FRiDaY, MaY 6, 2016 • Vol. 19, no. 3 • FREE



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

Business ................................ 16A
Classified ............................... 17A
Opinion ...................................... 7A
Sports ................................18-19A






More than 100 visitors rode the No. 39 bus route along Buford Highway, the most frequent bus route
in Atlanta. Photo by R. Scott Belzer


The “39 Ride and Dine” bus crawl was headed by MARTA Army’s Simon Berrebi
and We Love BuHi’s Marian Liou. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

‘Bus crawl’ along Buford Highway showcases diversity
by R. Scott Belzer


or three hours on
April 27, more than
140 passengers
were given a guided
tour of one of the
region’s more diverse
and culturally rich
They were treated to
shops, goods and cuisine
hailing from Latin America
and Asia and exposed
to sights not seen by the
average Atlantan. Their
taste buds and olfactory
senses were overloaded
with spice and flavor.
They toured Buford
Highway by bus.
We Love BuHi, a local
enterprise promoting and
revitalizing the Buford
Highway corridor, in
partnership with MARTA
Army, a grassroots action
group looking to enhance
ridership on Atlanta’s
public transit system,
hosted a “bus crawl” from
Doraville to Chamblee to
Brookhaven via Buford
Titled “39 Ride and
Dine” after the No. 39 bus
route down the corridor,

participants were guided
to Yen Jing, City Farmers
Market, Plaza Fiesta,
Bismillah Café and Royal
Lounge for a $15 fee and
bus pass.
The “39 Ride and Dine”
is the brainchild of We
Love BuHi founder Marian Liou and MARTA
Army founder Simon Berrebi. They invited local
officials such as Victoria
Huynh of the Center for
Pan Asian Community
Services, Amanda Rhein
of MARTA’s strategic development team, Sally
Flocks of the pedestrian advocacy nonprofit
PEDS, and Atlanta Beltline inventor Ryan Gravel
to engage attendees in
conversations about immigrant services, transit
redevelopment, pedestrian challenges, and the
importance of infrastructure along Buford Highway.
Berrebi said it was
important to see the
current state of Buford
Highway, for better or
worse, and discuss what
its future could possibly
entail. The MARTA Army
founder called Buford


Highway an important
source of Atlanta’s overall
“cultural patrimony.”
“This is for people to

discover Buford Highway
by bus,” Berrebi said. “It’s
for people to discover
what Buford really is.

It’s for people to see
the richness, cultural

See Bus Crawl on Page 5A

New county government center
planned for Memorial Drive
by Andrew Cauthen


lthough it would be years before
it’s constructed, DeKalb County
officials are making preliminary
plans to locate a new government
center on Memorial Drive.
The proposed 300,000-square-foot,
eight-story structure would be built on
county-owned land at the intersection
of Memorial Drive and Kensington
Road. The $90 million building would
replace the county’s Maloof and
Clark Harrison buildings in the city of
Decatur and the tax commissioner’s
building on Memorial Drive.
“We are currently occupying about
600,000 square feet...for the same
functions, but the facilities were simply
not designed with the most efficient
use in mind,” said Zach Williams, the


The pending sale of the county’s Clark Harrison
building in Decatur is part of a plan to construct a
new government center on Memorial Drive. Photo by
Andrew Cauthen

county’s chief operating officer, during
recent meeting of the Special Purpose
Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)
Citizen Advisory Committee.
“In many instances...we have

See Center on Page 5A




The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 2A

Avondale Estates mayor and commissioners discuss compensation

by Carla Parker
The Avondale Estates
Board of Mayor and
Commissioners is one of
few city mayor and city
council boards that do
not receive monetary
compensation, according
to the Georgia Department
of Community Affairs.
Avondale Estates is the
only city in DeKalb County,
with the exception of
newly established Tucker,
that does not pay its
mayor or commissioners,
and some are looking to
change that. The mayor
and commissioners had
their first reading of the
compensation ordinance at
the commissions meeting
on April 25. The board
previously discussed
the ordinance at a work
According to the
ordinance, if it is approved
by the board, the mayor
would receive $600 per
month—$7,200 annually—
and the commissioners
would receive $400 per
month—$4,800 annually.
Decatur commissioners
received the same annual
amount in 2015 and
Lithonia’s mayor received
$7,800 that same year. If
the ordinance is approved
by the board it will become
effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Mayor Jonathan
Elmore said the stipends
will help cover city workrelated expenses, such as
city calls and to help pay
for childcare while board
members are at meetings.
“For me it’s time
away from the family, it’s
time on the phone, it’s
babysitters,” Elmore said.
“It’s just to help offset that
without submitting detailed
expense reports with
calls listed, which turns
into a nightmare for [city
manager] Clai [Brown]
and his [staff]. So it’s the
easy way out, but it’s the
easy way out that almost
every city does.”
Mayor Pro Tem Terry
Giager said he opposes
the ordinance.
“I have no problem
with the expense side of it,
but if this is voted in and
it’s mandatory I will not
run again,” Giager said
during the March 23 work
session. “The only way I’ll
vote for it if it’s optional.”
One Avondale Estates
resident said he was in
favor of the ordinance,
while others opposed.
“I’ve spoken in favor
before because of the
amount of time you put
in,” Joe Anziano said. “I
know you ran for office not
knowing or not expecting
to be compensated. It’s
a small amount of money

[for] five brains that spend
so much time working on
what’s good for the city
and what’s right for the
city. I don’t think it’s out of
order at all.”
Kerry Quinn is one of
the residents who opposes
the ordinance.
“I don’t see why
suddenly we have to
begin paying for this when
we’ve always had well
qualified citizens willing
to do this as part of their
civic responsibility,” Quinn
said. “I think going from
nothing to $100 a week is
Resident Peggy roney
said she was worried
that the stipends would
be covered by taxing the
residents. Brown said that
is a possibility.
“There is going to be
two years of planning
on where the money is
actually going to come
from,” Brown said. “It can
come from a lot of different
sources such as taxes.
We won’t know that until
we start doing the budget
for 2018, which would be
August of 2017.”
“I’m surprised that
people are asking for this
so soon because we’ve
had lots of people who
wanted these positions,”
Roney said. “It’s never
been done before and
people did accept it as

DeKalb County BOE approves
$300K radio purchase
by R. Scott Belzer
The DeKalb County school system
recently spent $300,000 on radios for the
DeKalb County Police Department.
The purchase was approved during a
board of education work session held April
18. The $303,218 purchase will see 75
new radios for a digital system upgrade for
the department, which is scheduled to go
into effect in January 2017.
The price for each radio is
approximately $4,043 after add-ons. The
deal was made with Motorola Solutions.
The last system upgrade came to the
department in 2009.
Chief Donald Smith of the Office of
Public Safety presented the item to the
board on the grounds that the “upgraded
equipment is essential to the Department
of Public Safety radio communications for
safety and emergency purposes.”

“The DeKalb County Police
Department mans and relays basic
police, fire and emergency transmissions
for DeKalb County as well as DeKalb
school police,” Smith said. “The
department is transitioning to a new
digital system effective January 2017.
According to DeKalb PD, that’ll be the
‘drop dead’ date where they won’t have
any communication.”
Other rationale listed on board
documents includes noting that the
school system is composed of 136
schools with 14,000 employees and more
than 100,000 students.
“The Public Safety Department
is charged with providing security for
each site,” reads the agenda item. “It is
necessary that digital communication
equipment be compatible with other
systems for important updates and
emergency notifications.”

Avondale Estates is the only city in DeKalb County that does not
compensate its mayor and city commission.

their civic responsibility
to participate in city
Elmore said he
understands that some
residents do not support
the ordinance.
“It not a lot of money,

so it’s not really about
the money,” Elmore said.
“We’re following what other
cities are doing. We looked
statewide and most cities
do it and it’s right around
that amount of money. It’s
nothing extravagant.”


Notice of Public Hearings May 16 & 19, 2016
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit
Authority will hold public hearings for the purpose of considering the

Proposed Fiscal Year 2017
Operating and Capital Budgets
Including Elimination of the Holiday Group Fare One-Day Tickets and

Proposed Bus Service Modifications for Aug. 6, 2016
for the following routes:
Route 3: Martin Luther King Jr. Drive / Auburn Avenue; Route 4: Thomasville /
Moreland Avenue / MTC; Route 13: Fair Street / Mozley Park; Route 15: Candler Road / South DeKalb; Route 51: Joseph E. Boone; Route 117: Rockbridge
Road / Panola Road; Route 125: Clarkston / Northlake; Route 181: Buffington
Road / South Fulton P/R; and Route 191: Justice Center / Hartsfield International.
All route information, a video with Hearing information and
comment forms are available at

Mon, May 16

Mon, May 16

Fulton County
Govt. Center
Conference Room

Clayton County Govt.
Office Board Room

141 Pryor Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
Community Exchange:

6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

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

112 Smith Street
Jonesboro, GA 30236

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Bus routes 191, 192,
193 &194 from the Justice Center exit
at Tara Blvd and Smith Street for a 0.5
mile walk due to construction closure of
Smith Street.

Thurs, May 19

1300 Commerce Drive
Decatur, GA 30030
Community Exchange:

6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Walk one block
west of Decatur Rail Station.

Copies of the proposed Budget and Bus Service Modifications will also be available for public viewing at MARTA’s Headquarters Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, Mon-Fri
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For formats (FREE of charge) in accordance with the ADA and Limited English Proficiency regulations contact, (404)
848-4037. For those patrons requiring further accommodations, information can be obtained by calling the Telephone
Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 404 848-5665.
In addition, a sign language interpreter will be available at all hearings. If you cannot attend the hearings and want to
provide comments you may: (1) leave a message at (404) 848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424
Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30324-3330; (3) complete an online Comment Card at; (4) or fax
your comments no later than May 26, 2016 to (404) 848-4179.
All citizens of the City of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are affected
by the subjects to be considered at these hearings are hereby notified and invited to appear at said times and places and
present such evidence, comment or objection as their interests require.

Keith T. Parker, AICP, General Manager/CEO


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 3A



Thanks to a Georgia representative, one DeKalb County high school
senior is well on her way to funding her college education.
Rep. Hank Johnson recently announced the winners of his 2015
Congressional Arts Competition, naming Toni Hodges, an Arabia
Mountain High School senior, as the third runner-up.
Hodges will receive a $3,500 scholarship for The Art Institute of
Atlanta based on her work titled “The Moon’s View.”
A Newton County High School student was awarded a $12,000
scholarship for The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as the
grand prize. The first and second runners-up won $12,000 and $7,500
scholarships, respectively, to The Art Institute of Atlanta.
The students were reportedly chosen from more than 19 students
throughout DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton counties.
According to a release, Rep. Johnson has awarded more than
$315,000 in scholarships within District 4 since 2007.
“Every year, it warms my heart how such a diverse and talented
group of students compete in this annual event,” Johnson said. “Again
this year, we see the vision and artistry of 4th District students on full

In recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, DeKalb Medical is
partnering with Dermatology Associates to provide complimentary skin
screenings. The screenings will be offered on May 14, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at
Radiation Oncology Department, 2675 N. Decatur Road, Suite G09 in
Screenings are free to all but are limited. To reserve a screening
time, call (404) 501-WELL.
Free parking will be available in the parking lot outside of the
Radiation Oncology Center as well as the Wellness Center. Parking in
the deck requires a fee.

DeKalb senior receives $3,500 arts scholarship

aVoNDalE EstatEs
City to host fishing derby

Avondale Estates will host its annual fishing derby on May 7 at
Lake Avondale from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Fishers will compete for the best
catch of the day. Prizes are awarded for the largest fish caught, most
fish caught, youngest and oldest person to catch a fish. Awards will
be presented from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Lake Avondale is located at 59
Lakeshore Drive. For more information, visit


Lynwood Park Community Day scheduled
Lynwood Park Community Day will be held May 7, noon to 6 p.m.
at Lynwood Park, 3360 Osborn Road. The event will include a parade,
which will begin at noon, going from Lynwood United Methodist Church
of God in Christ to Lynwood Community Center. The event is open to all
ages and will include a cookout, band and games and activities for the
entire family. For more information, call (404) 637-0512.


City recognized in Main Street Program
The city of Chamblee was recognized at the state level for
facilitating and maintaining high standards of living.
Chamblee was accredited as a Classic Main Street Community for
2016 by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs following a year
of being designated a Main Street city.
The Main Street Program is an economic development effort
focused on preservation and community revitalization. Sponsored by
the National Main Street Center as well as the National Trust for Historic
Preservation, the program recognizes volunteers, business owners and
city stakeholders working together to implement city events.
For 2016, Chamblee states it will “work to introduce a public arts
program, assist with beautification efforts along Peachtree Road, and
assist with business recruitment and retention efforts.”
For more information, visit or contact the
city’s media outreach director Teresa Taylor at ttaylor@chambleega.
gov or (470) 395-2309.

Complimentary skin screenings available


Two officers take city police oath
The city of Dunwoody welcomed two new officers to its police
department at a regularly scheduled city council meeting.
Officers Chris Valente and Zach Woodburn took the oath to
protect and serve on April 25 before Chief Billy Grogan, Mayor Denis
Shortal, Dunwoody’s city council, and members of the public.
Valente served for two years as a DeKalb County police officer and
is a Marine Corps veteran with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He
has earned the Purple Heart and US Navy Achievement Medal.
Woodburn served the DeKalb County Police Department for two
years. He is a member of the Army National Guard and currently
studying criminal justice at Rhinehardt University.
“We’re excited to have both of them on our team,” Grogan said.


Opportunity School District community event
Marbut Traditional Theme and Arabia Mountain High School PTA/
PTSA Legislative Committees will host a STAND for Something
Community Empowerment Rally on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m.
– 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. An announcement
encourages the community to “come learn about the Opportunity
School District and meet your local state representatives.” There also
will be free health screenings, free concessions, give-a-ways, a fun
zone for kids, music, performances and more. Attendees also will have
an opportunity to register to vote for the November election. For more
information, to volunteer, or to become a vendor; send an email to or call: (404) 981-3893.

stoNE MoUNtaIN
City to host color vibe run

The Color Vibe 5K Fun Run will be held in downtown Stone
Mountain on May 14 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information and to
register visit


Alther armstrong

“When it comes to
kindheartedness and dedication,
Ms. Alther Armstrong is high on
the list,” writes friend Elsie Daniels,
who recommended Armstrong as a
Champion of the Week.
The only girl of siblings,
Armstrong served in the U. S. Army
for more than three years.
“Although her Army enrollment
is years in the past, she still lives
by the rule ‘everything must be kept
neat and clean,’” Daniels stated.
Applying this principal to the
streets in her neighborhood,
Armstrong “single-handedly
adopted the principle of ‘Adopta-Mile’ and removed trash and
debris from streets, sidewalks [and]
yards,” Daniels wrote. Armstrong
did this for eight years “rain, shine,
sleet or snow.”
“I love my community,”
Armstrong said about her volunteer
work in her Decatur neighborhood.

“I wanted to help…out because
[people] are constantly buying
and selling homes here. I thought
the properties would get the most
selling cost if [the neighborhood]
were clean.”
When her father was moved to
the Golden Living Center nursing
home in Decatur, Armstrong
focused some of her volunteer work
there where she visited him every
Armstrong became known as
the “The Cake Lady.”
“Faithfully, since 2002 she
baked three homemade cakes from
a variety of choice recipes every
month, without failure to be enjoyed
by all at the center,” Daniels wrote.
“Her delivery of these freshly baked
cakes has brought smiles and joy
to all at the Golden Living, as she
honors her father’s memory.”
Armstrong said, “They were
awfully nice to my daddy when he

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 4A

was alive. He died in 2004. They
gave him the best of care the
nursing home could give because I
was there every day to see that.
“So, I thought maybe because
of their dedication and commitment
to the patients, some of the
patients’ relatives need to show
them some kindness,” she said.
“That’s why I did the things that I
In a statement Golden Living
Center’s administration and
staff expressed their “thanks
and deepest appreciation to…
Armstrong for her heartfelt
commitment and dedication to
donating homemade cakes [and] for
the happiness [she brings] us here
at the center.”
“I didn’t do it to get recognition,”
Armstrong said. “Recognition is
not my thing. It doesn’t matter
to whether people know about
it or don’t. It’s not because of

Alther Armstrong

recognition. It’s because I felt a
need to help.”
Armstrong said everyone
should “do as the Good Book says:
Love your neighbor as you love

Ethics board may restrict public access to complaints
by Andrew Cauthen


esidents and
local media are
questioning plans by
the DeKalb County
ethics board to keep ethics
complaints secret until it
holds informal hearings on
them during public meetings.
According to rules that
the ethics board passed in
January, each complaint will
be considered a “separate
pending investigation at
the time it is reported” and
the “board’s records in any
pending investigation are
exempt from disclosure
under the Georgia Open
Records Act.”
The ethics board’s rules
that that complaints “shall
be made publicly available
on request 10 days after the
ethics officer closes the case
as not sustained or sends
the probable cause report to
the board.”
Stacey Kalberman, the
county’s new ethics officer,
said, “My thoughts on it are
in line with what the board
“Ethics boards get used
as political tools,” Kalberman
told the ethics board during
its April 21 meeting, which
was her first as ethics
officer. “Until you have had
a chance to actually review
the complaint, you are
subjecting the respondents
to a lot of...supposition and

Stacey Kalberman, the county’s new ethics officer, has asked the state attorney general for an
advisory opinion about restricting access to ethics complaints. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Kalberman said
the ethics board
“should have the right
to investigate something
to determine whether [the
complaint] has merit.
“If we don’t have the
ability to do that then we can
be used as political tools,”
she said.
Kalberman said she
saw that happen in the state
government where she held
a similar position.
“We did not release our
complaints at the state level,
and they are still not doing
that,” Kalberman said.
Kalberman said this

was the advice that was
given to her by Stefan
ritter, the former point
person on the Open
Records Act at the state
attorney general’s office,
and the current executive
director of the Georgia
Government Transparency
and Campaign Finance
Lesli Gaither, an
attorney with Kilpatrick
Townsend & Stockton law
firm which is representing
the Atlanta JournalConstitution and WSB-TV,
said an ethics complaint is
“an initiating record.”

“It’s not the investigative
record,” Gaither said. “It
is the record that initiates
the investigation. It’s akin
to a 911 record, which
are usually public, absent
very certain enumerated
circumstances in the
State law “makes it clear
that initial documents...
like initial police reports
and incident reports should
be public,” Gaither said.
“The public needs a bare
basic understanding of
what’s being investigated.
“The hallmark of the
ethics board is to increase

transparency, to increase
accountability and honest,”
Gaither said. “To reverse
the procedure and make
the complaints confidential
would be counter to that
and contrary to the Open
Records laws.”
Under the ethics board’s
procedures, the public
would not learn the specifics
of a complaint until the
board holds an informal
hearing during a public
ray Johnson, who
has filed several ethics
complaints over the years,
said, “Restricting public
access to records is not a
very good idea.
“We have...a hotline
where people can file
a confidential ethics
complaint,” Johnson said.
“But those of us who file
complaints publicly, we
want the media to know that
we filed those complaints,
because, to be honest
with you, the media does
about 80 percent of the
investigation on these cases,
not the ethics board.”
Johnson added,
“Closing the public access
to open records when
complaints are filed, I don’t
think you can do that under
state law.”
Kalberman said she
has requested an advisory
opinion of the state attorney
general’s office and expects
to have that by the next
ethics board meeting.

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016


MARTA Army’s Simon Berrebi talks with volunteer Harshath J.R. before the April 27 event.
Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Page 5A

County officials are making long-term plans to construct a government center on Memorial Drive across from Kensington MARTA station. Map provided

Center Continued From Page 1A

“Ride and Dine” guests visit the Yen Jing restaurant and hear from Victoria Huynh about
the Center for Pan Asian Community Services. Photo submitted

Bus Crawl Continued From Page 1A
wealth of Buford and also
experience first-hand some of its
Berrebi said it is important to
take Buford Highway by bus as
it wholly represents the area’s
residents and daily life.
“That’s what Buford Highway
is,” Berrebi said.
Harshath J.R., a MARTA
Army volunteer, said the No. 39
bus route is the most frequent
vehicle in the MARTA system,
picking up passengers every 12
“No other bus runs as
frequently,” Harshath said.
“That’s a testimony to how many
people work and live around [the
Buford Highway] corridor. Transit
needs to go where you want to
go to, and Buford Highway is
filled with the kinds of places
you want to go to: restaurants,
grocery stores, workplaces,
Harshath said when he wants
to try something new to eat,
he makes Buford Highway his
destination. He said bus travel
is often incorrectly perceived
as slower than train transit and
that the “39 Ride and Dine” was
an experience showcasing bus
“Trains don’t get stuck in
traffic and things like that,”

Harshath said. “But when a bus
comes as frequently as this–
around 10 minutes–people stop
looking at schedules completely
because you know they are
coming. It’s not just experiencing
the food culture of Buford
Highway, but also experiencing
the ease of taking a bus on
Buford Highway.”
Harshath said negative
stereotypes of buses are easily
discounted by the No. 39 route.
Passenger David Durand,
an Inman Park resident, said he
and his wife recently returned
from a trip to China and
wanted to keep their interests
“We know there are a lot of
good restaurants on Buford
Highway,” Durand said. “I’ve
lived here since 1974 and we felt
this would be a good insider’s
tip on the area. We’re looking
for a fun experience and always
eager to use MARTA when
it’s convenient; this is a good
opportunity to do that.”
For more information on We
Love BuHi and similar events
to the “39 Ride and Dine” bus
crawl, visit www.welovebuhi.
com. For more information on
the MARTA Army, including
information on volunteering, visit

purchased buildings that were designed and built for other
purposes and then we accommodated our purposes, whereas if
we design from the ground up to meet our needs, like a home or
anything else, it’s going to be much more efficient,” Williams said.
On April 12, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners
approved the sale of the Clark Harrison government office
building located at 330 West Ponce de Leon Avenue in Decatur.
Commissioners also restricted $12 million from the sale of the
building “for the purpose of constructing a new [government]
center,” Williams said.
“So we have already started moving in that direction with the
policy decision that the board made [April 12],” Williams said.
Williams said the new government building will be more efficient
and less expensive to operate.
When considering whether to construct a new building or
continuing to repair the old ones, “we wanted to think through the
total cost of owning a new facility versus what we are doing and
what we should be doing with our existing facilities,” Williams said.
The industry standard maintenance cost is $8.64 per square
foot buildings that are 20 years old or older, Williams said. “We
should be spending about $5.27 million a year. In fact, we’re
spending about $1.5 million. 
“In order to adequately maintain our existing facility we really
need to increase our budget by $3.7 million a year,” Williams said.
“However, if we were to build the space-efficient government
facility to house the...900 employees,...we would be paying at the
industry standard about $4.50 per square foot, or $1.35 million
which is actually less than we ...are spending right now,” he said.
“These facilities that are now averaging about 37 years old...are
only going to get that much more costly to maintain,” he added.
Robert Miller, a member of the SPLOST Citizen Advisory
Committee, pointed out that the county has never spent the
industry standard maintenance cost of $8.64 and “you’re not going
“So you’re not really saving that because you’re not going to
spend it anyway,” Miller said.
In response Williams said, it is “very unlikely” that the county
would spend that much money on regular building maintenance.
“But here’s the thing: Over time if we don’t—it’s like your house
[or] your car—you’re going to pay now or you’re going to pay more
later,” Williams said.
Approximately $40 million of the proposed $90 million price tag
would come from a proposed that is subject to voter approval in
While Miller said he supports the government building, he
questioned whether it should be in the SPLOST.
The SPLOST is for “broken things,” Miller said. “It seems to me
that the first priority needs to be to fix what’s broken...before we go
off and build a new building.”
Miller suggested that the county find another funding source for
the government center.

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016


Page 6A

One person’s art is another’s disdain
Large works of public
art—as in murals that
cover entire walls of underpasses, bridges and
historic buildings—seem
to be a current trend embraced by many towns
and cities across the
nation and around the
world. I am so not a fan
of these so-called works
of art.
I would much prefer to
see a clean brick or stucco wall with no visual clutter than to see a trendy
non-traditional work of
art that in a few years is
likely to be faded, peeling
and cracking.
There is great beauty
in aged stucco, brick and
mortar. There are many
stories hidden among the
cracks that give a building
or a transportation structure its unique charm and
character. Even a wall
covered in graffiti has a
certain charm about it.
Once a space has
been painted, to restore

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

that surface becomes a
daunting and damaging
task that would likely require paint remover, sand
blasting or some other
process that will no doubt
damage and weaken the
original materials and
compromise the structure.
To be fair, I have seen
murals that I do appreciate such as those that
depict the cultural or musical history of the town
or region and which are
almost portrait-quality
paintings. However, these

too will look faded in a
few years and will not
have the appeal that they
had when originally created.
I also am not a fan of
public art that in many
cases can be a dangerous distraction to drivers.
In many areas of Atlanta,
one may see expansive
underpasses or bridges
that have become urban
canvases. And, in many
of the creations, bright
colors and abstract designs are the focal points
of the art. These creations are meant to be
seen, but not seen while
driving in bumper-bumper
traffic or trying to avoid a
cyclist or pedestrian.
One such example
that I loathe sitting in
while waiting for a red
light to turn green is the
one created last year
for the railroad overpass
walls at Columbia Drive
and East College Avenue
in Decatur.

This creation is titled
Underwater Pass and
depicts a couple viewing
dolphins in what appears
to be an aquarium setting. A series of panels
shows the couple eventually with young children,
which I suppose is meant
to show the progression
of the couple possibly on
a first date, and then with
their children back at the
“We wanted to show
that change in imagination and how your views
change as time progresses,” said mural painter
Spencer King.
This is precisely my
point…views (and preferences) change as time
progresses. Appreciation
of trendy art also changes
over time and what may
be timely today will be
dated tomorrow.
Not only do views
change, but also deterioration occurs. What is
fresh paint now may be

faded and peeling in a
few years and will look
worse than the blank
slate of a brick wall or
concrete pylon did before
it was painted.
I like clean lines in architecture, non-cluttered
graphic design, open
spaces, soothing environments, calming colors
and subtle images.
Many murals remind
me of a carnival-like atmosphere with far too
much stimulation. The
colors are too bright; the
message is often juvenile
(think of the one located
in Decatur at East Howard Street that reads,
“take care of yourself
first”…duh…really? We
need art to tell us this
basic human instinct of
No offense intended
to Decatur readers, officials or art aficionados…
we all must admit that
one person’s art is often
another’s disdain.

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016


Page 7A


The Electoral College and you
“You win some, you
lose some. And then
there’s that little-known
third category,” former
Vice President Al Gore at
the Democratic National
Convention in 2004.
It was late on Tuesday,
Nov. 7, 2000, and my first
on-air presidential election as a political analyst. Sitting on the news
desk of Atlanta’s 11Alive
News with anchors Wes
Sarginson and Brenda
Wood, we watched the
Associated Press and every major broadcast and
cable news network call
the election in favor of
then-Texas Gov. George
W. Bush.
Vice President Al Gore
was en route to his victory party ballroom, to
give a concession speech
for his supporters, and
had already placed a congratulatory call to President-elect Bush. But then,
Gore and his campaign
team started to receive
calls that the margin was
closing in Florida and that
in addition to a heavy voter turnout in Miami-Dade,
Broward and Palm Beach
counties, all generally
favoring Gore, there were
also some problems with
balloting and at polling
And thus began the
longest U. S. presiden-

Bill Crane


tial election in modern
history, and perhaps the
greatest civics lesson
ever given on the U. S.
Electoral College.
Exit polls called Florida
for Gore early in the evening, as polls closed in
the East Coast time zone,
but in the Florida panhandle, and Central Time
Zone, folks were still voting. As the actual vote
tallies began, Bush held a
commanding lead.
The networks called
the state for Gore, then
moved their calls back to
neutral, and then calling
Florida for Bush, by 2:30
a.m., with 85 percent of
ballots tallied, Bush led
Gore by nearly 100,000
votes in the Sunshine
State. However, the bulk
of outstanding votes
remained in Broward,
Miami-Dade and Palm
Beach counties, all heavy
Democratic counties

and precincts, coming in
strongly for Gore. By 4:30
a.m., Gore had narrowed
the Bush margin to just
over 2,000, and into recount territory (a margin
of less than 1 percent).
At that point, Vice President Gore rescinded his
concession to the Texas
In addition to the narrow margin between
Bush and Gore, Green
Party nominee Ralph
Nader and his slate of
electors had also received 2.7 percent of
Florida’s popular vote.
With the help of overseas military ballots,
typically counted last and
sometimes received after
Election Day, Bush maintained a margin of 900
votes through that first
machine recount.
Gore challenged the
initially certified results
and the Florida Supreme
Court ordered the hand
recount of 70,000 ballots rejected by machine
counters, out of the
nearly 6 million ballots
cast—these were the ballots with many a “hanging
or dimpled chad.”
For the Electoral College to meet, Florida’s
slate of electors and the
final results needed to be
certified. The recounts
had already lowered the

Bush margin of victory
statewide to 537 votes.
The U.S. Electoral College is decided by the
majority of 538 Electoral
College votes.
On Dec. 12, 2000,
the U. S. Supreme Court
ended the Florida recount, as it was holding
up the Electoral College
and final election for the
office of president of the
United States. This gave
the Florida victory, by the
narrowest of margins, to
Gov. George Bush.
Although Vice President Gore won the popular vote by more than
half a million, Bush won
the 271 elector votes
required (Al Gore—265,
abstention—1) and the
Electoral College election
by only six votes, with the
margin of victory in Florida at only .0092 percent.
Eliminating the Electoral College, which is
periodically suggested,
would essentially result
in all campaign activities
and candidate appearances being focused on
major population centers
and large cities, where a
majority of the actual vote
A review of the popular
vote breakdown by party
would also easily demonstrate over the past four
or five presidential elec-

tions that most major U.S.
cities vote Democratic,
while the bulk of the land
mass of the United States
as well as suburban and
rural voters tend to favor
The Electoral College
was created to ensure
smaller states in stature
and population still mattered. But if not for those
hanging chads and the
resulting upgrades of
most every state’s election procedures and
equipment, most of the
United States citizenry
would still be unaware
that they actually vote for
a slate of electors and
that there is no direct vote
cast for candidates for
president of the United
States, unless you are
chosen as a member of
the Electoral College.
I’m still waiting on that
Bill Crane also serves
as a political analyst and
commentator for Channel
2’s Action News, WSBAM 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@

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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
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Geraldine Champion

The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 8A

Harold Dennis

Ted Golden

Kyle Keith Jones

Jeffrey L. Mann

Michael Williams

Five law enforcement pros challenging current sheriff
compiled by Andrew Cauthen

Six people with various
types of law enforcement
experience want to be
DeKalb County’s next
The seat is currently
held by Sheriff Jeffrey
Mann, who has been in
the position since March
2014 after former Sheriff
Thomas Brown resigned to
seek another office. Mann is
seeking re-election.
Voters will go to the
polls May 24 for the
Democratic primary.
Each candidate was
given a questionnaire
by The Champion with
instructions to limit answers
to 50 words. Answers that
were more than the limit
were truncated.
Name: Geraldine Champion
Bachelors of Art, criminal
justice, attended Georgia
State University; Associates
of Art, criminal justice,
DeKalb Junior College.
P.O.S.T. Certification
in Law Enforcement;
Islamic terrorism, hostage
Occupation:  Retired
What political offices have
you held in the past?  No
political offices held
Why are you seeking
this office? I am seeking
the position as DeKalb
County sheriff because I
am frustrated with the same
politicians telling the same
stories every year, yielding
the same results. I am the
only candidate that will
ensure an open door policy
for employees, and this
policy will extend to the tax
paying….(answer truncated)
What expertise do you
have that will help you
fulfill the duties of this
office? With a total of 26
years in law enforcement,
22 years as a robbery,

aggravated assault and
homicide detective in the
Atlanta Police Department
and 4 years as a detective
in the Riverdale Police
Department, I’ve also
received commendations
as a homicide detective
by the GBI and Atlanta
Police Department. (answer
Why should you be
elected (or re-elected) to
this office? I am the only
candidate vowing to give up
as sheriff my first month’s
pay to finance a certified
drug rehab program for
the jails. I will attend all
neighborhood association
meetings in DeKalb County
in order to ensure trust
between law enforcement
and the community. This
is just part….answer
What is your campaign
website address?
Name: Harold Dennis
High school graduate,
Clayton County Police
Academy graduate PSTI,
Aviation Atlanta pilot
Business owner
What political offices have
you held in the past?
Why are you seeking this
office? To make a positive
change for the residents
of the DeKalb County, by
tackling crime head on
and being a voice for the
youth and seniors to feel
safe in DeKalb County by
getting rid of gangs, human
trafficking, and individuals
who prey on our seniors. 
What expertise do you
have that will help you
fulfill the duties of this
office? My expertise
includes my countless
years as a law enforcement

officer and from working
at DeKalb County Sheriff’s
Office. Knowing the streets
of DeKalb, growing up in
DeKalb and having the
compassion for the people
of DeKalb gives me the
expertise that I need to run
DeKalb County. 
Why should you be
elected to this office?
Because I have the heart
and the passion for the
people of DeKalb. And I
want to take DeKalb back. 
What is your campaign
website address?
Name: Ted Golden
BA, MA in criminal justice,
University of Memphis 
Retired special agent, U.S.
Department of Justice Drug
Enforcement Administration
after 28 years of service
Why are you running
for Sheriff for DeKalb
County in Georgia?
DeKalb County, Georgia,
has the potential to
become a great county
with a virtual gold mine of
opportunity that could be
realized through hard work
and dedication of elected
leaders in collaboration
with committed citizens. By

assuming the leadership of
the sheriff’s office, I pledge
to restore the credibility,
professionalism…. (answer
What expertise do you
have that will help you
fulfill the duties of this
office? I bring 34 years of
law enforcement experience,
which includes 28 years
with the Drug Enforcement
Administration. I am
proficient at conducting
narcotics investigations, a
skilled manager of people,
resources, budgets,
information systems,
communications and media/
public relations. I had the
unique responsibility of
developing and implementing
these skills over the….
(answer truncated)
What political offices have
you held in the past?  
I have not held any political
Why should you be
elected to this office? 
Based on my experience,
training and education,
I have the insight and
ability to lead the DeKalb
County Sheriff’s Office in
better fulfilling its duties
and responsibilities to the
citizens of this county. I
am a dedicated husband
and successful father of 4
sons. I have served this
community in….(answer

Name: Kyle Keith Jones
Bachelor of Science degree
in criminal justice from
American Intercontinental

Retired law enforcement
officer. My career spans
more than 20 years. With
the last position held as
deputy sheriff lieutenant
administrative aide to the
What political offices have
you held in the past?  
Why are you seeking this
office?  To offer proven
leadership and experience
and to deliver the creative
solutions that residents
demand and deserve. To
help make DeKalb County
great by preventing and
reducing crime and achieve
the best quality of life for all
people by working to bring
businesses that will provide
challenging and well-paying
What expertise do you
have that will help you
fulfill the duties of this
office? Twenty plus
years of law enforcement
experience with DeKalb
County. Holding every

See Sheriff on Page 9A

Did you know?

Marijuana is addictive.

About 1 in 6 people who start using as
a teen and 25-50% of people who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana.
Marijuana affects the brain by causing harm to the developing brain, and can
alter memory, judgement, and motor skills.
Marijuana harms the body and mind, so constant use can lead to “burned out” feelings of
depression, anxiety and physical addiction. Simply put, marijuana can wreck your mind, your
body and your life. Being dependent on marijuana has some really negative effects such as low
self-esteem, depression, lack of motivation, and a drop in school grades and an increased risk of
several types of cancer.
Be Safe DeKalb!

For more information
Call (770) 285-6037 or


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 9A

SHERIFF Continued From Page 8A
rank from police officer, special
investigator, police sergeant,
commander of the police
department fraud and financial
crimes unit, supervisor of the police
department internal affairs unit,
deputy sheriff sergeant, and deputy
sheriff lieutenant administrative aide
to the sheriff.
Why should you be elected (or
re-elected) to this office? Many
citizens of DeKalb talk about
a north and a south DeKalb,
annexations, restructuring county
charters, communities splitting off
into enclaves and cities. I will be the
Sheriff who reaches across party
lines, districts, and demographics to
find solutions to meet the needs of
all citizens of DeKalb County.
What is your campaign website
Name: Jeffrey L. Mann
J.D., University of Michigan Law
School; B.A., University of Illinois
DeKalb County sheriff
What political offices have you

held in the past?
Current DeKalb County sheriff
(since March 2014)
Why are you seeking this office?
To continue moving our Sheriff’s
Office in the right direction:
Twenty-two years of proven
legal and executive level law
enforcement experience;
DeKalb Chief Deputy Sheriff for
9 years overseeing $75 million
Maintained Triple Crown
Accreditation designation.
Reducing recidivism and making
sure our office is run in fiscally
responsible manner.
What expertise do you have
that will help you fulfill the
duties of this office? Sheriff
since March 2014, successfully
operating Sheriff’s Office ethically,
with integrity, professionalism and
fiscal restraint. Ten years as chief
of staff/chief deputy sheriff directly
managed the day-to-day operations
of the Sheriff’s Office, including
860 budgeted staff. Represented
DeKalb police department and
Sheriff’s Office in legal matters for 8
Why should you be elected (or reelected) to this office?
Our record speaks for itself:

Installed deputy body cameras;
Arrested 90 percent of murder
suspects (2015);
Apprehended 80 percent of other
violent offenders (2015);
Issued hundreds of citations for
illegally passing school busses;
Successful inmate Drug and
Alcohol Treatment Program;
Championed GED program;
Launched inmate mental health
group therapy sessions.
What is your campaign website
Name: Michael Williams
Bachelor of Science in criminal
justice administration
DeKalb County District Attorney’s
Office investigator (major felony,
homicide, and public integrity)
What political offices have you
held in the past?
no political office held
Why are you seeking this office?
It is time for a new direction. The
safety concerns of the citizens of
DeKalb County must be first. It is

time for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s
Office to become actively engaged
in law enforcement duties, in
addition to the courts and the jail.
What expertise do you have that
will help you fulfill the duties
of this office? I am a 28-year
law enforcement veteran. I have
led and assisted in dismantling
organized crime organizations that
include: local, state, and federal
criminal prosecutions. I have
vast knowledge of court room
procedures, which has included
working with assistant district
attorneys, United States attorneys
and judges across the United
Why should you be elected
(or re-elected) to this office? I
possess the law enforcement
experience, leadership, and ability
to get the job done. I will collaborate
and cooperate with other law
enforcement agencies. My vision
is to be transparent in setting the
conditions for a safe and secure
community where every citizen of
DeKalb County can prosper.
What is your campaign website

Natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel, but for safety reasons, a chemical
odorant sometimes described as a “rotten egg” smell is added, making
the presence of gas detectable.
If you smell this odor:
• Alert others and leave the area immediately.
• Leave the door open as you exit.
• Avoid touching anything that may cause a spark. This includes starting
a car engine or using cell phones, lighters, matches, cigarettes,
flashlights, light switches or landlines.
• Go to a phone away from the area and call Atlanta Gas Light or 911.
Natural gas odors should be reported right away. Do not try to locate the
source of the smell.
If you smell natural gas, call Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321.

© 2016 AGL Resources Inc. All Rights Reserved. AGL-14344


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 10A

Longtime Superior Court judge faces challenger
compiled by Andrew Cauthen
An attorney from
Lithonia is trying to unseat
DeKalb County’s longestsitting Superior Court judge.
Stephone Johnson,
who worked in the solicitor’s
offices for Fulton County
and city of Atlanta, is
challenging Superior
Court Judge Clarence F.
Seeliger, who has been on
the bench since 1985.
They will face each
other in the May 24
Democratic primary.
Each candidate was
given a questionnaire
by The Champion with
instructions to limit answers
to 50 words. Answers that
were more than the limit
were truncated.
Name: Stephone Johnson
Education: Juris Doctor
from Oklahoma City
University School of Law
Occupation: Attorney
What political offices have
you held in the past? No
Why are you seeking this
office? DeKalb County
needs a judge who shows
the qualities of fairness,
patience, open-mindedness,
courtesy, firmness,
understanding, compassion
and humility. As an attorney,
community volunteer, and
parent, I have always
worked to consistently put
these qualities on display. I
pledge to bring these same
principles to the bench
every day.
What expertise do you
have that will help you
fulfill the duties of this
office? As a Senior
Assistant Solicitor with the
City of Atlanta Solicitor’s
Office I handled thousands
of cases. I worked for the
Fulton County Solicitor’s

continue to do so. I believe
in justice for all people,
and the DeKalb County
bench continues to need
experience, wisdom and

Stephone Johnson

Office where I prosecuted
cases on the State Court
level and opened a general
practice firm that handled
a variety cases throughout
the state of GA.
Why should you be
elected (or re-elected)
to this office? DeKalb
County needs a judge who
is firm but fair, patient and
understanding and not
afraid to make the tough
and correct calls. When I’m
elected I guarantee that
the rulings made will be
justly warranted decisions
ensuring the safety of all
citizens who live in and
around DeKalb County.
What is your campaign
website address?


Name: Clarence F.
Education: University of
Washington, BA, political
science (1963); Emory
University School of Law, J.
D. (1970)

Clarence F. Seeliger

Why are you seeking
this office? As a DeKalb
County judge, I have
enjoyed serving the citizens
of our county for over 35
years, and would like to

What expertise do you
have that will help you
fulfill the duties of this
office? As a judge for 35
years, I’ve gained a diverse
knowledge of the law by
presiding over criminal,
civil, and domestic cases
in DeKalb County. Many
of these cases involve
important issues, such as,
civil rights and domestic
violence. This experience
has trained me well.

Why should you be
elected (or re-elected)
to this office? In 1981, I
led the way in integrating
DeKalb Courts, and have
been recognized many
times for my constant
efforts to reduce domestic
violence. I’ve earned
a reputation as tough,
compassionate and fair–all
across DeKalb County–
precisely the type of judge
DeKalb County continues to
What is your campaign
website address?

Be a
Savvy Traveler
for just


Occupation: Judge,
DeKalb County Superior
Court, Stone Mountain
What political offices have
you held in the past?
Judge, State Court of
DeKalb County, 19811984; Judge, Superior
Court, DeKalb County,

EarlY VotING
tHroUGH MaY 20

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The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 11A


The Fernbank LINKS robotics team poses for a photo in St. Louis, Mo., with other teams sponsored by General Electric during the world robotics championship in St. Louis
April 27-May 1. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Fernbank LINKS’s robot made it to quarterfinal play
during the championship games.

Aaron Guo and Adrianna Cauthen man Fernbank LINKS’s pit at the championship games.

Players discuss plans for the 2017 robotics season after
the championship ended.

DeKalb County implements changes to garbage and recycling container requirements and collection
procedures April 18, 2016.
Only county-provided garbage and recycling containers are approved for sanitation collection service.
For more info, call or visit:

(404) 294-2900


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 12A

Dunwoody discusses LED
signage ban
by R. Scott Belzer

The Park at Pernoshal Court, which had its grand opening April 29, may be set to host Dunwoody’s
Food Truck Tuesday from June to August.

Dunwoody looks to continue park success
by R. Scott Belzer

Dunwoody hopes to expand on a
local event’s success by holding it at more
The city currently holds Food Truck
Thursdays at Brook Run Park, located
at 4770 N. Peachtree Road. Food trucks
from throughout metro-Atlanta gather to
sell goods and create a family-friendly
community atmosphere.
Bob Mullen, director of communications
for Dunwoody, along with Dunwoody
Homeowners Association (DHA) member
Bill Grossman, discussed the event’s
success at the city council’s April 25 meeting
and suggested holding similar events at the
newly opened Park at Pernoshal Court on
Tuesday evenings.
“[DHA’s] Food Truck Thursday at Brook
Run Park has been a phenomenal success
and is now one of the city’s premier events,”
reads the item memorandum. “This event
has exposed Brook Run Park to new
residents and increased park attendance
and awareness of our new amenities such
as the Dunwoody Trailway, and improved
dog park and community garden.”
Grossman said the first season of Food
Truck Thursday in 2013 ran for 23 weeks. In
2014, the event grew to 27 weeks. The third
season, beginning in April 2015, offered 31
“People know we do this every week
from April through October,” Grossman said.
“At Brook Run, we’ve never had anybody’s
car broken into and no one has ever been
Grossman said the Park at Pernoshal
Court would be the perfect expansion of
the food truck success due to its covered
pavilion and expansive, unused areas. The
DHA member proposed holding the events
on Tuesday, as no conflicts exist with cityoriented meetings.
Grossman also said the event would
begin with four trucks and two dessert trucks
as Pernoshal is smaller than Brook Run
Park. He said city-owned buildings close to
the park could provide overflow parking.
“There’s a lot of density close enough to
walk,” Grossman said.
The event would begin in late May after
schools have closed for summer break.
Mullen said the idea would “activate and
acclimate” the community and allow the

public to enjoy the new park’s facilities.
Grossman asked the council to approve
the city as principal sponsor for the 10
event dates. DHA currently pays $500 per
event for Food Truck Thursdays – for live
music and a sound engineer – and it’s
likely the Tuesday event would stay in the
same range, totaling $5,000, according to
Councilman Doug Thompson admitted
he was wrong in doubting Food Truck
Thursdays at the events inception and
voiced his fears in diminishing its success.
“I’m all in favor of Food Truck Tuesdays
at Pernoshal; we need to introduce or
reintroduce that park,” Thompson said. “My
only fear is that we’ll cut into Food Truck
Thursdays by having a Food Truck Tuesday.
We’ll need to monitor that or we’ll start to get
food truck overload.”
Councilman Terry Nall voiced his
concerns over parking, questioning whether
Pernoshal’s parking could accommodate
many people.
“I think we’ll potentially, with that kind
of traffic, create some enemies with the
apartments and condominiums at the end of
Pernoshal,” Nall said.
Grossman said there would be adequate
parking within a couple of blocks but said
the city officials would not know until they
“We would have to be very successful
for that to be an issue,” Grossman said.
“Those are the sorts of problems I want to
be able to deal with.”
Councilman John Heneghan said he
was “all in” and said Dunwoody should
fully fund the event on the grounds it did
not sponsor enough similar cultural events
or community activities. Heneghan also
suggested giving DHA more funding to
make the event better.
“DHA has done its fair share,” Heneghan
said. “They started it; they’ve been funding
it for a while. We, as city government should
do our fair share. If you need anything from
us [after this meeting] please come to us.”
Mayor Denis Shortal expressed
concerns over “oversaturating the market”
and taking business away from Dunwoody
“They pay a pretty big permit fee so we
have to keep that in sight,” Shortal said.
Grossman said he would propose
the idea to the Dunwoody Homeowners
Association at its May 1 meeting.

It could happen to anyone.
It’s late at night on a busy interstate or highway. Rain
falls on a car’s windshield, distorting any image between
the driver and the blacktop. Lights don’t seem to help
and roll by at an unimaginable pace from other cars,
causing drivers to squint or blink due to glare. A bright
sign from a nearby business or billboard illuminates the
area, causing even more glare.
There’s no telling what could happen next.
Dunwoody’s city council took steps in assuring such
a problem is less frequent within city limits during its last
meeting on April 25.
Kelly Hundley, on behalf of assistant city attorney
Lenny Felgin, presented a “consideration to re-adopt or
modify” a city ordinance prohibiting light emitting diode
(LED) lighting in Dunwoody. The DeKalb city adopted the
ban under its Code of Ordinances Sec. 20-51(22) when it
was officially made a city in 2008.
The code officially defines LED signs as “an
electronically controlled sign utilizing light-emitting diodes
to form some or all of the sign’s message.”
The ban recently became an issue following litigation
challenging Dunwoody’s authority in enforcing the city
ordinance. City staff subsequently took a look at the
ordinance and cleared up any language that could
undermine its authority.
“The reason I’m here tonight is, in part, an offshoot of
the billboard litigation the city has been involved in with
regard to signage down at the North Peachtree location,”
Hundley said. “During the course of that litigation, part of
the case involved an attack on the enforceability of the
LED prohibition in the city’s sign ordinance.”
Courts ruled in favor of Dunwoody, Hundley said, but
the fact the issue was even raised brought concerns to
city attorneys.
“[Sign industries] are very tenacious in pursuit of
issues they would like to pursue,” Hundley said.
Hundley presented 16 studies highlighting the
dangers of LED lighting to the council. They ranged from
reports written by the US Department of Transportation
to councils housed in Florida, Wisconsin, Massachusetts
and Pennsylvania.
The studies were relevant, he said, due to their
publication after Dunwoody’s incorporation and adopted
“The literature increasingly suggests that LED
signage presents more potential for distraction from the
driving task,” reads the overview. “As some of the studies
show, there appears to be a correlation between such
signage and increases in accidents and near-accidents.”
The attorney’s executive overview of the re-adoption
states “LED signage has a negative impact on the
public health, safety, and general welfare, including the
aesthetics of a community.”
Hundley called signage distractions stronger than
such distractions as passenger conversations or
adjusting the radio. The attorney said drivers are typically
not aware that distractions are occurring, making LED
signs all the more dangerous.
“The distraction caused by LED signage takes your
eyes off the road for two or more seconds,” Hundley
said. “Do you do something now with hopes you prevent
something awful from happening or do you wait until
something awful happens and act?”
Councilmen Terry Nall and Doug Thompson as well
as Mayor Denis Shortal said the evidence was clear in
the realm of public safety and recommended putting the
item on the consent agenda as soon as possible.
Hundley assured existing LED signage or LED
signage that has been deemed lawful in the past will not
be taken down, barring “significant changes.”


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 13A

Georgia Supreme Court throws out Taser death lawsuit appeal

The Georgia Supreme
Court announced April 26 that
it has thrown out the appeal
in a lawsuit against DeKalb
County Police officers after
a man died when they tased
him, according to a news
The Georgia Court
of Appeals should have
dismissed the four officers’
appeal on procedural
grounds, Chief Justice Hugh
Thompson writes for the
unanimous court, according
to the release.
As a result of the opinion,
the high court is remanding
the case to the lower
appellate court, and the case
ultimately will go back to the
DeKalb County State Court
where it will likely proceed to
a trial by jury.
According to the facts
of the case, on May 2010,
DeKalb County Fire Rescue
responded to a 911 call made
by employees of the Budgetel
Inn on Chamblee-Tucker
Road after they found a man
convulsing in one of the
rooms. The man, Audrecas
Davis, a 6-foot, 6-inch tall,
29-year-old man weighing
445 pounds, was on the floor
of a room with foam coming
out of his mouth and feces
covering the lower half of his
body, according to the news
His parents, Jimmy and
Annie Davis, said their son
suffered from hypertension
and was borderline diabetic.
Davis’s parents claimed
that “the evidence shows
their son was having a
medical emergency that
caused him to be in a
zombie-like state, and clearly
he did not understand what
was going on,” the release
stated. According to county
attorneys, however, when a
medic administered smelling
salts, Davis became agitated
and allegedly began to swing
his arms.
“Due to Davis’s size and
weight, the medic requested
additional fire rescue units
for help to move him into
the ambulance,” the news
release stated.
When the fire rescue
personnel tried to strap Davis
to the stretcher, he tore off
the straps, the news release
stated. Nine DeKalb County
Police officers responded
to the scene, including
Frank Kliesrath, Bernard
Gales, Keith Cintron and
Christopher Delon.
When Davis became
aggressive, two of the officers

were directed to use their
Tasers on Davis, according to
the news release.
The officers continued
trying to restrain Davis to get
him into the ambulance, the
news release stated. Due
to his size, however, they
were unable to handcuff
him, and they claimed Davis
continued to swing at them.
Another officer deployed his
Taser in the “dart mode,” but
Davis continued to resist
and wrestle his arms away
from officers. Only after the
second injection of Valium
were the officers able to
restrain his arms using
three pairs of handcuffs, but
then Davis began kicking,
according to the County,
hitting one of the officers in
the stomach. The officers
continued to tase Davis, a
total of at least six times. After
they finally secured Davis
face down on the stretcher,
the medic noticed that his
breathing was shallow.
Davis was transported to
DeKalb Medical Center and
pronounced dead shortly
after arrival.
Davis’s parents filed
a wrongful death lawsuit
in DeKalb County State
Court against a number of
parties, including Officers
Kliesrath, Gales, Cintron
and Delon. They also filed
a claim that the officers
violated Davis’s constitutional
rights and amounted to
unreasonable and excessive
force, according to the news
The officers then filed a
motion asking the court to
grant “summary judgment”
in their favor, arguing they
were protected by “qualified
immunity” and “official

immunity” from being sued,
the news release stated.
In March 2014, the
trial court denied summary
judgment to the four officers
who tased or supervised the
tasing of Davis, ruling they
were not entitled to immunity
and the lawsuit against them
should proceed to a jury trial.
The judge concluded that a
jury could possibly conclude
that the use of a Taser in
this case was not justified.
The judge also concluded
there was a question of fact
a jury should determine as to
whether Davis’s constitutional


jurisdiction of the appeal, we
vacate the judgment of the
Court of Appeals and remand
for proceedings consistent
with this opinion,” today’s
opinion says.
At issue in this case
is the type of appeal the
officers filed. Rather than
file an application to appeal,
petitioning the Court of
Appeals to allow them to
appeal the pre-trial ruling,
the officers filed a notice of
appeal, asserting they had
the authority to file a “direct”
or automatic appeal that
didn’t require the court’s
However, the state
Supreme Court recently
reiterated in Rivera v.
Washington, an opinion
it issued March 25, 2016,
that a court order denying
a motion based on an
immunity defense is not
directly appealable and must
proceed under “interlocutory”
– or pre-trial – procedures,
which require the filing of an
“Thus, here, the trial
court’s order denying [the
officers’] motion for summary
judgment was not directly
appealable,” the opinion
states. “Accordingly, instead
of affirming the judgment
of the trial court, the Court
of Appeals should have
dismissed the direct appeal.”

rights were violated by the
use of unreasonable force.
On appeal, the Georgia
Court of Appeals upheld the
trial court’s ruling in a onepage opinion. The officers
then appealed the Court of
Appeals ruling to the state
Supreme Court, hoping to
stop the case from going to
jury trial.
Initially, the high court
agreed to review the case
to consider the merits of the
officers’ immunity claims.
“However, because we now
determine that the Court
of Appeals did not have

DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management Public Advisory 
Interstate 85 & Oakcliff Industrial Court Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation 
May 6, 2016   
Advisory Issue Date 








June 6, 2016  
Advisory Close Date 

   This advisory is issued to inform the public of a receipt of an application for a variance submitted 
pursuant to a State Environmental Law. The Public is invited to comment during a 30‐day period on the 
proposed activity. Since the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has no authority to zone 
property or determine land use, only those comments addressing environmental issues related to air, 
water and land protection will be considered in the application review process. Written comments should 
be submitted to: Program Manager, Non‐Point Source Program, Erosion and Sedimentation Control, 4220 
International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, Georgia 30354. 
Type of Permit Application: Variance to encroach within the 25‐foot Sate Waters Buffer. 
Applicable Law: Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act O.C.G.A. 12‐7‐1 ET seq. 
Applicable Rules: Erosion and Sedimentation Control Chapter 391‐3‐7. 
Basis under which variance shall be considered {391‐3‐7.05(2) (A‐K)}: A 
Project Description & Reason for Initiating:  
I‐85 and Oakcliff Industrial Ct. Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project is a rehabilitation project of an 
existing sanitary sewer located between the North Fork of Peachtree Creek and just northwest of Oakcliff 
Industrial Ct. in the City of Doraville, GA.  Specifically, the site is located in land lot 314 & 318 of the 18th 
district in DeKalb County, GA. The proposed construction will include the rehabilitation of approximately 
2,275 linear feet of 10", 12", and 15" sewer pipe.  The project is needed due to the numerous sewer spills 
along the existing sewer outfall. 
Project Location: 
This project is located in land lot 314 and 318 of the 18th district of DeKalb County. Beginning at terminus 
of Oak Cliff Industrial Court and running south to Interstate 85 and continuing south to the confluence of 
the North Fork of Peachtree Creek for a total distance of approximately one mile.  
The Public can review site plans at 1580 Roadhaven Drive Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083.  Phone: 770‐


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 14A

DeKalb super, others discuss male mentoring importance
by R. Scott Belzer


eKalb County
School District
(DCSD) parents
voiced concerns
over discipline and male
leadership in classrooms
April 28 during a faceto-face session with
Superintendent Stephen
Green at Lithonia High
For more than an hour,
the group of more than 150
asked Green questions.
The event was the fifth and
final installment of “On the
Scene with Dr. Green,”
where communities are
encouraged to learn more
about the school system.
On April 28, questions
concerning school
discipline, contacting
Green directly and
improving test scores led
to a discussion about male
mentoring for students of
color. Green and regional
superintendent ralph
Simpson brought up the
2016 My Brother’s Keeper
The discussion
originated when a former
Lithonia High School
student admitted to being
a bad student, serving time
in prison and ultimately
becoming an educator. The
speaker said he went to the
“roughest, toughest” high
school to communicate
“I have a worry for
not only the youth of this
nation, but, specifically, the
African-American youth
community,” he said. “I just
left Towers High School
and they are starved for
men, for leaders.”
A Redan Middle School
parent spoke afterward,
stating the school needed
it badly. She related
how her son has been
harassed at school and
how communicating the
harassment to the district
proved to be problematic.
“I don’t think our [school
resource officers] are doing
anything,” she said. “There
are kids spending 15
seconds in the bathroom
fighting. A little girl was on
the news and died in that
Green said the district
is trying to get safety
officials, including police
and canines, in hallways
and classrooms to
identify problems. Green

Superintendent Stephen Green held the fifth and final “On the Scene with Dr. Green” at Lithonia High School. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

questioned increasing
surveillance and other
security measures while
relinquishing privacy.
“That’s a decision I
or the board may have
to make and it will not be
an arbitrary one,” Green
said. “Are we prepared to
move in that direction? Are
we going to have metal
detectors? These are all
things we’re going to have
to talk about if we decide to
go in that direction.”
Green brought the
issue back to males of
“We are committed,
as a school district, to
addressing this crisis,”
Green said. “We’ve
seen the disproportion in
suspensions, expulsions
and how that actually feeds
into the pipeline of prisons.”
Green said the My
Brother’s Keeper summit
on May 7 seeks to directly
engage with students. The
superintendent said the
goal is to communicate to
middle and high school
males of color that
someone appreciates,
cares for and invests in
their future.
“I’ve been about [that
idea] for 40 years, and
we’re going to pick up that
baton here,” Green said.
Simpson commended
the superintendent’s
candor in addressing the
issue so bluntly before
piggy-backing off Green’s
statements. Simpson said
recent meetings between
school officials involved
the creation of a uniform
mentoring program across
the district rather than
separate, independent

“We want something
consistent and uniform that
will address initiatives in all
of our schools,” Simpson
said. “[My Brother’s
Keeper] will provide
ongoing training as to what
that actually looks like all
throughout the year with
three major proponents:
academics, attendance
and discipline – ongoing
throughout the school
Simpson said the
school system is “losing
that battle” and could
no longer “knowingly do
nothing about it.”
Parents asked Green
for advice in increasing
parent involvement in
schools. Green joked
that “mandatory parent
involvement is always
tricky,” but also said he

would not mind seeing it in
certain schools.
“[Parent Teacher
Associations] are going
through a struggle right
now,” Green said. “We’re
going through transition
and change. We’ve tried to
extend and enhance many
opportunities for parents to
be involved.”
Eileen HoustonStewart, chief
communications and
community relations officer
for DCSD, said the district
is open to advice from
parents. Houston-Stewart
also outlined employment
opportunities for parents
and regional parent centers
for each student.
“We need your help,”
Houston-Stewart said. “We
want to get ideas from you
as to those things that will
help bring parents out.”

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Some attendees
raised concerns about
opening a dialogue with
Green or having a basic
conversation over the
“It seems like [DCSD]
is kind of like the FBI and
[Green] is the president,”
said one parent.
Green instructed
parents with concerns
to follow the “chain of
command” in contacting
their respective principals.
Principals contact regional
superintendents who
subsequently contact
Green’s office.
Since September 2015,
“On the Scene with Dr.
Green” has taken place
at Stone Mountain High
School, Chamblee High
School, Columbia Middle
School and Fernbank
Elementary School.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 15A

DeKalb County School District purchases $167K microscope
by R. Scott Belzer

DeKalb County
School District (DCSD)
students can expect to
have a new tool when
studying science.
The board approved
the purchase of a
scanning electron
microscope (SEM)
totaling $167,858 on
April 18 during its work
session, stating “the
equipment … would bring
[DeKalb County School
District] students back
to the leading edge in
comparison to students in
other districts.”
Douglas Hrabe,
director of the Fernbank
Science Center,
presented the item
before the board saying
that the current electron
microscope available to
students is outdated.
“The original electron
microscope at Fernbank
Science Center was
installed in the 1970s,”
Hrabe said. “It’s become
very dated and actually
impossible to use.”
The microscope
afforded students as
young as fifth-graders
knowledge in developing
images of scientific
specimens. However,
according to district
documents, services, use
and maintenance on the
microscope cost DCSD
approximately $15,000
per year.
In addition, certain
solutions required to use
the microscope are now
banned in classrooms.
The new microscope,
purchased from Hitachi
High Tech, will require
approximately $1,500 per
year in maintenance and
be conducted by a trained
Fernbank staff member.
Advantages to
the new system also
include remote access
to classrooms and digital
storage. Hrabe said the
most exciting aspect
is that the equipment
could be accessed and
controlled from any
classroom in the county.
“The proposed

system saves images in
a variety of formats and
we’ll be able to distribute
those electronic files via
the network to all the
schools throughout the
system,” Hrabe said.
“This is not something
tied to Fernbank Science
Center, and after training,
teachers throughout
the district will be able
to access and use
the scope from their
individual classrooms.”
Hrabe went said the
new microscope also has
new capabilities which
can be used in all science
classes. While the former
system captured images,
the new microscope
will be able to conduct
chemical analyses.
“It’s not just going to
be for biology,” Hrabe
said. “It’s going to be for
geology, forensics and
a lot of other classes.
We’re trying to stretch
this across the realm of
schools out there.”
Hrabe said the
district could sell their 41
year-old microscope for
approximately $30,000
and the incoming

microscope was
priced with a $29,000
educational discount. The
microscope was chosen
from three bids with
prices of $159,000 and
Board member
Vickie Turner called the
microscope an “exciting
piece of equipment,” and
praised its availability to
all students and teachers
in the district.
“I just want to make
sure all of our children
have access,” Turner
Board member
James McMahon asked
about an estimated
time of arrival for the
microscope and was
informed it could be
installed within 30 to 45
days. McMahon also
suggested that board
members have their own
hands-on experience in
the fall.
Hrabe said the
delivery time of the
microscope set it apart
from others, with the
others not being available
for three and six months.
“We can hopefully

hit the ground running in
August,” Hrabe said. “It’ll
be an exciting time.”
The item was placed
on April 18’s consent
agenda and subsequently
approved during the

board’s business meeting
with board member Stan
Jester opposing as well
as Marshall Orson and
Michael Erwin absent.

Monday, May 9, 2016
5:45 p.m.

J. David Williamson Board Room
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

The DeKalb County Board of Education will hold a public budget
hearing to solicit feedback from the public regarding the 20162017 school system’s budget.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 16A

Rafi Junaid said he chose to open his business in
Decatur because he found the city delightful from the
first time he came there.

Although he owns a larger facility in Snellville, Junaid does many repairs in the Decatur store. Photos by Kathy

Jeweler makes special items for Mother’s Day, other occasions
by Kathy Mitchell

Sunshine Jewelry and Watch
Repair on East Ponce de Leon in
Decatur held its grand opening April
29, just in time to kickoff sales for
what the National Retail Federation
(NRF) says is a major shopping
According to the NRF, Mother’s
Day, which this year falls on May
8, is one of America’s foremost
spending events. Jewelry is among
the top spending categories for the
108-year-old commemorative day,
exceeding flowers, clothing and
personal service experiences in
terms of dollars spent and matching
and some years exceeding, what is
spent on special meals and other
In the NRF consumer spending
surveys in recent years, Mother’s
Day has ranked as the third-largest
spending event, coming behind
the combined winter holidays
(Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s
and others) and back-to-school
shopping. While nearly two-thirds
of respondents in the NRF surveys
say they will shop for their mothers
or stepmothers, approximately 22.5
percent shop for their wives and
a significant number also shop for
grandmothers, aunts and other
special women in their lives.
Rafi Junaid, owner of Sunshine
Jewelry, said there is always a
boost in sales around such giftgiving events. “We always see an
increase in shopping near Mother’s
Day, Valentine’s Day and, of course,
Christmas,” said Junaid, who has
been a wholesale jeweler and

After moving to the United
States to be with the woman who
would become his wife, Junaid,
whose books are in Persian, found
he was unable to earn an adequate
living as a writer and returned to
his other skills—watch and jewelry
repair and jewelry crafting.
Sunshine Jewelry and Watch
Repair features a combination of
items from major manufacturers
and pieces Junaid had made. It also
carries a line of antique watches. He
chose the name Sunshine, he said,
because he saw the new business
as a fresh, bright light in his life.
“In Persian, the word sunshine—in
addition to describing rays from the
sun—means ‘delight of life,’” he
Junaid said the store has done
well in its first six months because
of community support. One of the
biggest hurdles in opening a new
Junaid learned watch repair and other jewelry-related skills when he was still a child.
business, he said, is gaining a
reputation in the community. “People
have to get to know you. Once
had a retail store with a partner
made a lot of friends in the United
they know that you are skilled and
in Alpharetta before opening his
States before, but here I have
reliable they will tell others about
Decatur business.
formed so many relationships—so
“After my business partner
many friendships.”
“Many of my customers come
decided to close the other store, I
A native of Afghanistan, Junaid
for the first time to have a watch or
decided it was time to open a store
learned the jewelry business as
piece of jewelry repaired. Then they
that was entirely mine. I chose
a child. After his human rights
Decatur because I just liked it from
activist father was killed in a political learn that I can design and make
any type of jewelry they would like.
the first time I visited. My wife and I
conflict, Junaid was forced to go to
I also can take jewels they own and
had dinner here one evening. After
work at age 9 to support his mother
we ate we walked around for a while and younger siblings. He found work put them in a different setting or take
gold, silver or platinum and melt it
and Decatur just felt right to me,”
in the jewelry business and by age
down to make a different piece of
Junaid recalled.
14 he owned his own shop.
jewelry,” he explained.
He said his positive feelings
Despite having to work Junaid
Junaid has a jewelry
about Decatur have grown in the six completed his education, including a
manufacturing facility in Snellville,
months he has had a business in
college degree. He became a writer
but many repairs are done in the
DeKalb’s county seat. “People here
with five books of poetry and prose
Decatur shop.
are so friendly,” Junaid said. “I hadn’t published.



May 5 - 11, 2016 • Page 17A



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The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 18A

Thirteen teams advance in soccer playoffs

by Carla Parker
Thirteen soccer teams from DeKalb
County will play in the second round of
the state playoffs on May 3 and 4.
Scores for the games were not
available by press time.
In Class AAAAAA, Lakeside boys’
and girls’ teams advance to the second
round. No. 2-ranked Lakeside boys (190) defeated South Cobb 2-1 on April
27. They hosted No. 9-ranked Norcross
May 3 at Hallford Stadium.
Lakeside girls’ (14-1-2) defeated
Douglas County 6-0 in the first round
on April 27. The team hosted Mill Creek
May 4 at Hallford Stadium.
In Class AAAAA, Dunwoody boys’
and girls’ soccer teams advanced to the
second round. No. 10-ranked Dunwoody
girls’ (11-4-1) defeated Sequoyah 1-0 on
April 27. They hosted Richmond Hill on
May 4 at North DeKalb Stadium.
Dunwoody boys’ (12-6-1) defeated
North Atlanta 1-0 on April 26 in the first
round. They hosted Houston County
May 3 in the second round on May 3 at
North DeKalb Stadium.
In Class AAAA, No. 9-ranked
Chamblee girls, No. 2-ranked Cross
Keys boys, No. 1-ranked Marist girls,
No. 2-ranked St. Pius girls and No-8
ranked St. Pius boys all advanced to the
second round.
Chamblee (10-5) defeated HeritageCatoosa 6-0 in the first round on April
27. They traveled to Wayne County May
4 for the second round matchup.
Cross Keys (14-2-1) defeated
Pickens County 4-0 on April 26 in the
first round. The team hosted Mary
Pearsons on May 3 in the second round
at Hallford Stadium.
Marist (18-0-1) defeated Northwest
Whitfield 6-0 April 27 in the first round.
They hosted Upson-Lee May 4 in the
second round.
St. Pius girls (14-4-2) defeated
Southeast Whitfield County 10-0 in the
first round on April 27. They hosted
Veterans on May 4 in the second round.
The boys (14-5) defeated Northwest
Whitfield 3-0 on April 26 in the first
round. They hosted Wayne County May
3 in the second round.
Decatur boys’ and girls’ teams
advanced to the second round of the
Class AAA state playoffs. The girls
(11-5-2), ranked No. 2 in Class AAA,
defeated Islands 6-0 on April 29. They
hosted Oconee County May 4 in the
second round. The boys (12-3-2),
ranked No. 3, defeated Islands 4-0 on
April 28 in the first round. They hosted
Jefferson May 3 in the second round.
Paideia boys’ and girls’ teams
advanced to the second round in the
Class A state playoffs. No. 8-ranked
Paideia girls (11-7-1) defeated Towns
County 3-0 April 29 in the first round.
They traveled to Fellowship Christian on
May 4 for the second round matchup.
The boys (10-3-3), ranked No. 2,
had a bye in the first round and hosted
Pinecrest Academy May 3 in the

Lakeside’s Olivia Cohen scored two goals in the win over
Douglas County. Photos by Mark Brock

Lakeside’s Saul Tinoco scored two goals to help defeat
South Cobb.

Dunwoody’s Miguel Martinez, right, steals the ball from a
North Atlanta player.

Dunwoody’s Josh Bonstroph scored on a goal in the
first-round playoff win against North Atlanta.


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 19A

Sharman White wins NHSCA’s boys’ basketball coach of the year
by Carla Parker
Miller Grove High School boys’
basketball coach Sharman White will
have another award to add to his trophy
White was named the National High
School Coaches Association’s (NHSCA)
Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.
“It feels great because for me it’s
a direct reflection of the great players
and coaching staff that help make a
recognition like this possible,” White
In March, White led Miller
Grove to its seventh state basketball
championship in eight years with a 30-2
record. He has compiled an overall
record of 372-90 during his 20-year
coaching tenure.
White, who in 2014 was named the
USA TODAY All-USA Coach of the Year,

Sharman White. Photo by Travis Hudgons

was recently named as an assistant
coach for the 2016 USA Basketball
Men’s U17 World Championship Team
that will compete in the FIBA World
Championship. The United States has a
23-game winning streak in the event.
“We are extremely pleased to honor
Coach White,” said Bobby Ferraro,
executive director of the NHSCA, said.
“Coach White has established Miller
Grove as one of the best high school
basketball programs in Georgia and in
America. He exhibits a strong dedication
to supporting and developing high school
This year, the NHSCA will be
honoring high achievers in the high
school coaching community by naming
coaches of the year in 20 boys’ and
girls’ sports. It’s the 17th consecutive
year that the NHSCA has presented its
National Coach of the Year Awards.

Four baseball teams advance to second round

by Carla Parker

Decatur, Lakeside, Marist and St.
Pius X have moved on to the second
round of the state baseball playoffs.
Decatur advanced to second round
of the Class AAA state playoffs after
sweeping Southeast Bulloch on April
29. Decatur won the first game 12-5,
and won the second game 14-1.
Decatur traveled to Cedartown
May 4 for the second round matchup.
Scores were not available by press
In Class AAAA, Marist swept
Ridgeland (7-0, 20-1) to move on to the
second round. They will host Veterans
in the second round on May 5. Scores
were not available by press time.
St. Pius swept Pickens County (20, 8-0) to advance to the second round.
St. Pius traveled to West Laurens for
the second round on May 4. Scores
were not available by press time.
Lakeside advanced to the second
round of the Class AAAAAA state
playoffs after sweeping Westlake (7-

6, 8-6). They traveled to Lambert on
May 4 for the second round matchup.
Scores were not available by press

Other scores
Newnan 12, Tucker 1
Newnan 12, Tucker 0
Cambridge 13, Southwest DeKalb 1
Cambridge 10, Southwest DeKalb 4
Dalton 12, Dunwoody 0
Dalton 12, Dunwoody 5


Forsyth Central 10, Druid Hills 0
Forsyth Central 6, Druid Hills 0
Class AAAA
Heritage-Catoosa 4, Chamblee 5
Heritage-Catoosa 12, Chamblee 2
Cartersville 12, Redan 3
Cartersville 11, Redan 0


Southwest DeKalb baseball team fell to Cambridge in two games in the first round of
the state playoffs.

St. Pius X

Photos by Travis Hudgons


The Champion FREE PRESS, Friday, May 6, 2016 • Page 20A

Lithonia selected to have Georgia civil war heritage trails
by Carla Parker

Two Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails roadway “trailblazer” signs will be placed in

Lithonia will soon be included
in the Georgia Civil War Heritage
During its May 2 regular
meeting, the Lithonia City Council
approved a motion to have
two roadway “trailblazer” signs
placed in the city. Georgia Civil
War Heritage Trails roadway
“trailblazer” signs are currently
being installed in segments along
various portions of each trail.
The Georgia Civil War
Heritage Trails is funded by
the Georgia Department of
Transportation and is a driving
trail that documents General
William Tecumseh Sherman’s
march to the sea. Sherman
served as a general in the Union
Army during the American Civil
War from 1861 to 1865.
Lithonia Mayor Deborah
Jackson said State Rep. Doreen
Carter made her aware of the
city’s addition to the trail and
Carter expressed her support.
Jackson said she support the
markings as well.
“It’s a way to promote the

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city,” Jackson said. “We’ll be on
the state’s website and we’ll be
one of the destinations. There are
people who actually follow this
experience and it’s no cost for the
city. I think it’s a great opportunity
for the city to be a part of the
heritage tourism.”
The Civil War Heritage Trails
travel across state borders on
multiple historic driving routes
throughout Alabama, Georgia
and South Carolina, according to
its website. Each trail follows the
route of one of the American Civil
War’s major military campaigns or
other important events.
According to the Civil War
Heritage Trails website, more
than a dozen new driving trails
will link together the history of
the Civil War era throughout
Alabama, Georgia and South
Carolina and the states’
battlefields, its social, cultural and
political history.
“They’re saying [Sherman]
came through Lithonia,” Jackson
said. “Either he came or his
troops came. There are different
stories about maybe Sherman
himself came and that he stayed
here over night.”