FRiDaY, MaRcH 25, 2016 • Vol. 18, no. 50 • FREE



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

Business ................................. 17A
Classified ..............................20A
Opinion ...................................... 7A
Sports ............................... 21-23A








County breaks ground
on new animal shelter
by Andrew Cauthen

DeKalb County officials broke ground on the county’s new $8.6
million animal shelter in Chamblee.


nimal rights advocates got a victory March 16 when
DeKalb officials broke
ground March 16 on a
33,440-square-foot facility
animal shelter.
For a decade, advocates
have been pushing a new
shelter and county officials
have started the process of
constructing a $8.6 million
animal shelter in Chamblee.
“It’s the culmination of
about 10 years of efforts by
grassroots organizations to
get a shelter [built],” said


Greg Myrberg, wearing
a signature red shirt animal advocates in DeKalb
County have worn to show
solidarity. “Given the track
record, it’s a win for the
county. It’s a good thing to
have happen. We haven’t
treated our animals very

Interim DeKalb County
CEO Lee May thanked
the “red shirters” who frequented Board of Commissioner meetings to push
for improved conditions for
animals in DeKalb.
“The old facility was old,
smelly [and] leaked water,”
May said. “We know that
that old facility was poorly
designed, it was too small
and it was old and outdated. The citizen committee
pointed that out day after
day after day.”
The new facility will have
15 adoption rooms—12
for dogs and three for
cats. It also will have a
1,300-square-foot clinic

See Shelter on Page 5A

Several dogs were on hand for the groundbreaking of the county’s
new shelter. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Committee mulling how to
use proposed tax revenue
by Andrew Cauthen
A proposed tax could generate
hundreds of millions of dollars for county
projects and a committee is considering
how to spend those funds.
The proposed tax is a special purpose
local option sales tax (SPLOST) that
would be used to fund capital projects.
Voters will decide in November
whether they want the proposed 1
percent SPLOST that county officials
say would generate more than $540
million over 5 years countywide. Those
funds would be divided between DeKalb
County and its cities according to

In his recent state of the county
address, interim DeKalb County CEO
Lee May said the SPLOST is needed
because of the county’s needs for road
paving and other capital projects such as
police precincts and fire stations.
The SPLOST “will allow us to address
that entire backlog,” May said. “I really
believe that it’s going to us build a strong
In fact the SPLOST is so important,
May said it would be a major focus of the
remainder of his term in office.
“We’ve really come to the point now
that if we don’t address our infrastructure
needs now, we’re going to have a
crumbling DeKalb County,” May said.
“We’ve got to deal with it now. We’ve got

See Committee on Page 5A



For an interactive map of proposed SPLOST projects in DeKalb
County, go to and click on
the “Map of Proposed Projects” link.




The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 2A

Walking and cruising the Rail Arts District
by R. Scott Belzer
For most of the day
on March 19, an area
in Avondale Estates
and surrounding cities
transformed into a haven
for craftsmen, dancers
and creative thinkers to
demonstrate their art.
The Rail Arts District,
which spans from College
Avenue in Decatur to
Patterson Avenue in
Clarkston, hosted its ninth
Annual Studio Cruise. The
event saw such places
as Little Tree Art Studios,
Mudfire Clayworks, Atlanta
Hot Glass and others
open their doors to the
public. Free trolleys ran the
expanse of participating
businesses–including five
studios and one brewery–to
ensure attendees could
enjoy the event in its entirety.
It was not unusual to
walk into an open studio,
grab a glass of wine or
bottle of water, and chat

with a local painter, sketch
artist, photographer or craft
Mudfire Clayworks,
attendees sat down with
Graham as he explained
how to create a pot on a
wheel. In another stduio, half
a dozen art enthusiasts sat
attentively while Karen Ku
explained how to compose
a portrait. Somewhere in the
background, a dance studio
instructor could be heard
explaining the basics of tap.
Employees at Mudfire
Clayworks–located off
the Stone Mountain Trail
on Pine Street–used the
event to explain how their
studio works and possibly
welcome their guest as new
members. The space, made
up of multiple rooms in a
former Avondale Estates
church, also offered unique
tea sets, vases, flasks
and more for sale to those
willing to support their local
arts community. More than
anything, however, Mudfire
sought to explain their

PFT8543_Mrr_ReunionExpo_TheChampion_10.25x7.125_crv.indd 1

Graham demonstrates how to create a clay pot on a wheel. Photo by Travis Hudgons

“gym-like membership” to
newcomers and aspiring
“People are here to
check out what’s going on

in the community, but from
an arts aspect,” said Steve
Clark, a part-time employee
at Mudfire Clayworks.
“It’s showing people that

you don’t have to be
Michelangelo or break the
bank to be an artist.”

See Arts on Page 14A

3/14/16 3:13 PM


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 3A

aVondale estates
State of the city address scheduled

Avondale Estate Mayor Jonathan Elmore will give the state of the
city address March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza.
For more information, call (404) 294-5400.

City to host antique car parade
The annual Avondale Estates Antique Car Parade will be held March
27. Line-up begins at 1:30 p.m. at Twin Oaks Shopping Plaza. The parade
begins at 2:30 p.m. on South Avondale Road and ends at Willis Park,
where the cars stop for a temporary display and refreshments are served.
Those who would like to enter an automobile in the parade should contact
Lamar Hart at (770) 496-9928 or

City to host Easter egg hunt

Brookhaven Parks and Recreation will host the annual Easter
egg hunt at Blackburn Park on March 26, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. A light
breakfast will be served at 9:30, and the egg hunt will begin at 10. Age
groups will be divided into 3 and younger, 4-6, and 7 and older. For more
information, call (404) 637-0512.


Teens learn to drive with PRIDE
Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error (PRIDE) will be hosting
a free two-hour driving course aimed at new drivers on March 30 from 6
to 8 p.m. Working in conjunction with the Chamblee Police Department,
the program seeks to eliminate bad driving habits before they become a
dangerous problem.
Statistics, facts, crash dynamics and stories aimed at teens have
helped PRIDE achieve its goal of making roads safer in the metro
Atlanta area. Parents will receive information on training their teens to
drive as well as a take-home practice guide. Teens can expect to have a
roundtable discussion involving risky behaviors.
Though the program is meant for Chamblee residents, all metro
Atlanta teens and parents are invited to attend. Other classes will
take place April 20, May 25, Aug. 31, Sept. 28 and Oct. 26. For more
information, email Nick Nixon or visit

County commissioner urges residents to support
DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester is asking residents to
support the fire stations in District 1.
Jester is “asking community residents and businesses to show
our appreciation for these hard working heroes by helping to stock the
pantry at our stations,” states an announcement about the events.
Staple food items such as sugar, salad dressing, seasonings, cereal,
snacks, coffee, tea, sodas, and sports drinks will be collected for Fire
Station 15, 2107 Flightway Drive, Chamblee, on Saturday, March 26,
from 9 to 11 a.m.
Children are invited to come see the trucks and equipment.

screens and trains community volunteers who are appointed by a
juvenile court judge to advocate for the best interests of an abused or
neglected child placed in foster care. DeKalb County CASA volunteers
work with the DeKalb County Juvenile Court and Division of Family
and Children Services to ensure that all the necessary information is
collected and presented to the court allowing the judge to make the best
decision possible regarding placement of the child.
The DeKalb County CASA Program is designed to give abused and
neglected children in foster care a voice.
For more information regarding this event or to RSVP, call (404)
378-0038 or email or dekalbcasa@

Community Service Board to meet
The DeKalb Community Service Board will meet March 24 at 4 p.m.
at 445 Winn Way, Room 421, Decatur.
The meeting is open to the public for those who are interested in
services for mental health, addiction and developmental disabilities.
The Advocacy Committee meeting will be held in the same room at 3
p.m. and also is open to the public.
Those with disabilities in need of assistance or accommodations to
participate in the meeting should notify Community Relations at (404)

Annual Touch-a-Truck event scheduled
Residents are invited to join Decatur
Active Living on Saturday, March 26, from
10 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the annual Toucha-Truck Event.
This community event gives children
an opportunity to touch, explore and
see their favorite trucks or equipment on
wheels. The city of Decatur and DeKalb
County dump trucks, fire trucks, tractors,
police cars and motorcycles and many
other types of vehicles will be on display.
The event will take place in the
Callaway Building parking lot located at
120 West Trinity Place, Decatur. In case
of inclement weather, the event will be
rescheduled for Saturday, April 25.
For more information, contact Cheryl
Burnette at (678) 553-6541 or cheryl.

File photo/Travis Hudgons


Officials discuss renovating local theater
Local officials discussed partnering with community advocates to
save a theater during a regularly scheduled city council meeting.
On March 14, the Dunwoody City council discussed providing
partnership to The Brook Run Conservancy in renovating Brook Run
Theatre. A feasibility study was observed and discussed, revealing a
potential $357,200 demolition cost.
The costs come from a $200,000 demolition cost, a $32,300
asbestos estimate, as well as a potential $125,000 in further asbestos
removal. The study was conducted by Complete Demolition Services,
Brook Run Park is located at 4770 N. Peachtree Road in Dunwoody.



The public is invited to attend a volunteer information meeting
hosted by DeKalb County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
on Thursday, April 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Gregory A. Adams
Juvenile Justice Center, 4309 Memorial Drive, Decatur.
This session will provide an overview of the program for those
interested in becoming a CASA volunteer. The next five-week training
session will be held on Thursdays, from 4 to 7 p.m. from May 5 through
June 9. No session will be held on May 26.
DeKalb County CASA is a nonprofit organization that recruits,

Ousley United Methodist church invites family, friends and the
community to the church’s annual Easter celebration. Festivities and
worship experiences include: Maundy Thursday Experience, March
24 7 p.m.; Good Friday Worship, March 25 at 7 p.m.; Easter Sunrise
Worship, March 27, 6 a.m.; Easter breakfast fellowship, March 27, 7
a.m.; Children and Youth Easter Extravaganza, March 27 at 8 a.m.;
Easter finale worship, March 27 at 10 a.m.
Ousley United Methodist Church is located at 3261 Panola Road in
Lithonia. For additional information, call (770) 981-0180.

DeKalb County CASA to hold informational meeting

Easter festivities announced


Theo anderson

Theo Anderson said he loves
DeKalb County.
The Ellenwood resident grew up
in Decatur in a low-to-middle class
neighborhood behind South DeKalb
Mall. With the help of others and
his focus on academics, Anderson,
now 42 years old, grew into a
success story and returns to his old
community to be an inspiration to
“I have an opportunity to
give back to an area that gave
so much to me,” he said. Having
the opportunity to see young kids
that look just like me, [who] came
from the same areas that I came
from and seeing them go on to
become doctors, lawyers, teachers,

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 4A

successful legislators is very
important. The opportunity to give
back to the community, specifically
in the south DeKalb area, is very
dear to my heart.”
Anderson is a graduate of St.
Pius X Catholic High School and
Mercer University in Macon. He is
currently the president of Herzing
University in Atlanta.
Anderson is a member of the
100 Black Men of America-DeKalb
Chapter and Leadership DeKalb.
He is also a member of the board of
directors of Foreverfamily Inc. and
Positive Growth Inc.
He also visits various schools in
DeKalb to speak to students.
“My message to them is

utilizing education as a vehicle
to get to where you want to go
in life,” he said. “I hope to be a
role model for someone coming
from similar neighborhoods
[who could] go on and do great
things. I want to show them that
there are other opportunities out
of your circumstances beyond
just becoming an athlete or an
Anderson is also a volunteer
coach in youth sports in DeKalb
and he volunteers at his church—
Greater Travelers Rest Baptist in
“There are a variety of different
things that I do to serve and give as
much as I can,” he said.

Theo Anderson

Dunwoody residents voice concerns, approval
by R. Scott Belzer


ore than 400 Dunwoody
residents’ opinions
regarding traffic, location
and overall quality of life
were offered publicly on March 14
through a community survey.
The city of Dunwoody released
the results of the 2015 Community
Survey, which reflects how
residents feel about raising children,
access to goods and services,
opportunities for the young and old,
road repairs, education, strengths
and weaknesses within the city’s
From August to December
in 2015, 5,000 residents had the
opportunity to answer questions
about Dunwoody online. A total
of 420 residents completed
the online survey (8.4 percent)
and demonstrated a 95 percent
confidence level. The results were
compared to an identical webbased survey conducted in 2013.
“Our goal is to listen to our
residents and try to respond to
their needs,” said Dunwoody Mayor
Denis Shortal in a news release
about the survey. “By conducting
this survey, the city not only collects
important data and feedback but
also leverages the input received
in order to help address priorities,
pinpoint issues, and improve upon
what we are providing.”
The majority of respondents
were either short-timers in
Dunwoody (two to three year
residency at 24.3 percent) or
longtime residents (21 years or
longer at 22.9 percent). The survey
also showed most responses
came from 18- to 34-year-olds (32
percent) and who were White (69.7
For the most part, responding

‘Our goal is to listen to
our residents and try to
respond to their needs.’
– Denis Shortal, Dunwoody mayor
residents seem to enjoy life in
Dunwoody. On a 1 to 5 scale,
residents did not answer below
a 3.5 on such issues as raising
children, feeling of safety, place to
work, future prospects and even a
place to retire.
The survey summary also
boasts “high levels of satisfaction”
with city services, including the

city police department (4.29),
Dunwoody Parks Department (3.81)
as well as Dunwoody Municipal
Court (3.72). Every measure of the
Dunwoody police, ranging from
overall performance to use of social
media, scored above a 4.0.
Across the board, however,
residents’ primary concerns
revolved around traffic growth and

education. When asked what was
the biggest issue facing Dunwoody
currently, 43 percent answered
traffic. This was up from 19 percent
in 2013. The next two answers
– growth and DeKalb County
education – both came in at more
than 10 percent.
Concerns involving education
seem to stem mostly from a public
request for a Dunwoody city school
system. Currently, five elementary
schools, one middle school and
one high school are located in
Dunwoody under DeKalb County
Schools. Mayor Shortal touched on
the subject at the 2016 Dunwoody
State of the City.
“We need to take control of
our schools,” Shortal said on Feb.
25. “We must continue to improve
our schools to enhance the public
education of our students. To me,
the best way to do that is to take
control of our local schools.”
Dunwoody residents said the
top three strengths of the city were
its overall location (86 percent),
community safety (67 percent), and
overall lifestyle (26 percent). The
lowest ranked answers concerned
traffic, transportation and elected
Approximately 64 percent of
Dunwoody residents said they used
the city’s available walking and
nature trails (up from 58 percent in
2013), but 11, 8 and 7 percent said
they still used the city’s available
tennis courts, skate park and
baseball fields, respectively.
When it came to arts, culture
and creative outlets, 47 percent of
responding residents said it was
important to have such amenities
in Dunwoody. This figure coincided
with 55 percent of residents
attending the Dunwoody Arts
Festival in 2015.

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016


Some animals were on hand for the celebration of the animal shelter’s groundbreaking.
Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Page 5A

The new animal shelter will be located off Chamblee Dunwoody Road near Peachtree DeKalb

Shelter Continued From Page 1A
which will provide spay and neuter services,
as well as a surgery preparation room, surgery room, lab area, secure pharmacy storage, and holding areas for dogs and cats
slated for surgery.
The facility is approximately 50 percent
larger than the old facility, May said.
Additionally, the new facility will have a
dog grooming area, exercise yard, exercise
fields, adoption halls, separate lobbies for
adoption, reclaim and intake holding and
exam areas as well as a multipurpose room.
“It will be designed in a way that adequately houses the needs of those animals
that will be coming through that facility,” May
said. “It will be an open and inviting place for
people and pets and it will be a place where
you will want to come to expand your family
by adopting a pet.
“We’re excited about that and the county
has budgeted millions of dollars for this effort,” May said. “We can debate back and

forth about the amount of money here but
we know that at minimum the county would
have expended no less than $10 million for
the acquisition of a property, the design as
well as the construction of this facility.
“It’s not perfect but it’s night and day in
terms of where we’ve been in the past,” May
Susan Neugent, who chaired the animal
task force which studied the existing shelter
and the plight of animals there, said the “existing shelter was characterized very harshly
in our task force report.”
Neugent said the new shelter will be
clean, well ventilated, and a place “that will
welcome the community in, instead of being
a place people want to avoid. It was a death
chamber before.
“I think the biggest thing that’s happened…is there has been a dramatic
change in philosophy associated with animal welfare in DeKalb County,” Neugent

said. “We’ve gone, in my view, from last to
just about first. And that’s not just first in the
state. It’s bordering on first in the nation in
terms of the philosophical change from using
euthanasia as the principal method of population control of homeless and unwanted
Commissioner Kathie Gannon said,
“This has been a long time coming. We’re
very, very excited.”
Speaking to animal advocates, Commissioner Jeff Rader said, “You are the ones
that were able to show us that truly the measure of a community is its ability to care for
the people and the creatures who cannot
defend themselves.”
“This truly is a facility that we all will run
around and brag about,” added Chamblee
Mayor Eric Clarkson.
The construction is expected to be completed by March 2017.

Committee Continued From Page 1A
to take care of home first.”
If approved, county officials
project that SPLOST, along
with an equalized homestead
option sales tax, would generate
approximately $551.8 million for
capital projects in its first five
years. Of that amount, DeKalb’s
cities would share $173.6
million, while approximately
$376.7 million would go to
unincorporated areas of the
The county’s anticipated
SPLOST is more than $300
million short of the county’s
“unrestrained project list,”
or wish list, compiled by the
county’s department heads who
have $683.5 million on their
various lists.
Citizen Advisory Committee,
with members appointed by

commissioners and the interim
county CEO, has been tasked to
narrow that list to “list of projects
that we all endorse,” said Zach
Williams, the county’s chief
operating officer.
Robert Miller, a member of
the DeKalb SPLOST Citizen
Advisory Committee, recently
pointed out that there will not be
enough funding for roads, much
less other projects.
“We’re working off of the
premise that we’re going to have
money to actually do projects,”
Miller said during a March 16
committee meeting. “From what
I can tell, the practical reality is
that we have none.”
“After Tucker is incorporated
the county is going to have
about 1,800 miles of streets,”
Miller said. “The streets have
an average life of about 15-18

years, which means we need
to be milling and repaving
about 100 to 120 miles a year.
Currently we’re about 400 miles
behind and that’s because it
hasn’t been done.”
Miller quoted a $440,000 a
mile cost to repave roads.
“That means we need to be
budgeting $44 million to $52
million a year just in roads just
to keep the roads up,” he said,
adding that there is a $175
million in backlog of roads.
“The trouble that I’m having
with this whole process is that all
the department heads can come
up and throw out fun dream
projects but we’re not even doing
the basics of the requirements of
the county government,” Miller
said. “To me the roads would be
a fundamental job of the county

SPLOST Citizen Advisory
Committee member Alice
Bussey had another complaint
about the process of choosing
“We seem to be focused
on upgrading [and] fixing up
facilities that have been there
25 or more years without
consideration of the underserved
areas that have nothing,” Bussey
said. “There is a need because
areas have been neglected.
They haven’t had anything for 25
The next meeting of the
SPLOST Citizen Advisory
Committee is March 30, from 6
to 8 p.m., at 1300 Commerce
Dr., Decatur.
The recommended project list
is scheduled to be presented to
the Board of Commissioners on
May 17.

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016


Page 6A

Up a STREAM without a paddle
For years now, STEM
(science, technology,
engineering and
mathematics) has been
a popular acronym in
academic circles to show
the focus on these specific
It began because of the
seeming lack of qualified
and educated candidates
for high-tech jobs.
Additionally, proponents of
STEM curriculum say these
subjects previously were
taught in isolation.
“Today, few American
students pursue expertise
in STEM fields—and
we have an inadequate
pipeline of teachers skilled
in those subjects. That’s
why President Obama has
set a priority of increasing
the number of students and
teachers who are proficient

Andrew Cauthen

Managing Editor


in these vital fields,”
according to a statement
on the website of the U.S.
Department of Education.
It wasn’t long before
supporters of the arts felt
left out and wanted to
change STEM to STEAM to
include a focus on the arts.
“The STEM subjects...

are no longer adequate
to describe the needs
of our society,” wrote
Sarah Pease, a student
designer, maker and
researcher at the Rhode
Island School of Design,
in the spring 2013 issue of
Arcade design magazine.
“Our contemporary world
craves empathy and
understanding in the
face of an intensified
onset of technological
advances and a decline
in direct interpersonal
communication. Art and
design can offer just that.”
Science, technology,
engineering, arts and
mathematics. What’s left?
How about reading and
That’s right, now there
is STREAM, in which the
“r” could refer to reading

or religion, depending on
which camp you’re in.
Those who see the
need to add “reading” to
STEAM say “we have lost
sight of one very important
aspect of our education
and all jobs, be they hightech, low-tech, or no-tech,”
wrote Rob Furman, an
elementary principal and
author, in Huffington Post.
“What about the importance
of reading? Without the
ability to read and write,
there is not a job to be
found for which STEM or
STEAM education is going
to be enough preparation.”
For those in the
religious boat, education
is “done in a safe and
values-based system,”
said Heather Gossart,
director of special projects,
including the STREAM

initiative, for the National
Catholic Education
Association. “STEM
evolved into STEAM, and
we thought, this is actually
wonderful. But in our
Catholic schools, faith is
always the foundation of
everything we do.”
So now, it’s science,
technology, reading or
religion, engineering, arts
and mathematics.
But what about sports?
Can we throw another
“S” in the mix and call it
STREAMS? And history
really needs to be there,
too? HAMSTERS, anyone?
In other words, it’s
beginning to sound like a
well-rounded educational
program. And perhaps we
should just call it SCHOOL.

Teacher seeks help with nonprofit
Dear entrepreneurs, CEOs, presidents
of businesses, and citizens of south DeKalb
As a retired teacher/educator, I am poised
to implement the first “Saturday School For
Literacy Advancement” in south DeKalb
County. Together with other educators, I plan
to lead elementary and middle school at-risk
students into the future, arming them with
the tools they need to achieve successfully. I
will use my talent and expertise in education,
to create innovative ways to teach the atrisk students to master the skills in reading
and math. This innovative reading and math
program will involve students in the first
through ninth grades, living in low and mid
income communities in south DeKalb.
As an award-winning teacher, I pledge

to open the doors of opportunity to humble,
talented children, who are just waiting to be
given that one big chance at education and
As an educator, I have learned that
in order to accomplish good, one has to
depend on others. “It takes a village.” I have
come to realize that leaders of companies
have great expertise in promoting and
growing nonprofit organizations. With this
knowledge, I would love to invite you to
come on board with me, as I carefully pave
a positive pathway of learning, for the most
important assets of our society, our children.
I am willing to accept any help you may
have to offer. I have many ideas which I
would love to share with you, and hope that
together we will be able to arrive at one big

winning idea.
At this time, I am looking for space to
house and implement this well needed
program. I am also asking people to join me
on a committee of 10. There is a need for
fundraising help, grant proposal writers, and
I humbly ask, will you please help me
to help the little children, take their rightful
places in society? I am willing to make the
sacrifice, so will you join me?
Thank you for all the effort you may put
forth to make this very important program a
Yours respectfully,
Dr. Pauline Wright
(770) 498-0108

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016


Page 7A

One Man’s Opinion

Actor/author Henry Winkler, Olivia Krista and author Lin Oliver

Happy nights with the Fonz

“...And my mother, the
dear woman, had a very
special name for me...her
only son. I couldn’t read,
though we didn’t know why
at the time, most of my
teachers and both of my
parents simply thought I
was slow, or worse, stupid. 
My mother’s pet name for
me, until well after my high
school graduation was,
translated from German...
Dumb Dog,” actor/author
Henry Winkler, sharing his
own story and part of what
inspired him to co-author a
series of best-selling children’s books.
During my own high
school days, many a weeknight in those mid-to-late
‘70s was spent peering
back and laughing at what
seemed to be the simpler
times of the 1950s via a
long-running ABC sitcom,
Happy Days. Originally conceived as a vehicle for former child actor Ron Howard to return audiences to
the simpler Eisenhower era
of the 1950s, the program
became a breakout vehicle
for an actor originally hired
for a six-line cameo in the
Arthur Fonzarelli, aka
the Fonz, will forever be associated with the actor who


Bill Crane

portrayed him for more than
a decade, Henry Winkler.
Winkler, now 71, remains
a regular character on the
Adult Swim late-night program, Childrens Hospital,
on the Cartoon Network, but
for millions of Americans, he
will forever be the Fonz. But
it wasn’t always just TV’s
golden era. The show’s
writers began to run out of
scrapes and ideas for the
Fonz to save Richie Cunningham and his crew, so in
a season 5 cliffhanger, they
had the Fonz on water-skis,
sans leather jacket, jumping
a shark. Yes, that is where
that phrase came from. 
There is something
about nostalgia and yearning for simpler times which
often seems particularly

attractive to the youth who
never actually experienced
those good ol’ days. During
the late ‘90s and early part
of the last decade it was
That 70s Show which arguably gave America Ashton
Kushter, Mila Kunis and
Topher Grace.  It will be
interesting to see what my
children and grandchildren
later find to be funny or cool
in the That Millenium Show,
yet to be produced or aired.
Beginning in 2003,
Winkler started a lasting
collaboration with established children’s author, Lin
Oliver, about a 4th grade
boy, Hank Zipzer, who is
dyslexic. The humorous
stories mirror Winkler’s
own life and childhood as
he struggled with the learning disability, while viewed
through a positive prism and
fictional-version of himself,
who never gave up. Zipzer
is the self-labeled, World’s
Greatest Under-Achiever. 
As the Hank Zipzer
series grew in popularity,
readers asked for more of
Hank’s younger days, which
brought on Here’s Henry,
and a series of now seven
prequel stories of a younger
Hank Zipzer. The two series
have combined sales approaching four-million, and


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regularly land atop The New
York Times best-sellers list.
During a recent appearance and book-signing at
the Decatur/DeKalb Public
Library, Winkler often spoke
directly to the children in the
audience, leaving the stage
and frequently bending to
meet them at eye level,
smiling and saying that “If
you work hard, follow your
dreams and keep trying...
you will be something special.” 
He poignantly shared
a photograph of himself,
his wife and parents at the
Smithsonian Museum in
1980 as he donated his
famous leather jacket.  His
parents beamed behind
him. And, Winkler had a
softer message for parents
in the audience...
“That’s my parents behind me, smiling at the
Smithsonian.  But I didn’t
need them there then when
I had ‘made it.’... I needed
them when I was struggling,
when I was the only one
who believed in me, when
I was their “dumb dog” son
who could never quite graduate from high school...”
(Winkler’s learning disabilities kept him in school an
extra summer semester).
My own daughter, Olivia,

John Hewitt

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R. Scott Belzer

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was near the front of the
book-signing line. She is in
first grade, and also learning to read. She clutched
her book with a smile and
watched patiently as the
Fonz wrote her a short and
sweet note. Winkler waived
her inside and behind the
u-shaped table enclosure,
intended to separate authors from fans. Winkler
and Oliver each gave Olivia
long and genuine hugs and
whispered words of encouragement into her ears...the
smile and photo which followed were beaming. The
Fonz always had a way with
the ladies. It may no longer
be 1976, with Happy Days
topping the ratings charts
for ABC...but for our world
and little family, it was certainly one happy night with
the Fonz. Wo!!!
 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@ 

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


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 8A

Lawyer trades state house for courthouse
by Andrew Cauthen
DeKalb County State
Court Judge Mike Jacobs
said it was a successful
2015 state legislative
session that led to his
decision to become a judge.
“I don’t think I could
have topped the 2015
legislative session in terms
of what we accomplished,”
Jacobs said. “It would have
been a tough act to follow
and certainly [was] a good
time to move on from the
General Assembly.
Jacobs received his
bachelor’s degree from
Georgetown University
in Washington, D.C., and
in 2003 received his law
degree from the University
of Georgia School of Law.
After graduating from
law school, Jacobs was an
associate at Alston & Bird,
where he worked in the
bankruptcy practice group.
Next he moved to Krevolin
& Horst to work in business
litigation. Moving to Hall,
Booth, Smith & Slover,
he worked in insurance

defense before starting a
solo practice focusing on
consumer bankruptcy and
representing defendant
“Not long after I
graduated from law school
and moved to DeKalb
County from Athens, when
the federal courts redrew
the state House and Senate
lines for the 2004 election,
I found myself in an open
state house seat,” Jacobs
said. “So with my wife’s
patience and indulgence, I
qualified to run, walked the
entire district twice and was
Serving in the legislature
for a decade, Jacobs said
he “developed a reputation
for listening to everyone,
being fair, and working well
with my colleagues even
when we did not agree.”
During the 2015
legislative session, which
he described as “the most
productive legislative
session” he worked in,
Jacobs was the primary
sponsor of HB 213, which
permanently repealed the
“50-50” spending restriction

State Court Judge Mike Jacobs spent a decade as a state representative before becoming a judge in
DeKalb County last year. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

that constrained MARTA’s
financial flexibility;
He sponsored HB 215,
which set up a SPLOST
referendum to address
DeKalb’s infrastructure

Additionally Jacobs
was “heavily involved”
with Reps. Mary
Margaret Oliver and Pam
Stephenson in HB 300,
creating the DeKalb State
Court Traffic Division and

eliminating the troubled
Recorders Court. He also
cosponsored HB 597, which
reformed the DeKalb Board
of Ethics and was involved

See Jacobs on Page 11A

State House passes Stonecrest city bill
by Carla Parker
The proposed city of Stonecrest could
be on the May ballot after the bill passed
the Georgia House.
Senate Bill 208 passed the house
March 16 with a 144-17 vote. The bill
passed the senate last year. Jason Lary,
president of the Stonecrest City Alliance,
said it has been a long three years to get
to this point of becoming a city.
“I’m real excited about it,” he said
If Gov. Nathan Deal quickly signs
the bill, the referendum would be on the
May 24 ballot for voters residing in the
proposed city.
Stonecrest would incorporate
29-square mile of southeast DeKalb
County and have a population of more
than 50,000 residents—95.4 percent Black
and 4 percent White.
According to the proposed city’s
feasibility study, the city’s southern
boundary begins on the east side of
Snapfinger Road where it meets the
boundaries of DeKalb, Rockdale, and
Henry Counties. The southern boundary
continues east, tracking the Rockdale
border and stops at I-20. The area
includes property between I-20 and
Covington Highway to the west of Lithonia
and other areas north of Lithonia.
Stonecrest would have annual

From left, Jason Lary president of the Stonecrest
City Alliance receives congratulations from Gov.
Nathan Deal upon raising enough money for a
cityhood study. File photo

expenses of $7.91 million and revenues
of $9.85 million, leaving a surplus of
$1.94 million, according to the study. The
services the city would provide are code
enforcement, planning and zoning, and
parks and recreation.
Lary said he believes the proposed city
will be approved by voters.
“I can only go by our neighborhood
presentations and our public forum events,
and we’re at a 90 percent approval
rating,” Lary said. “We’ll continue to do our
neighborhood seminars, going around to
each home owners association.”

Stonecrest would incorporate 29 square miles of southeast DeKalb
County and have a population of more than 50,000 residents.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 9A

The property known as The Assembly is located at 3900 Motors Industrial Way in Doraville. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Doraville mayor explains TAD conversation
by R. Scott Belzer


ne northern DeKalb
County official has
weighed in on a hot topic
concerning real-estate,
public funds, and an abandoned
GM assembly plant.
On March 10, Doraville
Mayor Donna Pittman released
a statement to The Champion
concerning tax allocation districts
(TADs). Specifically, Pittman
referenced Doraville’s proposal
to become a TAD in order to fund
the redevelopment of the former
General Motors assembly plant
known as “The Assembly”.
In December 2015, DeKalb
County voted 7-0 in favor of
supporting Doraville’s proposed
TAD, which would allocate a fixed
amount of property tax revenue
to participating governments.
Doraville, DeKalb County, and
DeKalb County School District
(DCSD) would be the participating
bodies and a fixed amount would
go toward redeveloping the
So far, the film production
company Third Rail Studios has
begun construction on 130,000
square feet of the property,
complete with a sound stage, mill
shops, related vendor spaces and
administrative offices. According
to the company’s website, the
first phase of construction will be

Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman

complete by summer 2016.
Nalley Nissan has also begun
construction – complete with a
structure in place – on the most
northern corner of the property.
Approximately $180 million
in infrastructure costs is needed
to make The Assembly ready for
mixed-use retail, housing and
office space, according to Pittman.
While that number – cited by
Integral Group, who’s heading
redevelopment – seems daunting,
area development would raise
property tax revenue and pay off
the project.
An initial, third-party feasibility
study projected approximately
$800 million in tax revenue could
be earned after The Assembly is

established, Pittman said. The
same study estimated $247 million
in infrastructure bonds could be
issued for the project, provided all
three government agencies agree
to the TAD.
While Doraville received support
from DeKalb County, DCSD has
not committed to the project. In
December, DCSD superintendent
Stephen Green likened the project
to Atlanta Public Schools’ shaky
involvement with the Beltline and
stated he wanted to keep funds
within the school system.
Pittman’s aim on March 10 was
to clear up misconceptions about
the proposed TAD and explain
how DCSD would benefit from the
“When I consider the future of
our schools and think about the
tens of millions of dollars that the
school district will not get by saying
no to the TAD, it saddens me,”
Pittman states. “There are those
that would have us believe that by
participating in our TAD, the schools
will be giving up tax revenue. In
reality they will only lose revenue if
they don’t participate.”
Pittman went on to explain that
by not participating in the TAD, the
school system can expect $4 million
in personal property tax in the next
25 years, whereas participation
will allow $65 million. The project,
according to Pittman, would also
increase E-SPLOST funds from
$4.1 million to $45 million.

“Without the TAD, the
development does not happen, thus
the tax dollars never materialize,”
Pittman said. “All of these new
dollars can be used to pay teachers
and build much needed new
schools. As someone who grew
up attending DeKalb schools and
is now the parent of a student in
DeKalb schools, it concerns me
greatly that we would dismiss this
The mayor said the “uniqueness
of the site” and the “severe
challenges of access to the MARTA
station [nearby] mean that it will
not develop except on the fringes
where streets already exist.” City
manager Shawn Gillen said this
was already becoming a problem
in attracting potential businesses in
and around the site.
“We have to keep in mind the
infrastructure was designed over
70 years ago,” Pittman said. “It was
well suited for an industrial facility
but not a dense, urban development.
Opposition to TAD financing typically
stems from a misguided assumption
that the development can happen
without it.”
The Assembly is located at
3900 Motors Industrial Way in
Doraville. The plant opened in
1947 before closing its doors
in September 2008. In 2014 it
was acquired by Integral Group,
which has outlined upcoming


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 10A

Tucker holds first city council meeting
by Carla Parker

Tucker has begun
official city business after
holding its first city council
meeting March 15 at Tucker
High School.
Mayor Frank Auman
and the four elected council
members of districts 1 and
3 went over with the 30
residents in attendance
how a council meeting
operates and went through
16 agenda items, including
adopting the council
meeting decorum resolution
and reading the city’s
general ordinance.
Auman said he thought
the meeting went well.
“It was pretty dry stuff
but we spent a lot of time
preparing so that we can
get through it in good order,
and we have a lot more to
go,” he said. We have a
lot of full agendas, several
meetings [to have] but we’re
off to a good start.”
Each councilmember
addressed the crowd,
expressing gratitude for the
community’s support as the
council begins building the
foundation for the city.
“I’m very excited about
this,” Councilwoman
Michelle Penkava said.
“It was funny when I was
heading this way I was
overwhelmed a little bit
with emotions and I was
surprised by that because

Tucker’s mayor and city council held their first meeting March 15. Mayor Frank Auman, center,
explained the council meeting decorum resolution. Photo by Carla Parker

we worked really hard to
get to this point. I’m just
really grateful that we’re
here and we’re now able to
put ourselves in a position
to where we can speak for
ourselves and make sure
that Tucker is protected and
Tucker can move forward.”
“We need your
continued patience and
prayers throughout all of
this,” Councilwoman Anne
Lerner said to the audience.
“We’re in this together.
We’re not professionals so
there are going to be slip
ups and things and we’ll just
say that we’re working at this
Candidates for District
2 Post 1 and 2 also

addressed the audience.
Runoff elections for the
council seats will be held
March 29. Each candidate
thanked the council for
holding the meeting despite
not having a representative
for District 2 at the table.
“I appreciate you
all holding this council
meeting to lay some of the
framework for Tucker to
conduct business as a city,
even things as simple as an
email address or website,”
Katherine Atteberry said.
“I think it’s very important
that we get those things
out of the way. I don’t think
that anyone that I would be
representing would have
an issue with us having

a website or an email
Matt Robbins, who is
running against Atteberry
for the Post 1 seat,
acknowledged that there
has been discussion about
the “missing formality” of
District 2 representative.
“I want to make it
very clear that the four
of us who are running
for District 2 will make a
pledge and partnership
and participation with the
existing council,” Robbins
said. “The bottom line is
we’re going to serve the
whole city. Yes, we are
segmented into [three
districts] with two going to
be completed in a couple of

weeks. But the bottom line
is we want to work together
for the city and for the
needs of the city.”
Noelle Monferdini,
who is running for the Post
2 seat, suggested that the
council consider changing
the city charter to address
the issue of a district not
being represented due to a
runoff election.
“Remember that not
everyone agreed with a city
to begin with,” Monferdini
said. “We’re trying to get
them on board. We want
everyone to move forward
Auman said city
officials will be handling
mostly legal matters during
this beginning period of
establishing the city.
“But it all points towards
building the framework
so that we can provide
those three services that
we agreed to provide in
the beginning, as well as
other things like economic
development and general
things we can do as a city,”
he said. “So all of this is
aimed at getting this to the
point where we can do the
things we’re meant to do and
the more visionary things we
want to do. We hope that the
cycle continues and these
are going to be the people
that execute on those plans
when we get there. We want
to keep them engaged.”

Tucker council appoints acting city clerk, city attorney
by Carla Parker

The Tucker City Council has
appointed an acting city clerk and
acting city attorney.
The council nominated and
voted to appoint Anne Lewis
as acting city clerk and Brian
Anderson as acting city attorney
during its March 15 council
Lewis, who has been a Tucker
resident since 1992, is a partner
in the Atlanta law firm of Strickland
Brockington Lewis LLP. She
practices election-related litigation,
including redistricting, Voting Rights
Act cases, election contests and
candidate qualifying challenges.
“I do a fair amount of election
work and I’ve worked with city and
county governments,” she said.
As acting city clerk Lewis said
she will take minutes of the council

meetings and executive sessions
and do other duties a city clerk
does during meetings.
Lewis said she will stay on
as acting city clerk until the full
council comes together to vote on a
permanent city clerk.
Anderson is a partner at Woo
Jaffe & Anderson law firm. He was
the first city attorney of Dunwoody
and served for four years. Prior to
becoming Dunwoody’s city attorney,
Anderson was a technology
attorney for Morris, Manning and
Martin. He has extensive legal
experience in the areas of corporate
technology and intellectual property.
Anderson was also the general
counsel for iVivity Inc.
According to the council,
Anderson requested in his
application to be paid $11,000 per
month. With the city not having any
revenue, Auman said Anderson is
“willing to wait to be paid.”

Acting city clerk Anne Lewis and acting city attorney Brian Anderson look over
paperwork during the Tucker city council meeting. Photo by Carla Parker

“He’s not going to insist that
we pay him as we go or in the first
month,” Auman said. “We’ll just
work with him as we have funds

available and we’ll pay down those
bills. It’s just a friendly working
relationship and he’s willing to help
us during this period.”


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 11A

JaCoBS Continued From Page 8A
in legislation that changed the county
purchasing policy and set up the county’s
internal audit function.
“It was a very productive session,”
Jacobs said. “I think that session spoke
very well of what we can accomplish if
we listen to one another and work to find
common ground in DeKalb County.
“I hope that everything that we
accomplished in the 2015 session and
how we accomplished it is part of my
legacy going forward,” Jacobs said. “And
I certainly don’t take credit for all of it,
because we really did notch all of those
accomplishments as a team.”
His success during the 2015 legislative
session is one reason he decided to switch
to the courthouse.
“Legislative service is not meant to
last forever,” Jacobs said. “We’re a citizen
legislature and ultimately new people need
to come in and make their mark for the
benefit of the citizens of our county and our
In the General Assembly, Jacobs
served four years as vice chairman of the
House judiciary committee and seven
years as chairman of one of the two
subcommittees of the House judiciary
Jacobs said he “built a reputation for
listening to all sides of an issue and trying
to be fair to all of the stakeholders, which
is exactly the sort of thing that our judges
should be doing.”
It was a logical transition to the
courthouse when two seats opened up,
Jacobs said. He became a state court
judge in June 2015.
“I’m enjoying it,” Jacobs said about
being a judge. “I try to keep things lighter in
my courtroom when appropriate. Ultimately
I want all of the parties—lawyers and
litigants—to leave my courtroom feeling
that they got a fair hearing and that the
experience was as pleasant as it could be
under the circumstances.”

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As a judge, Jacobs said he is seeking
to identify resources “to address the
addiction, mental health and other similar
issues that we encounter on a regular basis
in criminal cases.”
Jacobs said there are some
“outstanding resources in place already,”
but “those resources are not adequate to
address all of the issues that find their way
into the criminal justice system.
“Ultimately, as state court judges,
we are the first line of defense in the
criminal justice system in the sense that
...defendants that appear in our courtroom,
if they’re not empowered to address
underlying issues in their lives, may find
themselves back into the criminal justice
system—next time with a felony charge,”
Jacobs said.
When he’s not at work, Jacobs often
can be found often at his children’s soccer
practices and games and swim meets.
Jacobs’ wife of 13 years, Evan, is a
speech-language pathologist at Lakeside
High School. The couple have three
children: Jonah, 9, Eli, 7, and Samantha,
“Family time is obviously the main thing
that I do outside the courthouse,” he said.
Jacobs said that one interesting aspect
of his job is that occasionally he finds
himself applying legal statutes that he
helped to write.
“It helps you recognize that the law
is like a fabric that many, many people
over many, many years had a hand in
developing and is still a work in progress,”
Jacobs said.
“It’s interesting to run into a little piece
of something in those [law] books that I
had a hand in writing, but then recognizing
that there’s so much in the law that greatly
affect the day-to-day lives of the citizens of
DeKalb County and...the state of Georgia.
“We all do our part to make things a
little better and then move on,” Jacobs said.

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State Court Judge Mike Jacobs picked up the gavel after a
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The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 12A

Cross Keys showcases college life
by R. Scott Belzer


Oakwood University enrollment specialist Vilma Ortiz Vera speaks to students about attending the
college located in Huntsville, Ala. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

igh school juniors
from DeKalb County
and surrounding
areas came together
March 15 to consider their
From 9 a.m. to noon.,
Cross Keys High School
hosted a college fair with
more than 30 universities
Students from the DeKalb
County School District as well
as Atlanta Public Schools
were bused in and out
throughout the first half of the
The colleges and
universities ranged from
faraway campuses such as
Penn State and St. John’s
to more familiar names such
as Georgia State and Clark
Atlanta. While recruiters
focused on scholarship
opportunities and financial
aspects, students imagined
what their early adult lives
might look like in such places
as Long Island, Alabama,
North Carolina, Pennsylvania
and even California.

DeKalb junior Marciannah
Jackson said the event
helped her think about her
life after graduation. Jackson
said she was considering
such options as sports and
early childhood care at both
Georgia State University and
Clark Atlanta.
“We’re experiencing,
or getting the feel of
experiencing college life,” she
Phillip Cheely, another
junior in DeKalb, said the
event helped him consider
college as an option. The
Cross Keys event helped
Cheely realize he could have
a future in such career fields
as medical administration,
biology and photography at
such places as the University
of Kentucky, Clark Atlanta and
Atlanta Metropolitan College.
Admission requirements
were one of Cheely’s primary
concerns at the event. “I
wasn’t sure about going to
college at first,” he said. “Now
that I’m here, I’m wanting to
interact and really wanting to
go to college.”

See Cross Keys on Page 16A


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 13A


DeKalb History Center’s Annual Meeting and Silent Auction was held March 18 at the historic DeKalb Courthouse in downtown Decatur. More than 100 attendees sampled
appetizers and desserts from some of the top catering companies in the area while placing bids on items ranging from jewelry to art to airfare. Photos by John Hewitt


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The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 14A

Arts Continued From Page 2A
Across the street, artists
at Atlanta Hot Glass wowed
attendees by transforming
glass into beautiful vases and
sculptures. Artists at the local
studio were not dressed in
old clothes or paint gear, but
metal jackets, constructiongrade gloves and steel-toed
boots for protection.
In other locales, the
public engaged with artists
in rented spaces within Little
Tree Art Studios. While the
space looks like nothing more
than a loading dock from its
visage along Franklin Street in
Avondale Estates, the building
houses arts of all shapes,
sizes and talents.
Soap makers Larisa
Maletz and Troy Maletz of
Owl Trace Soaps in Duluth
used the event to spread the
word about natural remedies.
The couple has been making
natural soaps, shampoo
bars, lotion bars and scrubs
since August 2015 and finds
events like the Studio Cruise
the perfect place to meet
other artists and network their
“We have all different
types of essential oils,” Larisa
Maletz said. “One is made
from spearmint; one is made
from chocolate. Everything we
use is food grade.”
The couple said the soaps
are a healthier alternative
to run-of-the-mill grocery
store soaps, which typically
use harmful chemicals and
“What you put on your
skin, you put into your body,”
Troy Maletz said. “We’re
always fighting over natural
soaps with other people,
so we decided to make it
Elizabeth Scott, 82, saw
the event as an opportunity
to showcase her hobby of
quilting. Scott has been part
of quilting shows, guilds and
groups and now dedicates the
majority of her time to quilting
at Little Tree Art Studio.
“I quilt in here for my
own pleasure,” Scott said.
“It gives me something to do
and a lot of friends. I’m in
here every day I don’t have
a doctor’s appointment. I’ll
get here around 10 a.m. and
leave around 4 p.m. I like to
make wall hangings and small
Scott’s eye for patterns,
colors and fabric make
quilting an obvious choice
for a creative outlet. The
process, not the end product,
is what matters to Scott when
designing and crafting a quilt.

“I don’t keep a clock, it all
depends on the quilt itself,”
Scott said. “I just enjoy it and
take my time.”
Scott was not the only
artist claiming to be a
hobbyist at the March 19
event. Photographer Michael
Boatright, who showcased
and sold portraits, action
shots, landscapes and other
subjects, said the practice has
been a part of him for as long
as he can remember.
Boatright’s skills have
taken him to New Mexico,
Europe, Scandinavia and
most cities within the United
“I’ve been a photographer
for over 40 years – my dad
taught me,” Boatright said.
Soap maker Larisa Maletz of Owl Trace Soaps in Duluth discusses her products.
“I like to participate in life. I
love photographing dance
and theater. I love the
process–I love creating, the
creative process. The smell of
chemicals still has a special
place in my heart. We had a
dark room when I was 12, and
there’s still a certain magic
about pulling a print out and
looking at what you’ve made.”
Boatright said Atlanta
and surrounding areas also
offer a plethora of places to
shoot for the well-trained eye.
His favorite place within city
limits runs along northern
DeKalb Avenue near the CSX
Railroad yard.
“Atlanta is just a really
cool place to photograph,”
Boatright said. “Travel
Photography magazine listed
Atlanta and Georgia in general
as one of the top places to
photograph. New York didn’t
even make the cut.”
Boatright also said
collaborating, being
Quilt maker Elizabeth Scott shows the intricacies of a quilt in progress.
around various artists and
participating in events
similar to Studio Cruise is
what makes him appreciate
taking part in a creative
field. He, along with Troy
Maletz, commented on the
event’s ability to bring many
different artists together for
the purpose of creativity and
“You have to have events
like this, because there aren’t
a lot of avenues for upcoming
artists,” said Troy Maletz.
“Here, you can have a 7-yearold artist next to a 70-year-old.
The community takes care
of each other, and this is one
way to get good people in,
open your eyes and get a
different perspective.”
For more information on
the Rail Arts District and the
Annual Studio Cruise, visit
Photographer Michael Boatright talks about one of his works. Photos by Travis Hudgons


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 15A

Barbara Makris has been getting meals delivered to her home for a decade.

Retired attorney Bill Thigpen has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for two
years. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Meals keep seniors in their homes
by Andrew Cauthen
Without the food she receives
from Meals on Wheels, Barbara
Makris said, she would not be able
to stay in her home.
The Champion rode with Meals
on Wheels volunteer Bill Thigpen
on March 18 as he delivered meals
to several clients, including Makris,
who receives six meals a week.
“I don’t know what we’d do if it
weren’t for Meals on Wheels,” said
Makris, who has been getting the
meals delivered to her home for a
decade. “Assisted living [facilities]
would be full.”
“It’s just a wonderful thing
that they’re doing for us senior
citizens,” Makris said. “It’s good for
us that they come because [we]
look forward to them coming. It’s
somebody checking on you, too.”
This month Senior Connections,
which provides programs and
services designed to help seniors
age in place in their own homes,
is spotlighting its participation in
the 14th annual March for Meals–a
month-long, nationwide celebration
of Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels America
is an organization that supports
community-based senior nutrition
programs dedicated to addressing
senior hunger and isolation.
“Throughout the country we
promote March for Meals trying
really to advocate during the month
of March to get mainly elected, but
other people who are high profile,
to deliver meals so they can really
see what it’s all about,” said Debra
Furtado, chief executive officer of
Senior Connections.

Workers and volunteers prepare 3,000 meals each day at Senior Connections in Chamblee.

“We get elected officials to
deliver and their eyes are truly
opened to what we do and need,”
Furtado said.
Funded from various sources,
Senior Connections, which is just
one Meals on Wheels provider of
many in Georgia, serves the metro
Atlanta area.
“Our mission is to ensure that

people are able to live independently
as they age,” Furtado said. “Food is
obviously a major part of that. Food
is a basic need.
“In our state of Georgia, one in
eight seniors…goes hungry [each]
day,” she said. “We have people in
our state going hungry every day
who should not be going hungry.”
Senior Connections produces

3,000 meals daily. Approximately
300 meals are delivered daily
in DeKalb, Furtado said. The
remainder of the meals is sold to
other counties and providers who
deliver the meals themselves.
Furtado said the meals provided
by Meals on Wheels saves the

See Seniors on Page 16A


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 16A

Cross Keys High School’s gymnasium served as the college fair’s main lobby.

Information packets concerning student life, financial aid and admission
requirements were given to students. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

Cross Keys Continued From Page 12A
Cheely’s enthusiasm is, in
part, due to people like Rhonda
Peterson, a recruiter for Atlanta
Metropolitan College. Peterson
said her main goals on March 15
included connecting with students
and letting them know about
the school’s degree programs.
Peterson said it appeared that
some students were not thoroughly
informed of their post-high school
options; she also noted their
enthusiasm and engagement.
“We are here to connect with
students and let them know what
their options are,” Peterson said.

“We’re super affordable – a lot of
students don’t know that – so we’re
here to tell them a little more about
us. They’re asking great questions.”
In the same way, enrollment
specialist Vilma Ortiz Vera from
Oakwood University in Huntsville,
Ala., sought to educate students
about options off the beaten path.
Vera explained Oakwood has
plenty of scholarship opportunities,
including $40,000 for students with
a 3.4 GPA, $24,000 for students
with a 3.25, $18,000 for students
with a 2.5 GPA and even $10,000
for students with a 2.0, depending

on their test scores.
“We’re giving students a chart
tracking what their test scores
have to be in relation to their GPA,”
Vera said. “That’s granted to the
students; if they have the numbers,
they get the funding.”
Vera went on to say universities
such as Oakwood often have
outstanding minority scholarships in
place as well.
“When I went to school we
didn’t have these kinds of things,”
Vera said. “It’s very exciting.”
Cross Keys High principal
Jason Heard said the event was

successful in exposing DeKalb and
surrounding juniors to plenty of
“We’ve exposed them to 38
colleges and are getting plenty of
positive feedback,” Heard said.
“Students are getting plenty of good
information to prepare them for the
next step. This will provide them a
good setup for their senior year.”
The Cross Keys High School
college fair was a partnership
between DeKalb County School
District, Career Council Inc., and
National Hispanic College Fairs Inc.

seniors Continued From Page 15A
state of Georgia money.
“For someone to live and age
in their own home, the cost to
the state of Georgia…is about
$20,000 a year for meals and inhome care,” Furtado said. A local
nursing home could cost $70,000
a year.
“So that’s a $50,000 savings a
year to our government for people
to receive …[this] basic need,”
Furtado said.
Thigpen, a retired attorney
who volunteers with the Meals
on Wheels program, said the
program fits his philosophy of
aging in place.
“My mother was 96 when
she passed and she was in
an assisted living facility,”
Thigpen said. “She wanted so
badly to stay in her house and
she couldn’t—her health just
Thigpen said the Meals on
Wheels program allows people to
“stay in their house with a little bit
of help.”
“It just fit what I saw because
I hated to put my mother in an
assisted living facility, but it was
the only option for her,” said

Thigpen, who spends three
hours on Mondays working in the
kitchen and delivers meals every
other week for a couple of hours.
“Most of these people want to
just stay in their homes and I just
think that’s so important. Honestly
when my mother went into an
assisted living facility you could
just see her health go down.”
Henry Friedman, a Holocaust
survivor, said he has been
receiving the meals for two years.
“I’m sure I would not starve,
but it makes it easy us, especially
me being in a wheelchair,”
Friedman said about receiving the
Everado Carbonell has
been receiving meals from the
organization for three years.
“It feeds us,” said Carbonell,
who found out about the program
from a social worker. “We need
help because our economy is not
great. No Donald Trump lives in
these apartments.”
Carbonell said the program is
“a good help for seniors.”
“When you are old you need
all the help you can get,” he said.

From left, Meals on Wheels recipient Henry Friedman looks forward to the meals
brought by volunteer Bill Thigpen.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 17A

Easter-themed baskets are among the items available at Happy

Girls’ dresses are the biggest sellers for Happy Land, a children’s special occasion retailer and
wholesaler. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

The Doraville shop carries such accessories as girls’
headpieces and boys’ ties.

Easter sales give clothing sellers reason to welcome spring
Despite the fact that
2016 brings an early Easter
with the holiday coming just
a week after the first day of
spring, consumers are still
expected to celebrate with
special meals, new spring
clothing, gifts, flowers and
other purchases, according
to a survey recently
released by the National
Retail Federation (NRF).
Easter spending this
year is expected to reach
a 13-year high of $17.3
billion or $146 per person
nationally, reports NRF,
a national association of
retail businesses such
as grocers, department
stores, restaurants, home
goods stores and other
enterprises. The figures
represent a significant
increase from last year’s
$140.62 per person and
$16.4 billion total.
According to the
survey, approximately $3
billion will be spent on
Easter clothing, especially
clothing for children—the
second highest spending

category—as families
prepare for holiday outings.
The survey indicated that
57.8 percent will visit family
and friends, 51.3 percent
will go to church and
15.6 percent will go to a
The tradition of dressing
children in fancy new
spring outfits for Easter
provides an annual boost to
businesses such as Happy
Land, a Doraville company
selling special occasion
clothing for children.
“We do have retail
sales, but most of our
business is wholesale,”
said Hae Park, owner of
Happy Land. “We sell to
department stores, mostly in
small towns—not just here
in Georgia, but also in North
Carolina, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Florida,
Alabama—really all over the
United States.”
He said orders have
been coming in briskly
this year. While Happy
Land also offers children’s
clothing for weddings,
pageants, christenings and
other special occasions,

sales at Easter are
especially strong, according
to Park.
Happy Land first
opened as a small shop in
downtown Atlanta 27 years
ago. It now sells more than
a million children’s outfits
each year, Park said. The
business has been on
Buford Highway in Doraville
for the past 25 years.
While girls’ dresses are
the most popular items,
the business also carries
accessories such as shoes,
underwear, purses and
jewelry. It offers a line
of boys’ suits, including
tuxedoes, and infant
clothing as well.
“We believe that a
dress shop should have
everything customers need
for their children’s special
day in affordable and high
quality products,” the Happy
Land website states. The
store offers clothing for
children through age 14.
Park, who moved to the
United States from his native
Korea 35 years ago, said
he went into the children’s
clothing business on the

recommendation of a friend
who has a similar business
in Baltimore. It has remained
a family business with Park’s
wife, sons and other family
members making up most of
the office staff.
While fashions come
and go, lacy, frilly girls’
dresses continue to be big
sellers, Park said. “We go to
the trade shows where we
choose our merchandise,
and this is what we see,” he
noted. “Mothers still like to
dress their little girls in satin,
organza, taffeta and other
fancy materials. Pastels and
bright colors continue to
sell well for spring. Parents
like seeing their little boys
in suits and ties, looking
like little gentlemen. We
are proud to offer highquality clothing that parents
are unlikely to find other
places.” Park said.
NRF states that

(404) 975-9002


consumers at all budget
levels are likely to spend
extra at Easter. The highest
spending category is
food, for which Americans
are expected to spend
$5.5 billion this Easter.
Other major categories
are gifts—$2.7 billion;
candy—$2.4 billion; and
flowers $1.2 billion.
NRF President and
CEO Matthew Shay states
that Easter is “the beginning
one of [retailers’] busiest
times of year.” In addition to
Easter buying, consumers
tend to shop for other lighter
clothing, sports equipment,
garden tools and home
goods for outdoor use as
the weather turns warmer.



Available Where YOU live!
Call TODAY For This
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by Kathy Mitchell


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


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 18A

AP exams remain contested despite recent success
by R. Scott Belzer

Despite recent
accomplishments, Advance
Placement (AP) exams
remain a contested topic in
the DeKalb County School
District (DCSD).
Due to recent district
approval for the purchasing
of exams, one DeKalb
County board of education
member, Stan Jester, has
contested whether or not
the tests warrant tax dollar
AP exams are taken
by students at the end of
every school year after
completing college level AP
courses. Course subjects
range from art history to
statistics and are designed
to test students’ knowledge
after a year of study.
Opportunities are available
in 37 courses, which often
vary from school to school.
According to The
College Board, the
company responsible
for AP coursework, the
classes and subsequent
tests “ensure collegelevel learning is being
Students are graded
on a 1 to 5 scale after
taking a test made up of
multiple choice and free
response questions. A
score of 5 recognizes a
student as “extremely
well qualified” in a subject
whereas a score of 1
classifies a student under
“no recommendation.” Most
American colleges grant
course credit to students
who score a 3 or higher.
“I contend that students
who voluntarily choose
to take AP courses and
exams are the types of
students that are already
better prepared and highly
motivated,” Jester wrote
on March 6. “Success in
college, perhaps, is not
attributed to the AP class
and exam, but to the
personal characteristics
that led them to participate
in the class to begin with.”
Achievements relating
to AP exams in DeKalb
County for the 20142015 school year were
announced on March 11.
DCSD boasted 12 out of
22 district high schools
have been recognized by
the Georgia Department
of Education and placed
on the AP honors list.

Approximately 41 percent
of students throughout the
district were able to score
a 3 or higher, a percentage
that has steadily risen since
the 2010-2011 school year
(31.7 percent).
“We are proud of
this latest example
of how the district is
preparing students for
their first year of college,”
said superintendent
Stephen Green in the
announcement. “On behalf
of the school district, I
congratulate the students
and teachers for their hard
work and dedication.”
The announcement
came four days after a
March 7 meeting at which
the DeKalb County Board
of Education approved a
$310,000 purchase for one
AP exam for every student
enrolled in an advanced
course. This coincides
with the State of Georgia’s
commitment to pay for
one AP exam per student
enrolled in free or reduced
lunch, meaning students
participating in free or
reduced lunch had one
extra exam.
On March 7, Jester
said he was “at odds with
the efficacy” of purchasing
exams during the Board of
Education’s work session.
Jester went further
on his blog, factchecker., including
an interview with Knox
Phillips, director of
research, assessment and
grants at DCSD, who was
able to answer questions
regarding concerns

over district rationale in
purchasing the exams.
Phillips cited studies
linking AP exam success to
further success in college.
“[One study] found that
students who successfully
participated in one or more
AP exams and courses
significantly outperformed
their non-AP peers,”
Phillips said. “Students
who took one or more
AP courses and exams
had higher college GPAs,
earned more credit hours
and were more likely to
graduate in four years or
less. The findings indicate
that even AP students who
took the course and scored
two out of a possible five
points on an AP exam will
still tend to do better in

college than a student who
did not take AP courses or
who skipped the AP exam.”
Phillips was able to
provide six specific studies,
but Jester remained
unconvinced, stating The
College Board funds such
research and “financially
benefits from more test
takers.” Jester also claimed
the research was not
peer reviewed and did not
take into account enough
“This was not an
independent piece of
scholarly research,”
Jester wrote. “Additionally,
researchers at Harvard
and the University of
Virginia did not find
significant difference in
college outcomes between

students taking AP courses
and those that did not.”
On March 7, Green
pointed out that “AP
stands on its own merit,”
independent of any study.
The superintendent said
anything the district
could do to increase the
standard in the classroom
should meet overwhelming
“Maybe I’m biased
because I worked for
The College Board for
eight years,” Green said.
“Numbers of studies have
been done about the
impact and influence of
these rigorous instruction
programs. At the end of the
day, students are better off
having been in them.”

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The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 19A

Chamblee Charter High School junior
Will Wright, a lifelong musician, won
the 2016 state technology fair for
audio engineering.

Lakeside High School computer teacher Kizzy Bess
stands with her protégé, senior Sri Bhat.

Lakeside High School senior Sri Bhat won the 2016 state technology fair
in internet applications. Bhat designed a website concerning the 2016
presidential election. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

Movers and Shakers: DeKalb students win State Tech Fair
by R. Scott Belzer
Two DeKalb County
high school students’ recent
accomplishments seem to
demonstrate it’s never too
early to start pursuing one’s
On March 5, Sri Bhat,
a senior at Lakeside High
School, and Will Wright,
a junior at Chamblee
Charter High School,
traveled to Middle Georgia
State University in Macon
to compete in the 2016
Georgia Educational
Technology Fair.
Bhat and Wright
earned their trip to Macon
by placing first in their
respective categories of
internet applications and
audio production at the
county level. Their success
continued at Middle Georgia
State, where they both
claimed first place.
Bhat’s win was the
result of many hours’
of work in front of a
computer screen. For at
least three hours a day,
Bhat coordinated such
programming codes as
HTML, CSS, JavaScript and
C Sharp. What began as
several walls of text ended
as Bhat’s first-place project.
The senior’s final
product is an informative
website about the 2016
presidential election,
complete with general
information, explanations
about the Electoral College,
delegates, as well as some
interactive maps. Bhat said
this year’s theatrical race,
combined with a passion
for history and information,
inspired the basis for such a
“It’s been a weird
election so far,” Bhat said.

“We’re all trying to come
to grips with all of it, and
it’s essentially because
people generally don’t know
much about the election
or how it works. It’s an
informative website that’s
also interactive so people
can get a hands-on feeling
for what’s going on.”
The work has been
familiar to Bhat for years,
as has competed in the
state technology fair since
seventh grade and has
claimed several first-place
finishes. Before that,
he enjoyed taking apart
outdated and obsolete
computers to see what
made them tick. The handson activity eventually led to
an interest in web design
and programming.
“I’m no longer
destroying computers,” Bhat
said. “So, that’s a positive.”
When he’s not
programming, Bhat enjoys
competing on Lakeside’s
academic and math team.
He’s also an active member
in the school’s computer
science and BETA clubs
in addition to being a
member of the school’s
Future Business Leaders of
America chapter.
This fall, Bhat expects
to start his collegiate career
at Georgia Tech majoring
in computer science.
The Lakeside senior was
accepted for “early action”
at Georgia Tech to receive
consideration for such
funding as the President’s
Scholarship, Scheller
Dean’s Scholarship and
other programs.
Wright’s story is similar
but in a different area.
Wright also spent months
working on his project
through which he sought to
perfectly convey emotion

through the universal
language of music.
“I started writing music
around eighth grade,”
Wright said. “I’m very
passionate about the music
I create. I write music to
express my emotion. Some
people write diaries, some
people draw – there are
a million ways to express
yourself. I found music was
the best for me.”
Wright’s ability to sing,
play piano, guitar and
trombone is not enough
for the Chamblee Charter
junior. When it comes
to fully expressing one’s
self, according to Wright,
one needs to be capable
of controlling all aspects,
including how it is produced
and transferred to the ear.
Wright also began
producing music in the
eighth grade. When his
mother found a Facebook
advertisement for the state
technology fair last year, he
could not resist entering.
His entry earned him a
first-place finish in audio
“I decided this was a
perfect fit for me because
this is what I do,” Wright

Not a

said. “I’ve been producing
the music I’ve written and I
was very excited.”
Wright said his new
song stayed in production
for more than three months
before he was happy with it.
“I was trying to get the
right feel for it,” Wright said.
“I wanted that distorted
vocal sound, a grooving
bass. The drums were the
hardest part – it took me
months to say the snare
style was done.”
Wright repeated his
success in 2016 with
a song he had worked
on for two years. The
DeKalb junior describes
the song, made with four
other DeKalb County
high school musicians, as
alternative rock, but also
incorporating elements of
jazz, with influences ranging
from such rock groups as
Radiohead and Coldplay
to hip-hop artists such as
Kendrick Lamar.
While working on his
submission to the state
technology fair, Wright has
also dealt with cubital tunnel
syndrome, which is carpal
tunnel syndrome near the
elbow rather than the wrist

and hand. When imitating
how he worked in such a
state, Wright looks more
robot than human.
“It came from playing
the piano too hard,” Wright
said. “I was just destroying
the piano while playing.
It was a journey, but
something I’m sure will help
with my creativity.”
Wright said he will
pursue some form of
a music career after
concluding high school,
but hasn’t decided the best
avenue to take.
“I’m still trying to figure
out that process and
what the best fit for me
would be,” Wright said. “I
want to express myself
through music and I’ll
learn whatever it takes to
improve. You can’t learn
everything, as much as I
would love to, but I plan on
pursuing music.”
In addition to playing in
Chamblee Charter’s jazz
band, Wright is also an avid
runner on the school’s cross
country team.
For more information
on the 2016 Georgia
Educational Technology Fair,

Did you know?

People age 12-20 years of age drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the U.S.
More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinking.
Underage drinking is considered a form of binge drinking because it is both
illegal and often involves consumption in quantities and settings that can lead to
serious immediate and long term consequences.
Binge drinking is a common form of alcohol abuse.
Binge drinking may occur when a person is trying to fit in with friends, deal with stress, or after a
major life event.
Binge drinking can be dangerous on many different levels, especially for young binge drinkers,
possibly affecting their health, brain, and emotional well-being.
Be safe DeKalb!

For more information
Call (770) 285-6037 or


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 20A




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The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 21A

SOCCER: Cross Keys boys knock off St. Pius X

by Mark Brock

The Cross Keys Indians
lived almost a year thinking
about what might have been
following a 1-0 loss to the
St. Pius Golden Lions in last
year’s Class 4AAAA Boys’
Soccer State Championship
match in Macon.
A final minute shot by
Cross Keys hit the cross
bar at the Mercer University
soccer field and St. Pius
held on for the 1-0 win to
claim the state title.
The opportunity to end
some of those thoughts
came March 15 at James
R. Hallford Stadium in
Clarkston as St. Pius
traveled across DeKalb
County to take on their
Region 6-AAAA foe Cross
Keys in a showdown of
Top 5 ranked boys’ soccer
Cross Keys made the
most of the opportunity to
knock off the No. 2 ranked
Golden Lions with a 3-0
Much as in the start title
game last May the two were
battling 0-0 throughout most
of the first half. Both goalies
deflected shots over the
goal in the early going to
keep the game scoreless.
A point blank shot by
Cross Keys with 23:10 left
in the first half went high
and a second attempt with

10:15 remaining when wide
right as the Indians began
to apply pressure to the St.
Pius defense.
The Indians finally got
on the board with 6:46 to
play in the half as Gilberto
Ramos lofted a corner kick
high in front of the St. Pius
goal. Teammate Joseph
Avellaneda timed his jump
correctly and headed the
ball behind the outstretched
hand of the Golden Lion
keeper for the 1-0 lead.
The Golden Lions came
out of the half pushing the
ball up the field to pressure
the Indians defense, but
could not get any real shots
on goal.
Cross Keys found itself
in another corner kick
situation with 33:26 to play
in the game. Ramos again
took the shot from the
corner, but a header attempt
went left and short of the
goal. Fortunately for the
Indians, Roberto Martinez
was waiting and headed a
shot between a pair of St.
Pius defenders to make it
The Indian defense and
keeper Eduardo Cabrera
continued to turn away the
Golden Lions pressure that
had ramped up due to the
two-goal deficit.
The Indians took
advantage of the Golden
Lions moves up the field

with 4:36 to play as a
deflected pass was sent up
the field. Eduardo Dimas
tracked down the ball
running past the St. Pius
defense and getting it into
the goal to seal the game at
The win puts the Indians
in the position to take the
No. 1 seed from Region
6-AAAA heading into the
state playoffs and another
possible state title battle
with St. Pius in May.
St. Pius 11, Cross Keys
The five-time defending
state champions St. Pius
Lady Golden Lions took
a while to get warmed up
before closing out an 11-0
victory over the Cross Keys
Lady Indians.
Cross Keys entered
the game without their
starting goalie, but battled
defensively to keep St. Pius
scoreless with three big
saves in the early going.
St. Pius opened the
flood gates when a long
shot into the corner went
over the Indians’ goalie’s
head for the first score with
30:54 left in the first half.
St. Pius scored five
more times in the next 10
minutes to make it 6-0 on
the way to the win.

Cross Keys goal keeper Eduardo Cabrera watches the ball go over
the net. Photo by Mark Brock

Gilbert named Gatorade state boys basketball player of the year
by Carla Parker
Alterique Gilbert received
another basketball honor
March 17 when he was named
one of the the Gatorade
Georgia Boys Basketball
Players of the Year.
The Gatorade State Boys
Basketball Players of the
Year were selected based on
athletic production and impact
in the 2015-16 basketball
season. Each winner must
also demonstrate high
academic achievement and
personal character, including
volunteerism, sportsmanship
and community leadership.
Gilbert, who will attend the
University of Connecticut in
the fall, led the Miller Grove
boys’ basketball team to a
30-2 record and the Class
AAAAA state championship
this past season. It was the
program’s seventh state title in

eight years.
Gilbert was also named
a 2016 McDonald’s AllAmerican and Jordan Brand
All-American, and Georgia
Class AAAAA First Team AllState player. Gilbert averaged
21.1 points and 6.1 assists per
Gilbert became the first
DeKalb County player to join
the 2,000 points (2,096), 500
rebounds (600), 500 assists
(710), and 500 steals (550)
clubs. He is the nation’s
No. 28-ranked recruit in the
class of 2016 by ESPN—No.
2 ranked in the state—and
helped Miller Grove to a No.
17 ranking in the USA TODAY
Super 25 Expert Rankings.
Gilbert has a 3.67 GPA
and has volunteered for the
Special Olympics, an area
homeless shelter and as
a mentor for children with
incarcerated parents.
Alterique Gilbert. File photo/Travis Hudgons


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 22A

SWD track relay team leading nation
by Carla Parker


fter winning a state
title last season,
members of the
Southwest DeKalb
High Schools boys’ trackand-field team had their
eyes set on more than
just repeating as state
champions this year.
They have their eyes
set on winning a national
title while breaking records
along the way. Southwest
DeKalb’s 4x100, 4x200 and
4x400 meter relay teams
are already off to a good
start. The three relay teams
are currently leading the
nation in finish time.
The 4x100 team is
leading the nation with a
time of 40.49, the 4x200
team is at 1:24.72 and
the 4x400 is at 3:14.02.
Southwest DeKalb won
gold medals in the 4x100
and 4x400 in the Class
AAAAA state title meet last
The members of
each team—sophomore
Marcellus Boykins,
junior Terry Conwell,
junior Terryon Conwell,
senior Jaylen Muhammad
and sophomore Justin
Tomlin—said they came
into the season with two
“Winning a national
title,” Terryon Conwell said.
“One of our other
goals is to break the school
records in our individual
events and the relays,”
Terry Conwell said.
After winning the state
meet, the sprinters and their
relay coach Jon Marshall
said when they realized
they had something special
they went into the offseason
with the goal to clean up
some aspects of their
running style.
“We worked on our
mechanics and everything,”
Muhammad said. “We knew
we had the talent so it just
came down to fixing every
single thing, every little
thing that we could.”
“Just paying attention
to details,” Marshall
said. “We knew we were
talented but we had to keep
pushing, keep raising the

See Track on Page 23A

Southwest DeKalb’s track-and-field relay team leads the nation in 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400. Photo provided

Notice of Public Hearing
The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 
Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following matters: 

Andrew Blakey, representing Broward PIB, LLC requests approval of a Development of Community Impact in accordance with City of Chamblee
Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance, Section 280-6 for the purpose of constructing a climate-controlled self-storage facility consisting
of 600 units and 3,599 sq. ft. of other commercial space and parking for 35 cars on 1.28 acres of property located at 5208 Peachtree Boulevard, Chamblee,
GA, being DeKalb County Tax parcel 18-300-08-002.

Leonard Meltz of Parkside Development Group, LLC requests approval of a Development of Community Impact in accordance with City of Chamblee
Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance, Section 280-6 for the purpose of constructing a mixed-use development consisting of 164 multifamily residential units and 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial retail space with parking and amenities on 2.99 acres of property located at 5251 Peachtree
Boulevard, Chamblee, GA, being DeKalb County Tax parcel 18-299-14-005.

Hennessey Cadillac, Inc. requests approval of an Amendment to the Official Zoning Map to rezone 79 tax parcels from Village Commercial (conditional) to
Industrial Transitional (IT) including the following addresses: 0, 3413, 3436, 3408, 3360, 3401, 3390, 3326, 3294, 3316, 3412, 3380, 3424, 3345, 3419,
3396, 3418, 3351, 3310, 3430, 3356, 3332, 3339, 3322, 3446, 3437, 3384, 3344, 3304, 3431, 3424, 3443, 3407, 3425, 3402, 3298, 3370, 3338, and 3350
Catalina Drive; 3341, 3355, 3345, 3289, 3309, 3299, 3315, 3305, 3351, 3295, 3283, 3361, & 3319 Burk Dr.; 3388, 3382, 3394, & 3398 ChambleeDunwoody Rd.; 0, 2208, & 2214 Chamblee-Tucker Rd.; 0, 2220, 2226, 2214, 2231, 2225, & 2232 Coronado Pl.; 3434 & 3428 Blackburn Way.

Hennessey Cadillac, Inc. requests approval of variances from the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for 79 tax parcels including the following
addresses: 0, 3413, 3436, 3408, 3360, 3401, 3390, 3326, 3294, 3316, 3412, 3380, 3424, 3345, 3419, 3396, 3418, 3351, 3310, 3430, 3356, 3332, 3339,
3322, 3446, 3437, 3384, 3344, 3304, 3431, 3424, 3443, 3407, 3425, 3402, 3298, 3370, 3338, and 3350 Catalina Drive; 3341, 3355, 3345, 3289, 3309,
3299, 3315, 3305, 3351, 3295, 3283, 3361, & 3319 Burk Dr.; 3388, 3382, 3394, & 3398 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd.; 0, 2208, & 2214 Chamblee-Tucker Rd.;
0, 2220, 2226, 2214, 2231, 2225, & 2232 Coronado Pl.; 3434 & 3428 Blackburn Way. Variances are requested from the following provisions of the UDO:

Sec. 250-2(a)(4)b. All surface parking in excess of 100 percent of the minimum number of off-street parking spaces required by type of permitted use
shall be “Grasscrete” or “Grasspave” or other pervious paving or grass paving systems and as approved by the Development Director.
Sec. 250-7(a)(4)a. Developments where 30 or more parking spaces are provided shall be required to provide compact parking spaces.
Sec. 300-17(c) Nonresidential and mixed-use developments with more than 600 feet of frontage along a single street shall be divided by streets into
blocks having a maximum length of 400 feet measured from street curb to street curb.
Sec. 320-21(a) Interior landscaping for off-street parking areas shall be required for all surface parking lots designed for 20 or more spaces.
Sec. 350-25. Utilities, including telephone, electric power and cable television in both public and private rights-of-way, shall be placed underground for
all new developments with total floor areas of 20,000 sq. ft. are feet or over.
Sec. 250-7(a)(1) Off-street surface parking shall not be located between a building and the street without an intervening building except where
otherwise permitted by Section 230-6 and Section 240-13(d)(1).
Sec, 350-2(c) To the maximum extent possible, sidewalks and parking lots serving adjacent lots shall be interconnected to provide continuous driveway
connections and pedestrian connections between adjoining lots and streets, except that this requirement shall not apply to lots zoned for single family
residential units. Where necessary, the City may require access easements be provided to ensure continuous access and egress routes connecting
commercial, office, and multifamily lots.

Davin Harris of Core 4 requests variances from the following provisions of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for the purpose of converting an
existing building to a gymnasium at 2050 Will Ross Court, being parcel 18-308-02-022, zoned Industrial Transitional:

Sec. 230-2 to reduce the required 20 ft. rear building setback to 15 ft. to allow the existing building to remain in place.

Sec. 230-6(a)(2) to allow existing automobile parking within the front yard.

Sec. 250-7(a) to allow existing off-street parking to be located between the building and the street without an intervening building.

Sec. 230-14. to allow a fence taller than 42 inches in the front yard and to retain the existing fence.

Sec. 230-29(c) to allow a chain link fence that is visible from the public right-of–way.

Sec. 310-19(a)(1) that requires an undisturbed natural buffer 50 ft. wide adjacent to banks of a stream in order to retain the existing building.

Sec. 320-29(a)(2) that requires an additional 25 ft. setback adjacent to banks of a stream in which all impervious cover shall be prohibited in order to
retain the existing building.

Sec. 320-11 that requires a 40 ft. wide buffer adjacent to property zoned NR-1 in order to retain the existing building.

Sec. 320-21 (a)(1) that requires parking lots to be landscaped with landscape islands located no farther apart than every ten parking spaces and at the
terminus of all rows of parking.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 23A


Continued From Page 22A

Baseball scores
March 16

Arabia Mountain 8, Grady 7
Cedar Grove 15, Douglass 0
Decatur 6, Jackson 1
Dunwoody 9, Miller Grove 4
Lakeside 7, Newton 5
Lithonia 10, Stone Mountain 9
M.L. King 9, Banneker 5
Marist 20, Cross Keys 0
Redan 12, Chamblee 1
St. Pius X 10, Columbia 0
Southwest DeKalb 11, Druid Hills 10
Tucker 12, Lovejoy 2
Mays 10, Stephenson 3
South Atlanta 10, Towers 4

Tucker coach Vince Byams, center, chats with his players on the mound. Photos by
Travis Hudgons

March 17
McNair 14, Clarkston 11
Paideia 5, Decatur 23

March 18
Cedar Grove 8, Therrell 0
Decatur 15, South Atlanta 10
Druid Hills 15, Miller Grove 5
Lakeside 14, Newton 3
Redan 9, Chamblee 0
Marist 17, Cross Keys 0
Southwest DeKalb 6, Stephenson 4
St. Pius X 6, Columbia 4
Stone Mountain 10, Lithonia 5
Tucker 14, Lovejoy 7
Blessed Trinity 14, McNair 0
Creekside 5, M.L. King 4
Grady 6, Arabia Mountain 2
Landmark Christian 5, Paideia 1
North Clayton 15, Towers 5

Tucker pitcher Emory Willis throws a pitch.

Tucker first baseman Booth Vogel
catches the ball for an out before
Newton’s Buck Sullivan reaches first

March 21
Cedar Grove 11, McNair 6
Chamblee 12, Stone Mountain 0
Columbia 7, Redan 4
Decatur 19, Towers 0
Druid Hills 17, Banneker 4
Stephenson 5, Dunwoody 4
Lakeside 15, Alcovy 7
Grady 16, Lithonia 4
Marist 7, St. Pius X 0
Miller Grove 5, M.L. King 3
Paideia 5, North Cobb Christian 4
Southwest DeKalb 16, Creekside 6
Newton 6, Tucker 3

Newton’s Auliver Astin rounds second base to third base.

level of expectation, never
settling and just coming out
working hard every day.”
Marshall, who
graduated from Southwest
DeKalb in 2000 and ran
track, has been with the
program as an assistant
coach alongside coach
Napoleon Cobb for nine
years. Marshall said this
group of relay runners is
close to being as special
as the 1996 team, which
included Olympians Angelo
Taylor and Terrence
“They just jell together,”
Marshall said. “They’re
really close off the field and
I think that plays a really
big part in it. They push one
another. The fact that [the
Conwells are] twins they
push each other and they
set the bar for everyone
else, they challenge
everyone else and I think
everyone is challenged.
They’re all pushing—not
necessarily to beat each
other—but when one does
something the other is
saying ‘I can do that just as
good as you or better.’ That
makes everything fun and
this is a special group.”
Tomlin said it took a
while for him and the others
to click.
“I don’t think we clicked
right away,” Tomlin said.
“I think it took time as the
season went on.”
Although the three relay
teams are ranked first in the
nation, they try not to get
too excited about it.
“It feels good, but we
can’t get too happy about
it,” Terryon Conwell said.
“We’ve still got work to do;
it’s still early.”
“They fact that we are
ranked so high right now,
every week when we go to
a track meet, somebody out
there is trying to beat us
and I think that pushes us,”
Marshall said. “It makes us
stay level-headed.”
With the county and
state track meets coming
up, Marshall said the
runners have what it takes
to win but they have to
“We know we’ve
prepared ourselves so it’s
just about executing on that
day when we get on the
track,” Marshall said.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, March 25, 2016 • Page 24A