FRIDAY, june 5, 2015 • VOL. 18, NO. 10 • FREE

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

Quick Finder
Sports....................... 21-23A
Opinion............................ 5A

candidates face off
local, 2A


Greatest show
above the
Earth returns
sports, 11A

DeKalb launches once-a-week trash pickup
by Ashley Oglesby
Beginning July 6 all residents in
DeKalb County will switch to oneday-per-week trash and recycling
Interim CEO Lee May said it
will save the county millions of

dollars and prevent homeowners’
rates from going up.
DeKalb County Sanitation Division launched the Rolling Forward
to One program on May 28 with
the reveal of their website, a release
of an implementation timeline and
featured speakers May, Associate
Director of the sanitation division

Billy Malone and commissioners
Kathie Gannon, Stan Watson and
Nancy Jester.
May said it will be more sustainable to move away from the
traditional four-days-a-week trash
pickup to one day a week.
Residents’ garbage, yard trimmings and recyclable materials all

will be collected on the same day.
“We were delivering RollsRoyce service in the sanitation
department, but our constituents
were paying Ford Focus rates,” said
He added, “It was a difficult recommendation to make… because
people had gotten so accustomed

See Trash on page 15A

DeKalb County Police set up a safety checkpoint along Candler Road May 28 for Operation Click It or Ticket. Photos by Travis Hudgons

DeKalb County Police
remind drivers about safety


eKalb County officers had a visible
presence along Candler Road May 28 for
Operation Click It or Ticket, Georgia’s seat
belt enforcement program. Every year during the
Memorial Day and Thanksgiving holiday periods, law
enforcement agencies in Georgia join forces for an
enforcement blitz that delivers that message.
The officer mobilization is supported by paid
advertising campaigns on the national and local
levels, as well as earned media campaigns aimed at
raising awareness of the importance of seat belt use
and law enforcement’s commitment to enforcing
Georgia’s seat belt laws. The campaign helps create a
seat belt usage rate of approximately 90 percent.
Colonel Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the
Georgia Department of Public Safety and Georgia
State Patrol commander, said troopers and state
officers will be conducting concentrated patrols
and road checks during holiday period to remind
motorists to buckle up and take the time to properly
restrain children. “Sadly, each holiday period more
than one-half of the people killed in motor vehicle
crashes are not using seat belts,” Hitchens said.
“Many would be alive today had they taken the two
seconds to buckle up before their trip.”
Adults 18 years of age and older must use seat
belts while driving or while riding in the front seat of
passenger vehicles, including sport utility vehicles.


There was a special station designated to
inspect child restraint seats for proper usage
and expiration dates. Expired or improper child
restraint seats where replaced on site at no cost.

At the Candler Road checkpoint drivers with
children in the vehicle received extra attention.
Georgia law requires that children 6 years and
younger be restrained at all times in a child passenger
restraining system while traveling in a car, van or
pickup truck. Children 6 years and younger who are
more than 4 feet, 9 inches in height or weigh more
than 40 pounds are exempt from child restraint
seats but still must be in a safety belt. Children ages
6 through 17 must be restrained by a seat belt at all
times in all types of vehicles.


Volunteers check the expiration date on a child
restraint seat.




Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Candidates for the District 5 seat on the
county’s Board of Commissioners bow
their heads in prayer before their first
forum. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

County commission candidates face off
by Andrew Cauthen
Eight of the 10 candidates for
the District 5 seat on the DeKalb
County Board of Commissioners
participated in the first of several
forums planned for the group.
“DeKalb County is blessed to
have so many fine candidates from
which to choose,” said Steen Miles,
moderator of the forum sponsored
by the Restore DeKalb advocacy
Before fielding individual
questions from Miles and then
the audience, each candidate had
the opportunity to give a brief
Gregory Adams, a pastor and
former police officer, said, “I am
committed to serving the people of
DeKalb County.
“I am committed to bringing
integrity, honesty, ethics, moral
behavior and I intend to serve the
people,” he said.
“I’m not running for position or
a name,” Adams said. “I already have
that. I’m running to serve. DeKalb
County has a black eye, and I want
to change…the image of DeKalb
County. I want to bring about a
positive change.”
Adams said he is against the
cityhood movement in the county.
“I will continue to fight to bring
DeKalb together,” he said.
Harmel Deanne Codi, an
educational consultant and owner
of Codi & Associates Business
Solutions, said she is “an unusual
“I am not a household name.
I am not a politician. I am just a
concerned and engaged citizen,” she
Because she has worked for
DeKalb County, Codi said she is “the

Jason Lary, Stonecrest cityhood proponent, asks the candidates a question.

only candidate that understands the
issues from inside out.”
Codi also said she was the only
candidate who stood up at Board
of Commissioners meetings and
demanded “fair and free elections
for District 5.”
“I’m here because I’m
concerned,” she said. “I’m a child
advocate. I am very engaged in
the community. We have high
unemployment, high crime and our
children need better schools.”
Jerome Edmondson, business
consultant and senior partner of
Edmondson Associates, said he
supports the “values of restoring
DeKalb, building a stronger
economy [and] making DeKalb
“I’m a parent that has a son that
has a bullet 1 centimeter from his
heart,” Edmondson said. “Unless
it hits you that close to home, you
won’t know how important it is to
have a safe DeKalb.”

Edmondson said, “I’ve look
forward to talking with you and
learning more about your need for a
better DeKalb.”
Edmondson is the CEO of a call
center with 1,100 employees around
the world, including a new office in
DeKalb. This is an example of his
vision for “economic empowerment
and creating new jobs,” he said.
Gwendolyn R. “Gwen” Green,
writer and school media specialist,
said, “I am in this race because I
been in DeKalb County for 33 years
and have raised as a single parent
three children.” Additionally, she
worked in the DeKalb County
School District.
“I am very clear [about] some
of the problems that exist in our
community,” Green said. “When
we have an opportunity to serve I
believe…[we should] contribute or
shut up.
“I am here to contribute and I
want to offer myself for service [and]

give you an opportunity to have a
representative who is not traditional
but definitely one who has in mind
some things I would like to see in
DeKalb County,” Green said.
Gina Mangham, attorney
and local activist, is running for
the second time. She ran in 2012
“mainly around the biomass facility,”
she said.
“I want to continue to do what
I’ve been doing,” Mangham said. “I
will continue to do that.”
Mangham said economic
development is a goal of all District
5 residents.
“We all want a better DeKalb, but
I urge you to look at what people are
truly about,” Mangham said. “It’s all
about integrity. It’s all about cleaning
up DeKalb. We all want to do that.
“When you make your choice, …
look at who’s done the work, look at
who’s served with integrity, and look
at the future of DeKalb,” Mangham
Kathryn T. Rice, founder of
the South DeKalb Improvement
Association, said, “Many of you
know me because of the work
I’ve done in the community.
I’m an advocate for economic
Rice said she founded the
Concerned Citizens for Cityhood
in South DeKalb in 2014 “because
I believe that cityhood is the
best way…for getting economic
development in our area.
“We have two big issues that
we are facing,” Rice said. “One is
integrity, character, ethics of our
elected officials in DeKalb County.
The second big issue is economic
Rice said she wants residents
to know “my background, my
education, my experience, but

See District 5 on page 17A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 3A

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James (center) cut the ribbon on
the new center.
DeKalb County Commissioners Larry Johnson (left), Kathie Gannon and Nancy Jester celebrate the opening of
the county’s Family Protection Center. Photos by Carla Parker

County Family Protection
Center opens in Tucker
by Carla Parker
Victims of any type of
physical abuse can seek help
in DeKalb County through
the county’s new Family Protection Center.
County officials cut the
ribbon May 28 to celebrate
the opening of the center, which is housed in the
DeKalb County Fire and
Rescue’s central office in
Tucker. Officials also signed
a memorandum of understanding.
The center will be a safe
location for victims of sexual
assault, domestic violence,
child abuse, elder abuse and
human trafficking to receive
assistance and critical services.
“Finally there is a safe
haven in DeKalb County,
and we call it the Family Pro-

tection Center,” said DeKalb
County District Attorney
Robert James.
The center will provide
sexual assault examinations
and counseling services for
children and adults. Victims
will receive counseling services, forensic interviews and
other services.
“The victims of domestic
violence, child abuse, elder
abuse or human trafficking
have to go several places before justice is served,” James
said. “Oftentimes, these victims are burned out and they
give up. Even the ones that
stay the course end up being
victimized by the process.
“The idea behind the
Family Protection Center
is that you take as many resources as possible and you
put them in one place,” James
added. “They call it a onestop shop.”

First responders will undergo training to help them
understand the process of
referring victims of crimes to
the center.
James signs a memorandum of understanding.
The center is equipped
with donated supplies from
vulnerable are concerned.
various companies through- more.
“We are proud to be the
out Georgia, including
to offer a Family ProtecCrossville Tile and Stone, Atas
Center of this nature in
lanta Office Liquidators Inc.,
” May added.
Kimball Office, Deljou Art
Gallery and Creative Business Interiors.
The center partners inNOTICE OF
clude DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, the
office of CEO, DeKalb Board
of Commissioners, DeKalb
Police Department, DeKalb
The City of Brookhaven has tentatively
Fire and Rescue, Georgia
adopted a millage rate for the General Fund
Center for Child Advocacy,
Day League, International
which will require an increase in property
Women’s House, Adult Protaxes by 15.78 percent over the Rollback
tective Services, Department
of Family and Children SerMillage rate. This increase is due solely to the
vices, DeKalb TRIAD and
revaluation of real property tax assessments.

All concerned citizens are invited to the
public hearings on this tax increase to be held
at Brookhaven City Hall at 4362 Peachtree
Road, Brookhaven, GA 30319. The first public
hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on June 9,
The second public hearing will be at special
called meeting on June 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
A final public hearing will be held July 7, 2015
at 7:00 p.m. After the final public hearing, the
millage rate will be formally adopted.
The tentative increase will result in a millage
rate of 2.795 mills, a millage rate equivalent
increase of .381 mills. Without this tentative
tax increase, the millage rate will be no
more than 2.414 mills. The proposed tax
increase for a home with a fair market value
of $300,000 is approximately $43 and the
proposed tax increase for non-homestead
property with a fair market value of $200,000
is approximately $31.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 4A

Why waste time and money on second Ellis trial?
DeKalb Chief Executive
Officer Burrell Ellis has been
in limbo since June of 2013.
He was removed from office
by Gov. Nathan Deal after
the district attorney presented
evidence to a grand jury and
got a recommendation for an
Ellis was charged with
four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by
extortion; three counts of
theft by taking; two counts of
criminal attempt to commit
false statements and writings; three counts of coercion
of other employees to give
anything of value for political
purposes; and a count each of
conspiracy in restraint of free
and open competition, and of
conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision.
The main crux of the
charges against Ellis were
that he attempted to solicit
campaign contributions from
county vendors and threatened them with the possi-

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

bility of not doing business
with the county in the future
if they did not contribute;
however, the validity of these
charges was questioned numerous times. “I never asked
anything in exchange for a
campaign contribution,” Ellis
said during the trial. “I never
promised anything.”
Hundreds of thousands of
dollars and countless hours
were spent trying to get a

conviction against Ellis during the first trial and it did
not happen. After more than
six weeks of testimony and
11 days of jury deliberations,
a mistrial was declared by
Judge Courtney Johnson.
A consensus could not be
reached by jurors on any of
the original charges.
During Ellis’ absence from
the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, the commission
has failed to function properly due to stalemates that
could have been settled were
there someone to break tie
votes on issues of importance,
and the residents of District 5
have been without representation and a voice because of
Lee May being named interim CEO to fill Ellis’ position.
One would think that
with a case of this magnitude
that is based for the most
part on testimony of former
DeKalb County employees
Kelvin Walton and Nina
Hall, who both have been

proven repeatedly to be less
than credible witnesses, that
the resources of the District
Attorney’s office may be more
effective if it focused its efforts on issues that are known
to have taken money directly
from taxpayers.
There is substantial
evidence to warrant investigations into issues such as
questionable repairs done
on officials’ private homes,
questionable expenditures
on county-issued purchasing cards, allegations of the
existence of false consulting
invoices submitted by friends
and family of elected officials
and paid for with county
funds, questionable land acquisitions that involved purchase prices at greatly inflated
levels. In other words, there
seem to be bigger fish to fry
and ones that could be caught
easily the first time around.
If the most Ellis ever did
was put pressure on vendors to support his political

campaign, this pales in comparison to money actually
misallocated or gross spending of county funds, unethical
awarding of contracts.
I, however, do not believe
Ellis did what he is accused
of; he is too smart of a man to
do that and is of moral character that would not allow
this behavior. I do believe that
he did just what he admitted
to—ask county vendors to
contribute to his campaign—
which I also believe is done
by virtually every elected official around the globe. It’s an
integral part of the political
process. I do not believe he
attempt to extort money from
We are now back at square
one with the pending second
trial of Ellis. Unless there is
overwhelming new evidence,
it is unlikely that there will be
conviction this time around

Commissioners respond to interim CEO’s criticism
In finally resigning his commission seat after 23 months as interim
chief executive, Lee May has made
much of the resistance of “three
commissioners” of the BOC to his
efforts to install a hand-picked successor to represent District 5. As the
“three commissioners” he referred
to, we think the public might benefit
from a broader perspective on the
First, the upcoming election
could have occurred far sooner, in
either of the general elections in
November of 2013 or 2014, if only
Mr. May had earlier resigned the
commission seat he could not occupy while serving as the interim
CEO. Not only would DeKalb have
avoided the $100,000 expense of
a special election, but voter participation would have been greatly
increased over the lonely, singleissue ballot turnout we can expect
on June 16. In fact, until a new law
was hastily passed in April of 2014,

his resignation was the only means
to fill the seat. In refusing to resign,
May prioritized keeping his political
options open over representation for
the citizens he is sworn to serve.
Second, when the legislature did
pass the new law to deal with this
unprecedented vacancy, May then
took control of the process and
spent another three months trying
to anoint an ally for the commission
seat. He could not prevail, and then
insisted, for another five months,
that no one else would do, until
he finally allowed the commission
to make nominations in February
Finally, five nominations came
from the commission. Every commissioner voted for some of the
candidates, but none could achieve
victory. In breaking a tie vote, May
voted against Gina Mangham the
only candidate that he could have
pushed over the top.
During these many months when

May would not resign, he also abandoned his responsibility to District
Five constituents. He closed the district office, taking his staff with him,
and would not allow district funds
to be used for a constituent services
assistant. Represented by the interim
CEO, District 5 should have had
the best constituent services in the
county; instead services remained as
poor as ever.
Now, after all of these months
that he delayed, May chooses to
resign with only a few short weeks
between his resignation and a low
turnout June 16 election. This is
hardly a coincidence. There is not
enough time to raise money and
launch a campaign with early voting on May 26. This seems to be the
very definition of the “petty personal politics and clear obstruction”
that he attributes to us. In addition,
he apparently favored a candidate
with knowledge of his plans, because only Vaughn Irons had cam-

paign material ready to mail out the
day of May’s resignation.
We have consistently said the
voters of District 5 should be able to
elect their own representative to the
county commission. We have always
supported an open and fair election and we are glad for that long
overdue outcome. We regret that
Mr. May’s singular focus on his own
political advantage made the wait
so long, and that the snap election
scheduled for June 16 may attract
so few voters. We hope that District
5 candidates and voters will rise to
the occasion and fill the seat with a
commissioner who has their interest, not his own, at heart.
Commissioners Kathie Gannon,
Nancy Jester and Jeff Rader

Stop bullying now
stand up • speak out

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

The Fort Mac attack
“I am pleased that we
reached an agreement that
will help long-term job creation, business expansion
and community investment
in Fort McPherson and its
surrounding communities,”
said Atlanta Mayor Kasim
I am a fan of Tyler
Perry. His most famous
creation, Madea, reminds
me more than a bit of two
women who helped raise my
siblings and I. 
Perry has given a tremendous boost to the Georgia
and Atlanta film production
industries, long before it was
fashionable (in Hollywood
circles) or tax advantageous
to do so. 
He is both an aggressive
entrepreneur and a philanthropist—regularly investing
and giving back to the community which so strongly
supports his work. For these
and many other reasons, I
am glad that he still calls Atlanta, Ga., his home.
All that said, I believe
the city of Atlanta is underselling and perhaps underestimating the value of the
330-500 acre parcel we all
now know as the closed
Army base, Fort McPherson
on Atlanta’s southside. The
original parade grounds,
golf course and historic officers’ row houses at the base’s
center remain maintained in
pristine condition, and I can
already envision how those
will become fertile grounds

Bill Crane


and settings for Perry’s
Perry plans to construct
up to 16 film production
sound-stages as well as
post-production facilities
on the large and now fenced
compound, relocating from
his existing facilities near
Greenbriar Mall in southwest Atlanta, and not fleeing to an OTP site he was
considering in Douglas
County. According to Tyler
Perry Studios, Perry has todate invested $200-million
in Georgia.
Though the Pentagon
and Army decommissioned
Fort Mac following Base
Realignment and Closure
Commission (BRAC) hearings and recommendations
of the prior decade, and the
base has been largely demilitarized, millions in real
estate assets and technology
infrastructure remain in
U.S. Armed Forces Com-

mand (FORSCOM) ran
Operation Desert Shield
and Operation Desert Storm
from Fort Mac during 19901991. 
The base was successfully
defended and maintained
through three rounds of
BRAC hearings and the U.S.
Veteran’s Administration
(VA) still operates a clinic
on post.
Perry’s plan will leave
the fences surrounding the
compound in place and may
well serve as a catalyst for
re-development of nearby
East Point, Hapeville and
College Park. However, the
nearby Screen Gems re-development at the old Lakewood Fairgrounds has yet to
deliver on its promise for the
same area.
The nature of film, TV
and motion picture production is seasonal and transitory. The majority of actors
as well as technical crew are
still being imported.
Perry does make an effort
to cast locally, but a close
look at one of television’s
most popular programs,
AMC’s The Walking Dead
also produced here in Georgia, shows a stellar ensemble
cast with nary a native Georgia accent (the now defunct
character of Herschel did
have southern roots). 
But Fort Mac has more
than 300 useable acres, including significant existing
infrastructure, and this deal
is both under-priced and

could have easily been subdivided. Give Perry the center campus, parade grounds,
golf course (he is reportedly
and avid golfer) and the
existing warehouse space
(somewhat easily converted
into sound-stages), and split
off another 100+ acres into
one or two more parcels.
Yes, there are some issues with chemicals and
likely some old ordinances
buried on property, as is the
case with many former military installations, but those
challenges are no more insurmountable than removing multiple heavy metals
and other toxins from the
soil underneath what has
now become Atlantic Station. The base site is on
MARTA, minutes from the
world’s busiest airport and
well-located for becoming a
substantive re-development
catalyst on Atlanta’s southside.
For purposes of comparison, more than $32-million
has been privately raised
to relocate the Cyclorama
from Grant Park to a new
building on the grounds of
the Atlanta History Center
in Buckhead, with the city
of Atlanta receiving a substantial portion of that total. 
Atlanta has also long had
the Atlanta Civic Center and
its few surrounding acres in
Bedford Pines listed for sale
at a price of only half what
Perry is paying for more
than 300 acres ($15-mil-

I want Perry and his
company to be successful,
his films are well-produced,
wonderfully cast and entertaining. I know his legacy
here will be long...I just don’t
want folks to later believe
that Madea helped the talented Perry steal this deal
with the help of her silverplated 357. 
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
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Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P.
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to • FAX To: (404)
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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
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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, June 5, 2015

Atira Rochester
For Atira Rochester,
volunteering is an avenue to
be of service to others.
The 30-year-old from
Decatur serves others
through a couple of organizations, including the Junior
League of DeKalb County.
She has been volunteering
with the organization for a
“My friend was involved
in the Junior League in her
community and encouraged me to join,” Rochester
said. “I was also interested in
working with a group of volunteers who invested their

energy, time and resources
into the community where
I live.”

Junior League of DeKalb
County is an organization
of women “committed to
promoting voluntarism,
developing the potential
of women, and improving
communities through the
effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
Its purpose is exclusively
educational and charitable.”
The organization has
more than 300 women involved.
With the Junior League,
Rochester has participated
in a class project on cleaning, redecorating and

“sprucing” up the International Women’s House, a
shelter for immigrant and
refugee women and children
who are victims of domestic violence and abuse. The
Junior League founded International Women’s House
in 1997.
Rochester also serves
on the board of directors of
Youth V.I.B.E., an organization in DeKalb County,
which exposes youth to the
skills and experiences that
teach and encourage business leadership.
Youth V.I.B.E. provides

free academic enrichment in
math, science and reading
at Towers High School and
The Mohammed Schools of
Atlanta. The organization’s
programs provide teens with
interactive components to
business mentoring including guest speakers and corporate tours, according to its
Rochester said volunteering is important to her
because “I think we all have
something to positively contribute to others, and I have
to start where I am with
what I have.”

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.

Members of the Atlanta chapter of the Chinese Qipoa Society use the traditional dress to promote Chinese culture. In May, many donned the dress as part of a worldwide attempt to make
it into the Guiness Book of World Records. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Group promotes Chinese
culture through dress
by Andrew Cauthen
For the Chinese Qipoa Society, it’s all
about the dress.
“I love qipao,” said Jinghong Ma, an organizer of the one-month-old Atlanta chapter of the Chinese Qipoa Society. “Since I
came to the U.S., I love qipao. All my dresses are qipao —lots and lots of qipao.”
A qipao, also called a cheongsam, is a
traditional Chinese dress. It is a stylish, often body-hugging dress first designed in the
With approximately 300-400 chapters
worldwide, the society, based in China, “is
growing very, very fast,” Ma said.
At 10 p.m. on May 15, which was 10
a.m. May 16 in China, more than 150,000
people around the world simultaneously
wore qipaos in an attempt to “make the
World Guiness record [of] 100,000 people…wearing the same Chinese traditional
dress at the same time,” Ma said.
In Chamblee, more than 100 people
donned the dresses as a part of the event,
which was video-recorded. Along with

chapters around the world, the Atlanta
chapter sent the recording to the society
headquarters in China.
For the event, the society “invited local
artists to show us how to walk [and apply]
the makeup,” Ma said. “That’s very special
because a lot of people love the dress but
never have a chance to wear the dress.”
While some members own qipoas, others had to borrow the dress.
Some “actually went to Chinatown here
in Atlanta [to buy the dresses],” Ma said.
Ma started the organization in Atlanta
after meeting “a lady from China [who said]
Atlanta never had a chapter.” Now the chapter has approximately 175 members who
connect on a WeChat Chinese social media
“We have lots of news, and posts and
excitement,” Ma said. “We’re talking about
how to…establish the qipoa society.”
In the future, Ma said, the group will
sponsor various activities such as field trips
and seminars on women’s beauty, dress and
healthy eating.
“We will promote the Chinese culture
through the national dress,” Ma said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015





Avondale Woman’s Club selling posters
The Avondale Woman’s Club is selling a
Doors of Avondale Estates 2015 poster for $10,
and all proceeds support the club’s charities. For
more information or to purchase a poster, email

City to host youth baseball parade
Decatur will hold an Opening Day of Youth
Baseball parade June 6 at 11 a.m. beginning at
McKoy Park and ending at Oakhurst Park for a
special ceremony and games. For more information, visit

City sets tentative 2015 millage rate

County opens Rutledge Park with ribboncutting celebration
DeKalb County officially opened the new
Rutledge Park last month with a ribbon-cutting
ceremony with residents and park stakeholders.
The latest addition to the DeKalb Department of
Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs portfolio
is located at 1812 Ridgewood Drive.
“There are few parks out there that are as
loved as this one is,” said District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader. “It is an outpouring of love
and support for the park that made it all possible. This is the culmination of our rigorous
implementation of what the community said
they wanted in this park.”
The 1.5-acre park includes entry landscaping, a walkway into the park, playground and
walking trail. The total cost of the project was
$108,000, which was raised through a collaborative effort. The Friends of Rutledge Park put a
visual plan together and raised $13,000 for the
project, and also received a $50,000 grant from
Park Pride. Rader added $45,000 toward the
project through a park bond.

At its regular meeting on May 18, the Decatur City Commission adopted a tentative millage
rate of 12 mills for general operations, capital
improvements, bonded indebtedness and downtown development authority operations. This
is a reduction from the 2014 millage rate of 13
mills; however due to property reassessments,
this will represent an average increase of 5.03
percent in property taxes.
This increase is consistent with new development and home sale data tracked by the city
for the past three years. The state’s taxpayer bill
of rights requires that this increase be advertised. For property that was not reassessed there
should be a decrease in property taxes.
The Decatur City Commission will hold
public hearings regarding this issue on Monday,
June 1, at 7:30 p.m.; Monday, June 8, at 6 p.m.;
and, Monday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m. The final
millage will be set at the Decatur City Commission meeting scheduled for Monday, June 15.
All meetings are held in the city commission
meeting room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, Decatur. For more information,
contact Meredith Roark, budget & performance
measurement manager, or Andrea Arnold, assistant city manager, at (404) 370-4102, or visit
the city’s website at

Doraville presents movie under the stars
On June 5, the annual touch-a-truck event
will give children the opportunity to get up close
to a collection of emergency vehicles such as police cars and fire trucks. The event will take place
from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Park avenue and will be
followed by the family film Home—Worlds Collide. Both events are free and open to the public.

Page 7A

Dunwoody boy in need of life-saving
With the cost of a transplant often exceeding
$500,000, many transplant families are unable
to afford such a procedure.
The Children’s Organ Transplant Association
(COTA) is a national charity dedicated to
organizing and guiding communities in raising
funds for transplant-related expenses.
In Dunwoody, volunteers are raising funds
for COTA in honor of transplant patients such as
local boy Tyler Johnson.
Tyler is the son of Chaunte and Jermaine
Johnson. Born Sept. 9, 2004, Tyler was
diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Doctors
at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta
have recommended a lifesaving bone marrow
transplant. An estimated $90,000 is being raised
by Dunwoody volunteers.
Volunteers are needed to assist with
fundraising activities that will help with
transplant-related expenses.
Individuals and groups interested in more
information can contact community coordinator
Awa Patton at (770) 896-7948 or awaleslie@
Donations may be mailed to the Children’s
Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA
Drive, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403. Checks
or money orders should be made payable to
COTA, with “In Honor of Tyler J.” written on
the memo line of the check. Secure credit card
donations are also accepted online at www.
COTA’s priority is to assure that no child or
young adult is denied a transplant or excluded
from a transplant waiting list due to lack
of funds. One hundred percent of all funds
raised are used for patients’ transplant-related

Stone Mountain
Mountain Shadow Garden Club to host event
Kurt Straudt will be the featured speaker for
Mountain Shadow Garden Club (MSGC) June
6, with a program on “Succulents.” A succulent
is any plant that has adapted to dry, arid climates by storing water in its leaves, stems, and/
or roots. Mountain Shadow Garden Club is open
to men and women of all ages who enjoy learning about a range of garden topics. The meeting
and program activities begin at 7:30 p.m. The
free event will be held at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 5801 Hugh Howell Road in Stone
Mountain. For more information or directions,
contact MSGC president Jeff Raines at (404)


Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Junior League’s Angela Turk and Renee Bazemore take
a photo break from their volunteer work.

Members of the Junior League helped Partnership for Healthy Living
with its garden. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Valencia Breedlove of Junior League works the ground
around a community garden’s sign.

Junior League: 80 years of training women
by Andrew Cauthen
For Renee Bazemore,
the best part of Junior
League of DeKalb County is
the relationships.
“I will have made some
lifelong relationships once I
[become a sustaining member],” said Bazemore, vice
president of community for
the Junior League’s board of
“I have enjoyed the partnerships that we’ve been
able to build with other organizations within DeKalb
County,” said Bazemore,
who joined Junior League
in 2011. “Junior League
is a great organization for
women to get involved and
to grow individually and
In its 80th year in
DeKalb County, Junior
League is a women’s volunteer organization with a
mission “to promote volunteerism and develop the
potential of women and to
improve our communities
through the effective action
and leadership of trained
volunteers,” said Angela
Turk, president of Junior
League of DeKalb County.
The league currently
has 52 active members and
more than 265 sustaining
members, or league alumnae
who served seven or more
With 292 chapters
around the country, “Junior
League has been a great experience,” Bazemore said. “It
has helped me to further develop my professional skills,
my leadership skills as well
as being able to bond with
other women who have like
goals. We all want to better
serve our community.”
Bazemore said she enjoys “seeing the excitement
of the organizations that we

help, as today with our community garden and Partners
in Action for Healthy Living, knowing that we can
help with the garden and
they harvest this food and
deliver it to senior citizens. I
think it’s a really rewarding
One of the main organizations Junior League is
currently helping is Teacup
Girls, a nonprofit mentoring
Its mission is to “provide
healthy self-esteem activities
for girls who are ages 8-13,”
Turk said. “We’ve hosted
their mother-daughter tea.
We go one Saturday a month
and we do healthy cooking
demonstrations with them.
We do physical activities
with them as well.”
Junior League is also
partnering with International Women’s House,
which provides shelter and
assistance to women who
are suffering from domestic abuse, and Day League,
formerly the DeKalb Rape
“We’re very fond of
those two organizations they
were founding projects of
the Junior League of DeKalb
County,” Turk said. “They
started as projects, and we
supported those projects until they were able to become
self-sustaining in their own
[nonprofit] organizations.”
Turk said the mission of
Junior League is multifaceted.
“Being a volunteer…you
get to learn so much about
the community that you are
living in,” Turk said, adding that all Junior League of
DeKalb County members
live or work in the county.
“This gives us an opportunity to….meet influential
leaders” in the county, Turk
Volunteers also perform

needs assessments “to see
where we can be of assistance,” she said.
Junior League brings
in speakers to talk about
community activism and
political issues. “Advocacy is
a huge part of what we do,”

Turk said.
“The main thing that
you get out of being a member of Junior League is the
training to be a community
leader,” Turk said. “We are
training women to be able to
serve in leadership positions

on other nonprofits.
“The way we measure
the success of Junior League
is we have now trained a
woman who is now serving on another community
board,” Turk said.

In compliance with O.C.G.A. §48-5, the Stone Mountain Community Improvement
District (“CID”) reports that at its meeting on June 26, 2015, beginning at 7:30 A.M. at the
Pierre Construction Group, 1677 Lewis Way, Stone Mountain, DeKalb County, Georgia
30083, the Stone Mountain CID Board of Directors will vote upon a proposal to levy an ad
valorem taxation rate of 5 mills, and will set its millage rate for the lawful purposes of the
District for the current calendar year. Set forth below are the assessed taxable values of the
properties subject to taxes for the current year and the immediately preceding four calendar
years, the total dollar amount of ad valorem taxes proposed to be levied for the current year
and levied in the immediately preceding four calendar years, as well as the percentage and
dollar increases or decreases with respect to each immediately preceding calendar year. All
property levied upon is real property. Because this CID was created in 2011, there are only
four preceding years of assessed taxable values, taxes, and changes to report.
Assessed Value

Taxes Levied

% Change

$ Change





$ 496,165




- 4%

- $ 20,732





$ 153,453





$ 51,142





$ 31,205

J. Lynn Rainey, PC, 358 Roswell Street, Suite 1130, Marietta, Georgia 30060; (770) 4216040. Attorney for CID - State Bar No. 592350


The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Page 9A

Group uses garden
to grow community
by Andrew Cauthen
A nonprofit group in the
Belvedere community is using a garden to bring neighbors together, improve the
community and train new
Partners in Action for
Healthy Living (PAHL) is a
nonprofit that started a few
years ago; it came out of a
group called the Healthy
Belvedere initiative.
“That initiative was
looking at increasing improvements in diet and
exercise with the goal of
reducing diseases like heart
disease and diabetes that
were much at much higher
rates in the Belvedere neighborhood as compared to the
surrounding area,” said Lili
Crymes, community garden
program manager for PAHL.
“Our focal point and the
center of our activities is our
50-plot community garden
that serves neighborhood
residents, both by providing space where they can
garden,” Crymes said. “You
don’t have to be an expert
gardener to come. You can
get a lot of direction from
other gardeners.
“If you have a shady
backyard we provide a
sunny space for people to
be able to garden within
the context of the larger
community,” she said. The
garden is located on the
property of Peace Lutheran
Church, 1679 Columbia
Drive, Decatur.
Additionally, PAHL offers a children’s education
program, a food security
program, and the delivery
of fresh produce to senior
residents—all provided by
“We also encourage
healthy activities by having walking groups…just to
make healthy exercise more
visible in the community,”
Crymes said. The group also
sponsors a 5K walk/run.
Before PAHL could en-

courage healthy activities, it
had to address community
issues in the area, Crymes
said. “When we started
working the neighborhood,
people [said], ‘I want to
go out walking but it’s too
dangerous.’ Then we had
to…bring the community
together so we can address
safety and crime issues.”
PAHL has increased
community communication through forums several
times a year on issues such
as code enforcement.
The garden is “a safe
space” for “neighbors
who might not see each
other regularly otherwise,”
Crymes said.
“It’s a place where you
can show up, and you will
probably find somebody
here,” she said.
The organization has
“increased awareness and
dialog about what is healthy
eating” and has been “a new
venue for new leadership experiences to be developed,”
Crymes said.
“I don’t tell [the gardeners] what to do. We get together. We decide whether
there are issues that need
to be addressed,” Crymes
said. “There has been a lot
of leadership development
through the garden.”
To accomplish its mis-

sion, PAHL has several partners, including area elementary schools, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Peace
Lutheran Church and Junior
League of DeKalb County.
Angela Turk, president
of Junior League of DeKalb
County, “It’s amazing what
[PAHL] has done with a
very small staff and with
a very small but dedicated
number of volunteers. We
felt that it was very appropriate for the work what
we’re doing to be able to
support what they’re doing
in south DeKalb.”
Emma Burrus, a member of Peace Lutheran
Church and resident of
Conyers, volunteers at the
community garden and with
“This is my church community, and we are a part of
the community,” she said.
PAHL “is involving a
lot of the community that
didn’t know that they were
a community,” Burrus said.
“It helps me just by knowing
that people care about each
“It’s a great organization,” Burrus said about
PAHL. “I wish it could have
been done sooner, but it’s
here now, so that’s the great

Partners in Action for Healthy Living gets help from Junior League of
DeKalb County.

Paul Grant and his 7-year-old daughter Sydney planting at the community garden.

City of Decatur Georgia Ad Valorem Tax Digest History
Decatur - Digest
Assessment Ratio
Real Property
Personal Property
Public Utilities
Motor Vehicle
Total Digest















$ 1,149,844,600

$ 1,137,427,809

$ 1,168,516,500

$ 1,326,596,200

$ 1,594,612,800







City Operations
General Fund Exemptions


Net City Operations Digest


City Operations Millage
City Operations Levy
Percent Change
Dollar Amount Change

























The Decatur City Commission announces that the 2015 tentative millage rate was adopted at their meeting on Monday, May 18, 2015.
Hearings on the budget and millage rate will be held on:
Monday, June 1, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, June 8, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
Monday, June 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
The hearings will be held at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, Decatur, GA. Final adoption of the 2015 millage rate and
fiscal year 2015-2016 budget is scheduled for consideration at the Decatur City Commission meeting on Monday, June 15, 2015. The
above table is presented pursuant to O.C.G.A. 48-5-32 showing the estimated current year's digest and proposed millage rates along


Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Brookhaven mayor announces
bid for District 80 seat
by Carla Parker
Brookhaven Mayor J.
Max Davis ended the city’s
town hall meeting May 28
by announcing his bid to
run for Georgia House District 80.
“It’s been a distinct honor to serve as your mayor for
the last two and half years,”
Davis told those in attendance. “Many of you know
this, but I will be resigning
next week as your mayor.
I’ll be running for another
office vacated by State Rep.
Mike Jacobs.
“I enjoyed being your
mayor,” Davis added. “This
public service is fulfilling to
Jacobs vacated the District 80 seat after he was
appointed by Gov. Nathan
Deal as State Court judge of
DeKalb, replacing Eleanor
Ross, who is now a federal
judge for the Northern District of Georgia.
“Mike Jacobs has provided excellent representation for District 80, and I
will build on that tradition.
I am excited to have the
opportunity to continue
my service to the people
of Brookhaven and now of
Sandy Springs and Chamblee at the state level,” Davis
said in a released statement.
“We have, as a community,
gotten Brookhaven started


right. Police are protecting
our streets, which are being paved, so families can
go to our improving parks.
In just two and a half years,
through efficient local control, we have elevated our
A special election will
be held July 14 for the seat.
Davis, a Republican, will run
against Brookhaven resident
and Republican Catherine
Bernard, and Democrat and
attorney Taylor Bennett.
Davis’ father, Max
Davis, served in the State
House of Representatives for
more than two decades. Davis said he wants to take his

“proven reform agenda and
bring it to the state level.
“We have been successful in Brookhaven following those ideas.” Davis
said. “We cut taxes twice,
enhanced services, and have
a $4 million dollar reserve.
Brookhaven will be left in
good hands and on the right
“Our community needs
a leader with common sense
and a demonstrated track
record,” Davis continued. “I
will focus on reforming and
improving education. I will
also work to get traffic moving through better coordinated actions among all area
jurisdictions. Protecting taxpayer dollars and preserving
neighborhoods will continue
to be my priority.
Davis’ last day as mayor
will be June 3. According to
the city’s charter, “Vacancy
in the office of mayor shall
be filled for the remainder
of the unexpired term by a
special election if such vacancy occurs 12 months or
more prior to the expiration
of the term of that office. If
such vacancy occurs within
12 months of the expiration
of the term of that office, the

city council or those members remaining shall appoint
a successor for the remainder of the term.”
Davis’ term as mayor
had been scheduled to end
this year, meaning the city
council will vote June 9 on
one of the councilmembers
to fill the vacancy. Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams is also mayor pro tem

and will serve as mayor June
If Williams or another
councilmember is voted by
council to serve as mayor
until the end of the year, that
councilmember will nominate someone to fill his or
her council seat and councilmembers will then vote
on whether to approve the

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

7:00 p.m.

J. David Williamson Board Room
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Citizens interested in reviewing a detailed copy of the program
based budget may do so by visiting the DeKalb County School
District website at

The City of Brookhaven City Council does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be
held at the Brookhaven City Hall on on July 7, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. and pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section
48-5-32 does hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy, along with the history of the tax
digest and levy for the past five years.



Brookhaven City





Real & Personal


Motor Vehicles








Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest







Net M & O Digest
State Forest Land
Assistance Grant Value







Adjusted Net M&O Digest










Less M& O Exemptions




Gross M&O Millage
Less Rollbacks
Net M&O Millage
Net Taxes Levied
Net Taxes $ Increase
Net Taxes % Increase























The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 11A

Stunt pilots perform aerobatic maneuvers from loops to rolls to inverted approaches similar to the “daredevil” tricks from the early days of aviation. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Greatest show above the Earth returns
by Kathy Mitchell


ot long after the first aviators
took to the skies in the early
days of the 20th century, the
public started flocking to air shows
to see what the new invention—the
flying machine—could do. According
to, “Dubbed the ‘glorious year of flying,’ 1913 was marked
by races, competitions and demonstrations. By flying upside-down and
doing loops and other stunts, daredevil pilots proved the maneuverability of airplanes.”
DeKalb Peachtree Airport’s Good
Neighbor Day on May 30 demonstrated that public enthusiasm for
airborne acrobatics hasn’t dimmed
over the past century. A well-attended annual event for decades, Good
Neighbor Day is now so popular that
theme-park type trams are used to
shuttle visitors from makeshift park- There was a show on the ground as well as visitors explored aircraft, including planes from the First and Second World Wars.
ing lots created on what are normally could be heard among the attendees. gem of an asset” and said it’s “where
Willy,” which he calls his “jet funny
Good Neighbor Day is so named jobs land in DeKalb County.”
car.” Team AeroDynamix, which bills
In addition to those arriving in
because it is designed to provide area
The air show was a flying history itself as “the world’s largest air show
cars, many walked to the free fiveresidents an opportunity to learn
of the airplane with aircraft from
team,” was on hand to demonstrate
hour show, making up crowds of
more about what goes on at the airWorld War I-style bi-planes to World precision formation flying and forthousands of visitors over the afterport on a day-to-day basis and to let
War II military planes and the newest mation aerobatics.
noon. The event attracted a broad age those who work at the airport meet
in small private aircraft. PerformThere were demonstrations of sky
range that included young couples
their neighbors, according to Comers such as pilots Larry King, Greg
typing, an updated form of skywritpushing babies in strollers and senior missioner Kathie Gannon, who took Koontz and 75-year-old Gary Ward ing in which puffs from a moving
citizens moving about on walkers
the microphone briefly to welcome
demonstrated such aerial maneuvers airplane form block letters. One sky
or in wheelchairs. The crowd also
the crowd. The other commissioner
as outside loops, barrel rolls, snaps
typist wrote “DEKALB COUNTY
reflected Chamblee’s broad ethnic di- in whose area the airport is located,
and tumbles and inverted passes. Jerversity as a wide variety of languages Nancy Jester, called the airport “a
See Airshow on page 24A
ry McCart was there with “Wicked


Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis, his grandson and other youngsters stand in front of the newly built children’s
playground at the grand opening event.

Dunwoody Nature Center is set for additional renovations including
benches and a paved parking lot according to Parks and Recreation
Director Brent Walker. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Doc Talks
Upcoming Seminars at DeKalb Medical

Men’s Health Panel
Thursday, June 18, 2015
6:30–8:00 p.m.
DeKalb Medical at Hillandale
Community Room

City officials cut a vine to commemorate the opening of the recently renovated nature center in Dunwoody

Dunwoody officials open
two summer favorites
by Ashley Oglesby
Big things are happening for Dunwoody
The city hosted a celebration and ribbon
cutting at Dunwoody Park on May 15 to
recognize the grand opening of a new playground, the remodeled Dunwoody Nature
Center facilities and refurbished ball fields.
Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis said,
“This is a great year for parks in Dunwoody
in general. We’re spending millions of dollars on our parks, and we’re just thrilled to
have partners like Dunwoody Nature Center.”
Davis said, “It’s all about the partnerships we have in the city; being able to get
groups of citizens to envision this…that’s
what’s so great about the city of Dunwoody.”
Dunwoody Nature Center has been part
of the park for more than 20 years.
Dunwoody Nature Center Executive
Director Alan Mothner said, “We’ve had a
great history with the city of Dunwoody the

past several years. They’ve helped us with
lots of capital improvement projects that I
think have transformed the nature center.”
He added, “We provide the programming and other various things that we’re
able to do with the center, but it’s the city
that helps us with the improvements to the
building and the grounds, and that goes
hand-in-hand with our programs. We’re
able to offer the type of quality programming that our community expects from us
because we know that the city has our backs
and will support us in whatever it is that we
want to do. It’s a great relationship.”
Officials also added another children’s
playground midway between the nature
center and Dunwoody Seniors baseball
Parks and Recreations Director Brent
Walker said, “We’ve been working on this
park for the past five years, we still have a
little bit more to go. It’s not done, but it’s
come a long way. I’m really proud of my
guys and the staff we have in the city of

June is Men’s Health Month!
Men and their loved ones
are invited to join us at one
of our Men’s Health Panels
to heighten the awareness
of preventable health
problems and encourage
early detection of disease
among men and boys.
Panelists will address the
importance of annual
check-ups, solutions to
joint pain, heart health
and healthy sleep.
Our event include a
complimentary blood pressure
screening and BMI assessment
at 6 p.m.

For a referral to a DeKalb Medical physician or to reserve
your space for these free seminars, please call 770.415.2386.
Light refreshments will be served. Parking is free.



The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015



Page 13A


The YMCA Early Learning Academies of Snapfinger/Lithonia and The South DeKalb Family YMCA presented The Polly Meriwether-Lewis Champion Award Luncheon May 29. The program
honored Meriwether-Lewis’ life and legacy and her community service impact on DeKalb County. Many in attendance knew her on personal and professional levels. DeKalb County
District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson and recently retired DeKalb County Community Development Department director Chris Morris were among those who gave remarks, stating that
Meriwether-Lewis was part of the “non-non club” non-political and nonpartisan. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Aerial views of the former General Motors production plant show demolition progress making way for a new mixed use development. Photos by John Hewitt

Photos brought to you by DCTV
DeKalb County begins one-day-a-week sanitation collection service July 6, 2015
Residential customers will have same-day garbage, recyclable materials and yard trimmings collection
For more info, call or visit:

(404) 294-2900


Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Decatur Arts Festival
The Decatur Arts Alliance held its the 27th annual Decatur Arts Festival om May 23. The festival held on the square in downtown
Decatur was bursting with colorful artistic works and included an artist market, live musical performances, improvisational and
stand-up comedy, a children’s festival and parade, literary events and dance performances. Photos by Travis Hudgons

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 15A

Trash Continued From Page 1A
to this tremendous service
delivery. We knew that level
of service was unsustainable.
We knew that we could not
continue to deliver that level
of service for such a low
The new collection model
aims to reduce the cost of
trash pick-up services while
maintaining the county’s
sanitation fees at $265 a
year, the same rate it’s been
since 2006.
May said the new program will “make garbage
collection more efficient,
more effective, cleaner and
most of all safer for our employees.”
Door hangers with residents’ new collection day
will be delivered for the next
three to four weeks.
Residents also will receive direct mail correspondence about the program
Last year, the county
started a pilot program to
test the once-a-week trash
pickup with 28,000 households.
Jester, who is a pilot program participant, said, “It’s
been a great aesthetic in the
communities, the standardization of the can looks great
and when you only have the
bin at the street once a week
I think it makes for a nicer

Associate Director for the Sanitation Department Billy Malone ensures homeowners that the sanitation department’s customer service agents will be available for anyone with questions about the new

looking neighborhood.”
Jester said, “I expect that
there will be hiccups as everything rolls out, but if the
pilot program is indicative
of the success that we will
have with this, I feel very
positive about it.”
Cart distribution will
begin by July 6 and will continue throughout August.
Each home will be issued
a green 65-gallon garbage
roll cart. Homeowners also
are given the option of

downsizing to 35-or 45 gallon carts at no extra charge
or switch to a 95-gallon cart
for a one-time $15 upgrade
The county will also distribute an 18-gallon recycling bin and blue recycling
bags. Residents can also upgrade their recycling bin to a
65 gallon recycling cart for a
one-time $15 fee.
Each cart has a radio frequency identification wafer
that identifies the household

the cart was assigned to.
The Sanitation Department
agreed to repair any damaged lids, wheel or handles.
May said the county
also has added a tipper, a
mechanical lift operated by
hydraulics to the trucks to
assist with emptying roll
carts since the majority of
the county’s workers compensation cases are reported
from sanitation department
The sanitation division’s

current collection method
requires collectors to pick
up, on average, two 32-gallon containers or bags of
garbage each day from 1,000
households. May said garbage bags often contain hidden sharp objects.
With the tipper installed,
the drivers can operate a
robotic arm from inside the
truck that retrieves the cart,
unloads the contents and
returns the cart to its original location.
Despite reduction of
trash pickup days, May said,
“All Sanitation Division employees will keep their jobs.”
He said the department
will reassign 55 employees
to litter pickup.
“This allows us to make
our public spaces more attractive,” May said.
For additional information or to address concerns
about the program, contact
the department at (404) 2942900 or
Malone said the department is “dedicated to customer service.”
He added, “If you call us,
we will fix it. All of our residents are important to us.”

News briefs
Gang member pleads guilty to two deaths
Judge Gail Flake sentenced alleged Bloods
street gang member Oslusha Smith to life plus 40
years in jail for the deaths of Michael Phillips and
Alexis Malone.
According to the indictment, a fight erupted
involving Malone and another female at a
Stone Mountain apartment complex on May
3, 2014.  Fellow members of the Bloods street
gang arrived to assist Malone. The altercation
intensified and the gang members opened fire,
ultimately shooting and killing an unarmed and
innocent bystander, Michael Phillips.
“This senseless and reckless act of violence
ended with the loss of two lives,” said District
Attorney Robert James. “This sentence sends a
loud message that gangs are not welcome here in
DeKalb County.”
Days after Phillips’ murder, Smith became
concerned that Malone would reveal details about
the shooting to authorities. On or about May
9, Smith lured Malone to a wooded area where
17-year-old Malone was killed by strikes to the
head and face with a rock.
According to James, gang violence is a major
concern in DeKalb and surrounding areas. “The
gang issue is no longer just a concern of the inner
city. Gangs have permeated not only to large cities,

but also surrounding suburbs and communities,”
James said. “My office works closely with local law
enforcement agencies to actively combat the threat
of gang-related activities and crimes.”
Smith pleaded guilty to various felony
charges including malice murder, felony murder,
aggravated assault and violation of the street
gang terrorism and prevention act. Smith
and codefendant Cutrez Johnson were later
apprehended at an Atlanta hotel after an extensive
standoff with Atlant Police’s SWAT. Johnson was
previously sentenced to 20 years to serve 15 in
The remaining codefendants, Kemontay
Cullins and Kayla Dixon, are scheduled for trial
on June 22 in Judge Flake’s courtroom.

Volunteer found guilty of bilking thousands
from local charity

Earl Pizzarelli pleaded guilty to
misappropriating $49,000 from a local nonprofit
he volunteered with for eight years. Charged
with 18 counts of theft by taking, Pizzarelli was
sentenced by Judge Hilton Fuller to 15 years with
six months to serve behind bars. Pizzarelli also
was ordered to pay restitution to St. Vincent de
Paul for the total amount misappropriated.

Pizzarelli served in various volunteer and
fiduciary roles with St. Vincent de Paul, including
case worker, treasurer and president. This case
came to the attention of the Chamblee Police
Department in 2012 after the CEO of the
nonprofit organization reported a call from a debt
collection agency inquiring about St. Vincent
de Paul’s payment of Pizzarelli’s personal debt.
Upon further inspection, it was determined
that additional payments were made directly
to Pizzarelli as well as nine other companies
including 3 Options Realty, AT&T, Georgia Power
and Georgia Natural Gas.
“This man abused his fiduciary position for
his own personal greed and benefit,” said District
Attorney Robert James. “This case should serve
as an alert to other area nonprofits and charities to
implement safeguards to prohibit theft and abuse
of charitable funds. If Pizzarelli fails to repay the
money he syphoned from St. Vincent de Paul,
then he will potentially be serving additional time
behind bars.”
According to the St. Vincent de Paul website,
the mission of the organization is to help
individuals achieve stability and self-sufficiency
by offering financial, material, educational and
spiritual support. St. Vincent de Paul has operated
in Georgia since 1903.


Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Teacher fired for allowing students to have sex
by Ashley Oglesby
DeKalb County School
District officials voted to fire
Quentin Wright, a science
and math teacher at Champion Middle Theme School
in Stone Mountain after he
admitted to allowing students to have sex in a storage room in his classroom.
The district held a tribunal hearing on May 29
where a three-member
hearing tribunal voted
unanimously to affirm Superintendent Michael Thur-


mond’s recommendation
that Wright’s employment
contract with the DeKalb
County School District be

A copy of the tribunal’s
recommendation was also
sent to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission which could strip
Wright of his license to
teach in the state.
DeKalb Schools Public Safety officers arrested
Wright, 25, on May 18 after
parents complained of “inappropriate text messages”
from the teacher to their
14-year-old son about arranging for the teen to use
the storage closet in classroom for sex with a female

The parents said Wright
suggested times and offered
to provide condoms. Wright
faces four counts of contributing to the delinquency
of a minor and is free on a
$16,000 bond.
Wright was arrested on
May 20 and charged with
four misdemeanor counts
of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Michael Walker, the
school district’s executive legal counsel said investigators
have identified 10 students
who knew about Wright’s al-

leged offenses and four used
the room for sexual activity.
Wright admitted to
school officials on May 19
that he allowed student to
use the room for sex and offered to resign. Thurmond
refused to accept the resignation so that the district
could gather facts and hold
the tribunal.
The DeKalb Board of
Education voted on June 1
to ratify the recommendation of the Tribunal.

Sketch released of Clarkston attempted kidnapper
by Ashley Oglesby
Clarkston Police have
released a sketch of the man
they said tried to abduct a
teenager earlier this month.
The incident happened
the first week of May.
Clarkston Police Sgt.
Amanda Pritchett said
the suspect approached a
16-year-old as she got off
her school bus and walked
along Brockett Way toward
her home.


The victim worked with
a sketch artist to create a
composite of the suspect,
described as a black man in
his 20’s.
Anyone with information
in this case is encouraged to
call Crime Stoppers Greater
Atlanta at (404) 577TIPS. Since the incident,
Clarkston investigators
have received numerous
Crime Stoppers tips and
are following up on them,
Pritchett said.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

11:30 a.m.

J. David Williamson Board Room
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Citizens interested in reviewing a detailed copy of the program
based budget may do so by visiting the DeKalb County School
District website at







Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6:15 p.m.

J. David Williamson Board Room
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Citizens interested in reviewing a detailed copy of the program
based budget may do so by visiting the DeKalb County School
District website at

Words HURT

Stop the Bullying

   A petition has been filed with the Board of Commissioners of DeKalb County, Georgia, 
for the construction of a sewer infrastructure in Land Lot(s) 375 of the 18th District of 
DeKalb County, Georgia, description of which is as follows: 
Sewer Main shall run along Carnaby Court and Yarmouth Court and impact 
properties located at 1471, 1472, 1475, 1478, 1479, 1487, 1492, 1495, 1502, 
1503, 1511, 1512, 1519, 1520 Carnaby Court, and 5240, 5241 and 5244 
Yarmouth Court.  
   Same to be constructed and the costs assessed against the abutting property. Said 
Petition has been set for hearing before the Board of Commissioners at 9:00 a.m. on 
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 in the Auditorium of the DeKalb County Maloof Center, 1300 
Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia.  
   All persons, whose interests are affected by the proposed sewer, desiring to be heard, 
are hereby notified to appear in person or by attorney at said time and place and 
present such objection or evidence therein as their interests require. 


The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

Page 17A

District 5 Continued From Page 2A
more than anything,
my compassion, my
commitment, my caring to
this area to making it better.”
Kenneth Saunders III,
a technology consultant and
former DeKalb Community
Council member, described
himself as a product of
DeKalb County.
“Many of you all do not
know who I am, but that’s
fine,” he said.
“My commitment to
this county runs deep,”
Saunders said. “The reason
why is because this is my
home. Even though there are
problems that this county
[and] this district has, I am
the voice for the future. I
have the vision of where
DeKalb County needs to go,

not only for my generation,
but for everyone.
“This is a critical time
that we have.”
George Turner, District
5 Community Council
president and a retired
MARTA manager, said
“There are some things we
need to fix to make [DeKalb]
better—that’s going to be
in our education, public
safety, code enforcement—
to attract economic
development to this area.
“These are the things I
want to see happen to our
DeKalb and the DeKalb I
want to see passed on to my
children and your children
so they will have a brighter
future,” Turner said.
“We know what needs

to be fixed,” he said. “I
think I’m in the position
to communicate with the
average citizen and deal with
the government officials
to correct some of the
Mereda Davis
Johnson, attorney and wife
of Congressman Hank

Notice is hereby given that the Atlanta City Council will meet on Monday, June 15, 2015 to
consider and adopt the City of Atlanta’s fiscal year 2016 budget (15-O-1136). The meeting will be
held at the Atlanta City Hall Complex, 55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia in the City Council
Chamber located on the second floor beginning at 1:00 p.m. All concerned citizens are invited to
attend. A copy of the proposed budget legislation (15-O-1136) is on file in the Office of the
Municipal Clerk, Suite 5100, Fifth Floor, 68 Mitchell Street, Atlanta, Ga. 30303 for public

A Public Hearing shall be held on the 1st day of June at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3725 Park
Avenue, Doraville, GA before the Mayor and Council of the City of Doraville at which time public
comment pertaining to the Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016) budget shall be
sounded. All citizens of Doraville are invited to attend.
A Public Hearing shall be held on the 8th day of June at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3725 Park
Avenue, Doraville, GA before the Mayor and Council of the City of Doraville at which time public
comment pertaining to the Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016) budget shall be
sounded. All citizens of Doraville are invited to attend.
A Regular Meeting shall be held on the 15th day of June at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3725 Park
Avenue, Doraville, GA before the Mayor and Council of the City of Doraville at which time the
Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016) budget shall be approved and the budget
ordinance adopted in accordance with O.C.G.A. 36-81-5. All citizens of Doraville are invited to
And 5 Year History of Levy





























































Net Taxes $ Increase






Net Taxes % Increase






Motor Vehicles
Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest
Less M&O Exemptions
Net M&O Digest
State Forest Land
Assistance Grant Value
Adjusted Net M&O Digest

Gross M&O Millage



a Free Community Concert
Featuring Soloist

Susan Welty

Horn Concerto
No. 1
by Strauss.

The Governing Authority of the City of Avondale Estates has tentatively adopted a 2015 millage rate which will
require an increase in the property taxes by 16.53 percent. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings
on this tax increase to be held at City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates, GA 30002 on Tuesday,
June 16, 2015 at 5:30 P.M., Monday, June 22, 2015 at 7:30 P.M., and Wednesday July 1, 2015 at 6:00 P.M.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 10.957 mills, an increase of 1.56 mills. Without this tentative
tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 9.403 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair
market value of $200,000.00 is approximately $312. The proposed increase on non-homestead property with a fair
market value of $200,000 is approximately $312. The proposed tax increase for a property with the county basic
homestead exemption is $312.


Vaughn Irons, DeKalb
County Development
Authority chairman and
CEO of APD Solutions, was
a no-show.
The special election to
fill the District 5 vacancy
will be held on Tuesday,
June 16.


Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
Notice is hereby given that the proposed budget for the City of Doraville shall be available for
public inspection beginning May 22, 2015, in the City Clerk’s office from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday at City Hall, 3725 Park Avenue, Doraville, GA.

Real & Personal

Johnson, did not participate
in the forum because of
a family emergency. She
briefly spoke to the audience
before the forum started.
“I want you to know, and
I came here before I went
to the hospital because…I
do not take your vote for
granted,” Johnson said

Also on the program: Serenade No. 10 for Winds
by Mozart and Toccata & Fugue in D Minor by
Bach (arranged Stokowski)

Tuesday, June 9
First Baptist Church
308 Clairemont Avenue
Decatur: 8:00 P.M.
No tickets required
Sponsored in part by:

Less Rollbacks
Net M&O Millage

Total City Taxes Levied

For additional information call (678) 891-3565
or visit

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 18A

Volunteers grilled burgers and hotdogs for the science fun day event.

Students gather in the auditorium for a science demonstration by Big

A science kit with a step-by-step instructions
manual created by chemist Dexter Johnson for
the kids to practice science concepts during the

Students from Bouie Elementary School participated
in this year’s Atlanta Science Festival and received
awards at the science fun day for their commitment to

Students have fun learning at Science Saturdays
by Ashley Oglesby

For the past nine
months chemist Dexter
Johnson has led Science
Saturday at E.L. Bouie Elementary School.
On May 16, Johnson
ended the first year of the
program and held a fun day
to celebrate.
Johnson partnered with
Big Thinkers, a science
exploration company that
provides entertainment and
interactive science shows to
“further expose students to
fun ways to use science.”
Johnson said, “This is
our first year with this program and the response has
been tremendous.”
“When we first started
talking about this program,
we just wanted to get kids
excited about science at a
younger age, and I feel like
we’ve done that,” he said.
At the event Johnson
hosted a raffle for five science kits that he created
for the students to recreate
projects they worked on
during the school year.
Parents of students who
did not win a science kit
were emailed instructions
and supply lists for assignments to do with their children throughout the summer break.
“We’re really just trying

to promote literacy in science and get them excited
about science. I think the
earlier you can reach them
the better it’s going to be
for them. I try to find fun
things for the kids to do,
but I’m also trying to teach
them something. I’m kind
of sneaky in the teaching
part. I’m getting them excited about the fun part, but
they’re also learning. I’m
impressed with them every
time I come out,” Johnson
Johnson started the
program after participating
in his son’s career day. He’s
worked for Georgia-Pacific’s
paper chemicals division
for 18 years and thought it
would be interesting to conduct a paper-making demonstration.
Johnson’s career-day
demonstration was such a
huge hit, teachers asked him
to come back to present to
the entire school over the
course of three days.
Johnson contacted and
requested support from the
GP Foundation, Georgia Pacific’s organization designed
to support communitybased programs, volunteer
service projects, disaster relief and other initiatives.
The foundation evaluates proposals and determines an amount to donate
to each program.

Johnson and his colleague volunteers decided
to dedicate one Saturday a
month and were awarded
$5,000 to buy supplies, and
provide lunch for the student.
Parent Gina Sullivan
said her son has thoroughly
enjoyed Science Saturdays.
She said, “His interest
in science has grown even

more, and I didn’t think that
could happen.”
The first Science Saturday was attended by 65 students. The final event of the
school year was attended by
approximately 55.
In its first year the program has partnered with engineer instructors at Georgia
Institute of Technology,
Emory University students

and participated in Atlanta
Science Festival.
The GP Foundation has
increased Science Saturday
funding to $7,500.
Johnson said next year
he plans to partner with
even more organizations
and add a session on robotics.

The Decatur City Commission has tentatively adopted a combined
millage rate of 12.00 mills which will require an increase in property
taxes of 5.08% for fiscal year 2015-2016. This is a reduction from the
millage rate of 13 mills adopted for the current fiscal year 2014-2015
which generates revenue necessary to fund the City of Decatur’s
general operations, bonded indebtedness, downtown development
authority and capital improvements.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax
increase to be held at the City Commission Meeting Room, Decatur
City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, Decatur, on Monday, June 15,
2015 at 7:30 p.m. This tentative increase will result in a millage rate
of 12.00 mills, an increase of 0.58 mills over the rollback millage rate.
Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more
than 11.42 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair
market value of $400,000 is approximately $104.40 and the proposed
tax increase for a nonhomestead property with a fair market value of
$425,000 is approximately $111.65.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 19A

Partners raise the bar on local fitness options
by Kathy Mitchell
Katy Bayless Gibson
said she believes that the fitness industry is continuing
to grow as it changes to meet
consumer needs.
“We’ve seen that customers are losing interest in
the year-long contracts with
mega gyms and are instead
looking to boutique fitness
studios that offer a customized workout in a small
setting,” said Gibson who,
with partner Ashley Goot,
recently opened Pure Barre
Decatur, one of more than
300 studios in the Spartanburg, S.C.-based Pure Barre
national chain.
“Our studios allow a
maximum of 25 clients per
class, and this ensures that
our teachers are able to get
to know our clients personally and work with them to
achieve their fitness goals.
Our teachers circulate the
room, ensure our clients are
in proper form, and push
our clients with hands-on
adjustments so that they are
getting the most out of every
workout,” Gibson continued.
Barre-based workouts
use a ballet bar along with
small isometric movements
to music. However, not all
barre-based workouts are
the same, Gibson explained.
“Pure Barre is different
from other such programs
because of the technique
and the environment. Pure
Barre technique focuses
on the arms, abs, seat and
thigh areas of the body.
We work each area to the
point of exhaustion, and
then we stretch the muscles
to ensure that our clients
develop long, lean muscles.
Pure Barre is also extremely
restorative because it is a
low-impact workout, and it
focuses on strengthening the
ancillary muscles, which are
typically the first to become
“We definitely believe
that client experience is
everything,” Gibson continued. “We work really hard to
ensure that our team members are trained to assist our
clients with anything they
may need, and we are always
striving to create a positive
and supportive environment

Ashley Goot, left, and partner Katy Bayless Gibson prepare to cut the ribbon officially opening their downtown
Decatur facility. Photo courtesy of Kate Awtrey

that keeps clients motivated.  It’s the little things that
we believe make a big difference.”
Gibson said she and her
business partner met more
than 10 years ago and have
been friends ever since.
“When we started discussing
our love for Pure Barre and
desire to be small business
owners, we began looking
at our collective strengths—
Ashley’s background being
finance and project management and mine being marketing and sales. Once we
developed the business plan,
it all just made sense and fell
into place.” 
She and her partner both
had reached a point in their
careers where they were
looking to do “something
that we loved,” according to
Gibson. Goot spent most of
her post-college life working as a project manager at a
financial services company,
and Gibson, whose background is marketing, spent
several years working for a
chemical company and then
in Washington, D.C., working as a lobbyist.  
“Both of us were reaching 30 and were completely
burned out with our current
jobs. Although we were living in different cities, we
both started taking Pure
Barre classes and fell completely in love with the technique and the time that it
allowed for us to gain mental clarity and reduce stress.

One weekend we started
talking about how we should
open one. We have outlined
our roles as owners in a way
that works really well for us
and our company,” Gibson
The pair opened a studio in Atlanta’s VirginiaHighlands area in 2013. “We
wanted our second studio
to be close enough to our
current studio that our clients could take advantage of

utilizing both locations, but
we also wanted it to be far
enough away that it could
have its own distinct feel
and sense of community.
When we started looking at
the Decatur area, we were
surprised by how much it
has grown in the past five
years and thought that it had
the most incredible vibe,”
Gibson said.
“We also looked at the
surrounding fitness offer-

ings and recognized that
there wasn’t really anything
like Pure Barre in Decatur,”
she continued. “We wanted
to be near the Decatur
square so that any clients
who worked in the area
could easily walk or bike to
class and we adore the space
that we found.”
Gibson said the Decatur
business community has
been highly supportive. “As
members of the Decatur
Business Association, we
were welcomed with open
arms and have been blown
away by the support that
they have given us. In addition, the Decatur Office of
Economic Development has
been beyond helpful by providing resources.
“So far, things are going
really well,” she observed.
“We had several clients
purchase our pre-opening
special before opening our
doors as well as the new
client special during the
first week of classes. The
response from the neighborhood has been wonderful,
and we are truly thrilled
to be a part of the Decatur
community. We’re excited
to see what the next chapter
holds for us.”

The City of Doraville has tentatively adopted a millage rate of 8.5 which will
require an increase in property taxes by 24.89 percent. The proposed millage
rate is .25 mills less than the prior year millage of 8.75 mills.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax increase to
be held at the Doraville City Hall located at 3725 Park Avenue, Doraville, GA
30340 on June 8, 2015 at 6:30pm.
Times and places of additional public hearings on this tax increase are at the
Doraville City Hall on June 15, 2015 at 6:30pm and on June 16, 2015 at 6:30pm.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 8.50 mills, an increase of
24.89 percent over the rollback rate. Without this tentative tax increase, the
millage rate will be no more than 6.806 mills. The proposed tax increase for a
home with a fair market value of $51,000 is approximately $85 and the tax
increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $228,000 is
approximately $436. The calculated rollback rate is artificially low due to the
addition of annexed properties, resulting in artificially high estimates for the tax
State of Georgia statutes do not specifically address the setting of the initial
millage rate for a newly annexed area by a municipality but the City of Doraville is
advertising a Notice of Property Tax Increase, with associated public hearing
notification, in order to ensure full disclosure of its intent to levy property taxes in
the area annexed December 31, 2014. The millage rate of 8.5 proposed for the
annexed area is the same as that proposed for the rest of the City and would not
constitute a tax increase for the rest of the City.


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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015



Page 20A
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 21A

Cameron Haynes, Damyera Herbert, Terrell McCall and Marcus Young signed athletic scholarships to their respective schools. Photos provided

Stephenson athletes sign scholarships
by Carla Parker
Three Stephenson baseball players and a softball player will continue their athletic careers on the
next level.
Cameron Haynes (LemoyneOwens College), Damyera Herbert
(Albany State University), Terrell
McCall (Alabama State University)
and Marcus Young (Jackson State
University) all signed letters of intent May 18.

Young, who pitched and played
first base for the Stephenson Jaguars, said he signed with Jackson
State because of the connection he
feels with the school.
“They gave me a good offer
and I connected with the coaches,”
Young said. “Jackson State is a great
program and it felt like home to me.
I’m just happy to be playing for another year.”
According to,
Young finished the season with a 2-0
record on the mound with a 2.15

ERA. Behind the plate, Young had a
.275 batting average, 11 hits and 10
“I expect to be a big asset on the
mound,” Young said.
Herbert also feels a connection
with her school of choice.
“I felt like that was a good fit for
me,” she said. “When I went to the
tryouts, I felt a connection with the
team and I feel like I will do [well]
Herbert finished her senior season on the softball field with a .380

batting average, 21 RBIs and three
homeruns. Herbert said playing
college softball has always been her
“It feels good because this is actually what I wanted—to go forward
to the next level and play and get
myself better,” she said.
McCall finished his senior season with a .320 batting average, 16
hits and 11 RBIs. Haynes had a .222
batting average, two hits and one
RBI this past season.

Two DeKalb golfers finish in top 10 of state tournament
by Mark Brock
Dunwoody’s Marcus Byrd and Arabia
Mountain’s Mariah Kuranga swung the clubs
well in posting Top 10 finishes at the GHSA
State Golf Tournaments May 18.
Byrd shot an even par 71 to finish in a tie
for sixth in the individual standings and helping Dunwoody to an 11th place finish in the
Class AAAAA State Golf Championship.
Kuranga tied for seventh with a 9-over
par 81 in the Class AAAA girls’ tournament.
Kuranga is the two-time DeKalb County
Championships girls’ low medalist.
Dunwoody had a pair of golfers join Byrd
in shooting in the 70s as they compiled a team
score of 306. Davis Brainard (tied for 40th)
shot a 5-over par 76 and Tim Trembath (tied
for 50th) put up a 7-over par 78.
O ther scorers for Dunwoody include Corey Sullivan tied for 71st (81), Peter Trask tied
for 77th (82) and Will Benston tied for 84th
The Dunwoody Lady Wildcats finished in
a tie for 15 in the Class AAAAA Girls’ State

Championship Tournament with a team total
of 309. Olivia Vergura led the way for Dunwoody with a 95 to tie for 41st in the individual
standings with Lauren Callahan two strokes
behind in a tie for 47th with a 97.
Cassidy Hope (117) tied for 64th and Emily Feldewerth finished 66th with her 118.
Two individual players from DeKalb played
in the Class AAAAAA Boys’ State Championship Tournament. Lakeside’s Tony Bryant
finished with an 88 to tie for 77th overall and
Tucker’s Donald Miller came in a tie for 87th
with a round of 91.
DeKalb County State Golf Results
Individual Boys
T77. Tony Bryant, Lakeside, 88
T87. Donald Miller, Tucker, 91
Boys Team
11. Dunwoody 306
Individual Boys

T6. Marcus Byrd, Dunwoody, 71 (E)
T40. Davis Brainard, Dunwoody, 76 (+5)
T50. Tim Trembath, Dunwoody, 78, (+7)
T71. Corey Sullivan, Dunwoody, 81 (+10)
T77. Peter Trask, Dunwoody, 82 (+11)
T84. Will Benston, Dunwoody, 84 (+13)
Girls Teams
T15. Dunwoody 309
Individual Girls
T41. Olivia Vergura, Dunwoody, 95 (+23)
T47. Lauren Callahan, Dunwoody, 97 (+25)
T64. Cassidy Hope, Dunwoody, 117 (+35)
66. Emily Feldewerth, Dunwoody, 118 (+36)
Class AAAA
Individual Boys
Noah Kuranga, Arabia Mountain (withdrew
due to injury)
Individual Girls
T7. Mariah Kuranga, Arabia Mountain, 81

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Page 22A

Senior athletes earn top academic honors in 2015
by Mark Brock
DeKalb County senior athletes showed their
academic prowess in 2015 by carting away half of
the top academic awards at the 19 high schools
which participate in athletics.
The 19 high schools, including magnet programs, honored 48 valedictorians and salutatorians for their academic achievements in the 201415 academic school year and 25 of the honorees
participated in athletics during their high school
Twelve of the honorees collected the highest
academic honor for a high school student in being named their schools’ valedictorians, five of
which participated in two sports. Athletes swept
both honors at six high schools, including Cedar
Grove, Cross Keys, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Martin Luther King Jr. and Redan while taking three
of the four honors at Southwest DeKalb, which
honors both magnet and resident students.
Stephenson valedictorian Charbonay Johnson was part of the 2015 Stephenson Lady Jaguar
Class AAAAA state championship basketball
team and the Region 6-AAAAA track champion
Lady Jaguars squad. Johnson received the Comcast and Horatio Alger Scholarship and plans to
major in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech.
Martin Luther King Jr. valedictorian Ilka
Ervin participated in volleyball and softball during her high school career while maintaining her
high academic standing. Ervin has received a full
academic scholarship to Howard University in
Washington, D.C., while also being accepted to

six other institutions of higher learning.
Redan’s Jaylen Black was another two-sport
star earning valedictorian honors while playing
basketball and softball. She was part of Redan’s
2014 Class AAAA girls’ basketball championship
team that finished with an unblemished 33-0
record. Black is headed to the University of Georgia to continue her education.
Cross Keys valedictorian Raul Perez participated in swimming and cross country during
his high school career. Studying neuroscience,
linguistics and psychology at Emory University is
his next stop.
Stone Mountain has co-valedictorians this
year in girls’ tennis players My-Hanh Nguyen
and Ngoc Thong (who also put in some time
with soccer). Both are headed to the University
of Georgia with Nguyen starting on a computer
engineering degree and Thong beginning the
long trek to becoming a pediatrician working on
a science degree.
Two of the athletic valedictorians are headed
out of state to prestigious universities in Druid
Hills’ Abishkar Chhetri and Lakeside’s Michael
Boden. Chhetri has been accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) while
Boden is headed to Stanford University in Palo
Alto, Calif. on a full academic scholarship to
study management science and engineering.
Lithonia soccer player Georbie Cheathem
is moving forward in her education by attending
Savannah’s Armstrong State to major in nursing
with plans to become a physician’s assistant. Ce-

dar Grove soccer player Ivy Harris is heading to
Oglethorpe University while Southwest DeKalb
resident valedictorian Alicia Worthy, a literary
region participant, is planning on attending the
University of Georgia.
Dunwoody valedictorian Audrey Benson
played a big role at No. 1 singles for the Lady
Wildcat tennis team that advanced to the Class
AAAAA Sweet 16 this spring. Benson, the current president of the Dunwoody Student Government Association, is beginning her path to medical school at Georgia Tech while studying for a
biology degree.
One of four multiple sport athletes named
salutatorian was Dunwoody’s Catriona Geddes
who was a DeKalb County All-Star selection in
softball and part of the Lady Wildcat swim team
that finished fourth in the state championships
this spring. Geddes plans to attend the University
of Georgia as a CURO and Woodruff Scholar
while majoring in Chemistry on a pre-medical
track. She also combines with Benson at the top
of their senior class.
Redan’s Melanie Abron excelled in volleyball
and soccer during her high school career and
with her academic achievement of salutatorian
and Black receiving the valedictorian honor put
two more athletes at the top of their senior academic classes. Abron is headed to the University
of Georgia.
Miller Grove salutatorian Javane Stewart was
an All-Region 6-AAAAA selection in football
and a DeKalb County All-Star soccer selection

See Seniors on page 23A

Marist boys win state golf tournament
The Marist boys golf team won their
fourth consecutive AAAA state golf title
May 18 with a winning margin of 18
strokes over second place finisher St. Pius.
The four-player, cumulative War Eagle
score of 295 was only seven strokes over
par at the. Junior Will Chandler led the
Marist team, shooting an even par 72 followed by junior Jack Warren (74), fresh-

man Braden Jones (74) and sophomore
Andrew Lafferty (75).
The Lady War Eagles recorded their
highest finish in school history at the
AAAA Girls State Golf Tournament.
Marist finished third with a team score of
257. Marist was led by freshman Sydney
Morlan’s score of 82, which placed her tied
10th overall. Seniors Claire Maxa (87) and
Maggie Schaffer (88) finished in the Top
20 overall.

The Marist boys golf team are state champions for the fourth consecutive year.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015


Senior Continued From Page 22A
as a two-sport star for the Wolverines. Stewart is headed to
Georgia Southern to continue
his football career and education while studying business
McNair’s Nashaia Beasley
rounds out the two-sport athletes named salutatorian. Beasley participated in softball and
soccer for the Lady Mustangs,
and is heading to the University
of Georgia.
Cedar Grove’s Jasmyne
Jackson (softball), Cross Keys’
Bao Truong (soccer), Druid
Hills’ Samuel Robison (soccer)
and Martin Luther King Jr.’s
N’Dyah McCoy (softball) gave
athletes clean sweeps of their
schools’ top academic honors.
McCoy plans a double major in Spanish and Psychology
at Georgia where Troung also
plans to attend and study Engineering. Jackson is headed to
Georgia Southern and Robison
moves on to Georgia Tech.

Southwest DeKalb salutatorians Jada Hislop (magnet) and
Nikea Conyers (resident) make
three out of the four top honors
awarded to athletes in the Panther athletic program. Hislop
has participated in lacrosse and
Conyers tennis. Hislop was
also named Star Student and
is headed to the University of
Southern California to work on
her pre-med degree on the path
to being a surgeon. Conyers is
headed to Oglethorpe to study
Chamblee Magnet School
salutatorian Swapnil Agrawal
(tennis) is another DeKalb student-athlete on the way to the
University of Georgia. Agrawal
is a UGA Foundation Fellow.
Towers’ salutatorian Hernan Gallegos (swimming) is
headed to Tufts College in Massachusetts with an institutional
scholarship in hand.
Tucker salutatorian and star
student Collin Kelly (swim-

ming) is set to continue his
education at Emory University
and major in Business and Finance.
Ten sports sponsored by
DeKalb County School District
were represented by these 25
student/athletes including soccer (9), softball (6), tennis (5),
swimming (4), volleyball (2),
basketball (2), cross country
(1), baseball (1), track (1) and
literary (1).
Twenty of the student athletes have elected to stay in the
state of Georgia with UGA (9)
being the top choice. Georgia
Tech follows with four while
Emory, Oglethorpe and Georgia Southern have two each and
one is headed to Armstrong
Two are headed to California (Stanford, USC), two to
Massachusetts (MIT, Tufts) and
one to Washington D.C. (Howard).


Ivy Harris

Cedar Grove

Raul Perez
Cross Keys
Cross Country/Swimming
Abishkar Chhetri
Druid Hills

Audrey Benson

Michael Boden

Georbie Cheathem

Ilka Ervin
M.L. King

Jaylen Black

Alicia Worthy
SW DeKalb (R) Literary

Charbonay Johnson

My-Hanh Nguyen
Stone Mountain Tennis

Ngoc Thong
Stone Mountain Tennis/Soccer

Georgia Tech
Armstrong State
Georgia Tech

Jasmyne Jackson

Swapnil Agrawal

Bao Truong

Samuel Robison

Catriona Geddes
N’Dyah McCoy

Nashaia Beasley
Javane Stewart

Melanie Abron

Jada Hislop

Nikea Conyers

Hernan Gallegos
Collin Kelly

Georgia Southern
Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech
Georgia Southern
Southern California
Tufts College

Cedar Grove
Chamblee (M)
Cross Keys
Druid Hills
M.L. King


Miller Grove
SW DeKalb (M)
SW DeKalb (R)















(M) – Magnet
(R) – Resident

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Page 23A

Marist AD
inducted into
GADA Hall of Fame
The Georgia Athletic Director’s Association (GADA) inducted Marist Athletic Director
Tommy Marshall into the GADA Hall of Fame.
This honor is given to coaches in Georgia
who have been prominent or have displayed
great leadership during their careers. Marshall
has been in athletic administration for 30 years
and has been at Marist for 19 years.
Before becoming athletic director at Marist,
he coached football, basketball, baseball, tennis
and wrestling at the high school and college levels. As a football coach at Walton High School,
he was named Cobb County Coach-of-the-Year
three times during the 1980s.
Marshall attributed the awards not only to
his hard work but also to the school and the
many people who work to make the Marist
sports programs a success. His impact on the
school can be found in the numerous sportsmanship awards, the state titles that displayed
on the walls and trophy cases throughout Centennial Center.
Sports Illustrated named Marist the 15th
ranked high school athletic program in America and Marist has been awarded the GADA
Director’s Cup for Best Overall Athletic Program for 15 consecutive years, all under Coach

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Page 24A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 5, 2015

May recommends tax cut

Photos by Kathy Mitchell


Continued From Page 11A

THANKS YOU”; another
wrote “HONOR OUR
TROOPS,” followed by an
image of an American flag.
The atmosphere of Good
Neighbor Day remains faithful to the airport’s military
roots. DeKalb Peachtree
Airport, now a county facility, was once part of the site
of Camp Gordon, a World
War I Army training base.
Although coming five days
after Memorial Day, Good
Neighbor Day included
several tributes to past and
current military personnel.
A group of Team AeroDy-

namix planes, for example,
flew the “missing man” formation in which four planes
approach then one leaves the
group soaring skyward in the
traditional salute to deceased
Throughout the afternoon, announcers kept visitors entertained between acts
with such aviation trivia
as the fact that after World
War II, the U. S. government
sold surplus B-52 planes
for as little as $6,000. Today,
remaining models sell for
During Good Neighbor

Day, most eyes were on the
skies; however, there was lots
of activity on the ground as
well. What were normally
the airport’s parking lots had
become fairground-like areas
with demonstration booths,
concession stands and exhibits. There was a children’s
play area that, in addition to
the permanent play equipment in Doc Manget Memorial Aviation Park, had dozens of inflatables—though
some youngsters seemed to
prefer climbing the airport’s
sturdy old magnolia tree.

DeKalb Interim CEO
Lee May presented his 2015
mid-year budget recommendations to the Board of
Commissioners June 2.
The recommendations
include a tax rate decrease,
which is the first adjustment downward since 2004.
Other highlights include an
increase in the budgetary reserve, body cameras for police officers and an increase
in funding for firefighters
and sheriff deputies.
“An economic recovery is underway in DeKalb
County, which has had a
positive impact on our tax
digest,” May said. “We are in
a great position to fund our
critical needs in addition to
offering relief to the taxpayers of DeKalb County.”
The proposed benchmark 2015 millage rate is
20.81 mills, down 0.4 mills
from 21.21 mills in 2014.
The budget that was ap-

proved in February projected a 3.6 percent countywide
growth rate and 3.0 percent
growth rate for incorporated
areas, which were conservative estimates. The projected
end of year fund balances
for the all tax funds was
$34.7 million.
The new digest figures
and adjustments in the millage rates produce $36.6
million more in revenue
with $12.8 million more in
expenditures. This creates a
new projected year-end fund
balance of $57.5 million or
1.21 months for all funds in
“Our reserves are now in
much better shape than they
were just a few years ago,”
May said. “We have made
good on our promise take
steps to restore our rainy day
fund, and then some. Now
it’s time to make good on
our promise to cut our tax