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FRIDaY, JaNUaRY 15, 2016 • Vol. 18, No. 41 • FREE

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• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

NEW MAYOR
HOPES TO MAKE
BROOKHAVEN BETTER

LOCAL BUSINESSWOMAN DEKALB COUNTY JAIL
SERVES COMMUNITY
ADVANCES REFUGEE
IN UNFAMILIAR WAYS
SUPPORT

LOCAL, 2A

LOCAL, 8A

Hill

LOCAL, 11A

Olsen

DA seeks murder
charges against officer
by Andrew Cauthen
Andrew@dekalbchamp.com
A DeKalb County police officer who fatally shot an
unarmed, naked man in March 2015 will face a criminal
grand jury later this month.
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announced Jan. 7 that he would seek an indictment against
DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen on two
counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, two counts
of violation of oath of office by a public officer, and one
count of making a false statement.

See DA on Page 15A

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announced Jan. 7 that he will seek an indictment against a county
police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Lawsuit filed after teen’s
death in detention center
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A teenage boy, who committed
suicide while in custody at the Metro
Regional Youth Detention Center
was “grossly mistreated” and held in
“deplorable conditions” before his
death, according to a lawsuit.
A federal lawsuit was filed Dec.
7, 2015 by attorneys Matthew Harman and Eric Fredrickson on behalf
of the estate of 14-year-old Jimariya
Davidson and his parents Jimmy
Davidson and Denise Butler. According to the lawsuit, Davidson was

placed in solitary confinement on
April 3, 2015; staff was ordered to release him from solitary confinement
the next day but did not.
“In violation of law, policy and
basic human rights, J.D. was kept in
solitary confinement for days with
no exercise, showers or even a functioning toilet,” the lawsuit stated.
Davidson committed suicide
April 5 by hanging himself from the
ceiling. Before his death, Davidson
told the officer on duty—Adrian
Cooper—that he was going to commit suicide, his fifth attempt in “a
matter of weeks,” according to the

See Lawsuit on Page 15A

CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER

CHAMPIONNEWS

Denise Butler posted this photo of her son, Jimariya Davidson, on Facebook on Nov. 7,
2015. Davidson committed suicide while in solitary confinement on April 5, 2015.

CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER

CHAMPIONNEWS

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 2A

John Ernst: Hopes to leave city in ‘a better spot than I found it’
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
When Brookhaven Mayor
John Ernst was on the campaign
trail, he pledged to improve various aspects of the city.
Those aspects included improving zoning decisions, cutting
property taxes, restoring the trust
of residents. Ernst said he understands that none of those can be

fixed overnight.
“That is something that you
have to build up as time goes on,”
he said. “We have to start doing
things to help build the trust of
the community. Our citizens are
great and understanding, but we
do need to concentrate on the basics and then from that we can do
other things.”
Ernst was sworn in as
Brookhaven’s mayor Jan. 4. He said

his new job has been hectic like
any other new job.
“I’ve realized that I have to say
‘no’ to some meetings, but like any
other job you have to learn how
to figure it out,” he said. “It’s been
great.”
When Brookhaven officially
incorporated, the city took over
several services from DeKalb

See Ernst on Page 7A

John Ernst hopes to establish trust in the city through
transparency. Photo by Travis Hudgons

NEW CARD!
Effective January 9, 2016

MARTA converts to a more secure Breeze Card and the Breeze Ticket returns.

Breeze Card Changes for Regular Fare Customers
  The cost of new silver Breeze Card will be $2 and will be valid for 3 years.
  SILVER CARDS will be available for FREE with card registration at the
RideStores January 2016!* (Mon. the 11th – Fri. the 29th, weekdays only)
*BLUE CARDS will no longer be usable after July 9th, 2017
*Breeze Tickets Return! The cost of the Breeze Ticket will be $1

Questions? Visit www.itsmarta.com or 404-848-5000.
Information regarding company, school, or university issued cards will be provided at a later date by your company or school.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 3A

AroundDekalb

atlanta

Fernbank offers forest bird walks
Join an Atlanta Audubon Society
volunteer and discover more about
the feathered inhabitants of Fernbank
Forest, both permanent residents and
visitors. This program is excellent for
beginning birders or those desiring
gentle terrain.
The event will take place on Jan.
23 from 8-10:30 a.m.
All ages are welcome. Program
is held rain or shine, but may be cancelled in cases of severe weather. It
is recommended participants bring
binoculars, field guides and water with
them. Once the walk begins, participants must remain with the group for
the duration of the program
The program will take place at
Fernbank, 767 Clifton Road, Atlanta.
The excursion will be included with
museum admission and free for Fernbank members and Atlanta Audubon
Society members.

Avondale
estates
Parent group to host school
resource fair
The Avondale Estates Parents’ CoOp (AEPC) will host the AE School
Resource fair at the Avondale Estates
First Baptist Church on Jan. 24, from
3 to 5 p.m. Attendees can expect a
brief presentation from local schools
as well as a parental testimonial about
the school followed by a Q and A.
The church is located at 47 Covington
Road in Avondale Estates. For more
information, visit www. avondaleparentscoop.wordpress.com.

brookhaven
Park visitors advised to stay off
bridge at Murphey Candler 
For their safety, residents are
advised to stay off of the nature trail
pedestrian bridge at Murphey Candler
Park until the structure is replaced. 
The city is currently working on

retrieving expedited bids for emergency replacement quotes, and is considering installing a temporary bridge.
Access to the bridge has been closed by
the city and signs are posted advising
visitors to keep off. 
The bridge was damaged after a
tree fell on it. “The city is working to
get this resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said District 1
Councilwoman Linley Jones. “I am
concerned about our residents’ safety,
and urge pedestrians to stay off the
bridge until it is replaced.”
As part of the city’s master plan
process for individual parks, a design
for a replacement bridge has been
completed. 
The public will be notified as soon
as possible of plans to install a temporary bridge and of the status of the
bridge replacement.

Councilwoman to host event
Brookhaven Councilwoman Linley Jones will host “Coffee With a
Councilmember” Jan. 22 at city hall
in the incubator room from 8:30 to
10 a.m. This event is an opportunity
for residents of District 1 to meet with
Jones and share their thoughts, concerns and ideas for the city and their
district. Brookhaven City Hall is located at 4362 Peachtree Road. For more
information, visit www.brookhavenga.
gov.

Monastery presents weekly public
talks
On Jan. 12 Drepung Loseling
Monastery will hold its weekly public
talk on “The Nature of Human Emotions” by Geshe Ngawang Phende.
The public talk class is an opportunity to get started and learn the fundamentals of Buddhism. Each session
begins with a talk by a resident teacher
on the inner science of the mind. The
point of the practice is to bring the
mind under control through working
with the mind itself. The class aims to
demonstrate how Buddhist psychology
offers practical methods for overcoming suffering and achieving peace and
happiness.
The class will take place at the
1781 Dresden Drive NE, Brookhaven,
from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

decatur

History Center January lunch and
learn session scheduled
DeKalb History Center’s January
lunch and learn session will be presented by staff archivist Fred Mobley
who will chronicle the various plans
for historic restoration that were developed and considered for the historic
Swanton House. The Swanton House,
believed to be one of the oldest structures in Decatur, is estimated to have
been built about 1825.
The event will be held Tuesday
Jan. 19, noon until 1 p.m. at DeKalb
History Center located in the Historic
DeKalb Courthouse, 101 E. Court
Square in downtown Decatur.
The discussion will include the
history of the Swanton House, including the relocation to East Trinity Place
in the History Center’s historic complex.
The event is free. Attendees are
encouraged to bring lunch.

tucker
County recreation department to
host Briarlake meeting
DeKalb County Recreation, Parks
and Cultural Affairs will host a master
plan meeting for the new Briarlake
Forest Park at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday,
Jan. 19, at Tucker Recreation Center,
4894 LaVista Road, Tucker.
The purpose of the meeting is to
determine potential uses for the park
space. District 2 park bond funds were
used by DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader to acquire the land and
the community has the opportunity to
give input regarding desired park designs and facilities.
For more information, contact
Revonda Cosby, greenspace environmental manager, (404) 759-7740.

Stone
mountain

City to host MLK Day community
project
Stone Mountain officials and
volunteers will clean up Leila Mason
Park Jan. 18, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
for the MLK Day Community Project. City officials will work on several
projects in the park, and volunteers are

asked to wear gloves and work clothes.
For more information, visit www.
stonemountaincity.org.

Countywide
Community choir forming

“Decatur, Lithonia, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Conyers, etc.: Do you love
to sing? Are you interested in becoming a part of a newly formed community choir? We would like to extend
an invitation for you to represent your
community,” states an announcement
by Word of Life Community Center, a
community center scheduled to open
in late February or early March in
DeKalb County.
The choir is open to all ages.
Those with a passion for singing are
encouraged to come out and meet other people in the community that “have
a heart for God and just want to sing to
His glory,” states the announcement.
For more information, contact
(770) 991-5556.

County ‘jobs bus’ to make stops
DeKalb’s Mobile Career Center,
known as the “jobs bus,” will be stationed at various locations during
January.
The mobile unit provides residents
with various services, including job
search assistance, adult workshops and
training, resume writing pointers and
interviewing tips. Businesses are also
able to use the mobile unit for recruiting, pre-employment screenings, interviewing and training. More than 3,000
DeKalb residents have used the mobile
career center’s services since its launch
in February 2012. The mobile center is
funded through the Workforce Investment Act grant and all services offered
are free.
The upcoming schedule is as follows:
• Thursday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Scott Candler Library, 1917 Candler
Road, Decatur;
• Tuesday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Wesley Chapel William C. Brown
Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road,
Decatur;
• Wednesday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Department of Family and Children
Services, 178 Sams Street, Decatur;
and
• Thursday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Villages of Eastlake, 460 Eastlake
Blvd., Atlanta.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

oPINIoN

Page 4A

Ringing in the new year with kindness
“Carry out a random act
of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the
knowledge that one day someone might do the same for
you.”—Princess Diana
On New Year’s Day, I
took my 14-year-old daughter Adrianna to see the Star
Wars movie. While walking across the parking lot at
Stonecrest Mall, I spotted
a leather wallet between
two cars. I picked it up and
looked in it to try to determine the owner. It had the
usual items you find in a
man’s wallet: some credit
cards, an employee identification card, insurance
cards—and $85 in cash.
I wanted to call the
owner, but I could not find a

Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com

Managing Editor

@AndrewChampNews

phone number in the wallet.
I thought about taking it to
some mall representatives,
but the mall is huge, and I
figured that would decrease
the chances of the owner getting his wallet back without
money being taken or his

letter to
the editor

Women needed
on ethics board
The six individuals recently appointed
to the newly organized DeKalb County
Board of Ethics have one thing in common: Unfortunately, they are all men! It
would seem that the six organizations that
have the authority to name a member to
the board, could not find one woman to
serve, in spite of the dozens of outstanding women business and civic leaders
who are more than qualified to ensure
that DeKalb officials are accountable to
DeKalb residents.
The initial panel represents an inauspicious beginning for what DeKalb voters
approved last November. More than half
of DeKalb voters are women and DeKalb
is one of the most diverse counties in the
state. Among the six recent appointees,
at least two should have been women to
better reflect the citizenry they serve and
to avoid the appearance of bowing to the
good ol’ boy network that has prevailed in
Georgia for decades.
There is still a chance to make meaningful change. NewPower, a nonprofit,
non-partisan organization formed to
encourage greater participation by women
in the civic life of Georgia and our local
communities, calls on the members of the
DeKalb delegation to the Georgia General
Assembly to name a woman to its slot on
the Ethics Board. To do otherwise would
be a slap in the face to all Georgia women
who care about good government.
Jan Selman
President, NewPower PAC

credit cards being used.
So I decided that after
the movie I would take the
wallet to the owner’s house,
which was on my way home.
Adrianna and I went into
the theater to meet up with
three of her young friends,
two of whom I had bought
tickets for. When we didn’t
see the friends whose tickets I had, Adrianna phoned
them to see when they would
be arriving, but discovered
there was a mix-up in the
days. They would not make
it, so I had two extra tickets
that I didn’t need.
So I went to the ticket
line and gave away the extra
ticket. It was nice to perform
a random act of kindness
even though people were

looking at me like I was
crazy.
After the movie, we
drove to the home of the wallet’s owner. The man, who
had begun cancelling his
credit cards, was very appreciative and I was glad to help
out with a second random
act of kindness for the day
because I know what it’s like
to lose a wallet.
The next day I went to
Sandy Springs to help my
mother-in-law. A few days
before, I noticed a soggy,
moldy spot on her ceiling.
There was a leak in bathroom somewhere that was
dripping to the ceiling below on the first floor of her
condo.
So I loaded up my tools,

some spare sheetrock and
went to work in her condo. I
determined that the problem
was simply a bad showerhead. I picked up a new $25
showerhead from a nearby
Home Depot, replaced it and
the bad sheetrock. My mother-in-law was grateful. She
was afraid the repair would
cost $2,000 or $3,000 and
said she may have to take out
a loan to fix the problem.
That’s how I brought
in the New Year—with acts
of kindness, random and
planned. And that’s how we
should spend 2016—seeking
ways to be kind to our fellow
man, because at some point
during this year we probably
will need someone to be extra kind to us.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

oPINIoN

Page 5A

ONE MAN’S OPINION

Not affordable, not accessible, no surprise
“If you like your doctor...
you can keep your doctor,”
President Barack Obama
during the 2010 debates concerning his landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act
of 2010.
It will likely not surprise
many readers of this column,
but I am neither a believer
nor supporter of the notion
that America’s health care
needs and quality is best
served by moving to a singlepayer government system. 
For a preview of that,
please just take a nice long
look at the U.S Veteran’s Administration, and though it is
now improving, the dearth of
quality, spate of deaths and
long waits for even the most
basic screening tests and procedures. 
We have a quality V.A.
Hospital in Decatur, and I’m
told an excellent new V.A.
clinic off DeKalb Industrial
Boulevard, but service quality varies greatly across the
country, and our veterans
pay the price for that.
I am also not a believer
that access to health care is
a constitutionally or guaranteed “right.”  I actually periodically reread that document, and I don’t construe
our rights to “life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness” to
guarantee fairness or any
specific outcome. 
Health care is important,

Bill Crane
bill.csicrane@gmail.com

Columnist

should be affordable and
easily accessible. The best
place for that to occur is in
the competitive marketplace,
where innovation, lower
price points and other players, if allowed, will bring
down prices and increase accessibility.
If you don’t buy into my
logic, then just give some
thought to a not-so-small
handful of service areas not
covered by most insurers,
Medicare, Medicaid or the
big government health care
machine. 
What has happened
to options, choices and
price points for weight
loss? Health and fitness
programs? Cosmetic dentistry? Chiropractic and alternative care (when paying
cash)?  Even Lasik and other
modern in-patient surgical
procedures, which started

out at $10,000 per eye, only
dropped in price when insurers and Medicare/Medicaid
no longer covered them. 
Mandated coverage
drives up costs, mandated
use of certain drugs drives
up their prices. Some Big
Pharma companies have
even stooped to spending
millions, in a few cases billions, to buy their generic
manufacturing competition,
to maintain higher price
points. A truly open marketplace would smack those
companies down.
In 2008, I formed my
own enterprise and left a
large and longtime employer
of nearly a decade. When my
COBRA coverage expired I
became a part of the world of
the uninsured. For the vast
majority of time since, all
of my health care expenses
have been paid in cash or via
credit card, at the time of delivery. Two interesting things
happened immediately, I
gave much more thought and
deliberation to making any
appointment, doubling up or
even tripling up the service
requests during each visit—
refill prescriptions, multiple
diagnostic procedures (when
called for), even a dental visit
might include both a crown,
and a full cleaning—to reduce “visit transaction fees”
as well as time spent. And
the second thing, perhaps

more amazing, when I paid
cash and at the time service
was rendered, the cost was
significantly lower than for
the same services when previously submitted for payment/reimbursement via
insurance.
As required, since 2013, I
have purchased coverage via
the Health Care Exchange. I
pay thousands in premiums
and technically, I am counted
as insured while in reality,
my health care was better
and more affordable before
the law and before I was
forced to purchase coverage
with deductibles so high that
I now pay encounter fees and
co-pays (no co-pays without
coverage), and for most all
of my care, before hitting
the several thousand dollar deductible when actual
insurance coverage begins to
kick in. 
I have tried never to use
the phrase, “Obamacare,”
as I don’t want to give too
much credit, nor too much
blame for this abomination.
I am a nonsmoking, generally healthy male, with a
well-managed pre-existing
medical condition. The responsibility of taking care of
me falls upon me.  That is as
it should be but this system
requires me to help fund a
system where runaway costs
are the norm, and only the
poorest of the poor and the

richest of the rich can actually afford complete coverage
and that helps an almost ever-shrinking number on both
ends, unless our economy
again catches a cold. Bundle
up and stay healthy.
Bill Crane also serves
as a political analyst and
commentator for Channel
2’s Action News, WSB-AM
News/Talk 750 and now 95.5
FM, as well as a columnist
for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia
Trend. Crane is a DeKalb
native and business owner,
living in Scottdale. You can
reach him or comment on
a column at bill.csicrane@
gmail.com.

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

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

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

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 6A

From left, Clarkston Municipal Judge Stephen Nichols swore in Awet “Howard” Ayasu, Beverly Burks and Mario Williams as newly elected Clarkston city councilmembers. Photos by Andrew
Cauthen

Three Clarkston leaders take office

by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Clarkston’s three newest council
members took their oaths of office
Jan. 5 before a crowd of residents and
supporters.
Recently elected councilmembers
Beverly Burks, Awet “Howard” Ayasu and Mario Williams were sworn
in during the first council meeting
of the year, followed by a celebratory
inaugural program.
The program featured poetry
readings, musical selections, refreshments prepared by the Clarkston
High School culinary arts program,
and speeches by the new councilmembers.
“Service, diversity and community,” said Burks, executive director
of the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Inc. “When I decided to run for city
council, it was to continue a lifelong
commitment to my community and
to continue to provide service. And

From left, Ayasu, Burks, Nichols and Williams take photos after the swearing-in ceremony.

part of it...is to continue the diversity
as the only woman on the council.”
Burks said, “I want to thank everyone, whether you put a sign in
front of your house, whether you
opened your heart, whether you introduced me to someone, you made a

difference.”
As a city councilwoman, Burks
said she looks forward to continuing the work of the existing council
members.
She said she wants to focus on
creating partnerships with local uni-

versities, corporations and nonprofit
groups to provide “resources to the
citizens of Clarkston.
“I want to make sure that each
person has the respect and the dignity that they deserve,” Burks said.
“As councilwoman, it would be my
responsibility to work along with my
fellow council members to ensure
that we hear your voice, that we are
your voice.”
Ayasu said he started attending
city council meetings two years ago.
“And I really came to love and
appreciate our local democratic
process,” Ayasu said. “I believe that
I have to get involved to make any
change; and I decided to get formally
involved. What better way to get
involved than by being in the city
council.”
Ayasu said the city council cannot do much by itself.
“We have to get engaged. We
need vibrant public engagement in
Clarkston,” Ayasu said. “Over the

See Clarkston on Page 9A

MLK:
The dream lives on

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Ford Utility Interceptor police vehicle

Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle

Page 7A

Dodge Charger police vehicle

Doraville police fleet to be upgraded

by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Doraville’s cost for patrol
vehicles increased after the
production of 2015 patrol
cars was suspended by the
manufacturer.
City Manager Shawn
Gillen said, “We approved
the budget and we based our
budget estimates on the 2015
model year.”
He added, “Between
curving the budget and ordering those cars, which was
about a 30- to 45-day period,
the cars were all bought out
from police departments all
over the country. The only
ones available are [the] next
models, which are 2016.”    
He added, “The prices on
those are higher.”  
According to the 2016
fiscal year budget proposal,
$135,000 was allocated to
Doraville’s police department
vehicles.
With the increased demand of 2016 Dodge Chargers that number is expected
to rise.
Doraville Police Chief
John King said, “We try to
replace our cars when they
get to about 100,000 miles.”
According to the department’s maintenance report,
there are 17 vehicles in the
fleet with more than 100,000.
King said, “It’s one of

Doraville’s fleet of police vehicles are mostly Dodge Chargers with one Dodge Magnum and five Chevrolet
Tahoes.

those situations where we either replace the cars because
mechanically they’ve started
deteriorating, or start having
to use our budget to replace
parts, engines and things that
break down. These patrol
cars are on our streets every
day so they take a beating.”
Currently the department owns 25 Dodge Chargers, one Dodge Magnum
and five Chevrolet Tahoes.   
King said, “We’ve bought
Dodge products for quite

some time but we started
noticing problems with the
engines of the Dodge Chargers and the suspension. We
have a track history with our
maintenance department
of the number of parts that
we’re using to repair these
cars. We’re concerned that
continuing to buy Dodge
Chargers might not be the
best strategy.”
Through a slideshow
presentation King offered
four alternative vehicles for

the Doraville Police Department fleet.
The first option King
presented was the Ford Utility Interceptor.
King highlighted that
the vehicles have the needed
room for a prisoner and officer, higher visibility and
better sight lines than some
of the cars currently in the
department’s fleet and are
priced at $29,251.
The second option was
a Chevrolet Tahoe priced at

$34,682.
King said, “Yes, the upfront cost is higher but the
maintenance and the use of
the car per year is the cheapest one.”
The third option presented was a Chevrolet Caprice
priced at $29,242.
King said there is no
known record on the maintenance and track record of
the use of the Caprice as [a
patrol vehicle].
He said a department
official tested each vehicle
except the Caprice because
there were no vehicles available for testing.
King also presented
a Ford Interceptor Sedan
priced at $24,368 but reported issues with entry and exit
of the vehicle, particularly
for left-handed officers.
There are six left handed officers driving the Doraville
fleet.  
King compared each of
the vehicles to the city’s current fleet of Dodge Chargers,
which are priced at $24,990.
The city council amended the budget and approved
the request for three Ford
Utility Interceptor vehicles
for of $29,251 each with a 10
percent contingency in case
market rates change.
The vehicles were ordered on Jan. 5.

Ernst Continued From Page 2A
County, such as parks and recreation, public safety
and zoning. Ernst said he has been pleased with
police service in the city.
“Our police is extremely fabulous and probably our most valuable asset,” he said. “The increased presence of [the] police force is immense
and worth the price of admission, per se. There
has been—in general—a better upkeep of the
parks than previously, the grass has been mowed
more regularly, and trash pickup has been better.
In the future, we’re going to see more capital projects being quickly implemented through our abili-

ties to unify as a city.”
Although the city government has been under
scrutiny due to multiple improper meetings behind closed doors, Ernst said he still believes there
are good people running the city.
“There have been missteps, but I truly believe
that no matter—whether it’s a county or city—in
the end it’s the quality of the people you have running the city,” he said. “I think a lot of our missteps
were missteps of good people trying to do right
but just not knowing what to do.
“We’re only as strong as the people who are

elected into each position. It’s really incumbent on
the voters to understand who they’re electing,” he
added.
Ernst said his success as mayor will be determined if the city is in a better place than when he
inherited it.
“I don’t worry about what people think and
legacies—that’s not for me to decide anyway,” he
said. “I just try to do a good job and let the chips
fall where they may.”

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Two youngsters help in setting up an apartment for a refugee family.

Page 8A

Volunteers organize donations of clothing, shoes and other supplies for New American
Pathways.

Local businesswoman advances refugee support
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com

Thirty-two years of business has
helped make Finders Keepers Consignments become a ubiquitous enterprise in the Atlanta resale market.
Since it’s humble beginnings
as a single store-front in Avondale
Estates’ Tudor Village that sold
children’s clothing and home decor
items, Finder Keepers has grown its
inventory to include women’s clothing, accessories, men’s clothing and
furniture.
Now, owner Bonnie Kallenberg
is in the market to expand the role
the company plays throughout the
community.
A scholarship program through
New American Pathways has been
established in Kallenberg’s name that
will allow continued education for
refugees who are overqualified for
minimum wage jobs.
According to New American
Pathways Marketing and Communications Director Amy Crownover,
the funds will support the average
cost of one new American to go
through vocational counseling and
provide them with tools and a mentor who will guide them through getting a career in their field.
“Some of the immigrants that
come into New American Pathways,
we don’t call them refugees because
they’re actually on a different VISA
called the Special Immigrant Visa,”
Crownover said.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the visas are given to
people who worked with the United
States Armed Forces or under Chief
of Mission authority as a translator
or interpreter in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New American Pathway volunteers unload a truck of furniture for refugees’ apartments.

The program aids up to 50 people a year.
The scholarship setup in Kallenberg’s name will assist these immigrants.
Kallenberg got involved with the
organization after meeting a caseworker from Refugee Resettlement
and Immigration Services of Atlanta
(RRISA). The case worker explained
who he was and asked if he could put
money in an account so that clients
can come pick out what they needed.
“I didn’t know anything about
the organization. I didn’t know that
right in our backyard there was this
refugee resettlement organization, in
fact I didn’t even know that there was
such a need for refugees. It was all
new to me,” Kallenberg said.
She said after speaking with the
representative she wanted to get

more information
Kallenberg
and ultimately get
more involved.
Through Finders Keepers Kallenberg helped raised money for RRISA
with bag sale events which raised
up to $2,500 to support refugee programs.
According to Kallenberg the
unrestricted funds made it “a lot
easier for them to get the things they
needed as opposed to grants and
other federal money which come
with terms.”
Later Kallenberg joined RRISA’s
board and has continued to support
the organization for about 10 years
via sales, donations, providing employment opportunities and placement, volunteering and fundraising.
She stepped down from the
board after six years during the

merge of RRISA and Refugee Family
Services which formed New American Pathways.
In 2006 Kallenberg joined Leadership DeKalb, a development program in DeKalb County in which
members learn about history, diversity, government, justice, arts and
culture, education, health and economic development in the county.
Kallenberg said through Leadership DeKalb and RRISA, she realized the challenge of “all the
bureaucratic hoops that must be
jumped for money or anything
that is needed” for refugees.
“You can’t just get in and
help. It’s all the layers of bureaucracy. It’s not a matter of
manpower. It’s a matter of things
being done in a certain way to
guarantee that you get what you
need. You’re responsible for setting up policy and making sure
that everything within the organization is being run to the letter
of the law,” Kallenberg said.
One of the initiatives Kallenberg
assisted on the board of RRISA was
arranging an apartment for a refugee
family.
“We used what we had from our
group , people were willing to buy
and donate things and we used items
from the furniture store to set up the
apartment… It was very hands-on
and gratifying to actually do something like that,” Kallenberg said.
She said of working with refugees, “It’s where my heart is. It’s
something that resonates with me—
what they have lived through and to
be in a new place and expected to
succeed or survive—to help someone
through and help them manage it a
little easier, it’s just something that
speaks to my soul.”

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 9A

Tucker mayoral candidates
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Leading up the March 1
Special Election, The Champion will publish a Q&A with
each candidate of the city of
Tucker elections. The first
Q&A segment will feature the
candidates for mayor: Frank
Auman, Lorne Cheek and
Bruce Jackson.
1)Why did you decide to run
for mayor?
Auman: “I didn’t plan
to run for mayor until after
we passed the referendum
on Nov. 3, and many of us
from Tucker 2015 began to
talk about the next steps. After working on cityhood for
nearly three years, it was clear
to all of us that not only did
we have our personal desires
to stay involved, but that it
would send a wrong message to the community for us
to just leave it all behind as
someone else’s responsibility.”
Cheek: “I originally had
no intent to run for mayor.
I didn’t realize that elections
would be so soon. I thought
there would be a transitional
period. I told all of my coworkers that I could be mayor
of the new city. We joked
about it at work and I joked
about it on Facebook. People
kept pulling me aside and
telling me I would make an

excellent mayor. It was rather
universal. After about a week
I looked up the elections.
Then I thought about it very
seriously. I decided to run because so many people became
excited about the possibility! I also love Tucker! I care
about its future. I ended up
researching a lot and then became passionate about what
can be accomplished.”
Jackson: “My family and
I just recently moved into the
Tucker area in December of
2014 and are looking forward
to becoming very involved in
the community as well as the
formation of the new city of
Tucker.”
2) What are your top three
priorities you will focus on
if you’re elected mayor?
Auman: “Of course, the
new city will be providing
three services: parks and
recreation, zoning and planning, and code enforcement.
But before we can even get
to those, we have to negotiate all the agreements with
the county for those three
services, and also for all the
other services the county will
continue to provide. We also
need meeting facilities, and
a range of other things just
to start functioning, and we
need to hire for certain key
positions, including a city
manager and city clerk. My

Clarkston Continued From Page 6A
next four years, using public engagement I believe
we can fix failures. We can
make Clarkston safer. We
can make it cleaner. We can
make it greener than it already is.
“Thank you so much,
Clarkston voters, for putting
trust on me and for putting
confidence on me,” Ayasu
said. “I want to…ask you for
more support. We need support. Please come to the city
council meetings, ask any
questions. Give us your comments. [Tell] us how we can
make Clarkston a better city
and a more welcoming city.”
In his speech, Williams
said, “I want to say ‘thank
you’ to everybody that actually listened to me.”
Williams called
Clarkston’s leadership “a fantastic team.”

“We have an excellent
team and I think that’s the
brightest star for Clarkston,”
he said. “They are always
open to listen. They always
have Clarkston’s best interest
in mind. And that’s something I think that spells a
brighter future for this community because working
together we will accomplish
a lot.
“There’s a lot of work to
be done,” he said.
The city has various
planned programs and ordinances “that we believe not
only will improve the capital
development of Clarkston
as far as infrastructure, but
will make Clarkston a better
place socially to live. That’s
improving the quality of life
for everybody. That’s the
aim,” Williams said.

offsets the property tax and
increases revenue as well.”

very top priority, which will
run through all of those, is
to set the tone and character
of Tucker’s city government
to reflect the nature of the
community itself: one that is
welcoming, respectful of everyone, and encourages personal involvement in all that
goes on here. That’s something I heard time and again
during the fight for cityhood,
that people here wanted to
preserve what is great about
Tucker; not only its borders,
but its character.”

Jackson: “Some of the key
issues from my perspective
will be creating a community that is safe, secure, selfsustained and very business
friendly.”
3)What qualities do you
have that will help you be a
good mayor for Tucker?

Cheek: “My top priorities
in the first year term will be
to secure a city manager and
set the budget for the new
city. I would like to court new
business to Tucker. The result
will be that property taxes will
remain low. More business
keeps the millage rate low. It

Auman: “I am a businessman, serving as CEO of two
of my own companies, and
on the boards of others, including nonprofits and public
agencies. I understand leadership, have experience helping
diverse groups reach consensus, and will focus on encouraging each member to fully
contribute their unique talents. I also understand hard

work and making hard decisions, which will be essential
to controlling spending while
achieving our objectives.”
Cheek: “I have a welldeveloped sense of humor.
I’m organized, fiscally responsible; I work with the public
every day. I’m level headed,
caring, diligent and very selfcontrolled. I listen to people.”
Jackson: “I have not held
a public office in the past;
however, I have extensive
experience in leading and
developing people and teams,
as well as managing multimillion-dollar budgets.”
4)What do you believe some
of the challenges will be for
Tucker?
Auman: “Everyone has

See Tucker on Page 10A

IRVIN J. JOHNSON
Tax Commissioner
DeKalb County, GA

ATTENTION ALL DEKALB COUNTY
HOMEOWNERS

The 2016 Property Tax Exemption Deadline is Fast
Approaching!
If you owned and resided in a home in DeKalb County on January 1st, you may
apply for a Basic Homestead Exemption and Property Assessment Freeze with
the County by April 1st of this year. The home must be your primary domicile
and legal residence for all purposes, including the registration of your vehicles
and the filing of your Federal and State income taxes. Applications received
after April 1st will be processed for 2017.
In addition to the basic homestead exemption available to all homeowners, there
are special exemptions available for residents 62 and older, disabled veterans or
their un-remarried spouses, and other disabled residents. Eligibility for special
exemptions is based upon age or disability, and total household income. They
must be applied for in person. When applying, please bring your State and
Federal income tax forms, Social Security 1099, and any other forms of income
you may receive, to one of our three offices across the County.

North Office

1358 Dresden Dr., NE
Atlanta, GA 30319

Main Office

4380 Memorial Dr.
Suite 100
Decatur, GA 30032

South Office

2801 Candler Rd. #66
South DeKalb Mall
Decatur, GA 30034

Remember, the deadline for applying for all homesteads is
April 1st!
Apply for the Basic Homestead Exemption, the Property Assessment Freeze, or
renew your tag registration online at:

www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner

Questions? Call (404) 298-4000 or email us proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov

4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 100, Decatur, Georgia 30032 (404-298-4000)

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

Schall

Tatum

Deutch

local

Russell

Page 10A

Dewoskin

Bonder

New ethics board begins work
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
The new, reconstituted
DeKalb ethics board met for
the first time Jan. 6—minus
one member yet to be appointed.
The new ethics board
members are: attorney Scott
Bonder, appointed by the
DeKalb Bar Association;
Brian Deutsch, an attorney

appointed by DeKalb Probate Court Judge Jeryl Rosh;
attorney Daniel DeWoskin,
appointed by Leadership
DeKalb; Greg Russell, senior
vice president for Private
Bank of Decatur, appointed
by the DeKalb Chamber of
Commerce; and Oglethorpe
University President Lawrence Schall, appointed by
local universities and colleges.

The board chose Schall
as its chairman, while Russell
is the vice chairman and Tatum is the secretary.
The seventh and final
member of the board is
expected be appointed by
DeKalb’s delegation to the
Georgia General Assembly
when it meets on Jan. 14,
according to Rep. Howard
Mosby, the delegation’s
chairman.

Cheek: “Tucker is actually well set up for
its cityhood. As I am speaking with other cities, I am pleasantly surprised. For instance,
Dunwoody’s initial budget and income was
around $2 million less than Tucker’s. The major challenge will be beautification. I would
like to achieve this through various grants via
state and federal programs as well as private
interest groups. I don’t think zoning will be
an issue. I’m investigating how other cities
contract storm drainage, parks, etc. That will
be challenging but not impossible. I also think
a challenge will be helping the homeless, having women’s shelters and other humanitarian
services. It will be interesting to see how we
balance business and domestic areas while retaining an overall aesthetic.”
Jackson: Did not answer question
5) If you are elected, what kind of city will
Tucker be at the end of your term?
Auman: “If we can establish all the services, hire and stabilize a good staff, solidify
a budget process, and get the council operating in a cooperative manner with each other
and the community, I think Tucker will be
well-positioned for the future. By then, we’ll
have taken the first steps toward planning our
smart-growth patterns, we’ll be on the radar of
every business looking for a great community
where its people can live, work, pray and play,

of their knowledge.
Among the cases that
will have to be resubmitted
to move forward are complaints against suspended
DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis,
Commissioner Stan Watson,
former county purchasing
director Kelvin Walton, and
Robert Lundsten, former
aide to former commissioner
Elaine Boyer.

METROPOLITAN ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY

tuCkEr Continued From Page 9A
their own ideas about what a city is, can be,
and should be. Agreeing on priorities, staying
within the bounds of our mission, and focusing on what’s important will be a constant
challenge. We can’t do everything at once, and
doing it all within budget will take vigilance
and principled commitment to the taxpayers.”

At its first meeting the
ethics board decided that
several pending ethics cases
must be resubmitted to be
in line with new state ethics
rules. Complainants in pending cases don’t have to resubmit the entire case. They just
have to sign a new complaint
form on which they state
under penalty of perjury that
the information presented in
their cases is true to the best

Notice of Public Hearings
and the citizens of Tucker will be looking back
on the decision for cityhood as being exactly
the right decision at the right time.”
Cheek: “In my first term, which is one
year, I expect to have a framework for the
city. If elected for a four-year term, I foresee
having improved traffic lights in three locations that are problematic. I imagine the city
having businesses of all sorts popping up. I
envision people wanting to move into Tucker.
I foresee through various organizations, that
we will have a better school system. Not that
we will take over the schools, but for instance,
Rotary clubs and private funding could supply
equipment and resources for teachers which
in turn can improve the educational system. I
imagine Tucker will be a green city. Residents
are interested in recycling and green energy. I
can imagine down the road that we will build
towards a combination of solar, wind energy,
etc. People are already very proud of the community. I see Tucker in five years as being a
thriving community with an eclectic beauty
that will appeal to a lot of people who will
want to live here, work here, and do business
here. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised. What is very attractive about Tucker is
that property is expansive and affordable. We
can build up without changing the footprint. I
see us capitalizing on this while retaining our
unique vibe. The possibilities are limitless really.”
Jackson: “I view running for this office
as an honor as I see so much potential in the
newly formed city of Tucker and feel it is all of
our responsibility to make our city a tremendous place to live, work, play and conduct our
businesses.”

Notice is hereby given that the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid
Transit Authority will hold public hearings for the purpose of considering the

Revised Fare Policy and Proposed Bus Service
Modifications for April 16, 2016
Proposed routing and/or adjustments and new service for the following bus routes:
Route 9: Toney Valley/Peachcrest Road; Route 24: East Lake/Hosea Williams Drive;
Route 34: Gresham Road/Clifton Springs; Route 73: Fulton Industrial; Route 86:
Fairington Road/McAfee Road; Route 99: Boulevard/Monroe Drive; Route 140:
North Point/Mansell Park & Ride; Route 143: Windward Park & Ride; Route 172:
Sylvan Road/Virginia Avenue; Route 185: Alpharetta/Holcomb Bridge Road.
Revised Fare Policy: In accordance with the Federal Transit Administration, MARTA
adopted a revised fare policy that governs fare changes. The 2013 policy is being updated
and requires public input.
All route information, a video presentation & comment forms are available at itsmarta.com

Tues, Jan. 19

Tues, Jan. 19

Thurs, Jan. 21

Clayton State
University Student
Activity Center

Decatur
Recreation
Center

Fulton County
Government Center
Assembly Hall

Ball Room A,
2000 Clayton State Blvd.,
Morrow, GA 30260

231 Sycamore Street,
Decatur 30030

141 Pryor Street
Atlanta, GA 30303

Community Exchange:
6-7 p.m.

Community Exchange:
6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Use the
Decatur Rail Station.

Riding MARTA:
Routes 32, 49, 55, 74 & 186.

Community Exchange:
6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Route 193/shuttle
will be provided from bus stop to
Student Activity Center.

Copies of the proposed Bus Service Modifications will also be available for public viewing at MARTA’s Headquarters
Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, Mon-Fri
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For formats (FREE of charge) in accordance with the ADA and Limited English Proficiency regulations contact,
(404) 848-4037. For those patrons requiring further accommodations, information can be obtained by calling the
Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 404 848-5665.
In addition, a sign language interpreter will be available at all hearings. If you cannot attend the hearings and want
to provide comments you may: (1) leave a message at (404) 848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Office of External Affairs,
2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30324-3330; (3) complete an online Comment Card at www.itsmarta.com;
(4) or fax your comments no later than Jan. 27, 2016 to (404) 848-4179.
All citizens of the City of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are affected
by the subjects to be considered at these hearings are hereby notified and invited to appear at said times and places
and present such evidence, comment or objection as their interests require.
Keith T. Parker, AICP, General Manager/CEO

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 11A

DeKalb County Jail serves community in unfamiliar ways
Part I of a two-part series on mental health care at the DeKalb County
Jail
by John Hewitt
JohnH@dekalbchamp.com
Many may think of the county
jail only as a place to house those
charged with crimes until their cases
go through the judicial process; but
this perception is actually far from
the truth.
The DeKalb County Jail has a
complete in-house medical staff and
facility, dental facility and is the largest mental health provider of any jail
in the state.
Recently I had the opportunity
to sit in on a series of inmate mental
health workshops conducted by staff
of the mental health division of the
jail. The workshops dealt specifically
with anger management issues. To
say this was an emotional, eye-opening experience is an understatement.
It made me realize just how severe
the state of mental health care has
become.
Prior to attending the workshops,
I was shown the entire process of
being booked into the jail and subsequent cellblock assignment. In
the intake area, there are rooms of

varying sizes where inmates are held
until they receive their cellblock assignments. Inmates who appeared to
pose no threat to either themselves
or others were kept in rooms with
other recent intakes. Those who were
suspected of, or had demonstrated,
violence were detained in individual holding rooms for the protection
of all involved.
Many new arrivals are deemed
mentally unstable and assigned to
the mental health division for additional assessment and treatment
if the inmates so choose. Some
inmates are referred to as frequent
flyers. These individuals, due to
mental issues, are unable to function independently in society and
unable to receive the mental health
assistance they require. They may
commit petty crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread just so they can
be incarcerated and receive the help
they know they need. It is often the
best option they have for survival.
A 1975 United States Supreme
Court decision in O’Connor v. Donaldson ruled that a state cannot
“confine a non-dangerous individual
who is capable of surviving safely in
freedom by themselves or with the
help of willing and responsible family members or friends.”
When federal and state funding

of mental health facilities was cut to
reduce expenditures, many who were
previously housed in state-managed
facilities were forced out with limited, or no, options to receive care.
County jails became the go-to place
for these members of our society and

designed to improve the chances of
survival in the real world by some of
the most vulnerable in our society—
those who often cannot survive on
their own.
Topics covered in other workshops include: life after release,

the jails had to react accordingly. In
2014, the DeKalb jail saw more than
11,000 inmates who were deemed in
need of mental health services. That
is an average of more than 30 individuals each day.
The anger management workshops are one of several workshops

self-esteem, medication education,
social skills and substance abuse. It
appeared that some of the participants understood of what they need
to change about themselves to make
it more likely for them to experience
the freedom that many us take for
granted each day.

Get a

Holiday Group Pass
Want to spend more time with family and friends? MARTA is offering a one-day
discounted group pass for just $7 a person. Take them to Downtown,
Midtown, Decatur or Sandy Springs all for 7 bucks each.
Reconnect – with the city and each other.

Group Day Passes good for

Monday, January 18, MLK day.

Available at all Breeze vending machines
January 15.
The product will only apply to the day designated (commencing 12am and ending 11:59pm) • Product will cost
$6.00 plus $1.00 for the Breeze Ticket (at BVMs and Ridestores) • customer can purchase 2-5 individual tickets which
will range from $14.00 to $35.00 only • Group Pass can only be purchased on a Breeze Ticket (not available for Breeze Card)

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 12A

Author speaks on Vietnam War and those who opposed it
Not all the blood shed as a
result of the Vietnam War was
shed on the battlefield. Protests
against the war in the United
States at times became violent.
Perhaps the most dramatic
example was the May 4, 1970,
student demonstration on the
campus of Kent State University in Ohio in which National
Guardsmen fired on unarmed
students leaving four dead and
nine wounded.
What did the protests
accomplish? What are its implications for other activists’
movements? How do those
who participated in protests
feel about their involvement
approximately 40 years later?
These are among the questions
Karín Aguilar-San Juan and
Frank Joyce sought to explore
in their book The People Make
the Peace, a collection of writing by peace activists who had
gone to Vietnam during the
war and returned as a group in
2013.
Aguilar-San Juan, in the
Atlanta area for a meeting
of the National History Association, presented the book
Jan. 8 at a Charis Circle From
Margin to Center literary event
at Charis Books and More on
Euclid Avenue.
An associate professor of
American studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.,
Aguilar-San Juan said antiwar
protestors in the United States,
with cooperation from their
Vietnamese counterparts,
played a significant role in
ending the war. “It’s clear to me
that the war would not have
ended as soon without the
antiwar movement, but interestingly, few had examined its
impact until now.”
Aguilar-San Juan explained that when the war was
going on many Americans
questioned whether official
government reports were
complete and truthful. She
said more than 200 U.S. citizens, aided by organizations in
Vietnam, traveled to the Asian
nation at their own expense to
learn what they could about
conditions there.
“It was not an easy trip.
It involved approximately 10
days of travel through three
countries. Groups in Vietnam
helped them organize their
travel in the country to keep
them as safe as possible and
get them to meaningful locations, but the travelers paid all
their own expenses,” AguilarSan Juan explained. She said
the government discouraged
such trips, at times denying

passports and visas to prevent
them.
Aguilar-San Juan and others tried to reconstruct the
list of those who had traveled
as “citizen ambassadors” to
organize a return trip. “Some
had died and others were still
living but physically unable to
make such a trip. Also, the trip
again would be at the travelers’
expense and not everyone was
in a position to afford to go to
Vietnam,” she said, adding that
others, such as actress Jane
Fonda, were strong enough
and affluent enough to make

Georgia Power employees

the trip but chose not to. “That
period in history carries some
painful memories for her and
others. Not everyone wants
to take a trip down memory
lane,” Aguilar-San Juan observed.
A group of nine that
included Aguilar-San Juan’s
co-editor Frank Joyce—calling
themselves “the Hanoi nine”—
made the return trip in 2013.
Each wrote about the experience from his or her perspective.
“Not everyone saw it the
same way, of course,” Aguilar-

San Juan said. “Each writer
brought a unique background
and point of view to the process. Women and people of
color particularly brought their
feelings about their own liberation movements into how they
looked at the war.” She said her
family members from the Philippines saw comparisons between American involvement
in Vietnam and American involvement in the Philippines.
The People Make the Peace
writers, she said, challenge
myths that still linger about
the war and the era in which it

took place. Aguilar-San Juan
read an excerpt in which a
writer expressed the opinion
that the movie Forrest Gump
trivialized the war and those
who opposed it, portraying
antiwar activists as “wasteful,
annoying airheads.”
The People Make the Peace,
Aguilar-San Juan noted, is not
an effort to draw final conclusions about what the Vietnam
War meant, but to allow some
of those involved to present
their reflections on their experiences, and to keep a conversation going about it.

CELEBRATING A DAY ON
AND NOT A DAY OFF

Georgia Power is proud to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a nationwide
celebration of service to mankind and community – by encouraging its
employees and customers to use their time off to serve others.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us all come together to spend a “day on“ by
extending a helping hand to help those who need it most.

©2016 Georgia Power

by Kathy Mitchell

Connect With Us

georgiapower.com/community

In

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

WEEK

local

Page 13A

PICTURES

There were 24 colleges and representatives from local businesses at a recent Elizabeth Andrews High School college fair. Students received information on college and career readiness
information. Photos provided

23

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The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 14A

County announces MLK Jr. Day
residential sanitation collection schedule
The DeKalb County Sanitation Division announced
its Martin Luther King Jr. Day
sanitation collection schedule
for residential customers. Due
to the observance of Martin
Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18, sanitation collection service will run one day
late as follows:
• Monday, Jan.  18: Martin
Luther King Jr. Day observed; no sanitation collection service.
• Tuesday, Jan. 19: Residential customers whose regularly scheduled collection
day is Monday, Jan. 18, will
be serviced on Tuesday, Jan.
19.
• Wednesday, Jan. 20: Resi-

dential customers whose
regularly scheduled collection day is Tuesday,
Jan. 19, will be serviced on
Wednesday, Jan. 20.
• Thursday, Jan. 21: Residential customers whose regularly scheduled collection
day is Wednesday, Jan. 20,
will be serviced on Thursday, Jan. 21.
• Friday, Jan. 22: Residential
customers whose regularly
scheduled collection day is
Thursday, Jan. 21, will be
serviced on Friday, Jan. 22.
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404.373.7779 X 0. Offer expires Jan. 31.
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The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

lawsuit

Continued From Page 1A

lawsuit.
“In the first four [attempts], the staff intervened to
save J.D.,” the lawsuit stated. “This time, the officer simply
walked away.”
The lawsuit stated that when the officer was informed
that Davidson had hanged himself, the officer “did not
bother to attempt to rescue” him.
“Instead he waited 20 minutes before even going to J.D.’s
cell,” the lawsuit stated.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice conducted
an investigation of the incident, which was completed in
May, and found that “the failure to prevent, intervene in
and respond to J.D.’s suicide was the result of widespread,
systemic failings throughout the department.”
According to the investigation findings, there were
18 staff members working the shift when Davidson died,
which is less than the state required minimum of 29 staff
members.
As a result of the investigation, Cooper, along with
Kawana Wires, a nurse whom the report states did not follow proper policies in administrating CPR, were fired. Two
other workers were demoted and six were reprimanded.
Cooper and Wires are two of 17 people listed as defendants in the lawsuit. The list also includes Avery Niles,
the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile
Justice. The lawsuit states that the family is seeking punitive
damages.
“The lawsuit is in the very early stages,” Harman said.
“Jimariya’s family looks forward to holding the juvenile system accountable for this tragedy.”

local

DA Continued From Page 1A

Page 15A

Anthony Hill, 27, was shot by Olsen,
who responded to The Heights at Chamblee
apartment complex around 1 p.m. March
9, 2015, on 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, said at a news conference after the
incident.
When asked if the shooting was justified,
James said, “A crime was committed. That is
our position.”
In October 2015, a civil grand jury stated
that it was “unable to reach a consensus on
recommending indictment because there
were contradictions and inconsistencies in
the testimonies presented.”
The grand jury recommended that “further investigation be conducted to aid in the
decision to pursue this case by” James.
October 2015 the DA’s office presented
the case to a civil grand jury.
“Our office has worked tirelessly reviewing evidence and interviewing witnesses to
reach a decision in this case,” James said.
“The facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Anthony Hill warrant a charge for felony murder,” James said.
“Ultimately it’s going to be up to a grand jury
as to whether or not Officer Olsen is charged
with felony murder.

“We will be presenting this case to a
criminal grand jury and seeking an indictment on Jan. 21,” he said. The grand jury will
make a decision immediately.
Hill’s girlfriend, Bridget Anderson, said
she and his family “are very elated with the
decision of [seeking] the indictment.”
“Officer Olsen killed my best friend,
my boyfriend,” Anderson said. “He was an
amazing person. We’re coming up on 10
months since his death and I didn’t think
this was going to happen just because of all
of the other cases.
“Anthony Hill was a veteran,” Anderson
said. “He was completely naked. He was
most definitely unarmed and I’m glad the
DA came to the decision of this. I’m glad we
have an officer off the streets who murders
people because he’s hiding behind a badge.”
Anderson said she would continue protesting against unjustified, officer-involved
shootings.
“We’re going to keep his story alive,” she
said. “We have to keep his spirit alive and
let everybody know what kind of person he
was and let people know he’s not just some
unarmed, naked man. He does have a name.
His name is Anthony Hill.”

news briefs
Second suspect charged in SWAT standoff
A second suspect has
been charged in a Jan. 5 incident that led to a SWAT
standoff.
On Jan. 5, just after 2
a.m. DeKalb County Police
responded to a domestic assault at the Rite For
Us Hotel located at 4300
Snapfinger Woods Drive
in Decatur, according to a
police release.
At the scene, officers
found a man in the room
with a woman and 11
children, ages 3 months to 17 years. Armed with a
knife, the man refused to come out and would not
let anyone leave the room, according to police.
“SWAT responded to the scene and attempted
to negotiate with the male for a peaceful resolution to the incident,” according to a police statement. “After five hours of negotiation attempts
SWAT made entry into the room. As SWAT
entered they discovered the male suspect had
stabbed himself in the neck.”
The man, Korrie Thomas, 36, is facing charges of false imprisonment and obstruction. 
According to a police investigation, the 911
call was placed by 21-year-old Diamond Williams, claiming to be Shanta King, alleging the
domestic assault. 
A warrant has been issued charging Williams
with false report of a crime. Detectives believe
Williams, who has two children by Thomas,
placed the 911 call following a argument with
Thomas.

Detectives seek help locating missing teen
The DeKalb County
Police Special Victims
Unit seeks the public’s assistance locating Symone
Atkins. 
According to police,
Atkins is an 18-year-old
female with the mentality
of a 12-year-old. 
Atkins was last seen
on Dec. 29, 2015, at approximately 5:30 p.m.
when she left her group
home on Martins Crossing Road in Stone Mountain. She is described as a
Black female, about 5-foot-7 and 135 pounds.
Anyone who has seen or has information on
her whereabouts is asked to contact the DeKalb
County Police Special Victims Unit at (770) 7247710.

Suspect arrested in homicide of teen
The DeKalb County
Police Department’s homicide unit obtained a warrant for 29-year-old Bruce
Dratez Howard charging
him with the murder of
Jaylon Maddox, 15. 
According to police,
the killing occurred Jan. 6,
at approximately 9:30 p.m.
at 3000 Ember Drive in
Decatur.

DeKalb Sheriff ’s Office Fugitive Squad located
and arrested Howard on Jan. 8 along Jonesboro
Road in Atlanta without incident.
The investigation is ongoing as detectives are
working to identify a second suspect in the case. 
Robbery is believed to be the motive in the homicide, according to police.

Brookhaven required to change speed limit
on two roads
The speed limits on Johnson Ferry and Ashford Dunwoody roads have been changed from 35
mph to 40 mph.
According to news release from Brookhaven’s
government, the change was necessary to comply
with Georgia Department of Public Safety and
Georgia Department of Transportation requirements for the Brookhaven Police Department to
be able to use speed detection devices.
 
Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura was
notified by the two state departments that
Brookhaven’s “permits to use speed detection
devices would be pulled for the entire city if the
signs were not in compliance,” according to a news
release.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

Page 16A

Senator removes county oversight committee member
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
An appointee to the
county’s new audit oversight
committee is questioning its
independence after a senator
removed her.
“Independence is independence,” said Harmel
Codi, an educational consultant/entrepreneur and
a former county employee
who repeatedly called for
the resignation of interim
DeKalb CEO Lee May. “The
fact that I was removed…
diminishes the credibility of
the committee because basically we’re just going to use
people we can come to and
tell them when to do things,
how to do things. That’s not
independent.”
The DeKalb County
Audit Oversight Committee,
which was authorized after
House Bill 599 was signed
into law in May 2015, has the
responsibility of hiring an internal auditor to conduct financial and performance audits of county departments.
The committee’s job also is
to oversee the auditor’s work
and ensure independence
from the CEO and Board of
Commissioners.
Codi was appointed
to the committee by the
county’s Senate delegation.
In a Dec. 28, 2015, letter
addressed to the DeKalb
County governing authority,
Sen. Gloria Butler rescinded
her appointment of Codi. In

Harmel Codi wants answers after being removed from the county’s audit
oversight committee. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

the same letter, Butler appointed accountant Natasha
Smith of Stone Mountain to
the committee.
Butler, who is chairwoman of the county’s Senate
delegation and secretary for
the Senate ethics committee,
said she rescinded Codi’s appointment when “someone
surfaced with credentials
that match exactly what’s in
the legislation.”
“Her credentials don’t
match,” Butler said about
Codi.
With two candidates initially from which to choose,
Butler said she initially chose
Codi to meet the Dec. 31
deadline, but later rescinded
the selection.
“My understanding of
when this committee was
supposed to start was Jan.

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1, not before then. So I had
until Dec. 31 to…rescind a
person,” Butler said.
Butler said the committee, which met at least twice
before Jan. 1, wasn’t supposed to be meeting.
“I don’t know what they
were meeting about,” she
said. “Who gave them an
agenda? Who gave them
marching orders and what to
talk about?”
Because the law does
not spell out the authority to
rescind, “everybody is saying
it’s not legal, that I did not
have the right to…change my
mind,” Butler said.
Codi, a former senior financial officer in the county’s
community development department, said she has asked
the state attorney general’s

office for a legal opinion
about the rescission.
The bill creating the
audit oversight committee
“doesn’t provide a…rescission provision. What was
done was a rescission of the
appointment rather than a
removal,” Codi said.
“There’s no provision
for [rescission for] political
reasons,” she said. “There’s
no reason highlighted in [the
bill that states] someone can
be removed…for highlighting conflicts of interest or
appearances of impropriety,
which are some of the things
that I’ve done while I was sitting on that committee.”
Some committee members “wanted to make those
meetings private and I raised
the issue that they couldn’t
make them private,” Codi
said. “I highlighted the fact
that we couldn’t have the
people from Lee May’s office
being our recording secretary
and we couldn’t have commissioners having their best
friend appointed to the committee.
“Those are things that
are legitimate…questions
that I was raising,” she said.
“I wasn’t trying to be trouble.
I thought we had an independent committee.
“I didn’t know we could
be easily manipulated by politicians,” said Codi, who in
2015 ran unsuccessfully for
the Board of Commissioners
District 5 seat.

Codi, who served on the
committee for two meetings,
said she learned about the
rescission from a third party.
She has not received any official notice about her removal
from the committee.
Commissioner Nancy
Jester is calling for Codi to
be restored to the committee
“for the sake of transparency
and honest government.”
“The action of state Sen.
Gloria Butler to attempt to
rescind the appointment of
Harmel Codi to the DeKalb
County Audit Oversight
Committee is unfortunate,
ill-advised, and sends a negative message which furthers
the image of a local government which is ‘rotten-to-thecore,’” Jester said in a statement.
Codi’s removal “completely defeats the purpose
of this being an independent
body if the individuals making the appointments can
change their minds at will.
It’s not acceptable. If they’re
constantly in fear of being
replaced, they’re not independent,” Jester stated.
Jester said Butler’s actions “undermine the infrastructure and processes the
voters approved to provide
some measure of oversight
for a county government that
has been plagued with scandals and malfeasance.”
The audit oversight committee’s next meeting is Jan.
15.

CITY OF CHAMBLEE, DEKALB, GA
ADVERTISEMENT FOR INVITATION TO BID
Sealed bids for the PEACHTREE STREETSCAPE PROJECT NUMBER: P.I. 0009024
will be received by the City of Chamblee at Chamblee City Hall, 5468 Peachtree Road,
Chamblee, GA, until 3:00 pm on Friday, February 5, 2016, and then at said office
publicly opened and read aloud. Bids received after the designated time will not be
accepted.
The project generally includes furnishing all labor, materials and equipment for the
construction and related improvements for the PEACHTREE STREETSCAPE. This
project will provide two travel lanes 11 feet wide and 5ft to 6ft wide sidewalks on the east
side, with two foot grass strip. Coordination with utilities will be required.
The project is located between Pierce Drive and 700 ft North-East of Chamblee
Dunwoody Road along Peachtree Road in the City of Chamblee, DeKalb County.
The Georgia Department of Transportation Standard Specifications, 2013 Edition,
applicable Supplemental Specifications and Special Provisions apply to this project.
Bid documents may be obtained from the State of Georgia/DOAS website at

https://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/ and the Procurement Page on the City’s website at
www.chambleega.gov .

If you have any questions regarding this project please contact Marc Johnson,
Chamblee City Manager, at 770-986-5026.
Chamblee reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids and to waive
technicalities.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

Business

Page 17A

Jennifer Galloway says it took a lot to bring the shop in Stone Mountain’s Main Street from a Clients create a complete art piece as they sip a favorite beverage during a two-hour session.
bare industrial space to a cozy lounge-like area.

Thirsty Mona Lisa quenches art cravings
by Kathy Mitchell
Jennifer Galloway’s experience
in the real estate industry has taught
her to recognize properties that have
development potential. She was so
impressed with what she found in
Stone Mountain Village that she
not only opened a real estate office
there but started another business—
Thirsty Mona Lisa, a sip and paint
studio—in the same Main Street
building.
Describing it as “a city undergoing resurgence,” Galloway said Stone
Mountain Village has exciting possibilities. “I wanted a location that was
part of a community, not a strip mall.
Stone Mountain Village provided everything I needed.”
What she found is “reasonably
priced property that is poised to appreciate in the near future. Getting
in on the ground floor allows me to
help shape the landscape of the city’s
future,” said Galloway, who is now a
member of Stone Mountain’s Downtown Development Authority. “The
sense of community that exists here
is attracting newcomers from the
suburbs and nearby hot-spot cities
like Decatur.”
With its identity as an artists’
community, Stone Mountain Village,
she said, is ideal for a sip and paint
studio. “We have several artist’s galleries as well as ART Station and the
city sponsored art strolls. It is a perfect fit.
“I’m not an artist,” said Galloway,
who opened Thirsty Mona Lisa in
late October 2015. “I’ve always enjoyed art and I think sip and paint is
a great concept.”
At sip and paint studios patrons

with no formal training or previous
experience can take art lessons in an
informal setting as they sip a favorite
beverage—usually wine. A take-away
art piece is completed during the approximately two-hour session.
“I attended a sip and paint class
a few years ago. At first I was a little
intimidated, but after a while I was
having tons of fun. There were no

studios within a reasonable distance
of here, so someone in the Stone
Mountain area would have a choice
of going to Atlanta, Dunwoody or
John’s Creek. I knew I’d like to open
one here,” she said.
“I considered a franchise, but
that’s really not my style,” Galloway
noted. She advertised for artist instructors and found two who fit her
needs. “I wanted them to have more
than artistic talent. I wanted them
to be fun people with sparking personalities—the type of people who
would make sure everyone had a really good time.”
Galloway said she is not surprised that the studio got off to a
slow start. “People have to find out
we’re here. This building had been
vacant for years. Still, we have busy
nights. Our biggest class so far has
been 17 people; that’s within the
range I’d like to stay in—15 to 20
people. I want to stay small. If a class
gets to large, it becomes impersonal,
but we need at least 10 people to
make it economically feasible.”
Thirsty Mona Lisa clients can
go online, find the schedule, look at
the art that will be created during a
particular session and register for the
class. “We do accept walk-ins, but
we much prefer that people register
so we can be set up and ready to go
with they get here. The night we had
17 people, only three had registered,
so we had to really scramble getting
ready,” Galloway recalled. Some clients, she said, have returned as many
as four times in the two months
Thirsty Mona Lisa has been open.
“We try to be flexible. Although
we announce the art we’ll be doing that night, if the people who

come—especially if they come as a
group—want to do something else,
we’re open to that,” said Galloway,
who added that in addition to paintings, the artists sometimes create in
other media such as small sculptures
or jewelry pieces.
At present, clients bring their
own snacks and beverages, but Galloway said the possibilities she’s looking at for the future include getting
a beer and wine license. “Sometimes
people like to be served,” she said,
adding that she also is considering
arranging for musical performances
at the studio.
“It took a lot to bring this shop
from the bare industrial space it had
been to the cozy lounge-like area it is
now. Although I don’t have any training as an artist, I think there’s a little
interior decorator in me,” she said.
“I want people to see what I’ve done
with this space. There are no curtains
so people walking along the street
can look in. People love it. It’s been
rented out for photo shoots and other uses. I’m asked all the time about
renting it for parties.”
Galloway, who grew up in New
Jersey and moved to the South in
search of better weather, said she was
delighted to find a helpful and supportive business community in Stone
Mountain and joined the Downtown
Development Authority to help other
entrepreneurs get their businesses
started. “Because I’ve done it myself,”
she said, “I can tell people firsthand
what it takes to get a business started
in Stone Mountain Village.”

connectedness

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The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

Brown

Hackemeyer

education

Houston-Stewart

Stowell

Page 18A

Lewis

Malathip

School district implements central office reorganization
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
DeKalb County schools board
officials approved the second phase
of Superintendent Stephen Green’s
strategic plan to reorganize the district’s central office by reclassifying
existing positions, creating new positions, realigning existing positions
and appointing two senior level positions.
“The central office reorganization enables the school district to
achieve the strategic plan’s goals and
supports the realignment of the core
business of improving the teaching and learning experience for increased student achievement,” Green
said.
Green first introduced the reorganization plan at the board’s Dec. 7
work session meeting.
In August 2015, Green assigned
a task force of two regional superintendents, professionals inside the
district and external consultants “to
do a curricular audit and assess our
alignment to state standards and national standards.”
Regional superintendents Dr.
Triscilla Weaver and Trenton Arnold are co-chairs for the task force.
The task force is also supported by
Georgia Department of Education
Assessment Specialist Kelli Wright,

DeKalb County Board of Education
Chairman Melvin Johnson and others.
Green said he proposed his plan
following “personal observations, research, evaluations and explorations.
“It flattens the layers of bureaucracy through decentralization, placing critical human capital and other
services in the field. It supports the
triangulation of services between the
superintendent, regional superintendent and auxiliary support,” Green
added.
According to the fiscal impact
analysis for the county school district’s organizational; restructuring,
the impact will be an increase of approximately $260,000.
The increase will be recognized
before the end of the fiscal year on
June 30.
The fiscal year 2017 financial
impact will be a savings of approximately $60,000, according to the
report.
“It will be cost neutral given the
overall size of the district’s annual
budget of $1.5 billion,” Green said.
The reorganization calls for several new positions, including a chief
communications and community
relations officer and a deputy superintendent for student support and
intervention.
Since the implementation of

Green’s plan, several high-ranking
DeKalb County school administrators were demoted and reassigned.
Board of Education member
Joyce Morley said the decisions were
made too hastily.
“I’d like to have seen a roll-out,
an assessment, some auditing before
we removed the person who was over
[human resources]. We should have
audited the department to see what
needs to be done,” Morley said.
She added, “We have people who
have been around for 24 and 30 years
and we take them and displace them
or misplace them.”
Tekshia Ward-Smith, the director of human resources for the
DeKalb district, was reassigned to
the athletics department.
Leo Brown, a new district employee, will become the interim
human capital officer. Brown was
previously the senior manager of operations for Emory Healthcare; from
May 2011 to June 2012, he was the
executive director of human capital
and chief human capital officer for
the Kansas City Public Schools, most
of that time under Green, who had
been hired there as interim superintendent.
Jennifer Hackemeyer, currently
general counsel for the Georgia Department of Education, was hired as
the chief legal officer of the district’s

office of legal affairs.
Eileen Houston-Stewart, currently chief communications and
community engagement officer for
Kansas City Public Schools, was assigned as the interim chief communications and community relations
officer.
Laura Stowell, currently charter schools coordinator for Fulton
County Schools, was hired as director of charters and school governance and flexibility.
Oliver Lewis, currently DeKalb
director of professional learning, was
promoted to executive director of
professional learning, leadership development and STEM program.
Manomay Malathip, currently
director of graduation and postsecondary research for the Kansa City
Public School, was hired as the interim executive director of student
advancement.
Vasanne Tinsley, assistant director of student support services, was
promoted to deputy superintendent
for student support and intervention.
In December Green said, “Our
district is already undergoing a cultural change — one I am confident
will work and help us achieve our
number one priority – improved instructional delivery and classroom
results.”

Georgia State receives final approval for merger
The Board of Regents granted final approval on Jan. 6 to the creation
of the new Georgia State University
from the consolidation of Georgia
State University and Georgia Perimeter College.
Dr. Mark Becker, president of
Georgia State, will serve as president
of the newly consolidated Georgia
State University.
“We are keenly focused on access
and college completion,” University
System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Hank Huckaby said. “The new

Georgia State University will continue to expand upon its successes in
these areas for students beyond the
downtown campus, throughout metropolitan Atlanta.”
The board’s action follows required approval of the consolidation plans in December 2015 by the
Southern Association of Colleges and
Schools Commission on Colleges.
With the board action, Georgia
State begins operating as the new
institution with an expanded mission
and new college focused on associate

degree programs according to.
“The University System has now
consolidated 12 institutions into six
as we continue to focus on the success of students,” USG Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs and Planning
Shelley Nickel said. “With consolidation, we are amplifying the best of
both institutions to better serve students, the community and the state.”
Huckaby announced in January
2015 his recommendation for the
Georgia State consolidation, which
the Board of Regents approved.

“This is not only a historic day
for Georgia State University and
Georgia Perimeter College, it is also
an important day for the students
of Georgia,” Becker said. “We look
forward to helping thousands more
students graduate with the support of
our nationally recognized programs
aimed at ensuring student success.”
With the completion of the Georgia State University consolidation,
the University System of Georgia is
now composed of 29 institutions.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

education

Page 19A

Board members elect officers
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
The DeKalb County Board of Education
elected Melvin Johnson and Michael Erwin as
its chairman and vice chairman, respectively at
its Jan. 12 work session meeting.
Former vice chairman James McMahan
was up for re-election but lost to Erwin who
was nominated by board member Vickie
Turner.
Johnson has led the school board for three
years.
“I want to thank the board for respecting
my leadership—certainly in terms of being in
charge of all the meetings, meeting with the
superintendent, being the board’s spokesman
and carrying out all the duties that I’m obligated to.”
Johnson received his bachelor’s degree
from Fort Valley State University and continued his education at Atlanta University where
he earned his master’s, specialist and doctorate
degrees.
For more than 30 years Johnson has
worked in education as a teacher, principal,
assistant area superintendent, area superintendent and deputy superintendent.
Johnson is involved with community,
school and civic organizations, including serving as a lifetime member of the NAACP, serv-

ing on the Parent Advisory Committee, Redan
Booster Club, Redan PTA and serving as a
DeKalb County School District tribunal judge.
He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and has served on several boards over a
number of years.
Erwin has also been on the school board
for three years.
Erwin is a U.S. Navy veteran and has been
a graduate research assistant at Duke University Medical Center and the University of South
Carolina.
Erwin also worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National
Marine Fisheries Services in 2008, earned a
Ph.D. in biological science from the University
of South Carolina. Since then he’s worked at
Georgia Gwinnett College where he teaches
biological science. He graduated from North
Carolina Central University with a bachelor’s
in biology and a master’s in biological science.
Erwin said, “Hopefully this allows me to
serve the board in a stronger capacity. I’m hoping to serve them in any way that they need
me to facilitate the academic success of the
boys and girls in DeKalb County.”
He added, “Two of our major highlighted
items will be to continue to strengthen the
budget so that we strengthen teacher’s salaries
and so that we can also do the things necessary
to bring back our full accreditation.”

DeKalb County School District Chairman Melvin Johnson with newly
elected Vice Chairman Michael Erwin.

DeKalb County Board of Education officials recognize Clarkston High School boys cross country team and Dunwoody High School girls cross country team for their rankings as state
champions. Board members shook each team members hand before posing for group photographs.

School officials
honor crosscountry athletes
Clarkston High School boys and
Dunwoody High School girls were recognized at the Jan. 12 board of education
meeting for their rank in the state championship.
The Clarkston Angoras won their
second consecutive state title with a 90128 win over runner-up Forsyth Central.
Clarkston made history last year winning
its first cross-country title, the fifth state
title of any kind for the school. The team
made more history by becoming backto-back champions—the fourth program
in DeKalb County history to do so.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

The

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Page 20A

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The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

BASKETBALL

sports

Page 21A

Weekly Basketball Scores
Jan. 9
Boys
Miller Grove 95, Tri-Cities 58
M.L. King 55, Druid Hills 46
Southwest DeKalb 61, Clarkston 47
Chamblee 45, Columbia 43
Etowah 44, Marist 39
Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 44, Paideia 36
King’s Ridge 58, W.D. Mohammed 37
Girls
M.L. King 42, Druid Hills 20
Miller Grove 58, Tri-Cities 49
Columbia 43, Chamblee 39
Marist 45, Etowah 38
Paideia 54, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 36
Jan. 8
Boys
Lakeside 67, Alcovy 59
Tucker 68, Lovejoy 50
Clarkston 56, M.L. King 53
Miller Grove 79, Druid Hills 36
Southwest DeKalb 77, Banneker 40
Stephenson 67, Dunwoody 50
Lithonia 55, Marist 35
St. Pius X 55, Arabia Mountain 45
Stone Mountain 45, Columbia 41
Grady 58, Redan 55
Therrell 56, Decatur 47
Chamblee 67, Cross Keys 19
South Atlanta 72, McNair 16
Greenforest 81, Southwest Atlanta Christian 58
W.D. Mohammed 67, Atlanta International 56
Paideia 51, Eagle’s Landing Christian 42
Girls
Tucker 65, Lovejoy 51
Alcovy 49, Lakeside 34
M.L. King 81, Clarkston 32
Southwest DeKalb 52, Banneker 21
Stephenson 62, Dunwoody 30
Chamblee 58, Cross Keys 11
Columbia 59, Stone Mountain 54

St. Pius X 49, Arabia Mountain 45
Marist 68, Lithonia 9
Redan 51, Grady 38
Cedar Grove 57, Towers 30
Decatur 59, Therrell 44
South Atlanta 70, McNair 27
Greenforest 48, Southwest Atlanta Christian 43
Atlanta International 47, W.D. Mohammed 40
Eagle’s Landing Christian 46, Paideia 43
Jan. 5
Boys
Tucker 65, Lakeside 50
Miller Grove 82, Mays 57
Southwest DeKalb 70, Dunwoody 33
Carver 59, Clarkston 54
Creekside 81, M.L. King 65
Tri-Cities 70, Druid Hills 61
Columbia 59, Arabia Mountain 38
Lithonia 59, Stone Mountain 51
Redan 78, Cross Keys 20
St. Pius X 49, Marist 35
Grady 78, Chamblee 61
Paideia 71, Landmark Christian 61
Greenforest 95, Galloway 31
Our Lady of Mercy 63, W.D. Mohammed 53
Girls
Tucker 61, Lakeside 30
Mays 76, Miller Grove 47
M. L. King 47, Creekside 32
Southwest DeKalb 67, Dunwoody 19
Carver 80, Clarkston 21
Tri-Cities 62, Druid Hills 14
Marist 49, St. Pius X 26
Arabia Mountain 44, Columbia 29
Chamblee 46, Grady 32
Redan 79, Cross Keys 9
Stone Mountain 56, Lithonia 15
Cedar Grove 51, McNair 22
Jackson 78, Towers 18
Greenforest 69, Galloway 16
Paideia 53, Landmark Christian 35
Our Lady of Mercy 61, W.D. Mohammed 23

The Decatur girls’ basketball team defeated Therrell 59-44 Jan. 8 at home. Photos by Travis Hudgons

SWD girls’ basketball team recognizes volunteers
by Cori Renee Bostic
The Southwest DeKalb High
School Lady Panthers basketball
team recognized seven volunteers
during halftime of the Jan. 5 matchup
against Dunwoody High School.
The three women and four men
honored were Toni Allen, Margaret
Lewis, Rick Morrow, Willie Pringle, Greg White, Keith White and
Rossie Williams.
“These supporters have volunteered their time, talents, funds
and loving support long after their
children graduated from Southwest
DeKalb High School,” Southwest
The Southwest DeKalb High School girls’ basketball team recognized seven volunteers.
DeKalb Coach Kathy Walton said.
Walton said the women assist
scoring and stats, and working with
of the FBI (Fathers Being Involved),
by serving as ticket takers, keeping
concessions. The men are members
a men’s advocacy group founded

by Greg White in 2011. The men
accompany the team on local and
out-of-town trips and provide public
address announcing, videotaping of
games and security for the team and
coaching staff.
“We really appreciate these individuals and hope to honor more before the season is over,” Walton said.
The Lady Panthers basketball
team traveled to Arizona and Alabama during the Christmas break
and several of the volunteers listed
above showed their support by keeping books, filming games, and being
in the Lady Panthers’ cheering section.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

sports

Page 22A

Redan boys playing well in competitive region
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The 2014-2015 basketball
season was a season of trials
and tribulations for the Redan Raiders.
The team’s coach, Dannie Love, passed away three
days before the first regular
season game. Shortly afterwards, Greg Wood, former
Redan Middle School boys’
coach, was named the new
coach and the players had to
learn a new system.
The team finished 10-16
that season, and seventh in
the Region 6-AAAA standings.
This season the Raiders have already reached 10
wins (10-5) through Jan. 11
and sits fourth in the region
standings. Wood said he
grades his team at a B minus
so far.
“I have high expectations
for the team,” Wood said. “I
want us to shoot for an A,
but considering the trials
and tribulations we’ve been
going through as a program
I think we’ve been sufficient
for what we’ve accomplished
so far.”
According to county
stats, Redan averages 51.8
points per game, and allows
46.1 points per games. Wood
said the team has been playing well on the defensive side
of the ball.
“Even when I took over
last year [the players] were
able to score, but we were
also giving up more points
than we were scoring,” he
said. “This year we’ve been
able to contain a lot of
teams and kind of stopped
them from scoring so much
against us.”
The Raiders have two
players—senior Darryl
Moody and junior Tyonn
Stuckey—who are among
the top 10 scorers in the
county. Moody is fifth in the
county in points per game
with 14.6, and Stuckey is
right behind him with 13.9
points.
Stuckey is also third in
the county in steals (3.1 per
game) and fourth in assists
(5.2). As leaders, Wood said,
Moody and Stuckey have

before the season last year,
Wood said it was a smooth
transition.
“I think that was due to
the fact that I’ve been a part
of the community for a long
time,” he said. “It wasn’t like
it was a new face coming in
trying to tell guys what to do.
A lot of the kids, not just on
the team but in the school,
came from Redan Middle
School—where I teach. Last
year, we had our ups and
downs, and this year they
have bought in more to the
system that we’ve been trying
to teach them.”
Wood said he was surprised with how quickly the
team adjusted to his system.
“Most times it takes a
year for [players] to get affiliated with [a new coach],
and another year before they
actually implement the system,” he said.
Stuckey said it was “the
hunger and the desire to
win” that helped the transition from Love to Wood.
With the regular season
coming to an end soon, the
Raiders are trying to keep
up with the top teams in the
region—Grady, Lithonia and
St. Pius.
“We have to keep finding
ways to motivate the kids,”
Wood said. “Based off of
the experiences they’ve had
in the past—trying to teach
them how to win is very important, finding ways to keep
them motivated, and keep
them going—not just on the
court but in the classroom.
We’re in a very tough region.
Three of the top teams in
our region are in the top 5 in
[Class AAAA]. They do get
up for those types of teams,
so that’s not hard for them
to do.
“We have to find ways
Redan guard Chae McLaurin scores a basket over Arabia Mountain’s Jamal Middleton in the DeKalb County Pre- to beat those top teams in
Holiday Tournament championship game. Photo by Mark Brock
our region,” Wood added.
“I would like to see us stay
be successful because they’re aggressive, stay confident of
They’re our two most influplayed a major role in the
not really hungry. We really
ential players on the team.”
team’s success.
what they’re doing out there
Moody and Stuckey said want it.”
“Moody is more of a quiand have fun. Winning is all
“We came out hungry
the team went into this seaet leader,” Wood said. “Tyabout having fun but you
because last year everything
onn is more of a vocal leader son with a different mindset
can’t have fun if you’re not
went bad for us and this year winning, [and] you can’t win
and he’s also one of our team and attitude.
we came out hungry,” Moody if you’re not having fun.”
“We really wanted it,”
captains. He talks to the
said.
Stuckey said. “Anybody can
players outside the gym, on
Although the team had
the floor, after games, before come out and play basketball,
a new coach in place right
but everyone is not going to
games, during timeouts.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

FOOTBALL

sports

Page 23A

Team Courage defeated Team Valor 24-13 in the 2016 DeKalb County Coaches Senior All-Star Classic at Hallford Stadium Jan. 9. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Rigby, Cramer lead Team Courage to win in all-star game
by Mark Brock
Tucker quarterback Garrett
Rigby and Redan receiver Tirice
Cramer combined for three touchdowns to lead Team Courage to a
24-13 victory over Team Valor in the
2016 DeKalb County Coaches Senior
All-Star Classic at Hallford Stadium
on Jan. 9.
Rigby put Courage ahead 6-0
with a 1-yard run for the touchdown
with 7:08 to play in the first quarter.
A 50-yard pass completion from
Rigby to Lakeside tight end Daniel

Gordon set up Rigby’s score.
Valor answered following the
kickoff driving down on the legs of
Martin Luther King Jr. running back
Equavius Huff, who finished off
the drive with a 3-yard run for the
touchdown. Miller Grove’s Okevius
Hawkins tacked on the point after
try for a 7-6 Valor advantage with
1:34 left in the first quarter.
Cedar Grove’s Sedric Jefferson
sent Courage into halftime with a
12-7 lead as he returned an interception 62 yards for a score with 3:20
left in the first half.

The score was still 12-7 when
Rigby dropped back and found Cramer on a 52-yard touchdown pass
play for an 18-7 Courage lead with
3:37 to play in the third quarter.
Huff, who rushed for more
than100 yards in the game, scored
his second touchdown of the game
less than a minute later as he helped
Valor answer Team Courage’s score
on the ensuing drive. The 18-yard
run for the touchdown pulled Valor
within 18-13 of Courage as the point
after was no good.
The two teams battled on defense

the rest of the way as neither side
could get into the end zone as time
ticked down in the fourth quarter.
Valor had one last shot at winning the game, but was facing 89
yards of real estate with about 20 seconds to play in the game. As the pass
play was begun, Cramer flew in and
took the football off the quarterback’s
hand as he was set up to pass.
Cramer went untouched 11
yards into the end zone for the game
clinching touchdown as time ran out.

The Champion FREEPRESS, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016

local

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
Means Giving Something Greater Than Yourself
It’s respect for others. It’s compassion for their needs. But more importantly, it’s giving hope. Whether donating to
a food drive or volunteering your time to help fight hunger, giving back can leave a lasting impression. And just like
the many selfless men and women who strive to make a difference in their neighborhoods, Publix also believes
in supporting the communities in which we serve. So this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, why not make it a day of
service? One day can change a person’s entire life. We all have something to give. How will you make a difference?

Publix celebrates the spirit of giving back on this MLK Day.

To find out how YOU can give back
please visit Publix.com/giveback

Page 24A