FRIDAY, March 20, 2015 • VOL. 17, NO. 52 • FREE

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

Quick Finder
Sports....................... 18-19A
Opinion............................ 5A


discuss District 5 seat

Bill could put State’s first lady
Druid Hills in reads to Woodward

local, 2A

local, 8A

education, 14A

College Football
Hall of Fame
A place for fans and non-fans
by Carla Parker
For the average college
football fan, the College
Football Hall of Fame and
Chick-fil-A Fan Experience
is like heaven on earth.
The state of the art facility is the closest thing to
actually attending a game
and getting the full experience. From hands-on exhibits to the actual hall of
fame, college football fans
will leave likely wanting to
come back.
However, the facility
does not only appeal to
college football fans. It is
designed for everyone—fan
or not—to enjoy.
“It’s a really special
place,” said John Stephenson Jr., president and CEO
of the College Football

Hall of Fame. “It’s a lot to
see and do in here, that’s
whether you’re 7 years old
or 70 years old; [there’s]
something for everybody
in here. This is an attraction first, with a hall of
fame that happens to be
one of the exhibits. It’s fun
for family, it’s fun for kids,
it’s even fun for people who
aren’t college football fans.”
The College Football
Hall of Fame, located in
downtown Atlanta, is a
three-story, more than
94,000-square-foot museum filled with college
football history and artifacts. Formally located in
South Bend, Ind., the Hall
of Fame opened in Atlanta
Aug. 23, 2014.
In 2009, Atlanta Hall
Management Inc. partnered
with the National Football

See Football on page 15A

The College Football Hall of Fame, located in downtown Atlanta, opened in Atlanta August 23, 2014. The most notable feature of the Hall is the Helmet Wall, which features
818 helmets of college football teams across the country. Photos by Carla Parker






Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015








Commissioners, interim CEO discuss District 5 seat
by Andrew Cauthen
For approximately 20 months
there has been no one sitting in the
DeKalb County District 5 seat on
the Board of Commissioners.
The Board of Commissioners
have voted several times, but have
been unable come up with enough
votes to fill the seat. It 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.
At the March 10 board meeting,
commissioners had five finalists to
choose from: George Turner, president of the District 5 Community
Council; attorney Gina Mangham,
who ran for the DeKalb Board of
Commissioners in 2012 against
Lee May; Kenneth Saunders III, a
member of the DeKalb Parks Bond
Advisory Committee; Kathryn Rice,
leader of the movement to incorporate the proposed south DeKalb city
of Greenhaven; and Markus Butts,
a member of the DeKalb Planning
The closest commissioners got
to choosing an interim was the tied
vote for Mangham. May broke the
tie with a “no” vote, saying, “those
who would support her nomination

here are doing so because they think
she would come against anything
that I would desire.”
In phone interviews, The Champion asked commissioners about
the cause of the polarization of the
board and what it will take to get a
District 5 commissioner.

What is the cause of the
polarization on the board?
District 1 Commissioner Nancy
Jester, the newest member of the
board, said her views are not polarizing.
“My position about the District
5 representative is that we’ve heard
from a lot of different people on the
subject,” she said. “We’ve heard from
the different elected officials, but I
maintain that we haven’t heard the
voice of the voters in District 5. I
think they deserve an election.
“Right now we’re in a situation
where that can only if Lee May were
to resign so that an election can be
held,” Jester said. “That is definitely
my preference for how that gets
filled. I don’t view that as polarizing;
I view that as empowering the citizens of District 5.”
District 2 Commissioner Jeff
Rader said, “It seems as though...
three of the commissioners are
absolutely supporting May’s [nominee].
“What we’re trying to do is make

the selection on behalf of the people
of the fifth district,” Rader said.
“Some of us would rather have them
vote themselves. Some of us would
prefer that person to be an independent person and some of us would
prefer [the interim commissioner]…
to be aligned with and vote in the
interests of the CEO.”
“All I’m looking for is someone
who’s not a proxy of the [interim]
CEO,” he said.
Commissioner Sharon Barnes
Sutton, who represents District 4,
said the polarization is being caused
by “political reasons.”
“First of all, with that seat vacant
they have more power to control the
county,” Sutton said. “I’m talking
about Jester, Gannon and Rader.
“I think that there is an agenda
to make the county look bad because Rader has aspirations to be
the CEO, and he has to appear as if
everything is falling apart and that
he’s going to come in and save everybody,” Sutton said. “I think that
they’re purposely being disruptive.
There is a concerted effort to ruin
the reputation of the county, the
leadership in the county and especially the other commissioners. I
think that’s appalling.”
Super District 6 Commissioner
Kathie Gannon said, “We’re not
polarized in everything. We’re polarized on ethics, reform kinds of
things,…and around this [District

5 issue] because those are powerrelated issues.
“I know people want to say it’s
Black and White, but…I think it’s
power,” Gannon said.
For Super District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson, there is no polarization on the board.
“I don’t think it’s polarization; I
think it’s more power,” Watson said.
“There’s some things that have been
getting done. The balance of power
right now is what the problem is on
the board.
“There [are] some members of
the board that have never had an
opportunity to lead the board or
to make decisions that affects the
board or DeKalb County,” Watson said. “They are utilizing that
strength right now.”

What is it going to take to get a
District 5 commissioner?
When asked what it will take to
get a District 5 commissioner, Jester
said May should resign his commission seat.
“I think that would be the best
thing for District 5,” Jester said. “In
lieu of that, it appeared on our last
board meeting that one of the candidates could have gotten four votes
had Lee May voted with three commissioners. There could have been
a representative seated at the last

See Commissioners on page 6A

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March 26 – May 2

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fee waiver per household.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 3A

Once a week trash pick-up coming to DeKalb and Chamblee
by Andrew Cauthen
Say goodbye to twice-aweek trash pick-up.
On March 10, the
DeKalb County Board of
Commissioners approved a
plan of the county’s sanitation division to switch to
one-day-a-week solid waste
and recycling collection. The
plan also includes uniform,
county-provided trash containers for residents.
“This is a historic vote,
and I am pleased that we
can move forward to ensure
efficiency of our operations
and confirm our need to remain fiscally responsible in
the face of rising operating
costs,” said interim DeKalb
County CEO Lee May.
May recommended the
plan to commissioners after
an analysis of customer feedback from a three-month
pilot program last year. More
than 28,000 residents participated in the pilot program
in unincorporated DeKalb
County and the cities of
Brookhaven, Chamblee,
Dunwoody and Lithonia.
DeKalb County sanitation director Billy Malone describes proposed changes to the county’s sanitation service
at a news conference last year. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
According to the data,
more than 80 percent of cusThe program also will
community about the saniwork comp claims for our
tomers in unincorporated

DeKalb and the four cities
Commis“This is an upgrade for
support the initiative.
services,” Watson said.
Under the new plan,
Public Works
residents will receive a stantion
that it will
dardized, 65-gallon green

county-provided trash con“After careful delibera“I think we have a
sanitation schedule on April
tainer and all waste (solid
waste, recycling, and yard
“Residents are recycling
trimmings) will be collected

and discarding less,
on the same day. Residential
new once-a-week
customers will not experiwe
allows Chamblee
ence a rate increase.

to utilize its resources more
cost-efficiently,” stated a
news release. “We will continue to provide the same
high quality service residents
have come to expect while
reducing sanitation equipment and maintenance
Chamblee residential
sanitation customers will be
provided a 95-gallon cart for
sanitation, which will be delivered before once-a-week
service begins. Residents can
also request a 35-gallon cart
for recycling, but can continue to use their 18-gallon
bins. A limited number of
65-gallon carts will be available by request on a firstcome, first-served basis for
those who generate less garbage, or who recycle more.
The once-a-week service
model in Chamblee will roll
out in two phases. Residents
in Phase I began receiving
their 95-gallon roll carts beginning on March 16. Phase
I includes the areas north of
Peachtree-DeKalb Airport to
the I-285 access road (Savoy
Drive); east to the Doraville
city limits and west to the
Brookhaven city limits. The
sanitation change for Phase
I is scheduled to begin on or
around April 1.
The change for Phase II
is scheduled to begin on or
around July 1. This phase
includes the areas south of
Peachtree-DeKalb Airport
to the I-85 access road; east
from the Doraville city limits
and west to the Brookhaven
city limits.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 4A

Many boys feel like prisoners in school
My first-grade grandson
has told me several times
that he hates school.
He is a nice, sensitive
kid who is really good with
his hands. Show him a
picture of a Lego creation,
and he can make it. He is
really interested in making
things. Recently, he drew
Andrew Cauthen
a diagram of a treehouse
he wants us to make. He
Managing Editor
presented it to me one day
along with a cutout of the
proposed treehouse comstatements from high school
plete with doors and winboys who I’ve tutored over
dows that open.
He loves books and learn- the years: school is a prison.
First-grade seems too
ing new things, yet he hates
early to already be disilluschool. Recently he said he
feels like he’s in prison walk- sioned about school; he has
a long way to go before geting around with chains on
his ankles. I’ve heard similar ting a high school diploma.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, boys are
30 percent more likely than
girls to flunk or drop out of
school. They are four to five
times more likely than girls
to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder. When it comes to
grades and homework, boys
are outperformed by girls in
elementary, secondary, high
school, college, and even
graduate school. Women
outnumber men in higher
education with 56 percent
of bachelor’s degrees and 55
percent of graduate degrees
going to women.
Why is this happening to
our male students? One major reason is the way is how

most boys learn and how
schools teach.
Study after study shows
that most boys are active
learners. Boys are usually
more active than girls and
have more trouble sitting
still for long times. Go to
any daycare or elementary
class and watch the students.
The boys are the ones “cutting up” and getting in trouble with teachers who are
predominantly women.
Boys need to move. They
need to tear things up, explore, jump and run and
tumble, and test the limits
of their physical skills. But
many schools, including
here in DeKalb County, have
cut down on recess, outdoor
play, physical education time

and the like.
They are labeled “bad”
because they won’t sit still,
and they get yelled at by
teachers. I hear this practically every time I go to an
elementary school. Overworked, underpaid teachers
get easily frustrated with
young, active boys who learn
best when they are moving.
Boys feel locked up and
stifled when they are constantly told to line up, sit
down, be still and shut up.
School feels like prison to
them. Boys not only enjoy play, they need it. And
teachers and schools that are
the most successful are the
ones that address the needs
of all their students.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

This has to stop now!
“This has to stop now!”
former DeKalb County
Sheriff Thomas Brown, on
Facebook on Feb. 27, following revelations of the
latest DeKalb County government scandal.
Following the murder of
former Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown (no relation)
by the incumbent Sheriff
Sid Dorsey, as well as his
subsequent conviction, and
the special appointment to
fill the unexpired term of
Derwin Brown, I credit and
thank then DeKalb Public Safety Commissioner
and later Sheriff Thomas
Brown for turning around
that beleaguered and struggling department, moving
our DeKalb Sheriff’s Office
from worst to a series of national ‘firsts.’
In DeKalb, as the shoes
continue to drop faster than
coming off the assembly
line at a Nike factory, along
with declining voter confidence and citizen committees racing to form new
cities at the pace of Olympic
sprinters, Brown remains a
calm and steady voice asserting that we clearly and
simply deserve better than
we are getting from our local government. 
In response to reports
that the highly regarded
chairman of DeKalb’s
Development Authority,
Vaughn Irons, is able to sit
in that chair, voting on and

county purchasing office
(no den of angels itself)
were ignored–apparently
fraudulent document which
no one wrote which no one
will admit to signing in draft
stamped form, and not a final version was accepted as
actual. The vendor in question not only receives contracts, but comes to be chair
Bill Crane
of the board which oversees
the incentive bonds and big
money bucket.
Okay, I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on
awarding his own company, TV, but Mr. Irons acknowlAPD Solutions, county and
edges seeking such a review
federal grant funds, due to
and ruling from the ethics
the existence of a potentially board and county attorney
fraudulent and obviously
as far back as 2009. So let’s
unfinished DeKalb Ethics
assume honesty here, as
Board opinion, one’s rethere were at least percepsponse at this point is left to, tions of a conflict of interonly in DeKalb.
est, and such a ruling was
But this Irons fiasco has
actually sought.
more layers than a Vidalia
Where is the genuine
Onion, and with each peel
answer to the 2009 query? 
there is almost another reaWe know things can take
son to cry.
a while in DeKalb, espeFrom recent editions of
cially permitting, but six
The Atlanta Journal & Con- years have passed to get this
stitution, as well as WSB’s
memo together.
Channel 2 Action News,
If anyone was unclear on
‘An invalid possibly forged, the reality/genuine version
legal document paved the
of the fraudulent document,
way for a DeKalb official to how is that question not
win a million dollar county
settled first, before handing
the vendor/applicant $1.5
So again, in case you are million in county funds,
not following local news
placing said person on the
coverage of this latest undevelopment authority and
folding scheme:
other later higher positions
After concerns/comof authority, responsibility
plaints regarding conflict
and power?
of interest from within the
If a county commissioner

has reportedly been serving as a paid consultant for
several years, supposedly on
matters in other states and
outside of DeKalb County
to this same vendor, could
we please see a list of projects or jurisdictions where
said commissioner’s intellectual powers and expertise
outside of DeKalb County
have been helpful for that
same $6,000 per year?
I’m sure in the proper
venue later there will be a
much longer list of questions, but these three are a
pretty good place to start.
To start digging our way
out of this hole is going
to require leadership from
folks who do not play politics primarily based upon
race, and who can view
DeKalb through the prism
of seeking the greater good
for all 700,000 of our citizens, as well as hopefully a
demonstrated track record
of prior achievements and
And given that DeKalb’s
jail is the nation’s third
largest, perhaps we should
consider prepping a minimum security floor on one
of the wings and requiring
a direct daily feed of prioryear county commission and
school board meetings on
the ward block TV. 
Perhaps to match the
cascading number of crimes
and appreciating that from
those of whom we expect
the most, they may also

bring themselves to experience the least. 
I know of at least one
person in our still beloved
county who can handle this
assignment, and he doesn’t
even need one bullet in his
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment
on a column at bill.csicrane@ 

F ree P ress
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 • 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.

John Hewitt
Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn
Managing Editor:
Andrew Cauthen
Production Manager:
Kemesha Hunt
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.
(404) 373-7779 x 110

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


Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015

Sheri McCurdy
Sheri McCurdy started
volunteering when she was
a child.
“My mother was my
Brownie Troop leader and
she took us to a nursing
home,” McCurdy, of South
DeKalb said. “I was scared
to death but the individuals
that were there were like
my great-grandmother and
they were so happy to see
us. And they made me feel
good and then the next opportunity I had also made
me feel good.”
Since then, McCurdy

said she has done “a lot of
volunteer work” throughout
her life. That commitment
to volunteerism led to Mc-

Curdy, a long-time employee of Morris, Manning &
Martin LLP, being awarded
the law firm’s Wells Award
for Outstanding Service.
The award goes to an
individual who has gone
above and beyond dedicating time and energy to community organizations and
the firm’s MMMPact community outreach. 
MMMPact is the firm’s
social responsibility initiative, which focuses on the
charitable and civic involvement of the firm, as well as

individuals within the firm.
A legal assistant, McCurdy has been with the
firm for 15 years. During
that time she has volunteered with March for
Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, Project Open Hand,
Hands On Atlanta, Trinity
House, Wilderness Works,
Kate’s Club, Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer
walk and the company’s
high school internship program.
“It really doesn’t get any
better than helping to give a

hand up, or assist in creating beauty,” she said. “I’ve
always been aware that it’s
a beautiful world with an
abundance of resources, but
that ugliness and lack exist.
If I can spend a little time
to help relieve that ugliness
and lack, for myself and
others, I’m all in.
“I am a very fortunate
person,” McCurdy said. “I
have a good family. I live
a good life. I like helping
people. I just think it’s what
you’re supposed to do if you

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

DeKalb’s commissioners have yet to fill the District 5 seat with a temporary commissioner. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Commissioners Continued From Page 2A
board meeting.
“I resent the notion that only
one candidate that the current CEO
wants is the only candidate that we
can come to an agreement on,” she
said. “If Lee is not to resign and the
commissioners are going to vote on
it, then there’s got to be some accommodation there.
Rader said the commission needs
to “pick somebody that…is not the
interim CEO’s nominee, for the reasons that I articulated from the very
The board also should not choose
someone whose selection would create a vacancy on another government
commission “to be followed by another appointment by an appointed
official,” Rader said.
“I voted for three nominees,”
Rader said. “”The majority of the
people that were up for a vote, I voted
“There is a longer list of people
who applied for that position and
we can still make nominations off of
that list based upon the law that was
passed that said that we had to advertise,” he said.
Watson said there needs to be “a
special election called by the legislature with local legislation endorsed

by the governor and signed by the
“We can have an election up and
running in the next 45 days,” Watson
said. “This same bill that we utilized
to select District 5 commissioner
[candidates] came from the Georgia
General Assembly in the last few
days of the legislature last year. Why
couldn’t we do local legislation and
have a special election to fill a temporary seat until such time we know
what is going to happen with the interim CEO and our CEO?
“That takes the politics out of it
with the commissioners,” he said.
Sutton said, “I have no idea how
this can move forward.”
“First, they [Gannon, Jester
and Rader] said it’s nothing against
George Turner, it’s just the process,”
Sutton said. “They were more concerned about the process than the
law. That’s hypocritical. Okay, we
went down the road. We rejected two
appointees so that the commission
could choose. So now George Turner
is unacceptable. There is no reason.
Gannon, Jester and Rader “don’t
want anybody who’s capable who will
be independent,” Sutton said. “There
is not a desire to put someone in this
seat by three of the commissioners

and they will do whatever it takes
to keep it open unless they can find
someone who will vote with them on
every issue.”
Gannon said she is surprised that
the board is “so entrenched.”
“Once it got past the process
problem, I guess I naively thought the
other members of the board would
want to embrace a totally neutral
candidate and that’s why I offered
Gina Mangham as a candidate,” Gannon said. “She’s the only person who’s
gotten votes in an election, so people
in District 5 certainly know her and a
number of them have voted for her.
“When the CEO rejected her with
a tie-breaking ‘no,’ and went on to
say his candidate is George Turner,
period, end of discussion, it confirmed for me what my position was
that I was hoping wasn’t true; that
they have a power bloc that they want
to put in play. They’ve had that power
bloc pretty much since 2009. They
don’t want to lose it, and they see us
as a threat.
“So where do we go from here on
this issue? I think we just push it back
to the state. We can’t do it,” she said.
“We go to the state legislature and
ask them to come up with a cleaner
process. Election is the real answer,”

Sutton said.

May said he won’t resign
In a statement to The Champion,
May said he isn’t planning to resign
the District 5 commission seat.
“The Board’s inability to reach a
consensus on a plethora of issues is
its own responsibility,” May stated. “
I have not had a vote since my appointment as interim CEO some 20
months ago, so I am not privy to the
communication (or lack thereof)
between commissioners on any of
their agenda items. 
“I can say as an outsider looking
in that Commissioners Jester, Rader
and Gannon are doing everything
they can to hold onto power while
they can, disenfranchising 140,000
residents in Southeast DeKalb,
without regard to the damage that it
does to the rest of the county,” May
“I have no plans to resign due
to the BOC’s collective inability to
make a decision.  If they can’t do
their jobs, they should be the ones
resigning,” he said.
Commissioner Larry Johnson
could not be reached for this story.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015




County recreation, parks and cultural affairs
to hold master plan meeting
DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and
Cultural Affairs department will host a master
plan meeting for Pendergrast Park, on Tuesday,
March 24, 7 p.m., at Briarcliff Wood Beach Club,
1830 Morris Landers Drive, Atlanta.
The meeting will determine potential uses
for the space and provide the community an
opportunity to give feedback regarding park designs and facilities to be developed in the park.
For more information, call LaShanda Davis,
public education specialist, at (404) 371-3643.

Avondale Estates
Garden club to host meeting
The Avondale Estates Garden Club will have
a meeting March 20 at 10:30 a.m. The club’s
newly elected officers will be installed at the
meeting. Janet McGinnis, director of the Redbud District, will present the installation program “The Forty Shades of Green” and share her
experiences from living in Ireland. Guests are
welcome to attend. RSVP one week ahead of the
meeting by calling Virginia Kinchen at (404)
294-4553 or Ruth Osborne at (404) 299-1376.

City to celebrate Arbor Day
Brookhaven will celebrate Georgia’s official
Arbor Day March 20 at 1 p.m. with the transplanting of a tree in Blackburn Park II. An Arbor
Day proclamation will be read, and Native tree,
a tree spading company, will demonstrate how
larger existing trees are spaded and moved. A
tree from the Brookhaven Forest subdivision
right-of-way is being provided for the event and
demonstration. Free tree seedlings will be given
to attendees on a first-come basis. For more information, email kay.evanovich@brookhavenga.
gov or call (404) 637-0558.

Community service board to meet
The March 26 board meeting of the DeKalb
Community Service Board is open to all who are
interested in services for mental health, addiction and developmental disabilities. The meeting
will be held at 4 p.m. at 445 Winn Way, Room
421, Decatur.
The advocacy committee meeting will be
held in the same room at 3 p.m. and is also open
to the public.

The audit, finance and compliance meeting will be held in the same room on Tuesday,
March 24, at noon, and is also open to the public.
Those with disabilities in need of assistance
or accommodations to participate in the meeting can notify the community relations office at
(404) 508-7875.

DA to host PAWS for the Cause
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert
James will join a host of community partners
and animal lovers for the 2015 PAWS for the
Cause community awareness event on Saturday, April 18, at Glenlake Park, located at 1121
Church Street in Decatur. The event starts at 10
a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. PAWS for the Cause is a
collaborative effort in partnership with Planned
Pethood of Georgia, DeKalb County Animal
Services & Enforcement, DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office and other organization
to combat crimes against animals by increasing
awareness of animal neglect and cruelty.
Event attendees will be entertained by live
music, food vendors, pet specific vendors, a
moonwalk, dog performances, DeKalb County
Police Department K-9 demonstration and
more. An onsite veterinarian will administer
low-cost immunizations and microchipping.
DeKalb Animal Services and LifeLine Animal
Project will have puppies and dogs available for
Vendor booth rentals are $40. The event is
free and open to the public. Interested vendors
should contact Lyn Armstrong at lkarmstrong@ or (404) 640-9726 for additional details by April 3.

Keep DeKalb Beautiful to host household
hazardous waste recycling event

Keep DeKalb Beautiful (KDB) will host a
household hazardous waste recycling event on
Saturday, March 21, from 8 a.m. to noon. The
event will be held at the DeKalb County Sanitation Division’s Central Transfer Station, 3720
Leroy Scott Drive, Decatur.
Participants will have an opportunity to
properly dispose of dangerous household
chemicals that are no longer in use. Hazardous
materials such as aerosols, batteries, adhesives,
flammables, lawn care products, fluorescent light
bulbs, photo chemicals, artist supplies, and paint
and paint-related products will be accepted.
Items such as agricultural waste, ammunition,
pharmaceuticals, radioactive materials, and biohazardous and biomedical waste will not be accepted. Participants will be limited to 10 gallons
of paint per vehicle.
Participation is free and open to DeKalb
County residents only. Proper identification
to prove DeKalb County residency may be requested.
Keep DeKalb Beautiful is a unit of the
DeKalb County Sanitation Division. For more
information on this event or how to plan a beautification project with KDB, contact KDB at
(404) 371-2654 or, or

Page 7A

Stone Mountain
Touch-a-Truck set for Greater Hidden Hills
The DeKalb County Police Department,
fire rescue department, watershed management
and sanitation departments will participate in
a Touch-a-Truck event in the Greater Hidden
Hills community.
The event will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March
21, at the corner of South Hairston and Redan
roads, next to Zaxby’s restaurant.
“Touch and explore emergency, construction and service vehicles,” states an announcement about the event. “Enjoy live entertainment
and meet local business owners. This fun family
event is for kids of all ages, and it is free!” 
Local businesses and entrepreneurs may set
up tables for a small fee: contact GHHCDC@ or call (508) 591-3526.
All proceeds benefit The Greater Hidden
Hills Community Development Corporation,
a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to helping the
community prosper and thrive. This volunteer
organization represents the area on zoning matters and advocates for attractive business development that meets our residents’ needs.
The rain date is scheduled for March 28, 11
a.m. to 2 p.m.

Program assists students with GED
The DeKalb County Juvenile Court, in partnership with DeKalb Workforce Development,
has recently been charged to service out-ofschool youth, ages 16 to 21, in DeKalb County.
“The goal of the Youth Achievement Program (YAP) is to provide the services to DeKalb
County youth to aid in the completion of their
education and provide the tools necessary to
ultimately lead to a strong and responsible adulthood,” states an announcement from the program.
The YAP Program will provide GED classes
which include one-on-one tutoring, literacy
enrichment, classic literature and projects. The
program also provides job readiness training
which includes leadership development courses,
MS Office Suite, typing classes and a customer
services certification class. Each participant will
have a case manager who completes an individual plan that will allow for the youth and young
adults to take steps toward completing their educational, training and career goals.
Enrollment is underway for this program.
For more information, email or call (404) 294-2000.


Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015

Bill could put Druid Hills in city of Atlanta
by Andrew Cauthen
Druid Hills voters could have a chance to determine if they want to be annexed into the city of
On March 10, Rep. Pat Gardner, a Democrat
representing District 57, introduced a bill in the
State House of Representatives that would allow
voters to decide on annexation.
In a March 13 statement, interim DeKalb
County CEO Lee May called the bill “unprecedented.”
“The delegation to the city of Atlanta has no
legal authority to annex territorial boundaries outside of its jurisdiction,” May stated. “The General
Assembly should immediately expound on who has
jurisdiction, and clarifying such legislative proposal
is within the jurisdiction of the DeKalb County
May stated that “there have been no studies to
determine the impact this annexation will have on
citizens of DeKalb County or the city of Atlanta.
“There has been no consideration given to
those residents in Druid Hills whose taxes will rise
as a result of the loss of their current exemptions,”
he stated.
The boundaries of the proposed annexation
area overlap the proposed boundaries for the city
of LaVista Hills.
“The flawed legal definition of the boundaries
is likely to yield unintended consequences,” May
Additionally there has been “no analysis or
consideration…given to the disruption this annexation will cause our DeKalb County and Atlanta
Public Schools,” May said.
“What we do know is the residents in the Druid
Hills community will be impacted by an increase in
taxes and fees as a result of this unlawful annexation,” May said. “We do not know by how much,
and that is a problem.”
May called on legislatures to “delay any action
until the proper studies and testimonies of those
affected by this attempt to change local government
are obtained.”
“Let’s take the necessary time to debate and
analyze this issue in a more appropriate manner,”
May stated.
Together in Atlanta, a group of residents concerned about the state of governance in unincorporated DeKalb, is supporting the annexation.
“We believe the best option is annexation into
Atlanta,” states a post on the group’s Facebook
page. “It is Together In Atlanta’s belief that the city
of Atlanta will provide superior governance, services, and a stronger future for our neighborhoods
and communities.
“We are extremely pleased that a bill for a proposed Atlanta annexation has been filed and our
communities look forward to the opportunity to
vote on whether to formally join the city we consider home, Atlanta,” states a post.
The group states that the proposed map will be
further revised, particularly in the Briar Vista Elementary zone.
Those borders are being negotiated with LaVista Hills proponents to maintain as much of the
current Briar Vista Elementary zone as possible,
“while respecting the desire of the Beth Jacob community to join LaVista Hills. Legislators, volunteers, and the reapportionment office are working
diligently to arrive at final borders,” a Facebook
post states. 

A recently introduced bill would give Druids Hills voters the chance to be annexed into the city of Atlanta.
TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2015 AT 7:00 P.M.
ADDRESS: 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia 30319
The following Traffic Calming Petition involving streets located within the City of Brookhaven is scheduled for
Public Hearings as stated above.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 9A

Kay Evanovich, Brookhaven’s arborist and land development inspector, explains the city’s tree ordinance to residents. Photo by Carla Parker

Brookhaven addresses tree ordinance concerns
by Carla Parker
Balancing new development while preserving trees
can be a difficult task, but
Brookhaven officials are trying to do that through a tree
The city held its first
“Brookhaven 101” workshop
March 16, which focused on
the city’s tree ordinance. The
workshop was designed to
explain how the ordinance
guarantees the right level of
tree preservation. A presentation was shown about development and its relationship to the tree ordinance.
In August 2014, the city
council adopted a revised
tree ordinance designed
to preserve the city’s tree
canopy, protect the wooded
character that older trees
create and respect the rights
of private property owners
to manage their trees.
Brookhaven staff and
city council began working
on a proposed ordinance
after determining that the
existing ordinance, inherited
from DeKalb County, was
“inadequate” for the needs
of the city and its residents.
Under the county’s ordinance, homeowners are
allowed to remove up to five
trees per year for any reason,
with no requirement for
replacement, management
of increased runoff or other
The city’s ordinance
protects specimen trees, cre-

ates standards for preserving
trees as development occurs,
discourages clear-cutting
and mass grading of land
during construction that
results in the loss of mature
trees. If tree loss cannot be
prevented, the ordinance
creates standards for replanting or financial payment.
However, there are still
concerns about the ordinance. Kay Evanovich, the
city’s arborist and land development inspector, said
some of the main concerns
she has heard from residents
had to do with boundary
trees, and the clear-out of
trees in front of new developments.
“We tried to go over
that with the presentation
as to what all has to come
in through that front yard,
and within a buildable area,”
Evanovich said. “So, a lot of
times it is difficult to save
trees at the front. So when
you see them clear that
house path and the front
trees it just looks like a clear
cut, but they’ve actually
saved [trees] on the boundaries.”
Brookhaven resident
Sally Eppstein said her
main concern is losing oldgrowth trees.
“I’m all for growth but
I’d like to save more of the
old growth trees,” Eppstein
said. “I would like for them
to save more inches per
acre, I think it should be increased dramatically. I think

they should work around
older champion trees or
heritage trees a lot more,
and just lower the density
because there is just too
much higher density coming in. That high density is
affecting our quality of life,
our air and our traffic.”
Eppstein said her concerns were not addressed in
the workshop.
“I keep hearing that they
want to consult with the developers,” she said.
Evanovich said the city
is receiving input from residents and developers to create a “workable ordinance.”
“We want to do the best
to preserve canopy, preserve
personal property rights

and still have good quality growth,” she said. “It’s
a balancing act. You try to
respect personal property
rights of both [home] owners—those who are already
existing and new owners–as
to what they want. For arborists in an urban setting,
for us it’s maintaining and
preserving healthy existing
trees and planting new trees
to come up so we have that
constant forest.
“We can’t just only preserve and never plant because then eventually those
trees will die on their own
for whatever reason, and we
wouldn’t have anything to
replace them,” Evanovich

Evanovich said the city
has planted more than 300
trees in parks and on city
properties. The city will continue to meet with residents
and developers to educate
them on the ordinance and
to gather more input.

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Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015

Developer releases designs for Decatur Crossing
by Carla Parker
Representatives from
Fuqua Development met
with Decatur residents
March 2 to discuss phase
II of the Decatur Crossing
Fuqua plans to build a
mixed-use retail center at
the site of Scott Boulevard
Baptist Church in Decatur.
The project will include a
bank, restaurants, and retail
Phase I, which was approved by DeKalb County
officials last year, includes
apartments and townhomes
and a coffee shop. According to a post on Medlock
Area Neighborhood Association, Phase II is currently
under consideration and in
the public feedback phase.
“Phase II plans had been
vague because there was
no certainty about Fuqua’s
ability to purchase homes
on Blackmon Drive and
extend the development;
those plans had included

Fuqua Development released its designs for Phase II of the Decatur Crossing project.

owner-occupied townhomes
as a buffer between the new
development and existing Blackmon homes,” said
Cathy Quinones of Medlock
Area Neighborhood Association. “With the Blackmon houses under contract,
Fuqua has decided to re-

shape Phase II to remove
the townhomes and include
additional rental apartments
built to specifications that,
should the market later demand it, will allow conversion to condos.”
Some of the key elements of Phase I and Phase

II combined include 80,000
square feet of retail space,
15,000 square feet of business space, and Phase II of
the development will have
450 one-to two-bedroom
units. Phase I includes more
than 250 units in a five-story
apartment building.

Fuqua told residents
that parking for the residential units will be gated
in multilevel decks. Parking
spaces will be assigned on
the same level where the
tenant lives. Most parking
will be hidden from view
from the Scott Boulevard
and North Decatur Road
Traffic was a concern for
most residents when Fuqua
first announced its plans
of the development. Fuqua
representatives told residents at the March 2 meeting that there will be three
entrance/exit ways, and a
right turn in and right turn
out on Scott Boulevard, according to Quinones.
“A two-lane road will
transect the development,
connecting North Decatur
Road and Scott Boulevard,”
Quinones said. “It will align
to the proposed light at Suburban Plaza. Another light
and crosswalk will align
with the Blackmon Drive
entrance into the Medlock

See Fuqua on page 12A

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015




Friends of the park
Friends of Flat Shoals Park held
a dedication of the park’s community bulletin board and children’s
book box on March 7.
The community bulletin board
was an Eagle Scout service project
by Aurie Johnson with consulting
provided by carpenter Ron Evans
and labor by Boy Scout Troop 41
and parents.
Among those attending the dedication were DeKalb County Commissioners Stan Watson and Larry Johnson (District 3), DeKalb
school board member Vickie
Turner, and Maurice Hooks, a
representative of NBE Printing and
Shipping, one of the sponsors of


the bulletin board.
Other sponsors of the projects
include Pecos Mexican Cantina and
Friends of Flat Shoals Park. Artistic
design was provided by Lucretia
Jackson and Rochelle Callender.
Friends of Flat Shoals Park, located at 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway
in Decatur, is a group of community volunteers focused on safety,
park enhancements, programs and
events. Flat Shoals Park has a playground, fitness trail, five grill stations, pavilion/restrooms, gazebo,
four tennis courts and a clubhouse.
Photos courtesy of Paul Douglass.

Photos brought to you by DCTV
DCTV Channel 23

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through your EMMY Award-winning station

DeKalb County Gov

E-mail us at

Page 11A


Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015

Chamblee receives ARC grant
by Ashley Oglesby
The city of Chamblee
and MARTA received an Atlanta Regional Commission
(ARC) grant for $104,000
to fund a trail concept and
feasibility study on MARTA
property and extending to
destinations throughout
The funds will be used
to expand the Chamblee
Rail Trail.
Chamblee Mayor Eric
Clarkson said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our
community to partner with
MARTA to continue the
implementation of a trail
system that was planned in
ARC awarded $800,000
in its latest round of livable centers initiative (LCI)
grants to eight metro Atlanta
The LCI grants assist
communities to create new
plans for quality growth and
help develop policies that
support connected communities.
Since its inception in
1999, LCI has assisted 112
communities with more
than $194 million in planning and implementation

The 2015 LCI grant recipients are: Turner Field
Stadium Neighborhoods
Regional Center and Locust
Grove Town Center. Chamblee received one of six
remaining grants for supplemental studies to help LCI
communities implement
their existing plans or complete updates to older plans.
Clarkson said the project
has “been a long time in the
works” and has received a
lot of support from the community.
Clarkson said the expansion adds “quite a bit of connectivity.”
“A lot of folks that live
in the mid-city district and
downtown district like to
have that connectivity to
get over to the other side of
Peachtree Boulevard where
we have quite a bit of green
space including Keswick
Park,” he added.
“There are a lot of people in single family homes
in that area who enjoy the
connectivity to be able to get
over to all of the new businesses that are being built in
and around the MARTA station,” Clarkson said.
In a Feb. 25 press release
ARC Chairman Kerry Arm-

strong said, “LCI has helped
many communities across
metro Atlanta reinvent and
improve themselves since
our board established the
program in 1999.”
He said, “Our local government partners have used
these grants to create more
places that attract residents
and businesses, improving
their communities and the
entire region.”
The LCI program is
funded with federal transportation dollars. The grants
fund 80 percent of the study,
with the recipient making a
20 percent match.
“Communities all over
the region are eager to revitalize their town centers and
underutilized properties to
create places that foster a vibrant neighborhood feel and
environment,” said Doug
Hooker, ARC executive
director, in the announcement. “From urban transitional areas like the Turner
Field neighborhoods to bustling suburban downtowns
like Locust Grove, LCI
grants help communities
re-imagine what they can be
and then help make those
visions a reality.”

Police seeking Peeping Tom
by Ashley Oglesby
Dunwoody police are
asking the public to assist
in the search for a Peeping
Tom suspect believed to be
linked to several cases in the
Patrick Chiela, 23, is
believed to be homeless, but
in the Ashford Dunwoody
area near Meadow Lane
Road, according Sgt.
Andrew Fondas in a
statement released on March
Chiela has active

warrants for the felony
offense of Peeping Tom,
Fondas said. No details
about the alleged crimes
were released.
Chiela has been seen
wearing a black puffy
jacket or dark gray hooded
sweatshirt, black polo shirt
with black shorts or pants
with a white stripe down the
side, according to police.
Anyone with information
on Chiela’s whereabouts is
asked to contact detective
Sean Lenahan at (678)
382-6911 or sean.lenahan@

Patrick Chiela, 23, is believed to
be homeless, according to police.
Photo provided by Dunwoody

Continued From Page 10A

traffic,” she said. “Fuqua
seemed amenable to adding
Blackmon to their traffic
Residents also had questions about how pedestrian
safety will be addressed
when Fuqua announced its
plans. Fuqua told residents
that should Georgia Depart-

by Ashley Oglesby
City Schools of Decatur will begin a nationwide
search for a new superintendent following the March 10
announcement that Superintendent Phyllis Edwards has
resigned from the position
that she’s held since 2003.
When Edwards assumed
direction of the system,
CSD enrollment was around
2,500, near an all-time low,
with 25 percent of all fourth
graders leaving the system
entirely, usually going to private schools. Edwards subsequently closed two schools
and spearheaded a reorganization of the school system
into three (now five) K-3
schools and a 4/5 Academy.
Edwards is only the system’s ninth superintendent
since 1900.
Edwards said during
her comments at the board
meeting that she plans to
return to Florida, where
she spent more than two
decades in education before
taking the Decatur job.
Board Chairman Garrett Goebel said the board
will partner with an executive search firm or the
Georgia School Board Association to initiate a national
search for Edwards’ replacement.
The district is facing
the challenge of managing


increased enrollment. Enrollment projections for the
district over the next five
years call for a $100 million
project for facility renovations and new construction.
Plans devised by Winter Construction and Cooper Carry
design firm call for eventually adding 124 instructional
units (to the existing 53). The
school will be able to serve
2,409 students.
The first phase of planning began in 2011-2012
school year with the formation of an enrollment committee made up of parents,
subject matter experts and
staff members.
At the beginning of the
2012-2013 school year,
principals and instructional
personnel began developing
instructional program and
space needs, taking into consideration requirements from
the Georgia Department of

Pet of the Week


Fuqua will also conduct
a traffic study. Quinones
said the audience highlighted the high traffic at Blackmon Drive as commuters
cut through the neighborhood
“A Blackmon resident
noted that he has counted
400 cars/hours during peak

Decatur school
superintendent resigns

ment of Transportation decide to widen North Decatur
Road, Fuqua would adjust
its footprint to allow sidewalks.
Fuqua expects to complete the Decatur Crossing
project in spring 2016.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 13A

Church declares drive-through
prayer meets a community need
by Kathy Mitchell
There is a drive-through
on Columbia Drive where
patrons don’t pick up prescriptions or laundry and
are never asked if they
want fries. Those lining up
at Rainbow Park Baptist
Church each Monday evening are seeking someone to
pray with them.
The church’s drivethrough prayer program
started in 2011 as part of the
Rainbow Park’s Holy Week
(the week leading up to
Easter) activities, but is now
offered weekly all year. “We
saw that a church in another
community was doing this
and thought it would be a
good thing to offer. Our pastor has been very supportive
of the idea. Our community
certainly needs prayer. Every community does; you
just have to hear or read the
news to know that,” said
Hattie Washington, a deaDeacon Hattie Washington invites passersby to drive in for prayer with
con at Rainbow Park who
Rainbow Park Baptist Church’s “prayer warriors.”
was among those initiating
Although the church is
they become more comthe ministry.
fortable with us, will tell us
The church has as many
more about a special hurt
as 30 volunteer “prayer warcoming
that’s troubling them, but we
riors,” who pray with those
never insist that someone
who use the service. “We
tell us more than they want
started with about six people
to,” Washington noted.
and at one point we were
She recalled a woman
down to just three, but we
was planning her famhave worked with people to
and came for
make them more comfortfaiths

her family
able praying with people

past had
they may not know. We now
have a core of five or six
people, but as many of 30
famwho participate from time
to time,” Washington said.
The number of patrons
she wanted peace and unity.
at drive-through prayer also for prayer for their parents
“She came back afterward
varies widely, according to
and told us the reunion went
Washington. On an average
smoothly—not a single arevening, she said, there are
chilgument,” Washington said.
10 to 30 cars. “It depends on
“We often have people come
many things such as weather
back to tell us their prayers
and what else is going on.
were answered.”
There have been evenings
She cautioned that
when we had only one car,
whether at her
but we’re there to serve that
or elsewhere does
person,” she said.
a result. “We
Drive-through prayer

to change
normally is offered 5 to
comes from
6:30 p.m. standard time
his instruand 5:30 to 7 p.m. during
daylight-saving time. If
for their wives. I remember
those who need to take their
people are still in line when
problems to God, but it is
the hour and a half time
God who determines the
slot closes, the volunteers
outcome,” Washington said.
stay, Washington said. “We
She said there are no
never turn anyone away. If
plans for this year’s
someone drives up after we
(March 29
have actually closed, we still
4), but the
have prayer with them.” On

to exhot days, those coming for
prayer may be offered cold
special prayer need, when
prayer is offered.

County’s watershed
launches consent
decree website
DeKalb County’s Department of Watershed Management’s Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Division recently announced the official launch of its new consent decree
program website at
The CIP Division is overseeing a $1.345 billion countywide capital improvement program which includes the
repair and upgrade of the county’s water and wastewater
The site features general information about the program,
its associated infrastructure improvement projects and
an interactive project finder feature that allows visitors to
search for active CIP water and sewer construction projects.
The project finder allows users to search for projects
within a half-mile, one-mile or two-mile radius of a specific
address, as well as by commission district or keyword. Information available on each project includes location, budget,
schedule, description and current construction phase.
“The new website is one of many communication tools
we are using to ensure people are educated and well-informed about the projects included in the consent decree,”
said Kenneth Saunders, program director of the CIP division. “Continuous communication with the residents and
business owners affected by the improvement activities is
vital to the overall success of this program.”
The CIP Division also launched the “Consent Decree
Connection” quarterly electronic newsletter and a social
media campaign via Facebook at
DeKalb-County-Consent-Decree/611484352307733. The
newsletter features articles on current and recent projects;
the fats, oils and grease program; safety tips; and facts and
figures about the county’s sanitary sewer collection system.
Social media will be used as a real-time communication
vehicle to disseminate information to the public. The website, newsletter and social media are linked online for added
“By implementing the aforementioned communication
tools, the watershed department’s goal is to provide advance
notification of upcoming construction activity, traffic advisories, community meeting details and update the public on
the program’s progress on an ongoing basis,” states a news
release from the division.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 14A

Woodward Elementary School teachers, faculty and students take a picture with Georgia’s first lady Sandra Deal. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

State’s first lady reads at Woodward Elementary
by Ashley Oglesby

support of this goal and to promote statewide childhood literacy, the first lady will visit and
Georgia first lady Sandra
read to Pre-K students across
Deal was greeted by safety pathe state during March.
trol students Jeremy Avellane“My goal is to get them inda and Melissa Cambron when terested, have mini adventures
she arrived at Woodward Eland get them excited about
ementary in Atlanta on March
doing some things with their
12. Deal visited the school to
families and being able to talk
promote Read Across Georgia
about them and participate in
Month, a campaign that Gov.
reading. It’s important for the
Nathan Deal said supports
kids to understand that readincreased childhood literacy in ing can be a lot of fun, and they
the state.
can get a lot of information and
First lady Deal introduced
learn things if they just get inand read a new pre-K book, TJ’s volved in reading,” said Sandra
Discovery, written by teachers
at the Rollins Center for LanShe advised parents to
guage and Literacy at the At“practice, talk to their kids and
lanta Speech School to 40-plus
explain things to them.”
students in Woodward’s media
She added, “Don’t be afraid
or shy of acting out scenes to
A copy of the book will be
show the child what it really
given as a gift to every student
means to stretch your neck
in Georgia’s Pre-K Program.
or take a deep breath. Those
First lady Deal said, “The
things are easy to do and it
teachers, of course, will have to means something to the child.
teach the techniques of reading They won’t forget that because
and the kids have to practice at they tie all of those concepts
home because you have to prac- together in their minds.”
tice to get good at something
“The teachers can teach
so we have to have the parents
the techniques because they’re
help too.”
trained to know them. Parents
The Read Across Georgia
can just practice with their kids
campaign, launched in 2012
and expose them to opportuniaims to support the governor’s
ties to read and a lot of different
grade level reading initiabooks and subjects and if they
tive, which targets to have all
have that conversation with
Georgia third-graders reading
their child and explain things
at grade level or better by the
to them that plays a big part in
completion of third grade. In
teaching a child to read.”

Safety patrol students welcome Sandra Deal to the school.

Sandra Deal role plays a scared bunny from the new pre-K book TJ’s Discovery.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 15A

The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience features various exhibits is a three-story, more than 94,000 square feet museum filled with college football
history and artifacts. Photos by Carla Parker

Football Continued From Page 1A
Foundation to construct
and operate the new Hall of
Fame facility. The National
Football Foundation picked
Atlanta over Dallas to house
the new facility.
Construction began
in January 2013 on the
$40 million facility, and it
opened 18 months later. The
facility is filled with $15 million in exhibits.
“It’s new, it’s entertaining,
it’s engaging, it [has] some
stuff in there you can’t see
anywhere else, unless you’re
inside these four walls, and
that’s the whole point of this
attraction,” Stephenson said.
“We’re very, very happy with
it. The building is great.”
The two-hour “experience” begins as visitors walk
in at the entry tunnel, which
displays digital images of
players running onto a field
from 11 conference champions that are updated each

season. The tunnel opens
up to the main lobby area,
called The Quad, which is
anchored by the Helmet
The Helmet Wall features 818 helmets of college
football teams across the
“We have room to grow
for 50 more helmets,” Stephenson said.
Guests check in at the
registration desks in The
Quad, where they can register their favorite team. Once
a team is selected, the team’s
helmet illuminates and the
guest will have a personalized All-Access Pass credential, making their experience
unique to their favorite college football team.
The Quad also features a
large mural done by Atlanta
native Steve Penley.
Next to The Quad is the
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Skill Zone. The Skill Zone
allows guests to test their
football skills, from kicking
a field goal, to showing off
their throwing accuracy in
the quarterback challenge.
It also features an obstacle
course that tests agility and
The second floor features
all the “fans experience” exhibits, which open with the
Chick-fil-A Why We Love
College Football gallery,
a 52-foot long, multi-user
touch screen media wall.
The gallery also includes
trophy cases displaying the
new National Championship trophy, trophies from
the six bowls comprising
the College Football Playoff
and a sampling of individual
awards given each year to
players and coaches.
The Game Day Theater
includes the feature film
The Game of Your Life. The

film gives guests a behindthe-scenes look into the
experience of a game day, as
narrated through the perspectives of former players
and coaches.
The Coca-Cola Fans’
Game Day gallery chronicles
what it is like to experience
college football from the
perspective of its biggest
fans, with various exhibits dedicated to tailgating
from the game’s early years
through today, mascots,
bands, cheerleaders and
social traditions. The gallery also features the ESPN
College GameDay desk built
by The Home Depot, where
fans will be able to virtually
join ESPN analysts Chris
Fowler and Desmond Howard at the College GameDay
The Under Armour Evolution of Equipment exhibit
showcases advances made in

football equipment. There
are also exhibits that pay
homage to Historically Black
Colleges and Universities,
and the Service Academies
(U.S. Air Force Academy,
U.S. Naval Academy and
U.S. Military Academy).
The third floor features
the actual College Football
Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame
Exhibit features 10 virtual
reality displays where guests
can select video and images
of players and coaches from
their favorite school.
Admission for adults is
$19.99, children ages 3 to 12
can get in for $16.99, and seniors ages 65 and older, students and military personnel
and veterans can get in for
$17.99. Children younger
than age of 3 can get in for

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 16A

Retirees ask ‘where do we go from here?’
by Kathy Mitchell
Americans now have a
wide range of choices as to
where they will live in their
retirement years and some
of the choices they are making may be surprising, according to a recent Merrill
Lynch study conducted in
partnership with Age Wave,
Home in Retirement: More
Freedom, New Choices.
The study indicates that
most Americans cross “the
freedom threshold”—the
point at which their decision
of where to live is driven
more by their personal desires than by work or family
obligations—at age 61.
“How and where our
nation’s aging population
chooses to live will have
widespread implications on
the way homes are designed,
the resources people will
need, and how communities
and businesses nationwide
should prepare,” Andy Sieg,
head of Global Wealth and
Retirement Solutions for
Bank of America Merrill
Lynch, stated in notes companioning the study.
Merrill Lynch Senior
Vice President Howard Joe,
a Dunwoody resident and
financial advisor whose office is in Brookhaven, said
those approaching retirement would do well to think
through postretirement

living arrangements before
making an actual move.
“Sometimes people
dream of moving to the
mountains or to the beach
but don’t think about what
their life there would actually be like. I’ve had clients who moved into their
‘dream home’ then decided
it was impractical or too far
from family and others they
care about. If you move to
the mountains, for example,
can you get emergency
health care when you need
it even in periods of bad
weather?” he asked.
To move and then decide it was a mistake and
have to move again can be
very expensive. Everyone
should go into retirement
with a carefully thought
through plan,” Joe recommended.
He suggested that those
considering where they will
live in retirement ask themselves three questions:
“Who’s going to change
your light bulbs?” This question is designed to prompt
thinking about routine
chores that might become a
challenge as the householder
becomes less able.
“When you want some
ice cream, how are you going to get it?” This raises the
issue of access to things the
retiree—who may no longer
drive—might need or want.

“Who are you going
to have lunch with?” During working years or when
there’s family at home people become accustomed to
social interaction that might
not be there after retirement.
One of the most noteworthy of the study’s findings, Joe said, was what he
called “the downsize surprise.” “The assumption that
retirement means downsizing is not always true anymore. Some people remain
in the same size home and
some even move to larger
home to have room for
visiting family to pursue interests that they didn’t have
time for before retirement.”
The study indicates that
while 51 percent of retirees
move into a smaller home,
19 percent live in the same
size home and 30 percent
move to a larger home.
“People often find that even
when they move to a place
with less square footage
they may pay more in living
expenses because in-town
rents can be high and there
may be parking and maintenance expenses they didn’t
have before.
“What’s old is new
again,” Joe said, noting that
there are now many multigenerational homes and
people choosing to remain
in or move back to the communities they grew up in,

just as people did generations ago.
Whatever the retiring person decides is best
for him or her, Joe said, it’s
important to plan for it financially. Age 50 is neither
too soon or too late to plan
financially for retirement, he
The new trends in retirement have implications for
a number of industries, including real estate and home
improvement, Joe said.
“Those who remain in their
homes are likely to remodel
to meet their current needs.
Owners of split-level homes,
for example, may want to
climb the stairs less, so they
may establish a master bedroom on the ground floor
and enlarge a first-floor
bathroom. They may widen
doors to accommodate a
wheelchair or walker or
raise countertops for easier

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

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

Joe said that nearly half
of all spending on home
renovations is by homeowners age 55 and older. Nationally, this age group spends
approximately $90 billion
annually on home renovations.
He said a range of priorities should be considered as
people contemplate future
life stages. These may include affordability, climate,
proximity to family and
friends, recreational or cultural activities, opportunities for continued work and
access to good health care.
“DeKalb County, in fact
the entire metropolitan Atlanta area, is considered a
very desirable area for retirees,” Joe said. “The weather
is good most of the year,
sports and the arts thrive
here and there are excellent
healthcare facilities.”

Public Notification:

Our client is proposing to construct two 60-foot positive train control
towers (total height 63-feet) within DeKalb County, GA. The towers
will be located in the following locations along the railroad right-ofway: #41556 – at the intersection of Old Constitution Rd and Fayetteville Rd SE in Constitution, #37199–approximately 100 feet south of
the intersection of Henrico Rd and the railroad near Pull-A-Part Used
Auto Parts in Conley. Golder Associates on behalf of our client invites
comments from any interested party regarding the potential effects of
the project on historic properties. Comments may be sent to Angela
Kappen, Golder Associates Inc., N27 W23960 Paul Road, Suite 210,
Pewaukee, WI 53072 or Comments must be
received 30 days following published date (4/10/2015).

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015



Page 17A
For Prices, Deadlines and Information



Rates: $30.00 for up to 40 words, each additional word $0.60.
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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
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 18A

Stephenson pitcher Tekwaan Whyte prepares to throw a pitch.

Former DeKalb County baseball coach Alan Loper plays first base at the Braves Fantasy Camp. Photos provided

Former DeKalb baseball coach
participates in Braves Fantasy Camp

by Carla Parker
Like children who love
sports, Alan Loper dreamed
of playing professional baseball.
Although he never had
the opportunity to play
professionally, he did get
to see what it is like to be a
major league ball player at
the Braves Fantasy Camp in
The five-day camp,
which is held at Braves
Spring Training at ESPN’s
Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla., allows older Braves fans to get
the “ultimate” Braves experience.
Campers get their own
locker, a uniform and play
on the same fields the Braves
practice on.
“It’s just an opportunity
to see how the big leagues
are,” Loper said. “Playing
on a major league’s field is
pretty different than playing
on a high school field. [The
fields] are very well manicured. It’s like playing on
Campers also had the
opportunity to work with
former Braves players. There
were more than 10 former
Braves at the camp, including Javy Lopez, Steve Avery,
Sid Bream and Marquis
“Just talking with them
and picking their brains
about mechanics, how to

Alan Loper

hit a little better or throw
a little better, or ask them
about their experience in the
big leagues—that was pretty
cool,” Loper said.
Loper said he enjoyed
talking to Grissom the most.
“He was very approachable, very knowledgeable,
very low-key and very easy
to talk with,” Lober said.
Loper, 56, has been playing baseball since he was 8
years old at Midway Park.
He then went on to play
baseball for Towers High
School, where he began
his coaching career as well
as the junior varsity coach
in 1992. He went on to
Clarkston in 1997 to coach
its JV squad, where he spent
two seasons before going to
He coached Chamblee’s
JV baseball team from 1999
to 2014. He also plays in a
men’s senior baseball league,

where he just finished his
25th season. Loper pitches
for the 45 and older Bulls in
the Atlanta Area Men’s Senior Baseball League.
Loper, who played first
base in high school, got his
first shot at pitching at age
“It was sort of like a
dream,” he said. “I never
got the opportunity in high
school. I always thought I
had a pretty strong arm, and
when I went to try out for
this new league at age 30 I
thought I would try pitching and it has worked out
pretty well. I’ve won over
300 games.”
Loper said his love for
baseball started when he began playing sandlot baseball
in elementary school.
“I remember playing
there every day of the summer for years and years,”
he said. “That’s where it all
Although Loper wanted
to play in the major leagues,
he knew he did not have the
skills to make it.
“My foot speed probably
wouldn’t have allowed me
to play at a higher level,” he
said. “I’m pretty slow on my
feet, haven’t been blessed
with a lot of speed, but
pitchers don’t have to run a
lot so I’m OK with that.”
If he wants that major
league experience again he
can go back to the camp,
which he plans to do next

Columbia pitcher Keeshaun Clark allowed two runs, on eight hits with
four strikeouts and one walk on the mound.

Columbia’s Khaalis King (left) stretches out for first base as Tucker’s
Jonathan Beaver makes the catch. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Columbia, Stephenson
claim ‘Best of DeKalb’
victories in week 3
by Mark Brock
Two of the top state
tournament hopefuls from
DeKalb County flexed their
muscles in impressive victories at the 2015 Best of
DeKalb Showdown March 7
at Tucker.
Stephenson smashed five
home runs on the way to a
12-2 win over rival Redan in
the first game. Coach Marco
Jackson’s Stephenson squad
also romped to a 12-2 triumph over Newton County
March 4 in going 2-0 on the
week and improving to 2-1
overall for the season.
Coach Steve Dennis and
the Columbia Eagles scored

against Tucker for three runs
in the bottom of the first
and then to a 6-2 victory in
the nightcap.
Columbia received a
stellar pitching effort from
senior Keeshaun Clark in
its 6-2 decision over Tucker
March 7. Clark tossed six
and two-third innings, striking out four and allowing
four hits for the victory.
Senior Trent Nash paced
the Eagle offense, going 2-4
with two runs scored, two
RBI and one double. Seniors
Jalen Atterburry (2-4),
Justin Washington (2-4; 2
2B), Clark (2-3) and Jamal
Devine (2-3) also collected
two hits each.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015


Page 19A

Lakeside freshman pitcher Charlie Ludwick earned the pitching decision in his varsity debut Feb. 21 against Southwest DeKalb. Photos by Carla Parker

Lakeside freshman pitcher’s debut impressive
by Carla Parker
It is not often that a freshman
pitcher starts on opening day.
However, Lakeside freshman
Charlie Ludwick did and turned in
a solid performance. Ludwick made
his varsity debut on the mound Feb.
21 against Southwest DeKalb and
helped lead his team to a 10-1 win.
Ludwick earned the pitching decision, striking out two and allowing
only two hits, one walk and one unearned run over three innings.
He also finished 1-2 at the plate
with one run and one RBI. Ludwick
said he was a little nervous before
his debut.
“But on the other [hand] I had
to stay focused, play the game and

Charlie Ludwick

have fun,” he said
“It was awesome,” he said about

earning the decision. “I thought I
did well and thought I deserved it.
It felt really good. I was out there
having a good time, trying not to
do too much.”
Ludwick has had two other
starts this season and has a 2-1
record with a 7.22 ERA. He has
pitched 10.2 innings and has allowed 10 hits, 12 runs and has nine
He has done well behind the
plate this season as well. In eight
games, he has a .304 batting average, seven hits, seven RBIs and
three runs.
Ludwick played at Medlock
Park growing up. When he got to
Lakeside, he said, he did not think
he would be starting as a freshman.
With three starts under his belt, his

focus is on “staying more relaxed.”
He said he is also trying to be a
leader on the team.
“[Being a leader] is really good
for me in the future,” he said. “I’ve
been watching the seniors, who are
leaders, step up and lead the team.
They’re already rubbing off on me.”
With a 6-2 record after eight
games, the team is off to a good
start as it tries to fulfill its goal of
winning a state title.
“I hope we make it deep in the
playoffs,” Ludwick said. “We have
“State” on the back of our hats because that’s our goal every year.
Personally, I just hope to keep up
the good work this season and get
some good experience.”

Asia Durr named Gatorade Georgia Player of the Year
by Carla Parker
St. Pius X’s Asia Durr has again
been named the Gatorade Georgia
Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year.
This is the second consecutive
year Durr has won the award. The
award is given to a player from each
state based on athletic production
and impact in the 2014-15 season.

Each winner is also recognized for
his or her academic achievement
and exemplary personal character.
Durr led the St. Pius Golden Lions to a quarterfinal appearance in
the Class AAAA state tournament
and a 27-4 overall record, including
18-0 in regular season region play.
The 5-foot-10 senior guard averaged
30.0 points, 6.0 rebounds 2.1 assists
and 1.4 steals per game.

Durr shot 51 percent from the
floor and 46 points from three-point
range. Durr was named 2015 Miss
Georgia Basketball for the second
consecutive year by the Atlanta TipOff Club.
Durr finished her career as the
leading scorer in school historymale or female-with 2,764 points,
706 rebounds, 254 assists, 266 steals
and 75 blocks. She led the Golden

Lions to back-to-back state titles in
2013 and 2014.
Durr has also been a member of
the Team USA U16 and U17 teams
the past two summers where she
won gold medals with both teams in
2013 and 2014 respectively. She was
the MVP of the 2013 FIBA Americas
Cup Tournament.
Durr will continue her career at
University of Louisville.


Page 20A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 20, 2015

Pine Lake eliminates executive sessions
by Ashley Oglesby
On March 9 Pine Lake City
Council member George Chidi announced on his Facebook page that
the city had “essentially done away
with executive sessions from this
point forward.”
An executive session—sometimes called a closed meeting—is
used to discuss confidential information such as legal and personnel
“The city council of Pine Lake
has government bodies are allowed
to meet outside of the public’s presence only under a narrow set of
conditions,” Chidi wrote.
“For example, they can have a
private meeting to discuss hiring
and firing of employees, or to talk
about buying land, or to negotiate
their way through a lawsuit. They
can keep talk about a criminal
investigation or information that
might reveal medical information
private,” he stated.
Chidi wrote, “We have always
entered into executive session with
unanimous votes. And yet, one of
us has chosen repeatedly to disclose
the private information to people
who then broadcast it—in errorridden and slanderous form—on

the Internet.
So, we’re
done with
it,” Chidi
wrote. “We
no longer
trust the
body to be
able to keep
private our
about legal issues
or personnel matters or real estate
acquisition. I spoke at length about
the breach of trust and what it potentially costs us. A majority of the
council agrees. Until we know who
is responsible, these conversations
will be conducted in public, or not
at all,” he stated.
Chidi additionally stated that
the city council enacted a sixmonth moratorium on March 9 on
permitting in the uptown district
“while we reconfigure our building
code. We’re also going to circulate
a survey looking at building code
issues in the city, the first step toward making our code a little less
He added, “We also had a long
talk about boundaries. A Pine Laker got a little too familiar with the

clubhouse last month, and decided
to rewire the lights without permission. If the work was done well, I
probably wouldn’t care, but it turns
out to have been a bit of a hack job
and not up to code. It will have to
be redone. We’re billing the party
“We’re going to talk in a couple
weeks about getting the beach
house open to the public on a regular basis, so that residents can enjoy
the use of city property without always having to write a check for the
privilege,” Chidi said.
Many community leaders commented on the post, including
DeKalb County Board of Education vice chairman Jim McMahan
who wrote, “My perception of
elected officials breaking the ‘code’
of confidentiality from executive’s
sessions is there is no detriment to
wrong doing. Does the Pine Lake
City Council have a confidentiality
agreement with severe consequences for disclosure of information
from executive session? I suggest
amending code to include removal
from their elected position with
community service and monetary
fines! Clear expectations and accountability will deter ‘loose lips
that sink city ships.’”

LaVista Hills,
Tucker pass
by Carla Parker
Bills for the proposed cities of
LaVista Hills and Tucker passed the
Georgia House of Representatives
March 11.
LaVista Hills (HB 520) passed
129-37, and Tucker (HB 515) passed
128-31. Both bills moved to the Senate
for consideration. If approved, citizens
within the proposed cities will vote on
a referendum in November whether to
incorporate the cities. Each cityhood
group posted a message on the its
Facebook page after the bills passed.
“Thank you to the members of
the State House of Representatives for
passing House Bill 520, supporting
citizens’ right to vote for a new city of
LaVista Hills,” the post read. “Much
thanks to Representatives Tom Taylor
and Scott Holcomb for their support.”
“Thank you to the members of
the State House of Representatives
for passing House Bill 515 supporting Tucker citizens’ right to vote for a
City of Tucker,” it read. “Tucker 2015
appreciates all the citizens who have
voiced their support for Tucker cityhood. Your input has carried the community to this important point.”