FRIDAY, august 27, 2015 • VOL. 18, NO. 21 • FREE

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

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

South DeKalb
Senior Center
to open soon

Group looks to
revitalize old Bruce
Street School

local, 2A

local, 9A


Nature presentations
explore beyond books
education, 18A


leaves legacy
by Ashley Oglesby
Beau Hardeman was truly a
remarkable chess player, friend
and mentor to generations of
chess players and scholars. He
died Aug. 7 on what would have
been his mother’s 98th birthday.
He achieved grandmaster
status, awarded to chess players
by the World Chess Federation,
and had a very high rating, although he would never disclose
his ranking. Hardeman was the
first chess coach at the Paideia
School in Atlanta and went on
to teach hundreds of children
how to play chess. To many, he
became their mentor.
In 1995 Hardeman launched
his Beau Hardeman Annual Invitational Chess Tournaments
in which he coached students
from kindergarten through 12th
grade at Gresham Park Recreation Center.
Recreation Center Director
Wannetter Terrell said the tournaments started small but after
10 years outgrew the office space
and moved into the gymnasium.
Terrell said Hardeman was
serious and passionate about
chess, life and education. She
said, “He would talk, teach and
play all at the same time.”
Terrell said Hardeman would
approach parents and their chil-

DeKalb Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson organized a bus tour of
District 5 for commissioners and other county officials.

DeKalb Commissioners Nancy Jester, Kathie Gannon, Jeff Rader and
Sharon Barnes Sutton ride the MARTA bus to District 5. Photos by
Andrew Cauthen

County officials tour District
5’s assets, challenges
by Andrew Cauthen
DeKalb County’s commissioners
and other government officials boarded a MARTA bus Aug. 21 for a threehour tour of DeKalb’s fifth district.
The bus, accompanied by a fourmotorcycle police escort, traveled by
the Kensington Station area and the
site of the proposed Atlanta United
Football Club soccer headquarters
and practice fields. The tour included
Indian Creek MARTA station; the new
south campus of Georgia Piedmont
Technical College; DeKalb Medical
Hillandale; Lithonia Industrial Boulevard; Lithonia, the district’s only city;
Stonecrest Mall; and Davidson-Arabia
Mountain Nature Preserve.
The tour was the idea of District 5
Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, the county’s newest commissioner.
She said, the tour “was not really for
“I [have] lived, worked and played
and gone to church in this district for
30 years so I knew what we had in the
fifth district,” Johnson said. “My husband [Congressman Hank Johnson]
was a commissioner in this district before he went to Congress.
“I’m very familiar with the district,
but the challenge I think we have in
the 5th District is to attract economic
development and also keep the nature

See Hardeman on page 15A


See District 5 on page 15A


Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May toured the district he once represented.

District 5 chief of staff Alana Griggs checks a passenger list for the District 5 bus tour.




Page 2A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

South DeKalb Senior
Center to open soon
by Andrew Cauthen
After lengthy delays, the
South DeKalb Senior Center
is nearly complete and is expected to open in October.
“We are now roughly 98
percent of the way done,”
said DeKalb County project
manager Aaron Worthy.
“We’re very close to achieving substantial completion
and turning the building
over…to commence operation.”
At a cost of approximately $3 million, the center
is being paid for using U.S.
Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds.
Once completed, the center will be a 15,400-squarefoot facility with amenities
including community meeting rooms, computer lab, fitness area, 1,400-square-foot
covered porch, kitchen and
more. Additionally, the center will include classrooms
to accommodate the various
activities requested by the
community and a dining
“They wanted a large
room for gatherings, meetings and entertainment,” said
Allen Mitchell, the county’s
interim, human and community development director. “They wanted a room to
have meals every day because
this center is a center that
has congregate meals. They
eat here every day.”
The center is expected
to daily serve 150 to 200 seniors, ages 60 and up.
“What is unique about
this particular building…is
you have an indoor walking
track for seniors,” Worthy
said. “The hallways are much
wider than your standard
5-foot hallways. These are
roughly 7.5 feet, so seniors
can actually use this as a
walking trail.”

“[Because the facility is
for] active seniors, we wanted to design…a walkway
which allows indoor tracks,”
Mitchell said.
“Notwithstanding weather conditions,…winter, summer, etc., you can be inside
in the air-conditioning or in
the heat…and that’s a good
thing,” Mitchell said. “For
those who care not to do
that, you can sit on the porch
and observe and relax and
enjoy yourself.”
The center is located at
1931 Candler Road, Decatur,
adjacent to the Scott Candler
The Candler Road senior
center is one of three senior
facilities recently constructed
by the county. It was the
first one to get underway, but
problems were encountered.
“Construction commenced on this project in
2012…under a previous
contractor,” Worthy said.
“That contractor defaulted
on his performance bond.
The bond was called in early
August 2014.”
The bonding company
did due diligence and hired
a completion contractor in
When the project was restarted, it was approximately
65-70 percent complete,
Worthy said.
Mitchell said that although there have been
complaints about construction delays, “I think that in
the end we will win over all
citizens who had concerns.
We’ve had some early reviews of [the center] and
they’ve been extremely excited.”
Mitchell said the senior
center is about “enjoying
having a leisure life, being
able to do the things you
like to do and seeing your

Public Notification:

Application has been made to the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) for a new communications structure along railroad right of way near
MP 622.57, PTC Doraville, Atlanta, GA 30340. The FCC Form 854 file
number is file# A0977616. The structure type is an non-lighted monopole
with a total height including antenna of 63 feet to tip. Interested persons
may review the application by going to and
entering the Form 854 File Number. Interested persons may raise environmental concerns about the proposed structure by filing a Request for Environmental Review with the FCC. The FCC strongly encourages interested
parties to file online any Requests for Environmental Review; instructions
for making such filings can be found at , or by paper copy to FCC Requests for Environmental Review, Attn:
Ramon Williams, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20554.

County officials say the South DeKalb Senior Center is expected to open in October. Photos by Andrew Cauthen


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 3A

Former ethics board
chairman to run for
Brookhaven mayor
by Carla Parker
Four days after resigning
as DeKalb County Board of
Ethics chairman, John Ernst
announced his bid to run for
mayor of Brookhaven.
The Brookhaven mayor’s
seat is up for election in
November. Rebecca Chase
Williams, the former District 1 councilwoman and
mayor pro tem, was sworn
in as mayor in June to fill the
mayor seat vacated by J. Max
The city’s charter allowed
Williams to be appointed
by fellow councilmembers
since the election for that office was less than 12 months
away in November.
Ernst said he is running
to bring the city together.
“I’m running to make the
city’s park system the best,
develop a Brookhaven Beltline, bring permanent property tax relief, and create an
open and more transparent
government,” he said.
Ernst, who is a lawyer,
started his law practice in
2005. At Ernst Legal Group,
he specializes in real estate
transactions, bankruptcy
litigation and personal injury
Ernst served as chair-

man of the DeKalb Board
of Ethics from 2013 to 2015.
His resignation came a day
after the ethics board found
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson guilty
of violating the county code
of ethics. However, Watson
was not removed from office
or suspended, which Ernst
Ernst grew up in the
Hampton Hall neighborhood
of Brookhaven. He received
a bachelor of arts degree in
history at Emory University.
After college, he served as
assistant to former Georgia
Gov. Roy Barnes.
Ernst later received a
juris doctorate degree from
the University Of Georgia
School of Law.
During his time in law
school, he served as a prosecutor in the Athens-Clarke
County District Attorney’s
office and was a summer
clerk for the Honorable John
J. Ellington of the Georgia
Court of Appeals.
After law school, he
served as the attorney of the
majority caucus in the Georgia House of Representatives
during the 2004 legislative
Ernst is married with two

John Ernst (center) talks with supporters during his campaign kickoff cookout at Blackburn Park on Aug. 23.
Ernst served as chairman of the DeKalb Board of Ethics from 2013 to 2015. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Supporters gathered at Blackburn Park in Brookhaven to kickoff John Ernst’s campaign.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 4A

Arthur Blank isn’t the only Memorial Drive investor
“Memorial Drive has not
seen a dollar of development
in two decades.”
That’s what interim
CEO Lee May said after the
DeKalb County Board of
Commissioners voted 4-3 to
approve an incentive package to pave the way for billionaire Arthur Blank, a cofounder of The Home Depot,
to bring the headquarters
and practice fields of Atlanta
United Football Club, a major league soccer franchise,
to the county.
Days later, after criticism
from the three commissioners who voted against the
deal and from some residents, May echoed his rhetoric, saying Memorial Drive
had “not seen one dollar of
investment along that cor-

Andrew Cauthen

Managing Editor

That’s not quite the case.
On Memorial Drive,
four miles east of the proposed soccer facility, a
148,000-square-foot Walmart
was opened in 2013. Developers razed a defunct Subaru
car dealership near the cor-

ner of Memorial Drive and
Hairston Road to build the
store that has created approximately 300 jobs.
When the Walmart was
announced, DeKalb County
Commissioner Sharon
Barnes Sutton said the presence of the new Walmart
should attract other businesses to the area.
“It’s going to bring jobs to
our community,” Sutton said.
“It’s going to improve the tax
base and it’s an opportunity
to direct the traffic down Memorial Drive.”
Less than two miles west
of the proposed soccer site,
is the Belvedere community.
Once in a state of decline,
this community has seen
some stabilization, and even
a bit of growth, since 2008

when a Walmart was opened
at the site of the Avondale
During its grand opening
DeKalb Commissioner Larry
Johnson said the Decatur
Walmart would bring a surge
of vitality to Memorial Drive
as customers come back.
“Walmart is a critical
component in the redevelopment of the Memorial Drive
area,” Johnson said at the
time. “Their presence will
motivate others to invest in
the area.”
In the wake of the
Decatur Walmart came Aldi’s
grocery store, Sonic Drive-in
and Zaxby’s. The renovated
building that once housed
Aaron’s Rents has been purchased by UHaul.
And in April community

leaders and DeKalb County
officials convened on Columbia Drive, two blocks from
Memorial Drive, for the official opening of the 80-unit
Columbia Senior Residences
at Forrest Hills.
The Memorial Drive corridor, while by no means is
back to its heyday, is stable,
slowly improving and is increasingly being gentrified.
This is the corridor that
Arthur Blank is coming to,
not as a savior, but as an
opportunist who is only
promising to give 12 jobs to
DeKalb County residents.
He knows a good deal, and a
good area, when he sees it.
His bucks aren’t the first
in the past two decades and
won’t be the last.

Letters to the editor

Open letter to CEO of DeKalb County
and board of commissioners
Dear ICEO Lee May and DeKalb
Board of Commissioners
I am very disappointed with the
vote and the way the BOC conducted
itself in terms of the soccer field venture with Mr. Arthur Blank.
The last minute notice and urgent
need to have a decision on the matter
of the soccer field has been happening
too many times with major projects
related to stadiums and large sums of
money. I was deeply disappointed
with some of the DeKalb BOC commissioners that voted not to allow
the residents and citizens of this great
DeKalb County a voice at the last
commission meeting on August 4,
2015. I can only describe that kind of
behavior as arrogant and tyrannical. I
have noticed that rarely in big ticket
items are citizens given all the facts,
and the time to make an informed decision. The propaganda is propagated
through the grapevine to confuse and
misinform the voters into supporting
projects that lead to nowhere. Where
are the evidence and the proof?
Take a look at the Atlanta and the
deals made in the past and the promises made to depressed economic
communities. There has not been
much economic development with recent stadiums based on the history of
Georgia Dome stadium, Turner Field,
or the Flowery branch HQ or practice
field for the surrounding communities. I do not know where the idea that
this will spur economic development
on Memorial drive came from, but
someone needs to take some time do
some research and do their homework
before using taxpayer money on a pipe
dream with a thirty year commitment.
The first rule of marketing is location, location, location. Why now, and
who will benefit? What is the rush?

The 41 acres is not going anywhere.
We deserve better from our leaders. We want a deliberate and open
process, and an economic study done
before this deal is finalized and completed. The minority communities
seem to always get the land fields and
stadiums, but serious economic development in the surrounding communities never seems to follow with the
I attended the August 11, 2015 4pm
press conference, and I stand with and
represent those who want this process
to slow down and be open. The citizens deserve better.
Expediency over process, and money over people. What we think does
not matter to certain commissioners.
The people voices were silenced. No
time for debate or discussion, take
the deal, no other offer. This is what
economic development looks like on
ICEO Lee May acted like Donald
Trump with Taxpayers money. Arthur
Blank acted like the host on Lets Make
A Deal. The DeKalb County Commissioners who voted in favor of the
soccer field acted like 4 blind mice. I
agree that Arthur Blank and the other
billionaires should be paying their fair
Citizens Against Cityhood in
DeKalb and Concerned Citizens for
Effective Government believe that
there should be a better deal and process.
Ed Williams, chairman
Concerned Citizens for Effective Government
Citizens Against Cityhood in DeKalb

Is it a good deal for us?
by Steve Bradshaw
Aug. 11, 2015
I don’t know if the new soccer
stadium agreement is a good deal for
the taxpayers of DeKalb County or
not. I sincerely hope that it is. The
Memorial Drive corridor certainly
needs a shot of development adrenalin. Even so, I’m not sure if the deal
that was recently approved by the
Board of Commissioners is the right
vehicle for facilitating the economic
development that we need.
I’m skeptical primarily because
of the nature of this process. The
whole things struck me as being
rushed. Consequently, I have some
If this is such a good deal why
wasn’t there more time for the Board
of Commissioners to conduct thorough due diligence? If this is such a
good deal why wasn’t there time allotted for public comment before the
vote for approval? After all, it’s our
money that the Commissioners are
spending, not theirs.
It is not a stretch to say that
there currently exists a trust deficit between the citizens of DeKalb
County and our government leaders. Given the cloud of corruption
that currently hangs over DeKalb
County you would think that said
leaders would err on the side of more
transparency, not less; more public
engagement, not less. But, that did
not happen.
Moreover, as a general proposition I am somewhat dubious of
sports stadium deals as a driver of
broad based and sustained economic
development. In the excellent book
The King of Sports author Gregg
Easterbrook offers multiple examples
of sports stadium deals whereby the

team owners do very well and taxpayers are left holding the bag. I would
highly recommend this book to all
concerned citizens.
Additionally, $12 million is a
lot of money. Could this expenditure
be put to better use elsewhere? How
many public safety officers could this
fund? How many potholes could be
The truth of the matter is that
we won’t really know if this is a good
deal or not for a few years to come.
In the meantime politicians can point
at a shiny new object and say “look at
what we did.” They can do this secure
in the belief that the average citizen
does not know any better. They are
betting that the average citizen will
be distracted and mesmerized by the
shiny new object and come to the
simple conclusion that our leaders are
“doing something”, rather than asking
the critical questions that should be
As previously stated I don’t
know if this is a good deal for the
taxpayers of DeKalb County or not.
I certainly and sincerely hope that
it is. If it is I will be the first to congratulate the folks who put this deal
But, what if it turns out not to
be a good deal for us? Then what?
At that point I guess we would just
reflect on the lyrics from Rihanna’s
song Take A Bow where she says
“that was quite a show, very entertaining.”
Steve Bradshaw is a candidate for the
DeKalb County District 4 Commission


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

“We put cash on the
table to get a major development in that area. The deal
is done, and it’s a good deal
for DeKalb County,” so said
Interim DeKalb County
CEO Lee May on August 12,
2015, defending the deal to
give 40-acres of county land
and $12-million in taxpayer
funding to billionaire Arthur Blank to locate practice
facilities for our new Major
League Soccer (MLS) franchise team, The Atlanta
United, along Memorial
Drive at I-285. 
I’ve loved soccer since the
days of my childhood and
DeKalb YMCA leagues. We
won the county championship and were state runnersup one year, and I played all
the way through high school. 
An early fan of the Atlanta Chiefs, I was able to
witness Pele playing in an
exhibition at Atlanta-Fulton
County Stadium. During
Atlanta’s Olympic year, I
witnessed one of the most
incredible soccer matches
I’ve ever seen, during a gold
medal match between Brazil
and its motherland, Portugal.
Brazil won in overtime, instantly transforming Athens,
Ga, to Rio during Carnivale (Gold medal game was
played in Sanford Stadium). 
So, I was among many
initially thrilled to hear that
Falcons› owner Blank was
bringing MLS Soccer to At-

DeKalb, not so United

Bill Crane


lanta, for play in his new stadium in late 2017. 
Though never a fan of
the new stadium, nor replacing the 22-year old Georgia
Dome; that deal is long
done and the die cast. But
as bad as I think that deal is
for the city of Atlanta, state
of Georgia and Falcon fans
(now facing sticker shock on
the prices of Personal Seat
Licenses and season tickets)
this deal for DeKalb taxpayers is much worse.
 The DeKalb Commission
in a vote of 4-3, after denying
all public comment, rushed
to judgment and a vote on
a contract giving Blank a
rather large blank check–40
plus acres of interstate frontage along Memorial Drive
at I-285; a parcel reaching to
Kensington Drive and nearby
Kensington MARTA station;
a property tax waiver on all
property and improvements;

and $12 million in cash. 
DeKalb County will house
the Parks and Recreation Department in one of the buildings to be constructed. Blank
will build a 3,500-seat stadium and three soccer practice fields, as well as an office
building to house the offices
of Atlanta United. Later developments may include
additional indoor training
facilities. This site is larger
than the land surrounding
the new Braves SunTrust
Park in Cobb County.
 ICEO May justifies the
expense as needed along a
troubled corridor, and states
that the facilities will be a
much-needed catalyst for
economic development. 
I consider myself a realist,
not a pessimist, but let’s look
at the track record in this
category here in Atlanta. 
How much economic
development or expansion can you recall around
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium? The Omni? The Georgia Dome? Turner Field?
Falcon’s practice facilities in
The Gwinnett Commission similarly touted the
beautiful G-Braves stadium,
and significantly over cast
both ticket sales and area
economic expansion. As a
result, the commission there
must make unplanned annual appropriations to cover the
debt service of what is argu-

ably the most amenity-filled
stadium in minor league
 Atlanta United owner
Blank noted the coincidence
and irony of returning,
across the street, to the location of his first Home Depot
store. The company has long
since left that building for
greener pastures in DeKalb
County and elsewhere. But
Atlanta United will play its
games in downtown Atlanta,
in the new stadium–where
the Falcons receive all ticket,
concession and parking revenues, to help finance the new
stadium. The DeKalb soccer
complex will pay no property
taxes and only generate marginal sales tax revenues.   
Kudos to DeKalb Commissioners Nancy Jester, Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader,
who all voted against the
proposed deal, who are continuing to ask some tough
questions and are calling for
regular and monthly updates
on the project’s cost, timeline
and developments. 
There remain numerous
unanswered and significant
questions. Will DeKalb high
school athletes, currently
with a shortage of stadia,
have access to the facility or
practice fields? Will DeKalb
taxpayers be given discounts
or free passes to scrimmage
and pre-season practice
games on the campus? 
I think I know just what

DeKalb citizens are getting
out of this deal.  I just wish
I had taken the time several
years ago to pick up an extra
box across the street at that
first Home Depot–an extralarge box of wood screws,
and save us all several million in the process.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment on
a column at bill.csicrane@ 

F ree P ress
Let Us Know What You Think!
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily
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Statement from the
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
discourse for all community residents
on all sides of an issue. We have no
desire to make the news only to
report news and opinions to effect
a more educated citizenry that will
ultimately move our community
forward. We are happy to present
ideas for discussion; however,
we make every effort to avoid
printing information submitted to
us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.


Page 6A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

Charlene Edwards
Charlene Edwards decided to walk the walk rather
than talk the talk.
During a mission trip to
the Dominican Republic, Edwards said she noticed people discussing what should
be done and who should lead
the way to help people living
in the slums in that country.
“But, there were not any
tangible action items being
placed on the solution table;
just a bunch of talking,” Edwards said. “I decided then,
that I would rather be quiet
and do what is needed than
appear on red carpets and
do nothing. So I returned to
Atlanta and gathered some
like-minded friends and we
started working.”
Edwards, 53, founded
The Action Not Words Project Inc. (TANWP) in 2009.

Located in Dunwoody, the
organization focuses on
creating communities that
provide for residents while
teaching them to grow their
own food, adopt healthier
lifestyles and contribute to
the maintenance of the environment.
“We began as a charity
to provide basic living necessities to underfinanced and

underrepresented populations in the Dominican
Republic and the greater
Atlanta area,” Edwards said.
“We have grown to provide
the skills and resources
needed to enhance the quality of life for all citizens by
encouraging environmental
stewardship, the sharing of
resources and community
“The inclusion of green
sustainability has added an
extra sense of urgency to preserve our green spaces while
assisting others to grow their
own food or at least become
more cognizant of what they
are consuming and how it is
affecting the environment,”
Edwards added.
TANWP has been working with the residents of Lithonia to restore the historic

Lithonia Cemetery and add a
micro urban farm. Edwards
said she envisions TANWP
being an integral member of
the Lithonia community.
“The micro urban farm
will not only provide the
needed organic produce and
food items, it will also serve
as a hub for sustainability
education, environmental
health resources and community well-being,” she said.
TANWP also provides
health and wellness services
for seniors and disabled veterans throughout Fulton and
DeKalb counties.
“We began providing
resources and services for
other organizations that have
the same basic mission as
our own at the inception of
our nonprofit. Many charities rely upon donations and

grants that might not cover
some of the basic needs of
their recipients,” she said.
“We work toward filling the
gap of services for those providing quality giving.”
Edwards said volunteering is important because providing service or resources
without expectation of receiving anything in return
creates great karma.
“I also feel whatever it is
you want to see happen in
this world, you must be willing to put in the work,” she
said. “Therefore, since I want
to live in a healthy, peaceful,
loving world, I must be willing to apply my resources to
see that happen. As they say,
what goes around, comes
back around.”

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.

The open house allowed residents to voice what city should focus on
with the comprehensive plan.

Lithonia residents viewed and discussed options of the city’s comprehensive plan.

Lithonia holds comprehensive
plan open house
by Carla Parker
Lithonia is updating its
comprehensive plan and has
invited residents to a Aug.
17 open house to share their
thoughts on what the city’s
goals and direction should
A comprehensive plan
outlines a framework for the
development of an area, recognizing the physical, economic, social, political, aesthetic and related factors of a
community, according to the
Atlanta Regional Commis-

sion (ARC). Lithonia Mayor
Deborah Jackson said the
city is required to do a major
update every 10 years.
“Every five years we do
an update of the five-year
work plan,” Jackson said.
“The last time the city did a
comprehensive plan was in
2010, and this is the stage of
updating that. The Department of Community Affairs
changed a lot of the requirements and they’ve made it
much more manageable, and
we’re getting assistance from
the Atlanta Regional Commission to actually do the

writing this time. Last time
we had a citizen’s group to
do it.”
During the last comprehensive plan update, Jackson
said the city accomplished a
few goals, including updating
the zoning ordinance and a
housing inventory.
“We were able to do
more community outreach,
and some of the big things
were the redevelopment of
the [Lithonia] Plaza,” Jackson said. “We were able to
get a grant from the DeKalb
Development Authority to
remediate the asbestos on

See Lithonia on page 11A

The open house allowed residents to share their thoughts on what the
city’s vision should be. Photos by Carla Parker



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 7A

Avondale Estates
Dance theater to hold concert

Avondale Estates based City Gate Dance
Theater announced its season repertory concert
“Black and White,” Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be held at Balzer Theater located at 84
Luckie Street Northeast in Atlanta. The concert
will be a recognition of world events, stories of
love and signs of peace. Tickets can be purchased


Public meetings scheduled for Murphey
Candler Lake study
As part of Brookhaven’s Murphey Candler
Lake watershed study, representatives from Sustainable Water Planning and Engineering will
host the first round of public meetings on Sept.
2 and 9. Both meetings will be held from 7 to 8
p.m. at Lynwood Park Community Center. There
will be a presentation followed by an open house
to answer questions. The focus of the meetings is
to collect concerns from the community for the
Nancy Creek watershed and Murphey Candler
Lake. Lynwood Park is located at 3360 Osborne


Food truck rally continues in Doraville
It’s not a bad idea to spend a summer day enjoying music with family and friends and binging
on food truck treats.
On Sept. 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the city of
Doraville will present its Doraville Food Truck
Rally on Park Avenue.
The event will be held in partnership with the
Atlanta Street Food Coalition and will continue to
be held on the second Wednesday of each month.
The event will give residents the chance to
meet elected officials and enjoy food, fun and fellowship with friends and neighbors.


Clerk of Superior Court to host free notary
DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra
DeBerry and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’
Cooperative Authority are hosting two free notary
training sessions on Friday, Sept. 25. The first session is 9 to 10:30 a.m., and the second session is
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
This training workshop is open to the public and recommended to anyone who is a notary
public Georgia or would like to become one.
“It is important to remember that a notary
public should perform their duties to the utmost
extent of the law, failure to do so could result in

costly lawsuits and penalties as a notary is liable
for his or her actions,” states an announcement
about the sessions.
To reserve a seat to attend either session, contact Twinette Jones at (404) 371-2250 or tajones@
The sessions will be at Maloof Auditorium,
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.

Atlanta Audubon Society backyard
sanctuary tour set for Sept. 19
Atlanta Audubon Society (AAS) will host
its annual Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Tour on
Saturday, Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tour
will feature four properties along a 7-mile route
through Decatur, on the east side of Atlanta, with
an optional fifth stop at the Georgia Native Plant
Society (GNPS) Fall Plant sale at Stone Mountain
Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (678) 973-2437. 
Tickets are $15 for AAS and GNPS members and
$20 for nonmembers.  All proceeds will support
the education and conservation efforts of Atlanta
Audubon Society.
The tour sites include Woodlands Garden, as
well as the homes of Deb and Douglas Wilson,
Carolyn and Max Brown, and Mary Kimberly
and Gavin MacDonald, all of Decatur.
Each property has been certified by Atlanta
Audubon Society as a Certified Wildlife Sanctuary because it provides five essential criteria for
attracting wildlife and birds: food sources, nesting
sites, bird feeders, shelter and water sources. Visitors will have the opportunity see various native
plants and trees in different settings that attract
birds, butterflies and other wildlife.  AAS staff and
volunteers will be available at each site to guide
visitors through the habitats.
The mission of Atlanta Audubon Society is to
protect Georgia’s birds and their habitats through
education, conservation and advocacy.  For more
information on the tour, visit the AAS website at   

Dunwoody Sunday cycle
On the first Sunday of each month bicyclists
from Dunwoody and surrounding neighborhoods
gather at Village Burger, 1426 Dunwoody Village
Parkway at 2:30 p.m. to prepare for a 4.5-mile
loop ride around the city.
The event is a monthly community activity sponsored by Bike Walk Dunwoody March
through November.
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
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 conditions. Everyone is welcome.  


Stonecrest Library to hold book sale
The Friends of Stonecrest Library will be having a book sale.
Various genres of books, including fiction,
nonfiction, textbooks, encyclopedias, children’s
and romance series, will be available for sale. 
The sale will be Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike
Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (770)

Fundraiser to benefit young science lovers
A local nonprofit is raising funds to help
youth attend the National Organization for the
Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and
Chemical Engineers Science Bowl in Orlando,
Fla., Sept. 24-26.
The public is invited to a fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 29 where a painting by Guyanese artist
Harold Boscom will be raffled.
The group also will sell $10 barbecue plates
including fish, jerk or barbecue chicken, and vegetable plates.
​Donations also can be made at, or by mailing contributions to Celebrate Our Children Foundation/Kim
Hodge, 5357 Beechwood Forest Dr., Lithonia, Ga.

Stone Mountain
Historical society to host event

The Stone Mountain Historical Society will
hold its monthly event Sept. 17. This month’s
event is “One Place Study of Stone Mountain Village.” Attendees can research and learn about the
village’s families, historic buildings and the community. The event will be held at Wells Brown
House located at 1036 Ridge Avenue. For more
information, email stonemtnhistoricsociety@

County commissioner to take monthly
community breakfast to Stephenson High
Commissioner Stan Watson is taking his
monthly community cabinet breakfast on the
He is partnering with Stephenson High School
PTSA which will facilitate the free community
breakfast on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. 
Representatives for the East Police Precinct
and DeKalb Emergency Management Agency will
be provide tips, information and resources to promote safety.
The address is for Stephenson High School is
701 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain.


Page 8A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

Former county commissioner’s
husband sentenced for stealing
John Boyer, the husband
of former DeKalb County
commissioner Elaine Boyer,
has been sentenced to one
year and one day in federal
prison for conspiring to steal
county money. 
On Feb. 24, John Boyer,
63, of Stone Mountain,
pleaded guilty to conspiring
to commit mail fraud. Boyer
was sentenced Aug. 19 to
federal prison, three years
of supervised release, and
ordered to pay approximately
$87,000 in restitution.
Elaine Boyer was convicted on similar charges in
September 2014.
“John Boyer used his
wife’s position as a DeKalb
County commissioner to
steal thousands of dollars in
taxpayer funds,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “The
Boyers’ scheme put county
money in their pockets and
ultimately left the citizens of
DeKalb County holding the
“In a county that has
recently seen its share of corruption cases, this is a particularly sad chapter,” Horn
According to information presented in court, in
2009, Elaine and John Boyer
experienced financial difficulties.
“As a result, an unlawful
kickback scheme was devised to obtain money from
DeKalb County,” stated a
news release from the U.S.
Attorney’s Office.
In September 2009,
Elaine Boyer hired family
friend Marion Rooks Boynton as a political advisor
allegedly to assist her with

Clarkston residents decide
on community projects
Elaine Boyer is serving time in a federal prison after pleading guilty to
fraud. Her husband John was sentenced Aug. 19 for conspiring to steal
county money. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

government consulting, according to federal charges.
“As part of the scheme,
false invoices were submitted to Elaine Boyer’s office
for services supposedly rendered by Boynton,” according to the news release. “In
fact, Boynton performed no
services for DeKalb County
government, Elaine Boyer’s
office, or the citizens of
DeKalb County.”
According to court information, Elaine Boyer used
the false invoices as a basis to
authorize payments to Boynton. From September 2009
to November 2011, DeKalb
County issued approximately
35 checks to Boynton for
consulting services that were
never performed. In total,
DeKalb County paid Boynton more than $85,000.
John Boyer then instructed Boynton to deposit the
money into a bank account
used by the Boyers, the news
release stated. Boynton fun-

neled approximately $60,000
of county money into an account used by the Boyers’ to
pay personal living expenses.
In August 2014, Elaine
Boyer resigned as District
1 commissioner and was
charged with conspiring
to commit wire and mail
fraud. After pleading guilty,
she was sentenced on March
20 to 14 months in prison
and ordered to pay approximately $87,000 in restitution.
On Aug. 11, a grand
jury returned an indictment
against Boynton, 73, of Saint
Simons Island, on charges of
conspiracy and substantive
federal program theft.
The sentencing of Mr.
Boyer further illustrates that
there are consequences for
those who assist or entice
public officials with regard to
criminal corrupt activities,”
said J. Britt Johnson, special
agent in charge of FBI Atlanta Field Office. 

DeKalb County School District public
safety department has launched a new truancy unit to catch students skipping classes.
Director of Public Safety Donald Smith
said, “This is new to my department but truancy units are not new. The rationale is very
simple. When our kids are not in school,
they’re out there committing crime.”
Smith said his goal is to “get the kids off
the streets, get them back in school and hope
that we can get them back on the right path.”
Smith said the department has noticed
many students skipping school to break into
homes and commit other crimes.

While participatory budgeting can be implemented
in a number of ways, varying
from city to city, the basic
idea is pretty simple: get people involved in how public
funds are spent.
This year Clarkston officials launched a community
budgeting initiative for the
2015 fiscal year, allocating
$10,000 to the participatory


project and organized community meetings for resi-

See Clarkston on page 10A
Doraville 2015 LMIG Paving Project 

Sealed Bids for the construction of the City of Doraville’s 2015 
LMIG Paving Project, which generally consists of approximately 
2.05 miles of pavement resurfacing, will be received by the City 
at City Hall (3725 Park Avenue, Doraville, GA 30340) until 2:00 
P.M. local time, September 24, 2015. At that time, the bids will 
be publicly opened and read aloud. For more details, contact 
Sam Serio at (678) 417‐4000 or or visit 
the City’s website to download the complete announcement at‐opportunities/.  


Public safety officers to focus on truancy
by Ashley Oglesby

by Ashley Oglesby

He said, “We have a responsibility to
make sure these students stay in school.”
Smith assigned two officers to the new
unit. The officers will be an “important piece
in terms of helping our young people get
their education. The most important thing is
that we need to get them off the streets,” he
The DeKalb County School District currently has 71 police officers, 120 security officers and 125 crossing guards.
Smith said everyone plays a vital role in
this effort. He said the department will also
seek assistance from individual school.
DeKalb schools have more than 2,000
cameras to help officers monitor school activity.

“Elderly” (62+) Project-Based
Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)
Waiting List Opens
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations
because of a disability, language translation, or
communication in an alternative format may call the
Waiting List Hotline at 404-270-2590 between 8am - 5pm.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 9A

Group looks to revitalize old Bruce Street School
by Carla Parker
Lithonia is in the preliminary stages of coming
to an agreement to transfer
ownership of the old Bruce
Street School to the Lithonia
Downtown Development
Authority (DDA).
The Lithonia City Council will meet Sept. 8 about the
agreement. Once the ownership is transferred, the DDA
will lease the building to Eagle Rock, an education and
community development
cooperation. Fred Reynolds,
an Eagle Rock representative,
said they plan to renovate the
“The plan is to bring
people in from the community to revitalize the building
to get people involved,” he
said. “We want to partner
with the Lucious Sanders
Recreation Center to get the
children involved with the
project as well.”
Eagle Rock plans to use
the building to offer training
in trade jobs such as construction, carpentry, facility
maintenance and more. An
agreement with DDA will
allow Eagle Rock to have a
long-term lease on the property, while the city could only
offer an agreement up to five
Lithonia City Councilman Al Franklin, who is also
the DDA board’s vice chairman, said the reason why the
DDA was interested in taking ownership of the school
building is because Eagle
Rock wants a long-term
“They want a long-term
agreement because they’re
investing their own personal
capital,” Franklin said. “For
them to have an agreement
that’s less than three to five
with a commitment coming
from the city is not really
strong enough for them to
say they’re going to take on
that particular facility.
“The DDA has the ability to go up to 50 years on an
agreement,” Franklin added.
“That gives [Eagle Rock]
more stability, more comfort
in knowing that they can do
Franklin said the DDA
will put together an agreement where the city will have
an opportunity to be a beneficiary of the DDA taking
over the building.
“That means from a financial prospective the city

has an opportunity to earn
[money],” he said.
Bruce Street School was
established as the first school
for the African-American
community in DeKalb County after the Lithonia Public
School system was incorporated in 1938. Ownership of
the structure was transferred

Lithonia city officials are trying to find ways to revitalize the old Bruce
Street School property. Photo by Carla Parker

to the city sometime in the
The building’s exterior

granite walls remain intact,
but the interior and roof have


Page 10A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

Dunwoody residents
to name new park

Director of Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Department Brent Walker
shares his vision for Dunwoody parks.

by Ashley Oglesby
Dunwoody officials are
asking residents to help them
name their newest park at
Pernoshal Court.
The “Name Your Park”
contest began Aug. 5 and will
run through Sept. 30.
Participants are encouraged to vote on five potential
park names: Pernoshal Park,
Hightower Trail Park, Muskogee Park, Old Buck Park
and Magnolia Park, or provide a write-in name.
Director of the Parks
and Recreation Department
Brent Walker said since
the contest launched the response has been great.
“It gives public buy-in to
the process and makes this
project more of a community
effort. Wherever we can get
public input and feedback it’s
always a good opportunity,”
said Walker.
He added, “There’s a lot
of folks out there that may
have some good ideas that
need to be heard so this is a
good way for us to get that
Each contest participant
will be allowed one vote.
After all votes are submitted
the winning name will be
identified by city staff and
announced by the mayor

and city council members on
Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
Walker said the contest
stemmed from inquiries
about how to take part in
naming Dunwoody parks.
He said, “We haven’t
had any new parks until
this year. When we opened
Georgetown Park that one
was kind of easy because it’s
in Georgetown, it was a nobrainer to name that one.”
The new park will be
located on Pernoshal Court
and Shallowford Road. Since
there is already a Shallowford
Park in Chamblee, Walker
said they decided on a “community involvement project
to get as many people possible involved in the process.
“We were wondering
how we were going to name
this park. We looked at some
other cities and what their
criteria is. We don’t have a
committee or anything like
that as part of the city to
name city properties or parks
so we thought that we’d just
put it out to the citizens and
do a little contest to see what
they wanted,” Walker said.
The new addition is expected to be approximately
five acres and the largest
newly built park created
since Dunwoody’s incorporation.
In addition to a multi-

use trail, the park will have a
centralized pavilion and restroom facility, exercise equipment, 162 parking spaces,
fields for sports and basketball courts with a pickle ball
court overlay, which Walker
said is popular among the
city’s senior citizen demographic.
Walker said the park
will also feature terrace seating and serve as a venue for
outdoor events and performances.
The new park sits between the city’s Brook Run
Park and Georgetown Park.
Walker said, “As we’re
building this one, we’re also
connecting our trailways
system from Brook Run
Park, through this new park,
across Shallowford and into
the section of trail that we’ve
already built into Georgetown Park.”
He said the trails will,
“give people another option
to not only get to their parks
but also to be able to get
through the city without having to use their vehicles.”
Walker said eventually
the city would like to connect the trails all the way to
Perimeter Mall but that is
more of a long-term goal.
Walker said, “Brook Run
Park to Chamblee Dunwoody will be done by the
end of this year but that’s
only about a third of the
“We’re excited to get
it done. We plan to have it
completed by the end of this
year and then start looking
at future park plans and what
we’re going to be doing next,”
Walker said.
He added, “We will be
rolling out the update for the
park’s master plan. It’s been
five years since we did the
last master plan. So in the
coming months we will start
the process of public input
“Name your Park” contest rules and additional
details on voting procedures
are available at the online
contest portal at


Continued From Page 8A

dents to brainstorm about
how they want the money to
be spent.
Committees made up of
Clarkston residents, property
owners and business owners,
were encouraged to serve as
voting members of the budgeting initative. Individuals
who did not fit into any these
categories were encouraged
to participate in the discussion and research of proposed projects.
The committees selected
five projects to be presented
to the city council for final
approval: Little Free Libraries, an effort presented
to encourage reading in
Clarkston; park benches;
canvas bags to discourage
plastic bag use; a seniors
program and a wildflower
City council approved
every item except the wildflower project at their Aug. 5
council meeting.
The Little Free Libraries
project was given $450 for
approximately five libraries,
park benches $1,200, canvas
bags $1,200 and the seniors
program $4,000.
Mayor Ted Terry said,
“Because the wildflower
project wasn’t funded I decided to take it upon myself
to try and raise at least $500
to pay for some of the landscaping work that we’re going
to need to do the wildflower
project.” The majority of the
city council did not want
wildflowers on city property.
Terry said the wildflowers
will instead be planted in the
fall on Brockett Road.
Terry launched the resident committees in February
2015 shortly after he was
“We had four different
standing committees on
some issues that people selfselected. They wanted to do
one for education, one on
public parks, one for a welcoming committee and one

on public safety,” he said.
During the 2015 budget
cycle Terry said he requested
to allocate funds for the participatory budgeting process.
Following the allocation
of $10,000, three meetings
during a three-month span
were organized for citizens
to meet and share ideas. The
committees voted on the final ideas in June.
“People oftentimes don’t
want to come to a council
meeting and don’t want to
attend a work session but
they have a lot of really great
ideas,” said Terry.
He added, “We should
provide a mechanism and a
vehicle for them to express
those ideas and for people to
come together and innovate.
You want people to have a
safe space where they can say
‘this is what I want for my
Terry said his hope for
next year’s participatory
budgeting process is for it to
be a longer process, not in
the sense of spending more
time talking about ideas or
deciding on ideas but actually having this sort of persistent and sustained effort for
residents to feel comfortable
saying ‘here are some problems in the community and
we’d like to fix them.’ We can
use some of those committee
systems that are designed for
residents to come together
and figure out these ideas,”
said Terry.
He added, “Hopefully if
I can get the council to approve next year’s budget, the
same allocation of funds for
the community budgeting
process, these committees
will feel more confident because they know that they
have funds that they can sort
of compete for to propose
these ideas that they’re passionate about.”

Public Notification:

Application has been made to the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) for a new communications structure along railroad right of way
near MP 624.7, Atlanta, GA 30341. The FCC Form 854 file number is
A0977465. The structure type is an non-lighted monopole with a total
height including antenna of 63 feet to tip. Interested persons may review
the application by going to and entering
the Form 854 File Number. Interested persons may raise environmental
concerns about the proposed structure by filing a Request for Environmental Review with the FCC. The FCC strongly encourages interested
parties to file online any Requests for Environmental Review; instructions
for making such filings can be found at , or by paper copy to FCC Requests for Environmental Review,
Attn: Ramon Williams, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 11A

Home furnishings retailer IKEA, through its Life Improvement Challenge, donated approximately $10,000 in furniture and other improvements to renovate the CHRIS Kids girls’ group
home in Stone Mountain.

Girls’ home wins makeover from home furnishings retailer
by Kathy Mitchell
While new curtains and
a fresh paint job at home
might make most folks smile,
for teenage girls living in a
group home the change is
truly exciting, according to
Carmen Pruitt, supervisor of the CHRIS Kids girls’
home in Stone Mountain.
The facility recently
won a competition among
nonprofit organizations
nominated for a makeover
by employees of home furnishings retailer IKEA. After
an approximately two-week
process of voting among
IKEA employees and customers, the CHRIS Kids facility was chosen to receive a
renovation valued at $10,000
through the company’s Life
Improvement Challenge.
CHRIS Kids is one of approximately 120 American
charities since 2011 to receive products, installation
services and design expertise
through the IKEA charitable
IKEA employees came

to the home, which houses
up to six young women
between the ages of 14 and
18, and painted, installed
window treatments, rugs,
shelving and storage, furniture, home décor pieces and
more. “There were about
10 employees working on
the project and they wanted
everything to be exactly
right,” Pruitt recalled. “At one
point they discovered that
some curtains were about
two inches too short. They
took them out and replaced
The makeover included
improvements in the living
room, dining room and basement recreation area. Also
included was renovation of
the serenity room—a place
for the young women to go
for quiet meditation.
Group homes normally
have donated furniture,
which typically is previously
used, according to Brittany
Burnett, vice president of
development for CHRIS
Kids. “Even when we receive
new furniture it gets quite a

bit of wear and tear over the
course of a few years so it’s
really delightful to get brand
new furniture,” she said, adding that when there aren’t
enough donations program
money must be used to replace dilapidated furniture.
“That’s money that’s very
much needed in other aspects of our programs.”
“The girls were so excited
when they learned that we
had won and that excitement
carried through the whole
process. They wanted to help
the IKEA people who were
doing the makeover. They
loved having new chairs to
sit in while they study and
being surrounded by fresh
bright colors. It was really
uplifting,” Pruitt said.
Like the other group
seven metro Atlanta homes
in the CHRIS Kids’ JourneyZ
program, the girls’ home
in Stone Mountain houses
young people who have had
to be removed from their
homes and placed under
the state’s custody. Usually
parental rights have been


Continued From Page 6A

the city-owned part of the Plaza. Now we’re
working on identifying what will it take to
separate the two structures so it can be demolished.”
The city is working with a developer,
Wendover Housing Partners, which wants to
do a housing development on the city-owned
portion. The developer proposed a $12 million apartment complex development that
will include 75 units consisting of 24 onebedroom, 45 two-bedroom and six threebedroom apartments.
Jackson said new development within Lithonia Plaza is the top issue for residents and
city officials.
“People want to see [changes to the plaza] happen,” Jackson said. “That’s been a long
time issue since the development of the plaza, some people thought it was a bad idea at

the time 50 years ago and now we’re looking
at bringing in some development that will be
much more consistent with the historic character of the city.”
Residents are also interested in having
more businesses in the city, according to
“We want to reach out to the private sector to diversify the types of businesses that
we have in the city,” she said. “We also want
to increase community activities. We’re very
excited about restarting programing at the
Lithonia Amphitheatre. We’re continuing
with the upgrades that we started a couple of
years ago and have had some private donations to our Downtown Development Authority that will allow that to happen.”

terminated and the youth are
“at great risk for exploitation
and bad outcomes,” according to CHRIS Kids.
Most youth in the JourneyZ Program “have experienced severe physical, sexual,
and/or emotional abuse and
neglect as well as other traumas; as a result have serious
behavioral and/or mental
health issues….They are
typically two or more years
behind their peers both socially and academically,” the
CHRIS Kids website states.
Most have been placed in
group homes by the Department of Family and Children’s Services or the juvenile
justice system.
“Young people living in
our group homes typically
have lived in seven other
places since leaving their
family home,” Burnett ex-

plained. “Having a safe and
attractive home environment
means a great deal to their
emotional wellbeing.”
Founded in 1981 by
Junior League of Atlanta,
CHRIS KIDS is headquartered in DeKalb County and
serves the entire metropolitan area. Its mission is to heal
children, strengthen families
and build community.
“We’re not just giving
these girls a place to live,”
Burnett said. “We provide
individual counseling to help
them get their lives on track.
We help them with life skills
and provide educational
tools. It’s so important that
they have a home they can
feel good about. So many
of them did not have that at
earlier points in their lives.
This has been a huge win for
all of us.”

Request for Proposals 
   The City of Chamblee seeks the services of a qualified 
consultant and/or corporate entities interested in developing a 
comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the City of 
   Sealed proposals will be received no later than Thursday, 
September 17, 2015, at 2:00 PM at Chamblee City Hall. RFP 
documents may be obtained from the State of Georgia/DOAS 
website at Additional 
information is available from the Chamblee City Manager’s 
office at 770‐986‐5026. 

Request for Proposals 

The City of Chamblee seeks the services of a qualified 
consultant and/or corporate entities interested in developing a 
citywide Strategic Economic Development Plan for the City of 
   Sealed proposals will be received no later than Thursday, 
September 17, 2015, at 4:00 PM at Chamblee City Hall. RFP 
documents may be obtained from the State of Georgia/DOAS 
website at Additional 
information is available from the Chamblee City Manager’s 
office at 770‐986‐5026. 


Page 12A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

Tour of District 5
DeKalb County commissioners and officials spent the morning of
Aug. 21 touring District 5 in south DeKalb to learn about its assets.
Photos by Andrew Cauthen

A new campus of Georgia Piedmont Technical College has opened on
Wesley Chapel Road.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and Commissioners Kathie Gannon, Stan Watson, Jeff Rader, Mereda Davis
Johnson, Nancy Jester, Larry Johnson and Sharon Barnes Sutton pose for a group picture outside of This Is It
restaurant on Panola Road.

In November 2014, Acuity Brands Inc., a lighting solutions provider, announced its relocation to this building in Panola Industrial Park and the
creation of 700 jobs for DeKalb and Rockdale counties.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson during the District 5 tour.

An old barn is one of several historic sites in the Arabia Mountain
National Heritage Area.

Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson and Charlie Monroe, a manager at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, talk to the tour participants.

An old apartment complex is being demolished near Memorial Drive.

The District 5 bus tour visited the Sandstone Estates neighborhood, with its large homes.



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 13A



On Aug. 21 reality court TV show Judge Penny Brown visited DeKalb County’s Cedar Grove High School. Band students, cheerleaders and other student organization performed for the
special guest.

The visit was a collaboration with The Atlanta Dream team for Penny’s “You Matter” tour.

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

(404) 294-2900


Page 14A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

Avondale Estates officials
discuss Fenner Dunlop property
by Carla Parker
While some members of the
Avondale Estates Board of Mayor
and Commissioners are pleased with
the progress made in the Euramex
development proposal, one commissioner is not happy with the lack of
certain details.
During its Aug. 19 work session officials discussed the most
recent plans presented by Euramex
Management Group on the 13-acre
Fenner Dunlop property purchased
in October 2014.
Mayor Jonathan Elmore said he
and Commissioners Lindsay Forlines and John Quinn met with EurEuramex Management Group is working with Avondale Estates city officials on a developamex in the spring and were shown
ment for the 13-acre Fenner Dunlop property.
a rough draft illustrating what Euramex planned on the property.
said. “The greenspace that they’re
hope to continue to hear from [the
“They came back to us recently
giving us, in my opinion, are courtresidents]…and I have every confiand showed us more of a refined
yards for the townhomes and the
dence we’re going to come out with
plan,” Elmore said. “They responded a situation that addresses our needs
apartments. They’re not anywhere
to some of our concerns. We’re still
and [creates] something that we can close to the Town Green [park].
talking to them, asking them to look be proud of.
Elmore is pushing for more
at some things.”
greenspace to the developers.
“The thing we have to be conElmore said Euramex is propos- scious of is striking a balance be“The greenspace that they are
ing townhouses and apartments, a
providing is kind of nestled in the
cause we’re asking for a lot of stuff
parking deck, greenspace, a grocery
townhouses,” he said. “They’re still
and we don’t have a lot of money to
store, retail spaces and a public space throw at it ourselves,” Quinn added. working on that, and we hope to
for the property. Elmore said his top “My biggest fear is that if we’re too
have that soon.”
criterion for the development is that rigid, too demanding…that we’ll end
Giager was also concerned about
it feed into the character of Avondale up with the developers throwing up
the number of apartments and lack
of mixed-use buildings.
their hands and walking away. I’m
“From my point of view, the
“They’re apartment builders
pleased with the progress we’re seeimportant thing is the community,”
ing, and I’m carefully optimistic that and managers, they’re not mixedhe said. “That’s why I’m doing thing we’re going to get this done.”
use people and they told us that
this, I think that’s why we’re all doForlines said she is excited about straight out,” he said. “We’re zoned
ing this—is the tremendous sense of what has been presented so far.
for mixed-use, I want to see mixedcommunity that we have here and
use where 75 percent of it is in one
“We are about to get some fanjust making sure this new developbuilding. I don’t think that’s in the
tastic development for our downment fosters that sense of commucharacter of Avondale and right now,
town,” she said. “I’m very pleased
nity and build on our sense of comI think we have to put a heavier foot
with where we are. They get us they
munity. That to me is the criteria.”
get this city, they’re working with us down.”
The mayor and commission have and they’re listening. I believe we’re
One resident asked when the
had several meetings with Euramex
plans and developers will be preabout to do something really great,
to express what they would like on
bringing in a lot of components that sented to the public. Elmore did not
the property—a mixed-use develop- the majority of our citizens have
have a definitive answer.
ment with greenspace. Quinn said
“As to when they’re going to
wanted for a long time.”
both sides are listening to each other.
present something, I honestly don’t
Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager
“My view is a lot of progress has was the only commissioner to speak know,” he said. “We’re working on
been made since our initial meeting against the tentative plans.
that. They’re working on some drawquite some time ago to get someings. We’ve begun talking a little bit
“We have requested more retail,
thing that looks more and more like we have requested more greenspace
about the process, but we may need
Avondale,” Quinn said. “We’re not
to call a special work session.”
and we haven’t received it,” Giager
through with that process yet. We

DeKalb solicits residents to serve on audit oversight committee
In the interest of fostering accountability at all levels of the organization, DeKalb County Government is creating an Audit Oversight
Committee (AOC) as authorized by
the Georgia General Assembly in
House Bill 599 (signed into law May
12, 2015).  This committee will function independently in conducting
performance and financial-related
audits for all departments, offices,
agencies, and programs of the Coun-

ty.  The objective is to ensure County
programs are effectively achieving
the purpose for which they were authorized and funded. 
County residents interested in
volunteering to serve on the fivemember committee are invited to
submit their resumes to
To be eligible for service on the
committee, applicants must reside in
DeKalb; possess expertise conduct-

ing performance or financial audits;
have a minimum  five years of experience and certification as one of
the following—public accountant, 
internal or performance auditor, or
management accountant; or 10 years
relevant professional experience.
Committee members will serve a
one- or four-year term.
Résumés will be accepted
through Sept. 11.

Indictment against
ex-judge dropped
A former DeKalb County judge
was indicted by a grand jury Aug.
20 but the indictment was dismissed
four days later.
Former Superior Court judge
Cynthia Becker was indicted Aug.
20 by a Cobb County grand jury on
four counts of making false statements to the state Judicial Qualifications Commission which was investigating her for ethics violations.
Becker also was accused of two
counts of making false statements in
writing to the commission.
Hart County District Attorney
Parks White dismissed the charges
against Becker, who in turn signed a
consent order with the commission
promising to never again seek judicial office.
White said Becker also delivered
a written apology for what in the
dismissal were “erroneous statements that became the object of this
legal investigation and prosecution,”
according to the Daily Report.
“I am deeply sorry for my incorrect statements that I made to the
JQC,” said Becker, according to the
Daily Report. “I did not properly
prepare for the Sept. 8, 2014, JQC
meeting. The passage of time (almost 10 months) made my memory
poor and caused me to make these
statements to the JQC that were
Becker came under fire for her
handling of the case against former
school superintendent Crawford
Lewis, who originally faced charges
including violation of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and three counts of theft.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Lewis agreed to serve as a
key witness for the state to avoid jail
time. At Lewis’ sentencing hearing
last year, however, Becker rejected
the agreement and sentenced Lewis
to serve a year behind bars.
That decision by Becker was
reversed Oct. 24, 2014, by the Georgia Court of Appeals, which stated
Becker’s “failure…to adhere to the
terms of the negotiated plea would
likely offend the integrity and reputation of the criminal justice system
even more than any unkept promise
made by a prosecutor.”
Three days after the appellate
court’s decision, Becker ordered
new trials for former schools construction chief Pat Reid and her
ex-husband Tony Pope, an architect,
who were found guilty of defrauding
the school district of more than $1
Becker also ordered Reid, who
had been sentenced to 15 years, and
Pope, who received an eight-year
sentence, to be released from prison
immediately. The pair were re-arrested in May and resentenced.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 15A


Continued From Page 1A

dren no matter if they were
coming to the recreation
center for basketball, dance
or other activities and talk
to them about the benefits of
playing chess.
His one rule was, “If you
came in there you were not
coming back out until he was
done. It was not going to be a
lot of in and out. He was really serious at all times about
chess,” Terrell said. “He’s going to be missed.”
Terrell said the recreation
center staff and members had
become accustomed to the
chess program and had plans
to continue the tournaments
this fall.
During the summer of
2011, Hardeman expanded
his chess tutelage initiative
and formed a partnership
with Unconditional Love for
Children, Inc., (ULC) a nonprofit educational and youth
foundation based in Stone
Mountain. This partnership
fostered relationships and
outreach that provided many
youth and young adults access to organized chess and
the long-term benefits.
The 20th tournament was
held in May of this past year.
Over the years, hundreds of
students had the opportunity
to participate in Hardeman’s
Through Hardeman’s
efforts, the following institutions formed new chess
venues: Nick’s Barbershop
in Stone Mountain, Green
Forest Christian Academy in
Decatur, Georgia Perimeter
College in Clarkston, The C.
Freeman Poole Senior Chess
Club Players in Cobb County;
and Harvest Lodge Home in
Unconditional Love for
Children, chess coordinator
Barry Gray worked alongside Hardeman and his ULC
Gray said Hardeman, “believed in keeping students
engaged. When they lost a
game while playing with him,
they did not become agitated
or despondent; they simply
pleaded for a rematch. Beau
wanted his students to think
strategically and play chess
like a predator, ever mindful of the next big move. He
instilled in them a sense of
character, competitiveness,
self-confidence and challenged their young minds to
think under pressure.”
Gray added, “Beau encouraged students to be competitive in their schoolwork

as well as chess, join the United States Chess Federation
and participate in local and
nationally rated chess tournaments.”
In 1962 Hardeman
graduated with honors from
Campbell Street High School
where he was the statistician
of the football team, sang in
the chorus and was active in
many other school activities.
During his junior and senior
years of high school, he was
selected as one of 11 students
to participate in an accelerated program at Volusia
County Community College.
Hardeman didn’t wait
until high school to make his
college decision. He discussed
attending Morehouse College in the seventh grade and
never wavered from his determination to do so. In September of 1962, he achieved
his dream of attending the
college of his choice.
At Morehouse College
Hardeman was introduced to
the game of chess by friend
Eric Mitchell at the Canterbury House near campus. It
was then that Hardeman first
discovered his lifelong love
for chess.
After attending Morehouse
for three years, Hardeman
enlisted in the United States
Air Force where he spent four
years. During his years in the
Air Force, he represented his
division at many chess tournaments.
Hardeman returned to
Morehouse College and majored in Mathematics with
a minor in Chemistry. He
graduated in 1971 and began
working for Stanford Research Institute International
in Palo Alto, CA at the beginning of the computer era.
Hardeman worked with
Douglas Engelbart, the
inventor of the computer
When he left California,
he moved to Atlanta, which
became his permanent home.
He later returned to Morehouse where he was instrumental in the development
and teaching of computer science courses.
Hardeman retired from
AT&T in January 2014.
In addition to his career
and his love for chess, Hardeman was a poet and writer.
He published two poetry
books during his militant social activist days in the 1970’s
in California.

Planning Director Andrew Baker was the main guide for the tour around the district. Photo by Andrew

District 5 Continued From Page 1A
of the somewhat rural suburban flavor,”
Mereda Johnson said.
“What I wanted to do was to show all
of my commissioners the 5th district,” she
said. “I wanted them to see it and I wanted
them to have an appreciation for the possibilities that [are] here in the 5th district.”
Mereda Johnson said, “It’s a unique
district in that a large percentage of the
district is residential and [there’s] so much
potential for commercial. [There is] so
much that the fifth district can do to attract…substantial businesses into the [district].”
With its medical centers, greenspace
and MARTA rail station, District 5 is
poised to “attract meaningful development,” Johnson said. “We have enough to
sell ourselves, and we have not done that
before. I’d like to see us be proactive and to
do that I wanted the other commissioners
to have an appreciation of the 5th district.
That was the reason that I requested this
Andrew Baker, the county’s director
of planning and sustainability, said, “The
purpose of the trip was really to expose
the general commissioners to the assets as
well as some of the potential opportunities
within District 5 because it’s not often that
they get to drive and see and detail the different things that are happening and being
developed in District 5.”
Baker said District 5 assets include
South DeKalb Mall, Stonecrest Mall, its
industrial areas and DeKalb Medical Hillandale.
“The challenges are to expose and have
a coordinated strategy to link those assets
and opportunities to the strategic economic development plan,” Baker said.
Another “great gem and a great asset” is
Arabia Mountain, Baker said.
“I think the best-kept secret is Arabia
Mountain,” he said. “I think there’s a lot
of opportunities for it…to really bring
people and tourism to that particular area,
because then they could stay at the hotels [and have] connectivity to Stonecrest
Commissioner Nancy Jester said, “It
was great to be on this tour with my fellow commissioners and the CEO and all
the other folks. It was great to be able have

an interactive conversation and hear from
different folks narrating the tour that have
a lot of expertise in different areas.”
The highlight of the tour was “the Arabia Mountain area and learning about the
heritage sites there,” she said.
“I thought…going to the city of
Lithonia and hearing from the mayor was
particularly interesting,” Jester said.
Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson,
who took the District 5 tour, told the participants about the historic Bruce Street
School, the first public school for Blacks in
DeKalb County. She also talked about the
city’s history in the granite industry.
“That was fascinating and I really appreciated learning that,” Jester said.
District 5 has “some beautiful conservation areas—the park lands,” Jester said.
“That’s a real jewel and we need to make
sure we’re protecting that.”
The district has “some areas …where
blight needs to be addressed and where
redevelopment needs to be addressed and
we talked about that on the tour,” Jester
“I look forward to working with the
county and my fellow commissioners to
make sure those things happen and we
can revitalize some of those areas and redevelop some of those areas that need to
revitalized,” Jester said.
“I think District 5 has a unique position …because it’s positioned so advantageously with regards to transportation and
close proximity to the other counties to
our south,” she said. “As economic activity…starts to increase with increased traffic through the Port of Savannah…, I think
District 5 is positioned to be a transportation hub [and] a distribution hub.”
Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May
called the tour “unprecedented,” saying
it was the first time in his nine years in
county government that all the commissioners and the CEO have been on a tour
“I really believe this will work to bring
us closer together with greater understanding at least of District 5,” May said.
“I think we ought to redo this for all of the
districts. I know District 5 because I represented it for almost nine years, but I don’t
know District 1, 2, 3 and 4 that way.


Page 16A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015

Decatur’s public works building wins award
by Andrew Cauthen
Decatur’s Eloise T. Leveritt Public Works Building
Project was recently named
a 2015 Public Works Project
of the Year by the American
Public Works Association
The award goes to the
city of Decatur, as the managing agency; Hogan Construction Group, the primary
contractor; and Stevens &
Wilkinson, the primary consultant. The award will be
presented during APWA’s
2015 International Public
Works Congress & Exposition awards ceremony in
Phoenix, Ariz., on Aug. 31.
The public works building project is being honored
in the category for structures
costing $5 million to $25
“Very few public works
facilities get the opportunity
to turn into what this one
turned into,” said David

Junger, Decatur’s assistant

for its public works facility,

The Eloise T. Leveritt Public Works building has been recognized by a
national organization. Photo by Travis Hudgons

city manager over public
works. “So much of what we
do is in the field. But here
we moved in all of the permitting operations into one
place. If you have a construction project in the city, you’re
now coming to one building
to handle everything.”
The city of Decatur held
a ribbon-cutting ceremony

located at 2635 Talley St., on
March 24. The state-of-the
art building creates a “one
stop shop” for construction
related permitting and enforcement. It also is a joint
facility with City Schools of
Decatur’s maintenance department.
The building, which has
attained LEED Gold status,


was expanded from 15,000
square feet to 30,000 square
feet and included the purchase of an adjacent building
used for shop and storage
space and may provide space
for a small retail incubator.
Building improvements include all new systems, finishes, furniture and equipment.
The facility also features low
maintenance flooring, offices
with natural lighting and waterless urinals.
“It’s a nice building,”
Junger said.
“We look at our public
works folks just like we do
police and fire [personnel],”
Junger said. “When we have
a bad storm, the people that
are going to be out there on
the front lines with police
and fire are public works
“We try to take care of
our police and fire [personnel], public works folks are
equally important,” Junger
Junger said, “The old
building didn’t have much of

a break room, so when the
crews…came in for lunch at
11:30 [a.m.], they sat out in
a couple of our warehouse
buildings and ate,” Junger
said. “Now we have a real
break room.
“For department meetings, the workers met in
a motor maintenance bay
“where we do all of the maintenance on our fleet,” Younger said. “Now we do that in
the break room.”
The building is named
after the city’s former mayor
pro tem and commissioner
Elosie T. Leveritt who
served from 1957 to 1972.
The APWA Public Works
Projects of the Year awards
are presented annually to
promote excellence in the
management and administration of public works
projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing
agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative


DeKalb County 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan for HUD Programs to include HOME FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR DEKALB COUNTY COMMUNITY HOUSING
the 2016 Annual Action Plan
On September 17, 2015, the DeKalb County Human and Community Development DepartGRANT APPLICATION PROCESS FOR
will begin accepting applications from non-profit, affordable housing developers who are
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ment
interested in becoming Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). Applications
2016 FUNDS
and general information may be obtained beginning September 17, 2015 at the DeKalb County

On September 17, 2015 the DeKalb County Human and Community Development
Department will begin accepting applications from faith-based organizations,
community organizations, municipalities, non-profit agencies and other entities
interested in applying for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG funds for the Year 2016. All applications or requests are
subject to future HUD funding for these programs. CDBG and ESG applications and
general information may be obtained beginning September 17, 2015 at the DeKalb
County website; For more information, please join us at
the meetings or call (404) 371-2727.

Application/Information/Technical Assistance Workshop
Thurs., Sept. 17, 2015
Wesley Chapel Library
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
2861 Wesley Chapel Road
Decatur, Georgia 30034

This meeting is very important given the funding reductions in the various programs!

website: To receive information regarding the application process,
please join the DeKalb Human and Community Development Department at the Application/
Technical Assistance Workshop on September 17, 2015.

Owners/developers are invited to apply for loans to assist in the construction or rehabilitation
of multi-family, residential projects in DeKalb County. Funds are provided as HOME Investment
Partnership Program loans through an application underwriting process. Applications may be obtained beginning September 17, 2015 on the DeKalb County website,
To receive information regarding the application process and loan requirements, please attend
the Application/Information/Technical Assistance Workshop on September 17, 2015.

Application/Information/Technical Assistance Workshop
Thurs., Sept. 17, 2015
Wesley Chapel Library
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
2861 Wesley Chapel Road
Decatur, Georgia 30034

This meeting is very important given the funding reductions in the various programs!

Public Hearings
The DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department
is conducting two Public Hearings.
Thurs, Sept. 24, 2015 at 6:30 PM
Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 6:30 PM
Community Needs
Proposed Budget/Annual Action Plan
Community Needs
Proposed Budget/Annual Action Plan
Maloof Auditorium
Maloof Auditorium
Maloof Auditorium
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA
We will present the proposed 2014The purpose of this public hearing is to We will present the proposed 2014-2018 The purpose of this public hearing is
to solicit input from the public regard- 2018 Consolidated Plan including the
solicit input from the public regarding
Consolidated Plan including the 2016
ing community needs and priorities.
2016 Annual Action Plan, proposed
community needs and priorities. We
Annual Action Plan, proposed budget
We will discuss general information
budget and solicit public questions
will discuss general information
and solicit public questions and/or
concerning the 2014-2018 Consoliand/or comments.
concerning the 2014-2018 Consolidated
dated Plan including the 2016 Annual
Plan including the 2016 Annual Action
Action Plan, application submission
Plan, application submission process,
process, and program updates.
and program updates.
Public Hearings
The DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department
is conducting two Public Hearings.
Thurs., Sept. 24, 2015 at 6:30 PM
Thurs., Jan. 21, 2016 at 6:30 PM


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 17A

Comics and craft beer come
together at My Parents’ Basement
by Kathy Mitchell
Many business owners say
their enterprise started with a
dream. Usually they mean a figurative dream. Tim Ensor, one of
the owners of newly opened My
Parents’ Basement in Avondale
Estates, said the pub and comic
book shop concept came from a
literal dream.
“I actually woke up having dreamed about opening a
place like this. Even the name
My Parents’ Basement was in
the dream,” said Ensor, who explained that he grew up a home
where the basement was devoted
to games, toys and comics.
Ensor and the friends who
became his business partners—Dave DeFeo and Lawson
Wright—all have backgrounds in
the restaurant industry and were
all working in Decatur restaurants when they decided to start
their own.
“We all do some of everything here, but my partners have
been more involved in developing the menu while I’ve focused
on the beers,” he said. My Parents’ Basement features 29 on tap
beers, many of which are local
craft beers. There also are two on
tap craft sodas and an on tap iced
Since My Parents’ Basement
opened on Aug. 12 business has
been brisk at both lunch and dinner times, said Ensor, who describes the bill of fare as “American pub” with lots of sandwiches
and small plates. “We make our
own hot pocket and the Philly
cheesesteak is really good.”
Ensor, who describes himself
as an on-and-off comic fan, said
one event the sparked the launch
of a new business was the gift
of approximately 25,000 comic
books. “A friend from high
school donated the comic books
after a bookstore he owned
closed. And the comics were literally stored in his parents’ basement,” he said.
My Parents’ Basement carries both new and used comics,
but the focus is on new editions.
“Comics come in every Wednesday,” according to Ensor. “We
have possible 150 titles at one
time and more than 2,000 books.

Customers can come in, buy the
latest editions of their favorites
and sit and read as they have a
beer.” Noting that hanging out is
encouraged, he said customers
are welcome to bring in board
games and play as long as they
like while they eat and drink.
He said the shop offers a
combination of classic comics
such as those featuring super
heroes and independent comics
with fantasy themes that appeal
more to adult audiences. Despite
its being a pub, My Parents’ Basements includes children’s titles
and welcomes families.
“Comics appeal to wide range of
readers. Some are children and
young adults, but some there are
lots of older comic book readers as well,” Ensor said. “There
are people who enjoyed comics
when they are children who are
rediscovering them. Comics are
popular with all ages right now.”
In recent years, “Comic
books have turned into the Superman of the print media industry,” according to an article
in USA Today, which states “the
printed comic book remains a
highly prized valuable that collectors can resell and store. Plus,
blockbuster movies based on
comic book heroes, such as Iron
Man, are great publicity.”
The partners see the focus
of My Parents’ Basement equally
divided between its identity as a
pub and its identity as a comic
store, according to Ensor.
After looking around for
a suitable place, the partners
settled on the North Avondale
Road building that for years had
been The James Joyce Pub then
briefly reopened under several
different concepts before closing for three years. The building
looks much the same as it did in
its earlier uses, but because it had
been closed for years cleaning,
painting and remodeling were
necessary. “It’s really a beautiful
building and we were just showing it some love by fixing it up,”
Ensor said.
“This is a great location,” he
continued. “So many customers are telling us that they’re so
happy to see this location open

Co-owner Tim Ensor says he literally dreamed of opening a comic book bar.

Some area residents have commented that
they are pleased to see the space that for
many years was the James Joyce pub open

Approximately 150 comic book titles are available at
any given time.

The bar features 29 on tap beers, many local craft brews.


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


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 18A

Gregg Greer holds his large male Iguana.

Greer talks to a group of students about the milk snake and allows them to feel the texture of the snake’s skin.

Nature presentations
explore beyond books
by Ashley Oglesby
In the fall of 2010 naturalist Greg Greer
launched “Mr. Greg’s Reptile Roadshow,”
a one-of-a kind mobile habitat for that he
uses to travel and teach children about reptiles.
Greer’s roadshow gives youngsters
hands-on, up-close and personal experiences with non-venomous lizards, snakes,
alligators, turtles and tortoises. The experience for children is much more than what
Greer calls a circus act.
Greer doesn’t simply walk around a
room with animals for ooh’s and aahh’s. He
said he is passionate about educating children on reptiles.
Greer conducts presentations for
schools, scouting groups, home schools,
special events and birthday parties. His recent show at Dunwoody’s Butterfly Festival
attracted thousands of attendees with presentations on a blue tongued skink, a milk
snake, a monitor lizard and more.
“There’s so much mystery around reptiles. They’re so misunderstood. Almost
every adult fears them and so education is
so important for the kids,” Greer said.
Greer works with students as young as
3. He said each of his programs is designed
to be different depending on the grade

“Frequently I’ll talk about patterns as
a means of introducing young kids to live
reptiles. They get these great big grins on
their faces when I ask for instance, what
the pattern of Indian star tortoise is? Some
youngster puts his hand up and says it’s an
AB pattern. They get so excited about it.
When that happens, you’ve got them,” he
He added, “It’s almost like every other
year is where there are major changes in the
comprehension levels of a student. I
really have to be very cognizant and ask a
few questions when I first go into a school
to know exactly what level the students
Greer has worked with reptiles for
more than 40 years; as an executive director
of the Chattahoochee Nature Center, in the
herpetology department at Zoo Atlanta and
for 13 years as a naturalist in ecotourism
traveling the world as an expedition leader
to wildlife regions such as Africa, Australia,
South America, Antarctica and Asia.
Greer said, “because of my years with
the Chattahoochee Nature Center where we
worked with a lot of schools and obviously
environmental education was the mission
of the nature center, as it is with Dunwoody
Nature Center… I have just carried on that
same mission with what I do and a lot of
people have learned of my business.”
Greer said his business has sustained

See Explore on page 19A

Students pet Greer’s albino Burmese python which was rescued from hurricane Katrina. The snake is just over 12 feet in length.

Gregg Greer holds an African spurred tortoise.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 19A

New state law benefits dual
enrollment students
by Kysa Anderson Daniels
A new Georgia law,
which went into effect July 1,
is aimed at streamlining the
process and cutting costs for
students interested in dual
New “Move on When
Ready” (MOWR) legislation
(SB 132) combines existing
dual enrollment options,
including MOWR, Accel
and the HOPE Grant, into
a single program, making
it easier for students and
their parents to navigate the
process of attending college
while still in high school.
It also permits students to
choose from a wider selection of dual enrollment
The Georgia Student Finance Commission will administer the program, which
is funded by state appropriations and postsecondary institutions.
Georgia Perimeter Col-

lege educates more dually
enrolled students than any
other college or university
within the University System
of Georgia. This spring,
some 1,300 of them took
classes across GPC’s five
According to Gina
Gavin, Georgia Perimeter
director of early college
programs, the new MOWR
guidelines allow eligible
high school students to attend college without having
to pay for tuition, fees or
books. Previously, students
were responsible for their
books and/or student fees,
depending on their dual enrollment funding option.
“This is a major change
but a great opportunity for
high school students,” Gavin
State appropriations will
pay the tab for dual enrollment tuition. The state also
will allocate $50 per student
per semester for student fees.

MOWR state funds provide
$25 per semester hour—up
to 15 hours—for textbooks.
The postsecondary institution must pay any remaining
book costs.
“We are still in the process of ramping up for these
changes, which will have
significant impact on the
number of dual enrollment/
MOWR students we serve
going forward,” Gavin said.
Courses taken under
Move on When Ready will
not count against hours allotted for HOPE Scholars.
A number of frequently
asked questions for the
MOWR Act are listed at the
Georgia Department of Education website.
Georgia lawmakers
passed the measure earlier
this year. It went into effect
July 1 and will roll out fully
this fall.

Chamblee Middle School gets new principal
The DeKalb County
School District has announced the appointment
of José Manuel DeJesus
as principal of Chamblee
Middle School (CMS). DeJesus is a veteran educator who
brings 22 years of experience
to CMS, including his most
recent job as principal of
Denn John Middle School in
Osceola County, Fl.
“Mr. DeJesus is an outstanding school leader and
we are happy to welcome
him to DeKalb County,”
said District Superintendent
Dr. R. Stephen Green. “His
track record of accomplishments will serve the best
interests of the students and
staff at Chamblee Middle
“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity
to serve this school community,” said DeJesus. “Chamblee Middle School is an
exceptional school with an
outstanding staff, and I am
committed to making sure
that the tradition of excellence continues.”
An accomplished principal with more than a decade
in middle school leadership
positions, DeJesus has served


as principal for Gwinnett
County’s Berkmar Middle
School and Beaver Ridge Elementary School and as assistant principal at Berkmar
High School and Berkeley
Lake Elementary School. He

has taught middle and high
school mathematics and
served as a middle school
assistant principal in Palm
Beach County, Fl. DeJesus is
also a graduate of Gwinnett
Public School’s Quality-Plus
Leader Academy.
Bilingual and fluent in
Spanish, DeJesus has had the
opportunity to work with
students and educators from
many backgrounds and has
served as a Title 1 specialist
in the Migrant Program and
as an ESOL coordinator.
He earned his master’s
degree in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic
University and a bachelor’s
degree from Chapman University. A father of three,
DeJesus also served for 10
years in the U.S. Navy.


DeKalb County Government seeks two County residents to serve as volunteers on the 5-member Audit Oversight Committee as required by House
Bill 599 of the Georgia General Assembly. This committee will function
independently in conducting performance and financial-related audits for
all departments, offices, agencies, and programs of the County.
Interested individuals must meet the following requirements:

•Reside in DeKalb

•Possess expertise conducting performance or financial audits

•Minimum five years experience and certified as one of following -

public accountant, internal or performance auditor, management

accountant; or ten years relevant professional experience

•Serve one- or four-year term
Résumés accepted 8/24 – 9/11/15 at

Explore Continued From Page 18A
through repeat clients at
schools and scouting organizations.
He said, “Once I get into
the school or into the scouting organization they typically call me numerous time
through the year and have
me do programs.”
From the age of four
Greer said he “never wanted
anything other than to learn
and be involved with wildlife
and reptiles were a big part
of that.”
Greer’s father was in the
navy and as a result they
traveled a lot.
He said one of his fondest memories is catching a

snake for the first time, a
California king snake in San
Diego, Calif.
Greer has now collected
approximately 100 animals
for his business. He said he
has enough of each animal to
only work an animal once a
“With maintaining a collection of any type animal
it’s really important to make
sure that whatever you’re doing is not stressing them out,”
he said.
For additional information about Mr. Greg’s Roadshow visit

enrolling now
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as well as our other nine locations

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The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 21A

Oglethorpe hires new SWD alumna Jasmine Riddick
cross country, trackreceives ITA academic honor
and-field coach
The Oglethorpe athletic department hired Kirk
Shellhouse as the new head
cross country/track-and-field
“We are extremely excited to welcome Kirk Shellhouse to Oglethorpe University and to the Stormy Petrel
family,” said Director of Athletics Becky Hall. “With his
experience in recruiting and
his belief in the Division III
philosophy, Kirk is an ideal
fit for us.”
Shellhouse comes to the
Stormy Petrels by way of
Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he served
as the cross country/trackand-field assistant coach for
the 2014-15 season. While
there, his teams won men’s
and women’s Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
(SCAC) championships in
outdoor track and field in
2015. In addition, he coached
four All-Region cross country honorees, 23 total AllSCAC honorees and seven
SCAC individual championship winners.
Before his time at Trinity, he worked as the assistant
coach at Defiance College in
Defiance, Ohio, from 2012 to
2014, where he was a part of
teams that won the women’s
outdoor and indoor trackand-field championships
in the Heartland Collegiate
Athletic Conference in 2014.
While there, he also received
his master of arts in education in 2014.
Shellhouse also served as
an assistant coach at Oberlin
College in Oberlin, Ohio, in
the spring of 2011, as well
as serving as a head and assistant coach at the high
school level in Ohio. He has
a USA Track and Field Level
1 coaching certification.
“I am extremely excited
to join the Oglethorpe University family and want to
thank Becky Hall and the rest
of the search committee for
this opportunity,” Shellhouse
said. “The overall vision
and importance of athletics
being an extension of the
classroom makes this institution special. We will begin to
build upon an already wellestablished cross country/
track-and-field program
with these values in mind. I
do believe that Oglethorpe
presents a unique and special

Kirk Shellhouse will take over the
coaching duties for cross country
and track and field.

atmosphere for any student
and that the cross country/
track-and-field athletes will
excel as we move ahead.”
Shellhouse received a
bachelor of science degree in
history and education from
Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio in 2010. While at
Heidelberg, he competed for
the Ohio Athletic Conference cross country championship team at the school in
2009 and for the conference
track and field championship
team in 2010. Shellhouse
took part in four NCAA
Division III cross country
championships and one
Division III track-and-field
championship as a studentathlete. He served as a student assistant coach for the
program in the fall of 2010.
“We are excited to see the
cross country and track-andfield teams continue to grow
and to reach new heights
under Kirk’s leadership,” Hall
The Oglethorpe cross
country season will begin
Sept. 5 leading up to the SAA
Cross Country Championships Oct. 31. The Petrels
will be looking to improve
on a pair of eighth-place finishes in last year’s event. The
track-and-field season begins
with the exhibition indoor
portion in mid-January followed by the outdoor season,
which begins in March. The
Petrels finished fifth as a
team in the women’s track
and field competition and
seventh in the men’s at the
2015 SAA Track-and-Field

The Intercollegiate Tennis
Association (ITA) has named
Johnson C. Smith University women’s tennis player
Jasmine Riddick to its 2015
All-Academic Team.
Riddick, a DeKalb
County native, currently
carries a 3.76 grade point
average at JCSU where she
is pursuing a dual degree in
business administration and
A rising senior, Riddick competes in tennis at
No. 5 and No. 6 Singles, and
at the No. 3 Doubles positions. She along with teammate Nichelle Heard, of
Douglasville’s, Chapel Hill
High School, were the only
two student-athletes from
the Central Intercollegiate
Athletic (CIAA) Conference
named to the ITA All-Academic Team.
To earn ITA ScholarAthlete status a player must
be a varsity letter winner,
have a grade point average of
at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale)

Southwest DeKalb alumna Jasmine Riddick is one of two athletes from
the CIAA Conference named to the ITA All-Academic team.

for the current academic
year, and been enrolled at
their present school for at
least two semesters (including freshman thorough senior year).
The ITA annually recognizes more than 3,000
student-athletes on an individual and team basis from
more than 500 different varsity tennis programs.

A 2012 graduate of
Southwest DeKalb High
School, Riddck completed
her scholastic academic career with a 3.89 grade point
While at SWD she lettered in tennis for two years
and was team-captain, as
voted by her teammates, in
the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Athletes of the Week
The Champion chooses a male and female
high school Athlete of the Week each week
throughout the school year. The choices are based
on performance and nominations by coaches. Please
e-mail nominations to by
Monday at noon.

LaBron Morris

Sydney Morlan

LaBron Morris, Cedar Grove (football): The senior running back rushed
for 167 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns in the 36-0 win over
Southwest DeKalb on Aug. 21.
Sydney Morlan, Marist (golf): The sophomore golfer recently won the
15-18 age group Club Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. She rallied
from a 4 shot deficit on the final day over another Marist player, Mimi Taylor
to win.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 22A

n Nash, Dunwoody open season with win
by Carla Parker
Michael Nash got his first win as a head
coach after Dunwoody defeated Clarkston
32-14 at Hallford Stadium Aug. 21.
“It feels real good,” Nash said. “These kids
deserve it. They worked their tails off and
they’ve believed in the promise that we made
to them that we’re going to get there. We’re a
long way from getting there, but we’re going
to get there and those guys believe in it. They
have faith and they’re going to persevere.”
The Dunwoody Wildcats defense dominated the entire game, allowing only one
score, but the offense took a while to get on
the same page. Dunwoody fumbled on its
opening drive and, Clarkston defensive lineman Julian Morgan was there to scoop the
ball up and return it 50 yards for a touchdown, giving the Angoras a 6-0 lead.
The Wildcats got their first points of the
game on a safety when a bad snap over the
punter’s head rolled to the back of the end
zone to cut Clarkston’s lead to 6-2. The defense forced another safety, closing the gap to
Dunwoody’s offense got in sync just
before halftime when quarterback Nick
Pastrone connected with wide receiver Jake
Oliver on a 38-yard touchdown pass, giving
Dunwoody its first lead of the game, 11-6.
Nash said the offense is still learning the
new system—hence the slow start.
“We’re going from a run-oriented offense
to a passing [offense],” Nash said. “So, it’s going to take us awhile, but we have great kids
and they’re getting it.”
Turnovers continued to plague Clarkston
in the second half. Clarkston quarterback Antonio Mills fumbled in his own end zone, resulting in a safety and extending Dunwoody’s
lead to 13-6.
Running back Brashaun Askew extended
the Wildcats’ lead to 25-6 on two rushing
touchdowns from 37 and 9 yards out respectively.
Clarkston’s Deshamion Paden had a big

Photo by John Silas

return on the kickoff, running down to Dunwoody’s 7-yard line to set up a 7-yard rushing
touchdown by Emrik Foster. Foster scored
on the two-point conversion, cutting the lead
to 25-14.
However, Dunwoody ended Clarkston’s
momentum with an 11-yard touchdown run
by Josh Hudgins, to bring the score to a final
of 32-14.
Dunwoody is off next week, while
Clarkston will take on Lithonia Aug. 28, 7:30
p.m. at Avondale Stadium.
McEachern 50, Tucker 14
The Tucker Tigers are 0-for-2 in the
Corky Kell Classic after falling to the
McEachern Indians 50-14 at the Georgia
Dome Aug. 22.
This year’s game was less competitive
than last year’s 32-29 overtime loss to Norcross. The Tigers’ defense could not find a
Dunwoody quarterback Nick Pastrone (18) eludes Clarkston defendway to stop the Indians’ high-power offense,
ers. Photo by Travis Hudgons
allowing 361 yards and 48 points in the first
McEachern went up 21-0 in the first
quarter before the Tigers got on the board late
in the first quarter on a 35-yard touchdown
pass from Garrett Rigby to Jeremiah Shelley
to cut the lead to 21-7.
The Indians went on to score 27 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Tucker scored on its opening drive of the
second half with a 10-yard touchdown pass
from Rigby to Mason Miller to change the
score to 48-14.
McEachern extended its lead to 50-14 in
the fourth quarter after rushing Rigby to the
back of the end zone for a safety.
Other Scores
Aug. 21
Cedar Grove 36, Southwest DeKalb 0
M.L. King 20, Columbia 7
Miller Grove 41, Towers 7
Redan 28, Lakeside 0
Stephenson 53, Arabia Mountain 22

Clarkston defensive lineman Julian Morgan, left, recovers a fumble
and return it 50 yards for a touchdown. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Tucker’s Demarko Durr (8) breaks-up an attempted reception. Photo by John Silas


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015Page 23A

Saints All-State running back LaBron Morris had 18 carries, 167-yards and two touchdowns against
Southwest DeKalb. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Cedar Grove freshman receiver Jayden Haselwood, right, catches a pass from a
fake punt. Haselwood splits two defenders with the 55-yard pass for a touchdown.
Photo by Travis Hudgons

Cedar Grove shuts out Southwest DeKalb in season opener
by Mark Brock

Miller Grove 41, Towers 7

A defense with three highly recruited and
preseason All-State players played like they were
on a mission as the Cedar Grove Saints shutout
the Southwest DeKalb Panthers 36-0 in the season
opener for both teams at Panthersville Stadium on
Aug. 21.
The Saints’ defense limited the Panthers to 110
yards of offense on 47 plays (2.84 yards/play), did
not allow a score and scored a touchdown on a bad
snap on a punt while the Saints offense led by senior
All-State running back LaBron Morris (18 carries,
167 yards, 2 TDs) and junior quarterback Jelani
Woods (99 yards passing, 2 TDs) scored five times.
The defense forced a three and out on the first
series of the game and the offense answered as
Morris set up his own four-yard touchdown with
6:58 to play in the first quarter by breaking off a 49yard run to the Panther seven yard line. The Saints
led 6-0 after the point-after failed.
Following another three and out by the Saints’
defense Woods scrambled and found Kanuri’s
Cummings open in the end zone for a 16 yard
touchdown pass for a 12-0 lead with 2:40 left in the
first quarter.
Two drives later Morris started with a 35 yard
run that helped set up his 11 yard scamper for an
18-0 lead for the Saints at the half.
Cedar Grove opened the second half by
faking a punt at their on 45 that ended with a pass
from Woods to freshman Jayden Haselwood that
covered 55 yards as Haselwood split defenders on
the way to the end zone to make it 24-0 with 9:13
left in the third quarter.
Four minutes later as the Saints’ defense forced
another punt the snap was high and Cedar Groves’
Adrian Fendell chased down the ball to recover
in the end zone for a 30-0 Cedar Grove advantage
with 5:03 left in the third quarter.
Demetrius Tharpe entered the game for Morris
and took his place to add 70 yards rushing on 5
carries, including a 25 yard scoring run with 10:10
to play to round out the scoring at 36-0.
Cedar Grove (1-0) moves on to face the 1-0
Hallandale (FL) Chargers, a 36-21 winner over
Miami High on Aug. 20, in the Chick-fil-A Battle
of the Borders on Aug. 29 at 2:30 p.m. at Hallford
Stadium. The Panthers (0-1) face Columbia (0-1) in
an 8 p.m. game at Panthersville on Aug. 28.

The first game at Panthersville on Aug. 21
turned into a 41-7 Miller Grove Wolverines’ victory
over the Towers Titans in the season opener for
both teams.
Towers got the early lead as Torrance Marable’s
47 yard run set up the Titan’s in Wolverine territory
on the opening drive of the game. Quarterback
Demeterice Gilbert then hooked up with receiver
DeAngleo Evans on a 29 yard pass play which
included Evans going the final 20 yards after

Ezekio Gouch would then take over the
game for Miller Grove as he would score the next
three touchdowns to blow the game open. Gouch
returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown and got
loose on a 47 yard run as Miller Grove took a 21-7
lead into the half.
Gouch opened the second half with an 85 yard
kickoff return in which he got excellent blocking to
allow him to cutback twice to avoid defenders on
the way to the end zone for a 28-7 Wolverines’ lead.
Williams would use his arm for the final two
scores of the game in less than a minute late in the

Ezekio Gouch (5) runs back an 85-yard kickoff return for a
touchdown–it was his second in the game. Photo by Travis

Raylon Richardson (8) leaps over a Towers defender to
catch a 47-yard pass. Photo by Travis Hudgons

breaking a pair of tackles for a 7-0 Towers lead with
6:22 left in the first quarter.
The Wolverines would knot the game at
7-7 with 28.5 seconds left in the first quarter as
quarterback Davion Williams snuck over from the
one for the score and Okevius Hawkins added the
point after to start a string of 41 unanswered points.
The play was set up by a 47 yard pass from Williams
to 6-6 Raylon Richardson who went up and hauled
in the pass over the Towers defender.

third quarter. Touchdown passes of 18 yards to
Jalen Stuckey and 31 yards to Norman Thrasher
just 59 seconds apart finished the scoring with
Miller Grove up 41-7 heading into the fourth
Miller Grove (1-0) travels on Aug. 28 to face
Pebblebrook (1-0), a 40-0 winner over Whitefield
Academy last week. Towers (0-1) has a bye week
coming up before facing Lithonia on Sept. 4.


Page 24A The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, August 27, 2015