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Johnson

• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Turner

District 5
race headed
to runoff
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com

O

ne more hurdle remains before
residents of DeKalb County Commission District 5 have a commissioner: a runoff election.
In the June 16 special election to fill the
seat vacated by interim DeKalb County
CEO Lee May, the field of 10 candidates
was narrowed down to two: Mereda Davis Johnson and George Turner.
Johnson, an attorney and wife of Congressman Hank Johnson, received 27.21
percent of the votes while Turner, a District 5 Community Council president and
a retired MARTA manager, received 15.94
percent.
“I thank the citizens of the 5th District
for all of their support and confidence in
me,” Mereda Johnson said in a phone interview with The Champion. “This is my
first campaign, so I feel very humbled by
the confidence that the voters have put in
me.”
During the runoff campaign, Johnson
said she will continue to do what she has
been doing.
“That’s knocking on doors, talking to
voters and just working hard,” Johnson
said.
Johnson said she respects and admires
the other candidates.
“I look forward to working with them,”
Johnson said. “All of the candidates had
their hearts in it and all of them believe in
DeKalb. It was a good race, [and] a very
positive race.”
If elected, Johnson said she will address “some basic things” that have been
ignored while the district was without

See Runoff on page 15A

championnewspaper

by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com

W

Males under age 15 are twice as likely to be victims of pool
injuries or deaths, according to statistics. File photos

championnews

hile pools can be fun places to beat the
summer heat, they also can be deadly and
dangerous.
In the United States, there was an average of 382 pool or spa-related drownings reported per year from 2010 to 2012 involving children
younger than 15 years of age.
Additionally there were, on average, 5,400
pool- or spa-related hospital treated nonfatal
injuries each year for 2012 through 2014 for the
same age group.
“Males under 15 are twice as likely to be a
victim,” said Alexander Smith, an environmental health specialist for DeKalb County Board
of Health. One of Smith’s tasks is inspecting the
county’s more than 900 nonresidential pools.
Smith said parents should “closely monitor”
young children and discourage them from engaging in risky behavior such as jumping from
chairs and objects beside the pool.
“Teaching kids to swim” or hang on the side
of the pool also is important,” Smith said.
To prevent injuries and drowning at public
pools, Smith said parents need to be diligent.
Smith said the first thing he would check at
a pool is its inspection score. This 34-point inspection covers pool water, pumping filtration
and treatment system, deck/pool area, sewage
disposal, shower/toilet facilities, operator’s records and safety.
“As a parent I would see if the rules are being
followed,” Smith said. Each facility with a public
pool is required by county ordinance to post and
follow the county’s safety rules and regulations

championnewspaper

See Pool on page 15A

champnews

local

Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Town hall series
spotlights countywide changes
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com

State Senator Fran Millar, interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May and Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis stand together after a town hall meeting.

Things are changing in
DeKalb.
The county’s proposed
millage rate is set to decline
and in just a few weeks, garbage pickup will be cut back
to once a week.
To keep the public informed of the changes,
Interim CEO Lee May
has begun a series of town
hall meetings to take place
across the county.
May held his second
town hall meeting at Dunwoody City Hall on June
10.
“I enjoy being out in
the community to hear
first-hand the priorities and
concerns of DeKalb County
residents. We start off talking about the budget, but we
invariably end up addressing service delivery concerns,” May said.
He added, “I encourage everyone to join us as
we continue these meeting
across DeKalb County.”
Approximately 45 community members attended
the Dunwoody City Hall
event.
Dunwoody Mayor Mike
Davis said, “It’s very important that he’s now come

to Dunwoody and had
these town hall meetings
a number of times. I can’t
remember the last time that
we were getting this much
attention from the CEO of
the county. We’re thrilled
that he’s actually coming
out and telling us what he’s
thinking.”
Davis said, “No one is
ever comfortable when talking about taxes, but we’re
all beginning to understand
what the county is trying to
do.”
Under the budget proposal, DeKalb could see its
millage rate decrease from
21.21 to 20.81. The proposed 0.4-mill reduction,
if approved, would be the
county’s first tax rate decrease since 2004.
May said, “An economic
recovery is underway in
DeKalb County, which has
had a positive impact on our
tax digest.”
He added, “We are in a
great position to fund our
critical needs in addition to
offering relief to the taxpayers of DeKalb County.”
May’s next town hall
meeting will be held on
June 22 at Brookhaven City
Hall from 7 p.m. until 8:30
p.m.

Interim CEO Lee May addresses the crowd of stakeholders about the new sanitation schedule and millage
rates. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Brookhaven City Council members congratulate Councilman Bates
Mattison on his new position as mayor pro tem.

local

Page 3A

DeKalb State Judge Mike Jacobs administers the oath Judge Mike Jacobs administers the oath of office to Reof office to Linley Jones.
becca Chase Williams. Photos by Carla Parker

Brookhaven makes new appointments
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A new mayor, city council member and
mayor pro tem were appointed during the June 9
Brookhaven City Council meeting.
District 1 Councilwoman and Mayor Pro
Tem Rebecca Chase Williams was sworn in as
mayor, filling the seat vacated by former mayor
J. Max Davis. Davis resigned to run for Georgia
House District 80, which was vacated by after
Mike Jacobs was appointed as State Court judge
of DeKalb by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Jacobs administered the oath of office to Williams, who told residents that she “looks forward
to the opportunity to continue to build a great
city.”
“As our mission statement says, ‘we strive to
be a national model, a place where our residents
and businesses flourish,’” Williams said. “I will
continue to build on the work already accomplished, to learn from our experiences and to
build a government that is really exceptional in
all regards. This, of course, means we will always
be open and honest, we will always remember
that we work you—the taxpayers, and be responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ money.
“I’m going to continue to focus on the basics
and that means police, paving, parks, permits and
zoning,” Williams added. “But I will also advocate for what I call the wow factor—world-class

playgrounds in every park, sidewalks and passing
trails that put us on the map—award-winning,
smart development.”
The city’s charter allowed Williams to be appointed by fellow councilmembers since the election for that office is less than 12 months away
in November. Vacancies of 12 months or more
require a special election.
Williams’ nomination for the vacant seat was
approved by a vote of 3-1. Councilman Joe Gebbia nominated Williams, with Councilman Bates
Mattison seconding the nomination. Councilman John Park voted against the nomination.
“Part of this responsibility is making sure
that we make a selection for somebody who can
continue the charge of all the programs that we’re
working on, and there is a lot going on,” Gebbia
said. “Rebecca has done an excellent job on council to stay abreast of each and every issue. I think
she is an excellent candidate to make sure that we
as a city continue the momentum that we have.”
Davis also praised Williams for her work as a
council member.
“Your counsel to me and to the rest of the
council over the past two and a half years on
many issues has been very valuable, and it has
helped us along,” Davis said.
After Williams was sworn in, she nominated
Linley Jones to fill the District 1 council seat.
Jones was approved by councilmembers.
“She has been involved with the formation

of the city from the beginning,” Williams said
of Jones. “She is one of the smartest [women] I
know, and she’s a solid citizen.”
“I appreciate the support of all of you, and I
am looking forward to the opportunity to represent District 1, albeit for this brief period because
I, along with the rest of the folks in District 1,
look forward to having an elected representation again,” Jones said. “But, I will do my best to
listen to the input I will receive. I plan to have an
opportunity in the very near future to meet with
folks and hear about the concerns and interests of
the people of District 1.”
Councilmembers elected Mattison, who represents District 3, as mayor pro tem.
The seats for mayor, District 1 and District 3
also will be up for election on Nov. 3.
Potential candidates must file a notice of
candidacy in the city clerk office between Aug. 31
and Sept. 2, between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., or
between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The qualifying
fee for each city council seat is $360, and the fee
for mayor is $480.
Mayoral candidates must be a resident of
the city of Brookhaven for at least 12 continuous months immediately prior to the election
date, while candidates for city council must be a
resident of the district for at least six continuous
months immediately prior to the election.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

opinion

Page 4A

Facts about the pension costs
and new cities

by Ed Williams
Cityhood does not mean
economic development,
if so, all the cities close
to the Hartfield-Jackson
Atlanta International airport would be booming.
Residents should say no to
more government, crime
and corruption. The school
problems need to be dealt
with by the school board.
The crime in south DeKalb
needs to be addressed and
the residents need to get
more involved in their communities and schools. Big
businesses and good jobs
will not come or stay in an
environment where there is
high crime and bad schools,
unless these problems are
addressed.
Yes, we need to do something, but we do not want to
make our situation worse. 
It is the job of the chamber
of commerce and private
citizens to create jobs. The
government can help create
a business friendly envi-

ronment. However, if the
government becomes the
primary business, then we
will look like Cuba or North
Korea. Some of the proponents of cityhood should be
running for a position in the
chamber of commerce, not
in government.
Alternatives have not
been presented to residents
in the affected area, for example, smaller cities, opting
out of the city, changing the
annexation laws, court action. Alternative forms of
quasi-cities should be con-

sidered; private residential
associations or communities and special districts
could also be alternatives to
cityhood.
What cityhood will likely
bring is more government
with rules and regulations,
more jails and courts, more
crime, more corruption,
more traffic tickets, more
code enforcement, less businesses, and bad customer
service.
South DeKalb could look
like Clayton County, Miami
Gardens, Tuskegee, Ala.,
East Saint Louis, Liberty
City, Gary, Ind., Detroit,
Washington, D.C., or Ferguson, Miss., if the cityhood
bill is passed by the state assembly and the referendum
is passed by the voters. Ask
the proponents of cityhood
which city they plan to use
as a model for south DeKalb
or Stonecrest. I do not mean
what the feasibility study
used. I mean, which city do
proponents believe South
DeKalb will look like with

similar demographics and
population?
Repeat it enough times;
they will believe it and then
it will become fact. Even the
DeKalb 5th District commission candidates are repeating the facts incorrectly.
Kathryn Rice backtracks
on her statement that south
DeKalb will be left paying
pensions. First, Rice and her
group said there was a law
that permits the new cities
to avoid paying or sharing in
the cost of DeKalb pension
plan. Almost everyone was
repeating it, even state lawmakers and DeKalb commissioners.
Now Rice and her
group admit there is no
law. They now use the words
“fair,” “shoulder” and “burden” of the pension costs—a
play on words. Concerned
Citizens for Cityhood in
South DeKalb has repeated
so many times that “south
DeKalb would be the only
area paying the pension”
that everyone believes what

they have been saying is
true. The factoid meter indicates that this is not true,
and that the statement is a
stretch of the facts. It is being used as a fear or scare
tactic to get residents to
support cityhood. Rice continues to say if the city of
south DeKalb is created that
it is her position that the city
should make pension payments. It seems that there is
some doubletalk going on.
According to the county
budget department, the new
cities are contributing to the
county pension plan, though
not to the same extent as if
they had not become a city.
The typical portions that
new cities may not be equally contributing to are police
and designated services if
new cities are providing
their own services in those
areas. All the other county
funds contribute to the pension.
Ed Williams is the chairman of Citizens Against
Cityhood in DeKalb.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

opinion

Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Everything in the spin again
“Waste neither time nor
money, but make the best
use of both. Without industry
and frugality, nothing will
do, and with them everything,” author, publisher,
inventor and statesman,
Benjamin Franklin (17061790).
Being a man of middle
age, I have a much greater
appreciation for in getting
a good night’s sleep and
the comfort of a good mattress and bed. I’m hopeful
that the days of crashing
on couches, roll-away beds
and sleeping on the floor are
largely behind me.
Beginning during the
earlier GOP Congressional
takeover in 1994, a modest
group of young freshmen,
many with young families
back home, made the conscious and frugal choice
not to lease or purchase an
apartment or townhome on
Capitol Hill but instead to
crash in their congressional
office suites, often on the
floor or a couch atop a rollup or air mattress.
U. S. House member
offices, in the Capitol as
well as a series of buildings
flanking both sides of Capitol Hill are historic, sometimes charming and quaint,
but generally cramped, certainly compared to the more
opulent and larger digs reserved for the 100 members
of the U. S. Senate. Leadership offices are larger,
but office assignments, as
well as individual pieces of

Bill Crane
bill.csicrane@gmail.com

Columnist

furniture (some well over
a century old), are among
the perks of seniority, as
well as being in the majority. When majority shifts
occur, the moving days and
long weekends before a new
Congress is sworn in are
viewed as almost comical.
But after nearly three decades of primarily younger
members of the larger
chamber of Congress using
their offices periodically as
“crash pads” along comes
a new spin from a longtime
columnist at Roll Call, a respected and venerated D.C.
media outlet heavily read
by other reporters, political wags and staffers on the
Hill.
The “crash pad” trend,
started for reasons of thrift,
and not getting “too comfortable” in a second D.C.
home is now being viewed
through a different prism. 
Roll Call columnist David Hawkins pointed out
that while Congress may

have frozen its own pay
for the past seven years,
the “sleepers” pay no rent,
receive no utility bills, and
pay nothing for daily cleaning and sanitation services. 
Within Georgia’s congressional delegation, former Congressman Jack
Kingston (R-Savannah)
was a longtime practitioner, and currently Georgia
GOP Reps. Buddy Carter
(Savannah), Doug Collins (Gainesville), Tom
Graves (Ranger) and Jody
Hice (Walton County) are
all members of the current
“Dream Team” sleeping free
on the Hill.
I will mention though
that although a few Congressional offices have microwaves, mini-fridges and
occasionally a sink or toilet
within their suite virtually
none have showers or full
bathrooms. 
The members of Congress who “office camp”
are often seen racing early
to the Capitol gym, which
opens at 5:30 a.m. 
This “frequent guest”
program offers no points, no
free breakfast, no mints or
turn down service–but does
offer the pleasure of virtually your entire staff and
the occasional constituent
not only knowing your full
“bed head” look, but really
having an understanding
of whether or not you are a
morning person.
Though former U.S.
House Speaker Jim Wright

(D-Texas) forbade the
practice as being “demeaning to the institution of the
House,” it appears at least
under the current GOP leadership, the congressional
camping practice is here to
stay.
Washington, D.C., remains far from being affordable in terms of housing. 
Rent for a one-bedroom,
“walk-up” in nearby Capitol
Hill tends to start at $2,000
per month, plus utilities. 
Even on a Congressman’s salary (currently
$174,000), if you have a
family and are not independently wealthy, that second
residence for three to four
nights per week, which produces no income, sounds
like a pretty bad investment
decision. Some members of
Congress pool resources and
bunk together, others rent
rooms in townhomes owned
by more senior members.
But pulling a Clark
Howard in buildings which
taxpayers already own, and
already maintain is hardly
‘stealing’ another benefit
from U.S. taxpayers.
Though going by a few
of the air mattresses I’ve
seen in use, the Capitol Hill
YMCA might start looking
pretty good. 
Even UGA interns now
have a large residence on
the Hill called The Delta
House (thanks to the generosity of the airline, not some
Greek organization). Maybe
along with the occasional

pair of Dawgs tickets, some
in our delegation could
just go crash at the interns’
house.
 No...probably a bad
idea...President Clinton
already tried that. It didn’t
turn out too well.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment
on a column at bill.csicrane@
gmail.com. 

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

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

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

local

Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Delphyne Lomax
Delphyne Lomax has always had a passion for helping others and volunteering.
She volunteers for several
organizations in DeKalb
County and has been recognized as volunteer of the
year by the South DeKalb
YMCA.
Lomax first started volunteering as a team mom 24
years ago when her son was
playing basketball. She said
she would round up parents
and assign them snacks
and drinks to bring for the
games.
She’s become involved

with many nonprofit organizations through networking
for her business.

“A lot of people I’ve met
along my life journey have
started their own organizations, and I find myself
volunteering because I know
they have good causes,” she
said.
Each year, Lomax collects, sorts and packs donated items for shipment to
Montego Bay, Jamaica, as
part of an annual mission
trip coordinated by DeKalbbased nonprofit Unconditional Love for Children,
Inc. While in Jamaica, she
works with local schools,
churches and communities

in programs such as selfesteem and parenting. An
accomplished songstress,
Lomax is often called upon
to lead the group in praise
hymnals.
She also helps with fundraising efforts for Students
Without Mothers, a nonprofit organization that gives
scholarships to students
who’ve lost their mothers
due to unfortunate circumstances.
This year the organization awarded three high
school students with $4,000
toward their college ex-

penses.
“I really believe in giving
back,” Lomax said. “Giving
back can really bless others.”
Students Without Mothers has made Lomax grateful
for having her mother. She
added that her favorite part
about her involvement with
the organization is working
with interesting people.
“I love the people that
you meet and the lasting relationships,” she said.
-Chenoa Tyehimba

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

Decatur hosts international fellows
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Vietnam War has been
over for more than 40 years, but the
country of Laos is still dealing with
the after-affects.
According to the U.S. Department of State, more than 2.5 million tons of U.S. munitions were
dropped on Laos. Up to 30 percent
of the bombs dropped over Laos
failed to detonate. The explosive
remnants of war continue to impede
development and cause hundreds
of casualties a year, according to the
Department of State.
A few of those casualties included family members of Thongvone
Sosamphan.
“My family, my grandparents
[were] killed when he tried to remove the bomb from his village,”
Sosamphan said.
The 26-year-old has been working on humanitarian mine action
and development in Laos since
2011, and she later became a member of the Young Southeast Asian
Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).
The YSEALI program was
launched in 2013 to strengthen
leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through
a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational
and cultural exchanges, regional
exchanges, and seed funding, YSE-

Healthy
Swimming
Tips #1

Sosamphan

ALI seeks to build the leadership
capabilities of youth in the region,
strengthen ties between the United
States and Southeast Asia.
It was through the YSEALI program and the International City/
County Management Association
(ICMA) Professional Fellows Legislative Process and Governance Program that led Sosamphan and Ngan
Nguyen of Vietnam to Decatur.
Nguyen works as an official
of the International Relations Department of the Vietnam Women’s
Union (VWU). She is program officer of projects on prevention of
human trafficking, hygiene and
water system for poor communities,
wheelchairs for disabled persons

and scholarships for poor female
students.
Decatur was selected as a host
community for the ICMA Professional Fellows Legislative Process
and Governance Program for Cohort 1 from May 2-30. The program
brought emerging leaders from
around the world to the United
States for an intensive fellowship
designed to broaden their professional expertise, promote local
government partnerships, establish
networks and create international
relationships.
During the 30 days, the two international fellows saw how Decatur
government operates. Sosamphan
said her country receives funding
from United States, however, “we
don’t have a sufficient response to
the need of the people.”
“We could have done more, but
we don’t have the right skill for that,”
she said. “Corruption is a big problem. I’m here, hoping that with city
of Decatur, to see how you promote
transparency when you get taxes
from people.”
The two fellows spent time
in each governing department in
Decatur to see firsthand how a governed body operates.
“My impression is the city really provides a high standard of
services to the people,” Sosamphan
said. “The people are so dedicated.
Everyone is so friendly, relatable and

opinionated.”
The city of Decatur is an ICMA
member. Decatur City Manager
Peggy Merriss is a former ICMA
president, and was the first woman
president, according to Decatur
Public Information Officer Casie
Yoder.
“She’s still very involved in the
organization,” Yoder said. “They
put out this call to cities across the
country asking if any of us would
be willing to host two of the professional fellows who are coming over
through [YSEALI]. We’ve never
done this before, and we thought it
would be a great opportunity to play
host and to learn something at the
same time. It’s definitely a two-way
street with that.”
Sosamphan said the goal of the
fellows is to process everything they
have learned and discuss how to apply it to their work.
“At the end of our stay here we’re
going to develop an action plan on
what would be the next step,” she
said. “We came here with a community challenge, and we have to
pick out one topic that we can relate
to our work and fit to the theme of
the program. My case study is progressing and supporting people with
disabilities because there are many
victims linked to the war. They are
still waiting on assistances from the
government.”

Keep your germs out of the pool to keep your friends and family healthy.

DO:

Wash your hands before you prepare food or eat and
after using the restroom or changing a diaper.

DO NOT:

Swim if you have diarrhea or are
vomiting.

For more information: Visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming or call the DeKalb County Board of Health’s
Division of Environmental Health at 404.508.7900.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

local

AroundDeKalb

Avondale Estates

Decatur

Avondale Estates is looking for a community
communication manager who would be responsible for internal and external communication
efforts through a variety of media, marketing
and advertising operations and coordinating
activities to promote the city’s programs and
endeavors, and providing marketing support
services for all departments of the city, the Board
of Mayor and Commissioners and other boards
and commissions. This position reports to the
city manager.
Applications/resumes should be submitted by email to rcbrown@avondaleestates.org
or mailed/hand-delivered to Avondale Estates
City Hall, Attn: City Manager Clai Brown, 21 N.
Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates, GA 30002.
An employment applications can be found at
avondaleestates.org/resources/pdfs/communications-manager-job-opening.pdfs attached. No
phone calls will be accepted. The deadline for
applications/resumes is June 30.

Celebrate summer solstice with yoga

City is seeking communication manager

Brookhaven
Sheep put to work
Brookhaven’s Parks & Recreation Department will soon have the help of a herd of sheep
in cleaning out invasive plant growth in Briarwood Park.
Sheep from the company Ewe-Niversally
Green will be housed on three acres of the park
for several days to help with removal of English
ivy, privet and kudzu.
“At Briarwood Park, the location we have
initially identified, is one within a drainage swale
where the only means to remove the overgrown
vegetation is through the use of sheep herds,”
said parks manager Gary Schussler.
The sheep will be enclosed with an electric
fence and will be protected by a livestock dog.
Signage at the site notify the public.
Schussler said he expects to use sheep to help
with removal of invasive plant growth in additional city parks in the future.

City to hold first Touch-A-Truck event
Brookhaven will host its first Touch-A-Truck
event at Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 27.
The community will have an opportunity to
go inside a fire truck, meet a police K-9 and turn
the lights on in a Brookhaven police car.
Krispy Kreme will provide breakfast treats
and coffee, as well as a dipping station for the
children.

Join Decatur Active Living and Cheryl Burnette to welcome the longest day of the year with
a summer solstice yoga practice.
This is the second annual celebration and
this year the event is part of International Yoga
Day.
“Throughout history, many cultures have associated the summer solstice with a renewal of
mind, body and spirit and a celebration of the
sense of joyfulness and fun that the sunshine
evokes in all of us,” states an announcement
about the event.
Participants can celebrate with a morning
practice that includes asana, sun salutations and
more.
The event will be held June 21 at 9 a.m. on
the courtyard in the Beacon Municipal Complex, 420 West Trinity Place. If it rains, the practice will be held in the adjacent Ebster Recreation Center gym. 
The event is free, but donations for the Decatur Youth Fund will be accepted. RSVP by emailing cheryl.burnette@decaturga.com or calling
(678) 553-6541.

Doraville

Board volunteers needed
Doraville is looking for volunteers interested
in serving on various city boards and commissions.
Applications are always accepted, but active
candidacy review includes positions on the urban redevelopment agency, downtown development authority, architectural review board and
storm water advisory committee.
To apply for a position on a citizen board,
complete the candidate board/commission application and submit to the city clerk in person;
by mail at 3725 Park Ave., Doraville, GA 30340;
by fax at (770) 936-3862; or by emailing sherry.
henderson@doravillega.us.

City named second best in business
NerdWallet, a consumer finance website,
has conducted a study to find the best places in
Georgia to start a business, and Doraville ranked
second. 
To determine this ranking, NerdWallet examined 126 places in Georgia with populations
of 5,000 or more and analyzed the following
factors: business climate–average revenue of

Page 7A

businesses, percentage of businesses with paid
employees, and businesses per 100 people; and
local economic health–median annual income,
median monthly housing costs, and unemployment rate.
”Doraville’s proximity to Atlanta, major
transportation routes and two of the state’s
largest airports make it a prime location for
aspiring entrepreneurs,” a news release stated.
“With 1,580 businesses, the city boasts an impressive number of businesses per 100 people
and features high average revenue per business
($5,361,780), second only to Alpharetta. These
factors, coupled with a high percentage of businesses with paid employees (38.04 percent),
make Doraville an ideal place to launch a business.”

Dunwoody

City to host Government 101 class
The Dunwoody Government 101 series is
an eight-week course designed to enhance residents’ understanding of city government and offers the community a chance to experience and
discover the primary undertakings of the city. 
The series provides participants an insider’s
look at each of the city’s departments through
a lively blend of demonstrations, presentations,
and tours, all conducted in a casual format at
numerous sites throughout the city. 
Participants can expect to come away with
a heightened awareness and knowledge of local
government operations as well as a greater understanding of how to get involved in local civic
and community affairs.
 For more information, visit dunwoodyga.
gov.
Deadline for application is June 19.

Countywide
Animal shelter offering free pet adoptions
LifeLine Animal Project invites residents to
come into DeKalb County Animal Services for a
cool adoption special.
Throughout June, all dogs and cats six
months and older may be adopted for free. Dogs
must also weigh at least 25 pounds to qualify.
Adopters will receive a dog or cat that has been
spayed or neutered, has had all vaccines and is
microchipped–a $250 value–at no cost. Adoption counselors will be on hand to ensure the
animals are being placed in good homes.
LifeLine’s DCAS Shelter Director Susan Feingold said that offering fee-waived adoptions
is a great way to increase adoption rates. “With
summer here, twice as many animals are coming into the shelters as usual, and free adoptions
tend to create a buzz of excitement and bring
more people into shelters,” Feingold said. “According to numerous studies, fee-waived promotions increase adoptions without compromising
the quality of care that the animals receive.”
To see pictures of available animals at DCAS,
visit www.dekalbanimalservices.com.

local

Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Staff transitions
motivate Clarkston
budget amendment
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Clarkston City Council
amended its operating budget
from $4.3 million to $4 million at a council meeting on
June 2.
City Manager Keith
Barker said due to changes
in staff within the finance department, preparation of an
amended budget document
had not been done.
City officials approve an
annual budget at the beginning of each fiscal year based
on projected revenues and
expenditures.
Financial Director Dan
Defnall said, “We are proposing amending the final 2014
operating budget to match up
with the revenues and expenditures. Throughout the year
the revenues flow from the
budget and with the changing
of priority of projects.”
He added that the majority of the changes in the
increase of the budget relate
to capital projects items that
were funded from proceeds
from either capital assets or
long-term financing for the
streetscapes project.
Defnall said, “In the original budget those items were
not included because [there
was not] a budget plan at that
time of what was going to
happen on those projects.”
This fiscal year Clarkston
had a 7 percent increase in
the general fund balance and

Barker

Clarkston City Hall, located at 1055 Rowland Street.

an 11 percent increase in revenues, according to Barker.
Barker said, “That’s just
the general fund. If you’re
looking at all funds which
will account for moving money from the special revenue
fund to the general fund, i.e.
capital fund changes..., then
we had a variance of only 3
percent of our expenditure
numbers and a variance of
three percent in our revenue
numbers.”
He added, “I’m very
pleased with that number
and that’s a very acceptable
variance. I would anticipate
that variance will even begin to shrink now that we’ve
got more qualified finance
individuals to help the city
manager and the city clerk
manage those numbers.
“We’re finally getting to
where we need to get in terms

of trying to get a 100 percent
clean audit report,” Barker
said.
“Budgeting is a science
and an art, it’s not exact because what we’re doing is
anticipating expenditures
that will sometimes come 15
months from the date that we
are anticipating those numbers,” Barker said.
He said throughout the
year, various factors influence
the budget, which impacts
projected revenues and affect
necessary expenditures.
“What we should be
looking at as city manager
and elected officials is how
accurate are we in anticipating and managing both expenditures and revenues,” he
added.

Power
IN
THE

Metro DeKalb Community

A.M. at 3951 Snapfinger Parkway, Suite 440, Decatur, Georgia 30035, the East Metro DeKalb
CID Board of Directors will vote upon a proposal to levy an ad valorem taxation rate of 3
mills, and will set its millage rate for the lawful purposes of the District for the current

Every 2nd & 4th
Saturday
10am-2pm

$95

REPORT OF EAST METRO DEKALB COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT
DISTRICT OF PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE

Improvement District (“CID”) reports that at its meeting on June 23, 2015, beginning at 9:00

Weight
Loss
Clinic

Only

Notice is hereby given that prior to setting the tax
millage rate for 2015, the Clarkston Mayor and
Council will hold a Public Hearing at City Hall,
3921 Church Street, Clarkston Georgia, on
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 10:00am on the proposed
millage rate. The City Council is proposing to
adopt a millage rate for 2015 that exceed the
rollback rate by 53.80 percent. All concerned
citizens are invited to attend.

In compliance with O.C.G.A. §48-5, the East

PEWS

5026 Snapfinger Woods
Drive, Suite 110
Decatur, GA

Notice of Public Hearing for
Clarkston Millage Rate

calendar year. Set forth below are the assessed taxable values of the properties subject to

Call today

taxes for the current year and the total dollar amount of ad valorem taxes proposed to be

888-856-9004

levied for the current year. All property levied upon is real property. Because this CID was

*Blood work
*Lipotonix (fat burner injection)
*Appetite suppressant
*Meal planning

created this year, there are no preceding years of assessed taxable values, taxes, and changes

Can lose up to 10 pounds per month or more!

Examination done by Nurse Practitioner!

to report.

2014

Assessed Value

Taxes Levied

% Change

$58,682,641

$176,047

00%

$ Change
$0.00

local

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Page 9A

Commissioner Larry Johnson, at lectern, addresses visitors before officially opening the new facility. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Johnson, center, greets visitor Linda Seals, right, and her grandchildren.

New park feature
makes big splash
by Kathy Mitchell
At the grand opening of the Spray Ground
at Exchange Park June 13,
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson joked
that he played in a spray
park as a child in Chicago
“except they didn’t call it a
spray park; it was more an
open fire hydrant.”
Johnson said the new
configuration of fountains,
dump buckets and other
water implements was one
of a number of recreation
facilities he hopes to bring
to south DeKalb parks. “I
would like to see us have an
ice skating rink in this part
of the county,” he added.
DeKalb Superior Court
Clerk Debra DeBerry
said of Johnson, “He never
stopped fighting for the
funds to build this. He really
wanted to see south DeKalb
have something like this.”
“Right now,” Johnson
said, “this facility is free, but
with county budgets being
what they are you never

know whether that will last.
So bring the whole family
and come on out while it’s
free.”
Dozens of residents covering a broad range of ages
donned swimsuits and came
to try out the new facility.
Area resident Linda Seals,
who brought her grandchildren, said, “I’ve been coming by here regularly and
watching the progress. I’m
really impressed with how
fast they put it together.”
Construction started on
the spray ground in August
2014 and was completed in
March 2015, according to
Roy Wilson, director of recreation, parks and cultural
affairs for the county. He
explained that Johnson had
approached the department
about a water facility where
people could cool off in the
summer.
“This park already has
a community garden, ball
fields and a lot of other nice
facilities. We decided what it
needed was a water feature,”
Wilson said.

See Splash on page 16A

The big dump bucket was a popular attraction at the grand opening.

NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE 
 
The Governing Authority of the City of Clarkston has tentatively 
adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property 
taxes by 53.80 percent.     
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax 
increase to be held at City Hall on July 7, 2015 at 10:30 am and on 
July 7, 2015 at 7:00pm. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 21.15 mills, 
an increase of 7.381 mills over the rollback rate.  Without this 
tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 
13.719 mills. 
 
The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of 
$65,000 is approximately $191.90.   
The proposed increase on a non‐homestead property with a fair 
market value of $185,000 is approximately $546.19.   
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

local

Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Eco Arts counselors and campers gather in a circle to sing and sway to camp songs.

Cassie Cate, age 6, shares one of her findings from the camp’s daily group activity.

Camper Anderson Smith-Coat peers through binoculars for new discoveries.

Founder of Eco Arts Ella Johannaber, sings repeat-after-me songs with the youngsters. Photos by Chenoa Tyehimba

Nature, arts and friendships at Eco Arts Camp
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Pine Lake Eco Arts
counselor Sara Gregory
said, “It’s wonderful for me
to see kids be all wide-eyed,
running and ready to explore.”
Eco Arts camp is a sixweek summer camp that
aims to connect children
with nature and fuel creativity.
The first camp session,
June 8-19, is themed forts,
castles and nature art.
In this session campers
explore the environment
around the lake and collect
anything that inspires them.
Once the children have collected their favorite items,
they are led to assemble sitespecific art such as sandcastles, pine cone mandalas,
fairy gardens, woven structures and playhouses.
Gregory said, “The purpose is to get us to dig more
into nature and see things
we walk through every day
and don’t necessarily take
the time to investigate.”
She added, “A lot of

children may not have the
opportunity to be in a safe
space in nature where they
can explore and know that
someone is looking out for
them. We make sure that
they can really be free to explore.”
In the camp’s second
session, June 22 through 26
and its third session July 6
through 10, titled wetlands,
lake and wildlife parts one
and two, campers take
walks, participate in bird
watching, plant identification and catch and release
minnows, frogs, salamanders, turtles and tadpoles.
The final camp, July 13
through 24, features performing arts from campers,
including puppetry, writing
and dancing.
Eco Arts camp was
founded by Pine Lake resident and school teacher Ella
Johannaber in 2008.
Johannaber said when
she first moved to Pine Lake,
Mayor Kathie deNobriga
asked her what her passion
was. To which she replied
summer camps.
“I felt that a camp would

capitalize on two of our core
strengths which are our attention to the environment
and to the many artists that
live in Pine Lake,” deNobriga
said.
She added, “It’s a great
way to present the city and
its assets to a broader public.”
When Johannaber
started the summer camp it
was focused on performance
arts. In 2011 the camp expanded to include the ecological art components and
changed its name from Pine
Lake Theater Arts to Eco
Arts Camp.
Johannaber said the
change in focus came when
she “became aware of how
much children needed a balance in their increasingly
technological full lives.”
“Initially I noticed that
children would really miss
their technology and handheld games when they got to
camp but when they tuned
in to the nature around
them they didn’t miss those
things anymore. I witnessed
a particular kind of aliveness
in the campers that I knew

was because they’d spent
time being connected with
nature,” she said.
Johannaber said when
the camp began there were
12 children. This year, the
camp almost maxed out the
space with 26 participants in
the first session.
Camp for each child is
$380 for two weeks. Johan-

naber said a scholarship program has also been initiated
for campers.
The summer camp
scholarship is dependent on
donations. To learn more
about Eco Arts summer
camp or donate to their
scholarship fund visit ecoartscamp.com.

Notice of Public Hearing for
Clarkston Millage Rate
Notice is hereby given that prior to setting the tax
millage rate for 2015, the Clarkston Mayor and
Council will hold a Public Hearing at City Hall,
3921 Church Street, Clarkston Georgia, on
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 7:00pm on the proposed
millage rate. The City Council is proposing to
adopt a millage rate for 2015 that exceed the
rollback rate by 53.80 percent. All concerned
citizens are invited to attend.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

local

Page 11A

Commissioners
select watershed
project contractor
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
The DeKalb County
Board of Commissioners on
June 9 approved the construction contractor for the
largest project in the county’s billion-dollar watershed
improvement program.
Archer Western Construction LLC of Atlanta,
the lowest bidder at $187.9
million, was selected for
the construction portion of
the Snapfinger Advanced
Wastewater Treatment Facilities expansion. The 4.5-year
contract consists of blasting
and clearing of rock; construction of a retaining wall;
demolition of existing tankage and equipment; construction of the new headwork, biological reactors,
membrane bio-reactors, and
chemical storage and feed
facilities; modifications to
the chlorine contact basin;
sludge dewatering; sludge
holding tank; and odor control units.
The project was originally bid out in early 2014,
but the process was delayed
by a complaint from a potential contractor.
“There was a protest by
one of the contractors saying there were irregularities
on the bid day—basically it
was delayed by 15 minutes,”
said Kenneth Saunders, the
watershed department’s program director for the capital
improvement project.
The protest was reviewed by the county’s legal
department, Saunders said,
which concluded that “we
potentially would be challenged by a lawsuit that
could delay us longer and we
decided to rebid,” Saunders
said.
In September 2014
the watershed department
amended the bid package to
address questions contractors had during the initial
bid process. The revised
invitation to bid was released January 2015. The bid
opened in March and a recommendation was made to
the Board of Commissioners
in May.
One “significant addition to the revised bid package” was the Construction
Activities Mitigation Plan,
said MaLika Hakeem, pro-

gram outreach coordinator
for the watershed department.
“This project will go
on…for five years,” Saunders explained. “There are
impacts on the surrounding community. A church,
school and housing are
around the site…and Flakes
Mill is a busy roadway.
“While constructing, we
wanted to make sure that we
identify all of those things
that would have impacts on
the community,” he said.
“There are sound barriers
that are on the site. There is
an enhanced effort to mitigate any issues related to the
blasting that will occur.
“Blasting, sound, lighting, dust, traffic—we detailed that out and looked at
what we can do to mitigate
any impact on the community,” Saunders said. “For
instance on the sound, there
are limits on even individual
pieces of equipment and the
noise they can emit.”
When the bids came in
during the rebid process,
they were lower because
of “competition,” Saunders
said.
“We got three bids within 5 percent of each other,”
Saunders said. “The low bid
was about $5 million less”
than the previous bids.
“We had the same three
bidders. They had a chance
to look at it again and got a
better price,” Saunders said.
“At least we did save some
money.”
In 2010, the DeKalb
County Board of Commissioners approved a $1.345
billion upgrade to DeKalb’s
water and sewer system. At
the time, county officials
said approximately $20 million-$30 million would be
allocated to address requirements of a consent decree
in which DeKalb County
agreed to pay a $453,000
penalty from the federal
Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) for excessive
sewage spills. The county
also agreed to implement
a $600,000 stream cleanup
project, focusing on debris removal from parts
of the South River, South
Fork Peachtree Creek and
Snapfinger Creek.
Saunders said the state
of the Capital Improvement

Archer Western Construction of Atlanta has been selected as the construction contractor for the $187.9 million Snapfinger Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facilities expansion project.

Workers are set to replace 500 miles of water lines in DeKalb. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Project (CIP) is “good.”
“We are progressing
in all areas,” he said. “Certainly getting these bids is
on Snapfinger is extremely
important, but we’ve got a
number of other major activities that are ongoing.”
Saunders said there are
17 waterline projects under
way including projects on
Candler Road, Elam Road
and Flat Shoals Parkway. In
all, approximately 500 miles
of water lines are set to be
replaced.
The county is in the final
stages of selecting a program
manager for the CIP.
“The biggest accomplishment…is that we have
been fully in compliance
with all of the requirements

of the EPA under the consent order,” Saunders said.
During a July 17 forum
watershed officials will “lay
out our requirements for
over $40 million in engineering and construction
management services associated with the consent
decree and the overall CIP.
“That’s another big piece
of the work that we have to
do,” Saunders said.
Another accomplishment has been expediting
preconstruction activities,
such as hiring a construction manager.
“Eighty percent of what’s
going to be spent in this
program is construction. But
I’ve got to have it managed
and designed before I can

construct,” Saunders said.
“Everyone looks for dirt
being turned, but there are
things you have to do on the
front side,” he said.
Although there have
been some delays, they have
not be been “untypical,”
Saunders said.
“I came here April 2,
2012,” he said. “That summer we were supposed to
have done three things that
were significant in terms of
professional services: hire
a program manager for the
consent decree, which happened in April 2014. We
were supposed to have hired
the construction manager
for Snapfinger. That happened in August 2013. That
same summer we were also

See Watershed on page 14A

local

Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

THE BIG POP UP

On June 11, East
Decatur Station celebrated its arts festival,
The Big Pop.
Sponsored by The
Decatur Arts Alliance, The Big Pop
is a gathering of artists ranging from the
visual and musical
to the crafts and culinary. Bands Free
After Three, Black
Sheep Ensemble, and
P Jazz played from
the afternoon on into
the evening. Three
Taverns Craft Brewery offered discounted
tour and tastings, and
Decatur-based visual
artist, Ruth Franklin
displayed a solo exhibition.

Photos by Justin Beaudrot

In

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

WEEK

local

Page 13A

Pictures

Fans of Buford Highway attended the Buford Highway Pop-Up Patio event on June 13 at the vacant lot between Intown Plaza and Asian Square. The event was organized by We Love BuHi
to promote businesses and people from the area. Photos from Welovebuhi Instagram

Fifteen students were recognized during the DeKalb Christian Home Educators’ elementary and middle school gradua- Xavier Doyle plays the cello during the talent portion of the
tion on June 12.
graduation program. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

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
www.rollingforwardtoone.com

local

Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Junior League of DeKalb
announces new leadership
The Junior League of
DeKalb County Inc. (JLD)
has announced its president, board of directors, and
five new community advisory board members for the
2015-2016 league year.
JLD is a not-for-profit
organization of women that
has been investing in the
community and its members
for more than 80 years.
The organization’s
positive impact can be seen
throughout DeKalb County
with other not-for-profit
organizations such as the International Women’s House,
Day League, and the Callanwolde Guild Inc., which
were established or founded
in part by JLD. The board
of directors is responsible
for the overall governance
and management of the organization, which includes
financial and committee
oversight, strategic planning,
and community outreach.
“I am honored to serve
as the 2015-2016 president
alongside this amazing
group of women,” said Mindy Kaplan, president of the
organization.
“The Junior League of
DeKalb County Inc. is an
incredible organization of
over 300 women dedicated
to making a difference in
our community, developing

the potential of women, and
promoting volunteerism,”
she said. “I am truly inspired
by the hard work and dedication of our members who
invest their time, talents, and
treasures year after year,”
The 2015-2016 board of
directors includes Suzanne
Osborne, president-elect;
Shara Sanders, secretary;
Rashidah Hasan, vice president of community; Kimberly Roberts, vice president of membership; Allison
Lockhart, vice president of
finance; Olivia Greene, vice
president of fund development; Natalie Wilkes-Shaw,
nominating chairwoman;
and Sandra Smith, sustainer
advisor.
The Community Advisory Board (CAB) is composed of community and
business leaders with diverse
expertise and backgrounds.
The CAB members provide
JLD with direction and
guidance in identifying and
prioritizing community
needs, and members serve as
advocates by articulating the
organization’s mission and
programs to the community
at large.
The 2015-2016 new
CAB members include Lori
Beard-Daily, chief now officer for Working on Your
Now; Steen Miles, former

state senator and retired
journalist, Amanda Posey,
director of The Wellness
Center at DeKalb Medical;
Katerina Taylor, president
and CEO of the DeKalb
Chamber of Commerce; and
Judy Turner, president of
Private Bank of Decatur.
The new CAB members will join the following
existing members: Erin
Croom, Dr. S. Elizabeth
Ford, Debra Golymbieski,
John Hewitt, Paige Nathan,
Deirdre Pierce, Emily Anne
Vall and Gregory White.

NOTICE OF TAX INCREASE
And 5 Year History of Levy

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.

City

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

157,295,925

158,471,976

133,021,745

141,146,248

148,072,403

178,050,508

7,917,420

7,854,350

8,014,980

8,451,460

7,456,190

5,564,760

165,213,345

166,326,326

141,036,725

149,597,708

155,528,593

183,615,268

119,131

102,456

231,089

138,061

268,311

371,490

165,094,214

166,223,870

140,805,636

149,459,647

155,260,282

183,243,778

165,094,214

166,223,870

140,805,636

149,459,647

155,260,282

183,243,778

11.000

10.957

10.957

10.957

10.957

10.957

11.000

10.957

10.957

10.957

10.957

10.957

$1,816,036

$1,821,315

$1,542,807

$1,637,629

$1,701,187

$2,007,802

Net Taxes $ Increase

$5,279

-$278,508

$94,822

$63,558

$306,615

Net Taxes % Increase

0.29%

-15.29%

6.15%

3.88%

18.02%

Real & Personal
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

Watershed Continued From Page 11A
supposed to have hired the
overall CIP program manager. It looks like that won’t
happen until…August of
this year.”
But in the meantime,
Saunders said, the “very
limited” watershed management staff has grown to approximately 25 people and
several projects have been
completed.
“Bear in mind that with
most of this work, …all its
doing is causing traffic issues for some folks. When
it’s completed you don’t see
anything,” Saunders said.
“In about six months,
with all of the engineering
services on board and all of
the program managers on
board, you will start to see
the definition of a lot of…
projects around the county,”
Saunders said.
“We keep saying this
thing is slow but that’s not
untypical,” he said. “Nothing we’ve done is untypical.

I certainly would have expected to have Snapfinger
[under way] about a year
ago, but we had to recover.”

New Junior League of DeKalb board members will serve until mid-2016.
Photo provided

Less Rollbacks
Net M&O Millage

Total City Taxes Levied

City oF ClArKSton
Current propoSeD 2015 tAX DigeSt AnD 5 yeAr HiStory oF leVy
City tax

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Real & Personal

87,540,369

72,710,992

64,816,123

58,592,799

64,881,851

107,610,419

Motor Vehicles

5,223,890

5,088,980

5,462,080

6,244,650

5,266,300

3,300,880

Mobile Homes

0

0

0

0

0

0

Timber - 100%

0

0

0

0

0

0

Heavy Duty Equipment

0

0

0

0

0

0

92,764,259

77,799,972

70,278,203

64,837,449

70,148,151

110,911,299

Gross Digest
Less M & O Exemptions

1,629,182

1,595,543

1,618,667

1,683,228

1,798,483

1,945,711

Net M & O Digest

91,135,077

76,204,429

68,659,536

63,154,221

68,349,668

108,965,588

Gross M & O Millage

11.313

11.313

14.000

17.950

17.950

21.100

Less Rollbacks

0.000

2.687

3.950

0.000

3.200

0.000

Net M & O Millage

11.313

14.000

17.950

17.950

21.150

21.100

$1,031,011

$1,066,862

$1,232,439

$1,133,618

$1,445,595

$2,299,174

#REF!
#REF!

$35,851
3.48%

$165,577
15.52%

-$98,820
-8.02%

$311,977
27.52%

$853,578
59.05%

Total County Taxes Levied
Net Taxes $ Increase
Net Taxes % Increase

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

local

Page 15A

Pool Continued From Page 1A
regarding pools:
• No glass, sharp objects or hazardous materials allowed.
• No animals other than seeing-eye dogs allowed.
• Shower and rinse thoroughly before entering the pool.
• No food or drink allowed within five feet of pool.
• Children must be accompanied by an adult.
• Bathers with open wounds, skin conditions or any communicable condition not allowed.
• No solo bathing.
• Bathers shall wear bathing attire.
• No spitting, spouting, blowing nose or any bodily excretion allowed.
• No running, rough or boisterous play allowed.
A sign must also state the maximum number of swimmers allowed and the pool’s hours of operation.
Another part of pool safety is water clarity, Smith said.
“What you want to see is the water clarity,” Smith said. “If
you can’t clearly see the main drain, I wouldn’t get in the pool.
“We don’t all carry a pool pH test kit,” Smith said, but
a parent should be able to count the holes in a pool drain
cover in the deep end.
“If you can’t see the bottom of the pool, it makes supervision impossible,” Smith said.
Smith said parents should also determine whether a
pool has a certified pool operator.
This person, which is different from a lifeguard, “is going to know what to do in case of a fecal” contamination,
Smith said. Certified pool operators are trained in mechanical systems operations and maintenance, including
chemical treatment and pool filtration.
“This is beyond a lifeguard’s knowledge,” Smith said.
“They are familiar with the risks of the pool.”
For more information on pool safety and to find a pool’s
inspection score, go to www.dekalbhealth.net/envhealth/
swimming-pool-beach-spa/swimmer-safety.

DeKalb County pool inspectors are tasks with checking the county’s 900 public pools. File photo

Runoff Continued From Page 1A

representation.
Beautification is one priority, she said.
“When you look good, you feel good and
positive energy comes from that.”
When asked about going into the runoff election, Turner said, “Naturally, I’m
excited about it. We’re half way there. I
believe…we can make this thing happen.
Turner said the campaign so far has
been “very civil.”
“There’s been no real debate. I think
we’re going to come down to probably
more of a debate format in terms of forums here on in and we can deal with
some of those issues and see who’s most
prepared to move DeKalb forward,” Turner said.
If elected, “the top priority is, naturally, ethics,” Turner said.
A goal would be to “clear this whole
matter up about the allegedly unethical
behavior within the DeKalb County government and gain the trust of the people
again that DeKalb County is a good
place…with officials who have scruples
and will manage this county in a very respectable manner,” Turner said.
The results for the other candidates
include Melvin Jerome Edmondson,
business consultant and senior partner
of Edmondson Associates, 10.76 percent; Kathryn T. Rice, founder of the
South DeKalb Improvement Association
and of the Building Quality Communities consulting firm, 9.38 percent; Gina

Mangham, attorney and local activist,
9.31 percent; Gregory Adams, a pastor
and former police officer, 7.71 percent;
Harmel Deanne Codi, child advocate,
educational consultant and owner of Codi
& Associated Business Solutions, 6.83
percent; Vaughn Irons, DeKalb County
Development Authority chairman and
CEO of APD Solutions, 6.1 percent;
Gwendolyn R. “Gwen” Green, writer and
school media specialist, 4.06 percent; and
Kenneth Saunders III, a technology consultant and former DeKalb Community
Council member, 2.53 percent.
Approximately 5.1 percent, or 4,557, of
the district’s 82,742 registered voters participated in the special election to fill the
seat which officially became vacant May
8 when May resigned after nearly two
years of being the interim DeKalb County
CEO.
May stopped representing District 5
constituents as a commissioner in July
2013 when he was appointed interim
DeKalb County CEO by Gov. Nathan
Deal, following the indictment and suspension of DeKalb County CEO Burrell
Ellis.
The runoff will be held on Tuesday,
July 14, with early voting beginning on
June 29 at the Registration & Elections
office. The early voting poll will be closed
July 3.
For more information, visit www.
dekalbvotes.com, or call (404) 298-4020.  

local

Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

News briefs
Man, 18, sentenced to life for
MARTA bus stop murder, rape
A DeKalb County man was
recently sentenced to life without
parole for murdering a woman at a
MARTA bus stop and raping three
others. Christopher Oliver Merritt,
of Lithonia, pleaded guilty in lieu of
facing the death penalty.
According to the murder indictment, Merritt, 18, approached
Marcaysia Dawkins at a Fairington Road MARTA stop on Nov.
23, 2014. While waiting at the bus
stop, Merritt approached Dawkins
and attempted to steal her handbag.
During the struggle, Merritt fatally
shot Dawkins twice with a 9mm
handgun and fled the scene with the
victim’s belongings.
Merritt faced two additional indictments for three rape charges and
two armed robbery charges from
2013. All of Merritt’s indictments
were included in the recent plea before DeKalb County Superior Court
Judge Gail Flake. 
“The life of a vibrant, young and
hardworking 19-year-old woman
was taken away in broad daylight
for no reason at all,” said DeKalb
County District Attorney Robert

James. “While no sentence could
ever undo what has been done at
the hands of Christopher Merritt, I
hope that all of our victims and their
loved ones can rest in knowing that
he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

State Rep. Michele Henson
receives award from Alzheimer’s
Association
The Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association presented
State Rep. Michele Henson its Forget-Me-Not Award for her support
of the Georgia’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan.
“I very much appreciate this
honorable award from the Georgia
Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and all the incredible work they
do in the fight against Alzheimer’s
disease,” Henson said. “I care so
deeply about educating others on
dementia and Alzheimer’s disease;
truly this plan is something we had
to do for our state.”
Alzheimer’s Association of
Georgia’s Forget-Me-Not award
is given to elected officials who

champion the organization’s cause
through policy action. Some past
recipients include Gov. Nathan Deal
and former Gov. Sonny Perdue.
“We are pleased to have Rep.
Henson support this important
plan for Georgia and we honor
her support by presenting her the
Forget-Me-Not Award,” said Leslie
Gregory, president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia.
Alzheimer’s is a growing epidemic and the nation’s sixth-leading
cause of death.
“Alzheimer’s alone affects over
600,000 Georgians and is growing at
a pace where serious action is needed. More than ever, our state needs
to become even more equipped in
helping the future generations that
will face Alzheimer’s and other related diseases,” Gregory said.

DeKalb County Court appoints
special advocates to hold
informational meeting
The public is invited to attend a
volunteer information meeting hosted by DeKalb County CASA 6:30 to

7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, at the
Gregory A. Adams Juvenile Justice
Center, 4309 Memorial Drive, Decatur. This session will provide an
overview of the program for those
interested in becoming a CASA volunteer. The next training class will
be held on Thursdays 4 to 7 p.m.
from July 30 to Sept. 3.
DeKalb County CASA is a nonprofit organization that recruits,
screens and trains community
volunteers who are appointed by
a juvenile court judge to advocate
for the best interest of an abused or
neglected child placed in foster care.
DeKalb County CASA volunteers
work with the DeKalb County Juvenile Court and Division of Family
and Children Services to ensure that
all the necessary information is collected and presented to the court
allowing the judge to make the best
decision possible regarding placement of the child.
For more information regarding this event or to RSVP, call (404)
378-0038 or email Justine.ferreira@
dekalbcasa.org or dekalbcasa@
dekalbcasa.org.

Splash Continued From Page 9A
“We chose to build a
spray park instead of a pool
for a number of reasons. For
one, it’s much less expensive than a pool and just as
enjoyable. This facility cost
approximately $950,000. An
in-ground pool would have
cost us in the millions. Also,
there’s no danger of drowning so there’s no need for a
lifeguard,” Wilson said, adding that there is nothing like
it in the immediate area.
The new facility is
built on what had been a
green space adjacent to the
31,00-square-foot Exchange
Park Recreation Center,
which houses a gym, walking track, fitness center and
other amenities. The spray
park has a series of fountains with four to 12 heads
and fantasy-flower-like pails
that pour water at irregular
intervals. The central feature is a multi-gallon dump
bucket that fills slowly then
suddenly turns over when it
reaches capacity, prompting
screams and squeals from

those beneath it. For those
who want to remain dry as
they watch those splashing
in the fountains, there are
tables with benches and umbrellas.
Noting that the park’s
official name is Exchange
Intergenerational Park, Wilson said a spray park can be
used by people of all ages
and abilities. “It’s great for
the kids, but we want everyone to use it. Not everyone
can use a pool, but even a
person in a wheelchair can
enjoy this with no problem.”
Wilson said spray parks
have been around for a
while and are growing in
popularity. In addition to
other advantages, transmission of disease is less likely
at a spray facility than at a
swimming pool. “We do,
however, ask people to
shower before using the
spray park just as we do
when they are using the
county’s swimming pools,”
he said.
There is an underground

Words HURT

Stop the Bullying

tank that continually filters
and recycles approximately
3,000 gallons of water, according to Wilson.
The spray park season

schedule is the same
  as
for the county swimming
pools, Wilson said. It opens
the week before  Memorial
Day and closes Labor Day.

Exchange Intergenerational
Recreation Center is located
at 2771 Columbia Drive,
Decatur.

 

 
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING 
GEORGIA, DEKALB COUNTY 
   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 19, 2015

local

Page 17A

Dunwoody daycare killer’s conviction reversed
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
The state’s top court has
reversed the conviction of
Hemy Neuman, who was
found guilty but mentally ill
of the 2010 murder of Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman
outside a Dunwoody daycare center.
In a 6-to-1 decision
announced June 15, the
Supreme Court of Georgia
ruled that the DeKalb County Superior Judge Gregory
Adams “erred by allowing
in as evidence the notes and
records of two mental health
experts who examined Neuman before trial.”
The Supreme Court
stated it made the ruling
despite the fact that the evidence “was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to
conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Neuman was
guilty of the crimes of which
he was convicted.”
“Because the trial court

Hemy Neuman (center) will get his day in court again after the state Supreme Court reversed his conviction
for a 2010 killing. Photo provided by Jason Getz/AJC

erred in admitting evidence,
which was protected by the
attorney-client privilege, we
now reverse,” Justice Carol
Hunstein writes for the majority.

DeKalb County District
Attorney Robert James
will be prepared to retry
Neuman, who is currently
serving a sentence of life in
prison with no chance of

Felon pleads guilty to impersonating
an armed federal agent
A Dunwoody man
pleaded guilty June 9 to being a felon in possession of a
firearm when he pulled over
an off-duty Doraville police
officer while impersonating
a Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) agent. 
Daniel M. Harbison,
40, had been impersonating
a federal agent for several
weeks before he was caught.
 “By impersonating a
federal agent, Harbison
risked the safety of unsuspecting citizens and undermined the legitimacy of
actual officers,” said acting
U.S. Attorney John A. Horn.
“Fortunately he pulled over
a real Doraville police officer—which quickly led to
the end of his charade and
his arrest.”
 Daniel R. Salter, the
special agent in charge of the
DEA’s Atlanta Field Division
said, “These criminal acts
are a disgrace to the men
and women of law enforcement who not only make
great sacrifices to earn their
badges, but take a sworn
oath to protect and serve.
“The quick actions of
the Doraville Police Department officer who was
fraudulently stopped by this
perpetrator led to his swift

capture,” Salter said. “DEA
would like to thank the
Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Atlanta office and the
Doraville Police Department
for their hard work which
led to the capture of this
criminal.”
Doraville Police Chief
John King said, “Doraville,
although a very diverse
community, is close knit
where an individual preying on its citizens had the
misfortune to run in to a law
officer.
“Harbison attempted
to make an unlawful traffic stop on one of our
off-duty officers,” King
said. “Doraville Police
worked with other agencies
that led to rapid apprehension, prosecution and now
conviction of a person preying on innocence. Harbison
has now pled guilty to being a felon in possession of
a gun while impersonating
a federal agent. He is no
stranger to felonies. We just
hope, for him and our community, this will be his last.” 
Harbison began impersonating a DEA officer in
the spring of 2015, according to Horn, the charges,
and other information presented in court.

 On April 23, a grand
jury charged Harbison with
being a felon in possession
of a firearm. Harbison will
be sentenced on Aug. 27, at
11 a.m. before United States
District Judge Eleanor L.
Ross.
 
 

parole.
In a statement after
the Supreme Court’s ruling, Erik Burton, director
of communications for the
DA’s Office, said, “Once
the case is remanded back
to Judge Adams, his office
will place the case on a trial
calendar. The state will be
prepared to retry the case as
set by Judge Adams.
Because Neuman’s request for bond was denied
prior to trial, he will remain
in custody.”
“Mr. Neuman would
have the right to seek reconsideration of the denial

of his bond at which time it
would be up to Judge Adams
to grant or deny such request,” Burton stated.
Neuman, pleaded not
guilty by reason of insanity
for the November 2010 killing of Sneiderman outside
Dunwoody Prep daycare
center where Sneiderman,
a 36-year-old entrepreneur,
was dropping off his 3-yearold son.
Neuman, donning
a bearded disguise, approached Sneiderman in the
parking lot and with a recently purchased .40 caliber
handgun shot Sneiderman
four to five times in the neck
and torso,” according to the
state’s case.
During his 2012 trial,
two medical experts testifying on Neuman’s behalf
concluded that “at the time
of the murder, Neuman
was unable to distinguish
between right and wrong
due to a mental illness diagnosed as ‘bipolar disorder
with psychosis, experiencing
delusions,’” according to a
news release by the Supreme
Court.
Two medical experts for
the state testified that Neuman had been able to distinguish between right and
wrong during the shooting.
One expert believed Neuman was “faking symptoms
of mental illness,” while the
other said Neuman showed

See Neuman on page 24A

NOTICE OF
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE

The City of Chamblee has tentatively adopted a new millage rate of 6.40
mills for the General Fund which will require an increase in property taxes
by 8.60% over the rollback millage rate.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax
increase to be held at the Chamblee Civic Center located at 3540 Broad St,
Chamblee Georgia on July 1, 2015 at 6:00 PM.
Two additional public hearings on this tax increase will be held at the
Chamblee Civic Center on July 9, 2015. There will be one hearing at 11:30
AM and a final hearing at 6:00 PM. After the final public hearing, the
millage rate will be formally adopted.
This tentative new millage rate of 6.40 mills for the newly annexed
properties will result in an increase of .507 mills. Without this tentative tax
increase, the millage rate will be 5.893 mills. The proposed tax increase for a
home with a fair market value of $125,000 is approximately $11.40 and the
proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value
of $450,000 is approximately $102.06.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Education

Page 18A

Organization
of DeKalb
Educators
awards 14
students

James L. Thornton’s parents and memorial scholarship founders, Ora and Lovell, with 2015 scholarship recipient Leonard Simmons.

James L. Thornton Memorial
Scholarships awarded
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
In 2002 James Thornton, a Lithonia High School
student, was a back seat passenger in a Honda Accord
when it clipped several trees,
smashed into an iron fence
and killed the rising senior.
In memory of their son,
Lovell and Ora Thornton
have awarded multiple memorial scholarships for 13
years to encourage students
to think more about safety.
On May 12, Lithonia
High School senior Leonard
Simmons became the 34th
recipient of the James L.
Thornton Memorial Scholarship.
“This scholarship has
been a part of my high
schools legacy for a very
long time. I’m proud to have

received such a prestigious
scholarship,” said Simmons.
To qualify for the scholarship students must have
a minimum 3.0 grade point
average, possess no moving
violations and have a good
conduct record.
In addition, students
must write a 300 to 500
word essay on increasing
and improving safety in different modes of transportation.
Simmons wrote an essay
on the Georgia Department
of Driver’s Services learner’s
permit knowledge exam.
He said, “When you’re
trying to get your learner’s
permit, you only need a
75 percent, what about the
other 25 percent? That 25
percent could be a life or
death situation on the road,
it’s necessary for people to

get 100 percent.”
Leonard was awarded
$2,515 for the 2014 - 2015
school year to assist him
with his education at Tennessee State University.
Lovell said his vision
for the scholarship is that it
continues to grow.
“We want children to
focus on safety. Whether
they’re boating, driving, riding as a passenger, biking,
riding a bus… we want them
to take the proper precautions so that accidents don’t
happen.”
The scholarships are
awarded to three students a
year.
Lovell said, “Each year
we go out and request donation from friends, neighbors,
associates and past recipients to gather seed money.
We hope that recipients will

stand up • speak out
Stop Cyber Bullying

not forget the scholarship
and will continue to give
back to the foundation and
keep it going.”

On May 2, the Organization of DeKalb Educators
(ODE) awarded 14 students
with the Levi A. Simon, III
Scholarship.
Chamblee Charter High
School senior Kingston
Handley was awarded the
$1,500 grand prize scholarship; Roshni Gurung and
Jessica Landaverde were
awarded first-place scholarships of $1,000. Sydney
Williams, Linda Nguyen,
Maimuna Gassama, Talecia W. Cistrunk, Mykel R.
Billings, Diamond Lewis
and Tiara DeSha Brooks
received the second-place
scholarship award of $750.
Arneshia Scott, Danielle
Marshall, Kathleen S.
Askew and LaShawn Jackson received the third-place
scholarship award of $500.
ODE was founded in
1974 and is the local affiliate of the Georgia Association of Educators and the
National Education Association. The organization aims
to be the leader in providing
information, training, representation and support services for students, parents,
teachers and educational
support personnel in DeKalb
Public Schools,

DeKalb School of the Arts
named top Georgia school
The DeKalb School of
the Arts (DSA) is listed as
one of the top high schools
in Georgia and nationally in
the recently released rankings by U.S. News & World
Report. DSA is ranked No. 4
in Georgia and No. 108 nationally out of nearly 30,000
high schools.
In a news release, U.S.
News stated these rankings
are a “useful tool for families
trying to discern how well
schools are serving their
students in preparation for
college and careers.”
The report reviewed
data in the 2012-2013 school
year including reading and
math test results for all students on state proficiency
tests the academic perfor-

mance of Blacks, Hispanic
and low income students
and the percentage of students taking courses such as
advanced placement classes.
“Our primary goal at
DSA is preparing students
for college, the workforce
or a career in the arts,” said
Principal Susan McCauley.
“We are very proud of our
students, faculty, and staff
who strive every day for excellence in the classroom.”
DSA has 364 students
with 27 percent participating in the free and reduced
lunch program. Demographically, 63 percent of
the student body is Black,
30 percent are White, and 7
percent Hispanic and other.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

business

Page 19A

Retailers hoping for Father’s Day spending boost
by Kathy Mitchell
The average person celebrating Father’s Day this
year will spend $115.57
on gifts, a slight increase
from last year’s average of
$113.80, according to the
2015 Father’s Day Spending
Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for
the National Retail Federation (NRF). That’s not quite
67 percent of the $172.63
that a corresponding survey
indicated consumers spent
celebrating Mother’s Day
this year.
While the annual tribute
to dads—Sunday, June 21,
this year—is not the most
lucrative consumer holiday
of the year, it is not insignificant to retail merchants.
The NRF survey found 75.4
percent of Americans saying
they plan to celebrate Father’s Day. The national total
of $12.7 billion is expected
to be spent on golf lessons,
home improvement tools,
coffee mugs, gift cards and
other gifts.
Approximately 36.4
percent of consumers will
do their Father’s Day shopping at department stores,
according to the survey.
Among those trying to lure
Father’s Day shoppers locally is Northlake Mall,
which this year has posted
a shoppers’ guide that offers
everything from $10 grooming kits to suits, luggage and
jewelry costing hundreds of
dollars.
“We invited all of our
retailers to list items they are
featuring for Father’s Day.
This isn’t an all-inclusive
guide, but for those who
come to the mall looking for
ideas, this is a great starting
place. It’s also an opportunity for retailers to highlight
items that shoppers might
not be aware they carry.
For example, there’s a store
that specializes in lingerie
and cosmetics for women,
but they also have men’s
fragrances that few people
know about. Another shop
that primarily offers cosmetic treatments for women
is reminding the public

While Father’s Day spending nationally is approximately 67 percent of spending for Mother’s Day, the midJune holiday is not insignificant to retailers.

they also have facials for
men,” said Bianca Gibson,
Northlake’s director of marketing and business development.
“Of course, Father’s Day
is not as big a retail event as
Mother’s Day, but there are
many people who want to

honor their dads and they’re
looking for something special, something they feel
their father would really enjoy receiving,” Gibson added. She said in addition to
gift items some food court
restaurants are highlighting
treats dads might enjoy and

hair salons are offering specials on haircuts and facial
hair trims.
The NRF survey indicated that approximately
39.7 percent of Father’s Day
shoppers will purchase such
apparel items as shirts or
neckties. An additional 43.3

LOCALLY DRIVEN

percent will choose experience gifts, such as tickets to
a ballgame or a special meal
with the family.
Sherwood Chiropractic
Center in Decatur is seeking
to attract those who want to
give their fathers a feel-good
experience. The center is
hosting a pre-Father’s Day
event June 18, featuring free
consultations and hydro
massages. “We’re billing it as
a Father’s Day/community
appreciation event, so it’s not
for dads only,” said Diane
Knight, Sherwood’s community relations coordinator, “but we’ll have healthy
picnic food and drink and
other things we think men
will really enjoy.”
Gibson said Northlake
also is hosting a special
event for fathers in its food
court Saturday, June 20, with
goodies and giveaways for
dads.
Among the items featured at Northlake are
electronic games, which according to the NRF survey
is a popular choice with one
in five Father’s Day shoppers choosing gadgets and
electronics. Total spending on sporting goods and
leisure items for Father’s
Day is expected to be approximately $665 million
nationally. Other big sellers
in mid-June event are home
improvement and garden
supplies, tools and appliances, personal care items
and books.
“Spending on grilling
and patio necessities, pool
gear, sporting goods, apparel
and other gift and seasonal
merchandise could be the
positive stepping stone retailers need heading into the
second half of the year,” said
NRF President and CEO
Matthew Shay, who in a
news release described retail
spending for the first half of
2015 as “less than stellar.”
Approximately 51.8 percent of those surveyed are
planning to buy for their
fathers or stepfathers and
others will shop for their
husbands (27.6 percent) or
sons (8.9 percent) this Father’s Day.

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

local

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TheChampion

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Sports

Page 21A

From left, Former NFL defensive back Clarence Scott (left) shows a Trinity High School year book to Mike Glenn and Michael Harbin. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Trinity High alums remember athletic success
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
It has been 50 years since the
all-Black football team from Trinity High School in Decatur won the
state championship Jack Pitts and
Clarence Scott remember the game
like it was yesterday.
Trinity played Tifton High
School in Tifton in the championship game. The game was one of the
most memorable games for Pitts,
who played quarterback and defensive back for Trinity.
“We’re losing 13-14, it’s three
minutes and something left in the
game. I intercepted the ball,” Pitts
recalled. “It’s fourth down on the
1-yard line with seconds left in the
game, and I came into the huddle.
“These guys on the other team
outweighed my [offensive] line by
20 to 40 pounds,” Pitts added. “I
looked them in the face and I said,
‘Look here, man, we’ve come too far
for them to stop us.’ They stopped us
three times inside the 5 [yard line].
So, it’s fourth and 1, and I make
the statement. [The offensive line]
knocked everybody on the defensive
line on the ground and I walked into
the end zone. The linebacker hit me
and I said, ‘It’s too late.’ We won the
game 19-14.”
That championship game is one

Former Trinity High School quarterback Jack Pitts stands next to an exhibit on the football
team. Photo by Carla Parker

of the historic moments of the old
Trinity High School. The football
team is the focus of the museum
inside the Beacon Municipal Center.
The museum features exhibits on
the history of the Black Beacon Hill
community in Decatur.
That was the school’s only state
championship before Trinity merged
with Decatur High School in 1968
during integration. The Beacon Hill
community loved its sports, despite
the lack of resource, according to

Pitts.
“We didn’t have pee-wee leagues
and all of that,” Pitts said. “You know
what we did? We played Trinity Avenue against Robbins Street; Oliver
Street against White Street; sixth
grade against the seventh grade. We
were always competing against one
another.”
“That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to be an athlete,
because athletics brought the community together,” Scott said. “People

identify with great athletes. The professional guys I looked up to, [such
as] Jim Brown, for example.”
Pitts said he began playing quarterback at age 6.
“Everybody wanted me to play
quarterback, so I was a quarterback,” he said. “When I got to play
on the [high school] football team
my coaches said, ‘You are the quarterback; you have to be the leader.
Not just on the field, off the field
as well.’ I bought [into] it. When
we exercised and ran, I was first. In
the classroom, I was first, because
I thought that came with being a
quarterback.”
Pitts was the valedictorian for
the 1966 class. He earned a scholarship to Michigan State.
“I was the first Black kid to
ever be recruited out of Decatur to
a major White university,” he said.
“Georgia and Georgia Tech wouldn’t
recruit me because I was a Negro.
It was great for the community because [recruiters] came back the
next year and got Clarence Scott—to
Kansas State.”
Scott, who played safety at Kansas State University, was named an
All-American following the 1970
season. The Cleveland Browns selected him with the 14th pick in the
first round of the 1971 NFL draft.
Being drafted into the NFL was

See Alum on page 23A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Sports

Page 22A

Chamblee alums Brent and Chris Burgess are heading to Spartanburg, S.C., to play baseball at Spartanburg Methodist Junior College. Photo by Carla Parker

Burgess twins continue baseball
careers at Spartanburg Methodist
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
More than 100 Spartanburg
Methodist Junior College baseball
players have played some form of
professional baseball, according to
the school’s website, and Brent and
Chris Burgess hope to add their
names to that list.
The Burgess twins, who recently
graduated from Chamblee Charter
High School, will continue their
baseball and academic careers in
Spartanburg, S.C. The twins said
Spartanburg Methodist is the right
fit for them.
“It’s better for us personally than
going to [a] Division 1 [school]
because we have a chance of being
one-and-done instead of going to a
D1 college and staying three years,”
Brent said. “Going to a junior college, you can have that breakout
freshman year and get drafted. You
can have that breakout freshman
year at a D1, but still have to wait
another two years, and those two
years could not be good and you can
drop in the draft poll.”
“SMC is one of the best [junior
college] programs in the nation,”
Chris added. “We’re very developed
and Spartanburg, S.C., has a very
good atmosphere. Brent and I fit
well in Spartanburg.”
Since their ninth-grade year,

the twins have been a focal point of
the Chamblee varsity baseball team.
Chris’ first at-bat his freshman year
was a home run to left center field—
a moment he will always remember.
“I was 14, facing an 18-year-old
kid [who was] throwing 92 [mph
balls] from Shiloh [High School],”
Chris said. “I just hit it to left center.”
Brent’s baseball career stats at
Chamblee include a .305 batting
average, 65 RBIs, 22 doubles and 5
home runs. Chris had a .300 career
batting average, 50 RBIs, 21 doubles
and 6 home runs.
The twins helped lead Chamblee
to a playoff appearance last season
after a rough start. After a 1-11 start,
Chamblee went 10-4 to earn a spot
in the Class AAAA playoffs, the
team’s first playoff appearance since
2012.
Chamblee lost to Whitewater in
the first round. When the team was
1-11, Chris said he and his teammates never gave up.
“We never folded; we never got
down on each other,” he said. “We
just kept picking each other up and
started winning. We started winning big games, and [Brent] came
in to pitch the big games. We didn’t
know that those games meant a lot
until later on in the season, when we
found out that if we lost that game it
would be no playoffs for us.”

Senior leadership from the twins
and the three other seniors on the
team also played a role in the turnaround.
“As seniors, we knew if we had
a spark, if we got [things] going,
the younger kids would follow us,”
Chris said. “I knew that if we set the
tone they would follow us.”
The twins were also productive
players on the football field, playing on both sides of the ball and on
special teams. The weight program,
competition and the speed of football helped improve the twins’ skills
on the baseball field.
“Our arms have gotten a lot
stronger,” Brent said. “Our gloves in
the infield got a lot smoother. You
can tell that our manpower is coming in more as we’re growing. It’s just
going to develop as we go on.”
“We cut down on the errors this
past summer,” Chris said. “I’m starting to track the ball better in the
outfield, where I can go to that spot
faster.”
The twins played in the county’s
all-star games for football and baseball, and Brent won MVP of his
team in both games.
Although the twins never won a
state championship with Chamblee,
they became champions with the
East Cobb Astros 16U travel baseball team. Last summer, East Cobb
won the Continental Amateur Base-

ball Association (CABA) national
championship and the Perfect Game
Super 25 national championship.
“Last year, it was one of our
best experiences in baseball, ever,”
Chris said. “We traveled all over, we
played a lot of games—[nearly] 150
games and won two national championships out of every team in the
nation.”
“That helped me get better for
college,” Brent said about playing
with East Cobb. “Playing with that
team attracted a lot of scouts. A lot
of people come to our games.”
Before heading off to college,
the twins will play with the Georgia
Baseball Softball Academy (GBSA)
Blue Rays this summer.
At Spartanburg Methodist, the
twins will be less the 40 miles from
their brother Ryan, who plays football at Presbyterian College.
“My parents can kill two birds
with one stone in visiting,” Brent
said. “They can see all of us in one
time, and we can all come together.”
Ryan said he has been giving his
younger brothers advice on what to
expect at college.
“Stay consistent, because you’re
not the only one working,” Ryan
said. “It’s a million kids working.”
The twins plan to give 100 percent on the baseball field, but their
focus is on getting better in the
classroom.

See Brothers on page 23A

Sports

The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Page 23A

Brookhaven Bucks
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

Brad Schwartz, a junior at the University of Miami in Ohio, throws a pitch for the
Brookhaven Bucks.

The Brookhaven Bucks hired former MLB player Corey Patterson to coach this season.

London Lindley (at bat) was drafted by the Texas Rangers. Photos by Jay Kapp

Alum

Brothers

Continued From Page 21A

a dream come true for Scott.
“I knew that if I could
go on and become a professional football player that
the community would be
proud and my family would
be proud, and therefore my
life would be fulfilled in doing that,” Scott said. “It came
to fruition.”
Although a neck injury
ended his football career
during his sophomore year,

Baseball is still being played at Hermance Stadium at Oglethorpe University.
However, it is not the Stormy Petrels of Oglethorpe playing in those
games; it is the Brookhaven Bucks. The
Bucks are a collegiate summer baseball
team which competes in the Sunbelt
Baseball League, Georgia’s collegiate
wooden-bat baseball league.
The league launched 10 years ago,
and the Brookhaven Bucks were founded five years later by John Davis and
Brad Dickison. Dickison took over the
team three years ago.
“I work with the commissioner of
the league to try to build and expand
it so we can catch up to other leagues,
[such as] the Cape Cod and the Coastal
Plain League,” Dickison said. “We’re
moving fast, we’re getting in the right
direction.”
The Sunbelt Baseball League is
sanctioned by Major League Baseball,
and it allows MLB scouts to see players play with wooden bats, as opposed
to the aluminum bats they play with in
college.
“We’ll have scouts at the games, and
this is basically a chance for [the players] to get seen by pro scouts, and to
[play] during the summer,” Dickison
said. “I have players out of college that
[have] coaches who are calling me, and
they want them to stay in practice.”
Deric Boone, a Druid Hills High
School graduate, is one of those players. Boone, a rising junior at Southern
Union State University, began playing
with the Bucks last summer.
“My summer ball coach knew one
of the coaches from last year and he
talked to him and got me on the team
last year,” he said. “I did pretty good last
year, and they called me out again this
year.”
Boone said he has enjoyed playing
with the Bucks, and it has helped improved his baseball skills.
“Baseball is more of an everyday
sport,” he said. “You can’t take a lot of
time off and stay at your peak. It’s good
to see good baseball over the summer.”
Boone hopes to get drafted into the

major leagues like some other alums
of the Brookhaven Bucks. On June 10,
Bucks outfielder London Lindley was
drafted by the Texas Rangers.
“We’re happy for him,” Dickison
said.
Other players who have played for
the Bucks that were drafted include
Nic Wilson, who was drafted by the
Tampa Bay Rays in the 24th round in
2014. Wilson, a Decatur High School
graduate and former player for Georgia
State University, played for the Bucks in
2012.
“These are college players who
hope to be able to move to the next
level,” Dickison said. “Of course it’s a
very small percentage of athletes in the
country that ever get here, but these are
the best of the best here.”
The team has improved each year,
going from a 12-9 in 2011 to a 19-10
team last season. The baseball club
brought in Corey Patterson, who
played 12 years in Major League Baseball, to coach the team this season.
Patterson is a 1998 graduate of Harrison High School in Kennesaw and
was a member of the 1998 state championship baseball team. He was drafted
by the Chicago Cubs as the third overall pick that same year. He was also a
member of the St. Louis Cardinals team
that won the World Series in 2011.
Dickison said the Brookhaven
Bucks have become a sought-after team
to play for.
“We’re just getting better talent all
the time, which leads to better opportunities to hire people like Corey and his
staff,” he said.
Although the Bucks are playing
good baseball and has the best record
in the Sunbelt, there are not many
people there to see them win. Dickison
hopes to change that soon.
“I want the stands to be full,” he
said. “At the coastal Carolina leagues,
every [game] is sold out for the entire summer. There’s nothing more
fun than having people in the stands.
When these people start cheering them
and putting the antlers up and getting into it, you can see a difference in
how they play. The true goal is to bring
Brookhaven out.”

Continued From Page 22A

Pitts did not let that derail
him from finishing college.
He earned his undergraduate degree in 1970 and graduate degree in 1972.
After retiring from the
NFL in 1983, Scott worked
for an energy company. He
lives in Decatur and is active
in the community, participating in school career days
and field days.

“[I want to] exceed more in my academics, that’s the main goal,” Chris said.
“After two years; I have a chance to go to a
four-year school. So, there is always another
chance.”
For the first time in six years, Caesar
Burgess, Chamblee boys’ basketball coach,
will not be at the same school with one of
his sons, but he is proud of his sons and
what they have accomplished.
“I’m proud of them just because they are
my boys,” he said. “I don’t care if they ever
played sports; I don’t care what they choose

to do. I just care about them as human beings and as good boys. I want them to make
this world a better place, spread love, be
unselfish, realize that life is about helping
people and I want those guys to just help
people. I just want them to be good guys.”
Although he is the coach in the family,
he gives all the credit to his wife, Brenda,
for the twins’ path to baseball.
“She deserves all the credit,” he said.
“She is the driving force behind their baseball careers. She does everything for them.”

local

Page 24A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 19, 2015

Neuman

Continued From Page 17A

no signs of mental illness, hallucinations
or delusions while in jail,” according to the
news release.
In its 20-page majority opinion, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court
erred in disclosing to prosecutors the notes
and records of Dr. Julie Rand Dorney, a forensic psychiatrist, and Dr. Peter Thomas, a
licensed psychologist, concerning Neuman.
These two experts were hired by Neuman’s attorneys and were not initially due
to testify, according to the Supreme Court’s
release.
After Neuman pleaded not guilty, the
experts met with Neuman at the request of
his attorneys to evaluate his psychological
issues and advised Neuman’s attorneys to
hire an expert witness to conduct a forensic
psychological evaluation of Neuman to assess his criminal responsibility. Following
that expert’s evaluation, Neuman changed
his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity,
the release stated.

“When state prosecutors learned that
Dorney and Thomas had met with Neuman, they sought their records from those
meetings, over the objection of Neuman’s
attorneys,” the release stated. “Following
two hearings, the judge ordered the defense
to turn over to the state all the doctors’
notes and records concerning their evaluations of Neuman.”
The Supreme Court majority rejected
prosecutors’ argument that merely raising
an insanity defense waives the attorneyclient privilege, the news release stated.
“The attorney-client privilege is ‘the
oldest of the privileges for confidential
communications known to the common
law,’” the majority opinion stated. It has
long been the law of Georgia that the privilege “includes, by necessity, the network of
agents and employees of both the attorney
and client, acting under the direction of
their respective principals, to facilitate the
legal representation.”

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