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FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 • VOL. 17, NO. 48 • FREE

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Craigslist murderers get life without parole
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Two men who used a classified advertisements website
to lure and kill a potential
customer were sentenced to
life without the possibility of
parole Feb. 18.
A jury had recently found
the so-called “Craigslist killers”—Contevious SteppMcCommons and Malik
Rice—guilty of setting up a
bogus Craigslist ad and killing 56-year-old Clarence
Gardenhire.
The pair used a fake ad
for an iPhone for sale to lure
Gardenhire and his son, Jamar Perry, in 2013, to an
abandoned house in Southeast Atlanta. Gardenhire was
shot and later died at a local
hospital after the attempted
robbery.
“Whenever we get a result like this, we’re always
pleased,” said DeKalb County District Attorney Robert
James. “A father, a grandfather has been taken away
from us before his time in
a violent manner. No one is
throwing a party here, but in
terms of our level of satisfaction, because of justice, we
are satisfied.”
Superior Court Judge
Cynthia Becker sentenced
Stepp-McCommons, 20, to
life without the possibility of
parole with an additional 35
years to serve. Rice, 19, was
sentenced to life without the
possibility of parole with an
additional 55 years to serve.
The two were convicted of
felony murder, possession of
a firearm during commission
of a felony, criminal attempt
to commit a felony and two
counts of aggravated assault.
“This was a senseless act,”
James said. Gardenhire, a
resident of Tallahassee, Fla.,
was in town for the birth of
his ninth grandchild.
“He was going to buy an

See Life on page 15A

“The sentence will not bring my husband back,” said Joan Gardenhire, after a judge sentenced two men to life in prison for the shooting
death of her husband Clarence during a Craigslist transaction. “My heart hurts. When I think of Clarence, I cry.”

Senior assistant public defender Bill Hankins said the defendants “made a bad decision.” Photos by Andrew Cauthen

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DeKalb DA Robert James called the shooting “senseless.”

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Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Rotarians light up Stone Mountain to end polio
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
The Stone Mountain Rotary Club lit up the mountain with images from Rotary International’s “End Polio
Now” campaign Feb. 23.
Other Atlanta metro
Rotary clubs joined the
Stone Mountain club to
promote the organization’s
fight against polio. Rotary
International officials say
the organization’s efforts are
on track to achieve full polio
eradication by 2018.
“It is an amazing effort
from a service organization
to work together around the
world,” said Chris Brand,
president of the Rotary Club
of Stone Mountain.
“What is amazing to me
is just how much effort I see
happening in that realm,”

Rotarians from the Stone Mountain, Carrollton Dawn Breakers, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Northlake and Gwinnett Mosaic Rotary clubs met
at Stone Mountain Park to bring attention to Rotary’s “End Polio Now”
campaign. Photo provided

Brand said. Approximately
“$34 million were just released a few months ago
from the Rotary Foundation
to really ramp up stamping
out polio in places like Nigeria…and Pakistan.”

The fight against polio
“hits home,” Brand said, “because if you just ask a crowd
of people, anyone who’s in
their 40s, 50s or 60s, how
many of you know someone…who’s been affected

by polio, it’s amazing how
many people you would find
raising their hands.
“There’s a member in
our club who had polio
when he was young. And
his dad had polio,” Brand
said. “We forget about it
but around the world, with
air travel and the pandemic
ability of it to spread, it is
always there.”
Brand said, “Personally,
I’ve known of [polio] and
how much people are still
dealing with the effects of
that as adults. They’re living
long lives with polio effects
and it is very, very difficult.
It has different levels of how
it affects people but it can
be completely physically incapacitating to having small

154

Local school responds
to failing schools plan
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Ivy Preparatory Young
Men’s Leadership Academy
School is one of two charter
schools on Gov. Nathan
Deal’s list of 141 perennially
failing schools that could
be at risk of takeover if lawmakers and voters approve
his plan for an Opportunity
School District.
The governor’s proposal
would create a new school
district, which would require voters to approve a
change to the Georgia Constitution.
The state would have
total authority over the
schools put into the special
district, and it could remove
principals and teachers,
change what students are
being taught and control the
schools’ budgets.
Executive Director of
Ivy Preparatory Academies
Victoria Wiley said, “A lot
of our students unfortunately come from underperforming schools. Out of
the schools that are on that
list, 27 of those schools are
DeKalb County schools,”
Wiley said. She added, “A
majority of those DeKalb
County schools are elementary schools where our students come from.”
In the governor’s proposal, persistently failing

schools are defined as those
scoring below 60 on the
Georgia Department of
Education’s accountability
measure, the College and
Career Performance Index
(CCRPI), for three consecu-

remnants of effects on the
body.
“The work being done
around the world to end
polio is impressive,” Brand
said. “I don’t think people
understand that…[healthcare workers] are being told
in communities that ‘we’re
going to kill you,’ and they’re
still immunizing the children” in areas of political
unrest.
“People are working
hard at great risk to their
lives to immunize,” Brand
said.
The Decatur Rotary
Club joined the international commemoration by lighting up the Old Courthouse
on the square in Decatur on
Feb. 23.

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happy about our score that
we received from CCRPI. It
was no surprise to us, but we
are definitely making sure
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

local

Page 3A

Lithonia mayor: ‘2015 is Lithonia’s year to shine’
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Last year, was a year of cityhood
movements and annexation, and
Lithonia plans to join the party in
2015.
Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson said city officials have been approached by a couple of property
owners who have expressed interest
in being annexed into the city.
“We are working on accomplishing that,” Jackson said. “There has
been a lot of talk about these mass
annexations, and the city is concerned about making sure that the
city does have an opportunity to
grow over a period of time. There are
some concerns about these very aggressive new cities that don’t provide
room for existing cities to be able to
expand in the future if they want to
be successful.”
Jackson said the city has not had
any formal meetings some annexation, but plans to have on this year.
Residents have expressed their interest in seeing the city grow.
“The question is: what is a good
size?” Jackson said.
Annexation is one aspect the city
will focus on as it transitions from
a “successful 2014” to a “promising
2015. The city got many things done
in 2014, including opening the new
city hall building.
“I would say that 2014 had a
number of accomplishments,” Jackson said. “We completed the renovations for the city hall and were able
to move in; we’ve done some reorganizing with the staff on hand. I think
we are ready to start 2015 with a
burst of energy.”
The city also updated its zoning
ordinance and began preliminary
work for a new sign ordinance.

Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson said the city accomplished many things in 2014 and
plans to do more in 2015. File photos

“We’ll probably adopt [the sign
ordinance] at the upcoming meeting,” Jackson said. “We did accomplish a lot of goals. The main priority

that we’re really going to focus on in
2015 is to have something positive
happen with the Lithonia Plaza.”
The city has tried unsuccessfully

to redevelop the plaza since it did a
Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study
in 2003. In 2012. The city worked
with the Georgia Conservancy to
create the Lithonia Blueprints, which
focuses on providing recommendations for the redesign of Lithonia
Plaza. The plaza was once a vibrant
part of the city that was developed
into a strip mall, but now has several
vacant spaces.
“The challenge has been pulling
together the resources to do what
we want to do with it,” Jackson said.
“This is something that the community has been looking to see happen
since we did our LCI study back in
2003. It’s been kind of a reccurring
theme.”
Jackson said the city also plans
to increase the number of activities
the city this year. The city council is
working with Lithonia Downtown
Development Authority to re-launch
a cultural program at the Lithonia
Amphitheater for this spring. The
city will also launch a farmer’s market.
“We’re just looking at a number
of activities to continue to bring people downtown and to promote the
culture of the city,” Jackson said. “We
have a number of new businesses
that are moving onto Main Street,
and so we would like to work with
the property owners of the vacant
spaces to see what can be done to get
those spaces filled.
“Lithonia is a very exciting place
to be and has such tremendous potential,” Jackson added. “We’ve been
working to establish relationships
with new partners to help the city
realize its potential. There is nothing wrong with being a small city. I
think small cities can be great cities,
and I think 2015 is Lithonia’s year to
shine.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday Feb. 27, 2015

opinion

Page 4A

Medgar, Malcolm, Martin, and now, Markel
I had the opportunity
to talk with Rev. Markel
Hutchins recently. When I
caught up with him, he was
in the nursing home where
his father lives. Hutchins had
been visiting residents and
was looking over notes for a
short message he was about to
deliver at the facility.
“The problem with too
many of our children,”
Hutchins later said to the
elderly residents, many of
whom were in wheelchairs,
“is we bring children into this
world, and we try to work so
hard to give them the things
that we did not have, that we
inadvertently neglect to give
them the things we did have.”
These include a sense of
decency and dignity; “a respect for where you came
from;” honor for your elders; and a good work ethic,
Hutchins said.
“So oftentimes we work to
give our kids the best sneakers
they can put on their feet but
don’t give them the direction

Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com

Managing Editor
@AndrewChampNews

in which to walk,” he said,
speaking in a voice reminiscent of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., to whom Hutchins
often refers.
Hutchins, a 37-year-old
civil and human rights activist and DeKalb native,
is no stranger to news. He
criticized the Atlanta Police
Department for the November 2006 shooting death of
a 92-year-old woman during a “no-knock” police raid.
In 2008, Hutchins made an
unsuccessful bid to unseat

Congressman John Lewis. He
spearheaded a large, “I Am
Trayvon Martin” prayer vigil
and rally that attracted thousands in Atlanta in July 2013.
Locally, Hutchins has been
working with members of
Travelers Rest Baptist Church
in Scottdale who are protesting the poor, construction
zone conditions surrounding
their church.
But when I met him, there
were no rallies, marches, protests or police.
Hutchins said a common
mistake about his work in
ministry “is that only what I
do that’s captured in the media is what I actually do.”
Much of his time is spent
“just talking people through
crises,” preparing sermons
and speeches, caring for his
parents and “being responsive
to the needs of people.”
He is also working on a
book titled Fit to Lead, Called
to Serve.
The book “that chronicles
my journey of having lost

over 100 pounds and kind of
parablistically [makes] the
connection between being fit
to lead in terms of losing that
much weight but also how
the mentorship that I have
been fortunate to have from
the civil and human rights
icons…as well as some of the
challenges that I faced in my
own life and how those things
have equipped me….”
Part of what equipped
Hutchins “to serve God and
serve humanity” was some
traumatic family experiences.
His father, a small businessman who provided well for
the family, struggled with
drug addiction for approximately 15 years.
“When the drug addiction
came we lost…all the things
that he had worked so hard to
acquire,” Hutchins said. “I call
that the period of trial and
challenge for me. That was
a foundational period in my
life. I thank God for that period because had it not been
for what we went through as

a family, I don’t know how I
ever could have the kind of
heart for people, the desire to
serve, and a good basic understanding of how you can
go from being on top to being
on the bottom [rungs] of life
in a very short time period.”
Just as Martin Luther King
Jr. did 58 years ago, Hutchins
recently assembled a group a
ministers “to begin the process of propelling new civil
and human rights leaders.”
Hutchins, according to a
quote from former Atlanta
Mayor Shirley Franklin on
Hutchins’ website, is “one of
the brightest and most promising civil rights leaders to
emerge in recent history.”
Another quote on
Hutchins’ website, the late
Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, a
political, civil and women’s
rights icon, states “We
had Medgar. We had Malcolm. We had Martin. And
now, we have another M. We
have Markel.” 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

opinion

Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Just Say No!
Being an Atlanta native,
one comes to know our
many diverse neighborhoods and communities by
their architecture, historic
spots, landmarks, major
intersections and of course,
area resident behavior.
As early as the 1960s,
Georgia’s Department of
Transportation (DOT)
was developing a toll road
plan which would link the
Stone Mountain Freeway
(Interstate 78), with the
downtown connector (I75/85) and extend Georgia
400 south to the current
entrance to I-675, now a
southeastern spur off I-285.
That original DOT route
would have essentially
swallowed and paved over
several green belts of parks
along Ponce de Leon Avenue, now known as the Olmstead Linear Park system
and designed originally by
Frederick Law Olmstead,
the father of landscape architecture, as well as the designer of New York’s Central
Park and Atlanta’s Piedmont
Park. The damage might
have been as irreparable as
the earlier construction of
I-20 was to Grant Park. But
unlike the Grant Park, Peoplestown or Mechanicsville
of the 1950s, the residents
of Druid Hills, Lake Claire,
Poncey Highlands and
Druid Hills understood the
benefits and value of both
political activism and hiring
a good lawyer.

Bill Crane
bill.csicrane@gmail.com

Columnist

A group named CAUTION (Citizens Against
Unnecessary Thoroughfares
in Older Neighborhoods)
formed to battle the Georgia DOT and plans for
parkway construction. The
Druid Hills Civic Association financed and prevailed
in lengthy litigation to slow
down potential condemnation and stop the parkway,
and some more emboldened
activists chained themselves
to trees in the Olmstead
parks when park clearing was even discussed.
Finally, not long prior to
Atlanta hosting the Centennial Olympic Games, a mediation led by then-Lt. Gov.
Pierre Howard protected
the parks and led to the
compromise construction
of what we now know as the
Freedom Parkway, connecting only the Carter Center
and the King Center, on the
far side of Poncey-Highlands, nearly in Midtown.

Emboldened by their
ability to halt the Georgia
DOT, a former President
and Mayor Andrew Young
and the residents of Druid
Hills developed a strong
reputation for just saying
“no.” The original design for
the Fernbank Museum of
Natural History would have
fronted Ponce de Leon and
faced across from the Olmstead Parks, but required the
demolition of many stately
and historic mansions approaching the intersection
of Ponce and Clifton roads.
The Druid Hills Civic Association and its supporters
simply said “no,” and, lo and
behold, site plans were revised, and the museum sits
almost invisible, well back
from Ponce and even a bit
challenging to locate its current entrance off of Clifton.
And now another battle
looms, one that could potentially play an even more
divisive role in the history
of Atlanta as well as DeKalb
County. Begun as a battle
over the creation of a charter school cluster in DeKalb
County and supported by a
vote of more than 80 percent
of the affected and participating households with
children in the impacted
schools, a well-planned and
organized petition was presented to our DeKalb County School District (DCSD),
first the Superintendent
and later to a vote by the
school board. The petition

would have created a cluster of Druid Hills Charter
Cluster, comprised of one
high school, two middle
schools and five elementary
schools—all currently part
of the DCSD. Suffice it to
say here that after a marathon school board meeting,
charged with hot language
and racial under- and overtones, the charter petitioners
were told “No.”
Since that time, a plan
was hatched to cleave Druid
Hills High School, the Fernbank Science Center and
two elementary schools, as
well as Emory University,
the Clifton Corridor CDC
and all that is now “Druid
Hills” out of DeKalb County
into Fulton and fully into
the city of Atlanta. A referendum is being discussed,
and plans are for this school
system change/integration
to be in place in time for the
2016-2017 academic year.
And so, I am asking our
good friends and neighbors
in Druid Hills and the surrounding historic and stately
homes and civic associations
to do what they have proven,
time and again that they can
do so well. Please, first say
“whoa” and then “just say
no.” As with the Presidential
Parkway compromise, there
is, at the end of the day, a
way to move forward which
does not require leaving the
state, nor our county. There
is a way to secure the excellence of your neighborhood

schools without abandoning
the school system which also
helped get them there. There
is a path where we can live
and hang together, versus the
very unpleasant picture of us
all hanging separately.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment
on a column at bill.csicrane@
gmail.com. 

F ree P ress
Let Us Know What You Think!
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions from its readers. Please
write to us and express your views. Letters
should be brief, typewritten and contain
the writer’s name, address and telephone
number for verification. All letters will be
considered for publication.
Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P.
O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send email
to Andrew@dekalbchamp.com • FAX To: (404)
370-3903 Phone: (404) 373-7779 . Deadline for news
releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior
to publication date.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The
Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any
advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not
responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

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

www.championnewspaper.com
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Statement from the
publisher
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
discourse for all community residents
on all sides of an issue. We have no
desire to make the news only to
report news and opinions to effect
a more educated citizenry that will
ultimately move our community
forward. We are happy to present
ideas for discussion; however,
we make every effort to avoid
printing information submitted to
us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.

local

Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Betty Bramblett
Betty Bramblett of Decatur
helps out a lot at DeKalb Medical
and she loves it.
“I really enjoy being with people and enjoy the volunteering that
I have done with different activities I have done,” she said. “It has
meant a lot to me and added a lot
to my life.”
Bramblett has been a volunteer
with Senior Spectrum of DeKalb
Medical for 15 years. An organization for active adults ages 55 and
older, Senior Spectrum sponsors
health education programs led
by DeKalb Medical physicians
that are appropriate for seniors,
Bramblett said. Upcoming topics
include cholesterol and Parkinson’s
disease.
For Senior Spectrum, Bramblett volunteers by leading the

folding, stuffing and distribution
of Senior Spectrum’s quarterly
newsletter. She also makes commemorative refrigerator magnets—approximately 54 each
time—for participants of the various social trips and outings the
group goes on.
Bramblett also has made flower arrangements from her garden
for several years for Senior Spectrum meetings.
Volunteering with the DeKalb
Medical Auxiliary for approximately six years, Bramblett knits
caps for newborn babies and
makes reminder calls to potential
donors for blood drives at the
main hospital and the Hillendale
location.
When she’s not volunteering,
Bramblett is working in her yard,

knitting baby hats or spending
time with her friends and family.
“I encourage anybody that is
55 or older to take advantage of
the senior citizens program because it is very educational and the
people that participate in it can
really learn a lot from the doctors
and the different lectures that they
have,” Bramblett said.
“Betty is one of our favorite volunteers here at DeKalb
Medical,” said Beth Jansa, DeKalb
Medical’s community outreach
manager. “From her assistance
with the Senior Spectrum to just
being a wonderful presence in the
Wellness Center when she is getting in a quick workout, she is one
of the people that make this hospital so special.”

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

Suburban Lanes fighting to stay open
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Suburban Lanes will
soon close its doors for
good, but supporters are
trying to keep the bowling
alley open.
Selig Enterprises, the
developer of Suburban Plaza, said it cannot keep the
bowling alley at the shopping center. Scott Selig,
vice president of acquisitions and development, said
the company and the bowling alley could not come up
with an arrangement that
“worked for both parties.”
“It was the whole agreement [we couldn’t agree
on],” Selig said. “There is
financial...[and] what the
space will end up looking
like.”
Selig did not know exactly when Suburban Lanes
will close but indicates it
would be “in the near future.” He also said there are
a few tenants that are being looked at, “but nothing
final.”
Trisha Walker, one of
the owners of suburban
lane, posted a petition on
Change.org asking people
to voice their thoughts on
Suburban Lanes.
“We are hopeful that if
enough voices are heard, a

buyer of the bowling center
will come forward,” Walker
said on the petition.
The petition has 471
supporters so far. Peggy
Bumgardner of Decatur
wrote on the petition that
she loves the bowling alley.
“It has been a part of
our family celebrations for
[years],” she said. “We’ve
enjoyed league bowling and
my 17-year-old son has just
taken a serious interest in
the sport.”
Paul Carpenter of Decatur wrote that he has been
going to Suburban Lanes
for more than 40 years.
“We go on birthdays
and every day all summer
long,” he said. “This will
be a huge loss for Decatur.
Please find a way to save
the alley!”
Selig has begun construction plans to revitalize
the 60-year-old Suburban
Plaza. It soon will have
a 150,000-square-foot
Walmart store, which
would have groceries, deli,
a pharmacy and an optical center. Walmart would
be part of the shopping
center, which will increase
by 30,000 square feet, add
600-800 jobs and spur redevelopment in the corridor,
according to Selig representatives.

Some Decatur residents and patrons of Suburban Lanes are trying to keep the bowling alley open. Selig Enterprises and the bowling alley could not come up with an agreement. Photos by Carla Parker

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

local

AroundDeKalb

Brookhaven
Registration open for adult
basketball league
Registration for 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
web, mail or fax to (404) 637-0515.
Mailed or faxed registrations forms
should include payment and be
received by March 4 at the parks &
Recreation office at 3360 Osborne
Road, NE, Brookhaven, Ga., 30319.
Participants in the city’s Spring
Adult Basketball League must have
turned 17 prior to Jan. 1. For more
information, call Brookhaven Parks
& Recreation Department at (404)
637-0542 or visit www.brookhavenga.gov/city-departments/parksrecreation.

Road closures announced
Brookhaven Public Works
Department announced that East
Roxboro Road will be closed between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday
through Friday for the installation
of storm water and sanitary sewer
pipes between Goodwin Road and
Wright Avenue. Traffic on East
Roxboro Road will be detoured to
Lenox Park Boulevard and North
Druid Hills Road. Access will be
maintained for local traffic to access
the properties and neighborhoods
along East Roxboro south of Lenox
Park Boulevard. The construction is
expected to take no more than two
weeks.

Clarkston
Community Center to host
fashion show
On March 7 from 1 – 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 events@clarkstoncommunitycenter.org. Adult
tickets are $15, children tickets are
$5.

Chamblee
City to hold open house
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.

Decatur
City replaces CodeRed emergency
notifications with Smart911 
The City of Decatur recently
transitioned to an enhanced
Smart911 system to make communication between residents and public safety agencies easier and more
convenient.
In addition to providing details about their household to E911
dispatchers on emergency calls,
Smart911 now gives users the option to opt-in to receive emergency
and general notifications from the
city. This Smart911 option replaces
the CodeRed emergency and weather notifications.
All CodeRed users who wish to
continue to receive emergency alerts
from the city should create a private
and secure Safety Profile at www.
Smart911.com. Anyone already registered with a safety profile at www.
Smart911.com can simply log into
their account to opt-in to the new
enhanced features.
 Members of the community
can visit www.smart911.com to sign
up and create a free Safety Profile
for their household, providing information such as the names and
photos of family members, health
conditions, medications, pets in the
home, vehicle details and emergency contacts. All profile information
is voluntary and each household can
determine what details are important to include. 
Because a Safety Profile can be
tied to a mobile number, if a person dials 911 in any community
across the United States that utilizes
Smart911, his or her safety profile
will be available to dispatchers to aid

in emergency response. In Georgia,
Smart911 is available in Alpharetta,
Atlanta, Chamblee, Decatur, Dunwoody, DeKalb County, John’s
Creek, Milton and Sandy Springs. 

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
programs.
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.

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 good
way to research family members
and friends in their younger years.
Emory University, 540 Asbury
Circle Atlanta; (404) 727-6861. For
additional information visit: web.
library.emory.edu.

Stone
Mountain
Georgia Lakes Society brings its
lake workshop to Stone Mountain
Park
Georgia Lakes Society, 501(c)3
nonprofit organization, hosts Lake
University Workshops around the
state. The upcoming workshop will
be at Stone Mountain Park at the
Confederate Museum Educational
Center on Feb. 28, from 9:30 a.m.
to noon. Previous workshops over
the past two years have been held
in Milledgeville, Columbus, Athens
and Roswell.

Page 7A

The purpose of the Stone
Mountain workshop is to provide
homeowner associations, lakeshore
homeowners and those responsible
for the lake on their property information about the management of
the lake.
The workshop at Stone Mountain will cover dam maintenance,
sedimentation, lakeshore landscaping, and an introduction to the
adopt-a-lake program. Opportunities to network with lake managers
and other lake professionals will be
available.
Sponsors of the Stone Mountain Lake University Workshop
are Integrated Lake Management,
Aquascape Environmental, Aquatic
Restoration and Siltbusters Dredging Service.
Pre-registrants have free admission to the park in addition to the
workshop. Coffee and a morning
snack will be provided. Register at
www.georgialakes.org by clicking on
the link for Lake University.

Traffic signal fix relieves
congestion at major intersection
The commute on Mountain
Industrial Boulevard may have just
gotten shorter for some thanks to
traffic signal enhancements at the
intersection of Hugh Howell Road
and Mountain Industrial Boulevard.
The bottleneck has been reduced at peak times by traffic signal
timing and operational enhancements by Tucker-based Sunbelt
Traffic LLC, and funded by the Stone
Mountain Community Improvement District (CID). Currently
more than 35,000 vehicles travel the
roadway each day, and one of every
seven completing trips is carried out
by a commercial vehicle such as a
freight truck.
The signal timing effort has
reduced corridor trips by an average of 50 seconds during the busiest
morning and afternoon drive times,
according to before and after video
measurements of the intersection.
Beyond the signal timing work,
the CID has focused on improved
area signage and enhanced lighted
street signs to promote better navigation throughout the corridor. Additionally, the CID has assisted in
securing pavement repairs and other
infrastructure upgrades in areas
most heavily traveled by commercial
vehicle traffic.
A more detailed traffic flow
study to evaluate improvements to
further decrease travel times along
Mountain Industrial Boulevard is
underway.

local

Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Senior center construction halted
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Construction on the
North DeKalb Senior Center
in Chamblee was halted Feb.
19 by DeKalb County officials.
Bricks, pipes, sand, unassembled scaffolding and
other construction materials remain on the ground all
around the unfinished project, located at 3393 Malone
Drive, which was scheduled
to be open August 2014.
Britt Hand, who lives
across the street from the
construction site, said he has
noticed problems there.
“It seemed like when a
sub crew would start…they
would only do half the job,”
Hand said. “Or when they
would come to put in the
windows, they didn’t finish
the front or anything.
“I don’t know if [the
contractors] weren’t just paying their subs. I don’t know,”
Hand said.
“But at this point it seems
like the subs aren’t showing
up. The superintendent just
sits…and doesn’t do anything,” he said. “This is what
I’ve been looking at for two
years.”
Hand said he was watching Feb. 20 as “a guy showed
up in a DeKalb County truck,
like an inspector, made a
couple of phone calls and
everybody packed up and
left. It looked like the superintendent was cleaning his
office out. He was taking all
of his papers and blueprints
and putting them in his car.
They’re gone.”
The DeKalb County
Board of Commissioners on
Feb. 10 voted to terminate

the contract with Talbot Construction Inc.
In an email, county
spokesman Burke Brennan
said the county will hold “an
emergency” invitation-to-bid
pre-bid meeting with several
prequalified general contractors at that site. 
“A new contract to complete construction of that
facility is anticipated to be
issued by the county within
the next few weeks,” Brennan
said.
Zach Williams, the county’s chief operating officer,
said the termination came
after several months of trying
to “work with the contractor…to bring the project to
completion.”
“We are simply at a
point where we believe it’s in
the best interest of DeKalb
County to move on, to terminate the contract with Talbot
Construction, to seek the
surety, to find us a contractor
who will bring the project to
completion in short order,”
Williams said.
The county tried to get an
“acceptable” revised schedule
with the contractor, Williams
said.
“We came to the board
before with change orders on
the project, and we feel that
we need to move on and find

a contractor that will finish
the project,” he said.
County officials said the
project has experienced many
delays, including unforeseen
soil conditions, groundwater
issues and “multiple subcontractor issues.”
“An environmental site
study done on the property…
failed to turn up that there
were these large concrete pillars that were buried beneath
the surface that had to be
removed,” Brennan said last
year. “That was an unexpected delay and expense. That
was a huge setback on that
project.”
At the time, Brennan said
that according to the county’s
revised estimate the project
would be completed by the
end of 2014.
Once completed, the $5
million senior center will be
a 15,000-square-foot facility with amenities including
community meeting rooms,
a computer lab, a fitness area
and more. Additionally, the
center will include classrooms
to accommodate the various
activities requested by the
community and a dining hall
seating approximately 120.
By press time, Talbot
Construction had not return
phone calls made by The
Champion.

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No one is working on the North DeKalb Senior Center after the county
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CITY OF BROOKHAVEN
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING:
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2015 AT 7:00 P.M.
CITY OF BROOKHAVEN COUNCIL CHAMBER
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.
TRAFFIC CALMING PETITION:
STREETS AFFECTED:

TC14-02
CANMONT DR FROM
SKYLAND DR TO CLAIRMONT RD
SKYLAND DR FROM
DRESDEN DR TO SKYLAND TR

PROPOSED TRAFFIC CALMING

SPEED HUMPS

Faye (ID# 23866957) – Look at this cute
face!! Faye is an absolutely adorable, grey/blue
pittie girl who loves people and attention. She is
an affectionate girl who has a mellow demeanor.
Faye would love to have a human with whom
she could cuddle. She desperately wants a new
BFF to take her home and love her and keep her
safe; she hopes it will be you! If you make Faye
your Valentine, you may adopt her for only $14
during February as part of the “My Furry Valentine”
promotion. This fee includes her vaccines, spay
and microchip!

local

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Page 9A

Beware of meeting online crooks offline
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Online buyers and sellers
beware.
Law enforcement agencies are warning the public
about criminals who are
using online ads to commit
crimes. They may set up bogus ads or respond to genuine
ads by sellers.
“When people purchase
items off of Craigslist, EBay,
[or] any online system, they
need to be careful,” said
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James. On
Feb. 18, two men were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for setting
up a bogus Craigslist ad and
killing 56-year-old Clarence
Gardenhire.
The two men used a fake
ad for an iPhone to lure Gardenhire and his son in 2013
to an abandoned house in
DeKalb County. During an
attempted robbery, Gardenhire was shot and later died at
a local hospital.
In January, a man was
killed in DeKalb County after
responding to an ad online
ad to purchase a pit bull at
midnight.
According to reports,
Winder dog breeder Walter Gonzalez and a friend
went to Stone Mountain to
sell a dog. The 40-year-old
responder pulled out a gun
and tried to steal the dog. The
breeder’s friend, who also
had a gun, shot and killed the
would-be robber. Police said
the man, in other instances,
had stolen a dog and an
iPhone.
“There are individuals
out there that prey on people
like that,” James said. “We’ve
seen it recently in Cobb
County. We’ve seen it the city
of Atlanta and we’re dealing
with it here in DeKalb County as well.”
James said, “There are
some common sense things
that you need to do.”
At the top of the list is
meeting “in an area that is
very public,” James said.
“Don’t go to a private location,” James said. “Do not
go to a prearranged meeting
at someone’s house or a clandestine area.
“And if you show up and
it appears that it is not a public place, you need to turn
around and leave,” he said.
“That property is not worth
your life.”
“A good place to meet
is at a police station,” James
said. “That’s a very public
place and it’s also a place

where an individual is probably not going to rob you
or start shooting. And we
have police precincts all over
DeKalb County.
The Brookhaven Police
Department recently released
a statement urging residents
to “please use our parking lot
to make a purchase or sale
using Craigslist or any other
website.
“Do not meet anyone that
is not willing to make the exchange in the parking lot of a
police department,” the statement read.
James additionally urged
those using websites to meet
 

a stranger for a financial
transaction to “Make sure
that someone knows that
you’re going there” and “take
someone else with you.”
The Craigslist website
states, “With billions of human interactions facilitated,
the incidence of violent crime
is extremely low. Nevertheless, please take the same
common sense precautions
online as you would offline.”
The website suggests
that users should not invite
strangers into their homes;
take a cell phone along for
transactions; and “trust your
instincts.”

“These are some common
sense things that people can
use to make sure they don’t
become a victim in cases like
this,” James said.

The Craigslist murder
victim’s wife, Joan Gardenhire, said, “Just be mindful.
Then you will know if these
people are serious.”

FAST TAX REFUND/FREE QUOTE
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NOTICE  OF BOND ELECTION  TO THE  QUALIFIED  VOTERS  OF THE CITY  OF ATLANTA 

   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 
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: 

 

GENERAL  OBLIGATION  BONDS  FOR  PUBLIC STREETS, TRAFFIC  CONTROL  INFRASTRUCTURE AND  EQUIPMENT, BRIDGES,  VIADUCTS  AND  RELATED 
PUBLIC  I M P R O V E M E N T S  
Year 
 
2017 

Amount 
 

$  6,600,000 

Amount  

Year 
 

2026 

 

$10,355,000 
             10,885,000 

2018 

6,940,000 

2027 

2019 

7,295,000 

2028 

11,445,000 

2020 

7,670,000 

2029 

12,030,000 

2021 

8,065,000 

2030 

2022 

8,475,000 

2031 

12,645,000 
13,295,000 

2023 

8,910,000 

2032 

13,975,000 

2024 

9,370,000 

2033 

14,695,000 

15,445,000 
2025 
9,850,000 
2034 
 
   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: 
 
"SHALL  GENERAL  OBLIGATION  PUBLIC  IMPROVEMENT  BONDS IN AN AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT NOT  TO EXCEED $187,945,000  BE 
ISSUED  BY  THE  CITY  OF  ATLANTA  FOR  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, IN  THE  CITY  OF  ATLANTA, GEORGIA?" 
 

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. 
 
FOR INFORMATION  ON  HOW  TO  REGISTER  AND WHERE  TO VOTE, YOU MAY  CALL  THE  FULTON  COUNTY  DEPARTMENT OF  REGISTRATIONS 
AND  ELECTIONS  AT  404‐612‐7020  OR  INQUIRE  AT  THE  OFFICES  OF  THE  FULTON  COUNTY  DEPARTMENT  OF  REGISTRATIONS AND  ELECTIONS  AT  130 
PEACHTREE STREET,  SUITE  2186,  ATLANTA, GEORGIA.  THE  FINAL  DAY  FOR  REGISTRATION TO VOTE IN SUCH ELECTION SHALL BE FEBRUARY  17, 2015.  
EARLY VOTING OPPORTUNITY SHALL BE FEBRUARY 23, 2015 THROUGH MARCH 13, 2015. 
 
This  notice  is  given pursuant  to  the  authority of  a  resolution adopted  by the  Council of the City of Atlanta. 
 
CITY OF ATLANTA 
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson 
Municipal Clerk 

local

Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

City approves stormwater project increase
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
On Feb. 15 Doraville city
council members met with
Keck & Wood project manager Sam Serio and approved
a budget increase for the
stormwater retrofit project
across McClave Drive.

Last month the council
approved Gary’s Grading and
Pipeline Company’s (GGPCI) bid package to perform
the work for the McClave
Drive project, but Serio said
the project needs additional
funds.
Following the January decision to hire GGPCI, How-

ard Koontz, city planner, and
Serio visited with owners of
seven property that are located along the length of the
project site to survey owners
for a temporary construction
easement that will allow GGPCI to begin construction.
Serio said while meeting
with several of the property

owners they pointed out additional items that need
improvement and as a result, some site adjustments
consisting of additional time
and materials will have to be
made that are in excess of the
originally approved contract
amount of $110,676.
The field adjustments

included additional square
yards of concrete for driveway replacements, one additional tree removal, a section
of new curb and gutter along
the edge of McClave Drive.
The new project price is now
$117,591, a change order add
of 6.25 percent.

Costumed lion dancers entertain at the National Association of Chinese Americans-Atlanta celebration as drummers provide a beat.

Community celebrates Chinese New Year
by Kathy Mitchell
Although Valentine’s Day
2015 has come and gone, celebratory red is again around
to brighten February. Red is
the favored color for Chinese
New Year, which is noted
on the calendar this year as
Feb. 19 but is traditionally
celebrated for at least a week,
often much longer.
Red clothes, poems on
red paper and red envelopes
of “lucky money” presented
to children are all popular
during Chinese New Year,
according to several websites,
which note that red symbolizes fire, which according to
legend drives away bad luck.
Lani Wong, chairwoman
of the Atlanta chapter of
the National Association of
Chinese Americans (NACA),
estimates that approximately
3 percent of DeKalb County’s
population has Chinese ancestry, “They are from Taiwan, from China, Hong Kong
or from all over South east

Asia,” she said, noting that
most are likely to join in the
holiday celebration.
“The Chinese New Year
is the most important holiday
in China; it’s is a weeklong
national holiday,” Wong
explained. “Most people go
home to spent time with family. There is a massive movement of people traveling all
over China. Airline tickets
and train tickets are hard to
get with millions and millions
of people traveling.
“As our tourist visa is easily obtained to come to the
United States, we are seeing
an increase of Chinese tourists coming to the U.S. for
Chinese New Year celebrations,” she continued, adding
that the most popular destination is Las Vegas.
Because few American
employers give a day off for
the Chinese New Year, “we
observe the holiday by having
New Year’s Eve dinner with
family and sometimes with
good friends,” Wong said.

“As this year Chinese New
Year [was] Feb. 19, which
is a weeknight, many [had]
dinner with friends and family members at a restaurant.
Most Chinese restaurants had
a full house that night.”
Those observing the
holiday are welcoming the
Chinese year 4713, which on
the Chinese calendar is the
year of the goat (or sheep,
depending on the translation). The Chinese zodiac
follows a 12-year cycle with
each year named for an animal. People are said to share
traits with the animal of the
year in which they were born.
Those born in the year of the
goat are believed to be gentle,
mild-mannered and generous and to have fewer health
problems than those born
under different zodiac signs,
according to International
Business Times.
Locally, NACA holds a
New Year celebration with
a dinner and entertainment
event that in recent years has

sold out. When the event
started in 1979, approximately 60 members and friends
attended, Wong recalled.
“Now we’re going to outgrow
the restaurant [on Buford
Highway where the event has
been held in recent years],
as we can take a maximum
of 330 guests for everyone
to enjoy the celebration. We
have to turn down many requests from those who want
to join us.”
This year’s NACA-Atlanta
celebration on Feb. 21 included a dinner served family
style with more than a dozen
Chinese specialties served.
“The best part of the celebration is about giving back,”
Wong said. “Sharing is important for us, so we use the
New Year celebration to promote our mission of building
bridges, building leaders and
benefiting our community.”
She noted that part of the
celebration is the awarding
of scholarship funds to Georgia Perimeter College. “For

the past 10 years, we have
donated more than $100,000
to the scholarship fund. The
bi-lingual nursing scholarship is our main focus,” she
said. “We have supported
Good Shepherded Services
for almost 20 years. The past
10 years we have focused on
their after-school program
that serves the refugee community. This year NACA also
is supporting Global Health
Action in its outreach program in China.
“The New Year celebration provides an opportunity
for people from all walks of
life to come together, to experience the culture, the wonderful banquet, most importantly is the sharing of friendship, as we have Chinese
government officials, Chinese
business leaders and our local government officials, and
business community come
together to share one evening
to celebrate the New Year,”
Wong said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

local

Page 11A

DeKalb Medical is state’s only
“baby-friendly” hospital
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
DeKalb Medical is a baby-friendly
hospital.
The hospital is the first in Georgia to
earn the international “Baby-Friendly”
Hospital Initiative designation from
Baby-Friendly USA Inc. Additionally,
the hospital was also awarded a 5-STAR
Hospital Recognition from the Georgia
Department of Public Health.
“We are very proud of this elite designation and it speaks volumes to what
we stand for here at DeKalb Medical,”
said DeKalb Medical President and CEO
John Shelton. “Our mission is to earn
our patients’ trust every day, through
our uncompromising commitment to
quality. The baby-friendly designation and 5-STAR rating exemplify the
commitment of our physicians, nurses
and staff to providing the best possible
patient care which ensures a healthier
community.”
“The baby-friendly initiative is
an achievement of an international
breastfeeding quality designation that
was started by UNICEF and the World
Health Organization in the 1990s,” said

Catherine M. Bonk, physician and
board member DeKalb Regional Health
System.
“The CDC and the state of Georgia
have really pushed it to try to make hospitals in the United States become babyfriendly,” said Bonk, who referred to
herself as “the OB champion for DeKalb
Medical’s baby-friendly initiative.
In June 2012, DeKalb Medical was
as one of 90 hospitals in the nation
chosen to participate in the Best Fed
Beginnings Collaborative, a project for
improving breastfeeding rates in the U.S.
by the National Initiative for Children’s
Healthcare Quality, with support from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aligned with BabyFriendly USA.
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth
centers worldwide, including 227 in the
United States.
“The designation consists of achieving 10 steps that promote breastfeeding
mothers and helps them learn and accomplish their task breastfeeding their
baby exclusively for as long as possible,”
Bonk said.
“Breastfeeding is so important for

See Hospital on page 16A

DeKalb Medical officials are proud of the hospital’s new “baby-friendly” designation. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

local

Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Renaissance Dental staff members answer questions and teach students the basics of maintaining good oral hygiene. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Grant awards $45,000
to support oral health
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Children who have experienced
oral health issues are four times more
likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts, according
to the Renaissance Family Foundation.
As a part of the foundation’s mission to improve oral and overall health
and well-being of children and families, the foundation awarded the local
affiliate of Renaissance Dental $45,000
to the Georgia Department of Public
Health during an assembly at Lilburn
Elementary School on Feb. 19.
The program also sponsored an oral
health clinic on Feb. 20 at Hightower
Elementary School.
“What we’re trying to do from a
local and national perspective is to
make sure that kids understand the
importance of good oral health. It’s so
important for them to do the routine
stuff on a daily basis,” Renaissance
Dental Senior Account Executive Bill
Czajkoski said.
He added, “Ultimately these preventative measures help them be more
alert in class and help them have a better experience in the school without
having any pain.”  
The school event focused on oralhealth education for students and
teachers, including an oral-health education program and activity stations
emphasizing the importance of good

oral and overall health.
“For students who participate in
the sealant program, over half of their
tooth decay may be prevented and
money may be saved on their treatment costs. School-based sealant programs reduce oral health disparities in
children,” said Dr. Dwayne Turner.
“Sealants have been shown to reduce decay by more than 70 percent,”
Turner said. “The combination of
sealants and fluoride has the potential to nearly eliminate tooth decay
in school-aged children. Sealants are
most cost-effective when provided to
children who are at highest risk for
tooth decay.”
Students in first through fifth
grades received dental sealants and
fluoride treatments, which Turner said
can be vital to reducing tooth decay
and other oral-health problems if received at a young age.
“Hightower Elementary school students will benefit from the partnership
by the Georgia Department of Public
Health Oral Health Prevention Program, Renaissance Family Foundation,
DeKalb Board of Health, and Georgia
Perimeter College Dental Hygiene program,” Turner said.
“The sealant event included free
dental services, dental sealants, fluoride varnish, and oral health items
(toothbrush, floss, backpacks, etc.) for
approximately 675 students,” he added.
Oral health education was also

See Health on Page 14A

A Hightower Elementary School student colors in a tooth drawing after an informal
dental session with Renaissance Dental staff.

Third grader Jalil Abdullah receives free sealants.

In

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

WEEK

Week in pictures

Page 13A

Pictures

The Tuck Everlasting crew rehearses backstage for its performances at the Alliance
Theater. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Girls hold a press conference at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits sponsored by Amerigroup for the release of Girl Scout’s Digital Cookie Program, the new Digital Platform, and two new
flavors–Rah Rah Raisin and Toffee-Tastic.

23

Photos brought to you by DCTV
DCTV Channel 23
@DCTVChannel23

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

DeKalb County Gov
Ustream.tv/channle/DCTV-Channel-23
VISIT US AT WWW.DCTVChannel23.tv

E-mail us at DCTV@DeKalbCountyGA.gov

local

Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Health

Continued From Page 12A

provided. Hightower Elementary
school teachers received oral health
materials (posters, dvds, coloring
books, etc.) for classroom instruction
and follow-up, according to Turner.
“A lot of these kids do not have
dental insurance and have never
seen a dentist and it’s one of the most
preventable chronic diseases,” Renaissance Dental Account Executive
Andy Berli said.
“Getting these kids the sealant
ensures that we keep them in the
classrooms and not have them miss
out on school.”
The schools were selected to participate in the program after a study

conducted by Georgia Department
of Public Health and local board of
education officials.
Georgia Department of Public
Health official Jorge Bernal said the
department met with and local board
of education leaders and ascertained
that 50 percent or more of the students in the DeKalb County School
District were registered in free and
reduced lunch programs.
“Our mission is to provide more
access to oral health care for low-income people. We’re trying to deliver
a lot more education and prevention
programs throughout Georgia,” Bernal said.
Georgia currently ranks 49 in
the country in the number of dentists per capita, with 4.4 dentists per
10,000 people.

Through the foundation’s grant,
the DeKalb Board of Health Oral
Health program will be able to purchase new portable equipment, dental chairs and curing lights for the
school-based sealant program.
Hightower Elementary School
Principal Sheila George said the program is especially helpful since the
school has only one school nurse.
“We do our best here to try and
train them but for them to learn how
to take care of themselves and their
oral hygiene–it really helps.”
She added, “Our kids are so excited, they’re learning in a new way,
it’s fun, it’s interactive–they’ll retain
the information a lot better.”
The funding marks the Renaissance Family Foundation’s third
grant to programs in Georgia fo-

cusing on improving oral health
and literacy, following grants to the
GOHPP in 2014 and the Georgia
Public Libraries in 2013.
“Oral health is a very important part of overall health, and we
are committed to doing our part to
help make sure children show up to
school healthy, pain free and ready to
learn,” said Teri Battaglieri director
of the Renaissance Family Foundation, in a recent press release. “We
launched the Renaissance Family
Foundation in Atlanta in 2013, and
consider Georgia our second home.
It is important to us, as a company
that we work to improve oral health
in communities that need our support the most.”

News briefs

Dunwoody Police seeking bank robber
On Feb. 19 at 2:39 p.m. an unidentified suspect entered the SunTrust bank located at 121
Perimeter Center West, presented a note to the
teller implying he had a gun and demanded cash,
according to a news release from the department.
According to police, the suspect fled the scene
on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.
The suspect was described as a 23- to 24-yearold Black male, light complexion, 5-foot-7 to
5-foot-8, 150 lbs. He was wearing blue sweatpants, dark jacket, brown fur-lined cap, and
gloves.
Anyone with information regarding the case,
should contact Detective Ehlbeck at (678) 3826925 or robert.ehlbeck@dunwoodyga.gov.

DeKalb Workforce Development announces
funds for employers and job seekers

 
DeKalb Workforce Development recently announced the Workforce Innovation Fund for em-

ployers seeking to help those experiencing longterm unemployment re-enter the workforce.
“Employers can use the funds to prepare
ready-to-work DeKalb job seekers with readyto-fill jobs,” according to a news release from the
county.
The Workforce Innovation Fund provides recent opportunities for work experience to workers unemployed for one year or longer. These
qualified candidates are often overlooked due to
their length of unemployment.
Participating employers receive wage subsidies to provide work experience to the program
participants. Employers will work directly with a
staffing agency to identify qualified candidates for
open positions.
Employers must be stable, established businesses, able to demonstrate financial viability.
Employers and program participants will be
screened by DeKalb Workforce Development for
eligibility prior to program participation.
“To date, the program has placed 60 candidates in industries ranging from administrative to
health care,” said Varonia Walker, the fund grant
manager for Workforce Innovation.
Interested employers are encouraged to contact Cynthia Robinson at (404) 371-6217.

K-9 memorial Go Fund Me account at www.gofundme.com/j04jvk.
Plans for the memorial began after a discussion between DeKalb K-9 Officer Mark Taylor
and Rawls after the death of the officer’s K-9 companion. The statue and memorial are to be dedicated May 15, 2015, as part of the observance of
the 100th year of DeKalb County police services.

K-9 memorial fundraising at halfway mark

The Wylde Center announces 2015 board of
trustees

The campaign to raise money for the design
and installation of a K-9 memorial statue has
reached its halfway mark. The estimated cost of
the project is $10,000; $5,510 has been donated so
far.
The monument, titled “Hero, Partner, Friend,”
will be located at DeKalb County Police Headquarters, 1960 West Exchange Place, Tucker. It
will sit on the hill where the current police headquarters signage is, overlooking the projected police and firefighter monuments. It is purposefully
located behind the other monuments as dogs
always have officers’ backs.
“It really touched my heart how many people
have supported this important project,” said Xan
Rawls, DeKalb County’s director of animal services and fundraising coordinator. “These dogs go
to work every day and put their lives on the line
alongside their human partners. They deserve to
be honored at the end of their watch, like any officer.”
The DeKalb County Police Alliance is accepting donations through the organization’s 501-C-3
account. Donations also can be made through the

The Wylde Center has named its 2015 board
of trustees and officers of the board.
The new board officers are: Shelby Buso,
director of sustainability for Central Atlanta
Progress, chairman; Josh Becker, partner, Alston
& Bird LLP, vice chair; KC Boyce, director of
custom research for Chartwell Inc., treasurer; and
Jenna Mobley, teacher, Atlanta Public Schools,
secretary.
Board members include: Caroline Branch,
assistant rector, St. Bede’s Episcopal Church;
Elena Conis, assistant professor, Emory University; Allison Germaneso Dixon, senior director,
marketing and creative services, Meeting Expectations Inc.; Ardath Grills, epidemiologist, CDC;
Rex Hamre, senior sustainability manager, Jones
Lang LaSalle; Caroline Herring, singer/songwriter; Jeremy Jeffers, business development manager, Gault Millau Inc.; Beth Krebs, management
consultant; Jessica Neese, owner, In Bloom Inc.;
Lynn Russell, partner, Russell & Herrera; and
Mike Sage, senior advisor and guest researcher,
CDC.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Life Continued From Page 1A

iPhone,” James said. “They were
just going to purchase a phone and
he was killed in the process over a
piece of property, and that makes no
sense.”
Bill Hankins, senior assistant
public defender for DeKalb County
representing Contevious SteppMcCommons, called the defendants
“young men [who] made a bad decision over the course of a few minutes. It’s a tragedy.”
Hankins told reporters that the
case was hard to defend.
“Anytime there are shots fired,
it’s very difficult on the defense
when there is a deceased involved,”
Hankins said. “That’s the biggest
obstacle every time. And the fact
that the codefendant was gone for
13 months didn’t help.”
Jennifer Lopez-Pierrelus, the
victim’s stepdaughter, said, dis-

played a picture of her immediate
family. “My husband didn’t have a
father,” she said. “So my dad came
into his life and showed him what it
meant to be a good man, a stand-up
man, a good dad, a good son.
Lopez-Pierrelus called her father
the family’s “support system.”
“My sons have delayed their
education because they just got
depressed over the [loss of] their
granddad,” she said in court as part
of the victim’s family’s impact
statements.
“My parents came up here for
the birth of their grandson Joshua.
Joshua was 3 days old when my dad
was killed,” Lopez-Pierrelus said.
“Joshua will never get to experience
how wonderful his grandfather was.
He’ll never get to have those conversations with him telling [Joshua],
‘I want you to go to school. I want

local
you to get a college education. I
want you to really be somebody.’”
Lopez-Pierrelus said her mother
“was robbed of the man who chose
to love her and her children, and
take care of her, and always be there
for her.”
“I watched my mom lose so
much weight,” she said. “I watched
people come into our driveway and
repossess my mother’s Jaguar that
my dad was buying her, because
it was in his name. I now see my
mother’s home in foreclosure because her help mate, her support is
gone.”
Lopez-Pierrelus said she is in
therapy for depression “because my
support, my encourager, the one
who always, always told me you
could be whatever you wanted to
be—he’s gone.”
“I just ask that the court give

Page 15A

the same leniency to the two defendents that they gave to my father,”
Lopez-Pierrelus said. “I want my
children…to know that justice has
been served.”
The shooting victim’s wife, Joan
Gardenhire, said the sentencing was
“what we prayed for.”
“There are consequences for
your actions,” she said. “‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay.’ That’s
what God said and that’s what we
believe we got. They made that
decision to kill my husband. They
made the decision not to show him
any mercy.
“The sentence will not bring my
husband back,” Joan Gardenhire
said. “My heart hurts. When I think
of Clarence, I cry.”

District 5 residents are still looking for representation on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. File photo

Political wrangling continues to keep District 5 seat open
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
After more political wrangling on
Feb. 24, the DeKalb County Board
of Commissioners ended with the
same result—no representation for
District 5.
This round started with the
agenda item to appoint Kathryn
Rice to temporarily fill the District 5 seat which 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.
On Feb. 10, after months of a
stalemate, the board decided to
deny the appointment of May’s
first choice to fill his seat, George
Turner.
Before the board voted to reject
the nomination, Commissioner
Stan Watson said, “We had Mr.
George Turner in front of us for a
number of meetings and we actually could not come to a consensus
for Mr. Turner, based on the process

that people said was not compliant
or was not what was intended by
state law.
“This is the same scenario that
we have again with [Rice] that is not
supposedly compliant with state law
and also that the process is not correct,” Watson said. “[As] one of the
speakers said, I think we may have
to ride this out because I think that
the commission has another process
in mind...to scuttle the whole thing
to make sure we can put our person
in place.”
Commissioner Jeff Rader, who
has opposed the process in which
May nominated his potential interim successor, reversed his opposition and supported Rice.
“I’ve heard people stand up here
for months and months asking for
us to make a decision on this appointment,” Rader said.
“Whereas I also don’t agree with
the process of the CEO making this
nomination, this is not his first pick
and is a pick that is the consequence
of a top ranking by [a] citizens’
group,” Rader said. “To the extent
that it doesn’t seem like this process
will be resolved for quite some time

unless we act now, I’m willing to accept that second pick.”
Rader said Rice “has shown a
level of independence and community leadership that recommends
her for this job. Her name is familiar
to many of you in so far as she has
been working to improve DeKalb.”
“I believe we need elected leadership in District 5 and I hope that we
soon have elected leadership there,
but failing the resignation of the
interim CEO from that District 5,
we need to move ahead and prove
seven seats on this board of commissioners,” Rader said.
Commissioner Kathie Gannon,
who also opposed the original process of choosing an interim commissioner, said, “We can’t have an
election which has been my first
choice. I’ve been very vocal about
the desire to allow the people of District 5 to vote for their representative, but that’s not going to happen.
Gannon said she would support
Rice even though she doesn’t “know
if that is who the citizens want in
District 5. I know they want someone, so I’m willing to go forward
with that, if that’s who the commis-

sion wants.”
Commissioner Sharon Barnes
Sutton made substitute motion to
“elect Mr. George Turner…since we
are no longer concerned about the
process.”
“I do know that the people
in that community support Mr.
Turner,” Sutton said. “I think that if
we’re going to do the right thing, we
should do the right thing and not
try to wait until we get someone that
we want.
“If the process is not going to be
a concern let’s go with the first pick
of the committee that selected [the
nominees],” Sutton said.
Rader pointed out that Turner’s
nomination was not before the
board and could not be considered.
When the commissioners’ vote
for Rice tied, it was up to May, on
a government trip to Washington,
D.C., to break the tie.
Reached by phone during the
board’s meeting, the interim CEO
voted to deny the approval of Rice.
Now it is up to the board of commissioners to come up with its own
interim commissioner.

local

Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Hospital

Continued From Page 11A

the health and well-being
of the infants, and it has
tremendous health benefits
to the mother,” she said. “It’s
the right way to feed a baby.
It’s what God intended.
The baby-friendly designation shows that DeKalb
Medical is “committed to
family-center, quality-driven
obstetric and neonatal care,”
Bonk said.
Leah Aldridge, board
president of the Healthy
Mothers, Healthy Babies
Coalition of Georgia, said,
“We know from the American Academy of Pediatrics
that breastfeeding reduces
the rates of ear infections,
lowers respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, risks of leukemia for
our babies. For our moms
it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, ovarian
cancer and breast cancer.
And when you put the cost
savings associated with the
lower incidences of those
risks you realize that there’s
a lot of healthcare dollar
savings associated with increasing the rates of breastfeeding.
“It’s so important for
hospitals like DeKalb
Medical…to provide an opportunity for support and
education for our moms,”
Aldridge said.
Seventy percent of Georgia mothers start breastfeeding, she said.
“There’s only a very
small percentage of our
Georgia moms that don’t
know that breastfeeding
is good for their baby and
want to breastfeed,” Aldridge said. “But 75 percent
of moms run into problems
in the first few weeks.
“What we need to do,
and what DeKalb [Medical] is poised to do, is help
those moms overcome those
difficulties, so that they
can reap the real rewards—
health rewards and financial
rewards—that breastfeeding offers,” she said. “When
mom run into trouble they
need to know they can come
to DeKalb Medical.”
Aldridge said “only
14 percent are exclusively
breastfeeding at six months.
That ranks Georgia 40th out
of 50 states.”

School Continued From Page 2A
student’s individually to meet each of
their needs and increase performance.”
The Opportunity School District
would take in no more than 20 schools
per year, meaning it would govern
no more than 100 at any given time.
Schools would stay in the district for
no less than five years but no more
than 10 years.
“That’s not something we’re really
focused on right now, we’re focused on
making sure that every day we are giving our students the best,” Wiley said.
She added, “Ivy Prep is committed to making sure that our school is
successful and making sure that we
improve and that’s what we’re going to

keep our focus on.”
In May the school hired the Yardstick consultancy group to assist in
improving student academic performance.
Wiley said the turnaround plan is
now being implemented.
The changes include an Ivy University program led by its founder Nina
Gilbert with assistance from teachers
and school leaders, aimed at offering
more coaching to teachers. An Academic Parent Teacher Team was also
launched to get parents more involved
with their students’ academic performance. Wiley said the emphasis of the
program is on fluency.

“We believe that the person in
front of our students is the most critical, so this year we have done a strategic outline for professional develop for
them,” Wiley said.
“We’ve invited a lot of external
consultants to come our school before,
and so this year we wanted to use the
expertise that we have in-house.”
Deal said on Feb. 17 he was considering whether to exempt charter
schools from his program.
The move is meant to calm critics who said the focus of the initiative
should be on more traditional public
schools.

NOTICE OF  BOND ELECTION TO  THE  QUALIFIED VOTERS OF  THE CITY  OF  ATLANTA 
 
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: 

 

GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR  MUNICIPAL FACILITIES AND  RELATED PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 

 

Year 
 
2017 
2018 
2019 
2020 
2021 
2022 
2023 
2024 
2025 
 

Amount 
 

$  2,250,000 
2,365,000 
2,485,000 
2,615,000 
2,750,000 
2,890,000 
3,035,000 
3,195,000 
3,355,000 

Year 
 

2026 
2027 
2028 
2029 
2030 
2031 
2032 
2033 
2034 

Amount 
 

$ 3,530,000 
3,710,000 
3,900,000 
4,100,000 
4,310,000 
4,530,000
4,765,000 
5,005,000 
5,265,000 

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: 
 
"SHALL  GENERAL  OBLIGATION  PUBLIC  IMPROVEMENT  BONDS IN AN AGGREGATE  PRINCIPAL AMOUNT  NOT TO EXCEED $64,055,000 
BE  ISSUED  BY  THE  CITY  OF  ATLANTA  FOR  THE  PURPOSE  OF  PAYING  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 IN  THE  CITY  OF  ATLANTA, GEORGIA?" 
 
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. 
 
FOR  INFORMATION  ON  HOW  TO  REGISTER  AND  WHERE  TO  VOTE,  YOU  MAY  CALL  THE  FULTON  COUNTY  DEPARTMENT  OF  REGISTRATIONS  AND 
ELECTIONS  AT  404‐612‐7020  OR  INQUIRE  AT  THE  OFFICES  OF  THE  FULTON  COUNTY  DEPARTMENT  OF  REGISTRATIONS  AND  ELECTIONS  AT  130 
PEACHTREE STREET,  SUITE  2186,  ATLANTA,  GEORGIA.  THE  FINAL  DAY  FOR  REGISTRATION TO  VOTE IN SUCH ELECTION SHALL BE FEBRUARY  17, 2015.  
EARLY VOTING OPPORTUNITY SHALL BE FEBRUARY 23, 2015 THROUGH MARCH 13, 2015. 
 
This  notice is given  pursuant to  the authority of  a  resolution adopted  by the  Council of the City of Atlanta. 
 
CITY OF ATLANTA 
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson 
Municipal Clerk 

 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

business

Page 17A

Clockwise from top left, Big green Egg founder Ed Fisher and Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman cut the ribbon officially opening the company’s new headquarters. Pittman, left, presents a
proclamation to Fisher welcoming Big Green Egg to Doraville. The Big Green Egg kamado cooker is available in seven sizes. The ribbon cutting is held on the building porch, which is set
up for outdoor cooking and dining. The company’s only retail store is located at the new headquarters.

New Big Green Egg headquarters hatches
by Kathy Mitchell
Big Green Egg opened its new
Doraville national headquarters recently with a tour, a proclamation,
a ribbon cutting and—as one might
expect since the product is an outdoor cooker—a cookout.
Members of the Doraville police
force and fire departments and city
officials, including Mayor Donna
Pittman—who presented a proclamation welcoming the company to
Doraville—were present to open the
facility on DeKalb Tech Parkway.
Among those at the festivities
was Ed Fisher, who founded the
company in 1974. Fisher had traveled
to Asia when he was in the military
and found a number of items there
he thought might import successfully. Among them was a cooker said to
have been in use in Japan as early as
the third century. He liked the taste
of food prepared in a kamado cooker
and speculated that other Americans
would too. Once he returned to civilian life, Fisher began importing the
ceramic cookers.
The company estimates that during the past 35 years it has sold more

than a million of the deep green oval
cookers in the United States, Canada,
Great Britain, The Netherlands,
South Africa and New Zealand. “It is
rather amazing that we’ve been able
to take a cooking concept virtually
unknown in the U.S. and catapult
it to one of the most talked-about
grilling and smoking products in the
country,” Fisher commented.
“There were problems with the
first ones,” Jodi Burson, director of
brand enhancement, acknowledged,
as she conducted a tour of the company museum—with early and prototype versions of the product—at
the new headquarters. “They were
too fragile and didn’t always hold up
under shipping or high temperatures.
The types of ceramics we use now
were developed by company engineers based on materials developed
by NASA for the space program.”
On the tour Burson addressed
a question she’s often asked about
Big Green Eggs: why are they priced
much higher than most other outdoor cookers? “As you can see,” she
said, “over the years they tried many
sizes, materials even colors before
developing the ones that are sold to-

day. They are so durable they come
with a lifetime warranty—you’ll
never have to replace it.
“It’s not just a barbecue grill;
it can be adjusted to precise temperatures for high-heat searing and
grilling or low-heat smoking and
baking,” she continued. “It’s a smoker
and anything you can bake in your
oven at home you can bake in the Big
Green Egg.” To underscore the point,
food served at the grand opening
was all cooked on Big Green Eggs,
including meats, vegetables, breads,
appetizer dips and desserts.
“The Big Green Egg isn’t just a
product; it’s a lifestyle,” Burson said.
She explained there are publications,
television programs, culinary schools
and fan events such as EGGtober
Fest, at which EGGheads—as fans of
the produce call themselves—gather
to show off their skills and exchange
recipes.
“We make a product that’s all
about fun and we want everyone associated with it, including our employees, to have fun,” Burston said
as she showed the office space that
includes a fitness center, a golf putting green, a library and indoor and

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

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

outdoor dining areas. The building’s
wide porch allows for cooking in
any weather since the Big Green Egg
must be used outside. Approximately
25 employees will be at the new
headquarters and an additional 10
will remain at the former headquarters in Tucker, which is now a distribution center.
The new headquarters includes a
culinary center where recipes are developed and classes and demonstrations are conducted. It also houses
the only company-owned retail store.
Big Green Egg products are usually sold at hardware and specialty
stores. The retail area in addition to
the cookers, which come in seven
sizes, has dozens of “eggcessories,”
including thermometers, skewers,
mitts, flavor injectors, utensils, seasonings and baking stones. There
are cookbooks and the item the Big
Green Egg culinary staff says is a
must have—100 percent organic
lump charcoal, which Burson said is
environmentally friendly and results
in food without chemical tastes or
smells.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Education

Page 18A

Georgia Piedmont Technical College President Dr. Jabari Simama delivers his state of the college speech to students, faculty, community leaders, public officials and others.

Georgia Piedmont database student Frederick Johnson sings America the Beautiful following the
welcome and presentation of colors.

Stephanie Jackson, 2015 GOAL award
recipient, greets guests and talks about
her experiences as a student at Georgia
Piedmont.

Director of Human Resources Lolita
Morrison welcomes attendees to the
state of the college and spring convocation.

College president delivers state of the college
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
“The state of our college is
strong and we are on our path to excellence,” President of Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) Dr.
Jabari Simama said.
On Feb. 19 Simama shared his
vision for the future of the college,
gave statistics and outcomes for recent graduates, highlighted community efforts, among other points in
his state of the college address.
According to Community College Week’s rankings from the 201213 academic year, GPTC holds the

34th spot of 50 top colleges based on
enrollment throughout the United
States of America.
“The growth indicates that the
community has confidence in the
quality of education that we provide,” Simama said.
“Students believe that when they
walk into our doors they are walking into infinite possibilities of great
careers, an improved quality of life
and the pursuit of the American
dream,” he added.
Simama announced plans for
a new campus that will open this
summer on Wesley Chapel Road in
Decatur.

The new campus will be located
in the former Everest Institute. The
91,124-square-foot institute opened
in 2009 and closed in 2012.
“We are planning to bring an
adult education campus there with
the summer term of 2015. We will
offer our most comprehensive adult
education program available, including accelerated opportunities
for employment,” said Simama.
“We also plan to open an entrepreneur and business development center in conjunction with the
DeKalb Development Authority, as
well as provide community space for
meetings and events, much needed

in that part of the county,” he said.
Simama said the college will
bring practical and relevant adult
education closer to the community,
including training in healthcare
technology, information technology,
practical nursing, early childhood
education, diesel mechanic, welding,
certified engineering technician,
computer programming and film
and set design.
GPTC will offer courses at Wesley Chapel and other campuses to
assist dropouts to start college and
work on their diplomas.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Education

Page 19A

District promises to fix
problems with school
choice enrollment
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Technical problems can
be disastrous.
DeKalb schools have had
a firsthand experience this
year with its school choice
online enrollment.
School choice options
for the DeKalb County
School 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 lottery.
This year, the school
choice enrollment period
opened on Feb. 2 for paper
applications, only. Online
applications were to be accepted beginning Feb. 9, but
technical issues put a halt in
the process.
Parents sounded off

through social media about
problems with the DeKalb
County School District’s
new online school choice
application process, which
ends on Feb. 27.
“I still can’t even get
logged in!” wrote one parent
on Facebook.
“To say we are frustrated
is an understatement!!!!”
wrote another.
DeKalb school board
member Stan Jester said,
“I’m very disappointed
about the rollout of school
choice.”
Jester said he has heard
from some parents and
shared their complaints on
his blog.
“I realize technology is
difficult, but we spend a lot
of money on IT. I expect
these systems to work the
first time,” Jester said.
DeKalb County school
Superintendent Michael
Thurmond issued a written
apology on Feb. 11 and addressed the issue in an inter-

A screenshot of the DeKalb County School District’s ePortal website for school choice options.

view with television station
11Alive.
“We apologize to any
parent who’s had difficulty,”
he said. “We have to work
through the problems, and
we’re doing better every day.
Hopefully next year all the
bugs will be worked out.”
Thurmond blamed the
problem on a spike in interest and applications.
The process has been
so problematic that the district dedicated five different
phone numbers for parent
technical support.
But the TV station re-

ported it called every number on Feb. 13 and couldn’t
get through to anyone.
The school district provided 11Alive with copies of
emails from parents praising
staff members who’ve been
handling complaints.
“I just wanted to write
you and tell you about the
great customer service I
received with my school
choice application,” Sean
Jacobs wrote in the report.
“The staff has really been
helpful.”
District officials said
staff will take 30 days to go

through the applications and
clean up any errors before
the lotteries start.
Many of these programs
are so popular the district
has to pick names through a
lottery to see who gets in.
As of Feb. 13, the district
had processed 3,424 online
applications and 1,347 paper
applications.
The contact information for the Parent Technical
Support Center is posted
on the website: dekalb.k12.
ga.us/school-choice and on
the ePortal.

Students organize community health clinic
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
A simple volunteer assignment prompted Communities
in Schools’ caseload students to
organize a health clinic at Cross
Keys High School to address
health needs in their community.
“I think that this clinic was
important to let people know
what’s going on in our community and there are few people
that know about these organizations and here they can learn
more and prevent diseases,” CIS
student Lesly Zuniga said.
“It gives people the opportunity to get help if they need it,”
she added.
Students who participated
in the community service will
be honored at Communities in
Schools of Atlanta’s 11th annual
Choose Success awards dinner
on April 30 at The Commerce
Club, in Atlanta.
The Choose Success program
enables CIS of Atlanta students
in partner schools in Atlanta,
DeKalb County and Fulton
County to identify needs in their
communities, apply for small
grants, implement their projects
and document their results with
the support of CIS of Atlanta

staff.
The Choose Success experience allows students who face
various social and economic
challenges to be of service to
others in need.
Service projects included
health clinics, donation drives,
delivering food and more.
CIS Coordinator Federica
Teodori said because many of
the students there are immigrants and may not have health
insurance it gives the students an
opportunity to help their families.
CIS aims to improve barriers Cross Keys High School student receives free eye exam.
that hinder students from succeeding.
The organization places staff
members called site coordinators
in schools to assist in building
strong relationships with students, educators and community members. Coordinators are
trained to identify problems that
prevent students from succeeding and devise strategies to help
students overcome those issues.
The program’s goal is to improve attendance, behavior, and
academic performance, increase
parental involvement, increase
community partnerships and
support families that are in crisis.

CEPTA mental health and substance abuse services talk to student about treatment and therapeutic
services.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

TheChampion

classifieds

Page 20A
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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, Feb. 27, 2015

Sports

Page 21A

Southwest DeKalb graduate Lauren Jones died Feb. 17
from meningococcemia, a bacterial infection. Jones, 18,
was a member of the Oregon acrobatics and tumbling
team. Photo by Carla Parker

Lithonia had three wrestlers to place in the Class AAAA state wrestling meet. Photo provided

DeKalb teams do well at
state wrestling tournament
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Marist wrestling program had its highest finish at
the State Traditional Wrestling
Meet with a second place finish
in the Class AAAA meet.
Marist was outscored 220147.5 by defending state champions Gilmer County. Marist
had two gold medal winners to
lead them to the second place
finish. Senior Kenneth Brinson became a three-time state
champion after winning gold
in the 220-pound weight division. Brinson won with a pin
fall over Chris Henderson of
Ridgeland.
Senior Jack Kratzenberg
also brought home a gold
medal in the 195-pound weight
division. He defeated Kameron
Jackson of West Laurens in a
2-1 decision.
Senior Julian Grady
won the silver medal in the
170-pound weight division after losing to Gilmer County’s
Matthew Waddell in a 15-5 major decision.
Other top six finishes included fourth place finishers

senior Layton Self (152) and
senior Jack Trainor (285).
Marist sixth place finishers
were freshman Corey Langner
(106), sophomore Reed Bethune (113) and junior Robert
Larmore (182).
Lithonia had three wrestlers
to place in the Class AAAA
State Tournament to lead Lithonia to an 11th place finish
with 48.5 points.
Kirkglen Hudson won
bronze in the 120-weight division after pinning Woodland’s Grady Pastor. Shamel
Findley finished fourth in the
126-weight division, and Chris
Morgan placed sixth in the
132-weight division.
State champion Jamaal
Deng led McNair to a 10th
place finish in the Class
AAA State Traditional Wrestling Meet. Deng won the
152-weight class division after a
6-5 decision over Elbert County’s Kevin Almond.
Deng became the second McNair state wrestling
champion joining Khalil Williams, who won gold in the
120-weight division in 2013. He
also became the 323rd DeKalb

County wrestler to win a gold
medal in state competition.
McNair’s Derek Clayton
won silver in the 220-weight
division, and a sixth place finish by Justin Corley (182) gave
McNair a team total of 57.5
points for 10th place.
Southwest DeKalb was the
highest finisher from DeKalb in
the Class AAAAA team standings at 17th with 33 points.
Two-time state champion
Abdur Rahman-Yasin won silver in the 160-weight division.
He lost by a fall to Cambridge’s
Devin Kane.
Treylyn Meadors finished
sixth (170) to round out Southwest DeKalb’s medal winners.
Lakeside finished in the
Top 25 in the team standings of
the Class AAAAAA State Wrestling Tournament at 21st with
29 points.
Imani Heslop won a
bronze medal in the 220-weight
division after defeating Ryan
Willis (of Roswell by a 9-7
decision. Spencer Wilson finished fourth in the 126-weight
division.

Stop bullying now

Funeral set
for Southwest
DeKalb grad
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
University of Oregon freshman and Southwest DeKalb graduate Lauren Jones will be laid
to rest Feb. 28.
Jones, 18, a member of the Oregon acrobatics and tumbling team, died Feb. 17 after falling ill. According to The Register-Guard, public
health officials confirmed the cause of death
was meningococcemia, a bacterial infection.
Approximately 11 hours before her death,
Jones had been transported by emergency
responders to a local hospital, where she was
treated for a high fever and released, according
to a university spokeswoman.
Jones’ funeral will be held Feb. 28 at 1 p.m.
at Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church in Decatur. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to
help pay for Jones’ funeral and other expenses.
Jones was member of Southwest DeKalb’s
cheerleading and gymnastics team, and played
in the band. She was the captain of the gymnastics team and was named the most valuable
player her senior year. She was also MVP of the
varsity cheerleading squad.
Southwest DeKalb Athletic Director Kathy
Walton said Jones was more than a great athlete.
“She was very outgoing, everybody loved
her,” Walton said. “She was probably one of the
best to come through Southwest. I can’t think
of a more outstanding student that has come
through here.”
Walton said the school’s guidance counselors were handling grief counseling for students.
Jones was also captain of her club competitive cheerleading team, Cheertyme All-Stars in
Decatur. She was also a member of the Ellenwood All-Stars Cheerleading and Tumbling.

stand up • speak out

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Lithonia guard Kesean Warren scored 28 points in the 81-60 win over Mt. Zion-Jonesboro in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

Sports

Page 22A

Tucker’s Joshua Parker scored 11 points in the 77-51 win over Lee County in the first round of
the Class AAAAAA state playoffs. Photos by Mark Brock

Ten DeKalb basketball
teams advance to Elite 8
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The road to Macon continues for
10 DeKalb County basketball teams
after advancing to the Elite 8 in
their respective classification.
The quarterfinal matchups were
held Feb. 24 and 25. Scores were
not available at press time.
In Class AAAAAA, the Tucker
Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals
after defeating Lee County and
Archer respectively in the first and
second rounds. No. 6 ranked Tucker
hosted No. 8 ranked Hillgrove Feb.
25.
In Class AAAAA, three DeKalb
teams advanced to the quarterfinals.
The No. 5 ranked Stephenson girls
traveled to Sequoyah Feb. 24 for
an Elite 8 matchup. Stephenson

defeated Lithia Springs and No. 1
ranked Brunswick in the first and
second rounds respectively.
On the boys’ side, M.L. King
and Miller Grove were on the road
for quarterfinal games. The No. 1
ranked Miller Grove Wolverines
faced No. 8 Warner Robins Feb.
25 at Veteran High School in
Kathleen in a rematch of the 2014
Class AAAAA state title game,
which was won by Miller Grove.
The Wolverines defeated Chapel
Hill and Statesboro in the first and
second rounds to advance to their
eight consecutive quarterfinals
appearance.
The No. 5 ranked M. L. King
Lions faced Cedar Shoals Feb.
25 in the quarterfinals. The Lions
defeated Alexander and McIntosh in
the first and second rounds.

In Class AAAA, the No. 4
ranked Lithonia Bulldogs hosted
Cairo Feb. 25. The Bulldogs beat
Fayette County and Mt. Zion in the
first and second rounds to advance
to the Elite 8. Lithonia is in the
quarterfinals for the first time since
a Final 4 run in 2004.
For the girls, Marist and St.
Pius were on the road in the
quarterfinals. No. 3 ranked St. Pius
traveled to Buford Feb. 24 for a
rematch of the Class AAA title
games, which St. Pius won. St. Pius
defeated Sandy Creek and No. 1
ranked Jonesboro in the first and
second rounds.
No. 8 ranked Marist traveled
to Kathleen, Ga., to take on No.
4 ranked Veterans Feb. 24 in the
quarterfinals. Marist defeated
Whitewater and Griffin in the first

and second rounds.
In Class AAA, the No. 3 ranked
Decatur Lady Bulldogs hosted No.
3 ranked Kendrick Feb. 24 in the
quarterfinals. Decatur defeated
Josey and Ringgold in the first and
second rounds.
The No. 3 ranked Cedar
Grove Saints traveled to Macon
to take on No. 9 ranked Rutland
Feb. 25. The Saints knocked off
Josey and Calhoun in the first and
second rounds to advance to the
quarterfinals for the first time since
2002.
The No. 2 ranked Greenforest
Christian boys were back in
the quarterfinals after beating
Southwest Atlanta Christian 10331 Feb. 21. Greenforest hosted
Stratford Academy Feb. 25.

Emory men’s tennis falls to Trinity in indoor championship
The No. 6-ranked Emory men’s
tennis team saw its quest for the ITA
National Indoor Championships
title come up short Feb. 22 as it was
defeated by Trinity University in the
finals.
The No. 3-ranked Trinity Tigers
raised their dual record to 7-2 following a 5-4 decision over the Emory Eagles, who suffered their first
setback of the spring in five decisions. The National Indoor Champi-

onships were held in St. Peter, Minn.
Emory was at a 2-1 deficit at
the conclusion of doubles play with
the senior duo of Alex Ruderman
and Ian Wagner picking up Eagles’
point at the No. 1 spot with an 8-5
win over Jordan Mayer and Aaron
Skinner. It was Ruderman’s and
Wagner’s fourth win in five outings
this spring.
Junior Rafe Mosetick continued
his singles play at the competition,

registering the first singles point
and knotting the match score at 2-2
following a 6-4, 6-4 twin against
Mayer at No. 3. After the Tigers
nudged ahead after winning the
No. 2 match, Wagner bested Clayton Neiss at the No. 4 slot, 6-2-,
6-4, tying the contest at 3-3. Trinity moved to within one point of
clinching the championship when
Adam Krull came away with a 6-3,
4-6, 6-2 verdict over Ruderman at

No. 1 singles. The Tigers then secured the outcome with a win at
No. 5. Emory sophomore Josh
Goodman accounted for the final
point of the day with a 6-2, 6-3 win
over Chas Mayer at No. 6.
Emory is scheduled to return
to action on March 7 when it hosts
NCAA Division I opponent Troy
University.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Sports

Page 23A

Former Marist
baseball players
earn preseason
All-American
honors
Two members of the Birmingham-Southern
College baseball team who played baseball for
Marist have been named preseason All-America
by D3baseball.com.
Seniors Blake Stevens (Marist 2011) was
named Second-Team All-America, and senior
David Bourbonnais (Marist 2011) was named
Honorable Mention All-America.
Bourbonnais, a pitcher and infielder from Atlanta, earned D3baseball.com First-Team All-Region and Second-Team All-SAA honors last year
as a junior. On the mound, he led the Southern
Athletic Association with five saves as the Panthers’ primary closer, and was 10th in the league
with 39 strikeouts.
Bourbonnais was also third in the SAA with
322 putouts, playing mostly first base for BSC,
and he had a .272 batting average with 37 hits including five doubles and a triple.
Stevens, a pitcher also from Atlanta, earned
numerous honors last season. He was voted South
Region Pitcher of the Year by D3baseball.com
and the American Baseball Coaches Association
(ABCA), and also earned First-Team All-Region
honors from both organizations.
Stevens was the 2014 Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Pitcher of the Year and a FirstTeam All-Conference selection after leading the
league and ranking 24th in the nation in strikeouts (79). He was also second in the SAA and
fifth in the nation in ERA (1.02), was named BSC
Male Athlete of the Year, and was a College Sports
Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)
Capital One Academic All-America honoree.
The duo helped lead the 2014 Panthers to the
SAA Championship and a berth to the NCAA
South Regional last spring.

David Bourbonnais, a 2011 Marist graduate, was named preseason Honorable Mention All-America by D3baseball.com.
Photo by Cari Dean

Blake Stevens, a 2011 Marist graduate, was named preseason Second-Team All-America by D3baseball.com. Photo by
Robert Dean

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO INTRODUCE LOCAL LEGISLATION 
Notice is given that there will be introduced at the regular 2015 session of the General Assembly of Georgia a bill to 
incorporate the City of LaVista Hills in DeKalb County; to provide for a charter for the City of LaVista Hills; to provide 
for incorporation, boundaries, and powers of the city; to provide for general powers and limitations on powers; to 
provide for a governing authority of such city and the powers, duties, authority, election, terms, method of filling 
vacancies, compensation, expenses, qualifications, prohibitions, and districts relative to members of such governing 
authority; to provide for inquiries and investigations; to provide for organization and procedures; to provide for 
ordinances; to provide for codes; to provide for a charter commission; to provide for the office of mayor and certain 
duties and powers relative to the office of mayor; to provide for administrative responsibilities; to provide for 
boards, commissions, and authorities; to provide for a city manager, a city attorney, a city clerk, a tax collector, a city 
accountant, and other personnel; to provide for a municipal court and the judge or judges thereof; to provide for 
practices and procedures; to provide for ethics and disclosures; to provide for taxation, licenses, and fees; to provide 
for franchises, service charges, and assessments; to provide for bonded and other indebtedness; to provide for 
accounting and budgeting; to provide for purchases; to provide for homestead exemptions; to provide for bonds for 
officials; to provide for other matters relative to the foregoing; to provide for a referendum; to provide effective 
dates and transitional provisions governing the transfer of various functions and responsibilities from DeKalb County 
to the City of LaVista Hills; to provide for severability; to provide an effective date; and for other purposes.  
s/s Tom Taylor  
Representative Tom Taylor  
District 79 

Stop bullying now
stand up • speak out

          NOTICE OF INTENTION TO INTRODUCE LOCAL LEGISLATION 
Notice is given that there will be introduced at the regular 2015 session of the 
General Assembly of Georgia a bill to incorporate the City of Stonecrest in 
DeKalb County; to provide for a charter for the City of Stonecrest; to provide 
for incorporation, boundaries, and powers of the city; to provide for general 
powers and limitations on powers; to provide for a governing authority of such 
city and the powers, duties, authority, election, terms, method of filling 
vacancies, compensation, expenses, qualifications, prohibitions, and districts 
relative to members of such governing authority; to provide for inquiries and 
investigations; to provide for organization and procedures; to provide for 
ordinances; to provide for codes; to provide for a charter commission; to 
provide for the office of mayor and certain duties and powers relative to the 
office of mayor; to provide for administrative responsibilities; to provide for 
boards, commissions, and authorities; to provide for a city manager, a city 
attorney, a city clerk, a tax collector, a city accountant, and other personnel; to 
provide for a municipal court and the judge or judges thereof; to provide for 
practices and procedures; to provide for ethics and disclosures; to provide for 
taxation, licenses, and fees; to provide for franchises, service charges, and 
assessments; to provide for bonded and other indebtedness; to provide for 
accounting and budgeting; to provide for purchases; to provide for the creation 
of a community improvement district; to provide for homestead exemptions; 
to provide for bonds for officials; to provide for other matters relative to the 
foregoing; to provide for a referendum; to provide effective dates and 
transitional provisions governing the transfer of various functions and 
responsibilities from DeKalb County to the City of Stonecrest; to provide for 
severability; to provide an effective date; and for other purposes. 
_______________________________________ 
Representative Dee Dawkins‐Haigler 
District 91 

The Champion Free Press, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

local news

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