the DeKalb

FRIDaY, JUlY 15, 2016 • Vol. 19, No. 14 • FREE

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


Scottdale girl hopes for normal
life after two bouts with cancer
by Carla Parker
Beating cancer
once can be a difficult
it twice is even more
But 9-year-old
Gabriella Marshall of
Scottdale was able to
meet that challenge—
twice. Marshall, better
known as Gabby, recently
completed radiation
treatments for her
second bout with the
pediatric cancer orbital
RMS is a rare
childhood cancer and the
most common primary
orbital malignancy in
children; there are roughly
35 new cases per year. In
October 2010, two months
before her fourth birthday,
Gabby’s parents noticed
that her left eye began to
“When we lifted up her
eyelid we saw a mass,”
Ana Marshall, Gabby’s
mother said. “After
seeing her pediatrician,
we were referred to a
pediatric ophthalmologist
who removed the mass.
We were told over the
phone that the mass was
Gabby began
chemotherapy at
Children’s Healthcare of
Atlanta at Scottish Rite
after her diagnosis. In
November 2010, she had
surgery to remove the

mass and then began
chemotherapy. She
completed chemotherapy

Marshall said her
daughter was resilient

‘It was such a surreal
and devastating
Ana Marshall

on Sept. 21, 2011, but
was left with permanent
damage on her tear gland
and depended on plugs to
keep her eye from drying
Gabby had four years
of cleared scans until
December 2015 when
doctors discovered the
cancer had returned.
“It was such a surreal
and devastating situation,”
Marshall said. “As a
parent, having to watch
your child go through this
again is absolutely horrible
and heart breaking.”
Gabby had to do
radiation after the second
diagnosis, but was able to
successfully complete her
treatments, and Marshall
said Gabby is doing fine.
“The only thing that
we’re dealing with now is
the dry eye, which is an
immediate side effect of
the radiation,” Marshall
said. “But other than that,
overall she is doing very


while fighting cancer a
second time.
“She’s older and much
Nine-year-old Gabriella Marshall dealt with orbital
more aware,” she said.
rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric cancer, twice.
“She was very upset but
I think she just keeps
going and she keeps
what the best approach
also at the hospital so
focusing on her day-to-day she was able to keep up is because a lot kids like
[activities], her friends, her with all of the work. She her have this problem—
school. We try to make
the dryness, the light
was able to complete
it as normal as possible
third grade and she had can be bothersome
outside of the doctor
to them,” she added.
good grades.”
“We’re just trying to find
Although her cancer
“For us we are a people is gone, Gabby still
the best solution for that
of faith—we pray together, faces challenges and
we go to church and we
Even with these
could face more health
have a good support
challenges in the future. current challenges,
system too,” Marshall
Gabby is still a happy
“She does have
added. “That’s something
little girl.
to take eye drops,”
that helps her and helps
“She’s very sweet,
Marshall said. “She
us too.”
very cheerful, she’s very
had something made
While going through
fun to be around, she
specifically for her;
radiation treatments,
loves her little brother,
unfortunately it’s not
Gabby, who is a student
she loves to draw, she
as good as we would
at The Museum School
loves to bike,” she said.
like it to be. I don’t think
of Avondale Estates, was
“I think she’ll be able
there is going to be a
able to keep up with her
long-term solution. She’s to have a pretty normal
school work.
definitely going to need
“Her teacher was
punctal plugs.
exceptional,” Marshall
“Her ophthalmologist
said. “They have teachers is trying to figure out





DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 2A

Road fix may come to Decatur

by Horace Holloman
A fix for one of Decatur’s
complicated roadways may
be in the works in the next
few years, city officials said.
During a July 5 city
commission meeting,
Decatur city commissioners
reviewed a potential
“fix” for what many call a
complicated intersection.
City Manager Peggy
Merriss said reconfiguring
the intersection at Atlanta
Avenue, which intersects
with College Avenue and
Howard Avenue, is one
of the biggest unresolved
transportation projects the
city has left to complete.
“It’s a very difficult
intersection to get through
so we want to straighten the
intersection so it’s more of a
‘T’ shape,” Merriss said.
Merriss said the “T”
shape intersection will
allow a better flow of the
intersection and help
with potential confusion
to drivers. The project to
reconfigure the intersection
will be completed in phases.
Public Works Director
David Junger presented
the commissioners with a
proposed plan to alleviate
traffic concerns at the
intersection. Junger said
the intersection is not
only dangerous for motor
vehicles, but bicyclists and
pedestrians as well.
“The only intersection
in our city that hasn’t had
any changes and needs
significant improvement is
Atlanta Avenue, College and
Howard,” Junger said. “It’s
a very complex intersection
for motor vehicles, but even
more so for pedestrians and
cyclists. You have a multiuse path that tries to finagle
its way through multiple
roadways. Pedestrians don’t
have a very direct route to
go from north to south.”
Junger said the
department receives
complaints from residents
about the intersection.
The city will consider
adding the intersection
improvement project to

the special purpose local
option sales tax (SPLOST)
funding list, according to city
officials. The city has until
July 18 to submit projects
and an Intergovernmental
Agreement (IGA) to DeKalb
County officials.
Merriss said the city
plans to add improvements
to the Beacon Municipal
Center and Fire Station No.
1 to the SPLOST project
list as well. The city could
receive close to $2.4 million
for facility improvements.

Decatur officials may
call a special meeting to
review an IGA to submit to
the county. Signing an IGA
with DeKalb County would
allow the city to collect
SPLOST for six years
instead of five, Merriss said.
“If the IGA with the cities
doesn’t work out, the county
can still call a referendum.
The benefit of having an
IGA is that you get a sixth
year of collections,” Merriss
said. Merriss said.

An image of the conceptual Community Transportation Plan for a
road fix at the intersection at Atlanta Avenue, College Avenue and
Howard Avenue.

Fresh recipe ideas each
week in our
LifeStyle section.
now for only


Call 404.373.7779
X 100 for details



Volunteer agency to hold informational session at
DeKalb Juvenile Court
DeKalb County Juvenile Court’s Court Appointed Special Advocates
(CASA) of DeKalb County will hold an informational meeting for
volunteers on July 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Gregory A. Adams
Juvenile Justice Center, located at 4309 Memorial Drive in Decatur.
The session will provide an overview of the program for those
wishing to volunteer. To join CASA, volunteers are required to attend
and information session and complete an interview.
“CASA volunteers are everyday people, trained by DeKalb County
CASA and then appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests
of abused and neglected children,” the organization states in a release.
“DeKalb County CASA volunteers work with the DeKalb County
Juvenile Court and Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS)
to ensure that all the necessary information is collected and presented
to the court allowing the judge to make the best decision possible
regarding placement of the child.”
In addition, the CASA program is designed to give abused and
neglected children representation in court.
For more information or to RSVP to the event, email Justine
Ferreira at, dekalbcasa@dekalbcasa.
org or call (404) 378-0038.

Community service board meeting announced
DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) will conduct a public
hearing on the agency budget. Interested parties who would like to
comment on the budget are invited to do so in person. The hearing will
be held on July 14, at 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Community Service Board,
445 Winn Way, 4th Floor, Room 421, in Decatur. Those requesting to
make comment must sign in.
The July 21 board meeting of the DeKalb Community Service Board
is open to the public for those who are interested in services for mental
health, addiction and developmental disabilities. The meeting will be
held at 4 p.m. at 445 Winn Way, room 421 in Decatur. An Advocacy
Committee meeting will be held in the same room at 3:00 pm and is
also open to the public.
The Audit, Finance and Compliance meeting will also be held in
room 421 on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 12 p.m. and is also open to the
For those with disabilities in need of assistance or accommodations
to participate in the meeting, should notify the community relations
department at (404) 508-7875.

aVondale estates
City to host farmers market

Avondale Estates will host its farmers market July 17, from 10 a.m.
to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of My Parents’ Basement. The market will
have local produce and goods. My Parents’ Basement is located at 22
North Avondale Road. For more information, visit www.avondaleestates.

City to host 5K race

Brookhaven Parks and Recreation will host its second annual “It
Starts in the Parks” 5K race on July 23 at Blackburn Park at 7:30 a.m.
T-shirts and awards for various categories will be presented at 8:30
a.m. The park is located at 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road. For more
information or to register, call (404) 637-0512

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 3A


City to host development classes in fall
Beginning Aug. 9, Chamblee’s development department will begin
hosting “Development 101,” a series of classes offering information on
the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Classes will be held
once at month at 6:30 p.m. at Chamblee City Hall until December.
A UDO is a combined zoning ordinance designed to streamline and
coordinate design guidelines, signage and stormwater management
under a single document, according to UDOs are helpful
in accommodating and attracting mixed-use development.
The August class will cover UDO organization and administration
while September’s class will cover zoning; October’s class will cover
building construction permitting; November’s class will cover code
enforcement; and December’s class will cover land disturbance.
The free classes are available to anyone in the region wishing to
take them but space is limited. Anyone interested can register online at

Pine laKe

City honors resident with holiday namesake
Juanita “Nita” Towns, a longtime resident of Pine Lake, was
honored for her diligence as a citizen at the council’s June 27 meeting.
The Pine Lake council declared July 1 as Juanita Towns Day due
to her decades of service and resident advocacy. The declaration
was made possible by Towns’ church, community and the Pine Lake
Association of Involved Neighbors (PLAIN).
“In her many decades as a resident of Pine Lake, Nita has
served on City Council, and helped found the current Seniors And
Law Enforcement Together (SALT) group, and cared for our city in
countless ways,” reads a statement about the declaration. “Her wisdom,
perspective, and humor have provided great help and calm to our
leadership (even as recently as yesterday).”
Residents honored Towns with notes, flowers and visits.

stone Mountain
Tax officer to host free seminar

The DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s office will host a free
“Understanding Your Tax Bill” seminar July 20 at 7 p.m. at Stone
Mountain City Hall. The seminar will provide information on how
property taxes are calculated and a detailed explanation of property
tax bills. City hall is located at 875 Main Street. For more information,
visit, or call (404) 2984000.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 4A

Gas station ‘self-defense’
shooting turns deadly
by Horace Holloman
An encounter between two
males at a Shell Food Mart
off Snapfinger Woods turned
deadly as a would-be robber
became a victim, according to
The incident occurred
on July 3. Police said after
the two males met at the
convenience store the
robber pulled out a gun and
demanded the other man
withdraw money from a
nearby ATM.
The two men returned to
the food mart parking lot and
then the man who was robbed
retrieved a gun from his car

and fired at the robber. The
robber died on the scene.
According to reports, the
shooter called police.
DeKalb Police Maj.
Stephen Fore said police were
working with the shooter and
no charges have been filed.
Fore said the two men did
not know one another prior to
their July 3 encounter. Police
have not identified the victim.
Fore said the incident
was not related to prostitution
and, according to Fore, the
shooter said the two males
had not planned on having
Initial reports stated the
incident occurred following a
“sexual encounter.”

Councilman Awet Eyasu was one of the principal sponsors of a resolution making $15 per
hour the minimum wage for Clarkston city employees. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Clarkston city employees
guaranteed $15 per hour
by R. Scott Belzer
City employees in Clarkston are
set to be paid at least $15 per hour
following a resolution passed by the city
council on July 5.
The resolution, sponsored by
councilman Awet Eyasu, Ahmed
Hassan and mayor Ted Terry, will
raise Clarkston city workers’ minimum
wage raised to $15, citing U.S. Census
Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor age
“A survey conducted by the U.S.
Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics determined that
over half of all minimum wage earners
are over the age of 25,” the resolution
states. “Thirty percent of those workers
are over the age of 34, and 20 percent
are over the age of 44.”
According to Clarkston city manager
Keith Barker, three city employees
will benefit from the minimum wage
increase, which will represent a 6
percent increase in their salaries.
Terry said the three workers, who are
employed in Clarkston’s public works
and courts departments, were pleased
with the proposed increase.
“In Georgia, cities and counties
cannot raise the minimum wage for
businesses or private enterprises in
their jurisdiction,” Terry said. “However,
we are an entity [that operates like] a
business and we can decide how much
we pay our employees. As a small city,
it’s important that we attract and retain
the best quality of employees.”
The resolution states a raise in
the minimum wage will “get families
closer to a level where they can sustain

themselves, resulting in fewer people
needing government assistance.” Terry
further qualified the assertion by citing
a study from the Bureau of Labor which
estimates a family of four in the metro
Atlanta area requires at least $50,000
after taxes for transportation, housing,
food, healthcare and childcare.
“If you think about the federal
minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour,
an annual worker is making anywhere
between $14,000 and $16,000 a year,”
Terry said. “Two heads of households
working 40 hours a week is still about
$20,000 below the threshold in metro
Terry said if the minimum wage
since the ‘70s had been increased
appropriately for inflation, it would be
somewhere around the amount of $15
per hour.
“Anyone living in the Atlanta region
understands the cost of living is higher
than it might be out in rural Georgia or
near the coast in Savannah,” Terry said.
“This is very well deserved.”
Terry said the resolution makes
Clarkston the only city in the region with
a $15 minimum wage for its workers.
Councilman Eyasu said he wanted
other cities in Georgia and throughout
the country to follow Clarkston’s lead
and give their employees “a livable
“This is going to affect very few
people in our staff,” said Eyasu.
“Giving our employees a livable wage
is definitely something Clarkston will
be proud to be doing. In light of the
increase in our living standard and the
federal minimum wage— it’s too much.”
The resolution was unanimously
passed by Clarkston City Council.

Local biker Jeff Johnson said slippery conditions and a sharp turn were
the cause of fall at Arabia Mountain bike path. Photo by Scott Belzer

Accident on DeKalb park
bridge leads to biker injuries
by Horace Holloman
Jeff Johnson, 48,
completed the 37th annual
Bicycle Ride Across Georgia
(BRAG) without a hitch. The
annual BRAG event, the
second oldest across-state
bicycle tour in the world,
featured a week-long trek from
Atlanta to Savannah this year.
But it wasn’t Johnson’s
55-mile-per-day journey at
BRAG that gave him three
fractured ribs, a fractured
collarbone and a fractured
During a bike ride at
Davidson-Arabia Mountain
Nature Preserve June 29,
Johnson suffered a fall
going over a boardwalk near
Stevenson Creek. The fall
resulted in serious injuries and
a trip to the emergency room.

Now, Johnson says he
wants DeKalb County to
provide adequate signage in
the area so other bikers don’t
suffer the same fate.  
“It’s a pretty sharp right
turn and it was wet from the
rain,” Johnson said. “I would
certainly hate for someone else
to get hurt down there and it’s
troubling to know this could be
a trouble area for a lot of riders.
There should be a sign that
tells riders to get off their bike
and walk (across the bridge).”
Johnson said he’s a regular
rider and isn’t much of a risk
taker. He said he fell because
the bridge was slick after it
rained the day prior.
Johnson’s neighbor Chip
McClanahan, 65, has ridden
with Johnson for more than a
year. McClanahan, who was

See Biker on Page 8A

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016


Page 5

Handcrafted bracelets cute as buttons they’re made from
by Kathy Mitchell
“Oh, look at this one!”
exclaimed one woman in
the group gathered July 7
at the Chamblee Library
meeting room. Another
said, “This one is just
stunning. I wonder what
it’s made of.”
What had these women
giddy with excitement
were buttons—little disks
that for centuries have
been used to fasten
clothing. For many, buttons
are nothing more than
ornamental notions for
attaching one side of a
garment to another, but for
some hobbyists they are
tiny art pieces that can be
repurposed for decorating
a variety of items,
including jewelry.
The crafters were at the
library for an hour-and-ahalf workshop on making
bracelets using buttons
of assorted sizes, shapes
and styles. One participant
brought her own, but most
were exploring a large box
of buttons brought by the
presenter, Val Defriece.
“I bought a five-pound
box of buttons on EBay,”
she explained. “I wanted
to share it with others who
like buttons as much as
I do.” It takes thousands
of buttons to equal five
pounds. These were
varying shades of white—
ivory, cream, eggshell
and dozens more. Some
were modern; some were
vintage—even antique.
Suzanne Ernst
described searching
through the cache of
buttons as a treasure hunt.
“Some of these are so
unusual and beautiful,” she
Ernst said her interest
in buttons goes back to
her childhood when her
mother taught her to sew.
She said she passed
some sewing skills on to
her children, including
John Arthur Ernst Jr.,
the current mayor of
Defriece said that by
making button bracelets
hobbyists are continuing
a craft popular in the
19th century. “Back then
people crocheted the
basic bracelet and sewed
the buttons onto it. I don’t
really crochet and I’ve
found that elastic works
very well. What we’re

going to do this morning
is cut a one-inch wide
piece of elastic to a length
about an inch more than
the circumference of your
wrist,” she directed.
Buying the box of
buttons was unusual for
her, Defriece said. She
likes to find them on old
clothing such as items sold
in thrift shops. “Often the
story behind the buttons
is as interesting as the
buttons themselves,” she
noted. She brought as
an example a bracelet
made of family military
buttons. Some were
from her brother’s West
Point uniform and some
Presenter Val Defriece instructs participants, seated from left, Cheryl
Humber, Vivian Alford and Susan Weyraun in the craft of making bracelets
using buttons.

having a good time doing
this,” she added.
Alison McGowan,
an interior decorator,
said she was gathering
ideas for using buttons

in décor details. “I can
envision using clusters
of buttons on pillows or
window treatments,” she

Defriece shows how buttons should overlap and underlap so elastic is
covered completely.

were from her greatgrandfather’s British Royal
Navy uniform.
About 10 years ago,
Defriece recalled, she was
in a restaurant wearing
a button bracelet. “The
waitress noticed it and
asked if I would like to
have a jar of buttons that
had been left behind at
the house she just moved
Defriece said jars
of buttons are often
available at estate sales.
“Most people during the
Depression kept a jar of
buttons around so that a
replacement was available
if a button was lost. People
had to be very thrifty
during that period.” She
recommended against
buying buttons in fabric
shops “unless you see
something you really
love.” These are relatively
expensive, she said,
adding that sometimes
buying a thrift shop item
for a couple of dollars,

cutting off the buttons and
discarding the garment is
Antique shops, she
said, often have interesting
and unusual buttons,
but these, too, can be
expensive. One participant
recalled seeing a card of
12 antique buttons with
a price tag of $2. “I took
them to the register and
the clerk said, “That will
be $24. I thought $2 was
the price for the entire
card. The price was $2 per
Patti Soares, a teacher
on summer break, said
she was at the workshop
because she likes learning
crafts she can share with
her students. “This is very
doable. It’s so simple that
anyone, including children,
can learn it quickly.”
Tatrabian Lockwood,
who volunteers with the
Girl Scouts, agreed the
button bracelets would
be a good project for
her scouts. “And I’m just

Bracelet makers often chose a theme based on color or origin.
Steps in making a button bracelet
Supplies: Elastic, ¾-inch to 1-inch wide; buttons of
assorted sizes; quilting thread or sewing thread doubled;
needles; scissors
• Cut the elastic to the length of the wearer’s wrist
circumference, plus approximately 1 inch.
• Begin sewing buttons on, starting with a large button in the
middle of the strip.
• Continue to sew buttons on working toward both ends of
the elastic.
• Layer the buttons overlapping and underlapping each
using different button sizes.
• Double knot the thread used to sew on each button
individually on the back side of the elastic before attaching
the next button.
• Before sewing the ends together, add buttons to cover any
elastic that shows. Small buttons can be stacked on larger
ones for depth and interest.
• Measure and mark the elastic for a comfortable fit—too
tight and it will be difficult to slide over the hand; too loose
and it will slide up and down the arm. Defriece notes, “This
is not necessarily a bad thing.”
• Sew the ends of the elastic together with one end layered
on top of the other. Stitch the overlapping edges together.
Whipstitches work well for this.
• Finish by covering the elastic closure with buttons.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016


Page 6

Journey brings out contrasts and similarities in culture
Fresh off a 10-day trip traveling
throughout the African nation of
Zimbabwe, I returned home with an
invigorated spirit and fresh eyes.
As I drove down the same
streets I routinely traverse from my
home in Stone Mountain through
Clarkston, Avondale Estates
and into Decatur; from Tucker to
Chamblee, Doraville, Dunwoody and
Brookhaven; from Lithonia through
Pine Lake, I looked at many things a
little differently.
That’s what traveling far and
wide does for me. I can’t help but
have a new perspective on some
aspects of life in DeKalb County
after having been immersed in
another culture. Sometimes I note
how vastly different life and what’s
considered important can be, and
other times I observe that while the
geography and culture might differ,
similarities run strong.
A few days after returning
home I watched men—some with

Gale Horton Gay

signs stating they were homeless
and some soliciting for a cause-approaching cars at intersections
and begging for money. A week prior
I encountered men in Zimbabwe
approaching passengers in tourist
vehicles and selling authentic
currency for U.S. dollars. The
Zimbabwean dollars had become
so worthless, they were only good
as souvenirs. (I bought a $10 billion
note for one greenback.)
I’ve recently driven along several
streets in DeKalb where county
road crews have laid a fresh layer
of asphalt and remembered driving

for hours on dirt roads in Zimbabwe
where drivers constantly maneuver
to avoid the cracked, pitted, washed
out portions of the road. This
also reminded me how I have to
dodge the crumbling asphalt and
potholes along a portion of narrow
Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain
that is in dire need of repair.
Here at home, I noticed for
the first time in Decatur the spiffy
new green recycling receptacles
alongside the new black trash
bins located on street corners. In
Zimbabwe in the more rural areas
where some men rode bikes or
walked and women commonly
carried large bundles on their heads
while walking along the side of
the road, I didn’t notice any trash
receptacles. Litter along these
roadways was rampant.
There are paved roads in
Zimbabwe as well—one took us
from the town of Bulawayo in the
southern part of the country to

Hwange in the north. Every few
miles, our van slowed for a police
stop to check the driver’s paperwork
and raise what we were told were
arbitrary issues. Locals told us that
some drivers are intimidated and slip
a few dollars to the national police
officers. Government officials have
promised that the road blocks will be
eased but it seems those promises
have yet to be fulfilled.
And when school let out in
Zimbabwe, children in colorful
uniforms—some quite stylish with
jackets and ties —waved wildly at
our passing van. Their smiling faces
conveyed the joy and excitement of
youth that’s a universal symbol of
the hope that exists for the future.
Observing similarities and
differences in cultures is, for me, one
of the great joys of traveling.
It’s good to be home, back in the
familiar environment of my family,
friends, neighbors, co-workers and
overall community.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016

Page 7

GOP reality TV
“I’ve rarely seen a leader
that’s been able to lead by
consensus. A leader is someone
who goes oftentimes against
everybody. That’s what a leader
is.” entrepreneur and soon to
be GOP Presidential nominee,
Donald Trump from his longrunning NBC program, The
With apologies to the
Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland
has not been this hot since the
Cuyahoga River caught fire in
1969. It is probably more than
coincidental that Cleveland’s
favorite son, former mayor, Ohio
governor and GOP centrist U.S.
Senator George Voinivich
passed in June and will be
unable to participate in the
quadrennial GOP Presidential
road show beginning July 18.
Voinivich, along with current
Ohio Governor John Kasich
will skip the big show that
both helped land in their home
state, in part to help the GOP
return Ohio to its win map. In
addition to their absences, both
former GOP Presidents Bush,
the last two GOP presidential
nominees— Mitt Romney
and John McCain—and an
apparently growing number of
local, state and federal elected
Republicans are not planning
to make the “big show.”The
national political conventions
have been in a two-decade
period of decline in terms of
their relevance to the nation
and ability to move the masses.
Recent conventions had become

‘One Man’s
Bill Crane

highly controlled theater,
designed largely to fire-up the
base, as well as showcase up
and comers within each. But
as less and less audience
tuned in, and C-SPAN became
practically the only choice for
gavel-to-gavel coverage; one
has to wonder about the longterm viability and survival of the
national political convention.
Though Simon Cowell and
Mark Burnette may be more
credited with developing and
honing the craft of reality TV, it
will likely be Trump who goes
down in history as the impresario
who topped P.T. Barnum in his
Guiness Book of World Record
attempts (just ask him) at any
obstacle he faces in life.
So, in addition to nightly
appearances by The Donald
himself, with themed speeches
calling for nationalism painted
in the red, white and blue of
patriotism, we expect to hear
from each Trump progeny,
interspersed with a number of
B-list celebrities who will also tell
us just how “…terrific and huge”
a Trump presidency could be.
Get ready for public policy
punching and “lyin’ Hillary” lyrics
from the likes of Mike Tyson,
Don King and perhaps even
former Democratic presidential

contender Jim Webb of Virginia
The Reagans brought his
revolution and massive balloon
drops. Trump is bringing his
own hot air balloon—his ego;
he is also bringing as well
as rising temperatures and
pressure among activists,
protesters and a real angst
among the citizenry—fueled in
part by an almost never-ending
series of terrorist attacks and
shootings across our nation
and the globe. This should all
guarantee massive ratings for
the “show,” even if the networks
and cable giants are having
trouble securing advertisers and
corporate sponsors.
Yes, it is easy to take shots
of what is likely to feel like
an extended binge watch of
Celebrity Apprentice; but there
is also growing unrest among
the GOP rank and file that while
Trump won the bulk of state
primary and caucus contests;
his campaign team, donor base
and messaging continue to
demonstrate only anger and the
ability to grab headlines, without
sober thinking, statesmanship
or many real solutions to the
challenges facing our nation.
And, an increasing number of
polls and signs are pointing to a
non-indicted former Secretary of
State seeing a landslide win.
The “news” of this convention,
other than outbreaks of violence
in or outside the arena, may
largely come down to Trump’s
choice of running mate. After
many leading contenders

voluntarily withdrew themselves
from consideration, it appears
increasingly likely that former
House Speaker Newt Gingrich
may win that lottery.
There is another ticket with
two thoughtful, pragmatic and
proven former GOP governors,
Gary Johnson of New Mexico,
and VP choice William Weld
of Massachusetts. Both now
Libertarians have cut taxes,
created jobs aplenty and in
Weld’s case— in the Democratic
bastion of Tax-achusetts— won
re-election to a second term
by the then widest margin in
state history. That pair and
the Libertarian Party still have
challenges getting on several
state ballots, missing their
petition deadline and numbers
for Ohio, a state which remains
critical for either other party to
win the White House. All eyes
will be on Cleveland next week,
and in memory of my friend
and fraternity brother George
Voinivich, I’m going to pray that
the river doesn’t catch fire all
over again.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News,
WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now
95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for
The Champion, Champion Free
Press and Georgia Trend. Crane
is a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You can
reach him or comment on a column at

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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 8A

Police reassure DeKalb residents with transparency
by Horace Holloman
In the aftermath of a deadly
shooting in Dallas that left five
officers dead, DeKalb County
Police Chief James Conroy found
it difficult to eat at a local Chickfil-A restaurant. He hadn’t lost his
appetite, but had trouble finishing
his meal because so many people
came up to thank him for his
service, he said.
During the 2016 DeKalb
Neighborhood Summit, community
policing and public safety
issues were at the forefront of
Conroy, along with officers
from various departments, met with
community members to address
During a panel discussion,
DeKalb residents lobbied for police
officers, fire fighters and other first
responders to receive higher pay.
Conroy, who talked to several
residents during the four-hour
summit, said he was pleased to see
the support from the community
and wanted to make sure the
department continues community
“It’s been going on for years,
ever since Ferguson it really started
to bubble to the surface. We believe
in 21st century policing. I met with
my officers and went to all the
precincts (July 8) to make sure
their heads are in the game and
that they’re not emotionally drained
from the events because there’s
still some antagonizing going on,”
Conroy said. “I saw in Atlanta
people saying ‘oh how many cops

Major K.D. Johnson with the DeKalb County Police Department, center, speaks
in front of a crowd at the 2016 DeKalb Neighborhood Summit about community
policing. Photo by Horace Holloman

did we kill’ but that’s going to go on.
Those are just words.”
Conroy said he was invited by
the White House to discuss 21st
century community policing and
participated in a conference call
with Vice President Joe Bidden
and 11,000 other law enforcement
leaders to discuss the events
surrounding Dallas.
On July 8, five police officers
were killed and seven others
wounded during by a sniper during
a protest in Dallas. The shooter was
later identified as Micah Johnson.
According to Dallas police, Johnson
said he wanted to “Kill White
people, especially White officers.”
The Dallas shooting came days
after protests erupted asking for
answers in the deaths of two Black
males shot by police.
In Minnesota, an officer shot
and killed Philando Castile in a
car. Castile’s girlfriend Diamond
Reynolds videotaped the ordeal

using Facebook live. The video
quickly went viral.
Outside a convenience store in
Baton Rouge, La. Alton Sterling
was fatally shot while police tackled
him in a parking lot. Officers allege
Sterling had a weapon at the time.
DeKalb County Director of
Public Safety Cedric Alexander
said the incidents in Minnesota and
Louisiana would have been handled
differently had they happened in
“We have to develop a
relationship between the community
members and public safety officials
and that starts with transparency.
Transparency isn’t just a term we
use,” Alexander said. “We were
being transparent long before it
became popular prior to Michael
Brown in Ferguson. This police
department hides nothing from the
citizens in DeKalb. In community
policing we are partners and
you don’t hide or steal from your

Conroy said the DeKalb County
Police Department owns up to
mistakes they’ve made in the past.
Last year a DeKalb County officer
and homeowner were shot after
officers entered into the wrong
home responding to a call. The
homeowner’s dog was also shot
and died on the scene.
“We entered a house we
weren’t supposed to last year and
things like that come out and we get
ahead of it. That’s on us. We made
a mistake and you have to own up
to that and be fully transparent,”
Conroy said.
Lifelong DeKalb County resident
Dharma Jackson is a safety trainer
at Leaf Life Learning, LLC.
Jackson, who studied criminal
justice, said officers should be
vetted more during the hiring
“I have a degree in criminal
justice and I went through the
process through the Cobb County
Sheriff Department and they do
have a lie detector test before you
can become an officer,” Jackson
said. “I think one of the questions
on that lie detector test should be
are you a racist? They should go
ahead and ask those questions and
maybe every 10 years administer
the test again to have for their
Jackson said the community
and officers can’t continue to live
in fear. Officers should become
officers because they love to do
their job, she said.
“If you’re doing it for the money
or for a paycheck in any field, then
you need to stop,” Jackson said.

BIKER Continued From Page 4A

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present during Johnson’s
accident, also said Johnson
fell due to the bridge’s
slippery surface and sharp
90-degree turn.
“It’s just unfortunate
that he had the wreck.
We really enjoy riding up
there, but it was extremely
slippery for sure and he had
the wide tires to give him
more traction and he still
fell,” McClanahan said. “It’s
a 90-degree turn and it’s
a sharp right turn. I know
that’s how they had to build
it because of the creek but
we could have made it OK if
it wasn’t slippery.”
The county has not
received any maintenance
requests in regards to the
park in the past six months,
according to DeKalb County
records of the Recreation,

Parks and Cultural Affairs
Burke Brennan, press
secretary with the DeKalb
County Government, said
the park is up to date on
work orders.
Despite the fall, which
led to several injuries,
Johnson said he would still
enjoy riding the trail again.
However next time he rides,
Johnson plans on making a
few changes.
“The trail is great. I love
the trail system, but for now
on I would get off my bike
and walk over the bridge,”
Johnson said. “I don’t want
to put my family through
that kind of pain and
suffering again. I do think
they should put a sign up. I
would hate to see anyone
else go through this.”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 9A

Our Decatur Lawrenceville Highway
location is
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann, center, stands with the 32
participants of the 2016. Photo by Horace Holloman

Junior deputy summer
camp helps DeKalb youth
by Horace Holloman
Eric Jackson
experienced a bit of deja vu
as he watched his two sons
walk across the stage and
receive their “badges” for
completing the 2016 Junior
Deputy Summer Camp,
hosted by the DeKalb
County Sheriff’s Office
On July 1, DeKalb
County Sheriff Jeff Mann
deputized 32 participants
of the summer camp. The
process reminded Jackson,
who has been with the
DeKalb County Fire and
Rescue Department for 22
years, of his glory days.
“This is very reminiscent
of me when I was a young
fire explorer and I was
badged as a young person,”
Jackson said. “That sort
of indoctrination gave me
some encouragement
when I was young. My
sons haven’t expressed
an interest in joining the
fire department, or police
department for that matter,
but it’s still nice to see them
walk across that stage and
get their certificate and
The camp was
sponsored by the
DeKalb County Sheriff’s
Reserve Unit—a nonprofit organization of
approximately 60 retired
officers from different law
enforcement agencies.
Jackson, father of Eric,
14, and William, 12, said
the summer camp program
differs from other youthmentoring programs.
“It’s really great because
it’s not necessarily a
program for at-risk youth.
It’s a program for all

demographics. They have
young girls here and young
boys here, whatever the
case may be. This gives the
kids a chance to make new
friends and the deputies a
chance to connect with the
kids,” Jackson said.
The 10-day summer
camp featured several
activities including a jail
tour, drug awareness
class, bowling alley trip
and a DeKalb County adult
probation class session.
Retired Sheriff’s Deputy
Captain Roderick Morgan
taught a class on antibullying.
Major Toyin Olaoluwa,
head of the DeKalb County
Sheriff’s Office Reserves
Unit, said the summer camp
tries to get kids on the right
track early.
“We try to achieve and
bring the kids along instead
of them roaming the streets
during the summer time,”
Olaoluwa said. “We want
to give them activities and
teach them. That’s the
purpose of it. Our objective
is to encourage these kids
not to come to the jail. We
want to mentor them as
early as we can.”
The camp operated from
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants
started every morning with
breakfast, followed by
cleaning the Army National
Guard Armory facility.
Olaoluwa said he hopes
to extend the summer camp
from two weeks to four
weeks next year.
“The parents love it and
the kids enjoy it. So many
agencies are doing it and
this is how we’re going to
do it in DeKalb County. In
the future, we intend to get
more kids out,” Olaoluwa


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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 10A

Agnes Scott welcomes new board members
by R. Scott Belzer

As of July 1, Agnes Scott College welcomed
and bade farewell to 10 total board of trustees
Five new members joined the Agnes Scott
board—financial analyst Adrian Cronje, CocaCola ad marketer Quinton Martin, AT&T vice
president Elizabeth “Beth” Adcock Shiroishi,
pastor Tony Sundermeier and Emory University
executive Pamela Tipton.
Agnes Scott president Elizabeth Kiss said
the new board appointees’ expertise would aid
the college’s mission focused on global learning
and fostering leaders.
“As outstanding leaders in their fields, they
bring an impressive wealth of experience and
diversity of perspectives that further strengthen
the board,” Kiss said in a release. “I anticipate
that the new trustees’ contributions will be
valuable in supporting our mission and guiding
our strategic direction as we move forward in
shaping the college’s future.”
Cronje holds a Ph.D in macroeconomics
and econometrics as well as a master’s in
economics and finance from Cambridge
University. He has gone on to found a wealthmanagement firm in Atlanta. His wife, Eve, is a
’92 graduate of Agnes Scott.
Martin, a former United States Army officer
and Emory University graduate, has worked
with Coca-Cola since 1988. He held such
titles as regional director and vice president

of the independent region before becoming
the company’s vice president of community
Shiroishi, a 1991 Agnes Scott graduate,
has been with AT&T for 17 years. She worked
her way through the company’s ranks from
wholesale to president of AT&T Georgia.
Shiroishi majored in classical languages and
literatures at Agnes Scott.
Sundermeier is the current senior pastor of
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, a role he
has held since 2014. He obtained his bachelor’s
from Eastern University, his master of divinity
from Princeton Theological Seminary and
doctorate from Biblical Theological Seminary.
Tipton is the new president of the Agnes
Scott Alumnae Association and a member

of the class of 1986. She also serves as the
director of executive programs at Emory
University’s business school.
According to Nicholyn Hutchinson,
director of public relations for Agnes
Scott College, the board of trustees is “an
independent self-perpetuating board” made up
of 30 members.
“The board of trustees is the governing
body of the college; it has oversight and
fiduciary responsibilities. It hires and evaluates
the president, it establishes the mission of the
college, and it articulates general policies and
strategic goals for the college,” she said.
Hutchinson said trustees are elected for
four-year terms by the committee on trustees,
a board within the board made up of nine
members. The committee identifies, vets and
recruits new members from “a large pool of
prospects” each year while board of trustees’
terms expire or they rotate off.
“Trustees are elected for four-year terms,”
Hutchinson said. “Typically, trustees serve two
four-year terms before rotating off the board.
In exceptional circumstances, trustees may
serve three consecutive four-year terms. After
12 years, trustees must take a year off before
being eligible for reelection.”
Outgoing board of trustees members
include Clyde Tuggle, Mary Bankston,
Elizabeth Jones, Dennis Lockhart, Tawana
Ware and David Weitnauer, two of which
served for 12 years, two served 8 years, and
one served four years.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 11A


Southwest DeKalb alum Marc Cain felt the need to show Black men in a positive light. He posted
a message on Facebook encouraging his fellow alumni to join him at the school in a show of
solidarity. The group recorded a video stating that they were all positive Black men. From left Ralph
Freeman Jr. and his son Isaiah Freeman, Tim Hayes, James King, Marc Cain and his daughter Clarke
Cain, Duntay Seay, Jesse ‘Jay’ Walker, Marcus Williams, James Nuckles and Deodrick Jackson.
Photo by Travis Hudgons

Dunwoody resident Stella Brown said thank you to Dunwoody
police by bringing two dozen donuts to the department

St. Jude of the Apostle Catholic Church invited members of the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs police departments to a service in light of recent tragedies involving law


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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 12A

Clarkston city officials such as Dean Moore, Ted Terry and Mario Williams have taken center stage in recent weeks in reducing marijuana possession penalties. The Clarston
City Council unanimously passed an ordinance for a $75 possession fine July 5. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

Marijuana penalties reduced
Clarkston encourages new
$75 fine, no arrest over
state marijuana laws
by R. Scott Belzer
“We’ve been having a
discussion about the impact of this
law for the past century, how it has
marginalized certain people and
how people have been arrested.
Considering that there are states
that have made marijuana legal and
prominent figures in our [country]
that have smoked [marijuana] and
not suffered ill effects, we felt the
punishment of being arrested did
not fit the actual crime.”
These were Clarkston
Councilman Dean Moore’s
opening remarks July 5 regarding
an ordinance amending the city’s
municipal code dealing with

Clarkston’s city council
unanimously approved the
amendment, which will encourage
city police officers to issue a $75
ticket rather than an arrest for
possession of an ounce or less of
The approval was met with
applause from those in attendance.
“It’s a victimless crime,”
Moore said. “People who smoke
[marijuana] are taking their health
into their own hands [much like]
smoking cigarettes. We’re not
encouraging anyone to smoke it,
but we are trying to eliminate the
process of being arrested simply for
Clarkston’s council passed the
amended ordinance under Official
Code of Georgia Annotated §
36-32-6, which grants municipal
courts “concurrent jurisdiction” in
misdemeanor possession cases.
Police officers still have the option
to enforce state laws dealing with
possession at their discretion.
“City of Clarkston law

enforcement officers are hereby
encouraged by the city council to
issue citations for violation of city
code to individuals possessing one
ounce or less of marijuana rather
than arresting such individuals,
when possession of marijuana is
the sole non-traffic offense by the
individual observed by the officer,”
the ordinance states.
If a fine is too low, state officials
have the option of ruling it a de
facto decriminalization that can
incur legal disputes.
Councilman Mario Williams
said the state has granted all
Georgia cities the option of “trying
to dispose of offenses” dealing with
misdemeanor possession. In other
words, Clarkston has the ability to
regulate its own fines that range up
to $700 under state law.
“I’ve gotten many calls where
people have been charged with the
maximum fine of $600 for a first
offense,” Williams said. “We want to
reduce that. We don’t want anyone
threatened or imprisoned for a first
offense. We are regulating in an

area every city in the state has the
ability to regulate.”
Williams said this will greatly
reduce the negative effects of being
charged with personal marijuana
use and called the amended
ordinance a “great starting point.”
Mayor Ted Terry reiterated
that marijuana possession is still a
crime in Clarkston.
“Up until the Georgia legislature
decides to change the law, it’s still
a crime to possess any amount of
marijuana,” Terry said. “We’re a
city council and can only affect our
Former DeKalb County resident
Sharon Ravert made her way to
Clarkston July 5 to commend the
council’s initative.
“I’m very impressed with the
adult conversation we’re having
about cannabis,” Ravert said.
Alpharetta resident Uma
Dhanabalan, who practices
cannabis therapeutics as a family
physician, also voiced her support.
“This is about harm reduction,”
Dhanabalan said.

Lithonia announces finalists Tucker halts development applications for 90 days
by Carla Parker
for city administrator job
by Carla Parker
Lithonia has named Cheryl Foster and
Kelly Kautz as finalists for the city administrator
A statement from the city said the mayor
and city council conducted a thorough search
and have evaluated multiple candidates who
match the requirements for the position. A
third candidate under consideration recently
withdrew for personal reasons. The mayor and
city council will make a decision on the final
candidate this month.
The final candidate will replace Eddie
Moody, who retired in June. The city used the
services of Tom Berry, former city manager of
Thomasville, to assist in the search for a new
city administrator. Berry helped the city with the
last search for a city administrator.

For 90 days, developers cannot apply or
receive permits for land use within Tucker.
The city implemented a 90-day
moratorium July 11 on applications and
permits related to the use of land in Tucker
city limits.
“This process is necessary for the city
of Tucker to establish its local ordinances,”
Mayor Frank Auman said in a released
statement. “We’re making every effort to
keep the moratorium as short as possible to
minimize any inconvenience.”
City officials said that it is common
practice for new cities to enact moratoriums
for various reasons, and many metro Atlanta
cities have done so. The city will soon begin
taking over planning and zoning, building
permitting, and code compliance from DeKalb
“City officials are looking forward to the
economic development that is coming to the

Tucker implemented a 90-day moratorium on
applications and permits related to the use of land
within the city.

city of Tucker after the moratorium is lifted,”
the news released stated.
The city said the 90-day period for the
building moratorium will end no later than Oct.
9, 2016.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 13A

New principal appointed to
Lakeside High
by R. Scott Belzer

A packed crowd in Oxford’s Cannon Chapel came to honor the lives of two students who were killed
in terrorist attacks in Bangladesh July 1. Photos by Horace Holloman

Emory community mourns
the loss of slain students
by Horace Holloman
Students, faculty, staff and supporters
at Emory’s Oxford campus walked in pairs
to place flowers in a vase at a vigil to
honor students Abinta Kabir and Faraaz
Hossain, as well as 18 other hostages
killed in a terrorist attack in a popular café
in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The daisies, held together with florist
wire, were a representation of the school’s
ability to keep faith and hold heads high
during the school’s trying times, said the
school chaplain Lyn Pace.
With a culturally diverse crowd in
attendance, the vigil was held in the
school’s Cannon Chapel and quickly
reached capacity during the hour-long
prayer ceremony.
Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and
Muslim students recited prayers during the
“We have a very diverse campus and
they represent the world and you see that
here as well. We pride ourselves in people
being their authentic selves. We want to
bring people together and encourage the
diversity among us,” said Pace. “We need
to learn to respect our differences and
respect each other.”
Twenty-eight people were killed in the
July 1 attack after terrorists stormed into the
Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhake, according to
reports. Hossain and Kabir were in the café
together meeting friend Tarishi Jain.
Hossain was originally from Dhake
while Kabir, a Miami native, was visiting
family and friends.
The outpouring of support throughout
the world and Emory community was
“overwhelming,” Pace said.
“This was kind of what I expected, but
to see this is an affirmation of what the
community is doing. There were people
here that didn’t know the students at all,
but they knew that lives were lost and
they know that this is a powerful moment

to celebrate and honor those lives and to
grieve,” Pace said.
Chase Jackson, a student at Emory’s
Oxford College, knew both Hossain and
Kabir. He was unable to attend the prayer
vigil, but a letter he wrote was read aloud
during the ceremony.
Jackson described Hossain and Kabir
as students who “touched the lives of
so many in the community” and were
“examples of what to strive for by changing
the world for the better.”
Sophomore at Oxford College Salma
Soliman said she was shocked when she
heard the news of the deaths of Kabir and
Soliman worked with both students on
the school’s student activities committee.
Soliman described them as warm people
who were always smiling.
“I think Abinta (Kabir) and Faraaz
(Hossain), along with the other victims,
are smiling down on us right now seeing
everyone together and smiling. It’s good
to see people smiling again,” Soliman
said. “This just shows how open minded
and diverse the Emory community is. We
all love one another and treat each other
equally. We’re all brothers and sisters and
it’s showing right now.”
After music from Emory graduate
Becca Han and Emory office of spiritual
and religious life staffer Joseph
McBrayer, the vigil ended with the singing
of the school’s alma mater.
Afterwards, students and community
leaders mingled and joined in hugs and
“The flowers are held with florist wire.
With their heads held up. Each (daisy)
represents a life lost and I believe this is
the perfect choice in flower. Though we
grieve, we must hold our heads up high as
we hold up the lives of those lost,” Pace
The school plans to have further
memorials once the student body returns
for fall semester, school officials said.

A new principal has
been selected to lead Lakeside High School into the
new school year.
Damian Bounds, who
most recently served as assistant principal at Centennial High School in Fulton
County for three years, also
has experience as an assistant principal in Cobb
County at Lindley Middle
School as well as administrative experience at Floyd
Middle School.
Bounds also has teaching experience in DeKalb
County and Atlanta Public
Bounds received his
bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, but received further
education in Atlanta. He obtained his master’s degree
in urban teacher leadership
from Georgia State University and his educational
leadership certification from
Kennesaw State University.

According to Stephen
Green, superintendent
of DeKalb County School
District, Bounds was chosen using the district’s new
selection process. The
process involves analyzing a “leadership attributes
survey” taken by community stakeholders, a panel
review, a focus group with
school leadership as well
as a formal interview with
“[Bounds] is highly regarded as a leader who
encourages a strong, positive school culture with laser
focus on classroom instruction and learning,” Green
Bounds will take the
reins of Lakeside High from
interim principal Robert
Williams, who was appointed following the resignation
of former principal Jason
Clyne in March.
Clyne’s resignation was
preceded by an investigation conducted by DeKalb
County School District involving alleged racial and
sexual misconduct.

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on the 8th day of
November, a special election will be held in the CITY OF
PINE LAKE to fill the vacancy in the office of City of Pine
Lake City Council. The special election will be held to fill
the unexpired terms of George Chidi and Erika Brown.
Each candidate will file notice of his or her candidacy and
the appropriate affidavit in the Office of City Clerk, 462
Clubhouse Drive, Pine Lake, Georgia 30072. Qualifying
for candidates will begin on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 8:30
am – 4:30 pm and will end at 12:30 pm on Wednesday,
July 27, 2016. The qualifying fee is $18.00.
The last day to register to be eligible to vote in this
special election is Tuesday, October 11, 2016.
The special election will be held in the regular polling
place, City of Pine Lake Clubhouse, 300 Clubhouse Drive,
Pine Lake, Georgia 30072, in conjunction with the General
Election. The polls will open at 7:00 AM and close at 7:00
This call is issued by the City of Pine Lake.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 14A

Beverly Burks, above, Awet Eyasu and Mario Williams supported the election day
resolution with the intent of extending democracy in Clarkston.

Councilmen Robert Hogan, above, and Dean Moore cast the opposing votes for a
resolution making election day a paid half-day for city employees.

Election Day ordinance passes
Clarkston city
employees allowed
half a day off for
presidential elections
by R. Scott Belzer
Despite concerns from
public officials and residents,
Clarkston now allows city
employees half a day to go
to the polls for presidential
and gubernatorial elections.
“We have a large refugee population and those
who have gone from being
a refugee to a nationalized
citizen,” said Clarkston councilwoman Beverly Burks,
one of the sponsors of the
resolution passed July 5.
“We have things we need
to do to make this process
work in our city.”
Burks said Maxine Daniels, director of the DeKalb
County Voter Registration
and Elections department,
spoke to a committee
charged with formulating the
ordinance about how such
a measure could affect the
county as a whole.
“She gave us some
ideas about voter registration, voter election, the election day process and a lot
more insightful information,”
Burks said. “We want to
make sure people have the
option to take hours off on
Election Day. As a city, we
want to encourage getting
out to vote and opportunities
for education [about voting].”
The resolution, dis-

cussed in June and tabled
until the city council’s July 5
meeting, will cost Clarkston
slightly more than $4,000 every two years, according to
city manager Keith Barker.
“When [we talk about]
cost, I can give you the
amount we pay for personnel for half a day,” Barker
Councilman Awet Eyasu, another sponsor, said
the measure would increase
democracy in the city. Eyasu
said Puerto Rico, which
celebrates Election Day as
a national holiday, has a 50
percent higher voter turnout
than U.S. presidential elections.
“This will definitely help
our city staff get involved,”
Eyasu said. “They have
families and other obligations that we can help them
with. It’s a great move for
Councilman Dean
Moore took issue with the
resolution, saying he appreciated the idea of promoting voter registration and
expanding democracy to
non-citizens, but did not appreciate “the show” behind
such an ordinance.
He also brought up the
fact that Clarkston city employees are already permitted two hours to cast their
vote and suggested the cost
ultimately outweighed the
“Our employees have
ample time to vote—they do
vote and this really amounts
to window dressing or fluff
that doesn’t promote democracy at all,” Moore said. “It
sounds to me that it requires
more staff time [at an additional] cost. I don’t think

[this resolution] gets to the
purpose of what you’re trying to do.”
Councilman Robert Hogan acknowledged the right
of every citizen to vote but
said Clarkston already has
enough measures in place
to assure that right. He did
not agree with creating an
incentive to vote.
“Citizens should know
the importance of voting as
well as the impact it has on
their city, state and country,”
Hogan said. “I don’t think
you should get half a day or
a full day’s pay to exercise
that right. If you’re a voter
and it’s important to you,
you’ll take the time to get out
there and vote.”

Councilman Mario Williams said it was a “fatal
assumption” to claim every
Clarkston city employee has
the ability to vote in November.
“I have no idea if a current city employee or an
employee 10 years from
now is going to have the
ability to vote,” Williams said.
“This particular resolution is
prospective in nature and
says, simply, we want to increase your ability to vote in
an election that occurs every
two years. We’re trying to
increase voter participation,
period. I believe we’re the
first city to do this, I believe it
is necessary, and I believe it
is good for Clarkston.”

Former councilman Warren Hedlock said the holiday represented $4,000 of
taxpayers’ money as well as
half a day’s loss of work.
“The idea of paying
someone to vote, encouraging them to vote with a
four-hour paid vacation is a
non-issue,” Hedlock said.
“We don’t have enough staff
or get enough done now. I
don’t even know how many
of our workers are registered
to vote; are we going to
make sure they’re all registered?”
The resolution was
passed by council 4-2,
with Hogan and Moore

Jaisun (ID# 31814091) is a happy boy
who is totally best friend material. He is smart,
already knows his sit command and would
love to learn more. This one-year-old
guy weighs 58 pounds, and has
lovely brown, soulful eyes. He gets
along well with other dogs, and
can’t wait to meet you!
Come meet Jaisun at the DeKalb shelter.
If you adopt any dog over 25 lbs. or any cat
during July you’ll pay only $17.76 during
our “Celebrate their Independence” special;
which includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and
microchip at no additional charge. If you would
like more information about Jaisun please
email adoption@dekalbanimalservices.
com or call (404) 294-2165. All
potential adopters will be screened to
ensure Jaisun goes to a good home.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 15A

A ‘FLASH’ of hope
DeKalb County offers only comprehensive sexual health course in region

by R. Scott Belzer
According to the Georgia
Department of Public Health, 423
people ages 13 to 25 in metro
Atlanta were diagnosed with human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in
2014. Of those 423 diagnosed,
109 came from DeKalb County, the
largest number came from Fulton
(205) with fewer from Cobb (48)
Clayton (34) and Gwinnett (27).
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) estimates
a Georgia resident has a 1 in 51
chance of being diagnosed with
HIV, the highest risk in the country
as of February 2016. According to
the CDC, the only way to completely
prevent HIV is through abstinence.
Education in condom use and
related matters also reduce risk.
Access to, or lack thereof, an
education in reproductive health
seems tied to these statistics,
according to Georgia Campaign
for Adolescent Power & Potential
(GCAPP), an adolescent health
advocacy group.
GCAPP lauds the use of
knowledge to combat rising
disease rates. Through its Working
to Institutionalize Sex Education
(WISE) program, GCAPP offers
training for teachers, parent
workshops and guidance for
school districts in choosing sex ed

“When we empower our young
people to make healthy choices, we
ensure their ability to achieve their
full potential in our communities,”
reads GCAPP’s mission statement.
“We know the adolescent years
represent a critical stage of
development. We also know
these years present opportunity
for sustained well-being through
education and prevention efforts.”
The most recommended
program by GCAPP–used only by
DeKalb County in the metro Atlanta
region— is Family Life and Sexual
Health (FLASH).
FLASH uses an “interactive,
inclusive, family-involved and
science-based” sexual health
curriculum designed to prevent risky
sexual behavior through fostering
positive attitudes.
“FLASH includes a variety
of strategies designed to create
positive attitudes, beliefs and
norms, and to build skills and selfefficacy in order to reduce rates
of pregnancy, STDs and sexual
violence,” states the program’s
Andrea Swartzendruber,
a behavior sciences and health
education fellow at Emory
University, called FLASH “an ageappropriate, comprehensive sexual
education curriculum designed to
support students to make healthy

decisions: abstain from sex, use
protection when they do have sex,
seek health care when they need
it, communicate effectively with
their families, and respect others’
decisions not to have sex.”
“Major professional
organizations, such as the
American Academy of Pediatrics
and American Public Health
Association, support abstinence but
also emphasize that young people
need accurate and comprehensive
sexual education to prepare them
for responsible decision making,”
Swartzendruber said.
According to Jennifer Powell,
curriculum and instruction
coordinator for DeKalb County
School District (DCSD), all of
DCSD’s 20 middle and 21 high
schools participate in the FLASH
curriculum from sixth to 12th grade.
“GCAPP provides curriculum
materials, teacher training, technical
assistance, and support needed to
effectively implement the FLASH
curriculum,” Powell said. “All of
the DeKalb County School District
(DCSD) middle and high school
health and physical education
teachers (179) have received the
training on the Family Life and
Sexual Health (FLASH) curriculum.”
FLASH comes at no expense
to DCSD by way of a three-year
memorandum of agreement with
GCAPP. It was chosen by DCSD’s

Comprehensive Health Advisory
Committee composed of parents,
teachers, students and health
professionals from such places as
the DeKalb Board of Health and
“[FLASH] is an abstinencebased, evidence-informed sexuality
education program that is aligned
to the Department of Education’s
Health Education Standards,”
Powell said. “The district is not
currently looking into any changes
or adding more reproductive
education courses. There hasn’t
been a request or need for a new
While Gwinnett County’s
HIV statistics in young people is
the lowest (27) and Fulton’s is
the highest (209), they both use
Choosing the Best, an abstinencebased curriculum that has reached
more than 4 million students
nationwide. Choosing the Best
is also used in Cobb, Rockdale,
Clayton and Henry counties in
addition to Marietta City Schools.
According to Pamela
Kohler’s “Abstinence-Only and
Comprehensive Sex Education and
the Initiation of Sexual Activity and
Teen Pregnancy” from the March
2008 Journal of Adolescent Health,
the “strongest predictor for an STD
diagnosis was a non-intact family,”
which were four times more likely to


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 16A

Grillers served in a “bowl” made from a scooped out pineapple are a specialty at
Taste Buddz. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Taste Buddz owner Alana Simpson says the business is growing so fast that after
a few weeks she’s planning an expansion.

Island twist makes south DeKalb restaurant special
by Kathy Mitchell
Alana Simpson has started
three businesses since graduating
from Georgia State University’s
business school with a degree
focusing on hospitality. She said
she’s never had one take off the
way the restaurant she opened two
months ago has.
“Our success is my biggest
challenge right now. We’re so busy
it’s hard to keep up,” she said of
Taste Buddz, the small, mostly
take-out, restaurant on Columbia
Drive near Glenwood Avenue.
“We’ve been much busier than I
ever dreamed we would be this
soon.” She said she now makes
several trips a day to the restaurant
supply store.
Simpson said while most
customers are from the surrounding
south DeKalb community, Taste
Buddz has attracted diners from
all over the metropolitan Atlanta
area. It has even had a few cast
members from the television show
Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta stop by.
Simpson said those flocking to
the new restaurant say it’s unlike
anything in the area. While Taste
Buddz offers burgers, wings and
other items that are available at
many other places, it also features
pineapple grillers—grilled steak,

Simpson greets Tasty, the restaurant’s

chicken, salmon, shrimp or tilapia
over yellow rice with a choice of
grilled vegetables. Grillers are
available in a “bowl” made from a
scooped out half pineapple.
“People seem to love that this
is something really different both
in terms of taste and presentation.
The flavor of the pineapple is
absorbed into the other foods for a
unique taste,” the restaurant owner
said. “I grew up in the Decatur area
so I’m proud to be able to bring
something special to this area.”
Simpson, who was born in
Trinidad and moved to the United

States as a child, said the menu is
American but with an island twist.
Pineapples, which are popular in
Trinidad, have become a restaurant
theme, now reflected not only in
the food, but in the décor. She has
even created a mascot named
Tasty, who’s a giant pineapple.
“Kids, especially love Tasty. A
little girl came in the other day and
asked, ‘Is Tasty here today?’ I went
in the back and said, ‘OK, who’s
going to put on the Tasty costume?
There’s a little girl out front who
wants to see him.’”
Simpson, who personally
created the recipes and sauces,
said she believes people are
attracted to the option of food
made with fresh vegetables on the
premises. “We prepare everything
to order right here,” she said.
“We cut up the onions, peppers,
mushrooms, spinach—everything—
right here in our kitchen. People
today want healthier options. They
like that our food is grilled and
includes lots of fresh vegetables.”
The pineapples, she said, are so
popular that she picks up five to
six cases a day from a supplier on
Memorial Drive.
She said her experience
working at a number of
restaurants—in addition to her
classes at Georgia State—prepared

her to put every aspect of the
business in place and be off to
quick start. “I know I look young,”
she said. “But I’m actually 31
and I’ve had a lot of experience.
When I worked in other people’s
restaurants I actually helped them
correct business problems.”
Simpson said she tries to
create a fun, inviting atmosphere.
The counter where customers
place orders is a chalkboard and
customers are invited to take a
piece of colored chalk and write
their names—or whatever they
like—on the board. “I also hire
people with vibrant personalities,
especially if they’re working at
the counter. I want customers to
have a pleasant experience before
they’ve even tasted the food.”
The concept has done so well
Simpson is looking at the possibly
of franchising Taste Buddz. She
has immediate plans to expand.
Currently, the restaurant has
four two-person bistro tables to
accommodate its few dine-in
customers. The furnishings, she
explained, are from a previous
business. “The building next door
is vacant and I’m in the process of
acquiring it and making this place
much bigger. I’m hoping by next
month this time, we’ll have a lot
more space.”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 17A




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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 18A

Members of the Nigerian Olympic soccer team chat before practice on July 8. Photos by Carla Parker

Nigerian soccer team prepares for Olympics in DeKalb
by Carla Parker
The last time a Nigerian soccer team
won gold in the summer Olympic Games
was in 1996 in the Atlanta Olympics
Twenty years later, the Nigerian
Olympic soccer team is seeking another
gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has come
back to metro Atlanta to prepare for
the games. The team arrived in Atlanta
on July 3 and has held practices at the
Panthersville Recreation Complex in
The team will remain in DeKalb
County until the end of July and then
take off for Rio. Bunmi Jinadu, founder
and CEO of United Soccer Africa located
in DeKalb, said he wanted the team to
come back to the place where Nigerian
soccer has had success.
“It was important for us to bring them
back here to build upon that confidence
and to work from here and to prepare
from here to bring that glory back into
African fútbol and Nigerian fútbol,”
Jinadu said. “So this is a psychological
thing. The weather here is the same
as Brazil so it fits into that area as well.
It’s important that when you’re training
for a major competition and the country
that you’re going into that the weather
conditions are similar. Everything
combined should give them an excellent
preparation to go into Brazil to medal.”
James Tsismanakis, executive
Director/CEO of discover DeKalb
Convention and Visitors Bureau/Sports

DeKalb, said it is exciting to have the
team practice in DeKalb.
“It’s extremely exciting and the
reason is we’ve been working on
bringing international soccer to
DeKalb County for almost five years,”
Tsismanakis said. “We first started trying
to bring Europe in, then Latin America
and in the past couple of years working
specifically to bring Africa to DeKalb and
bring the Nigerian Olympic soccer team
to DeKalb. So this is the conclusion of
many years of work and seeking to get
this to occur.”
Jinadu said the team adapted quickly
to DeKalb, which has a large African
community. He also said he believes
preparing in DeKalb and going through
this process will help the team do well in
the Olympics.
“I strongly believe that can happen,”
Jinadu said. “But this process has to
happen first and that’s why we’re here.
Moving forward we would like to see
more infrastructures that can house
professional athletes like this so that we
can continue to bring them in this region.”
Tsismanakis said he hopes having
the Nigerian team train in DeKalb will
encourage more international teams to
consider the county as a training site.
“The reason for doing this was to
bring international exposure to DeKalb,
bring exposure for soccer to come to
DeKalb and to bring Olympic venues to
DeKalb,” he said.
The Nigerian soccer team will play a
friendly match against Charleston Battery
July 16 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park in

Members of the Nigerian Olympic soccer team jog around the field during

The Nigerian Olympic soccer team is practicing at the Panthersville
Recreation Complex in Decatur.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 19A

Former DeKalb football coach returns home
GPSA moves to
DeKalb County
by Carla Parker
Former M.L. King and Avondale
High School football coach Michael
Carson is back in DeKalb County
along with his Georgia Prep Sports
The academy has moved
from downtown Atlanta to a
35,000-square-foot building on
Snapfinger Woods Drive in Decatur.
Georgia Prep Sports Academy is a
post-high school graduate program
that is designed to help athletes who
didn’t meet the requirements for
college, get athletic scholarships.
Students began moving into
the facility on July 1. Carson, who
founded the academy in 2013, said
the reason behind the move was
he was looking for a place that the
program could call its own.
“We’ve paid rent over the last
three years, paid a lot of money out
and really didn’t have anything to
show for it,” Carson said. “We had an
opportunity to come back to DeKalb
County. This building, we’re leasepurchasing it for $250,000 less than
what we were paying to house our
kids. We were in a perfect position
to come back here and start the

program here in DeKalb.”
Carson said also that it was
important for him to bring the
program to DeKalb.
“We get kids from all over the
country for the most part, but this
year we got seven to eight kids from
DeKalb County,” he said. “With my
roots in DeKalb—being the head
coach at MLK and Avondale—it
made perfect sense to really try
to come back here and establish
our program here to help student
athletes here in DeKalb County that
are falling short academically and
not able to move on to a college
program. Hopefully we can provide
this platform to where they can come Georgia Prep Sports Academy founder Michael Carson, right, speaks with parents
into and focus on whatever academic about the academy. Photos by Carla Parker
deficiencies they may have whether
it be a poor GPA or test scores. They
can get that done here within a one
semester format and then be on a
college campus in January.”
The two-story building features
classrooms, a cafeteria, lounge/game
room, weight room, dorm rooms and
“We’re not done yet,” Carson
said. “We just got our flooring in
for our weight room; hopefully the
weights will be in next week. Then
we’re going to look at adding an
outdoor field as well as an indoor 80yard field in the back of the building.
We definitely have our hopes high.
Hopefully we can bring all of this to
The 35,000-square-foot building includes a lounge/game room.

Chester tabbed as new coach of Miller Grove basketball
by Carla Parker

Former Miller Grove assistant coach Rasul Chester is now the
head coach of the boys’ basketball program. Photo from @

Former Stephenson High School boys’
basketball coach Rasul Chester has been
named head coach of the Miller Grove High
School boys’ basketball team.
“Home sweet home,” Chester said.
Chester, who spent one season with
Stephenson, was an assistant coach under
former head coach Sharman White from
2008 to 2015, and head coach of the junior
varsity team. Chester led the JV team to
back-to-back DeKalb County titles in 2014
and 2015, before becoming the head coach
at Stephenson.
Chester said he is excited to be back at
his old stomping ground.
“I’m excited for the year,” Chester
said. “[Becoming a head coach] the whole
plan when I came to Miller Grove in the
beginning. I’m just happy that everything
fell back in place.”
Chester said it was not easy leaving
“It was a tough decision because of the
relationships you build and the connections
that you have with the parents, the kids and
even the faculty, staff and administrators,”

he said. “Stephenson was great for me.
They welcomed me with open arms. It was
tough leaving them but at the same time
the move was the best for me.”
A 1997 graduate of Cross Keys High
School, Chester returned to his alma mater
in 2003 as a volunteer coach. He was later
named the JV girls’ basketball coach and
assistant coach for the varsity girls’ team.
From 2004-2006, he was the head JV
boys’ and assistant varsity boys’ coach at
Cross Keys, helping to lead the team to
the Sweet 16 of the state playoffs. In 2006,
he moved to Stone Mountain High School
where he coached the JV boys’ squad and
assisted with the varsity team. He helped
lead the team to the Elite Eight of the state
Chester said he knows his mentor left
some big shoes to fill at Miller Grove, but
he is not focusing on filling those shoes.
“[White’s] shoes are too big to be filled.
I’m not trying to fill his shoes,” Chester
said. “He did a whole lot, not only for
Miller Grove but for the DeKalb County
community as well. He is my mentor and
I’m just trying to continue the tradition of
winning championships. That’s why I got
into coaching—to compete at a high level.”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 15, 2016 • Page 20A

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