FRIDAY, november 6, 2015 • VOL. 18, NO. 30 • 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


Officials vow
to end human

Grand jury doesn’t
recommend charges for
officer-involved deaths

Cedar Grove,
Tucker set for
title rematch

Local, 3A

local, 9A

sports, 17A

Voters say ‘yes’ to Tucker, ‘no’ to LaVista Hills
by Carla Parker

Tucker is officially a city.
Residents in the Tucker
community voted in favor
of the city referendum with
73.92 percent, while 26.08
percent of voters said “no” to
a new city.
Voters in the proposed
LaVista Hills boundaries
voted against the city referendum with 50.50 percent
voting against, and 49.50
percent voting in favor.
Frank Auman of Tucker
2015 said it took a lot of hard
work to incorporate Tucker.
“If [the volunteers] didn’t
do what they did we would
have been done somewhere
along the way,” he said.
“Along the way somebody

The Tucker cityhood referendum was heavily favored by voters. Photo by Carla Parker

showed up at the right meeting, made the right connec-

tion, knew the law, whatever
it might have been. It feels

good that it was a community effort.”

After declaring defeat,
Mary Kay Woodworth of
“LaVista Hills Yes!” apologized to supporters for “the
missed opportunity for this
community to make it a better, stronger community.”
“Tons of volunteers gave
up their time, their money
and so much of their effort,”
Woodworth said to supporters. “I hope that you all make
the same effort and have the
same commitment to trying to fix the dysfunction of
DeKalb County.
“The county will have to
be dismantled from the bottom up, to the top down to
make it better,” Woodworth
added. “But I think that we
can all do it.”
Both cityhood bills passed
the Georgia General

See Tucker on page 13A

Three cities vote in new mayors
by Andrew Cauthen
Voters in Brookhaven,
Dunwoody and Pine Lake
chose new heads of their local governments at the polls
Nov. 3.
Attorney John Ernst, former chairman of the DeKalb
County Board of Ethics, is
the newly-elected mayor of
Brookhaven. At The Champion’s press time, he led Dale
Boone, a competitive eater,
85.24 percent to 14.3 percent.
“Basically this election
puts an end to Brookhaven
‘yes’ and Brookhaven ‘no,’”
Ernst said. “It’s now about
Brookhaven. We’re unified
to move forward for a better
Ernst said, “I am going
to take a strong look at our



paving to make sure that we
are caught up and take a look
at our stormwater to make
sure there are no ticking time
bombs in the future.”
In Doraville, Mayor Donna Pittman fought off challenger Tom Hart, a former
council member. Pittman
received 51.72 percent of the
vote to Hart’s 48.28 percent,



at press time.
Dunwoody Mayor Mike
Davis lost his reelection bid.
Denis Shortal, a former
councilman and retired U.S.
Marines brigadier general,
received 62.68 percent to become the mayor-elect. Davis
received 33.75 percent of the
vote, while Steve Chipka,
received 1.04 percent, and


Chris Grivakis, received 2.28
Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson was reelected
to another term after defeating Lithonia City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Al
Franklin 63.09 percent to
36.91 percent.
“I am very honored that
the residents of Lithonia

decided to return me to office,” Jackson said. “We have
started a number of fantastic
initiatives and I am looking
forward to bring those to
fruition in this second term.”
“I am going to continue
the work that I have been
doing,” Jackson said. “We’ve
established some good partnerships with the DeKalb
County Board of Health, the
cooperative extension program and the Georgia Department of Transportation...
these are all initiatives that
are ready to be implemented
at this point so I’m really excited about the opportunity
to continue to be a public
In Pine Lake, Melanie
Hammet was the only candidate for that city’s mayoral
position, while Avondale
Estates Mayor Jonathan El-

See Mayors on page 13A






2A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page

Representatives from DeKalb County offices and law enforcement agencies learn about the statistics of elder domestic violence.
DeKalb sheriff deputies participate in the training session for the Ending Abuse in Later Life Project.

County launches project to
end elder domestic violence
by Carla Parker
DeKalb County has
launched a project to provide
more aid to seniors dealing
with domestic violence.
On Oct. 29, the county
launched its Ending Abuse in
Later Life Project at its kickoff training event at the Lou
Walker Senior Center. The
DeKalb County Department
of Human Services partnered
with other DeKalb offices
and agencies on this project.
The project, which was
awarded by the Department
of Justice’s Office on Violence
Against Women in September 2014, focuses on improving safety for domestic
violence victims ages 50 and
older—while enhancing the
existing services the county
offers through specialized
training and a coordinated
community response team.
The training event was
designed to announce the
project to the community,
increase awareness of elder
abuse and to gather a coordinated community response
team to address the top issues of DeKalb County senior citizens.
The grant has been
awarded through September
2017. Victoria FergusonYoung, coordinator of the
project, said one of the reasons the project was created,
in addition to current pro-

grams that address domestic
violence, is because there are
distinctions to elder abuse.
“This project focuses
particularly on domestic violence in relationships—elders
who have relationships with
people who are perpetrating
or abusing them,” FergusonYoung said. “Because of
the challenges elders often
have—physically—it makes it
more difficult for them to get
access to help. One thing we
are working on is improving
and increasing that access.”
For the remaining two
years of the grant, 850 law
enforcement officers—250
from the DeKalb County
Sheriff ’s Office and 600 from
the DeKalb County Police
Department—will be trained
on recognizing and investigating the signs of elder
abuse. A coordinated community response team comprised of the community’s
leaders will address victim
accessibility to resources
such as legal services, housing and victim advocates.
Lithonia Mayor Deborah
Jackson, who gave remarks
before the training session,
said elder abuse is an important issue for the community
because of the growing senior population.
“Often, people are very
isolated so it’s important that
we be much more vigilant,”
Jackson said. “I think it’s important that we look at the

village concept. We often use
it as it relates to [children]—
‘it takes a village to raise a
child.’ I think it also takes a
village to look after our seniors as well so that people
are more aware and concerned about these issues.”
Jackson said she would
like to see the city municipalities in the county partner
more on these types of projects.
“[The county] is looking
at that as an opportunity to
expand it because seniors live
in cities as well as unincorporated areas,” Jackson said.
“We’re very excited about
the opportunity to be a part
of this growing conversation and making sure that
our law enforcement officers
are trained to be much more
aware of the signs of senior
“We are very intentional
about continuing the training of police officers in the
cities as well,” FergusonYoung said. “Mayor Jackson
definitely brought that to my
attention and it’s something
we’re intentional about doing. With grants you have
parameters you have to follow and timing—how it has
to happen so at this point
I don’t believe we can start
those trainings until 2017.
But if we can we absolutely


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 3A

Officials vow to end human trafficking
by Andrew Cauthen
Representatives from various
nonprofits and county and municipal law enforcement agencies have
joined forces with the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office to tackle
local human trafficking.
The representatives met Oct. 29
for a human trafficking symposium
and official signing of a memorandum of understanding for the
DeKalb Anti-Trafficking and Exploitation (D.A.T.E.) Watch multidisci- From left, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James has spearheaded multidisciplinary task force to attack human trafficking. Photos
by Andrew Cauthen
plinary protocol to address human
even anyone that traverses through
pain and my losses to transform me
“16 and at a crossroads—homeless
“It’s historic. It hasn’t happened
this county is protected from this
into God’s instrument of greatness.”
and on the run, the product of a
anywhere else,” said DeKalb County
horrific reality that so many people
Heather Stockdale, executive
failed system that wanted to lock me
District Attorney Robert James.
have to live through.”
director of Georgia Cares, the stateaway due to lack of proper care and
“You don’t have anybody that has a
James said the signing of the
wide coordinating agency for child
resources to treat my brokenness.”
multidisciplinary task force.
victims of sex trafficking and exploi- memorandum of understanding is
With a background of “abuse,
“History doesn’t end here with
just the beginning of the joint effort
tation in Georgia, said, “Since Aumolestation and abandonment,”
the signing of this agreement,” he
to end human trafficking in DeKalb.
gust 2009 we have received reports
Head said her breaking point ocsaid. “History begins and ends with
“We’re going to do some magnififor more than 1389 youth who have
curred when she gave birth to her
what we do out in the streets procent things together,” he said. “We’re
daughter “and was forced to give her been sexually exploited and traftecting these young girls and these
ficked in Georgia. Last year alone we going to lock up a whole lot of pimps
away to her father because I didn’t
young boys.”
and traffickers—a whole lot of them.
worked with 387 youth.”
have the resources to care for her,
James said, “Each month thouAnd we’re going to rescue a lot of
Moments before the program
just like my mom had to do me.
sands of men in Georgia pay for sex
“I was broken beyond repair,” she started, Stockdale said she received
with a young woman and many of
“It’s time to make it happen,” he
a report from a young New York husaid. “I turned to the streets.”
them end up exploiting adolescent
said. “It’s time to hit the streets. It’s
man trafficking victim who was in
It was then that a friend put her
time to rescue these young girls.”
in touch with “Sir Charles” who soon DeKalb County.
Beginning at ages 12 to 14,
James promised to work to estab“Now we’re going to work togethbecame her pimp, she said.
“thousands of girls are at risk of belish a receiving center/safe house for
er today as we unveil this initiative
Two years later, “after countless
ing sex-trafficked in Georgia,” James rapes, beatings, attempted kidnapvictims in DeKalb County.
for the first time …to find, rescue…
“We have entirely too many girls
and be able to get her the services
pings, and near death experiences,”
“This is not just a New York
that are coming from this county
that she deserves,” Stockdale said.
she “found the courage to escape,”
problem or just a Chicago problem
that are being trafficked,” James said.
“The epidemic of human trafonly to return to the life she had
or an L.A. problem or an Oakland
ficking is enormous,” Stockdale said. “You’re asking them to change their
adapted to because she had no reproblem or a San Francisco prob“It takes all of us working together… lives…but there’s no place for them
lem,” James said. “This is a DeKalb
In 2006, she was incarcerated for on behalf of those who do not have a to lay their heads in DeKalb County.
County problem and we have to do
Fulton has one, but what about the
voice, on behalf of those who really
three years and upon release didn’t
something about it.”
DeKalb girls? We can get a place for
are our most vulnerable citizens.”
returned to prostitution, she said.
The DA’s office currently has 40
these children to lay their heads until
Interim DeKalb County CEO
“Today, I am a survivor,” Head
active trafficking cases.
they can find more permanent shelLee May said the D.A.T.E. Watch is
said. “I am not a survivor because
Keisha Head, a survivor of huter.”
“about humanity, making sure that
I escaped something horrific. I am
man trafficking, told how she was
every human being in this county or
a survivor because I allowed my


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015

Page 4A

When our wings have been clipped, literally and figuratively
When our wings have been
clipped, it is often difficult
to do the day-to-day functions that we normally take
for granted. We learn quickly
how difficult life must be for
those who are handicapped,
temporarily or permanently.
On Oct. 1, I had dual rotator cuff surgery combined
with a bone scraping and tendon repair. My world changed
that day. Lucky for me, this
situation is hopefully temporary.
I am now in a restrictive
sling that totally prohibits any
movement from the elbow to
the shoulder and I’m not able
to use that part of my arm for
13 weeks. That means anything that requires the use of
my right hand and arm,–by
the way I am right handed–I
can’t do. I’ve had to learn to
do everything with one hand
only and I’ve had to learn to
do everything with my left
hand when my mind tells me
that my right hand should be
completing the task.
Every move I make, every
task I attempt to complete,
must be assessed in advance
to determine the path of least
resistance. I can’t fasten a pair

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

of trousers, tuck in a shirt, tie
my shoes or scratch most areas
of my back.
Something as simple as
putting on a pair of socks requires additional attention.
When we have the use of both
hands we think nothing of
putting on socks. When you
only have one hand, you have
to open the sock by inserting
all of your fingers into it, place
the sock opening around one
of the outside toes and then
wiggle your foot in while attempting to straighten the
sock so the heel is in the correct position.
As difficult as it has been

to do, I’ve learned that I have
to ask for help doing even the
simplest of things. Where in
the past I would have continued to try to do anything
before asking for help, I’ve
learned that it’s OK to ask for
assistance. I’ve also learned
that some things aren’t important enough to bother another
person to have things done the
way we would like them to be
The first few days after
surgery, my wife had to help
me dress; she had to help me
take a shower; she had to help
me eat and she had to help me
into and out of a chair. The
entire process has been humbling to say the least.
Thus far, I am keeping up
with my work fairly well, even
though it takes much longer
to do most things. Editing
and communicating via e-mail
with one hand hasn’t been
such a difficult task. However, the thought of writing an
opinion piece, which should
be at least 350 to 400 words,
has been a daunting task; but
it has to be done, I gave my
As I have begun to better
appreciate the simple things in

life I’ve also learned to appreciate what modern technology
makes available.
After several attempted
and failed efforts to use speech
recognition software, I think
I’ve finally figured it out. Apparently, the most difficult
part of the speech recognition software is that it doesn’t
recognize my southern drawl
very well. A lot of editing is
required, but it works.
However, even this takes
twice the normal amount
of time. After activating the
speech recognition software,
you then tell your computer
to “open Word”, “create a new
document”, “begin typing”.
You can even tell it to boldface
or italicize words or phrases
and where to insert the appropriate punctuation marks.
I’ve also realized that the
seemingly unlimited possibilities that technology affords us,
it cannot express the heartfelt
gratitude we feel for the people
in our lives who help us in
times of need.
My wife Dorothy has been
amazing. Whether it’s sitting
seemingly patiently nearby
while I shower, just in case I
slip and fall, or making sure

that whatever I may want or
need is available; she’s done it.
To my coworkers Gale,
Jackie, Jenese, Mary Ann,
Andrew, Kemesha, Travis,
Ashley, Carla, Donna and
Kathy who have had to change
the way things are normally
done at The Champion just to
accommodate me thank you
for the sacrifices and for your
My bosses Carolyn and
Earl Glenn have allowed me
to work in unconventional
ways at unconventional hours
while trying to recover. I will
be eternally grateful for their
support and understanding.
To each of you I want to
express my sincere gratitude
for being flexible enough to
allow me to continue to have
as normal a life as possible
during a difficult time for all.
Thank you for making it possible to continue being actively
involved in the process of
bringing news and entertainment to our readers.
It is often said that it takes
a village to raise a child; I’ve
come to realize that it takes a
world of caring individuals for
one to recover.

letter to the editor

Resident comments on corruption report
I spoke at the Lou Walker Center
at the town hall meeting hosted by
interim CEO Lee May. I am highly
disappointed that none of my words
or comments made it to your paper. I
see where Playboy subscriptions went
from 2.5 million to 800,000, and I see
where the Atlanta Journal Constitution subscription is down and having
another layoff. I think there exists
a loss of interest on the part of the
public because they say it’s nothing
of substance in the paper. I think the
paper tends to avoid the hard truth
and make the news be what they
want it to be. I further believe the
newspaper softens and waters down
the news and I think it’s a relationship between the demand for the
newspaper and the contents. When
I first heard of your newspaper I was
proud of its existence. I think the
small newspaper usually do a better
job covering community issues.
I believe that 95 percent of what
we paid for in Mike Bower’s report
had already appeared in the AJC and
most of the information was peanuts,
with nothing of substance. However,
the real corruption in this county has
to do with bid kickbacks, bid-rigging,
no-bid contracts, inflated bids and
paying for services that were not pro-

I have tried to put citizens on
notice that there is more involved
in this matter. The government is
incredibly slow and it may take five
or more years for the real corruption
issues to come out. There were numerous indications of what’s to come
hinted in the Burrell Ellis trial. Yes,
I know there exists an element out
there trying to neutralize my comments; however, you may remember
I talked about contract corruption
going back some time.
I saw Hosea Williams start Hosea
Speaks to get out his message. I hope
you will help me get out my message.
None of the folks the grand jury recommended be indicted have come
to trial. We live in an age where winning is everything and losing is nothing. I am afraid the district attorney
may have reservations bringing cases
to trial because of being portrayed as
a serial loser.
For example, the county spends
$200,000 to renovate a house that is
worth less than $20,000. How does
this happen? The White community
is making big money while the Black
elected officials and employees are
getting kickbacks of crumbs. Our
water bills are inflated because we are

under a $10 billion consent agreement to repair and upgrade our water system in DeKalb County. This is
because there is money on paper that
was supposedly spent on our water
system that was stolen. This has resulted in bills being inflated. Some
people are getting $4,000 to $10,000
water bills. I believe this is due to the
corruption. You may notice top level

employees in the water department
are resigning. They don’t want to be
holding the bag when this matter
goes down.
I think you should cover the community activist first when it comes to
comments in the newspaper.
Joe Bembry


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015

Page 5A

One Man’s Opinion

Coach, it’s time…
“Winning isn’t everything.
But wanting it is,” golf legend
Arnold Palmer.
Yes, the better known
version of that quote, “...It’s
the only thing,” by football
Coach Vince Lombardi, gets
a lot more play most every
football season. I am not one
of those fans who believe in
winning at all costs, or that
winning is all that matters.
But SEC football, tailgating and all the traditions
which this includes—family,
friends, fellowship and nostalgia—are a big part of my
life each fall.
I have seen what a strong
UGA football program can
achieve and like the majority
of Bulldog Nation, we simply
want to see that again. Our
rivals and friends from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia
Tech and even the dreaded
Florida Gators have had
many a championship season
since. We have won several
SEC trophies, the SEC Eastern Division and a few big
bowls since, but the brass
ring has remained out of our
reach, since the year Ronald
Reagan was elected to his
first term as president. That
sounds even worse after typing it.
But win or lose, long
before the tenure of Coach
Mark Richt began in 2001, I
have remained a loyal UGA

Bill Crane


donor each year, primarily
to the Grady College of Journalism, and have remained
active with many aspects of
the institution since my own
graduation in 1984, and that
will not change.
Like most fans, I strongly
welcomed the new blood and
perhaps a more explosive
Georgia offense, when Florida State University’s offensive
coordinator Mark Richt left
then Coach Bobby Bowden
to come to Athens and UGA
in 2001. In Tallahassee, Richt
had coached two Heisman
Trophy winning quarterbacks, and been part of two
national championship seasons (1993 and 1999). Richt
appeared to know how to
lead and win during his time
with one of the winningest
coaches in the game of college football.

And following Richt’s
arrival there was promise—
SEC Championships in 2002
and 2005, and season endings which had Georgia in
the Top 10 for seven years.
But out of 15 seasons, that is
batting less than 500, and in
those less than 500 seasons,
the numbers and many of
those games were simply
much, much worse than that
average sounds.
Most fans don’t expect us
to win every game. As coach,
Richt is not on the field
throwing those passes, or
even in all cases calling the
plays, but winning coaches
know how to win, and even
when losing, how to keep the
game competitive. 
However, to this day, I
will give Coach Richt his
due. Academics and classroom performance actually
matter within the Georgia
program. Minor drug offenses, breaking curfew or
behavioral challenges which
might garner a wink at other
schools are not tolerated by
Coach Richt. Athletes by the
hundreds will attest the assistance, guidance and support
Coach Richt has provided
long after they no longer
sport a Georgia football jersey.  Richt knows that few of
his athletes will ultimately
have a successful NFL career,
so he attempts to infuse them

with the leadership and life
skills which will help them
thrive on most any other
field of play. His faith is unquestioned. Both his personal relationship with Christ
and the manner in which
he lives and shares that philosophy with others are to be
continually admired.
A close friend and
younger fraternity brother
is a pilot, who frequently
flies private charters on big
game weekends. While hauling a successful billionaire
developer to a recent college
game weekend, the subject of
the Georgia program came
up. With an almost apology
qualifying his remarks the
billionaire said, “I don’t mean
to be rude, but I’ve made a
ton of money on those Bulldogs. In every big game, I
bet large and against them...
and they almost always
choke. That coach has made
me a small fortune.”
Well, I’m glad all those
losses have been good for
Your players love you and
many fans believe that you
should stay, but I can sense
a red tide forming and moving, and those are powerful
forces which seldom ebb on
their own. It’s time, Coach,
it’s time. It’s not going out
on top, but the way things
are heading, it would still

be you leaving on your own
terms, and well before we hit
rock bottom. Resignation or
retirement certainly sound
and feel better than being
fired. Go in peace, sir, into
the sunset and with the wind
at your back, but please consider, and please go.
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, november 6, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page

Sandra Harris
Seventy-year-old Decatur resident Sandra Harris
is a retired educator who
stays busy with her volunteer
“I have a ministry and
our mission is to help feed
those less fortunate. For
years I have fed the residents
at Gateway Center,” an organization hat helps individuals
move out of homelessness,”
Harris said.
The ministry is run along
with cofounder Sandra Harmon. “Both of us had been
in catering long before. We
knew how to cook food from
scratch. That’s what they remember us the most for at
Gateway,” Harris said.
Harris recalled that
her ministry prepared 180

pounds of chicken, three
commercial-sized pans
of cornbread dressing, 18
bunches of collard greens,
rice, banana puddings, cakes
and punch.

The ministry, along with
volunteers from churches
and social clubs, is now feeding people in the Lakewood
area every fifth Sunday.
Additionally Harris volunteers with Georgia Department of Correction’s Metro
Transitional Center where
she teaches women how to
make greeting cards.
“Many of the women
may have never had an art
class like this. Some of them
have been in and out of the
penal system,” said Harris,
the mother of two daughters and four grandchildren.
“This for them is really one
way for them to express
themselves. They look forward to [me] coming.”
Harris also volunteers to

to provide meals at another
women and children’s shelter.
She is a member of the Beta
phi Beta Sorority and is the
vice president and program
chairwoman of the South
DeKalb Senior Center. At
the center, Harris also is the
choir director of Voices of
She attends St. Timothy
Episcopal Church in Decatur
where she is president of the
church’s chapter of Daughters
of the King, a service organization, and sings in the choir
at church.
When asked why she
volunteers, Harris said, “I’m
a Libra and I just like to see
balance and harmony. If
there’s something I can do, I
go on and volunteer to do it.

That may sound corny, but
that’s the way it is.”
“I know…it’s very needed
and helpful. From a spiritual
point of view, it’s what God
asks us to do—to feed those
who are incarcerated or in
prison, help feed the needy,
clothe the homeless—whenever you can,” Harris said.
“He doesn’t ask much of us—
share your blessing with others …whatever you can give.”
“It’s not all about you,”
Harris said. “If you just share
a little, it could help somebody or inspire someone to
try a little harder or to hold
on a little longer.”

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.

Lithonia teen
nominated for club’s
metro Youth of the Year
by Andrew Cauthen
Seventeen-year-old Sabrina Artemus of Lithonia said an award she is
in the running for has inspired her.
Sabrina, a senior at Chamblee
Charter High School, is one of 16
who will be honored at the annual
youth Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro
Atlanta (BGCMA) Youth of the Year
dinner and awards ceremony on Nov.
12. One teen will be named Metro
Atlanta Youth of the Year during the
The Youth of the Year award is
BGCMA’s highest honor, recognizing
teens from clubs in the metro Atlanta
area who are working hard and demonstrating leadership in their schools,
clubs and communities.
“I thought I was just a normal
teen and being nominated for youth
of the year [has] boosted my confidence because it made me feel like I
could be more,” said Sabrina, who has
been a member of the East DeKalb
Boys & Girls Club for a decade.
“I love it,” she said about the Boys
and Girls Club. “They give us a lot of
opportunities. We get to participate in
a whole lot of different events and we
get opportunities we wouldn’t have
outside the Boys and Girls Club.”

Sabrina recalled that when she
was 10, she didn’t have a computer to
do her homework.
“They gave me a free computer,”
Sabrina said. “That was really helpful.”
Sabrina said her favorite Boys and
Girls Club program is the Youth Art
Connection “where we can draw pictures and they send them to a panel
of people” for judging. The pieces selected are displayed in an art gallery.
Winning a contest “inspired me
because I want to go into graphic design,” Sabrina said. “That was the first
picture that I...did for a competition.
Being chosen made me feel great.”
Sabrina said she has made many
friends at the Boys and Girls Club
“and the staff there is like an extra
family. It’s like having a support system.”
“The Boys and Girls Clubs’ motto
is ‘great futures start here,’” said Sabrina, who wants to double major in
computer science and graphic design.
“And that’s not just a motto. The Boys
and Girls Clubs give you a lot of opportunities. I don’t think words can
express how much the Boys and Girls
Club has done for me. It has shaped
me as a person. The best thing about
the B&G Club is having the support
and the opportunities.”

Sabrina Artemus could be named Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro
Atlanta. Photo provided



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 7A


East Lake Family YMCA to hold CPR event for
East Lake Family YMCA is holding a first-ofits-kind Georgia CPR event. 
A free to the public compressions-only CPR
class for youth ages 6 to 16 is being held Nov. 7, at
11 a.m. and at noon. Children can learn lifesaving
CPR without the need for mouth contact.
“Many children in Atlanta and the surrounding areas are home alone with a parent or grandparent and need to be prepared for an emergency,” states an announcement about the event.
“According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 70 percent of all cardiac arrests
usually happen at home and 90 percent of the
out-of-hospital cardiac arrests victims die before reaching the hospital because those present,
including children, didn’t know CPR or how to
properly execute compressions-only CPR,” the
announcement states. “East Lake family YMCA
along with the Junior Heart Squad project want
to reduce those odds by getting Georgia’s children
The East Lake Family YMCA is located at 275
East Lake Blvd. SE, Atlanta. To learn more, visit
For more information, call (678) 249-9070 or


City reschedules council meeting
The Clarkston City Council voted at its Oct.
27 special called meeting to reschedule the November council meeting from Nov. 3 to Nov. 5 to
allow Clarkston residents and elected officials full
participation in the general election.  The council meeting will be held Nov. 5 at the Clarkston
Council Room, 3921 Church Street, at 6:30
p.m. The public is invited to attend.

LifeLine to host Healthy Pets DeKalb
LifeLine Animal Project invites DeKalb
County pet owners to take advantage of free vaccinations given by a licensed veterinarian, free
spay or neuter vouchers to use at LifeLine’s Spay
& Neuter Clinics, free microchipping and free
dog and cat food at their Healthy Pets DeKalb
event on Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event
will be held at Shoal Creek Park II, 3643 Glenwood Road in Decatur. No registration is necessary for this first-come, first-serve promotion.
For more information, email or call (678) 883-2FIX (2349).


Health tests and screenings offered
On Nov. 21, Union Missionary Baptist
Church, located at 2470 Bruce St. in Lithonia,
will offer low-cost health tests and screenings to
all Medicare-eligible beneficiaries.
This special offer is made possible by Union
Missionary Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. Edward L. Randolph Jr., Life Line Screening and
DeKalb Medical Hillandale.
For additional information, call 1 (866) 5795069 or visit

Avondale Estates

City raises funds for Avondale Elementary
On Oct. 21, at the Avondale Estates Board of
Mayor and Commissioners regular work session,
Commissioner Randy Beebe presented a check
for funds raised in the amount of $750 to Avondale Elementary School Principal Dr. Dontae
Andrews. Beebe conducted a fundraiser for the
school during AutumnFest for the school’s PTA
for school projects and improvements. Beebe
enlisted Don Connelly to craft a T-shirt design
that he would sell at the festival. Beebe set up a
booth at AutumnFest and invited elected officials
and commissioner candidates to help out at the
booth. They spent time talking to residents and
making donations.

Lithonia church, senior center to hold
community concert
Saint Paul AME Worship Center and the Lou
Walker Senior Center Performing Arts Group
will present an evening of musical entertainment
titled “Bridging the Gap in the Community.”
DeKalb County Super District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson will be the master of ceremony.
St. Paul’s Pastor, Dr. Cheviene Jones, will be
the featured vocalist for the evening. The St. Paul
Mass Choir & Band under the director of Rev.
Marc C. Grace and the Sacred Arts Dance Ministry under the instruction of Toni Butts also will
be highlighted in the evening’s performance.
The evening also will feature the Lou Walker
Senior Center (LWSC) Performing Arts Group.
The LWSC Praise Dancers will perform The
Battle Is Not Yours but the Lord’s. Gwendolyn F.
Thomas is the producer/director of LWSC Performing Arts Group.
An added feature from the LWSC will be The

Smooth Sophisticated Gents, a male line dance
group. Taliah Hasan is the founder and choreographer of this group.
The event will be Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at
KES Inc., 6615 Tribble Street, Lithonia. Admission and parking are free.


Metro Atlanta Rotary Clubs to sponsor
electronics recycling day
The Rotary Clubs of Northlake and Stone
Mountain will host an electronics recycling day
on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First
Christian Church of Atlanta, 4532 LaVista Road
The event will benefit Friends of Disabled
Adults and Children (FODAC). Working and
non-working electronics (with the exception of
CRT monitors) will be accepted for recycling at
no charge, but participants are encouraged to
make a donation to FODAC.
Working electronics and computers will be
collected by FODAC for resale at its Thrift Store
at 4900 Lewis Road in Stone Mountain. Proceeds
from thrift store sales as well as funds collected
at the event will support FODAC’s mission to
provide home medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers and shower benches, to those with
mobility impairments, at little or no cost to the
recipients or their families.
Non-working electronics will be recycled
through partnerships with FODAC and aggregate
Examples of electronics eligible for recycling
are calculators, fax machines, keyboards, computer mouses, working and non-working computers,
broadband and other electronics cabling, game
controllers, remote controllers, scanners, phones
(mobile and landline), PDAs and routers.
For a full list of recyclable electronics, visit


DeKalb Fire Rescue to provide driver
DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department
partnered with the University of Georgia to bring
P.R.I.D.E.—Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver
Error—to help DeKalb County parents prepare
their 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds to drive. The free,
two-hour P.R.I.D.E. seminar is a standardized
UGA course offered statewide. The course will
be held Nov. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the
DeKalb County Fire Rescue Headquarters located
at 1950 West Exchange Place in Tucker. A teen
and at least one parent or guardian must register
to attend. To register, call the Public Education
Unit at (678) 406-7491 or email sanewsom@ and request a registration


8A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page

The choir performs at the grand opening of the South DeKalb Senior

Harold McGuire, 77, leads a song during a practice of the Voices of Victory of the South DeKalb Senior Center.

There are approximately 20 members on the choir.

Sandra Harris directs the choir during a performance.

So far the choir has a dozen songs in its repertoire. Photos by Andrew

Seniors share songs at center
by Andrew Cauthen

As often as they can, some seniors at the recently opened South DeKalb Senior Center get
together to share their love for singing.
“We’re the Voices of Victory from all walks of
life. We’re retired and we’ve come to the center to
have a good time and share our talents,” said Sandra Harris, the choir’s director, during a recent
practice at the senior center, located on Candler
The choir, which has approximately 20 members, recently performed at the grand opening
of the South DeKalb Senior Center. For approximately three years, while waiting for the old center
to be torn down and rebuilt, the choir didn’t have
a permanent place to practice. It moved from the
old senior center to St. Phillips A. M. E. Church
and then to the Scottdale senior center.
“We’re just glad to be here and share our voices,” Harris said.
The choir performs monthly at the senior center’s birthday celebration and has begun to receive
invitations to perform.
“We have about 10 to 12 songs in our repertoire,” Harris said. Those songs include such
Black classics as Do You Know the Man?, Glory,
Glory Hallelujah and God has Smiled on Me. South
DeKalb Senior Center members “might be tired

of hearing them, but they’re just going to have to
hear them until we change seasons.
“We’re going to learn some more songs, like
contemporary songs, but it’s OK. [There are] a lot
of people out there doing contemporary, so we
don’t mind keeping the tradition and reminding
people about our heritage which we are proud of,”
Harris said.
She said the group is practicing Christmas
songs and is “looking forward to Black history
month. We’re going to do a lot of songs for that.”
Voices of Victory sings everything a capella.
“We didn’t always have musical instruments,
so we make music with our voices,” Harris said.
“I’m the pitch pipe.”
Joyce Alvis, 77, of Decatur sings alto in the
choir. “I just love singing,” Alvis said. “I sing at
home. I sing in the streets. I sing everywhere.”
To those interested in joining the choir, Alvis
said, “Come on. We have a wonderful choir. And
we have lots of fun and we [do] activities and
you’ll enjoy becoming a part of our choir.”
Harold McGuire, 77, of Lithonia currently is
the only man in the choir.
“I’ve been asking them to get some more men,”
said McGuire, whose wife also is in the choir. “I
think we should have more men.”
McGuire said, “I never really sang in a choir—
well, when I was really young, I sang with a choir a
little bit.

“I always sang with groups…and I’ve played
for different groups,” said McGuire who sang and
played guitar for several quartets. “I’ve been singing since I was probably 12 or 13 years old.”
McGuire said he did not seek out the choir.
“They joined me. They got me. They asked me to
join them,” he said.
Glenzie Dunn, 72, has been with the group
less than a month. “I heard them singing and Ms.
Harris asked if I could sing and I said, ‘Well, I used
to,”’ Dunn said.
Dunn said she has “really enjoyed being in the
group. Everything is so nice and inspirational,” she
Mayreais Honore, originally from Louisiana,
also enjoys being in the choir.
“I love singing,” she said. “I just enjoy singing.
I sing at home and I might wake up in the morning and start singing a song.”
Seventy-seven-year-old Buel Allen, a native
Jamaican who lives in Decatur, said being in the
choir is “joyful, very joyful.”
“I love to sing. I love to give God praise,” Allen
And the choir members are “very pleasant
people—easy to get along with and they’re very
loving,” she added.
“We all cooperate…and that’s why our choir is
successful,” said Vivienne Holt, 73, of Decatur.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 9A

Grand jury doesn’t recommend charges for officer-involved deaths
by Andrew Cauthen
A grand jury could not
decide whether to recommend an indictment of
the officer who fatally shot
an unarmed Black man in
In its October presentment, the DeKalb County
grand jury stated that it was
“unable to reach a consensus
on recommending indictment because there were
contradictions and inconsistencies in the testimonies
Anthony Hill, an Air Force
veteran from Chamblee,
was shot and killed March
9 by DeKalb County Police
Officer Robert Olsen, who
responded to a call about
a man acting “deranged,”
knocking on apartment
doors and crawling on the
ground,” Cedric Alexander,
deputy chief operating officer for public safety, stated in
a March news conference.
The grand jury recommended that “further investigation be conducted to aid
in the decision to pursue this
case by” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James.
According to the grand
jury’s recommendation, the
DA’s Office should conduct
a follow-up interview with
the first officer on the scene
after the shooting, and reinterview Olsen to “clarify”

Friends and family members of Kevin Davis rally earlier this year for justice in his officer-involved shooting death. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

his account.
In a statement, James
said, “Our office will continue to investigate this officerinvolved shooting case and
will make a determination to
pursue criminal charges or
“I am familiar with the
facts and circumstances pertaining to the Anthony Hill
case and have serious concerns regarding this matter,”
James said.
The grand jury also recommended the evaluation
of “the need for additional
training for [DeKalb County
Police officers] related to
approaching and handling
mentally impaired individuals. We recommend that 911
operators are trained and
encouraged to obtain all possible relevant details that can
aide the officer in handling
mentally impaired individuals.”

In another officer-involved shooting, the grand
jury recommended that the
DA not pursue an indictment against the officer.
In that case, Kevin Davis, 44, was shot in the chest
by DeKalb County Police
Officer J. R. Pitts on Dec. 29,
2014, after calling 911 when
his live-in girlfriend was
stabbed by a friend during an
argument in their home on
Pine Tree Circle. Davis died
at Grady Hospital on Dec.
31, 2014, as a result of the
“We will take the recommendation under consideration, review the facts and
make a final determination
how we will proceed,” James
Attorney Mawuli Davis,
who represents the Kevin
Davis family, said the family
“is devastated by the news
and they have vowed to con-

tinue fighting for justice for
“We will meet and discuss our next steps in the
coming days,” Mawuli Davis
said. “The need for a legislative mandate for body cam-

eras is underscored by this
decision. The grand jurors
were left to rely on the word
of the officer. Additionally,
the officer’s ability to be present and testify is fundamentally unfair.”

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10A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page

Halloween on Main Street
by Travis Hudgons


ucker’s Main Street
was transformed into
a trick-or-treat safe
zone for all to enjoy on Oct.
“We wanted to create an
opportunity to provide a safe
place for folks to come trickor-treat,” organizer Nancy
Qarmout said. Sponsored by
the Tucker Farmers Market,
the early evening Halloween
gathering had live music The
Rockaholics, magic by Jiin
Michaels, an oversized robotic spider, pumpkin painting, games and, of course,
Qarmout, who is over
the Tucker Farmers Marker
and owns the Roly Poly on
Main Street, was excited
about the turnout and the
support she received from
the Main street businesses
and the Tucker precinct of
the DeKalb County Police
Department. The officers
passed out candy, wore costumes and decorated their
police cars.
“They have just as much
fun as we do, Qarmout said.
“An event on Main Street
is like being on your front
porch. People hang out, meet
their neighbors and everyone
is excited to see each other—
it creates community.”

Photos by Travis Hudgons



The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 11A



Members of Girl Scout Troop 28433 deliver fresh fruits and veggies to food-isolated and limited-

income seniors in Decatur. Photo provided

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May talks to a group of residents in Dunwoody during a recent town
hall meeting. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Faye Edmundson and her dog Sweetie at the disABILITY LINK’s fourth annual
dog day. Photo by Ashley Oglesby

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


12A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page

‘I felt that a camp would
capitalize on two of our core
strengths which are our
attention to the environment
and to the many artist that
live in Pine Lake.’
Kathie deNobriga

Photo by Travis Hudgons

Former mayor to assist art initiatives

by Ashley Oglesby
After more than 16
years of living in what some
refer to as DeKalb hidden
treasure, Pine Lake’s former
mayor Kathie deNobriga
said she routinely turns off
her car radio, rolls down the
windows and drives slowly
home, stopping completely at
every stop sign, listening to
frogs, crickets, cicadas, owls,
porch laughter or lawn mowers.
DeNobriga was born in
Atlanta and raised in Kingsport, Tenn. She attended
Wake Forest University in
Winston-Salem, N.C. from
which she holds a master’s
degree in theater and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and theatre arts.
In 1999 deNobriga decided to move to Pine Lake
with her girlfriend Alice Teeter and in 2002 ran for her
first seat in government as a
council member.
“I’d been interested for a
while in artistic and creative
people having more participation in civic affairs,” deNobriga said.
In her early careers, deNobriga worked with several
adult and youth community
theaters and founded a theater in Smithfield, N.C.
Since 1997 deNobriga
has served as a consultant,
partnering with state, local

and national arts organizations, foundations and small
nonprofit organizations.
She is project manager
for the Arts & Democracy
Project, a national team of
cultural organizers; senior
writer for the National Performance Network in New
Orleans and a member of the
consultant pool at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.
DeNobriga plans to
continue her work in Pine
Lake as an advocate for the
arts and use her background
in the nonprofit sector and
community theaters to boost
support for Pine Lake City
Arts Inc., a local nonprofit.
“I’ve had a direct experience of seeing how people
making art together could
bind a community and I
also know that artists have
certain skillsets that are very
important in trying to build
a city–the imagination, creativity, collaboration, the
common purpose that drives
a passion, the ability to work
on time and under budget,...
these are all attributes that
artists have and I know that
that can really strengthen a
Earlier in her career
deNobriga said she’d heard
from her colleagues that they
felt “powerless” or didn’t
have a say in their political
process… I had really been
encouraging people to get
involved and then when I

moved to [Pine Lake] I realized I had actually moved to
a town where I could conceivably get elected.”
DeNobriga ran for an
unfinished term in March
2002 and again four years
Within her first term deNobriga assisted the city in
efforts to dredge the lake and
clean Snapfinger Creek.
Although she didn’t
have much leadership in the
projects she said it “got me
interested in how our watershed works and that’s an
extremely important thing
for Pine Lake because we
basically live in a bowl. We
are very keenly aware of the
way water flows. A lot of
our ordinances regarding
development [try] to address
managing storm water–not
just for safety reasons but
also to preserve the health of
the lake.”
She added, “I got very
interested in that and it continues to be a real core value
for the city.”
DeNobriga became an
advocate for incorporating
more of the arts into the
town life and encouraged the
creation of Eco Arts camp,
a six-week summer camp
founded by Ella Johannaber
in 2008 that aims to connect
children with nature and fuel
“I felt that a camp would
capitalize on two of our core

strengths, which are our attention to the environment
and to the many artists that
live in Pine Lake,” deNobriga
In 2012 deNobriga became mayor of Pine Lake, a
city of 800 residents.
She began working with
residents to expand the city’s
Lakefest event, change the
format of council meetings
to increase participation,
host staff meetings and with
the assistance of other council members started a quarterly town hall meeting to get
feedback from residents.
“I tried to have a more
transparent window with
what the decisions are and
why we’re making them the
way we are. One of the things
I’m really proud about is
when I was elected in 2012
we had one person running
for mayor and two people
running for two council seats
so we basically didn’t have
to have an election. This
year we have a total of eight
people running for four positions.”
She added, “I think that
people see more opportunities for themselves in government.”
DeNobriga said there are
many disadvantages of being
in a small town but one is
that “you can actually make
changes pretty quickly...It
gets our government closer
to a grassroots level, which I

think is a really good thing.”
DeNobriga said when
she first took office Pine
Lake’s government had gone
through a period of controversy and bad feelings.
“I was very interested in
conflict mediation and had
actually did some training
around it. I saw that we had
an opportunity to change the
way we talked and worked
with each other,” she said.
DeNobriga added, “One
of the hardest things was
determining what rules constrained government in the
way that we act. I was very
familiar with the concepts
of public trust and public
stewardship because that
underlies the nonprofit sector as well as the government
sector, but I wasn’t aware of
how many limits there were
on the actions of government
particularly around open
DeNobriga said the biggest learning curve for her
was “understanding the legal
implications” of the things
she said.
“As mayor if I’m seen as
the spokesperson for the city
then anything I say will be
interpreted as an official declaration by the city and that’s
gotten me in trouble actually,” she said.
She served as an elected
official for 12 years.

The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015


Continued From Page 1A

Assembly April 2. Lastminute negotiations were
made between the state House
and Senate over a disputed
area in the Livsey Elementary
School area. The House did
not agree with the altered
maps approved by the Senate
State and Local Governmental
Operations Committee that
shifted 2,000 residents from
Tucker’s map to LaVista Hills.
A Conference Committee was formed, and voted
5-1 to return 500 residents,
along with a Wal-Mart and a
QuikTrip to Tucker, and 1,500
residents remained in LaVista
Hills, according to reports.
The committee also removed
the Medlock and Mason Mills
neighborhoods from LaVista
Hills’ map.
The cityhood movement,
specifically LaVista Hills, had
faced opposition from several groups including DeKalb
Strong, who worked to stop
the new cities from forming.
Auman said once the Tucker referendum passed, he had
no doubt that voters would
support it.
“We were always confident
that if we could get to a referendum it would pass,” he
said. “The trouble was getting
through the legislation and
getting the boundaries ironed
out. We didn’t take anything
for granted. We’ve been working hard since we passed the
“We talked to the community and we did polling, before
we ever advocated for a city, to
find out did they want [a city]
at all, and if they did what services do they want.”
Auman said their next
step is “fleshing out” the city’s
“One of our services is
parks and recreation and we
have to figure out what’s that
going to look like and who is
going to do it,” he said. “The
same with zoning—our zoning ordinance is in place the
day that we become effective
as a city. So, someone has to
get those ordinances together
so that they are ready for passage the first time the city
council meets. We have a lot
of nuts and bolts to work to
get things done.”


Page 13A

Mayors Continued From Page 1A
more had no opposition for his seat.
Avondale Estates
Brian Fisher and Adela Yelton will fill two open seats on
the city’s commission after defeating John Pomberg, Todd
Pullen, and John Quinn.
Council District 1
Linley Jones (incumbent),
80.49 percent
Eve Erdogan, 19.13 percent

Schools of Decatur Board of Education District 1, Post B
Council District 1
Pam Fleming (incumbent),
45.76 percent
Julie Newman, 54.24 percent
District 2
M. D. Naser, 43.1 percent)
Tim Snyder, 56.9 percent)

Bates Mattison, who works in healthcare information
technology, was unopposed for the District 3 council seat.
Council District 2
Leslie Robson (incumbent),
57.08 percent
Verle Van Hoozen, 42.78 percent

City council Post 4
Terry Nall (incumbent),
69.28 percent
Becky Springer, 30.4 percent
Three candidates were unopposed: Pam Tallmadge, District, Post 1; incumbent Lynn Deutsch, at large, Post 5; and
incumbent, John Heneghan, at large, Post 6.

Council District 2
Thomas Hogan II (incumbent),
64.19 percent
Clara Azcunes de Ojeda,
35.66 percent

Shameka Reynolds (28.81 percent) and Fred Reynolds
Sr. (42.39 percent) won seats on the council.
Pine Lake
The two open council seats were filled by Megan Ross
Pulsts and Tonja Holder over Brandy Hall and Dugan

Council at-large
Darron Kusman, 64.08 percent
Dan Zanger, (incumbent),
35.34 percent
Five people ran for three open seats on the Clarkston
City Council. Winning the race were Mario Williams, Awet
“Howard” Eyasu, and Beverly H. Burks.
In the race for the District 1, Post B city council seat,
incumbent Scott S. Drake won with 54.71 percent over Valencia Monique Breedlove, 6.62 percent and Eric Tumperi,
38.57 percent.
Commission District 2, Post B
James Johnson, 14.5 percent
Brian Smith, 84.55 percent

A special election to fill another council seat will go to
a runoff between Jean Bordeaux (49.71 percent) and Kris
Morlan Casariego (35.43 percent).
Stone Mountain
City council Post 2
Steve Wells (incumbent),
63.75 percent
Diana Roe Hollis, 35.83 percent
City council Post 3
Charkira Johnson (incumbent), 59.18 percent
Judy F. Asher, 40.19 percent
Richard Mailman ran unopposed for his Post 1 city council

Commission at-large
Tony Powers, 86.49 percent
John Ridley, 13.81 percent

Ethics Board
Voters decided 91.29 percent to 8.7 percent to change
how county ethics board members are selected. As a result
to the vote, the seven ethics board members will be appointed by independent organizations.

School District 2, Post B seat
Thomas DeSimone, 65.65 percent
Tasha Rose White, 33.68 percent
Incumbent Garrett Goebel was unopposed for the City

Staff writer Ashley Oglesby contributed to this story.

Don’t let e.coli crash

your dinner party
Keep your family safe at


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 14A

Family and friends prepare for a 30th anniversary celebration at Sylvester Lee’s pharmacy.

Lee says he especially likes having a personal relationship with customers.

From left, Stedman Lee has joined his father, Sylvester Lee, in the pharmacy business.

After 30 years, pharmacist calls work rewarding
by Kathy Mitchell
The pharmacy business has
changed in some ways during the
past three decades, according to Sylvester Lee, who recently celebrated
his 30 years in business at a banquet
with family, friends, colleagues and
community members. At the heart
of it, however, the pharmacy business is—as it always has been—about
helping people, he said.
“Pharmacy is a critical link in the
healthcare chain,” he said. “Pharmacists work with doctors and their patients to assure the best care possible.
Sometimes, for example, a patient
who is seeing more than one doctor
may have been given prescriptions
that don’t interact well. I contact the
doctors so the situation can be resolved. It’s very rewarding, satisfying
After graduating from the University of Georgia’s pharmacy program in 1978, Lee went to work for a
chain drugstore. Seven years later, he
left to become an independent pharmacy owner.
“It was a bold move considering
that I had a wife and two children
with a third one on the way. I was
giving up the certainty of a paycheck
and benefits for a lot of unknowns. It
took stepping out on faith, but I am
a man of faith and I know that my
future is always in God’s hands,” he

Lee said that operating his own
business had been his plan from the
start. Growing up in Rockdale County, he saw his father, the late Willie
Melvin Lee, earn a living operating a
barbershop with two partners and his
mother, Genoulia Lee, sometimes
earn money as a beautician.
“From them, I learned the values
and skills necessary to operate a successful business,” he recalled. “They
taught me that hard work pays off;
you have to have a good work ethic.
It takes real dedication to make a
business thrive. You have to have
good people skills as well. Both my
parents were friendly people who
knew how to get along with people. I
saw them live their strong Christian
values every day.”
An active member of a Decatur
church, Lee said through his business, Forward West Pharmacy on
Martin Luther King Drive in Atlanta,
he feels connected to the entire
metropolitan Atlanta area. “I work
with doctors from DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Fulton, Clayton—all
over the area. The same is true with
patients. People don’t mind driving a
little bit to get the quality of service
they want.”
He said his choice of pharmacy
as a career came from an aptitude for
science and a desire to help those in
need. “As a child, I was always patch-

ing up wounded animals. I knew
even then that I wanted to do something in the medical field. I was good
in chemistry, biology, physics and
other sciences. To be a good pharmacist, you have to be good at science
and pay close attention to detail. It’s
not an easy field. People who don’t
like taking a lot tests would have a
hard time becoming a pharmacist.”
Lee observed that although
computers now do much of the
work that was once done by hand,
being a pharmacist today requires
as much skill as was required years
ago. “There still is a person operating the computer and that person
has to know what he or she is doing.
But technology does make many
things faster and easier. Some of the
young people who come to work
here can’t believe we once had to use
a typewriter to make medicine bottle
One of the first Black students
to integrate Rockdale County Public
Schools in 1965, Lee said he’s never
been afraid to take on a challenge.
“The first pharmacy I opened was in
a location that had not been successful for others who had operated business there, but I felt I could make it
work and I did. In business, you take
risks. You take risks when you choose
a location and when you hire personnel. Sometimes things work out
and sometimes they don’t, but when

you believe in what you’re doing you
make it work ultimately.”
During his three decades in the
pharmacy business, Lee has seen
many changes. “Keeping up with insurance coverage is far more complex
than it used to be. One insurance
company might cover a particular
drug, while another one doesn’t—
and it’s always changing. A company
may cover a drug in October and not
cover it in November. We work with
patients to find ways to help them
get their medications if they’re too
expensive and not covered by insurance. It may mean calling the doctor
to see whether he’s willing to prescribe a more affordable medication.
“One of the things I love about
operating an independent pharmacy
is that we know most of the patients
and they know us. It’s a very personal
relationship. You may not find that in
a chain drug store,” he added.
Lee and his wife, Jacques, have
four children. The youngest, Stedman Lee, has not only followed in
his father’s footsteps and become a
pharmacist, but he works with his
father in his pharmacy. “I kept telling
him when he was in college that his
school, Florida A&M, has an excellent pharmacy program. He resisted
at first, but he finally decided to try
it. Now he loves it.”


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


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 15A


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The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 16A

Elizabeth Andrews High School’s Career Technology educators Christopher Cave, Natosha McCrary, Renee Allen, Amy Starnes and Yuanette Pleas.

Non-traditional school aims to improve student success
by Ashley Oglesby
Approximately 150 students from
Elizabeth Andrews High School participated in a career week event hosted by the school’s career technology
department Oct. 19 through Oct. 23.
This year’s career exposition
brought more than 40 community
business leaders into Elizabeth Andrews’ classrooms.
Each speaker addressed groups of
20-25 students.
McCrary said the best thing about
the event was “we had so many different speakers from industries and
fields that many students may not
have ever heard of before.”
She added, “To be able to ask direct questions to these speakers and
find out about their past—what degrees they have, what they majored in,
what they do on a day-to-day basis–
it’s invaluable to the students.”
The school offers a nontraditional
secondary program that provides educational opportunities to high school
students who desire to enter college or

join the workforce early.
It also offers programs to high
school dropouts and students who
need to make up courses for graduation.
Department Chairwoman and
Career Technology Educator Natosha
McCrary said the unique part of the
school’s curriculum, because it is a
school choice, is “[the students] really
want to be here and we want to open
doors and provide opportunities for
She added, “We give them career
opportunities and the ability to find
jobs and internships. We also help
them develop skills that they can take
into the workforce and develop their
abilities to create their own businesses
and opportunities.”
McCrary joined the DeKalb
County school in 2007, and she currently teaches students Photoshop and
Adobe Illustrator; she has also taught
web design and photography.
“They’re getting hands-on skills
that they can use anywhere,” McCrary
The career technology program

also offers courses in video production, fashion marketing and entrepreneurship.
“The skills that they develop will
take them across any career field. The
technical and computer skills: Photoshop, Illustrator… those can be used
in any career field that they choose to
go into,” McCrary said.
She said many of her students
have used the techniques that they’ve
learned to work for magazines and
start their own photography businesses.
Elizabeth Andrews’ enrollment is
available to DeKalb County residents
16 years of age who have completed
six units of credit that include three
credits from the content core areas
such as: English, math, science, social
studies and world language.
Students enrolled in the school
also have the option of participating
in programs at the DeKalb Technology North program at Cross Keys
High School, independent study
projects or community-based apprenticeship programs; take College
Board sanctioned AP classes; train

and participate in a peer counseling
programs and take joint enrollment
college courses. For students planning
to attend college, a college curriculum
is available.
The school also provides a high
school mentoring program that focuses on empowering students to make
choices that lead to academic and personal success.
“We do this career week every
year so we’re always looking for
people who are interested in coming
in and speaking with students. We are
also trying to develop an internship
and job shadowing program at our
school,” McCrary said.
At the end of the school year, McCrary said, school officials are also
planning to organize a job fair and are
contacting businesses that may be interested to hire some of their students.
Those interested in offering job or
volunteer opportunities to Elizabeth
Andrews High School students can
contact McCrary at

Local teen participants in student-run production
by Ashley Oglesby
Teen entertainment and
variety talk show The Bridge
has served as a gateway for
many DeKalb County schools
to get involved with media
production. The show first
broadcasted in May 2014 and
has increasingly gained leverage in youth entertainment.
DeKalb School of the Arts
(DSA) Senior Joy Jones is one
of the many students involved
in the production.
She helps with selecting
cast members for shows–
pitches ideas for shows soon,
her latest suggestion of a
game show will be soon featured on the program–and
writes scripts for segments


“What’s the move,” a part
of the show that focuses on
helping high school students
transition to college, trade
school, the military or workforce.

She said of the show,
“There aren’t many restrictions of creativity or using
your imagination as a whole.
“It helps me personally
because I’m not really sure
what I want to do in college
as far as the media industry,”
Jones said.
She said when she’s behind the scenes she “watches
people on set and looks at the
cameramen to see how they
use the cameras and how they
maneuver themselves around
the set” as well as identify
their equipment.”
She added, “It’s good to
know what to do and how
to be professional in front of
the camera and behind the
The Bridge targets stu-

dents and young adults ages
13-25 with tips on video gaming, how to stay fit, budgeting
finances, fashion and more
topics. The series features
interviews of celebrities, community leaders, as well as
student performers, including
singers, rappers, spoken word
artists and dancers.
She said outside media
classes she’d never had any
hands-on experience with
media broadcasting until she
joined the program.
“The biggest challenge
is having to deal with people
who might not be as cooperative or reliable as others.
People who might turn in
their scripts late or who might
not take into account that
you might want to get things

done early. Usually when that
happens you have to wait
until the last minute and that
becomes really stressful, she
“One thing that I’ve really
learned from [The Bridge] is
how to express my ideas while
still respecting everyone else’s
opinions,” Jones said.
Jones majors in instrumental music major at DSA
and minors in media broadcasting.
She is undecided on a college but said she is in pursuit
of a college where she can be
To learn more about The
Bridge visit www.dekalb.k12.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 17A


Cedar Grove and Tucker set for Trail to the Title rematch
by Mark Brock


DeKalb Schools Athletic Director Horace Dunson presents Cedar Grove Coach Rickey Wright
with a trophy. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Tucker Coach Jermaine Walker holds up the trophy.

Stephenson’s Javier Morton tries to bring
down Cedar Grove’s Alvin Williams.

Tucker’s Isaiah Dunson stiff arms Miller
Grove’s Terrance Edwards.

A Cedar Grove player tackles a Stephenson player.

rematch of the 2014 Trail to
the Title championship game
was set as the Cedar Grove
Saints and Tucker Tigers won their
semifinal games Oct. 31 at Hallford
The undefeated Tigers (8-0)
won their 26th game in 27 tries as
they knocked off Miller Grove (6-2)
8-0 in the first semifinal game.
Tucker controlled the first half
holding the football for 11 minutes
and 20 seconds on its opening drive
of the game.
The Tigers overcame three of
their five penalties on the first drive
as they reached the Miller Grove
seven for a first and goal. But, the
last two penalties proved costly by
wiping out an 18-yard touchdown
run by Quarius Smith and forcing
them into a fourth and goal at the
A pass from Joseph Jackson to
Isaiah Dunson went for 16 yards
on the play but came up five yards
short of the touchdown with 4:40 to
play in the first half.
Three plays later, the Tiger
defense came up big as the trio of
Robert McGhee, Sharrod Morley
and Dawson Rivers combined to
tackle a Miller Grove running back
in the end zone for a safety with
3:59 left in the first half.
The two teams went to the half
with Tucker holding the 2-0 lead.
Miller Grove opened the second half with its best drive of the
game as a 31-yard run by Danny
Carter moved them to the Tucker
41. Carter then connected with
James Pray for 18 yards to the
Tucker 28.
The drive then went bad as a
pair of illegal procedure penalties
and a sack by the Tiger defense
forced Miller Grove to turn the ball
over on downs.
Dunson set up the final score of
the game with a 30-yard punt return
to the Miller Grove 35 with 3:25 to
play. Dunson would score on a first
and goal play from the 10 with 30
seconds remaining to give Tucker
an 8-0 lead.
The Wolverines would throw
on the first play following the kickoff and Dunson once again came up
with the big play for the Tigers as he
intercepted the pass with 11 seconds
to play to seal the victory.
Cedar Grove 20, Stephenson 0
The defending champion Cedar
Grove Saints set up the rematch of
their 20-14 overtime thriller with
Tucker in the 2014 title game with
a hard fought 20-0 victory over the
Stephenson Jaguars (7-1) in the
second semifinal of the day for their
17th consecutive victory.

Cedar Grove (8-0) missed three
opportunities in the first half as the
Jaguar defense stiffened to make
stops. Nicholas Brannon intercepted a Cedar Grove pass at the Jaguar
14 and Dequandre Moore picked
up a Saints fumble at the Stephenson seven-yard line to stop a pair
of Cedar Grove threats. Holding
penalties nullified two Saints touchdowns in the first half.
The Saints would get one more
opportunity in the first half with a
fumble recovery at the Stephenson
39. The Jaguar defense would force
the Saints to turn the ball over on
The second half opened to
similar results as Cedar Grove had
a drive stopped at the Jaguar 17 as
Kamar Wilcoxson intercepted at
the five after another holding call
brought back a touchdown. The
Saints would force a short punt and
drive to the Stephenson one-yard
line, but a bad snap at the Stephenson one was recovered by Stephenson’s Destin Logan to kill another
scoring threat.
The second play of Stephenson’s
possession Cedar Grove defensive
lineman Nazir Stackhouse broke
through and tackled a Stephenson
running back in the end zone for a
2-0 Cedar Grove lead with 7:44 to
play in the game.
Following the free kick the
Saints started at the Jaguars’ 48
and Isaiah Ratcliff set up the first
touchdown of the game with his 30
yard run to inside the Jaguars’ five.
Two plays later, Alvin Williams
would score from one yard out to
make it 8-0 in favor of the Saints
with 5:35 to play.
Ratcliff made a big play on Stephenson’s first play following the
score with a fumble recovery at the
Stephenson 47. He would then get
loose for a 32-yard run that set up
Williams’ second touchdown and a
14-0 Cedar Grove lead with 3:20 to
Joshua Walker would intercept
for the Saints and Earl Graham’s
50-yard run set up the final score of
the game. Graham would connect
with Crispus Conner on a 20-yard
touchdown pass for the final margin
of 20-0.
Ratcliff finished with 128 yards
rushing on 14 carries and had two
touchdowns called back on penalties.
Cedar Grove (8-0) and Tucker
(8-0) meet in the Trail to the Title
championship at 10 a.m. on Nov. 7
at Hallford Stadium.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 18A

St. Pius falls to Buford in volleyball state title match
by Carla Parker


hat could have been
an epic comeback
for the St. Pius X
volleyball team turned into a
disappointing ending after the
team lost Buford 3-2 in the
Class AAAA state championship match.
The Lady Golden Lions
found themselves in a familiar
position in a 0-2 hole after the
first two sets (26-24, 25-12).
However, as they have done
before, they fought back to
tie the match at 2-2 (26-24,
25-23). St. Pius did not have
enough to take down the
No. 1-ranked Buford and lost
the final set 15-10.
St. Pius Coach John Frederick said he was proud of the
fight his team showed when
facing adversity.
“I’m tickled pink with the
way we fought,” he said. “We’ve

St. Pius displays the runner-up trophy after falling to Buford 3-2 in the Class AAAA finals. Photo by Carla

been down 2-1 in matches of
five sets four times this seasons
and come back to make it a

fifth set every time, but we just
ran out of gas a little bit on the
execution. That’s a great team

we just faced. You have to give
them all the credit in the world
for making the plays when

they had to, but I couldn’t
prouder of the effort we put
When the team was down
0-2, Frederick said, he did not
have to say anything to the
team to get them motivated.
“It was my captains; it was
my seniors [who] took care of
it,” he said. “This group is so
positive. There is just no quit
in this group. They’re going to
fight until the end no matter
Junior Chloe Anderton was named player of the
game with 12 kills, a 57.1 kill
percentage and eight blocks.
Junior Clare Naughton had 14
kills, a 45.2 kill percentage and
three digs.
St. Pius defeated Marist 3-2
in the semifinals to advance to
the finals. Decatur fell to Westminster 3-0 in the Class AAA
semifinals and Dunwoody lost
3-0 to Columbus in the Class
AAAAA semifinals.

Cross Country

DeKalb County picks up four region cross country titles
by Mark Brock


our region cross country titles
and four individual region
champions reside in DeKalb
County for 2015 as 13 teams advance
to their respective state meets on
Nov. 7 at Carrollton High School.
Lakeside swept the Region
2-AAAAAA championships as Andrew Kent ran a 16:03.17 to lead
six Vikings’ runners in the Top 10
and an almost perfect score of 18.
Rockdale County was second with 41
points and Tucker qualified for state
in third with 74.
Defending AAAAAA individual
state champion and 2015 DeKalb
County champ Davis Stockwell was
second in 16:31.80.
Rockdale County’s Dax Willette
prevented the Lakeside sweep of the
top five spots in third as Lakeside
would take fourth through seventh to
win the title for the second consecutive season.
Sophomores Myles Boyd
(17:43.91) and Jake Tubesing
(17:47.16) were fourth and fifth,
respectively, followed by freshman
Jay Clinton in sixth (17:58.22) and
sophomore Caleb Cloud (17:58.30)
was seventh to round out the Lakeside runners.
Tucker junior Ryan Wurapa led
the Tigers’ third-place finish and
second consecutive state qualifying finish by finishing 12th in the

individual standings with a time of
Lakeside junior Corrie Smith
won the girls’ race with a time of
19:28.20 to lead the Lady Vikings to
a 15-50 win over Tucker in the girls’
championship. Smith also won the
DeKalb County title this season.
Smith’s teammate, junior Morgan Mihalis, was second in 19:31.07
while sophomore Eliana Blam
(22:40.85) was fourth and freshman
Emma Hanson was fifth (22:54.44).
Sophomore Kirtina Martinez
(23:24.34) was sixth while senior Jennifer Guzdial (23:24.67) and sophomore Rachel Grimes (23:56.12) were
seventh and eighth, respectively, for
the Lady Vikings.
Tucker’s Brea Manual finished in
the Top 10 at ninth (24:56.16) to lead
the Lady Tigers to their second consecutive state berth.
Region 6-AAAAA
The defending Class 5A state
champions Clarkston Angoras and
Dunwoody Lady Wildcats repeated
as Region 6-AAAAA boys’ and girls’
champions respectively.
Clarkston junior Suheib Mohamed (16:20.51) finished 20.47 seconds ahead of Druid Hills junior Ermais Tewolde to grab the individual
boy’s title as six Angoras claimed Top
10 finishes. The Angoras are threetime region champs and will make
their fourth consecutive trip to the

state meet.
Junior Bineyam Tumbo
(16:44.74) and senior Paul Nikobiri
(17:12.70) were third and fourth,
respectively, for Clarkston while
freshman Ngabo Daniel was seventh
(17:33.85). Sophomore Awet Fitwi
(17:49.32) was ninth and freshman
Rukundo Uwimana (17:55.66) as all
the Top 10 finished in less than 18
Stephenson senior Brandon
Hines qualified as an individual for
the state meet with his fifth-place
overall finish in 17:14.46. Druid hills
sophomore Celestin Yacta joined
teammate Tewolde in the Top 10
in sixth (17:31.34) and Dunwoody
freshman Samuel Mahle (17:38.30)
was eighth to round out the Top 10.
The Druid Hills Red Devils advanced to their fifth consecutive state
meet with their second-place finish.
Southwest DeKalb senior Ashley
Middlebrooks (21:13.85) claimed
the individual girls’ title, but a trio of
Dunwoody runners next to finish as
the Lady Wildcats won their fourth
consecutive region title 23-56 over
Southwest DeKalb.
Junior Julia Echols (21:16.94)
lead the Dunwoody trio with her
second-place finish as sophomore
Chloe Thomas (21:46.80) was
third and senior Sophia Tarrago
(21:47.71) was fourth. Sophomore
Julie Hensley (21:55.95) and junior
Olivia Vergura (22:25.09) were sixth

and eighth, respectively, to round out
the Top 10 finishers for Dunwoody.
Southwest DeKalb freshman Lanee Edwards also qualified for the
state meet with her fifth-place finish
(21:53.59). Top 10 finishes by Druid
Hills sophomore Lisa Medford
(22:26.45) in ninth and senior Morgan Ross (22:39.85) helped the Lady
Red Devils to their fourth consecutive state meet berth with a thirdplace finish just two points behind
Southwest DeKalb.
Clarkston, led by freshman
Zyikeirra Robinson’s girls’ school
record time of 22:14.85, qualified for
the state meet as a team for the second consecutive season.
Region 6-AAAA
The Chamblee boys’ and girls’
teams both extended their state qualifying streak to four in a row with
fourth-place finishes in the Region
6-AAAA Championships.
Sophomore Beining Xiao helped
propel the Lady Bulldogs into the
state meet with her fourth- place
(20:54) finish which would have also
qualified her as an individual.
Cross Keys sophomore Vanessa
Rubio-Toxtle ran a solid time of
21:40 to finish 12th.
Chamblee’s Zachary Chalmers
(19:17) was 19th overall to lead the
Bulldogs to their fourth-place finish.


The Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page 19A


Tucker is in a three-way tie in Region 2-AAAAAA standings after beating Lovejoy 31-21. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Broadwater leads Tucker
to region win over Lovejoy
by Carla Parker


ucker running back Chris
Broadwater had his best game
of the season Oct. 30 with four
touchdowns and 167 rushing yards in
the Tigers’ 31-21 win over Lovejoy.
The Tigers jumped out to a
21-0 lead in the first two quarters of
the game behind three Broadwater
touchdowns from 24, 23 and 5 yards
Lovejoy cut the score to 21-7 on
a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Trevaro Hardy. The touchdown
was set up by Santo Dunn, who had
a 56-yard kickoff return. The Tigers’
defense forced a three and out for
Lovejoy on its opening drive in the
third quarter. Tucker’s Chase Tyson
fielded the punt and started running
up field when Dunn stripped the ball
from him and returned it for a touchdown, cutting the score to 21-14.
Broadwater put Tucker up two
scores on a 17-yard touchdown run
to extend the lead to 28-14. However,
Lovejoy responded on a 58-yard
catch and run touchdown by Malik
A 30-yard field goal by Adam
Lippy extended Tucker’s lead to 3121 early in the fourth quarter.
Tucker’s defense played lightsout in the fourth quarter and Terry

Beckham intercepted Hardy to seal
the win for the Tigers.
Despite giving up a couple of
big plays, Coach Bryan Lamar was
pleased with his defense’s performance.
“I think our defense played well,”
Lamar said. “We gave up two big
plays that really hurt us in terms of
the defense. Those young guys just
continue to grow and we continue
to see them do better and better and
we’re excited about that.”
The win put Tucker (6-3) a
three-way tie in Region 2-AAAAAA
standings with Lovejoy and Newton
County. A win over Lakeside (4-5) in
the season finale on Nov. 6 will give
the Tigers the No. 2 seed and a home
playoff game heading into the state
Lamar said he is excited to have a Tucker defenders tackle a Lovejoy player.
weapon like Broadwater as they head
into the playoffs.
“He’s a very good player, very
good student, so he has that combination of intelligence and physicality
and speed and toughness and all the
things that you need to be a really
good football player,” Lamar said.
“He has been doing this all year. He
has multiple touchdowns games, 150yard games and he has been doing
that all season. We’re really proud of

Other Scores

Oct. 30
Miller Grove (6-3) 21, Druid Hills (3-6) 7
Cedar Grove (8-1) 33, South Atlanta (0-9) 20
Maynard Jackson (5-4) 22, McNair (2-7) 0
M.L. King (4-5) 27, Dunwoody (2-7) 13
Newton Co. (8-1) 53, Lakeside (4-5) 0
Stephenson (8-1) 55, SW DeKalb (4-5) 0
St. Pius (7-2) 56, Stone Mountain (0-9) 0
Blessed Trinity (9-0) 42, Decatur (5-4) 14
Oct. 31
Columbia (4-5) 24, Chamblee (2-7) 10
Lithonia (6-4) 26, Redan (4-5) 22
North Clayton (4-5) 14, Towers (2-7) 12
Grady (5-4) 8, Arabia Mountain (4-5) 3
OPEN: Clarkston (1-7), Cross Keys (0-5), Marist (7-2)

Tucker’s Samuel Bryant runs down field.


20A The
Champion FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015
FREE PRESS, FRIDAY, november 6, 2015Page

Organization directs veterans to support, benefits
by Kathy Mitchell
Seven years ago Jeannine Greene spent her
nights and days in the Veterans Administration
(VA) Hospital in Decatur—although no official at
the hospital knew she was there. “I was homeless.
I had no money and no income. I would go to the
hospital as a place to be inside,” she recalled. “During the day, I would sit in waiting rooms as though
I had a doctor’s appointment. At night, I would find
someplace to hide where I could sleep.”
Although Greene is an Air Force veteran and
entitled to help from the VA, she didn’t know how
to access that help. That changed when she met
Anthony Habeel, a disable U.S. Navy veteran. As
he struggled to get help for himself from the VA,
Habeel realized that many others in his situation
may be eligible for help that they’re not getting. As
a result, in 2008, the same year he met Greene, he
founded Decatur-based Helping Our Veterans, a
nonprofit of which he is the executive officer.
The organization’s mission statement is: “We
pledge to assist any veteran or qualifying dependent
who needs assistance. We empower veterans with
information and support and we will serve as an advocate for program changes. Our primary goal is to
help homeless and needy veterans that have served
honorably. We will help them to live and grow
through the following channels: physically, mentally, socially or vocationally.”
“Although I don’t know how many veterans I’ve
helped, Jeannine Greene is one of the ones I am
most proud of,” Habeel said. “I was able to help her
get what she needed to turn her life around. She will
graduate from Georgia State University in Decem-

ber and has a job waiting for her,”
Like many who leave the military, Greene suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While the condition is usually the result of combat,
Greene was never in combat. She said her disability
came from years of sexual harassment by a superior
“That was 30 years ago and the military then
just didn’t acknowledge that was going on. There
was nothing you could do and no one you could
complain to. When they’re recruiting you, they just
tell you benefits; they don’t tell you there’s a good
chance you’ll get raped,” she said.
“I was really messed up. I couldn’t keep a job
because of my attitude. I had skills. I had experience in administrative work, but my attitude caused
me to lose any job I could get,” Greene said. With
guidance from Habeel, she was able to establish an
official relationship with the VA and get counseling
as well as assistance with housing and other necessities.
On the Helping Our Veterans website, Habeel
lists what he calls “shocking statistics” from the
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. The site
states that one out of every four homeless men in
the United States is a veteran. Between 529,000 and
840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during
the year. Approximately 67 percent served three or
more years in the military and 89 percent received
honorable discharges.
Not every veteran the organization helps is
homeless. “Many have homes and families, but they
have not adjusted well after returning to civilian
life. Often they never talk about their problems,”
Habeel said, recalling in relative who had served

in Vietnam and since had emotional problems. “I
asked him what he did during the war. He told me
the job title, but I didn’t know what that meant. He
explained that bodies often were brought back from
the war zone in pieces. It was his job to figure out
which body parts belonged to which person. As you
can imagine, doing work like that takes a toll emotionally.”
More than half the veterans needing help served
in Vietnam, Habeel explained, adding that 47 percent of homeless veterans are from the Vietnam era.
Vietnam veteran Ezekiel Tarver, who lives in
Ocilla, met Habeel in an Atlanta restaurant in 2010
and said the meeting has made a huge difference
in his life. “I had to work with a lot of chemicals
in Vietnam, including Agent Orange.” Tarver said.
“They didn’t give us masks or anything. We were
soldiers; we just did what they told us to do. At first
the government said Agent Orange didn’t cause any
health problems, but now they know is did. I think
it was the cause of my bone deterioration and other
Tarver also suffered greatly from PTSD, according to his wife, who said he had nightmares, was
nervous and didn’t like to be around people. Helping Our Veterans has arranged for Tarver to get
medication as well as psychiatric help.
He said he’s much better and continues to improve with help. “I just didn’t know how to start,
how to fill out the paperwork and anything. These
people have really been wonderful.”
For more information on Helping Our Veterans, visit

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