FRIDAY, july 31, 2015 • VOL. 18, NO. 18 • FREE

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

Quick Finder
Business................................. 16A
Classified................................ 17A


Lawsuit alleges
county collected
$20M in fines illegally

Police flag football
Answers sought in
police-involved shooting team preps for
benefit game
of unarmed man

local, 2A

local, 8A

Sports, 18A

County cancels company’s contract after near drowning
after it was discovered that 26 of the 50
lifeguards there were not certified as
required by the county’s contract.
“We assumed they were all certified,” parks Director Roy Wilson told
commissioners before their vote. “This
vendor had operated the facility since
it opened in 2008 and had always had
certified lifeguards.”
In a letter to Morris Barkley of

by Andrew Cauthen
The contractor that provided lifeguard services for Browns Mill Aquatic Center, where a teenager nearly
drowned in June, has been terminated.
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners voted July 28 to terminate
the contract of USA Management LLC

USA Management LLC, interim
DeKalb County Lee May said senior
members of the county’s parks and
recreation department “repeatedly
requested” proof of lifeguard certification for all 50 lifeguards at Browns
“Your failure to provide proof of
lifeguard certification for the remaining 26 lifeguards working at Browns

Mill is unacceptable,” May wrote.
“You have failed to provide proof of
compliance with this basic fundamental requirement of the contract. Thus
you leave me no choice except to seek
immediate termination of your contract,” May wrote.
“I’m not happy about this,” May
told commissioners. “I’m pretty ticked
off. I’m not happy with the vendor. I

See Lifeguards on page 15A

Don’t trust that nice guy at the door


by Gale Horton Gay

friendly man is at the door
offering to cut the grass,
power-wash the driveway,
clean the gutters or make a
roof repair. He promises a
reasonable price, and he couldn’t be more
courteous and engaging.
Despite how alluring the offer is,

Jeanne Canavan has one stern warning:
“Say no and close the door.”
And she wants DeKalb County’s
elderly residents to heed her words.
Canavan, the county’s deputy chief
assistant district attorney, knows what
she’s talking about.
She oversees the Elder Exploitation
Unit and said older people are often
preyed upon because scammers believe

they are easy targets.
“Do not hire someone who knocks
on your door,” advises Canavan. “They
are not really roof people, tree people…
you don’t know who they are.”
In addition to possibly being
fraudsters, the individuals soliciting work
could fall or get injured on homeowners’
properties while performing a service
and subsequently file a lawsuit seeking

Canavan recently prosecuted a
case involving two brothers Keith and
Jeffrey Ogles who were found guilty
of scamming residents in their 80s out
of tens of thousands of dollars. They
solicited roofing work from four elderly
homeowners and “grossly overcharged
them for the work, while damaging
their roofs in the process.” One victim

See Seniors on page 15 A






Page 2A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015

A class-action lawsuit alleges that DeKalb County collected $20 million as a result of its illegal prosecution of Georgia state traffic laws. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Lawsuit alleges county collected $20M in fines illegally
by Andrew Cauthen
A class-action lawsuit
filed against DeKalb County
alleges the county’s Recorder’s Court illegally collected
millions of dollars in fines
for violations it had no jurisdiction over.
According to the lawsuit—filed July 15 against
DeKalb County, Judicial
Correction Services Inc.
and Integrity Supervision
Services Inc.—the county
has received approximately
$20 million “as a direct and
proximate result of its illegal
prosecution of Georgia state
laws in its Recorder’s Court.”
The plaintiffs want a
judge to order the of return
all money taken from plaintiffs and members of the affected group, with statutory
interest paid.
The lawsuit states that
the county received “tens of
millions of dollars per year in
unauthorized fees and fines
that that were being collected
on state law citations by [Recorder’s Court] and its private probation services.”
Under state law the
Recorder’s Court “had jurisdiction only over county
ordinance violations—not
over violations of state law,
including violations of state
traffic laws,” the lawsuit
“DeKalb County’s policymakers consciously disregarded the limits of [the
Recorder’s Court’s] subject
matter jurisdiction in the
name of revenue,” the 34page lawsuit stated.
“Courts dispense justice, not profits. It is a basic
requirement of due process

that a court should be run
as a court, not a scheme to
generate revenue for a cashstrapped local government,”
the lawsuit states.
Judicial Correction Services and Integrity Supervision Services collected “revenue on behalf of DeKalb
County by threatening people with state law penalties,
such as 12-month sentences
and license suspensions that
[Recorder’s Court] never had
the power to impose,” according to the lawsuit.
The “defendants deprived thousands of people
of property and liberty…
without legal authority,” the
lawsuit stated.
According to the lawsuit,
the county used the Recorder’s Court as a revenue
“When now-convicted
DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
took office in 2009, the county faced a budget shortfall
of more than $60 million,”
the lawsuit states. “Ellis and
other county officials began
searching desperately for
untapped sources of revenue.
They found one such source
in the [Recorder’s Court],
which reportedly had a backlog of about 500,000 uncollected traffic citations going
back to the late 1990s.”
According to the lawsuit,
the new Recorder’s Court
chief judge, Nelly F. Withers, appointed by Ellis, announced a brief amnesty
period that resulted in nearly
$2 million in payments.
Persons charged with
state traffic offenses were
reported to the Georgia Department of Driver Services
when they failed to appear in
court, thus triggering license

suspensions, according to the
The county “derived significant revenue just from
having prosecutors in the
Recorder’s Court illegally
charging people with violations of state law,” the lawsuit
When asked by the
county, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia
(PAC) gave the legal advisory opinion that Recorder’s
Court could not function as
a municipal court and that
its jurisdiction was “narrowly
limited to county ordinance
violations and did not extend to state law,” the lawsuit

“In addition to the PAC
legal opinion, prior chief
judges of the [Recorder’s
Court], including former
Chief Judge Joy Walker, and
other concerned citizens,
also have repeatedly cautioned and complained to the
DeKalb County commission
over a period of years that
the [Recorder’s Court] was illegally imposing fines, costs,
and probation fees for state
traffic law violations over
which the DeKalb Recorder’s
Court had no jurisdiction,”
the lawsuit states.
“Defendants had actual
or constructive knowledge

that their activities were illegal,” the lawsuit states.
A 2014 lawsuit brought
“these abuses” of the Recorder’s Court to light and
legislation in 2015 shut down
the Recorder’s Court effective July 1, the class action
lawsuit states.
State law created a traffic division in the county’s
State Court. All other former
Recorder’s Court actions,
including code enforcement,
criminal ordinance violation
and parking ticket enforcement were assigned to the
county Magistrate Court.

Schools district has positions to fill
by Ashley Oglesby
Classes begin Aug. 10 but the DeKalb
County School District is still filling instructional positions.
Chief Human Resource officer Tekshia
Ward-Smith said there are “208 individuals
that have either breached their contract or
resigned due to a promotion. This creates a
substantial challenge on our talent pool. In
addition, we added 200 positions to the budget this year, for that reason we are requiring
a ton of staffing mechanism.”
Smith said there are 84 positions open
but she has 82 hiring recommendations who
are holding until all official documents have
been received and the applicants have been
Included in the vacancy count are two
principals; one at Briarlake Elementary
School and another at Brockett Elementary
The Human Resources Department hosted a job fair on July 8.

The fair drew more than 700 teachers to
apply to the school district.
Job fair organizer Mildred Campbell
said the district had roughly 325 total jobs
According to Smith, “The response was
Smith said, “From the event we had
principals who made 126 recommendations
for hire. In addition we had 21 follow-up
interviews and that will certainly tackle our
posted vacancy list but our work is not done.”
Smith said the department also had a
number of individuals who were not recommended for hire that signed-up to be certified substitutes.
She said the district will be able to “recognize some of that talent in our classrooms
as well.”
In addition to the job fair, human resource officials have also organized a virtual
job fair from which Smith said the district
has more than 150 registered users.
She said since people are applying from
places as far away as California, the district

See School on page 20A


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 3A

Churches invited to help with mental health issues
by Kathy Mitchell
Jasmine divides her life into two
distinct periods: before she received
effective treatment for her bi-polar
condition and after she received effective treatment.
“I can’t tell you how huge the
difference is,” she said, speaking at
a Mental Health and Faith Institute
July 18 at New Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Snapfinger
Road in Decatur. The event was
sponsored by National Alliance on
Mental Illness (NAMI)—DeKalb
and a local chapter of Alpha Kappa
Alpha Sorority in conjunction with
National Minority Mental Health
Awareness Month.
Jasmine, who like other “witness”
presenters was introduced only by
her first name, said her life started to
spin out of control from age 18 into
her 20s. “I would go into a mania
phase when I had loads of energy,
talking a lot, driving fast. I felt great.
I didn’t realize I was getting on people’s nerves. I got several speeding
Her “highs” alternated with
“lows” during which she felt worthless and unmotivated, Jasmine explained, and through it all there was
confusion and inability to maintain
a job or normal relationships. In her
late 20s, Jasmine got into an effective
program of medication and therapy,
which included learning coping
strategies and following a diet and
exercise program. She not only found
herself for the first time in her adult
life able to hold a job and have stable
relationships but she lost 70 pounds.
“Not everyone who has a mental
health issue has to be hospitalized,”
she emphasized.
Jasmine learned that seeking help
for a mental health issue is not incompatible with religious faith. “Yes,
pray, but also get treatment,” she said.

Speaking at a Decatur church, Dr. Tiffany Cooke assures the audience that seeking help
for mental health issues is not inconsistent with Christian values.

NAMI, a grassroots nonprofit
organization dedicated to improving
the lives of individuals and families
affected by mental illness, is presenting a series of institutes in churches,
especially Black churches, because
the organization has found that Black
churchgoers are often reluctant to
seek help because of a culture that
teaches that behavioral problems are
private matters to be handled in the
family through prayer and spiritual
Andre, another presenter, said
there is only one word to describe
what his family has gone through—
devastating. Andre said he watched
he son turn into someone he didn’t

“It was almost as devastating as
the death of a loved one. You just
lose that person for a while,” Andre
recalled, describing his son, who
eventually was diagnosed as having
schizoaffective disorder.
Andre reported that the son he
once knew as handsome and intelligent with an apparent bright future
was back on track. “He went to work
last night,” Andre said, tears welling in his eyes. “I don’t want to see
any other family go through what
we’ve gone through, but don’t give
up. Don’t throw your loved one away.
We went through a lot of things that
didn’t work before we found something that’s working.”
Tiffany Cooke, a psychiatrist

and assistant professor associated
with Morehouse College and Emory
University, was the institute’s keynote
Cooke said Black Christians
should not be ashamed to seek help
for mental health issues. “Mental
health issues are not character flaws
or personal failings. We are a community of overcomers, but that
doesn’t mean we can do everything
ourselves. Everyone has to ask for
help sometimes. Even Jesus got help
from Simon carrying the cross.”
Because churchgoing Blacks are
less likely to seek help, Cooke said,
many are in a crisis situation when
treatment is sought. Cultural stigmas
are not the only reasons some people
may hesitate to seek help, she said.
Some may fear that a service provider with a different cultural background may not understand what he
or she is going through.
“It’s OK to ask whether the service provider has worked before with
African Americans and whether he
or she is sensitive to that culture,”
Cooke said. “Cultural background
can make a difference in symptoms
and how they’re reported.”
She also said the family may be
concerned about the cost of treatment. She reminded the audience
that in Georgia every county has a
community service board, through
which any Georgia resident may
receive treatment and support services for behavioral health challenges
without regard to the family’s ability
to pay. 
“Sadly, many people end up in
correctional institutions who really
should be receiving mental health
treatment. We have to work together
to change the cultural concepts that
stand in the way of our loved ones
getting the help they need,” Cooke


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 4A

“When killing a bear with
only your hands you must follow some steps. First, you have
to find a bear.”
I recently ran across
this gem on the Internet titled How to kill a
bear, by Rutger Moore of
Murfreesboro,Tenn. It reminded me of my real life
bear-in-the-wild story. It
was several years ago on
my last—as in final—camping trip.
“Second, you need to engage the bear... (do this by ticking it off the best you can).”
I have no intention of
ever upsetting a bear.
But during that fateful
camping trip my friend Nathan and I encountered a
bear. We didn’t find it. The
bear found us.
We were camping in
north Georgia and had
hiked about a mile into the
woods with our tent, food
and other gear. It was a quiet evening of bonding before we decided to put out

How to kill a bear
Andrew Cauthen

Managing Editor

the fire and hit the sacks—I
in my pup tent, Nathan in
his hammock tent.
A few hours later, at
around 2 a.m. or so, we
were awakened by the
sounds of rummaging at
our campsite. Then I heard
a sound which could only
be one of our pots hitting
the ground. Being experienced campers we knew the
importance of suspending
our food from a tree. Our
backpack was safely approximately 10 feet above

the ground. That, of course,
was before the bear.
I decided to take a look.
I quietly unzipped my tent
grabbed a flashlight and
stuck my head out. Then I
realized that I didn’t have
my contacts in or glasses
on. I grabbed my glasses,
put them on and shined
my flashlight into the pitch
darkness where the sounds
were coming from.
The only thing I could
see was a pair of small
lights that in a split second
I realized were eyes looking
back at me. I knew it could
only be a bear. I quickly got
back in the tent and contemplated my next move.
“Third, before actual contact with the bear you must
start off in a steady position
with a low center of gravity.”
I was scared. I knew that
there was a real possibility that the bear, once done
with the food we brought
in, might still be a little
hungry. The bear was a few

yards away. I was in a small
pup tent in which I could
not even kneel comfortably,
and my friend was suspended between two trees
in a hammock tent. The
danger was real.
I had an 8-inch blade as
my only weapon. My dilemma: do I lie on my back
and try to defend myself,
or do stay on my knees? I
chose my knees.
“Fourth, (this is tricky
and the most dangerous part)
when the bear is in striking
distance, wait for it to open its
mouth to bite. As soon as you
get a chance, stick your whole
fist down the bear’s throat and
expand your hand while using
your other limbs to hold on to
the beast. (Most people would
think the bear would just bite
your arm off and eat it, but
they actually gag and try to
get away.)”
I waited. I thought about
how I would only have one
chance to aim in the dark
and slice the bear’s neck

and run as if my life depended on it, because it did.
Step Five—The Kill: While
attached to the head of the bear
gagging it, precede to bite the
jugular of the bear which in
combination with the suffocation/gagging of the bear will
make it pass out. Once it has
passed out, you can beat it
to death with your hands or
strangle it in a chokehold.
Luckily, after what
seemed to be an hour, the
sounds outside our tent
stopped. Nathan and I cautiously emerged from our
tents and decided sleep
would be elusive for the rest
of the weekend. We quickly
packed our gear and hiked
in the pitch black night back
to our car, not knowing
where the bear was.
Moral: The best defense
against a bear is to stay out
of its neighborhood.

Stop bullying now
stand up • speak out


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 5A

Water anyone?
“Water, water everywhere,
but not a drop to drink,” from
Rime of the Ancient Mariner,
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834), British poet,
author and philosopher.
Recently, many in
DeKalb County got a small
taste of what it must be like
living in California these
A 48-inch water main
was damaged by an errant
construction contractor, near
the intersection of Henderson Mill and Evans Road
in Tucker. Though DeKalb
has long been credited with
having one of the best engineered and operating water
and sewer systems in the
state, this water main break
collapsed service across
central and eastern parts of
the county and resulted in a
countywide water boil advisory to ensure safe consumption. Repairing the broken
main took days.
Homeowners and businesses from Avondale Estates
to Decatur, Scottdale, Pine
Lake and Clarkston were severely impacted, beginning
with dry pipes and nonworking commodes and worsened
by restaurants which didn’t
have water for food preparation, cooking, cleaning and
dish washing. Hundreds of
DeKalb businesses temporarily closed and stand to collectively lose millions due to
this water outage.
The city of Atlanta lost

Bill Crane


water service in the downtown and central business
district, just days prior to the
arrival of VIPs and guests for
Atlanta’s first Super Bowl in
1994. And yet, it took nearly
a decade for the city to find
the will and to build the support for a $3 billion rebuild
of the city’s water/sewer infrastructure, begun during
the administration of Mayor
Shirley Franklin. 
There is now a massive
sewerage treatment plant
underneath a portion of
Piedmont Park, and a nearly
100-foot-wide tunnel which
carries sewerage south from
Buckhead, Midtown and
downtown to another treatment plant. 
On the flip side, Atlanta
water customers are paying a
hefty price in increased water
rates, which would have been
lower had the reinvestment
begun sooner.
Soon after, DeKalb be-

gan its own major water and
sewer system renovation.
While replacing a leaky main
leading into and supplying
most of downtown Decatur,
and excavating under one of
the city’s primary rail crossing just a few years ago it was
discovered that the old water
main was made of wood.
Downtown Decatur was
the site of some of the more
ridiculous and sublime moments of this current infrastructure collapse.
While functioning
restrooms became hard to
find and a majority of restaurants temporarily closed, a
massive water slide–brought
in to celebrate a major anniversary of the Decatur
Development Authority–was
shut down hours earlier than
planned, with thousands of
tickets pre-purchased. 
The slide vendor reportedly had sufficient water
on hand for the attraction,
but it was hard to justify or
explain those images of play
and celebration, juxtaposed
with Decatur businesses with
“closed due to water outage”
signs on both sides of Ponce
de Leon Avenue.
Our bodies are composed
of nearly 70 percent water,
you can die of dehydration
and thirst much more quickly than you can starve. And
though our blood may be
closest in composition to salt
water, we can’t drink that
stuff. So, I’m hoping as many

of us sat shower-free, or in
homes hotter than normal
due to nonfunctioning airconditioning, or as the laundry and dish washing piles
grew, and we developed a
new appreciation for canned
goods and frozen foods, this
more than slight interruption
in our very civilized lives becomes not so easily forgotten.
We need infrastructure
with redundant capacity and
a backup plan. If one main
is breached, then we need to
be able to reroute and resupply, as our electrical grid is
already engineered to do. 
Though the insurer of
that construction contractor
is already wincing, that company and its insurer need to
be held accountable, just as
other homeowners and property owners are when they
don’t call 811 before digging
and damaging any in a wide
array of utility supply lines
and conduit.
I never thought the folks
who didn’t remove their
privys in a few corners of
DeKalb would come off
looking smart, instead of
more like survivalists, or that
construction site Port-a-Lets
might ever become so popular absent a mega-event or
SEC football game. 
By the time it’s all back
up and running, I have a
feeling little will taste better
than a glass of well-chilled
tap water, or feel better than
a slightly over-extended hot

shower. So until then, don’t
forget the next time you are
asked about infrastructure
investment and spending,
and when your taps are no
longer running dry again.
Bottoms up.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment on
a column at bill.csicrane@ 

F ree P ress
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily
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advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not
responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

John Hewitt
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Managing Editor:
Andrew Cauthen
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Kemesha Hunt
Travis Hudgons
Staff Reporters:
Carla Parker, Ashley Oglesby
The Champion Free Press is published
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Inc., • 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur,
GA. 30030 • Phone (404) 373-7779.
(404) 373-7779 x 110

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


Page 6A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015

Chris Hughes
In 2007, Chris Hughes
lost his 15-year-old best
friend Miss Frisky, a female
miniature poodle.
Hughes said when Miss
Frisky died his children were
all grown, responsible adults
and he was not quite ready
to commit to the responsibility of owning a new animal.
After a little encouragement
from his neighbor, who is
a Paws Atlanta volunteer,
Hughes said he began visiting the animal shelter and
walking dogs.
Hughes said on his first
visit to Paws Atlanta he knew
that he’d found the right
“They’ve got such dedicated staff. Those people are
really there for the animals,
and they do the best they
can for the animals when it’s
raining or cold outside,” he
He added, “Being around
the staff alone makes it a
wonderful place to be.”

Hughes has now been a
volunteer at Paws Atlanta for
eight years. He’s known as
the “fix it” guy.
Hughes said he likes
helping on projects.
“I served in the US Air
Force medical service for 28
years. Most of my career was
spent overseeing the design
and construction of military
medical facilities all over
the world. I retired here in
Atlanta. I worked for Beers
Construction Company and
spent my last 12 years with
Georgia State University as
their associate director for

design and construction. So
any time the staff needs one
of the doors on a pen fixed,
I’m glad to do it,” Hughes
Hughes designed and
installed a wall ramp that
allows cats a 12-inch wide
carpeted ramp on which to
climb and sit, extending from
above the floor to just below
the ceiling. He also assisted
with the interior renovation
of the intake trailer.
“You’ve got to pick what
you want to do, everybody
has things that they’re passionate about or they want to
do. It’s not always roses when
you’re working with dogs but
if you think you have a place
in your heart to help these
dogs that have not been dealt
the best cards in life, Paws
Atlanta is a great place to go,”
Hughes said.
He added, “The whole
experience is wonderful-to
see these animals who have
not had good lives until

they got to Paws Atlanta or
been surrendered from good
families who loved them but
maybe couldn’t support them
and they don’t understand
all of this; just to see them
go out to a new home and
be happy again, that’s got to
make you feel good.”
Hughes is originally from
South Carolina and has been
a DeKalb County resident
since 1986.
He currently resides in
Avondale Estates, relatively
close to where he recently
rescued a dog who he named
Nora from the parking
lot of the Memorial Drive
Hughes said, “People
tried for almost two and half
months to capture the dog
but she would always get
away. She’s a real survivor
and really smart.”
Hughes said he visited
the dog for approximately
five weeks and read books to

He brought Nora a towel,
a clay water dish, which she
carries around in her mouth
and food.
He said when he first
started visiting Nora, he
would attempt to sit down
next to her and she would
pickup the items he had previously brought and move
“Slowly but surely as we
got to know each other I
could lie down next to her
and reach up and she would
come over and nuzzle my
hand,” he said.
Eventually Hughes was
able to get a leash on her and
walk her home. He continues
to foster her with the help
of Bark Atlanta where she is
available for adoption.

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

Crime briefs
Juvenile murder suspect arrested at
South DeKalb Mall
The DeKalb County Sheriff ’s Office has arrested a juvenile murder suspect in connection
with the July 6 death of Omar Moorer during
an armed robbery at a Hambrick Road apartment in Stone Mountain.
A warrant was issued for the juvenile’s arrest on July 20. On July 23, the DeKalb County
Sheriff ’s Fugitive Unit, in conjunction with
the DeKalb County Police Department, apprehended the suspect in the main corridor of
South DeKalb Mall, where he was taken into
custody without incident for questioning by
the police department’s criminal investigation

21 charged the suspect with felony murder and
two counts of serious injury by vehicle. The
suspect was arrested July 23 without incident in
Carroll County by the DeKalb County Sheriff ’s
Fugitive Unit and transported to the DeKalb
County Regional Youth Detention Center.   

Former Emory University employee
sentenced for embezzling funds

Brenda Michael, a former Emory University administrative assistant, has been sentenced
to one year, six months in federal prison for
stealing more than $300,000 in student tuition
payments from the university.
“Michael used her position at Emory to
steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in just
over a year and a half,” said acting U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Students trusted that this
university employee was there to facilitate
Juvenile charged with felony murder for
their enrollment. Had the defendant not been
Lithonia car crash
exposed by Emory, her deception could have
caused even greater damage.” 
The DeKalb County Sheriff ’s Office has
“Emory University is satisfied with the outarrested a juvenile murder suspect in conneccome of this case and with the excellent work
tion with a vehicular fatality earlier this year.
Another juvenile, a passenger, was killed in the of the United States Attorney’s Office in prosecar crash on Jan. 25 at the intersection of Rock cuting Ms. Michael for her crime.  We take the
Chapel Road and Rockbridge Road in Lithonia.  security of our students’ financial information
and thefts by employees very seriously and are
A grand jury arrest warrant issued on July

pleased that we could work cooperatively with
the United States Attorney’s Office in bringing
the investigation to a successful conclusion,”
said Nancy Seideman, associate vice president,
media relations, Emory University.
According to Horn, the charges and other
information presented in court, Michael was
employed as an administrative assistant with
the Wound Ostomy Center, part of the School
of Nursing at Emory University. As part of her
job, the defendant assisted Emory students
with enrolling in various programs and classes.
Beginning in August 2012, while assisting students with their enrollment in Emory
programs, Michael began directing the students to pay their tuition and fees via PayPal
to an account that the students believed was
an authorized Emory University account. In
fact, it was Michael’s personal PayPal account.
The defendant misdirected student payments
for more than a year, diverting a total of more
than $317,000 in payments due to Emory and
spending them for her personal benefit.
Michael, 53, of Atlanta, has been sentenced
by U.S. District Judge Willis B. Hunt to one
year, six months in prison to be followed by
three years of supervised release, and ordered
to pay restitution in the amount of $317,923
to Emory University. Michael was convicted
on these charges on April 30, after she pleaded



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 7A

Avondale Esates


School supply drive announced for
Avondale Elementary

Church hosting school supply drive

Friends of Avondale Elementary School is
sponsoring a school supply drive for Avondale
Elementary School through Sept. 4. Items that are
needed include copy paper, pencils, composition
notebooks, file folders, pocket folders, three-ring
pocket folders, hand sanitizer, tissues and tennis
balls for chair legs.
Donations can be dropped off at Avondale
Estates City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday;
Avondale Elementary School, 8 Lakeshore Drive,
between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through
Thursday; Icing Cake Design and Sweets Boutique, 110 North Avondale Road, between 11 a.m.
and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; or Patti
Ghezzi’s home, 3140 Wynn Drive.
For more information, email Patti Ghezzi at

Glen Haven United Methodist Church is collecting new backpacks and school supplies for
underprivileged children. Avondale Estates resident Wilmer Engle is accepting donations from
residents. The supplies will go to students from
Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School and Canby
Lane Elementary School on Aug. 8 from 10 a.m.
to 12 p.m. The “backpack giveaway” event will
also include free haircuts for boys 16 and younger. The church is located at 4862 Glenwood Road
in Decatur. To donate, call Wilmer Engle at (770)
598-8441 or the church at (770) 558-3903.


City taking steps to protect wildlife
Five monofilament recycling containers for
fishing line as well as five “no feeding” signs were
installed recently at Murphy Candler Park. The
recycling containers with instructions in English
and Spanish were installed to help alleviate the
amount of fishing litter and line that is being disposed of improperly in and around the lake.
Signs were installed to ask park patrons to not
feed the wildlife because it hinders the wildlife
system in place. Brookhaven’s city website address
is printed on the signs so park users can visit the
website for information on the negative effects
feeding the animals has on wildlife and the park.

Police department supports anti-crime
Clarkston Police Department is partnering
with community programs to promote anti-crime
and strengthen relationships with residents.
The department will host a National Night
Out that will feature kid activities, free food, public safety vehicle displays, RoboCop and Captain
America on Aug. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Milam
Park, 3867 Norman Road.
The mission of National Night Out is to bring
citizens, civic, business and neighborhood organizations together.
The event is free to the public.

Stone Mountain

Monthly cycling event continues in
Dunwoody Sunday Cycle is a monthly community event that happens on the first Sunday
of each month, March through November. The
event is sponsored by Bike Walk Dunwoody.
The group will gather on Aug. 2 at 2:30 p.m.
in front of Village Burger on Dunwoody Village
There is a short pre-ride safety review and the
group sets off at 3 p.m. Helmets are required and
a bicycle with gears is recommended to handle
the hills. 
The route is a 4.5 mile loop around Dunwoody with mostly right turns. The group will
not ride in inclement weather or hazardous road

DeBerry to host Community Appreciation
DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra
DeBerry is hosting the third annual Community
Appreciation Day, Saturday, Aug. 1, from 5 to 9
p.m. at Browns Mill Aquatic Facility, 4929 Browns
Mill Road, Lithonia.
The event will include complimentary entry
into the facility, complimentary food and music.
The family-oriented event is designed to thank
citizens for their ongoing support.
For more information call DeBerry’s office at
(404) 371-2251.

Stone Mountain business named one of
Georgia’s ‘100 Plates that Locals Love’
Weeyums Philly Style was awarded the “100
Plates That Locals Love” distinction by Georgia
Department of Economic Development’s Tourism
division (GDEcD) as part of its “100 Plates that
Locals Love.”
The Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Division is celebrating the state’s
culinary “greatness” this year. Each restaurant
is featured in the Georgia Eats official culinary
guide, which is being distributed in the 11 Visitor
Information Centers statewide; on the state’s consumer tourism website; and
on’s social media channels.
“Weeyums has been a part of the Stone
Mountain community for many years, serving up
the best Philly cheese steak the state has to offer,”
Stone Mountain Mayor Pat Wheeler said. “They
deserve a mountain of congratulations.”


Cities to hold National Night Out events
Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs
police officers, as well as Target, will host National Night Out 2015 Aug. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The event will be held at Perimeter Mall, 4400
Ashford Dunwoody Road, in the parking lot at
the corner of Ashford Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center East. In addition to public safety
personnel and displays from first responders, the
event will also include hot dogs, drinks and kids’
National Night Out is an annual community
building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
In addition to personnel and displays from all
three agencies, there will be food, games and family activities.


Page 8A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015

During a rally in April, activists voiced their concerns about the police-involved shooting of an unarmed, naked veteran. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Answers still sought in police-involved shooting of unarmed man
by Andrew Cauthen
Nearly five months after
a naked and unarmed man
was fatally shot by a DeKalb
County Police officer, local
veterans are still seeking answers.
Anthony Hill, an Air Force
veteran from Chamblee, was
shot and killed by DeKalb
County Police Officer Robert Olsen, who responded
to a call about a man acting
“deranged,” knocking on
apartment doors and crawling on the ground, Cedric
Alexander, deputy chief
operating officer for public
safety, stated in a March
news conference.
Local veterans held a
news conference July 20 to
voice their concerns about
the case.
“This is wrong,” said
retired Lt. Col. Amos King
of Stone Mountain. “This is
dead wrong. It was a travesty
what happened to [Hill].
“For any rational human being the first thing he
would think if you pull up
on somebody naked is something is wrong with them,”
King said.
“There’s a lot of things
that could have happened,”


King said. “[Olsen] could
have used a Taser; he could
have used a baton. He could
have used pepper spray.”
King described Hill as
an “upcoming citizen in the
community” and “a fine singer” who had an honorable
discharge form the military.
“Anthony Hill didn’t do
anything wrong…[except]
stop taking his medicine because it was causing adverse
effects on him,” said King,
who is planning a veteran’s
rally in Hill’s name.
“Anthony Hill was shot
by Police Officer Olsen after
an episode that he had from
not taking his medication
[for] bipolar post-traumatic
stress disorder,” said Eric
Echols, an investigator for

the Chestnut Firm, a law
firm representing Hill’s family.
“The reason why he
stopped taking that medication is because the medication has side effects which
[swelled] his tongue and
locked his jaw.”
A singer and songwriter
who “could really sing,”
Echols said, Hill stopped taking the medication because
it affected his ability to perform.
“A week after he stopped
taking it, he had the episode,”
Echols said.
When Hill was seen
walking nude in the complex, the property manager
called 911 and “told them
that he needs some help, and
not that he was a threat or he
was being violent or anything
like that,” Echols said. “She
was expecting for paramedics or emergency services to
Other witnesses urged
Hill to return to his apartment, Echols said.
When Olsen arrived on
the scene, he parked 183 feet
from Hill, said Echols, who
measured the distance.
“The officer is in his
car. Anthony Hill is on the
ground. [The officer] sees
him. There is a direct line of

sight. [There were] no cars
blocking the view. It was a
flat surface,” Echols said.
Hill gets up and “starts
trotting—he wasn’t running
full speed—towards the officer,” Echols said.
According to witness
accounts, Hill stopped “trotting” approximately 10
feet from Olsen and “starts
walking toward the officer
with his arms out, his hands
raised in an outward motion,
palms facing the officer,”
Echols said.
The officer then got out
of his car, which was facing
Hill, and walked behind his
car and pulled out his firearm, Echols said.
To Hill, who was still
walking toward him, the officer ordered, “Stop, stop,”
Echols said.
“Anthony kept walking,”
Echols said. “The officer then
shoots Anthony Hill twice.
Anthony takes a couple more
steps. He falls down. The officer then, per one of the witnesses, grabs him falling and
lays Anthony on his back.”
“The video that I have
acquired is after the shooting….where Anthony is laying on his back and blood is
coming out,” Echols added.
“In the video you see him
with his gloves on and not

one time did he try to stop
the bleeding,” Echols said. He
didn’t do any CPR. He didn’t
do anything. He just laid
Anthony down and Anthony
just laid in the street and
Echols, a veteran of the
Marines, said the DeKalb Police officer had choices other
than shooting Hill.
“When he got out of his
car, the first thing he could
have said is, ‘Sir, are you OK?
Why are you unclothed?’”
Echols said.
Also he could have asked
Hill whether he needed help,
he said.
“He didn’t ask those
questions. My witnesses were
close enough to hear,” Echols
said. “The only thing he did
was pull out his weapon, as
opposed to pulling out his
pepper spray, [baton], his
Mace, or nothing because he
had just completed…eight
hours of hand-to-hand take
down procedures.”
The Georgia Bureau of
Investigation looked into the
incident to determine whether Olsen acted properly. The
GBI has turned its findings
over to DeKalb District Attorney Robert James who is
planning to present the case
to a grand jury.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 9A

MARTA board chairman Robert
Ashe says MARTA is financially

MARTA CEO and General Manager
Keith Parker talks about MARTA the
improvements at a July 23 media

MARTA officials ‘optimistic’
voters will support rail
expansion projects
by Carla Parker
When Clayton County
residents voted to expand
MARTA into the county, it
gave MARTA officials hope
that expansion is also possible in DeKalb and Fulton
In recent years, MARTA
has proposed rail and bus expansion projects in DeKalb
but has been unable to because of financial troubles.
During a July 23 briefing,
MARTA board chairman
Robert Ashe said MARTA is
out of the red and can now
take steps toward expansion.
“We find ourselves at a
moment where we can have
an opportunity to go back
to Fulton County, DeKalb
County and the city of Atlanta and ask them to consider
an additional investment,
and ask them to ask their
voters to consider an additional investment,” Ashe said.
Ashe said MARTA officials have been in talks
with DeKalb about its plans.
MARTA wants DeKalb and
Fulton residents to pay an
extra half-penny sales tax,
which will last the duration
of MARTA’s existing penny
for, for future projects. The
projects include the Clifton
Corridor and the I-20 East
The Clifton Corridor
would provide a direct link
between the Lindbergh Center Station in Atlanta and the
Avondale Station. The I-20
East Corridor would extend
heavy rail from Indian Creek
to Stonecrest Mall.
“That half-penny, if we’re
granted the authority, would
go to finance expansion proj-

ects,” Ashe said. “We believe
that the math on that leads
us to about $8 billion worth
of projects over the next several years.”
Ashe said the expansion
of bus services to Clayton
was the first expansion in
four years.
“That happened because
of the financial turnaround,”
he said. In fiscal year 2011,
we had a $35 million deficit,
we spent $35 million more
than what we took in. Three MARTA officials are hoping to move forward with expansion projects. Broken lines indicate proposed expanyears later, in fiscal year 2014 sion routes.
we had a $15 million surplus. that, and then if we get the
That’s a $50 million turnauthority to proceed we will
around in three years.”
go to voters with a referenMARTA finished the last dum and ask them to make
two fiscal years in the black,
that investment.”
the first time since the 1990s
the transit agency finished
with back-to-back budget
surpluses, according to Ashe.
“There is a high degree of
probability that we’re going
to close last fiscal year in the
black too,” he said. “Because
of that hard work, because of
the sacrifice that our employees have made because of the
Edith ID# 24749726 is a 4 year old blue
financial discipline that has
beauty who doesn’t understand why she
been demonstrated, we now
doesn’t have a family yet. She’s the whole
have the opportunity to go to
package! She loves to play, nap and has
our voters and jurisdictions
lots of human friends here at the shelter.
and talk to them about how
She dreams of the day where she can sleep
to go about funding these
on the sofa and sunbathe in your window.
She seems like she has a moderate energy
“I think we are putting
level and is eager to learn some basic
ourselves in a financial place
commands. Come meet this cutie today and
of where we can demonstrate
help make her dreams come true!
to folks that they will get real
Meet this sweetie at the DeKalb shelter
return on an investment if
and if you adopt her during July you’ll pay
they choose to make those
only $17.76 during our “Celebrate their
additional investments,”
Independence Day” special; including
Ashe said. “Obviously, when
her spay, vaccines and microchip at no
you’re asking people to pay
additional charge. If you would like more
more taxes that’s a serious
information about Edith please email
request, and it deserves to or call
be treated seriously, and we
(404) 294-2165. All potential adopters will
know that our juridical partbe screened to ensure Edith goes to a good home.
ners are going to take it like


Pet of the Week


Page 10A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015

An Old School
paint job
Approximately 20 volunteers gave Decatur Old School
Tires, located at 3220 Memorial Drive, Decatur, a colorful
facelift July 17-18.
“It was a collaboration between residents of Midway
Woods, Belvedere Park and Meadowbrook Acres,” said Kevin
Polite of HausZwei Homes, which donated paint and supplies for the project.
Under the direction of project manager Lindsey Killebrew, volunteers gave the building a bright green coat, painted various geometric shapes and created a portrait of Andre
3000 of Outkast.
The group was brought together under Towers Action
Group and DeKalb Neighborhood Stabilization Program for
the project, which was the brainchild of resident Buddy Finethy.
“Towers Action Group is an organization that does things
in the community for the Towers School cluster,” Polite said.
“One of the things that we do is make the area look better.”
Photos provided



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 11A



A break in a 48-inch water main at Henderson Mill and Evans Road eventually led to a boil water advisory. See story on page 15A Photos provided

Decatur - On July 25 West Ponce de Leon in downtown Decatur was transformed into a giant slip and slide. Slide the City brought its 1,000-foot portable water slide to Decatur streets.
Thousands of tickets were sold in anticipation of the event and hundreds of early attendees got a change to experience the slide before organizers cancelled the event early due to
DeKalb’s water troubles. Photos by Travis Hudgons

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

(404) 294-2900


Page 12A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015

Dancer and choreographer Alex Spitzer demonstrates his flexibility while sharing his strategies during dance performances.

EcoArts camper Julian Olson-Connelly plays a
snake charmer in the camp’s “Shine On” play.
Camper Anderson Smith-Cote acts as a snake in
the basket and wiggles out of the basket as Julian
plays a pretend flute.

Camper Zayden Trotter is cradled by fellow camper and camp
counselor Sara Gregory in the “Shine On” performance.

A rainbow unicorn controlled by Ethan Fisk and Andrea Serrano
floats in the lake behind the camp.

Darth Talia looks for allies in her quest to rule the world. Meanwhile, two superheroes encourage Parents, camp leaders and community supporters in the audience of Pine Lake’s Eco
each other in their mission to bring help and love to those who need it.
Arts camp.

Campers exposed to unique dancer
by Ashley Oglesby

On July 16, professional dancer and choreographer Alex Spitzer partnered with the Eco Arts
camp in Pine Lake to teach a master dance class
and perform a selection which he choreographed
named I loved and Hated.
As the first male dancer to enter the undergraduate program in dance at Texas Women’s University, Spitzer said he is also the first dancer in a
wheelchair to receive a four-year degree in dance
in the world.
He was born with arthrogryposis disorder
which causes joint contractures. Despite the disorders effect on his joints and movements, Spitzer
has danced for more than 25 years. He said he first
started dancing as a senior in high school.
He said, “I’m not going to say that I’m a disabled dancer or a wheelchair dancer because I
don’t want to put up that wall. I just want you to
see me as a dancer and that’s the way I’ve always
presented myself and my company.”
He added, “The way that I see dance is that it
can be for anybody. I’m a dancer just like anyone
else. Yes, I have to adapt movement and change it,
but I don’t see myself as being any different than
any other dancer.”

Spitzer warned anyone pursuing a career in
dance that it takes “a lot of determination, drive
and perseverance because it’s a hard road.”
He said, “In a lot of ways dance is one of the
hardest careers you can be in. You can walk into
an audition and if they don’t like your look, you’re
out no matter how good you are.”
Spitzer one of his teachers told him, “You
know you’ve picked the hardest career that you
Spitzer has closed his dance company but is
now affiliated with the Beacon Dance Company
in Decatur where he will continue to choreograph
and perform.
Camp founder Ella Johannaber said she first
met Spitzer at a performance of his many years
“I was really touched by his movements and
the emotions that he brings to his performances.
It’s at the core of what we teach at [Eco Arts
camp]. We each do what we’re able to do, we have
different abilities and we can support each other in
doing what we’re able to do,” she said.
Eleven-year-old camper Ethan Fisk attended
Spitzer’s performance and participated in the master class that followed.
Fisk said he was inspired by Spitzer’s “cool details.”

“I learned that even in hardship there’s always
something good. He really shows how even with a
disability there’s something amazing and he can do
amazing, things that some people wouldn’t know
that he could do,” he said.
Fisk attends the Museum School of Avondale.
He said he thinks he may also want to be a dancer.   
Eco Arts camp is a six-week summer camp
that aims to connect children with nature and fuel
The camp was founded in 2008 by Pine Lake
resident and school teacher Johannaber who initiated the camp to focus on performance arts. In
2011 the camp expanded to include the ecological
art components and changed the name from Pine
Lake Theater Arts to Eco Arts Camp.
On July 24 as a finale to summer camp sessions Johannaber and Pine Lake EcoArts campers
directed a nine scene play. Heidi Carpenter, a local puppeteer, assisted the camp with her homemade puppets. Parents and volunteers also assisted
the campers with costumes and props.
Johannaber said the final days of camp are intended to embody the founding spirit of the camp
and feature performing arts from campers, including puppetry, writing and dancing.
For additional information about the Eco Arts
camp visit


Page 13A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015

DeKalb back-to-school expo
Hundreds of parents and children participated in the fourth annual Let’s Move! DeKalb backto-school fitness expo July 26 at Exchange Park Intergenerational Center. This annual event
is part of DeKalb County’s ongoing efforts to build healthier communities by getting residents
moving. A variety of health and fitness vendors were on hand demonstrating fitness activities,
teaching healthy food options and providing healthy lifestyle information. After participating
children visited the vendor stations they received school supplies. The Let’s Move! DeKalb expo
is a C.H.O.I.C.E.S.’ Children’s Nutrition Education and Physical Activity Expo event with ongoing
partnerships with DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, the DeKalb County Department
of Health, Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority and others. Photos by Travis Hudgons


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 14A

School chief shares vision for the district
by Ashley Oglesby
DeKalb County School
Superintendent Stephen
Green took office less than
a month ago. Green said he’s
now doing “a body scan”
of the district determine
“health and wellness and
where’s the pain.”
In an exclusive interview on July 23 Green said
his assessment coming into
DeKalb County is that there
is plenty of potential. He
said, “All of the district is not
The DeKalb County
School district has battled
ongoing obstacles, including
its most recent climb to being classified as accredited
on advisement, placing the
school district a step closer
to full accreditation.
“I think some of the
things that the district has
gone through have been a
distraction,” he said. Now we
can get back to what we’re really about and that’s student
achievement, student outcomes, student performance,
positive student experience
and career and college readiness.”
He added, “I see this as
an opportunity to capitalize
and fortify things that are
going well and acknowledge
and reinforce those things.”
Green said he recently
established a task force to
implement his focus on
curriculum, instruction, ac-

countability and assessment
throughout the district to
which he called the “core of
our work going forward.”
The task force is comprised of district professionals, including two regional
superintendents and external
consultants “Who are going
to do a curricular audit and
assess our alignment to state
standards and national standards,” according to Green.
Regional superintendents Dr. Triscilla Weaver
and Trenton Arnold are
co-chairs for the task force.
It force is also supported
by Georgia Department of
Education Assessment Specialist Kelli Wright, DeKalb
County Board of Education
Chairman Melvin Johnson
and others.
Green said the primary
focus of the task force is
to “make sure that in K-12
there are no gaps and we can
follow the progression of a
Green acknowledged Renaissance Star Reading and
Star Math as one of the district’s program that is helpful
in understanding what students need.
He said he’s been advised
by the task force to keep the
program because “it’s serving
us well.”
Additionally, Green said
he is still doing research on
other programs that are upto-date with the “best practice research in regards to
what students should know

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Stephen Green standing with Board of Education Chairman Melvin
Johnson at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

and what students should be
able to do.”
On July 1 when the superintendent was sworn in
he said another focus that he
has in DeKalb County is to
ensure that “we are maximizing all of our community’s
resources to achieve the best
results on our students’ behalf.”
Green reiterated that is
still a part of his goals.
Green said he plans to
partner with NAACP, United
Way, My Brother’s Keeper,

and numerous faith-based
organizations to meet with
regularly and “learn, listen
and share.”
He said the community’s
role is within the school district is critical.
Green previously served
for three years as superintendent of the Kansas City
Public Schools where he said,
“There were a lot of people
benefiting from a weakened
school district.”
Under Green’s leadership,
KCPS earned 92.5 points to-

wards the state of Missouri’s
school achievement standards in 2014. That was 8.5
points more than the school
district earned in 2013, and a
54.5-point increase from the
2012 results.
Green said his focus in
DeKalb County “will be on
meeting the academic needs
and goals of our schoolchildren and ensuring that we
are maximizing all of our
community’s resources to
achieve the best results on
our students’ behalf.”


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 15A


Water main break affects county for days

Continued From Page 1A

by Andrew Cauthen

was threatened when he refused to make additional
payments. Another victim with short-term memory
loss was repeatedly charged for the same work. An
elderly couple paid the Ogleses more than $20,000
for work that was later valued at $2,000.
“The Ogleses lined their pockets with the
money many of our victims worked a lifetime to
accumulate,” said DeKalb County District Attorney
Robert James.
“I have seen a lot of roofing cases over 10 years,”
commented Canavan. However, she said, roofing
scams are just one of many frauds taking place locally
and directed at older persons. Other include:
• Phone calls from what sounds like a young
person claiming to be the caller’s grandson or
granddaughter who’s in jail and begs that the caller
pay to get the alleged grandchild released from jail.
Canavan said they usually ask that mom or dad
not be told and sometimes say their voice sounds
different because they sustained a mouth injury
during an accident which led to their arrest.
• “You’ve just won a sweepstakes” telephone calls
in which the caller says he or she needs personal
and banking information to deposit the winnings.
Canavan said too often elderly people in the
80s and 90s are lonely and enjoy long telephone
conversations with seemingly nice strangers.
During these conversations, the scammers are
gathering valuable personal information which they
use against the person they are setting up.
Also there’s fraud from caregivers who get their
hands on the checkbooks or debit/credit cards of the
person they’re caring for.
Investment fraud is another area in which senior
citizens fall prey.
If someone offers to “help you with your money,
you have to make sure they have a real company,”
said Canavan, who advises against trusting people
one meets casually at a fast food restaurant or church.
She said her unit handles about 100 cases a year,
which she estimates is a fraction of what’s occurring.
Many victims, often smart and educated people, are
embarrassed that they’ve fallen prey to scams and
don’t report the crime.
Those perpetrating fraud often do their
Many times these individuals scout a
neighborhood looking for homes that signal an older
person may be the homeowner. Signs include homes
with old-fashion decorations, houses that need paint
and ones with older model vehicles outside.
Canavan said those engaging in elder fraud who
go door to door often don’t set a price. When they
ring the doorbell the second time after the work
is done requesting payment—often exorbitant—
their charming demeanor changes. They may raise
their voice, ask if the homeowner is trying to take
advantage of them and become threatening, she said.
Some homeowners agree to pay just to get the
worker out of their home. Canavan said she knows of
cases in which homeowners have written checks to
the worker, then immediately called the bank to stop
payment. However by the time they reached a bank
officer to handle the request, the check had been
cashed, she said.
Canavan suggests that homeowners needing
work done talk to neighbors and friends for referrals.
Research the company or individuals involved
to make sure they have good track record, don’t
have complaints filed against them with the Better
Business Bureau and are bonded and insured, she
And she said never give out personal

When a county mower hit a
fire hydrant July 23, thousands of
residents and businesses were affected.
The accident caused a break
in a 48-inch main transmission
line at Henderson Mill and Evans
Road. The incident eventually
led to a boil water advisory after
residents complained of dirty
water coming through their faucets. Others experienced reduced
water pressure or a complete loss
of water.
The countywide, precautionary
boil water advisory was issued on
Saturday, July 25, at approximately
3 p.m.
“DeKalb County Department
of Watershed Management announced that a loss in water pressure in the county has been experienced due to repair attempts on
a 48-inch main transmission line
that has resulted in three pressure
reductions to the system in less
than 36 hours which might pose

a potential of water quality issues
throughout the county,” stated a
news release.
“Therefore, in an abundance
of caution for our citizens and to
protect the public from any potential health hazards, citizens in the
affected area are advised to boil
all water prior to use for drinking,
cooking or preparing baby food,”
the release stated. “Residents
served by the DeKalb County
Department of Watershed Management should continue to boil
water until notified by DeKalb
County that the water system has
been restored to full operation
and the microbiological quality of
the water is safe for human use.”
When watershed management
workers sampled 20 water sites on
July 24 and 40 sites on July 25, all
showed negative for bacteria. Fifty
water sites sampled on July 26 also
were negative.
The affected water main is approximately 20 feet underground
in an area with gas, power and
other utilities present.
“The delay [in completing

repairs] was exacerbated by the
presence of several other utilities
at the same location, including
electricity, natural gas, telephone,
roads, and other water lines,” a
county news release stated. “These
obstacles required substantial coordination and care.”
The repairs were completed
early July 26, and it took hours
for water pressure to normalize
throughout the county.
The DeKalb Emergency
Management Agency contacted
local hospitals, dialysis centers
and nursing homes. The DeKalb
County Fire Rescue Department
arranged for tanker trucks from
other area jurisdictions in the
event of a fire or to supplement
area hospitals.
The county also used its CodeRED emergency notification
service to notified registered residents. Approximately attempted
224,600 calls were made about
the boil water alert; 59.34 percent
were reached.
The advisory was lifted July 27.

Lifeguard Continued From Page 1A
am not happy with our oversight
with this contract.
“Any future lifeguards that will
be at that site will be certified,” May
“Lawyers are talking,” he added.
According to its contract with
the county, USA Management’s
scope of work includes “lifeguard
supervision for public swimming.”
Lifeguard “must have current lifeguard training certification, as well
as CPR and first aid certification.”
USA Management also is required by the contract to log inservice hours on lifeguard training
and submit the logs to the county
each week.
When The Champion filed a
June 25 Open Records Request for
weekly lifeguard training in-service
logs and proof of certification for
all lifeguards used by USA Management, a county attorney replied
stating that the information would
not be released while it is part of an
ongoing investigation.
Adam Camp, manager for USA
Management, told The Champion
on June 28 that approximately two
weeks ago, his company provided
the county with proof of certifications for 51 people.
Kirk Watson, a spokesman for
USA Management, said the county
did not have an “executed contract”
with his client.
The county never corrected a
“clerical error” in the compensation
terms for the contract. Camp said
the incorrect contract would have
paid his company $245,000 over
three years, instead of the actual
agreed-upon amount of $245,000

per year.
“We’ve been asking for [corrected] contract all season,” Camp
Camp said the lifeguard staff
decided June 27 that it no longer
wanted to work at Browns Mill due
to poor work conditions after the
June 22 near drowning, Camp said.
Fourteen-year-old Brionne
Sloan was playing in the pool with
friends when he became unconscious and nearly drowned. No one
yet has offered an explanation as to
what caused his trauma.
“He doesn’t remember anything,” Melissa Sloan said about
her son. “He just remembers dropping.”
Brionne “went over five minutes
without oxygen to his brain,” Sloan
said. “My son had passed away, and
he came back. He was gone. He was
not breathing.”
Melissa Sloan said two pool
patrons pulled Brionne out of the
In one of the five 911 recordings released to The Champion, a
male caller said the boy was unconscious. At one point when the caller
said the boy was not breathing, the
911 operator said, “OK, we’re going
to have you do CPR, OK?”
The operator tells the caller to
lay the boy on his back and tilt his
Later the caller tells the victim
to blink his eyes and the 911 operator tells the caller to continue to
keep the victims head tilted back.
“You’re all right, man. You’re all
right,” the caller tells the victim.
The caller later tells the operator

that the victim is “going in and out”
The caller asks the male if he
wants water, but the 911 operator
tells the caller, “No, do not give him
anything to eat or drink. He don’t
need any water.”
It is unclear from the recording whether the caller was a pool
In another recording a 911 operator tells a lifeguard that “one of
your other people are there talking
with a 911 operator giving someone CPR instructions.”
Camp said he is “very proud”
of his lifeguards, who, he said, have
been falsely accused and not appreciated for the life they saved.
“These kids have really taken
this publicity really hard,” Camp
The Browns Mill Aquatic Center was closed July 28.
A news release said the county
“hopes to return to its normal operating schedule by Thursday, July
“We just learned this morning
that we didn’t have adequate staffing,” Wilson said.
County Chief Operating Officer
Zach Williams said the county
is considering hiring the No. 2
contractor that bid to provide the
lifeguard services. Officials are also
looking at temporarily reallocating lifeguard services from other
county pools.
For more coverage, including 911
recordings and a recorded interview
with lifeguards, visit


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 16A

Ideas United CEO David Roemer said Campus MovieFest attracts more than half a million
students at colleges and universities around the globe.

Computer technology makes it possible for the Decatur-based company to work with affiliates all over the world.

Local company taps into global creativity
by Kathy Mitchell
While David Roemer
was majoring in business
at Emory University at the
dawn of the 21st century, he
and his friends used new video technology to “tell their
stories.” He later discovered
that skills acquired inside
and outside the classroom
would provide the foundation for the business he and
classmates would form.
“My dream in college
was to work for Apple,” recalled Roemer, now chief
executive officer at Decaturbased Ideas United. “I knew
I wanted to be involved in
the fun, creative side of business. If I had gone to work
for an established company,
I probably would have been
involved in one aspect of it.
With our own business, we
do it all—creative, marketing, administrative—it’s exciting, but really demanding.”
In 2001, short videos
such as those shown on YouTube were rapidly gaining
popularity when Roemer and
three Emory schoolmates
parlayed the phenomenon

into Campus MovieFest
“Everybody has a story
and today’s technology lets
everyone tell their story in
a video,” Roemer said. The
founders now call CMF “the
world’s largest student film
festival and a premier outlet
for the next generation of
filmmakers.” Sponsorships
from corporations and universities make it possible
to give students equipment
such as camcorders and
laptop computers for their
movie-making experience.
The challenge is to make
an approximately five-minute movie in one week. More
than 500,000 students at colleges and universities around
the world have participated.
“There’s comedy, dramas,
social justice—a wide range,”
Roemer commented.
He cited a video that
shows how traffic backed
up on Interstate-285 when
drivers in each lane drove
the speed limit—at the time
55 miles an hour. “It went
viral on YouTube, made the
national news and sparked
debate about traffic laws that

Words HURT

Stop the Bullying

are commonly ignored,” Roemer recalled.
“This is just a great thing
to do—and it taps us into
talent all over the world,”
Roemer said. “It’s astounding
the creative talent that’s out
When Roemer was
studying in Scotland after
his Emory years, ideas for a
company started to percolate. In 2003, Roemer and his
college friends founded Ideas
United, a creative studio that
uses a network of more than
1,000 creative people to produce corporate videos, commercials, public address messages and more. Ideas United
now lists among its clients
Adobe, Google, The PGA of
America, The Smithsonian,
Starbucks and other nationally known names.
The company’s presence
was felt at the Super Bowl
through a contest-winning
commercial that involved
Doritos and a goat.

“The need for companies
to tell their stories visually
has grown in recent years,
but not every company wants
to hire huge, expensive studios. We offer the best of
both worlds—a high-quality
product that’s also cost effective. Our global presence, for
example, would allow us to
shoot a company’s stores in
14 countries all in one day.”
In the growing Decatur
studio approximately 50 fulltime staff do creative work
along with marketing and
administrative tasks. The atmosphere reflects the youthful “outside the box” culture
of the company. For example,
dogs roam freely through the
“At first our policy was
bring your dog to work if
you want to, but as we grew
it was getting out of hand,”
Roemer explained. “We now
allow no more than five dogs
a day in the office. There’s a
sign-up sheet. We’re creative

and productive. You can
never forget the business end
of what we do.”
Ideas United started in
a house in Decatur, Roemer
said, then moved to the current New Street studio, a location he expects the company to soon outgrow. “We’ve
tripled in size in just the last
year, and it’s not slowing
down,” he said.
Although Ideas United
now has a Hollywood, Calif., office, Roemer predicts
the company will remain
headquartered in Decatur.
“We love the area. The cost
of living is good. We travel a
lot so being near the airport
is great. And Georgia is encouraging the film industry
here with tax credits.”
Of Decatur, he said,
“This is such a vibrant, creative community. We all
came to love it when we were
at Emory. I can’t imagine being anyplace else.”


AUG. 17TH MEETING DATES ARE CANCELLED. City Hall and Administrative Offices will be closed Monday,
September 7, 2015, in Observance of Labor Day.
WHEN: TUE, SEPT. 8, 2015 at 6:30PM
Doraville City Hall

Council Chambers

3725 Park Ave. Doraville, GA
This meeting is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. O.C.G.A. § 50‐14‐1 


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


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 17A


For Prices, Deadlines and Information

Rates: $30.00 for up to 40 words, each additional word $0.60.
All ads are prepaid! All Major credit cards accepted!

Ads Due By Friday - Noon
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The Champion is not responsible for any damages resulting from advertisements. All sales final.


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religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 18A

The DeKalb Wolf Pack is a combination of sheriff deputies, police officers and firefighters. Photo provided

Law enforcement flag football team
prepares for benefit game
by Carla Parker
Police-duty belts will be replaced
with flag belts Aug. 8 for flag football.
The event, which will be held at
Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, will
feature four teams of law enforcement and public safety agencies from
Atlanta and DeKalb, Gwinnett and
Clayton counties. DeKalb’s team, the
Wolf Pack, is a combination of sheriff
deputies, police officers and firefighters.
This is the first time the agencies
will play together on one team. In the
past, the agencies played in separate
leagues against other counties but decided to change the format this year,
according to Chief Deputy Reginald
Scandrett of the DeKalb Sheriff ’s office.
“We started having injuries,” he
said. “We had fun, but it was just too
long so we just combined it for one
Gwinnett and Clayton will face
off in the first game, and DeKalb will
take on Atlanta in the 7 p.m. game.
Winners of those games will go headto-head in the championship game.
Scandrett said DeKalb law enforcement agencies started participating in flag football four years ago as
a way to help officers, deputies and
firefighters deal with the stress and
pressures of their job.
“We use football as a vehicle for
release,” he said. “Typically, when you
deal with law enforcement officers
or public safety, they deal with and

The DeKalb Wolf Pack is preparing to take on the Atlanta law enforcement team in a flag
football benefit game Aug. 8. Photo provided

Chief Deputy Reginald Scandrett of the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office talks to the team after practice. Photo by Carla Parker

see some of the worst of the worst.
Unfortunately, we have some of the
highest rates of suicide, we have some
of the highest rates of alcoholism
and higher stresses that you can deal
with in life. Pressure breaks pipes, so
we have never really had vehicles to

release those types of pressures. The
vehicle is football.”
The DeKalb team includes former Division I college players and
NFL players.
“It’s highly competitive,” Scandrett said. “We want the best of the

best so we can go and win the title.”
The team is coached by Steve
Davenport, a graduate of Southwest
DeKalb High School and Georgia
Tech, who coaches at Woodland High
in Henry County. Davenport, who
was brought on by Scandrett, said
coaching the team is his way of giving
back to the community.
“I’m working with some really
good guys who want to go out and
have a good time, and it’s just a community service opportunity for me,”
Davenport said.
The team has been practicing for
nearly eight weeks to prepare for the
tournament. Davenport said his focus
is on getting the players to play at the
best of their abilities.
“When you initially start anything you have to focus on yourself,
try to get as good as you can get,” he
said. “In this scenario, not being able
to see [the Atlanta team] and scout
them, it’s going to be difficult to figure out what they do. You focus on
making sure your guys are prepared
and ready to play.”
Proceeds from the games will
benefit the Gold Shield Foundation of
Metro Atlanta, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance
to public safety professionals in time
of need. Tickets are $5 for adults;
free for children younger than 5. One
ticket covers both games.
The event will also features music, free blood pressure screenings
from agency Fire and Rescue teams
and food.



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 19A

Emory’s Ian Wagner selected as a spring recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Emory’s Ian Wagner earns NCAA
postgraduate scholarship
Oglethorpe graduate Katy Galli received her second consecutive Division III track and field All-Academic honor.

Oglethorpe’s Katy Galli
receives All-Academic honor
Katy Galli, who graduated from Oglethorpe in May,
earned her second consecutive Division III track and
field All-Academic honor
from the U.S. Track & Field
and Cross Country Coaches
Association July 17.
A native of Hackettstown, N.J., Galli is one of
420 Division III women’s
track and field athletes from
127 institutions to receive
the award for their efforts in
the 2015 season. The honor
combines academic and athletic excellence.
To receive the honor, a
student-athlete must maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA
and either qualify for an
NCAA track and field championship or finish in the top
35 in the final qualifying
standings for an individual
event. Galli maintained a
3.69 GPA during her career
at Oglethorpe, qualified for
the 2015 NCAA Division
III Outdoor Track and Field
Championships in the triple

jump, and finished 10th on
the final qualifying list in the
discipline with a school record jump of 39 feet, 3 inches
at the Emory Invitational in
Galli remains the only
Oglethorpe athlete to receive
the honor. She ends her
career as the school’s most
successful track and field
athlete of the modern era,
men or women. She received
the Mary Mildred Sullivan
Award from the university
for character, integrity and
dedication to service this
year and was a nominee for
the SAA Woman of the Year
She earned All-SAA Second Team honors at the SAA
Championships in late April,
giving silver medal performances in the triple jump,
the 100-meter hurdles, and
as a member of the 4x100 relay team. She finished 17th in
the triple jump at the NCAA
Championships this year and
14th the previous year.

Emory University graduate and men’s
tennis player Ian Wagner has been selected
as a spring recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The scholarship is given to graduating
athletes for their achievements on the field,
in the classroom and in the community.
Wagner, a Columbus, Ohio, native, will receive a one-time $7,500 scholarship, to be
used for postgraduate study within three
Emory now has been awarded 97 postgraduate scholarships, and its 80th since
2000 ties it with Stanford for the most
among NCAA institutions during that time
A two-time All-American, Wagner
finished his four-year career at Emory with
a singles record of 88-25, with his victory
total ranking sixth on the school’s all-time
list. His .778 winning percentage is ranked
10th on the all-time list.
A member of the 2012 national championship team, Wagner recorded a pair of
24-win seasons in singles competition. In
doubles, he compiled 86 triumphs, fourth
on the Eagles’ all-time chart. In 2013,
Wagner and Elliot Kahler became the program’s first duo ever to win a NCAA D-III
championship, with the pair concluding the
year with an overall slate of 24-7.
During the past two campaigns, Wag-

ner played doubles with classmate Alex
Ruderman with the tandem claiming 201415 All-America honors following their title
at the ITA South Regional Championships.
Wagner and Ruderman were tabbed to
compete in the 2015 NCAA D-III Championships and wound up the year as the No.
6-ranked pairing in the Division III ranks.
With a double major in mathematics
and physics, Wagner graduated in May
with a 3.83 grade point average. A fivetime member of the Emory Dean’s List, he
is a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and
Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics Honor Society).
He was an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All Academic Scholar Athlete
throughout his collegiate career. He was
also a recipient of Emory’s 2014 Sonny
Carter Scholarship Award, presented annually to an Emory College of Arts and Sciences junior who demonstrates a commitment to developing his or her full human
potential, and who clearly strives to use
his or her intellectual, physical, and moral
qualities for the common good.
This past spring, he was the male recipient of the athletic department’s Aliberti
Award, in recognition of continued athletic improvement, perseverance in their
academic studies and profound loyalty to
Emory athletics.


Stand up • Speak out


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, July 31, 2015Page 20A

School Continued From Page 12A
has created an app that will
connect them directly to the
“In addition, in order to
be ready for school come day
one HR is going to provide
some additional support. We
are working with the regional
superintendents as well as
the principals to continue to
staff from our qualified vacancy pool. We’re even going
to dispatch HR administrators to school sites where
there are four or more posted
vacancies to assist the actual
principals with the hiring
and interviewing process. We
are also working to ensure
that we have support with
our substitute teachers in the
event that the principals do
not have a teacher come day
one, we are sending our certified substitute list out.”
Marshall Orson said he
was happy to know there will
be certified substitutes in the
classroom beginning on the
first day of school.
“I think that’s always
been a problem. We’ve had
a policy in the past that we
wait until 10 days and predictably with a block sched-

ule school it’s basically 20
days. I appreciate the responsiveness to that.”
Orson also suggested
creative ways that the district
could find instructors for
“hard to staff areas,” particularly science, math and foreign language.
He said, “We know that
this is an ongoing problem
we are having in staffing certain areas and we’ve talked
a little bit about the idea of
whether we could identify
students at the college level
who might have an interest
that we could support–almost like our own Teach For
America concept.”
Orson said, “We’ve got to
find some pools of talent in
hard to staff areas or I think
we’re going to continue to
find ourselves understaffed
in sort of critical areas in
which there are not a plethora of graduates coming out
or they’re going out in a different direction…”
School starts back from
teachers on Aug. 3. Students
will arrive for the first day of
school on Aug. 10.

Dr. Craig Heigerick is a board certified physician who has been practicing
medicine in the Gwinnett area for over 30 years. In addition to caring for
and treating all kinds of healthcare services and needs, Dr. Heigerick takes
special interest in educating his patients and treating chronic conditions.
Dr. Craig Heigerick

Need a primary care physician?

Call: 770.232.6166 to schedule your appointment.
Our office is conveniently located approximately 1 mile from Lawrenceville Highway

615 Beaver Ruin Road, Suite B | Lilburn, GA 30047