FRIDAY, May 15, 2015 • VOL. 18, NO. 7 • 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


Decatur Attorney
honored for holding
police accountable

County salutes its Decatur boys’
soccer advances to
fallen officers
final four

local, 2A

local, 3A

sports, 19A

Lee May gives up commission seat
by Andrew Cauthen
Lee May is no longer the
DeKalb County District 5 commissioner.
After nearly two years of being the interim DeKalb County
CEO and the elected District 5
commissioner, he resigned the
commission seat May 6.
In July 2013 when he was
appointed interim DeKalb
County CEO by Gov. Nathan
Deal, following the indictment
and suspension of DeKalb

County CEO Burrell Ellis,
May stopped representing District 5 constituents as a commissioner.
“My constituents and I assumed that either I would
return to that position or a
new commissioner would be
appointed in short order,” May
said in a May 8 news conference announcing his resignation two days earlier. “But, alas,
that has not been the case.
“Due to petty personal
politics and clear obstruction,
three commissioners have in-

See May on page 15A

DeKalb County interim CEO Lee May, flanked by Commissioners Sharon Barnes Sutton, left, and Stan Watson, right,
announces his resignation from his District 5 commission seat. May said the move is a “political risk.” Photo by
Travis Hudgons

Dunwoody Community Garden:

‘Dunwoody’s best kept secret’
by Carla Parker

Gardening and growing
one’s own food is becoming
more popular each day.
New community gardens
are popping up gradually in
communities and existing
community gardens, such as
the Dunwoody Community
Garden, are growing.
Located in Brook Run
Park, the Dunwoody
Community Garden was
founded in August 2009.
Art Simon, chairman of
the garden, said the idea came
from community residents.
“They were a group of
people who saw a need to
have organic gardening in
the community to provide
families with a source of
organic vegetables,” Simon
said. “So, they asked the city
to give them some property
in the park to start a garden,
and the city agreed.
The garden started with 60
From left, Sonya Write and her children Chloe and Miles work on their plot in the Dunwoody Community Garden. Photo by
Carla Parker




See Dunwoody on page 15A



Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

Decatur attorney honored for holding police accountable
by Andrew Cauthen
A Decatur attorney
was awarded the Southern
Center for Human Rights’
(SCHR) inaugural Luminary
Award for his work holding
police accountable for misconduct and acts of violence.
Attorney Mawuli Davis,
a partner at the Davis Bozeman Law Firm, received the
award May 12, at SCHR’s annual Atlanta benefit reception, with the theme “Justice
Taking Root.” Other awardees include former Georgia
Supreme Court Chief Justice
Norman Fletcher and attorney Lawrence Bracken. 
“I was humbled. I was
surprised,” Davis said about
winning the award. “The
Southern Center for Human
Rights is such a powerful
Attorney Mawuli Davis of Decatur has been recognized for his work in holding law enforcement officers acorganization in terms of the countable for misconduct and acts of violence. Photo provided
work they do around real
as a part of our approach,
reforms on behalf of those
the dangers of the “militariissues that impact commuthe
zation of the police.”
nities of color, in particular,

He also represents the
but also, in general. It is one
of Kevin Davis (no
of the most important orquite
a DeKalb County
ganizations that we have in

by a policeman
the state of Georgia in terms
to a 911 call.
of trying to deal with some
shootof the injustices…and using
their legal expertise to do
injustices has been to try to
injustices through powerful because it highlights the
corporations trying to bully fight to make clear that
According to a news
everyday citizens [and] law
Black lives do matter,” atrelease by the firm, “the
preferentorney Davis said. “We have
Southern Center for Human

had these kinds of cases for
Rights is a nonprofit law
years. We’re thankful that
firm based in Atlanta that
now there’s more of a social
provides legal representation
justice movement that has
to people facing the death
picked up on the rally cry of
penalty, challenges human
PhonesaBlack lives matter.”
rights violations in prisons
toddler injured
Davis said he became
and jails, seeks through

2014 when
in pursuing a
litigation and advocacy to
improve legal representa“Obviously
contion for poor people accused
of crimes, and advocates
ent, but we have always had,
Davis said this displayed efforts” and becoming an
for criminal justice system

activist in causes such as the
African centered education
movement and reparations
Davis said he cannot
take full credit for the award.
“This award itself is really not about me,” Davis said.
“It’s more about an institution that we’ve been able to
be a part of because nothing
that I’ve been credited with
doing is possible without us
having a firm that …allows
us to do the work that we
do. I’m just very fortunate
to have a great partner and a
great firm.
“Each of us has been
placed here for a purpose by
God and that when we can
find likeminded people on
our journey…then we can
build institutions that really
are about doing God’s work,”
Davis said. “It’s about justice. It’s about compassion.
It’s about love and those are
the motivating factors that
have allowed me to be able
to work.”
The Davis Bozeman Law
Firm practices civil rights,
personal injury and criminal
defense law and is led by
managing partner Robert
Bozeman, a DeKalb County
native.  The firm also established a community affairs
division to support community building and activism.  
“Mawuli’s recognition
reaffirms our firm’s commitment to taking personally
what happens in our community–from the car accidents we handle to the incidents of police shootings, it’s
all personal to us,” Bozeman
said in a news release. 

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015


Page 3A

County salutes its
fallen officers
by Andrew Cauthen
Patricia Crumley said she
handled the DeKalb Fallen Officer
Memorial Service better this year
than in the past.
Her son DeKalb County Police
Officer Jarvis Darren Crumley was
killed in the line of duty Dec. 29,
“It used to make me feel real
bad, sad, lonely, almost like you did
the funeral all over again,” Patricia
Crumley said about the memorial
service held each May. “Now it’s
better for me. It’s good for him to be
remembered. That’s good.”
Jarvis Crumley, who had been
with the department for 16 months,
was responding to a call to assist
another officer. He was traveling
fast when another vehicle pulled out
in front of him. Officer Crumley
swerved to avoid the car, hit a utility
pole and suffered fatal injuries.
The driver of the other vehicle
was arrested later that night on a
drunken driving charge.
Patricia Crumley said she and
her husband Joe participated in several memorial services, including
one in Washington, in initial years
after their son’s death.
“At the beginning it was more
helpful,” Patricia Crumley said. “As
time went on, I felt like it kept you
grieving, so I stopped for a while.
Now it’s better for some reason.
“It’s good that they haven’t forgotten him,” said Patricia Crumley,
who was presented with a couple of
spent shells from the 21-gun salute
at the end of the May 6 ceremony,
which acknowledged the sacrifice
of 41 fallen officers from Clarkston,
Decatur, Doraville, DeKalb County
Sheriff ’s Office, DeKalb County

Marshall’s Office, MARTA, Pine
Lake and Stone Mountain.
The service, held outside the
old courthouse in Decatur, included a helicopter flyover and the
ringing of a commemorative bell
after the reading of each fallen officer’s name. Each family of a fallen
DeKalb County police officer was
presented a badge commemorating
the 100th anniversary of the founding of the DeKalb County Police
“Your loved ones are dearly
missed,” interim DeKalb County
Police Chief James Conroy told the
families. “Their sacrifices…shall
never be forgotten.”
Conroy said current officers
owe a debt of gratitude to the fallen
officers. “Our repayment …is to
continue to serve daily with pride,”
he said.
Cedric Alexander, deputy chief
operating officer for public safety,
said that while law enforcement
“is under a great deal of scrutiny”
around the nation, “we must always
remember those who have come
and left us.
“We are sorry for their loss,”
Alexander said. “We recognize the
men and women who have lost
their lives. We will never ever forget. I thank those who have gone
Interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May said the annual program
also honors those who survive—
“the families who have to put the
pieces back together.”
“We have not forgotten you,”
May said. “We will support you.”
Joe Crumley, father of Officer
Crumley, said the memorial service
made him feel sad.
“It’s just good to know other
people care,” he added.

Patricia and Joe Crumley were saluted during the DeKalb Fallen Officer Memorial Service.
Their son Jarvis Crumley was killed in the line of duty in 1998.

An officer stands in front of the fallen officer memorial outside the old courthouse in Decatur. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Left, officers prepare to give a 21-gun salute while, right, interim DeKalb CEO Lee May, public
safety director Cedric Alexander and interim police chief James Conroy salute during the
Pledge of Allegiance.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15, 2015


Page 4A

Recognition is sweet. Confirmation is better
The Champion was again
one of the top newspapers at
the annual Georgia Press Association Advertising Conference and Awards Luncheon
held April 30 in Macon.
Our staff was recognized
for excellence in design in
the categories of newspaper
promotion, online, full-color,
food, institutional, non-traditional, miscellaneous, out
of print promotion, classified
advertising and advertising
Our being recognized at
the state level is not really a
novel concept; we have been
a General Excellence award
winner for eight of the last
nine years and are extremely
proud of our accomplishments.
In December 2014, as we
have done for the past three
years, we produced and published the annual Newcomer’s
Guide to DeKalb in a partnership with DeKalb Chamber

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

of Commerce. This publication is used by the DeKalb
Chamber as a mail-out to
prospective members, those
interested in relocating to
DeKalb County and serves as
the organization’s membership directory.
For the fourth consecutive
year our Newcomer’s Guide
has been chosen by out-ofstate newspaper professionals

as the best special issue in our
division of weekly newspapers in Georgia; a recognition
that we are also exceptionally
proud of.
However, the release of the
2015 Newcomer’s Guide was
mired in controversy within
days of the initial distribution. I received a call from the
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce saying that an elected
official and chamber board
member was complaining
loudly that they did not care
for our cover design and was
requesting that we reprint the
entire magazine. I told our
representative at the chamber
that under no circumstances
would we incur the cost of
reprinting an entire magazine based on an official not
liking it. I also said that this
unidentified official should be
mature enough to contact me
if he/she had a problem with
our work; but of course, this
never happened.

The unnamed elected official was unhappy with our
cover design and said it was
not representative of South
DeKalb–whatever that is supposed to mean.
Our graphic artist Travis Hudgons went to great
lengths to create a montage
of photos and images that together paint a snapshot of the
people and places of DeKalb
County. Included in the montage were images of Avondale,
Brookhaven, Pine Lake, Stone
Mountain, Decatur, East
Atlanta and DeKalb County
high school students who are
members of the county-wide
Bridge entertainment group.
We thought it was as excellent
representation of all things
So this year, I am more
proud than ever that our
Newcomer’s Guide again received a first-place advertising excellence award.
I am also disgusted that

an elected official is apparently so self-absorbed that he
or she attempted to influence
a product that he or she had
nothing to do with and thinks
that just because he or she
doesn’t like the cover that it
should be reprinted.
Even though one of our
county officials didn’t care for
our efforts, it’s nice to know
that unbiased outsiders appreciate our work enough to
bestow an award on it. That’s
confirmation enough for us.
My grandmother used to
say if you were critical of others “you might want to clean
up around your own front
door before you start trying
to tell others how to clean up
around theirs.” Wise words
from an old Southern woman,
and they still make perfect
sense to me.

Letter to the Editor:

Open letter to DeKalb’s next superintendent
May 5, 2015
Dear New Superintendent,
DeKalb County is ready for you!
We don’t know who you are, but we
have been hearing about you for the
last few weeks. Our board’s Community Liaison Group is impressed
by you. They became acquainted
with you on paper, discussed your
accomplishments, and highly recommended you to be interviewed
by our Board of Education. [Recently], our BOE members left their
interview with you energized and
excited by what you could bring
to our district. We know that you
must have inspired them because
they have been able to stay focused
on completing their search for you
in the midst of many distractions.
We commend our board for staying
true to their goal of finding you, so
that you can bring strong visionary
leadership and continue the progress made over the last two years.
If you watched our Board of Education meetings, you are aware of
the distractions our board is facing.

Board members voted to terminate
the contract with our superintendent search firm, PROACT, in the
midst of controversy surrounding
the firm’s CEO. PROACT’s sister
company, SUPES Academy, was
involved in a no-bid contract with
Chicago Public Schools. This contract is now under investigation. As
documents have been released during the course of the investigation,
the PROACT/SUPES CEO has come
under fire for his behavior in the
1990’s. Luckily, the Chicago scandal
has nothing to do with you. Our
board has an independent relationship with you and doesn’t need the
search firm to facilitate that.
You may be hearing that some
citizens are asking our current superintendent to stay in place. This
phenomenon happens with any
leadership transition—people are
apprehensive of change. Mr. [Michael] Thurmond has told us that
he is not interested in the job and is
stepping down on June 30, 2015. We
understand the sentiment regarding Mr. Thurmond; he is beloved by
many in the community. Because of

this, we believe he can help smooth
the path for you. He has the best
interests of our students in mind, so
we expect that he will help you transition into the superintendent role
and share the wisdom he has gained
over his tenure.
We want you to know that parent leaders are not the only DeKalb
stakeholders who are ready to welcome you. Parent Councils United
(PCU) hosted a roundtable discussion with some of DeKalb County’s
most influential leaders, such as Interim CEO Lee May, DeKalb legislative delegation chairman Howard
Mosby, and Chamber of Commerce
chairman-elect Al Edwards. During
this January, 2015 meeting, we discussed cityhood initiatives, annexation movements, reform efforts, and
DeKalb County schools.
The group acknowledged that
the quality of the school system
impacts all areas of the county and
that finding you was/is a top priority
for DeKalb. PCU has reached out to
metro Atlanta and DeKalb leaders
from various organizations. These
leaders stand ready to welcome you.

They are affiliated with organizations such as the DeKalb Chamber
of Commerce, Leadership DeKalb,
Leadership Atlanta, the Junior
League of DeKalb County, South
DeKalb Improvement Association,
DeKalb County Council of PTAs,
DeKalb Municipal Association, the
Latin American Association and our
metro Atlanta universities.
PCU is supporting our Board of
Education as it hires you, and we
will support you as you transition
into the role as DeKalb Superintendent. PCU includes executive
board members from Dunwoody
Chamblee Parent Council (DCPC),
Emory LaVista Parent Council
(ELPC), South DeKalb Parent
Council (SDPC), and Tucker Parent
We pledge to do whatever we
can to help you so that you can lead
us and our children into a bright
DeKalb County future.
Parent Councils United


The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

A bigger tent...or a longer revival?
“I think we let emotions
take over in ‘12 versus really thinking about it.  I think
that is the difference with
‘16.  Now folks are really
looking for a candidate who
can win,” Glenn McCall, a
Republican National Committee member from South
Carolina, the first southern
GOP Presidential Primary
state in 2016.
The 2016 GOP presidential candidate field is
growing as if injected with
yeast. The Republican Party
has tradition, mathematics
and a tired incumbent in
President Barack Obama
giving them the perception
of an edge in 2016. 
Prior to the GOP holding the White House for two
terms by Ronald Reagan,
followed by one term of
President George H. W.
Bush; the last two times
either party maintained the
White House for more than
eight years were during
FDR’s long tenure and the
first elected term of LBJ,
following his completion of
JFK’s second term after his
The pendulum that is
American politics tends to
swing right and then back
left or vice-versa and makes
a mid-course correction just
shy of every 10 years. 
Partisan infrastructure, finances and voters lists continue to play a significant

Bill Crane


role, and in the state GOP
tent, a big and noisy battle is
Here in Georgia, that
will play out at the GOP
convention in Athens May
15-16. There may be as
many as a dozen credible
presidential candidates, with
six already officially having
entered the field, and yet
with nearly as many of the
biggest names and guns still
“officially” not quite off of
the sidelines. But there may
end up being enough GOP
contenders to field a platoon, the battle shaping up
is largely over the general
direction and focus of the
Grand Old Party. 
The most recent poll of
potential GOP Iowa Caucus
voters finds former Florida
Governor Jeb Bush with the
highest name identification,
but only the support of 5
percent of potential caucus
goers. But before you begin

to write off probably the
brightest of Barbara Bush’s
talented 2008, the GOP Iowa
Caucus was won by former
Arkansas Governor Mike
Huckabee, with Mitt Romney a distant second. In
2012, Romney tied with
Pennsylvania Senator Rick
Santorum, a standard-bearer for GOP conservatives.
In addition, the Iowa Caucus
winner is rarely a White
House predictor any more...
much less even a strong
GOP nominee indicator.
All that said, there are
largely two schools and
groups of candidates vying
for the right to run well to
the right of Hillary Clinton
in the fall of 2016.
One school envisions a
broader and larger GOP tent,
more friendly to minorities
and particularly stronger in
the fast-growing Hispanic
community, as well as more
open on key social issues
such as medicinal cannabis
oil and gay marriage, which
have long caused the GOP
establishment to be labeled
as “cranky, old, White men.” 
Across the parking lot,
or in another wing of the
Des Moines, Iowa Convention Center, a more vocal
GOP faction is more simply
focused on firing up and
turning out ‘the base.’ Push
the tent stake pole higher,
but just keep the revival going by throwing out more

red meat. Audit the Federal
Reserve, secure the borders,
deport illegals, protect the
family and pass laws protecting Christians from faith
Without choosing sides,
I have seldom seen an argument of separatism and
“staying small by choice”
win the day in the long haul.
Clinton already understands that, and is making a
direct appeal to do all that a
president legally can to convey “legal” status upon an
estimated 11-14 million undocumented foreign visitors
here. This will be one of the
dividing issues of this election cycle, but for the GOP
to have a cogent response,
they first have to reach a
consensus, something that
does not appear to be in the
cards anytime soon. 
Head over to Athens for
the GOP convention if you
want to see some red flying and there is no football
game or spring training
there for a bit.
The outcome of the
Georgia GOP chairman’s
race is now being forecasted for the incumbent
chair, John Padgett of
Athens. The convention is
in his backyard and home
turf, and the Georgia GOP
experienced its most successful statewide election
in party history, in terms of
offices won, voter margin
of win and state and local

offices now held. However,
hear me well those of you
who like to place your bets
early. Never, never, never
underestimate the GOP’s
long-proven ability to deftly
snatch defeat from the open
jaws of victory!
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
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to • FAX To: (404)
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily
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Managing Editor:
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The Champion Free Press is published
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Statement from the
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
discourse for all community residents
on all sides of an issue. We have no
desire to make the news only to
report news and opinions to effect
a more educated citizenry that will
ultimately move our community
forward. We are happy to present
ideas for discussion; however,
we make every effort to avoid
printing information submitted to
us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.


Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

Alecia Asbury
Alecia Asbury has been
volunteering with the Junior
League of DeKalb for only
two years, however she was
elected by her peers as cochairman of Community
Impact for the 2015-2016
year for the organization.
The 41-year-old joined
the Junior League of DeKalb
after hearing about the organization through the Junior
League’s State Public Affairs
Committee (SPAC).
“SPAC is a committee
formed to educate and take

action on public policy issues,” Asbury said. “The

committee builds awareness and educates the public
about a pressing problem,
or as ambitious as sponsoring and writing a bill that
ultimately becomes a law.
As an advocate for girls and
women, aligning myself with
Junior League of DeKalb
could possibly place me in a
position to influence public
policy on the issues that are
most important to me.”
Asbury was the marketing chair for Junior League
of DeKalb’s “Tour of Kitch-

ens” event, and she has volunteered with Partners in
Action for Healthy Living,
Inc., Tea Cup Girls, Kids in
the Kitchen, National Drop
Everything and Read Day
with Clarkston Child Development Center, Day League
and International Women’s
Asbury is also a member
of the Board of Directors
at Day League, formerly
known as the DeKalb Rape
Crisis Center. She volunteers
with Alpha Kappa Alpha

Sorority Inc.–Nu Lambda
Omega Chapter, United Way
and National Black MBA
Association–Atlanta Chapter.
Asbury said volunteering is important to her because “it allows me to make
a substantial and ongoing
impact within the community.”
“I use each opportunity
to learn something new and
to utilize my talents to make
a significant difference,” she

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.

Brookhaven Councilmember Bates Mattison (center) talks about Brookhaven’s commercial development to the Council for Quality Growth’s DeKalb Advisory Committee. Photo by Carla

Brookhaven focusing on commercial
development and traffic reduction
by Carla Parker
Brookhaven is continually growing with new development of apartments and
The city had an increase
in renters of 46.1 percent
in 2013 to 46.9 percent in
2014. The city is now trying
to shift some of its development and redevelopment
plans to commercial office
space. Brookhaven Councilman Bates Mattison met
with the Council for Quality
Growth’s DeKalb Advisory
Committee May 7 to discuss
the city’s need for commercial development.
Mattison gave a presentation on the city’s growth
and demographics.

“I hope that they [got] a
little better understanding
of who Brookhaven is and
what some of our goals are,”
Mattison said after the meeting. “The Council for Quality Growth is a group that is
interested in knowing about
development, and so it’s
important for us as a city to
give some leadership about
where we believe our greatest opportunities are for
redevelopment or new development, and some of the
things that we’re trying to
do [are] to create economic
incentives to spur that kind
of growth in our city.”
The city has a population of approximately
52,000, and is expected to
grow at 7.4 percent through
2019. The city has seen an

increase in traffic, and some
residents contend that is due
to development. Mattison
said that is not true.
“The traffic increases
because you’re in metro
Atlanta and you’re seeing
traffic increases throughout
the metro Atlanta area, and
we’re a cut-through city,” he
To address that perception, Mattison said the city
has to educate the residents.
We have to educate the
public about smart development and how it actually
decreases traffic, and how it
can bring jobs, more diverse
housing options, more restaurants and retail,” he said.
Mattison said the city
has a “huge” shortage of
commercial office space.

“Our commercial corridors are really three
spots—Perimeter Summit,
Peachtree Road and Buford
Highway,” he said. “If you
just look at Peachtree Road,
we have very little office
space available. How do you
attract employers here? Our
community does want to be
able to walk to work or walk
to the shops and not have to
get in their cars. But, right
now we don’t have those
places to work.”
Mattison said bringing
in new jobs through commercial developments could
help with the traffic issues.
“All of our residents are
having to drive just to get
to their own job [and it’s]
increasing traffic,” he said.
“There are also issues we

need to address as a city—
how do we get the commuter traffic through our city
as efficiently as possible. It’s
actually through redevelopment options.”
Projects such as the
MARTA station redevelopment and improving the
corridors at Dresden Road,
Peachtree Road and North
Druid Hills Road will be a
part of the redevelopment
“[That will help] move
cars through our city more
efficiently so that our local
residents can preserve their
local neighborhood streets
and don’t have cut-through
traffic within it,” Mattison

The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015





Free tennis lessons offered at Lynwood Park

Nonprofit engineers group moves into new

Pure Tennis will host “Try Tennis Free” days
at Lynwood Park in Brookhaven on May 19 and
May 21. The clinics will be available for ages 4 to
6 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and ages 7 to 10 from
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. All equipment and mini-nets
will be provided. To register for the event, visit
payment. For more information on the 10 and
Under Junior Development Tennis Program, visit

City to hold public meeting on bike,
pedestrian & trail plan

The city of Brookhaven has begun work on
its first bicycle, pedestrian and trail plan. This effort will help develop a vision for a future bicycle,
pedestrian and trail network for residents and
 The planning is scheduled to conclude in
early 2016 and includes an initial analysis of existing conditions, a determination of future needs
and an implementation plan to guide the city in
future decision making.
 There will be opportunities for residents to
participate in the development of this plan, including the first public meeting to be held Tuesday, May 19, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lynwood
Park Community Center, 3360 Osborne Road.
This will be the first of three planned meetings throughout the planning effort. This initial
meeting will include the following topics: 5:30-6
p.m.—community preference exercise to determine community preferences for different types
of bicycle, pedestrian, and trail improvements;
6-6:20 p.m.—a formal presentation regarding
the plan development; and 6:20-7:30 p.m.—an
interactive exercise to craft an overall vision for a
bicycle, pedestrian and trail network.

‘Family Job Fair’ comes to Mt. Welcome
Missionary Baptist Church
Youth, adults and seniors looking to find
work are all welcome to participate in a job fair
on Saturday, May 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
Mt. Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, located at 581 Parker Ave., Decatur.
Dubbed the “Family Job Fair,” the event will
allow participants to meet employers representing different industries. The event is sponsored
by Commissioner Larry Johnson.
DeKalb Workforce Development has signed
on to partner with this event and secure employers to participate. The “Family” Job Fair is open
to the public. Participants seeking employment
are encouraged to register online at Businesses interested in participating should email Kendra Kelly at kkelly@

The Association of Energy Engineers
(AEE) has moved into its new international
headquarters building is located at 3168 Mercer University Drive, Atlanta. The building has
earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR for label year
2014 with a score of 85. The AEE International
Headquarters is a single-tenant office building
that serves as the international headquarters for
all of AEE’s activities worldwide.
AEE purchased its new facility in early 2014,
and, after several months of renovations, the staff
was able to move into the facility in October
2014. In preparing its new facility for occupancy,
AEE made several upgrades. All walls were
painted and all carpeting was replaced, all with
materials low in VOCs. Multiple ADA upgrades
were completed, including the installation of
an elevator. All windows are double-paned and
AEE’s new facility uses LED lighting exclusively. Lighting equipment was provided by
Acuity Brands and Cooper Lighting. The interior
lighting consists of an integrated lighting controls
system with dimming and scene selection. All
interior lighting fixtures have occupancy sensors.
The majority of the interior partitions were reused, including the glass walls, doors, and ceiling
The Association of Energy Engineers,
founded in 1977, is an Atlanta-based nonprofit
professional society of over 17,000 members in 90

Church to host brain health forum
The Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Center will host the “Your Brain’s Health: A
Forum on Caregiving and Aging Successfully”
May 30 at Antioch Lithonia Missionary Baptist
Church. The free educational forum is a resource
fair and memory-screening event with experts
from Emory, the Alzheimer’s Association, the
VA and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The
event is from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Check- in and
memory screenings begin at 8 a.m. To make an
appointment for a memory screening visit www.
Forum sessions include breakfast and lunch.
Antioch Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church is
located at 2152 Rock Chapel Road in Lithonia. To
register for the event, visit or call (404) 727-3251.

Keep DeKalb beautiful hosts document
shredding, shoe collection event

Keep DeKalb Beautiful (KDB), a unit of the
DeKalb County Sanitation Division, in partnership with Berean Christian Church, will host a
free sensitive document shredding and shoe collection event on Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to
noon. The event will be held at the Berean Chris-

Page 7A

tian Church parking lot, 2201 Young Road, Stone
Event participation is free and open to
DeKalb County residents. Participants will have
an opportunity to dispose of sensitive documents,
such as old tax records and legal documents. All
documents will be shredded onsite, and each
participant will be limited to five standard-sized
boxes of documents for shredding purposes.
Shredding services for the event will be provided
by Shred-it North Atlanta.
Participants will also have an opportunity to
donate gently used shoes for recycling and repurposing. All shoes, with the exception of ski or
winter boots, slippers and rubber flip-flops, will
be accepted.
For more information on this event or how to
plan a beautification project with KDB, contact
KDB at (404) 371-2654 or kdb@dekalbcountyga.
gov, or visit

Stone Mountain
Group to present beautification update
The Board of Directors of South DeKalb
Improvement Association, Inc. (SDIA) will host
a public forum May 16 at Berean Community
Center from 9:30—11:30 a.m. The featured
speaker, Keep DeKalb Beautiful Director Gordon
Burkette, will address attendees on Keep DeKalb
Beautiful: A Call to Action. Burkette will speak
on KDB’s existing programs and initiatives, including Adopt-A-Road, Adopt-A-MARTA Bus
Stop, Litter Busters, Recycling in DeKalb Schools,
and Sick of Signs/Robocall. He will also provide
updates on gateway projects, new initiatives to
address curb appeal concerns, how the transition
to weekly trash pick-up frees county workers for
other activities, upcoming events, and more. A
Q&A session will follow the presentation. Berean Community Center is located at 2440 Young
Road in Stone Mountain. For more information,
contact Peggy Hobdy at

Free pet adoptions available in May
LifeLine Animal Project is offering free
pet adoptions in May with the extension of its
“Spring into Adoption” promotion. Any pet
weighing 25 pounds or more may be adopted
from DeKalb County Animal Services (DCAS),
located at 845 Camp Road in Decatur. Every pet
will be spayed or neutered and receive all vaccines and a microchip at no cost to its new pet
parent. Adoption counselors will be on-hand to
answer questions and ensure animals are placed
in good homes. To see pictures of available animals, and for adoption hours, visit


Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

Main Street in Tucker was filled with food, entertainment and merchandise for the annual Tucker Day on
May 9. The event was hosted by the Main Street Tucker Alliance. Photos by Carla Parker

The Mayor and the Atlanta City Council will adopt a millage rate
which will require no tax increase.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings to be held at
the Atlanta City Hall Complex, 55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia in
the City Council Chamber located on the Second Floor on Tuesday,
May 19, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

Page 9A

Indoor studio allows bike riding without traffic
by Kathy Mitchell
Bright colored LED
lights flash with the beat of
the music in the dimly lighted room as folks wave their
arms and pump their feet.
It’s not happy hour at the
club; it’s an exercise class,
but designers of the Axelrod
Indoor Cycling Studio at the
Marcus Jewish Community
Center of Atlanta (MJCCA)
want those using the studio
to feel a bit like they’re having a night out with friends.
“We’ve had indoor cycling classes for years, but
until a few weeks ago they
didn’t have their own space.
We wanted that space to
feel special and exciting. We
wanted people to feel like
they were entering another
world. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else.
The indoor cycling center
was designed here just for
us,” said DeAnne Jacobson,
total health group exercise
director at MJCCA.
“Before, we had to move
the stationary bikes into a
room that was used at other
times for other things. A few
times we were forced to cancel classes because of special
events,” Jacobson recalled.
The room is 800 square
feet with exercise bicycles
positioned in tiers to assure every participant has a
good view of the instructor.
Jacobson explained that the
center likes keeping classes
small and intimate. “Participants really do feel like

they’re going to a club. The
purpose is exercise, but it’s
social as well. People know
each other and enjoy working out together. They feel
like friends going out to do
something fun together and
maybe have a cup of coffee
afterward,” Jacobson said.
She noted that indoor
cycling is ideal for those
who need a low-impact option for cardiac conditioning. “Every participant is an
individual, and I encourage
people to work at their own
pace,” said Jacobson, who
teaches seven classes a week
and supervises 70 instructors.
Jacobson said she started
at MJCCA as a personal
trainer but has decided that
she prefers being a group
instructor. She said people
tend to work harder in a
group session. “There’s a
sort of positive peer pressure. No one wants to quit
while the others are still going.
“Even in a group setting,
we’re attentive to individual
needs and goals. Each person knows his own body
and how he’s feeling that day
so I don’t push people to do
more than they feel able to
do. However, if I know the
person and feel he or she
could benefit from working harder, I encourage the
person to step it up. People
sometimes surprise themselves with what they’re able
to do,” she added.
Instructors, she ex-

plained, choose their own
music for most classes. “We
choose based on specific
exercises. Fast-paced music
tends to make people work
harder. When we’re doing
something slower and more
focused, we use slower music.”
The idea is to duplicate
the experience of a bike ride,
but in a safe, controlled environment, Jacobson said.
“You get the varied pace you
would get riding on rolling
hills, steep hills or straightway, but you don’t have to

worry about traffic or road
MJCCA serves members
over a wide range of ages,
Jacobson said, and tries
to offer services to meet
all their needs. “We have
people who started working out here because it gave
them something to do while
they were waiting to pick up
their preschoolers. We want
to make the exercise classes
so enjoyable that they keep
coming even after their
children are older. We try to
keep up with the trends and

give people the workout experience they’re looking for.”
Jacobson said there are
classes from early morning
until into the evening—as
well as on Saturdays and
Sundays—to suit every work
schedule. “We want people
to be able to fit in several
classes a week whether they
come before work, after
work or on the weekend.
And we want them to do it
without stressing themselves
out. After all, one of the big
benefits of exercise is stress


DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management 
Public Advisory 
May 1, 2015    
June 1, 2015  
Advisory Issue Date   
Advisory Close Date 
   This advisory is issued to inform the public of a receipt of an application for a variance 
submitted pursuant to a State Environmental Law. The Public is invited to comment during a 30 
day period on the proposed activity. Since the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) 
has no authority to zone property or determine land use, only those comments addressing 
environmental issues related to air, water and land protection will be considered in the 
application review process. Written comments should be submitted to: Program Manager, Non‐
Point Source Program, Erosion and Sedimentation Control, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 
101, Atlanta, Georgia 30354. 
    Type of Permit Application: Variance to encroach within the 25‐foot State Waters Buffer. 
    Applicable Law: Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act O.C.G.A. 12‐7‐6 ET seq. 
    Applicable Rules: Erosion and Sedimentation Control Chapter 391‐3‐7. 
    Basis under which variance shall be considered {391‐3‐7.05(2) (A‐J)}: E 
Project Location: This project is located on the section of Snapfinger Woods Drive that is 
bounded by Rayburn Road to the west and Shell Bark Rd to the east near the city of Lithonia, 
GA.  Specifically, the site is located in land lots 8 & 9 of the 16th district & land lots 128 & 129 of 
the 15th district, in DeKalb, Georgia. The site is approximately 800 linear feet north of 
Snapfinger Creek’s intersection with Snapfinger Woods Drive.  The proposed construction will 
include the installation of 132 linear feet of 15 inch sanitary sewer across Snapfinger Creek. 
Project Description: The proposed site conditions will include the installation of 132 
linear feet of 15 inch sanitary sewer aerial stream crossing to replace and existing inverted 
siphon sanitary sewer under Snapfinger Creek which in a constant maintenance problem. This 
work is a repair the existing system that runs along Snapfinger Creek. 


Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

Judges, contestants and hosts gather for a group photo following hip-hop auditions for the county recycling campaign. Photos by Ashley

Radio DJ Greg Street

Yashetrius Anderson

Victor Hill

Richard Smith

Pauline Andrea

Judges listen to hip-hop performances.

Veronica Daniels

live music

County employees show hip-hop
skills for recycling campaign
by Ashley Oglesby
With countless commercially successful music compositions, Atlanta has long
been called hip-hop’s center
of gravity.
In an effort to promote recycling and spread
the word for the county’s
implementation of one-daya-week collection services
of garbage, recycling and
yard trimmings, the DeKalb
County Sanitation Division
hosted an employee hip-hop
competition on May 8 in
its administration building.
Contestants who are also
county workers, were invited to audition for the opportunity to record a track
with American rapper Bone
Crusher. The final track
will be produced by music
producer Michael Johnson
also known as Mixzo, to be
used for the county’s “Rolling Forward to One” public
service announcement.
V-103 Radio DJ Greg
Street served as the master
of ceremonies for the event.

He said, “There are a lot
of innovative and creative
things going on in DeKalb
County to get different
people from the workforce
involved in doing positive
things. I think it’s a great
initiative to get people from
the different departments of
DeKalb to be a part of the
A 311 citizen help center
employee Yashetrius Anderson, a sanitation division
employee Veronica Daniels
and a fire rescue worker Joseph Ellison were selected
as the top contenders from
the group of eight contestants and will compete in
the finals on May 15.
Ellison said, “A lot of
people aren’t aware of the
environmental issues that
we are facing in the county.
There are a lot of things that
we throw away that aren’t
biodegradable so educating
and implementing a recycling initiative is wonderful.”
On May 28, the sanitation department will officially begin its promotion
efforts for one-day-a-week

Joseph Ellison

Janet Barksdale

trash pickup.
Daniels said, “I hope going forward this initiative
reaches more than the intended people so that everyone can get on one accord
with recycling and making
this initiative positive. This
campaign represents renewal of energy, cleaner spaces
and cleaner air–everything
that’s going to make it a better environment for everyone.”
The contestants were
judged by Charles Mason
III, assistant director of public works; Diamond Miller,
director of the DeKalb
County Television; Alison
Weissinger, director of the
library; Chris Morris, former director of community
development; Gordon Burkette, program manager for
Keep DeKalb Beautiful; Eric
Jackson, public information
officer for fire rescue; James
Breedlove, production assistant for DeKalb County
Television and music producer Michael Johnson.

The Sweet Tea Project • Saturday, 3:30 pm



Ponce de Leon and
Clairemont avenues

fine arts exhibition
May 19-June 7 • Agnes Scott College

Judy Knight, “Primal Water,” acrylic on cradled panel, 30” x 22.5” x 2.5”

may 23-24


Check online for all of the artful
opportunities and events including
dance, music, theater, and more.
Special Kids Arts Festival Saturday,
May 23, 9:30 am to 2 pm. |
 decaturartsalliance |  @decaturarts

DAF-2015-Champion-Ad.indd 1

5/12/15 3:53 PM


The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015




SunTrust Bank workers volunteer at Drew Charter School in support of Financial Literacy Month. This event
was one of several SunTrust plans to provide financial education to students. Photo provided


Page 11A

Author of Shine Bright Kids Christy Ziglar and SunTrust Bank Atlanta
president Allison Dukes read to students at Drew Charter School in
Atlanta as part of SunTrust’s outreach for Financial Literacy Month. The
Shine Bright Kids book series helps to teach children the difference
between wants and needs and the value of making good decisions.
Photo provided

Kevin Dunbar performs at the first Blue Sky concert of the spring in downtown Decatur. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Photos brought to you by DCTV
DCTV Channel 23

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

DeKalb County Gov

E-mail us at


Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

From left, DeKalb Board of Education Chairman Melvin Johnson announces, accompanied by board member Michael Erwin, termination of ProAct contract.

From left, Kathleen McAllister of Horsley Witten Group Inc. and Kim Shorter of Sustainable
Water Planning and Engineering go over notes from the Nancy Creek-Murphy Candler Lake
stream walk. The two looked for good and bad conditions of the creek. Photos by Carla

Consulting company walks
Brookhaven streams for water study
by Carla Parker
Brookhaven has begun the process of improving Murphy Candler
The city is doing a watershed
study on the lake and retained the
services of Sustainable Water Planning and Engineering consulting
firm to assist with the study. The
firm started doing stream walks
along Nancy Creek May 7.
Kim Shorter, founder of Sustainable Water Planning and Engineering, said the firm is doing an overall
watershed improvement plan.
“What the city hopes to accomplish from this is to find out where
streams are in really good condition,
where [they are] not in really good
condition in the Nancy Creek watershed and develop a list of capital improvement plan projects that can be
implemented over a period of time
that will address bank instability, water quality issues and just the overall
health and well-being of the stream’s
environment,” Shorter said.
While doing the stream walks,
Shorter and representatives from
Horsley Witten Group Sustainable
Environmental Solutions were doing
habitat assessments in specific points

Police seeking
CVS robber
The Chamblee Police
Department is asking for help from
the public to identify a man who
reportedly robbed a CVS Pharmacy

along the stream.
“We’re photo documenting
what we see,” Shorter said. “If we
see drainage coming in, we take a
picture of that, if we see areas where
the banks are unstable we’re taking
pictures of that. After that is done,
we’ll compile that habitat information, along with information about
the land-use area, and we’re going to
run a simplified computer model to
help us identify where the best bang
for the buck will be.”
In January, Brookhaven Mayor J.
Max Davis and City Manager Marie
Garrett met with some of Georgia’s
U.S. congressmen to seek federal
Environmental Protection Agency
funds to assist with improvements to
the 21 acre lake.
Because the lake has no capacity
to hold additional rainwater, it causes
storm water to run off into Nancy
Creek and other bodies of water in
the city. The city is seeking funds to
dredge and deepen the lake, as well
as restore the banks.
“This impacts the entire basin
area, which includes Brookhaven,
Chamblee, Dunwoody and parts of
DeKalb County,” Davis said. “It’s essential that we make these improvements soon to prevent any further

on May 11.
The man hit the CVS store
located at 5764 Peachtree Boulevard
at approximately 1 a.m.
According to CVS employees,
a Black male entered the pharmacy
wearing dark pants, light-colored
shirt and a black baseball-style hat.

$16,000 paid to
fired search firm
by Ashley Oglesby

Chicago-based ProAct Search
Inc., which had led the charge to
hire DeKalb’s next school superintendent, has been fired by the
DeKalb School Board.
According to the board’s contract with the firm, the district
spent more than $16,000 on the
search firm to find a replacement
for outgoing school Superintendent Michael Thurmond.
The district entered the contract with the firm on Jan. 12 to
assist in drawing candidates.
Three payments of $8,333 were
required for a total fee of $25,000
for the execution of the agreement,
delivery and hiring of candidates.
Due to allegations of misconduct against SUPES Academy, a
related company of ProAct, the
board announced on May 5, that
they had ended their contract with
According to the contract the
district is not obligated to compensate ProAct for any fees or expenses after the termination.
In Chicago, the firm is dealing
with allegations involving no-bid
contracts with a firm where the
current superintendent once was
employed. Before the principaltraining company came under federal criminal scrutiny for its deal
with Chicago Public Schools, Gary
Solomon, one of ProAct Search
While inside the CVS, the man
partially covered his face with a
mask or bandana, jumped over the
pharmacy counter and ordered the
pharmacist to open a safe containing
drugs, according to employees. The
pharmacist opened the safe and the
robber took approximately $9,435

owners, previously faced allegations he used racial slurs in emails
sent when he was a north suburban high school dean.
Board member Joyce Morley
said, “We’re not going to allow the
district to be affected by [ProAct].
We can’t let anything taint what
we’ve already accomplished in the
last two and a half years. Either
you’re a asset or a liability and he
was a liability and his firm was a
Morley added,“My vision is to
see that we start over. When you
look at the process and the people
that were involved you can’t separate all of that out. I think it’s in
the best interest of the community,
our children and the district as a
whole that we start over and get a
new batch coming in and moving
Morley said that process may
not happen right away. “Looking
at what we can do with the superintendent we have to continue to
move forward with a succession
plan and a plan to be able to transition into a new superintendent.
Sometimes you have to make sure
that it’s the right time and now is
not the right time,” Morley said.
The board faces a tight deadline to find a successor to Thurmond, whose contract ends in
June. Thurmond has told the
school board that he will stay on
until it finds the best superintendent.

worth of controlled narcotics, they
Anyone with information
regarding his identity or who can
provide any information regarding
this crime is asked to call (770) 9865002 and reference case number

The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015


Page 13A

Thurmond to stay on until
replacement is hired
by Carla Parker
DeKalb County School District
Superintendent Michael Thurmond
will remain in the position until his
replacement is hired, the school district confirmed.
School district spokesman Quinn
Hudson said Thurmond talked with
his law firm—Butler, Wooten, Cheeley and Peak LLP— and they agreed
to let Thurmond stay on as superintendent. Thurmond’s contract ends
on June 30.
The DeKalb County Board of
Education announced May 5 that it
had ended the contract with ProAct
Search firm due to allegations of misconduct against SUPES Academy, a
related company of the board’s search
firm ProAct.
The firm also is dealing with allegations in Chicago involving no-bid
contracts with a firm where the current superintendent once was employed. Before the firm came under
a federal criminal inquiry for its deal
with Chicago Public Schools, Gary


Solomon, one of ProAct Search owners, was alleged of using racial slurs
in emails sent when he was dean of a
Chicago area high school.
Arnie Silverman, president of
Silverman Construction Program
Management and a member of the
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, said

May 7 that Thurmond also told him
that, “He is going to stay for a proper
“I strongly believe that right now
we need to slow down,” Silverman
said. “We’ve got to slow down because
if we rush this we’re going to make
the wrong decision. Michael has said
he will stay for a proper transition.
We’re going to go backwards if we select the wrong person.”
Silverman said he would like to
see Thurmond remain as superintendent until the end of the year.
“I think that’s ample time,” he said.
“That gives us another six months.”
Silverman said he is also encouraging all members of the Chamber of
Commerce, Leadership DeKalb and
city governments in DeKalb to tell the
school district to slow down on the
superintendent search.
“The school board right now is in
total turmoil,” he said. “They are out
of control. We’ve got to tell them, in
writing to every school board member, slow down and make the right
selection. Otherwise, we’re going back
to the old score.”

Continued From Page 12A

The stream walks are
expected to be completed in
the next month.
“The resulting product
to the city will be a watershed improvement plan
which has a prioritized list
of projects and ballpark
costs...and ballpark priorities which will be best for
the city,” Shorter said.
Shorter said there are
federal funds for improvement projects.
“There are also partnerships that could be structured with the [Perimeter
Community Improvement
Districts], and other opportunities to do collaborative
projects with some of the
neighboring communities,”
she said. “I think the city is
really interested in finding
where those opportunities
are and using a road map
for how to improve stream
water quality to get federal


by Ashley Oglesby
Families created puppets
with volunteers from the
Center for Puppetry Arts,
heard stories from across the
globe, received free books
and met authors at the third
annual “Tell Me a Story!”
cultural literacy and language
The event kicked off at the
Clarkston community center
on May 9 and served as the
launch for Clarkston’s summer book program.
DeKalb County Human
and Community Development planner Rodney Reese
said, “It’s a great opportunity
to promote early literacy in
DeKalb County and in the
Clarkston area. There is a
great need for this effort;
having stories told in various languages and translated
into English promotes dual
language which we know is
critical to brain development
and creates more critical
He added, “It’s so impor-

tant to start reading with your
kids early. The younger you
start, the more ready they are
for kindergarten and the more
successful they will be in
In addition to storytelling and crafts, the festival
partnered with organizations
that provided resources and
information on grants and
programs for child literacy
and adult learning.
Friends of Refugees
Mommy & Me literacy
program director Jennifer
Green said their mission is to
“give parents tools to teach
children at home.”
The program currently
serves more than 250 students five days a week with
adult learning courses and
shared courses with their
Green said the organization is the only place in
Clarkston that teaches English and provides daycare.
For additional information
about literacy programs in
Clarkston visit

Author of The Monster Who Ate My Peas Danny Schnitzlein
signs a copy of a student’s book.

A man dressed as The Cat in the Hat joins
in a puppet battle with a preschooler.

Volunteers from the Center for Puppetry Arts demonstrate how to make a puppet.

Page 14A
County schools purchase translation devices for ESL families
The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

by Ashley Oglesby
In a school district in which 21
percent of the 100,000 students
speak English as a second language
and about 2,000 new immigrants
are registered each year, DeKalb
County Superintendent Michael
Thurmond said, “We have one of
the most diverse student populations
not just in Georgia but in America.”
This school year, district officials
purchased 200 enabling language
service anywhere (ELSA) devices
to be used by teachers, counselors,
administration and staff to assist in
live conversations with translators
fluent in each of the district’s 144
native languages.
The ELSA devices are manufactured by Minnesota-based RTT mo- School district uses ELSA devices to
bile interpretation and are equipped translate languages.
to connect district employees direct- differing languages.
ly to interpreters trained to facilitate
DeKalb International Welcome
discussions between individuals of

Center director Sandra Nunez described the device as lightweight,
hands-free and the size of the newest iPhone.
The user presses a button and
through satellite it communicates
with a live person who answers and
provides translation services.
Thurmond said, “The use of this
technology will allow us to communicate more clearly and effectively
with parents and guardians who are
the key to student academic growth
and success.”
The ELSA devices can translate
up to 180 languages. The charges to
operate it is $2 per minute.
DeKalb County Schools purchased the devices with a prepaid
minutes plan for $46,695.
Nunez said the district primarily uses the devices for emergency
situations–when a principal or counselor needs to communicate with
a parent or student who speaks a
language other than English and an

in-house interpreter is not available.
“When we have a planned meeting we schedule face-to-face interpreters to attend the meetings. Additionally, we have different ways
to provide interpretation–the ELSA
device, in-house interpreters, private
agencies that provide interpretation
services for languages that we may
not have in-house. We also have the
language line so we have different
ways of making sure that we are
bridging that communication gap
between our English speaking population and our linguistically diverse
community,” Nunez said.
She added, “DeKalb County
School District is doing everything
possible, recognizing the need to
communicate with our linguistically
diverse community and providing
different sources of services that
parents need to know are at no cost

Students recognized for academic achievements
by Ashley Oglesby

McNair High School principal Loukisha Walker, saluta- Miller Grove valedictorian Jayla
torian Nashaia Beasley and mom Natasha Beasley.

Arabia Mountain resident vale- Arabia Mountain Magnet valedictorian Mauranda Upchurch dictorian Krystal Samuels

Arabia Mountain co-salutatorian Elizabeth Harris

School superintendent Michael Thurmond, interim deputy superintendent Alice Thompson
and deputy superintendent of the school district’s division of curriculum and instruction, Dr.
Kathleen Howe.

It’s graduation season!
DeKalb County School District officials recognized 54 students at its valedictorian and salutatorian recognition program at its
administrative and instructional
complex on May 7.
Principals from each school
announced valedictorians and
salutatorians for the 2014-2015
school year who each received
a medal and was presented with
special recognition certificates for
having the highest grade point averages.
Deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction Dr. Kathleen Howe, interim Deputy Superintendent Alice Thompson and
schools Superintendent Michael
Thurmond presented the awards.
Thurmond said, “This is the
event that I enjoy the most and I
look forward to. Tonight we celebrate and honor the very best
and the brightest students that we
have in the DeKalb County School
District. These students are extremely intelligent, well-rounded
individuals who possess the necessary skills to compete in a global
Many of the students recognized had received Gates Millennium scholarships, Gladys Cook
scholarships, National Merit
scholarships and others.
Thurmond said, “All valedictorians and salutatorians are eligible
for the HOPE scholarship if they
attend a university or college in

the great state of Georgia.”
Miller Grove valedictorian
Jayla Moody said the biggest surprise of the evening was getting a
Each student received a Lenovo 11 yoga laptop inscribed by the
DeKalb County School District
that also converts into a tablet.
Natasha Beasley, parent of
McNair High School salutatorian
Nashaia Beasley, said she is grateful for the district providing a
laptop for her daughter to take to
Nashaia received a full tuition
scholarship to the University of
Beasley said she has two additional children, a son at Georgia
Southern University and a daughter who graduated within the top
10 percent of her class at McNair
High School.
“The tablet that we currently
own can go to my other daughter,”
she said.
McNair High School Principal
Loukisha Walker said, “It’s important that the students are recognized for their efforts, hard work,
time and extracurricular activities
for what they have put into their
education. It gives them another
reason to not have an excuse and
to go out and be successful.”
She added, “It’s also important
that we go back and yell, shout
and scream of the accomplishments that our children have
made.” Walker said, “Recognition
programs like this give me something to take back to the other students so that they can be inspired.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15, 2015


Page 15A

May Continued From Page 1A
tentionally abused the process to prevent more than 140,000
citizens from their constitutional right of representation,” said
May surrounded by supporters outside the Lou Walker Senior
Center in unincorporated Lithonia.
“These commissioners have denied the opportunity to appoint well qualified individuals to the District 5 seat and have
sabotaged other efforts to reach a consensus. They have chosen to avert the will of the people,” May said.
“This type of conduct is a clear example of why people are
so cynical about their government,” May said. “But I am determined to do everything in my power to restore trust I and
integrity in DeKalb. This sentiment has been and will remain
my number one objective.
“I want to apologize to the citizens of District 5 for the actions
of those who don’t live there or even represent you,” May said.
“The behavior they have displayed has divided this county
and is contrary to the constitutional principles our country
was founded upon.”
May said the county’s commissioners need to “put aside
political games and personal differences and start representing the people.”
May’s his resignation allows for a special election to be
held on June 16 and a new
representative to fill the remainder of the term, he said.
“This is a risk for me,” May said. “If CEO Burrell Ellis
comes back to office—he is innocent until proven guilty, his
trial will be next month—if he comes back to office, I won’t
have a commission seat to go back to.
“Yes, that’s a political risk but for me the interests of District 5 and, frankly, for the remainder of the county, is a greater priority to me,” May said.
May’s decision is a turnaround from his stance earlier in
the year. In a March 12 statement to The Champion, May said,
Commissioners Nancy Jester, Jeff Rader and Kathie 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
“I have no plans to resign due to the BOC’s collective inability to make a decision,” May stated.  If they can’t do their
jobs, they should be the ones resigning.”
Jason Lary, a District 5 resident and proponent of the
proposed city of Stonecrest, said, “I think it was a courageous move on [May’s] part and I’m glad to see it happen. He
showed that he was above personal sacrifice over public sacrifice. It clears the way for people in our area to have open and
even election and get some representation.
“Finally, we get a seat at the table that we’ve been missing
for two years,” Lary said.
May’s action “will show folks outside of the county that
we’re beginning to put our act together again and that we can
govern,” Lary said.
Paul Redd, a resident of District 5, said, “I wanted my
voice heard just like everybody else would. It’s been too long
that this seat has been vacated and I’m really proud of Mr.
May today. We needed the change. Too long we have been
[without] a vote.”
Commissioners have had many tied votes, Redd said. “If
we had a representative, we would have been that deciding
Commissioner Stan Watson said May’s decision helps
commissioners and the county.
“It gives us an opportunity to again bring stability back
to the board,” Watson said. “For two years we have had uncertainty about certain votes and the direction of the county.
Now the people will speak and have a district commissioner.”
In a statement, Commissioner Nancy Jester said, “From
the start, I have led the call for Lee May to resign his District
5 seat and allow for a free and fair election for the citizens of
DeKalb County. I am pleased to see Lee May has agreed and
made the decision to resign.
“No one person holds the moral authority to occupy two
elected positions simultaneously,” Jester stated said. “Elected
positions belong to no one person, rather, they belong to the
people. The people of DeKalb County, District 5, have been
denied a commissioner for too long. I am proud to have
championed their right to a free and fair election and representation.”

Dunwoody Community Garden has 92 plots, plus 15 charity plots for food, herbs and

Dunwoody Continued From Page 1A
4-by-8-foot plots that were leased out to
families for $60 a year. Simon said most of
the plots sold on the first day.
“[It was] expanded twice since then,”
he said. “We have 92 plots, plus 15 charity
plots where we grow food and donate it to
charity. We’ve got about two acres here at
the main garden, and we also grow food at
the greenhouse complex.”
The garden expanded to 92 plots and
extensive border plantings in June 2011. It
is maintained by volunteers, members and
a volunteer board of directors.
“We provide free compost, free
fertilizer and free water to each plot,”
Simon said. “We have two greenhouses
where we grow plants and sell them to our
members at a low price.”
Before Dunwoody took ownership of
Brook Run Park, the Brook Run Hospital
for the mentally disabled was a part of
the park. Simon said the hospital built
greenhouses to grow food for patients.
The hospital closed in 1997, and when
the city took over the park years later, the
city let the community garden use the
greenhouses to grow plants and food yearround. Simon said he never thought the
garden would attract many gardeners.
“We’re about 95 percent full, and it
will probably fall off by June and then
we’ll have a waiting list,” he said. “It’s very
popular. We have room to expand and if
we need to we can, but it will be based on
Sonya White, who is new to
Dunwoody, bought a plot after she and her
children discovered the garden.
“We do a lot of gardening at our home,”
White said. “We have grow boxes at our
house, and we came up this way and
saw that they had a community garden.
It’s a really good way to let the kids see
firsthand where food comes from.”
The White family’s plot will soon have

tomatoes, zucchinis, potatoes, herbs,
peppers, cucumbers and watermelons.
The garden is also a certified Audubon
Wildlife Refuge, providing food and
shelter for birds, such as bluebirds, owls
and bats.
“We have about six bird houses in the
garden and probably another four or five
around the garden in bird-feeders,” Simon
said. “We’re also a part of the Atlanta
Audubon Society Certified Sanctuary.”
Along with providing hands-on
gardening opportunities, the garden also
offers educational classes and partners
with the city for social events.
“We promote Eagle Scout and Girl
Scout projects,” Simons said. “We promote
a lot of community spirit. We work closely
with the city of Dunwoody…on projects
that they like to sponsor, such as the
Milkweed Project for monarch butterflies
in conjunction with the Dunwoody Nature
Center. We grow the Milkweed plants for
Although the garden is a known
commodity to some Dunwoody residents,
it is unknown by many, according to
“When people come here they say it’s
one of the best kept secrets in Dunwoody,”
he said. “It’s hidden, and since we’ve
only been in existence for six years now,
people are not that aware of us. There are
other activities in Dunwoody and we’re
one of the newer and less known spots in
Simon said more people should participate in gardening because it is “relaxing
and stress-relieving.”
“You get to work dirt and plant things
and see them grow,” he said. “It’s very
peaceful and it’s also sociable. We grow a
lot of flowers, so people who find gardening relaxing and beautiful would love the
community garden.”


Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015


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The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015


Page 17A

Deanna Cauthen says her background as a storyteller is a major asset in her public relations and marketing business. Photo by Travis Hudgons

PR pro helps businesses tell their stories
by Kathy Mitchell
Decatur resident Deanna Cauthen, who recently opened the
ProWriter’s Studio marketing and
public relations agency, said her
principal strength as a marketing
practitioner is that she’s a storyteller.
“Every company, artist, or business entity has a story to tell. What
distinguishes them from everyone
else in their field is their story. I
have been a professional storyteller
for many years, working in schools,
at festivals and other events. I know
the power of a strong story. I feel
I’m especially well equipped to tell
people’s stories,” said Cauthen, who
has owned and operated Stories
and More, a professional storytelling service, for 15 years, and is the
author of Fabulous Funky Fairytales, an audio story song album for
After years of freelance writing
for local publications and volunteer marketing for her church and a
home schooling parent group, Cauthen decided earlier this year that
the time had come to “take it to the
next level.”

Cauthen said she’s prepared to
serve small clients and larger ones.
Although at present she’s a oneperson shop, Cauthen describes
her agency as full-service. “I can
deliver a wide range of services,
including developing a marketing
strategy, event planning and brochure writing. Helping a small or
new business take the next step toward its goals is especially exciting.
There are people who have a great
product, but they need help making
the public aware of what they do.
“Some small businesses make
the mistake of not investing enough
time and money in marketing themselves. People tell me, ‘I sent out
a flyer, but I didn’t get much response.’ They probably don’t realize
that all of us get hundreds of emails
and sales promotions every day.
You have to keep sending the message, using a variety of media and
you have to send it in a memorable
way,” she said.
“Your message may be in front
of the potential customer’s eyes
only for a few seconds. It has to be
something he’ll remember. Every
business, no matter how good its
product, needs to make sure it’s get-

ting its message out on a continuing
basis,” Cauthen continued.
Small businesses often don’t
appreciate the importance of branding, according to Cauthen. “Logos
and other visuals aren’t just for big
national companies. They make a
company memorable and instantly
recognizable,” she said.
Cauthen said that in addition to
business clients, she works with
individuals such as entertainers,
politicians and athletes who want
to create a positive public image.
“Singers, comedians and others
shouldn’t–in this fast-paced world–
depend on word of mouth to become popular. They need a focused
campaign to make the public aware
of them.”
The public relations and marketing business has changed dramatically in recent years because of the
rise of social media, Cauthen said.
“Facebook, Twitter and other social
media allow us to reach hundreds of
people instantly and at a very low
cost. There are now so many online
tools get the message to exactly who
you want to get it to–and all without
ever printing a piece of paper. It’s
so environmentally friendly,” she


Another advantage of online
communication, Cauthen said, is
that it’s easy to include photos. “A
picture really is worth a thousand
words. Pictures are eye-catching
and they often communicate in
ways that people remember far better than they remember words.”
Cauthen advises those in search
of a marketing and public relations
firm to research carefully. “There
are a lot of people out there offering
these services, but you want to be
sure you’re dealing with someone
who’s competent, ethical and able
to do what you need. It’s great to
find someone who’s excited about
what you’re offering. That excitement will carry over into the work
the agency produces for you. Also,
you want to be sure the agency is a
good fit for you. If what you need is
beyond the scope of what an agency
can produce, you want someone
who will be honest and say so.”
Cauthen currently operates the
small business from her home. She
said it is her hope that within a few
years she will expand, have a few
employees and an office outside her

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce • Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite, Decatur, GA 30030 • 404.378.8000 •

The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015

Towers No. 2 singles player Garrett Anderson received
a tennis scholarship from Johnson C. Smith University
after two years of competitive tennis.


Towers No. 3 singles player Tyrone Laury played in the state

Page 18A

Zachary Smith is the No. 1 singles players on the team.

Towers Tennis:
Confidence and determination
help turn program around
by Carla Parker
Tennis was established at Towers
High School in 1995.
For 18 seasons, the boys’ tennis program never managed to put
together a winning season. That all
changed in 2013 when the Titans
went 6-3 under then-head coach
Kevin Owen-Robinson. The program continued to get better under
a new coach, Emanuel Lewis.
Lewis took over the program in
2014 and led the team to an 8-1 record. This season, Lewis led Towers
to an 11-3 record and its first state
playoff appearance. Towers defeated
Westside-Augusta 3-0 in the first
round, but lost to Pierce County 4-0
in the second round.
Despite losing in the second
round, Lewis said it felt good to
coach Towers in its first-ever playoff
“It’s bigger than just going to the
playoffs,” he said. “It lets the kids
know that they can do more than
just football, basketball and baseball—the main sports. We can compete in tennis and golf.
“It also gave the kids exposure
on what’s going on outside of I-285
and Wesley Chapel,” Lewis added.
“Once we reached the state playoffs,
we traveled all across the state. We

Towers boys’ tennis coach Emanuel Lewis
led Towers to its first playoff appearance.

went to Peachtree City, Augusta and
Pierce County. They got exposed to
a lot of things, a lot of tennis parks.
They met other athletes from all
walks of life—from private schools
to other schools [in] south and
north Georgia. So they got exposed

to a lot of tennis.”
When Lewis took over the program last season, tennis was not of
interest among most of the school
“I had to introduce tennis; I had
to make it look fun,” Lewis said. “I
brought in a couple of colleagues
and friends I grew up with and
showed [the students] what tennis
was all about. I showed them different videos and made them become
more interested in it.”
Lewis said it was hard getting
athletes to come out and play tennis because it was new to them and
they were busy playing other sports.
He decided to “expose” them to the
“I took them to different local
parks [such as] Sugar Creek [Tennis
Center] to see what a tennis match
actually looks like,” he said. “We
watched a lot of videos on Serena
and Venus [Williams].”
Towers had one experienced
tennis player at the time: Zachary
“He played some tennis at Sugar
Creek,” Lewis said. “He really helped
me train a lot of the other boys.”
Smith, a junior, is the No. 1
singles player on the team. Towers’
No. 2 singles player senior, Garrett
Anderson, played tennis in ninth
grade, but took two years off from

the sport.
“He hadn’t played since, so he
was basically a second-year player,”
Lewis said.
Anderson, Smith and Tyrone
Laury played in the state playoffs.
Lewis said when he became the
head coach, he wanted to build confidence and determination in the
players, and the belief that they can
compete with anyone in tennis.
“Dealing with inner city kids,
they’re thinking that tennis is considered a ‘White sport,’ or ‘we can’t
do nothing with tennis,’ but not realizing that they’re just as athletic,”
Lewis said. “It’s all about determination and sacrifice. Once you put
your [mind] to it and [are] focused,
you ought to be willing to do anything. Once they started believing in
themselves it was no stopping them.”
Tennis also has exposed the
players to college recruiters. Garrett
is currently being looked at by Johnson C. Smith University.
It is not just Towers’ boys’ team
that is doing well, the girls team also
made the playoff this year.
“The girls are getting better too,”
Lewis said. “We made it deep in the
regional playoffs and a lot of my
girls were first-year players.
“Hopefully, we’ll continue to improve each year,” he added.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, May 15 , 2015


Page 19A

Decatur boys soccer
advances to final four
by Carla Parker
It has been 12 years since
the Decatur Bulldogs soccer
team has won a state title.
The Bulldogs are one step
closer to winning another state
title after defeating Dawson
County 2-1 in the Class AAA
quarterfinals May 9. Decatur
gained an early 2-0 lead in the
first half behind goals by senior
Kevin Beck and Devin Olson.
Dawson County cut Decatur’s lead to 2-1 in the second half, but stout defense in
the final minutes of the game
sealed the win for the Bulldogs.
Coach David Harbin said his
team has been working hard to
get to this point in the season.
“They deserve to be rewarded,” Harbin said. “That
was a great game. Dawson
County is a great team, they
battled the whole time and we
were fortunate to come out on
Decatur traveled to Calhoun May 12 for the semifinals
matchup. Score was not available by press time.
The Bulldogs joined the
Lady Bulldogs in the final four.
Decatur girls punched their
ticket to the final four after
beating Savannah Arts 2-1 on
May 8. The Lady Bulldogs lost
in the semifinals last year, and
are looking to get to the championship game this year.
Decatur traveled to Westminster May 12 for the semi-

finals matchup. Score was not
available by press time.
In Class AAAA, St. Pius
boys and girls, Cross Keys
boys and Marist girls will be
playing in the semifinals. The
Cross Keys Indians made their
second trip to the semifinals in
four years after a 3-2 win over
Johnson May 9.
Cross Keys traveled to
Southeast Whitfield May 12 for
the semifinals matchup. Score
was not available by press time.
St. Pius boys defeated
Northwest Whitfield 5-1 May 9
to advance to the semifinals. St.
Pius hosted Woodward Academy May 12 for the semifinals
matchup. Score was not available by press time.
St. Pius girls traveled to
Whitewater May 12 for the
semifinals matchup. Score was
not available by press time. The
Lady Golden Lions defeated
Buford 4-1 to advance to the
Marist girls had a 9-2 victory over Veterans to advance
to the semifinals. They hosted
Woodward Academy May 12
for the semifinals matchup.
Score was not available by press
Other scores
May 9
Class 6A Boys
Alpharetta 1, Tucker 0
Class 5A Boys
Riverwood 2, Clarkston 1

Decatur goal keeper Jackson Bailey blocks a goal attempt. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Clarkston midfielder Bosco Hakuzimana (No. 6) runs with the ball up field. Clarkston fell to Riverwood

Marist boys tennis,
girls track repeat as
state champions
The Marist boys tennis and girls track
teams won state championships May 9. The
boys tennis team defeated St. Pius X 3-0 to
earn its second consecutive AAAA State
The girls track team won its third
consecutive AAAA trophy as seniors
Morgan Ilse and Caitie Faust dominated
their events. Faust won the 400-meter
and 800-meter races, and Ilse won the
1600-meter and the 3200-meter race in
a record time of 10:25.9, nearly a minute
faster than the second-place finisher.
-Courtesy of Marist girls’ track team won its third state title.

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