the DeKalb

FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 11 • FREE

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


on Orlando
death of Ali
by Kathy Mitchell

Imam Plemon T. El-Amin
of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam
recently spoke on radio about two
current events especially affecting
the Muslim community—the June
3 death of athlete and civil rights
activist Muhammad Ali and the
June 12 shooting at the Orlando,
Fla., nightclub Pulse that left 50
dead and many injured.
El-Amin retired after 23 years
as resident imam at Atlanta Masjid
of Al-Islam, which describes itself
as “one of the largest and most
progressive mosques in the United
States.”  Under his leadership, the
Atlanta Masjid developed the Clara
Mohammed Elementary and W.
Deen Mohammed High Schools in
the DeKalb County neighborhood
of East Atlanta.  A graduate of
Harvard University, El-Amin has
served as a faith advisor to three
Atlanta mayors and to two Georgia
governors.  He is a member of the
Religious Advisory Board of Emory
On the WRFG-Atlanta 89.3FM
program Just Peace producer
Heather Gray interviewed ElAmin on the headline-making
events. Of the Orlando shootings,
he said, “[The incident] from my
standpoint was one sick person
who committed a horrendous act
that has nothing to do with me or
my religion.”
El-Amin deplored that when a

See Orlando on Page 5


A visitor to the makeshift memorial for the victims of the Pulse night club shooting, relights a candle after an afternoon rain shower, at the
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, in downtown Orlando, Fla. Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP





DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 2A

Orlando shooting impacts DeKalb LGBT community
by Horace Holloman

circumstances of Orlando’s
night club shootings.
“I’m going to have a
booth at Pride, which means
I’m going to be trapped in
the center of a very public
area. People are scared,”
Crook said. “But in a weird
way, being in a group makes
us feel comfortable.”
In Doraville, members
of advocacy group Queer
Youth For Equality (QYFE),
found strength in numbers
when they protested at
Doraville’s City Hall before a
June 13 council meeting.
Group representative
Hasenna Peera, 23, said
QYFE wanted the city
to adopt a resolution to
declare June 26 as LGBT
Equality Day. Peera said
the resolution would send a
strong message to the local
gay community.
“This is extremely
important. Because of
Orlando, it kind of reaffirms
our belief that this may seem
little, but it’s for a much

bigger statement. Tragedies
like Orlando can happen
if the government doesn’t
recognize it. Our way of
life is still being threatened.
It’s threatened every day,”
Peera said.
In a somber way, Peera
said Orlando’s shootings
helped spark a conversation
and garnered support in the
Peera said the LGBT
community’s fight for rights
is no different from any
other civil rights movement.
During the Doraville protest,
more than 25 members of
QYFE came out to show
their support.
The group plans to
spread their message to


Brookhaven and Chamblee
However, something
that happened a day before
the protest took Peera by
surprise. Doraville Police
Department Captain T.K.
Gordon called Peera
personally to assure her that
she and QYFE would be
safe during their protest.
“Just that gesture alone,
it was huge. It really spoke
to me. That’s one of the
best experiences I’ve had
with police. The Doraville
Police Department was
really there for me,” Peera
said. “That was the most
shocking and best news that
I got. It shows we can come

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On a regular basis,
Decatur-based counselor
Bryan ‘Orion’ Crook helps
teens of the lesbian, gay,
bisexual or transgender
(LGBT) community with
issues of sexuality and
Now, Crook also finds
himself helping LGBT teens
with another issue—fear.
On June 12 around
2 a.m., gunman Omar
Mateen, 29, killed 49 people
in Pulse nightclub, a popular
gay club in Orlando.
Those killings affected
many people throughout the
world, but particularly those
in the LGBT community,
Crook said.
Crook, 31, a 10-year
licensed counselor, said
clubs such as Pulse are
considered safe havens
in the LGBT community, a
place where some may find

“A lot of gay individuals
find safety in the gay club.
It’s the first time they can
be in a room full of gay
people their own age and
be themselves,” Crook
said. “A lot of them are still
processing coming out to
their families. This is not
just a simple thing that
happened. Targeting the gay
community like this affects
so many.”
Crook said the
shockwaves of the Orlando
attack compelled him to offer
free counseling services
at his practice, Orion
Psychotherapy, in Decatur
for anyone struggling to
cope with the shootings.
Crook also plans on
attending the 45th annual
Atlanta Pride Festival this
year. Atlanta Pride coincides
with national Coming Out
Day, Oct. 10-11.
However, Crook said
he may feel a little uneasy
going to this year’s Pride
festivities considering the

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Church to host children’s camp carnival

Avondale First Baptist Church and its Avondale Kids Camp will kick
off its carnival event June 25. The 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. event will feature
free snow cones, face painting, magic, a bouncy-house and slides. The
church is located at 47 Covington Road. For more information, visit


Burger event back for second year
The second annual Bud-n-Burgers Festival will be held at
Brookhaven Park June 25 from 12:30 to 7 p.m. The free festival will
showcase nearly 25 local restaurants and their burgers competing for
a chance to win a share of $10,000 in cash and prizes. Entertainment
lineup includes Tonic, Civil Twilight, Kick the Robot, The Quaildogs and
Francisco Vidal. The park is located at 4158 Peachtree Road. For more
information, visit

City to host food truck event
Brookhaven will host its weekly Food Truck Roundup June 29
at Blackburn Park from 5 to 9 p.m. The event takes place every
Wednesday until Sept. 28. There is free parking, an estimated 15
food trucks, local vendors and adult beverages will be available for
purchase. The park is located at 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road. For
more information, visit


City to auction surplus vehicles
Chamblee recently announced several vehicles and pieces of
equipment as surplus requirements. As such, they will be auctioned
off by Brown & Brown Wrecker Service, located at 3854 N. Peachtree
Vehicles and equipment include a 2000 International 4900, three
2000 Ford F650s, one 2000 Genie TMZ towable boom lift, a Dewalt 12”
miter compound saw, a six-foot front loader bucket for tractors, and a
small concrete mixer.
Sales from the surplus vehicles and equipment will be credited to
the sale of capital assets.
For more information, visit


Celebrate Summer Solstice with yoga
Join Decatur Active Living and
Cheryl Burnette to welcome in the
longest day of the year with a Summer
Solstice Yoga Practice. This is Decatur
Active Living’s third annual celebration.
“Throughout history, many cultures have
associated the summer solstice with a
renewal of mind, body and spirit and a
celebration of the sense of joyfulness
and fun that the sunshine evokes in all of
us,” a release states.
The event will be held on June 25
at 9 a.m. on the courtyard of Beacon
Municipal Complex with a morning
practice that includes asana, sun
salutations and more. If it rains, the
event will move to the Ebster Recreation
Center gym, adjacent to the courtyard
space. The event is free, but donations
for the Decatur Youth Fund will be
Photo by Travis Hudgons
For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Burnett at cheryl. or (678) 553-6541.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 3A


Food Truck Rally delayed, returned to original
Doraville has announced
that their food truck rallies
will be moved to their original
schedule of once per month.
The third Saturday of every
month, from 11 a.m. to 3
p.m., food trucks of all types
will be seen downtown
Doraville, an event that has
recently taken place every
second and fourth Thursday
from 5 to 9 p.m..
The next Doraville
Food Truck Rally has been
Photo by R. Scott Belzer
moved to July 16 at 3725
Park Avenue near Doraville City Hall. For more information, visit www.


City hosts 4th of July Parade
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association and Dunwoody Crier will
host the city’s annual July Fourth parade. The parade route will begin at
9 a.m. and proceed two miles along Mount Vernon Road between Jett
Ferry Road and Dunwoody Village.
According to the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association, this year’s
theme will be “Duty, Honor & Country.”
The parade is set to feature marching bands, floats, clowns,
animals and local celebrities. According to city officials, the 2015
parade featured 2,500 participants and 32,000 spectators. Spectators
are encouraged to set up seating along Mount Vernon Road before the
event begins.
The event’s closing ceremony will include a small play area for
children, food and a dunk tank.
For information on the parade, contact Pam Tallmadge at (770)
354-7653 or For information regarding
road closures and traffic information, contact the Dunwoody Police
Department at (678) 382-6900.


Public history day scheduled to preserve historic
church’s story
Historic Antioch A.M.E. Church, located in Stone Mountain, will
partner with Georgia Humanities, the Center for Public History at the
University of West Georgia and Agnes Scott College to offer a history
day for the general public in an effort to preserve the history of the
church. The event will take place on Saturday, July 16, from 8:30 a.m.
to 2: p.m. at Antioch A.M.E. Church.
Established in 1868, Antioch was the first church founded by
African Americans in Decatur following the Civil War. The day will begin
with breakfast at 8:30. Workshops will begin at 9 on African American
genealogy and at 10:30 on preserving family heirlooms. In addition, a
“History Harvest” will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., in which participants can
bring their photographs and documents related to church history to
be scanned. These items will be used to build a digital archive of the
church’s history. Lunch will be served at 11:30, and professor Larry
Rivers of the University of West Georgia will end the day with a talk
at 1 p.m. on the history of the A.M.E. Church, with a focus on the local
history of Antioch.
The church is located at 765 South Hairston Road in Stone
Mountain. More information is available at The
event is free and open to the public; space is limited. Those wishing to
attend are encouraged, but not required, to RSVP via Eventbrite: www.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 4A

Photo by Travis Hudgons

Taxes on the rise
for Avondale
City officials discuss
possible property tax
CJI Guns co-owner Ron Moon said he isn’t worried about a potential bill in Georgia that could ban assault rifles.
Photo by Horace Holloman

Gun debate reloaded
Orlando shooting fires up gun debate in DeKalb/
Decatur State Rep. wants assault rifle ban
by Horace Holloman


he debate over assault rifle use and
gun bans in America flared up once
again in the wake of Orlando’s deadly
nightclub shooting.
Days after gunman Omar Mateen used an
AR-15 to kill 49 people and injured 53 others
in a popular nightclub in Orlando on June 12,
State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur,
said it’s time to revisit legislation that
would ban the “possession, sale, transport,
distribution or use of certain assault weapons.”
Proposed House Bill 731 would ban
assault weapons, large capacity magazines,
armor-piercing bullets and incendiary .50
caliber bullets.
HB 731 is sponsored by Oliver, along with
five other Democratic state representatives.
“The Orlando tragedy reminded me that
there are a lot of people in Georgia who
care about this issue. This is another chance
for discussion,” Oliver said. “All I want is a
discussion and a chance to work together.”
Oliver said similar bills have passed in
other states.
Currently seven states—Maryland,
California, Connecticut, Hawaii,
Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York—
have restrictions on AK-47s, AR-15s or highcapacity magazines.
“This is a national issue. More than
half a dozen states have passed bans.
This isn’t new. It started with the tommy
gun bans beginning in 1934,” Oliver said.
“It was based on criminals out arming and

overpowering the police.”
However, Oliver said she knows there will
be an uphill battle for HB 731 to be passed.
In 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new
law, nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill,” into
effect. The bill allows licensed users to carry
guns into bars, nightclubs, school classrooms,
and certain government buildings that lack
security personnel or security devices.
Ron Moon, co-owner of CJI Guns in
Tucker, said he’s not worried about Oliver’s
proposed ban.
“Georgia’s a pretty conservative red state
and it’s controlled by Republicans in both the
House and the Senate. There are just too
many people in the state of Georgia that own
them,” Moon said. “People like them. People
like to shoot them. We are a red state and we
like our guns.”
Moon said after the Orlando shooting,
some of his distributors have told him the
AR-15 guns are, “flying off the shelves,” while
other distributors still have plenty in stock.
“I had a guy come in the other day and
he bought his first gun. He bought it for the
simple reason that he thinks bad people have
guns and he wants to protect himself in a
public place,” Moon said. “That shooting that
happened in Orlando, if there was someone
else armed in that nightclub, (Mateen) might
have got off a few rounds before a good
armed citizen would have shot him.”
Guns such as the AR-15 get a bad
reputation because they are known as a
military-style with the capability of shooting 30
to 100 round magazines, Moon said.

by Carla Parker
If Avondale Estates residents want to see
roads paved and other capital projects done
they should expect a tax increase.
The board of mayor and commissioners
held a public hearing June 15 on the
proposed 2016 tax millage rate. The board
tentatively adopted a 10.957 millage rate,
which will represent a 16.26 percent increase
in property taxes, an increase of 1.572 mills.
City manager Clai Brown said the city’s
rollback rate, based off the property values,
is 9.485 percent and set a placeholder on the
millage rate at 10.957 percent.
“I don’t think the board is expected to
adopt that, but the placeholder is there.
The board is in the process of deliberating
in regards to additional expenses that may
come up,” Brown said. “For example—paving
roads. Our current budget only allows us
to run the operations of the city. It does not
allow any additional funds to pave roads.
“There is another item that is [also
a] capital improvement [item] and that’s
replacing the public works building,” Brown
added. “There are other items that are also
included on that list.”
Mayor Jonathan Elmore said based on
the budget the city sent to the state, state
officials set the millage rate based on the
projected increased digest for 2016.
“That’s the rollback,” Elmore said. “We
did set the placeholder higher, we did this last
year, and we do it every year.”
Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager said the city
is dealing with tax burdens.
“This is [why] we were talking about
annexation and looking at commercial
property because we knew that in the real
near future we were going to be looking
at infrastructure repairs, improvements,”
he said. “It’s come time to pay the bills,
Resident Candace Jones said she is in
favor of the tax increase.
“We do have needs and I prefer that we
start working on them now because they’re
just going to get more expensive in the
future,” Jones said.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016


Page 5

ORLANDO Continued From Page 1A

City Schools of Decatur celebrated the service of Mary Farmer, middle, at their June 14 board of
education meeting. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

‘An unbelievable ride’
Mary Farmer retires after
40 years of serving City
Schools of Decatur
by R. Scott Belzer
There’s always one employee at every
workplace, who offers a constant smile, an
occasional joke and consistent greetings.
There’s a remark or email from them that
will separate one from the daily stress and
instead provide a moment to laugh and
There’s an assurance one can count
on specific duties being completed by
this person. There’s a confidence in the
person’s ability and attitude.
At City Schools of Decatur (CSD), this
person is Mary Farmer.
Mary Farmer’s CSD career was
celebrated by the district’s board of
education on June 14 during their regularly
scheduled monthly meeting. Warm wishes,
fond farewells and cherished memories
were exchanged by colleagues, coworkers
and superiors.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” Farmer
said. “I remember the first year I was a
classroom teacher when I was just trying to
get my feet under me.”
Farmer’s career began in 1975 at
Westchester Elementary as a fourth grade
teacher. From there, she moved on to
Glenwood Elementary where she became
a media specialist, a position she held for
16 years.
Farmer said she was inspired to make
the transition from the classroom to the
media center upon discovering instructional
materials in the library.
“It was from that moment on that I
thought, ‘OK, there’s so much more out
there that we can do for our kids,’” Farmer
Farmer eventually became the lead
media specialist for the district before
becoming the instructional technology
coordinator in 1996, heralding the arrival
of the internet, email and connected
applications at CSD.
At the time, the Georgia Lottery funded

these positions; each district received one
coordinator. Farmer said school officials
throughout the district didn’t know what to
do with her.
“I would spend all of my time out at
schools and teachers were either like, ‘Oh
my gosh, she’s going to come in and ask
me to do something on my computer,’ or
ask me ‘What can I do with my computer?’”
Farmer said. “Or they would tell me ‘You
know, I have this side business and I’m
trying to make a website.’ It was a big
range of things that grew from there.”
Farmer is quick to mention the
importance of technology training in closing
achievement gaps within school districts
and gaining ground in the classroom.
In 2007, Farmer became CSD’s director
of technology, a role she has held until her
retirement this year.
“It’s been a great learning experience
and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly,” Farmer
said. “What we do to support students and
teachers is what it’s all about. As long as
we keep centered around what we need to
do for the kids and how we need to support
the staff to make that happen, we’ll always
be where we need to be.”
Board member Bernadette Seals
said Farmer approached every situation
calmly and gently. Seals said Farmer “took
the district everywhere” by implementing
technology and assuring connectivity.
“She will be missed,” Seals said.
Noel Maloof, chief operating officer at
CSD, said Farmer’s dedication and ability
has ushered the district into the modern
age. Maloof said Farmer has touched
thousands of lives “in ways no one will be
able to account for.”
“Her work as an educator has been
invaluable; [Mary has] put in many more
years than many of us ever will,” said
Maloof. “She has faithfully served as
[director of technology] to bring our district
to the cutting edge of technology for school
Maloof called Farmer selfless,
hardworking and supportive to colleagues.
It was not at all unusual to find Farmer
working past normal business hours and
“far beyond expectations,” he said.
“From baking the best brownies in town
to working with us in our technology needs,
she is the best,” Maloof said.

killer is associated with
the Muslim community
“the entire community
is called on to make
a response. When
there is a shooter at an
abortion clinic who says
he’s acting because of
his faith, that faith isn’t
called into question.” He
noted that Ku Klux Klan
members claim to be
Christians, but killing and
vandalism by members of
that group are not blamed
on Christianity.
“Islam prohibits
murder,” El-Amin said,
adding that when a
person says he is killing
because of his Islamic
faith, he is not acting in
accord with the teachings
of the faith.
He said there have
been many mass
shootings in America in
recent years, but “only
those in which shooters
call themselves Muslims
are called terrorist acts.”
The site of the
Orlando incident was a
gay nightclub and El-Amin
called on the Muslim
community to embrace
the LGBT community.
“That’s a challenge for
some,” he noted because
the Muslim faith does
not support same-sex
relationships. “But we are
about supporting those
who have been treated
unjustly and we must
defend those who have
had an injustice done to
El-Amin said that a
great deal of pressure
is currently being
put on the Muslim
community, particularly
with “rhetoric we’re
hearing from some of our
presidential candidates
and unfortunately there
are some who are not
responding appropriately,”
he observed.
“Like every
community, our
community has some
geniuses, some
outstanding people, but
we also have some fools
and some criminals. No
minority community wants
to be judged by its fools
and criminals,” El-Amin
El-Amin spoke of Ali
as an example of those
to whom the Islamic
community and the
community at large can
point with pride. El-Amin,

who like Ali is a convert to
Islam, said Ali had been
an influence in his life
since he was teenager.
He recalled that Ali
was initially attracted
to Elijah Muhammad’s
Black Nationalist rhetoric
because he wanted to
fight racial injustice. When
Elijah Muhammad died
and his son Wallace
Muhammad took over,
he moved away from
Black Nationalism and
toward an international
acceptance of Muslims
of all nationalities and
colors, El-Amin said.
“Some people had
a problem with that. A
lot of people left. People
were waiting to see what
Muhammad Ali would do,
but he didn’t leave. He
said the concept that evil
comes in all colors and
goodness comes in all
colors was in line with his
thinking. He continued to
fight injustice, but from
a more international
perspective. I believe he
influenced Dr. King to
have a more international
view and to oppose the
Vietnam War,” El-Amin
He said that while he
had not spoken personally
to Ali in about five years
he kept up with him and
his health issues through
family members and he
attended three days of
funeral events in Ali’s
hometown, Louisville,
Ky. There was a prayer
service on June 9, a June
10 procession through the
city streets passing such
places as Ali’s birth home
and the Muhammad Ali
Center, then a funeral on
June 12.
“Normally, a Muslim
burial service is about
15 minutes. His lasted
for three hours because
there were so many who
wanted to pay tribute to
him. Many people said
they had never seen such
a diverse crowd. There
were Muslims, Christians,
Jews, Buddists and
people of other faiths.”
He added that there were
people of all nationalities
and political persuasions.
Among the prominent
people in attendance
were former president
Democrat Bill Clinton
and Republican president
pro tempore of the senate
Orrin Hatch.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016


Page 6

Summertime and the livin’ is easy

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis
Armstrong in Aug. 1957 recorded
these words in a song that for
many Fitzgerald is best known.
Summertime, from the George
Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess
tells the story of high cotton and
jumping fish and gives a sense of
reassurance to those listening that
everything will be alright.
For many of us older folk who
grew up in the South, summers
evoke fond memories but memories
that may not seem to be so
pleasant by today’s standards.
My memories of summer
consist of family members, and an
occasional guest, sitting on the front
porch sipping ice tea and sweating
profusely. We didn’t have air
conditioning and there was usually
only a fan in the family room. It was
too dang hot to sit inside until the
sun went down. Only after sunset,
would my mother pull back the
curtains and open the windows—
she insisted that this would keep
some of the hot air outside of the
house. She was a wise woman, but
I’m not so sure about this logic.
In those front porch gatherings

John Hewitt

there would usually be at least
two generations in the group and
I have no idea what the topics of
conversations were. The gatherings
occurred every night and most of
the day on weekends. That’s just
what we did as a family. I recall
frequent laughing at the expense
of other family members or the
neighbors down the road—the sort
of stories that are often repeated
and still met with a chuckle when
family members gather—the sort of
stories that are only vaguely funny
to those who were involved in the
story or knew the cast of characters.
Another vivid memory of
summer is working in the family
garden. That was our job and we
were required to participate whether
we wanted to or not. There was no
option. The family gathering in the

garden usually happened in the
heat of day after my mother had
come home from work. She didn’t
want us in the garden without her
because she was concerned about
Because I was the youngest,
I was assigned the horrible job of
picking okra. Okra plants can grow
very tall and have large leaves that
have a sort of fuzzy feel to them
and the pods are usually pretty well
hidden among the foliage. The fuzzy
covering on the leaves will make a
skinny sweaty arm itch like the devil
as you pull back the leaves to pick
or cut the pod.
I remember complaining
considerably about the task. I
probably whined to anyone who
would listen. I also recall that the
next time I had to pick okra, the
experience seemed even more
To this day, I don’t know if my
mother insisting that I wear a longsleeve flannel shirt when picking
okra was for my protection or was
some sort of lesson to teach me
to not complain. I still love fresh
okra but can’t imagine myself ever

harvesting it again.
Compared to today when
most homes have central air
conditioning, and often swimming
pools, summertime wasn’t so easy
back then; but it was fun. We didn’t
complain about being hot and
sweaty; it would have only been
ignored. Everyone was hot and
Recently, my 15 year-old
godson was already complaining
about being bored only two days
after school let out for the summer;
and his neighborhood has a private
swimming pool. Kids today have no
idea what we experienced and most
likely, it will be the same for the next
Nonetheless, summer should be
a time when memories are made.
Slow down a bit; enjoy the company
of those you care about most. Make
your own memories. No matter how
hard life may seem, Fitzgerald’s
words of “hush little baby, don’t you
cry” are applicable. It can always be
We thought we had it bad
growing up—and we did by today’s
standards—but the living was easy.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016

Page 7

Terror, tragedy and trauma—in triplicate

Never been much of a
conspiracy theorist.  Not even
superstitious (excluding gambling),
but I have always had a healthy
respect for the power of three, and
tendency for bad things to happen
in triple doses. The three airliners
crashed into targets on 9/11 (brave
passengers and crews changed
the destination on the fourth), major
hurricanes and jet crashes often
seem to occur, clustered in a painful
So, in this instance, it was
the horrible week that was in the
Happiest Place on Earth, Orlando,
Fla. A tragic murder of a talented
young singer; massacre of 49 and
dozens more injured in a horrific
terrorist attack on a gay nightclub
and known “gun-free zone”; and
the surreal attack on a 2-year old
in an idyllic Disney resort lagoon—
almost bringing to life the “tick-tock”
croc from Peter Pan, though in this
case an alligator with no advance
Suddenly thousands of families
on or heading to their favorite spot
in the Florida sun began to wonder
if they were putting themselves in
harm’s way.  
But, Orlando is a strong and
young city; its mayor rose well to
the occasion. Prayers and vigils
were held overnight around the

‘One Man’s
Bill Crane

country and around the globe. And
now comes the tough part—treating
Orlando the city and vacation
destination just as we all had a
week prior. 
In the aftermath of 9/11, a global
recession followed a significant dip
in business and leisure travel. For
me, at that time a near constant
business traveler, the crowds
seem to have disappeared and
the sounds of silence replaced the
usual ones from Grand Central
Station in New York, to D.C.›s
almost always bustling Reagan
National Airport. It was a traveler›s
bargain paradise, while the entire
next year of 2002 for many was one
filled with fear.
 We cannot allow those who
would do us harm and wish to
destroy our society to win this battle
with our hearts and minds waged
through fear. If you truly want to
support the fine people of Orlando,
where tourism is by far the top


economic driver, don›t go about
changing your vacation plans.
 The loss of these more than
50 lives is heartbreaking, but we
will lose nearly 35,000 Americans
during the next year to automobile
accidents on our nation›s highways.
The two largest causes of those
fatalities are easily avoidable—
driving distracted by a smart phone
or another electronic device, and
driving under the influence. Let›s
consider putting a fraction of the
energy we are committing to fretting
over these Orlando tragedies to
driving smarter and helping our
children, friends and neighbors do
the same as they hit the highways
this summer vacation season.
 Our freedom, economic
success and relative daily safely
has lulled us all into believing
nothing bad is ever going to
happen. It will.
The real question to be
concerned with is if, and when
it does happen, will you be
ready. Does your family have
a back-up communications or
meeting plan if the grid goes
down? What if mobile phone
networks are taken offline? Do you
have a moderate supply of potable
water or a filtration system or backup generator at home? These
are not just quiz questions for

the DeKalb

Let Us Know What You Think!
The DeKalb Free Press,
P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347;
Send email to
FAX To: (404) 370-3903; Phone: (404) 373-7779.
Deadline for news releases and advertising:
Thursday, one week prior to publication date.

THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions
from its readers. Please write to us and express your
views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain
the writer’s name, address and telephone number for
verification. All letters will be considered for publication.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions
of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The
Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

John Hewitt

Travis Hudgons

Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn

Staff Reporters:
Carla Parker
R. Scott Belzer
Horace Holloman

Production Manager:
Kemesha Hunt

The Champion Free Press is published each Friday
by ACE III Communications, Inc.,
114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA. 30030
Phone (404) 373-7779.
DISPLAY ADVERTISING (404) 373-7779 x 110

preppers in the modern world in
which we live—these are potential
realities. Best to give this some
thought, and come up with a plan.
And in case anyone would
like to know where our family
will be spending its summer
vacation, we›re going to Disney
World.  To be more accurate, we
will be joining the National Down
Syndrome Congress at Disney, as
well as paying courtesy calls on
Shamu during his farewell tour, and
dropping in on The Minions a bit up
the road off Florida’s I-4. 
The only thing that ever
concerns me about visiting Orlando
is the traffic on I-4, and just how
badly you can sweat through your
clothes in some of those longer
lines in happy town. We will say hey
to Mickey and Minnie for y’all—as
well as thanks for being there.
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. 

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.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 8A

Water flowing well in Dunwoody
by R. Scott Belzer
Dunwoody sewers, due to
efficient maintenance and repair,
are operating at optimal levels of
Dunwoody received the 2016
Outstanding Stormwater Program
Award on June 13 in recognition of
the city’s proper and efficient use
of stormwater maintenance and
Katherine Atteberry, president
of the American Water Resource
Association, Georgia chapter,
presented the award to city officials
during a regularly scheduled
biweekly city council meeting.
The company is a non-profit that
seeks to educate and assist any
organization or individual interested
in the protection and management
of the state’s water resources.
“The city of Dunwoody’s
stormwater utility has been in
operation since 2012. During this
brief period they’ve developed
a program that focuses on
efficiency, aggressive repair and
maintenance of their aging system
and environmental stewardship,”
Atteberry said.
Atteberry said Dunwoody is in
constant good standing with the
Georgia Environmental Protection
Division and maintains a good
relationship with similar agencies by
implementing a timley stormwater
utility plan.
The non-profit spokesman
mentioned such specific events as
household hazardous waste and
paint removal as commendable

Katherine Atteberry, president of the
American Water Resource Association,
Georgia chapter, presented the 2016
Outstanding Stormwater Program
award to city officials during a regularly
scheduled city council meeting.

and outside the norm. Dunwoody
also conducts biweekly checks on
streams considered impaired.
“[The city] has mapped their full
stormwater inventory in two years,
which is three years earlier than the
requirement,” Atteberry said.
In addition, Dunwoody has been
able to inspect its full system in two
years. Again, the requirement is that
Georgia municipalities do this in five
“In 2015, the city documented
over 1,500 erosion inspections that
resulted in 265 violations, which
is very strict and very good for our
environment,” Atteberry said.
Dunwoody’s stormwater
manager, David Elliott was present
to accept the award on behalf of the

Dunwoody was recently awarded for their stormwater management efforts by
the American Water Resource Association and Georgia Association of Water

According to the Georgia
Association of Water Professionals’
website, Dunwoody surpassed
local government stormwater
management programs throughout
the state. Dunwoody was
demonstrated as “above and
beyond permit requirements in the
measures of pollution prevention/
good housekeeping for municipal
operations, illicit discharge detection
and elimination, construction site
runoff control, post-construction
stormwater management in new
development and redevelopment,
and public education, outreach,
involvement and participation on
stormwater impacts.”
In March, Elliott was approved
to spend more than $400,000 on
five residential stormwater projects

Notice of Public Hearing for Clarkston Millage Rate

Notice is hereby given that prior to setting the tax millage
rate for 2016, the Clarkston Mayor and Council will hold a
Public Hearing at City Hall Annex, 1055 Rowland Street,
Clarkston Georgia, on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 10:00AM
on the proposed millage rate. A final Public Hearing will be
held on July 5 at 7:00PM at the City Hall Council Rm, 3921
Church Street, Clarkston, GA 30021.
The Clarkston City Council has tentatively adopted a
2016 millage rate which will require an increase in the
property taxes of 29.44 percent.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of
17.110 mils, an increase of 3.892 mills. Without this
tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than
13.218. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair
market value of $100,000 is approximately $155.68. The
proposed increase on non-homestead property with a fair
market value of $375,000 is approximately $583.80.
All concerned citizens are invited to attend.

having to do with pipes, foundations
and sinkholes near homes.
According to Dunwoody’s
proposed 2016 budget, more
than 25 stormwater repair and
replacement projects took place
throughout the city in 2015.
According to the city’s approved
budget for 2016, Dunwoody spent
approximately $2.1 million on
stormwater projects last year and
has requested $1.9 million for the
remainder of 2016.
Dunwoody reserves
approximately $3.4 million in
stormwater funds for repairs and
“catastrophic stormwater events.”
The city also sets aside $24,000
for street sweeping to help combat
stormwater effects such as debris
and flooding.

•Emory University Orthopedics and Spine HospitalEUOSH has applied to the American Nurses
Credentialing Center (ANCC) for the prestigious
designation of Magnet. Magnet designation
recognizes excellence in nursing services.
•Patients, family members, staff, and interested
parties who would like to provide comments are
encouraged to do so. Anyone may send comments
via e-mail, and direct mail. All comments received by
phone must be followed up in writing to the Magnet
Program Office.
NOTE: All comments are CONFIDENTIAL
and are not shared with the health care
organization. Comments may be anonymous,
but they must be sent in writing to the Magnet
Program Office.
•Your comments must be received by July 17, 2016.
8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3492
Phone: 866-588-3301 (toll free)
All comments received by phone must be followed up
in writing to the Magnet Program Office.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 9A

sealed in
Talley Street, South Columbia
Drive properties purchased by
Decatur school board
by R. Scott Belzer
A $4.9 million real estate deal was
finalized by City Schools of Decatur (CSD)
on June 14, marking the end of a year-long
negotiation period.
CSD’s board of education set a June 24
closing date on approximately four acres of
property located at Talley Street and South
Columbia Drive. The board has been under
contract with the seller of the property, Talley
Columbia LLC, since June 10, 2015.
The two addresses, 2617 Talley Street
and 2601 Talley Street, actually include
302, 304, 308, 312, and 314 along South
Columbia Drive, as one of the parcels of
land houses additional space for residential
On June 16, the property was already
being used for school bus storage.
“I think some people probably thought we
would never see this moment, where we’re
about to close on these properties,” said
CSD Superintendent David Dude.
According to CSD “the property is
necessary for public school purposes,” which
may or may not include a new school.
Since June, CSD has extended its due
diligence on the property and conducted
environmental studies, as the land had
previously served as a vehicle storage site.

City Schools of Decatur moved forward with purchasing property at 2617 and 2601 Talley Street that includes
residential property along South Columbia Drive.

The property at 2601 Talley Street was already storing
school buses on June 16. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

In January, CSD board chairman Annie Caiola
said the environmental concerns was necessary
before closing the sale.
Though the area is predominantly industrial,
last year, CSD attorney Robert Wilson told news
outlets “in five years, [he doesn’t] think that area
will look anything like it looks today.”
“The advantage to that location [is that] it is
accessible through two major corridors from the
north [Commerce Drive and Sams Crossing], and
neither is blocked by railroad tracks,” he said.
Last year, former CSD Superintendent Phyllis

A house at 304 South Columbia Drive is one of five
residences sitting on property that will be owned by City
Schools of Decatur on June 24. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Edwards said CSD will need two new schools
before the 2018-2019 school year. These include
a K-3 facility as well as a fourth- and fifth-grade
At the same board meeting, CSD was
approached by Decatur city officials soliciting
participation in a tax allocation district (TAD). The
TAD would place any property tax revenue above
a certain rate into an account meant solely for
redevelopment in the area.
The proposed TAD will include the purchased

Presley pleads guilty to DeKalb killings
by Horace Holloman
Aeman L. Presley, 35, will
serve two life sentences without
the possibility of parole for killing
a homeless man and a Cobb
County hair dresser in 2014.
On June 13, Presley
pleaded guilty to all charges in
the shooting death of Calvin
Lewis Gholston in Sept. 26,
2014. Presley was charged
with malice murder, felony
murder, aggravated assault and
possession of a firearm during
the commission of a felony.
According to police reports,

Gholston, 53, was shot by
Presley while he was sleeping
outside an Atlanta shopping
Presley also entered a guilty
plea in the robbing and killing of
Karen Pearce, 44, in Decatur,
Dec. 6, 2014. Presley was
charged with possession of a
firearm during the commission
of a felony and armed robbery
for Pearce’s death along with
multiple counts of felony murder,
aggravated assault and malice
In a press release, DeKalb
County District Attorney Robert
James said Presley needed to

spend his life behind bars.
“His actions were
monstrous and had severe
consequences on the lives of
several individuals,” James
said. “Although he accepted
responsibility for his actions,
when a person commits crimes
this terrible, he deserves to
go to prison for the rest of his
life.”Presley is also charged
with the murder of two other
homeless men in November of
According to reports, Presley
shot Dorian Jenkins, 42, and
Tommy Mims, 68, just days

Aeman L. Presley,


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 10A

SPLOST projects
discussed by
Tucker, county

by Carla Parker

DeKalb County officials
are campaigning to get cities
on board with the proposed
special purpose local option
sales tax (SPLOST) and
Tucker is meeting them halfway.
The Tucker city council
unanimously voted June 13
to approve the proposed
project list and funding allocated for the city under
SPLOST. The proposed
funding of $27.5 million allocated to Tucker would
cover projects for roads and
drainage, transportation, fire
rescue, and parks and recreation.
Tucker, along with other
cities in the county, met
with county officials June
21 to discuss a proposed
intergovernmental agreement accepting the population numbers certified by
the U.S. Census through
its Geographically Updated
Population Certification Program. House Bill 215 mandates that SPLOST use the
2010 Census count for its
population numbers.
If the cities agree, those
numbers will be used to determine the amount of funding allocated by each city,
and SPLOST would be put
on the November ballot for a
public vote. The outcome of
the June 21 meeting was not
available by press time.
If SPOLST is approved,
Tucker would receive $16.9
million or 62 percent of total
funding for roads and drainage projects. Transportation
projects would receive $7
million or 25 percent, fire
rescue would receive $2.1
million or 8 percent, and
parks and recreation projects would receive $1.5 million or five percent.

Tucker Councilwoman
Noelle Monferdini made a
motion to increase the percentage of funding for parks
and recreation to 7 percent
and decrease roads and
drainage to 60 percent. The
motion was voted down 4-3.
Tucker will soon take
over parks and recreation
services from the county.
Councilwoman Michelle
Penkava said she understands Monferdini’s motion
to have more funding for
parks and rec, but prefers
that the city do more for
“We have a funding
mechanism for parks when
we take it over,” Penkava
said. “It’s part of the millage
rate. We’re going to collect
taxes and we’re going to be
able to use that specifically
and choose our projects
whether they’re capital or
maintenance or property—
we can do whatever we
want with that money. It’s
going to be ours to manage.
There is no other mechanism for roads and it’s going
to be hard to get what we
need to get done with 62
Mayor Frank Auman
said the council will have
to look at other options if
the county does not add
SPLOST to the ballot or if it
fails in the election.
“The question of who
takes care of the roads and
where does this money
come from is an entirely new
matter,” Auman said. “Then
we’re back to whatever funding the county currently has
or whatever else [the county]
might be able to create. If
they put it on the ballot and
it ultimately passes, it’ll be
up to us to negotiate with the
county exactly how these
funds are handled.”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 11A

Decatur resident Khalida Shad enjoys a bike ride thanks to pilot program Silver Spokes.

Biking a breeze for
Decatur seniors

by Horace Holloman


ecatur seniors have a new
opportunity to stay fit after
the city launched its new
Silver Spokes program in late

Thanks to a $1,000 grant from
Georgia Recreation and Parks

Association (GRPA), seniors will
have a chance to bike around the city
using adult tricycles.
Adult Program Leader Tracie
Sanchez said the Silver Spokes
program is a big hit with the seniors.
“We wrote a grant for the
statewide GRPA. They do this every
year where they have mini-grants.

See Bikes on Page 16A

Decatur seniors meet at Beacon Hill Municipal Complex to
review basics.


Georgia Piedmont Technical College



Monday, June 27, 2016
9:00 a.m. – Noon
New Features Include:
• Self-enroll in E-billing and/or select
to receive paper statements.
• Name and password requirement
for enhanced security.
• Research your payment history
and view billing statements.
• Link multiple accounts allowing for
greater account management.

Newton Campus Building D
8100 Bobby Williams Pkwy.
Covington, GA 30014
Explore exciting career opportunities at the
college’s Law Enforcement Career Fair.
Agencies from around the metro area will
be accepting applications for both certified
and civilian jobs.
To “Protect and Serve” starts with
training at Georgia Piedmont’s CALEA-Accredited Law Enforcement
Academy, where you can earn the certification you need to launch a
rewarding career in police work.


For more information or to pay your bill online,
please visit us at
¹ $4 processing fee will apply; fee can be avoided with auto-pay.

404-297-9522 Ext. 5046
Equal Opportunity Institution


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 12A

Children sing and dance to celebrate being submerged in the word of God at Indian
Creek Baptist Church.

Victor Akande sits in Indian Creek Baptist Church’s sanctuary during the church’s
vacation bible school celebration. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

Submerged in the word
Diverse Indian Creek
Baptist Church
celebrates completing
its summer vacation
bible school
by R. Scott Belzer


or many people from many
backgrounds, the week of
June 13 through June 17
marked the beginning of a

spiritual transformation.
Some hailed from Stone
Mountain and others hailed from
Clarkston. Some came from
Germanic heritage while others
claimed Ethiopian, French African,
Indian and Nepalese. Some were
losing their baby teeth while others
were enjoying their retirement.
All, however, seemed to have the
same goal: learn more about the
Christian faith.
In other words, it was vacation
bible school at the 175 year-old
Indian Creek Baptist Church in
Stone Mountain.
Over the course of five days,
people in the church’s surrounding

community ‘submerged’
themselves in learning, celebrating
and following the teachings of
Jesus Christ by way of Indian
Creek’s summer vacation Bible
school. In total, approximately
100 people took part in this
year’s event, headed by Delena
On June 17, the church came
together to celebrate the school’s
completion with songs, dancing,
fellowship and a graduation
ceremony. The church’s vacation
bible school included all ages,
ranging from pre-kindergarten to
adult seniors.
It was not at all unusual to see

teenagers hailing from Ethiopia
standing next to Caucasian
seniors as both sang, dance
and praised. A short while later,
Indian teenage brothers rapped
about treating their problems like
“Goliaths” while the same seniors
sang along.
Pastor Bill Gordon said this
year’s vacation Bible school
focused on two main passages
from Psalms on living through the
blessings of Jesus.
“Each year we do a different
theme, along with a lot of other
churches,” Gordon said. “We’re

See Church on Page 15A

PET of the WEEK
Lana (ID# 31286770) is a laid back
two year old who is up for anything.
This friendly girl gets along with other
dogs and may not mind having a canine
companion in her forever home. Lana loved
playing dress up for her photo shoot and
doesn’t she look adorable!


2016 Mobile Market Stops


9AM-11AM Exchange Recreation Center, 2771 Columbia Dr., Decatur
12PM-2PM South DeKalb YMCA, 2565 Snapfinger Rd., Decatur
5PM-7PM Mainstreet Community Assoc., 5001 Mainstreet Park Dr., Stone Mountain


9AM-11AM Clifton Springs Health Center, 3110 Clifton Springs Rd., Decatur
12PM-2PM Austin Drive Community at Bethesda Cathedral, 1989 Austin Dr., Decatur
5PM-7PM Tadda’s Fitness Center, 2615 Park Central Blvd., Decatur


9AM-11AM Spring Chase II Apartments, 4947 Memorial Dr., Stone Mountain
12PM-2PM Lou Walker Senior Center, 2538 Panola Rd., Lithonia
5PM-7PM New Life Community Ministries, 3592 Flat Shoals Rd., Decatur


11AM-1PM DeKalb County Extension, 4380 Memorial Dr., Ste 200, Decatur
2PM-4PM June 17 & Aug. 19 only @ Candler Library, 1917 Candler Rd., Decatur
July 15 & Sept. 16 only @ Clarkston Library, 951 N. Indian Creek Dr., Clarkston
Call (404) 298-4080 for more information

This sweetie qualifies for our June
“Make Waves” promotion. Adoption fee
is Waived for dogs over 25 lbs. and
for all cats! Adoption includes spay/
neuter, vaccinations, microchip
and more! If you would like
more information about Lana
please email adoption@
or call (404) 294-2165. All
potential adopters will be
screened to ensure
Lana goes to a good


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 13A


Sunset on the lake at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Travis Hudgons

A film crew films a scene for a film on New Street in Decatur. Photo by Donna

From left, Champion staffers R. Scott Belzer, Donna Seay, Travis Hudgons and Carla
Parker take a group selfie on Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach. Photo by Donna Seay

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


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 14A

Tucker company helping autistic adults find work
by Horace Holloman


or young adults with
autism, searching
for employment after
graduating high
school can be a tough task.
In the United States 76
percent of young adults with
autism and developmental
disabilities are unemployed
and 68 percent have
stopped looking for a job.
Nonetheless, owners of
Mister Migs—a dog clothing
company based in Tucker—
want to do all they can
to help young adults with
disabilities transition into
the workplace.
On June 8, Mister
Migs launched its Your
Career Unleashed (YCU)
scholarship program to help
bridge the gap between
high school graduation
and employment for young
adults with autism and
developmental disabilities.
Karen Lynn, founder
and president of Mister
Migs, said launching the
YCU scholarship program
is a dream come true.
“We’re getting really
good response from our
young adults as far as
the training goes. We’ve
worked with different
groups and we finally have
settled on the format of
YCU, and we’re very happy
with that,” Lynn said.
YCU scholarship
program is a 10-week
course. Lynn said the
program is a “hands on
experience” allowing its
participants to get the “real”
feel of what it’s like to join
the workforce.
YCU caters to adults
between the ages of 18 and
Mister Migs Vice
President Mary Justman
said YCU attempts to
provide young adults
with the right social skills
to move forward in the
“We try to provide basic
skills that every job site
needs, whether it’s how
you show up or what you
do when you get there,”
Justman said. “We go over
business etiquette and
communication skills. We
often find those are the
areas our young adults
need more practice in.”
One of YCU’s biggest
issues, Justman said, was
getting to young adults at
just the right time.

Karen Lynn, founder and president of Mister Migs. Photos by
Travis Hudgons

According to a study
conducted by the Journal
of the American Academy
of Pediatrics, youth with
an Autism Spectrum
Disorder (ASD) had the
lowest rates of participation
in employment and
the highest rates of no
participation compared with
youth in other disability
The results of the study
concluded young adults
with (ASD) “have poor
postsecondary employment
and education outcomes,
especially in the first two
years after high school.”
“One of the challenges
we have to overcome is that
many of these young adults
have been told they can’t
do it. When you continue
to get that message, you
start to believe it,” Justman
said. “We always talk about
what they can do and we
try to build around their
YCU’s 10-week
program focuses on
three areas. The first is
addressing professionalism
in the workplace and work
ethic. Lynn said she wants
to drive home the message
that time is money for
potential employers.
One task Lynn gave to
some participants of the
program was to research
the colors of schools in the
Southeastern Conference,
then create a key chain
design to match each
school for Mister Migs. The
group also had to finish
the project in an allotted
amount of time.
After the completion of
the 10-week course, YCU
participants are paired
with mentors and career
coaches for up to one year.
The career coaches help
teens secure employment.

“One of the reasons
we developed YCU to be
a scholarship program is
because there’s a critical
time when a student is
leaving school and needing
to get the next step into
their adult life. Employment
is part of that,” Lynn said.
“Unfortunately, some of our
young people end up sitting
at home for an extended
period of time after they
graduate (high school).
Getting them back into their
routines and activities can
be a challenge and it’s very
unfortunate that not all of
our young people have a
plan for the next step. We
want to help these young
adults so they don’t have
that large gap between
school and work.”

FREE Customer
Service Training
Professional trainer, Donna Satchell
of STARR Consulting & Training,
will teach you the importance of providing
outstanding service and help you enhance
your service skills in this motivating and
invigorating free class.

FREE Family
Reunion Services

Discover DeKalb provides printed name
badges, welcome bags for adults & kids,
and volunteer assistance for family
reunions booked in DeKalb County hotels.
Please call Discover DeKalb for details.

Tuesday, August 9th
Discover DeKalb Conference Room
1957 Lakeside Parkway, Suite 510
Tucker, GA 30084

Pre-registration is required

Call 770-492-5014

Register online at

Family Reunion Capital of the South

Call 770-492-5018



DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 15A

Notice of Property Tax Increase
The City of Stone Mountain has tentatively adopted
a millage rate which will require an increase in
property taxes by 8.84 percent. All concerned
citizens are invited to public hearings on this tax
increase to be held at City Hall, 875 Main Street,
Stone Mountain, GA 30083 on Tuesday, July 5,
2016 at 7:00 p.m.
The tentative increase will result in a millage
rate of 22.270 mills, an increase of 1.809
mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the
millage rate will be no more than 20.461 mils.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a
fair market value of $50,000 is approximately
$36.18 and the proposed tax increase for nonhomestead property with a fair market value of
$150,000 is approximately $108.54.
Adult seniors also participated in this year’s vacation Bible school
at Indian Creek Baptist Church. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

CHURCH Continued From Page 12A
not the only church who
does this or the only
church who has vacation
bible school.”
This year’s bible
school featured members
from not only Indian
Creek Baptist Church’s
main congregation, but
also from the facility’s
Ethiopian, French,
Spanish and Nepalese
communities. The overall
theme of the school was
“Submerged,” as in the
students submerged in the
word of God.
“The word of God is
like a deep well,” said
Seadeep David, youth
minister at Indian Creek
Baptist Church. “You
cannot go to the well and
say, ‘I’ve had enough of
the water.’ You walk to the
well, you make an effort
to go to the well, and you
drink its water. You do
the same thing for the
Bible and submerge in the
David said working
with different cultures
was challenging but a
big blessing. He said
God made him a teacher
in order to make him a
student in faith. He said
the bus ride to and from
Ethiopian communities
was his favorite aspect of
the summer program.
Ritu David, who

helped teach a youth
class, also characterized
the experience of teaching
vacation bible school as
culturally enriching.
“I wasn’t sure if I was
making any progress or if
the girls even liked me,”
David said. “But by the
third day, students wanted
to take selfies with me,
talk to me, chiming in with
the lessons and even
shared the scripture with
me in other languages.
It was a great feeling to
According to Victor
Akande, director of
missions at Indian Creek,
the program provides
neighborhood children of
all national backgrounds
with activities. At the
same time, it’s a chance
to help spread the gospel
to young community
members and create
future churchgoers.
“Every year we do this
for the neighborhood,”
Akande said. “This is
our mission, to reach the
neighborhood. They come
from all over, we have a
bus to pick them up and
a bus to bring them back
[home]. The overall goal
is to get these youngsters,
to give them a strong step
in building their life around

Notice of Public Hearing for Clarkston Millage Rate

Notice is hereby given that prior to setting the
tax millage rate for 2016, the Clarkston Mayor
and Council will hold a Public Hearing at City
Hall, 3921 Church Street, Clarkston Georgia, on
Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 3:00pm on the
proposed millage rate.
The Clarkston City Council has tentatively
adopted a 2016 millage rate which will require an
increase in the property taxes of 29.44 percent.
This tentative increase will result in a millage
rate of 17.110 mils, an increase of 3.892 mills.
Without this tentative tax increase, the millage
rate will be no more than 13.218.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a
fair market value of $100,000 is approximately
$155.68. The proposed increase on nonhomestead property with a fair market value of
$375,000 is approximately $583.80.
All concerned citizens are invited to attend.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 16A

BIKES Continued From Page 11A
We thought this would
be an innovative idea
and it addresses senior
mobility,” Sanchez said.
“We have great bike
trails here in Decatur.”
Seniors such as
Khalida Shad had the
opportunity to ride a bike
for the first time in her
life. After getting the hang
of it, Shad participated
in the Silver Spokes
program four times.
Naomi Bell, 90,
had no qualms about
riding the adult-friendly
tricycles and said, “I’ll be
back every day. I already
feel 20 years younger.”
Sanchez said the
tricycles are great for
seniors who may have
medical issues such
as hip replacements or
knee surgeries.
“The bikes are very
stable. It’s something
they can do. The city
has worked hard to
be certified as a bike
friendly and walking
friendly community,”
Sanchez said.
“Everything the seniors
need can be found in
Decatur and many of
them use the bikes as a
mode of transportation.”
The League of
American Bicycles (LAB)
nominated Decatur as a
“Bronze Level” bicycle
friendly community.
According to the LAB,
a bike friendly community is one that “welcomes
bicyclists by providing
safe accommodations for
bicycling and encouraging people to bike for
transportation and recreation.”
Catherine Lee, Decatur’s downtown development manager, said
the city puts emphasis
on pedestrians by giving
them a safe and friendly
Lee said the city’s
“walkability” is a big
“People want to live
in the city, and then be
able to walk and run
errands to the grocery
store. We’ve added
bikeways and we have
quite a few parks by
the downtown area.

That’s what people are
looking for,” Lee said.
“You’ve heard the trend
of people wanting to
live in cities once again
instead of the suburbs.”
Sanchez said the
ultimate goal is to get

seniors comfortable
enough to ride the
Stone Mountain Trail.
The trail, built by the
PATH Foundation, is a
19-mile long trail that
doesn’t require on-street
travel for nearly four

There are currently
three tricycles available
for use; Sanchez
said she is unsure
if the program will
add additional bikes
because Silver Spokes

is in the pilot year. She
also had a request for
male seniors in Decatur.
“We’d love for some
more men to join us.
So far its been just the
ladies,” Sanchez said,













Motor Vehicle







Mobile Homes







Timber - 100%







Real & Personal

Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest
Less M&O Exemptions
Net M&O Digest










































Gross M&O Millage (1)
Net Tax Levy (2)
Net Tax Increase ($)
Net Tax Increase (%)








(1) Countywide taxes only; no Special Services, Fire and Police Services or bonds in accordance with OCGA 48-5-32/32.1.


The Stone Mountain City Council does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be held at the
City Hall,875 Main Street, Stone Mountain, GA on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. and pursuant to the requirements of
O.C.G.A. Section 48-5-32 does hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy, along with
the history of the taxdigest and levy for the past five years.









Real & Personal







Motor Vehicles











Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment







Gross Digest






Less M& O Exemptions







Net M & O Digest
State Forest Land Assistance
Grant Value













Adjusted Net M&O Digest







Gross M&O Millage







Net M&O Millage







Total CityTaxes Levied







Net Taxes $ Increase







Net Taxes % Increase







Less Rollback (LOST)


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 17A

DeKalb County urges cities to update population counts
by Horace Holloman

DeKalb County
officals wanted to pull
out all the stops in order
to gain additional funding
through a Special
Purpose Local Option
Sales Tax (SPLOST) and
Equalized Homestead
Option Sales Tax
In response to
annexation and the
emergence of new cities,
DeKalb County officials
and several city officials
tried to enter into an
agreement (IGA) June
DeKalb County,
along with governing
authorities of Avondale
Estates, Brookhaven,
Chamblee, Clarkston,
Decatur, Doraville,
Dunwoody, Lithonia,
Pine Lake, Stone
Mountain and Tucker,
discussed adjusting
Census Bureau numbers
in order to potentially
provide additional
funding for participating
According to Luz
Borrero, deputy chief
operating officer for
development for DeKalb
County, the county
proposes each city agree
to use the U.S. Census
Bureau’s Geographically
Updated Population
Certification Program
Since 2010, Tucker
and Brookhaven have
become DeKalb’s
newest cities.
“The Census, a
third party that has a
program designed for
this purpose, will certify
the numbers. If the
cities prefer a different
approach, we are
certainly open to their
thoughts,” Borrero said.
House Bill 215
allows DeKalb County
to consider a one-cent
sales tax to invest in
capital and infrastructure
projects, and to dedicate
100 percent of HOST
proceeds to property
tax relief. However, the
wording of HB 215 said
the population numbers
from the 2010 Census

will be used, which is
not the bill’s intended
purpose, said DeKalb
County CEO Lee May.
The GUPCP was
suspended Jan. 1,
2008, to accommodate
the taking of the 2010
Census. With the service
up and running once
again, the GUPCP
program will confirm an
official population count
using housing counts
based upon boundary
updates effective after
Jan. 1, 2010.
May said it’s
important to get the most
accurate population

numbers available.
“We want to be fair.
The spirit of the law
says the proceeds are
to be determined by
population. this SPLOST
can help us invest in
infrastructure needs
throughout the county
and it will benefit the
county as a whole. More
population in your area
means more funding,”
May said. “Since
2010, two cities have
been created and the
populations within the
cities have changed.”
The county
recommended using the

The City of Chamblee has tentatively
adopted a new millage rate of 6.40 mills
for the General Fund which will require
an increase in property taxes by 10.25%
over the rollback millage rate.
All concerned citizens are invited to the
public hearings on this tax increase to
be held at the Chamblee Civic Center
located at 3540 Broad St, Chamblee
Georgia on June 30, 2016 at 6:00 PM.
Two additional public hearings on this tax
increase will be held at the Chamblee
Civic Center on July 7, 2016. There
will be one hearing at 11:30 AM and a
final hearing at 6:00 PM. After the final
public hearing, the millage rate will be
formally adopted.
This tentative new millage rate of 6.40
mills will result in an increase of .595
mills. Without this tentative tax increase,
the millage rate will be 5.805 mills.
The proposed tax increase for a home
with a fair market value of $225,000 is
approximately $35.70 and the proposed
tax increase for non-homestead property
with a fair market value of $650,000 is
approximately $154.70.

Jan. 1, 2017 population
numbers, which
would reflect the 2016
population, May said.
May said the county
has nearly a 400-mile
backlog of repaving
needs for roads.
A citizen panel
suggested using roughly
64 percent ($162
million) of funding on
road resurfacing, while
allocating $89 million to

a DeKalb government
center, public safety
training facilities and
“We’re excited about
this. This is a chance
for us to address our
infrastructure needs,”
May said. “If there’s
other options available,
we’re willing to listen. At
the end of the day it’s all
about money.”

420-386226 6/23,8/11,8/18,8/25,9/1
Under and by virtue of the Power of Sale contained in a Security
Deed given by James L. Eckman to Mortgage Electronic Registration
Systems, Inc. as nominee for Professional Mortgage Source LLC,
a Colorado Limited Liability Company, its successors and assigns,
dated September 23, 2008, recorded in Deed Book 21083, Page 226,
DeKalb County, Georgia Records and as modified by that certain
Loan Modification Agreement recorded in Deed Book 25177, Page
562, DeKalb County, Georgia Records, as last transferred to U.S.
BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION by assignment recorded in Deed
Book 23747, Page 347, DeKalb County, Georgia Records, conveying
the after-described property to secure a Note in the original principal
with interest thereon as set forth therein, there will be sold at public
outcry to the highest bidder for cash before the courthouse door
of DeKalb County, Georgia, or at such place as may be lawfully
designated as an alternative, within the legal hours of sale on the first
Tuesday in September, 2016, the following described property:
The debt secured by said Security Deed has been and is hereby
declared due because of, among other possible events of default,
failure to pay the indebtedness as and when due and in the manner
provided in the Note and Security Deed. The debt remaining in
default, this sale will be made for the purpose of paying the same and
all expenses of this sale, as provided in Security Deed and by law,
including attorney’s fees (notice of intent to collect attorney’s fees
having been given).
Said property will be sold subject to any outstanding ad valorem
taxes (including taxes which are a lien, but not yet due and payable),
any matters which might be disclosed by an accurate survey and
inspection of the property, any assessments, liens, encumbrances,
zoning ordinances, restrictions, covenants, and matters of record
superior to the Security Deed first set out above.
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION is the holder of the Security
Deed to the property in accordance with OCGA § 44-14-162.2.
The entity that has full authority to negotiate, amend, and modify
all terms of the mortgage with the debtor is: U.S. Bank National
Association, 4801 Frederica Street, Owensboro, KY 42301 855-698627.
To the best knowledge and belief of the undersigned, the party in
possession of the property is James L. Eckman or a tenant or tenants
and said property is more commonly known as 3408 Alcan Way,
Tucker, Georgia 30084.
The sale will be conducted subject (1) to confirmation that the sale
is not prohibited under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and (2) to final
confirmation and audit of the status of the loan with the holder of the
security deed.
as Attorney in Fact for
James L. Eckman
McCalla Raymer Pierce, LLC
1544 Old Alabama Road
Roswell, Georgia 30076
All that lot or parcel of ground situate, lying and being in DeKalb
County, State of Georgia and being more particularly described as
All that tract or parcel of land lying and being in Land Lot 144 of the
18th District, DeKalb County, Georgia and being Lot 2 R.E. McAdams
Property, as recorded in Plat Book 34, page 26, DeKalb County,
Georgia Records.
The improvements thereon being known as 3408 Alcan Way.
BEING the same lot of ground which by Deed dated April 15, 2004
and recorded among the Land Records of DeKalb County in Liber
16037, folio 11 was granted and conveyed from Metro Atlantic
Recovery Residences, Inc. unto James L. Eckman, the within
Borrower(s), in Fee Simple.
MR/jgn 9/6/16
Our file no. 5219616 - FT8


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 18A

Avondale Estates commission tables compensation ordinance
by Carla Parker

After weeks of discussions,
the Avondale Estates board of
mayor and commissioners decided to table the compensation
ordinance, for now.
The board discussed
the ordinance again during
its June 15 work session.
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
During the last commission
meeting on May 25, the board
discussed whether the ordinance
should be put on the November
ballot as a referendum. Mayor
Jonathan Elmore confirmed
that it can be added; and
if approved by voters the
ordinance would go into effect
January 2018.
“I think in this unique
case where we’re basically
talking about giving ourselves
money that it should go to a

referendum, that we should put
it out there for a vote,” Elmore
said. “We can ask DeKalb
County to add that to the ballot
with proper language.”
The commissioners, except
commissioner Adela Yelton who
was not present, said they do
not agree with a referendum.
“The reason is that I think
you’re elected to make decisions
and if you go to a referendum
every time you have to make a
decision or something—I just

hate the precedent of that,”
Commissioner Brian Fisher
said. “At this point and time I just
don’t care. I really don’t. I have
a list of 11 things, to me, that are
more important for us to deal
with than that. I just don’t want to
spend more time on it.”
Elmore also said he does
not want government by
referendum. Commissioner
Randy Beebe agreed.
“I don’t like the referendum
idea, but I would like the other

stipulation—to make it out four
years so none of us will vote
ourselves a raise,” Beebe said.
Commissioner Terry Giager,
who has spoken against the
ordinance from the beginning,
said the commissioners where
elected to make tough decisions.
“We were elected by the
people to man up or woman
up and make decisions. Where
would referendums stop?”
Giager said. “I think we are
empowered by the people here,
we were elected and we make
that decision.
“We have over 50 volunteers
that work for this city on boards
and committees,” Giager
added. “We have another group
[citizen’s patrol] that put in a
lot of hours for our city. To me
[serving on the board of mayor
and commissioners] is a civic
duty. We’ve done it this way for
years. I just don’t think we’re any
different from anyone else that’s
out there volunteering for our
city. I just can’t get over the fact
that I don’t think that we’re any
better than the other volunteers
in the city.”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 19A

Decatur assistant city manager Lyn Menne and real estate advisor Ken Bleakly presented the idea of a TAD in east Decatur to the City Schools of Decatur board of education
on June 14. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

City Schools of Decatur considers TAD participation
by R. Scott Belzer
For the second time this year, a city and
development firm has approached a DeKalb
board of education asking for a cut of the
district’s property tax revenue.
The city is Decatur; the district is City
Schools of Decatur (CSD).
On June 14, CSD’s board of education
discussed possibly participating in a tax
allocation district (TAD) in east Decatur with
the city government.
A TAD allows tax authorities (city,
county or school district) to devote property
tax revenue above a certain threshold to
an account set aside for redevelopment.
Agencies continue collecting property tax at
a set rate for a fixed amount of time (TADs
can last up to 30 years) and devote future
property tax increases to the account.
How the accrued money is used depends
on the deal made by participating agencies.
By law, TAD revenue can pay for roads,
infrastructure, parking and other capital
projects within the outlined district.
Participation in the East Decatur TAD
would halt CSD’s property tax revenue
at $409,904. The TAD can move forward
without CSD’s participation but will draw less
The proposed district in the case of
Decatur, presented in its draft phase as the
East Decatur TAD by assistant city manager
Lyn Menne, outlines an area along College
Avenue from South Columbia Drive to
the Avondale Estates city limits. The TAD
stretches south to just before Derrydown Way
and follows its curve back to College Avenue.
Once an industrial district, the area is
now home to housing, gyms, restaurants,
government buildings and businesses along
Commerce Drive, Weeks Street, New Street,
Talley Street and Sams Street. The district
accounts for 54.5 acres and 160 parcels of

Once an industrial district, a TAD outlined by the
city of Decatur is now home to housing, gyms,
restaurants, government buildings and businesses
along Commerce Drive, Weeks Street, New Street,
Talley Street and Sams Street. The district accounts
for 54.5 acres and 160 parcels of land.

Menne said the city has been
looking at the area for the past 15 years,
characterizing the neighborhood as one
ripe for improvement. Such infrastructure
improvements would ideally be paid for via a
TAD, she said.
“We want to improve the network,
sidewalks and pedestrian connections,”
Menne said. “We want to build park systems
and other amenities. We need [CSD’s]
participation to really make this idea work.”
Menne specifically referred to buying and
setting aside property for building a park with
a water detainment feature similar to Fourth
Ward Park in Atlanta. Menne also said streets
and sidewalks in the district needed to be
Sandy Springs-based real estate and
economic advisor Ken Bleakly, who advised
Decatur City Commission in the district’s
creation, said TADs are the most widely
used and successful methods of paying for
“This is not a cutting edge or new,
untested technique; this is something that has
been used all over the country,” Bleakly said.
“[TADs] trigger a whole series of economic

benefits. It accelerates the growth of [tax
revenue] in the area.”
Bleakly said the area outlined by the
TAD “was never intended for intensive
development,” and said CSD could expect
$1.2 million in property tax revenue after 10
years of TAD participation.
CSD superintendent David Dude said it
is time for the board to consider participation
but not rush to a decision. On June 24, CSD
will close on property in the proposed TAD
along Talley Street and South Columbia Drive.
“We’re at the point where we need to start
making some decisions,” Dude said. “Do we
participate or not? If we do participate, are
there things we expect out of that participation
in terms of how the funding is used?”
Board member Lewis Jones said the
TAD was “basically a net loss” as the district
is giving up future growth. Bleakly said this
was speculative, stating the district can gain
exponentially by the time a TAD is complete.
Board member Garrett Goebbel called
the project risky but intriguing.
The topic of TADs has been discussed
and debated by officials from Doraville,
DeKalb County and DeKalb County
School District (DCSD) due to a proposed
development at the former General Motors
assembly plant site.
Supporters of the Doraville project, such
as mayor Donna Pittman, said DCSD’s
participation in the TAD will spur not only the
redevelopment, but also new development
in the area. DCSD officials such as board
chairman Melvin Johnson said tax
dollars should be used for education, not
development projects.
Menne said the East Decatur TAD’s
duration and specific project lists have yet
to be decided on, as the city of Decatur is
awaiting CSD’s choice to participate. The
district voiced its need to confer with lawyers
as well as each other before making a final



DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 20A



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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 21A

Energy savings brewing at Doraville Dunkin’ Donuts
by Kathy Mitchell
The Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant
that opened recently on Buford
Highway in Doraville is the first in
the Atlanta area to be part of the
company’s DD Green program.
Started in 2014, DD Green is a
certification program designed to
help franchisees build sustainable,
energy-efficient restaurants.
“Dunkin’ Donuts is an allfranchise business, so owners
decide whether they want to be part
of this program,” explained Barkat
Colabawala, one of the owners of
the new restaurant. He is director of
operations for the Dunkin’ Donuts
Franchisee Network-Coffee Café,
To be recognized as a DD
Green restaurant, franchisees,
construction managers and
architects follow a five-stage
program during the planning,
design and construction phases of
store development, according to
Dunkin’ Donuts’ corporate website.
Stores meeting the DD Green
criteria display a plaque that notes
the restaurant’s energy reduction
and sustainable design. The
program is customized for various
store formats.
“We see this as the future of
the food industry,” Colabawala
said. “We’re going to see more
and more restaurants from
construction through operation
incorporating features that minimize
environmental impact.”
Colabawala’s education and
experience prior to becoming a
restaurant owner is in information
technologies. “That fits perfectly
with the way places like the new
Dunkin’ Donuts operate. So much
is done by computer an extensive
knowledge of computer technology
is a real plus,” he said.
Among the sustainable
strategies and practices used
in the DD Green program are
mitigation of construction pollution
and waste recycling, installation of
energy-efficient LED light fixtures,
mechanical units and water-saving
plumbing fixtures, implementation
of healthy environments with indoor
air quality management and use of
zero-VOC paints and sustainable
building operations training for
Franchisees can participate
in the DD Green program at two
levels. At the first level, stores meet
minimum sustainable requirements.
The second level is for stores
that go beyond requirements and
achieve additional suggested
sustainable goals.
Paul Twohig, president of
Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada,
and Dunkin’ Donuts & BaskinRobbins Europe and Latin America,
stated in a news release, “We are
committed to building greener

restaurants, and this new program
is designed to reduce our overall
environmental footprint and improve
operating costs for our franchisees.”
“We’re proud to introduce
this program in the Atlanta area,”
said Colabawala, who owns the
restaurant with Sam Charania,
operator of 13 Dunkin’ Donuts
restaurants in Georgia. Earlier
this year Charania was selected
to serve a two-year term on the
Dunkin’ Donuts Brand Advisory
Council, which selects franchisees
from across the country to provide
advice on topics ranging from
marketing strategies and menu
innovation to technology and
training needs for the company’s
more than 8, 500 U.S. franchise
locations. Charania is the only
Georgia member of the current
“Dunkin’ Donuts is a brand
that really listens to its franchisees
when its developing programs
and policies,” said Colabawala,
who opened a Dunkin’ Donuts
in Chamblee 10 years ago and
has been associated with the
brand ever since. “That, and the
opportunity to join the DD Green
program are among several
reasons I’m proud to be associated
with the Dunkin’ Donuts brand.
“It’s one of the world’s leading
brands and it changes continually to
meet public tastes and preferences.
The DD Green program is just one
example,” he continued.
The first Dunkin’ Donuts opened
in Quincy, Mass., 66 years ago,
when it served basically doughnuts
and coffee. The brand’s current
menu includes a variety of hot
and cold coffee, tea and chocolate
beverages as well as fruit and
yogurt smoothies. In addition to
a wide selection of doughnuts,
Dunkin’ Donuts now sells other
bakery goods and sandwiches.
Colabawala said he is excited
to open a business on the Doraville
stretch of Buford Highway. “If you
look you will notice that most of
the businesses along here are
new. This area is undergoing
revitalization. We chose this area
to open the restaurant because we
really wanted to be part of that.”
He added that Doraville city
officials, including the mayor and
the chief of police, have been
helpful and encouraging. “The
people who come in have been so
friendly, too. They tell us they’re
gland we’re here. It’s the interaction
with people that makes this
business exciting and rewarding.
Many people come in early in the
morning and we have the chance to
help them get their day started in a
pleasant way,” Colabawala said.
The Buford Highway Dunkin’
Donuts is one of more than 11,800
Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants

Balloons and radio station DJs helped celebrate the grand opening of the Doraville
Dunkin Donuts on June 17. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Owner Barkat Colabawala shows the plaque that tells customers his store meets
Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Green environmental standards.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 22A

Carla’s Corner:


n Oct. 3, 1995,
I was a brighteyed 8-year-old,
probably causing
some trouble in Mrs.
Smith’s third grade class
at Browns Mill Elementary
School in Lithonia.
On that day, I had no
idea what was taking place
more than 2,000 miles
away in a Los Angeles,
Calif., courtroom. Oct. 3,
1995 was the day former
football star Orenthal
James Simpson was found
not guilty in the murders of
his ex-wife Nicole Brown
Simpson and her friend
Ronald Goldman.
As an 8-year-old, I had
no idea who O.J. Simpson
was. I was not aware of
what he was accused of
and my innocent brain
had no knowledge of the
circumstances surrounding
the case. I have no
recollection of the case
being discussed between
my parents during that time.
As I got older, I learned
who Simpson was, some
details of the case, varying
reactions about the verdict
and the reasoning behind
the reactions. Before June
11, I thought it was just a
black and white thing with
really no grey areas.
After reading so many
stories and watching
documentaries, I thought
I’d learned everything there
was to know about the
trial of the century and the
people involved.
However, on June 11
and the days after, my
eyes were opened to the
full context of this trial and
its deeper meaning after
watching ESPN’s 30 for 30
O.J.: Made in America.
The five-part
documentary miniseries,
directed and produced by
Ezra Edelman, explores
the life of Simpson from
his upbringing, his football
career, his refusal to
acknowledge his Blackness,
his lack of awareness and
participation in the Civil
Rights Movement, his
desire to be accepted in
the White community, his
history with infidelity and
domestic violence, his life
during and post-trial.
This fascinating
miniseries shares details
that many may have never
known about Simpson,
Brown, Goldman and others
in this tragic American story.

The O.J. trial: now, I get it

Although two lives
where taken in brutal
fashion; the trial,
as explained in the
documentary, shed a bigger
light on the issues and
division that plagued this
country during the 1980s
and 1990s, and continues
Racism, classism,
celebrity privilege, police
brutality and an unjust
justice system all had an
impact on the trial. These
aspects had an effect
on people’s feelings and
thoughts about the case.
Many Whites
supposedly hoped to see
Simpson rot in prison for
the crimes he was accused
of, and many Blacks were in
Simpson’s corner. However,
Blacks were technically not
in that corner because of
Simpson alone.
Most Black Americans
were not necessarily
cheering for Simpson when
he was acquitted. They

were celebrating the loss
the Los Angeles Police
Department and justice
system took because the
system finally worked “in
favor” of a Black man.
At the time, it didn’t
matter that Simpson was
rich and had disowned his
Blackness. He was still a
Black man who got one
over on “the man.”
After years of dealing
with racism, police brutality
and a court system that
rarely worked for them,
hearing the “not guilty”
verdict was a relief for
Blacks who were tired of
their race being treated
worse than dogs in a
country with a Declaration
of Indepence that reads “all
men are created equal.” But
that phrase is far from true.
Before the trial, the
Black community in Los
Angeles was still hurting
from the beating of Rodney
King and the shooting
death of Latasha Harlins,

a 15-year-old girl who was
shot in the back of the head
in a convenience store by a
Korean store owner, Soon
Ja Du.
Du was found guilty of
voluntary manslaughter,
an offense that carries a
maximum prison sentence
of 16 years. However, a
judge sentenced her to
five years of probation and
400 hours of community
service—a slap in the face
to the Harlins family and the
Black community.
The officers who were
caught on tape beating King
in the street were acquitted
for their crimes—another
slap in the face to Blacks.
For those who hate
Simpson because they
believe he is a murderer
who got away with it—I
hope you felt the same
about Du and the officers
who got off after the King
beating. I hope you feel
as bad for the Harlins and
King families as you do for

the Brown and Goldman
It’s hard for me
to chastise the Black
community’s jubilation after
Simpson’s acquittal when
I look at the entire picture.
Although Simpson’s life
spiraled out of control after
the trial, although he turned
his back on his children, he
turned his back on the Black
community again, now he
sits in prison on a 33-year
sentence for a dumb crime,
and although Nicole and
Ron never received justice;
I understand why those
who celebrated the verdict
in 1995 have a hard time
changing their feelings
about the verdict after
knowing what a monster
Simpson really is.
As a Black American
living in the days of the
Trayvon Martins, the
Michael Browns, the
Sandra Blands and
countless others—I get it.

All concerned citizens are invited to the Public Hearings on this tax increase to be held June 29 at 3:00pm, City Hall
Council Rm, 3921 Church Street, Clarkston, GA 30021. A second Public Hearing will be held on July 5 at 10:00AM at the
City Hall Annex Conference Rm, 1055 Rowland Street, Clarkston, GA 30021.
A final Public Hearing will be held on July 5 at 7:00PM at the City Hall Council Rm, 3921 Church Street, Clarkston, GA
30021. The City Council will adopt the 2016 Millage rate at the July 5, 2016 meeting following the conclusion of the
Public Hearing
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 17.110 mils, an increase of 3.892 mills. Without this tentative tax
increase, the millage rate will be no more than 13.218. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of
$ 100,000 is approximately $ 155.68. The proposed increase on non-homestead property with a fair market value of $
375,000 is approximately $ 583.80.
City Tax







Real & Personal







Motor Vehicles







Mobile Homes







Timber - 100%







Heavy Duty Equipment







Gross Digest







Less M & O Exemptions







Net M & O Digest







Gross M & O Millage







Less Rollbacks







Net M & O Millage













Net Taxes $ Increase







Net Taxes % Increase







Total County Taxes Levied


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 23A

Cedar Grove gets faster
and bigger on offense

by Carla Parker
Cedar Grove’s football
team has gained extra help
on offense.
Former Decatur High
School running back
Grant Walker and former
North Clayton High School
offensive tackle Maurice
Campbell announced that
they will play their senior
years at Cedar Grove.
Walker and Campbell
both made their
announcements on Twitter.
“Due to family issues
I am no longer enrolled
at Decatur High School
and I’ve transferred to
Cedar Grove High School,”
Walker said. “I appreciate
everything the City Schools
of Decatur have done
for me my whole life. I’ve
had [three] great years at
Decatur High and can’t
thank the teachers and
coaching staff enough.”
“After talking with my
family I’ve decided to
play my senior season at
Cedar Grove High School,”
Campbell announced.
“Much love to the [North
Clayton] Eagles for an
awesome three years.
I’m excited about this
new chapter in my life.
[I’m] ready to go out
and dominate the line of
scrimmage with my dogs.”
Grant, 6-foot-1 and
193 pounds, rushed for
1,222 yards and scored 12
touchdowns in nine games
last season at Decatur. He
was named first team allcounty and second team
all-region. He has received
10 college offers, including
offers from Georgia
Southern, Georgia State,
Chattanooga and Troy.
Grant will try to pick
up where former Cedar
Grove running back Labron
Morris left off. Morris, who
graduated in 2016, led the
county in rushing with 1,738
yards and 19 touchdowns.
Campbell, 6-foot-7 and
330 pounds, will add size
to the offensive line that
already includes four-star
recruit and Georgia commit
Netori Johnson, who is
6-foot-4 and 348 pounds.

Campbell helped the North
Clayton offense average 175.9
rushing yards per game.
Campbell is considered
one of the largest players in the

state. He will attempt to open
many holes for Grant and other
Cedar Grove running backs to
run through.
Maurice Campbell

Grant Walker

Notice of Public Hearing

The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, July 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:
•Wakefield Beasley and Associates requests approval of a Development of Community Impact (DCI)
for a mixed-use development consisting of apartments, professional offices, restaurant, retail uses, and
convertible space. The request concerns property zoned TOD at 5211 Peachtree Boulevard, being
DeKalb County Tax Parcel #18-299-13-005 consisting of 3.86 acres.
•Mohammad Hossain of Nirvana Land, LLC requests approval of a variance to allow a proposed building
in the Corridor Commercial (CC) zoning district to exceed the maximum permitted height of 60 ft. located
at 4401 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, being DeKalb County Tax Parcel # 18-345-05-001, consisting of
0.9424 acres.
•Gary Matthews of Parkside Partners requests approval of a Development of Community Impact (DCI)
and Planned Unit Development (PUD) as provided in Sec.280-6 of the City of Chamblee Code of
Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance for construction of a mixed-use development
in the TOD zoning district and located at 5170 Peachtree Rd. and 1918 Chamblee-Tucker Rd., being
DeKalb County Tax Parcels 18-299-013-001 and 18-299-013-009, consisting of 2.16 acres.
•Inline Communities requests approval of a stream buffer variance in accordance with Sec. 310-19 of the
City of Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance for property zoned
VR and located at 1965, 1973, 1981, and 1989 Dering Circle being DeKalb County Tax Parcels #18-23502-029, 18-235-02-028, 18-235-02-027, 18-235-02-026, consisting of a total of 3.689 acres.
•Beazer Homes Corporation requests approval of a Planned Unit Development on property zoned
NC-2 in accordance with Sec. 280-6 of the City of Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified
Development Ordinance for a townhome development proposed at 1961 Fifth St., 4041 Clairmont Rd.,
4047 Clairmont Rd., 1938 6th St, and 1962 6th St. being DeKalb County Tax Parcels # 18-279-05-010,
18-279-05-002, 18-279-05-001, 18-279-05-011, and 18-279-05-003 consisting of 2.79 acres.
•John Roegge of Hilton Displays requests approval of variances for signs to be located on property
zoned Mixed Use-Business Center (MU-BC) at 2901 Clairmont Road (Sam’s Club), Chamblee, being
tax parcel 18-196-02-016. The subject variances relate to Chapter 260 of the City of Chamblee Code of
Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance, for two signs, as follows:
oSec. 260-7(b)(3) to increase maximum sign height from 8 ft. to 18 ft. (2 signs);
oSec. 260-7(b)(5) to increase maximum sign area from 64 sq. ft. to 156 sq. ft. (2 signs);
oSec. 260-7(b)(5) to vary required distance between a sign and a driveway (2 signs);
oSec. 260-7(b)(4) to locate one sign in the restricted corner sight distance triangle set forth in Sec.
230-15; and
oSec. 260-7(b)(6)c. to locate one sign that is greater than 64 sq. ft. such that it is closer than 2000
ft. from another sign greater than 64 sq. ft. on the same side of the street.
•The City of Chamblee, Georgia proposes to amend certain sections and sub-sections of text in the
following chapters of the Official City Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance:
oChapter 110 - Definitions
oChapter 230 – Standards Applying to All Districts
oChapter 240 - General Use Regulations
oChapter 250 – Off-Street Parking and Loading Standards
oChapter 260 – Sign Regulations
oChapter 280 – Procedures
oChapter 300 – Subdivision and Development Standards
oChapter 320 – Buffers, Landscaping and Tree Protection
oAddendum 3 - Streetscape Guidelines


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, June 24, 2016 • Page 24A

Emory athletics finishes third in Directors’ Cup standings
The Emory University
Department of Athletics finished
third in the 2015-16 Learfield
Sports Directors’ Cup Division
III standings.
The National Association of
Collegiate Directors of Athletics
(NACDA) announced the
The third-place finish
represents the 15th time
in the past 16 years that
Emory has recorded a top-10
showing—2000-01 (fourth),
2001-02 (fifth), 2002-03
(second), 2003-04 (second),
2004-05 (eighth), 2005-06
(fourth), 2006-07 (ninth),
2007-08 (seventh), 2008-09
(sixth), 2009-10 (18th) , 201011 (seventh), 2011-12 (sixth),
2012-13 (second), 2013-14
(sixth) and 2014-15 (eighth).
Emory registered a final
total of 969 points, the secondhighest mark for the department
since the inception of the cup in
Emory scored Directors’

Emory finished third in the 2015-16 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Division III

Cup points in 15 sports in
2015-16 and captured national
championships in women’s
swimming and diving and
women’s tennis.
Other teams to come away
with top-10 finishes in the

Directors’ Cup included men’s
tennis (3rd), men’s swimming
and diving (3rd), softball (5th),
baseball (7th), men’s basketball
(9th) and volleyball (9th).
Emory athletics also claimed
seven University Athletic

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Association championships
this past school year—men’s
basketball, women’s swimming
and diving, men’s swimming
and diving, men’s tennis,
women’s tennis, softball and
Williams College (MA)
finished in the No. 1 spot with
1,098 points, its 19th Directors’
Cup title in 21 years. A total of
322 schools accumulated points
in the final Division III standings.
The Directors’ Cup is a
program that honors institutions
maintaining a broad-based
program, achieving success in
many sports, both men’s and
women’s. Began in 1993-94
for Division I by NACDA and
USA Today, it was expanded in
1995-96 to include Division II,
III and the NAIA and, in 201112, expanded to the Junior/
Community Colleges. Points
are awarded based on each
institution’s finish in up to 18
sports—nine women’s and nine