction department began collaborating with Gateway to College Charter School to implement a closure plan to ensure that
each student has a healthy transition
in to a DeKalb County school and
that, each student receive individualized planning.”
It is estimated that at least 47
Gateway students will potentially
transfer to a DeKalb County school

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015


Page 17A

Volunteers team up with TREES Atlanta to increase the tree canopy in Decatur along Ponce de Leon Avenue. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Volunteers plant 100 trees in Decatur
by Andrew Cauthen
Approximately three dozen volunteers teamed up Feb. 27 to plant
100 trees in the city of Decatur along
Ponce de Leon Avenue, between
Scott Boulevard and Sam’s Crossing.
The trees were planted by representatives of Technical Association of
the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), TREES Atlanta and RockTenn,
to celebrate the 100th anniversary of
TAPPI, an association for the technical advancement of the pulp, paper,
packaging and related industries.
India Woodson, Decatur’s
landscape infrastructure coordinator, said, “Part of our ongoing effort
with the city of Decatur to increase
our canopy is to not only do the
tree-planting ourselves but to hire
companies like TREES Atlanta to do
what they do best, which is to get
volunteers to come out and to plant
trees along the right of way and in
areas where businesses have asked
for the trees.”
For the event, Decatur officials
corresponded with businesses and
asked them if they wanted trees
planted on their properties.
The city purchased the trees
from TREES Atlanta, which provides
two years of maintenance.
“That purchase was well worth

it,” Woodson said.
Kate Conner, director of development and marketing with TREES
Atlanta, said the nonprofit’s mission
is “to plant, serve and educate about
the importance of urban trees. Trees
are important for a variety of reasons, mostly environmental.”
A tree “cleans the air, cleans the
water, provides shade and cools the
air and also adds aesthetic beauty,”
she said. “It helps the safety and
there’s a number of other reasons—
social issues—that trees are all good
Conner said Decatur is “very
dedicated to tree canopies.”
“They are committed to a ‘no net
loss’ [policy],” Conner said. “That
means not losing any tree canopy.
While they encourage development,
it’s important to add trees back to
streets. That’s what we’re here helping to do today.”
Conner said the cities of Atlanta
and Decatur “are blessed to have the
highest tree canopy of really any cities in the country.”
“We’re excited about that and
proud of that and don’t want to
lose that status,” she said. “That’s
why TREES Atlanta is committed
to planting many trees, conserving
our trees that we have and educating
people about the importance of the
trees. There’s never too many trees.” Volunteers receive a tree-planting lesson from TREES Atlanta before planting 100 trees.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

UPS honors
25 years of
safe driving
Eddie Mathis of Decatur
is among 71 Georgia drivers
recently inducted into UPS’s
Circle of Honor, a designation
for drivers who have achieved
25 or more years of accident-free
Other DeKalb County drivers inducted with Mathis are
Othel Fleming Jr. and David
Miller of Stone Mountain; Alphonso Smalls of Lithonia; and
Jerome Thompson of Decatur.
Worldwide, 1,445 drivers were
inducted into the UPS Circle of
Honor in February.
Mathis, who has worked
for UPS 29 years, attributes his
safety record to the company’s
training program. “They teach
us how to maintain the correct
following time and distance for
the speed we’re driving. Tips
such as ‘keep your eyes moving’
and ‘make sure they see you’ really work. As long as you know
space and visibility you’re going to have a safe day,” he said.
Founded in 1907, UPS issued
its first driver handbook in 1917
and began recognizing safe drivers in 1923.
A feeder-truck driver, Mathis
drives an 18-wheel truck an average of 500 to 600 miles a day.
Feeder trucks, he explained, take
packages to distribution centers
and do not make individual customer deliveries.
“My thanks go to all of [the
Circle of Honor drivers] for their
dedication and focus, and for the
countless lives they’ve saved,”
said Dwayne Meeks, president,
UPS South Atlantic District.
Mathis said while he appreciates being inducted into the
Circle of Honor, his real reward
is staying safe and healthy. “Just
being able to go home and be
with family when work is done,
that’s the best part of this.”


Stop the Bullying


Page 18A

The stage will feature local bands for late night performances.

Like others in the chain, the Dunwoody Wild Wing Café has an extensive
beer list.

Partners Vipul Patel, Jim Brannigan, Bipin Changla and Wild
Wing Café CEO Tom Lewison gather of the Dunwoody restaurant’s official opening.

New Dunwoody restaurant
to feature local bands
by Kathy Mitchell
A few years ago when Bipin
Changela and his friends noticed
that when they looked for a place
to socialize, have a meal and listen
to music, they found themselves returning to Wild Wing Cafe.
“Even though it’s a chain, it has
the feel of a neighborhood hangout,”
Changela said. “We really enjoyed
spending time there. We liked everything about it from the food to the
atmosphere to the music, so when
we started looking for a business
franchise to go into together, naturally we thought about Wild Wing
Changela and his partners Tiku
Shroff, Vipul Patel and Jim Brannigan have opened several Georgia
Wild Wing Cafe restaurants, including ones in Statesboro, Alpharetta
and Macon. The Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a
ribbon cutting at their first DeKalb
County location on Ashford Dunwoody Road, a location Changela
said he expects to be “the best of all.”
He said a lot of research went
into selecting the Dunwoody location. “There’s a good mix of offices
and residences near here. This is
a place office workers will want to
come for lunch, people will want
to visit after work and families and

friends will want to get together. We
think the informal atmosphere will
be greatly appreciated.”
In addition to live music by local bands there will be such events
as trivia night and karaoke night,
Changela said. He anticipates that
the café will be popular as a family
eatery early in the evening and as a
late night spot until the 3 a.m. closing.
Although owners held a “soft
opening” earlier, the restaurant held
a grand opening event Feb. 20 that
featured regional band Reuben’s
Bell. Along with chamber officials,
Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and
Wild Wing Cafe CEO Tom Lewison
attended the celebration.
The chamber and the city were
supportive as the restaurant opening
was “a year in the making,” according to Changela. “We opened a little
later that we had originally planned,
but that was in no way the fault of
the city of Dunwoody,” he said. “Everything they said they would do,
they did.”
Lewison said he is confident
the new location will succeed, commenting, “We can’t imagine a better
spot.” Calling the owners “seasoned
professionals,” he said the corporate
office “looks forward to helping
them carry out the traditions that
have set Wild Wing Cafe apart from

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

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

the competition.”
Changela acknowledged that
there’s no shortage of restaurants
featuring chicken wings, but he said
Wild Wing Cafe stands out because
unlike many it never uses frozen
wings. “They are all fresh wings delivered to the restaurant three times
a week. They are available in 33
flavors and the sauces also are fresh
and made right in the restaurant,” he
While calling the wings “the
heart of the menu,” Changela noted
that food offerings also include ribs,
shrimp, nachos, quesadillas and
more. “The Angus steakburgers are
especially popular,” he said. “They
are hand pattied from fresh ground
An extensive beer list is another
signature feature of Wild Wing
Cafe, Changela said, noting that the
chain’s slogan is “Hot wings, cold
beer, good times.”
The original Wild Wing Cafe
opened in 1990 in Hilton Head, S.C.
Founders Cecil and Dianne Crowley created a franchise that grew
to 32 units before selling the brand
to Axum Capital Partners in 2012.
Wild Wing Cafe now operates in
seven Southeastern states with 39
restaurants and others scheduled to
open this year.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015


Page 19A

DeKalb school choice
enrollment period extended
by Ashley Oglesby

The school choice enrollment period for DeKalb
County Schools was extended to March 3.
School choice operations
for the district offer an enrollment period every year
in February, followed by a
lottery in March or April.
Parents who wish to apply for a spot for their child
at a school–theme, magnet,
charter, Montessori, etc.–for
the following school year are
required to sign up for the
This year, the district
battled technical difficulties
with its online enrollment
process, which led parents to
experience challenges with
online registration and postmake sure there’s an equitable distribution of technol- ing complaints on Facebook.
“School choice is a high
ogy throughout the district
in DeKalb County
The report acknowledges
48 choice schools
that the board of education
wide range of opis undergoing a culture shift
but that two years after neartraditional
” said
ly losing accreditation, there
is no written policy that
Michael Thurmond. “The
specifically prohibits board
large volume of parents
members from circumventseeking to register their
ing the superintendent in
children demonstrates the
the daily operations of the
awareness of these options
Board chairman Dr. Mel- and our staff is responding
to the challenge.”
vin Johnson said members
This is the first year for
understand what is at stake.
application process
“The board is commitusing
Infinite Campus
ted to creating an environSoftware.
ment that ensures trust and
According to a press
transparency between the
the first two weeks
district and its stakeholders,”
school choice
Johnson said in the press reapplication
regislease. “We will resolve these
remaining issues in order
apto restore full and uncondiproximately 4,000 students,
tional accreditation to our
which qualified them to pardistrict.”



School district
improves accreditation
by Ashley Oglesby
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
(SACS) has upgraded
DeKalb County School District’s status to “accredited
on advisement,” placing the
school district a step closer
to full accreditation.
The district has been
moved from its “accredited
warned” status, which it has
sought to change since July
The report followed
SACS three-day onsite December 2014 visits to the
The report focused on
areas yet to be reformed and
most fall under the purview
of the school board rather
than the administration.
The agency wanted the
board to change its policy
about members meeting with
and requesting information
from senior staff without
going through the superintendent and reproofed the
board to make a move on
the critical issue of finding
a replacement for outgoing
Superintendent Michael
In a Feb. 26 press release
Thurmond said the new status is another sign of recovery after the school system
nearly lost accreditation in
December 2012 over governance, financial and student
performance issues.
“The board of education, principals, teachers and
staff working with parents
and community leaders
have made great strides in
meeting the needs of our
students,” he said. “SACS
recognizes the progress we

are making toward stabilizing the district in a manner
that allows us to refocus our
efforts on academic achievement.”
The report stated that
SACS recognized the “concerted effort and focused
work of the board, superintendent Thurmond, system
staff and personnel at all levels to stabilize the system and
create a culture of trust and
It acknowledged the
district’s fiscal progress and
made note of the $31 million budget surplus for fiscal
year 2014 and for the district
operating in a “financially
responsible and transparent
In addition, it said that
the district “has developed
and systematically implemented a comprehensive
technology plan including
the launch of the district’s
Infinite Campus student information system.”
Still, the report noted
that the district is at a “crossroads” and faces “two major
transitions” – the search for
a new superintendent and a
transition to a seven-member school board.
It challenges the school
board to leverage the progress that has been made in
the past two years to resolve
the transitional concerns.
To regain full accreditation, SACS directed the
school district to address
14 required actions. Eleven
action items have been
completed. The last three
are to develop a process to
sustain governance improvement, implement policy that
separates board duties from
administrative duties and to

ticipate in the school choice
Director of Communication Quinn Hudson said by
Feb. 23 more than 5,800 parents registered. He added,
“Of this number, 2,000 parents are new to the district,
which is one of the major
reasons for the initial delays
because it takes longer to
process a new parent application.”
All students not currently enrolled in the district
must be registered before
they can be considered for
acceptance into the school
choice program.
Student registration
requires documentation of
residency in DeKalb County,
immunization treatments
and academic records.
The recent enrollment
report showed a total of
5,807 parents registered
their children with 4,058
online registrations and
1,749 paper registrations,
which included the new
parents primarily of students
enrolled in other school systems, private schools or are
being homeschooled.
The district reported
that changes have been
made to the online process
for parents’ convenience.
The district claimed to have
expanded call center capacity and extended hours of operation including Saturday
hours, updated the system
for ease of use for parents,
eliminated system restrictions in the application
process, increased technical
support options and improved system functionality.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2015 AT 7:00 P.M.
ADDRESS: 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia 30319
The following Traffic Calming Petition involving streets located within the City of Brookhaven is
scheduled for Public Hearings as stated above.




March 2015

News and events of the
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave. Suite 235, Decatur, GA, 30030 • 404.378.8000•

Celebrating Women in Business, Women-Owned
Businesses, and Women Community Leaders
As my team and I gather daily to do the
work of the DeKalb Chamber and advocate
on behalf of businesses in our county and
metro Atlanta, we have the opportunity to
engage with phenomenal people–each of
whom, in their own way, contributes to the
betterment of business in DeKalb County. Both
knowingly and unknowingly, these phenomenal
individuals are helping us progress in areas
such as education, economic development,
local and state legislation, workforce and
community development, and a number of
other areas where there are opportunities to
address the needs of citizens and businesses in
DeKalb. We are extremely proud as a chamber
to do our part in engaging and celebrating
our thriving business community, particularly
our female business partners as we set forth to
celebrate National Women’s History month.
Today, women in business and womenowned businesses contribute substantially
in stimulating our local economy, increasing
regional and state workforce efforts in

Katerina Y Taylor, President & CEO
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

fields such as law, medicine, finance and
accounting at equal or higher rates as our
male counterparts. Women continue to be
major influencers of philanthropic giving in our
communities and are well-known for being
leaders of change.
We know that skills not race or gender
establishes a person’s ability to perform
successfully in a job and this Women’s History
Month the DeKalb Chamber celebrates women

• General Membership Meeting and Executive
Speaker Series Luncheon
March 2015
ew Member Orientation
March 17, 2015, 11:30-1:30
eKalb Chamber Business After Hours/We
Want You Back Campaign
March 26, 2015, 5:30-7:30
onstant Contact Workshop
April, 2015
omen In Leadership Breakfast hosted by
April 2015
eKalb Chamber Breakfast Club
April 9, 2015
• T ech Symposium Sponsored by the Atlanta
Journal Constitution
April/May 2015
pex Business Awards
May 2015
• 12th 

Annual DeKalb Chamber Golf Classic
September 14, 2015

in business, women-owned businesses, and
women community leaders for what they mean
to the future of DeKalb and the contributions
they have made in building a greater County.
The chamber would personally like to
recognize those women who have contributed
to our growth and success over the last 77
years. We celebrate our former Board Chairs
Delores Crowell of AT&T and Judy Turner
of Private Bank of Decatur, our 2016 Board
Chair-Elect Diane McClearen, of Oglethorpe
Power, our 77th Annual Meeting award winners
Yvonne Williams of the Perimeter CID and
Nikki Forman of DeKalb Medical, and finally all
the women that have served on the chamber
staff, board of directors, committees and in
volunteer roles. Your service to our organization
is invaluable and truly appreciated.
We have been charged with the
responsibility of continuing the legacy of the
great women who came before us and as it
is said, “well-behaved women seldom make
history,” I know we will carry this torch proudly.

Make Your Presence Known!
The DeKalb Chamber has launched it’s
#ThisIsMyDeKalb social media campaign and you
can get involved in 3 Easy Steps:
1. MAKE a #ThisIsMyDeKalb sign
(ideally 11”x17” or larger)

Looking for a return on your investment?
Take steps to maximize your Chamber
membership in 2015!

• Join a Chamber Committee - Government Affairs,
Economic Development, Education & Workforce,
Young Professionals, Small Business, WELD,
Membership Engagement
• Save $$$ through one of our Affinity Programs Business Now Account, Save Local Now, CarDelish,
Drugs Don’t Work, Legal Shield & other discount
• Host a Chamber event in your meeting space

2. TAKE a picture holding your sign in front of your
company’s logo or your favorite spot in DeKalb
3. TWEET your picture to @DeKalbChamber It’s
that easy! Submitted pictures will be posted
to Twitter and Facebook for hundreds of local
business and community leaders to see.
Visit for more details or
call us at 404.378.8000

Brought to you in partnership with: The Champion Newspaper


Page 21A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015


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
for next publication date.

The Champion is not responsible for any damages resulting from advertisements. All sales final.

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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, March 6, 2015


Stephenson Lady Jaguars defeat Forest Park in the Final Four to advance to the state playoffs, their first appearance since the 2008 championship win. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Greenforest boys, Stephenson
girls to play for state titles
by Carla Parker
Two teams will represent DeKalb County in Macon for the basketball state tournament.
No. 5 ranked Stephenson girls (27-5)
will play Region 6-AAAAA foe No. 2
ranked Mays (27-2) in the Class AAAAA
championship game March 6, and No. 2
ranked Greenforest Christian boys (27-1)
will take on defending state champions and
No. 1 ranked St. Francis (28-3) in the Class
A Private title game March 7.
Both games will be held at the Macon
This will be Stephenson’s first trip to
the state title game since its 2008 state title
win. The Lady Jaguars advanced to the title
game after defeating Forest Park 55-44 in
the semifinal game Feb. 27.
It took overtime for Stephenson to clinch
the win. Down 39-37 with time winding
down, senior forward Terrianna Cave
scored on a layup to send the game into
overtime. The Lady Jaguars were able to
pull away from Forest Park in overtime
with free throws.
After going 5 of 14 at the free throw line
in the first three quarters, Stephenson hit 11
of its 12 free throw attempts to clinch the
Stephenson has faced Mays twice this
season, losing both contests. The Lady Jag-

uars lost 64-46 in a regular season game
Jan. 20, and they lost by two points (53-51)
to Mays in the Region 6-AAAAA tournament Feb. 13.
Game time for the Stephenson/Mays title
game is 7 p.m.
Greenforest will be making its second
state championship game appearance in
three seasons after beating Athens Christian
57-56 in the Final 4 Feb. 28. The Eagles
came back from an 11-point, first quarter
deficit to win the game.
Greenforest has been on a roll since its
75-72 loss to Pebblebrook in December, its
only loss of the season. The team opened its
playoff run with a 103-31 win over Southwest Atlanta Christian in the Sweet 16, and
dominated Stratford Academy 66-23 in the
Elite 8 matchup.
With another shot at a state title after an
impressive run to the title game, head coach
Nick Lagroone said the team has to remain
“At the end of the day we also have
to realize that no one is not going to give
us anything,” Lagroone said after the win
over Stratford. “No matter how many titles
we’ve won…our job is to go out here and
play our basketball, and at the end of the
day we’ll let the results take care of itself.
We know we have a milestone in front of
us, but we’re taking it one game at a time.”
Greenforest and St. Francis will face off
at 12:45 p.m.

Page 22A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015

Tucker boys,
Decatur girls
fall in Final 4


Page 23A

by Carla Parker
The basketball championship hopes of Tucker boys and
Decatur girls came to a disappointing end after both teams
lost their Final 4 matchups.
Decatur fell to Laney 63-37 in the Class AAA semifinals, and Tucker lost to No. 1 ranked Wheeler 74-64 in the
Class AAAAAA semifinals. Decatur earned its first trip to
the Final 4 since 1972 after beating Kendrick 64-49.
Decatur kept it close in the first half, down 10-8 in the
first quarter and 29-16 at halftime. However, Laney dominated the second half, outscoring Decatur 34-21. In the loss,
senior guard Jahmee Reeves grabbed 15 rebounds (11 offensive) and four steals.
Decatur finished the season with a 29-3 record and a
region title.
Tucker squandered a 5-point third quarter lead on its
way to a 10-point loss to Wheeler. Led by Bryce Brown,
Wheeler went on a 14-0 run in the third quarter to pull
away from Tucker.
Tucker finished 28-3 on the season with a Region
2-AAAAAA title and its first Final 4 appearance since 2008.

Tucker coach James Hartry reacts to his team’s play in the loss to Wheeler in the Class AAAAAA Final 4.
Photos by Travis Hudgons

Miller Grove’s historic playoff run snapped
Miller Grove’s 32-playoff game winning streak came to
an end with a 63-57 overtime loss to Warner Robins Feb. 26.
Warner Robins led Miller Grove 26-20 at the halftime
before Miller Grove tied the game at 34 heading into the
fourth quarter.
Junior forward Raylon Richardson gave Miller Grove
its first lead on two free throws to go up 36-34. A threepoint play by senior forward Lamont West late in the
fourth quarter gave Miller Grove a 45-41 lead.
Warner Robins battled back to tie the score at 51 to send
the game into overtime.
After Miller Grove went up 57-55, Warner Robbins’
Marquez Callaway was fouled on a three-point attempt and
hit all three to give his team the lead and the win.
Miller Grove finished the season 27-4, its ninth consecutive 20-plus win season in 11 years of being a varsity
basketball program. The loss ended its 32 playoff game win
streak (36-3 overall), which included a Georgia boys’ basketball record six consecutive state titles (2009-2014).

Tucker guard Bryce Brown (No. 0) loses his footing in the Final 4 matchup against Wheeler.

Other Elite 8 scores
Cedar Shoals 62, M.L. King 58
Cairo 61, Lithonia 47
Rutland 77, Cedar Grove 65
Buford 59, St. Pius 54
Veterans 47, Marist 31
Sweet 16 scores
Jonesboro 67, St. Pius 57
Dutchtown 52, Miller Grove 41
Forest Park 54, Southwest DeKalb 49
Mountain View 52, Tucker 30
Mt. Paran 79, Paideia 76
Decatur coach Sarah Coleman addresses her players during a timeout in the quarterfinals matchup Feb. 24.


Page 24A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 6, 2015



expansion,” the board stated.
According to the survey,
home values were the main concern for most residents, with 74
percent of respondents listing it
as the number one or two issue of
the neighborhood. Schools was
the second highest neighborhood
issue, with 68 percent of respondents listing it as their first of second concern.
Property taxes were ranked
third with 27 percent and municipal services was the fourth ranked
issue with 17 percent.
In January, the Clairmont
Heights Civic Association board
members sent a letter to the
DeKalb delegation voicing their
opposition to Decatur’s proposed
annexation master plan. The
board asked the delegation to
object to legislation related to the
plan during the current session of
the General Assemble.
Decatur’s plan proposes adding areas mostly north of the city,
including parts of the Clairmont
Heights community. Clairmont
Heights’ main concern with Decatur’s plan was that it will change
the school zoning and remove annual tax revenue that supports the
local schools.

“We had a young man who said
he disagreed that a woman has the
right to refuse sex even with her
husband. That probably was in line
with what he had been taught at
home. I told him, “I’m glad you’re
here so we can talk about this.’”
Mathis said the program offers
help for potential abusers as well
as potential victims. “Abuse patterns can change, but sometimes
a person needs more help than we
can offer in a group setting and
may need to be referred to one-onone counseling.”
The program, developed by
Tim DeLoach Office on Violence
Against Women grant manager
for CHRIS Kids, who secured the
three-year grant funding it, uses
music, videos and other media to
stimulate conversation. “We want
the teens to talk freely and openly
about what they think and what
they’re experiencing so they can
decide for themselves what is acceptable within a relationship. I
tell them that we all have a little
voice inside us that tells us when
something isn’t right,” Mathis said.
“We should listen to that voice.
“We tell the teens ‘We don’t
have all the answers, but we can
help you find better answers,” she

Continued From Page 12A

Continued From Page 2A


Continued From Page 9A

sioner,” Jester said.
Rader also said the complaint is
“It said I voted ‘no’ on these
nominations. Well at the last meeting
I voted ‘yes,’” Rader said.
The ethics board has to decide
whether the ethics complaint “alleges
any violations of the code of ethics.
I’m not sure that it does; it doesn’t
cite a section of the code ethics and
does not allege any sort of ethical
conflict. It merely seems to complain
against an action that the complainant doesn’t agree with,” Rader said.
“I do not think that it is a valid
complaint,” Rader said.
And as for the allegation of racial
bias, Rader said, “We voted for an
African American at the last meeting, so that must not be an impediment.”
Rader said he was comfortable
voting for Rice because he didn’t
believe that Kathryn Rice is May’s
choice for the position.
May “proved that by voting

against her,” Rader said. “He neither
nominated her initially…nor did
he support her approval in spite of
having nominated her. I think that’s
pretty compelling evidence that she
was not his choice.”
Jester said that her preference
would be to have a special election to
fill the District 5 seat.
“The folks in District 5 should
have an election just the same as the
folks in District 1 were allowed to
have an election,” Jester said. “That
requires a resignation. Lee May has
to resign that seat. If he would resign
the seat, then the folks in District 5
could choose who they wanted to
“If that’s not to be the case, if we
don’t have an election, then there’s a
process that guides who could be appointed as an interim District 5 commissioner,” Jester said.
“The process is what it is. I don’t
really think of it as good or bad,” she

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