FRIDAY, October 23, 2015 • VOL. 18, NO. 28 • FREE

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

Quick Finder
Education............................... 16A
Classified................................ 17A


Religious leaders
vow to fight

Group upset over Restaurant owners
cutting of trees want diners to
in Kirkwood
experience Italy

Local, 2A

local, 9A

business, 14A

Attendees a town hall meeting Oct. 13 hold up signs of support for interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May.
Photos by Travis Hudgons

Interim county CEO says
he’s become a ‘distraction’
by Andrew Cauthen
Despite calls for him to resign, interim
DeKalb County CEO Lee May said he has
no plans to leave office.

Accusations of corruption have led to a
“challenging moment,” May told reporters
after an Oct. 13 town hall meeting.
“It’s been challenging for my wife and
our family,’s been challenging for

See CEO on page 15A

DeKalb jeweler featured at New York’s fashion week
by Ashley Oglesby
Last month jewelry designer Marisa Pellegrini made her
much-talked about debut at
New York’s Fashion Week.
Pellegrini said she was
thrilled to get the call that
high-end fashion designer
Delby Bragais wanted her
jewelry showcased in her
show, but was a bit overwhelmed that she only had 48
hours to design and create the
pieces for the show.
Bragais learned about Pellegrini’s work through Catherine Schuller, a former Ford
model and admirer of Pellegrini’s jewelry.
Schuller met Pellegrini at
an Atlanta fashion show ear-

lier this year and was working
with Bragais on the premier of
Bragais’ Spring/Summer 2016
Schuller suggested Pellegrini’s jewelry would be the
perfect enhancement to the
special occasion dresses and
outfits Bragais planned to
showcase and Bragais agreed.
Pellegrini said, “It was all
hands on deck after that.”
Pellegrini said she received
an email of 13 images of clothing selected for the show with
a two-day deadline. She said
Bragais also reserved the right
to use or not use the custom
pieces that Pellegrini designed.
“Fortunately, I had recently
been on a buying trip and
had a good array of beauti-

ful Swarovski crystals, beads,
stones and sterling silver in my
studio to work with,” Pellegrini
She added, “I considered
each outfit’s shape, color and
style, sketched out my designs
and then created the pieces.
It was a crazy timeframe, but
I was energized by the challenge, and was elated that
Delby was so pleased with the
jewelry that she used all of the
pieces on the runway.”
Now, Pellegrini plans to
leverage the exposure and industry contacts from Fashion
Week to expand her business
and jewelry lines, as well as
work one-on-one with customers who desire one-of-akind pieces.

See Jeweler on page 15A



Jewelry designer Marisa Pellegrini showcases her work at a local
trunk show.




2A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page

Religious leaders
vow to fight crime
by Andrew Cauthen

Apostle Collette Gunby and other religious leaders want to decrease
crime in south DeKalb.

Pastor Steven Dial said local pastors and community leaders have
joined forces to strike back at crime.

Pastor Marlin Harris described the impact of crime on life in south
DeKalb. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

On the heels of two shootings in south
DeKalb County, a group of pastors and community leaders have banned together to address crime in their communities.
“We’re going to partner with law enforcement, with the communities to take back
our communities,” said Pastor Steven Dial
of Rainbow Park Missionary Baptist Church
during a news conference announcing an
“initiative to join with the law enforcement
of DeKalb County to fight against the crime
that’s going on in DeKalb County.”
During the news conference, Dial quoted
statistics for the south DeKalb community
he said he received from the county police
department. He said aggravated assaults and
business robberies are up 44 percent while
rapes have increased 33 percent.
“With all of the senseless crime that’s going on in our communities…we really have a
crime problem,” Dial said. “What we’re going
to do is address it from a spiritual perspective.
“We have some practical applications that
we’re going to put into place that will help us
fight back crime,…take back the city, take
back the streets and make our county a safe
place in which we can all live,” Dial said.
The impetus for the pastors’ mobilization
was the “senseless crime that took place on
Glenwood just a few days ago. The spike in
crime is up and up and up,” Dial said. “We
constantly have spoken about it and now
we’re going to do something about it.”
Dial said his church has experienced the
affects of crime.
“We’ve had our buses stolen. We’ve had
our van stolen. We’ve had bricks thrown
through our church window on two occasions,” Dial said. “We have had [vandalism]
to our property several times.
“On Good Friday, two of our members
went home and their home [had been] vandalized and their TVs, computers and laptops were all stolen,” he said.
Pastor Marlin Harris of New Life Church
in Decatur said many churches have been
impacted by crime.
“That is a common thing that happens in
many of our churches, especially those that
are right around in the area,” Harris said.
“We all have a stake in the community…
because we pastor here, we minister here,”

Harris said. “Every Sunday folks from this
environment come to our churches and
they’re not just looking for spiritual uplift
and spiritual aid, but they are also looking for
help. They’re looking for practical assistance.
They’re looking for life assistance beyond
Sunday morning.
“We’re in the street and we need to be in
the street more often, because the more we’re
in the street and the more our members are
in street, the less the gang lords and the less
those who commit violent crimes are in the
streets,” Harris said. “Our presence needs to
be felt and seen and that’s what we’re doing
here today.”
Apostle Collette Gunby, senior pastor of
Green Pastures Christian Ministries Inc., said
she is “very concerned.”
“I moved out here as a young bride and
I’ve seen all of the changes,” Gunby said. “I
saw [the community] when it was magnificent. And now I see it in this condition.”
Gunby said the coalition of approximately 100 pastors and community leaders will be
“working toward making it better.”
“We want to motivate the community to
come out and be what we need to be in our
community and bring the change that will
make our community safe and viable as it
was in previous times,” Gunby said.
The pastors will host a community event
Dec. 5 at New Birth Missionary Baptist
Church during which Cedric Alexander,
DeKalb County’s deputy chief operating officer for public safety, will speak.
Additionally, “we’re going to unveil a
plethora of things that we’re going to do to
address various issues in our community,”
Dial said.
In the meantime, “all of these prophets
and spiritual leaders …[are] going to be
praying,” Dial said. “We’re going to be interceding. We’re going to be doing various…
activities at our churches to help our young
people stay off the streets and get an education so we can reduce crime in our communities.
“We’re really going to take back our community,” he said.
Gerard Reynolds, owner of Reynolds
Printing, said, “My concern is the despair of
the people in the neighborhood.”
The plans of the “spiritual advisors [are]
a step in the right direction,” Reynolds said.


FALL is in the AIR!

The City of Brookhaven will hold a public hearing on the proposed FY2016 Budget following 
the City Council Work Session at 6:15 p.m. on November 10, 2015.  Another public hearing will 
be held during the regular scheduled City Council meeting on November 17, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.    
Following the public hearing on November 17, 2015, the City Council will vote to adopt the 
FY2016 Budget.  The FY 2016 Budget will be available for public inspection at City Hall, 4362 
Peachtree Road, and on the website November 6, 2015.   


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 3A


MARTA Police ‘Blow the Whistle’
on sexual assault
The MARTA Police
Department has launched
#BlowtheWhistle, a campaign to help customers
remain safe while on the
transit system. The campaign
will include free self-defense
classes that begin Oct. 24.
“This awareness campaign is another layer of
customer service we’re providing to let the people who
ride MARTA know that we
care about their safety,” said
police Chief Wanda Y. Dunham. “We want to empower
our riders and reinforce the
message that no type of assault will be tolerated on
The campaign is an effort
to address recent sexual assaults on MARTA property
and across metro Atlanta. In
response, officers have been
distributing flyers with safety

tips and handing out whistles
to customers to call for help
in an emergency. The safety
tips range from being aware
of one’s surroundings to exiting an elevator if someone
who makes a traveler uncomfortable gets on.
Since last week, more
than 1,000 whistles and flyers have been distributed. As
part of the multi-pronged
campaign, transit customers
who prefer not to walk home
alone can contact a MARTA
police officer and be accompanied to their destination
within a five-mile radius of
any rail station.
Customers also can be
immediately connected to
MARTA police dispatchers
by using the “See & Say” app,
which is a free download for
Android and iPhone users,
or by using the white or blue




courtesy phones located in
rail stations.
MARTA’s first self-defense class, which is open to
the public, will be held Saturday, Oct. 24, 10:30–11:30
a.m. at the Decatur Recreation Center multipurpose
room 231 Sycamore St.,
Decatur. Other classes will be
scheduled before the end of
the year in Atlanta and Clayton and Fulton counties.
MARTA patrons can
follow and interact with fellow customers on Facebook
and Twitter using #BlowtheWhistle, #MARTACares
and #EnoughisEnough.



The DeKalb County School District is holding five (5) regional public input meetings, to discuss and gather 
information related to its Master Planning of the E‐SPLOST V program, called the Building S.P.A.C.E.S. 
Initiative. The Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Initiative is an effort to determine how, where, and why future 
resources should be dedicated to the improvement and modernization of our buildings and 
infrastructure to support the District’s vision “to inspire our community of learners to achieve 
educational excellence.” 
The meetings will be held on the following dates and times at the locations shown: 


Every 2nd & 4th

5026 Snapfinger Woods
Drive, Suite 110
Decatur, GA

Cedar Grove lineman Netori Johnson does a cartwheel before the
start of the school's homecoming game against Towers Oct. 17 at
Hallford Stadium. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Call today



Time/Date of Meeting 

Meeting Location 

Region 1 

Tuesday, October 20, 7‐9 PM 

3688 Chamblee‐Dunwoody Road 
Chamblee, GA 30341 

Region 5 

Thursday, October 22, 7 – 9 PM 

Region 4 

Monday, October 26, 7 – 9 PM 

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

Region 3 

Tuesday, October 27, 7 – 9 PM 

Can lose up to 10 pounds per month or more!

Region 2 

Thursday, October 29, 7 – 9 PM 



Examination done by Nurse Practitioner!


Chamblee High School 
Columbia High School 
2106 Columbia Drive 
Decatur, GA 30032 

Miller Grove High School 

2645 DeKalb Medical Parkway 
Lithonia, GA 30058 

Stone Mountain High School 
4555 Central Drive 
Stone Mountain, GA 30083 

Tucker High School 
5036 LaVista Road 
Tucker, GA 30084 


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 4A

We’re all South Carolinians
I have been watching with
deep concern the damage
inflicted in my home state of
South Carolina by the recent
As of Oct. 7, at least
15 people had died in the
aftermath of the flooding
and high winds caused by
Hurricane Joaquin which,
although it never actually
made landfall in the United
States, has caused an early estimate of more than a billion
dollars in damage to South
Carolina alone.
Before the rains came in
South Carolina Gov. Nikki
Haley declared a state of
emergency and in the wake
of the flooding President
Barack Obama declared a

Andrew Cauthen

Managing Editor

major disaster in South Carolina, providing aid for up to
11 counties.
The state’s department of
transportation reported Oct.
6 that approximately 500

roads and bridges were still
closed, including a 90-mile
stretch of Interstate 95.
There are sections of
many roads that simply no
longer exist. Many homes
and businesses are standing in water, some with only
their roofs visible. Dams that
usually protect residential
neighborhoods failed, forcing thousands to flee for
their lives.
Among the hardest hit are
Orangeburg County, near my
family home and where I attended church; Horry County, which includes Myrtle
Beach, where I worked right
after college and made many
friends; and Georgetown
County, my beat during my

first newspaper job.
One of the first stories I
covered at The Myrtle Beach
Sun News was about a youth
group from Surfside Presbyterian Church, which later
become my home church. It
was about a year after Hurricane Hugo and the youth
group went to the hard-hit
Charleston area to render aid
during a missions trip.
Now, because of what
Gov. Haley called “a storm
of historic proportions,” the
residents of Charleston need
help again, along with many
in Myrtle Beach, Florence,
Columbia, Georgetown and
many other areas of the Palmetto State.
“We are going to con-

tinue to push through this,”
Gov. Haley said. She is right.
South Carolinians are proud,
caring, resilient folk who will
work together to rebound
from this storm, but it will
take time, money and help.
So, as we Americans always do whenever any of us
are hurt by disasters such as
Hurricane Katrina or 9/11,
let’s help South Carolina. We
never know when it will be
our time to have our hands
out, so let’s send prayers and
money and resources. Let’s
plan now to send teams of
specialists and energetic
youth to help our neighbors.
It is time for all us to be
South Carolinians.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015

Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Stump Trump
“Say what you want...the
World Trade Center came
down during his time (interrupted and challenged by
reporter).... Well, .he was
president, okay? Blame’em,
or don’t blame’em, but he
was president, and the World
Trade Center came down
during his reign” entrepreneur and presidential aspirant Donald Trump, during
his interview with Bloomberg TV, Oct. 14.
The next GOP debate
will be another attempt to
dethrone The Donald from
the middle podium, but I
would suggest instead to
simply give the developer
and self-promoter more rope
to potentially take care of
himself. It remains my contention that when the Trump
campaign jumps the shark it
will be caused or following
yet another more outrageous
pronouncement from the
man himself. 
I would not expect for
Donald Trump to have read
the entire 9/11 Commission Report, though there
is a large-print Kindle edition available from Amazon
for 99 cents, which even
includes an executive summary which is a pretty
quick read. But Mr. Trump
is seeking to hold the Office of President of the
United States. Though our
nation’s global prominence
has slipped a few notches,
we are still easily consid-

Bill Crane


ered the leader of the western world. In addition, the
by far highest number of
fatalities and casualties associated with 9/11 (more
than 3,000), occurred in Mr.
Trump’s hometown, home
state and neighboring New
Jersey. Even if Trump were
only running for mayor
of New York (another job
which he could never actually win), he would be
expected to have a cursory
command of the details and
I’m not here to defend
President George W. Bush,
but again, here are a few, basic indisputable facts.  Former Texas Governor George
Bush and former Vice President Al Gore (you remember, the guy who invented
the Internet), were engaged
in the longest general election in U.S. history, finally
decided by the U.S. Supreme
Court, just a few short weeks

before Bush’s first inauguration on Jan. 20, 2000. The
attacks of 9/11 were just a
short 7 1/2 months later. 
We now know the identities of the terrorists who
hijacked those jets, as well
as about the initial responses,
operating under old protocols on how to respond to
hijackings. All but one of
the 19 identified terrorists,
between the ages of 2033, had entered the United
States legally, and though
the majority were of Saudi
Arabian nationality (15),
the hijackers, organized into
four teams, each lead by a
pilot-trained hijacker, had
settled into communities
ranging from San Diego to
south Florida, where several
trained to pilot jumbo jets
at a privately owned and
operated flight school near
Orlando during 1999 and
early 2000. Plans to enter the
country, train and prepare
for these attacks were well
under way during the second
term of then–President Bill
Clinton. And I don’t hold
Clinton or his vice president
Gore responsible for these
tragedies either. 
Reread Trump’s quote at
the top. King’s reign. Our
U.S. presidents have administrations, tenures and terms
in office, but they are still
answerable to the people,
and generally require the
support and efforts of our
U.S. Congress, as well as

their own appointed Cabinet
heads and the bureaucracy to
move their agendas forward.
Yes, the Donald’s blunder bluster and likely future
“Pants on Fire” rating from
PolitiFact will be reported,
but when Jeb Bush was being misquoted related to his
belief that American workers
might need to put in more
hours to return our nation
to 4 percent growth, or U.S.
Sen. Marco Rubio’s wife
was singled out on the front
page of The New York Times
for unpaid parking tickets
in Florida, we are not seeing anything close to “equal
As with the candidacy
and once similarly rocketing trajectory of Ross Perot.
wealthy industrialists tend to
have a rather sheltered and
self-informed world view.
Climbing to the heights they
have reached, they often become overly reliant on their
own perspective and opinions. However, even Albert
Einstein knew that he was
not always the smartest guy
in the room. If Trump is successful in winning the GOP
nomination, my gut says
that either Ol’ Joe or Hillary
Clinton will get to teach him
the benefits of experience,
as well as understanding that
politics and governing are
about more than your own
ego and dictation. I remain
pleasantly surprised that Mr.
Trump is still in this race,

and we don’t know which
non-fact packed quote or
pompous gas bag statement
will eventually and likely
blow his candidacy up, but
we do know this.  It’s gonna
be Huuuuuggggggeeee!
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 

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

John Hewitt
Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn
Managing Editor:
Andrew Cauthen
Production Manager:
Kemesha Hunt
Travis Hudgons
Staff Reporters:
Carla Parker, Ashley Oglesby
The Champion Free Press is published
each Friday by ACE III Communications,
Inc., • 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur,
GA. 30030 • Phone (404) 373-7779.
(404) 373-7779 x 110

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


6A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page

Beth Roberts
Decatur resident Beth
Roberts is in the business of
enriching children’s lives.
Once a longtime customer at Tall Tales Book Shop,
Roberts currently volunteers
at Children Read Atlanta, a
nonprofit organization operated by former owner of the
book shop Marlene Zeiler.
Roberts said after retiring as a professor for more
than 24 years–she felt it was
time for her to “use her professional knowledge to give
back to the community.”
Roberts received her
B.A., M.A.T. and Ph.D. degrees from Emory University.
She joined Oglethorpe
University’s faculty in 2000,
where she pioneered the uni-

versity’s only graduate degree
program, the master of arts
in teaching. She served as the
director of the program for

11 years and before retiring
in May 2012, Roberts was
the Vera A. Milner professor
of education and director of
the master of arts in teaching
–early childhood education
program at Oglethorpe.
Roberts began volunteering with Children Read Atlanta last spring.
She said, “One thing that
I really appreciate is the opportunity [Children Read]
gives people to share the
wealth of their books with
other people. I often look
at a book that we get in and
sometimes they look a little
battered and loved, and I
wish I knew the stories of the
previous owners of the book,
how much they enjoyed it

and how many hands it’s
passed through.”
Roberts added, “You look
at the books and you think
they have just as much to
offer as they did when they
were new and it’s a good
thing that somebody else is
going to get to enjoy them.”
Roberts’ assists the organization with collecting
and distributing early learner
books to low-income preschool children. She said the
organization is similar to
her previous profession at
Oglethorpe University where
her field of expertise was
literacy and the development
of literacy in young children.
“I know from a professional and research point of

view that having books in the
home and having opportunities for very young children
to interact with somebody
with [a book] is really key to
their own success and literacy later in life,” Roberts said.
Roberts also volunteered
at The Craddock Center.
“[Volunteering] helps
me to see a bigger picture
of my community than just
the people who live around
me. I find when I interact
with people who are different
from me, who have different talents and different gifts
than mine–it gives me back
more than I am giving to
anyone else.”

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.

Leadership DeKalb’s class of 2016 pose for a picture at the Hyatt Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina.

Economic development pilot program recruits volunteers
by Ashley Oglesby
Through a partnership with Decide DeKalb
and Georgia Power, Leadership DeKalb will
launch the county’s first economic development
fellows program.
The program aims to provide training for
community leaders in assisting DeKalb County
with its economic development efforts.
The economic development fellows program
will continue for six weeks on Tuesday mornings
for approximately three hours.
Leadership DeKalb Executive Director Maria
Balais said, “One of the reasons we initiated this
program is because Leadership DeKalb historically
has been the pipeline for leaders to take on leadership roles in the county and this economic fellows
program is an opportunity for us to take Leadership DeKalb alumni, as well as people from the
DeKalb community, and give them a crash course
on economic development.”
She added, “If we give the people a crash

course on how economic development works then
[Georgia Power and Decide DeKalb] have a group
of volunteers or fellows who can go with them on
these calls for industries, for example sales calls...It
would give that industry or that company a sense
of the community that they are looking at where
they want to establish their business.”
The pilot program will use funds from a grant
provided by Decide DeKalb to supply the program
to approximately 12 participants.
“This program is timely for DeKalb County
and it’s another opportunity for people to get involved,” Balais said.
She added, “In light of some of the current
events for DeKalb County, people are looking for
opportunities to perhaps change some of the narrative about the county. Volunteer involvement is
one of those ways that people can directly get involved in changing the perception and change the
narrative of DeKalb County.”
The program will begin Nov. 3 with a lecture
on the basics of economic development.
Throughout the course of the program there

will be lessons on attracting and retaining businesses in DeKalb, identifying how local entities
support DeKalb’s economy and more.
The final week will include a daylong tour of
the county in hopes of bringing to the life the concepts learned during the classroom time.
Decide DeKalb Vice President of Marketing
and Communication Araba Dowell said, “We’re
trying to create a new generation of leaders who
are advocating for economic development for the
entire county. It’s everybody’s concern. It doesn’t
matter what industry you’re from you can make
a difference in respect to economic development
because it touches everything – education, public
Dowell said the fellows program is essentially
informing young business leaders on what economic development is so that they can “personally
make a difference.”
Those interested in enrolling in the economic
development program can visit leadershipdekalb.
org. The application fee is $25 and must be received before Oct. 26.



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 7A


Area residents invited to walk with
Commissioner Gannon
DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon encourages her constituents to get out and
explore parks in DeKalb County.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, beginning at 10 a.m.,
she will be walking through Deepdene Park with
Kathryn Kolb, a local photographer and naturalist.
Deepdene Park is one of the Olmsted Linear
Parks, located at the intersection of Ponce de
Leon Avenue and North Ponce de Leon Avenue
NE, Atlanta.
Parking is available along North Ponce de
Leon Avenue NE.
“This walk will be a great way to hear from
the public and explore the beauty of our parks
while getting some exercise,” Gannon said.


Walks and Sunday Strolls. The city also has a Safe
Routes to School Program that is a model for the
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center also noted the new Unified Development Ordinance and the downtown Decatur streetscape
design guidelines, which are meant to help ensure
the city will continue with its dense development
pattern and active uses that attract pedestrian
Decatur is among three communities recognized in the latest round of Walk Friendly Communities announced.

Trees Atlanta branches outside the
Trees Atlanta will be back for its third tree
planting in Dunwoody on Saturday, Oct. 24, in
Brook Run Park located at 4770 North Peachtree
Road, Dunwoody, from 9 a.m. to noon. 
Trees Atlanta is looking for volunteers to help
plant more than 150 shade trees in one morning.
Trees that were removed during the installation of a new walking trail around Brook Run
Park will be replaced. This will be one of the largest tree planting initiatives in Dunwoody’s history.
Over the next two years, Trees Atlanta will
continue to maintain these trees through watering, mulching and pruning.
To sign up for this project, visit treesatlanta.

6-8 p.m. The event will be held in the municipal
parking lot on Main Street in Stone Mountain
Village. AT&T will provide a face painter and
there will be prizes for the top three trunks. To
enter a trunk or to make a donation, visit www.

Rotary partners with FODAC to aid Nepal
earthquake survivors
Rotary District 6900, including the Rotary
Club of Stone Mountain, has partnered with
Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) to provide more than $500,000 of medical
equipment and supplies to survivors of this year’s
earthquake in Nepal. The 40-foot container included orthotics, therapy tables, standers, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs (including 100 pediatric
wheelchairs), hospital beds and mattresses, and
commode chairs.
FODAC supplied the equipment and supplies,
and funds from Rotary District 6900 covered
shipping costs. Members of the Stone Mountain
club helped collect, clean and load equipment and
supplies into the container, which will be trucked
to Charleston, S.C., and loaded onto a ship headed for Kolkata, India. Once unloaded in Kolkata,
the container will be transported over land via
truck to Kathmandu, Nepal. The Karuna Foundation will supply logistical support in India and
Nepal to transport and distribute the equipment.


Police department holding toy drive
The Lithonia Police Department is holding
a toy drive until Nov. 15. Unwrapped and unopened toys may be dropped off at any of these
locations: Danny’s Barbershop, 2620 Max Cleland
Blvd.; Shear Essence Hair Studio, 6911 Main
Street; Born Losers Bike Club, 1810 Rogers Lake
Road; and Lithonia City Hall, 6920 Main Street.
For more information, contact Sgt. Owens at
(770) 482-8947, ext. 126.

City awarded Silver Walk Friendly
Communities designation
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has redesignated the city of Decatur a Silver
Walk Friendly Community for its walkability
initiatives and programs. Sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway
Administration and FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed
at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety.
Decatur Active Living offers a variety of programs to get the community walking, including
Team Decatur, Walk With a Doc, Bright at Night

City to host Trunk of Treat
Lithonia will host its annual Trunk or Treat
event for children Oct. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. on
Main Street in downtown Lithonia. The event
will include games and prizes. For more information, call Sgt. Owens at (770) 482-8947.

Stone Mountain

Farmers Market to host Trunk or Treat
The Stone Mountain Farmers Market will
host the annual Trunk or Treat Oct. 27 from

An Evening With Kenny G
Parents television council presents An Evening With Kenny G in concert Nov. 21, 8 p.m.
at Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road NE,
Atlanta. Kenny G is bringing his eclectic style of
music to Atlanta. The Grammy award-winning
saxophonist will be performing new songs from
his latest album Brazilian Nights. For more information, or to purchase tickets visit cegseats.


8A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page

Code compliance
officers recognized
by Andrew Cauthen
“They have probably one of the most thankless
jobs out here,” said interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May about the county’s code enforcement officers.
“Typically when the calls come [in], those are
not calls that people are happy about,” May said.
“They are generally complaints about people not
cutting their grass, people having shady businesses
out of their garages, [or] people not keeping their
homes up to county code.”
The code enforcement officers “come out and
do the best job that they can,” May said.
May and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recognized the county’s code enforcement
division Oct. 13 as part of National Code Enforcement Appreciation Month.
A county resolution marking the occasion
stated that “the mission of code enforcement is to
ensure the health, safety and welfare of residents
by making sure that each citizen is in compliance
of property maintenance, zoning, planning, special
land use, signs and permits.
The county’s code enforcement division “continues to strengthen civic responsibility among citizens and serves the public with pride and respect
and continues to encourage community pride,” the
resolution stated.
“One of the challenges that they have had over
the years is the amount investment [in the division],” May said. Typically, the division has not had
enough resources to do its job, he added.
“In 2006 we had eight code enforcement officers for the entire county,” May said. “Today we
have...nearly 50 code enforcement officers and they
are doing a wonderful job to keep our county as
clean as possible. They do a wonderful job. With or
without the resources, they do it with a smile. And
I’m forever thankful for the work that they do. “
Marcus Kellum, the county’s code compliance
administrator, said, “On a daily basis we work tirelessly improve the quality of life.”

The county’s code compliance division was recognized as part of National Code Enforcement Appreciation Month by
interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Local distillers accompany whisky exhibit
by Ashley Oglesby
Whiskies of the World
Expo brings together distillers from around the world to
share their spirits and knowledge with whisky enthusiasts.
This year approximately
800 people will crowd the
Grand Hyatt Hotel Atlanta
in Buckhead on Oct. 23 for
Whiskies of the World third
annual expo event.
Expo-goers will have
the opportunity to sample
more than 200 expressions of
Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Canadian and other whiskies, as
well as attend whisky master
Independent Distilling Company is run by Michael Anderson and Thomas Williams.

“It’s an opportunity for
education and expanding
people’s knowledge and appreciation for the spirits,”
Event Director Douglas
Smith said. “Whisky is a very
complex spirit, sometimes a
bit misunderstood and the
ability to enjoy the whisky is
basically through education
and learning how properly to
enjoy the fine subtleties and
intensities of the flavors.”
Whiskies of the World is
an International Whisky and
Spirits Competition (IWSC)
group event that began in
San Francisco, Calif. in 1998.
Under the direction of
Smith, the event has expanded into Texas and Georgia.

See Whisky on page 20A


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 9A

A “No Trespassing” sign is posted in front of the vacant lot where a developer plans to construct 11 homes.

A worker from Pablos Tree Service walks across the vacant lot. Photos by Carla Parker

Atlanta Protects Trees tried to stop the developers from cutting down
DeKalb County white oak trees.

Group upset over cutting of trees in Kirkwood
by Carla Parker
Atlanta Protects Trees, a group
whose mission is to protect existing
trees, was unable to protect some
trees in a Kirkwood neighborhood.
White oak trees used to stand on
the 2.54-acre empty lot in Kirkwood
at 145 Norwood Ave. in DeKalb
County before they were cut down
Oct. 14. The site was purchased by
Reid Knox Developers, which plans
to build 11 homes on the property.
Members of Atlanta Protects Trees
were at the site trying to stop Pablo’s
Tree Service from cutting the trees,
but were unsuccessful.
The group held a press conference at the site on Sept. 30 with State
Sen. Elena Parent, State Rep. Karla

Drenner and DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who all
spoke against cutting the trees and
asked Atlanta officials to create a
stronger tree ordinance.
“There are six specimen white
oaks, which is the most valuable tree
in the southeast,” said Melanie Bass
Pollard, director of Atlanta Protects
Trees. “[The trees] won’t come back.
They’ve grown up in old growth
soil and by being allowed to stand
together–that’s why they’re so big,
beautiful and magnificent. This is the
best tree in the southeast.”
Pollard said she and the group
considered all possibilities to save the
“We had hoped [that when] the
representatives that came out Sept.
30 and spoke, that would do it,” she

said. “The city did not respond and
the developer was quiet [and] would
not return calls. We’ve been trying to
make this a park since March and the
developer has refused to return calls.”
The morning of the tree cutting,
Pollard said they discovered a historic cemetery underneath the canopy.
“One of the residents said they
found an old shackle, a rusted shackle from the slavery days and an old
jar of coins,” she said. “So what that
says is that the city not only did not
protect its tree, it did not investigate
[and] it did not look to make sure
that there wasn’t something historic
worth preserving here for this community.
“By the developers coming in
and maximizing the lots, all they’ve
done is externalize their costs back to

the community of Kirkwood and the
city of Atlanta because in perpetuity these trees will no longer manage
the storm water, they will no longer
provide oxygen for our air, they will
no longer filter pollution, and we’re
going to have a rising heat index in
this neighborhood as a result of this,”
Pollard said.
Although the group could not
save the trees, Pollard said her group
still wants to meet with Atlanta city
“Some of our members are experts in helping to draft tree ordinance codes,” she said. “We have to
start living with our trees smarter
because if we don’t start living with
our trees smarter we’re not going to
have trees. If we don’t have trees what
do we have?”

FALL is in the AIR!


10A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page

Circus fundraiser also
‘friend raiser’ for
Woodlands Garden
by Kathy Mitchell
In the early decades of the 20th century, the smell of greasepaint and the roar of the crowd signaled that the circus had
come to town. Young and old across America gathered under
huge tents to see astounding acts and sample fun foods rarely
offered outside the big top.
The board of directors of Decatur’s Woodlands Garden
seeks to bring that vintage American feel to the fundraiser it’s
holding Oct. 24. Fire breathers, aerialists, contortionists, fortunetellers, tarot card readers and other entertainers will be
part of Cirque De Catur, a ticketed fundraiser event featuring
“breathtaking circus performances against a backdrop of lush
greenery,” according to an announcement from Woodlands
Garden. In addition to the circus acts, the event will feature live
music, food and signature cocktails.
“We discussed ideas for an interesting and unusual fundraiser with our board of directors. One of our directors who
has connections with circus acts suggested this and we decided
to go forward with it,” said Kate Baltzell, executive director of
Woodlands Garden.
“We want to take people back to the excitement and wonder
of an old-fashioned circus. We won’t have the traditional huge
tent. The canopy will be the natural canopy of trees though we
are arranging for a tent if rain is expected,” she said.
Cirque De Catur is a benefit for Woodlands Garden’s Keep
It Green Indie-Catur capital campaign. The campaign’s goal is to
raise $1 million to purchase and preserve the one-acre parcel at
the corner of Scott Boulevard and Clairemont Avenue adjacent
to the garden. The planned improvements include enhancing
the parking area, making entering and exiting safer and adding
a school bus drop-off zone. Plans are also in place for a renovated welcome center with public restrooms and a natural play
area for children.
“We don’t expect Cirque De Catur to bring in enough to
do all of this,” Baltzell acknowledged, “but it should be a good
Once the private home of Dr. and Mrs. Chester Morse,
Woodlands Garden was willed to the city as an urban sanctuary
“to educate and engage the community in the natural world,”
according to the facility’s mission statement. It has operated as
a nonprofit organization under the auspices of a board of directors since 2011.
The Morses moved to Decatur in the 1940s, when the area
was far less developed than it is today. Although urbanization
sprang up around them, the couple wanted to keep as much as
possible of the natural landscape.
“Dr. Morse was from Massachusetts, where he developed
a great love of the woods and of nature in general. He and his
wife, Eugenia, decided they wanted their Decatur home to
become a public space dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of nature after their deaths,” Baltzell explained.
The Morses built two residences on the 7-acre property—
their home and a second larger residence for extended family.
In accordance with the couple’s wishes, the second residence
was torn down in 2012. Where it stood, there are now pollinator gardens, birdbaths, sitting areas, and a small shelter.
Baltzell said that in addition to being a fundraiser, the event
is to increase community awareness of Woodlands Garden .
“We haven’t been as visible to the community as we’d like to be.
We’d like Cirque De Catur to be a friend raiser as well as a fundraiser. We want to let people know that we’re here and we’re a
great asset to the community—much like a city park.
“When [Eugenia], who survived her husband, was still
living on the property, it was open to the public only once a
month. Now it’s open every day during daylight hours. We want
people to know that—to get in the habit of visiting. We hope
people also will be inspired to donate to help us keep this community treasure going,” she continued.
Cirque De Catur will be Saturday, Oct. 24, 5-8 p.m. at 932
Scott Blvd., Decatur. For ticket information as well as other details, visit

Once a private home, Woodlands is now an urban sanctuary for birds and other animal and plant life.

Executive Director Kate Baltzell shows a circus-inspired birdhouse designed for Cirque De Catur.

Baltzell demonstrates how the garden will be decorated for the fundraising event.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 11A


Recreation department
collecting canned goods,
coats for the needy

The DeKalb County
Department of Recreation,
Parks and Cultural Affairs
is accepting donations of
nonperishable food items for
its annual canned food drive
until Nov. 13, and new or
gently used coats for its coat
drive, now until Dec. 11.
Items can be turned in
during normal operating
hours. Once all items are
gathered, they will be distributed to people in need.
Donations may be
dropped at any of the following locations: Maloof
Building, 1300 Commerce
Drive, Decatur; Browns Mill
Recreation Center, 5101
Browns Mill Road, Lithonia;
Exchange Recreation Center,
2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur; Gresham Recreation
Center, 3113 Gresham Road,
Atlanta; Hamilton Recreation Center, 3263 Chapel
Street, Scottdale; Lucious
Sanders Recreation Center,
2484 Bruce Street, Lithonia; Mason Mill Recreation
Center, 1340-B McConnell
Drive, Decatur; Midway Recreation Center, 3181 Midway
Road, Decatur; N.H. Scott
Recreation Center, 2230 Tilson Road, Decatur; Porter
Sanford III Performing Arts
& Community Center, 3181
Rainbow Drive, Decatur;
Redan Recreation Center,
1839 Phillips Road, Lithonia; Tobie Grant Recreation
Center, 644 Parkdale Drive,
Scottdale; Tucker Recreation
Center, 4898 LaVista Road,
For more information,
contact LaShanda Davis,
public education specialist, at
(404) 371-3643.

Lithonia business owners
sentenced for tax fraud
Kenneth Horner and
Kimberly Horner have each
been sentenced to one year,
six months in federal prison
following a jury’s guilty verdict in February 2015 on
tax fraud charges stemming
from the defendants skimming money from their towing business.
The Horners, both of
Milledgville, also have been
ordered to pay $144,000 in
restitution to the IRS after
being found guilty by a jury
in February.
“Small business owners

should take note of this case,”
said U.S. Attorney John
Horn.  “Skimming cash from
your business account and
intentionally failing to report
that money to the IRS, as a
federal jury concluded these
defendants did, is illegal. 
Community services and all
other benefits of government
depend upon citizens paying
their fair share of taxes.”

According to Horn, the
Horners owned Topcat Towing and Recovery Inc., a towing business in Lithonia. Between 2005 and 2008, Topcat
Towing had an exclusive contract with DeKalb County for
all county car tows needed
from the south precinct of
the county. 
Between 2005 and 2008,
the defendants skimmed

more than $1.5 million in
cash receipts from their towing business and deposited
those cash receipts into their
personal bank account without disclosing the income to
their tax return preparer or
on corporate and personal
tax returns filed with the IRS,
according to the charges. The
defendants tried to conceal
their cash deposits from the

government by splitting up
cash deposits so that none
of them exceeded $10,000 to
avoid a currency transaction
report from being filed.

District Attorney’s Office
to host human trafficking
symposium, MOU signing
The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office will

See Briefs on page 20A
The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at the
Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following

Greg Mitchell requests a stream buffer variance for his property containing 0.65 acres at 2168 Capehart Circle, Chamblee, GA for the
purpose of building a deck within a stream buffer required in City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance,
Section 310-19. The property is zoned NR-1.

Bruce Runyan of Helix X Holdings, Inc. requests variances from the following sections of the City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A,
Unified Development Ordinance to construct hangar buildings on property located at 3415 Hardee Avenue, Chamblee, GA that is zoned
Airport (A) and contains 5.8 acres:
1. Section 230-2(a) to reduce the required minimum 10 ft. front yard setback for the purpose of building a delivery ramp in front of a
hangar building.
2. Section 230-14 that limits the height of a fence in the front yard to 42” to construct a fence that is 6 ft. in height.
3. Section 250-22(2) that requires that dumpsters be placed in the rear yard in order to place a dumpster in the front yard.

Ilan Sklar requests a variance from Section 230-2(a) of the City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance, to
reduce the requirement minimum 25 ft. rear yard setback in the NR-1 zoning district to 7 ft. for an enclosed screen porch and to 5 ft. for an
open deck attached to the existing residence at 2098 Jordan Terrace, NE, Chamblee, GA being parcel 18-235-07-002.

Matt Wilson of Wilson Development requests variances of the following provisions of the City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified
Development Ordinance with respect to a lot consisting of 0.585 acres zoned Village Commercial located at 5485 Peachtree Boulevard,
Chamblee, GA being parcel 18-308-15-021:
1. Reduction in the required minimum number of off-street parking places as required in Sec. 250-2(a)
2. Reduction in the required minimum façade height of a building of 24 ft. located on a Storefront Street as required in Sec. 230-5(a);
3. Reduction in the required minimum interior floor-to-ceiling height of 18 ft. for a building located on a Storefront Street as required in Sec.
4. Relief from Sec. 350-2(c) that requires interparcel access to adjacent commercial, office or multifamily property.
5. Relief from Sec. 230-29(a)(2) that requires a sidewalk from the front of the building to the sidewalk adjacent to the street.
6. Relief from Sec 250-22(2) that requires that dumpsters shall be placed a minimum of 5 ft. from property line.

Acadia Homes and Neighborhoods requests an amendment to the text of the adopted City of Chamblee Comprehensive Plan with
respect to policies of the Future Development Map pertaining to Character Area 10 – New Peachtree Road Industrial Area in order to
make its proposed rezoning of property from IT to VR for the development of 98 single-family attached dwelling units on 9.239 acres at
4959 New Peachtree Road consistent with the Future Development Map as required in Section 200-6. This action is taken pursuant to
the amendment procedures provided in Section 280-10 of the City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development

Acadia Homes and Neighborhoods requests approval of an amendment of the Official Zoning Map of the City of Chamblee pursuant to
Section 280-5(a) of the City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance in order to change the zoning
classification of property containing 9.239 acres at 4959 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee, GA being parcel 18-278-03-064 from
Industrial Transitional (IT) to Village Residential (VR) for the purpose of developing 98 single-family attached dwelling units.

Acadia Homes and Neighborhoods requests approval of a Planned Unit Development pursuant to Section 280-6 of the City of
Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance for the purpose of developing 98 single-family attached dwelling
units on property containing 9.239 acres at 4959 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee, GA being parcel 18-278-03-064 proposed to be
rezoned from Industrial Transitional (IT) to Village Residential (VR).

Carl Burnett, agent for Chamblee Center, LLC, requests approval of a major modification to a Planned Unit Development for the Buford
Center, 2014PUD-003 pursuant to Section 280-6(c)(7) of the Unified Development Ordinance, Appendix A of the Chamblee Code of
Ordinances. The application concerns construction of a proposed commercial and retail development on 3.41 acres of land zoned
Corridor Commercial and located at 4900 Buford Highway consisting of the following parcels: 18-281-01-001, 18-281-01-002, 18-28101-003, 18-281-01-006, 18-281-01-007, 18-281-01-008, 18-281-01-009, and 18-281-01-010.

The City of Chamblee Mayor and Council proposes to amend the City of Chamblee Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development
Ordinance Chapter 270 by inserting a new Sec. 270-6(a)(6) and amending other related provisions of said Chapter as it pertains to
continuance of non-conforming uses and reconstruction of nonconforming structures following their destruction in whole or in part by
any means except by willful act or deliberate omission of the owner or tenant of such nonconforming building.


12A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page

UGA student Emmett Gregory talks about the potential developments
that could be brought to Bruce Street in Lithonia.

Lithonia residents listen to the recommendations UGA presented on
Bruce Street.

UGA students looked at some landscape systems to better manage storm water in the city.

UGA students present recommendations for Bruce Street corridor
by Carla Parker
The Bruce Street corridor
has historically been “separated” from Lithonia due to
the railroad tracks, according
to city officials.
The city is hoping to
change that stigma by connecting the historic Black
community to the rest of the
city, with the help of University of Georgia students.
The city partnered with the
Urban Outreach Studio and
the Center for Community
Design and Preservation at
the University of Georgia’s
College of Environment and
Design to explore community design approaches for the
Bruce Street neighborhood.
The Urban Outreach
Studio of 11 graduate and
undergraduate students presented its final recommendations to the community Oct.
14. Lithonia Mayor Deborah
Jackson said the project is
part of a process to look
at opportunities for Bruce
“We have done a number
of plans really focusing on
what the opportunities were
to redevelop the Lithonia
Plaza,” Jackson said. “We
then did a master plan for
the city park and we’ve always mentioned Bruce Street
but we didn’t have a lot of
details about what those opportunities were.”
Bruce Street is home to
the first Black public school
in DeKalb County and has a

historic Black cemetery. City
Administrator Eddie Moody
began working on the project
six weeks ago.
“The mayor reached out
to the instructors and to the
school and they were gracious enough to take on this
project of what’s really called
a studio design for the Bruce
Street community,” Moody
said. “They’ve come up with
some concepts and designs
to tie the community together because what we’re looking for is one Lithonia.
“We’re not looking for a
community where the railroad tracks divide the city;
we’re just one city,” Moody
said. “Energy has been put
into the city in some efforts
on the other side with us
working on the [Lithonia]
plaza, but we want to make
sure the whole community
comes together. This design
is for what can be done to
enhance the Bruce Street
corridor and tie it in into
this vision of having one big
Douglas Pardue, associate professor and director of
the Urban Outreach Studio,
said the various components
of Bruce Street were considered when developing a master plan for the corridor.
“We looked at the corridor and looked at some
landscape systems,” Pardue
said. “So there are things like
housing and economic development, health and wellness,
flooding and storm water
and all kinds of systems.

They used the neighborhood
level thinking to create a
master plan for Bruce Street.
“Once the master plan
was set in place, we...worked
initially with the community
to develop some specific sites
to look at what would relate
to the comprehensive plan
goals…of the city and Bruce
Street,” Pardue said. “We’re
looking at the entrance of
Bruce Street and where it
meets with Conyers. We’re

looking at a test case of how
public housing in the future
might evolve to become better than what it already is
and to address some of the
needs of projected growth
for Lithonia and DeKalb
County. We looked at Bruce
Street Park and we looked
at [ideas for] Bruce Woods
Village—a vacant or nondeveloped track at the head of
Pine Mountain Creek.”
The students also sug-

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gested making the old Bruce
Street School a historic center, and adding more sidewalks for walking and biking.
“It’s been an honor to
work with this community
on this project,” Pardue said.
“It’s been a pleasure and an
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The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 13A

Nonprofit aims to rehabilitate homeless families



LifeLine Animal Project received a proclamation from DeKalb County for its efforts in managing the Dekalb County Animal Services shelter. The shelter has tripled the number of pet
adoptions and is just a few percentage points from the no-kill threshold of 90 percent. Photos by Andrew Cauthen.

Marist cheerleaders hold up the game day banner the before War Eagles matchup against St. Pius Oct. 9. Photo by Carla Parker

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


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 14A

Eddie Johnson shows fresh baked bread in Villaggio Gastro Italian’s kitchen.

The remodeled interior features exposed
brick and tables of repurposed materials.

The partly covered patio sometimes features live music.

A cook prepares pasta that’s made at the
restaurant from Italian flour.

Sheila Scruggs selects one of several Italian
wines on the restaurant’s menu.

Scruggs looks over art contributed by young patrons.

Restaurant owners want diners to experience Italy
by Kathy Mitchell
While there are similarities between the name of a recently opened
Decatur Italian restaurant and that of
the restaurant that formerly occupied
the Clairmont Road space, the new
owners want the public to know that
everything is completely different.
“There was a restaurant called
Villaggio Kitchen here, but when we
took over the space, we started fresh.
There is no relationship between that
restaurant and ours,” explained Eddie Johnson, one of the owners of
Villaggio Gastro Italian.
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant,
which opened earlier this year, has
been remodeled inside and outside
and now has what owners describe
as “a rustic and relaxed dining environment.” The exposed brick walls
feature black-and-white photographs
taken in the streets of Italy. Tables
made from repurposed materials and
candle glow-like lighting complete
the atmosphere.
“We wanted a warm, fun environment with the feel of a European
farmhouse,” Johnson explained.

There also is a partly covered patio
where live music is often provided on
weekend evenings.
“My favorite spot is the community table,” said General Manager
Sheila Scruggs, as she pointed out a
long table in the center of the main
dining area that seats up to 12 people. “We can seat large groups here;
or diners who are alone or in small
groups may choose to sit here with
other diners.”
Describing the restaurant as
“family friendly,” Scruggs showed
crayon drawings that some young
customers had offered as a contribution to the décor. “We’re not sure
what we’ll do with them yet, but we’ll
find someplace to put them up,” she
Two principals in the operation
of the new restaurant are from Italy.
The executive chef, Costanzo Astarita, and business partner Mario
Maccarrone, hail from Capri and
Sicily. “Both come from families that
love good food and pride themselves
in excellent cooking. They both grew
up with real Italian cooking. They
both have many years of restaurant

experience and truly understand authentic Italian cuisine,” Johnson said.
“In Italy, every restaurant—in fact,
every household—has its food traditions and its own secret recipes.”
He added that the partners, who
also include Alin Cruceanu, own
several other Atlanta area restaurants
under the umbrella of parent company Grazie Hospitality Group, which
had been looking for an opportunity
to open a casual Italian eatery in
Decatur. “The space became available and we knew it was what we had
been looking for,” Johnson said.
Decatur’s mix of students, young
families, seniors and people employed by the colleges and government facilities makes it a good location, according to Johnson. “There
are many people here who really appreciate good food. Everybody loves
Italian food and we offer Italian at
its best. Expanding into the Decatur
area is an exciting step for us.”
“Many of our dishes are simple
in that they use few ingredients,
but everything is fresh and expertly
prepared. We make all dishes from
scratch and in-house. This is real

food. A good deal of our produce
comes from regional farms and
suppliers. The bread, the pasta—everything—is made right here in our
kitchen,” Johnson said.
He noted that the owners are meticulous about the quality of the food
the restaurant serves. “We ship our
flour from Italy so we know there
are no GMO [genetically modified]
grains in it. Our salmon is from Scotland—and it’s all wild salmon—not
farmed,” he continued. “Our octopus
is from Spain. We have the best octopus in the Atlanta area.”
Villaggio Gastro Italian’s menu
focuses on traditional, authentic Italian fare, including classic pastas, pizzas and entrees such as Margherita
pizza, strozzapreti and pollo parmigiano. “We’re really proud of our
buratta,” Scruggs said of an appetizer
made with mozzarella, tomatoes and
olive oil.
“Most of our wines are from Italy,” Scruggs noted “We want people
to have an Old World experience. We
want a visit to Villaggio Gastro Italian to be like a one-and-a-half-hour
vacation in Italy.”


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

The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015


Page 15A

CEO Continued From Page 1A
our county,” May said after the town
hall meeting attended by hundreds at
Lou Walker Senior Center in May’s
former south DeKalb commission
“When the governor appointed
me I had two internal mandates,” he
said. “One was to make sure that the
county...operation was moving efficiently. The second was to restore the
public confidence in our government
to diminish some of the distractions.
“Unfortunately in the last couple
of weeks, I’ve become the very distraction that I was seeking to remove,” May said. “I don’t want to be
that. I love our county. I want our
county to move forward whether it’s
with me or without me.”
May said and he and his wife have
been praying about the next steps he
should take.
“Right now I am the interim
CEO,” May said. “I am still here. I
have not made any decision to move
otherwise. Any decision otherwise I
will discuss with the governor himself. The governor appointed me and
the governor can make any decision
he chooses regarding my position as
interim CEO.”
May said he has no immediate
plans to meet with the governor.
During the town hall meeting
May talked at length and fielded
questions about the investigation he
ordered into possible government
In March, May hired former
state attorney general Mike Bowers,
who investigated the Atlanta Public
Schools cheating scandal, along with
Richard Hyde, a former police offi-

cer, to investigate the employees and
departments under the authority of
the CEO.
In the investigators’ 40-page, socalled “brief update” of their investigative findings, investigators gave
examples of “widespread government
corruption” and “misconduct [that]
starts at the top and has infected
nearly every department.”
The investigator’s report alleged
that May borrowed money from
Morris Williams, the county’s former chief of staff for the board of
commissioners and later May’s deputy chief operating officer over public
works and infrastructure. The report
did not disclose the amount of money allegedly borrowed, the circumstances or the date. “They asked me,
‘has [Williams] ever loaned you any
money?’“ May told his constituents.
“And I said, ‘Well, I borrowed money
over [the span of nearly a decade.’“
May said, “It wouldn’t count up
to about a couple hundred dollars
over a decade. In my mind I’m thinking [about] $20 for a meal here [or
there]..., but not a loan. There’s a
difference between somebody giving
you thousands of dollars.”
May said he might have borrowed
money to pay for a meal when he
was having lunch with someone and
did not have cash on hand.
“I’m talking about this more than
any lawyer would want me to talk
about it, but I need the [people that
I’m serving right now to hear from
me,” May said. “Regardless of what
you think about me, I’ve never taken
any money, I’ve never stolen any
money, never lied about any money.

“You might want me out,” May
said. “But I don’t want you to want
me out because you think I have
taken some money. I’m dead serious
about that.”
May said the county’s attorney is
“combing through the [investigators’]
report” and will give legal opinions
and advise to the board of commissioners and May about certain high
level things that are in that report.
One area she will address is the
practice of commissioners giving
money from their budgets to nonprofits.
May said he believes the county
attorney will eventually opine that
the board of commissioners as a
whole must approve donations to
nonprofit groups.
“We give about $1 million to nonprofits every year,” May said. “But
that million dollars through human
development is done through a process and ultimately approved by the
board [of commissioners].
“What many commissioners were
doing...[was] taking money from
their [purchasing cards] or their budgets and giving monies to...nonprofits that do some good,” May said.
The report questions that practice, May said.
“If it’s wrong, is it really corrupt?”
May asked. “And if it’s wrong, let’s fix
May said the fallout after the investigators’ report strengthens his
support for a county manager form
of government instead of the county
current CEO form.
“If this two weeks have proven
anything else to me is my position of

changing is correct,” May said. “Our
CEO position is so strong, it’s so out
there, it’s so visible for people that
if something happens, if something
goes down with the CEO, it becomes
the attention forever and ever and
Instead, the county should have a
professional county manager with a
countywide elected chairperson, he
“That’s the model for the state,” he
said. “That’s the model really for the
lion’s share of counties in the country
and I believe it would help to [reduce] some of the [politics that are
rampant in our form of government.”
Imogene Archer and her husband
Harvey, of Clarkston, were among
the May supporters at the meeting.
They held up banners of support.
One sign read, “Stay Strong May.”
“I support Lee May and I believe
you’re innocent until you’re proven
guilty,” Imogene Archer said. “He has
taken this county in the right direction. He has handled millions of dollars. Now there’s this... little squabble
over really nothing. It’s probably a
little error that has been made.
“He’s been accountable for millions. You don’t see there being a
problem with that,” she said.
South DeKalb resident Barbara
Lee said, “There are many of us here
who do not want you to resign.”
May said, There’s “going to be
a whole lot of people saying that I
should step aside. And I’m going to
listen to every single one of them.
I’m not running from anybody or
anything, but I will explain my side
of things.”

Jeweler Continued From Page 1A
“I loved everything about Fashion Week,” said
Pellegrini. “It was invigorating to be in the midst
of such an amazing group of fashion and style
professionals, and see how well my jewelry was received by an international audience. I can’t wait to
apply what I experienced into my new designs.”
Pellegrini started designing jewelry when she
was eight years old–creating rings out of telephone
wires and riding through neighborhoods on her
bike to sell them.
Now the DeKalb-based designer operates Expect Compliments, a jewelry accessories shop
that offers handmade and handselected bracelets,
necklaces and earrings.
She said it’s always been her passion to create
Prior to starting her own business Pellegrini
studied fashion at American College in Lucerne,
Switzerland, but chose a career at the national

headquarters of American Cancer Society where
she worked for 25 years.
In 2009 Pellegrini launched her business working part-time, using her evenings and weekends
to create jewelry, which she sold through word-ofmouth referrals and local shows.
Two years ago, Pellegrini took early retirement
and has since devoted herself full-time to growing
her business.
“I loved working with cancer patients and their
families and doing amazing things to help them…
I just decided it was time to follow my dreams and
here I am,” she said.
Since starting her business Pellegrini said she’s
had to learn a lot about everything–buying, selling, marketing and more.
She said one of the most interesting parts of the
business is selecting accessories for her shop.
“I will spend hours going to a wholesale place

where they sale fashion accessories and sometimes
I look around for three hours and only select two
pieces,” she said.
Pellegrini said the challenge is picking through
many items that “just aren’t the kind of quality or
standard that I feel is something I want to represent.”
She added, “The feeling of accomplishment
comes with meeting so many amazing people,
being able to share my creativity and when I see
somebody and they come back to me and say ‘I
love what I got from you, I get so many compliments,’ it just brings me so much joy.”
Pellegrini is offering to sell the actual pieces
that were showcased in New York as well as similar pieces in her fashion week collection.



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 16A

Students sing traditional hymns during mass.

St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School’s butterfly garden.

St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School students assist in the procession during mass.

Catholic students celebrate their faith
by Ashley Oglesby
For more than 50 years St.
Peter Claver Regional Catholic School (SPC), formerly
known as Saints Peter and
Paul Parish, has educated elementary school students prekindergarten through eighth
grade within the Archdiocese
of Atlanta community.
Since the school’s inception it has expanded across
the region with campuses in
Clarkston, Lithonia, Conyers,
Forest Park and Decatur.
On Oct. 21 St. Peter
Claver Regional Catholic

School leaders hosted a multicultural and multilingual
mass aimed to re-establish
the school’s presence in the
community and “celebrate its
diverse population, according to Director of Admissions
and Development Meaghan
“We hadn’t done this in a
while and it’s pretty common
for our Catholic community
to celebrate different masses
that represent and integrate
our diverse Catholic culture
and community,” Schroeder
She added, “This year because we have such a nice mix

of families and parents that
are really engaged and invested in the school we decided to
organize this mass.”
Schroeder said although
the school regularly holds
mass on Wednesdays at 9
a.m., this mass aims to get
the students to “connect and
recognize those that look
similar and maybe speak their
same language” who also are
in “very significant and important positions within their
church and within their faith.”
The mass featured special
guest Bishop Luis Zarama
from Auxiliary Bishop of the
Catholic Archdiocese of At-

lanta, Deacon Peter Swan and
Deacon Al Mitchell of Saints
Peter and Paul Parish.
Principal Susanne Greenwood said, “It’s very good for
[students] to see the expansiveness of our archdiocese.”
She added, “To have a
bishop or an archbishop come
to our school makes our students feel special and a part
of a larger community. Even
in our hierarchy at the church
there’s diversity.”
Following the mass, parents and grandparents shared
native dishes.
Parent volunteers brought
foods from Nigeria, Ethiopia,

Kenya, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba,
Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and
SPC currently has 93 students enrolled in its elementary school and teaches from
a curriculum that is focused
on science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and
For additional information on St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic visit www.

Columbia High alumni encourage students
Columbia High School (CHS)
alumni participated in the Destined
to Soar program on Sept. 25 to promote educational excellence and
connect with current students. The
initiative was founded and organized by Viniece Jennings, an environmental expert who previously
interned at the White House for the
Obama Administration.
“There’s the saying that ‘it takes
a village to raise a child. This initiative is about alumni recognizing
their role as a part of the village
and giving back to the school that
helped set our foundation,” Jennings said.
This year’s alumni panel includ-

ed Brigadier Gen. Richard Dix with
the U.S. Army; Taylor Bryant, assistant director of communications
at University of West Georgia; Phillip “Clint” McCrary, a state probation officer who previously helped
coach the boy’s basketball team to
five state championships; Danielle
Bell, a finance manager with General Electric; Brandon McPherson,
a vice president at Goldman Sachs;
and Ravi Windom, CEO of The
Wind Public Relations firm.
“If it wasn’t for my CHS family – alumni, teachers, coaches, and
fellow classmates, I wouldn’t be who
I am today,” McCray said. They invested a lot of time and effort into

me to ensure I stayed on the right
path. Although, I could never put a
monetary value on what they gave
me, in an effort to pay them back,
the best thing I can continue to do
is pay it forward. The Destined to
Soar program gives me another
avenue to make a difference in my
community by giving the youth the
attention that I was given.”
Along with an assembly, the initiative facilitates care packages and
athletic gear for less fortunate students. The initiative also promotes
alumni spotlight posters which are
displayed around the school. During the program, upperclassman
took a pledge to value their educa-

tion and soar in life. They also receive wristbands to remember their
pledge for excellence.
McPherson said “It was a honor
to participate in this initiative. My
experience at Columbia played a
key role in my story…paying it forward to today’s students brought
things full circle.”
Teachers and students also had
the chance to win raffle give away
items. The event was sponsored by
alumni of Columbia High School,
Georgia Department of Community
Supervision and State Farm Agent
Josh Davis of Lithia Springs.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 17A


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The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 18A

Dunwoody, Lakeside advance in volleyball state playoffs

by Mark Brock

Two of the seven DeKalb volleyball teams that
earned state playoff berths have advanced to the
second round.
The No. 5 ranked Dunwoody Lady Wildcats
won their Class AAAAA state playoff opener 3-0
over the No. 9 ranked club from Starr’s Mill on
Oct. 15 at Dunwoody.
Dunwoody swept the match 25-13, 25-19 and
25-19 to improve to 35-14 on the season Starr’s
Mill finished 15-20 on the year.
The Area 6-AAAAA champions Lady Wildcats
hosted Area 8-AAAAA No. 2 seed Lanier (30-21)
in the second round on Oct. 20. The score was not
available by press time.
In other Class AAAAA action involving
DeKalb teams, Area 6-AAAAA No. 2 seed Southwest DeKalb (31-10) fell to No. 7 ranked Ola
(40-7) 3-0. The final entry from DeKalb in Class
AAAAA was Druid Hills (19-19), which fell 3-0
on the road to Area 5-AAAAA No. 1 seed Northgate.
Entering the state playoffs as the Area

2-AAAAAA No. 1 seed, Lakeside (28-12) hosted
Area 3 No. 4 seed Douglas County (29-13-2) and
came away with a 3-1 victory.
The Lady Vikings won the first two games
25-16 and 25-14 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Douglas County came back to take the third game
in a tight 26-24 battle to pull within 2-1.
Lakeside came right back in the fourth game
with a 25-14 victory to clinch the first round playoff match.
Lakeside hosted Gwinnett County’s Mountain
View (31-17) on Oct. 20 in the second round.
Score was not available by press time.
In other Class AAAAAA state tournament
play involving DeKalb teams, Tucker (23-22)
dropped a 3-0 match on the road at East Coweta
(21-20) to fall from the playoffs.

ans (37 -7) by scores of 17-25, 15-25 and a tight
22-25 final game loss.

Class AAAA
Both Redan and Chamblee, the two DeKalb
County entries in the Class AAAA playoffs, fell
by identical scores of 3-0 in their first round road
Redan (28-15) dropped its 3-0 decision to No.
4 ranked North Oconee (36-8). Chamblee (28-19)
lost its first round match to No. 10 ranked Veter-

Northgate 3, Druid Hills 0
Ola 3, SW DeKalb 0
Dunwoody 3, Starr’s Mill 0

M.L. King tops Miller
Grove in comeback win
by Carla Parker
The Martin Luther King Jr.
Lions fought back from a 21-0
first quarter deficit to defeat the
Miller Grove Wolverines 32-21
on Oct. 17 at North DeKalb Stadium.
Miller Grove got it going early in the game, moving down the
field on its opening drive, which
ended on a quarterback sneak
for a touchdown by Davion Williams, giving the Wolverines a
7-0 lead.
The defense scored the next
two touchdowns for the Wolverines. M.L. King was backed up
near its own end zone when the
punter bobbled the ball, fumbled
and a couple of Miller Grove
players fell on top of the ball in
the end zone for the score, extending the lead to 14-0.
Later in the first quarter,
Miller Grove’s Rashad Preston
intercepted Jordan Douglas’ pass
and returned it for a touchdown,
giving the Wolverines a 21-0
Those were the only points of
the game for Miller Grove as the
Lions shut them out the rest of
the game.
Early in the second quarter,
Douglas found Keyviousseea
Rhodes on a 22-yard touchdown
pass. A pass to Kentavius Terrell on the 2-point conversion
attempt cut the score to 21-8.
Douglas got his second touchdown pass of the game on an 11-

yard strike to Owen Clark. The
Lions failed on the 2-point attempt, leaving the score at 21-14.
With time running out before halftime, Douglas connected
with Kobe Ross on a 27-yard
touchdown pass, Douglas’ third
of the game. The Lions failed
again on the 2-point conversion
attempt, leaving Miller Grove
with a 21-20 lead at halftime.
M.L. King Coach Nick
Kashama said the 21-0 deficit
was due to his team being overly
hyped for the game and making
mental mistakes.
“We knew what we needed to
do to win the game, but we just
had to calm them down, go back
to the basics and do the little
things right,” he said. “We just
kind of shot ourselves in the foot
earlier, trying to do too much.
We had to calm everyone down,
calm down the coaches and let
the game come to us.”
Both teams failed to score in
the third quarter, but the Lions
got a nice drive going late in the
quarter. They opened the fourth
quarter with a 1-yard touchdown
run by Terrell, giving the Lions
their first lead (26-21) of the
Miller Grove tried to respond, but Tyrone Bowie picked
off Williams. That interception
led to a 7-yard touchdown run by
Ross, extending the Lions lead to
Bowie picked off Williams
again to seal the win for the Lions.

Kashama said he was impressed with his defense.
“Our defense…it’s not too
much I can say about how they
came back after all that adversity; come back and focused
and played each down,” he said.
“They’ve been carrying us all season. It was a heck of a game for
M.L. King (3-4) will try to get
its fourth win of the season when
it hosts rival Stephenson (6-1)
Oct. 23 at Hallford Stadium at 8
p.m. Miller Grove (4-3) will take
on Dunwoody Oct. 23 at North
DeKalb Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Other scores

Oct. 16
McNair (2-5) 15, South Atlanta (0-7) 0
SW DeKalb (3-4) 30, Dunwoody (2-5)
Redan (4-4) 56, Stone Mountain (0-7) 0
Clarkston (1-6) 48, Cross Keys (0-4) 0
Stephenson (6-1) 37, Druid Hills (3-4)
St. Pius X (5-2) 31, Chamblee (2-5) 7
Marist (6-2) 22, Grady (3-4) 14
Douglass (5-2) 19, Decatur (4-3) 15
Oct. 17
Cedar Grove (6-1) 35, Towers (1-6) 8
Arabia Mountain (4-3) 23, Lithonia
(4-4) 7
OPEN: Columbia (3-4), Lakeside (3-4),
Tucker (4-3)

Volleyball playoffs results
Oct. 14
Class AAA
Decatur 3, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 0
Class AAAA
Marist 3, West Laurens 0
St. Pius X 3, Upson-Lee 0
North Oconee 3, Redan 0
Veterans 3, Chamblee 0
Oct. 15
Class A
Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 3, Paideia 0

Lakeside 3, Douglas Co. 1
East Coweta 3, Tucker 0

Athlete 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.
Jayson Harrell, Clarkston (football):
The senior quarterback threw for four
touchdowns and ran for another to lead
Clarkston to its first victory since the
2013 season with a 48-0 win over Cross
Keys Oct. 16.
Gabrielle Morse, Lakeside (volleyball):
The sophomore had 19 kills in the 3-1
win over Douglas County Oct. 15 in the
first round of the playoffs.

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The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 19A


Other scores
East Coweta 8, Lakeside 0
East Coweta 15, Lakeside 1
East Coweta wins best of three series 2-0

Arabia Mountain’s Kayla Phillips waits for the pitch. Photos by Carla Parker

River Ridge 3, Dunwoody 1
Dunwoody 2, River Ridge 0
River Ridge 7, Dunwoody 0
River Ridge wins best of three series 2-1
Creekview 15, Stephenson 2
Creekview 13, Stephenson 0
Creekview wins best of three series 2-0
Dalton 13, Druid Hills 0
Dalton 11, Druid Hills 1
Dalton wins best of three series 2-0

Arabia Mountain’s Milan Greene waits for the pitch while protecting first base.

Cambridge 13, SW DeKalb 0
Cambridge 15, SW DeKalb 0
Cambridge wins best of three series 2-0
Heritage-Catoosa 13, Chamblee 0
Heritage-Catoosa 21, Chamblee 1
Heritage wins best of three series 2-0
Ridgeland 15, St. Pius X 0
Ridgeland 15, St. Pius X 0
Ridgeland wins best of three series 2-0

Arabia Mountain pitcher Kayla Phillips throws out a pitch.

Arabia Mountain eliminated
by Gilmer in playoffs
by Carla Parker
The Arabia Mountain Lady Rams lost to
Gilmer and fell 2-0 in the best of three series in the
Class AAAA softball state playoffs.
Arabia Mountain lost the first game 13-0 and
fell 9-1 in the second game. Despite the loss, Coach
Eric Hoxie said he is still proud of his team.
“This is the first time at our school that we’ve
made history [finishing] second in the region,” he

said. “This is the first time that [any team] at our
school has ever gotten this far, so I’m really proud
of my team. We worked hard to get to this spot and
next year we should look better—[and possibly]
win the region.”
Hoxie said his team will have to improve next
year if it wants to get further in the playoffs.
“We’re going to have to do a lot better,” he said.
“The leaders are going to have to step it up and be
leaders so we can be even better next year.”

Marist 4, Northwest Whitfield 3
Marist 10, Northwest Whitfield 7
Marist wins best of three series 2-0
Pierce County 18, Cedar Grove 0
Pierce County 11, Cedar Grove 1
Pierce County wins best of three series 2-0
Dodge County 13, Decatur 0
Dodge County 15, Decatur 0
Dodge County wins best of three series 2-0


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, october 23, 2015Page 20A

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Smith said, “We are pleased to
return to Atlanta this year for the
third time.”
He added, “With Atlanta being the new home of IWSC Group
North America and one of the
best cities for food and beverage in
country, the city remains a perfect
fit for Whiskies of the World. This
event combined with the city’s
inviting atmosphere, will allow
whisky lovers to experience an
unforgettable journey – tasting the
most unique whiskies while meeting the personalities that complete
the whisky world.”
The event will feature food
and cigar pairings from Atlanta’s
Cigar Guys radio show hosts Gary
Laden and Alan Friedman.
In addition to sought-after
products of American Craft distilleries, the expo also will spotlight
local distilled spirits and craft distilling in general such as Indepen-

dent Distilling Company, Decatur’s
first distillery since prohibition.
Founders of the distillery,
Michael Anderson and Tommy
Williams, first took over the space
on College Avenue in 2012.
Last July, the two launched
their first products.
The distillery currently offers a
corn whisky called Hellbender and
a white rum called Independent
Rum. The two are working on a
wheat whisky that will be release
next year.
On Nov. 10 the company will
also release a bourbon that will be
celebrated at the Kimball House.
Anderson said the biggest
challenge with starting the business was “dealing with Georgia’s
legal system. That’s how we wound
up in Decatur.”
Anderson said after battling
for more than eight months with
the city of Atlanta he turned to

Decatur city officials who were
“very accommodating.”
“Decatur changed the zoning
to allow for distilling, changed the
city ordinance to create a distiller’s
license and they did this all for us.
They see that this is an emerging
industry,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Williams have
split the responsibilities of growing
the business while also maintaining full time jobs.
By the end of the year, Anderson said, the distillery will offer
tours and tasting rooms for people
interested in their process.
Anderson and Williams will
provide additional information
about their company and process at the Whiskies of the World
For more information and to
purchase tickets, visit

host a human trafficking symposium and
memorandum of understanding signing on
Oct. 29, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Maloof
Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive Decatur.
Representatives from area nonprofits
and government offices will be on hand to
sign the DeKalb Anti-Trafficking and Exploitation multidisciplinary protocol to address human trafficking.
“This symposium is designed to tackle
the growing human trafficking epidemic in
our region by first establishing a comprehensive strategy to assist those who have
been victims of human trafficking, to help
others identify the warning signs and to
shed a light on a crime that targets both
young girls and boys,” said District Attorney
Robert James.
Keisha Head, a survivor of human trafficking, will share her personal story with
attendees following a special showing of
CNN’s Freedom Project: Children for Sale
“The greater Atlanta area has become a
major hub for human trafficking because of
the international airport and easy access to
the major highways,” James said. “When you
include the proliferation and easy access to
the Internet, the problem of selling young
children now takes place on a digital street
This event is free and open to the public.